Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

How To Get Through A Challenging Phase

 Hardship and adversity are integral parts of human existence, and you may encounter them more than once in a lifetime. Challenging times may come unexpectedly, so you may never be too prepared. Imagine how the world struggled amid the pandemic as it was perhaps the worst challenge for the human race. You may face personal struggles like a disease, a broken relationship, or a financial crisis. Winners are resilient during tough times, and losers give up hope. But everyone has a streak of strength and resilience within. You only need to open yourself to facing tough times and overcoming them. Here are some ways you can cruise through a challenging phase.

Focus on things you can control

Tough phases are about things you can control and ones you have to accept. Therapists recommend focusing on things you can control and giving your best. For example, you cannot do much about the pain and suffering of a terminally ill loved one. But you can provide them the emotional support they require through the phase. Stop stressing about the factors you cannot change but pick the positive areas.

Reach out to others

Remember that no one can deal with challenges alone. So it is alright to reach out and ask for help. Connect with loved ones, colleagues, and friends who can help you in some way. Do not hesitate to ask because most people are willing to lend a hand. At times, only having someone to listen empathically is enough to make a difference. But avoid negative people as they may end up making you even more anxious.

Find strength within

Surprisingly, you may find the savior much closer than you imagine, as your own strength can keep you afloat. According to Carmelite Monks of Wyoming, praying is the best way to find strength within. Find solitude and connect with God because He can impart the resilience you need to get through the tough time. Prayer motivates you to face the challenge and support your loved ones as well.

Invest in self-care

Investing in self-care keeps you in good shape, physically, mentally, and spiritually. A stressful situation can take a toll on your well-being, so go the extra mile to look after your physical needs. Eat your meals on time, stay active, and sleep well. Meditation can keep you mentally and emotionally healthy. Spend quality time with your loved ones to drive stress away. Although these measures wouldn't resolve your problem, they keep you going.

Give help to others

Although helping others when you are in a crisis sounds out of the question, it can actually make things easier. You may get a fresh perspective on your problem and realize it isn't as daunting as you imagine. Helping others is not only about monetary assistance. You can volunteer in a community activity, take out the garbage for a sick neighbor, or help your spouse with the housework. 

Life tends to throw challenges, but you must take the right approach to handle adversities. Follow these tips to make it through the hardest of times.

How To Uplevel Your Life


(Image Source)

Making yourself feel amazing is not dependent upon going out and treating yourself to an abundance of expensive items. It is about the little things. 

There are many ways, which are fun and easy, that upgrade your life and bring about big changes, without you needing to go and remortgage your house or break the bank. 

Plus, if you have heard about ‘the law of attraction, you will know that when you start making these changes and treating yourself kindly, and drawing positivity around you, you are sending a bold statement to the universe and stating that you are ready to step into this new and improved life. Here’s how this is possible.

Surround Yourself With Positive People

When you were young you will have learned social skills. Now is the time to use them. If you want to go about and make changes you need to have people in your corner cheering you on and celebrating each step you take. Whether that is finally taking the step and using a medical malpractice attorney for previous negligence. Or making a change to your career, hair, goals, finances, it really doesn’t matter what your goal is. You need to have people there acknowledging the changes and supporting you along your journey. 

Change Your Mindset

To uplevel your life, you need to have faith in your ability to move from where you are now and reach this destination goal. Consider how you speak to yourself. When you have an idea, if the voice of doubt is speaking up? Challenge how you are speaking to yourself and consider if this was your friend having the same conversation, how would you respond. The likelihood is you would be much kinder and more supportive to them! Therefore, there is no reason not to use the same kind and supportive mindset with yourself. Once you start changing how you think, you will see the changes and the ‘good’ will start. 

Have A Goal

Writing down a goal and having a clear and definable target in mind, will keep you engaged, motivated, and willing to keep persevering. This goal needs to be aligned with this ‘up-leveled’ version of yourself. Then at those moments of weakness or when obstacles arise, you will be able to go back and look at this goal and remember why you want to make these changes. 

Having A Morning Routine

You know what you want, it is now about making that possible. The best way to do that is to make a commitment to yourself and create habits that will support you on up levelling. By waking up each day,  setting your intentions and daily goals you will be able to keep your mind on track and keep motivated. 

Have Personal Boundaries

When it comes to making changes, it is important that you balance pushing this change and success with personal self-care. When you throw yourself into a new project you run the risk of burning yourself out. Have clear boundaries and guidelines on what you will do and set timings to ensure you keep a balance of health and progress. 

ABC Jar Find It Style

Being the mother of a 4 year old is a lot like being a boy scout... We have the same motto anyhow. Always Be Prepared. For me, that means always have a change of clothes, baby wipes, a snack and toys on hand.

In my purse you will always find a few small toys. While I like for Roo to play with cars, action figures and puzzles- I want to keep him entertained and I want him to learn or to brush up on what he knows via playtime whenever it is possible.

I created the perfect size toy for carrying in a handbag or diaper bag. This is ideal for pulling out on a long car trip or at a restaurant.

To make an ABC Jar : Find It Style  you will need:

a small baby food jar ( I used Beechnut Stage 2 size)
foam abc beads

Make sure your baby food jar is clean and dry.

Pour your beads into the jar, filling it 3/4 of the way full

Add 10-15 ABC Foam Beads

Line the lid with glue
Seal the jar

There you have a DIY toy that will help kids with letter recognition and keep them busy shaking the jars to find more letters.

My idea behind this was that Roo knows his ABC's really well, practicing letter recognition out of the sequence he recognizes the alphabet in would be good practice.

Whenever I pull the ABC Jar out of my purse I get an average of 6 minutes of entertainment while Roo is shaking and spotting letters.

Peanut Butter Chicken {$7 Dinner Series}

Summer is creeping up on us. For my family, that means all 4 of us are home for 3 months.  Sounds fun right?! It is, if you can take the increased cost of living out of the equation. My water and electric bills sky rocket over the summer, we spend about 3 times more on gasoline in the summer. My grocery bill makes me want to cry. With my husband and son eating all 3 meals at home for 3 months it more than doubles every week. We haven't even got on the subject of entertaining the family, the sports and so on.

This summer, I am going to reign in our spending. I am taking that depression inducing grocery bill on first. I have made it my mission to discover the recipes that taste amazing and are economical too. I am giving them a bonus star if they can be prepared without use of the oven.

This has led me to start a little series over here called the $7 Dinner Series. I will be featuring recipes that you can make for your family for under $7 that will earn cheers instead of jeers for budget cooking!

I love peanut chicken from the Chinese Restaraunt, but taking the family out for dinner every time I crave Peanut Chicken is definitely not budget friendly! Luckily, I came up with an incredibly easy and delicious alternative.

Before you groan at the thought of eating peanut butter coated chicken, let me tell you, this is incredible. It is such a scrumptious combination. If you try it, you are going to like it. I promise!

This meal features fresh veggies and chicken. To give you a run down on the cost

I purchased a 2.5 pound bag of store brand chicken tenders for $5.47 I used 1/2 of the bag for this recipe to feed 4 people. That made the cost of chicken for this recipe $2.74.

I had peanut oil on hand.

I used about 1/3 of a cup of peanut butter this would add about 45 cents to the price of dinner.

Asparagus was on sale for 99 cents a pound.

Sliced mushrooms were on sale for $1.09

I used about 1/3 of a stick of butter which would add about 30 cents to the price of dinner.

That brings this meal for 4 to $5.57.

My husband says it is even better than take out, and seriously I couldn't go out for Peanut Chicken solo for $5.57!

Ingredients Needed for Peanut Butter Chicken With Asparagus and Sauteed Mushrooms

1 1/4 pound of frozen chicken tenders
1/3 cup of smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons or so of peanut oil {you can use vegetable oil if that is what you have on hand!}

1 pound of asparagus, fresh with trimmed ends
2 1/2 tablespoons of butter

1 cup of sliced mushrooms
2 1/2 tablespoons of butter

Salt and Pepper as desired


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Place mushrooms in a frying pan with butter over medium heat. Allow to cook, stirring as needed until the mushrooms have a lovely golden brown color to them.

Place your trimmed asparagus on a baking dish. Add butter to the top of the asparagus and sprinkle with salt and pepper if you wish. Place this in the oven to roast for about 15 minutes.

Begin to fry your chicken tenders in peanut oil at a temperature of about 300 degrees. {I use a wok}

As the chicken has fried and reached the recommended temperature of 165-170 degrees remove it from the pan or wok and cut it into smaller chunks.

 Discard oil remaining in wok/pan after it has cooled down a touch.

Return chicken chunks to the pan/wok, turn to a medium heat setting.

Add the peanut butter to the wok.

Stir as it melts, make sure the chicken is coated.

Remove mushrooms and asparagus from heat and serve with the  Peanut Butter Chicken!

This is such a great recipe. It is delicious, it cooks easily and quickly and it is economical. You really can't beat it!

Do you have a favorite economical dinner that you often make for your family? I would love to hear about it!

You might also enjoy this cute cupcake decorating idea!

You won't want to miss this collection of Lo Mein recipes.

Crab Cakes Recipe Made With John Wm Macy's Cheesesticks

Crab Cakes are the things that my seafood dreams are made of.  I cannot resist  them! I have 2 recipes that I like to use when I make them at home! But, this time, I switched things up and added my favorite snack of all times {John Wm Macy's Cheese sticks!} to the mix. What I created was nothing short of incredible. This recipe comes together in a flash, is packed with delicious flavors and it always leaves me wishing for leftovers for breakfast the next morning!

We live in Ohio. Our access to fresh seafood is seriously limited. Luckily, both Kroger and Meijer carry good brands of canned claw meat. I prefer to use blue crab in this recipe as I like the flavor it offers. You can use whatever variety of crab meat you have access to.  In a pinch I have used imitation crab meat {if that is what you can get, by all means go for it!}

Crab Cakes with John Wm. Macy Cheesesticks.

8 ounces of blue crab claw meat
1 egg
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of honey mustard
2/3 cup of John Wm. Macy Cheddar Cheese sticks; crushed finely
1/4 cup sweet onion chopped finely

Cooking Directions

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of butter at a time to the skillet. {Add more as needed.}
Mix crab meat, egg, mayonnaise, mustard and onion together. Stir well.
Add 1/2 cup of John Wm. Macy Cheese stick crumbs and mix well.
Shape your patties by hand.
Coat the crab cakes in the remaining cheese stick crumbs
Place in hot skillet, frying until golden brown

The honey mustard in this recipe offers a touch of sweetness to the crab cakes which totally makes them crave-worthy! If there is left over butter left that wasn't used for frying I might add a tiny touch of it to the top of the hot crab cakes to enhance the flavor even more!

I used original cheddar in this recipe, but John Wm. Macy's has so many amazing flavors. Any of them would be amazing in this recipe. The Asiago and Cheddar variety will definitely be going in this recipe soon!

If you haven't tried John Wm. Macy's Cheesesticks yet. You seriously have to. My son hates cheese... but he told me, "These are the kind of cheese I like!" With a dreamy sigh and a cheesestick in hand I said "Me too Roo... me too."

John Wm. Macy offers delectable flavors such as Jalapeno Cheddar, Dijon Swiss, Melting Parmesan and Madagascar Vanilla to name a few. Check out their store locator or shop to order some. You will be so glad you did!!

Do you love crab cakes? Do you go out to get your fix of these little bits of yum or do you make them at home? I would love to hear either about your recipe or your favorite place to indulge in crab cakes!

You might also enjoy this Easy Cheesy Chicken Tacos recipe

Mushroom Hunting with Sweet Silly Sara

I have an interest that you might not know about; I am especially fond of mushrooms! Photographing wild mushrooms is one of my hobbies that I rarely talk about. It is one of those things that I do for the sheer pleasure it brings me to find a mushroom growing somewhere and to capture it, as it is at that moment in time. I have toyed with the idea of turning my collection of photos into a book, but in the meantime, I am going to share a few with you.  I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my life and one of my interests.

I spotted this beauty on a walk in the woods with my son.

This specimen was discovered growing in a yard on a walk downtown. 

Jackpot!! Look at all of these babies!

These ones were  discovered on a walk in my neighborhood.

Not the best photo, but for some reason I am drawn to it.

On a fall walk one morning, I took a side street I had never walked. I walked upon hundreds of these beauties. I loved the way the mushrooms resembled buttercups. This was a fantastic reward for exploring!

A few days later I returned for more photos, I found the mushrooms were in a state of decay, but they were still an impressive sight. 

I ran across these guys in a random field.

I do not, at this time, attempt to identify the mushrooms. I simply enjoy their beauty and appreciate the mystery of the fungus. 

My interest in mushrooms began about 12 years ago. My then boyfriend, now husband and I took a walk around a lake after an especially rainy couple of days. We saw a large mushroom with lovely purple hues to it. I snapped my first mushroom photo at that moment and have been intrigued by them since. 

I often joke with people that according to my photo collection all I ever do is eat, visit parks with my kids and take photos of mushrooms. There are that many mushroom pics on my phone!

Thanks for stopping by for a glimpse into my life!

Where to Eat in Wayne County

Thanks to my friends at the Wayne County Conventions and Vistors Bureau for hosting my family for a weekend of fun!

In June my family headed east to discover what Wayne County, Ohio has to offer for families of small children. We have visited the area in the past, because, hello... The Rubbermaid Store... but admittedly, other than that and the local Bob Evans, we hadn't spent much time in the area. We knew an itty bit of Wooster.

As we headed out for a weekend of family fun, I had a worry. My son is a picky eater and my daughter is at the stage of imitating so she all too often follows his cues on culinary delights. I wasn't sure how the experience of comfort food {homestyle cooking} would go over with my kids.

Our first stop in Wayne County was at the Barn Restaurant in Smithville, Ohio. I am game for any style of cuisine, as is Mr. Sweet Silly Sara, but as I mentioned I have that picky eater. He was excited to eat lunch at this place for several reasons; first off, when you pull into the parking lot, you see a lovely sight of a clean well-kept pond, complete with maybe 100 ducks! Second, the kids heard a rumor that this was more than a restaurant; on-site there is a bulk food store and a toy store!

The Community Puzzle at The Barn 

As we entered the building, we smelled yummy aromas and enjoyed the sights of the huge community constructed puzzle, and the bee hive with a cleverly marked queen bee.

The food was great. My picky eater was delighted with the hamburger and fries he was served as was my daughter. I had the BLT which was perfect and shared barn fries with my other half.  We really liked our server, a sweet and cute lady who had a great smile and a friendly demeanor. Despite her crowded dining room, she took the time to talk for a moment and made us feel right at home.

On Saturday we had lunch in downtown Wooster, at a small and unique spot known as Local Roots. I had a great Gourmet Grilled Cheese, Adam, my husband had a veggie wrap. The kids had a peanut butter and honey sandwich and a grilled cheese. The food was interesting as was the atmosphere. Everything available in the cafe and the shop are locally sourced, which is awesome for the community and local economy.

Harpers grilled cheese came with incredibly sweet strawberries.
My gourmet grilled cheese had caramelized onions inside and a side of hummus with chips.

For dinner on Saturday night, we dined at The Dutch Kitchen. As we arrived late in the evening the atmosphere was peaceful, the service was fabulous. The kids both had chicken and fries; I had a giant plate of shrimp and wedges, my husband had roast beef with mashed potatoes. We enjoyed the meal and the atmosphere.

If I have an absolute food passion, it is for freshly baked bread. I have spent many years working on my own recipe for homemade bread, so I consider myself in the know when it comes to technique and quality when it comes to creating and working with a good bread dough. The bread at The Dutch Kitchen was awesome. We had to take a loaf back to the hotel with us! It did not make it back to our house.

Dinner was served quickly and the proportions were epic. We are definitely going back here on our next trip!

My kids were thrilled with the gift shop and bakery, we purchased cream sticks and bread to take back with us and the friendly helpful manager thoughtfully sent an amazing pie with us as well. When you visit The Dutch Kitchen make sure to save room for dessert or pick up a few goodies to take home!

Wayne County is definitely a great place for foodies! They had a lot of awesome spots to stop and grab a bite to eat! We caught a glimpse of a Scottish bakery in downtown Wooster that we can't wait to check out in the near future.

There is another spot that is worth mentioning in this feature as a spot to stop for a nosh is Smuckers in Orrville Ohio. We are going to talk about this is a place to see in another article, but they have a great little cafe on site and a fun little ice cream sundae bar, which was a hit with both of my kids. Okay, who are we kidding? I adored Smuckers all around. It is one of those places that my heart wanted to call home. {Ice Cream, coffee and this amazing, only available here ketchup!}

Wayne county is located in Ohio, east of Mansfield, south of Cleveland in the heart of the Amish country. This is a great destination for families with children of all ages. We travel with kids age 6 and under, and we had a wonderful time in Wayne County. There are so many culturally rich experiences to take in that Wayne County is surprisingly refreshing as a travel destination for families.

Saturday #318

Guys, it has been like a year since I attempted to document how we spent our Saturdays as a family. I have had major guilt over my flakiness too. I started this series 3 years ago to keep a record for my son. Today I realized I needed to do the math, figure out what week this would be in the life of Roo and start writing again.  I will figure out the week number for Harp another time.

This morning, on Saturday #318, Roo and I bot woke up early. At 5:30 we headed downstairs for breakfast and play time. Harp woke up and was ready to go too. The morning was fairly quiet. I worked until around 7:15. The kids agreed I could nap on the sofa as I was feeling tired. Roo played K'Nex while Harp and I got cozy on the sofa. She watched a cartoon while I enjoyed 30 minutes of extra sleep.

It was nearly 90 degrees, so we decided there was only one way to beat the heat. To dive into the pool!

The kids saw our snorkeling masks in the shed and were intrigued, we haven't used them in ages, as we call Ohio home these days, so we handed them over to the delight of the kids.

Let me tell you, it might have been a horrible humid 93 degree day, but that water was icy cold as it had been filled and treated the night before. After swimming, we retreated to the cool comfort of the master bedroom and watched a family movie.

Saturdays are a challenge to keep track of in the summer. We are literally on a 3 month summer break as a family and the days all kind of run together.  We love the relaxed pace of the season!

Thanks for catching up with this day in our lives. Since it has been a long time since I added to this series; let me give you the logic behind sharing Saturdays with you.

From the day your child is born until they go to college, you get about 940 Saturdays together.

I wanted to document how we spent our Saturdays. To offer a glimpse into our lives to readers, to document memories for my son {and now my daughter too!}, and I wanted to keep these days for myself at a later time in my life, when my family is grown.

I would love to hear how you spent your weekend, if you felt like sharing via comment!

Making Home Smell Divine With Gel Esscents

This conversation has been sponsored either with product or payment, but the opinions and chit chat are all my own.

It seems like between the smells that come with kids, pets and cooking my house can take on some funky odors! If it isn't the smell of onion sauteeing or the smell that arrives after a child comes home from sports practice sweaty, things can get... interesting in the department of aroma in no time!

I am not a fan of aerosol air freshening products. I also don't dig incense. I love to melt tarts, but since moving last year, I have had to give that luxury up. There is not a single outlet in this house that is safe for my warmer with the kids grabbing at any and every thing!

I was ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat against odor. I mean really, what can a woman do? Opening windows is great when the season allows, but there are some odors that want to linger. Then I got to sample a few of the luscious fragrances that Gel Esscents has to offer.

First, you can use this in an electric warmer or you can use this product in a tealight burner like I did. Both offer great results. Second, gel is such a better option because you don't have to chip at hardened wax and the gel comes out of the packaging easily and it comes out of the warmer or burner easily.

The first day I used Gel Esscents, I honestly didn't think the melts were working. I had been hanging out working in my dining room and lit the tea light in that room. When I dashed up stairs and back down, the aroma I couldn't detect earlier was in the air and it was amazing. It was Beach Linen scent and it smelled divine.

I used 8 tealights, an entire box and the fragrance was still going strong, which is impressive. Finally I pulled the gel out and switched for another scent, this time Green Tea and Lemongrass. Again, it was nothing short of incredible smelling. Again, I used 8 tealights and the gel still had a strong fragrance. These little squares of fragranced gel are nothing short of awesome. They are long lasting in ways no other product I used in the past could hope to be.

If you are looking for a great home fragrance product, I highly recommend Gel Esscents. The 5 fragrances I tried were great, they have made my house smell divine, no matter what odor might be lurking from kids, animals or cooking! Connect with Gel Esscents to learn more or to order.

Makeup for Busy Moms

This conversation has been sponsored, via product or payment but all opinions, chit chat and ideas are my own.

As a busy mom, sometimes I feel like I have to sacrifice sometimes. You know the joke, 'It's the house or me. We both can't look good at the same time.' That rings entirely too true in my life some days. As an example, last week when I attempted to style my hair my sweet little 2 year old climbed atop a counter and found a bottle of honey in a cabinet... I might have looked halfway human after 5 minutes with my curling wand, but my house was an entirely different and sticky situation.

When it comes to my makeup routine, time is always of the essence. With active little movers and shakers in the house and limited patience, I need products that make my skin look amazing without requiring a detailed regimen. I am kind of a wham, bam, thank you ma'am kind of woman. Not that I wouldn't love to devote 30 minutes to getting ready for the day, but life moves fast.

Mineral Hygienics is my go to makeup these days. Not only is it a matter of steps for a polished look, but geez you guys. Have you ever tried this stuff? It is incredible. Let me tell you why.

I have fair skin. I burn fairly easy for a few weeks in the spring and early summer, but then I am fortunate to develop a nice tan. However, it doesn't seem that I tan evenly. My high cheekbones generally catch all of the rays. My skin tone looks a little blotchy and uneven at times.

With 2 shades of Mineral Hygienics, I can even out my skin tone. I love that these are natural products and even better- for my high cheekbones- this makeup offers natural, chemical-free protection from the sun and those damaging rays!

After adding my foundation tones in the appropriate places, I follow up with a cool mineral enhancer, which adds a pop of pretty color to my cheeks. A quick brush with silk translucent and my face is silky, even looking and picture perfect.

Even on the busiest of days, this is a few moments I can spare for myself. As a mother, I feel it is important to look and feel confident. While sometimes it is nearly impossible to get yourself dressed and get your makeup on, it really makes a difference in how we feel as mothers. When I am dressed in a nice outfit and I get a little dolled up, my attitude is positively impacted. I feel like I can face the world.

If you are a busy woman, this is one makeup brand I insist you try. After receiving my starter kit, I tossed all of my other foundations. I finally found the perfect one for my skin.

Want to give this makeup a try? Why not apply coupon code SILLYSARA to your order?

My New Favorite Wipes: Bloom Baby

If there is one thing in regards to parenting that I am practically an expert on, it is diapering! I have wiped a baby's bottom thousands of times now. Early in the morning, in the middle of the night, in weird places like the trunk of my car and just about in every situation one can imagine.

I thought I had used every brand of wipes under the sun, but recently I had the chance to try out Bloom Baby Wipes, which was a new to me brand.

We usually use a name brand Giant. I had no complaints because they stacked up well against the other options I always saw in stores.

Then Bloom baby enters the picture. I admit, I am usually skeptical of... well, everything. I am a creature of habit on some things. I buy what works best for my family on our budget. I don't bend to save money, I don't compromise at the pressure of advertising and media influence.

So, when a box of Bloom arrived for my family to test out. I thought, well... I can always use them for hands and faces.

See, creature of habit. I had decided before using them that they were not going to be the same as my standard option in wipes. But, I am fair. I had every intention of trying them. I also had no intention of changing the brand on my shopping list.

Upon opening the package, I thought the wipes looked thin. They were fragrance free. Immediately I noticed how much bigger these wipes are than my standard brand. I also nodded in approval at the generous size package. I usually get 56 wipes per pack... 80 wipes is quite a few more diaper changes and general wipe downs per pack.

When the time came to change Harp's booty, I grabbed the Bloom wipes. To my pleasant surprise, these wipes cleaned BETTER than what I use! I used fewer wipes. 

The true test of if a baby product can get my thumbs up is how it is on Harps skin. I have to be careful of what diapering, wiping and bathing products I use with her as she is prone to get a rash upon any change in routines. 

Bloom Baby Jumbo Wipes were gentle on Harp's skin. They cleaned all of the messes that come with kids like a dream with fewer wipes than the national brand that I formerly used. I was so happy with Bloom Baby Wipes after using one case of them that I made a trip into Sam's in a neighboring city to pick up another case. Now, that tells you this is a good product if I am willing to go out of town to buy it when I need it!

Any parent or caregiver will want to learn more about Bloom. They are safe for baby and made with 99% natural ingredients, they clean exceptionally well. We are definitely going to keep using Bloom, long after the diapering years.

Making Sandwiches with Harper {Kids Craft}

A few days ago, Little Miss Harper wanted to help me make lunch. I love her eagerness to help and her interest in learning. But, on this particular day, I wanted to keep her busy and out of the kitchen, as I was in the middle of a project.

I asked her if she wanted to make paper sandwiches while I made lunch, it sounded appealing to her! I had a collection of paper sandwich fixings ready for an occasion like this. I found a yellow glue stick to imitate mustard. Harper was all set to make sandwiches!

To prepare for this activity I had previously cut the following shapes from construction paper

bread shapes  white paper
red circles for tomatoes
squiggly green leaves for lettuce
yellow squares for cheese
brown circles for meat

You will need a glue stick. Red or Yellow is fun with this paper food craft, like ketchup and mustard!

As you can see, this activity is completely basic. Construction paper and glue. I offered Harper ample supplies for building sandwiches. To keep her busy and having a lot of fun!

She began by adding mustard to the bread and adding tomatoes.

Next up was cheese! 

Harper was completely into this craft. She loved making sandwiches. She added layer upon layer, happily crafting while I made lunch!

My kids both love a good paper food craft! If I find myself with a few extra moments and a pack of construction paper I make little craft bags for occasions like this day.  They are always a huge hit with my kids. They have enjoyed making paper cookies, paper pizzas and paper jam sandwiches. These are the best kind of kid food crafts in my opinion because they are virtually mess free and they are really a lot of fun!

I Wasn't Prepared For This...

There are a few things I was unprepared for in life. On that list you will find parenthood. I thought I was prepared, I read books, practiced diapering a beloved toy from childhood, I went to classes. I subscribed to magazines.

In all of those outlets of preparation I was never warned of the odd behavior of small children. The juvenile fights that would break out between a 2 1/2-year-old and myself, or the way the appearance of my mental health would deteriorate.

My son is a cutie. A true blessing. I look at his perfect face and I melt. He is a vision of sweet and cuddly.

And then, within an instant, he is no longer Angel Boy. He becomes a little blond goblin, snickering as he goblins up the house. It is then the juvenile fighting begins. I say "No dear, we don't throw the toaster at the dog..." Wait a minute...Why does he have the toaster and how did he get it? And it all begins. The crying, clawing at my legs trying to reach the toaster. The wailing "Mama, Mama, Mama!" As he begins trying any and everything to reclaim the toaster as his own. He has nothing to play with, I realize as I look around the disaster that is his room, the living room, the kitchen, the master bedroom, the guest room. There are toys in the bathroom, toys in the laundry room, don't forget the attic, basement, yard and shed. Yes, he has nothing to play with. Just that toaster.

I had no idea parenthood would turn me into a crazy woman. It happened so fast. One day I was cool. I was good, I had it together. The next day, things came spiraling out of control. I have applesauce caked in my hair. My son is dancing on the dining room table as I sprint to grab him, the dogs are barking because they thought the thumping sound was someone at the door. To them, the kid is crazy. Him on the table dancing? Stranger things have happened. That seems normal to the poor dogs. Then when I realize there is someone at the door, I look at my son, who found a blue highlighter and got the cap off, and now is covered in bright blue streaks. Didn't I just sit him down 2 seconds ago? How did this happen? Now I am a work of art too. The dogs are still barking. 

I grab my half-smurf and vainly try to wipe the applesauce from my hair, in case you didn't know- parenthood requires a new job title. You become the human napkin. I finally get there to see the look of shock on the unexpected visitors face, the disappointment. This guy had to have known I would deny his pitch to sell me a box of grade a meat. As I head towards opening the door, my son swipes the highlighter at me, getting my nose. Now I have a blue dot right in my line of vision.My eyes are drawn to it, creating a cross eye effect to complete the picture of my total sanity.

Every day is a new adventure, I know what to expect- everything out of the ordinary. I sometimes need to grumble a little about the trials of a stay at home Mom, but do you know what? I wouldn't want it any other way. Every day I am thankful for my little boy, who brings happiness and laughter to my home, who keeps me on my toes, always learning and always trying harder. He even inspires fun blog posts like this one.
He might have moments of total goblin-ness, but I could not imagine the alternative. 

This post is an older one, I really wanted to update it to let you know most of this still happens on a daily basis. Now I have a 5 1/2-year-old son that is a picture of sweet and cuddly as well as a 2-year-old daughter that enjoys all of the shenanigans her older brother did at her age. She is also pretty as a picture! The journey continues!

Oh! And I have learned that stepping on Legos really hurts! 

Millstone Creek Park : Topping the List of Best Ohio Playgrounds

We really love to go to the park and play! My family has a once a week standing date for the park. When my son gets out of school we go to the park and play! Mr. Sweet Silly Sara meets us there when he is off of work. It is probably my kids favorite day of the week. Not only do we love to enjoy the parks in our town, but we also love to get out and look for the best parks and playgrounds that Ohio has to offer.

In August we had to make a trip to Lancaster, Ohio. That is a long drive with young kids. On our way back we made a detour to Westerville, Ohio to Millstone Creek Park. Our kids were so glad to get out, stretch their legs and play with other kids!

This is the most awesome park we have experienced with the kids. As we arrived, we enjoyed a short walk over a boardwalk. My kids were delighted to hear a bullfrog and see it hop into the water. As we arrived at the playground my kids were ready to run!

Harp loves Millstone Creek Park!

 My son really loved the park. He was a blur then entire time we were there. Constant motion! I promise he was there, but no great photos of Roo were taken.

Harp was ready to climb!

 One of the things I loved about this park was there were so many things for kids of all ages and all abilities to do. This is one of the playgrounds that are accessible and fun for kids with special needs such as wheelchairs. Knowing that this area was designed with all kids in mind really sets it apart from others!

The park had a nice sculpture to view and a great slide; that kind of went down a hill into an area of tall grass. This was fun for my adventure seeker son!

My sweet little Harper adored this park. There were so many things for her to do, explore and discover. To see her having so much fun was contagious. My mood immediately lifted upon the first sound of her giggles.

This park was spacious, super clean and really quite lovely. The sound of happy children playing was thick in the air and there was no way to avoid the contagious feeling of a great summer day.

The entire family loved the option of taking the boardwalk or hopping over some stones in a creek to reach the playground. My husband and I had a blast playing this electronic game together. It was a fun way to get moving ourselves while showing our kids you are never to old to play!

Millstone Creek Park was fantastic. It very well may be the best park in Ohio. It is certainly on the top of our list of Best Ohio Playgrounds!

The Heartbreak That Looms In My Future

Why do they have to grow up so fast?

My kids are growing by the second, before my eyes.

At the end of the school year my cute little boy was wearing a 5 t perfectly. Today we tried on one of his favorite shirts from last year and guess what? It wouldn't even fit over his head. I spent an hour sorting out his clothes, making a pile of things he has outgrown. I spent about another hour crying into his cute little t shirts. Sobbing on his pants that are now several inches too short to wear.

Feeling like a hot mess, rolling around and wailing into outgrown clothes. Feeling small and helpless. There is no way to stop it, he is going to keep growing until one day he outgrows his need for me. I realize; Yep, there is true heartbreak looming in my future.

Harper is almost 2 now. She is getting so tall, her hair is getting so long. A beautiful child that girl is. Her little giggles send chills up my spine. Like something I have longed to hear, like a bell ringing in my heart. And guess what? She is going to crush me someday. She will keep getting taller. She is prettier every day. Maybe she will crush a handful of other hearts on the way and we can all start a support group?

Summer is winding down in my part of Ohio. The nights are turning cooler and the leaves are showing signs of changing color, and as the seasons turn from summer to fall, I must prepare myself for the changes I will see in my kids. The changes I know are coming but I dread.

Someday, I will sit down to write and Roo will be like 9 and Harp will be like almost 6.... they will be different than they are today. They will be like new people. With new interests, different opinions, and a style of their own. Someday, I might be thrilled to discard some outgrown clothes in favor of something that reflects their increasing maturity.

Growing Up, oh why must they grow so fast? Why can't I keep their hands small, and their need for me strong?

Knowing I can't keep them as babies, I must enjoy these moments while they are small. I must let the toys take over the house during epic play sessions. I must let them need me, and I must embrace their need for me. If we are close now, and I am constantly reinforcing that bond, then maybe I can avoid the heartbreak that looms in my future. Maybe they won't need me when they are grown, but maybe they will still want me around. Maybe, if I can live in the moment with them now, they will never stop wanting to tell me about something fun they did, or about their interests, hobbies and ideas.