The Liebster Award 2018

The Liebster Award 2018

LiebsterAward

You know that feeling when you watch something grow over time? Like planting a garden. You prepare your soil, sew your seeds, and nourish over time. You wait patiently as nothing appears to be happening. Then suddenly, little sprouts shoot up out of the soil. You hope those little sprouts of green turn to produce-bearing plants. And you wait some more.

This is much like the journey I’ve been on.

Last summer, I was just a tired mom. That tired feeling when you know something just needs to change in your life. I didn’t know offhand what needed the most work. So, being Christian, I started to pray “harder”. And suddenly, this little seed of an idea came to me.

I wanted to create a website for other tired moms, who need a little inspiration and motivation. I wanted that mom-to-mom connection. So, Momma Bird Blog was born!

 

I would love to impact other parents! Other moms, especially! So, I was really touched when I was recognized! Thank you, Tomashia, for nominating Momma Bird Blog for The Liebster Award! 

The Liebster Award exists only online and is given to bloggers from other bloggers. Awards have been given since 2001.

“Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

Tomashia is a wife and mother who blogs on Unperfecting Motherhood. The purpose for the website; “Breaking the perfectionist image of motherhood while offering a godly perspective.” One of my favorite posts from Tomashia is “Encouragement for Mom.”

10 Facts about myself:

  1. I live in a testosterone-filled home. Although I’m outnumbered, I enjoy my boys!
  2. As you can probably tell by the gardening metaphor in the beginning, I do, in fact, love to garden. That once started as a way to deal with my husband’s deployment, and now we do it together as a family every year.
  3. Through the generations, I am the 7th Anna on my dad’s side.
  4. I knew something was different about my husband when I met him.
  5. Nature is my happy place (whether in a woods, at the lake, or in my backyard).
  6. Lemons are my favorite fruit. I know- that’s weird.
  7. I love photography. My lens perspective mixes with my perspectives on life.
  8. I’m frugal because I am a Stay-at-Home Mom.
  9. Two of my favorite pasttimes with my boys are reading to them and dancing with them.
  10. I still hold true to my teenage dreams. I will travel around the world someday. Although the destinations have changed from big cities to small countrysides.

 

The 10 Questions/Answers:

What is a piece of advice you’ve received that you want to share with others?

“Just be you.” Growing up that was hard. I felt like I had to impress people for the longest time. Then, once I started being more true to myself, I started attracting the right people.

Who is the most inspiring person in your life and why?

My Mom inspires me despite her memory of raising me and my siblings. She’s always been loyal, caring, and patient. But more so; she’s a great listener, loves to have fun, loves to treat us and the grandkids, is willing to help us with anything, and doesn’t expect anything in return. She’s shown me a great example of how to be a Mom and a caring person in general.

How do you de-stress?

I de-stress by talking with my husband or someone I care about. Sometimes relaxing music or a hot shower help too.

How would you describe your personal clothing style?

Target Mom.

What is on your bedside table right now?

I try to keep the clutter out of our bedroom so I sleep next to a framed picture of our boys, an alarm clock, and my cell phone.

What is your favorite on the go snack?

An apple. They’re healthy and aren’t messy in the car.

Do you consider yourself more of an introvert or an extrovert? Explain

I’m more of an introvert. I’m not shy. I actually enjoy chatting with people and don’t mind giving speeches. I just like 1-on-1 time over a crowd. At the end of the day I like to unwind by being alone with my thoughts for a bit.

Describe a fun date you’ve been on!

Beer tasting followed by the evening beach scene; walking the shore and watching the sun go down.

If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead who would you dine with and why?

I would love to have dinner with Joanna Gaines sometime! We would connect well since we are both Christian wives and mommas. She seems like such a thoughtful, down-to-Earth person. And I’m also sure I’d learn a lot from her as well!

Tell us about an item on your bucket list!

Although traveling has been one of my longest-lasting bucket list items, I just want to pay-it-forward. So many people have been good to me and my family! From doctors, nurses, friends, family, and even our church community. I just want to impact other people’s lives in return for our blessings.

What do you like most about blogging?

I love connecting with and impacting other Moms. This has got me out of some mom-funk because I can see my challenges as a positive turn-around for someone else.

 

 

I would like to nominate:

  • Savannah Espositio (and team) from Millennial Mrs. and Mom, “Psychology, the secret weapon to living life.” Millennial Mrs. and Mom cares deeply about relationships and the way they work. The blog explores topics like marriage, parenting, and families. One of my favorite posts is “The Small Moments that Make or Break Connection.” Check out the blog for tons of other useful relationship advice!
  • Jamie, Tuston from Perk Pack, an online resource and community made strictly to uplift moms. I love Jamie’s ability to be candid and share her tough moments as a mom! She also offers an online community to help moms support other moms! A great read the blog is “The Unspoken Struggle of Postpartum Anxiety.”
  • Nicole from Coffee and Carpool, “Mom Hacks, School Success Tips, & Support for Parents On the Go.” She is a “recovering elementary school teacher” and is also a Special Needs Mom and a Food Allergy Mom. I absolutely loved Nicole’s recent post, “How to Raise a Kind Boy Amidst the Tough Guy Boy Culture.” <<Check it out!
  • Natalie from Moms and Kids Creating Memories, “Making the most of the time we have with our kids.” Natalie writes about kids crafts, and motherhood. One of my favorites posts from Moms and Kids Creating Memories is, “3 Mom Fails and Fixes.” Natalie talks about ways to simplify motherhood and I love that she talks about wanting her children to grow up loving God and serving/loving others.
  • Amy from The Thoughtful Parent, “Research Based Child Development.” Something that drew me into The Thoughtful Parent blog was “Gift Guide for Raising Kind Kids.” I just love the idea raising our families in a more mindful process and caring for each other.

 

If you decide to accept this award….

Questions to answer…

  1. What is a piece of advice you’ve received that you want to share with others?
  2. Who is the most inspiring person in your life and why?
  3. How do you de-stress?
  4. How would you describe your personal clothing style?
  5. What is on your bedside table right now?
  6. What is your favorite on the go snack?
  7. Do you consider yourself more of an introvert or an extrovert? Explain
  8. Describe a fun date you’ve been on!
  9. If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead who would you dine with and why?
  10. Tell us about an item on your bucket list!
  11. What do you like most about blogging?

Rules of the Liebster Award 2018~

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.
  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blog posting.
  • Provide 10 random facts about yourself (optional in 2018)
  • Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award.
  • List these rules in your post.
  • Inform the people/blogs that you nominated.

For more detailed information on the Liebster Award 2018 visit here.

To accept the nomination answer my questions, tag me and notify me of your post by commenting below! I can’t wait to read your answers! Remember to nominate other bloggers so we can all continue discovering new blogs, building relationships, and supporting one another!

To the Mom Who Needs Strength Now

To the Mom Who Needs Strength Now

The job of a parent (especially a mom) is a hard one and has been for all of time.

Our shift starts when the kids wake up to the time they are (actually) asleep. And then we’re on call in the middle of the night and early mornings. Our brains run at super speeds all day. Then in order to rest for the night, we have to actively stop thinking and worrying.

We face challenges that leave us feeling helpless and out of control. And then we continue to blame ourselves for still not doing a good enough job.

Do you feel this way?

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Actual photo from my house….

To the Mom who needs strength to get through the week,

Your family is your entire world. It began very intimately in a way that made your heart whole. It was love at first sight. Soon these tiny people you love grew. They became independent from you and that was frustrating. Life started becoming chaotic. You could never just sit down and relax.

And you struggled a bit.

You struggled to be able to complete your to-do list; because you’re only one person and the to-do list is endless. You struggled in the ways of disciplining your children; because after all, comforting our kids comes more natural to us. You struggled to be heard; because your kids would rather play and have fun instead of listen to their parents. And you struggled to remember who you were before this beautiful family; because now this family is all of you.

I know you feel weak because you think that compared to other moms you aren’t doing as good of a job. You feel like you don’t live up to what your family needs. You continue pouring yourself into your family’s cup.

Have you ever stopped to think about just how much you do? It’s no wonder you’re stressed out, anxious, and tired! You give all of yourself, even when your cup appears to be completely dried out.

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Photo by Felix Russell-Saw on Unsplash

There is only one ‘you.’ No one can do your job like you. You were selected by our creator to be a mom for many special purposes. How amazingly awesome is that? That the same creator who created something as beautiful as a coral blazing sunset and microscopic fingerprints on the hands of your unborn baby, has also created you!

Your time on Earth is temporary. And even more so temporarily, is your time raising your children. I know, I know… every time I hear this, I cringe too. It feels like forever! We’re not that perfect, always-smiling, always together family, like you see on Instagram!

We have our moments! Parenting is hard for both moms and dads!

That is why we need to be strong! Life is threaded together. 

Your whole life, your whole marriage, your whole family, and everything that makes you who you are, are woven together in this thread of life. And if life begins to put too much pressure on us, the threads begin to fray, and finally snap.

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Photo by Terri Bleeker on Unsplash

And it’s natural for some parts of our life to fray. And pressure is natural. But the whole thread can withhold any pressure, with one key thread. This thread is in the center of all of the other threads. It is core. That one, is faith in God.

And if you really want to be a strong parent. A strong mom. Because I have seen a lot of strong women in my life- I can tell you, it’s because they have faith.

These amazingly strong and influential women have shed sweat, blood, and tears over their families. They are often times the people who have lost a lot, but continue to feel blessed.

These women pray over their families and friends like it’s their job. And you know when one of these women have prayed for you, because something in your life just changes. That’s because a mother’s prayer is (what I feel) probably the strongest, most emotionally involved prayers.

So, friend, if you need strength to get you through the week (or even just till the end of the day), your mother’s prayer will be heard. God will help you get through the week, whether you pray for 5 seconds, or hours through the night.

If you need extra energy, pray for that too. It’s worked for me in some of my most sluggish days. If you feel you have no control, seriously, hand it over to God.

Strengthen the core of your life.

You can do it, Momma!

Best Wishes!

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Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash

 

I will say a prayer for all of you who read this. If you’d like a special prayer, “like” or comment below.

Please share with your Mom friends (who especially need strength)!

Frugal Living

Frugal Living

“Frugal” can be explained as stingy, penny-pinching, and tight. But for those with the conservative lifestyle, the word has an entirely different ring to it; thrifty, economical, and resourceful.

It could explain the type of person who likes freebies, when in fact nothing is actually free. Everything costs someone; labor, shipping, ideas, and just solid goods in general.

But for most, “frugal” is a mentality of prioritizing, saving, and getting extra creative when you can’t have everything.

My family has learned the art of being frugal over a span of 6 years. In 2012 my husband and I were expecting our first baby, near the time of his second deployment. So I made the easy decision then, to quit work. As our family expanded, I continued to stay home. We always made it work, despite the occasional challenges. I feel strongly in being a part of our kids’ early childhood development and learning. And my husband’s been even more on-board after finding out what child care costs!

As a stay-at-home mom, I always felt like I wanted to contribute more. Finally 3 kids later, I’ve been able to take a couple of gigs that still allow me to be home 6-7 days a week. However, one of the best ways to contribute as a stay-at-home mom is to save a little cash. I wish I had stumbled upon an informative blog post then about frugal living.

I’m not a financial adviser, but here are some creative ways to help you save:

Tips for saving:

Monthly bills: Understand needs from wants

Needs: housing, electricity, propane, water, car(s), insurance, gas, phone(s), nutritional food, and medical services…

Don’t need: phone upgrades, apps, music, cable, fast food, alcohol, brand clothes…

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) Nikolay Frolochkin

 

  • Think about switching your phone service to something month-to-month
  • If you owe a medical bill, ask if you can combine or make lower payments
  • If you feel you can’t go without cable or internet, try the lowest packages
  • Hold off on stores that you get lost in (Wal-mart or Target, which pains me to say)
  • Save going out to eat for special occasions or only a few times a year
  • Don’t make any quick financial decisions; always take the time to research alternatives, think on it, & save
  • Always ask for deals! (My marketing professor taught this and it’s worked)
  • You can even get managers to mark down prices by offering cash today (This is one of Dave Ramsey’s fun little hacks which saved us $100 on our couch doing this)

 

At the grocery store: Understand marketing and don’t give in

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) Davies_Designs
  • Meal plan, and stick to your list when grocery shopping. Stores are designed to get you to buy more (like candy being kept low at checkout aisles for kids to see)
  • Look for simple recipes– extra seasonings/condiments can rack up the grocery bill
  • Go to the store once a week to avoid temptations during extra stops
  • Shop the same store every time so you don’t get lost and buy more
  • Aldi isn’t just for poor people and elders, you get the best price without coupons
  • Bring a calculator and cash only to help you stick to your budget
  • Avoid buying junk food and freezer meals, which tend to cost more
  • Bread, rice, noodles, and potatoes are affordable fillers for meals
  • Eggs and peanut butter are affordable protein alternatives
  • Buy healthy snacks apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, and other veggies. What would be more filling a $3-5 bag of chips or a $3-5 bag of apples?
  • When meat at the grocery store goes on sale (and is worth the cost) stock up or buy meat in bulk from your local meat market

In the kitchen: Know how to make recipes from scratch

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) fancycrave1
  • Know how to make bread from scratch- Always have yeast and flour on hand
  • Also, know how to make pizza dough, pancakes, and other similar recipes
  • Keep tomato paste on hand for pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, and tomato-based sauces/dips, sloppy joes…
  • Know how to make other sauces- Alfredo sauce is so easy!
  • Freeze juices of beef/pork roast, slow cooker chicken, or ham… (use in soup later)
  • Boil the bones from your chicken, turkey, ham, etc. with water to make stock
  • Refrigerate bacon grease drippings to substitute butter in savory dishes
  • Divide those packs of chicken and freeze individually (use 1 breast per meal)
  • Same for hamburger (I divide this into 1/2 lbs for when it’s just me and the kids)
  • Meat is expensive, divide other roasts as well
  • Grind up crusty bread to substitute panko or add to meatballs
  • Freshen up leftovers by combining them to make a new dish
  • Use browned fruits in smoothies, cooked oatmeal, or make a bread from it

 

Other areas to be frugal: How to get some help/support

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) PublicDomainPictures
  • Gladly take hand-me down clothes, furniture, or appliances from a close friend or family member who doesn’t need them any more! My sister gives us all of the clothes my nephew’s grown out of. Thanks Sis! 😉
  • Give your items that aren’t being used a new home. Or make some cash selling them for a low price online, or selling them at a second-hand shop.
  • Instead of buying new books or movies, borrow from your local library
  • Grow a garden in Spring (& share abundance with friends and family)
  • Know about the free/low cost events/attractions near you including neat parks
  • Know what other resources/benefits are available to you

 

That’s all for now!

There’s no shame in being resourceful or even asking for help from the right people. Just remember, that is their sacrifice to you. It’s a wonderful ability to reach out among humankind. I believe we were all made to lean on each other sooner or later.

Part of raising a family is sometimes needing to sacrifice. It’s hard because we can’t do it all. And even if we can afford it, we don’t have time for all of it.

Frugal living is just sacrificing for now. You’re just investing in yourself and your family.

 

 

 

For ideas of free summer activities see the bottom portion of 80+ Fun Summer Activities for the Family.

(Featured image from Pixabay user: Tumisu)

 

 

Dear Mommas

Dear Mommas

Dear Momma,

You love your family so dearly. No one else could ever love them like you. From the moment you knew you were expecting your entire life changed. You were cautious, you were always at the doctor, you had to eat a certain way, you swapped out your favorite wardrobe, and you could feel everything emotionally and physically that bonded you to your baby.

Now your baby is a full of curiosity, abilities, and a big personality. You look forward to seeing their bright little smiles first thing in the morning. You love having a chat that the both of you can understand. You love when they bring something to show you. Or the times when they climb into your lap and snuggle, even for a minute.

But lets face it, as your kiddo(s) gets older, and gain independence, things start to get tricky. They try to rewrite the rules. They think your standards are up for negotiation. They forget their manners. And when they get hungry or tired, their emotion comes out like hot lava.

So for the less memorable parts of your every day, when you feel that you are coming unglued, know that you are doing just fine.

The days when you literally slept 5 hours overnight and you cried like your 2-year-old. The days when you had to yell to get your kid’s attention because you needed to be heard. The days when you are so tired of feeling like you are putting in your all and watching it get shredded apart. The days when you feel lost as a person because you gave everything up for your family. You gave so much, you feel mentally worn out.

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You ask yourself what you did wrong. What happened?

The answer? Nothing. You changed. You grew as a parent. And you still wildly love your kiddos. Just because you have needs, doesn’t make you any less of a parent.

Get more sleep. (You need 7-9 hours of sleep according to helpguide.com). Don’t forget to eat. Healthy food. Often. You need your family to respect you. To hear you. You need them to chip in around the house. And you need to do things for yourself.

Do something for yourself, even if it seems silly. You deserve it!

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Crank up your favorite Pandora station, pick up an old hobby, go see your best girl friend, go shopping with your mom and sister, have that glass of wine at the end of the night. And do not feel guilty about doing those, even if the house is the same disaster that it’s been all day.

Raising kids is hard. And not hard in the fact that we don’t think we can’t do it. Hard, in the fact that we feel that we can’t be the parent we want to be.

Stop comparing yourself to who you want to be. Look at what you have overcome. Look at your special relationship with your family. And just know that you are doing just fine. Really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-needs-get-the-sleep-you-need.htm

Picture by:

https://pixabay.com/en/users/vborodinova-6314823/

https://pixabay.com/en/users/Counselling-440107/

https://pixabay.com/en/users/StockSnap-894430/

What I learned on my mother/son date

What I learned on my mother/son date

Hey everyone! Today my 3-year-old son took me on a date!

Here’s why:

The last time my husband and I left on a date, we were so excited to go out. We slowly pulled the door shut with 3 little sets of eyes looking sadly back at us like we abandoned them. Mom guilt for sure!

Then I had a light bulb moment, “I’ll take you each on a date another day, but now is daddy’s turn!” I wanted our kids to respect that moms and dads need alone time. But I also knew that they felt left out.

In order to make them feel special, I kept my promise and found time for our middle son today. Even though he knew we were leaving soon, he kept asking “Mom, when are we going on our date?” He was excited!

I thought I was going to teach him to hold doors today or something.

But instead, here’s what I learned on our mother/son date:

  1. He was excited to have my full attention and no one else, despite the fact that he plays so well on his own.
  2. He really has so much to learn still. He’s so innocent and easy to mold.
  3. I learned to keep my cool when Plan A didn’t work, because with a real date, you always have a couple backups. It’s good to show kids how to stay calm when things don’t go according to plan.
  4. He just wanted a sucker, but I suggested breakfast. It could’ve been simple, but we adults have a way of complicating things to make them perfect.
  5. Kids are so happy as long as they feel loved. Most of the time he just looked up at me with this little smile and giggled in delight.
  6. I learned that he aced the eye-roll but he still doesn’t know when to properly use it, which is actually really funny.
  7. I need to have more conversations with him because he’s a good story-teller.
  8. He really picks a lot up from his big brother! His brothers are his best friends.
  9. I realized that this is something I need to continue to implement in our family (as he was begging me on the way home to go again).
  10. When we got home, I realized that a little time away from Dad and little brother seemed to help everyone get along better all day!

 

As parents, we often feel like we have to be providing the teaching lessons, but being with your kids offers life lessons for us adults. And more times than not, being in the moment is most important. We just need to enjoy this stage of life.