Quality Screen Time: Is Not Bad, Good Enough?

tiger cake

Alrighty y’all… I’ve got a confession to make. When I get home from a long day of work, I love to enjoy some television. However, with an almost three year old our viewing pleasure is met with something made for, you guessed it, almost three year olds. Let’s be clear, I do not object to this one bit. As a teenager I would watch these shows while I did homework or crocheted, because it’s a relaxing thing to watch and great background noise for a cool down time. The problem, is I’ve become lax on putting quality of these shows over how much my child enjoys them.

Don’t get me wrong, Caleb hasn’t been watching anything “bad.” Jake and the Neverland Pirates, PJ Masks, and some other “kid” shows… nothing really bad right? Well, sadly he’s picked up some less than desirable behaviors from them. From Jake he’s learned about stabbing people and that it hurts, but still has been stabbing me with things, because that’s what a pirate does. From other shows he’s learning to tease other kids, aka he’s got a serious case of nana nana boo… Now are these things the end of the world? No, not really. But, with so many quality shows out there that teach him to treat his friends kindly and educate him when I’m taking a five second break from doing so, why not just lead him to those shows instead?

Which is what led me to putting a ban on all shows besides Signing Time/The Tree Schoolers, Daniel Tiger, Curious George, and the occasional (because he LOVES it) episode of Paw Patrol. Daniel Tiger shows both him and I how to deal with different emotions and his friends. It gives me songs and saying to help him through big emotions, and because he’s seen how they work in the show, they work in real life too. “Grown Ups Come Back” saved us when he started preschool last year. “When you’re feeling mad, like you want to roar…” saves us on a daily bases when he’s getting frustrated. It might take a few rounds but he settles right down. Signing time has helped him learn all of his letters, 140+ signs, colors, and so much more. Curious George helps children learn to be scientists and question everything around them in order to learn about life. Paw Patrol at the very least teaches new words, teamwork, and how people (or pups) are all different.

Caleb is a big fan of the shows I’m letting him watch, in fact when I put on Tigers last night for the first time in probably six months, he was so beyond excited. He kept cheering and thanking me for Tigers. It was as though he was getting to see a friend. This morning, while we were on the bus to my work/his daycare, I asked what he would like for dinner. He told me he wanted a, “Tiger Cake!” So, that’s what he got tonight (see picture above). I’m happy to see him remembering the things that he learned from this incredible show, and hope to see an improvement in his behavior with a lack of negative role models in his life.

What shows do you like for your littles to watch, and why?

Remember, YOU ARE LOVED!

Still a Good Mom…

29e80813-b1a9-489b-af61-442b7ce7dbd5

When I started this blog, I was so sure I’d be a perfect mom. I mean really, the original name of the blog was something like, “Becoming a Young Mom, and How I Did it Right.” Barf! Am I right? It quickly became “How I Did it Peacefully,” because right is a very subjective word, and I mess up all the time. ALL THE TIME. I tried for a long time to still put on a facade. I wanted the world to think I was a super mom. Perfect house, perfect kid, perfect put together life… Well I’m here to tell you, it just isn’t so.

I get angry sometimes. Caleb will be extra clingy for one reason or another, and every hair on my body stands on end. I might even yell. I might even lock myself in the bathroom for five minutes while he cries, because I need five minutes where no one is touching me; poking, prodding, squeezing… But, most of the time I’m not. Most of the time I feel like having this small little boy around me 24/7 is the most awesome blessing that has ever been given to me. Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I put the TV on all day long and I just lay on the couch, because the idea of doing a craft or having a conversation exhausts me past my breaking point. TV all day or a mean mom? I’ll go for the TV every time. But, most of the time I’m so happy to take Caleb to the park, play dates, do the newest cool kid craft, or play make believe. Most of the time I don’t ever want him to leave my side.

This is one of the hardest things in the world for me to admit. 99% of the time I honestly don’t feel like I need a break. 99% of the time I really think I’m doing okay. Then that 1% where my nerves are just fried, I wish someone, well someone like his Mimi because I’m neurotic and really don’t trust many people with him, would come get him just for a night. He’s spent maybe five nights away from me since he was born. Maybe ten times he’s gone with her for a day. That 1% of me isn’t a regular thing, and yet I still feel so much guilt about it… but why?

Don’t even get me started on the house. This week we had kind of an inspection. Not on our house from our landlord, but he’s trying to sell the house so the state inspection people had to come and measure stuff. I took three days cleaning the house. Twenty loads of laundry, seven loads of dishes, a full bottle of Windex, and an emptying of the vacuum five times later, our home was presentable. While I was putting away the clothes I ask Corey in exasperation, “How is it that I did all of these things AND went to school when I was younger?” He looked at me and laughed then responded, “You didn’t have Caleb.” I mean, I get the kitchen clean, and every toy is pulled out in the living room. I fold the clothes, turn my back, and the pile has become something to play in. I’m honestly not even mad, in fact I’ve accepted it, but when my house is a disaster (think dishes from a week ago and mysterious sticky spot on the kitchen floor), I’ve been home all day, and I’m still exhausted at the end of the night I do feel really guilty… but why?

This morning I woke up and my house was essentially still clean. The living room has some toys on it. I asked myself if I wanted to pick them up and decided to sit down and watch a movie while Caleb was still sleeping instead. I started to think about all of the things I’m doing wrong. I though about how I lose my patience, or I don’t always make the healthiest foods, or how when his doctor asked us how much milk he drinks, I had no freaking clue. But, I looked around at the fun art on the walls. I looked at the pictures of us together. I looked at his toys and thought about how much I love watching his imagination at work. I walked in and watched him sleeping next to his daddy. He is strong, healthy, and loved. He doesn’t go without. He has at least one close friend, and he has all the family he’ll ever need. He isn’t afraid when I life my hand that he’ll be hit, because we never hit him. He doesn’t have to worry about eating quickly or hoarding food, because we never let him go without. His body is respected. I do everything in my power to raise him peacefully. 99% of the time I succeed, so why do I fixate on that 1%?

… I’m still a good mom.

YOU ARE LOVED

Weaning Remorse for the Both of Us

13650583_1106257442769894_1522090785_n

About four months ago, this sweet boy suddenly decided to wean. I didn’t really know how to feel about it, but I also dried up quickly without pain. I was sad, for rather selfish reasons. I had always expected to nurse much longer, and felt like somehow I had failed him by allowing him to wean. Yes, I know it makes no sense. I don’t know how to deal with it really though, and can’t help those feelings. Moving on…

For two months, he didn’t want to nurse at all. Snuggles would totally suffice when he needed some extra love or comfort, and he was able to go right to sleep at night without nursing and stay asleep. There seemed to be no problem; no real affect on either of us. Until of course there was.

All of a sudden, two months ago, he’d go for sips. He’d just want to love the boobie. Kiss it, squeeze it, or use it as a pillow were some of his lovey ways. Then he started really trying to nurse, and his poor heart would break every time. He was very frustrated that there was no more milk, and would still try. This would hurt my boobs, but he’d be hysterical if I didn’t at least let him try. I instantly regretted not doing more to keep my milk. I could have pumped and given it to him in a cup! I could have pumped and donated it until he wanted it. I didn’t do either, and gosh I’m full of regret now.

Our solution, that he decided on and that I’m not overly pleased by, is to use a bottle once a day to have his cup of milk before nap time. The nipple of the bottle soothes him, and he will snuggle with us drinking him “milkies” until he falls asleep.

It’s really not the same though. I miss our connection through nursing. In the past I could scoop up my crying little love, give him the gift only I could, and he’d be soothed. Now when he’s upset it takes so much more, which is okay, but I feel like I let him down. I know, I know, I’m doing what I can… but…

Thanks for listening to me internet. Sometimes I just have to let my mommy fails/regrets/sadness out.

YOU ARE LOVED!

Upcycling for My Cloud Lover

1499538_836978826364425_5596123029629743022_n

See that plain white dresser up there? Yeah, it fell apart. A few drawers fell out, broke into pieces, and then it just felt a little useless. We got rid of the drawers, and pulled it into our room for safety, but there it sat for a few months. I thought of all these different things I could do with it, and thought maybe a book shelf would be nice, but didn’t know exactly how to make that happen. I’m not very good at building things, but like most, I had big ideas.

I started taking an awesome class at the Adult Ed. called Creating Success. Part of the class was fixing up a piece of furniture, and it dawned on me that it was the perfect time to work on this bookshelf/whatever it was going to become. I spent the first half of the semester trying to decide what I would do, and wanted to do the best I could to make something Caleb would actually want and love. The night before I was supposed to start working on it, we went for a nice evening walk. Caleb looked up at these incredible dark clouds, and got so excited. He told me he loved clouds, and for half an hour we sat and watched them. We talked about them, and why he loved them. “Mama they in sky and cool. Clouds rain and are ice.” (Thank you Tree Schoolers for getting him interested in learning that awesome tidbit!)

When we got home I took pen to paper… and this is what I came up with!

This my friends is Caleb’s own personal book nook! As you can see, the outside is the sky covered in hand painted clouds. The inside is painted as a rainbow (something else he really loves!) with a sparkly blue “C” just for Caleb. Originally I was going to just build a shelf inside for him to sit on/the books to be held under. My awesome teacher came up with a much better plan though! Instead we built him a bench that could fit inside, but would also be removable so that he could take it out of the nook if he wanted to. I painted a big piece of canvas, with the help of my friend, and stapled it to the bench. The legs were off another chair and were perfect “trunks” for this tree he’d be sitting on. The books fit neatly beneath it, and the legs keep them in place. I’m planning to get book ends for when he wants to remove the bench, but I’m not too worried about it for now.

Photo_00040

I was so excited to bring this home for him to start using. I snuck it in before he could see, got it all set up and ready, and brought him in… He was ecstatic! He turned to me and said, “Mama this Caleb’s?”

thank you mama

“Yes sweet boy!” Gleefully this little love of my life said, “Thank you mama!” He ran right over, sat down, got off, grabbed a book, and sat back down to read. He loves his books, and now I find him sitting there looking through his stories for a while every day. This book nook is just full of love. My grandmother had just given us the curtain I painted, so her touch is in here. My friends helped make the paint color to match, and another friend helped prime the inside and paint the seat cover. These are friends who love Caleb, and I’m sure he can feel that love. It took about nine hours to complete (between taking the old pieces apart, priming, painting, assembly, and finishing touches. It was all worth it though…

Sitting

Remember, You Are Loved!

I’ve Been on a Journey

13407330_1089848547744117_9359532720842525_n

Well hello there my incredible followers. I’m always amazed when I come back from a stupidly long hiatus and find out that you’re still here. Thank you. Thank you for trusting me to return, and thank you for inspiring me to open up to you again and again.

Today I need to tell you what has kept me away, and more importantly what has happened in the last SIX months. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but the date stamp on my last post doesn’t lie. It’s been a roller coaster ride, and I say that in the most positive way I can muster. Health, family, death, life, school, work, emotions… well, here we go.

Around New Years I weighed myself for the first time in apparently far to long. I had managed to let myself go and gained so much weight that the scale painfully read: 295lbs. My heart sank, the tears poured from my eyes, and I laid back down onto the couch wondering what on Earth had led to such an unhealthy place. Yet, nothing changed. I continued to eat everything in sight, the cheapest of things, and feeling just awful. My back was in excruciating pain, my knees would click every step, I physically could not tie my shoes without losing my breath. Playing with Caleb was a huge no go because five minutes in I was too sore. I would play with him while sitting, but knew it wasn’t enough for him. My clothes were all too small or I’d wear things many sizes too big because finding a 4x was somehow impossible. Not to be too raunchy, but even sex was ruined because of all the weight I’d gained. I couldn’t do much besides lay there, and even then it was terrible, which poor Corey could surely feel. The littlest bit of pressure would suffocate me, the extra fat pushing onto my lungs and rib cage. I couldn’t be on top, because I didn’t have the stamina or strength to make it work.

Still feeling awful about myself, I decided to cut soda out and only drink water. I figured that one change would be a good start, and it was! I lost twenty pounds in the month of January, and though I felt great, once that weight was gone, my body was unwilling to lose anything else. Then I started baking. I baked these delicious treats every day, and suddenly those twenty pounds, along with another two, were back in no time at all. I had almost decided to just deal with it. I figured I wouldn’t be able to make the changes I need, so I should just used to it. I couldn’t exercise, I was in too much pain. I couldn’t eat vegan or any weird plan because I couldn’t afford it with Corey refusing it.

That’s when I was invited out to dinner with some dear family I hadn’t seen in a while. My sister-in-law and her awesome mom had lost a ton of weight, and I couldn’t stop staring! These were not small women getting super fit, but instead women like me who struggled with weight and it was like they’d just melted! I didn’t dare ask how though, because I was so sure I couldn’t do it myself. Once dinner came my sister-in-law, unable to contain her excitement, filled me in anyway. It was this “new” lifestyle (not diet) plan that they’d been on called Trim Healthy Mama. She explained that it was separating fuels and that her mom showed her it. Her mom then told me that every week they had dinners for it and that I could come. This was the middle of February, I wasn’t so sure, but figured it would be nice spending time with them anyway and free food can never hurt.

What incredible food that night was filled with! Cheese cake, lasagna… CHEESE CAKE. There was no way that it could be diet food. No way. Not possible… I went home and researched. Hours upon hours, reading everything I possibly could. I printed out pages and pages of tips, recipes, information, charts, motivation, and bible verses. This was food Corey would eat, food to keep Caleb healthy, food that I could afford, and best yet, according to my own family it worked! Corey thoughtfully purchased the official book and cookbook for the plan, and we did our first big shopping trip… He loved everything I made and this “lifestyle” plan was a go.

A friend of mine approached me, seeing that I was on this journey to fitness and health, and invited me to these week long exercise challenges. I accepted her offer, and got my butt totally handed to me. The first week was squats. The next was clean eating (already happening) and mixed exercises. I kept doing these challenges, but not really giving them my all if I was being honest. Then she started a core challenge. I had herniated a disk the week before, and was just barely rid of the swelling, but I told myself I HAD to go for this challenge. I knew my core was weak, and a lot of my pain came from that. I did that work out every single day for that week, and it hasn’t stopped. My back pain is nearly gone, and my whole body feels stronger in the best way. Might I add I also won two contests for that group that week, and that felt pretty darn awesome.

I started this journey at the beginning of March weight 297lbs and a 4x in clothing. Currently I weight 250lbs and I’m an XL in clothing. Those are incredible facts, but the non-scale victories outshine them every time. I can now run around with Caleb for a good hour. Walks that used to take me an hour and leave me miserable now take half the time and are done almost daily just because I enjoy them. I no longer suffer from chronic pain, but it is instead manageable with turmeric supplements. I’m a better mother and fiance. Sex, yes sex, has never been better. I’m so much more flexible, agile, and we can finally enjoy that time together again. This path has been, surprisingly, easy! Well, relatively. It’s hard, every step is hard. Making the choice to eat the salad over pizza, making the choice to prepare food every day instead of ordering something, choosing to do the dishes ten times a day because you use so many mason jars… yeah it’s hard. Getting up an hour earlier to go for a walk and do a Jillian Michael’s workout DVD… that’s hard! You know what’s harder? Being constantly tired, in pain, and knowing that you aren’t the mom you want to be. Nothing kills me more than knowing that my kid had to suffer because I wasn’t willing to make these choices till March. Now I just continue because not only is it the best for him,  but for myself as well.

My life is so full and blessed. I can’t afford to stop fighting to improve me. I can’t stop, because this life is a gift that can not be wasted. Below is the difference that three months of this journey made for me. Originally I was going to fill you lovely readers in on the last six months completely in this one post, but I think I’ve made you read enough already. I’ll be back to fill you in tomorrow though!

You are loved!

94 days-three months

Free Clothes!!

I can not contain my excitement over this! My friend shared it with me, and now I’m sharing it with all of you. I got seven incredibly nice things for Caleb, as well as n not pictured dress for me, for 55 CENTS. Now, you can do the same for your family!

This company, Schoola, aims to be the new Goodwill. 40% of all sales go directly to schools, and the prices are so low for name brand stuff, that it’s really hard to resist. To start, you can get $40 worth of stuff (that’s off of their prices, it’s really closer to $100 worth of stuff) free.

Here’s The Link! Enjoy Schoola!!

1. All you need to do is sign up, you’ll get $10.00 towards your order, which you’ll automatically get once you check out!
2. After joining you can make a new collection under the collection tab, and as long as you add clothes without the yellow tab you’re good!
3. You’ll need to spend so much in order to get free shipping, but if you check your email you’ll also get an extra 25% off, and clicking my link will get you and me an extra $20!
(plus shipping is free right now 1/26/16)
4. After placing your first order, you’ll be directed to your OWN page with your OWN LINK, so you as well can share this opportunity to receive $20 in credit!
5. Enjoy your new clothes!!

12592195_1004649589597347_9105843164803536068_n

 

Caleb’s Imagination

Caleb Paw Patrol Name

^^^ Graphic I Made for Caleb to Print and Pin to His Bedroom Door^^^

Imagination is an incredible thing. One of my greatest joys is watching Caleb play pretend. Our living room is over run by a play house, tool bench, and wonderful wooden kitchen. I wanted to be sure that he could explore those interests in full. He’ll make us lots of play food, build things on his fancy tool bench, and he “goes home” to his play house many times a day. I adore watching this, and playing along when he wants me to.

Another area of pretend play that he’s been working on lately involves his toys. It all started with Po the Polar Bear. He received him as a gift around Thanksgiving from a kind man that lives near his preschool. That bear is his best friend, and they have the most intricate conversations. Occasionally they will be in a  “fight” and Caleb won’t want to talk to or be around him. Then we have to mediate their fight. We’ll tell Po to apologize, and tell Caleb that Po still loves him, and then Caleb apologizes and they are back to being friends again.

Of course though, with his new obsession with Paw Patrol, he’s begun putting his Paw Patrol toys into situations, and it’s just too dang adorable. I wanted to share one exchange from him that had me totally in stitches last night.

Caleb had Marshall stuck inside of his boot calling for help, and his plush Chase was heading off to rescue him. Chase said, “Ryder need us!” He was loud, enthusiastic, and oh so cute. Chase finished saving him and he yelled, “We did it! Yay!!!” Then he walked off with them for another “rescue.” I love this child so dang much. His innocence is beautiful, and fills me with joy.

 

Turkey, Broccoli, Egg Muffins!

Okay, I have a REAL winner for you all today! My son has a new obsession with eggs, and I’ve made scrambled, fried, and omelets already this last week. I on the other hand have been on a muffin making binge, and also made a whole turkey yesterday. When Caleb asked for eggs today, I decided to put these delicious egg muffins together.

Ingredients:

cooked turkey (enough to fill the bottom of the cup, you can use deli meat)

broccoli (three pieces per muffin)

6 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp minced garlic

1 1/2 slice cheese of choice (I used American)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees and prepare your muffin tin. I love, love, love these silicone muffin liners. They are reusable, and anything cooked in them just pops right out.

Next, microwave your broccoli. 30 seconds from fresh/thawed, or 60 seconds for frozen. Put the turkey and broccoli in each cup (like in picture three.

Now whisk together the eggs, milk, and seasonings until you have a consistent mixture. This is the same egg recipe I would use for scrambled eggs. Caleb loves them, and they have just enough seasoning without overpowering the eggs. I recommend whisking this in a measuring cup, or anything with a pouring spout really. It’ll make it much easier to poor over the turkey and broccoli, which is exactly what you need to do next.

Lastly, place a quarter slice of cheese on top of each muffin cup. If you don’t press it in, it should float, and will be the perfect topped layer. Put the muffin tin into the oven and let it bake for 25-30 minutes. Just like a regular muffin, stick a toothpick or knife into the finished muffin to test if it’s done.

These are really great, because you can prep them the night before, and stick them into the oven in the morning if you want. You can also freeze them for later. Microwave them 45-60 seconds from frozen, or 30 seconds from thawed. These are easy to transport, and totally dip-able.

Enjoy!

Loving Hand-Print Crafts

This weekend was really peaceful for my little family. We all had it off of work and school, so it was the perfect time to work on some crafts and cooking! I shared my heart shaped banana, peanut butter, and oatmeal muffins last night, and was inspired to do some loving crafts as well.

The first was the hand-print tree with heart leaves coming off of it. How cute is that? Very simple too. I just traced Caleb’s hand and arm, cut it out and taped it into place. Then I cut out a bunch of different sized hearts, and Caleb helped me put them into place. I was quite impressed with his choices, and only guided him if there were too many overlapping. Then I cut a piece of green paper to look like grass, and fanned it out to make it 3-D. Lastly, I pinned it up onto our butterfly wall, and it looks completely adorable.

The next project was the hand upon hand project (picture three). Super simple, but I love the way it over laps. Blue for Corey, Purple for me, and Orange for Caleb. This one, believe it or not, was the biggest pain because Corey’s hand is so big! I had to trace it three times because it kept fitting weirdly. Eventually we fixed it up to fit on the background with ours. Imagine having it with a teen, elementary aged kiddo, toddler, and new born… Someday my friends! That would be so cute though.

Lastly was the middle project; family hands making hearts. I loved this idea! All you need to do is fold a piece of paper, then trace the hand you want to use with the thumb and pointer touching the crease. As long as you don’t cut the crease in those two places, when you unfold, you’ll have a cute heart! I taped ours together and pinned it above a painting of a heart I did many years ago. It’s a good addition to our living room I think.

Valentines day is coming up soon, and these would be some fun crafts for any age. Caleb prefers stamping his hands compared to having them traced, but he loves picking colors and placing items. I’m a big fan of tape, because you can move things around if it’s not “just right.” I hope y’all enjoy these, and if you try them out, please share them with me!

DIY Educational Book Shelf!

Quite a while ago I bought this book shelf for Caleb. It was a dingy white with partially ripped flowers all over it. I was so sure that I’d be able to get some paint and work my magic on it… six months later, it was still just sitting around in it’s original state. This morning specifically we were just using it as a foot rest in the living room.

I looked up at this super cute snowman hand print project we did yesterday, and it just came to me. I grabbed the book shelf and brought it out to the table for a scrub down. Once it was clean, I put a quick layer of yellow paint over the whole thing. Then I traced Caleb’s hand, and made two of each rainbow color. Next I painted another layer of yellow paint, and placed the hand cut outs where I wanted him.

A few hours later I went back to it with a sharpie. The top hands spell out Caleb’s name, and each finger (as well as the purple heart) have the alphabet on them, and then the side hands have their color written on them with 1-15 written on the fingers. I’m debating on adding more, like maybe some shapes on top? I’m quite pleased with how it came out so far though. The last step, once I’m totally sure, is to modge podge the whole thing so that Caleb can’t rip the hands off, because that’s totally something he would do.

Either way, this was a wicked easy project, and has a lot of uses! Alphabet, spelling his name, counting, practicing colors, and holding some of his wonderful books inside make it totally worth it! What do y’all think?