How to Enjoy Mom Life More (While Raising a Young Crew)

How to Enjoy Mom Life More (While Raising a Young Crew)

Moms with a couple small dependent kids will find significant value in what I’m about to say. This the very stage that you’re in that made me feel like a terrible Mom not long ago. You’re supposed to enjoy all of mom life, right?

You get the notion that you’re always supposed to be filled with joy because you were blessed with awesome little people. We are blessed. We know that without a doubt.

These mini’s are adorable, easy to please, they replicate multitudes of love, and they have such innocent, unique personalities! They give the best hugs and randomly proclaim their love for us. And when they hurt feelings, it’s likely to be accidental and so easy to forgive.

Although toddlers are easy to please, they are likewise just as difficult at times. As your mini grows, he wants to dress himself, buckle himself, and even pour his own drinks. Determined, he’ll dive right in with the intent of flawlessly mirroring your efforts. And when he fails… oh man! His big emotions will show! Sometimes it just feels like they’re intentionally making things harder on us. Doesn’t it?

You might feel seriously overworked and overwhelmed because your kids depend on you so much. Most days you won’t quite receive the help you need. Instead, you’re outnumbered and spend the majority of your waking day multitasking like you’ve never done before.

By the time you can sit in peace for the day, you don’t feel accomplished. You’ve done everything, yet still unable to recall all the details of the day. Chances are you’ll have fed them countless snacks, kissed some boo-boo’s, wiped their tears, held them, had a dance party, corrected them, stuck them in time-out, played a silly game, broke up fights, read a story, cleaned up never-ending messes, made some phone calls, paid some bills, cleaned up potty accidents, washed some laundry, fed your kids, washed the dishes, and bathed your little ones, all while doing little for yourself. Chances are you probably would’ve had some thoughts to yourself, but you fell asleep as soon as the chaos was over.

You might start to feel exhausted all around. You might feel lost. And you might feel that you lost. But here’s what I would’ve told myself then when I felt like a bad mom for not enjoying all of it.

Being a mom is tough. That’s the one thing you won’t hear often enough. Mom life wears you down hardcore in ways you didn’t know possible.

It’s normal to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and even frustrated. It’s normal to sometimes feel emotional and worried about your family. But just because those things are normal doesn’t mean they’ll go away on their own. It’ll take some time and effort before you begin to enjoy motherhood more.

Motherhood comes with the beautiful, and ugly. Every minute that you enjoy with your kids, you have earned tenfold. These little people with big messes and big emotions aren’t too far off from being big themselves.

You probably feel like your kids will always be small and depend on you. You fear that you’re always going to be so overwhelmed and it makes you feel slightly more crazy just thinking there’s no end. But friend, you are so near the light at the end of the tunnel.

One day your kiddos will tie their shoes, buckle themselves, head off to school, help with more chores, and even show empathy. You’ll finally reap the rewards of their younger years. That day will be oh! so bittersweet because you will wish for a single day of time-travel to hold your baby once more. And yet, you will shed many of the challenges that you’ve waited so long to be free from.

There will come a day in the near future when you’ll see a new mom enjoying her sweet little one, smile, and you imagine that fresh baby smell. You’ll wish you could tell your old self to enjoy more of the little things, to laugh at the imperfections, and soak it all in. Even the parts you thought you didn’t enjoy.

This stage of life may not look very beautiful in your mind. It looks a lot like a national disaster. But this, right now, is your blessing. There will always be one more thing you need to do. Your to-do list will probably grow resembling Jack and the Beanstalk. You’ll likely never see the end of messes and chores with little ones at home, anyways.

Motherhood is a balancing act.

Instead of letting ourselves feel defeated, we should take care of ourselves better and ask for more help. Make friends with moms and dads going through the same stage of parenting. Find ways to make an ordinary day with the kids special. Make some memories and take the pictures or journal about it. And really, just start thinking more positively.

A few years ago when I was really struggling, I would’ve said to myself; “Let go of your idea of this perfect image of motherhood and enjoy what’s yours now. Go get some more sleep, see your doctor until you feel good, tell someone how you feel, go for that drive, cry, get mad, pray about it, and know that this tough, beautiful stage is almost over. And you’re going to really miss it one day.”

To you Moms who are going through this, give whatever ounce of faith you have. God is so good! You’ll get through the struggles with Him like I did.

Motherhood is such a blessing! Let’s enjoy these moments that are ours now before they become a distant memory.

Honest Review of Thieves Household Cleaner

Honest Review of Thieves Household Cleaner

As you may be well aware, I was introduced to essential oils in Fall of 2017. My only interest was in lavender essential oil, which I thought was just a smell good oil. Was I ever wrong!

I thought essential oils were just a trendy product. I was wrong about that, too. Like many people who have never tried them or are new to the process, I was clueless. Essential oils have literally been used for thousands of years, which earns them a lot of credentials (for their health benefits) if you ask me!

I still plainly admit that I still rely on modern medicine. If my doctor prescribes me a prescription, I have no problem taking it. If I have a migraine, I immediately pop an Excedrin. And I absolutely 100% still vaccinate my children!

But, I love this idea of mindfully living! I love the idea of switching out as many harmful chemicals as possible! I love the idea that I can hand a Thieves spray bottle over to my little helpers without worrying if they’ll get some cleaner on their skin. And I LOVE the smell of Thieves!

Gorgeous blue glass bottles actually have a purpose. The blue glass protects the fluid from UV rays that can weaken the EOs strength.

We don’t typically question the big brands we grew up. But, it’s natural to question things we aren’t as familiar with. So, let’s see if I can answer anything you might be curious about!

Is it actually effective to clean with?

According to some sources, it is over 99% effective in killing germs. Apparently you can order petri dishes on Amazon and do your own at-home test. However, in being transparent, I have never done the lab testing myself. I do know that the cleaner works well enough to remove that boiled over gunk off my stove top, as well as other problem-areas. I also trust the research I’ve done and the reviews of my friends who also use essential oils. In fact, the Hudsons’s YouTube channel (I shared with you earlier) is BIG into essential oils and have great things to say about the health benefits!

What does it smell like?

It smells like baking spices, therapeutic-style. The essential oils (in order) used in this are clove, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary and eucalyptus. The cinnamon definitely stands out in the rankings!

How do I use it?

There are so many ways to use Thieves household cleaner! You can use it an an all-purpose spray, glass spray, scouring scrub, disinfectant, toilet bowl cleaner, laundry detergent, spot cleaner, degreaser, mold and mildew cleaner, wood polish, appliance and stainless steel polish, and mop solution.

Check out the Pin I made for you below!

How long does one bottle last?

That 14.4 Fl. OZ. bottle is ultra concentrated. So basically I add 1 capful of this divine goodness to a spray bottle and top off with water. The very same spray bottle should last you a few weeks. If you have a bottle of this on hand and use it for EVERYTHING, it may last anywhere between 6 moths to a year depending on how much you’re cleaning and how concentrated you’re using it.

PIN ME! Here’s a chart for reference!
Any time you need a little extra strength, just add another capful. I didn’t even add the toilet bowl cleaner because I literally just add a capful right in the toilet and scrub! Easy as pie!

Here’s a link to 29 DIY cleaners made with Thieves household cleaner!

Please post in the comments if you’ve you ever thought about trying essential oils! Feel free to ask me questions about them!

Who’s already with Young Living? What’s your favorite product? This is probably my favorite because it’s practical, effective, and smells good!

As with most of my essential oil posts, I’ll share my link with you here to the Young Living catalog (affiliate disclosure below). Feel free to ask me any questions by email or in the comments!

(*** If you buy anything from Young Living through this link, I’ll receive some free products for sharing with you!***)

Have a great day, friends!

***All photos in this post belong to Momma Bird Blog. Do not copy without.***

Zesty Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Zesty Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Spring has sprung here in Ohio! This past weekend was the first warm-weathered commencement, perfect for yard work and playing catch. (Let me pause and imagine myself at the beach, while sizzling in our 70 degree climate!)

However, we didn’t quite get much time together as a family since it was drill weekend. But, the boys and I made the most of it. So, after Sunday mass, we headed off to the park. When we finally got home, I fixed up a quick and easy lunch for my hard-playing boys.

This yummy creation took under 20 minutes to whip up.

Ingredients:

  • Tri-color Rotini noodles, (about 6 oz.)
  • 1/3 Cup Broccoli, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Orange pepper, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Cucumber, rinsed, quartered and sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinaigrette for dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 TBS. Crumbled Feta Cheese (this one is sun-dried tomato and basil)
  • 3 TBS. Peeled Parmesan cheese

Recipe:

  1. Boil noodles for 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Add to a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Serve with iced tea!
What main course would this go with?
A little close-up shot you won’t be able to resist!
The little bits of tomato are from the sun-dried tomato and basil feta. Look at those delicious sliced of Parmesan cheese!
AH! Iced tea and lemon are perfect with this pasta!

That’s all folks! Quick and easy zesty Mediterranean Pasta Salad!

If this made your stomach growl, just be sure to pin this to your Pinterest!

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup (Made With Stock)

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup (Made With Stock)

Here in Ohio, the overcast and rain has my family craving chicken noodle soup. (I told you I’ve got soup on the mind lately.) Chicken noodle soup is one of most nostalgic comfort-foods! For me, this bowlful of warm goodness is reminiscent of my Grandma’s recipe! (Stock is key!)

If you want to make a crowd-pleaser that’ll also make scrumptious leftovers the next day, then this one for you! I promise, the leftovers will go quickly!

I make this also over the stove, but you can also easily add the ingredients to a crock-pot for a quick and easy weeknight dinner! It takes about 15 minutes of prep and about 1 hour of simmering.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Onion, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Celery stalk with leaves, minced
  • 3 TSP. Minced Garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 3 TBS. Butter
  • (2) 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 LB. Boneless chicken, raw
  • 2 Large Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz. Wide Egg Noodles

( P.S. I’ve been adding lemon zest to my chicken soups since I was a kid. Believe me, it adds a whole new level of freshness that you won’t want to leave out! )

Recipe:

  1. In a large soup pot, add olive oil. Saute minced; onion, celery, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
  2. Add in butter, chicken stock, and chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, cube it up and add it back to soup pot.
  4. In a separate, smaller pot, boil water for the noodles. (This ensures that your broth doesn’t become starchy.) Cook the noodles for 4-5 minutes so they don’t swell too much, once added to the soup.
  5. Add chopped carrots until tender, about 12 minutes.
  6. SERVE!
Don’t you just want to dive right into this bowl with a big spoon?
Serve with a rustic bread, muffin, or crackers!

What’s your favorite soup?

Drop a link in the comments if you have a soup recipe of your own!

Beef and Vegetable Soup (With Secret Ingredient)

Beef and Vegetable Soup (With Secret Ingredient)

Boy, it’s been a while since I posted a recipe! I am I the only one who tends to make whatever is easier for my family on a weeknight? After everyone gets home from work and school, who wants to spend 2 hours cooking a gourmet meal? And then clean up that mess?

I’m still a huge fan of nutritional food. I even let my boys raid the produce aisle in order to encourage them to eat healthy. (Read 10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy.) Healthy to me is focusing on whole foods, definitely using more produce, and less; fat, starch and salt. I was thinking of making more soups, different salads to try, and maybe even some meatless meals just to change things up. But dinner still has to be pretty easy to make and still delicious!

Last summer I made a large pot of vegetable soup that my three boys absolutely loved. It was delicious mostly because it had a lot of fresh garden veggies in it; tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, onion, sweet corn, green beans… So I wanted to try a couple more soups!

First and foremost, the key to a good soup is the broth. I have a couple favorite methods. You can use up saved meat drippings from roasts and things. Stock works brilliantly also! I think those work the best because they use a real meat based flavor with a little bit of animal fat. Bouillon cubes are my least favorite because the broth tastes artificial and too salty. Recently I found another favorite broth alternative- onion soup mix! This can be bought in a box with 2 packets used to make french onion dip or soup. But using it as a broth base is incredible!

Prep and Cooking Time:

20 minutes of prep, about 1 hour of total cooking time

The thing I love about soup is you just add the ingredients, set at a medium to low heat, and can walk away. You could also make this the night before, store in a crock pot in the fridge, and set for a low heat before heading to work!

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 TBS Olive oil to fry with
  • 1 LBS of diced red meat (I used venison here)
  • Salt to season meat
  • 2 Packets (2 oz. each) onion soup mix
  • 8 Cups of water
  • 2 Cups of diced potatoes
  • 1 Cup of diced carrots
  • 1 Red bell pepper (optional)
  • ground pepper to taste
  • a couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce!

Recipe:

  1. Heat olive oil in big soup pot till warm. Add diced red meat, season with salt, and brown.
  2. Add both packets of onion mix and water to pot. Let simmer.
  3. Add veggies, pepper, and Worcestershire. Cook till veggies are tender.
  4. And serve!

The secret ingredient definitely adds a depth of flavor with the onion mix! Rarely have I used onion mix to cook with before, but I will be doing it more now!

We typically have these ingredients on hand, but I also like how easy this is to make for dinner. Plus my family devoured this particular beef and vegetable soup! What’s your favorite soup?

10 Affirmations For Mom Guilt

10 Affirmations For Mom Guilt

There is one main message I think that Moms need to hear, but often don’t hear enough, it’s that you matter. In the midst of your messy home, in your messy bun, wearing yesterday’s pajamas, where you often lose your cool, you feel so unaccomplished. Yet, you’ve accomplished everything!

Your kids know your unconditional love in all that you do. Regardless of the mom guilt that you’re seemingly tied to.

PIN THIS!

My own way of explaining mom guilt: “our inner dialogue which conflicts with our original decision regardless of our good intention.”

Mom guilt is the real deal. As moms we question how good of a job we’re doing. A lot of it is really just fear. We know we are well intended. We just want to know that our decisions aren’t negatively affecting our children. The truth of the matter is we need to stop being so hard on ourselves.

No human being on Earth is perfect. Therefore, we need to stop pressuring ourselves to the impossible standard of perfection. These 10 affirmations can help you to put perfection behind you and help you to find more joy in motherhood.

Remind yourself of these 10 things daily!

10 Affirmations for mom guilt:

1. I matter.

2. I’m worthy of good things.

3. I am strong.

4. I am loved.

5. I love myself.

6. I am a good mom already because I love my kids.

7. There are a million ways to be a good mom. / I am making decisions for the best interest of my family.

8. It’s not my job to be perfect, but to show my kids grace and forgiveness.

9. I forgive myself for my failures.

10. God has called me to motherhood. Through Him I can do all things.

Happy Thursday!

10 Affirmations For The Oldest Sibling

10 Affirmations For The Oldest Sibling

Our oldest son, Chirs, turned 7 years old yesterday! Holy cow! I never thought I would look back and think that raising kids goes quick! I literally don’t know the day of the week most days, nor do I feel like the past 7 years has been all rainbows and unicorns. But, wow! Suddenly 7 years seems to have slipped past me!

Life was delightful when our duo turned trio. My memory bank is filled with images of my little boy’s smile and breathing in his sweet baby smell during our snuggles. Even before he could crawl, he was my dance partner (particularly brought back by the good oldies like Frank Sinatra).

Like all firstborns, ours was totally the guinea pig. We based our confidence in our parenting skills on him; if he ate well, if he was developmentally on track, if he had enough responsibilities, if he used his manners…

Because life was peachy we tried for more kids. We thought we would treat all if them equal, but funny thing is we lowered our standards for the next kid. And the next kid. We (particularly I) didn’t worry as much about near as much with the younger boys. After all of the parenting experience with Chris, we knew the things to avoid and areas to improve in.

Along the way he’s sensed the standard depreciation gap.

When our family became 4, I saw his whole world change. So long were the days when I could drop everything for him. When our middle son, Josh, wasn’t nursing I still had little energy to give. But I wanted to show Chris that clearly, he was still important to me. So when baby was napping, we would play baseball. A lot of baseball. It was our thing, among many others.

By the time our youngest son, Aaron, came in to the picture, Chris was only 3. Yep we had a 3 year-old, 1 year-old, and newborn at one point. Thank goodness Chris was away at preschool by then because sleep deprivation was so bad! But having an older kid was legit so nice by then! Cue promotion to diaper-getter, baby-entertainer, and toy picker-upper.

It seems as though the firstborn kids are naturally the glue to their siblings, natural-born teachers, and some very caring people! So I compiled a list of 10 affirmations for the oldest kids.

  1. I am so special.
  2. I have many unique talents.
  3. My mom and dad love me for who I am!
  4. My family can count on me. /I am helpful.
  5. I am capable of anything that I put my mind to.
  6. Change is okay.
  7. I am enough./ I am good.
  8. I am a leader. /My siblings look up to me.
  9. Mistakes help me grow.
  10. I love and accept myself.

These affirmations are things I’m teaching my oldest son in particular. He plays an important role in our family. We love that we can count on him and we wouldn’t be the same without him.