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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

31+ Movies You Should Watch in October

 I meant to have this written and published sooner, but this is the time of year where things really start to get busy and well, illnesses like to spread. If you're reading this and it's just before October, than great, if not, October isn't over yet so there's still time to start on this list and if you're very enthusiastic and have time, you can still complete it by the last day... that might mean you'll have to watch two or more movies a day (at least), but if you're like me and love Halloween, (I mean October) then this could just be as simple as watching some on the weekend as a marathon.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Real Baby Essentials- What We Used and What We Didn't

Becoming a first time parent can be overwhelming, especially when you are trying to figure out what you will need once baby arrives. While creating a registry can be fun, it can also be daunting. It's important to research, and I found that I was constantly doing everything I could in order to prepare me for motherhood, whether I watched documentaries or joined online sites. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Be Your Own Person and Not Someone Else


  Today, I found one of my daughter's toy princesses. This figuring is a small, fits in the palm of your hand Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen. This is one of her many dolls that have interchangeable dresses. You just push the bottom in like a clothes pin and it will open up the dress and the princess can slip right out.


       When I found her, she was wearing the dress that belongs to Belle from Beauty and the Beast. The first thing I thought was, "Girl, this isn't your color."

       Immediately, after that, I thought, "I shouldn't be so mean and judge" but then another lesson came to mind.

Not Everything is made For Everyone

      Look at Elsa: She's very pale skinned, her hair is platinum blonde, and if she were a real human, this color would wash her out. The dress is very pretty, but it wasn't made for her.

       This doesn't mean that she's ugly, but she has other things that she could wear, like blue or green, that would suit her better.

      I'm not saying that she shouldn't wear this dress. Maybe it's more comfortable than her other dresses or maybe she likes the color better. And this isn't really about looks, anyways.

      I know that sometimes, we want our kids to be just like us and do things like play sports or learn to play the piano. We shouldn't put it on them if it isn't something that they want to do, though. Our intentions may be good, like "I want them to have structure" or "I want them to do what I couldn't do", but really, you should see how your kid feels about it.

      Maybe you really liked to play football and you want your child to follow in your footsteps, but your child just wants to swim or dance. Don't shame them for not wanting to do what you want them to do. They aren't you! No matter how many similarities there are between you, they are still their own person.

Just because everyone is doing it, doesn't mean that you have to, too.

      How often do we let our kids wear things just because everyone else is wearing them? In a world where we have to be careful because anyone can look up things about you, we need to be careful with how we're dressing our kids. There really is a need for censorship.

     Yes, that mini skirt and low cut blouse looks cute, but it's not made for little girls. Even teenage girls shouldn't be wearing them because they should be more focused on learning in school and building healthy relationships and not trying to catch all of the guys attentions. Your kids can choose what they want to wear when they are legally an adult.

      Set some boundaries and follow through on them. I mean, Elsa shouldn't be wearing a strapless dress when her land is frozen. It's impractical, put on some sleeves! Yes, Belle is the most beautiful and best princess, but Elsa, you have your own style and qualities too. You don't need to be like Belle.


     I may have pushed this lesson a bit, I blame it on my ever thinking/wandering mind. I always got in trouble in English class, or rather any class where I had to have coherent thoughts written down in the way that someone else wanted me to write- which you know, that really stifled my creativity. Someday, I'll show them.

      You don't have to be like everyone else. You are your own person. Just do what makes you happy as long as it doesn't break the law. I mean, we can't all walk around naked just because clothes confine us, but you know, I wouldn't anyways because- cold. Brrrr!

      Don't suffocate your kids with things that you want them to do. Instead, allow them to do some things that they enjoy, but also, don't let it be a burden on you, either. I mean, does your child really need to be in art, soccer, dance, and learning to be the American Ninja Warrior all at once? No!

      Lastly, don't worry too much about how you are as a parent. We all do things differently. Some of us believe that a quick, in control spanking or time-out helps their kids with disciplining and structure while others believe that all things can be done well with incentives and love. Kids are all different and maybe they need more tough love than gentle love or maybe they need more words of affirmation than words of disappointment. There's a reason why we call it parenting style because things work differently for everyone.

Anyways, be your own person and not someone else.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

What Can You Learn From a Broken Washer Machine?

What's the Problem? 

        Twice now, my washer machine has broken and each time, my husband and I decided that we were going to get a new washer so I could wash clothes without a hassle.

       The first time it broke, my washer machine kept filling up with water and wouldn't stop. In order to get it to stop filling up, I had to turn the water off in the whole house. Thankfully, it went onto the next cycle and the water drained. Unfortunately, this happened for hours and water had poured all over the basement floor and the blankets that I had set there to wash (stomach flu season) got soaked.
       I had to get those washed or they would mold and be ruined. So I was extremely happy that when I turned the water back on, the washer didn't start to fill up again. I still had to drain and spin out the load that was already in there, so I put it on the spin cycle and it spun all the way out. I transferred the clothes to the dryer and took a chance and washed another load, but this time I stayed to watch it.

       The same thing had happened again. The water kept rising even after the next cycle began and the washer began agitating the clothes. I went to the main water valve and turned it off again and the water stopped. It seemed that as long as it stopped filling, it wouldn't start again until it was time to rinse. Thus, my journey began when I had to babysit my washer machine in order to get it to work properly.


        My husband and I both decided that this was too big for me to fix or want to try (I like to fix the things around my house) and that we would buy a new washer.

        I began cleaning up and around the basement so there would be room to install the new one when we bought it. While I was cleaning I put on a smaller load of laundry. To my AMAZEMENT, the washer machine worked on its own. I tried the large size load, (I normally do my laundry on super mode because we have a ton of laundry) and that worked too. I called my husband up and told him that we could wait on looking for a new washer.

       The second time it broke and I figured that the part to fix it was probably worth more than what the washer machine was worth, happened a couple of days ago. The washer would start it's load, but then the whole power box turned off every time the washer was to begin agitating and spinning.

       Naturally, I tried troubleshooting it, ruling out what the problem could be and figured it was the motor. So, again, instead of buying a new part that was probably going to cost a large amount and then possibly break the most important part of the machine, we decided to get a new one.

      So I'm back downstairs in the basement, trying to clean up that area. It's a huge mess. I've fallen behind on laundry from babysitting the washer before and from working on the blog full time. Since I know that the washer machine will drain, I figured I should try to get out as much access water as I could because it would be a mess to move it if it was full. I tried to put the drain cycle on (different from the spin and agitating cycle) and it went straight to spin and turned off.

      Well I'm an expert now on how to make my washer do things it doesn't want to do, so I spun the knob around to the wash cycle and turned the washer back on. I let it fill with water (because at this point it's starting to smell from everything sitting for a couple of days) and to my chagrin, the washer starts doing a full cycle including agitating and spinning.


       To test it out to see if it still works, I put on a small load and guess what.... It worked!

       Naturally, I have to tell my husband because we were going to call a guy who sells washers and well, we may not have to. I told him that it was working, but I would try a second one just to be sure.... and it worked too!

       So what have I learned about this experience?

Just because it seems broken, it doesn't mean that it can't be fixed. 

     How many times have we thrown something out just because it was broken? How many times have we given up on someone or something because we didn't want to work on our problem?

     I've had problems with this washer before. It was with our house when we bought it four years ago. At the time, I wanted to see if I could fix it because we didn't have a lot of expendable income coming in and I thought that our money could go towards something better than a new machine.

    With the help of YouTube and the GE website, I was actually able to diagnose the problem and fix it. It turned out, all it needed was a lid switch and that was an easy job to do, once we got it.

     The second time it happened, I was able to diagnose that too and get it fixed. I can't remember what the problem was, but I did it, with a little help from my husband because I needed the muscle to move the washer.

Once you've fixed the problem, you gain some peace.

     Not only did I feel overjoyed that it started working again, I felt accomplished and content. I did something with my two hands and fixed it. We wouldn't need to pay more than what we needed to and I knew that it was going to work for a while longer.

     When we have problems with people, parenting, or married life, we should first try to work it out. Of course there are exceptions like being in an abusive relationship, in which case, find someone who could help you get out, but in other cases, there most likely was a misunderstanding.

      Sit down and talk with them and listen. I'm guilty of shouting when I want to be heard, but I know that can damage relationships more than anything. Really listen, really talk things out. If a counselor can help, let them.

      The same thing applies with your children, especially young ones who don't know how to verbally tell you what is wrong. Sit down and talk with them and listen too. When you're finished, try to come up with a solution and ways to apply it. I bet you'll feel at peace afterwards.

Sometimes, you just need to be ready to throw in the towel and give up in order to get results.

       Maybe my washer machine knows what's really happening... I'm kidding, I know it doesn't. But how is it that coincidentally that each time we were ready to get a new washer machine, it decides to randomly start working again?

      Maybe it needed time to readjust. Actually, when you look in the manuals or look online, it tells you that you need to try to reset your washer. Sometimes it's as simple as lifting the lid and closing it several times and other times, you need to restart it and try an empty load so it re-calibrates. I'm guessing that is what I did when it decided to work again, today.

      In relationships, getting to that point when you're about to give up, that can really open the other person's eyes. It may just be enough to get them to see that what was happening was something that bothered you more than they thought it did. Even if you told them, sometimes its when they see it happening they realize.

     Maybe then, they'll take action and know that it's time to change.

If it's really broken and it can't be fixed, get rid of it.

      Sometimes, things can't be fixed. Throw out that washing machine and get a new one.

       Obviously, or I hope that it's obvious, don't throw out your kids. In a parenting scenario, if something like spanking or time outs don't work, throw out that strategy and try parenting with a different approach. Redirect them, love them. Not all strategies work.

       With adult relationships, there can be very toxic relationships. There are many people who are master manipulators who know the game and will change for a little time, but if they keep repeating it, they're broken. Leave that relationship. In cases of abuse, please get help. It's not easy, in fact Danielle Steele writes a book all about that.

       This is actually a very good book. It was frustrating and engaging and an emotional roller coaster read. In this book, she explains how some women, especially those who were physically abused, don't realize that they are in an abusive relationship when they are in one. I recommend the book, immensely!


       All that we're saying, is give things a chance. Ok, so not really. I know that eventually, we're going to need to replace our washer machine and I was embarrassed that I had to ask my in-laws to use their machine because I couldn't wash my kids uniforms at home. (another reason that I think uniforms are unnecessary.)

      I'm annoyed that I cleaned my basement when I could have been working on other things. On the plus side, though, at least it's one less thing that I have to worry about when it does come time to replacing the washer.

      On the downside, I cut my hand on something in the basement, so I might contract gangrene or tetanus and no, I'm not going to the doctor for a shot unless my hand starts to die and fall off or I start to mutate. I'm just going to rub some dirt in it- you got me again. I'm just going to wash my hand and bandage it, maybe put on some Neosporin. Maybe someone has an oil for that?

      But really, sometimes, a blog post might come out of something totally unexpected and maybe, you can learn something from a broken washer machine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

How To Throw A Fall Tea Party

Last year, we started our annual tea party. It's a time where we women and children can dress up and partake in tea and snacks. My daughter has been looking forward to this second one ever since the first one finished.  (You can read about how we threw it economically in  How to throw an Economical Tea Party.)


      Unfortunately, this year, it wasn't as economical. My husband took our daughter out to find a dress and well, baby girl might have daddy wrapped around her little finger. I can't complain, though, because my outfit wasn't as cheap either. I had a difficult time finding any dresses or nice outfits on sale, this time of year.

      Other than the outfits, I tried to keep the cost of the tea party lower by getting decorations from the Dollar Tree- where everything is a dollar, and the food that I made for it was made with things I already had or things that could be used in multiple things. Since we hosted this tea party in October, the theme was fall. I made a lot of pumpkin foods so I got to use the same can of pumpkin puree.

       So enough about the cost and this and that, here's what we had!

Photo Wall

     Fall themed backdrop- I hung up a white table cloth on the wall and hung up a couple of fall themed felt decorations. It was a cute idea in theory, but felt+tape= disaster. They kept falling off.

Another problem that we had is that I should have hung up another table cloth because not everyone fit into the frame when they were all gathered around. It was great for two, maybe three people, but that was it. It was also difficult to get a good picture because everyone wanted to take pictures at the same time so those who were in the picture didn't know where to look.


I found these little solar powered flowers with a butterfly at the Dollar Tree- actually all of the decorations are from there. We had two different kind- this one had tulips and the other kind had red roses. Each family that attended was able to take one home with them. 

Pardon the worn out table cloth, I forgot to take pictures before everything had been used. I bough three vases with matching flowers. The red ones were actually one bouquet, but I split them apart so I could put one in each red vase. I lined the vases across the table and then weaved the mesh tubing around them in a figure 8 pattern. The leaves were spread evenly across the table. I hung the two lanterns on the light fixture above my dining room table. 

My friend was awesome enough to have taking this before picture of the table. I was putting the finished touches on everything and placing food about the tables. 


Ok, so I had a lot of help with the food. Most of these recipes I found on Pinterest. I made 3 dozen muffins. Each dozen was a different recipe. I only took pictures of this pumpkin recipe as a teaser to those who were still on their way over to visit. 

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins- Anna Ginsberg Cookie Madness is who I found this recipe from. The recipe is in the link. They were absolutely delicious!

Banana Streusel Muffins- I thought that these were a little buttery and salty, but that was probably just me.

Chocolate Chip Muffins- These were really good, but also dry. Again, this was my fault. I didn't realize that the recipe had called for sour cream so I used what I had (not enough) and I forgot to set the timer on them. Oops!

Pumpkin Caramel These were the favorite of the day. Very delicious!

How mine came out- after some were already eaten. I didn't rub the cinnamon sugar on them, but they were still very yummy and the best part was, they were super easy to make!

Cucumber Sandwiches- This was my own recipe and I unfortunately didn't take any pictures of it. I plan to make a post with the recipe soon to come!


Ok, so I had planned on doing some crafts, but we never got to them. The men and women split up- there were 18 of us there! 9 of us were children so things didn't go as planned, but it was still a lot of fun!

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The Very Best Part

The very best part of all of this is that my house got cleaned and we were able to almost comfortably engage in fellowship with each other. It may have felt a little chaotic with us getting up and putting a kid in time out or struggling to talk to one another over the noise, but we were together and had fun and that's what matters!

What did you do this weekend? Do you have any traditions that you do each year? 

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Life of a Stay-At-Home Parent

Being a stay-at-home parent has raised arguments over whether or not the work is as hard as it is for moms and dads who work. Some people argue that it's harder and others believe that being a mom or dad who works full-time is more difficult. I really don't see why we have to debate the question over whether or not being any type of parent is hard because the answers are, "It depends."

For some moms, they couldn't fathom going back to work and missing a moment of their children's lives. Going to work would be difficult for them. For other moms, they might miss the social interaction and the hard work put in to working, so staying home and being idle (or what would seem more idle) would make staying home harder for them.

I read a book a few months ago by Jennifer Fulwiler called One Beautiful Dream . (You can read my review in my post A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.) In this book, she talks about finding your blue flame, the thing that inspires you to do the things you love. Jennifer loves to write so she blogs and writes books. She, however, isn't one of those types of moms who loves to organize and her children aren't always perfectly groomed or behave the way that she hopes, but there was a mom in her book that did the mom thing perfectly. She spoke with that mom and the mom told her that her blue flame that energizes her is being a mom, being organized, and doing things with her kids.

Now, I'm a stay-at-home mom. There are things that I love about it and there are things about it that may not be my cup of tea. I love my kids and I believe that's important, but being home for me is hard sometimes. I miss having work friends to talk with everyday. I miss getting recognized for my hard work. I actually miss working. I know that I should think of staying home as my job because I can do the cooking, the cleaning, and raising my kids- and mothers all over the century have done that without complaint, but raising kids isn't the same today as it was years ago. Now, we're expected to do crafts with the kids, teach our children in addition to the learning that they've already done in school, and be superwoman. I can't do that all of the time, I'll wear out.

I started this blog over a year ago, with hopes of it becoming a potential income outlet, but also as a way to connect with other moms and dads. I hoped that I could be an influencer or someone who could be relatable to other parents. I think the best way to reach out and to relate is to go forth and ask other parents what they thought so I interviewed other stay-at-home moms and dad's and here is what they had to say!

Matthew- Stay-At-Home Dad 

Can you tell me the reason you're staying home? So my wife can pursue her career and because child care became too much money so I decided to stay home to eliminate that bill.  
How do you like being a stay-at-home dad?  I like being able to watch my kids grow everyday, but at the same time, I do very much so miss working and being able to have a certain banter with co-workers. I will say being a stay-at-home dad has challenges and is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had.  
What types of things do you do when you stay home? Not activities with the kids? Usually partake in some video games with friends, try to get out of the house by going to eat or just trying to do chores and what not.
What chores do you do around the house? Well, for sure, the kids in general, feeding, changing, keeping them entertained, bathing them. Then dishes, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, mowing, grocery shopping alone, cooking picking up toys then there's dog care.
How has it impacted you mentally? Physically? I think mentally, it has taken a toll I sometimes have bouts of impatience because I just want my kids to not need me, but at the same time, it brings me to immense joy when I see them learning something or just a simply smile. Physically, it has been really bad. Due to the fact that I'm not working a job where ther is really any exercise, I have put on a lot of weight which has also added to my mental state of being down Not necessarily depressed, but just upset that I've let myself get this far. 

 Anthony King-

Are you a stay-at-home parent? I used to be a stay-at-home dad. 
How did you like being a stay-at-home dad? I liked it in the sense that I got to spend time with my son, but it was hard watching my wife going to work knowing that she wanted to stay home. 
What types of things did you do when you are home? Not including activities with the kids. School work, business, and cleaning the house. 
What type of things do you do with your kids? We were outside all the time, playing with the neighbors. We played games inside and watched children's dancing and music shows. We played with the garden hose a lot. (We lived in Southern California.)  
What did a regular day look like for you as far as chores? We hung out with Mom until she left at about 2. After she left, we would have lunch, clean up the kitchen, do laundry (especially cloth diapers). We’d do a general cleanup at the end of the day (pick up toys, sweep.) Lots of dancing while doing chores!  
Did you do them alone or do you have help? I did them alone. My wife was making money. How did staying home impact you mentally? Physically? It definitely gave me a new perspective on a stay-at-home parent. It's not as easy as everyone thinks it is, staying home. It's a full-time job. You watch him and play and teach. Physically, it let me work on my “dad bod!”  
What age was your child at the time? At the time, we just had the one child. I stayed home with him from 4.5 months old to 14 months old. Can you tell me a little about you in 2-3 sentences as well as website/blog? I'm a 27-year-old veteran and parent of two. I recently moved across the country in search of a better lifestyle. My wife blogs about her life journey.

Christy E Gray-

 How do you like being a stay-at-home parents? I LOVE being a stay-at-home mom, which is a complete surprise. I was a workaholic, and I still love my work, but I don't want to do anything more than spend time with my kiddo. Honestly, sometimes it's a struggle and the shift in gears was a challenge to adjust to, but I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to stay home and my husband and I believe because we can make it work, this is the most important use of my time and our family resources. 
What type of things do you do when you are home? Not including activities with the kids.  Everything overlaps at home. My son is just 15 months, so I include him in as much as I can in terms of house chores- he "helps" me vacuum and sometimes prep dinner (although my husband cooks at least half of the time). During nap time I do my own thing to recharge, sometimes that is my own business work, sometimes I read or nap or paint. Whatever is necessary and possible for the day.  
What type of things do you do with your kids?When kiddo is awake, we play and explore and spend time outside as much as possible. I encourage him to play independently some of the time, but we are basically together constantly. Story time is one of our favorite activities. I mean, honestly, I am still learning how to be a mom, and kiddo is still figuring out the world as a toddler. So, everyday is full of what looks like very little productivity but a whole lot of learning.  
What does a regular day look like for you as far as chores?I try to do chores daily to keep the workload less. But I don't always manage to get anything done, much less everything. We don't have hired help for household chores like some moms in my community, but my husband and I share the responsibility exactly the same as we shared it when we both worked before our first child was born. We agreed that stay-at-home parenting is a full time job itself, and the rest of the chores that existed before kiddo are no different now. Since I am home all day, sometimes I get more opportunities to get some laundry done or sweep the floors. But, just learning how to manage a little one newly on the move is a ton of work that I am still learning to juggle and that is my first priority. And my husband appreciates that. So, it works well.  
How has staying home impact you mentally? Physically?  It's been a complete life change. Everything is different and I can't imagine not being able to stay home with my son now, but even still, it has been a huge mental/emotional challenge to make the shift. I was raised by a single mom and money was always tight. So I have very deep fears about finances, particularly, remaining financially independent has been a huge deal for me and even though I am 100% confident in my partner, giving up my own work to stay home was a real mental challenge for me. I felt overwhelmingly vulnerable for a while And my husband and I had a lot of long conversations about my insecurities. Some days are better than others, but ultimately, my desire to be with my son and raise him myself outweighs the anxiety I have, so I am working through it. As a balance, I have a small business I do part time now, during nap time and in the evenings as some extra income. I'm selling the most incredible children's books that focus on things like mindfulness, compassion, sustainability, inclusions, and diversity. It's been the perfect blend of my old working woman independence shifting into a full time mom.  
What ages do you and your kids range? I am 32 years old and my son is 15 months and we are trying to get pregnant with a second.  
Can you tell me a little about you in 2-3 sentences as well as website/blog? A little bit about me- I love education, I have a PhD in the field of human development (mental, emotional, and relationship development kind of things), I am an animal lover, dog, cat, and horse mom and care deeply about emotional intelligence and education in general. In previous lives, I used to teach leadership, worldviews history, and business courses at the University of NB, and personal development in partnership with my horses. The idea of children'ts literacy and empowering and educational books resonates on many levels for me. My newest venture is

Christina Thacker- 

How do you like being a stay-at-home parent? I love it most days, other days I think of how much I would love to get out and be just“me” not a mom or caretaker. To have a few moments of silence without it being a scary, “It’s too quiet” kind. But when I really get down to it I would not trade my job at home for anything.

What types of things do you do when you are home? Not including activities with the kids. Clean, cook, clean, laundry, and clean some more. There is never a time where my house is fully clean. I write at least once a week for my blog at “Hope Filled Mom” and try to keep up on social media for it. For the most part I try to keep my tribe running smoothly. We all do so much better when we have a clean home and keep with a routine. So how I look at it is I am the CEO of the household. 
What type of things do you do with your kids? We love to read and spend time outside. I try to do crafts with them but with there being 3 of them between 4 months and 6 years and one of me, with not enough patience, we don’t do it a whole lot. 
What does a regular day look like for you as far as chores? Currently we live at my in laws due to a “we sold our house, we didn’t sell our house” situation. So I have no regular day. But when I did, and when we move back in October I tried to be pretty routine. I have a checklist of to-dos in the morning, unload the dishwasher, make the beds, and so on. Then a to-do list at night, load the wash, quick tidy up around the house, and make sure I am prepared for the next morning. Each day I have a specific chore, Monday I Vacuum, Tuesday I mop. My family and I thrive when we have a clean home and a routine that we know what to expect.

Do you do them alone or do you have help? I try to do them myself, but I have reluctantly come to terms with,“I am not a super mom”. After many tears and a long conversation with my husband on how I am the CEO of the family, this means I must delegate out some jobs. I can’t do it all alone. So my daughter who is 6 now makes her own lunch for school and gets her bag packed. Both of my older children help with laundry and tidying up. My husband has claimed dish duty and is willing to help anywhere else I need him. I am extremely blessed with the help I receive from my family. 
How has staying home or single life impacted you mentally? Physically? I dealt with postpartum depression with my two youngest children which at the time was so overwhelming, but helpful in the end. During that time my marriage grew stronger and I saw a counselor who helped me deal with anxiety I had from my past. I still struggle at times with it, but know how to handle it better. There are days that my husband knows I need him to handle the kids because I mentally and physically can’t. I am also always exhausted. I have a 4 month old not sleeping through the night yet, a 3 year old who still has accidents and a 6 year old who gets night terrors on occasion. I know that if I don’t
have “me” time I get grouchy and short with my family. I am so thankful that my husband understands this and has in the past “kicked” me out of the house in order for me to have time to myself. 
What ages do your kid/kids range? 4 Months, 3 years, and 6 years 
Can you tell me a little about you in 2-3 sentences as well as website/blog? I am a mom to 3 blessings and a wife to a youth minister… so add about 30 other kids to our family. I am trying to come out of my “perfect” bubble and show the world that I don’t have it all together and it’s ok. My purpose right now is to focus on my family and help other moms out there live a Hope Filled Life.

Caitlyn Patoka-

How do you like being a stay-at-home parent? I started out my parenting journey as a working Mom and after having our third child, it made more sense for me to stay home with the kids. I enjoyed working, so being home wasn't necessarily my goal or desire. I can say that being a stay-at-home parent has some advantages as well as many difficulties compared to being a working parent.
What types of things do you do when you are home? Not including activities with the kids. My daily life includes laundry, dishes, cooking, tidying up, running errands, taking kids to appointments, and generally managing the household. Occasionally I will get together with a friend for coffee or have a playdate for my toddler. I'm also a blogger. so a portion of my day is spent working on my computer. This is generally when my children are sleeping, but I sometimes do small tasks when they are awake playing.

What type of things do you do with your kids? My three older children are in elementary school, so most of the day I just have my toddler. He is an active 2 year old who needs plenty of outdoor time every day, so we time each day at the park or out in our yard. If the weather isn't nice, we have several libraries in our town with great play spaces for kids so we will head there. I also bring him with me to run errands and go on outings. When we're home, he follows me around the house attempting to help with household chores. We also do typical toddler activities like playing with cars, blocks. coloring, reading books. etc.
After my older kids get home from school, the kids mostly play with one another and I focus on housework, helping with homework, and getting dinner ready. We also have after school activities as well since my children play sports. 
What does a regular day look like for you as far as chores? With a family of 6, there is always laundry to be done. I do at least one load every day, usually more. Loading and unloading the dishwasher and hand washing any pots and pans is also a daily task. I typically cook dinner, although my husband enjoys cooking so there are nights when he does that after he gets home.
I do most of the cleaning up (toys, clothes, etc) each night but most of the bigger cleaning tasks like scrubbing bathrooms or vacuuming are done on the weekends when my husband and I can switch off watching the kids. 
Do you do them alone or do you have help? Most of the daily chores I do alone, but I have a lot of help from my husband with the bigger tasks on the weekends. He is very hands-on both with the kids and around the house. We also have a cleaning person come do a deep-clean of the house once a month. 
How has staying home or single life impacted you mentally? Physically? Mentally, staying home has been very isolating. Most of my friends work at least part-time or are busy with other endeavors. I have days where I do not utter a single word to another adult until my husband gets home at night. The biggest thing I miss about going to work is the camaraderie I had with my coworkers. 
Another struggle I have mentally is feeling like I don't do anything of value. I have a master's degree and have always enjoyed learning, interacting, and being challenged. Staying home with kids, while valuable in a "big picture" sense, feels like riding on a merry-go-round every day. Every day is essentially the same and each task is somewhat unfulfilling. 
On a positive note, staying home has allowed me to be there for everything in my children's lives, which I'm very grateful for. I can say I rarely feel the typical Mom guilt, as I do have tons of time with my kids and we have a special, close bond.
Physically, I think staying home helps me to stay active. I can't go to my old workout class because they don't have childcare, but I can run with my son in the jogging stroller, play outside with him, and do home workouts during nap time. 
What ages do your kid/kids range? My kids are 2, 5, 8, and 10. The older two children are adopted and one has some special needs, which is another reason it is best that I stay home. 
Can you tell me a little about you in 2-3 sentences as well as website/blog? In addition to being a Mom, my time is spent reading, writing. and traveling. My favorite destination is Disney World, which I write about on my blog I also write about pregnancy, babies, and parenting and always try to "keep it real" with my readers as a regular, imperfect Mom.

 Kathy Neise Diehl-

Tell me about yourself? I am a 44 year old stay at home mom, with a 10 year old boy and an almost 3 year old girl. I have been at home for about 5 years now.  
How do you like being a stay-at-home mom? I know that it is a blessing to my children and I definitely don't miss being bored at work, but I miss having an identity "outside" the home or having projects to do that allow for my talents and abilities to be used.  
What activities do you do without the children? I have just started blogging, but it is so difficult to find time where I can just sit down and concentrate without a million interruptions! lol When I'm home, it's mostly home things: dishes, laundry, lunch, dinner, etc. I volunteer at church pretty regularly, so I'm there a couple days a week and I just started with a community theatre group for a show this fall, but my son is also in the show, so, so much for alone time! lol 
What activities do you do with your kids? Activities with the kids could include park day or playdates, grocery shopping, going to the gym, running errands, homeschool for my son. 
Who does chores? My son has some chores that he has to do: clean the bathroom, keep his room relatively clean, do his laundry. The rest are up to me or my husband. 
What is your blog?

Missy Yandow-

How do you like being a stay-at-home mom? I love it. I was a teacher before I had kids, I tried returning to work and was stressed out all the time because I wasn't happy with childcare and I felt like I was missing out on SO much.

What types of things do you do at home? With kids? Chores? My days are filled with teaching my kids with hands-on activities and exploring. We like to go for walks and take trips to the library and local places like the zoo and the museum of play. Other than that, I am a baby & toddler sleep consultant, so I'm working on building my business in hopes of building a full-time business. It's hard to think of other things that I do at home, that don't include activities with the kids.... I feel like I'm 24/7 doing activities with them. As far as chores, I'm a slacker. I know I can do better. I wash the same load of laundry 3-4 times because I constantly get distracted and forget about it. I let the dishes in the sink fill too high and forget to empty the dishwasher. I sweep the kitchen floor and clean the kitchen table at least 4 times a day. When we do sensory play (water, sand, rice, etc.) I'm cleaning up after those messes as well. I love being able to give my kids these experiences and don't mind those messes because I know they're learning. And they're problem-solving, working together, sharing and socializing. It's my favorite thing about being home with them- I'm their mom, their teacher, their nurse, their maid, and... their boss hahaha

Do you have help with chores? My kids have responsibilities but not necessarily chores. They are responsible for cleaning their bedrooms, cleaning up after meals (plates and cups in the sink, etc.) and they are given one room to keep clean- like the dining room, the living room, the TV room. They need to keep their toys off the floor. They are allowed privileges when they complete these things (like watching a show).... otherwise, the chores are all on me.

How has staying home affected you mentally? Physically?  Physically- I should exercise more. I used to be more active. I would like to change that about myself. Typically when the kids are occupied or resting, I'm working on my business or just plain exhausted and want to rest. Mentally- I would think that it's more socially impacted me, haha. When I was teaching, I was interacting with kids a lot, but there was still adult interaction. I miss that, but I also enjoy the routine that I've created. Sometimes I feel bad for my husband because when he gets home from work I talk to him NON-STOP.

Tell me about yourself. I'm a SAHM to an almost 5 year old son, a 3.5 year old daughter, and a 1.5 year old son. I'm a previous preschool teacher, now SAHM. I have a few side-gigs to try to bring in some money and help me feel more independent. I'm a music & movement teacher for babies & toddlers, one class a week. I also started a sleep consultant business where I work with families one on one to help teach their baby/toddler healthy sleep habits. My sleep consultant website is

Jalina King-

How do you like being a stay-at-home parent? I love staying home with my two boys! I never thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom, but after struggling for years with infertility, I hated leaving my baby at home once it was time to go back to work. I quit my career shortly after learning I was pregnant with my second baby. 
What types of things do you do when you are home? Not including activities with the kids. I enjoy writing, blogging, and social networking whenever I get the chance. I also love going for walks and reading to learn. 
What type of things do you do with your kids? In the morning, we have a dance party while everyone eats breakfast. With my toddler, I play blocks and tag. He is currently learning many words, shapes, and colors. He also loves cleaning and helping me with whatever chores I get to throughout the day. My baby is young, so I spend a lot of time breastfeeding him right now. We also play on the floor with some of his favorite toys. The three of us like to go to the park, mostly to run around and throw rocks. Babywearing allows the baby to nap while my toddler gets to run around outside. 
What does a regular day look like for you as far as chores? If laundry is folded and ready to be put away, I’ll do that first thing before I head downstairs. When I do go downstairs, I bring a load of laundry down with me, put it in the washer, then start breakfast. If the baby is content, I’ll take care of dishes, which my toddler loves helping me with. It’s mostly maintenance, day-to-day chores during the day. In the evening or when the kids go to bed is when we do vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, and other chores that are more difficult to do while the kids are awake. I like putting away laundry in the evening while watching a show, but that’s been difficult lately with the baby cluster feeding. 
Do you do them alone or do you have help? During the day, I do chores by myself, usually one-handed while I’m feeding or holding the baby! My toddler is at the age where he can help a little bit. He’ll throw away any trash he sees lying around or helps me bag the recycling. Once my husband gets home, he is a huge help with chores. He either takes the boys so I can have some alone time getting caught up on chores or he’ll do some work around the house while I entertain the boys. He cooks and does more of the deep cleaning, but he helps with laundry if I get behind. 
How has staying home or single life impacted you mentally? Physically? Staying home has been excellent for my mental health! I am an introvert, so I don’t mind being home with minimal adult interaction. I was a Lead X-ray Tech at a busy, understaffed trauma center and had a long commute. The job was physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding, especially while going through infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy. Then I struggled with separation anxiety and mom guilt of being away from the baby I wanted for so long. I do have some days as a stay-at-home mom when I feel like I’m not doing a good job of balancing everything, but mostly I feel like staying home is what I’m meant to be doing right now. Physically, I get less movement, but the movement I do get is from intentional activity as opposed to the physical demands of my previous job, so I feel like whatever movement I do get is more quality. I am also able to eat when I feel hungry rather than eating just because it’s my break time, so I think my eating is more controlled. 
What ages do your kid/kids range? I have two boys ages 5 months and 2 years old. 
Can you tell me a little about you in 2-3 sentences as well as website/blog? I am a young mom of two boys after three years of infertility and two pregnancy losses. I blog about faith, health, marriage, and parenting as taught by infertility as well as the unique joys and emotional challenges of motherhood after infertility and loss. I love outdoor adventures and am passionate about removing toxins from our bodies and environment.

Every single mom and dad in this post is a great parent and each one of them faces their day differently. We all love our kids, but sometimes, some of us miss that adult interaction that came with working. Other parents were glad to be home to teach and play with their kids. Some had help with chores, others didn't. Working or not working, doing neither is bad or weaker than the other, we're just different and it's all perspective.

Can't we just all agree that parenting is challenging and still rewarding whether you work or not? I've had the best of both worlds and each one had it's benefits and downsides. There's no right or wrong way to parent as long as you love your children and you still spend valuable time with them.

I'd like to thank the moms and dads who answered these questions for me. You guys are awesome!

I hope that you enjoyed what you read today. Can you do me a favor and check out these other mom's and dad's websites? Give them a comment or a share. They did some hard work answering these questions for me and they totally deserve some recognition. Have a great day!


Friday, October 5, 2018

A Lesson in Photography and Raising Your Family


 When I was in college, I took a photography class. Taking pictures was something that I liked to do, but it wasn't a passion of mine and it became a chore, so I didn't continue with it.

      I think another reason why I didn't want to continue was because the teacher wanted us to take pictures by entering all of the inputs manually and I didn't have a clue what I was really needing to do for shutter speed and light and all that jazz. To be honest, I would get so bored in the class I fell asleep. If I was able to stay awake, I might have done better in the class, but oh well.

      I'm off topic. My apologies. Every time we went to class, we were supposed to turn in photos from that week's assignment the day before class was to resume. From that assignment, the teacher would pick out pictures that he thought met the expectations and those that didn't to show the class the do's and don'ts and printed out the ones that exceeded those expectations as an award for fantastic work. I only had one picture printed out, but had several that showed up on the projector screen.

      This is the picture that he printed. I don't remember what the assignment was for, but it wasn't printed because of that assignment, but because he liked it and it segued into the next assignment which was about working with shadows. I was so excited that he printed it out and embarrassed at the same time because we got to go over what made it great and that was a lot of attention focused on me and my work.

     This was the night time work that he liked. It wasn't liked well enough to print out because parts of it were fuzzy when it was enlarged, but I was so proud of this night time picture. It was so dark out that I didn't even know what color these flowers really were until the picture was taken. I had to lay down on the ground and hold the camera still and wait for a minute or more for the picture to take and I didn't have a tripod to hold the camera still. A normal person would use flash to take a picture like this, but the teacher wanted us to work with exposure or something like that so we were never allowed to use it. (Can some of my photography friends explain the process?)

What did I learn?

       So why am I writing about something that I don't even remember the terminology for? Well, these pictures showed up in my timeline on Facebook. While I was looking at them, an analogy sprang to mind.

 Practice makes perfect.
        In photography, unless you are an amazing photographer, the perfect picture takes time to get. Not every picture is going to come out perfect. It takes time, patience, and work to sometimes get the desired effect. If you ask a photographer how many shots they had to take in order to get the perfect one, I'm sure that they would either lie and say they got it on the first try, or they would tell you that they took hundreds and only a few were great.

        In order for that first picture to get printed, I had to turn in many others that were rejected or talked about. Nothing was quite as good as that one. It took many pictures to get the great one.

         When we raise our kids, we expect them to do everything right on the first time. We can sometimes get frustrated and lose our patience. They're kids and they aren't going to get everything right on the first time and when they do get it right, we have to know that it may be one in a few and the more they do it, the better they'll be.

Perfection takes time. Don't rush.

     This is more than just practice makes perfect. For that second picture to really work, it needed time to do it's thing. I could have rushed it by turning on the flash setting, but then the shadows and reflection would have been off and it wouldn't have been the same. Instead, by lengthening the exposure time, it allowed for the colors to show on the flowers, the leaves from the tree behind it, and it even allowed for the stars to shine through. I don't think the stars would have shown with flash because the light would have hidden them.

         When we are working with our kids, we need to be examples of patience and manners. They are going to learn from us. It takes us 18 years to help shape and mold our kids into fine human beings. We can't set them out into the world by saying our expectations of them and not help them live it. The whole do as I say and not as I do thing, that's not going to work. That's rushing it instead of taking the time to teach them.

It's ok to just stop and wait.

        The only reason why that night time picture worked was because I stopped to hold still. If I had a tripod, it would have come out even better without the blur. I had to hold perfectly still in order for it to come out correctly. If I had moved more, it would have just been a conglomerate of colors.

        When we are with our kids, we need to stop and slow down. We need to stop letting the tv babysit them. I'm very guilty of this, especially since I started blogging full time, again. What's wrong with having our kids read books or just letting them play with their toys? They're learning and also not getting overstimulated by the sound and constant streaming of electronic devices. Why don't we go for walks more? Why don't we talk to each other?

         If we're wondering why young adults these days have social issues and seem like spoiled brats, maybe it's because we let electronics and social media raise them instead of us, the parents, and so they don't have ethics and morals weaved into their being. They don't know the difference between right or wrong. As long as they can benefit from it, why not do it? We need to take the time to teach and model the golden rule- do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Learn to love what you do.

         If I would have liked the class more or enjoyed taking pictures all of the time, I would have gone on to the other classes and learned how to Photoshop and the ins and outs to great photography.

         As parents, we love our kids, but do we love ourselves more? It's very important to get a little me time in, but are we choosing our work over our kids? I know that when I don't finish something at home, I get irritated when my kids interrupt me before I can finish. Instead of yelling at them, I need to stop what I'm doing, look at them and talk to them. "Is this something that you can remember until Mommy is finished with this?"

        If they say yes, explain to them that you will come find them when you are finished. If it can't wait, you still can. I know that I do get impatient and I say, "If I don't finish this now, I'll never get it done." Well that's not true. I can get right back to it later. Remember what it's like when someone dismisses you. I know that I don't particularly like it and I'll start an argument. Your child has feelings too and if they throw a tantrum, it could be because you hurt their feelings. Take the time to stop and listen to them. This all goes back to being patient and practicing.

       After all- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud, it is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.

     Are we loving what we do as parents? Are we practicing patience and kindness? Are we always putting other things before our kids? Are we getting angry and then holding it against them?

      If we aren't loving our kids or others the way that we should, we shouldn't expect perfect results in our family life and it's something that we should work towards doing.

How do we do this?

      It's ok to be busy and work, but schedule some family time. Have a family night. If you have older kids, make it a night when they don't want to go out with their friends. Schedule something during the week. Order pizza and pop in a movies that you all enjoy. Play some board games. Go for a walk. Just do something together.

     Make a better effort to eat at the same time. When you're all sitting down to eat, ditch the cell phones and handheld game devices. Those are distracting and you can't carry a conversation if you're always checking your notifications. Talk to each other!

      Pay attention to your kids. Believe it or not, there are some parents who don't notice when their kids are off or they ignore it when they see it. Talk to your kids and ask them what you can do for them. Ask them if they have any questions. BE THERE FOR THEM!

Call to action. 

      Find something to do. Anything. It doesn't even have to cost something, just do it. Have fun with your kids.

      This weekend we're having a tea party. I know it's October, but since we have some great-grandparents flying in from Washington, we scheduled it for tomorrow. I'm going to make some big fat muffins and cucumber sandwiches (if I can find some of the bread I like to use in the store) and dress up with a big hat. It will be splendid. The boys will be having a Nerf gun war and eat snacks while the girls sip their tea.

What are you going to do this weekend?

About Me

My photo
Hello! My name is Brittany and I'm a writer, obviously. As a stay-at-home mom, there are many things that I have to figure out in order to run a house that appears to be more sane than insane. It's not easy to be a parent and I hope that this blog is able to encourage other moms out there to live life happily and to understand that there can be mishaps along the way, but those mishaps don't define you and anything can be overcome with perseverance and will.

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