Butternut Squash Soup with Organic Squash from Hometown Harvest

Butternut Squash Soup with Organic Squash from Hometown HarvestButternut Squash Soup is something I really enjoy eating. It is not a dish I have ever tried making. When I got my Hometown Harvest bag I found a nice sized organic squash tucked inside. Originally I thought, I will chop this up and sauté it with some olive oil and zucchini. My friend however challenged me to step outside my cooking comfort zone and make a soup using my [more]

Host an Eggcellent Easter Party with Oriental Trading!

Host an Eggcellent Easter Party with Oriental Trading!Easter is almost here! Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and families are gathering for some good ol' fashioned Easter fun! Make your Easter the best yet with these excellent eggcellent party decorations and crafts from Oriental Trading!  What I love about Oriental Trading is that I can put a party together easily without spending a ton of money.  I hung up the Light Blue and Lilac Paper Lanterns to add a pop [more]

Captain America The Winter Soldier: A Must See! #CaptainAmerica

Captain America The Winter Soldier: A Must See! #CaptainAmerica   Captain America The Winter Soldier is the number 1 movie in the nation and the film with the largest April box office! And for good reason too. From start to finish Captain America is packed with action, drama, and a little comedic relief.  Chris Evans, Samuel L Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson are exactly what you would expect- awesome. I will admit I wasn't always team Black Widow, especially as a kid, [more]

Our Disney World Vacation: Making Memories

Our Disney World Vacation: Making Memories After sharing with you all How to Make the Most of Your Disney World Vacation I wanted to follow that up with a more personal post. Again it took me awhile to sort through the pictures I wanted to use remember I took over 1500 and also to put into words how amazing our trip was. I still don't feel like this post can do it justice, the magic of Disney [more]

Celebrate Spring with Oriental Trading!

Celebrate Spring with Oriental Trading! Spring is finally here! After a crazy winter we all needed a little sunshine. To shake off the winter cold, we got together with some friends for an afternoon of celebrating Spring and getting crafty with fun products from Oriental Trading! After a quick lunch, I set up for our crafts and hung a few decorations just to brighten up the place. Who said you have to only decorate for birthday [more]

The Muppets Most Wanted Review and More Free Printables! #MuppetsMostWanted

The Muppets Most Wanted Review and More Free Printables! #MuppetsMostWanted  The wait is over, Muppets Most Wanted is finally in theaters!   I could say a lot about this movie. We all laughed, the adults exchanged knowing glances for certain puns and jokes, and at the end of it we were all singing and thankfully it was not "Let it Go" Bottom Line: this movie was GREAT and we want to see it again. And no I wasn't bribed with a briefcase of [more]

Category Archives: Motherhood

4 Tips for Finding Time For You by Lydia Richmond

4 Tips for Finding Time for You

 

As a mom of three, I literally beg, borrow, and steal every quiet moment I get to myself. When one kid finally goes to sleep, it seems like someone else wakes up or needs me.

Working from home doesn’t help matters much. When I taught face-to-face at the high school, I got some “me” time. Granted, I squished that “me” time into my 25 minute lunch break or the five minutes between classes, but working outside of the home is very different from working inside the home — with kids.

These days, I depend on my boys to take naps or my daughter to be home from school and willing to play with her brothers. When I find those very small moments, I work my heart out to complete the most demanding and time-sensitive tasks. Then, once the kids are in bed, I work hard again to get caught up and sometimes — just sometimes — I get ahead.

I’ve learned a few things along the way about how to find time for myself.

  1. Get it done when you have the chance. Gone are the days of procrastination. Remember when you could put off that English paper until the night before it was due and then crank out an A+? If you’re like me, that just doesn’t really happen any more. Not that you aren’t talented enough. When you’re a parent, Murphy’s Law kicks in way more than we’d like. If we were to put something off like that, most likely we’d be graced with a sick or teething or just not-sleeping-in-general baby. So, take care of what you need to do as soon as you can. It’ll free up more time later.
  2. Make yourself stop. Setting time limits for work is a good thing. When you work a 9 to 5 “regular” job, you get to (for the most part) clock out and go home. When I was a face-to-face teacher, I did take work home with me. But, with the world of social media and online jobs, we could spend all day and night working. We have to make ourselves quit for the day. I have begun setting a time limit for myself. By 8:30 each night, I try to be offline as long as I don’t have any meetings.
  3. It’s okay to put something on the back burner. We have to prioritize. As parents, our children are job #1. Then, we have to look at what else we have on our to-do list and make some choices. Not everything must be done today, and some of it can certainly wait for tomorrow. It’s okay to let things go in order to have some time to yourself.
  4. Decide what you need to be relaxed. Whether it’s sitting and watching a TV show or reading the book you’ve had on your reading list since before baby was born, you deserve time to yourself. What is it that will give you the most relaxing time? Do it. For me, it’s watching one of my favorite shows without my computer or iPad or phone in my hands. Sometimes, it’s doing something crafty like making a sweet new hairbow for one of my friend’s daughters.

When my oldest was born, the most technological item I had was my desktop computer. In the few short years since she joined my life, I’ve added laptops, tablets, eReaders, and smart phones. It’s hard to remove ourselves from work if it’s readily available to us.

But we all deserve time to just be us — and to relax.

What tips do you have for finding time for yourself? Share!

Lydia Richmond is a high school English teacher with three kids, two dogs, a cat, and one hunky husband. She blogs over at Cluttered Genius where she writes about the joys of life that — sometimes — get a little cluttered. You can join her on Facebook or Twitter.

Why I Decided To Stop Yelling

Why I decided to stop yelling, one mother's personal journey about not yelling at her kids anymore

If you are the perfect mom with the patience of a saint this blog post is not for you.

For those who know me in real life you might think I hold my stuff together pretty well. And that is true, in public at least. I think we all have the face we wear around others and then the other, the true self that only surfaces when we are at home.For me, I don’t want anyone to think I’m a monster of a mother. And maybe monster is an exaggeration. Still, I don’t want anyone knowing that sometimes I’m not so nice and calm with my children. After all, I’m a mom blogger. Doesn’t that mean I adore my children every second of everyday? Well you might think that but it’s not reality. Of course I love them always but I don’t always like them. In those situations that’s when I lose it.

I’m a passionate person. I do everything 110% be it happy, sad, or upset. Like everything else in life there are two sides to the coin. So while being passionate about things can be positive it can also be very negative. One natural reaction when I’m getting upset is to yell. Who wants to listen to some yell all the time?  The Bible verse in proverbs Only a fool gives full vent to his rage kept playing over and over. Sure I wasn’t going postal (do people still say that?) but I still felt bad about the yelling. It’s like I went from 0 to yelling without any gradual increase in volume. I knew it was wrong and that I wanted to stop.

But how? Every time I tried I fell right back into the biggest trap women face. The comparison trap. I know a lot of moms who seem to have it all together all the time. No matter how bad (yes I said bad) their children are in public or at playdates they just smile and calmly laugh it off. Meanwhile I’m like WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM!?!?!

I felt like a failure as a mother. A pretender, an emotional wolf in patient sheep clothing.

My daughter is generally compliant and with her I don’t even need to yell to get my point across. My son however, pushes my buttons (naturally we are the most alike) and everyone gets to hear what happens next. I yell, he yells louder, and nothing gets accomplished. Yeah not fun. So if yelling doesn’t work why do I keep doing it? Well I don’t know really, automatic reaction I suppose. Sorry it’s not more philosophical than that, I’m just trying to be real.

I came across another blog, The Orange Rhino, and was inspired by her story. She set an original goal for herself of 365 without yelling, pretty amazing right? I saw that she is now in year 2 of not yelling which is very encouraging! And that’s when I thought “Hey I can do that too! I can go without yelling.”  I set a slightly smaller goal for myself of just the school year.  But began a little early, because it’s never too early to stop yelling. No one knew about this challenge except myself and my family. Part of me didn’t want to share encase I failed miserably. Whether this is a success or a train wreck you all will know. And yes that scares me just a little.

To start off my own challenge I did what The Orange Rhino suggested: make a list of my triggers. There was no need to take time and reflect, I already knew what they were and have known for awhile. But knowing and doing are two different things. Now I’m finally taking my list and putting it into use, like a battle plan. For example, I know ahead of time if I didn’t get enough sleep or I have a lot of work to do that I’m going to be on edge. So when the kids get going on their “He’s looking at me!” or “She’s not playing with me!” instead of freaking out I have been walking away. Going into another room to find my center before walking back and handling the sibling drama.

It is important to have someone to keep you in check, an accountability partner. For me, my daughter is very helpful. When I told her about what I wanted to do she was very supportive and agreed that everyone, animals included, needed to stop yelling. Her and I decided that if someone starts yelling we needed to say “remember the no yelling rule!” The boy child is too young to get it but he gives up sooner if the rest of us keep our voices low. I will take that as a win, for now!

The big question: How is it going? It has been 5 days since the last incident.

Do you struggle with yelling and want to stop? Then I encourage you to join me in the no yelling club. Here there is no judging, just encouragement for all of us to be the best mothers we can be. If you need an accountability partner I am here for you! Email me, tweet me, Facebook, whatever and I promise to support you in your journey!

Tips for Preventing Summer Learning Loss

Preventing Summer Learning Loss, Free Websites for Kids, 10 Free Educational Websites, Summer Boredom Busters

I hate to be the Debbie downer of your summer fun but the facts are the facts. According to the Children’s Aid Society, children lose on average 2 months of grade level equivalency in math and reading during the summer. That can cause serious issues when school starts back up. You don’t want your child to fall behind but you are not trying to audition for world’s biggest villain either. Destroying the fun of summer will not win you any admiration.

So what can you do to prevent summer learning loss without causing a mutiny and cries of Moooooooommmm you are soooooo not fair!!!

As a former teacher, I have some advice that will help stop summer learning loss without stopping the fun. It involves a little bit of trickery and a lot of coffee (for you not them) but it will work. Two for the price of one: these tips can also help combat boredom.

Sign up for the Summer Reading Program at your Local Library.

This program is free, fun, and your child gets to experience books they might not normally choose. Also included are special hands on learning events related to the theme. For instance this year our theme is “In your backyard” and one event includes an interactive meet n greet with local wildlife like turtles, lizards, and frogs.

Take Field Trips to Museums, Historic Sites, or Parks.

I like to research the places ahead of time and come up with a scavenger hunt. For my 4year old I keep it easy but for Miss Smarty Pants (she knows everything at 7) I make it challenging. 

Play Board Games.

Bring back family game night and work in some learning while you are at it.  From Candyland all the way to Scrabble and Yahtzee, there is a game for every age. Remember it’s not who wins or loses overly competitive parent… it’s about the learning.Just saying!

Embrace your Inner Chef.

Not only is this a great idea for learning moments it is also shown to have a positive effect on picky eaters. Dust off your cookbook or have the kids pick one out at the library and choose a recipe to try. I get my kids involved in every aspect of the meal. They help me shop for things at the grocery store where my youngest spots the colors and helps me count how many of each item we need. Once in the kitchen my oldest will help measure the ingredients and both of them like to taste test. I fully endorse licking the spoon!

Host a Quiz Bowl. 

Everything is more fun as a game. Focus on areas they struggle with or let them choose the topic. My daughter loves to quiz me on math and spelling. Albeit early in the morning before I’ve had time to drink my coffee. If you mess up wink wink they love the idea of being able to correct you. Why is that?

10 Free Learning Websites:

  • PBS Kidslearning games featuring your favorite characters from PBS.
  • Math ManipulativesMath Playground offers a variety of math games for older children
  • National Geographic Kids – all the education you would expect of National Geographic but presented in a fun way
  • Into The Book- Reading games for children and resources for teachers and parents. Offers tools for reading comprehension such as inferring, evaluating, questioning, and summarizing
  • Fun brainperfect for grades K-8th, offers math, reading, games, and more.
  • Switcheroo Zoo- learn about geography, environment, and wildlife while creating your own animals and habitats.
  • Seussville- learn alongside your favorite Dr. Seuss characters with games, activites, videos, and more
  • Starfall- reading resources for children beginning to those who can read on their own
  • ABCya- educational games for grades K-5th Grade
  • Fun Braineducation games, books, and comics for PreSchool thru 8th Grade

Above all Make it Fun.

I don’t want to be chain to a desk reciting times tables any more than they do! We as parents are not out to ruin their summer vacations. They deserve a break from homework and the rigors of a classroom schedule. But they do still need to be engaging their minds. My hope is that these ideas will help you and your children have a productive and awesome summer vacation!

Just Between Friends Loudoun Spring Sale: Win PreSale Passes!

Just Between Friends Loudoun Consignment Sale

Last Spring I wrote about Loudoun’s Just Between Friends Consignment Sale. I was a newbie to the whole consignment process, I knew roughly what it meant but I had never been to a sale. Thanks to Susan at JBF Loudoun, my best friend and I had the opportunity to check out their 2012 spring sale. My first impression was Wow! Anything and everything I could have thought to look for was there. I was excited to find some great toys and puzzles (all in like new shape) for my son’s upcoming birthday. Although I didn’t need any clothes when I went, there were rows and rows of clothing that looked like it hardly had been worn. One mom told me,“I like that they don’t allow any stains or tears on the clothes. They set the standard high” She is absolutely right: zippers should work, buttons button, and batteries should be installed. I love that the team at JBF Loudoun really goes that extra mile to make sure they aren’t just some other consignment sale. All my local readers need to check them out this Spring, coming to the Dulles Sportsplex April 20-21st.

JBF Loudoun was voted the best Consignment Sale in DC and Northern Virginia! Congratulations to everyone who makes the sale happen!

Just Between Friends Loudoun

They are also holding Consigning 101 classes again this season. They were a huge success in the Fall, helping many people to learn about the hows and whats of consigning.

Class Information:

Sunday, March 24th at 6:00pm, at the Dulles Sportsplex

You can register here: https://www.facebook.com/jbfloudoun/events


 

Two (2) Lucky Winners will receive a Pre-Sale Pass into the Spring 2013 Sale. Giveaway Ends January 30th 2013.

*Leave a comment for each entry. Winners will be chosen using Random.org*

  1. Leave a blog post comment telling me what item you are looking this Spring
  2. Like Just Between Friends Loudoun on Facebook and tell them Teachable Mommy sent you!
  3. Like Teachable Mommy on Facebook

 

*This post is sponsored by Just Between Friends Loudoun. I received a pre-sale pass for writing this post. No monetary compensation was received and opinions expressed are my own.

Mamavation Monday Ouch

 

We survived Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, our power never went out and all our friends and family are safe as well. We spent our 3 days off from school, hanging out at home, playing board games, and just enjoying the crazy life break. Sadly, our Church suffered damage but luckily our Pastor discovered it soon enough that they could get a company to come in to salvage everything. To everyone affected in New York and New Jersey in Mamavation, my love and prayers go out to you girls!

I started the 2 week challenge last week and OUCH! Bob Harper has me doing things I would never ever EVER try on my own…burpees, squat jumps…no thank you!  My leg and butt muscles have been hurting since last Monday. I know that soreness is a good thing, it means muscles are getting worked out in ways they aren’t use to which means I will tone up more. But that knowledge does not make it hurt less. One more week ladies, we can do this!

I was a good girl this past week in the food department. The only candy I ate was UNREAL and it was only a little bit. And since UNREAL is so great I feel like it’s not as bad ;) I have not braved the scales yet. Some of you girls weigh yourself more then once during these challenges, my hat goes off to you. I avoid the scale until the end, we are not good friends you know.

Seriously though, November already?! I feel like the panic of getting everything organized for Thanksgiving/Hubby’s Birthday and Christmas just smacked in the face. I shop all year for gifts, it is how I save money, but the meal planning and crazy schedules are what get me. Shelley posted this week about needing a weekend with nothing to do and she thought one was coming up in 2014…that is exactly how I feel. I could use a nice snow storm to force us all to stay home.

CALIFORNIA FRIENDS: PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE YES ON PROP 37 TOMORROW. TELL THE USA WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN OUR FOOD!!! 

*This post is sponsored by Bengay Zero Degrees and hosted by Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway

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