Simplify Your Crunch

It’s the idea that started this blog. Making my life simple while exploring ways to live a healthier more eco-friendly life.

Well, it ran away with me like many things I dive feet first into.

Simplify your cunchy life

It’s largely my own fault for being so damn ambitious  (I’m a dreamer and something of an optimist) and partially at fault is this big ol’ world of technology, the internet. A place where you can surf endlessly for how-to’s and DIY ideas. Anything you want, there’s a post (or a million posts) on just that. Kombucha? There are thousands of recipes. Backyard chickens? Learn all you need to know with a few clicks. Want to live off grid? There’s blog posts for that!

In an attempt to simplify I overcrowded my life with lists and stressed myself out. So I’ve decided to pick a few things to concentrate on and go from there. Rome wasn’t built in a day! Hopefully this is a good starting place for you as well. Here’s what I came up with:

1) Nourishing my body with good food. There are 7 billion people on the planet (give or take a few) and most have an opinion on what foods are best and what should be avoided. Here’s the most common one: Veggies are good for you. Furthermore local food is best for a number of reasons. What I’ve gotten from all the articles, blog posts, documentaries, and doctors I’ve read and listened to is that the majority of your daily food intake should consist of fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, and protein. Preparation of food is equally as important as quality and the way the food is eaten (ie. On the run vs. Sitting down to a meal). That all being said, my goal is to buy local when possible, prepare my own meals and snacks, and stop eating on the go. This is my number one because let’s face it, food is the single most important thing in your life. You literally are what you eat, so eat well.

2) Exercise. Sometimes I hate it and most of the time I love it. So why does it seem like it’s so damn hard to make time for it? Excuses no more! If you do one thing for yourself a day (excluding eating well) it should be exercise in some form or another. Yoga, running, lifting weights, hiking, mountain climbing, swimming, skating, biking, dancing, there are endless ways to fit exercise into the day. I’m going to make a list of ideas and put it on our family activity wall so that I can hold myself responsible. I don’t want to not exercise simply because I can’t think of what to do. (Post to come on the exercise board I’m going to make.) Whether or not you have kids, check out this post in the meantime to get some great ideas.

3) Bullet Journaling. I’m not really sure how I only recently stumbled upon 98e66f48bbff20969f1a313764b69cd1this idea but it’s brilliant! I’m a planner and I have a little OCD in regards to organization so this works with my chaotic brain to ensure I don’t forget
things or overwhelm myself.
I’m a Pisces so I like to dream and this allows me to be creative while holding myself accountable and staying on track with my goals.

4) Self Care. If you’re a mom you know all too well that it’s hard to find time for yourself. That’s not to say that if you aren’t a mom you don’t have the same problem but personally I’ve found that since becoming a parent it’s gotten much worse. It sank in when I realized that my #1 priority is my children being taken care of, and who takes care of them most of the time? Me. I’ve been left feeling burnt out at the end of the day and it’s not only me who’s suffering. If I’m not taking care of me then my kids (and hubby) are not getting the best possible version of me. That doesn’t fly with me. Of course nutrition and exercise are ways we take care of ourselves but I need something above and beyond this, so I’m going to reference this list when I need to take a moment for myself.

 

Hopefully some of what you’ve read will resonate with you and you’ll begin to live the life you want. What good is all that cleaning, planning, and pinning if what you’re doing it for is being pushed to the side?

“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all”  – Laura Ingalls Wilder

It took me almost 3 years to feel like a mom.

 

supermom

always felt like a novice, honestly. But as I stood in my kitchen today washing my hands franticly (after wiping the booger-riddled face of my poor sick toddler) so that I could quickly tend to my antsy 5 month old, I actually felt like I had my shit together.

It’s funny how some of the toughest trials of motherhood tend to be the ones that show us just how awesome and put together we really are. (Seriously, you’re doing a f***ing awesome job.)

Now my ‘mom moment’ didn’t happen overnight by any means. As the title says, it took me almost three years (and two kids) . I’ve lived in the just-for-now apartment with the ridiculously small kitchen. I’ve wiped my fair share of snot, poop, and god knows what else off me and my children…and Shawn. I’ve survived on less than 2 hours of sleep numerous times. (I assure you, being a parent is a true test of your sanity.) But I’ve also given and received thousands of hugs and kisses. I’ve heard “mommmmmmmm” called repeatedly because I’m the only one in the world she wants, and I’ve learned some of the most valuable lessons of my life from a child. The good by far outweighs the less desirable, as I’m sure you’ve been told.

Through all the trials and tribulations of being a mom, your child(ren) become your number one priority. That of course leads to reading the endless myriad of articles on parenting: parenting techniques, vaccinations, what foods to feed them, how to dress them, if they should watch TV or not, wooden vs. plastic toys, cloth diapering, amber necklaces, breastmilk vs. formula, and on and on. I thoroughly believe that we live in a society that has lead us to believe our gut instinct cannot be trusted. As a new mom I leaned heavily on an online mommy group for support and answers in my times of need. I surveyed Pinterest for posts on how not to be a helicopter parent, and why I shouldn’t force my child to hug. Don’t get me wrong, that stuff all helped me tremendously. But it was when I actively started participating in my life (instead of just planning and wishing it was a certain way) that I started to feel at home in my skin and confident in my moming skills – yeah, that’s a technical term.

So #1 pieces of advice, don’t try to be the Pinterest mom. It can lead to pinning a million things you want to accomplish and overwhelming yourself, holding yourself to an impossible standard and feeling let down frequently, and just general anxiety from over analyzing every single thing you do. Read with an open mind and form your own opinions. Yes, it is totally acceptable to both cloth diaper AND use disposables – you won’t go to granola hell. Yes, there are times where your gut may tell you yes (like co-sleeping safely in my case) and your doctor will make you feel like a quack. Do your homework, be educated, listen to your doctor, and trust your instincts. It takes time to become comfortable in your mommy shoes, but you brought a human into the world – you can do this.

I think that as moms we need to look at what we think is mundane and realize just how awesome we really are. For example, moments like when I’m walking quickly to grab my daughters water bottle from her room. I swoop down and throw soiled clothes in the hamper, pass my little man a toy to keep him occupied, pick up a few toys and toss them back in the basket for the 5th time, and all in one fowl swoop I’ve done chores while keeping my sick toddler hydrated and my 5 month old content.

#2 piece of advice – appreciate yourself and ALL that you do. As a mom there really is no such thing as an unimportant task. Diapers need to be changed,  food needs to be made, dishes done, bills paid, and so on. Some have help with these things, some don’t. Regardless, parenting is difficult. You are raising tiny humans to function in society – that’s a big job! I know I felt like so much of what I did went unnoticed in the first year of being a mom. (I had PPD because I felt trapped, drained, and little like a drone doing mundane things over and over. But that’s another story.) I wish I had been easier on myself and realized that I was doing so much. You’re a superhero, believe it because you already act like it.

I’m sure I could go on and on about what I’ve learned being a mom but in the end what matters most is that you create your own identity as a mother. No article or YouTube video is going to show you how to do it in one easy step. It takes time. Be patient. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the ideals and advice, take it all in but in the end be active in your life and learn from that. Ultimately experience will be your guide.

 

Toddler Approved Play Sand

Play Sand (Also known as Cloud Dough)

Cloud Dough up close

I’ve been on the hunt for activities to keep my oldest busy during the days she’s home. I think I found a good one! First she used her mini kitchen tools to make food, fried up some ‘eggies’ in her frying pan, stepped on it, made sand castles, and now she is currently using her Case tractors to load, push, and dump it in different locations.

Not only is it super easy to make, the clean up is pretty simple, though I don’t suggest letting them use it on any fancy carpet or rugs since one of the main ingredients is oil.

Cloud Dough playing2

When I mixed it all up I only added half the ingredients the recipe called for. Next time I’ll definitely use the full recipe. I tried to add food coloring to it after I started mixing – yeah it didn’t really take. You’ll want to mix the coloring into the oil before you add it to the flour. My coloring process made for a bit of a marble-like look but nothing solid. Feel free to add some glitter or confetti to the recipe to make it more interesting as well.

Enjoy!

Cloud Dough playing

You will need:

Food coloring (optional)
1 Cup Vegetable Oil (I used Olive Oil and it worked great)
4 Cups All Purpose Flour
Medium-Large bin for play and storage (think Rubbermaid)

If you are using color, add it into your oil before adding it to the flour. When you have everything measured out it’s just a matter of mixing it up until you get a sand like consistency. It should hold together when squeezed in your hand, and then crumble at your fingertips.

Happy mixing!

 

Edited: It can be a pain in the butt to clean if you get it on certain surfaces. Those mats are foam and were a huge inconvenience to have to soak, scrub, and wipe down. Definitely buying a larger storage bin for her to play with it in.

Thanksgiving Update

Holy, I do apologize for going off the grid for a while. Things have been hectic here with a teething baby, Thanksgiving, family photos, yoga, and baby group.

What’s new? Well sadly my efforts to become no-poo met an early demise. We weren’t decided on a date for our family pictures until last minute and I just couldn’t be in the middle of transition for those…sooooooooo it’s time to start over. I had my hair cut and used my Watkins shampoo to wash up for the pictures, but now I’m ready to get down to business. Clarifying tomorrow, and then back to my baking soda, vinegar, and honey. I’m determined to have it down pat before Christmas rolls around.

Also, Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope you all got to spend time with family and friends eating delicious meals and enjoying the beautiful fall weather. I made a delicious turkey and my mom came down and helped prepare all the fixin’s. This was my first time roasting a turkey and I have to say it turned out pretty juicy. I did a pretty basic recipe of 1 cup white wine, 1 cup water, 3/4 cup orange juice (or lemon), some rosemary, basil, and poultry seasoning. Stuck an onion inside and roasted for 1.5 hours in tinfoil breast down and then took the tinfoil off and roasted for another 5-6 hours on 330F. Yum!
Annnnnnd to top it all off, we had our family photos done yesterday with my wonderful friend Maegan, which I can’t wait to see. My little looked absolutely adorable and she was so well behaved the entire time, mind you she was getting a bit hungry and tired by the end.

I truly am a lucky lady to have such amazing people in my life. My wonderful mister, our beautiful little girl, our families, and our friends. I am continuously amazed at how much my life has changed in the past few years. I became a mother, a yogi, a blogger, a housewife (for lack of a better word, lol), and a business owner. There is so much to be thankful for!

So thank you so much for reading my blog and again I apologize for my delayed posting.

 

Take care,

V

The Mommy Wars

I’ve finally mastered the art of mommyhood!….well not exactly, but I am certainly feeling a lot more confident.

The little miss and I are starting to establish a routine and I can now say I’m comfortable in my role as a mother. I don’t second guess my decisions near as much, I’ve ditched the judgemental mindset, and I have realized my love for everything child related. Not only do I feel excited for what’s to come with my own little one I find myself wanting to learn more and help other families, specifically moms.

It’s this love of being a parent that has led me to join a handful of mommy groups and multiple online communities. Overall these groups have provided a sense of camaraderie and a great source for support. However not all interactions are positive, whether they be in person or from behind a keyboard. It has come to my attention (repeatedly I might add) that judgement, ridicule, lack of compassion, and blatant disregard for respect are becoming more common things among mothers. This makes me sad in so many ways.

I call these the mommy wars.

We as mothers have one of the most difficult jobs in the entire world as far as I’m concerned. We have to make decisions that will break our hearts, make us second guess ourselves, put us in the doghouse with our children, spouse, friends, or family, and most importantly will shape our children’s’ future. So knowing we carry this tremendous responsibility, how it that we feel we have the right to condemn others for making these decisions to the best of their abilities?

Whether it’s breastfeeding vs. formula, cloth diapers vs. disposable, when we introduce solids, vegetarian/vegan vs. eating meat, immunizations, teething necklaces, co-sleeping, sleeping in a crib, discipline, natural/organic products, or the way we give birth, there always seems to be a battle to fight.

Now on top of being our own biggest critic and the stress of making these decisions, we are forced to defend them! Come on ladies, seriously? I firmly believe that we, more than anyone else, should be supporting each other. I mean no offence but men just don’t understand women, especially moms, and women who are not mothers don’t fully understand some of the things that come with being a parent. (Not to discredit anyone who is not a mother by any means. Life if difficult in other ways, I know.) Only we know first hand what it’s like, and even though we don’t all go through the exact same things we still know how difficult (yet rewarding) it really is.

So I’m challenging every mother who reads this to stop yourself when you’re about to scorn another for her decisions (mentally or out loud.) Maybe what she’s doing isn’t your cup of tea, but it’s not your cup of tea to swallow. You don’t know what led her to make these decisions, but I’m sure you can recall all the choices you were once given and making your own.

I think it’s time we show a little more compassion and empathy towards one another. This beautiful thing called motherhood has been gifted to us. We should be spending it learning, laughing, teaching, and loving as much as humanly possible.

Let’s kick this negativity.

Let’s help each other be the best women we can be; for ourselves, for each other, and for our children.

 

V

Socially Awkward

Today my little one and I take on our very first mom and babe yoga class. I have to say I’m pretty curious as to what exactly this entails, because at this moment all I can picture is that strange animated dancing baby doing a sun salutation (I have a pretty creative imagination, ha.) Anyways, we’re pretty excited to meet other moms and their little ones. It seems since becoming a mom I’ve become slightly less socially savvy with other adults. I think it may have a something to do with the fact that I spend 98% of my time speaking in a cheerful and enthusiastic voice about colors, toys, and explaining what ‘mommy is doing’ step by step. From what I remember about pre-baby socializing, adults don’t particularly enjoy being spoken to in this way. Funny thing, eh? So in my free moments I try to talk to friends and family (via text, facebook, etc) in hopes that I won’t completely lose my social skills. Don’t get me wrong though, I absolutely love playing and interacting with my little girl. I mean what grown-up doesn’t love being able to be totally silly, lay on the floor, make funny noises, play with toys, and dance around making funny faces? Common’ now, it’s just as much fun for you as it is your child. However, finding a balance of baby vs. adult time has been a bit of a challenge.

Being a mom is SO much more than I thought it was going to be. When I was younger I had this preconceived idea of what being a parent was. Once I found out I was pregnant, it’s as if I was waiting for this pivotal moment where everything in my life would be completely different and it would all fall perfectly into place. I would magically be Martha Stuart at home and I’d have all these mommy friends to have play dates with. Boy was I wrong. I went from working 8-12 hours a day as an Office Manager for an orthopaedic surgeon, to spending 99% of my time home alone with the baby while the mister went to work. The list of friends I had pre-baby was significantly shortened due to, what I can only speculate was, the fact that I could no longer do things on a whim or go out and party. Which to be honest was and still is totally alright with me because I have different interests, values, and goals now. However, to get back on point, in the first few months of being a mom I felt completely lost and disconnected. The ‘mommy knowledge’ I thought I would have didn’t just magically pop in my head and I didn’t have friends with (or without) children lining up to go on play dates/hang out. So the few friends I have with children have become very near and dear to me, both as resources of information and someone to talk and relate to. As for my friends without children they allow me to focus on me, my interests, and their stories/experiences. In short, I get to take a small break from being ‘mommy.’

Joining a local breastfeeding group, mom and babe yoga, and multiple mommy groups on Facebook is what I’ve done to re-enter the adult social circle and it’s helped me (in so many ways) make a graceful transition into mommyhood. So if you’re feeling disconnected, left out, socially awkward (what I felt and still feel at times), all I can say is get out and find people with similar interests/lifestyles. Interacting with other women who are going through the same life changes, difficulties, and emotional ups and downs is the best way to reconnect with yourself, make lifelong friends, and not to mention it’s a huge boost to your confidence.

Biggest lesson learned so far in motherhood? YOU’RE NOT ALONE. You might be socially awkward, feel alone, get overwhelmed, fall behind on cleaning, not leave the house some days, not wear a bra some days, leave the house with puke on your clothes, skip showering for days, etc. But in all honesty don’t be afraid to openly talk to someone about it. I was really surprised and extremely relieved to hear someone say “me too!”

PLEASE NOTE: If you are experiencing any signs of postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to talk to a doctor. It’s no joke, and in this case it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Well, I think I’ve gone on enough : )

Take Care

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New Beginnings

Well I’ll be damned, I’ve got my own blog. I have to admit I’ve wanted to do this for a while and today, while catching up on some other blogs, I decided to do so. Before this I guess I just let the excuses pile up and well, living my life and keeping my sanity took front seat. But now here I sit – baby in bed, dishes done, feet up, and a package of raisin butter tarts by my side.

So what exactly do I plan to write about? Hmm, well in short (because I plan on getting some sleep before my little ones’ 3am feeding) modern day motherhood, eco-friendly topics, DIYs, my creative endeavours, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, my goals, experiences and maybe a few product reviews. Basically whatever crosses my mind and/or sparks interest and intrigue.

For now though it is time for this momma to get some rest. Good night and take care.

V