How to be a Fun Mom

How to be a Fun Mom

First off, I’m going to warn you that I broke one of my own rules. Only 1-2 cups of coffee and never past 4:00 in the afternoon. I needed one more tonight because of hormonal fatigue. Which, if I’m being honest, the vegetarian diet has helped tremendously!

So as I sit here tonight with caffeine pumping through my veins, I want to share some ideas. I’ll have you know that over the years, I’ve basically been borderline preschool teacher mixed with Pinterest Mom. As my kids have grown up and grown more independently, I’ve grown into a super duper mean Mom. (Or at least they think I am because they have chores and don’t have free reign.)

Like anything else, I believe that moderation is key. In order to have a good parent/child relationship, you’ve got to master discipline with understanding. And by discipline I’ve found that time-outs and taking toys away are merely as effective as rewards.

So this Summer, as we had our own schedules to abide by, I tried to keep a light daily structure without overdoing plans. Of course, my husband will tell you that I over plan to leave the house on his days off. I mean, as a stay-at-home Mom (and someone who’s a little adventurous) who would want to always be home?

They’ve been doing tons of summer reading, even me. I’ve been able to indulge in the adult library section (mostly consisting of self-help books). We’ve done our share of exploring barefoot in creeks and playing a game of family baseball. We’ve enjoyed visiting the farmer’s market and swimming at the local quarry, too.

For as much fun and discipline that we carried out, I thought we had the perfect balance of both worlds. Don’t worry though, like every other family on planet Earth, our kids aren’t immune to bad behavior. And I still definitely yell.

Although there’s no secret solution to master parenting, I feel like our best shot at containing the “energies” of our kids can be simple. A wise philosopher once said that we should spend 1-on-1 time with our children every day. John Dewey thought this to be one of the most powerful tools for raising children into successful people.

Just think about this for a minute. If we spend 30+ minutes a day trying to engage in conversation (and not necessarily lecture), we could have amazing relationships.

Today, as the grandparents took our younger two for a fun day, I was reminded of something important. My oldest needs more of my time and attention. So instead of working on the e-book that I’ve begun writing, I thought, there are only a few weeks left to enjoy him this summer. I asked him what he wanted to do and I said yes to him. It’s easy to just tell our kids what they’re doing and say no, but they don’t feel understood when we automate our responses.

Don’t forget that in order to be a good parent, your well-being matters. For instance it’s easier to say “yes” when we feel energetic and healthy. You matter too.

Today we played baseball like we always used to. When my son was 2, we would have batting practice, almost daily because he enjoyed batting, but also enjoyed my attention. Today we also enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in the hot tub, which is reserved normally only for adults. And we were going to wrap it up by playing video games together. Unfortunately, once I got word that the little boys were heading back, I went into cleaning mode. (Still kicking myself for that.)

Overall, I learned that being the crafty, structured, patient Mom isn’t super realistic all the time. But that by trying to silently listen to our kids and do the things they like, they feel understood. And if having kid-sized fun every once in a while makes me a cool Mom, then that’s really just a win-win!

What kinds of fun things to you and your kiddos do for fun?

Buffalo Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Fries

Buffalo Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Fries

For our Sunday recipe, I wanted to incorporate a vegetarian meal. My husband and I have been trying vegetarian for 2 weeks. He and his co-workers made a pact to try it and determine later if it impacted their overall health. I’ve been wanting to hop on board with more meatless meals and nutrient-dense foods.

So far we’ve both noticeably lost weight and feel more alert and energetic. I’ve had such a difficult time staying away from dairy. I had a small amount of cheese on a veggie burger and my stomach did not like it! I miss dairy the most, but I’m on a mission to continue feeling well. Vegetarian can’t be boring if I’m going to be serious about it, though.

For lunch, I wanted to make a yummy plant-based lunch that our boys would actually eat. I’ve been eyeing buffalo cauliflower, but needed a side to go along with it. So I sliced up a few sweet potatoes as fries.

This was a good snack/finger food lunch! These would be perfect for a party of health conscious guests!

Buffalo cauliflower

Sweet potato fries took simple prep, 20 minutes to prep, and we’re very similar to regular fries.

I followed a recipe from tasty.com (link below). One package of cauliflower served our family of 5 for a light lunch. I would consider 1 package of cauliflower per 2-3 adults though.

Basically, you create a breading with spices, bake on 450° for 20 minutes, coat with hot sauce, and bake another 20 minutes. It would be amazing in an air fryer!

We served our with ranch, but Bleu cheese dressing would be delish too!

Sweet potato fries

This is much like the regular fries recipe that is up on Momma Bird Blog. These are nice to make with the buffalo cauliflower because your oven will already be up to temp. All you have to do is pop them in on another baking rack.

Just peel about 3-4 sweet potatoes (I chose longer skinnier ones about the same size for consistency). Then slice in the size you want, keeping the same width for each.

In a big mixing bowl, mix olive oil and garlic salt and toss in sweet potatoes. Make sure they’re covered in the mixture.

Spread sweet potato fries on a baking sheet (with foil or parchment paper). Bake on 450° for 20 minutes.

These were served on a sharing platter with BBQ and we couldn’t stop eating them! The best part was that the boys knew they were sweet potatoes. So, in the future they’ll know that sweet potatoes are something worth trying.

Like I tell my family, you won’t know you don’t like something until you try it prepared different ways. Cauliflower, for instance, seems to be a little less popular. However, you can have it in soups, roasted, steamed, or in broccoli cauliflower salad. Same with sweet potatoes. I’m normally not a fan (sshh don’t tell my kids), but in fry form they were yummy!

What’s your favorite vegetarian meal?Please share a link in the comments below!

Here’s the link to the recipe above.

Changing The Way We Look At Food

Changing The Way We Look At Food

Recently as my husband has been taking classes to become an EMT, he’s thinking more about the human body. He usually feels sluggish and groggy. Like a good wife, I remind him that he can’t be eating highly processed foods/snack and feel energetic.

So after he saw a documentary about animal consumption and health issues, he and his co-workers made a pact. They are choosing a plant-based diet for 2 weeks to see if they feel better. It’s only been a couple days and they’ve all noticed weight loss and more energy.

We’re focusing on whole grains, nuts/seeds, and tons of produce. So far, it’s been nice having him hop on board with me.

The kids love their fresh food especially! We’ve incorporated more fats and proteins in their meals though because they are so little and so active.

After some research, we made a list of foods we would eat. We’ve tried to extend from our comfort zones. We don’t want to just eat salads for 2 weeks either.

In order to stock up well, we’ve applied one of our shopping techniques. We’ve been doing groceries every biweekly pay period. It normally looks like too much food the first day, but we shove next week’s food to the back of the fridge. I mean, what kid would dare venture back there. So safe to say our “rationing” is doable.

2 weeks worth of fresh produce to feed a family of 5. The most we’ve ever bought at once, but now the focus of our meals.

By week 2, I try to make up food before it spoils. So for instance if the lettuce or strawberries are looking sad, I hurry up and use those.

We’re having more whole grains, nuts, and seeds. The whole grains have an amazing flavor!

Ignore the watermelon back there. I was running out of room for all the fresh produce. 😆

With a vegetarian diet I tend to gravitate toward black beans. I love a good Mexican-style rice bowl for a filling meal. I also gravitate towards bananas for a filling smoothie base.

However there’s a little confusion about vegetarians not having cheese or having it. I am choosing to spend the 2 weeks dairy-free because I think it plays a major factor with inflammation. More specifically I cannot digest milk as well as I used to.

A friend from the American Dairy Association noted that if you are lactose intolerant that you may, however, digest cheese fine. Apparently there isn’t much lactose in cheese.

So we’re focusing first on nutrient-dense produce, then adding in nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Things we’re avoiding; added sugars, processed foods, dairy, and alcohol.

I’m learning how not boring it can be.

A few years ago, this term was used and it’s stuck with me since, “fuel-food.” It reminds us that we don’t need to fill our bodies with junk to satisfy hunger. Rather we should be mindful about what we’re putting in our bodies. You’re on the right track if you are nurturing your body.

Like anything else, healthy diet takes time and good support.

Pin this!

See Momma Bird Blog’s first post, 8 Ways To Lose Baby Weight Realistically.

3 Superfood Smoothies

3 Superfood Smoothies

Sunday recipe posts are back on Momma Bird Blog! Although this is not a fitness and weight loss blog, nutrition is such a huge part of feeling good.

I often find myself talking nutrition with my husband, because I value the benefits of eating well. Sometimes when he’s really tired, I remind him to have a handful or almonds or an apple. When my family is all feeling under the weather, we focus more on hydration and electrolytes. And when I’m getting to that time of the month, I’m always craving heart healthy foods.

Today, I thought I’d share 3 superfood smoothies, especially for those of you who maybe have small children and not a lot of time to eat a balanced diet. Because when you skip a meal altogether, the burnout goes from a mental to physical state.

I’ve had my own speculations about superfoods because it seems like everything is considered to be this ultra-powerful food. It seems that social media tends to really hype-up any whole food. According to Healthline, there are only 16 real superfoods.

Keep in mind that smoothies are super flexible. You can always play with taste; adding various natural sweeteners, dairy, vitality essential oils, and more. If you decide to use oils, make sure to use 100% therapeutic grade essential oils that are intended to digest. (You don’t want to digest perfume oils or oils that aren’t intended for internal use.) Lastly, I used an emulsion blender to whip these up and served them in plastic stemless wine glasses. Perfect way to get that boost for the day!

Avocado + Spinach

Add some lemon or lime to this energy boosting goodness.
  • 1/4 cup avocado ripened, and cubed
  • 1/4 cup fresh, washed spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup water to thin
  • 2 drops of lemon or lime vitality essential oil (100% therapeutic grade)

Blend with emulsion blender and taste.

Berry + Watermelon

Add frozen berries for a chilly treat!
  • 1 cup of cubed watermelon (no seeds)
  • 1/4 cup of frozen berries
  • 2 drops of lemon vitality essential oil (100% pure therapeutic oil)

No need to add water, the watermelon thins well on its own! Blend and enjoy!

Tropical Ginger

One sip tastes like island life!
  • 1 whole banana
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 drops lemon vitality essential oil (100% therapeutic grade)
  • fresh grated ginger (a little goes a long way)
  • Dash of dairy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

If you prefer a chilled smoothie, just freeze your chopped banana and pineapple ahead of time.

The Three Amigos

Which one are you most likely to try first?

May Update

Hey friends,

I hope you are doing exceptionally well now that the sun is finally out! Maybe enjoying the Spring weather, which is also super chilly this year!

Anyways, every once in a while I like to give you a quick little update. It’s been longer than I’d like for a new post because of our crazy schedule. Is anyone else a little overwhelmed this May?

Our household

If you have school kids, are you looking forward to them being out or are you counting the days till school starts again?

We also currently have a ton of baseball games to attend this summer (2/3 of our boys are playing). Steven, my husband had a military training and is starting EMT classes soon, while still working a full-time job. My work is picking up and a few other things are speckled in there, too.

(Non-stop rubbing lavender, cedarwood, and peace and calming oil over my entire body. Big breaths.) So needless to say, we are so ready for Summer vacation!

Doesn’t relaxing on the beach with the family sound nice? Maybe a camping trip even. What are you and your family doing this Summer?

Natural Living (cleaning)

A couple new things that I really wanted to share with you are, I’ve recently attended my first Norwex party. My Mother-in-law bought me the basic package and a facial cleansing towelette. I am falling in love with the product! The cleaning cloths and things only take a little bit of water and work with the woven silver to kill over 99% of germs. If you haven’t been on Momma Bird Blog’s Instagram, see the shiny windows!

Oils for stress relief

Also back to the oils I’ve been using this Month- I’ve been focusing on stress relief oils. Who gets tension headaches bad? You may not realize how stressed you are sometimes, until much later. So it’s always good to keep taking deep breaths, using essential oils, take baths, go for walks… Just keep being nice to your body. Here are my favorite stress relief oils:

  • Lavender (this one at night to help me sleep good)
  • Cedarwood (also at night, but my kids really like this)
  • Peace and Calming (a good day time relief)
  • Stress Away (you can use this on your chest, temples, and neck)
  • & My headache blend (lavender, peppermint, and panaway- roll it on your neck and temples)

Help choose!

I don’t always do this, but I love feedback!

Which post are you most excited about and want to see ASAP:

  1. More healthy food
  2. A personal story
  3. Essential Oils for Summer Use
  4. Motivational Quotes
  5. (Anything what do you want to know more about. Comment.)

Vote in the comments below!

Thanks for reading and supporting! Much love, Anna

How Stay-at-Home Parents Can Build a Resume

How Stay-at-Home Parents Can Build a Resume

How can I build my resume while I’m a stay-at-home parent? 

If you’ve decided to be a stay-at-home parent, you may eventually start to panic about returning to work. Many of us have no intention of forever being a “homebody.” After all, it seems a large number of us stay-at-home parents were climbing career ladders before we decided to take that leap. You know, the one where you knew virtually sever your income so in turn you didn’t have to pay childcare costs. 

Some days stay-at-home Mom and Dads really miss their job. For me in particular, prior to motherhood, I had spent a couple years going to school nearly 20 credited hours while working two jobs. I’ve always been a dreamer, ready to take on the world. Then one morning, I woke up with a newborn baby, no place to be for the day, and supporting my husband’s military career. It was such a strange feeling!

As a stay-at-home Mom for 7 years, I feel I’ve lost years of workforce productivity, learning, refining skills, and social skills. I really missed working (even with some of the small jobs I had along the way). So, I picked up a job that I could financially get a little traction, socialize, and feel productive. But that wasn’t all I wanted to do, I wanted to do something a little bigger. 

Four years ago, we were raising two toddlers and a little baby. I was super overwhelmed and all of the stress in my life started to drag me under, along with some hormonal issues. I felt like I had no control of my life and was super weepy. A couple years later, I laid everything out in prayer and felt the urge to start blogging. I hopped on WordPress and became the owner of a website! (Which is kind of big for a Mom who focuses all day on her little ones.)

I turned off the TV, stopped scrolling social media and began to learn and set goals. Time was spent wisely learning how to set up a WordPress site, watching Susie Moore’s YouTube channel, taking notes, jotting an entire notebook full of ideas, listening to webinars, reading about blogging and SEO tips, investing in time on social media strategy, creating graphics, taking pictures, creating content, analyzing website statistics, talking to people about motherhood and blogging, etc.

Add all of those things together and you have a whole new set of skills which can be utilized at a future job. 

Depending on the areas of focus, bloggers might be able to add these to a resume. (See further below for non-blogging resume building.)

Skills you can add to a resume if you blog:

  1. Branding
  2. Writing
  3. Editing
  4. Networking
  5. Marketing
  6. Social Media Strategy
  7. Social Media Marketing
  8. Social Media Influencing
  9. Digital Photography
  10. Graphic Design
  11. Website Management
  12. Research
  13. Statistic Analysis
  14. Time management
  15. SEO

Tools & Technologies

  1. WordPress
  2. JetPack
  3. Canva
  4. Adobe Photoshop
  5. Mail Chimp

More ways to dive back in to your career

  1. Find free podcasts and webinars to learn from
  2. Be well read and up-to-date on your career field
  3. Continue network growth
  4. Learn about what your clients need
  5. Brainstorm solutions for client needs

Questions I’ve been asked about blogging:

  1. Oh wow! You blog, so you’re famous right? 
  2. How do you even make money?
  3. Are you successful?
  4. What do you write about?
  5. What are your favorite blogs?

My answers:

  1. Not yet, but if I became famous, I would be known for helping other Moms through their struggles and that would be more rewarding.
  2. I don’t pay myself./ I can easily do affiliate marketing, which is selling other companies’ products, but I don’t want to dilute my blog. If I would monetize my blog, I would create my own product which would be a useful tool for Moms.
  3. If you count success in the perspective of numbers, I don’t have 10,000 readers yet, but I’ve had over 2,000 people read my blog in one day. I’ve also reached over half a million people on Pinterest in one month with organic reach (using advice from Susie Moore). But, in terms of reaching my own success goals, maybe I am successful. I’ve positively impacted so many people around me and I’ve seen them fired up about life! I just want to continue impacting other people!
  4. Before Momma Bird Blog’s re-brand, I wrote about all parenting lifestyle. At the beginning of 2019, I tweaked my niche to motivating Moms and health/wellness. The most popular articles on MBB are about Mom guilt, Motherhood quotes, and Essential oils.
  5. I have a growing list of favorite blogs/vlogs, but here are my top 10- Military Moms Blog, Scary Mommy, Wellness Mama, Motherly, HuffPost, Her View From Home, That’s Inappropriate, Start a Mom Blog, Kristina Kuzmic, Juggling the Jenkins, and so many more!

Other ideas to earn an income:

Blogging may not be key for you, but there are plenty other options! I’ve researched so many work-at-home jobs over the years that it’s not even funny. So many of the jobs are in analysis, medical coding, and customer service calling. If those don’t work, you could open your home for childcare, take senior pictures, open an Etsy shop, or do various freelance work.

Maybe you just need a part-time job that you can be available for when your spouse is off from work. Open a LinkedIn account and start building your resume. Soon, you’ll start seeing open job opportunities that suite you. Maybe you have something close to home that would interest you.

Over all, one of the best things I did for myself as a stay-at home Mom was to start learning and setting career-type goals. At the time, it didn’t seem like a Mom who was overwhelmed to tears should start a blog. I’m proud of what I’ve worked so hard to learn! Now I feel more prepared to enter back into a career field of my choosing!

What skills do you personally need to have for the career you want?

Comment below with your blog website and goals or various ways that you’ve been able to add to your resume while staying home!