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Toddler Tuesday: Keeping them busy when you're busy

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Toddlers love to help us. They like feeling like big kids. Although, Audrey is only 18 months, she still has chores she does but to her, they're just games. She helps me load and unload the dishwasher. We fold laundry together. She loves doing laundry (makes one of us). I hand her dirty clothes and she throws them in the washing machine and then helps me swap them to the dryer. Audrey also knows how to pick up her toys and put them away, when she wants to. It's nice having her want to help right now. There are times though, that I really don't want her help with things and have to distract her.

We got a big shipping box in and I had so much to do. I just needed it done and didn't want her in the way so I grabbed the box and stripped off her clothes and tossed her in. Popped the lids off of some markers, gave them to her and let her make some art. She had a blast. Little fit even when it was time to get out. That box was gorgeous. She colored it and made me it her own art. The best part was how proud she was of it all. She kept showing it to me and smiling.

I am trying to avoid using the tv as a distraction/baby sitter but yea, it's convenient at moments. It does get hard to deal because she is so used to doing everything with me. Once in a while I have to take her to my parent's house for 2 or 3 hours so I can get some stuff done. Don't beat yourself up because you can't sit down right this second with them. Yes, chores can wait but when you have no clean dishes or undies, it can't. Try and find ways to get your little ones to help. Remember Mary Poppins, one of my favorite movies, she made it a game. I've tried snapping plenty of times,  still doesn't work.

You can do it!

*Alyssa*



Selling yourself... Yea, I'm my own PIMP

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Read this whole post before you freak out and think I am Dolly running the best little whore house in Texas. Great movie, look it up.

Being a business owner means that you have to sell your self! You are your product. I don't mean that in a "Hey, check out the goods *flashes privates*" way. I mean it as in, your heart and soul. Your passion. Your life! No matter what the business type is, if you are truly proud then it will reflect. I have been around so many great business men and women in my life and learned a lot of the good, the bad and the ugly. It is a political war in itself at times. I don't say this to detour you from doing it but to prepare you.

One of the best pieces of advice I have been given is always be ready to give a business bio at any time. When someone asks me what I do for a living I explain that my main job is being a sahm but on the side I blog and run Fab Flares by Audrey's Mom which is my custom crafts business. It's neat how people are excitedly surprised by all of that. Yea, I'm busy. I love it though. It shows in all I do. Always have some business cards on your person. I keep a stack in my bag because I want that next sale.

Something that has really helped me is having photos of my products on my phone. I can show them my stuff and then they can look at it more detailed online. Reel them in! Even if i don't have a back order at the moment, I always act like I do. Not only will it make you more appealing to a potential customer but it will help your confidence. Extreme confidence will shine through.

Make sure you are proud and always show it. Now go strut your stuff and make some sales.

*Alyssa*

Toddler Tuesday: Long Car Rides Are BORING!

Monday, September 22, 2014

If you read yesterday's post then you know we had a long weekend. Drove 4 hours to Seattle for my grandfather's funeral, spent the night and drove home Sunday afternoon. So much packed into such little time. Honestly, I was so excited to get home to my own bed.

There are so many posts and articles on how to travel with a toddler. Let me break it down for you parents, it's not that glamorous! While Audrey is mostly a well behaved child, it still was not entirely fun. She did have some fits and I did argue with her. Honestly, I don't think it would have been as easy to have drove if my parent's didn't have their new car with the tv in it. Thank God for the DVD player. Oh and the snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. The worst part for me was being car sick the entire time.

As we get older, we're used to sitting for long periods of time. Not a tiny toddler. We stopped as much as possible and walked around. She would fuss and squirm trying to get out of her car seat. I was trying very hard to keep her comfortable. We had lots of toys, her baby doll, books and a mini karaoke machine. We made silly faces at each other and sang.

I have not been on a plane with her yet and am not looking forward to it when it does happen. Although, I will do everything again to make her comfortable and enjoy it.

What are your tips for traveling with small children? 

*Alyssa*

Oh My Monday!: Counting my blessings

Welcome back everyone to the most hated day of the week. Poor Monday, you get treated terribly. I guess I don't have a right to hate you, you've never done anything to me and being home everyday, I don't get the same resentment as others.

I guess it's time to come back to reality. It was an odd weekend for me. Went to a funeral across state for my biological grandfather. I didn't have a relationship with him so I didn't know how to feel about it all. Saturday night, I called Jake, to talk to him. He reminded me of something important. I can't be mad over it. At the memorial,  his friends told stories about him. They talked about all of the things he did for them. I should be happy about this not mad. Being mad is selfish.

After I went to bed that night, I lied in my hotel room  cuddling Audrey. I was thinking about everything I have. It may not seem like a lot to others but it's a lot to me. I have a man who loves me unconditionally, a beautiful and healthy little girl, and a silly dog who is always excited to see me. My parents have always been supportive of me and given me so much more than I deserved. I have some of the funnest Aunts and Uncles and cousins who I still hang out with like best friends to this day. Grandparents who love to still spoil me and fed me ice cream for breakfast more times than not. Those are true blessings.

Hell, I am extremely spoiled. Jake bought me a house and has worked his ass off the past 7 years with it to update it for us. I know I complain about it but I just get annoyed with the updates it needs still and the neighbors. If you were to see it for the first time,  you'd know instantly that it's a home.

We always want more. We've become greedy. It's OK to want more but make sure it's something that will make you wealthy in your soul not your pocket book. Just like the fact that I want a bigger SUV but don't need one. And that's ok. I also want another child but don't know if I will have anymore and I am so happy to have Audrey. My health issues aren't her fault and I will always love her. She is more than enough for our family.

So buck up and stop having a pity party for what you don't have. Stop trying to keep up with the Jones'. You can't take it when you go and you don't want to raise greedy and selfish children.

Count your blessings. Right them down so you are always reminded. And says your prayers and brush your teeth because God and germs are everywhere.

*Alyssa*

Fan Friday: Girl on the Move

Friday, September 19, 2014

Wow, it's already Friday. Today I am so excited to introduce you to Julie. She's awesome and I love her because she loves me. Well and she loves cupcakes and is an amazing writer. Oh, and she loves my chalkboard wine glasses I made her. So I'm going to turn it over to you, Julie.


I am a Girl on the Move who loves adventures and am always on the move, so whether that is exploring Southern California, tasting a new cupcake, running or traveling, I want to share those adventures with you!  I hope to inspire you to try new things and when you do try something new, I'd love to hear about it!

 I wanted to take a quick break and answer the most common questions I am asked about cupcakes!  And if you have any additional questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them!
How do you eat all of those cupcakes and not weigh 300 pounds?
Hands down, this is the question I am asked the most often and I actually think the answer is pretty simple.  I average close to 1 cupcake a week but that’s really my only indulgence.  Outside of that one cupcake I eat a pretty clean diet and I love running so I think that’s why I don’t weigh 300 pounds. B Candy Cupcakes | Girl on the Move Blog
Do you have a favorite cupcake shop?
I’d have to really stop and think about this one!  I think I’ve been to about 75 cupcake shops across the country so it’s difficult to pick a favorite.  But…
Sweet and Saucy is where everything started so they’ll always hold a special place in my heart.  I also love the concept behind Church of Cupcakes in Denver so they’re pretty high on my list.  And Brown Betty Dessert Boutique in Philadelphia is just downright delicious!
And if you want to check out the other cupcake shops I’ve been visited, head over to the GOTM Travel Guide and search for a cupcake shop near you!
What is the cupcake trifecta?
In my opinion there are three things that make a cupcake perfect…
-The cake part is moist
-The frosting isn’t too sweet
-There is a balanced ratio of cake to frosting…too much or too little frosting just doesn’t do it for me!
Clockwise from top: Salty Caramel, Sweet Dream, The Big Cheese, Charlie Brown
Clockwise from top: Salty Caramel, Sweet Dream, The Big Cheese, Charlie Brown
How do you find new cupcake shops to try?
Lots of ways!  I get lots of referrals from people, I’ll come across cupcake shops that others mention in their social media posts and sometimes if I am traveling I will simply google “cupcake shops in fill in the name of the city where I am traveling”
Will you come try our cupcakes?
I’d absolutely love to come and try your cupcakes!  If your cupcake shop fits in with my upcoming travel plans I would be happy to come and check it out!  You can get my contact information on my Contact page so we can get in touch! Mountain Cupcakes | Girl on the Move Blog
Do you ever have cupcakes that you don’t like?
Rarely.  But I’ll be honest, it happens.  There has only been one cupcake shop I regret blogging about because the cupcakes weren’t really that good and I struggled with what to say.  But I was committed, so I wrote the post anyways.  And there have two or three times when I’ve had a cupcake and not blogged about it because I didn’t like it.  But hey, 3 out of 75 isn’t bad!
What is your favorite flavor of cupcake?
I am a sucker for anything with salted caramel.  And I also just love a traditional vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting.  Oh, and cream cheese frosting…that’ll get me every time!
So I’d love to hear from you…where should I visit next?  And what other cupcake questions do you have?

Trial and Error of New Products: Painting Faux Pumpkins

Thursday, September 18, 2014

As a business owner, I follow a lot of other business pages. Not only is a great way to network but you also can see what's selling and for how much. I enjoy seeing other people's failures, not because I'm cruel but because it shows they have a real passion for what they are doing. They are willing to keep working until they get it just right. I don't like to fail but I know it's going to happen. So I've made sure that when I have a new idea for something, I should practice it.

With the season turning into Autumn, I thought it would be a great idea to get some items in that theme for the shop. So I bought Audrey and I some "testers" to play with. We have these small faux pumpkins from Dollar Tree that are "carvable". I'm not vey good at carving a real pumpkin so I was very hesitant with some Styrofoam pumpkin. So obviously my next thought was to decorate them. I've been seeing such fun things online about decorating pumpkins with paints, glue, and my favorite, GLITTER!
 
I tested out a jack-o-lantern style pumpkin. I'm going to have my nephew try it out.

As you can see, it's not as tall as a soda can. Perfect for small hands. You can't see it in the photo but I made marks on the pumpkin as my outline.
 
Then I painted in the areas I outlined with black paint. I used my acrylic enamel this time but if you are doing it with a child, then you will want to use Tempera. It's a non-toxic paint that washes off of everything, including clothes. I didn't like how light the stem was so I went over it with a darker brown paint.
 
I think it turned out pretty cute and I have a feeling my nephew is going to love it.
 
I can't wait to make more and show them to you.
 
*Alyssa*

Toddler Tuesday: Handling Life's Boo Boo's

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Me: "Audrey, come here, you need to get clean panties on!"
Audrey: Running around her table and giggling... Slams face into corner of chair and starts screaming.
Meemaw: Grabs screaming child and tries to console her and sees a cut eye, bleeding.
Me: Stomach sinks to butt and trying to not cry or scream because I feel so bad for my baby.

Well, that happened Saturday morning. She did cut next to her eye pretty good and it did open up. I didn't take her to the emergency room because they would have done exactly what I would have done only they would have sedated her. Got some dermaglue and steri-strips. Work amazingly. I have a feeling that this will not be the last time she needs them either. My poor child is so clumsy. She can't just turn around, no she has to swing way out. She runs like she's driving a giant pickup truck. Guess she is a redneck. For as long as I can remember, I have been extremely clumsy. I can't even count the exact number of times I have ran into something and knocked myself out. Is that a bad thing? I am an accident prone person and it looks like Audrey inherited that from mama. Since she was born, I have done really well to not gasp or freak out when something happens. Well at least not in front of her. Every one gasps though when they see a kid about to get hurt. My mom and dad would make me get back up and do it again if I got hurt. Well, not run into pillars again but you know what I mean. I make Audrey get up, brush it off and move on. Not so much this time. All I kept saying was, "She needs stitches, that's really bad. I can't believe this happened to my poor baby." Once I was home with Jake, he and I talked and she took a nap and calmed down. After that I realized, this kid is fine. She is so dang tough.

I got a funny text about it from my friend, she said, "There will be plenty of Urgent Care visits to come with her." Oh I don't doubt that. She's going to be doing karate like dada or swinging around a tree branch and knock the wind out of herself like mom. Every time she gets hurt, I will worry. Whether she is scraping her knee on the sidewalk or getting rejected by some loser boy, I will be hurt with her and worry. I will hold her hand and show her how to be strong each time.

Audrey was really strong for mama last week. Found out my grandfather passed away. I never had a relationship with the man, other than he sent me some pretty wonderful gifts on occasion and he was the man who conceived my father. Yet, I ended up breaking down about an hour after getting the news. I sat down in Jake's lap and cried. Audrey came in and saw her mama was upset, so she began rubbing my leg and giving me kisses. She kept saying, "Awe mama." I hated that my tiny toddler felt like she needed to be the tough one for her mama. It helped me though.

As children, we know how to handle life's boo boo's but somehow we forget that along the way. It's really amazing how our children can teach us these lessons again. Just watch your child on the playground and next time they fall, wait a second, see what they do. Do they get up and keep going ? They most likely will if it's not serious and you stay calm. Like my mom said after Audrey was hurt, she was taking her cues from me and I needed to be strong for her.
I'm going to keep enjoying taking care of her while I can, because like all of our parent's know, it goes by too fast and they know longer need us to kiss their boo boo's.
 
 
*Alyssa*

I'd Like To Thank The Academy...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Well this is pretty great to hear, I was nominated for a Liebster Award from Tandra over at Thriller Mom. Never thought I would get recognition for my blog, especially with it being as new as it is. This is really cool though. Thank you for this and thank you for thinking that I was worthy enough. It really means a lot to me. I will have a drink in your honor of course. Again thank you!
She sent me some exciting questions to answer as part of my "acceptance speech" for you all to get to know me a little better. Some of them really had me chuckling because of the answers in my head (smart ass answers.)
 
1. What is something you won't blog about? Well I think it may be too early in my blog life to answer this. I said to myself going into this that I was going to be honest about my motherhood struggles and triumphs. I think that I wouldn't blog about something that would hurt my family. I'm a private person, especially when it's about my family. So writing some of the things I do is really hard for me. Talking about my struggles is hard because I hate failure and have always been able to hide my pain from even those closest to me.  
2. What is your biggest guilty pleasure? Oh, well that is easy for me to answer since it was just pointed out. After my family goes to bed, I like to have a beer. 
 
3. Where would you vacation if money was no factor? Italy, I want to visit the Vatican. I would spend weeks touring and eating, oh and of course enjoying wine.

 4. What has been the scariest moment of your life? The scariest moment was when I was delivering my daughter. I had so many complications happen and was afraid my daughter was going to grow up with out her mom. Luckily we had the most amazing doctor who was quick on her feet and refused to let anything take me away.
 
5. Who do you look up to as a mentor? While others may find it cheesy to say this I don't. I look up to my parents. They were just kids when they were given me and made the best of the situation. Now they are living such a fun life. They are having the time of their lives now. They sacrificed so much for me to have the best things and the best toys.
 
6. What is your favorite board game? It's a tie between Candy Land and Payday. Love them both.
 
7. Are you a spender or a saver? I'm a spender (more than I should be). Poor Jake, he chose someone with champagne tastes on a PBR budget.
 
8. What are three lessons you want to teach your kids? God has the answer to everything, you just need to ask him. Never let someone deter you from what you want and who you want to be. Confidence is the most attractive thing in the world and can help you get almost anything you want.
 
9. Would you like to know the day you're going to die? Oh no way. Why would I? I know myself and I'd be freaking out more than I'd live it up. When it' my time, I will let it be and know that I did everything I was meant to do on Earth.

10. What super power would you most like to possess? This is a hard one. Like a typical mom, I weighed the pros and cons of all the super powers I could think of. But screw that, I'm already Batman. I'm just saying, you've never seen me and Batman in the same room so...
 
Now I have the honor of nominating another blog... or two.
 
 
My 10 questions for you are:
 
1.Why blog?
2. Greatest accomplishment so far in your life?
3. Any celebrity living or dead that you would want to spend the day on a beach with?
4. What do you do as "me time"?
5. If you had one last meal and/or drink, what would it be?
6. Would you pay for Facebook if it was no longer free?
7. If you could learn a new "thing/skill" what would it be and why?
8. How long have you held the title mom?
9. Out of all of the moms in the animal kingdom, which one would you be and why?
10. What is something you think your kids will thank you for later in life?
 
I am so excited to hear what they have to say.
 
The Rules!
I have read differing rules regarding the Liebster Award but I'll stick with the ones passed on to me.

-Post a Liebster Award image to your blog (Run to Google)
-Mention & link back to the blogger who nominated you
-Answer all questions presented to you
-Nominate bloggers of your choosing & notify them
-List your questions for those bloggers
-Explain the rules

Have FUN with this! It's a way to support one another and pay it forward! 
 
Make sure you go over and check them out and show them some suga and tell them the Bloodhound Mama sent you. Congratulations to both of you and thank you again to Tandra at

Thriller Mom for nominating me.

They call me Mama...


I work, I clean, I cook, I scrub, and I fold. I kiss owies, style hair, prepare lunches and run errands. I make homemade gifts, run a business, write my blog, walk the dog, exercise to get fit and greet my man at the door each night he gets home from work. Am I perfect? No, not even close. Do I try to be? Well obviously, look at all the things I do in one day. I AM NOT MY MOTHER-IN-LAW! Which I like to remind Jake of. I love the woman but I'm not her, nor will I ever be and nor do I want to be.  She homeschooled all 3 of her sons, went to co-op with them, helped teach at our church and does the bookkeeping for her husband's HVAC company. Honestly, I tell her all the time, it's a miracle she hasn't gone crazy and ran away yet. She doesn't even drink! Yes, I am in awe of her. She's an amazing woman. But again, I am not her. I'm not that 50's housewife that I set out to be. While there may disagreements on this in my home, I think I work way harder than Jake. I don't get a day off from my job. It follows me around, literally, she hangs off me while I am trying to go to the bathroom and asks me what I'm doing! 

The other day I was reading these posts about all the things we're doing wrong as parents and one about all the things that we're doing right as parents. Who are these people who do not know me to judge me as a parent? As far as they know, I'm not doing any of the things that "they" think I should be doing or maybe I'm doing all of them. Sadly, we are all quick to judge at one point or another. I admit I have been guilty of it and I have worked very hard not to.

I was thinking about it all weekend after reading that I am "trying too hard to be a perfect parent." I'm not trying to be a perfect parent by anyone's standards other than my own. If your kid looks at you in awe when you make them mac & cheese for lunch, well then you are a perfect parent. They are just so excited and so happy that you gave them something they love which makes you perfect to them. Audrey thinks I'm perfect still because I am home with her everyday. I make her laugh, feed her meals, teach her how to play fetch with the dog and cuddle her when ever she asks me to.

While men say they want a woman like their mother, it's not true. Look, they moved away from their mommy's for a reason! I tried really hard to be June Cleaver, for Jake. I have a set cleaning schedule I do every day. He gets home from work and I am waiting at the door to take his lunch box and give him a kiss. I make him a homemade dinner while he relaxes and plays with Audrey. Come bed time, I clean up from dinner, make his lunch and breakfast for the next day, crawl in bed, kiss him goodnight and roll over in exhaustion.  Now you're probably think I'm lying about something here. Well here is the thing, I actually do all of those everyday, only I don't do it to nearly as well as I would like to. Which is ok. Jake tells me all the time that my job is to take care of Audrey and myself first. I have sacrificed eating all day just to make sure he can come home to a spotless house and not have to worry about not having clean clothes. Does it make me happy when I do that? Not a flippin' bit! I am
a mean person when I am hungry and Jake knows that I'm scary.

There will be days when you are just so exhausted you can't do it all. THAT IS ALRIGHT!!! You don't have to do it all to be perfect. If you and your family are all happy at the end of the day, then you were a perfect parent. Plenty of times I feel like a bad parent because I can't give Audrey what she wants at the moment but then I remind myself, I'm not THAT parent. I don't cave and give her something just because she cries. I know in a few years, I will hear I'm a mean mommy. I will survive it and so will she. As long as I get to be Audrey's mom at the end of the day and get her kisses and hear I love you, that's perfect parenting for me. So stop beating yourself up. Stop letting other's judgment affect your confidence. If you're doing everything you can to make your kid happy and not being an abusive parent, then you're a perfect parent.



In the words of Taylor Swift, "And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off!"

*Alyssa*

Fan Friday with Goofball Mommy

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hooray, it's Fan Friday and today I get to introduce you to Lisa from Goofball Mommy. She cracks me up. As a stay at home mom and a blogger, it's always fun to hear the "horror" stories from other moms and the lessons they have learned from their munchkins.
 
 
I am Lisa, a stay at home mom from southern California. I have an over active child who suffers from a migraine disorder. My blog started when I wanted to create a place moms could go and feel like they are not the only ones who are struggling. My life is never perfect, but it is perfectly mine.
 
 
10thingsmother

New mothers go into parenting expecting some surprises but believe for the most part they will be prepared for what life with a child will be like. Like me, most moms eventually realize there are going to be moments in their child’s life that will blow everything they were prepared for out of the water. These are the 10 moments I was not prepared for as a mother.
1. How bad my heart would break when he got his shots.
As a mother, we are meant to keep our children from being hurt. So for me to take him to the doctor knowing that he was going to get stuck with a needle 1-4 times was horrible. While I was pregnant I never really thought much about him having to be vaccinated. In fact I never really let it cross my mind. Then the first doctor’s appointment that he needed his vaccines arrived and I remember arriving feeling like ok this won’t be so bad. We went through the check up and then it became time for his shots. I help him and he looked up at me, snuggled in and smiled. Then it happened. The nurse walked up and stuck him right in the thigh. The look of fear, and pain ran across my innocent babies face and I broke down. He started to calm down only to be stuck again in the other leg and let the cry. For those of you who have been through this experience you know what I am talking about. Not the: I want mommy cry, the how could you let this happen scream as loud as possible my world is not happy ugly cry. Oh you thought I was only talking about monkey man crying no that would be me crying as well that my baby is hurting. Yeah. If you can make it through all your child’s vaccines without ever feeling sorry or spilling a tear I am truly impressed.
2. The first time my child was sick.76696_1708619761034_1233635_n
I am not talking about a runny nose or a cough. I am talking about being hospitalized because he was so sick that he was lethargic and not drinking his milk any more sick. Monkey Man was 5 months old Thanksgiving week of 2010 and had to be hospitalized. If I though having vaccines were bad, I was in for something else. I had to hold monkey man down while the nurses proceeded to put a catheter in him and get a urine sample, try to find a vein 5x for his IV, Take blood samples, 155436_1711097662980_7206020_nand put in a new catheter after he pulled his out. I was down the hall listening to him scream as 5 nurses and the doctor held him down and did a spinal tap. I sat by his hospital crib for 5 days while he continued to lose weight and slowly get better. It was the toughest week of my life.



3. My child being 
seriously hurt by a family pet.257493_2098641431332_5943197_o
We were at my parents’ house in May 2011. Monkey man pulled up on the couch in front of my parent’s 12 year old dog startling him while he slept. The dog attacked, latching on to monkey man’s face and preceding to shake him until I got to the couch to unlatch his jaw from monkey man’s face. 241113_2098640071298_1235697_oWe were lucky that the dog missed his eye entirely but monkey man still has 3 scars to this day on his face. He was placed on heavy antibiotics to prevent infection. I have since never trusted any dog close to monkey man including our now 7 year old pug and 8 month old yorkie.




4. My son’s first steps.
Monkey man began walking at his 1st birthday party. To be honest I was supper excited. About a month later monkey man began running! This was not a good thing! Now he was on the move and he was fast! I thought life would get easier when he started walking but I quickly learned that danger just came faster. He was able to get into more. He was able to disappear in seconds instead of minutes. He was on the move and he sure wasn’t going to slow down or stop anytime soon.
 
5. Sharing my bed almost nightly.
Now I expected to have monkey man in our bed every once in a while but once in a while became a lot of the time and a lot of the time became nightly. Once monkey man was used to being in our bed it was almost impossible to get him out. To be honest, I don’t blame him for wanting to be with us. Who wants to sleep alone? The world is such a scary place for little ones and then you go tuck them in to their own bed by themselves while you go share a bed with your spouse? Well for us it is not just sharing the bed. It has become monkey man gets 2/3rds of the bed and we get to share a 3rd. Who knew such a tiny person could take up so much room?

If you want to read more, just make sure you go on over to Goofball Mommy and see what she has learned. New moms, this is a great read, veteran moms, finish it and laugh as you agree with everything she says, I know I did.
 
Bonus 11: I never realized how quickly time would go.
Everyone always tells you that they grow fast. But as a new mother you do not realize that they don’t mean freeway speed fast.10370371_10203840762405195_4171078974316054695_n They mean the speed of light fast. I feel like the years have flown past. I have so many regrets that I did not stop to play enough, focus on him enough, or take the time to enjoy when he wanted to be held, be cuddled, or played with. I did not stop what I was doing enough to spend time with him. I have lost those precious moments and they will never return because they grow fast. So I challenge you, the next time your little one asks you to do something with them, drop everything you are doing and put everything you have into what they want. Give it your all and see how they light up.
What were you not prepared for?

Tutu's and wine glasses and hair bows? I got this! Oh wait, where's Audrey?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pretty excited over here. *Does happy dance* Why am I so excited you ask? Well, I will gladly tell you. Got an email last weekend inviting me to go to a craft walk!!! Whoohoo. Ok, now you're asking what a craft walk is. It's a smaller version of a craft show. This one will be held at a local farmers market (luckily 4 blocks from my house). I'm really exhausted though already. Trying to get a ton of new product made up. Honestly though, I may complain but I'm really lucky to be doing something I love.

Audrey is such a big "help" when I'm working. Just like any other child. One of the biggest questions I get when talking about being a wahm is, how do you do your crafts with Audrey around? Oh man, how do I do it? I'm still shocked but really, there are times that I don't get anything done. Sometimes she is trying to crawl up into my lap while I'm sewing or she's trying to get the scissors for a mad dash. Sitting at the table with her and giving her goldfish helps. I don't believe in bribing with sweets but oh I have no shame in goldfish cracker bribery. When I have a big project to do that I know I just can't get done when she's around I will wait until she's in bed. Then usually Jake will cuddle with her and put her to bed for me. If you need to get anything done with a child running around then your best bet is distractions. Whether it be food, toys, another kid or even your partner. Find the best distraction that will last the longest.

Now no one can judge me for this because we are all there at one point or another but we've all said, "Where's the kid?" I can't tell you how many times Jake and I ask each other that. This is why they invented baby gates. Either she's pulling out her pajamas and trying to put them on or she's on the dog bed rolling around. I really should remember to put the gates up more often but hey, we all get distracted by our kids. As Audrey gets older, I've really been fortunate to have her want to help mama work. I set out supplies and arrange them in ways she can get them for me. I love how excited she gets when she brings me something. It's not child labor when she takes a million breaks in an hour long shift. Audrey is my muse, model, employee, receptionist and product tester. She's my go to girl until bed time. Then Tara takes over the job. When I have to work in the garage, hooch comes out and is my body guard. She loves when I work outside, because it usually means that she's going to get to play fetch or get some treats. She isn't too fond of when I test out product on her. I really should start making her something that she'd enjoy testing... I am thinking she's asking for a batch of homemade treats and knows that I'm writing about her. Thanks dog, I have a huge slobber gob on my pajama bottoms now.

I was asked recently, "If you could give any wahm your best advice, what would it be?" This will always be my answer: Remember why you are doing this. When it gets hard and you want to give up, remember why you are doing this. Did you start this to be home with your family? Is your business goal to help earn extra income for your family? Does your family need a new vehicle? There can be a great deal of different reasons but remember why you are doing this. Write it down and post it in your work space, on your mirror or even the banner on your phone's lock screen.

Last but not least, put up the baby gates. I can hear Audrey playing with Tara's dog tags and Tara is groaning because she's trying to take a nap. If you can keep your kid alive every day, then you can become a wahm. Just find what is the best fit for you, get ready, jump!

You can do it mama!

*Alyssa*

Toddler Tuesday: Daily Schedule

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

 As parents, we all want the best for our children. Who wouldn't? We work hard to make sure they have the best things in life. We send them to school to learn and to prepare them for the real world. Routine is something great for kids. But is there something we can be doing at home with them? I think the answer is always going to be YES! While I was extremely annoyed at times with my mom for making me do my homework or study, I'm glad she did.

When I was a little me, my mother dearest would teach me things in a fun way. She didn't want to see the monster come out I guess. One of the coolest ways I remember was how she taught me to read a clock. Oh man, did I think I was one bad mammajamma kid because none of the other kids in my class could read time yet. Every night before bed, after teeth brushing and pj's, my mom would come to my room and pull out my Crayola clock and the whiteboard. She would write a time on the board, 3:12, then I would have to turn the dial on my clock to the correct time. I'm a kinesthetic learner, which means I have to do it myself for me to comprehend it and retain it. As I got older, my mom made sure to keep a routine in my life. Get up, eat breakfast, got to school, come home, do homework, dinner, then some family time depending on the night of the week. It helped me to stay focused.

I got a request from a friend of mine. She has two little ones. Her oldest is a 3 year old boy and when I say boy, he is all boy. So full of life and wonder. Very curious. He loves to ask "Why?" So she decided it was time for him to see a daily routine and help him to prepare for school. I think this is a great idea and was so excited to make up a daily schedule for him. Below is the preview of his schedule. Please feel free to take ideas from it. I am hoping to get a downloadable version that can be easily altered for other families.




*Alyssa*


 

 
 
 
 

Oh My! Monday: Getting back my confidence after a baby

Monday, September 8, 2014

"You will get fat. Your boobs will sag. Stretch marks are going to cover your body. Oh girl, you are so tiny now that you will bounce back. Are you having twins? You are carrying low, you must be close to delivering. Do you have the big blue line on your belly? You have the biggest rack now. Oh, penguin waddle, how cute. Can you get your pants buttoned up? You not having morning sickness is a sign of an unhealthy baby. You will never look or feel the same way down there again. Oh, yea, sneeze and pee. Welcome to the club of poop and vomit on your clothes. Enjoy never sleeping again. It took me a year before I even lost a pound of baby weight."

These are just a small amount of all of the things that I was told while I was pregnant. I did my best to ignore the horror and myths but yes, they will linger in the back of your mind and can rattle the strongest woman. I didn't buy into the gender predictions, I did do them all and they all said I was having a boy and still ended up with a girl. People who have had a kid suddenly think they are the expert on everything pregnancy and kids. You are given unwanted advice from family, friends and even strangers. I had one lady at the grocery store come up and put her hand on my belly. I put mine right back on hers and gave her a look of yea, this is happening. She immediately stopped and walked away.

Jump ahead to 8 months pregnant, Jake and I are dishing up for dinner and my feet started to turn into maple bars with little sausages at the end. Swelling is a normal part of pregnancy for many women. I thought nothing of it because I had been deep cleaning my house for the past 3 weeks. Luckily I had a check up in the morning. As I was getting ready to leave, my hands and face started to look a little puffy too. I got to the appointment and was sitting in the room swelling up even bigger. My blood pressure was very high, I was a literal water bed and had a high amount of protein in my urine sample. I gained over 20lbs in 3 days of water weight. It stretched out every part of my body. I had two tiny stretch marks that you couldn't see on my belly. After that, my belly, hips and thighs are now covered in them. It was extremely painful.

Audrey is almost 18 months old and while I have lost a lot of weight, I sure as heck do not look like that skinny lady I see in the photo the day we found out about her. My stomach is saggy and in some outfits, I still look 5 months pregnant. It is sad. I am embarrassed sometimes. Luckily, I am very fortunate to have someone who tells me I am sexy. He doesn't care that I'm not 117lbs like I was when we met. Then again, I'm not 16 either. Yes, shopping for clothes sucks. I hate standing next to woman who have a kid who is half the age of mine and they are tiny and look like they never had a child.

Here is the difference between me and a lot of other moms. I remind myself every time I feel down, I ATE TOO MANY DOUGHNUTS I MADE A HUMAN INSIDE MY BODY! A beautiful human, with ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. A human who looks at me like I am perfect and loves me unconditionally. As I am writing this, I am wearing a pair of shorts and a Seahawks shirt. No, I don't look like Alyssa Milano on NFL.com in it but I look good. I may have the appearance of a muffin top from my saggy skin but remember... THE MUFFIN TOP IS THE BEST PART OF EVERY MUFFIN! Your body is amazing with all of the things it can do. It can heal itself, change over time and grow humans. Now you tell yourself this every time you feel bad... I MAKE HUMANS AND I AM AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL! Look at women in these tribes in third world countries. They sag, are round and are absolutely happy with who they are. Why? Because they are moms and they know that being a great mom with a happy kid is more important than being tiny. Personally, I don't want to look like I did before puberty. No offense but I enjoy have some curves now. It will take a long time to get small and I may never be pre-baby looking again, which is ok. Because one, I like to drink and eat and two, I plan on more kids in the future and each time I get pregnant, I will remind myself that I will change and to be happy with that. I'm going to go kiss my kid now and thank my man for supporting me. I suggest you do the same and stop resenting yourself.


Stay beautiful!

*Alyssa*

DIY Dresse to Vanity Conversion post from Cajun at Blooming In Bedlam

Friday, September 5, 2014

I feel very blessed to be able to share this post with you. Cajun over at Blooming in Bedlam took an old dresser and flipped it into a Vanity. She did an amazing job. Think I can get her to do one for me?
Blooming in Bedlam Facebook
Her blog is healthier living without sacrificing convenience. Topics include homemade beauty products, essential oils, diy/repurposing projects and food with healthier ingredient substitutes. After you read how she did this, go over and check her out Blooming in Bedlam. She has so many great DIY projects and lots of other fun goodies. Make sure you go over and check out the full story on how this dresser became such an amazing vanity.

 

DIY Dresser to Vanity Conversion


Dresser to Vanity Conversion
Dresser to Vanity Conversion
Bloom5-5
Bedlam2-5
I love a good furniture refurbish. It is always a good thing to repurpose something to better use. This maybe isn’t the most convenient project you could take on because it does require some power tool and construction experience. Consequently, it scores a bit low in the the Bedlam department, but the results are so wonderful I had to share it.
Last Thanksgiving (before the blog was born) I was enjoying some brainstorming with my sister-in-law. Being a mom of three, she was stumped at what to get her youngest teenage daughter for Christmas. She mentioned wanting to get or make a vanity to help free up the bathroom. We girls do love to groom. I mentioned my friend, Brandie over at Fresh Furniture, who always has interesting pieces just waiting to be customized or refreshed. She didn’t happen to have any vanities, but she did have a little dresser needing some love. It seemed perfect for some awesome diy pinterest customizations I had been wanting to try. Normally, I would wait for Fresh Furniture to find the perfect little piece (because she has amazing taste and is ALWAYS my #1 source for unique furniture finds), but the Christmas Clock was ticking. Thus, the DIY Dresser to Vanity Conversion was born!
Here is what we started with. Really sweet, right? But not exactly a vanity. I needed to make this primp-perfect stat!
dresser original
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Let’s look back at her evolution before the final reveal.
VanityCollage
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I very much wanted to keep this little gem when she was all finished. Who wouldn’t?
See the appliances all tucked away below?
20131225_123916And the little brush holder all in use? All her stuff is still so accessible, but tucked away and organized. I need to sneak into their house and steal this lady back!
20131225_123924VANITY LOVE!
20131225_123907{SIGH}

Busy Bee trying to make a Busy Business

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I have always loved crafting. My mother got me hooked when I was little. Being an only child, it was a great way for her to keep me busy. I am so glad she did. She still has some of the fimo clay characters I made her. I made her a germ and a porcupine, plus many others. It was a blast. I made plenty of pipe cleaner statues and jewelry as well. Who knew I would take my love and turn it into a passion and a business?

I started out originally making hair bows for a baby shower gift and decided to sell them. I didn't do nearly as well as I would have liked. Comes to find out, I was seriously lacking in the marketing department. So because I wasn't getting orders, I didn't believe in myself. I gave up on myself and thought it just wasn't meant to be in my life story.

Being a stay at home mom is great but I felt like I was losing not only my mind but my self worth. It was exhausting. So after a lot of talk and praying, I decided to start my business up again the right way this time. Owning a crafting business isn't as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of time, failures, and late nights. You don't make a fortune over night. You will beat yourself up and be your worst critic. If you truly love what you do, then so will others.

Now, I am not making enough money to have Jake quit work just yet so I can be his sugar mama. Oh I would love for that to happen. It takes time though. Obviously I know that there are much better business women than myself out there but I am going to do my best to show you how you can do it as well. I will show you failures and my triumphs. I am happy and proud of myself. It's amazing to be doing this.

Follow me on facebook to see the newest products. Fab Flares by Audrey's Mom

Being a happy family, even when you are fighting

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I don't claim to be an expert on anything but I do think I am a damn good mom and a wonderful better half to Jake. We're just like anyone else, we all argue and get annoyed with one another. It's natural, we are all different and think and feel differently.  It's how you handle it that's important.
My dad and I have the same temperament. We get mad, blow up, then we're over it. Firecracker style we say. Short tempers and sometimes just a grunt and mumble can make us feel better. It takes a lot to really make Jake mad and he can stay mad for a while. He is scary good at the silence and distancing himself part. Audrey is still in the hating hearing no and lying on the ground phase. We'll see how she turns out.
 
While we may fight, we still love each other. I know that we can tend to over think a situation and make it bigger in our heads (I do way too often), it's reminding ourselves that we are still loved. I may blow up and yell at him for throwing his dirty socks on the floor and he may yell at me for a credit card bill. Doesn't mean we're going to leave each other. Now, we are not perfect nor a perfect couple. We have had many ups and downs but what makes us a great couple is that we learn from those moments each time. It happens to all of us and it was a real struggle for us because we grew up together in our relationship. As you can see, we were just kids when we met. 16 and 17, completely love struck. It takes a lot of work to stay with someone after high school and entering the real world.
 
One of the biggest thing that has really helped us is that we put God first in our family. When we first met, I'm about to date myself here, texting had only been around a couple years. So of course we were up texting all night for the first week. I remember one of the first things I asked him was if he believed in God. Phew, so glad he said yes because I thought he was a total babe ;) and no way I would have gone out with him had he not been a believer. We have been attending church together for almost 7 years and I am glad. It is great to talk about the sermon afterwards with him and get his perspective. We baptized Audrey when she was 3 months old and are raising her to be a believer. I want her to always be happy and proud her of faith. While it is still hard for her to sit still in mass, she is happy to be there and all of the other members just love her, especially when she blows them kisses or shares her goldfish crackers.
 
The biggest thing I want you to take away from this post, is that you are loved and that is great. Say I love you constantly, be a broken record. Send each other silly texts. I love when my parents still hug me and kiss my forehead even though I'm an adult now. I will never stop asking my mom to scratch my back either. It takes a lot of work to be a family and it takes everyone to contribute. Find what works for your family and stick to it. Have dinner together with out the tv on or someone reading the newspaper. Try to find interest in your partner's interest. Jake and I love the Seahawks and have a great time watching the games together. We bond over that and I am sure he loves having a hotty around the house always rocking Hawk gear.
 
 
In the words of the late Bob Marley, "Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you are riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!
 
*Alyssa*

Toddler Tuesday

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I have a toddler, a wild, messy, loud, crazy, sometimes makes me pull my hair out toddler. She is so smart. Too smart already for her mama to deal with at times. Although it balances out because I have never met a more affectionate child.

This is my first Toddler Tuesday and I will be covering things that are, you guessed it, toddler related. From the trying to not trip over there own feet, tantrums, learning new skills and dealing with strangers. I will also show all of the activities/crafts that Audrey does with me. It's in her genes.

Yesterday has been a week since we ditched the pacifier cold turkey. Audrey made her mama snap. It was her lunch time and she wanted her pacifier instead of eating the pb&j she just helped me make. Oh can that girl throw a fit when she wants to. It was insane. I love my daughter more than life itself but she can really make me crazy. I took the pacifier and put it out of sight while she yelled at me for 20 minutes from her highchair. Still throwing a fit when dad got home from work. That's when I decided I was tired of it. She turned 17 months old that day and it was time to ditch the pacifier.

Going to bed was fine other than it took her longer to fall asleep than normal. Which it has been that way every night since. Oh and she likes to wake up early. We used that pacifier so much. She wined, popped that bad boy in. It was a great plug.

So here is the tradeoff, she isn't asking for it and is sleeping fine with out it but oh wow is she having the biggest tantrums. Audrey has learned the art of lying on the ground and flopping like a fish out of water. Mama don't play that game kid.

I believe in defusing a situation before it gets any worse, whether with work, family, life, kids, defuse it!  How do I deal with these tantrums you ask?  Wine, beer, deep breathing. But really, deep breathing helps me so much. Always has. It's crazy because I am a very impatient person until it comes to kids. Then I can be so relaxed and understanding. It's always easier to deal with someone else's kid than your own. But when Audrey throws a fit, I first try and figure out why she is upset? Is it because she got knocked over by the dog again? Hungry? We didn't make it to the big girl potty in time? Figure out why and how to fix it. It may take extra time to fix it but I will do what it takes because I obviously don't want my child upset but I refuse to give in and let her have what she wants.

Audrey now waves her little index finger and says, "No, no, no." She gets told that something is a no and she looks at that and tells it no. I am glad. I tell her to sit in her chair for a minute time out and then I will get her up and she sits. She may cry the entire time but she sits. I made sure to let me kid know, I am the boss lady. Audrey may not always like what I have to say but she sure as hell respects what I tell her.


Here's to the toddlers and the crows feet and wrinkles they cause,

Alyssa

Oh My! Mondays

Monday, September 1, 2014

Well, it's Monday, Labor Day. Did I mention it's Monday? Monday kind of sucks around here. For me, it means that I am back to being home alone with my drool hounds, Tara and Audrey.

Let's recap the weekend, shall we? I spent Saturday "trying" to relax with my family and of course, ended up doing a bunch of work for Fab Flares by Audrey's Mom and cleaning my house. Which was ridiculous because I did a bunch of it on Friday! Why can't my house just stay clean for 24 hours? Oh yea, because I live with 3 "things" that are great mess makers. Why are they great mess makers? Because as Jake likes to say, they live with a Domesticated American (their own personal maid).

Our lawn is becoming the new mini jungle for the neighborhood cats because our lawn mower is still broken. They prowl through out it and chase the grasshoppers. It's entertaining to watch until they spray on my fence or use my porch as their toilet.

Jake chiseled away at our freezer because it has decided it want's to be a self defrosting freezer and leaks out the bottom while making an iceberg out of the bottom drawer. At least he made some kick butt burgers for dinner after that.

Audrey threw some AWESOME fits. Today marks one week since she made me lose it and ban the pacifiers cold turkey. She hasn't asked for a pacifier yet but it is taking her longer to fall asleep now and she is waking up early. Por Madre no Bueno. Lack of sleep makes for a crabby bug. Although, it has gotten me to get up and actually eat breakfast and go on long walks. Guess I should try and be healthy with all the booze I drink.

Lucky for me, Jake and I got to have some beers and watch a couple episodes of BOARDWALK EMPIRE!!! Love it!

Sunday... Oh Sunday funday. Because we attended mass Saturday evening, I was extremely looking forward to sleeping in. Did I get to? Of course not. Because my body is on an old lady internal clock and I had to wake up at 6am. Audrey got up at 7, we did breakfast and a nice long walk around our historic neighborhood park. Came home, chilled, mommy worked while Audrey napped and then came the yard work.

Why do we have a garden? Because I guess it's what healthy people do? Who are these healthy people that supposedly live in our house? We (I) cleaned/weeded the garden and looked at my massive amount of huge onions. Holy cow, I am so excited to cook with them.

Dinner with my loves is... Gumbo! Yum. And yes, I had some wine after.

Now I have to do some (ridiculous amount) laundry and get some groceries so my monsters can eat this week and I can drink some beer.

Cheers to you,

Alyssa
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