When I was planning a party to celebrate A turning one, I tried my best to reign in my ideas. I didn’t want to go overboard with planning and make it too complicated or too expensive. I tried to find a lot of simple, fun ideas. For instance, we made tacos, since it’s an easy thing to make ahead and serve to a crowd, and for a fun squirrel-themed treat, we made these fun acorn cookies. On my inspiration board, I had a picture of kraft paper squirrel cupcake picks I’d found from Etsy. A few days out from the party, I thought they’d be a fun addition, but again, I wanted to keep the party as inexpensive as possible, and I didn’t think they’d arrive in time anyway, so I tried making them myself.
It’s no secret I love freezer cooking. Especially when the Squish was younger, it was often the only way dinner got on the table without making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches… which is probably what I’d eaten for both breakfast and lunch. Even now, it’s a great way to take a little pressure off if I have a busy week ahead of me. Having dinner ready in the freezer to pull out the night before that I can then “set and forget” in the crock pot gives me more time during the day to play with the baby or get other chores done. I try to plan to compile the meals when the Hubs has a day off, or even if I can just snag a few hours of help. Sometimes it’s a nap time event. But either way, in under two hours, I can get 7-14 meals prepped and only have to clean up after myself once, instead of cleaning up after each one of those 7-14 meals. I don’t honestly know how I lived before I made use of my crock pot.
How many of you have seen this meme?
When I’ve bought lettuce in the past, the frugal side of me would scoff at buying the pre-washed and bagged kind. I’d buy the full head of lettuce or romaine and feel so proud of myself for saving money. More often than not, I’d bring it home, leave it in my crisper drawer, and… forget all about it. I’d come back to soggy, moldy lettuce that ended up being thrown away. I’ve done it over and over.
I have a confession to make: Lately, I’ve been doing some “new-agey” stuff that the old me might have made fun of.
For instance, I’ve made a vision board that I try to look at and “feel” daily (which I’ll probably write a post about in the future). I don’t know how it’s working or if it’s working, but it feels nice and puts me in a more positive state of mind, so that alone is good! And if that house I’m envisioning happens to materialize, nobody will be more excited than me.
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Feeding your toddler can be a challenge. They’re not interested in you feeding them with a spoon, but they aren’t yet able to maneuver a spoon or a fork by themselves. They may not have many teeth yet, which makes taking bites more difficult, and may mean you can’t serve things like apples or carrots that haven’t been finely chopped or steamed. Also, toddlers are notoriously picky. They’ll love something, then the next day (or hour) it’ll be pronounced inedible. And there’s something particularly frustrating about serving food to a toddler that gets rejected when said toddler ate a crayon not five minutes before.
I’ve had a lot of strong spiritual experiences. My conversion into the church was heavily based upon a vision I received after praying. I’ve felt the presence of my ancestors around me at trying times. I know how thin the veil between this world and the next can actually be. It’s mind-blowing and comforting all at once. Still, there’s one experience I’ve had that mystifies me.
Ever since my son was born, I’ve felt the presence of another child. Not in a creepy, sixth-sense kind of way, but in a “Where’s my other child?” kind of way. About a week after we came home from the hospital, I kept getting this feeling like I needed to look for “the other one.” Again, it was never a creepy or unsettling thought, just a natural, maternal thought. I thought maybe it was the thinness of the veil with a baby so fresh from heaven, that I was feeling the presence of the children I haven’t had yet.
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I stumbled upon a blog post at Happy Science Mom the other day that struck a chord with me. It talked about the things kids aren’t doing if they’re inside watching TV or playing video games. The post is How Technology Prevents Our Kids From Enjoying Nature. It made me think about my own technology usage, too. When I bring the Squish outside for a “field trip”, I feel so much better personally. I know I spend a lot of time with technology. I spend at least 10 hours a week on blogging alone, not counting personal Facebook usage, text messaging, all of that. I felt like I needed to compile a list of ideas of outdoor activities for kids so that on days I’m not feeling so creative, I can refer to it and feel inspired. I also want to share the list in case it might help other moms do the same!
I made these for the Squish’s first birthday party not expecting much. I thought they were cute and on theme, but I didn’t expect them to blow my mind or anything. I was totally wrong. They were delicious! My dad even stole a sandwich bag full for their drive home. Needless to say, whether I need things that are fit for a squirrel-themed party or not in the future, I’ll definitely be making these again. These would be great to make in the fall, especially!
Most days, I feel overwhelmed trying to tackle my to-do list. Budget. Pay bills. Send thank you cards. Make appointments for the Squish and the Hubs. The list goes on and on. I may be “just” a stay-at-home mom, but I often feel more like I’m running a small business. In fact, I half-jokingly put my career on Facebook as “CEO”, but there’s a lot of truth to that.
I want so badly to everything done, which makes me think I should multitask. I pay bills while I eat, I make phone calls while making food for the Squish, I try to do multiple chores at once. I do it thinking it’ll help me maximize my time during the day, but it never ends up working the way I think it will. At the end of the day, I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, unsatisfied, and, worst of all, I’ve missed opportunities to connect with my husband and my son.
It’s so exciting to see the Squish getting bigger and learning how to do more things. Because he’s able to do more, I get to share more with him. Even just a trip to the park has become more exciting because he’s more in tune with what’s around him: if I point to the ducks, he looks and gets excited. If I quack like a duck, he tries to copy me. I just love it.
With that in mind, as much as I love his baby finger painting project, I thought it would be fun to try something new and branch out a little. I saw this pack of nautical-themed stencils one day and bought them, thinking I was sure I could come up with a use for them. That’s when I decided to try a watercolor resist project with the Squish. I thought it would be the perfect gift for his grandparents to hang in their beach house.