Posted in Holidays, Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom: Shop the Holidays

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I feel like our weekends lately have been lopsided with a very busy Saturday followed by a more relaxed Sunday.

The kids had state cross country meet on Saturday which took up most of the day. Sunday, per usual, we did laundry, I picked up groceries, and we kind of regrouped for the week ahead.

Travis is super busy with work right now, so he gave me back his Super Dad cape 😉 Seriously, when I think back to scheduling my surgery, we got so lucky with the October 14th date. It gave me just enough time to get back to my normal routine before he got busy with work. I’m still needing a daily nap and do feel worn out some days, but I’m glad to be back in a pretty normal groove.

Today, I’m linking up with Lauren, Ashley, (and others!) for their Not Just a Mom series. Today’s topic is: shop the holidays.

This meme always cracks me up.

November and December are always slammed for us with sports and school, the kids’ birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the other fun activities and traditions that come with those holidays. That being said, I know things will look differently this year for all of those things.

To be honest, it all can be too much. Having to give ideas for birthday and Christmas to so many relatives in such a short amount of time can stress me out a bit. Even when I figure it all out, I still have to have ideas to the kids from us and from Santa.

Through the years, we’ve pared down who we purchase gifts for at Christmas, but, again, it’s still a lot to organize when adding holiday stress and birthday stuff too.

This is the point of the post where I’m asking for advice. 😂

I do know it’s a blessing to have family near and far, traditions to continue, and we still see the joy of the holidays through our kids’ eyes…so I usually just take it day by day and list by list.

Birthday

I know the kids’ birthday isn’t an actual holiday, but it’s first on my list right now with it being in just a couple of weeks. For their birthday, I really do try to stick with the idea of “want, need, wear, read.” This might sound crazy, but I don’t really ask them what they want for their birthday…at some point they’ve probably shared what they “want,” and I just fill in the blanks for the other gifts.

We always get them a book and Christmas pjs; they probably end up with 5-6 gifts each when it’s all said and done because I pick up an extra thing or two along the way.

10th birthday breakfast

I also like the idea of giving the kids an “experience” when possible. When they were little, we bought tickets to Sesame Street Live. In the second grade, Hadley was begging to get her ears pierced, so that was one of her gifts which was so fun for her! The past couple of years, I purchased tickets to our favorite cookie decorating class for Hadley and me which is always fun.

Christmas

Trav and I usually just focus on the kids at this point. I typically buy what I want when I want it throughout the year…Travis is shaking his head “uh huh” as he reads this. 😂 …so I never feel like I “need” anything. That being said, we usually end up having the kids pick out something that’s from them to us…and Travis never follows the rules and usually gets me something I’d never expect.

For example, his brother took the kids’ pictures a couple of years ago, and he surprised me with a couple framed faves. Of course, this brought tears to my eyes! He is a thoughtful gift giver.

We purchase family gifts for my mom, dad, grandma, and Trav’s mom. We also purchase gifts for my brother’s kids. Since it’s just the four grand kids on my side, and they are still little, it’s fun to get them a gift or two.

Our elf, Red, visits and always leaves the “want, need, wear, read” paper. I found this online years ago, have it saved, and just print it each year. I do love this tradition because it does give ideas that I can pass on to grandparents. Red takes the paper to the North Pole the next night after they’ve filled it out.

Of course, they also share ideas with Santa when we visit him. I’m not sure if that will happen this year. At our house, Santa’s gifts are unwrapped and left near the fireplace or tree.

When I was a kid, stockings were always my favorite to open, and I think my kids feel the same way. That’s probably where I end up going overboard. 😆 I just pick up little things here and there: Chapstick, socks, underwear, nail polish, scrunchies, shaving cream, a card game, candy and more is what my crew typically finds in their stockings.

Christmas 2019 gift exchange

I also love our tradition where the kids choose a gift for each other that’s from them. It’s always fun to see what they pick out and give to each other. We usually let them open it the night before Santa comes.

One year I tried to buy all of the gifts in November, but I wasn’t 100% successful in that endeavor! I do at least like to start making a list in November and get organized.

I try to support local small businesses as much as possible as well as shops on Etsy. Target is typically is my “go to” place for the kids, and Amazon has certainly eased the shopping stress the past couple of years.

I will say and they’ve started to ask questions about the elf and Santa. Hadley’s the inquisitive one and Hayden still seems to believe. Of course, I cling to their innocence, but know that they are at the natural age to start wondering. To be honest, in second grade, they had tons of questions, and I really thought that was going to be the last year. I’m thankful all of that subsided, and we’ve had a few more Christmases of pure innocence.

So that’s how I shop the holidays. What about you?

Next month’s topic is special holiday traditions.

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts! I hope you have a great week.

Posted in Not Just a Mom, Projects

Not Just a Mom: Getting Crafty

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? We were able to make it to the pumpkin patch on Friday which always makes my fall loving heart happy. Sunshine, apple cider donuts, and pumpkins kicked our weekend off right. I plan on sharing more about that tomorrow!

We spent Saturday morning at the kids’ cross country meet, and then we were going to head straight to Hayden’s baseball tournament, but got word as we arrived at the cross country meet that the baseball tournament had been canceled due to rain. All of the sudden, this mama had her entire weekend back! Hadley placed 6th in her race, and Hayden had another 1st place finish! Their team is so fun to watch and both the boys and girls teams earned top 5 finishes at the meet!

Once we got back to Lex, we decided to have brunch at Winchells which is one of our favorite places. Then, the rest of the weekend was pretty relaxing. With overcast and/or rainy skies for Saturday and Sunday, we just hung out, did chores around the house, took a nap or two and just recharged. I did catch most of the replay of my MIZZOU Tigers beating LSU and then the CATS won as well. Weekends like these don’t happen very often, so I was happy to have this extra time. Hayden talked Travis into 9 holes of golf Sunday afternoon once it quit raining so steadily. I prepped dinner and got organized for the week.

Now, on to the topic of today’s post…

Today, I’m joining Lauren, Ashley, and others for their Not Just a Mom series. This month’s focus is on “getting crafty.”

I do love a craft or a quick project. Now, I don’t seem to have as much time as I used to, but I do like to pin on Pinterest, plan a craft for a party decoration, or update an outdated piece of furniture with paint!

Here are some of my favorite crafts through the years…

Birthday Banner:

I made this banner for the kids right before their 3rd birthday. I cut out the triangles and circles on card stock, printed the letters, and glued them on. Then, I clipped each each triangle to string with clothes pins. I’ve used this banner every birthday since, and just change out the age for the birthday.

Through the years…

Last year, I told them I was ok with quitting the birthday shirt tradition (Hadley would probably play along until she’s 50 and Hayden was over it a couple of years ago😉) and that I could even part with the banner tradition if necessary. I just wanted to respect them and not cling tight to all the traditions I started when they were younger if they didn’t want all the hype #wheredidmybabiesgo

Both said they want the banner tradition to continue…So, maybe I will hang it next month when they turn 11. (How is that possible?!)

Birthday Party Decoration:

For their 3rd birthday party, I hot glued these buttons on a thick cardboard 3 that I purchased at Michael’s. Then, I hung it from the front door as a decoration for when guests arrived at the party. Super simple, colorful and fun.

Hadley’s Room:

When the kids were about 3 1/2, we gave them each their own room. I knew we’d prbably move that next year, so I didn’t want to paint. We got vinyl stickers with their names, and I added a few homemade decorations.

The hoops with fabric is one of my favorite ideas. So easy, inexpensive, and cute.

I painted Hadley’s bedside table white, and stapled tutu fabric around the sides. See, I’m all about the cute and easy craft and project!

I also made the kids each a canvas with a quote. I just bought the canvases at Michael’s, put vinyl letters on, painted over the letters, and then when the paint dried, I peeled the letters off. I mean I probably won’t open an Etsy shop for the signs, but I thought they were cute for a kid’s room and a quick project.

Hayden’s Room:

Travis and I completed Hayden’s magnet board when we moved into our current house. Travis had this wooden pane that he’d picked up years ago, and then I bought a piece of metal at Home Depot (or Lowes) that we cut down and then stapled to the back of the frame. Then, we hung it on one of the walls in his room.

This is Hayden’s quote canvas that I made when I made Hadley’s. The quote is from Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird (one of my favorite books!) #Englishteachernerd 🙂 and I thought it fit perfectly for Hayden because he’s always been on the smaller side (probably more average sized now) but inquisitive and pretty studious. The canvas still hangs in his room now.

Kitchen Projects:

I had seen this valance idea on Pinterest, and tried it out on the window in our kitchen. All you need is fabric and hot glue. Yep. Hot glue. I did this project in about an hour…and always thought I’d replace it, but five years later, the valance still hangs in the window.

This wasn’t a huge project, but I love it because it has a piece of the original house in it. Travis found the window at Lexington Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Then, the “shutters” are part of a swinging cafe doors that used to hang in the entry way from the hall to the kitchen area in our house. The previous owners took them down, and we found them in the garage. So, we cut them in half, painted them, and hung them next to the window on the wall.

Chalk Paint:

A few summers ago, I was brave enough for my first chalk paint project. I painted our entry way table with chalk paint and antiquing wax.

A few months later, I painted our tv stand (that we now use in the sun room) with chalk paint and another glaze.

Then, I used the Limewash Glaze on an antique side table.

Lastly, one of my first quarantine projects was that I used the same Limewash Glaze on this table in our basement.

Here are the posts I wrote about my chalk paint projects and you can see the befores and afters:

Missouri/Kentucky Craft:

I made this Missouri/Kentucky burlap piece for the gallery wall in our former home. I included it in the gallery wall in our kitchen in this house. My former house was mostly reds and greens, so I chose the red color for the paint. I printed out the two states and laid them flat on a piece of burlap. I simply painted over them and then removed the cut outs to reveal the burlap. Then, I just put the finished burlap piece in a frame.

It’s a sweet nod to where I’m from and where Travis is from (and, of course, where we currently live)

Sometimes I’m not sure of the difference between a craft and a project. I guess projects may have more steps and take longer…so this post is probably a good mix of crafts and projects 😄Do you consider yourself to be crafty?

Next month’s topic is Shop the Holidays. It’s crazy to think we’ll soon being thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas! (And my kids turn 11 next month…time sure does fly!)

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts! Thanks so much for reading.

Have a great week,

Posted in Not Just a Mom, Self-care

Not Just a Mom: Skin Care Routine

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? The weather definitely felt like fall this weekend, and I’m not mad about it. We had a busy Saturday followed by a lazy and rainy Sunday.

It’s the second Monday of the month, so I’m linking up with Lauren, Ashley, and others for their Not Just a Mom series.

This month’s topic is about skincare routine. I’d say I skated through my 20’s and didn’t do much for skincare. I’ve shared before, but I don’t think I even started taking my makeup off before bed until I turned 30 or so.

Through the years, I’ve started to use products for my skin that have become part of my routine. I’ve used Rodan + Fields and have a couple friends who sell Mary Kay, so I’ve used some of those products as well. The products and routine for today’s post are my pretty regular schedule, but I do supplement with R+F and MK at times.

Morning Routine:

  • I wash my face every morning with some kind of face wash. Recently, I discovered the Hydro Boost Cleansing Gel by Neutrogena, and I really love it.
  • Then, I use a cotton round to apply toner. I love the rose petal toner by Thayers, and I usually order it off Amazon.
  • Now, I’m not married to L’Oreal, but I use their day and night creams when not using R+F or MK. For the price point and convenience of purchasing at grocery and drug stores, it’s a good option for me to use daily.
  • I’ve recently started using the L’Oreal eye cream, and it’s helped with puffiness and dark circles under my eyes. #mamaisforevertired

Nighttime Routine:

  • I usually wash my face in the shower, and then use makeup removing wipes to get off any additional makeup I may have left on my face.
  • I again use a cotton round to apply facial toner.
  • Then, I sue the L’Oreal eye cream and night time moisturizer when not using other products.

Face Masks:

For the past few years, I’ve incorporated face masks into my weekly routine.

  • I love the Mary Kay Timewise Moisture Renewing Gel Mask, and I use it twice a week or so.
  • Another MK fave is the Deep Cleansing Charcoal Mask. It’s usually my Sunday morning face mask.
  • A few times a month, I will use the egg white mask by Skinfood. It’s a pore-refining cleanser, and helps my skin feel clean and fresh after use.

Other Items:

I mentioned recently that I’ve started using a jade roller in the morning. I keep this one in the fridge, and roll it on my face most mornings to help with puffiness and sinus pain.

Also, every other week or so, I try to use my steamer for a facial. My mom gave me this one for Christmas last year, and it’s been perfect to use at home.

I also do my best to drink water, and I always wear SPF…lesson learned from my younger years. I often where a hat when out in the sun, and try to find a chair with an umbrella at the pool!

Monthly Medspa:

Lastly, the best money I spend on myself is my monthly facial at a local medspa. I’ve been going for monthly facials for about four years. My club package includes one of the following each month: microdemabrasion, chemical peel, express facial, or dermaplane.

Each month, I usually double up and do two treatments (like a dermaplane and facial) or one treatment and an eye brow wax. Dermaplane has officially become my favorite treatment…#girlshaveyourface

I so look forward to my monthly appointments, and trust my esthetician Lauren with whatever she thinks I need each month. After each appointment, I always ask her, “Do I look 35 again?” 😂I’m not over here trying to be 22…just trying to keep my 40 year old face looking fresh. Those monthly appointments feel like part luxury, part therapy, and part necessity. Sometimes I feel guilty with that monthly splurge, but I also know how important it is to keep your skin healthy…and I’m just trying to age gracefully 😉

So that’s just a bit of my of my skincare routine. What do you do for your daily, weekly, monthly routines? Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts!

Next month’s topics is: getting crafty!

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you have a great week!

Posted in Me, Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom – Fun Facts

Hello! It’s the second Monday of the month, so I’m linking up with Lauren, Ashley, and others for their Not Just a Mom series. This month’s focus is on Fun Facts.

When I started my blog last summer, I wrote this post introducing myself and then another post a few weeks later with some random facts about me. So, I will expand on those posts with a few more random/fun facts.

Facts about Me:

  • I make my bed every morning (or my husband does). I can’t sleep if the bed hasn’t been made.
  • My kids make their bed every morning too because #momsaysso
  • I have a shamrock tattoo on my left foot.
  • I love the Golden Girls and have seen every episode more times than I can count.
  • The original Parent Trap is my favorite movie.
  • I love to read.
  • I’m a dog person. #catsmakemesneeze
  • I’m an introvert. I don’t think I’ve always been this way, but certainly as I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely become more introverted.
  • I always thought it would be fun to be a backup singer. I don’t want the spotlight 😉 (I can’t sing!)
  • Mayonnaise is my least favorite food of all time. I will not eat it!
  • I like ringing up my groceries at the self-checkout.
  • Thursday is my favorite day of the week.

So those are just a few facts about me! July’s topic is Girl Time. I’m hoping by July, I can say that I’ve seen my friends in person rather than via Zoom!

I hope you have a great week! I’m going to take some time this week to slow down a bit!

Thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom – Fitness Routine

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I hope you had a great Mother’s Day yesterday! This weekend, we had a good mix of being lazy, being outside, and being productive. Now, it’s time to start a new week!

I love this little link up that Lauren, Ashley and others do, so I thought I’d join them again this month. Check out the other ladies’ posts too!

This month’s focus is on our fitness routine. I do try to stay active and do a pretty good job working out about five days a week. My struggle has always been more with balancing that with making good choices with eating! I do know that through the years, I’ve learned how important it is for me not only physically, but mentally, for me to get a workout in…even if it’s just a walk around the block.

For the past few years, I’ve implemented intermittent fasting into my daily life. For the past two years, I’ve pretty regularly followed the LEAN program with Amanda Nighbert. Basically, besides intermittent fasting, the program encourages carb cycling, workouts, and tracking the macros of the food you eat.

What I love about the program is that most workouts can be completed at home although I do like to go to the gym to use the elliptical or stationary bike when that’s an option. Most of the workouts are 30-40 minutes, so when I’m in my usual school year groove, I get up at least two mornings a week to workout. I’m not one who can get up early every morning and my husband often runs in the morning, so I have to coordinate with that. The workouts focus on arms, legs, full body, and HIIT (with some other options thrown in).

working out at home

During this time of quarantine, she’s been sharing weekly challenges which I love…and gives me an extra brief workout for the day.

Of course, with the extra time, we’ve been bike riding a lot as a family, and I’ve tried to take a walk most days as well.

Also, to change up my routine recently, I’ve busted out my Beach body 21 Day Fit DVDs. I really do love these workouts…again, they are around 30 minutes, can be completed at home, and really give you a good workout.

Admittedly, I’ve struggled a bit with staying on top of my diet and workouts during this quarantine period. Some weeks, I’m more motivated than other weeks. After giving myself grace for a few weeks, I started back tracking my macros because you can’t out run a bad diet! Also, I’ve still been having back issues which has limited some of the workouts I can do. That’s what actually made me turn to the DVDs because I love the Pilates and Yoga videos that are included. I’m back to giving myself grace, but also trying to keep moving even if it’s just a 30 minutes walk some days.

So, that’s a peek at my workout routine. I really do love the schedule of it and all the factors combined help me be successful.

Next month’s topic is: Fun Facts!

I hope you have a great week! We only have two more full weeks of distance learning. I think we can do it!

Take care,

Posted in Health and Fitness, Me, Not Just a Mom, Self-care

Not Just A Mom: Self Care

Happy Monday! I survived (and had fun!) at a Girl Scout overnight at COSI in Columbus, OH. More about that later in the week…I’m still recovering from staying up until midnight and sleeping on the floor! (plus losing an hour with Daylight Savings Time!)

In other exciting news…Y’all, believe it or not, this is my 100th blog post. I can’t believe it! I’ve really enjoyed blogging so far. It’s fun to share about family, school, what I’m reading, what I’m cooking, etc. AND…I love reading other people’s blogs too.

Linking up with other bloggers led me to reading Lauren’s All About that Mommy Life blog. Last month, I read her Not Just a Mom post for February, and I thought I’d link up with her (and the others) for this month’s post.

This month’s focus is on self care. I’d say that self care is something most moms struggle with. When you are in the midst of laundry, carpool, grocery shopping, homework, working, etc…it’s difficult to find time for yourself. About three years ago, I made self care a goal of mine. It started with focusing on whole food nutrition and getting a workout plan that works for me which is when I started doing the Lean program. Once I made fitness and whole food nutrition a priority, I started to find other ways to take care of myself.

(Also, real talk–I’m not perfect–I fall off the eating healthy wagon, but once the calendar turns to March, I really try to tighten up on what I eat and make sure to get some workouts in each week.)

Workouts/Whole Food Nutrition

I try to workout 4-5 days a week. The LEAN program I follow incorporates intermittent fasting with carb cycling and tracking macros + workouts. I’m a person who does feel better after a good work out, so I do try to make time for that even with having two very busy kids. Progress not perfection is my focus thanks to this program.

Also, I love me some McDonald’s French fries and a Diet Coke. Currently, I can’t quit Peanut Butter Patties #girlscoutcookietime and, for me, it’s all about balance. 😃

Skin Care

For quite awhile I’ve tried to make skin care a priority. While I don’t buy all the fancy products, I do splurge on a few like my daily moisturizer and night time face cream.

Also, I can’t believe I’m admitting this…but I was probably in my early thirties before I made it a priority to take my makeup off at bedtime! I realized, “Girl, wash your face!” before it was a thing…or a book! 😉 So, just finally doing that was a step in the right direction and through the years I’ve added other products into my skincare routine.

Three years ago, I started going to a local med spa once a month. My membership package includes one of the following each month: a facial, a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or (my favorite!) dermaplane (basically–the esthetician shaves your face!)

Is my skin perfect? Heck no. Am I in an uphill battle against aging ? Yes! That being said, I feel like I’m being proactive with taking the time to wash my face, use a toner and moisturizers as well as taking care of skin with the facials. Plus, it’s just a treat for me once a month to decompress!

Manicure/Pedicures

Before kids, when I had more time and money!, I used to get monthly pedicures and a manicure every two weeks. Now, I save monthly pedicures for April-September, and then get gel manicures 6-8 times a year. I love gel manicures because they last longer (and I always have my nails painted), but, again, I usually get them before spring break, summer vacation, Christmas, etc. Just another form of self care!

Reading

A few years ago, we joined a pool in the summer. My kids are older now, so they run around with their friends and are able to swim (so I don’t have to stress about that!) when we are at the pool. So, while they did that, I got back into reading. I’ve always been a reader, but there were years when I was in grad school, raising two babies while working full time that reading for pleasure was put on the back burner.

Now, I read quite regularly. Last year, I purchased my Kindle which has provided me more opportunities for reading. I keep it in my purse and read while my kids have a practice or any other spare minutes I may have in the day. I am glad that I’ve made reading a part of my daily routine.

Quiet Time

I’ve always been someone who needs to ease into the day, and once I had kids that became even more important for me. So, I get up about 30-45 minutes before the rest of my family on the weekdays. On the rare occasion that Travis gets up early and is hanging around the living room, he gets major side eye from me….like “why are you interrupting my ‘me’ time?” 😂I spend those precious quiet minutes sipping my coffee, scrolling through my phone, watching the news, and reading my favorite blogs.

I need that time to myself to get my mind right for the day. That being said, I need a bit of quiet time in the evening too. I mean, Travis doesn’t get side eye from me at night if he is also in the living room watching a show! It’s just the morning time that I need the time to myself. BUT…it’s also why I’ve tried to be pretty strict about bedtime for my kids (of course, they need sleep too), but I also just need that hour to relax between their bedtime and my bedtime!

Blogging

Last, but not least, blogging has turned into a form of self care for me. I enjoy this creative outlet and carving out a few minutes for me to write as a way to express myself each day. I’ve said it before, but I’m pretty introverted and quiet, so this blog is also a way to share my voice, I guess. It’s fun for me to think of content, link up with other bloggers, and continue to grow in this space. I definitely hope it’s something I can keep doing at least three times a week!

Next month’s Not Just a Mom topic is cleaning routine. Travis may have to write that blog post for me! He’s a cleaning machine! We balance each other out—I like to tidy up while he likes to bust out the broom and the mop!

I love that my 100th blog post synced up with a post about self care since blogging has become an important part of my life. Thanks so much for your support on my blogging journey so far! I really appreciate it.

I hope you have a great week.