Songbird

It’s been five years.

On this day, five years ago, my heart shattered into a million pieces.

I’d just finished up my workout with a friend, she hugged me as we said our goodbyes, and was so excited for me and the plane ride I was about to take in just a few days. I was giddy with excitement too….the wait had been a long one.

The plane ride I was about to take with my husband and my son was heading to Russia to finally bring home our daughter.

Songbird

I exited the building and crossed the parking lot to my car. And standing at my car was my husband….

{a little back story: we had one car at the time and I had it that day. He was supposed to be at work, where I’d dropped him off earlier that morning….}

This is the part that, when I dwell too long, I can’t hold back the tears. Throughout the past five years, it’s gotten easier to talk about without crying. As long as I don’t think about it too much….but remembering this part? I cry. Hard. SO…I will continue to type through my tears at this part, so bare with me.

I remember just stopping dead in my tracks when I saw him…trying to process that he was there. HOW he was there and WHY he was there? I knew by the look on his face something was wrong. My heart sank as the words came out of his mouth. The words “Songbird is no longer available”. There were other words, but those are the only ones I heard loud and clear.

Everything just stopped. I fell to my knees and began sobbing.

I felt sick. And confused. And my heart utterly in shambles.

My husband had reached out his arm to me as I fell down….and he gently pulled me back up to standing and helped me into the car. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

We had lost our daughter. We had lost our Songbird.

Not a day that goes by, since that day five years ago, I don’t think about her. Even with 3 additions to our family, one through adoption, I will never forget her.

For some reason this year? Coming to mark 5 years since we lost her, I’ve been apprehensive about it. I dread it every year, to be honest, but this year seems different. I’m not really sure what or why, but the sadness has overwhelmed me many times, as the day has come closer and closer on the calendar.

I have struggled greatly over the past 5 years with the questioning of WHY. Why it happened the way it did, why it was let to happen, and how could it have been different.

I’m not really sure I will ever truly have an answer I’m okay with or that will bring complete peace to my heart.

I lost a child. Not in the typical sense like through death, but lost none the less. I will never see her again, and I will never have closure. I never got to say goodbye. I never got to hold her one last time.

Part of my heart will forever be in Russia.

 

 

3 Make Ahead Freezable School Lunches

make ahead school lunches{this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience}

 

It’s January. You’ve officially started the second semester of school with the kiddos and you are staring at their lunch box at 10pm wondering WHAT THE HECK are you going to put in there?

You started out the school year strong with those pinterest worthy lunches and planning a different lunch for each day only to burn out like on day 20 (or 4) and you had such great expectations and were planning to ROCK THIS school years lunches.

And you’ve just come out from the holidays and you are flat out D O N E with food things and cooking things and baking things and are contemplating just stocking up on lunchables, despite your vow to provide more whole and less processed foods in your kiddos lunches.

I get it. I think we have all been there. At least, I know I have been.

Heres a little secret I learned….you ready? You don’t actually have to have a new and different lunch every.single.day for school!

It’s true.

You might even already know that. It took me a while to stop trying so dang hard on the stupid lunches. I never cut out cute shapes or anything, but I did learn eventually that it’s absolutely OKAY to send similar, or even the SAME things, several days in a row. I’ve actually come to be a big believer that lunch time at school is not the time to insist our kiddos try all the new things. I typically save that for dinner time, at home. They’ve really got enough going on throughout the day, keeping lunch time familiar can be a good thing. For everyone.

When I was in school, I honestly only wanted a pb&j, a banana or an apple or orange, and my kool-aide and I was a happy camper.

Now, we have (sometimes) more guidelines for school lunches and need to be mindful about our friends with food allergies. And I am perfectly OKAY with that. I often provide nut free alternatives for my kiddos to take to school. Not because I’m trying to be all that, simply because we’ve always had at least one friend or two that has peanut allergies, so we just try to make it easier for all involved.

And, ironically, my kids sometimes get these notes that say “good job” or something of the like about having a healthy lunch packed. I wasn’t really sure what to think about it the first time it came home, made me kinda go “you’re paying THAT much attention to what my kid is eating??” Granted, where we live the school district has tried to provide more healthful options for the kiddos when buying lunch at school, which I am grateful for, but my kids still like to take lunch from home more than not, simply because they’ve told me “the apples taste funny”….

Anyhoo, along the years of two older kiddos going to elementary (and now middle) school, I’ve learned to navigate what DOES and DOES NOT work for us.

And trying to make a different awesome lunch every single day simply DID NOT work. And my second oldest likes a little more consistency. And some kiddos, like my second oldest, like predictability and sometimes don’t like something new. Some like the SAME thing each day. That’s OKAY too.

What has worked for us? Attempting to simplify the lunch making and taking process as much as possible. I’ve mentioned before how I love, love LOVE the Easy Lunch Boxes and how they have helped in the process of simplifying the lunch making and storing. And today I thought I would share with you some of our favorite make ahead lunches that add to the simplifying theme of things.

Here are 3 of our make ahead staples that you can FREEZE:

{I think the whole being able to freeze it is maybe my favorite part}

1. Avocado Turkey Roll Ups

I know, at first I was thinking it didn’t sound like it could work, but then I decided to give it a try

and it absolutely does! I can grab a pack of freshly made tortillas from the store (or you could make your own…or find awesome gluten free ones), grab some turkey, maybe some cheese and an avocado.

Here is how I do it:

-mash up the avocado with some lime juice. Spread some on a tortilla (I usually use one avocado per 10 tortillas). Place some turkey and (my kids fave) smoked gouda and wrap it up! Then I slice it in half and wrap tightly in some cling wrap. I typically make up about 10 of these, wrap them up tight and then place them all in a labeled freezer safe ziplock bag.

-Typically I choose one or two days a week {example below of what our weekly lunches look like} to grab two halves and toss them in one of the Easy Lunch Boxes the night before. Then by lunch time the next day, it’s defrosted enough for lunch time! And simply 10 of these will last one to two months for a one or two day/week lunch. And it take maybe 20 minutes tops to throw 10 together. A total win and time-saver!

2. Pizza Muffins

I use this pizza dough recipe ( or you could totally use canned dough…I won’t judge you. Sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do) and then roll out the dough and place your fave toppings on. Our faves are roasted garlic and plain old pepperoni.

These freeze awesomely well and just pop into the lunch box the night before and call it D O N E. My oldest can actually heat his up at school, so that’s a nice option too. My second oldest just eats them defrosted in her lunch.

I typically make 2 dozen of these and they last for two weeks worth of lunches for BOTH big kids and also substitute for a great grab n go lunch/snack/dinner on those busy weeknight or event filled weekends.

3. Avocado or Basil Corn Cakes

This is one of those use your favorite basic pancake recipe, and then add in extra goodness. Aaannnd, if you don’t have a favorite, here’s what I use:

-2 cups of flour

-2 tsp. baking powder

-2 tsp. each of onion and garlic powder (or to taste)

-2 eggs

-1.5 cups of coconut milk (or whatever milk you like to use)

-1 avocado, mashed up (if making avocado corn cakes) OR a bunch of fresh basil, chopped up (if making basil corn cakes)

-1 cup frozen corn

Place flour, baking powder and spices in med- large bowl. Add in eggs and milk, blend together. (I use a whisk or hand mixer for these. I prefer just by hand with a whisk, personally). Next, add in mashed up avocado (or basil), then stir in corn.

Heat up your skillet and make up pancakes as you normally would!

{PS…a more detailed recipe will be up on the blog next week!}

This is a look at how I literally make up the lunches for the week:

makeaheadlunches

I typically shop for one or two fruits for the week and prep those and place them all in the lunch boxes ahead of time, along with some crackers or goldfish. I usually do this Saturday or Sunday evening. Sometimes I have also made lunches Tuesday or Wednesday through until the following Tuesday or Wednesday, eliminating that OH CRAP! moment on Sunday at 10pm. BUT, having some made-ahead frozen options already made up and in the freezer, it takes a LOT of the stress off doing it on the weekend.

makeaheadlunches

Then I choose one of the made-ahead options and toss it in the lunch boxes. I usually do this the night before…too many days ahead could result in some soggy-lunches and nobody wants that!

Here is what has worked so far this school year:

Monday: Avocado Turkey Wraps

Tuesday: sunbutter, honey and jam sammie {we call these honey-butter and jam sammies}

Wednesday: avocado corn cakes

Thursday: curried egg salad ( I make a batch of this up and it’ll keep for a few days, so sometimes it makes it’s appearance on Tuesday AND Thursday in sammie form the same week)

Friday: Pizza Rolls

Here is what a a few days worth of lunches looks like all done up:

makeaheadlunches

I try to vary the extras more than the “main course”, so to speak. Like, one week it might be Oranges and Apples, or Apples and Cherry Tomatoes…another week it might be Oranges and Grapes. Sometimes it might be sliced bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, or carrot sticks. Really, whatever works best and your kiddos like.

Since doing it this way, it has seriously helped to simplify things and I now have a lot less OH CRAP moments. And, I think, we could all use a little less of those….

How about you? Do you have any tried and true lunch ideas that have rocked your world?

 

 

 

Pizza Muffins {make ahead meals}

PizzaMuffins

Life can be crazy busy and chaotic and not always leaving much time for NOT eating take-out or heading to the drive-thru.

The past few years, as we’ve been working to simplify things a bit more, I’ve become a BIG FAN of make ahead, freezable meals and decided I’d share one of my family’s most favorite ones!

Pizza Muffins.

Super easy and completely make-ahead and FREEZABLE! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE freezable?

I do.

Makes my life THAT much easier.

You can make these up, freeze them, and when you’re going to be out and about, or sporting events/practice and whatnot, grab some of these and heat them up and GO. Simple as that.

Other than helping to simplify life a little more, this recipe also requires no fancy kitchen equipment and gadgets.

I KNOW. I love that. I don’t have time to take out big mixers and the like and then clean it all. I need quick, easy and SIMPLE.

{After all, I have hot coffee to attempt to finish…}

SO, here they are!

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Simple Pizza Muffin Recipe:

For the dough:

(makes enough for 24 “muffins” or 2  12-14in pizzas)

-2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) of active dry yeast

-1.5 cups warm water

-4.5 cups all-purpose flour

-1tsp salt

What to do:

Place yeast in large bowl, add warm water. Give it a gently stir and let sit about 5-ish minutes. Add in flour and salt. Using a spoon, mix together until combined, but still a little sticky.

Once combined, turn out onto clean, lightly floured surface. Knead for about 5-ish minutes. I don’t usually knead it much longer than that. Shape into a round.

pizzamuffins

pizzamuffin2

To keep things simple, rinse out the large bowl you just used to use again for this next part. Dry it out and add some extra virgin olive oil to the bowl (approx 1-2 Tbs), place pizza dough in bowl and turn it, roll it around, to fully coat it in the olive oil. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and place in on the counter (or way up high on a shelf in the pantry so that, if you have toddlers like me, they can’t get to it). Let it rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.

Once doubled, uncover and PUNCH the dough down.

{that’s kinda fun, right?}

Divide dough in half and now you’re ready to make the pizza muffins!

For the Pizza Muffins:

{Pre-heat oven to 450}

Take half of dough and roll it out until it’s a decent rectangle approx 12″ x 15″, like so

PizzaMuffins

Then, this is the best, add WHATEVER sauce and toppings you want!

I went more traditional with these, since it’s my kiddos fave, and stuck with pizza sauce, pepperoni and some Monterey jack cheese.

pizzamuffins

pizzamuffins

This part is completely up to you. You can go as simple or fancy as you’d like. Homemade sauce? go for it. Freshly grated cheese your preference? Go for it!

{Another favorite, that my husband likes, is roasted garlic and alfredo chicken. Sounds complicated, but totally not. Leftover shredded chicken, some alfredo sauce and some mashed up roasted garlic spread out and then a little shredded cheese on top and VOILA! }

After adding your toppings, roll it up like so, slice it and place in prepared muffin tins.

pizzamuffins

pizzamuffins

pizzamuffins

I’ve started using my silicone muffin cups for these. I used to use baking papers, but they’d stick to them a bit and it got to be a pain to unwrap them for the kids. You could simply use the muffin tins without, but I LOVE the silicone cups, because no prep required, I just pop the sliced up muffins in and pop them in the oven. DONE! Then they simply pop right out, no hassle.

Now just pop in the oven for approx 10-12 minutes. Let cool and serve immediately, or freeze them for later!

How To Freeze:

Place in single layer on foil lined plate. Place another layer of foil if needed, add another single layer of pizza muffins.

Place in freezer for 1-2 hours (or overnight, won’t hurt them), then place in a labeled ziplock freezer bag with instructions how how to reheat.

To Reheat: place a couple muffins in microwave, heat in 20 second intervals until heated through. Eat!

NOTES: another awesome option, take frozen muffins out, place in lunches in fridge the night before, by the time lunch time hits the next day, VOILA! Completely thawed and ready to eat Pizza Muffins! Yay!

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What are some of your favorite time-saving parenting tricks that help make things a little less chaotic?

 

How Not To Lose Your Mind Over Advent

AdventBox

It went it little bit like this…..

I decided to try and tackle some of the {very} simple holiday decorating for Christmas.

We’ve been slowly leaning towards simplifying the holidays more and more each year, and this year is probably the first I felt like I truly had a decent handle on.

For at least two seconds.

I found the advent candles, and mistakenly, put them down within reach of two busy and very curious toddlers.

Before I could even blink, they swiped them and decided to have a tot sized fencing match.

Yeah. Candles are broken. I don’t have backups.

I searched Pinterest to see what quick and simple DIY ideas there were and could maybe assemble something together before Advent was officially to begin.

Let’s laugh together, shall we? Because. Seriously.

I did, indeed, find some awesome and amazing ideas…..that I plan to use next year.

This year? I’m letting it go. We are doing a modified Advent.

I did manage to get our Night Before Advent Box put together with new pjs for each kiddo, coloring pages printed out for each day of Advent, colors and our Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.

A day late. Because that’s just sometimes how life goes….

And, in an effort of keeping things real and full disclosure, a little confession:  The day we were to do our “day before advent” loveliness, I was in a no good grumpy mood.

No idea why really. Just a funk and mama bear was more like grumpy bear.

By bed time, it was literally, EVERYONE GO TO BED LIKE NOW. But without the yelling {I know, impressive isn’t it?!} And I put myself in time out.

And by time out, I mean I plugged in my earbuds, put on some Sufjan Stevens {holiday edition} on Pandora and started painting.

What did I start painting? Why the Night Before Advent Box, naturally.

An hour later, when my husband walked into the kitchen, I’m pretty sure he thought I’d lost my mind as I was painting and adding some touches of glitter. Because, GLITTER.

Or he just knew that I was processing and this is how I seem to do it best.

So, those advent candles? Not gonna happen this year. Even though my oldest commented that he really missed seeing them. I agreed, but was all “NOPE. Next year though….next year”.

And because I really mean it, I created a pin board JUST for a little Advent inspiration . I’m really loving some of the more modern and simplistic set ups some have going on.

So, all this to say….our best intentions can go completely wrong. And LIFE happens and candles get broken, and the ideas you might have had are just not.gonna.happen this year. And I am here to say, it’s absolutely, completely OKAY.

Sometimes, taking a more simple approach during the holidays is really whats best. And sometimes, depending on what season your littles are in {like underwater toddlerhood…}, it means maybe not so much with candles, but more with reading the Advent story. And having a simple advent calendar.

And enjoying the time we do have with family.

Our Night Before Advent Box and evening happened. A day late, and more simplified.

And if you’re one week in and are going “crap! this advent thing is kicking my butt! and I totally forgot XYZ!”….it’s OK. And you still have three more weeks to turn it all around.

Lets say it together…..

It’s ALL going to be OKAY. Really.

Do you celebrate Advent? What are some of your favorite ways to keep things more simple during, what can be, chaos and crazy of the holiday season?

Sometimes Life Requires Cake

There are sometimes events and moments in life that just call for cake.

Like, for dinner.

CakeForDinner

{Yes, dinner}

Yesterday was one of those days. Just as I thought we’d cleared the sickness train and were well on our way to family wellness land, it hit us again.

One child had been diagnosed with bronchitis earlier in the week, but then another went down. I noticed one of the twinnies was breathing a bit shallow. I watched. I listened. I watched some more….wondering “do I call or just wait and see?”….my gut told me no, I needed to call. So I called.

{If it’s one thing I’ve learned….always trust your instincts}

Turns out, my littlest boy had the beginnings of croup and an ear infection. Blech. Sure glad I called! We’ve done this croup thing before, but it involved a long night at the ER of the local Children’s hospital….no one needed to do that again. Nope. No thank you.

However, this meant a long afternoon spent getting two toddlers packed up and to the pediatricians office and then racing back home in time for the school bus to arrive with the older kiddos. By the time all that finished, it was after 4 and what I had planned to make for dinner I really wasn’t in the mood to make.

{it was pancakes. pancakes/cake, same difference, right?}

I was, however, really in the mood for cake. Like, serious craving for cake and icing. I actually wanted a cupcake, but I figured the other five members of the household might want one too. And I was out of cupcake liners….so I made a cake.

I used this recipe for the cake:

Homemade Yellow Cake 

which I love because it’s SO simple and doesn’t require difficult anything. And it’s tasty.

And I used this recipe for the icing:

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Super simple and I had all the things on hand.

My oldest laughed and thought I was totally joking when he asked “what’s for dinner?” and I said cake.

He said “like pancakes?”

I said, nope. Cake, like yellow cake and chocolate frosting.

He responded, “mom, I like this thinking, keep going with that, it’s awesome”.

{also, this brings me to ask, do you say icing or frosting? I use them interchangeably, but, it makes me wonder, if there a correct terminology to either? I know, that was random. Happens a lot around here. Let’s blame the cake.}

I usually stick pretty consistently to the meals I’ve planned out, but I looked at the flour and eggs and realized they could either turn into breakfast for dinner in the form of pancakes, or make an actual cake.

So, cake it was!  I served some fruit on the side, so it totally balanced it out. That’s what I’m going with.

Dinner was actually awesome though. We all enjoyed dinner together after a somewhat chaotic day (more like week…month….). Definitely a fun memory for my family.

And really, that’s what it’s about….family time and enjoying each other and life. Even in the midst of the crazy.

Sometimes, life calls for cake. For dinner.

Mocha Java Latte Love {make your own mocha recipe}

Make Your Own Mocha Syrup

It’s no secret around here that I love coffee.

Like, a LOT.

And I adore a good iced mocha. But I don’t so much adore the cost when getting one at the oh-so-convenient drive-thru around the corner….

I’ve attempted to make my own here and there over the years and never could get it quite like I liked it.

Then, one day I decided to try it again and was determined to get it right this time! So, I thought I’d share my discovery with you…

Now, there is something you should know about me. I don’t like super sweet anything. I don’t even like sweet tea.

{Gasp. I know…and I’m a native Texan….}

I drink my coffee black at home. And if I’m out and about, you might see me add cream and sugar. Just depends on my mood and how strong/bitter the coffee is.

My mochas? I don’t like too sweet. So, just FYI, this is not a super sweet mocha syrup, but you can adjust it to your liking….that’s the beauty of making it yourself, right?! Right.

Mocha Syrup DIY

Basically, you take some unsweetened cocoa powder, strong brewed coffee and a little sugar and whisk it all together in a sauce pot….

Mocha Syrup DIY

bring it to a low boil and whisk it while it thickens….

Make Your Own Mocha Syrup

{not quite ready yet}

I Spilled My Coffee Mocha Syrup DIY

{done!}

Then let it cool and place in a jar and then pop in the fridge for when you want to make up your own mocha!

Mocha Syrup DIY

{Now when you make this, be sure to lick the chocolate off the whisk (obviously for taste testing purposes), but do it just before a neighbor knocks at your door, so that when you answer, you have just a little something on your face and your neighbor is staring at you, and you’re all wondering why, and then you check the mirror later….It’ll be awesome.

Not that I’ve…ahem….done that or anything}

Mocha Valencia DIY

Want to kick it up a notch and make it mocha valencia syrup? Just zest an orange into the mix while whisking the ingredients together. YUM!

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Recipe recap for DIY Mocha Syrup:

***************************************

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup strong brewed coffee (I kick it up a notch in my french press for this) or coffee concentrate.
1/4 cup sugar (I use organic cane sugar and sometimes coconut sugar)

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk all ingredients together in a pot on low heat
Bring to a low boil, whisking often until it begins to thicken
Once thicknened, remove from heat and let cool.
Place in glass jar {like a mason jar} and refrigerate.

Easy Peasy!

Here’s the fun and delicious part…..

To make yourself an iced mocha, simply pour one cup of your favorite milk {I use coconut, but almond, cow’s, whatever you like kind, would work well too} into a sauce pot and place it on the stove on medium-ish heat. While that’s heating up, take your favorite glass or mason jar and add in a couple tablespoons of the mocha syrup.

By the time you finish doing that, your milk should be warmed up enough, so go ahead and pour it right over the mocha syrup in your glass and stir it up!

{if you like your mochas warm, just do the same, but add it to your favorite coffee cup and enjoy a nice hot mocha!}

You could add in a little extra coffee at this part, or leave as is. You could add some ice cubes (or some coffee ice cubes ), grab a straw and drink it up! Or, as I like to do, at about 10-ish in the morning I make this up, then place it in the fridge. Then when the littles go down for a nap, I grab my already made mocha, toss in some ice, add a straw and take a deep breath and enjoy my iced coffee for the two seconds the house is quiet.

I Spilled My Coffee Mocha Syrup DIY

{happy sigh}

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do that right now….

The Coffee Dates I Miss The Most

Coffee.

I love coffee for all it’s amazing a wonderful benefits and how it helps make my bloodshot zombie mom-ness dissipate when my body fully finishes caffeinating.

But there is more to the story of my love of coffee.

My Gramms.
IMG_0865
My Gramms introduced me to coffee. She always had her cup all day, every day full of the dark goodness.

She drank it black. Always. So do I….perhaps because that is how I learned to drink it.

As I got older and was able to enjoy a cup along with her, we would sit at the kitchen table and chat about life as we drank our coffee.

It was our time together. We were the only coffee drinkers in the house.

I grew up, got married, had a family….but, we still almost daily got together for coffee.

It was our thing. Whether taking her to a doctors appointment and grabbing some as a treat at the coffee shop, or her making some in the percolator, knowing I would be coming over soon….we always had our coffee dates to keep us connected.

My Gramms also loved cardinals. She even had a little porcelain one sitting on a side table. I remember it always being on that table growing up.

When my Gramms passed away unexpectedly almost five years ago, I spoke at her memorial about how I would miss those coffee dates….I learned so much about my Gramms through those moments shared over a cup of coffee.

It wasn’t too long after she had died, that I got a new phone. I had a message saved on my old one from her….the last one she ever left, wishing me a Happy New Year. I never wanted that message to fade. Ever. When things were changed over, that message got lost.

I’m pretty sure I cried until I couldn’t any longer. I know it was only a message, but it was my message, to me, from MY GRAMMS only a few weeks before she passed away.

I was devastated.

When we moved a little over a year ago to our current house, I remember seeing a cardinal here and there. It wasn’t until we were well settled that I began to notice them daily.

She has never been to this house, but I know she’d love it. When I cook in my kitchen or bake apple and pumpkin pies for the holidays, I think about how much fun we’d have in this kitchen. We had so many laughs in my last one that was tiny and she, my sister, and I would somehow cram in there and bake pies for our families on what became our annual “Pie Day”.

Sometimes, when there is a (very brief) moment when the big kids have left for school and the twinnies are happily occupied for five seconds, and I am able to sit at the table and drink my (amazingly still) hot coffee….it’s not uncommon to look out the window and see one or two cardinals.

And I smile. And sometimes I cry…because I miss those coffee dates with my Gramms the most.

I sometimes imagine what we would be talking about these days…so much has changed in the past 4, almost 5, years. Three more kids and seemingly a lifetime of change has occurred in that short time. And there are days I want to talk to her so badly about it all….

Over coffee. At the kitchen table.

Loving It Tuesday!

I don’t always talk about it, but I am a sorta crunchy gal.

Like a baby wearing, cloth diapering mama and all. But! I’m totally cool if you’re not. Sometimes you just really need to do what works best for your family. Really.

And total confession? I sometimes use disposable diapers too. Life happens. It’s totally okay. Promise. Our double stroller is also a favorite sanity saving item too.

{see, only sorta on the crunchy…}

Last year I also stopped using antiperspirant and switched to a more natural, not so scary ingredient list, deodorant.

But here’s the deal…when I work out, I don’t glisten or sparkle, I sweat. Like a lot. And kickboxing pretty much is the most intense and sweaty workout ever for me.

Sooo….I’m not gonna lie. I was worried the more natural stuff wasn’t going to cut it and keep me from stinking up the kickboxing studio.

I had already been using this one deodorant that I LOVED and it worked great for both the hubs and I. But, I started having some irritation with it and, through trial and error, discovered it was the baking soda. Apparently that isn’t uncommon. My hubs still uses it and it works great…even for extra stinky worked in the yard man sweat.

{As always, in full disclosure, this post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through them, I get a tiny percentage at absolutely no additional cost to you}

One day as I was searching for an alternative natural deodorant that wouldn’t irritate my under the arms area, and stumbled upon this really fun little online shop called Meow Meow Tweet. I saw they had a baking soda free cream deodorant…..hmmmm, I was intrigued. So I read through some of the reviews and decided to take a chance.

You guys. I LOVE this deodorant. Like, it’s amazing and awesome and WORKS! It smells good, but not overpowering and keeps the stank at bay. Regular, everyday wear it’s awesome….then, I tried it out at kickboxing….

FABULOUS! Seriously, it works. But, I decided to keep trying it to make sure it was going to stand the test of sweaty workouts and stank.

Guess what?

It totally still works. It’s been almost 3 months using this now, and I am definitely going to keep using it. I raved about it so much, my sister tried it. She said she’s sold on it too. Totally win.

They have more than just deodorant…lots of goodies I haven’t tried yet, but all look fabulous.

Oh, and this company has absolutely no idea who I am. I just love this product so much, I wanted to share it with you. It’s just so awesome.

Do you have a favorite natural deodorant you love?? Please share!

Over Here In Between All That……Is Me. I Think.

In the current state of the stage of life I am in, I seem to fall somewhere in-between “I really want to look put together” and “I totally do NOT have my crap together, I’m a total mess”…..

Haven’t quite figured out where that somewhere is yet.

Coming out of the last two years of “twinfant turned twinadoe toddler” stage, and actually taken a breath and been able to keep my head above water for more than 3 seconds, I finally feel more like getting into jeans and a nice-ish {read, not covered in snot and goldfish crackers} t-shirt and maybe even some {gasp!} makeup and actually brush my hair out of it’s usual pulled back pony.

Now, let me say, I am a huge fan of my yoga pants. I love them. AND? I actually do workout in them…and then just keep them on, because: twin toddlers. For real.

However, in this wanting to be more put together when leaving the house, I almost feel like I’m TOO dressed by having some lip color and earrings in. And my kids notice…even the littlest littles. And then it makes me more self conscious, like, am I trying too hard here or something?!

Naturally, then I just totally overthink things. Because that is just totally WHAT I DO. It’s a terrible habit.

But then people notice I am wearing non snot covered, non sticky like clothing…..and then I think to myself, “so do I always look like a slob?”….cue that blasted overthinking again.

I want to look put together. But I don’t want to look like I care TOO much. But, I also don’t want to look like I am a completely ridiculous person who totally doesn’t have her crap together.

You get me?

Yeah. I know…I totally don’t have it all together. I’m not really sure I ever will.

Then there are those days that I am totally rocking it, lunches packed, homework signed, clean laundry for all my people, and actually have clean clothes on ME TOO. And it’s awesome.

Then other days, well, opposite of all that.

Balance.

Does this actually exist? Because I’m truly beginning to wonder.

{Le Sigh}

SO, I’m a little in between right now. Perhaps for longer than I wish. Also? Learning to except that sometimes it’s absolutely perfectly OK to not have it all together.

But I still want to.

How about you? You ever feel in-between the put together and not so much so? What do you find helps to balance it all out?

First Week of School Shenanigans….

First week of school shenanigans….err….recap.

No. Shenanigans.

Last week was our first week back to school. I know several that have already started back, and some that have yet to start…and we seem to be somewhere in the middle of all that.

So it was our turn.

It seemed to start off pretty good. I mean, except for the missing teacher packet deal and the potentially very scary backpack situation.

But, other than that, I felt we were SURE to be starting off right!

Hahahahaha….haha.

Apparently, the magical bus people that do the bus scheduling for the special needs bus, scheduled us twice. But, the second call said there was no drop off time listed….

It was too late on Monday (day BEFORE school) to call back by the time we’d gotten the message, so we figured we’d just check it out the next day.

My brilliant husband (no really…brilliant!) thankfully thought to ask WHAT school the bus was headed to.

WHA?? Hadn’t actually thought that it MIGHT BE TO THE WRONG SCHOOL!

(See? brilliant he is. SO smart. Me?….shh.)

A little backstory: she was transferred to a different school than last year, same district, so instead of the magical bus people communicating this to one another, they scheduled two different buses for the same child. Apparently, they are NOT so magical after all.

Bummer.

So, bus #1 was sent on it’s way WITHOUT our child. Bus #2….bus #2?

It never showed. We called. It was SUPPOSED to have picked her up. It did not.

(this is the part where we go Oh C R A P and shove two kids into the car, drop one off smidge early at middle school and then dash the other to her school)

Oh yeah. Middle School. My oldest’s FIRST DAY at Middle School.

::blink::blink::

I had planned this awesome breakfast and stuff. The babies slept in and I baked muffins for the Sunshine, and my oldest requested his favorite eggs.

I was TOTALLY going to be on this and make sending my kiddlings off to their first day of school AWESOME.

Instead, it was more like, quick! grab and apple and let’s jet!

(or something like that)

My husband (the really awesome brilliant one) was taking them, so I said “please, oh, please! DO NOT let the man child be LATE on his FIRST DAY!”.He promised and set off.

Texted me (from the parking lot. While parked. Not in a school zone…safety first you guys!) to let me know both big kids had been successfully dropped off ON TIME to their destinations.

WHEW!

By then, the littlest little were waking. I was enjoying my still hot coffee, letting them chat a bit, set my coffee down (that was one of my first mistakes…) and went up to get them.

First thing out my littlest littles mouth “my tummy hurts”…

Ohhhh

Clearly my twinnies didn’t want me to miss my bigs too much. Nope, they were so very thoughtful and decided to BOTH be sick.

Yes. Both.

By noon, both were sporting a fever, one with snottiness, the other with “tummy hurts”.

{End of productivity for the foreseeable future…}

Get a text from the husband saying drop off for Sunshine is going to be the same time as oldest child gets out of school. And since he did NOT want to take the bus the first day, this was going to be a bit challenging.

I can do this. Surely….maybe the magical bus people will drop off early like last year??

Maybe.

Just kidding….they were late and thankfully the hubby made it home to meet her bus while I took the not so feeling well twinnies to get their big brother.

Yeah. That was NOT the best plan. Remember “tummy hurts?” I will not go into great detail here, but she puked.

Twice.

My only child to have never tossed any cookies did so. TWICE. Once on the way there and once on the way back.

(I kinda lied about not giving details there, huh? At least you weren’t in the car with me…)

By the end of the day, I wasn’t quite sure if I should laugh or cry or both.

And that was only day one.

Day TWO:

correct bus shows up.

YAY!

Sent wrong lunch with wrong child

Boo!

Twinnies still not so great, make doctors appointments. Decide to take the missing sammie to child missing it on the way to take the twinnies to the doctor. Forget sammie.

{can I PLEASE get a do-over yet?!}

Decide there’s just enough time AFTER appointments to race home and get it to child at school JUST IN TIME for lunch.

Whew.

By day three, things were starting to even out. Twinnies were finally on the upswing and no other children caught whatever the viral bug from hell was.

That was, until Friday when mama got hit. Yes, me, I got sick.

Let’s just say, we were dragging across the finish of the last day of school….of only the first week.

I’m not even sure I want to look at this week yet. But, here it is…

Someone tell me that this means that this year is gonna ROCK. Like, that the harder the first day or week is, just means AWESOMENESS is right around the corner?