Posts tagged kids
What Moms Really Wants for Mother's Day (When you're on a budget)
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Happy Mother's Day weekend to all my mums out there!

We are amazing people to be able to deal with tiny humans, live out our own dreams, work out 9-5's, wash everyone's laundry, and STILL make time for our partner-before we even think of ourselves. 

Most of our American holidays shove down our throats that we need to go to Kay Jewelers to find something special and unique for mom, but that's NOT what moms really want for mother's day. I'm going to speak for all of us when I say, we just want a restful day with our loved ones. A day where we're not sprinting children to practice, or waking up at 7 a.m. to not be late for school. Here are some awesome ideas to celebrate mother's day without breaking the bank!

  1. Freshly baked bread. You can literally go to the grocery store, buy a box of bread mix, throw some chocolate chips or dried fruit in it. Hell, throw some nuts in it if that's what mom likes and throw it in the oven. Banana Nut is highly recommended.
  2. Breakfast in bed. I'm telling y'all, we LOVE it when our families take the time to cook for us. It's like waking up on Christmas for a mom. You can keep it simple with toast, eggs, and bacon, or you can shake it up by making some crepes or blueberry pancakes for her. Here's a fab recipe for my favorite, Lingonberry crepes.
  3. Make her a video. Heck, you have an iphone. Get it edited on Fiverr to personalize it for $5. For all of her children to speak and share what they love about her. Movies and film are forever, we cherish all our pictures but videos make us feel like we can remember exactly what they looked and sounded like at that moment in time. Doblonk is a great person to use!
  4. Set up an outdoor picnic. Make some basic sandwiches with cut fruit and chips or swing on over to Potbelly and grab some. Set up a cute blanket outside with wine or juice for mom. We love to slip off our shoes and surround ourselves in the great outdoors.
  5. Clean up the house. Take some initiative by vacuuming the house, sweeping and picking up the rooms. Having a clean home without forcing someone to do their chores is a magical feeling that no mom can truly explain. Warm a candle or stick some cinnamon in a pot with water with some citrus, bring it to boil then let it simmer.
  6. Paint her something. Michael's has amazing deals for assorted acrylic paints that you can get for about 0.50 cents each. Kids can use brushes or paint with their hands. We literally try to keep everything so anything handmade feels that much more special.
  7. Give her a day off. Ask dad to make sure mom doesn't have to lift a finger unless she wants to. Kids forget every other day that they can ask their dad for snacks and everything else they harass mom for. Let dad take the lead that day. 
  8. An Edible Arrangement. You can literally make them at home with hand-cut fruit and bamboo skewers if you're a DIY queen like me. I used a bucket from the dollar store, styrofoam, skewers, a pineapple, strawberries, grapes, and cantaloupe which cost me about $12. If not, Edible Arrangements can be purchased in time for mother's day for pick up near your home! 
  9. Movie day. Binge on Netflix or load up on the newest Redbox movies. You can set up a comfy spot to lounge in your living room where everyone can pile together. Lazy days are the absolute best days and when you're a mom, those days are few and far in between.
  10. Make a Handmade Card. We literally always get sappy when we look at the ornaments and cards our kids made from scratch. Cards can be expensive when you purchase them from the store and often aren't very personal. Colored pencils and some help from dad goes a long way in making mom smile.
Keeping It Real With Mom-Blogger Sam Lenz

My goal is to share our experiences of women all over the world to show how much we can relate to each other, as well as support one another! I'll be reaching out to mom-bloggers, artists, entrepreneurs and influencers who you should be following if you aren't already.

Sometimes there is nothing better than getting lost in another’s story then your own for a moment.
-Samantha Lenz

Samantha Lenz is a mom-blogger who should inspire us all. Not only is she a freelance writer who makes her own schedule, she advocates for mental health awareness and effortlessly snaps pictures of her life in British Columbia which is incomplete without her adorable toddler, Ry.

1. I was raised by a single mother and I know how tough it can be. What is your biggest struggle parenting solo?

Hmm, that’s a tough one - because most of the time the struggles can change day-to-day. One day I can be having a struggle getting my son to eat, and no other parent to try and help, etc. It can be something so minor to something so extra.

For the most part I would say my biggest struggle would be financially supporting my son on my own and the fact I am a “solo” parent. There is so much more responsibility - you’re playing the role of both parents.

2. What is your biggest concern about introducing new people you’re dating to your baby?

What’s dating? HAHA just kidding. Honestly, I haven’t had this concern yet. My son will be two in a few months and I sadly haven’t even gone on a date (I’ve considered it) but being a single parent - you don’t get out on your own much. So dating yet alone meeting someone is a hard task.

I feel though, my biggest concern when introducing someone is - not wanting me son to see me get hurt or attached to someone and have it not work out. And visa versa, I don’t need him getting attached to someone who isn’t in it for the long haul.

3. You were able to breastfeed longer than most of us could! How were you able to incorporate that into your busy schedule? Do either of you have separation anxiety after choosing to ween him?

Oh the topic of breastfeeding is one I cringe at but also smile. I was one of those people who were completely against it. I wanted no part of it (I said I’d breastfeed 6 weeks max)... well here I am 22 months later and still breastfeeding. I should say primarily at night and the odd time in the day still. You just do… I don’t really have an explanation for it. I finally got comfortable in public - so doing it wherever and whenever my son needed was how I fit it in.

I think he is having some separation anxiety and maybe I am too? We’ve cut back the day feeds - which yay! It was getting a bit too much for me. The night-time is hard though, he uses it strictly for comfort and I am exhausted. I’m hoping as he improves his sleep schedule and the amount of times he wakes up that it’ll improve his neediness for the breast.

I’ll update you once we’ve officially weaned though!

4. You talk openly about your battle with depression which affects so many of us especially after baby. What do you do to cope with your mental illness?

It does. And for myself I had it well before I had my son and to this day still have it. It’s not something that just goes away… it takes a lot of time (medication, therapy, etc). to get a handle on things. I don’t think I will ever get over my depression - but I can use tools to help manifest it and properly deal and cope.

For me I see a psychiatrist monthly - it’s a big help. I have also become very self-aware over the years so that also helps. I journal (hence I am a writer, I love to write) and read. Sometimes there is nothing better than getting lost in another’s story then your own for a moment. Other things that I know can worked and have for others are exercise, support groups, and just talking to family and friends.

5. How does your depression affect your life as a mom and your everyday life?

The way it affects my life as a mom would be towards to simple everyday things. Some days I am just too down to want to do anything or leave the house. Don’t get me wrong I am still putting on my fake smile and being the best mom to my son. But some days there may be extra cartoon time and we’re eating McDonalds for dinner. It’s sad because I want to enjoy more of the little things… going to the park etc. but my depression and anxiety hinders me sometimes.

Same goes for my everyday life - I am very controlled and calculated and stress very easily. I can’t just be like oh let’s go to the zoo today. If I wake up on the wrong side, something doesn’t go right, the day is already shot to me. I like to pre-plan and be organized. I know this has to do more with the anxiety but depression hinders you from having a “normal” outlook on day-to-day things.

6. Blogging is definitely a great creative outlet. What other outlets do you have to blow off some steam?

I like to read, write, go to the driving and shooting range, shopping. Sometimes just having a good ol’ vent to a friend is cathartic!

7. Being a freelance writer takes a lot of entrepreneurial skill. What do you love most about the writing industry? What is your biggest obstacle for launching your writing business?

I like that the writing industry is always changing and evolving. Writing and written content is never going to go away. However the biggest obstacle is making sure you are unique. There are TONS of other people out there who can do exactly what you do. You need to differentiate yourself and make sure you are well rounded. I’m still new so growing my business. I also want to take some courses so I can offer my clients and future clients more within house and not have to outsource it.

I currently still work with and for a lot of other clients whereas I hope to have that go the other way around. I work for just me and have people I can eventually contract out. At the end of the day it’s a competitive business (price wise, how many people in your area do the same thing) there are a lot of logistics.

Also networking and knowing the right people is key! That is definitely a huge obstacle.
 

8. Life is one big balancing act. How do you balance having your career and having time to spend with your son?

Ah the word “balance”, I am not sure I ever will have balance or have ever had it to begin with. First off, I am lucky to be able to work from home; however the downside to that though is I am at home! Lol. My son and I literally spending 24/7 together. For the majority of the day it’s focusing on him and running errands and maybe a random work function or task. My real day doesn’t start till about 9pm once he’s in bed.

All about time-management and doing what works for you. I’d love to work during the day, but my son is only little for so long and that time is precious. I am fortunate a lot of work functions take place at night - but for business meetings and calls during the day my son comes with me (for now). Once I start doing better financially I can look at maybe doing drop-in daycare for those important meetings.

Prioritize!!!
 

9. British Columbia is one of the most gorgeous places on earth and you spend a lot of time outdoors. What are your favorite activities to do with your son?

Everyday things. Going to the park, beach, playground, etc. My son loves being outside and we have a great backyard full of toys and outdoor activities for him - endless things for him to consume himself with.

As he gets older I am excited to do more day trips though - go into the city, sight see, take day trips!

10. You and I share a love for writing, and tattoos! What is your favorite piece that you have inked on you and why?

Writing and tattoos really two things I love! I have ten tattoos currently, and have a few in the works. All of mine have some sort of meaning so I cherish each one in a different special way. I have one on my left forearm that says “Ich Liebe Dich, Opa” written in his handwriting. Which means “ I love you, Opa” in German. My Opa has since passed so it’s a nice reminder he is always here with me.

Follow Sam Lenz on Instagram at @snlenz

Help! I'm a 24-year Old Mom, Can Anybody Hear ME?

Hello, mic-check? Is this thing on? I fall into to categories who need a lot of self-expression: I'm a woman and a writer. As a woman and a writer, I'm constantly looking for outlets to express my emotions. Painting helps, an occasional drink or two. Setting time aside to exercise or play soccer helps. The most important outlet for me is therapy for my depression and anxiety. This helps me cope with the realization that most people do not care what you and I go through as a mom in our twenties.

I've always been a social person. At this particular age in my life I still know and talk to lots of people outside of social media, people who are probably dealing with things in their own lives. Especially the kid-less friends of mine because they can go where they want, when they want. I sometimes miss those care-free days. You'll text friends while in crisis mode and they might hardly notice at all. Sometimes they won't respond! How is it possible to be so not relatable or understood in the era of the "girl squad" phenomenon? (Is a "girl squad" even a thing?) Personally I think it's saved for the Instagram group shots.

These are some of the things you may experience as a 24-year old mama misfit:

  1. You can could count on my hands the friends you have who have their own child or every single one of them lives in a different state or district.
  2. Playdates are the new happy hour when you're in your twenties with a kid-in-tow.
  3. You'll stop getting invited to things at least 75% of the time. People will assume you're busy or won't ask because they might not be thinking of you at all.
  4. Family will try to drive you crazy. Everybody wants to see your baby but few will come get them themselves.
  5. Personal dreams feel like they're harder to obtain and further away. You'll work all day, send some emails coordinating around food, sleep, and activities for baby and it'll be 6:30 before you know it.
  6. Your partner may think you're losing your mind sometimes. People forget that stress can literally kill someone! Being a mom is a job where there's no clocking on or off. Kids constantly need something and that is completely independent from your demands as an employee (especially if you work multiple jobs like me), a homemaker, and a wife. My nights out are once every two months or so and it takes strategic planning to get that time alone!
  7. Appointments and shopping are instantly a thing of the past. The last time I got my hair done at a salon was over a year ago! I have split ends, a piece that has completely broken off, and my hair is currently brittle from the summer heat. I better add some extra conditioner a couple times a week because $100+ at the salon is out of the question. I won't even start on my eyebrows that haven't been waxed in months.
  8. Date nights slow down and you opt for movie nights in. My partner and I love some movies ya'll but we've seen about 1,000 on demand flicks in the last 7 years. Vacations? Forget about it. Our honeymoon is the first vacation in three years we've been able to afford. 

The point of this isn't to rant because I could all day. I took on the task of being a stay-at-home mom but there are days I feel like I'm on a deserted island and everyone else is a ferry boat distance away. 

There are days like today where I force myself to do nothing besides keep Aria happy and do little tasks I've been putting off for months just to restore some sanity and happiness for the little things in life. 

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#Diversebooks4diversekids Podcast 6

Hey everyone! I'm serving up 5 new books today! Each of these books are special because each of these authors talk about characters who are unique because of the situations they go through.

Even though children are immature, they are still faced with tough decisions like: how to deal with strangers and bullies, like in "Afro-Man and The Protectors: Stranger Danger Adventure Book" and "Tyronne Carter Kid Scientist" or how to find food for oneself in "Annie Aardvark, Mathematician". Some kids have to learn to love a step-parent like in "Having Two Dads is Rad!" Finally, the book "Trees" helps us understand that people (like trees) come in all different shapes and sizes.

1. Afro-Man and The Protectors: Stranger Danger Adventure Book by Jacquie Allen and Kofi Johnson

Afro-Man and The Protectors: Stranger Danger Adventure Book is about a group of super-hero friends who have to use good judgement to avoid bad strangers! This book was written by children & youth advocate Jacquie Allen. It teaches kids to be aware around of your surroundings and the people you meet. To buy a copy of this book, shop here

2. Tyronne Carter Kid Scientist by Dr. Tyronne E. Carter

Tyronne is an intelligent kid who loves science and reading. A neighborhood bully tries to pick on Tyronne because he's a brainiac. Tyronne proves to him that you can learn a lot through picking up a book or two! To buy a copy of this book, shop here

3. Annie Aardvark, Mathematician by Suzie Olsen

Annie is an adorable little aardvark who goes out by herself to look for some food! She comes across some tasty berries and bugs and loves using her math skills to count how many she finds on her exploration. To buy a copy of this book, shop here

4. Having 2 Dads is Rad! (Why Stepdads Are Awesome) by C. Perdue

This book is great for blended families! This little girl talks about her very sweet relationship with her biological dad who she loves very much. She sees her stepdad as a great addition to her life because they have fun together too! Why only love one dad when you can love them both? To buy a copy of this book, shop here.

5. Trees by Shondra M. Quarles

Trees is a book that makes an analogy of humans being like trees. Both people and trees have many things in common the ability to grow and get older with time. We have to learn that we are all more alike than we look like on the outside. To buy a copy of this book, shop here.

#Diversebooks4diversekids Podcast 4

This week is all about friendship! I have some amazing stories that highlight the special friendships between the characters of this week's diverse book characters. We get to learn about exciting new cultures in books like "The Mystery of The Missing Parathas" and "The Old Man with a Pocketful of Bees". We also learn about how we can make new friends with children who have autism in "Lucy's Amazing Friend" and that sometimes a kid's best friend can be their mama like in "Brown Boy" or a cousin like in "The Magical Day".

1. The Magical Day by Sandra Elaine Scott. This book is about a little boy who takes a trip to visit his aunt and his cousin to have adventures on his summer vacation. Beats being at home with a new baby! To buy the book, shop here.

2. Lucy's Amazing Friend by Stephanie Workman. This book is about the wonderful friendship between Lucy and her friend Daniel. Daniel was born with autism and at first has trouble playing with the group until Lucy helps make him more comfortable. To buy the book, shop here.

3. The Mystery of the Missing Parathas by Shweta Chopra & Shuchi Mehta. This books is about how a silly trio of Monkeys plan a going away party for their Dadima. They have to learn to work together to make food for the party when the food they prepared vanishes! To buy the book, shop here.

4. The Man with A Pocketful of Bees By Frances Gilbert. This book is about a unique old man who lives in the countryside. He becomes friends with a group of bees that are nicer to him than the people in town. To buy the book, shop here.

5. Brown Boy by Daphnie Glenn is about a little boy who is super close with his mom. She teaches him that people might not always like him because of his color. She also teaches him that he should be friends with people from all backgrounds. To buy the book, shop here.

#Diversebooks4diversekids Podcast 2

The audience for #Diversebooks4diversekids is growing ya'll! I am getting flooded with authors inquiring how to be a part of this movement. I absolutely love seeing authors writing stories about unique children with bold voices.

These stories are all about empowering those who are different whether that's based on skin tone, having large ears that had been inevitably passed down, big crazy hair, or someone who doesn't have somewhere to call home.

1. "I am Tan" by Michele Rose Finley. This is a book about a mixed boy who realizes that race and color is just a perception that people can interpret differently. At the end of the day no matter our color, we are all the same. To purchase "I Am Tan", shop here.

2. "The Magic Poof" by Stephen Hodges. This book is about a little girl with a lifelike and personified afro that likes to talk, dance, and make friends. The poof's got a mind of it's own! To purchase, "The Magic Poof", shop here.

3. "Clarence" by Stephanie Baruffi. This book is about an Italian boy who discovers he looks different than his family and feels sad about it until his Grandmother tells him he looks just like his late grandpa Clarence. To purchase, "Clarence", shop here.

4. "Jabulani" By Jonathan Stotler. This book is about a South African boy who starts doing acts of kindness for the people around him after being inspired by his pastor's message to help other. To purchase "Jabulani" shop here.

5. "My Forever Home" By Joanie Boney. This book is about a very sweet black cat who waits patiently until the right family see how wonderful he is and takes him home to give him a forever family. To purchase "My Forever Home", shop here.