Expectation vs. Reality: Aria’s First Day of School

My youngest, Aria, who just turned 3 in June had her first day of school this past week. She’s never been to any type of daycare or structured environment before so naturally I expected a few bumps in the road. She’s stubborn (I wonder where she gets that from, oops) and likes to test boundaries. She watched her brother get dropped off over last year at the school she’s attending so she seemed eager to go and play. She didn’t understand the concept that it wasn’t going to be a free for all. She’s learning. 

I picked her up from her first day and her darling teacher told me she had a rough time with a few tantrums. I expected it as she’s adjusting. Then later in the day the “first day of school” pictures were posted for the parents to see.

I about died. I laughed way too hard, then felt bad for a few seconds, and went back to laughing. This is going to be one of those gems that I can’t wait to show her when she’s older.

photo proof :

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The morning of with her nicely brushed hair and dress that she picked out. The afternoon at school with her hot mess hair and the most painful smile I’ve ever seen.

Now I’m writing this as she’s at her third day of school. Day two didn’t go much better but we’re working with her at home in hopes that she gets the hang of it sooner than later. I know how much she is going to benefit from going to this early preschool but I’m ready to not push it if she’s truly not ready. It’s a huge adjustment for her but I really think she’ll be able to figure it out. 

One Kids Back in School …

My oldest son, who is 4 and a half, went to a 3 day a week part time preschool last year. It was only for a few hours each time he went so I didn’t get the full experience of having a child in school. This year is different and I’m learning a few things.

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Everett started public preschool this year which is 5 days a week and it runs from 8:30 in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s only the first week but he’s over the moon excited about this new adventure.

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Aria, who just turned 3, is going to be going to the same 3 day a week program that Everett went to last year. Hers doesn’t start for a few more weeks. She’s excited about it when we talk about school but she’s even more excited to not have her brother home during the day. They get along most of the time but there is always some kind of argument over toys, food, electronics, etc. She’s quickly learning that Everett in school means it’s a free for all when it comes to the kids things.

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So now, what am I learning? 

  • It’s amazing how quiet it is in the house with only one kid. It’s overly apparent to me now how much they feed off each other. No fighting and minimal crying.
  • I’m almost less productive when I seem to have more free time. It’s funny how this works but with less distraction around and more time to do things I need to do, I just want to do nothing.
  • Everett is overly independent when he wants to be. I think I was more nervous than him for his first day then he even was. He even used the phrase “Mom, you’ve gotta let me grow up.”
  • The house stays SO much cleaner when my son is in school. This leads me to believe all the times over the summer that he said “Aria made that mess” he was completely full of it.
  • There is an unreal amount of time spent in the car when they don’t offer busses and it’s only going to get worse when she starts school.
  • I’m way less of a morning person than I even thought I was. I’m used to getting up with them and taking my time to wake up and get moving. Now, with places to be at certain times, I actually have to move my ass and I’m not liking it. I work evening shifts so mornings are quite disgusting.

Big changes around here with schedules means major adjustment time for me. I’m one of those people that takes a while to build up a new routine. I’m sure come summer vacation, I’ll have it down.

 

Why I Cancelled My “Cheap” Subscription Boxes

I’m not writing this post to knock anyone or put down any specific subscription boxes or services.  I’m only going off my personal experience. As a subscription box fanatic, over the years, I’ve learned what I like and what does / does not work for me. So I’m purely coming from a place of personal experience.

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The number one box I just decided to cancel is one that super popular. You know, without naming any names, the one that comes with five items in a different bag each month? I enjoyed it for almost 2  years but then went though my makeup drawer a few weeks ago and noticed that 99% of the stuff piling up was from that bag! I wasn’t using even 25% of it so I was basically paying to stockpile my drawer with samples and my closet with little bags. Not worth it in the least for me. I hate clutter and every month I was just gaining more.

The next box I cancelled was from a very well known makeup store. It was the exact same situation. I was finding maybe one item every 3 months that I was enjoying and the rest was just being buried in the makeup graveyard.

Sample sized subscription boxes just don’t work for me. The problem is that I am on a budget but I also love what I call “happy mail.”

Since I cancelled those two boxes and saved myself $20 a month I decided to look around and see if there was anything else that would bring me the surprise mail joy but be more useful to me.

I found the Pop Sugar Must Have Box. It’s a little pricier than the sample sized boxes but 100% worth it.

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This was the box that I got from Pop Sugar in June. I’m loving instead of makeup that sits in my drawer, I’m getting an assortment of full sized products that are beyond just beauty. I’m a huge reader so seeing a box was exciting on it’s own.

All the boxes are themed. This June was geared for summer so you have the mermaid hair (amazing) the beach bag to keep your wet stuff separate, the hat for sun protection, and the book for relaxation.

The next box I decided to finally splurge on is Fab Fit Fun.

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Fab Fit Fun is by far my favorite seasonal subscription box. It comes 4 times a year but realistically I’d probably pay the $49.99 monthly if it were an option. This was the last box and I’m obsessed. It had about 10 products in it and I loved each and everyone of them. It had a combination of jewelry, accessories, and even a water bottle. I always see Fab Fit Fun being endorsed by celebrities and thought it was just a huge gimmick. That was until I gave it a try myself. 10/10 would recommend.

So while the “cheaper” options were fun for a while I’m happy I decided to splurge. I’m actually using and loving the products I’m getting and not just letting them collecting dust.

*note: this post DOES contain referral links.

With Pop Sugar Must Have box has a $10 off promo if you use my link.
Fab Fit Fun currently has a $20 off your first box if you use my link.

I get the same deals off my next box that you do!

What are some of your favorite subscription services? 

 

Crunchy [no bake] Protein Balls

I haven’t blogged too much nor posted often on social media about the recent changes in our families health. We’ve made some positive steps to get us on the right track to a healthier lifestyle. One of the biggest changes I knew I needed to make was nutritional. I’d happily survive off tacos, chicken nuggets, and candy if I had the choice but that kind of diet is really just doing me a disservice. I had to stop eating like a seven year old child all the time and needed to make better snacking choices.

Thus this protein ball was born. 

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I know there are a million different protein ball recipes out there. I’ve tried a few in the past but wanted something that was simple to make, packed full of protein to fight off cravings, was a little crunchy, and of course delicious.

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Crunchy [no bake] Protein Balls

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 24 balls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop of your choice in flavor of protein powder
  • 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Add oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, honey, nut butter, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, and protein powder to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine all ingredients until they are evenly coated in honey and nut butter. The mixture will start to clump.
  3. With semi-wet hands, start to roll the mixture into evenly sized balls.
  4. Place on wax paper and chill for a few hours before serving.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.momtails.co/2017/07/crunchy-no-bake-protein-balls/

Besides for having a quick snack to grab on the go, the best part of these is that my toddlers are eating them! I love seeing my picky children getting extra protein and reaching for these instead of fruit snacks. Mom win.

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Second Child Potty Training Woes

We’re driving the struggle bus hard with potty training my second child. Aria just turned 3 in June and wants nothing to do with her potty. She doesn’t care if she’s wet, dirty, or have any interest in not wearing diapers. Whoever coined the phrase “boys are much harder to potty train”  didn’t meet my children.  I wrote a post back right before Everett turned three about how he basically potty trained himself. Maybe my expectations were that I would be able to follow her cue like I was with him but that isn’t happening, yet.

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Now, I understand the entire “wait till they’re ready thing.” I really do. It’s just we’re running out of time for her to be ready. I have her enrolled in a 3 day a week preschool program starting in August that they have to be potty trained for. I have been in contact with her teacher and they’re okay with sending her in a pull up but will call me if she has a “messy” accident. Knowing she always poops in the late morning, I don’t want to have to drive up there daily to go change her. My son went to this program last year and benefited so much from it. I don’t want to deny her the chance to do the same just because she doesn’t want to use the potty. So, we’re trying to encourage her the best we can.

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She’s doing her fake smile for the camera but in reality she’s really mad she has to sit there.

So what have we tried?

  • We told her about the “diaper fairy” who will come take all the diapers to babies who need them. We explained to her that she is a big girl now and can use the big girl potty. To make the diaper fairy sound more exciting we explained that she will leave her new big girl undies and a present. She could care less.
  • We let her use the iPad only while sitting on the potty. She loves messing around with the electronics and while she will sit there with it, she doesn’t want to actually go.
  • Tried motivating her with stickers. This girl loves her some stickers but when it comes to being rewarded with them, she doesn’t want tons to do with them.
  • I let her pick out her own big girl undies and told her if she goes in them we’re going to have to get rid of them. She seemed really upset when she “made hello kitty cry” but it hasn’t stopped her from doing it.
  • Currently going sans pants around the house. We’ll see if that helps. This might just be to help my sanity because I am getting extra sick of more laundry.
  • We’ve tried some of her favorite snack rewards. She just gets emotional and wants them wether she has gone or not.

So I know that time is really the only thing that is going to truly help her get ready. If she’s not there in 4 weeks then looks like I’ll be driving up to the school to change her. That sounds awful but I bet seeing other kids in her class using the bathroom could be beneficial to the process. The program has so many benefits academically and socially that I really don’t want her to miss out on.

Stay tuned and if you have any other tips on motivation, please share! 

Get a Productivity Boost

If you’re anything like me, you always have a running list of things that need to get done. I’m not talking about big projects either. I’m talking about the day to day stuff that you want to accomplish on a regular basis. I’m one of those people who gets overwhelmed and then just throws in the towel and get basically nothing done. That was until I started using the “Productive” app.

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I need to state that this not sponsored by them in anyway, shape, or form. I just really dig this app. I use it all the time and figure if it’s helping me so much, it’s bound to help others as well. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with things like this.

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I have the Productive app in a folder labeled “health” because lets be honest, being productive is totally part of my mental health. The more things on my to do list that I have weighing on me, the worse I’m bound to feel. The app is exactly what the icon looks like, list making.

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You’re able to go into the app and schedule yourself basically anything you want to be completed anytime you want. I’ll show you a few examples of how I set it up but it’s 100% customizable to your lifestyle. I have a few things set to be completed weekly, a couples of things that are done 3 times a week, and multiple things to be completed daily. I even have things that are to be done 3 times a day. The app lets you separate things to morning, afternoon, and evening.

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This is what it looks like from the inside. Basically a checklist that keeps track of how productive you’re being [if you remember to use the app]

It might look stupid to put things like brush and floss your teeth on there but I’m one of those people who really functions best when I get the gratification of checking things off. I have “drink some water” on my list several times a day just as that extra reminder. The app does send you notifications throughout the day to help keep you on track.

I really just love this app and wanted to share with all of you 🙂 Do you have any tips to staying on track with your day when your schedule is already full? Share in the comments or on Facebook! I’m always open to new ideas.

Aria turns THREE [featuring Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake]

This past week my youngest little love, Aria, turned three. It’s incredible how fast the passed few years have flown by. I blogged my entire pregnancy so I know I have a lot of readers that are with me thinking, “how is she three?!” I know guys, I know.

Her actual birthday was Friday June 9th. My parents flew into town from Detroit to come and celebrate with her. We decided to have a smaller more intimate party on her actual birthday before the big party the following day. Just a few of her favorite things; pizza, gifts, and of course ice cream cake.

Aria Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake

Nothing beats the smile on her face when she saw the cake and we were singing too her.

So for the cake we went with a Blue Bunny vanilla bean blondie cake that I was able to just pick up while grocery shopping at Walmart. I already had so much to do with getting my house ready for a big party, I didn’t need yet another stop to grab a cake from a speciality store. It was absolutely delicious and perfect for this smaller occasion.

Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake

After we chowed down on some pizza and ice cream cake, it was time for a couple of presents. We let her open the gifts from my parents, my husbands parents, and us. You could tell how special she felt having the evening be just about her. I really don’t think that birthdays need to be extravagant for the child to have an amazing time. This simple evening was perfect. She was beyond excited and it was minimal stress on everyone else!

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I have included a $3.00 off coupon that is redeemable at Walmart only for a Blue Bunny ice cream cake of your own! Along with the coupon below, be sure to check the Valpak envelope that comes in the mail for an additional $3.00 off!

She had such a great birthday, was beyond spoiled, and I feel very lucky to have such great family and friends that are apart of our lives. Her big party on Saturday was amazing but Friday was fantastic as well. Of course, in typical me fashion, I completely was engrossed in the party on Saturday and didn’t take one single picture. Luckily for me, a few friends took pictures. Hey, at least I got these few!

People Love Free, Even When It’s Junk

I love using the Facebook “Marketplace” to sell things that I no longer need around the house. I like to think of myself as one of those minimalist type people. I can’t stand clutter.  If it doesn’t get used, it gets sold, donated, or tossed. Simple as that.

We’re prepping the house for a birthday party this weekend. The garage is one of those places in the house that doesn’t often get a lot of attention when it comes to cleaning and organizing. It’s been driving me nuts for a while now so I finally convinced the husband to help me go though it. There was so much crap. Seriously, unbelievable amount of garbage. We’ve been in this house for over 2 years and most of it we haven’t touched since we put it in there the day we moved in.

I tossed most of it or in the case of the 3 cases of empty and clean beer bottles, recycled. Don’t worry, we brewed beer. We weren’t just hoarding bottles.

I had an old futon in the garage that was upstairs holding blankets for a while. It was big, uncomfortable, and completely unnecessary. I tossed it into the garage to bring out for garbage night. The garbage company wouldn’t take it because it’s an “oversized” item and I had to pay for special pickup. Nope, I’ll toss it on Facebook for free. It was gone in just over 3 hours. I had at least 45 messages in the first hour asking for it.

I also had about 25 cans of paint that literally came with the house. Some of the cans were from when the house was painted originally 10+ years ago. Those cans were also claimed within 2 minutes.

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I didn’t clean up the stuff, stage it for any photos, or do anything creative to get it gone. Just writing the word “free” was enough to have my inbox blown up the entire evening. I guess people love free even when it’s complete garbage.

Oh, and I did warn the people. I told them how dirty and uncomfortable that futon is. It’s seriously awful. The paint might be completely dried up in these cans. I didn’t open them to care to find out; no cares from the interested parties.

Do Bloggers Even “Blog” Anymore?

Blogging is a hobby of mine that I really enjoy doing in my spare time. It’s a fun way of expressing myself, getting thoughts and feelings out there, telling stories, documenting life, and even networking and making new friends. It’s my portion of the internet that I have 100% control over the content and I enjoy that. I take breaks when I feel like it and move full steam ahead when I have a lot to say.  Seriously, writers block is real ya’ll.

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So why am I explaining my hobby to you? Stay with me.

When I first started blogging when Everett was a baby I joined a website called bloglovin’ which is basically a Facebook style newsfeed of all different bloggers. I could spend hours if I chose too just reading and learning about all kinds of different things that people were going through or doing. It was a lot of fun, extremely entertaining, and often informational.

That all has changed more recently.

My “newsfeed” on bloglovin’ is now nothing but sponsored content. If I find one post not trying to sell me something, advertising something, or just original content I’m excited. Side note, for those of you who don’t know, sponsored content is when someone pays a blogger to speak about their product or service.

I write sponsored posts. There’s nothing wrong with sponsored posts. It’s a great day when I can make a hobby into some extra cash. I just refuse to turn my blog into a giant advertisement for companies! It’s discouraging to try to network with people and remain follows of blogs that every post on the site is just marked with #ad and #spon.

Keep on blogging bloggers. Like really blogging. Separate your sponsored posts with some lively content to keep people, like me, coming back!

Finding a Balance [the struggle]

A lot of people seem to look at me like I have it all together; I’ve been asked multiple times “how do you have time to do that” or “you always have so much going on but you seem to get it all done!” I’ll admit, I try to be pretty organized, but the reality of the situation is I’m still quite a hot mess.

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First of all, I live in a home with two toddlers, two dogs, two cats, and a flying squirrel. That should say enough about the fact that my housework is never done. It’s literally impossible to keep up with the laundry, keep the pet hair under control, and pick up after kids who doesn’t understand that toys have a place. This doesn’t stop me from trying though. In between all the stuff I’m doing during the day, I’m cleaning. I’d consider myself to have a touch of OCD [literally, just undiagnosed] and have trouble concentrating on anything when I’m surrounded by a mess. I have to clean up before I can sit down and relax. This is a very real and often unseen struggle of mine.

Some days it’s impossible to get anything done because my kids have so much going on. They’re young now and I know it’s just going to get worse as they get older. Between extracurricular activities, playdates, preschool drop offs, and different appointments there isn’t much time to do anything else for me [for fun] or things that I need to get done.

There are other times that my kids just won’t let me do anything. They want to play, they need 800 snacks, or they need their butt wiped. I try to be as understanding as possible that they won’t be this young for long. They won’t always want their mommy to watch them play and I am forever working on just relaxing and enjoying this time. It’s still a struggle sometimes when I feel like I haven’t had a break and just want two seconds to eat my lunch or take a shower.

These days are especially hard when I have to work in the evenings. I work part time as a veterinary technician because I simply love what I do. It’s for me; but it’s still work. When I spend the entire morning and afternoon on those “needy kid” days I sometimes just want a second to sit down and relax. I just simply don’t get that time when I jet off to work as soon as my husband gets home.

This brings me to my next point, my husband and I work opposite shifts a few nights out of the week and other nights he has to go to bed so early that we don’t get a lot of alone time. It’s hard to schedule time for date nights because, as I’m explaining, we just don’t have time! We definitely make it work but it’s still a struggle.

So while it may seem like I have it together and make good use of “free time”, I don’t. I struggle with finding a balance on almost a daily basis. I’m slowly working on accepting the hot mess [currently writing this with a sink full of dishes] and learning to prioritize better!

For all of you who can relate to these struggles, it’s okay. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed as life with kids is hectic! Just remember to pause and enjoy these times.