The Summer Scene 2017

Hard to believe that summer is already half over.  Just like every year, I swore up and down that we were going to take it easy this summer…not do to much.  And just like every year, we’ve managed to pack it completely full yet again!Our summer started with a lot of gardening.  Rita’s Roots is amazing.  Rita herself comes out once a month or so and helps us clear out, spray for bugs, replant, etc.  And our garden has never looked better.  The kids love helping out…we’ve currently got okra, carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, garlic, potatoes, kale, and tons of tomatoes.  I make salsa almost daily, and luckily my kids can’t get enough of kale chips.And we have the most beautiful Caprese Salads for lunch every day.  The yellow tomatoes are much sweeter than the red…YUM!These little guys helped us with our kale overload earlier this summer.  We borrowed them from our friend Mr. Paul’s farm for a few weeks to help socialize them so they can find forever homes.  But we may have bitten off more than we could chew with three bunnies….they eat and poop ALOT!  Meet ‘Camo,’ ‘Chillax,’ and ‘Oreo.’  They loved escaping out of their bin in order to play in the dollhouse and climb all over Lincoln.Jayna tried her hand at swim team this year and loved it!  She regularly placed 1st in Freestyle and in the Freestyle Relay, and usually got 3rd in backstroke.  We’re still working on Breastroke and Butterfly so she can rock those next summer.  I think Millie will be ready for swim team next year too….she finally got strong enough this year to swim across the pool without stopping!

Lincoln looked on (next year, Buddy!) as the girls went to Vacation Bible School and Cheer Camp again this summer too, before we headed out for a three-week long vacation!First stop was a house (and boat) rental for a week at Lake Keowee.  This is our absolute favorite place to vacation “locally”…just a few minutes away from Clemson and less than an hour from Greenville, it’s the perfect combo of lazy lake days and fun excursions.  We rented a big house with three of other families from the neighborhood….not quite as extravagant as our New Year’s Eve Vacation with 15 families last winter, but still fun!We spent all day, just about everyday out on the boat; cruising, tubing and waterfall-hunting.  Perfection.  And Lincoln apparently just needs a speedboat in order to take a goooooooood nap.  He fell asleep on those windy rides every single day.  The evenings were spent eating ice cream and playing board games…perfection!

Straight from Keowee, I drove the kids down to St. Augustine for a week with MomMom and GP while I flew out to join Dave in Las Vegas for a week.  There, I went to the spa, hung by the pool, and people watched mostly.  When Dave wasn’t in his workshops, he was at the craps table….breaking even (luckily!).Meanwhile, the kiddos were taking over St. Augustine.  They just love the pirate tours, the lighthouse and the beach.  And now that they’ve met a friend who works at the Alligator Farm, they have gotten to go behind the scenes there as well as Marineland….where they’ve made new friends with the dolphins and Galapagos Tortoises!  I don’t think they missed us at all….Although Dave had to go home to work, I went back to Florida to pick up the kids….and my parents…and we continued on to Ft. Myers on the Gulf Coast to my sister’s house for a few days.  Loo is about to have a baby in a few weeks, so we decided to spend the 4th of July with her and Doc.While we were there, we also threw her a surprise baby shower.  All of her friends and family live far away, so my mom organized a virtual baby shower on Facebook.  She had all of the invitees send gifts to her, and we wrapped and brought them with us to Loo’s house.  And while she was down at the pool with Lincoln one morning, us girls decorated Loo’s condo and prepared for the surprise shower!  She opened all of the gifts and we showed everything live on Instagram and Facebook so that everyone felt like they were there in spirit!It was a huge success and we all had fun helping Loo set up all of her new baby stuff to get ready for Baby “Bean.”  And it was double fun for me, because there is nothing more fun than being pregnant at the same time as your little sister!!

That’s right!  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that we are expecting another Baby Boy this November!  We are all surprised by the news, but couldn’t be happier about our growing family!  It’s yet another reason why I’ve backed off on so many blog posts too…be sure to follow me on social media @Palmettos and Pigtails to follow along with the rest of our summer adventures!Here’s to a relaxed and completely boring rest of the summer!

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Bucket List for Mamas

When I was in college; single and kid-free; I was an adventurer.  I went away on weekend getaways.  I tried unknown foods at trendy restaurants.  I did study abroads in South Africa.  I was spontaneous.  I showered regularly.  A true daredevil.

And now, I’m happily married with three adorable children and a dreamy life in suburbia.  I love it, I truly do.  But man, a lot has changed.  Instead of tracking rhinos in the African brush, I’m attempting to avoid stepping on Legos.  Instead of “pre-gaming” for hours before going out around 10, I’m asleep on the couch in front of  the sofa before my first rerun of Gilmore Girls ends.  Gourmet restaurants are now Chick-fil-A’s and sushi has turned into leftovers off my kid’s plate.

And I wouldn’t trade one second of it.  But maybe I need to raise the bar a little.  So I decided to make a bucket list for mamas.  Some goals that we can strive for in the near future.

Bucket List for Moms

A Bucket List for Mamas

Eat your own food, by yourself {and preferably not chicken nuggets!}

  • A guilt-free Spa Day
  • 5 Minutes of Complete Silence
  • Read an adult book
  • Shave without awkward questions
  • Shower without an audience
  • Not be a human jungle gym for one day
  • Two words: Bubble Bath
  • Read a book on the beach
  • Nap….a glorious nap
  • Grocery shop without bribing with cookies and balloons
  • Fold laundry without any “help,” while watching Bravo
  • A clean house for more than 15 minutes
  • Adult radio station
  • Drink coffee while it’s still hot
  • Sleep in
  • Leisurely stroll through Target without 12 potty breaks
  • Eat candy without having to hide in the pantry
  • A Date Night that goes later than 9 pm

And the list goes on….I know that in about 16 years, I’ll be able to do all of these things again.  But I also know then all of the lovely “little kid” meltdowns moments will be gone forever.  Maybe I should make a bucket list of things to savor about my littles before they grow up…

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17 Appropriate Consequences for Poor Behavior {and the Bible backs it up!}

It may not seem like it, but unfortunately, we are a family that yells.  Dave and I try to keep our cool, we try to “seek to understand” before losing said cool…but nine times out of ten, we end up yelling at the kiddos.  Hey, it happens right?  But our knee-jerk reaction to their mistakes is an automatic time-out, loss of privileges or the occasional spanking.  Very seldom do we take the time to stop and think about appropriate consequences that “fit the crime,” let alone scripture that backs it up.Crime LogoI find myself often searching online for creative, natural and appropriate consequences that can be backed up by scripture.  Not only do I want to correct the behavior, I want to give my kids the “why” as well.  So I found a couple of sites, in addition to some of the methods we use, to help create a little cheat for us parents.  Here are the other blogs that I found that had some good suggestions {please check them out!}:

House-wifery

Confessions of a Homeschooler

Raising Arrows

Meaningful Mama

I can’t promise that I will keep my cool or always remember these scriptures.  But I figure if I have a go-to place where I can find appropriate consequences {that’s also Biblical} for a common childhood behavior, then hopefully it will be a teaching lesson as well as correct the behavior.

 Destruction of Property:
{Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”}
Consequences: Clean up the mess, as well as doing chores for the person whose property was affected, earn money to pay for item

Arguing or Fighting with each other:
{2 Tim 2:24 “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”}
Consequence: Sitting face to face with each other, holding hands.  Apologize for harsh words, ask for forgiveness and come to a compromise on the argument.

Bragging:
{Proverbs 27:2Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth;
    an outsider, and not your own lips.”}
Consequence: Apologize, and list 5 things for which they are thankful

Whining and Complaining:
{Phillipians 2:14 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing,” or Psalm 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”}
Consequence: Loss of privilege, having to be last in an activity or do extra work {depending on what they were whining about}, or list 5 things they are grateful for

Mean or Disrespectful Words:
{Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Proverbs 21:23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”}
Consequence: Letter of apology, with kind words in it

Laziness:
{Deut 6:5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”}
Consequence: Start the task over again to complete

Lying or Deceit:
{1 Peter 3:10 Whoever would love life and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.”, Proverbs 17:4 A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.”}
Consequence: Letter of apology

Gossip:
{Proverbs 16:28 A perverse person stirs up conflict,
    and a gossip separates close friends.”}
Consequence: Apology and set things straight with people they gossiped to

Poor Manners/Decision Making:
{James 4:17 “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”}
Consequence:  extra work, do the right thing with an apology

Poor Self Control:
{Proverbs 16:32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”}
Consequence: After calming down, apologize to those affected

Selfishness:
{Hebrews 13:16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”}
Consequence: List things they are grateful for, find items to donate, community service

Stealing:
{Ephesians 4:28 “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.“}
Consequence: Return items, additional work, write Bible verse

Tattle Tailing:
{Matthew 18:15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”}
Consequence: Copy verse, they lose the item they were tattling about, apologize and use words to talk it out

Discontentment:
{1 Tim 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” }
Consequence: List of things they are grateful for, loss of 1st world privilege {tv, toy, iPad}

Dirty Words/Cursing:
{Ephesians 5:4 “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”}
Consequence: cleaning

Disobedience:
{Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”}
Consequence: Proximity to parents, extra work/mundane tasks to practice obedience

Hitting/Physical Behavior:
{Titus 3:2 “to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.”}
Consequence: Hugging, holding hands, along with an apology

I hope some of these ideas help your children to correct their behaviors, while also learning the importance of their actions.  If you have any other creative ideas for appropriate consequences as discipline, please share them in the comments!  Remember that these are just some ideas that I’ve compiled…be sure to adjust consequences depending on the severity of behavior, age of the child, and appropriateness in general.  Not every situation fits into a mold!

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 I’m linkin’ up this week!

Fearlessly Creative Mammas

 

 

 

 

Thank You for Bedtime

I’m not really sure how we fell into the pattern, but when we are both home and available, my husband and I divvy up the bedtime routines.  And somehow, he usually ends up putting the girls {who are 5 and 7} to bed, while I put “the baby” {who is 2} down.

I’m sure our little system started back when I was ginormously pregnant and physically unable to lean over the bathtub to bathe the girls.  Or maybe when I was constantly nursing a newborn, trying to convince him to sleep in his nursery while his sisters giggled next door with their daddy.  Either way, somehow the tradition has stuck that Mama puts “the baby” down.

I know, I know.  He’s hardly a baby anymore.  He’s just about two and a half now, and almost as verbal as my 7 year old.  He’s potty trained, knows all of his letters, and goes to pre-school three days a week.  Let’s face it…he’s well on his way to being a little kid.

But.  He’ll always be my baby.  I mean, all three of them will always be my babies…but he is my final baby.  Admitting that is hard for me to do.  Although I panic at the thought of being pregnant again or having to start all over, I also envy the tiny snores and sweet baby toes that my new mama friends still get to enjoy.  I’ll always be up for snuggling the closest available baby, but I fully recognize that it won’t be my own.  And as ready as I am for the next phase of my family life, I tear up  even as I type this.Dear Husband, thank you for bedtime. #motherhood #parenting #baby #children #finalchild And so, I’d like to thank my husband.  My better half.  My baby-daddy.  For letting me have bedtime.  For letting me completely coddle that almost-two-and-a-half year old for awhile each night.  For letting me read him too many stories, sing him too many songs and then turning out the light and just rocking him for a few more minutes.  I cherish those little moments.  And he loves them too…I know this because I never have to coax him up into my lap or to even turn around and lay his sweet head down on my chest.

During the day, I’m your average mommy….often annoyed at his two-year-old antics.  I don’t use baby talk with him, I encourage him to clean up after himself, and  give him choices to encourage his independence.  Soon we’ll be fighting over dirty clothes on the floor and unfinished homework.   But for now, after bath time, he gets my undivided attention and the chance to be a complete “Mama’s boy.”  And because his daddy is willing to put “the big girls” to bed every night, I get to soak up a few more precious moments with “my baby.”

Thank you dear husband, for bedtime.

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Mom Tricks: How to get out the Door On Time

One of the biggest challenges I personally face is tardiness.  I am almost always about 4-8 minutes late.  To everything.  Even when we are ready to walk out the door, someone {me} usually forgets something {my keys}, and bam! we are late again.  And it seems that no matter what, the last 10 minutes of trying to get my family out the door is pure chaos and stress.  Not a great way to start the day.Tips from a Mom on how to get your family out the door on time #punctual #momtricks #hacks #parenting #lateBut, we are doing a bit better lately.  We’ve perfected a few little tricks to prep for our mornings to help us get out the door on time.

Wake up purposefully.  This goes for me, as well as the kids.  I usually get up about 15 minutes before the older kids, allowing just enough time for me to grab a shower, start the coffee and get myself composed before going in to help them wake up.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not a morning person.  Neither are 2 out of 3 of my kids.  But allowing a slow, lazy, wake-up routine keeps the kids drowsy all morning and sets us behind almost immediately.   I’ve found that by getting them out of bed and into the bright bathroom immediately to brush teeth and whatnot, helps speed up the waking up process.Tips from a Mom on how to get your family out the door on time #punctual #momtricks #hacks #parenting #latePrep as much as you can the night before.  For me, this means restocking the baby bag, having backpacks zipped up with homework and projects already ready to go.  Having a designated spot for school supplies or sports equipment really helps to keep things corralled.  Having outfits already picked out and laid out helps my school aged girls have independence in getting dressed {as well as letting having a say in what they wear, but we can argue talk about appropriateness the night before, rather than in the morning!}

Tips from a Mom on how to get your family out the door on time #punctual #momtricks #hacks #parenting #late

The Organised Housewife has some fantastic ideas for corralling kids’ school stuff. This was my favorite!

And speaking of picking out appropriate outfits, the “three outfit” system works for us.  The girls and I pick out three complete outfits {including socks and underwear} that match, are school/activity appropriate, and are separate from the rest of their cloths.  We have a spare drawer under each of their beds in which we keep these three outfits.  And when they are choosing their outfit for each day, they are allowed to choose any of those three.  It gives them some say in what they wear day to day, but I can make sure they match and are dressed for the weather ahead of time.  That way I’m not having to supervise every minute of the dressing routine.  And it’s nice to have those few extra minutes in the morning to actually throw on some mascara or straighten my hair drink some coffee while they are doing their thing.

Tips from a Mom on how to get your family out the door on time #punctual #momtricks #hacks #parenting #late

Dave made the girls custom beds with storage underneath…perfect for ready-made outfits! Click here to see the rest of the room.

Make lunches ahead of time!  I’m not talking about soggy sandwiches, I’m thinking out of the box.  Like macaroni and cheese bites, mini muffin pizzas and little pot pies.  Things you can make in bigger batches and then freeze…they’ll thaw out in their lunchbox!  If you can’t pack the kids’ lunches ahead of time, do it while multitasking in the morning.  In our house we get completely ready before coming to the breakfast table.  I figure I can send a granola bar to school if we run out of time to eat, but they can’t get dressed on the bus!

Tips to get your family out the door on time: Make large batches of freezable lunches..they can thaw in the lunch box #punctual #momtricks #hacks #parenting #late

This school lunch roundup post I did a couple of years ago is my MOST POPULAR post…check out some of the ideas!

So while I am fixing their breakfast, they are picking out items for their lunches {fruit, chips, etc.}.  I keep everything accessible to them so they can get it themselves.  One of our crisper drawers in the fridge has a constant stash of pre-bagged baby carrots, grapes, peppers, etc.  And I either buy individually bagged dry snacks, or I pre-bag every fishie and pretzel stick that comes into the house into snack bags.  In fact, we specifically rearranged our pantry to accommodate for little ones helping themselves!  Then, while they are eating breakfast, I’m double checking lunch boxes and backpacks.

Tips to get your family out the door on time: separate snacks and lunch items into individual, ready-to-grab bags to speed up lunch prep

Go check out this post by Sweet Tea & Stilettos…they have a TON of fantastic, healthy ideas for pre-made snacks.

Set your clocks.  Our clocks in the house are all about 5 minutes fast….allowing for a pleasant {and on time!} surprise when we get into the car to see the actual time!  I also set lots of alerts on my phone to keep us on track.  I have alarms for wake-up times, alarms for breakfast time, alarms for leaving time.

So, I’m not promising that we will be early, or even on time to whatever it was that you invited us to, but instead of being 8 minutes late, we’ll only be 4 minutes late! Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

An Open Letter to my Future Babysitter

Dear Future Babysitter of my Three Young Children,

I am a veteran rockstar babysitter. In other words, I was the most coveted babysitter in my entire neighborhood.  I was more interested in making money than hanging out with my friends.  I treated the kids I babysat for, as younger {and sometimes preferred!} siblings.   And it felt great to be fought over by numerous families on Friday and Saturday nights.  So I thought I would let you know how I was so successful, and what I {as a parent} now expect from you {my babysitter} when you care for my kids.

A humorous letter to a babysitter spelling out the mom's expectations for the evening. Great read for teenagers and moms alike. #parenting #babysitter #teenager #childcare                                                            Edited image courtesy of Prawny

First of all, please recognize that I am leaving my babies with you, a relative stranger.  I am literally trusting you with my little ones’ lives.  Please take this very seriously.  Pay attention to directions, and ask questions.  Make sure I write down both of our phone numbers {and maybe even a neighbor or two}, and where we are going to be.  I know you want to be the “fun one,” but please put safety before fun and discipline if you need to.

Actually follow the directions that I give you.  If I tell you I want the kids in bed by 8, I mean just that…they should be in their beds, going to sleep at 8:00.  Even if I don’t spell it out for you, just assume that my kids need to wear pajamas, brush their teeth, and go to the bathroom before getting into bed.  And no, they may not sleep in “dress up.”  If I don’t specifically ask you to give them a bath, then please don’t.  There may be several reasons for this, ranging between my comfort level with you {relative stranger} washing their bits and pieces, to me not wanting to have to pay you more when my toddler poops in the tub.  Trust me, you’ll thank me later for that.

After feeding the kids, it sure would be nice if you rinsed and loaded the dishwasher with their dishes.  Don’t worry about scrubbing pots or anything, just basic clean-up.  Wiping down counters, cleaning up any spills and refrigerating leftovers are also expected.  If the kids are already fed when you arrive, I don’t expect you to clean anything in the kitchen {but if you do, I promise you will have a babysitting job for life!}.

I may tell you to “make yourself at home.”  What I mean by this is feel free to look for something that you need {pertaining to my children} in the cabinets.  For example, if you run out of toilet paper, by all means search closets and under sinks to find more!  Please help yourself to a soda, some dinner, a cookie from the plate on the counter.  No, you may not “fix” yourself a “drink.” {I don’t care how old you are!}  And no, your friend/boyfriend may not come over to “help” you babysit.  I hired you because I thought you could handle my kids alone.  Hopefully, I’ll remember to show you how to work the remote, but please only watch TV after the kiddos are in bed…and obviously, keep it to the appropriate {and free!} channels.

My kids will beg you to let them watch TV/play on the iPad, etc.  But, I am not paying you for screen time.  I expect you to play with my children.  They are generally thrilled that you {cool teenager} are here just for them.  Get creative!  I’m positive that this was one of the determining factors of my babysitting success. I was famous for my games.  I came up with “House Olympics” involving different types of competitions and obstacle courses, many of which ended up requiring the children to clean up areas of the house {i.e. “Who can build the tallest Lego tower in 20 seconds? …aka “I’m tricking you into cleaning up the Legos” or “Pyramid Cup Stacking Race….straight out of the dishwasher”}.  Or, don’t get creative…my girls are perfectly happy to have a guinea pig  friend to try out new hairstyles on, and my toddler will roll a ball to just about anyone!  As long as you are engaging with my kids, I’m happy.  And on the clean-up note….I’m always super impressed when the playroom is cleaned up when I get home!!

A humorous letter to a babysitter spelling out the mom's expectations for the evening. Great read for teenagers and moms alike. #parenting #babysitter #teenager #childcare

When I ask you, “How were the kids?”  please tell me the truth.  I promise I will hire you again even if you say my kids were terrible!  I truly want to know if someone was being disrespectful or mean, and I will respect you more for being honest.

Although I prefer my babysitters to be able to drive, it’s not a deal breaker.  But please have your own ride to and from my house.  It’s a bummer to come home after a night out just to have to turn around and drive you 20 minutes back home.  And if I do have to drive you home….please pacify me with some small talk.  Although I’m not totally interested in who your soccer team is playing next week, I’d rather talk about that than have 20 minutes of silence!

And finally, although keeping my kids alive for three hours is a big job, please realize that you are still a teenager.  I’m thankful that you gave up some of your Friday night to play with my kiddos, but I did not hire you with the intention of making you independently wealthy.  I have checked with my friends, and yes, that is the going rate for partially educated, minors in the childcare field {and dinner was even included!}.  Yes, you may deserve more than that during the hours that the kids are awake {especially if they poop in the tub!}, but you also deserve less than that after they are asleep and you are watching Bravo and texting your BFF.   So, it all averages out, right?

In conclusion, I’m touched that you like my kids enough to want to spend your Friday night with them.  I’m hoping you will still like them enough to continue to babysit for them next week too!  I think it’s important for my little ones to have real teenage role models to form relationships with….so keep my kids {who idolize you!} in mind on those Friday nights that you are out with your friends, and remember them as you make all of those those tough choices that are forming who you become as an adult.

Good luck!…..and are you free Saturday!?!?

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Sunday Scripture: Slow

I generally don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  I’m just like the next guy, where I can’t help but feel rejuvenated every time that ball drops….like it’s an excuse for a do over.  And as much as my Type-A personality craves order in my life {and an excuse to reorganize},  I am usually able to reign myself in and and not officially create resolutions.  Because, when life sets back in and those resolutions get put on the back burner, there is nothing but disappointment.

However.

I do think the transition from one year to the next is a good time to reflect on your life for a few moments.  And when I did this, I realized that  most of what was on my heart this past year had to do with clutter.

Physcially, I feel like we have accumulated a lot of “stuff” and it’s started to give me some major anxiety.  We’re already working on that a bit in the house…more on that later…

 But also, I feel like our social and emotional clutter has gotten a bit out of hand lately as well.  We’ve been super busy socially, both kids and adults…so much that I couldn’t tell you the last weekend we were all at home spending time with each other.  And I’d love to tell you that that will stop…but the truth of the matter is that I just added two more things to our plate by signing Jayna and Millie up for softball and dance, respectively.  But because I believe that sports and extra curricular activities are important for them, it’ll stay on the calendar.  But I plan on really picking and choosing some of our other social activities.  We have very limited time to spend together as a family during the week, so weekends need to get back to being for us.  Not for some random classmate’s birthday party.  So please don’t take offense if you invite us to something and we rsvp with a “sorry, we can’t make it this time.”  We love you, but family comes first.Sunday Scripture: Slow {slowing down in the new year...physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually}

But more importantly, I feel like emotionally and spiritually we need to slow down as a family too.  I’ve been noticing more and more that the kids respond much better to almost all situations when I am calm.  I may still show anger or frustration, but if I am calm, they are more receptive.  I will never forget one of the “mottos” of the camp that I used to work at as a teenager.  “Seek to understand” was one of the discipline techniques they taught us….find out what the situation is before you react.  And as a parent, it’s some of the hardest advice to follow.

Our knee-jerk reaction is to yell at someone.  And I’m finding that now, that the girls are a bit older and more responsible, that a lot of the times we get mad and emotional for no reason.  Dave will get frustrated with Millie crying {again}, and snap at her, just to find out that she actually hurt herself.  I”ll grab a toy and put it away when the girls are arguing over it, rather than stopping to find out what the conflict is, and encouraging them to figure out a solution on their own.

And I know we aren’t doing them any favors by doing this….it’s just a bad habit.  But the kids are just as bad at snap judgements and unnecessary emotions.  But….they are kids.  They are learning.  It’s our jobs as adults to teach them how to appropriately respond to situations, and I think we need to do a better job modeling this for them.

And finally, spiritually…obviously we all need to find more time to study The Word and pray.  But in this case, I think that all of this slowing down is interconnected….by seeking to understand before reacting, we are modeling purposeful behavior, which carries over into intentional prayer and quiet time.  And so today’s Sunday Scripture is a perfect reminder.

Today’s Sunday Scripture image was created by @meaningful_word and found on Tumblr.

Have a blessed week!

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Baby Teeth and Baltic Amber

*I received the products mentioned in this blog post for free in exchange for a review on my blog.  As always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own!*

Last week was a big week around here.  Milestones galore…including Lincoln’s first taste of puffs, Jayna’s perfect report card and teeth drama.  Comin’ and goin’ like nobody’s business!

A Week of Teeth-Coming and Going Lincoln has been teething since about 3 months old.  As in, drooling and knawing on anything he can get his chubby little hands on.  I was positive that he was going to get them quickly.  But alas, they only popped through last week…the week he turned 8 months old.  Now, if you don’t personally know Lincoln, let me just tell ya, he is a happy kid.  He does”t really cry or fuss.  He will smile at jut about anyone {not just the old ladies at the grocery store}.  He is content to play with his toys for hours alone.  A chill kid.

But even my chill kid experienced teething issues.  They didn’t really seem to bother him much coming in, but the amount of drool he produced was ridiculous!  I mean, I was changing shirts and bibs by the hour, some days!

A Review of Bouncy Baby Boutique's Baltic Amber NecklacesLucky for me though, way back last April, I was given a Baltic Amber Necklace from Bouncy Baby Boutique as part of my Big Baby Giveaway.  Although Lincoln wasn’t even born yet, I was eager to try it out.  I’d seen lots of kids wearing them, but was somewhat skeptical about the claims.  According to Bouncy Baby Boutique, Baltic Amber is found in the Baltic Sea area, where ancient trees fossilized to create a this healing resin that is high in succinic acid.  Succinic acid is a natural pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, and calms the central nervous system, all with zero side effects.  It’s been used for centuries to sooth all sorts of inflammatory pain, so it’s perfect for teething children!  Bouncy Baby Boutique‘s sells baby and adult necklaces and bracelets/anklets.  They are individually knotted between each piece of Amber, and have a safety clasp closure on necklaces and a screw clasp on the bracelets/anklets.  They should not be worn tightly, but lay against baby’s skin, where the warmth from the skin causes the succinic acid to release and be absorbed into the skin and into the bloodstream.

A Review of Bouncy Baby Boutique's Baltic Amber NecklacesLike I said earlier in the post, I was skeptical, but had an open mind.  We put the necklace {which is a tad big on him right now, but will fit better as he turns into a toddler} on occasionally when he was 3-6 months old.  I didn’t see really any results, but certainly no ill effects.  However, we were only having him wear it when we remembered to put it on {maybe once a week or so.}.

A Week of Teeth-Coming and Going But as his teething got more severe as those teeth started to push through, we started having him wear it at all times, except for sleeping.  And then we did notice quite a difference in the amount of drool.  To the point where he rarely needed a bib anymore {he used to soak through bib and shirt constantly!}.  And although he never really showed any physical indicators of teething pain, the reduction in drool was enough for me to be impressed!  He’ll continue to wear the necklace, and I’ll keep you posted as more of his teeth come in!

Baltic Amber Necklaces from Bouncy Baby Boutique {A Review}Be sure to check out Bouncy Baby Boutique’s website for more information on Baltic Amber and to see their other products, or go to their Etsy Site to order your own.  And I’d love to know about your experience with Baltic Amber, leave a comment!

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Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

I am so very blessed to be able to stay at home with my three kiddos.  And although I loved my job before having kiddos, and completely respect those hard working moms who work outside of the home….I wouldn’t trade my life now for anything.  I have a couple of friends who are, for the first time, now able to stay at home with their kids too, and so I thought I’d give a few tips on how to gracefully make the transition.

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide {Tips and Tricks for transitioning from the workplace to staying at home with your kids} - Palmettos and Pigtails

My husband’s advice: stock up on BonBons and Soap Operas.  He jokes around about me sitting on my butt all day, but he knows perfectly well how hard of a job it is to be a stay-at home mom.  And I love to remind him of it on the weekends, by leaving him with all three kids for a couple of hours!

I recently ran across this article on Babble about how being a stay-at-home mom is actually a luxury for your spouse.  I saved it because I find that it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you aren’t doing enough.  As a working mom, you stayed busy with non-household related tasks for 8-10 hours a day before coming home to your family…and now, your primary job is family and household.  And now, in the days of Facebook, Pinterest, oversharing and helicopter parenting…it’s easy to feel guilty about not having a pristine house, themed lunches, and crafty playdates.  Not to mention, a healthy homemade dinner on the table every night.  Sorry, but that’s just not realistic!

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

You may be a Super Mom, but you are still human, and dealing with some very unstable little people who will throw a kink in any plans you make.  So underestimate the amount of “stuff” you’ll get done in a day, and you won’t disappoint yourself.

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

Talk to your spouse about your changing roles in the household.  Establish what “jobs” you will take over, and what he’ll be in charge of.  Dave and I have kind of figured it out by trial and error, but I really wish we had done this.  A specific sit-down chat to determine each other’s expectations of the other will put everything on the table, and hopefully prevent misunderstandings and resentment in the future.

Next, establish a daily/weekly routine.  If you don’t create some sort of organization to your time, you’ll go crazy.  Start simple, day by day.  Personally, I do one major chore a day.  Monday is laundry day, Tuesday is vacuuming, Wednesday is grocery shopping, Thursday is decluttering, and Friday is bathrooms.  So, if I am able to get everybody up, dressed and fed, and do that one chore….I feel like my day has been a success!  I also try to do as many of the Cleaning Calendar chores that I can…not always in order, and some days I am able to do more than one, other days I can’t do any.  My schedule often loosely looks something like this:

5:00 – change and feed the baby
5:30 – shower and get dressed {even if it is just yoga pants!}
6:00 – get Jayna ready for school and Millie ready for the day
6:30 – put Jayna on the bus and eat breakfast with Millie
7:00 – while Millie plays, change and feed the baby, put him back down for morning nap
7:30 – check email and clean up kitchen
8:00 – do daily chore somewhere in here, while Millie is playing and baby is sleeping
8:30 – play or do some sort of project/cooking with Millie
9:30 – change baby, play on the floor with him
10:00 feed Millie a snack
10:30 take the kids out for a bike ride/walk
11:00 while Millie plays, change and feed baby, put him down for lunch nap
12:00 feed Millie lunch
12:30 put Millie down for a nap, change the baby, grab a bite to eat, clean up the kitchen
1:00 blog or sew while baby plays in exersaucer
2:00 finish daily chore if needed and do a cleaning calendar chore
2:45 get Jayna off the bus and get her unpacked and settled in for quiet reading
3:00 change and feed the baby, put him down for afternoon nap, Millie wakes…play with girls
4:00 while girls play together, start prepping dinner, check email
5:30 dinner on the table

It’s funny, as I write this, it seems like there is so much time in the day.  Up until now, I’ve never written down my “schedule.”  In fact, it took me quite a while to think about what I actually do on a daily basis.  So when I wrote down the minimum things in my day, there seems like so many gaps.  But then fill those gaps with potty breaks, tantrums, tying shoes, tears, hugs, time-outs, fussiness, tea parties, lap sitting, boo boos, reading books, etc.  No wonder I don’t get more done!

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

Some of the ways I keep organized, are by planning out my meals.  I do this in a variety of ways, from preparing freezer meals ahead of time, to participating in the eMeals program {and letting them do all the meal planning for me!}.  Either way, I use a Weekly Meal Planner worksheet to get a visual of what I’ve planned for the week, which also helps Dave on the nights that I need him to start dinner for me.

Another important thing to remember is that although it’s important {and your job now!} to spend more time with your kids, don’t feel like it all has to be structured.  As a former teacher and a mommy-blogger, it’s second nature to me to want to have a project, craft or game ready for the kids at all times.  But you have to remember that by having structured activities or even excursions {think zoo, children’s museum, etc.} all the time will create expectations and dependency from your kids.  It’s good for them to play alone or with each other.  It’s beneficial for them to learn to leave you alone sometimes.  And it’s a valuable skill that you may need to teach them, since they will be SO EXCITED to have you at home with them.  All. of. the. time.  I try to balance structured activities {from simple painting to complex slime recipes and scavenger hunts} with free play, and adding the occasional “field trip” excursion about twice a month.  {And the grocery store counts as an excursion, right?!?!}

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

And my final thought is, don’t feel guilty about taking some “me” time.  Whether it’s in the evenings or weekends, when your spouse can take over for a bit, or during nap time, make sure it happens.  It’s easy to get so wrapped up in daily duties and childcare that you forget to take care of yourself.  And if you are stressed out, tired or burned out, you can’t be a good mom or wife.  So don’t feel guilty about that hour on Facebook or Pinterest…I guarantee your working friends and spouses spend at least an hour during the day surfing the internet!

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

And last but not least, enjoy!  Your kids will grow up.  That temper tantrum will only last about three minutes.  That snuggle on the couch will be fleeting.  Soak these kiddie moments up, because there will always be dishes!

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{From the Archives} School Lunch Ideas

This is an oldie, but goodie!  My school lunch ideas round-up has been one of my most popular posts ever!  So I thought I’d repost it for you with a couple of new ideas at the bottom too!

AND…Don’t forger that I have a giveaway going this week for some Jamberry Nails!     Click here to enter!

It’s that time again!  School starts next week, and this year I’ll need lunches for two kids!   So twice a week for Millie, and 5 days a week for Jayna, I have to come up with fresh, healthy, and portable food to eat.  And their routine lunch of peanut butter and jelly, heated up leftovers, a bunch of grapes, and a fruit snack won’t work at school.  And yes, they really does eat all of that!  And to top it off, I’m just not that creative {or a morning person}….so I can’t be one of these moms.

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

 Source

So I’ve been scouring the internet {aka Pinterest} for some easy, make ahead meals.  Preferably ones I can maybe freeze too.  Here’s what I came up with:

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

I love the idea of smoothies.  Healthy AND yummy.  But they are kind of a pain to make every morning…..but, if I make several and freeze them, by the time Jayna’s lunchtime rolls around, they shold be nice and thawed in her lunchbox!  This site has a bunch of different flavor ideas.

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Meet the Dubiens

And I found a bunch of cute ideas of muffin-tin lunches.  Although the kids won’t have access to a microwave, I’m hoping if I heat them up and wrap them in foil, they’ll stay pretty warm.

Little Potpies stocked with veggies and meat and topped with Bisquick!

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Betty Crocker

Don’t you just love the tiny pepperoni?

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Really From Pinterest

Here’s one I’ve actually made before.  The personalized mac and cheese bites are definitely a crowd pleaser!

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe - A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

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And the next two are from my friend Jaima….she has tons of great freezer and toddler recipes on her site.

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

 Ring Around the Rosies

And the seven layer dip that we bring to um, every single party? What if I just make them in little individual Tupperware instead?

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

The Girl Who Ate Everything 

I also had a few of my own ideas too! {gasp!}

  • I make these little cream cheese pinwheels for parties using tortillas, cream cheese and dry ranch dressing….I’m thinking of doing those again, but adding more veggies (like peppers, broccoli, carrot strips,etc.) inside before rolling them up and slicing them.
  • We routinely make stuffed crescent rolls for dinner and it has become a favorite quick dinner.  We’ve done pesto, mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes….cheddar, apples and onion vinagrette….and of course string cheese, pizza sauce and pepperoni (I’m sure you can find that on pinterest!!).  What about ham and cheese?  Or bacon and eggs inside?  Super portable and freezer-friendly!
  • I also thought about making little burrito bowls.  Taco meat, cheese and salsa in a Tupperware in the freezer.  Thaw it out and top with sour cream for the lunchbox? Hmmmm…..

I also plan on stocking up on and pre-washing, cutting and bagging various fruit, veggies, cheese cubes, dried fruit and crackers.

How about you?  Got any ideas for me?  Leave me a comment!

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