Mommy Monday

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, we’re about to hit the time of year in which there are parties to attend, dishes to make, and presents to wrap. And, typically, all of these responsibilities fall on us mommas. Which means instead of feeling like Mrs. Claus you can end up feeling more like the Krampus.

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Luckily, I’ve rounded up the best tips and tricks to help you get through this holiday season without losing your tinsel all over a mall Santa.

Learn to Say No

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Repeat after me: “I don’t have to go to every party.” Seriously, you don’t have to say yes to an invite just because they asked. If you’ve got a lot going on and need to spend time at home just to decompress or want to wrap presents while watching a Hallmark movie, then by all means DO IT. If going to a party is going to stress you out, stay home. Relax. Not sure how to decline an invite? MyDomaine has some awesome tips to turn down an invitation with class.

 

Shorten Your Gift-Giving List

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I LOVE giving gifts. Huff the Hubs calls me “Leslie Knope” because gift-giving is kind of like my superpower. And I’ll pretty much give anyone a present. The mailman? Check. My dentist? Check. The kids’ pediatrician? Double check. But, that’s not always cost-effective. Which can lead to fretting over the cash flow. As I stated before, you’ve got to learn to say no. This means cutting your gift-giving list down. Instead of giving a gift to your grandma, grandpa, uncle, aunt, etc., make an agreement to forgo gifts this year OR draw names instead! That way, everyone gets something but you don’t have to break the bank! Just be sure to set a spending limit beforehand!

 

Simplify 

You need to simplify your life. Start with a smaller bag.

A moms, we all want to make every moment of the holidays seem magical to our kids. Guess what? The simplest things can be magical. You don’t have to have your hubs dress up as Santa or move that freaking Elf every single day to make Christmas amazing. Do simple things: watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and pop popcorn, make snowflakes out of paper, bake cookies (make it even simpler and get the pre-cut kind!). Your kids will be happy just spending time with you!

 

Keep Christ in Christmas

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While the gifts, the parties, and the cookies are all fun parts of Christmas, they are not the ONLY part. Nor should they be the part that is focused on. Help keep Christmas in perspective for your kids (and yourself!) by shifting the focus where it needs to be: on the miracle of Jesus’ birth. There are a ton of resources out there to help with this! But you can’t go wrong with just simply pulling out your Bible and reading the Christmas story. You don’t have to sit down and give your kids a long sermon, talk about it in the car (“Can you imagine riding a donkey all the way to Bethlehem?!”), while you’re eating dinner (“What do you think the Wise Men ate while they traveled?”), or even while giving your kiddos a bath (“Do you think baby Jesus liked his first bath?”). Shift your focus and you’ll shift your perspective.

 

For more tips, click here, here, or here! Do you have any tips for a less-stressed holiday? Share in the comments below!

Try It Tuesday

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I’ve been seeing a lot of DIY sensory play in my Pinterest feed lately (probably because of the glitter bottles I made a few weeks back. Which, by the way, worked like a charm!) so I decided to try another one!

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Its homemade silly putty! Here’s what you need:

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~Yogurt

~Corn starch

 

That’s it! Oh, and a willing assistant to test said putty. Which, I had on hand:

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Start with a cup of yogurt and 3/4 cup corn starch. Mix together. If its still sticky, keep adding corn starch. If its too grainy, add more yogurt. Keep doing this until you reach the desired consistency.

I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the process because corn starch is the devil and it gets everywhere and makes you lose your mind because of its ability to cling to clothes/hands/the floor/everything within a 2-mile radius until your home looks like Tony Montana’s desk in Scarface.

But, finally, I got the consistency I wanted!

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It kept my little assistant busy for a hot minute while I unloaded/re-loaded the dishwasher. She really enjoyed it when I got out a few cookie cutters.

 

When she lost interest, I put it into a gallon sized Ziploc bag. THEN it was enjoyable for Momma. Mostly because it felt like a stress ball, lol. That’s when I thought, “Hey! This might be a good sensory play-type thing for kids! They can squish this together and keep their little hands busy!”

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All in all, it wasn’t my favorite Try It, but definitely not my least favorite! Have you ever tried this? What were your results? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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It’s that time of year again. A time when we all gather around, eat delicious meals, dress up in clothes, and internally scream at everyone around us. Wait, what? Nobody else does that? Just me? Cool.

In all seriousness, I really do love the holidays! Though now that I’m an adult with two kids, I have to admit that it’s not as magical as it used to be.

Last night we had Huffman Thanksgiving at the in-laws. Or, as my children thought it was called, “Let’s Have Meltdowns Simultaneously Making Mommy Lose Her Mind While We’re Wearing Fancy Clothes Day”.

On the ride home, Huff the Hubs said, “Now that we’re parents, Thanksgiving and Christmas just don’t seem as much fun.”

I agreed. Then, as if right on cue, Huff the Tot piped up, “Wow, Mommy, look at those lights!” (A house was decorated for Christmas) “It’s so beautiful!”

Being the emotional basket case that I am, I felt tears well up in my eyes because though I had had a very tiring evening, she could still see the world through her innocent kid eyes.

Which leads me to the subject of today’s post: How to Get Through The Holidays Without Losing Your Ish.

 

One of the things I like to do is make a list of things that are stressing me out and figure out how I can cope with each stressor. I thought of the main stresses most of us (and by “us” I mean women) have this time of year and some solutions to get you through!

 

Being expected to cook everything and clean up.

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Luckily, I’m not expected to do any major cooking. I’m an okay cook, but my family loves their traditional Thanksgiving foods and they like it how it’s always been made (i.e., mostly by my Grammy and mom) and we’re not a group that is in love with change so I won’t rock the boat. Anyway, I digress… BUT, if you are the one who is up at 5:00 a.m. basting, chopping, and sautéing, listen to what I’m about to say: DO NOT CLEAN UP AFTER ANYONE. Seriously. You have done enough. I don’t care if its tradition for the men-folk to watch football while the women clean. That’s outdated and misogynistic and it needs to end. Just like people are assigned what to bring to a family function, (e.g., Suzy brings stuffing, Bill brings cranberry sauce) there should be assigned dish washers and trash can emptiers. If you’re the one hosting and opening your home, DO NOT CLEAN. This is basically why people have children—free labor. Put those that didn’t cook (or are too young to cook) in charge of clearing plates and scrubbing casserole dishes. Better yet—use paper products and the clean-up is faster! Delegate—and do it early—so you’re not treated like a house elf!

 

The family member that wants to talk politics.

This year, all political talk needs to be banned from family functions. I’m serious. When you (or whomever) makes the call telling other family members what time the Turkey Day festivities are going down, add in a little disclaimer that there is a moratorium on political talk this Thursday. If that one uncle of yours just can’t seem to stop from flapping his gums about the Electoral College, just crank up the Adele:

 

 

Listening to your kid (see: toddler) whine about not wanting any of the Thanksgiving food.

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This was Huff the Tot last night. She didn’t want anything to do with the turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, or stuffing. And you know what? I can already tell you I will not be in the mood to pick that battle later this week at my grandparents’ house. So I WILL be preparing. I’m taking a Lunchable and half of a PBJ. Because it will not matter if my child doesn’t eat giblet gravy, but I AM going to make sure she eats something (and this momma ain’t cooking an extra meal!).

 

The fear of getting shanked at Walmart on Black Friday.

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I used to LOVE Black Friday, back before it became (as I like to call it) “Gray Thursday”. My family and I would make t-shirts, have call signs, and then meet up at Waffle House for a victory breakfast, swapping war stories about our deals. Now that the stores are open on Thanksgiving, it kind of takes the fun out of it. But, fear not! About 99% of the deals that are in store you can find online! The last two years I have bought the majority of my Black Friday swag online and didn’t necessarily have to get out! Word of advice though, do NOT get on the Walmart or Target website RIGHT at midnight. Everyone does that and the websites are suuuuuper slow. You’ll end up staying up until 6:00 a.m. Thanksgiving morning because of it. Trust me.

 

Social anxiety.

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I’ve been very open about my struggle with depression and anxiety. It sucks. And sometimes it can really get in the way of letting a person enjoy special occasions. Something that has always helped me in the past was having a place I could escape to collect myself. At my Grammy’s house, there are four bedrooms and an enclosed staircase. Sometimes when it gets too loud or I’m feeling a panic attack some on, I slip to one of the back rooms or staircase and take a few minutes to breathe and regain my composure. (My essential oils anxiety blend has also been a real helped!)

 

The holidays should be fun, enjoyable, and filled with fun memories. But that doesn’t mean they also aren’t stressful and make you want to curl up in a ball with a bottle of Cupcake! Do you have any tips for surviving the holidays? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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Here lately, I’ve been feeling more rundown than normal. It seems as though I’m stress-eating more, wanting to be lazy, and feeling all-around melancholy. I found this odd seeing as how I’ve actually been getting more sleep (Huff the Babe has been letting me sleep a bit more throughout the night) and I’ve even been working out 3-4 times a week, fairly consistently.

Huff the Hubs and I are good, relationships with friends and family are good, work is good… what could be causing this? After some pondering, I realized what it was: this election is stressing me out.

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Apparently, I’m not the only one experiencing this. A new poll shows that a majority of the electorate are experiencing some sort of stress related to the election. Think about it: the temperatures are dropping (and for some areas, going back up to the 90’s again!) and that alone sends a hit to your immune system. Add in the ridiculous circus we call Election Year and its just a recipe for disaster–especially this year.

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Most of us have already decided who we’re going to vote for and I highly doubt any of us are going to change our minds. Because, let’s face it, we all had our minds made up months ago. All we can do now is just ride out the storm. That, and maybe unplug from Facebook and Twitter for a while.

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How about you? Are you feeling overwhelmed with the mayhem of our democratic system? How are you coping? Share in the comments below!

 

Try It Tuesday

Since the break-in, I’ve been on edge. Like, crazy on edge.

The other night, Huff the Hubs moved his pillow and, thinking it was a man coming into our bedroom to murder us, I screamed at the top of my lungs. To which HtH said: “Baby, I think you’re a little tense.”

(Gee, ya think?!)

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I’ve been looking to find ways to help myself with the tension and the constant fear that someone is going to bust into my house. I’ve been exercising, reading my Bible, talking to my counselor, but I felt like I needed more help. Like, medicinal help. But, I didn’t really like the thought of popping pills. I was talking to my mom about it who spoke to a family friend with similar anxiety issues. She said she had started using essential oils to calm her whenever she felt jumpy or anxious. So I thought, “I’ll give it a try!”

I bought three different kinds:

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I went to the natural grocery store and picked these up. I got eucalyptus because its used in many stress relief products as well as a blend of various oils to be used when one is feeling anxious, and another to help me stay focused and sharp (I have a severe case of Mommy Brain). I first tried rubbing the oils on my hands, but I noticed that the scents just weren’t the same when applied to my skin. (I.e., they smelled one way in the bottle and another on my hands. I think its because of my scented hand soap.) Then, I went to Wal-Mart and found this:

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This diffuser was only $4! I was so happy I found it because it works SO well! It diffuses the scent throughout the whole house! (Much to HtH and my sister’s disapproval.) After I bought this, I was HOOKED on these oils! I really feel like they’ve been helping. I even took a bubble bath the other night and put a few drops of eucalyptus in the bath water; it. was. HEAVENLY.

 

Have you ever used essential oils? What do you use them for? What do you think about them?

Bear Down

Here lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve been clenching my teeth. I won’t even be doing anything stressful–or even feel stressed–but my teeth are clenched tight.

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My teeth have been super sensitive the past few months and I’ve been getting headaches more frequently. I thought it was because I needed caffeine, but I attribute it to my teeth clenching.

When I Googled: “How to stop clenching my teeth” one of the answers basically said that teeth grinding (also called bruxism) is caused by stress. So, just don’t be stressed.

Really?

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Another website said that there could be many things that are causing me to clench teeth:

~Too much caffeine

~Too much alcohol

~Not enough sleep

~Work stress

~Not enough exercise

~Poor diet

 

Well…I’m not giving up my coffee or Diet Coke. Sorry. Can’t happen. I need it because I’m not getting enough sleep. I haven’t had alcohol in FOREVER (I can’t bring myself to pump and dump; breast milk is liquid gold). Of course I’m not getting enough sleep–I have an almost one year old. Work stress? Not even touching that one. And I exercise and eat right. So I don’t see what I can do to stop my teeth clenching. Maybe I should get one of those mouth guards like Joey.

 

Do you clench your teeth? What do you do to make yourself stop? How do you relieve stress?