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What’s my secret? 

“You have three kids and you homeschool?”

“How do you do it?”

Those seem to be the two questions I get asked a lot when I meet people. Everyone always seems to have a surprised reaction to it.

I have been homeschooling since Miss. K was 5.  There were many reasons why we choose to homeschool and I will go over those in a future post. But we are so happy we homeschool.

There are days where I am on the ball with everything and I can get everything done and then there are days where I fail miserably with everything I try and do.

There are days where my kids eat oatmeal for dinner and then there are days where I cook a wonderful meal that includes a main course with side dishes.

There are days where I get all of the laundry washed and put away and then there are days where it is in a huge pile on the floor and we have nothing to wear.

Then there are days where my kids get all of their schoolwork done and then other days where it’s just too beautiful not to play outside and we unschool.

Then there are days where my house looks beautiful and clean and then others where it looks like a bomb went off. Clothes and toys everywhere and dirty dishes in the sink.

There are days where I have no problem juggling all three kids and then there are days where everyone is grumpy.

What’s my secret?

My secret is that I know I am not perfect. I know that I love my kids. I know that my husband and I support each other. I know life is messy. I know that there will be days that I cannot do everything and that is ok.

The minute I allowed myself to not be the “perfect” Mom, the stress melted away. I tell my kids that I am not perfect nor do I expect them to be. We all make mistakes, the important thing is that we learn from them.

I am happy. I am happier with my kids around. I am the happiest when my kids and husband are around. They are my everything and together we can get through the messy parts of life. Being happy and knowing no one is perfect and that we all make mistakes and knowing not everything will go as planned is my secret.

It’s simple.

What’s your secret? What makes you happy?

 

We survived our first road trip as a family of five. 

This post has affiliated links, if you click on them I may get paid at no extra charge to you but it allows me to keep everything on my blog free.  But as usual all of these opinions on my blog are solely my own.  I do not write for other people, I write for myself and people like me.

 

We have been putting this off until Mr. A was a bit bigger but it’s time to visit my in-laws as Miss. K has been asking for awhile now.

Our suitcases are all packed away so we get to use the fancy suitcases, paper bags.  Now trying to pack the husband and I is so easy for 2 nights, two outfits, pjs and toothbrushes. Nothing fancy and nothing over the top. But when packing for kids, oh my gosh the stuff you have to bring is crazy.

Now Miss. K and Mr. H know I do not allow toys that do not fit in their backpacks. They only bring three outfits and pjs. But trying to pack an infant, you feel like you are taking the entire house. We just moved into this house and here we are packing it all back up into the car.

You have outfits, toys, blankets, pack-n-play (which in itself is a lot) then you have his perch. Three trips to the car (up 2 flights of stairs) I’m exhausted and we haven’t even left yet.  Then everyone has to eat again because now it’s lunch time.

After lunch and shoving everyone into the car we are off. After a trip to the gas station and car wash we are FINALLY on the road.

We made it 99 miles before our first pee break! I say that is a win. Then we made it 116 miles before Mr. A needed to eat. I would say so far this has been a good first trip.

The trip usually takes about 4 hours. It took us 6. But we are safe and the kids did not complain too much.

After a restful night sleep the kids were off.  Our first day was full of playing with my in-laws dog, Scooby.  I’m pretty sure my kids wore him out.


Mr. A found his toes.


My kids even took time to pick a few flowers for me.

We went to the beach where my kids quickly collected shells and sticks.  They also loved running in the sand.

After the beach there was bubble blowing and watching Scooby eat the bubbles.

After dinner the kids got to do a sleepover with their Aunt E who they just adore.  The next morning after breakfast, the kids baked some gluten free brownies that their Aunt E bought special for them.

Mr. A even got in on it.


Once they were out of the oven it was time to leave.  My kids were not happy they had to leave and begged us to stay another night but Tobias had to work the next day.

Coming back it only took us about 5.5 hours and I couldn’t have been happier to see my bed.  Doesn’t your bed feel so much better after you haven’t slept in it a few nights?

Does your family car look like this?

My car is the typical kid car.  It is full of toys on the floor, sticky seats and old food crushed all over the place.  We try and clean the car out once a month or whenever it gets to be too much but it’s hard when I know it will just get dirty again.

Just looking at this picture makes me want to go scrub my car. It is so hard to keep a clean car with young kids. How do people do it?

My kids have to have their toys in the car with them.  It doesn’t matter where we are going, they have to bring a toy along with them.  I can understand why, the car can get boring and it’s also a comfort thing.  After years of telling the kids they can  only bring one or two things and always having a fight about it I started letting them bring their backpacks.  If it doesn’t fit into their backpacks, then they can’t bring it.  Also it helps with cleaning out the car when you get home.

Do you let your kids bring toys into the car when you go places? How many toys do you let them bring?

Sleep, I miss you 

This post has affiliated links, if you click on them I may get paid at no extra charge to you but it allows me to keep everything on my blog free.  But as usual all of these opinions on my blog are solely my own.  I do not write for other people, I write for myself and people like me.

 

When I was young, I never understood why my parents always wanted to take naps. Fast forward years later and now I understand completely.

When I was pregnant with Miss. K, I had the hardest time sleeping, I was never comfortable. Then when I had her I couldn’t sleep because of the demands of being a new mom.  Not to mention, when I did sleep I would wake up in a panic and check if she was breathing.  (Hopefully, I’m not the only parent who has done this.)

As she has gotten older she has turned into a morning person.  She wakes up before the roosters, and we have lived next to a rooster so I know this. Once Mr. H was about 2.5 years old she would wake him up when she got up in the morning.  She would wake him up and beg him to go play with her, he is now awake sometimes before her.  In my house, 6:30 AM is sleeping in. It does not matter what time our kids go to bed, they will still wake up between 6-6:30 AM.  In fact, if they go to bed past 10 PM then they will almost always be up around 5 AM.  I do not understand this but it’s just what my kids’ bodies do.

These past three weeks Miss. K and Mr. H have decided to change things up a bit by waking me up at 5:45 AM.  I am usually woken up by Miss. K reading or by them fighting and someone got hurt. Why, WHY? Why can’t they just play in their room quietly? Why do they want the whole house awake when they are?  They have the Ok to Wake clock in their room and it is set to turn at 7 AM but they are awake well before that.  Luckily, this clock has been a lifesaver as they know they cannot come out of their room until it lights up.  My mom always said, “energy is wasted on the youth,” and I totally agree with her! That all said, I may have dark circles under my eyes and my body might drag from day to day but I would not have it any other way.  I may have given up on getting restful sleep but the snuggles I get in the morning make mornings my favorite time with my kids.

What happens when you do not have a lot of toys?

My husband and I sold our house in November 2016 and we were hoping to buy another house quickly so we packed only a few things that we truly needed and then moved the rest into a storage unit.

It has now been 5 months since we sold our house and we still have not been able to purchase another due to the insane market in the Seattle area.  But what I have learned is we have so much “stuff” that we can live without.  My kids only have enough toys and books that fill a 27 gallon bin. Then of course I have all the baby toys for Mr. A but that is it.

My kids had an entire playroom and a bedroom full of toys. Toys were always everywhere and there was always a huge struggle to find a place to put things. The nice thing about not having too many toys in your home goes way beyond not having to find places to put all of the toys. My house looks cleaner. My kids seem happier. I am happier.

I have never had a lot of outdoor toys for my kids because we haven’t had many chances to have our own yard and even when we did have our own house we did not have a lot. I noticed my kids’ imagination just exploded when they played outside. They would find unique ways to play and they would make up some crazy cool toys just by what they found outside. I have now noticed that same thing happening inside. It is so amazing to see their creativity.

I am not willing to throw out a ton of toys that we have in storage but I am ready to evaluate what we have and quite possibly switch out their toys every few months.

Do you keep all of your kids’ toys out or do you like only keeping a few out at a time? I think whatever way you decide to do it, it’s ok 😊

Kid approved super easy gluten-free carrot cake 

This post has affiliated links, if you click on them I may get paid at no extra charge to you but it allows me to keep everything on my blog free.  But as usual all of these opinions on my blog are solely my own.  I do not write for other people, I write for myself and people like me.

 

My kids have a sweet tooth, what can I say they get that from me 😊 When they first were given carrot cake and they heard the word “carrot” they refused to try it. Once they finally tried it, they were hooked! We have been gluten free for almost 4 years and I have yet to find a carrot cake that is beyond amazing and like I remember…..until now! Thanks to Pamela’s I have found a super easy recipe that tastes uber scrumpious.

3 eggs beaten

1/2 cup oil (I prefer coconut or avocado)

2/3 cup water

1 bag of Pamela’s vanilla cake mix

1 tsp baking soda 

2 tsp cinnamon

2 cups grated carrot

Start by preheating the oven to 325 F.

Miss K  first started by grating the carrots since Mr. H had gone to the store for the baking soda I had forgotten.

By this time, Mr. H and Tobias had come home.  Mr. H beat the eggs then added water and oil and mixed the batter.

Then he sifted the Pamela’s vanilla cake mix, baking soda and cinnamon. Then we mixed it until blended

Then Mr. H added the carrots. And Mr. H and Miss K took turns mixing it.

That’s it! I only had a 8×8 pan so I poured in the batter and let the kids lick the bowl.

Luckily they used their fingers instead of their tongues, which they have been known to do. While they did that, the cake baked for 46 minutes (or until the toothpick comes out almost clean.) Once it’s out, let it cool before you add frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

4oz of cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1-2 tsp vanilla extract

Start off by making sure your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature. But if you are like me, you have forgotten this step so to the microwave they went until they were soft. I sifted in the powdered sugar, this is important as I think it makes a fluffier tasting frosting.

Then I added the butter and cream cheese to the sugar.

Now Mr. H and Miss. K thought the magic school bus on tv was more exciting than making frosting and Mr. A fell asleep while I was holding him so I do not have any pictures after this point. But mix until smooth. Then add in the vanilla. If you want a mild vanilla flavor then add just 1 tsp but if you want a stronger vanilla flavor then do 2 tsp.

Once the cake is cool, add the frosting (you can double the frosting recipe if you like tons of frosting).  Then eat up! I will have to hide this cake to keep my husband and kids from eating it all.

What would I do different?
I would have split the batter into two 8×8 pans and made a two layer cake with cream cheese in the middle as I think it would have tasted a bit better.  Or I would have done cupcakes.  Note the cooking times will be vary depending on what you decide to do, what I did was about a 2-2.5″ cake so it needed longer to bake.

Disclosure: I originally found this recipe on the Pamela’s website. I just omitted a few items.

 

5 steps on how to help your picky eater eat their veggies

When Miss. K and Mr. H were little they LOVED vegetables. I had no problem with them eating vegetables. But as they got older and more opinionated they started not eating as many vegetables. There are many reasons why kids stop eating their veggies. Either their tastebuds change, the texture feels funny to them now, or they want to have an opinion on what they get to eat.

Miss. K is getting better about eating her veggies again and she is 7. Mr. H is now in a phase that carrots and peas are the enemy on the plate and he will fight like crazy not to have to eat them. Heck he won’t eat anything that touches his veggies. Now if he wants dessert he will eat one or two veggies in order to get the dessert but not without some serious screaming involved. Not to mention I hate rewarding him with food, even though I am guilty sometimes for doing it. Darn it!

As parents we put so much guilt on one another if we do not do what the “experts” say.  The “experts” say we should be eating 2-3 servings of veggies a day but do these “experts” want to come to your house and help you figure out the best way to have your kids eat these veggies, I’m putting all my money on, No.  We as parents try so hard to do what’s best for our kids and we feel like failures when our kids don’t eat their veggies. I say all you can do is try.

  1. Offer veggies at every meal (or at least one meal) a day.
    Offer carrots at one meal, peas at another and so on. Eventually they may try it.
  2. Encourage them to eat the veggies by telling them they are “yummy.”
    Trying new food is scary and if you tell them it’s “good for them” you will lose them. I can tell you now Mr. H doesn’t care if something is good for him, he cares only if it tastes good.
  3. Lead by example and eat your veggies.
    Eat the veggies you are wanting them to eat and eat a variety.
  4. Try different presentations.
    And I’m not saying carve them into cute shapes. I’m saying give raw and steamed veggies. Both have different textures, flavors and sometimes colors. You never know, it could be one of these difference that makes them unappealing.
  5. And lastly, be patient and don’t beat yourself up if they don’t eat them.
    Patience is a huge thing because it can take time. Don’t tell yourself you are a bad parent simply because your kid won’t eat their veggies. There are far more things that make you a good parent!! Give yourself a break.

 

Do you ever regret things as a Mom?

Do you ever regret simple things? Like you do something to try and help yourself in the moment but end up hurting yourself in the near future? Yeah, that was me today.

We were running late for Miss. K’s ballet class and I was desperate to get Mr. H’s hands dipped in the garlic oil (see this post for more on that) and he just would not do it. I tried talking to him about what it was, I dipped my own hand in it to show him it was safe, I talked about his feelings, but nothing worked, he was just too far gone. Bad mom moment, I started bribing him. I finally said “do you want some chocolate?” Of course he said yes because chocolate is his favorite. He then dipped his fingers in the garlic oil then we washed his hands to get the oil off and then he was quickly rewarded with chocolate. Then out the door we went.

Fast forward 20 minutes later and the sugar rush had hit his tiny body. We are talking a running, yelling, not listening, licking the mirrors in the studio kind of sugar high. Now I do not know if there is a study on this, but I swear to you when a 3 year old gets a sugar high it’s by far worse than at any other age. After about an hour of him running rampid through the studio waiting room,  he was finally starting to slow down. I was able to calm him down by letting him watching Cat In the Hat on Netflix. Thank you, Netflix!

Once it was time to go home he was my sweet, back to normal little boy again.  Lesson learned… NEVER bribe Mr. H with chocolate unless I am headed to a bouncy house.

It’s dandelion season

It’s springtime and that means so many things to everyone.  It means gardening, sunshine, longer days, riding bikes and flowering trees.  But to my kids, it’s dandelion season. It started with Miss. K, she always loved Spring and Summer because that meant picking lots of flowers.  Then when Mr. H came along she got him into it.  Now the second Spring comes they both know it’s flower picking time.  And their faces light up and their voices start shouting with excitement when they see those little yellow flowers.

Many people look at these “flowers” and just see a weed that is growing in their lawn.  But if you look a little closer, I can see the beauty that my kids  can appreciate.

I know these days are limited as picking a simple dandelion will not bring them joy forever but I will enjoy their smiles in this moment. I will enjoy their excitement. I will enjoy the bouquets they bring me and display them proudly. Because these moments are the moments you will look back on and smile.

What is your favorite Spring moment with your kids?

Fox Light Box Craft

This post has affiliated links, if you click on them I may get paid at no extra charge to you but it allows me to keep everything on my blog free.  But as usual all of these opinions on my blog are solely my own.  I do not write for other people, I write for myself and people like me.

 

When I went shopping for my kids for Easter I came across Fancy Fox Light and instantly started singing that annoying song, “What does the fox say?”  I knew that Miss. K would love it as she loves crafts and that darn song.  She is very artsy.  She lasted one day before wanting to dive into it.

The kit includes:
The lamp
Paper
Glue
And a paint brush

 There were other kits but this was the only one she could decorate. We may have to get the other kits for future fun.

My kids dove right in, because well there’s glue involved.  Mr. H lasted a whole 3 minutes, which is a record for him as he is not that into craft projects that do not explode.


I noticed adding glue directly to the brush was the easiest way to spread the glue evenly.  Miss. K had a lot of fun and it turned out so cute.  And she now has a fabulous new addition to her room that not only is functional but something she decorated which just makes it that much better.

I also liked this lamp kit over some others as this uses 2 AA batteries rather than a plug-in.  Miss. K and I had a lot of fun decorating this together.  I love doing special projects with my kids and I was able to spend some just mother/daughter time with her today.   Today was a great day.

Goodnight 🙂