It’s been nearly a month since my little girl turned 7 so I figured it might be time to finally write a post about all of her birthday fun. This years festivities were a little more low key than usual, but tons of fun none the less! Emily played a big role in planning her own birthday party this year. She insisted upon a Gracie (her cat) themed party and had so much fun designing a cake, coming up with party games, and helping make the decorations. Although I am not always the best at letting go of control, it was truly a joy to watch her take charge and plan a party that was very much her own!
What’s a party without delicious snacks? This girl had a lot of fun browsing Pintrest for cat themed birthday goodies, but her absolute must-have treat was this fluffy gray kitty cake that she had been imagining and sketching out for months! Although we had to tone it down from her original 2 tier design to fit our smaller crowd, I think she was pretty pleased with the result
The decorations and party games were were she really made her mark. She decided on Pin The Tail on Gracie (which she helped paint) as well as an a Adopt a Kitty Center and Cat Toy Make Station that she came up with herself!
She also had her heart set on a yarn ball piñata this year, and after the crayon filled piñata incident of her 4th birthday, I felt the need to redeem myself. We originally tried crafting our own paper mache version which was a fun project but ended up being far too fragile to hang up, much less survive more than a round or two of batting practice! We ended up finding a beach ball piñata at the store and were able to transform it to the piñata of her dreams with a little paint and a LOT of yarn. Between the sturdy cardboard construction and all of the additional materials, this thing ended up being invincible and after many many rounds of swinging at it, the kids finally took to stabbing the bat through the piñata to finally break it open! Lots of fun and loads of giggles!
My little girl had so much fun with all of her little besties and I had a blast watching her in element, lead the group from one activity to the next.
It’s inauguration day and the heated emotions that had only just begun to cool off are once again fired up as most Americans are either enthusiastically hopeful or anxiously biting their nails. This is not the easiest post to write. I’m not a particularly political person, nor am I accustom to sharing this type of personal information, but in the spirit of being ‘real’ I thought I’d share a major mommy fail of mine recently to help remind us all, including (and perhaps, especially) myself, to be kind and mindful of the words we say.
My story goes back a couple of months to the week of the election when my first grade daughter came home and announced at our weekly dinner with my in-laws that her classmate’s mom said Hillary Clinton is a “baby killer”! I was a very much caught off guard in the moment and didn’t know quite how to respond. I could have just brushed it off as “crazy things kids say”, but after a lot of thought I decided that letting those words simmer in the brain of my daughter, a thinker and worrier, was a bad idea. Later that night I took the time to sit down and discuss what her classmate had said, what he likely had heard, and what it meant. Let me tell you, discussing abortion with my then-6-year-old was not a fun or easy conversation to have! I danced around the subject at first, explaining that Hillary Clinton was not walking around killing babies that are already born (she was specifically concerned about her baby cousin), but rather that one of the rules she wanted to make if she became president was that mommies who were pregnant could decided if they wanted their babies to be born or not. She was not fooled by my tactics and immediately understood that that meant killing them. Without getting into too much detail, we discussed the topic a little further until she came to her own conclusions on the matter, which I applauded and let that be the moral of the conversation; That we are all entitled to form our own opinions based on our own beliefs and reserch. Though it was not a conversation I would have wished to have had, I was proud of the way I had handled it.
Fast forward to this weeks family dinner (why do all of these things have to happen at family dinners?) when we sat around the table lightheartedly discussing the upcoming inauguration. I turned to Sassafras and asked if she knew who the new president was going to be, hoping to be impressed that she was well enough informed to spout off the correct name. She responded confidently with “Donald Trump” and then quickly added “He kills people”! I was MORTIFIED! How could MY daughter just have uttered such a terrible accusation? I went from sitting high and mighty on my throne of how I had handled the situation just a few months prior, to being THAT mom! I can assure you that neither my husband nor myself have ever said those words or anything to imply that that statement is true, but at a whopping 4 years of age we are her only source of information. Where did we go wrong??? After much thought, I have come to a place where I must admit that while we have not gone so far as to make false accusations, there has been an unnecessary amount of negative talk regarding Donald Trump and his policies in our household and especially in front of our children. If Mommy and Daddy think Donald Trump is such a terrible person, than he must be doing terrible things! And when you are a child, your mind goes to the most terrible thing you can think of… killing people. We took the time to correct her and tell her that he has not killed anyone and that he is our new president so whether or not we agree with him, we need to be respectful of him while still standing up for the things we believe in.
I know we are all at varying degrees on the spectrum of where we stand in support or opposition of the new president, but the point I am trying to make, and the one I have learned the hard way, is that negativity only breeds more negativity. When we focus on the worst qualities of a person or a situation we are at risk of blowing the truth out of proportion. And the worst part about it is, the little ears, the sponges, the future of our country are the ones most negatively impacted by this false information! Let’s all take a moment to think before we speak. Is what we are saying fair? Is what we are saying truthful? Is what we are saying inline with what we claim to stand for?
I did it! I managed to remember my reusable bags AND coffee mug all in the same trip! What I’m even more proud of though, is the relatively little amount of packaging on everything inside my bags!
Reducing waste has been somewhat of a goal of mine for the past several years. We switched to cloth instead of paper towels in the kitchen (as long as I’m on top of the laundry situation) a few years ago, I finally signed up for milk delivery so we can get milk, orange juice, and cream in reusable glass bottles, and ever since last summer I have been a composting nut. These little changes were a great jumping off point, but the problem is, I never jumped! I was never brave enough to make the lifestyle change required to truly make an impact on the amount of waste we produce. It wasn’t until my 7 year old watched a video of one persons ‘zero waste challenge’ and was so inspired that she asked if we could try it as a family, that I finally felt the courage to give it a go. Sometimes we just need the idealistic mind of a child to help us believe we can truly make a difference in the world!
Let me take a minute to say that this post is not at all designed to guilt trip anyone on the amount of waste they produce or even persuade anyone to change their ways. I am in no position to judge, trust me! I simply thought it would be fun to share this major change in our lifestyle and all of our struggles and victories along the way. If it happens to inspire someone to make a change, well then thats just bonus points for all of us! We are at the very beginning of this journey ourselves. Miss 7 initially asked to start the challenge mid December but I knew we would have a very hard time being successful at making such big changes during such chaotic time of year. Also, to be clear, our goal is not to produce ZERO waste. I don’t think that’s very realistic for our modern family of four at this point in our lives. For now, our goal is simply to minimize our waste as much as possible.
Anyway, here we are, two weeks into January, and I am finally seeing progress! Here are a few of the changes we’ve made so far:
Quit using fabric softener. I recently ran out of both fabric softener and dryer sheets. Rather than going out and buying more, I decided to experiment with not using them at all. We have a water softening system so this may not be as easy of a change for everyone, but I have not noticed the slightest difference in any of our clothes!
Quit using trash bags. This one was also done on an experimental basis. I was not sure I could handle the mess of no trash bags in the kitchen, but it has not been nearly as bad as I thought. I have really upped my composting game so most of our food waste goes in there. What can’t be composted either goes down the garbage disposal or straight out to the the big garbage can in the garage. Most of our kitchen garbage now consists of packaged food containers and hopefully not for long!
Making our Own. This is one of the big ones I am tackling this week! Tomorrow with the kids I plan on making a big batch of apple sauce, some paleo banana muffins, and some homemade larabars. Miss Sassafras has been very concerned that this challenge will mean she can no longer enjoy any of the yummy foods she loves and I want to show both of the kids that we can still have good things to snack on around the house, we just need to be more mindful about how we get them. Also, if you’re thinking we must eat an extraordinarily healthy diet if Larabars and paleo muffins are the treats my kids so desire, don’t be too impressed. Healthy eating is yet another thing we are rededicating ourselves to in the new year, but thats a whole different blog post!
Opting for reusable containers. As mentioned above, I managed to use both my cloth bags and ceramic coffee cup when I was doing my shopping today! I also grabbed another set of mesh produce bags, which I’ve heard are great for nuts and goodies in the bulk bins, so my goal for next week is to take a stab at that. If all goes well, I am hoping to gain the courage to bring glass jars for my meats and cheeses. I’ll keep you posted. Wish me luck!
The best part about all of this is that it is actually seems to be saving me money!! I typically do all of my grocery shopping at Target and between their low prices, cartwheel and my Redcard our weekly grocery bill is generally about $120 on a good week. I was blown away to see my bill at $63 at a health food store!! But it totally makes sense! By avoiding packaged food and choosing to do without many items we once deemed as necessary, I have sooo much less stuff on my list! To be fair, I did have to swing by target to buy cat food, a new cat food container (because I can’t seem to find anything that those little devils can’t break into), and some eye shadow which totaled $30. Still a pretty good savings, if you ask me! I can’t wait until next week to see if this trend continues, but for now, I’ll leave you feeling hopeful!
Yay it’s 2017! Who is with me in celebrating the glorious commencement of a new year? I’d go into how 2017 was a hell of a year, but at this point, I think it’s beginning to sound a little cliche…Needless to say I am doing everything in my power to take full advantage of a fresh start. I have a laundry list of resolutions strapped to my belt and I’m ready to go! First up on my list of resolutions :
– Find Yourself…
Easy right? I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but thats why were here!
As a former Kid’s Activity Blogger, I was pretty involved in the blog scene for several years. There
were many things I loved about it (i.e. having a platform for my introverted self to connect with other people and share my thoughts with the world!) and many things I did not (i.e. the pressure to constantly be coming up with original crafts and activities in a Pintrest word, pressure to make every activity I did with my kids look picture perfect in a Pintrest world, pressure to pretend like every idea I had was a raging success in a Pintrest world). You get the idea…But over all, I miss it! I love writing. It’s always been my go-to method for sorting out my thoughts, so getting back into blogging seemed like a natural jumping off point on my quest to find myself!
This blog is all about the real me ( plus 3 – Hubby, daughter 1- we’ll call her Gracie Girl, and daughter 2 – we’ll call her Sassafras). No pressure to be perfect or pretend I’m something I’m not. Just a place where I can project the real me and all the hilarities and tragedies of motherhood. And, if I’m being real (and you know I am), I think we could all benefit from opening the window to reality in our picture perfect Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest world!