Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Note to Self

This morning I watched my kiddos sleep soundly as I scurried around to get ready for work. Feeling the effects of summer on the horizon and what two kiddos at home has in store prompted me to coin this little note to myself. Because as many of you know, the joy that some feel when summer comes, is not always shared by us moms.

Dear Self,

I have a few things that I need to say to you. Things that cross my mind often, but like so many words and thoughts, do not get spoken out loud enough.

I am sorry. Just like the my children, you have needs. Lots of them. And while I answer my children's needs and ensure that they have all that is required to be happy and healthy, I do not do the same for you. I sometimes ignore what you are telling me, asking you to go without rest, food and heck, sometimes even water. I expect you to stop complaining and deal with it even though the needs that you have are so easy to fulfill. I would never ask that of a loved one and, unlike my little ones, at some point you just stop complaining.

Thank you. While I push you around, ignore your protests and place expectations on you that I would never place on a loved one, you continue to come through for me. You find energy, strength and  courage in all that I ask you to do. You are tireless and relentless in all that you do.

You deserve more. There are so many times where I think about pampering you. Getting a massage to ease your tired muscles, a pedicure to console your feet (that carry me for miles - literally) and whisking you away on a vacation where you can rest in peace and quiet. But I don't do these things as much as I think about them and you remain ignored yet faithful.

I know that you feel that summer is coming. And while so many relish in what that means, I know for you, it means less peace, less quiet. more activity, more chores and more energy. I can feel you quietly asking me to allow you to take a load off before the little ones are home everyday, playing tirelessly and relentlessly.

I will whisper more promises in your ear - promises of quiet time and pampering although it may only be for a few minutes a day. But unlike many, you will appreciate those few minutes and restore yourself quickly so that I can be a tireless, ambitious, energetic, marathoning mom. And know that, if I forget to tell you daily, I love and appreciate you and what you allow me to do.

I am nothing without you.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Missing Milestones and Avoiding a Meltdown (for both mom and child)

Oops, I did it again.

Nope, not the Brittany song but the real life, mommy moments that I have. Just when I feel like a mom rock star, I do it again and feel that dreaded, pit in the stomach, "I am a mom fail" feeling all over again. 

I missed a moment. Not like a temper-tantrum moment or a "watch me mom" moment but a really, crucial, it only happens once kind of moment. 

If it sounds like I have done this more than once, you are right. And it doesn't feel good. The missed first lost tooth, the Christmas recital...and now, the second missed pre-school graduation ceremony. (Yes, I said second.) I know, I know, "it's just pre-school" says every non-mommy out there. But you all get me. And I missed it. 

Now the reasons why these things happen are not important, but what is important here is that there are ways to cope with the missed milestones, ways that will benefit both you and your
child. The bottom line is that, no matter how hard you try, unless you are Wonder Woman (and we all want to be her), you are going to miss moments. At some point in time, it is going to happen.

So, the bigger question is HOW can we cope when these moments are missed? What are some strategies to use when that time actually comes? 

I have three strategies that not only will sooth your soul, but also that of your child's.

Forgive Yourself
Memories in the Making: Celebrate by having a family adventure,
going to your favorite restaurant or making a favorite meal!
We all know that "mom guilt" is a tough one. I am sure most moms, at some point during the day feel a sense of that and it is at its strongest when we miss a special moment. You are an amazing mom. Your children are fed, clothed and loved. That is really what matters.

Talk to Your Child
Whether you know you are going to miss the special moment or realize it in hindsight, talk to your child about their accomplishment. Remind them how much you love them, how proud you are and that there is no other place that you would rather be then there with them. It is not as important to give them the reason why you were absent but rather the fact that you missed not being able to be there.

Celebrate in Your Own Way 
All things can be fixed with a proper celebration. Who needs to traditional award ceremony in the dark auditorium anyway? Decide how to celebrate and make the milestone special. Better yet, ask your child how they would like to celebrate their accomplishment. Make your little one feel special and recognize them in your own, unique, family way. These are the memories that will last.

It is not about the missed milestone but rather the make up moment. You can create the joy and celebration of what your child has accomplished on your own time and in your own way. Chin up mama, I know how important it is to be there for EVERYTHING but unless you are going to follow your kids around FOREVER (please, don't be that mom), there will be missed moments. But you and your magical mom touch can still ensure that the special moment is celebrated and captured forever. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Spending Time: Quality or Quantity?

We spend plenty of time with our kids, I mean, practically all our time, right? But have you ever stopped to think about what KIND of time you are spending?

Think about it, is your time simply time spent (quantity) or is it truly focused and uninterrupted (quality) time?

Remember the "good old days" when dinner time was simply that, the whole family sitting down catching up on one another's day. Or bed time included stories, possibly bible readings and prayers?

Quality time is crucial for connecting with your family. It is when bonds form, values and ethics are taught and honest communication is encouraged. Further, what messages are we teaching our kids about relationships and bonding when we allow time to together be constantly interrupted by television, iPads and phones? That our time with them is important...until our notifications sound?

I know this is hard! We are moms and we will multi-task! It is in our nature to try to do a bunch of things all at once, but when it comes to our loves ones, we need to make time for quality.

Here are three tips:

1. Include Your Children
Sometimes it is inevitable to have to get things done when your kids are carving attention. Try including them in the tasks that you have to do when possible. Take them with you to the grocery store and allow them to pick up a fruit or vegetable to purchase. If you can't avoid working from home, perhaps there is something they can help you with - stacking papers up neatly, sorting, etc.

2. Turn Off Technology
Hiking is one of our family faves for spending quality time.
Ok, I know, I am ADDICTED to my phone. Like sheer panic, the world is caving in when I can't find it addicted. But when I stop and think about how much I allow checking my phone to sidetrack me when I am with my kiddos, it saddens me. So...it's time to turn it off. Whether this mean ringers on silent, putting the phone in another room, enabling "Do Not Disturb", shut it down, at least for chunks of time and show your kids that they have you full, undivided attention. Better, yet, go someplace that is just not phone friendly. Our family's new favorite is going hiking - can  you say limited cell phone reception?

3. Divide and Conquer
Sometimes your kiddos need time with you one on one. When this happens divide and conquer. If you have more than one child, this is the perfect opportunity to split the kids up among parents or family members and give each of them some one on one time. Remember those special moments you spent alone with one of your parents or family members? Your kiddos will too. :)

Do you have special things that you do for quality time? Please share them with us!

Don't forget to join our rock star community of moms over at Haute Mom!

Friday, May 26, 2017

USA Inspired Party Pleasers

As many people prepare for company this weekend, it is time to share my favorite USA inspired snacks that I have come across. Inspirations that will take us all the way through Labor Day.

We can all do the red, white and blue fruit kabobs, and while always a favorite, this haute mom goes for savvy, smart and creative. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they are about as simple as boiling water.

A Sweet and Patriotic Treat

This idea is pure genius and sure to be enjoyed by everyone. Blog Room to Inspire hit the jackpot with some Red Vines and a bit of patriotic scrapbook paper.

  • Cut the paper in strips
  • Wrap the strips around a bundle of Red Vines
  • Secure with double stick place. 
Easy even for a kitchen rookie like me!

Red and Blue With Flavor

This is at the top of my list because it involves, you guessed it, no cooking what so ever!

Note: This can also be mixed up with regular chips (hello blue potato and regular chips) as well as probably a hundred other yummy possibilities.

  • Purchase patriotic paper cones or make some with scrapbook paper. 
  • Toss in red and blue tortilla chips, colored potato chips or any other colorful combo of snack items!
The other thing that makes this straight from the smarty pants brain is that it cuts down on cooties. Nobody likes all those hands in the community chip bowl.

Patriotic Sugar Wafers

You had me at wafer. Everyone loves a little something sweet and is it just me or are cakes and cupcakes a little over done? Besides, none of us moms want our kids chowing down on that..I mean, hellooooo...can you say HYPER? I think these are the perfect size, simple to make (way more than baking) and who doesn't love a wafer?

You will need:
1. 1 package each of colored chocolate candy melts (found in the cake decorating aisle)
2. 1 package vanilla sugar wafers
3. Assorted sprinkles
  • Melt half the colored candy melts according to instructions
  • Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and dip each wafer into the chocolate
  • Place the dipped wafers onto the paper and cover with sprinkles
  • Allow to dry
Place in an airtight container so they don't go stale!
What a fun dessert thanks to Southern Made Simple! Perfect for kids to help with!

Here is to a great weekend of family, friends and love as many gather together in honor and thanks to those that have served and are serving our country.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tired of Running Out of Time? Implement these Time Management Tips!

There is not enough time in the day? I have too much to do and can't get it all done! Sound familiar?

If us moms had a dollar for every time these thoughts crossed our minds, we would be millionaires! The truth is, with all the different hats that you wear as a mom, it often feels impossible, overwhelming and STRESSFUL to get all of your mom duties done in a day.

When stress enters the picture, we all know that our rock star mom hides in the closet and the hot mess comes out. And that's no good for anyone in the family! So what's the solution?

Follow me!

Implementing some quick time management tips into practice can allow you to get more done and lead to more harmony at the end of the day. Are you ready? Of course you are!

Being the haute mom that you are, of course you want to do it ALL! But let's face it, you can't! So set priorities! What are those non-negotiable things that need to get done today? Stick to two or three things that are most important and tackle those first. Anything more than three may cause you to feel overwhelmed and we all know what that leads to - procrastination!

When thinking about those priorities, learn to differentiate between things that MUST get done and things that you WANT to get done. Yes, we all WANT to kill those dust bunnies in the corner of the room but does that take priority over picking your kids up on time? You decide!

You are a rock star and that means that you multi-task all day long. But think to yourself, does that allow you to work most efficiently? How often do you set out to fold laundry, get sidetracked by the dust on the dresser, end up dusting and never getting the laundry put away? Sound familiar? We all do it! Unfortunately, all this leads to is a lot of things started but not finished. When setting out to do a task, be 100% focused on it.

There are certain timed of the day when you are at your best. For example, do you have the most energy in the morning, afternoon or evening? Maybe that is when you schedule your workout time. Is quiet time a priority for you? Perhaps an hour after the kids get home is not the best time for that! Learn when you are most energetic and focused and schedule the things that require that during those peak times.

Time who? I know, right? Timeboxing simply means scheduling start and ends times to your tasks. If it's time to go to Target, give yourself a specific time for when you have to leave Target (because we all know we spend hours there - I've done it.) Knowing that you only have one hour to get in and out will keep you on track and more focused. This leads to less time wasted getting sidetracked by the cute toss pillows that were not on your shopping list. (They are adorbs, aren't they?)

You wouldn't not show up for a scheduled appointment or meeting right? Put your schedule into your phone or planner! Make it official! If 6 a.m. - 7 a.m. is workout time, schedule it into your phone and set that alarm! Gotta be out of Target by 2 p.m. Schedule it! Whether it's down time, carpools, shopping or a phone call you need to make, write it down, put it in the phone and treat it like an appointment! This will keep you on schedule and feeling like a sexy, savvy and systematic mom at the end of the day.

Whether you are a career mom, work from home or run your household full-time, you deserve to feel less stressed and more harmonious at the end of the day. These six tips will create the systems and routines that you need to get the job done!

Be sure to join our amazing Haute Mom community on Facebook! If you love to talk about the down and dirty aspects of mommin', also join us at Haute Mom Hot Mess: Real Talk!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My Kids Live on Goldfish - Barriers to Being a Healthy Chef

Every mother dreams of being able to prepare and deliver amazing, healthy meals to their families. Visions of plates full of fresh fruits and vegetables and roasted (skinless, of course) chicken dance through all of our heads. And we watch with pride as our children gobble it up and politely ask for seconds.

Ha! As if! 

Please tell me why nobody pulls us aside when our kids begin eating solid foods to tell us the reality of what feeding our littles is like. Even IF we had the time to prepare those yummy meals, would they even eat it? You all know the answer to that.

The truth is, for me, that my kids live on Goldfish crackers. Well, Goldfish crackers and chicken nuggets with some apple slices thrown in here or there. Do they eat ANYTHING healthy? Of course! With some serious crying, whining, threatening and bribing that may or may not take place.

If I am being honest here, being that role model chef, is not all that it's cut out to be, is it?

There are many barriers that us moms face when preparing meals for our families. And those barriers alone are enough for most of us to throw in the oven mitt and pull out the hot dogs.

Common barriers that all moms face:

Time - Who HAS the time? Most families have erratic schedules. Whether you work outside of the home or are a stay at home mom, it is nearly impossible to have set meal times. Between your and your spouse's work schedules, kids' homework, practices and lessons and meal preparation, who can get dinner on the table by a decent time?

Budget - Fresh fruits and vegetables and trendy "health" foods like quinoa and coconut oil are expensive! The most budget friendly foods we can find include those that are canned, frozen or come out of a box. While not the poster children for healthy foods, these types of food answer a lot of our prayers, cheap, kid-friendly and easy to prep.

Lack of Resources - Coupon clipping, recipes, the ins-and-outs of meal prep and all things every mom wants. But a lot of us don't have these tools! Yes, Pinterest is awesome, but who has the time? Yes, I would love to make steel cut oats for breakfast, but how do you make them? Meal prepping on Sundays would save so much time during the week but how is it done? Do we have to eat the same thing every night because ain't no child in my house is going for that unless it's fries and chicken fingers.

These barriers are the exact reason why we find ourselves buying the same four things as the grocery store or inventing family nights like "Pizza Tuesday" and "Mac 'n Cheese Monday". But it DOESN'T have to be this way. No it doesn't!! Stay tuned for the solutions to these common mom problems and let's get our family food habits back in track!

In the meantime, share YOUR biggest barrier!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tips for a Healthy Start to 2015

The vast majority of people setting goals for 2015 have at least one health related or fitness goal.  While working out is half of the battle, eating right makes up the other half.

Here are some simple tips to get your eating back on track.

1.  Curb your sweet tooth - Sweet cravings can be a killer and dangerous when you have some cookies or chocolate around the house.  Before you reach for that piece of chocolate, reach for some fruit! Perhaps a slice of apple with almond butter?

Fitness-Food-and-Weights2.  Stock up on diet-friendly foods - having a stock of raw nuts, fat-free plain yogurt, and fresh fruits and vegetables can help you stay in control at home.  From healthy snacking to low-calorie substitutions (plain yogurt is a healthy exchange for sour cream) these food will help you stay on track!

3.  Police your proteins - while many people focus on meals that are low-carb, proteins can carry a lot of hidden fat and extra calories!  If you protein source takes up more than half of your plate, it is too much! Fruits and vegetables should make up half of your plate with proteins and whole grains sharing the other half!

4.  Don't let happy hour get too...happy - when you know you are heading out for a night on the town, there are a few things to remember so that you don't drink too many calories.  Blended drinks such as daiquiris and margaritas are full of unnecessary calories! Switch to a wine spritzer or even soda water with a splash or juice!

5.  Find your balance - do not ever feel like you have to deprive yourself.  If you want a piece of chocolate cake, eat it! Just remember that calories in = calories out.  If you spurge a bit then run the extra miles that day or the next. It's all about balance!

While there are SO MANY things to do to reach those health and fitness resolutions of yours, these five simple tips are easy enough to stick to without any need for a life-changing behavior! Make this your best year yet!