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?

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?

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!

Mouth-watering Mac and Cheese (with hidden veggies)

Mouth-watering Mac and Cheese (with hidden veggies)

I’m so excited about this recipe! You may remember a recipe I shared with you all a couple years back. It contained remnants of the “yucky” dinner that my kids couldn’t even stomach. Sneakily, I added the baked butternut squash and a few other ingredients, resulting in some “magic chocolate muffins.” They had no clue they were eating butternut squash.

Magic chocolate muffin recipe here!

I still may tweak the above recipe, since I’m not a professional chef, and rather a lover of baking and making food.

For this recipe, I combined leftover mac and cheese and a few other ingredients to make a mouth-watering combo! In a saucepan I made a homemade Alfredo sauce, using real Parmesan cheese, then I pureed the baked butternut squash. Lastly, I drizzled the new sauce over the leftover mac and cheese.

Do you see any bits of butternut squash in the mac and cheese? I don’t. And my kids clearly didn’t! #momwin

Ingredients:

  • boxed mac and cheese, pre-made/8 oz. elbow mac, cooked
  • 1 cup baked butternut squash (baked only with oil and salt)
  • about 2 oz. grated from wedge of Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS. butter
  • 4 TBS. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Recipe:

  1. Prepare your mac and cheese or butternut squash.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk cheese and flour until it becomes pasty. Next, whisk the milk in. Season to taste.
  3. Once sauce thickens, add the baked butternut squash right to the saucepan. Puree using an immersion blender.
  4. Pour over (warmed) elbow mac or mac and cheese. Stir in well.
  5. Depending on your crowd, you may want to pop this into a casserole dish and warm on 300 degree for about 10 minutes (covered). Or for a quick heat, pop in the microwave for 3-4 minutes on high.

I’m almost certain that the Parmesan cheese played a big role! Up until now I hadn’t played much with it because of cost, but now I see how often I’ve been able to use it in other dishes. Goodbye to cans of Parmesan (for now)!

When I took my first bite of this magical creation, I’m pretty sure I fell in love. It has such a creamy, rich taste, none of which tastes like hidden vegetables. It will literally make your mouth water!

Feel free to add other various cheeses to your cheese sauce! And Enjoy!

PIN ME!

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.

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.