Sunday, July 27, 2014

My favorite things: GIVEAWAY!!

I knew when I hit 1000 views, I'd want to celebrate with a little something. I'm a little surprised, but very thankful, by how quickly it happened! What better way to live it up than with a Favorite Things list + a $20 Target card GIVEAWAY!

This is what I'm loving this month:
1. Fresh Market Thermal by Thirty One. Living 45 minutes from the closest grocery store makes buying frozen food during the hot summer months really hard. Usually by the time the bags are being unloaded into the house, the frozen pizza is bendable and the ice cream is starting to drip. It's terrible. I started throwing the Fresh Market Thermal in the back of my car and when I'm loading the car, all frozen food bags get put together in the thermal. Even without an ice pack, the food helps keep each other cold enough to make it home without melting! 

2. Time in a Bottle for Eyes by Philosophy. After my post about eye creams, I took my search to Sephora to ask for some help. I knew I wanted something infused with Vitamin C to help brighten and looked at 4 different options. I chose this one based on the recommendation of the woman helping me. After only a week of use, I am in love with how it seems to be working. Look for the Time in a Bottle Duo  which comes with a .85 fl oz Time in a Bottle + .5 fl Time in a Bottle for Eyes for a little more than just Time in a Bottle for Eyes. 

3. Rock 'n Play Sleeper by Fisher-Price. M slept in this for the first 6 weeks in our room. I think she really liked the close feeling with the sides that wrap up around their bodies. The last few days, she's had a stuffy nose from the up and down weather and letting her nap in the Rock 'n Play has helped keep her head elevated enough to allow her to breath better. Better napping = happier baby! 

4. Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family Channel.  Do you watch this show? OMG, I'm hooked! I've watched since half-way through season 1 and I thoroughly look forward to Tuesday nights every single week, 5 seasons later. The twists, turns, and unexpected surprises keep you guessing and questioning everything you think you know. It's been a roller coaster of emotions over characters and couples, but it's a roller coaster I love riding! #ErziaForever 

5. Tie Not as seen on Shark Tank. I saw this product on Shark Tank a few weeks ago (I think it was a re-run?) and could not believe that the sharks did not go for it. It looked genius and I knew I had to have it! It is a water balloon filler that hooks onto a water hose or sink faucet, with a "tie stick" attached. After filling the balloon, a spin of the full balloon and a quick pull leaves you with a tied water balloon without any sore fingers. It's seriously that easy and fast, love it! 

Of course my favorite place to shop is Target, so I'm sending a $20 gift card to a lucky reader! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The drawing will be Wednesday, August 30th. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Mommy, why do you wear makeup?"

It's a rare occurrence to find time to put on makeup around these parts. Most days, my morning routine includes a speed shower, face serum and moisturizer, and a quick comb through.  If we have something planned outside the house, I try to use BB cream, concealer, and mascara.

The other day, while everyone was still sleeping (Hallelujah) I was showered, blow dried, and putting on makeup when Fitz came waltzing into the bathroom. She quietly watched from the doorway for a couple of minutes before asking, "Mommy, why do you wear makeup?"

It's the first time she's ever asked that. Usually the conversation is more, "Can I wear makeup?" Or she sneaks the bag into her room and emerges... remorseful.

My response took longer than it should. I ran through a list of answers in my head:

"To make Mommy feel better."
"To make Mommy pretty."
"So other people don't realize how tired and worn down I am."
"So other people think I look pretty."

In the end, I didn't really know what to say. None of the reasons I came up with would send the message I want her to grow up thinking - You don't need to change anything about yourself to be beautiful. 

We talked for a few minutes about what she thought makeup meant and how it affects how we look and it melted my heart to hear the words that came out of her mouth.

"I think you look prettier when you don't wear makeup. Then we look more alike and you look beautiful like me." 

That is one smart 5 year old.

In contribution to the real beauty campaign, I encourage you to post your makeup free pictures. Upload them to Facebook or Tweet them @Momma_ofThree #makeupfree and I'll add your picture to spread the word for all women that they are beautiful.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Can we talk about eye creams for a second?

As the years creep on, and the exhaustion of parenting continues, I am noticing more and more lines, crinkles, dark bags, and dullness showing on my face and around my eyes. It's terrible. I'm not old enough for this.

I've been on the search for an eye cream that "works" for a couple of years now. I've tried most of them for a month or two and have yet to feel satisfied with the results. The ones I've tried most recently are below:

I found that the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum worked tightening the undereye skin for a few hours after application, but was not effective as a lasting product.

All About Eyes, Timewise, and Yes to Blueberries only acted as an extra moisturizer to the undereye area but did not help to eliminate or diminish any of the lines or dullness. 

I'm currently using Kiehl's Abyssine Eye Cream.  I find this to be an added moisturizer as well, but it leaves the skin feeling more dewy under my eyes, which works well with my concealer in hiding the dark circles.  

I hear good things about Olay, but I don't know which eye cream to try.

Do you have an eye cream you love? Share what it is and what you love about it! 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I didn't expect it to be this hard

Finding out I was pregnant for the third time threw me a curveball. Sure we had lightly discussed having another baby, but I never decided how I felt about it and the responsibility and work that would go into having 3 small children.

I was a really good mom of one. I had it down. I could juggle it all: playing, working, cleaning, teaching, disciplining. It had its hard days, but they were rare and short-lived. I had time to do things that interested me while she was napping or in bed for the night. Grocery carts are made for one kid with ease. And it wasn't difficult to find someone willing to watch one kid for a few hours during a date night.

I was starting to get it as a mom of two. Monkey was full of difficulties we weren't prepared for when we decided to give Fitz a sibling. The hard days were constant and seemed to drag on for weeks at a time. It became rare to have a "good" day for months. Even with becoming a stay-at-home-mom with the birth of our second, the balls I was juggling, for two polar opposite children, seemed heavier than before: playing, cleaning, teaching, disciplining, balancing attention, chauffeuring, feeding. Shopping became a struggle to keep both kids under control long enough to do what needed done and I felt guilt for asking people to watch them at the same time when I knew how hard it was with just the younger one. But it was beginning to get easier.

I talked to many moms who had 3+ kids while I was pregnant. It felt like the most common advice was "three is a piece of cake, you'll hardly notice an extra one". If that is true for most moms who have three or more kids, I'm so happy for you (mostly happy anyway... ok, jealous is probably the right word).

My reality is: I can't remember what it's like to have time to do anything I enjoy without someone pulling on me, asking a million questions, or crying to do something else. Getting out of the house with everyone without a fight is an impossible task at this point and doesn't seem worth even trying. All of the cleaning and cooking from a typical day drains everything out of me, let alone playing or teaching. "The third kid is the anchor." is something I was told by a stranger before M was born and I despised his attempt at humor. I understand his meaning now, it's not easy to ask anyone to watch 3 kids at once. I find myself tripping over responsibilities as a mom, wife, and friend daily and only have faint glimmers of light that it will become easier as time goes on.

Even if I do manage some time to myself, without anyone crying or needing help or fed, I'm too exhausted to do anything but melt onto the couch and stare blankly and what is sure to be a kid show on the TV.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

20 reasons baby wipes are my all-time favorite thing

I often find myself wondering, "What did I do before baby wipes?" Do you? They are an all-purpose product that I can't see giving up when diaper duty is over.

I use them for everything.

  1. They are the go-to for messy hands and faces after meals.
  2. Quick counter wipe downs in the bathroom. 
  3. Wiping runny noses, especially when they get raw from regular tissue.
  4. Cleaning the car dashboard.
  5. Makeup remover (or keeping it real, wiping away the old mascara from under my eyes in the morning).
  6. That restaurant table you are leery about putting the cheerios on. 
  7. Cleaning the spit-up that just happened down your shirt.
  8. Works to clean off the crayon from the wall, bathroom vanity, toy chest, etc. 
  9. Gets the grossness off of the laptop keyboard.
  10. Wipes the yogurt or applesauce out of hair.
  11. Cleans ink and marker off skin.
  12. Smoothing down fly-away hairs.
  13. Wiping down the kitchen table and high chair.
  14. Dusting tables (great for little hands to help without the chemicals). 
  15. Spot mopping. 
  16. Cleaning the inside window ledge that gets so dirty.
  17. Cool wipe down after some time in the heat. 
  18. Getting flung food off table legs and chairs. 
  19. Quick wipe up of spills.
  20. Cleaning up dry erase boards after too many uses. 
I have packages stashed in nearly every corner of my house so its just an arm's reach away when needed. 

How are baby wipes loved around your house? 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Organize your email inbox in record time - Ah-mazing!

I am drowning in junk mail daily. I have 3 active e-mail addresses.  Is that too many? One of them is primarily for signing up for log-ins throughout the internet so that I don't have to bombard my regular e-mail with spam for the rest of my life. (Unless I'm really into the site I'm signing up on, then I'll use my normal e-mail so the system kind of breaks down after 5-10 log-ins.)

I don't know why I thought that was a good idea. I still have to check that e-mail at least once a day to clear out the 30-50 e-mails I get for soliciting traffic to their site. And going through each one to click "unsubscribe" seems like way more work that just deleting them all, everyday. Ugh.

Until I stumbled upon this AH-MAZING site! Once your e-mail address in entered, it scans through all of your subscprition and populates a list for you.  Unsubscribing just became as simple as a scroll and click for all of your annoying e-mail lists at once.

This was my regular e-mail scan. I really had no idea that I had signed up for so many things with it.
After 5 clicks, the site prompts you to "share with a friend" via Facebook, e-mail, or Twitter before you can continue. What a small price to pay for organizing your inbox in record breaking time! 

I'm now down to a few e-mails per day, per address.  Totally doable. 

Do you drown in spam email, too? 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Making a chore chart that works

Somedays, I have a hard enough time remembering if I brushed my teeth, let alone chores and educational activities (bad mom, bad). The intentions are always there, to help Fitz contribute to the family in more ways than "pick up your toys", but fleeting in the midst of feedings and crying and "that's dangerous, please don't". We've tried a few different chore charts in the past that were always more work than helpful so they were abandoned quickly.

During a quick trip to Office Depot, I spotted a large 2014 desk calendar for $1.00 I snatched it up and began brainstorming how I could make the calendar do all the work of remembering for me.

What I want my calendar to do for me:

  • Show 2 educational activities and 1 chore for each day
  • Be simple enough for Fitz to understand alone 
  • Allow her choice in her contributions
  • Not be ugly

Before the month began, I went through and wrote down 2 educational activities for each day. (I took most of these from the Kindergarten readiness worksheet sent home from Parents' Night). I left the chores blank intentionally. 

Every Saturday, Fitz will have the chance to choose her chores for the week (Sunday-Saturday). Giving her the decision makes all the difference in the world! She has a list of age appropriate chores to choose from, and each chore must be completed before choosing one again (Ex: she did not chose clean bathroom, put toys away, counters & table, or clean bedroom for the first week of July so they will have to be chosen for the second week, before any other chore)

Each chore is an extra contribution to the everyday responsibilities of the house. Put toys away means go through the house and make sure that things are where they belong, not just shoved into the nearest toy bin or bedroom. Clean bedroom includes dusting, vacuuming, etc. 

When the chore and activities are done for the day, she places a sticker on that day. When Saturday comes, if all of the days have a sticker, she will receive an allowance. 

Allowance is new for us. Before this, she was expected to help around the house and was given praise instead of money.  As she becomes older and her wants become bigger, we decided that having the opportunity to save money and use it for what she would like (without hearing "no" all the time) is an important lesson. 

With the new system in place and working with minimal effort on my part, I'm looking forward to getting Monkey in on it in a few more months. 

How are chores handled at your house? Do you give an allowance for family contributions? 

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