Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thursday Three: Easy Spring Cleaning Ideas

By Katie

It's the first of March -- almost spring!

Which brings to mind an old springtime tradition.... the cleaning.

Time for a new toothbrush
I've already started some cleaning projects in my house and have made a list of others. Should I wait for spring to do any of these things? Probably not. But it is nice to have a reason to freshen up the house a bit and clear out some old things to make room for new.

Here are three quick and inexpensive way to spruce up your house this spring. What you do beyond this is between you and the dust mites.

1. Replace toothbrushes. Maybe you are one of those people who changes toothbrushes religiously, on schedule.
I am not, in the sense that I do not mark it on the calendar. The American Dental Association suggests that you change out your toothbrush every three to four months, and more often for children. If you are still using the toothbrush that you packed to go visit family for Thanksgiving, it's time for a new one.

Partner In Life, Green Olive Jar Unwedging

By Sally

My fridge had become "rubber-glove" worthy
Yes, the day had come.  I could no longer deal with the outdated containers, the sticky portions on the shelf where some long-forgotten meal, or “I’ll eat that tomorrow” item had been stored. I emptied everything out of the fridge, removing the shelving and drawers as I went, plopping them into hot sudsy water.

Until I got to the green olives jar.  This is no small-time olive jar.   This was a large version of green olives from a warehouse grocery outlet.   We like green olives at our house.    We need the big jar.

Somehow, I had managed to put it on the very top shelf and it was wedged there.   I tried pulling the shelving forward as far as I could, but the jar was still wedged.  I couldn’t get the shelving out because the jar was too tall.

I tried several creative maneuvers, kneeling up inside of the refrigerator, while my other jars, vegetables, leftovers surrounded me wondering if they’d ever be returned to their nice clean home.

I was irritated.  Here I had this great plan to clean and freshen a portion of my kitchen, and this green olive jar intruded.  I finally texted my husband of 38 years with this daunting issue, and he advised that he’d be home in about an hour.  He hoped I could last until then. He's used to me.





Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Sympathy Belly


Submitted by Heather

Why You Should Use A Credit Card For Everything

By Heather

Maybe it’s the years of sales training instilled in me, or maybe it’s actually a smart idea. Either way, I make all my purchases with a credit card and I’m here to tell you that you should too. Credit cards have gotten such a bad rep over the last couple of years. You constantly read articles about how the credit card companies are out to get you, charging high interest and ridiculous fees; even how they negatively affect your credit score. So before you count me out and skip this post, let me tell give you my sales pitch.



If you can earn money by spending money -- why not?
·    Do you know what happens to your card when the waiter takes it after you pay your dinner bill? We assume he takes it to the register, swipes it and brings it right back; but what if he doesn’t? What if he takes it around the corner, out of sight and writes down your card number? He goes home and goes on an online shopping spree. If you gave him your debit card, that money he spends comes out of your checking account. This could be your car payment or worse, your mortgage. Yes, you report it to your bank and Visa protects you and yes, you will get your money back, but did you know it could be 7-10 business days before you have that money back into your account and that by law it could be up to 45 days? Do you think your mortgage lender is going to care that your payment is late because you were a fraud victim? It’s harsh, but no, they don’t. If you’d paid with a credit card, the money Mr. Steals-A-Lot spends doesn’t affect the money you need for your bills.




Reluctant Mamahood

By Heather Novak



I never wanted to be a mama because I knew that came with the kids!  I remember being in college and having a conversation with our dorm janitor who looks like a member of ZZ Top and him saying something about getting married and having kids and I said “Oh No!   I want to do what I want when I want!”  He said “Well that’s how you GET kids!”  I laughed but knew that I was NOT interested.  


I'm pretty sure I'm NOT getting the "Mother of the Year" award
Some of you wanted to be mamas out of the gate.  You may have been babysitting when you were big enough to sit up and have another baby in your lap. On the other hand, some of you didn’t want any kids either and now they are in high school and you still cannot figure out how it happened.  What I can tell you is that every mama is in a constant learning process and we are all in it together.  We all make LOTS of mistakes and I’m pretty sure I am NOT getting the “Mother of the Year” Award this year.  Or next.  Half the time I have no idea what I am doing and the other half I spend reading parenting books while my sweet child falls off of things or eats the dog’s food.  And you probably are not getting that Mother of the Year Award either so don’t get all smug!



Monday, February 27, 2012

One Recipe, Three Ways: Slow Cooker Veggies


By Elizabeth



Like many families, we want to eat healthy on a budget. This means eating more veggies, which are healthier and cheaper than meat, but not always everyone's first choice. Our kids love pasta with meaty tomato sauce, so I wanted to create a sauce that had the thickness and chewiness of a meat sauce, but with vegetables instead.  The yellow squash, carrots, and onions add sweetness and texture to the tomatoes. "Roasting" the veggies ahead of time makes them even sweeter and brings out their full flavor.



The veggies are cooked in the slow cooker and then finished as one of three possible meals: a pasta sauce; a creamy, blended soup; or a hearty, minestrone-style soup.  If you work during the day, complete Step 1 the night before.  The next morning, complete Step 2 and let it cook on “low” all day while you are at work. The cooking time is flexible. When you get home, you can finish the meal quickly, using any of the 3 suggestions below.



We made the pasta sauce version, and it was a hit with my two boys. Each of them ate two servings at supper time and will even eat the leftovers, too.  I added half of the entire batch of sauce to one box of whole-grain spaghetti. I froze the rest and plan to re-use it for the creamy soup version. You could also make a batch and freeze half of the un-pureed version to finish as minestrone at a later date (adjust pasta and bean quantities accordingly). 



The yellow squash and carrots give the sauce/ cream soup version a distinctively orange color. If you’re worried that your family will balk at pasta sauce that isn’t bright red, try substituting one red bell pepper for one of the squash. It will also add a sweet, hearty flavor. I would not recommend substituting zucchini for either of the pureed versions, as this will create a browner, less appealing color. Half zucchini and half squash would be great for the minestrone version, however.

8 Tips For Stay-At-Home Moms

By Rachael

It’s 8 a.m. and everything is happening all at once. The baby is crying because she’s hungry, and her poopy diaper is leaking onto my shirt I just put on. My 4-year-old has been in time-out already, and I’m ordering her to get dressed and to stop poking the baby in the face. She whines about wanting her breakfast this very instant and insists that I play Disney characters with her all day. I’m tripping over toys splayed across the floor and have a monster pile of laundry lurking downstairs, and I realize it will be at least eight hours before my husband comes home from work, which in stay-at-home mom time feels more like 14 hours.

Staying home with my kids is the best.

Me and My Girls
I have to remind myself of that on the days when the baby won’t nap for more than 30 minutes, or when I wonder how my preschooler went from being a sweet toddler to the listening-challenged, demanding little person she often is today. I stay home because I feel it’s important that I be available for my daughters and I love witnessing all their milestones, and child care is expensive. But some days are just plain hard and long, and while I know I do important, world-changing work, society does not always acknowledge that. It can leave a stay-at-home mom feeling pretty bummed.

Therefore, I present a few tips for those days when you feel like the walls of your home are pressing in close around you.

1.      Get out of the house! Even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood, and even if it’s 35 degrees outside. Bundle up. Your kids can handle the cold, and the fresh air will instantly improve your mood and give you an energy burst.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Memoir Monday: Emergency Contact Winner

** Memoir Monday is a weekly series that features pieces of Katie's memoir-in-progress that covers her first pregnancy. Click here to see past entries. **

By Katie

"Maybe it was the uncaring way the
waiting room chair held my body..."
I walked into the clinic and immediately felt gross. Still reeling from my day of puking, I hadn’t showered or shaved my legs in several days. My hair was a greasy blob and I had a green tank top with sticky bright stripes that said “Key West.” My jean skirt was too tight and too short and also a little wrinkly from being balled up in a drawer somewhere after the last time I tried it on and decided it was too tight and too short. I looked like I belonged in one of those celebs-without-makeup pictures, where the unrecognizable star simultaneously squints and glares at the paparazzi behind a Big Gulp.

I swayed patiently by the registration window. I pulled out the insurance card I had received in the mail a few weeks earlier. This would be my first time using it.



Mommy 101: How To Survive The Challenges Of Infertility

The Mommy 101 posts are part of an occasional series in areas where we feel knowledgeable. Each mom brings her own set of life experiences to these posts and we hope that you can benefit from these tidbits. Read all of the posts in the Mommy 101 series here.

By Heather

Build an infertility support group in your life
Recently, I discussed the day I learned of my husband’s and my infertility. There are many things I’ve discovered over the years; it’s hard to say if they would have changed my path but for anyone who is new to this or still on their journey, maybe my words will make a difference. We can only try, right?
Here are a few things I wish I’d known in my family's struggle with infertility:

*Please note that there are many different levels of infertility. There are very complicated conditions that will require invasive procedures and I can’t even begin to relate to that type of struggle. My infertility is the type more commonly found among unsuspecting women: [mostly] unexplained infertility.*

Getting pregnant is only half the battle. For a full year, we drove ourselves crazy to conceive a child. And then it happened. We were on cloud nine. We celebrated. We told family. And then the floor came out from underneath us. I suffered a miscarriage. What? No, miscarriages only happen to people who get pregnant on their own. I used MEDICINE to conceive my child. He/she was guaranteed to me. Unfortunately, this heartbreak is extremely common. I’m not saying to worry yourself sick but don’t stop the prayers or finger crossing or whatever you’re doing as soon as you see those two lines. There’s much more to the journey and it’s not always good.





Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekly Poll: Parental Weekends

By Katie


Weekends mean something different now that I'm a parent.


Photo via brandontoddwright.blogspot.com
In high school, weekends meant time to relax, sleep in, maybe work a few hours at a part-time job, and spend that part-time job money on frivolous pursuits like going to movies and bowling alleys. In college, weekends meant pretty much the same thing -- with the addition of very late nights out with friends and even later hours at the library on Sunday nights trying to finish my homework before classes the next morning.


Now that I'm a married mom of three, almost four, weekends mean waking up roughly the same time as the rest of the week (early), working a few hours every day (like the rest of the week), cleaning constantly and the addition of meticulously-planned grocery and household goods shopping trips (alone -- often with my iPod). Sometimes I rent a movie from Redbox. Usually my husband is off work unless he is scheduled to cover some pressing sporting event (state wresting last weekend; NBA All-Star basketball this weeked). On the nights that he's not here until late, I stretch out in our big bed diagonally and read a book. Or watch a guilty pleasure show that he would never enjoy like "Snapped" (which pretty much terrifies him).

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bracelet Winner Announced

Congrats to Maureen M. of Sacramento, California. She is the winner of our spring bracelet giveaway!

Stay tuned for more contests in the coming months and check out the rest of what Pretty Colleen sells at her Etsy shop.

This one has Maureen's name on it, but it could be you next!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Prevent Toy Overpopulation With These Tips

By Rachael


Toys. I’m convinced they reproduce at night when we’re not looking. How else could we end up with so many toys in our houses? Even the most clutter-averse moms struggle with toy overpopulation. Here are six strategies to prevent toys from overtaking your home:




Use a closet organizer for toys, via Bed Bath & Beyond
1.      Ditch the toy box and store toys on shelves. Toy boxes are black holes. Kids forget what is buried at the bottom and never play with the stuff. Instead, toys should be easily visible. The most affordable option is to buy some durable plastic utility shelves. These work fine for playrooms. If you want to buy nicer shelves for a child’s bedroom, make sure they are deep enough to hold all the large toys. If your shelves are especially tall, consider bolting themto wall studs to avoid tipping accidents. If you still must have a toy box, make it a small one.


2.      Keep toys in clear plastic boxes or tubs. Take inventory of playsets with multiple pieces like dollhouse furniture, blocks, or your daughter’s My Little Pony collection and buy clear plastic boxes with lids to fit each unique playset. Store the boxes on your shelves.

The Last Six Boxes

By Sally


I finally “woke up”.  It was odd how the loss and depression had kept me in a  mental fog. 

I kept going to work, church, outings with friends and family.   I functioned just fine.   When people asked how I was doing I’d shrug, smile kind of, and say “better everyday” with a cheery lilt.

But I was numb.   Simple tasks took longer, small frustrations got me angry quick.  My job seemed so hard all of a sudden.

The whole family - less than four months before my Mom (second from left)
and my father-in-law (far right) passed away in September
Photo credit: Amy Straka Photography
Don’t get me wrong.   I had a lot of support.... church, family, co-workers, neighbors, friends at Jazzercise, our group of “oldie-moldy" friends.   But I had trouble focusing, sleeping, buying groceries.  You name it.  

I was walking around in a bubble.  It was like the old Charlie Brown episodes where the adults all sounded like they were muted trumpets under water. The world was whirling around me and I was a spectator trying to figure how to climb back into life.

Then I needed to get some tax info from the basement and noticed those last 6 boxes.   How did we miss them after the funeral?  And then I remembered, they had never followed mom to her assisted living place. We had stored them here after she moved out of her house.  They didn’t seem essential to her everyday life there. She had plenty of clothes, art supplies, towels, etc. So the boxes sat under the stairway in my laundry room.


Thursday Three: Things Moms Should Give Up For Lent

By Katie

Wednesday marked the official start of Lent and as a result, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were chock full of people declaring what they planned to "give up" for the seven-plus weeks leading up to Easter.



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I took my daughter on a date to Starbucks. Don't judge.
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I saw people swearing off smoking, sugar, watching television and some even wondering publicly on these social media sites if they should give up social media (it doesn't appear that any of those people have). I myself could not think of anything to give up. I do not smoke, but I suppose there are some sugary snacks and television programs that I could get rid of for two months. And Facebook and Twitter? Don't go there.


I do not belong to a church that requires this practice, though in years past I have observed it simply because I think it is a good exercise in sacrifice and self-discipline. So I started thinking... are there any intangible things that I could cease doing for Lent? Better yet, are there any things that I could stop doing/thinking/saying permanently? I came up with a few that relate to my role as a Mom. Maybe these apply to you as well.

As Moms, we should really stop...


Comparing ourselves to other moms. It helps to have a support group that is always cheering you on in your endeavors as a parent and to block out the negativity. Most moms are actually pretty good at finding the right people for this support system. In fact, a mom's worst enemy is often herself. In every category from body image to kids' success at school, moms put the pressure on themselves to be "perfect." If not perfect, at least pretty darn good. The truth is that if we care enough to beat ourselves up over our choices, we care enough. We do not need to use other parents as measuring sticks for our own successes; We just need to be ourselves.



This Mom Needs A Hobby - What's Yours?

By Maddie

I'd love to learn crochet, but may stick with sewing for now
Photo via Instructables.com
So ever since becoming a mom, I find myself severely lacking in the hobby department. When I first had my son, I was in college. Balancing a newborn and 15 credit hours didn't really leave time for a hobby. Now that I am settled into a full-time job with a normal schedule, I find myself getting bored in the evenings after my son has gone to bed (my husband works second shift and doesn't get home until midnight).

Shopping is my weekend hobby...but that is really, really expensive. And a girl can only have so many clothes.

I used to make jewelry, which is really fun! It is also quite expensive, though -- between the beads, wire, clasps, and tools.



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Finding Sustainable, Healthy and Wallet-Friendly Fish

By Elizabeth


Lent kicks off this week and tomorrow will be the first of seven Fridays that many people will commemorate by not eating meat. Whether or not you recognize the season in your home, you’ll notice that a lot of seafood goes on sale as a result.


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The season of the "fish fry" is here.
Photo via wbean.blogspot.com
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Fish has numerous health benefits, and any dietitian will promote “more fish, less meat.” But, if you’re trying to balance health, economics, and ecological responsibility, the choices get a lot more complicated. For example, tuna is cheap, but the best cuts have high mercury levels, and the variety with the lowest mercury has the worst environmental record.

Then there’s the issue of wild vs. farmed. Which is better? (The answer: depends on the type of fish.) The last thing you want for Lent is an extra helping of guilt, so here are a few resources to help you.


First, how can you buy sustainable fish? Where do you get it? Here is a good article debunking “7 Myths of Sustainable Seafood,” written by a practicing nutritionist.  Think that the fish behind the counter is always better than the stuff in the freezers? Think again.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Love Button

Submitted by Maddie


Acting, Writing, Mommy-ing: Meet Heather Novak

Hello readers.



Heather and Libby in the 'tiny red kitchen' 
I am a motivational speaker, writer and actress. 

When I give talks it is usually based on the grand mistakes I have made and what I have learned from them.  Kind of a “don’t go into the basement!” brand of encouragement.  To balance staying home with my girls I belong to and blog for a national moms group called “Mothers and More”, write personal commentaries for a local NPR radio station, and enjoy my own blog about living each day to the fullest through faith, food, laughter and haiku on my personal blog, Live Your Love Out Loud.

I have lived an adventurous life that started with moving around every few years during my childhood, dancing on top of my dresser to musical soundtracks and losing my mother when I was thirteen.  I moved out on my own at eighteen living in Indiana, Chicago, Denver and coming home again to Indiana.  My adult adventures include clubbing with movie stars, struggling for an acting  career in Chicago and Los Angles and finally settling into property management  for ten years as a consultant, marketer, sales and customer service trainer. 


Talkin’ Bout A (Food) Revolution

By Elizabeth


“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – Michael Pollan


Book cover via MichaelPollan.com
Food is a big deal around here. We love to cook; we watch cooking shows on TV; our idea of a date meal is to go to a high-end grocery store and buy expensive ingredients to make our own gourmet supper. So you would think that we wouldn’t fall into many of the nutritional pitfalls that plague most American families: fast food, overly processed food, grazing in front of the TV. Somehow we still struggle with those, and both my husband and I think that now is a good time for a change.  (And of course we’d both like to lose a few pounds before the dreaded shorts/ swimsuit season arrives.)


 Michael Pollan is a food writer and journalist who advocates a “back to basics” approach to nutrition. His book Food Rules is a quick list of wisdom that he’s compiled in his years of research into the connections between food and overall health. He has 64 rules total, but the book only takes an hour or two to read.  Each of these rules falls into one of the three categories in the quote above: eat food, not too much, mostly plants.


Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Probably Time To Go See The Grandkids

By Sally


This is Ricky -- my granddaughter's point of comparison
My daughter sent me a text today that my soon-to-be 4-year-old granddaughter confidently told her that, “Grandma Sally is taller than Ricky”.


This may seem innocent, but it flooded me with guilt. 


Oh dear, it’s been too long since I’ve seen the grandkids….they are looking for memory pegs to locate me in their brains.

It is tough being a Grandma who lives near Chicago, with three (soon to be four) grandkids living near Orlando. Thus is the way of American life.  


 Oh, and by the way, Ricky is their dog.


At first, it was just so funny.  Ricky is a bundle of gray/black fur.  He has those wonderful eyes that are always saying, “You know you love me…please love me…I will be the best doggie in the world if you will just love me.”  


He is also on Prozac.  Having been somewhat co-dependent here and there in my life, I have always found Ricky to be a great companion, although a bit “over the top” at times.


And yes, I am taller.

A Peek At Infertility: Are They Natural??


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Photo via Ivfjournal.wordpress.com
Infertility is a very delicate topic. I’m going to do my best to describe it from my point of view. There is no way I can relate to every woman who has suffered. I can only speak of what I know.

A part of me has long moved on from my infertility (it’s hard to convince people of my experience when I have three beautiful children, including a set of twins!) but lately, it’s been coming up more and more often. As a mom of twins, I’m often asked the most absurd questions by complete strangers. (I promise to post more on this one day. It’ll be a good laugh!)

One very common question is, “Are they natural?” I understand the context of the question. They basically want to know if the twins were created from infertility treatments, but the wording of the question pains me.

Are they natural? You wouldn’t ask this about just one baby, would you? And yet so many babies are not “natural” in respect to this question. Well, I’m here to tell you that every baby, yes every single one, no matter how that baby was created or what it took to get that baby here happy and healthy, is natural!



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Part-Time Professor, Full-Time Mom: Meet Elizabeth

Hello!


Newborn Lucas and I
My name is Elizabeth, and I’m excited to join Mumbling Mommy.  I’m at home with my boys, Jonathan (b. 2007) and Lucas (b. 2010). I also teach 1 - 2 Humanities classes per semester at a local university and run a women’s Bible study at my church. It’s a good thing that I like to be busy and that I don’t obsess about housework.


I grew up in the St. Louis area, though I also lived in Oklahoma and Maryland as a child. I married my college sweetheart in 2000, and we moved to Dallas in 2001. We lived there until after our second child was born and came back to St. Louis in the fall of 2010. We’re still adjusting to this thing called “winter,” but we’re happy to be near our families again.



Memoir Monday: The Water's Edge

** Memoir Monday is a weekly series that features pieces of Katie's memoir-in-progress that covers her first pregnancy. Click here to see past entries. **




“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” – David Brinkley


Lake Michigan, via USDA.org


It starts and ends innocently. It’s the journey that entangles you.


You can feel the grasp of the undercurrent of your life as it swirls around your ankles. You should have never gone near the water.


In the sand you were safe, as the loose layer of dusty particles swept over the tops of your feet, threatening to bury them and hold you there as a hostage if you didn’t wiggle your toes now and then.


But you grew tired of toe wiggling and ventured further until you found yourself just at the water’s edge, where the waves with the farthest reach greeted your toenails coolly. You longed for the icy kiss of the tide the moment it retreated from you. And it drew you in deeper.



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weekly Poll: Celebrity Deaths

By Katie


I'm never quite sure how to react to news of a celebrity death. I usually just try to avoid all coverage and not think too much about it. Sure, it's sad. But so are a lot of other deaths that do not get media attention.


If you are reading this, I am going to assume that you have a lifestyle that includes the Internet and probably television and newspapers. I do not need to rehash the details of Whitney Houston's death in that case. You know what happened. In the days following her death, a lot of focus was placed on her raw talent. I heard the phrase "angel from God" more times than I care to admit. Yeah, the girl could sing. One of my favorite songs of all time is a duet that Whitney did with Mariah Carey called "When You Believe" and that's due in part to Whitney's amazing vocal prowess. Maybe that is even part of the tragedy -- that something so unique and beautiful is now gone and that for at least part of her life, she squandered that talent through drug use and other bodily abuses. So maybe it is sad, but not in a "Why God?" sort of way. More like a "Why Whitney?" sort of way.

'Like' Us On Facebook And Be Entered To Win

Free stuff is good.


So sparkly and just in time for spring!
This week at Mumbling Mommy we want to give one lucky reader this gorgeous double wrap glass bead bracelet.


Made by Chicago-based jewelry designer Pretty Colleen,  "this three row double wrap bracelet features lilac, metallic dark lavender and amethyst fire-polished Czech glass beads." She only made one folks, and it could be yours.


All you have to do is become our fan on Facebook (click here). If you already "like" us, you are already entered! Share this link on your own Facebook wall to be entered twice. Be sure to type @Mumbling Mommy in your post so that we know you mentioned us and can enter you again.


The contest runs through noon on Friday, February 24th, and the winner will be chosen at random and announced later that afternoon.


If you love this bracelet, check out all of the other spring items on Pretty Colleen's Etsy site here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Five Things To Do With Your Tax Return

By Heather

Photo via Mainstreet.com
As parents, we have the honor of claiming our children as dependents on our tax returns. Growing up, I know my parents always made a big deal out of this but I never knew the numbers. Claiming our 2 ½ year old for the first time was pretty nice but this year when we did our taxes? Our jaws dropped! Adding two more children to our return did wonders for us.
So what do you do with all that money? Here are five common things that people do and my suggestions on how to make the most of your choices.

Save it.

When is the last time you bought a car with cash? Or maybe on a smaller level, when’s the last time your car needed new tires? I believe in having two savings accounts. The first is for living expenses in case of extreme life changes, emergencies, etc. The second is what I call a spendable savings account. For:  when Little Johnny needs new tennis shoes because his are talking to you and payday is still 2 weeks away; when the check engine light comes on; How about when Suzy fell off her bike and went to the emergency room? These are all unexpected events, not really something you want to dig money out of your life savings for, but things you really don’t want to put on credit either. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the money already waiting for you?




Thursday Three: Ways To Be Happy

By Katie

Everyone wants to be happy, right? If you asked average people if they are truly happy, most would answer "yes" immediately and then quickly follow up with "but if (fill in the blank), my life would be better."

Maybe your "but if..." is having more money. Maybe it's having a different job. Maybe it's adding a child to your family unit. Whatever the case, people tend to get weighed down in fantasy and sometimes it overshadows the feelings of happiness they should be feeling in the present. I do it. Like, every day.

So I did some Web research and found three great tips for being happy based on other blog posts and articles. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

1. Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. A post on the Real Simple site says that the brain is stimulated by surprise and having the ability to overcome the fear (and reality) of failure goes a long way towards having a happy outlook. Instant gratification is empty and will leave you with a hollow feeling in the end. Choose to take on challenges and step outside your comfort zone and the result will be a deeper level of satisfaction with life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Adventures In Banking, Hyperventilation and TWINS: Meet Heather

Hey Mommas!

Heather and family (twins were still cooking)
My name is Heather. I am a 26-year-old mom of three beautiful daughters, 2 years old and younger. Yikes! Lillian Rose is 2 ½. And most recently Natalie Marie and Sophia Lea joined the fun. They are my 10 week old twins. I have been married to my husband Jeremy for a little over 5 ½ years. We live in St. Louis, MO. I like to refer to our lives as magical chaos!


The beginning of our story isn’t very out of the ordinary. My husband and I met in high school. We worked together at a local tool store. We were friends first for almost 2 years before we began dating. We even dabbled with a long distance relationship for a year when I went away for college but it was too much for us. I chose him. I moved back home, transferred to a local night school and soon after we were engaged and planning our wedding!

My husband is 2 years older than I and I was 20 when we got married. It was always my dream to me a young mom and he was on board with that so we started trying to get pregnant right away. Unfortunately, we were met with over a year of disappointment. Three months into our journey, we were referred to an infertility clinic. Under their care, we tried 3 different doses of Clomid as well as HCG injections. On our third round of treatment, we were elated to discover finally being pregnant. But after 6 weeks of tests, it was determined the pregnancy was not viable, our first miscarriage. And just 2 months later, another miscarriage. Under the advice of our reproductive endocrinologist, we took a break.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Early Risings: A Peek Into My Life


Tea and a moment to think (via Peacefulmind.com)
By Rachael

My 4-year-old recently started attending preschool, and I have begun getting up a little early on school days. Rising early gives me time to chat briefly with my husband before he leaves for work, and I get a shower and sometimes enjoy a quiet breakfast before my girls wake up and we have to head out the door. These solitary moments are not only a good mommy break; they are a nice time to step back and really look at life. This is my home. This is my dining room table. This is my cat dozing on my lap. Those are my dishes in the sink. Those are my daughters sleeping behind closed doors. This is my life. I feel like I’m peeking into a dollhouse.

In recent weeks, I've read posts from other moms that discuss at length the difficulties of motherhood. One mom gives specific reasons why being a stay at home mom is so rough. Another mom talks about how she cannot always enjoy being a mother when she is "in the moment." I wholeheartedly agree that parenting can be rough, especially now that I have two children and am outnumbered during the day when my husband is working.

Weekly Poll: Weight Gain During Pregnancy


By Katie

I went to the doctor last week. I was in my 25th week of pregnancy, so it was a pretty simple checkup. I was weighed and measured. My blood pressure was checked. I heard my baby's heartbeat on the handheld Doppler. Everything measured well except my weight. I've gained about 27 pounds so far, but nine of those pounds were in the past four weeks.

Photo via losingweight.com
The nurse practitioner decided to go over a list of things that I should be eating, should not be eating and what to watch for in my food. I can't have coffee or tea due to the caffeine, plus a kidney stone scare that may or may not even be warranted. Dairy products, even lean ones, have to be kept at a minimum (kidney stones again). I need to watch my carbs. I need to watch my sugar intake. I should not eat a lot of fruit. According to my nurse practitioner, if I cut up an apple, I should only eat half of it. I said that I eat plain oatmeal for breakfast and she raised an eyebrow. She told me to be careful there.  I should add here that my blood pressure was "perfect" according to the stat nurse. I have not yet taken my glucose test, so we will see what happens with that.

I realize that gaining too much weight during pregnancy can be a major health issue, but I left my visit feeling like I had been put on a diet. Instead of feeling like a beautiful woman who has the power to grow a human, I left the appointment feeling bad. I gained close to 40 pounds with my first daughter and lost all but five of those pounds by the time I returned to work seven weeks later. I took morning walks with my daughter, ate relatively healthy and breastfed. I did not starve myself, hire a personal trainer or count calories. I decided that my body must have just needed those extra pounds for one reason or another. Gaining 25 - 30 pounds during a pregnancy is not my body's way of doing it.
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