5 Lessons I learned Going Back to Work

I thought I would be a stay at home mom forever but that wasn’t to be. My two girls are now 4 and 7 and I am now a full time working mom. I work as a closer at Mcdonalds now. I have learned a few lessons since I have returned to the work force.

1.) Halfway Messy

My house will never be perfectly clean. Even though I have all day at home by myself while my girls are at school my house will never be perfectly clean. I wake up, get my girls ready for school, and then go back to sleep after they go to school.

2.) Better Co-Parenting

My husband always wanted to take care of his girls his way, but I never let him. I always wanted what I wanted, but now I am finding out that some of his methods are actually better. He is a minimalist and I am starting to be too. I want the limited time I have with the girls being spent on them, not picking up their stuff.

3.) Time is precious

I get to see my girls before school, during weekends and that is it. I am actually paying more attention to them though. I have pushed them on the swings, did their nails and made them laugh more than ever.

4.) Mothering Others

There are a lot of young girls that work with me. I am taking them under my wing and giving them life advice. It seems to be working. The girl with a lousy boyfriend dumped him, and another one is staying in school after a long discussion about her future. I get to be a role model to more girls than just my daughters now and it is really fun.

5.) Things Change

I used to want things my way only. I was living in a my way or the highway type life before I started working. Now that I get out of the house and go to work I see that other people’s methods are kind of fun to adapt to. I am learning lessons from my husband more, and I am even learning things from my daughters and co-workers.

I love my new life. I miss a lot of cuddle time with my daughters but to see the difference I can make in others girls’ lives is totally inspiring. I also make money so my girls can get things and do things that they couldn’t before. I hope my girls look back and this moment and decided that I made the right choice when they grow up.

I love Burton Nutrition

Burton Nutrition is my favorite company right now. Steve has been on our TV screens on the steamy soap General Hospital since 1991. He wanted a better life for his family though. He wanted to be able to spend time with his family. His children were growing up too fast and he was missing important moments in their lives due to a hectic work schedule. In 2012 he quit the show and relocated his family to Tennessee.  It was the right thing to do at the right time.

He is now known for his Burton Nutrition Company. It is a great company in which he puts the customer first. His contributions include his heartful and quirky Q and A style videos. He also puts together contest and exercise plans. His contests often have the prize of his fans being able to meet him and his family at their dinner table. This gives a lot of inspiration for customers to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

If you would like to learn more about Steve you can check out his website, twitter and facebook pages and all are updated regularly.

Three thing aspergers taught me

I have been gone from this blog for a long time. Too long.
I always thought I had bipolar disorder. I had been bullied a lot as a child in school. I didn’t want to play with other children I just wanted to sit and write stories. I went to the doctor when I was 11 and started my bipolar diagnosis and antidepressants. They didn’t work right. They worked a little so I kept taking them for the next 19 years.
Then one day six months ago I listened to a podcast about aspergers because I thought my six year old had it. She did not. However I realized that I didn’t have bipolar but had misdiagnosed aspergers. The reasons the doctors missed it was because I did not have a family history of it. It turns out my dad had been recently diagnosed with autism. All the clues were there and now I know the truth and am dealing with it. My life is so much better now. I learned some things so far in my journey.
1.) I need alone time sometimes. Along with being a mom comes a lot of noise. I tried to listen to podcasts all day long learning new infomation along with my girls’ cartoons. All of this noise was not good for me and caused sensory overload. Now I try to keep the house quiet when I get stressed out during the day and it works out pretty well.
2.) I need my hobbies. My writing keeps me in control of my life. It gives me something to occupy my mind with and keeps me going. I love learning new information and learning about it. Most of it is business classes, and writing podcasts. I love having my special interests.
Even my girls have their own special interests. My three year old loves learning to read using Reading Eggs. My six year old is the creative one by journaling and drawing all day. She also loves Reading Eggs. 
I also need to learn when to stop doing my special interests and start doing more important things like cleaning and cooking. Some times it is a challenge but finding out I have Aspergers really helped me understand why. Now I can take these special interests and form them to what I need to do. I love meal planning and researching and cooking new meals. I also love creating new projects for my girls.
3.) I can not be in control of everything. I used to never let anyone help me with anything. My husband helping in the kitchen would make me upset. I thought that he thought I wasn’t good enough cooking or something. Now I let him and my girls both help me and it makes for some great family time.
I know that Aspergers will always affect me but I can be in control of my Aspergers and my life I just need to learn when I am being overloaded and take some quiet time. Not all autism is created equal but knowing that I have it has really helped me improve my life and my girls’ lives. I now know why I was getting stressed out all the time and I can take that into the future with me.

Bobbiesue’s 6th Birthday

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My little Bobbiesue had a super awesome 6th Birthday.

In the morning we made blueberry muffins. Bobbie put in the ingredient bag, milk, and mixed it all. I put in the eggs, poured out the batter, and cooked them for her. Helping make her breakfast gave her a great feeling of accomplishment. I try to give her a new privilege on every birthday that she has. This year she earned a little bit more independence in working in the kitchen.

After that we went to check the mail. It was overfilling with birthday surprises! She recieved a birthday card from her great grandpa Bill, bathbombs, and cookies.

She opened the bath bomb right away when she got home. Daisy got one too and we were super excited about that. They came from HeartNSoul on Etsy. They were in the forms of a super adorable pink and purple cupcake for Bobbie, and a pink and purple bath bomb for Daisy. They used them as soon as they were opened, and stayed in the bath for a full two hours while I cleaned the house for her party. As they fizzed and released their amazing vanilla cupcake scent a small surprise emerged, Shopkins! My girls loved these bath bombs so much and play with the shopkins daily. They found her interests and matched them perfectly.

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Later that night she had her birthday party. Her cousin Maisy and grandma came to celebrate her special day with her. She started her party by opening her presents. She was given some pretty amazing gifts this year. Her cousin and grandma gave her 2 pairs of jeans, 2 sweatshirts, her name in big pink glittery foam letters for her bedroom door, and an art kit with spin art and 4 different activities in it. From Daisy, her dad and I she got a 1,000 piece frozen art kit, a pink jeep t-shirt, and a super cool mermaid card.

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The card was from Rosa Lopez on Etsy. It is super bright, colorful, and genuinely beautiful. It is a very high quality artist made card. It also included handmade stickers. She loved it, because of the mermaid on it and her favorite Disney princess is Ariel. Rosa did a fantastic job on it.

For dinner we did pulled pork, potatoes, and garlic cheddar rolls. Then came dessert. Her cake was a very nice Little Mermaid cake from the grocery store. There were also pink strawberry cookies from Sweet Southern Oven on Etsy. They tasted absolutely amazing and Bobbie loved the bright pink color. he sent a bag home with her cousin and grandma. ( I later found out that they loved them as well.) I was on the border about eating them because I had already skipped eating cake due to my no sugar diet but I broke down and tried one after my husband devoured two without a break in between them. They were so worth it. They were soft, crumbly, and tasted like freshly picked strawberries mixed with whipped cream. We all loved them and Laura did a great job baking them.

After the party she went to bed very quickly. Her skin was super soft and smelled like cupcakes from the bath bomb while I was putting her pajamas on her. She was so tired from having such a fun, and happy birthday. A lot of people came together to give her a great day and I am a so incredibly grateful.

The lowdown on water bottles plastic vs stainless steel

Plastic and stainless steel water bottles are hard for parents to choose between. Both have their benefits and are commonly used. Let’s look at the benefits of each.

Plastic

  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Less expensive so they can easily be replaced if lost.
  • More common in stores, with fun designs
  • Recyclable

Steel

  • Durable and can last many years
  • Has less chemical additives than plastic
  • Can be cooked in, for emergency situations
  • Comes with more creative designs

They also each have drawbacks. Let’s consider the following.

Plastic

  • Contains chemicals, could cause health problems due to chemicals.
  • Break more easily than stainless steel.
  • Can’t be cooked in.

Steel

  • Heavier than plastic
  • More expensive and not easily replaceable

My choice

My family picks stainless steel for many reasons. The first reason is the fact that they will last years if treated right.

The first reason is the fact that they will last years if treated right. My first grader’s purple stainless steel water bottle survived being dragged on the ground every day during her 4k year.

The second and most important reason is that you can cook in it. If an emergency comes it could be very useful. Heavy snowfalls affect Wisconsin. If a vehicle breaks down, we could be stranded for hours and we need to provide food for our girls. This will allow us to do just that, along with freeze dried food placed in our emergency bag.

I hope you can now make a wise water bottle choice for you and your family. It is just another choice in the long list of decisions that need to be made at the beginning of the school year. It is a very important one though.

 

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Real Food Lunch Box (Pre planning)

My Bobbiesue (1st grader) is doing great on her no sugar diet. Her behavior problems have went away for the most part. However school is starting in a week and a half and she will need to bring a lunch box every day.

Luckily I have came up with some awesome ideas for her. They consist of real food, and a low sugar. The best part is that they are frugal.  Real food can be affordable if you put your mind to it.

So this is her meal plan for the first week of school.

Monday

  • Peanut butter and jelly roll ups
  • Strawberries
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Flavored Water

Tuesday

  • Turkey and cheese roll ups
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Pretzels
  • Apple Juice

Wednesday

  • Cheese and crackers
  • Turkey
  • Carrots
  • Pretzels
  • Homemade peanut butter granola bar
  • Applejuice

Thursday

  • Peanut butter and jelly roll ups
  • Grapes
  • Trail Mix
  • Celery

Friday

  • Pasta Salad (noodles with parmesan cheese)
  • Rolled up Ham
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Garlic Bread Chips

I hope this helps you think of some real food ideas for your child’s lunch box. It can be super frugal too you just need to think creatively.

 

Too clean for their own good?

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This picture was taken when my girls were 1 and a half and 4 while they were being over washed with store bought soap (notice the splotchy skin)

Many parents wash their children with soap too often. This can cause painfully dry and itchy skin. It can also prevent them from gaining access to immune system boosting bacteria.

Exposure to good bacteria can make small children healthy for the rest of their lives. Chronic diseases including allergies and asthma can be avoided due to these bacteria. However, if you use soap too often they will never be exposed to them and not be protected from these diseases. 

My girls used to take a shower with store bought soap four times a week. I thought I was keeping them clean and healthy. Instead, it caused itchy painful skin. As bad as that was it got worse. My youngest was diagnosed with pneumonia twice in that year once while she was just one and a half years old. She luckily recovered quickly and is doing great today. 

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This is was taken about 4 months ago. Their skin is much healthier after using handmade soap two to three times a week.

If your children are a little bit dirty then they can bathe only using water. Let them play with their bath toys and splash and they are good to go. This will help them maintain their natural oils and beneficial bacteria.

If you must use soap, then use a handmade one. It contains glycerin that helps skin maintain moisture all day. This is better than store-bought varieties that dry skin out.

Huckleberry and Hobbs sell amazingly scented handmade soap. I love the sweet pea one. It keeps my girls’ skin stay super soft and smell so good all day. Perfect for both playtime and cuddle time! It also lasts for a long time due to the glycerin in the soap making extra bubbles. 

Handmade soap will make bath time much better. Your kids’ skin will be super moisturized. It could actually save you money. So next time you need to buy soap buy a handmade one and simplify your life.

Mindfullness can lead to a great life!

imageedit_2_2421443041Going with the flow in life can be fun and simple. It works pretty well sometimes for most people. Life starts to get disorganized and messy though. I have allowed myself to live this way for my whole life. It is causing more harm than help though.

I have been working hard on establishing a daily schedule that works well for me and my girls. It allows me to be mindful of everything around me, keep calm, and be productive. There are four main things I have been paying more attention to lately. It seems like as long I have these four things going well then the rest of the details just fall into place. 

  1. Food- I am the type of person who can go all day on just drinking coffee and eating a heavy dinner at night. This does nothing for productivity though, and it leads to me and my girls all crashing from hunger and being extremely grumpy.

           So I have been making a meal schedule. We eat a heavy breakfast, medium sized lunch, and light dinner. This gives us so much more energy and raises productivity levels. I also don’t hear my kids complaining that they are hungry all day.

            Other diet changes have been made as well. We have been trying to eat a nutritionally sound diet lately. It has been fun and positive for the whole family. We were even able to lower our sugar consumption!

2.) Another thing that I have been mindful of is my amount of sleep. It I get enough sleep then I have a great attitude, stay positive, and take my medicine on time. If I don’t get enough it shows rather quickly due to my bad mood and reduced productivity.

I need the average 8 hours of sleep but get 7 due to my three-year-old waking up through the night. I clean the house at night so I don’t have to worry about it in the morning. Then I drink water and sleep through the night.

My girls go to bed at 7 and sleep until 6. Playing outside a lot helps tire them out. Their favorite game is hide and seek and they also love to jump in their pool.

3.) My mood is another thing that I am trying to focus on. If I run around all grumpy then the girls will follow and I don’t want them to grow up grumpy. So as hard as it is every day I try to keep a smile on my face and my words kind. I used to flip out about the smallest thing but now my anxiety medication is really helping with that.

4.) I need to remember to take my medicine. For the longest time, I had failed to get on a schedule that I could take my 8 hour medicine whenever I needed to. Now I take it at 6 am, 2 pm, and 10 pm. It works great and I don’t have to stay up late at night just to be able to take it.

My two medicines for my bipolar/ anxiety work very well. I feel happier, energetic, and more productive. The little stuff that used to bother me doesn’t anymore. It feels so great! 

So if you take medicine remember to take them at the right times so they work well. I know this is easier said than done but the work will be worth it.

I hope this helps you be mindful of the things around you. Just remember that the smallest things can make the biggest impact in your life. Also if you have little kids they are watching you all the time and learning from your behaviors. Keep positive and just keep improving. It’s ok to fall but we all have to get back up again.

A hardworking Father

This goes out to all the dads out there. Thank you for spending all of your time supporting your family. Your work may get overlooked, or underappreciated at times. They might not realize how early you need to wake up to get to work, or how tired you are every day. All your kids know right now is that they have a daddy that loves them.

My dad raised me and my sister on his own. My mom was there but was hardly a mother. We had our dad’s support endlessly though. There was so many times that he just wanted a nap after work but instead he played with us, took us to the mall, or even just cooked dinner with us. It was just daily life for us so we never noticed how much work he truly put into raising us.

When I was a teenager he often worked two jobs just to keep us afloat and keep a roof over our heads. He divorced my mom and kept us two girls. He was in the process of shaping us into beautiful, headstrong, and kind young women. However with him being gone all the time life began to slip we hardly saw him because he was working so hard just to keep us financially stable.

One day a miracle happened. He found my stepmom, the most loving and caring woman in the world. We finally had the family that we always wanted, along with three little siblings. He worked hard finding a stepmother for us and a new wife for him and did not settle until he got the best. She helped me graduate high school, discover confidence for the first time, and become the person that I am today. All of this happened because my dad never gave up on me.

I finally realized what my dad did for me, when my girls were playing with their dad after work one day. I sat there and with tears in my eyes for a few minutes as I was processing all of this. I just had to give him a call, and he was there for me once again. He always is!

Fathers, one day your child will look back at you and realize this just as I have. So keep up the great job. Your children will grow into remarkable people as time goes on, and will appreciate all that you have done for them.

Eliminating Empty Foods

My family has been gradually eating healthier over this year. We are sneaking more veggies and meats into the kids’ meals. However, we still have a problem with eating a lot of carbs daily. We have too much white bread and noodles. We also let a lot of junk food sneak into our home. It is easier to eat it when it is right there available.

Sadly the problem is that my husband likes to eat these foods. He is diabetic but still loves junk food and I am in no area to judge because I sometimes eat it right along with him.  So our girls follow us and should not eat as healthy as they should.

I am going to slowly start getting the junk out of our home. Hopefully for good. I will at least follow these steps.

1.) Drink more water.- I have already gotten the girls drinking a lot of water recently. Now I need to try to limit their milk instead of letting them drink half a gallon a day. As long as I keep the cold water in the fridge they will drink it. I need to try to reduce their bedtime milk though.

As for my husband, I am going to set a cold glass of water on his computer desk. Hopefully he will at least touch it instead of drinking his diet mountain dew right away when he gets home.

2.)  Even more veggies. I am going to start making a small veggie tray and put it on the table before dinner every night. If I put pickes, peppers, and peppers on there everyone will at least try it, and at least try one other item at the same time. I will eat the veggies that they don’t want.

3.) More meat with dinner. Instead of doing a ton of carbs with the main dish I am going to focus more on the meat. Some great ways I plan on doing is a lot of pork. My family loves pork chops, and steaks, but they love crock pot pulled pork the most.

4.) Concentrating on fruit with dessert. Some ideas I have include fruit salad, cut up fruit with a creamy vanilla dip, and fruit pies like apple pie. They will up our fruit content but also give us yummy deserts to eat.

I am hoping this will let us get out of the carb cycle. It is ok to eat carbs when we need quick energy but not every night. Eating better will be super beneficial and give us all additional energy.

We will also start excercising by bringing back our family bike rides. They are so fun, and Daisy now knows how to ride bike on her own so that will be a very fun addition to our summer routine.

Nicole