Monday Mommy’s Helper – Me time
I took a bubble bath the other day. Like an actual lie-back-and-relax bath. I put in bubbles and essential oils. I even read a few pages in a book (but it made my eyes burn for sleep and I was afraid I might slip into a deep slumber and drown). It was only for 15 minutes but it was glorious. And it made me realize… we all need some me time.
And we all say it… we all think, “Gee, I really need a bit of R&R.” But do we actually do it? Nope.
Maybe it’s because we’re making too much of it… as much as a weekend away or a day at the spa could be the ultimate way to unwind, it’s not always practical, feasible, or affordable. But a foot bath in front of the TV for 10 minutes after the kids go to bed is doable. So is a 10-minute face mask and a cup of tea. Have a shower with some music where you take your time and don’t have to get out in breakneck speed with conditioner still in your hair. Flip through a magazine in the shade for 10 minutes. Do 10 minutes of light stretching. Go for a walk… alone. Dance around the living room with headphones on (especially if you’re working on a cry-it-out moment). Give yourself a pedi. Heck, even colour in one of your kid’s colouring books.
Trust me: You can always find a tiny window of time for you, whether it’s first thing in the morning, during nap, immediately following the introduction of a new activity or toy (pick your moments, people), after they go to bed, or when your spouse takes over for a bit.
It’s really really draining playing house. Being a mommy is incredible but it’s also exhausting, and an alone-time recharge could be the perfect way to plow through another day of runny noses, Playdoh messes, and endless laundry.
Monday’s Mommy Helper: Getting creative
I’m always hunting for new crafts that I can do with my 2-year-old bean, and these are a few fun twists on traditional colouring, painting, and more…
How is July more than half over? The summer is flying by and I have too many cool pins to try out still. These are a few…
Monday’s Mommy Helper: Packing for a roadtrip
Off we went this past week on our first real roadtrip: an 8-hour trek to New Brunswick. I put a lot of planning into the drive, and it went seamlessly both ways. It was part my-planning, part my awesome bean. Here’s how to survive a roadtrip with a toddler:
- Leave early. In their sleepy slumber they’ll chill or even go back to sleep. At one point we also “enforced” a nap – he had a blanket and watched some cartoons, and then it was relaxing time. He dozed off for an hour. Sleep makes the drive go by quicker for everyone!
We also started the drive in PJs and then changed at a rest stop halfway. The simple “change” kinda helped us change gears in the car too.
- Pack good snacks and water. Or make snack necklaces with Cherrios, Fruit Loops, etc. to nosh on and play with during the roadtrip.
- Arts n crafts. Colouring is always fun. Stickers were great too, as well as a few wipe-off-marker books that we did games in. I also picked up a magnet book at the dollar store – he took time popping out the magnets and then doing the games inside. This would work with letter/animal magnets and a small metal cookie sheet too (which could double as a colouring surface).
- Games. We played I Spy. I also brought Melissa & Doug lacing boards and reusable sticker pads. We all played with those, even on quick drives to and from hiking trails while in New Brunswick.
- Wet wipes and a change of clothes. Let’s face it: Messes are gonna happen. And no kid is happy when they’re sticky or wet.
- A tablet. Yes, we brought a device to help us along the way. We loaded it up with interactive games as well as a few movies.
- Books. I went to a secondhand store and got a few new titles he wasn’t familiar with. This made reading a lot more interesting for him.
- A pillow. Everyone has seen their kid sleeping in the car completely keeled over, meaning an uncomfortable sleep, so having a pillow on-hand was helpful to keep him asleep comfortably for longer.
It’s strawberry season in Quebec, and anyone who has enjoyed those little red local jewels know there’s no strawberries on earth like ours. So I hit my Pinterest and found some great ways to make strawberries last longer and taste even better (if that’s possible).
Make strawberries last longer: Mix one part vinegar with 10 parts water (e.g. 5 cups water to 1/2 cup vinegar).
Strawberry yogurt bark courtesy of hello, wonderful
5-minute strawberry frozen yogurt via Just A Taste
Strawberry Dole whip from Chocolate-Covered Katie
Monday’s Mommy Helper: Don’t Get Comfortable
Want the best piece of parenting advice? Don’t get comfortable.
In parenthood, I mean.
As soon as you get one thing figured out (a bedtime routine, mealtime, etc.) those little monkeys are going to switch everything all up on you!
I’m a creature of habit. I love routine and hate unpredictability. But I’ve quickly realized, as a mom, that I need to learn how to throw caution to the wind because sometimes, I have absolutely zero control over what my kid does.
He slept the night and did two naps till he was 8 months, then reverted to one. Bedtime used to be lie down, go to sleep, period. And it worked… for a few months. Then we added in a stuffed animal, storytime, prayers, water time, a pee break, the tucking in of The Hulk, the big smooch and the teeny tiny kiss, holding hands, not holding hands, and sleep (hopefully).
It can be really hard for this control freak mom to relinquish control to a little person who thinks it’s okay to dip his forkful of spaghetti in milk. But I have to. I have to roll with it, or else I will go bonkers!
How do you deal with the ever-changing phases of your child??
Summer lovin’, had me a blast,
Summer lovin’, happened so faaaaast…
So in addition to keeping my 2-year-old busy this summer we’ve also taken our 9-year-old niece for the whole summer too, which meant finding lots of great (healthy!) recipes and activities to do with both of them (quite the age gap so not the easiest feat).
Here are a few goodies I found on, noneotherthan, Pinterest!
Yogurt popsicles – what could be easier?
Egg salad boats on hollowed-out cucumber pieces
Torn paper art
Easy juicing combos
3D toilet paper roll hot air balloons
Monday’s Mommy Helper: Cheap Meals That Go A Long Way
Bean soup anyone?
This is a busy household: three working adults and a toddler, meaning lots of meal planning and prepping. Which is why I oh-so-love anything that is healthy, relatively inexpensive, and can be stretched beyond just one dinner.
So here are my top 5 cheap meals that go a long way:
1- Roast whole chicken. They often go on sale for $5-6 (I buy ‘em two for $12), and they make the perfect Sunday night din din with some roasted potatoes and carrots (or squash, parsnip, yam, etc.). I then use the leftover chicken for chicken salad, a soup, or clubs. Save the carcass for a stock (I usually freeze mine until I have 2-3 to make one whopper of a stock all at once).
2- Chicken pieces. Drumsticks are usually inexpensive, especially the ones still attached to the thigh. Thighs on their own go on sale, and so can chicken breasts. I make a meal with it and then, for leftovers, I shred it and mix it with BBQ sauce for a yummy Southern sammy, pile it on homemade bread and drizzle with gravy for hot chicken sandwiches, or add it to a Caesar salad.
3- Meat sauce. The output is about $30 for all the ingredients (ground meat, veggies, and canned tomatoes) but my last batch got me 13 bags of sauce, or roughly six dinners (which works out to just $5 per dinner for four of us). To streamline things a bit more, I’ll cook up some vegetable rotini or penne pasta while the sauce is bubbling away and later mix it with some of the sauce, then freeze it in large Ziploc bags (quick dinner- just defrost, dump in a pan, top with cheese and bake).
4- Roast. Pork or beef. Tenderloin or blade. Again- on sale it’s totally affordable and usually yields more than enough for a supper, and then, thinly sliced, it can be made into sandwiches and wraps, put on top of a salad, or frozen for a quick leftover meal (instead of those awful processed frozen meals).
5- Stir fry. You can keep these super simple (with leftover veggies you have in the fridge) or elaborate (throw in seafood, tofu, fried eggs, etc.) as you’d like. Have a bowl of it for a meal and then store leftovers to serve over rice or noodles for a fast and healthy lunch.
It was, like, 1990… and this happened (omg I loved that dress…)