Weekly Traditions Bring Stability and Reminder To Put Down The Phone

Hi!

I know, long time no see. Sorry about that. We’ve been busy over at Sprout Shell, starting summer vacation and visiting family. In the midst of experiencing some joy, I forgot to post about it.

But, I did want to share this with you. It’s a post I wrote for The Happy Family Movement about having a special theme for each day of the week to keep you more organized and have something for the kids to look forward to every day. You can see what I mean here: The Happy Family Movement

 

 

Misbehaved, or Normal? Three Questions To Ask Yourself

playing or misbehaving

I know I’m not the only mom who has been out somewhere with her children and been totally convinced everyone thinks her kids are totally out of control. I feel like everyone is watching me, and their antics. I’m not talking about huge tantrums or heinous behavior, but definitely not in “well mannered” territory.

This happens to me a lot. But a few weeks ago someone’s comment totally changed my view. We were at church and the kids did pretty well for a while, but then they wanted nothing to do with the 20 things I’d brought to keep them occupied, and were more interested in turning around and talking to their friends, laying down on the benches, looking into our neighbor’s bag to see what she had, moving around and being impolite.

I was getting annoyed by this and kept trying to wrangle them back to our spot and get them to quiet down. I didn’t have much luck. Finally I just let them do their thing and pray they didn’t disrupt the whole congregation.

So, after the meeting was over the woman next to me leaned over and said, “Your kids were so good. I was thinking maybe they needed a little more sugar or something, wow!” Yes. She was completely serious. I gave her a confused look and said, “Really?!” She then went on to say that she thought they were great, and wasn’t bothered at all by them.

Hmmmmm. Maybe I’m too critical I thought. Maybe they are super great, well behaved children and my standards are just way too high. So, since then, I’ve really stopped to look at the situation when I think they’re being misbehaved, or too ________.

I ask myself 3 questions:

  1. Is it truly bothering someone
  2. Is it age-appropriate behavior
  3. Could someone or something get hurt

If the answer is no to all of them, then I try not to say anything. Let them be kids and save the lessons for times it really matters.

If you can relate to this, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your story!

Hugs, Kirsten

 

Is it for my son…or for me?

A couple of weeks ago I was working on my son’s 6th birthday party. He’d been planning it for a year–seriously–so most of it was nailed down, but we were discussing the cake and he said he just wanted chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

Sounds reasonable, right? Well, not if you consider the previous cakes we’ve made:

angry birds cake

 

angry birds rio cake

angry birds space cake

That last one is a doughnut from Angry Birds Space, and by far the most simple, but still, there was a lot of time that went into it. So, he wanted me to just do a plain chocolate cake? But what about something cool and amazing? What about the ooohs and ahhhs from all the parents and kids at the party? A plain chocolate cake doesn’t even follow the theme! (Angry Birds Seasons this time)

When I was having these thoughts and feelings I stopped for a minute and realized that I was doing it for me, not him. I was the one wanting the accolades and praise for having such a cool cake and being so creative. In years past, he was actively involved in choosing parts of the cake and what he wanted, which is how it started in the first place, but not so much this year.

I really struggled with it though, because I like planning events and parties. It’s fun coming up with themes and finding cute decorations and food combinations. So this was part my party too! In the end, I came up with this:

Angry Birds Seasons Cake

By far the most simple–there isn’t even any fondant! So, even though it wasn’t as impressive as cakes past, I will admit, it was nice not spending hours making and molding fondant birds and pigs.

I thought about this need and desire for praise and doing amazing things for my kids, but hadn’t gotten around to writing about it yet. Then, in the past couple of days I read two other articles posted by others, one called I’m Done Making My Kids Childhood Magical, and the other in response to it, Was Parenting Easier Before Social Media. These articles talk about the sometimes crazy state of parenting these days where your skills and worth as a parent are judged by the amazing things you do for your children, like Elf on a Shelf, or magazine worthy bedrooms or posting awesome daily creations on Instagram.

I definitely know I fall into the this camp. Not the one posting, but the one looking at the postings feeling like I’m not enough. I do like being creative, and I do like making holidays and occasions special for my kids because that’s just how I am. But then I look at what other people do and feel like I need to do more, be more creative and do more special things.

After reading these posts, and thinking about how I am and what I do, I am making a conscious decision to pull back a little. I have three kids, run a business, run a house and try to actually run every once in a while. I don’t have time to keep up with everyone else and compare myself to them. So I’m going to do what I can for ME. What I need/want to do for my own creative and heartfelt desires, not to be praised by others. Not for people to make a big deal about how amazing I am.

I have a feeling it’ll make things run a bit more smoothly and less stressful in our house. We’ll see how it goes!

Do you fall into this trap? What do you do to get out?

xoxo, Kirsten Sig

 

 

Keeping Guacamole Green

I am a huge fan of guacamole, so usually we don’t have leftovers–but sometimes I overestimate how much we can eat and make too much. Throwing it out is practically a sin, but I hate it when it gets all brown.

So imagine my delight when I read a post on my friend’s blog about how to keep guacamole from going brown.

Just add water! That’s right–just add water on top of the guac (or plain avocado if that’s what you have too) and it’ll stay green. She showed pictures and all, but I decided to try it for myself.

One night after a dinner of yummy tacos, I had a bit left over. I covered it with water per directions, covered it, and put it in the refrigerator.

guacamole with water

The next day at lunch, I pulled it out, poured off the water and this is what I got:

guacamole the next day

Perfectly green and fresh. And it tasted just like it did at dinner the night before.

Whew–guacamole saved!

What are your favorite tricks in the kitchen? Let us know in the comments below.

The Wisdom Of The Aged

“I hope you enjoy her!”
I was in the locker room of the local YMCA with my three-year-old daughter gathering our things to leave. She was dancing around like usual. I looked up to see a white-haired woman with a big smile on her face. She was thoroughly enjoying my little girl’s enthusiasm.

I said something obligatory, like “Oh, yeah,” with a little smile while on the inside I thought about how I usually don’t. I’m usually too worried about her being well behaved, and having good manners, and not bothering people and being annoyed at her childishness. But when I looked at her with her wide-eyed excitement as she told this woman how she’d just gone swimming, and that on her birthday she’ll be 4 and went on about something else I saw her as this woman saw her and genuinely smiled.

Their exchanged went on for a few more minutes, then as we turned to leave she again said she hopes I enjoy her, that she’s delightful and adorable. I said thank you of course, and we left to collect Baby from child care.

But for the rest of the day, and in the time since I’ve really tried to think about my “enjoyment” of my little girl, or lack thereof. And how she deserves so much better. Maybe she and I got off on the wrong foot–she was a difficult baby who screamed a whole lot and is completely different from her brother who spoiled us. Maybe it’s the very stark personality differences that we have. She is sweet and spicy with a mind of her own and a playful tease. I’m kind of a control freak who likes to follow rules and tradition.  So I find myself often at odds with her, not really enjoying many our interactions.

But then I think of all the good she does, and sweet way she likes to help me with her sister and is a friend to everyone. She is the most friendly girl I’ve ever met, who isn’t shy and looks at everyone she meets as a new friend. She’s loving and kind and thoughtful with a big personality that needs to be free to sing and dance down the aisles of the grocery store. Maybe that isn’t as annoying to everyone else as I think it is. Because today at the store two women commented on how they thought it was so cute.

So, I’ve decided I’ve got to lighten up. To not worry so much about them being a disturbance (within reason) and to let them be kids–because that’s what they are. They’re allowed to act childish because they’re children. They aren’t mini adults. If they aren’t in danger, or in danger of hurting someone else or being inconsiderate, I’m going to try my best to let loose a little more and enjoy them. To find them endearing and charming and delightful like everyone else does. Because when I step back and look at them from the outside in, they are pretty darn amazing, smart, engaging and special. And definitely deserving of more enjoyment.

Home Management Ideas

First–Happy New Year! I can hardly believe how quickly 2013 went, and I’m not entirely thrilled about it. My baby went from this:

tiny baby

to this:

big baby

And, as quickly as it went, I know this year isn’t going to slow down at all. Time just keeps going on and getting faster I think.

The planner/organizer in me has been hard at work figuring out how I can master my time better. With 3 kids, Sprout Shell, and lots of other projects going on I need some serious time organization. That’s why I was thrilled to find this great blog post from Money Saving Mom that has lots of different options for home management. Here’s another option from Motherhood On A Dime that I really like too to help with setting your goals for this year. She has home management printables as well.

I hope it helps you start this new year off right, and in a position to make it even better than last year!

 

Alleviate the Holiday Stress

nativity scene

It is the most wonderful time of the year, but I really hate that it’s almost over! I feel like it just started and already, Christmas is only 2 weeks away. We barely got our tree up last night!

I tell myself every year that I’m going to have a plan to get everything done but not be too stressed. And sometimes I succeed. Other years, not so much. Most of our family and friends live far away, so I usually have to have all my shopping and wrapping done early enough to ship out. That helps.
But, there are definitely some traditions that I “have” to do before Christmas, and without a lot of time it can feel like a rushed mess.

So this year, I got some ideas from Power of Moms, and I’m going to share them with you.

1. Enlist the whole family in the holiday planning. In our house the kids are getting old enough to have a say, and when they do, they’re more likely to go along with the plan.

2. Decide what things/activities are most important for you to do so that it feels like Christmas (my son needed decorations and a tree. I need to read lots of Christmas stories.) Keep the list to what you can actually manage–like 2 or 3 things per person or something depending on what the thing is.

3. Decide what you want your family to focus on/what feelings you want in your home.

4. Schedule your activities. It can be a loose schedule, but having a sort of plan can make sure you don’t leave anything out.

5. Enjoy your holiday! Don’t worry if everything goes perfectly. In the grand scheme of things it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t go to every light-strewn house in town, or the sugar cookies don’t get made, but the most important thing is to spend time with your family and remember the reason for the season!

Please let me know what your favorite things are about Christmas time, I’d love to know!

Holiday Photo Gifts Done Easy

It’s that time of year again Mamas. You know, the time to gather your family around and get that perfect shot for the Holiday card to show how adorable your family is, and how much the kids have grown since last year. Oh, and maybe create a photo calendar for Grandma.

Well, this year you can add something new to your list–a personalized iPhone cover! They’re really cute and makes your phone totally unique.

tiny prints iphone case

 

And,for one day only, get 50% Off Custom Photo iPhone Cases from Tiny Prints. Just Use Code IPHONE50

You can even combine that with Free Shipping and code FS13 for a limited time to save even more.

So get making those adorable cards–and iPhone cases that everyone will love, and save a bunch of money doing it.

You

Finding The Joy In The Holiday

Sometimes, when we want to be the most happy and the most present are the times that it’s the most difficult. I know that as a mom I am often caught up in the “I’m doing this for you” mode instead of actually just being with them. And then the more things I do the more stressed out I get, and more impatient, and more annoyed. And soon no one is happy.

This can get even worse at the holidays when there is even more to do, and you’re trying to make it all awesome for them.

But, I urge you to take a step back. Really think about what you’re doing.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Are you running around crazy to actually help them, or is is really for you?
If it is really necessary, move on to question 2. If it is more for you, think about why it’s important to you and evaluate what you can do to make this activity work better for everyone.

2. Can it wait, or does it have to be done RIGHT now?
If it can wait…then let it wait 5-10 minutes to give your child some attention and then you can go back to it.

3. Can they help you in some way?
If they can, let them. I know it’s almost always sooooo much easier–and faster–to do it ourselves, but it can be a great way to teach them some skills, and spend time together too.

I will be the first to admit that I’m not really great at this. Ok, I mostly stink at it. But, I figure since I’m writing it, I’d better follow it, right?

And, if you are doing a lot of cooking, try to plan time into your schedule where you can leave the kitchen, take a break and enjoy time with your family too–that’s what this is all about!

What do you think? Is this doable? How do you celebrate the holiday?

Healthy snacks I don’t have to think about

I think I’m the only one in my house who isn’t a big snacker. My kids (daughter) would snack all day if I let her. My husband gets a snack immediately after dinner–yes, immediately. But I’m pretty picky about what snack foods are allowed in the house.

They must most definitely be pretty healthy without any high fructose corn syrup or weird additives. But, we were in a rut. I would get the same things over and over because that’s what there was.

So, that’ why I finally gave in and ordered a Nature Box. I’ve seen it all over Facebook, with people raving about it and figured it couldn’t be too bad.

nature box

We received our first box a couple of days ago and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed. There were 5 snack packs with items like Cherry Berry Bonanza (dried fruit) Roasted Kettle Kernels (honey coated toasted corn) Vanilla Macaroon Granola (soooo good!) Pistachio Power Clusters (nut squares with various nuts) and Masa Crisps (corn chips with flax seeds).

They’re all really good! I love the granola. Even if I wasn’t a big granola fan I’d still like it. And I’m surprised to say I like the corn crisps and corn kernels. I do not like corn chips like Fritos, and I really hate Corn Nuts. But these versions have me coming back for more! Oh, and did I mention, the kids love them too! That’s a very important part of the test.

The selection is ever-changing, and once you’re a member you can change your box to fit your likes and needs, so you won’t get things you don’t like! We’ll definitely be keeping our subscription for a while. Check it out: NatureBox.com