Love :: Day 31 [31 days to being a better mama]

30.  Today's focus: love. 

Source: etsy.com via Carrie on Pinterest

Source: None via Lyndsey on Pinterest

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And on that note, I hope that you have gotten at least one or two good nuggets from these last 31 days.  I know I have.  And I love you for being my buddies and sticking thru to the end!

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Oh, and to all of those of you celebrating Halloween?  Trick or treat!?  {wink}

Source: flickr.com via Julie on Pinterest

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


Electronic boycott:: Day 30 [31 days to being a better mama]

29.  Turn off your phone, computer or TV today when your child is with you. 


I'm glad this one was at the end of the month.  Gave me some time to work up to it.

It was just this past Sunday that I was talking about how I struggle with this {mostly the computer}.  So this will be a challenge.  But a good one.

And on that note.  This here machine I am typing on is that blasted computer.  So...ba-bye for now!

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


New word :: Day 29 [31 days to being a better mama]

28.  Teach your child a new word. 

Source: google.com via Lara on Pinterest

Well, this should be an easy one {in theory}...seeing as how J#3 is learning new words every day.

I think I will work on the word "love".  Because it would be dreamy if he could say "I love you" back to us.  Because I know he does, but to hear it? That would be a dream.

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


Health matters :: Day 28 [31 days to being a better mama]

27.  Do one thing that is good for your health:  walk 10 minutes, eat a piece of fruit, or get a good night's sleep. 

Hmm....this one shouldn't be too hard. I like me some fruit.  And I am still working through the Couch to 5K program, so I'll make this a day I run.  Done.

But why is this so important?  I talked about it here.  But for me the number one reason is that I want my children to remember me as an active and fit mommy.  Who is ready for any activity they toss my way.   Also, I think it would be great if the kids grew up in an active family.  And I am the one who mostly needs to get my bum of the couch to make that happen.

Of course it also important to be active so that I stay healthy and am around to constantly nag encourage them.  So that I can pull out those bath photos when they have their first dates.  Oh, and to make sure that when it is time for J#4's first date, that J#1 keeps the shotgun {that we don't own} in the closet.  {wink, wink}

So...what are you going to do for your health today?  Tell me...pretty please???

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


Encouragement:: Day 27 [31 days to being a better mama]

27.  Make it a point to encourage your child today.

You bet.  I am all over this one.  I love encouraging my kids.

Especially J#4.  There are so many new things she is trying right now.  Pulling herself up, learning how to get herself back on the floor, eating new foods.

And J#3 as he tries to build train tracks and car cities.  He needs encouragement to keep on keeping on.

This one is a cake walk.  And I bet it is for you too?

How do you encourage your kids?  What things do they need the most encouragement for?  Maybe I can get a little peak into my future.

And a little nugget for ya...maybe this could be a sweet note for your little one today?

Source: google.com via Jenny on Pinterest

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


Challenge Wednesday #5: a new bucket list

Another Wednesday, another challenge!  Read on, friends, read on!   Last week, I challenged Tracey to start a Bucket List.  

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Last week Jen challenged me to make a bucket list of my own.  And let me tell you, I am up for the challenge.  I have always had things I wanted to accomplish, but these things have always floated around my brain in a sort of nebulous, like 


So I got to spend this last week really thinking about the things that are important enough to me to put on my Bucket List.  It was a little difficult to develop some of my ideas, and to break some of them into doable action steps.  So, once again, this will be a work in progress that you can check on periodically.  I'll put it on a page on my blog, Control The Chaos.

And now, without further ado, here is the Beginning of Tracey's Bucket List:
1. Run a marathon. 
     -I had to start with this one to give me a victory right off the bat.  It's motivating, you know, to sometimes put something finished on your to-do list just so you can cross it off.  Besides, I just did it two weeks ago, so it still counts, right?

2. Run 5k in 25 minutes.

3. Read the whole Bible
     -I shamelessly stole this one from Jen.  It's a good one - hope you don't mind, friend.

4. Learn to make soap

5. Visit South Africa

6. Visit South America
Source: google.com via Laura on Pinterest

7. Go to PA school
     -maybe.  Still thinking on this one.

I did mention this is a work in progress, right?  Seeing it in paper makes it look pretty meager, but some of these are going to involve smaller bucket list items in order to work toward the larger goal.  

Once again, thank you, Jenny, for giving me a challenge that helps me grow myself and steers me towards who I want to be.  And now are you ready to be steered a little yourself?  Here's your challenge:
eliminate 2 cleaners from your house and replace with 1 non-chemical item

So, Jen, here is what I'd like you to do this week:  Simplify your house by eliminating two chemical cleaners from your arsenal and replacing them with one non-chemical alternative.  The idea that you need specific cleaners for every single job in your house is a myth.  Not only is it expensive to buy all of these specialized cleaners, they are full of harmful chemicals, creating a danger zone for your kiddos.  A few well thought-out items can clean your whole house.

Here are a couple resources to get you thinking:

Good luck…looking forward to your report next week.

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There couldn't be more perfect timing for this challenge.   I just had to throw most of our cleaners before we packed us up on Monday, so this way I can start at our new house with more natural cleaning materials.  

I have to admit I might have even saved some empty plastic spray bottles because I had been thinking about doing this for some time.  Thanks Tracey, for spurring me into action!  

Check back next Wednesday to see how it goes for me.

Opinion:: Day 26 [31 days to being a better mama]

25.  Ask your child's opinion sometime today.

I am going to take this as "offer your son choices and let him pick his favorite", after all, that would be his opinion, right?  That, I'll do.

In a few years, this is going to be very important.  Asking my kids their opinions will, number one, help them develop opinions.  Will help them feel important and that we care about what they have to say.

So in a few years, I will ask for their opinion. I will do that.  You know, when I go through these 30 days again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.  {wink, wink}

Because this is an on-going job, this job of motherhood, and we can always use these gentle reminders.

And because I don't have much to say about this; here is a little something I found on pinterest when I did a search on "opinion".  Seems pretty inspiring to me, so I just wanted to share it with you all.

Source: reddit.com via Jerry on Pinterest

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


Top 10: Help me pick!! Which hair cut to go with??

Alright friends, we are smack dab in the middle of our move.  As we speak, there are six men loading all of our stuff into a truck to be drivin to Scotland.  Yahoo!!

But, as I sit in a hotel, willing my little sweets to take her morning nap in a totally different place, without silence (hello, two year old brother) I don't have many deep thoughts.

So, I am going to present 10 options for hair cuts.  See, I already have scheduled my appointment for when we get back to Minnesota this fall, but I have to figure out what I want to do.  I know that I am going to get it colored back to my natural color (dark blonde, almost brown) so that I don't have to worry about keeping up with highlights, but I need to figure out a cut.

For an idea of how it looks right now:
Its a sad state of affairs. Roots, eyebrow madness, 
unhealthy hair in general, and a very interrupted night sleep. 
 (thanks to the 2 yr old in bed with us). 

So here are the options!  Let me know in the comment section which one you think would be the best.  Who knows, I think I might even go with the majority.  Beats making my own decision. {wink}




Source: None via Jenny on Pinterest


Source: None via Jenny on Pinterest


Source: None via Jenny on Pinterest


Source: None via Heather on Pinterest


Source: twitter.com via Jenny on Pinterest

And, um, when did Jessica Simpson chop off all her hair??? Looks awesome. 




So...what do you think?  I realize they don't vary widely...but help a sister out, would ya?  Lemme know down below which # you think would be the best. 

Have a great Tuesday! 

Linking up, as usual with these lovely ladies: 

Top Ten {Tuesday}

No interruption :: Day 25 [31 days to being a better mama]

24.  Do not interrupt your child when he is talking.

Two days in a row peeps.

This just doesn't apply to us much.  I never interrupt J#3.  Because if there are words coming out of his mouth? I am hanging on EVERY. LAST.  WORD.

Because there aren't many... and I am okay with that.

He is about two years + seven months old.  I was pretty sure at this point he would have more to say.  I am going to contribute part of the fact to living in the Netherlands for the past year.  I would speak my own language too, if people talked to me in some gobboly gook {to J#3} language when we are in stores and such.

But, I am a bit impatient.  I want him to talk.  He is a smart kid, and I want to know what fun stuff is running thru that head of his.

BUT, if you do have kiddos that are talking a mile a minute, here are some tips from this article by Kevin Eickenberry to curb the interrupting (these are the top 3, make sure to click over for the rest):

  1. "Don't talk." Just plain don't interrupt.
  2. "Close your mouth." Sometimes just by opening it you are signaling to someone that you want to interrupt them.
  3. "Open your mind." Essentially, if you are already thinking of your argument (a.k.a. your but or interruption), you aren't actually listening to the person.  

"Today, the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by the fact that
 the only place sacred from interruption is the private toilet. "  --Lewis Mumford

Evidently, Lewis never had kids.   (FYI, after a quick search online, I can't find anything about his personal life, just his writing.  So I guess we'll never know.)

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


Sarcasm? Nooo. :: Day 24 [31 days to being a better mama]

23.  Replace sarcasm with kindness. 

I have to say, we don't use much {if any} sarcasm with our kids.  Like I have said a few times throughout this 31 days, it probably has something to do with the kids being so young.  Some of this stuff just doesn't affect us.

BUT, I know there are some of you that have older kids.  Or no kids.

So, following are a few interesting nuggets regarding sarcasm.

According to this article from ScienceDaily.com, children can detect sarcasm as early as six years old, but won't necessarily understand the humour of it until about 10 years old.

Comedian Jeremy Greenburg {I've never heard of him, have you?} wrote an awesome article for MSN Lifestyle about sarcasm & parenting.  Please check it out.  It is an interesting, down to earth look at how sarcasm can affect your children.  My favorite quote?
"This is Parenting 101: don't get personal. When your child messes up,
 remember that there's a good chance it's because of your parenting."

And with that? I live you with these pinterest gems: 

Source: cukri.com via Shanna on Pinterest

Source: google.com via Janet on Pinterest

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


Remember me :: Day 23 [31 days to being a better mama]

22.  How do you want your child to remember you?  Be that mom today.

Hi.  Hello there.  It's me Jen J#2.  I think I might have told you about this a few times before...

I want to be a Mom that my kids remember "being in the moment".  With them.  Playing, hugging, laughing.

And a secret for you?  I am NOT very good at this.  It is what I intend to do, but I often {read: every day} fail.

I find myself behind a computer screen {like right now.  ooops.} much to often.  Getting frustrated with the kids because they are pushing on the screen.  Really, Jen J#2?  Geesh.

I tell myself I need this time, because I need me time.  But peeps, I really need to limit it.  I have a few ideas in mind on how to do that going forward.  No, I'm not going to stop blogging.  But I am going to spend more time hanging with my kids.

So for now?  Today I am just going to keep the computer closed, and my arms open.  And my hands...here comes the tickle monster!

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


Forgive :: Day 22 [31 days to being a better mama]

21.  Forgive yourself when you mess up. 

Eek.  I think I could write, and write, and write {and well, you get the idea} about this topic.

This job?  Being a mama? Its tough.  It has ups and downs. It has good days and bad days.  I fail. Every day.  Especially if we are going by the list of challenges I am working through in these 31 days.

Even if it doesn't have to do with being a mom, I mess up. I go over my calories for the day.  I come up with excuses not to exercise.  Rationalizing the reasons I keep delaying on certain items on my bucket list.

But the point is.  I need to forgive myself when I mess up.  If it is a mama thing, or a exercise thing...no matter what....

We have to remember to forgive ourselves.

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


It's the little things: Running and Playing

Friday.  Again time to appreciate the little things.  Be thankful for life right now.

To start out with, I discovered Photobucket and Picnik this week.  My photos will never be the same.  KnowwhatImean?

I challenged myself just to use to my cell phone camera this week to capture these...not sure why, just thought it would be fun.  Plus, then I can join in at Life Rearranged for InstaFriday.  Except that I don't have an Iphone {maybe I'll get one in Scotland?}, thus no Instagram.  So I used Photobucket.  Fun!  Fun, I tell you.

I am really starting to enjoy running.  And I am not just saying that. {Really, I'm not!!} A while back, I had said to J#1, "I want to be able to walk or run to that Park Theater." The building on the right?  That's the Park Theater.  Score!

J#4 continues with her "signs" {remember last week, with the ear rubs?}.  The other night, just around dinner time, she crawled over to the table and pulled herself up to her dinner seat.  Next she'll be yelling, "hey, ma, where's the eats?"

Since our move to Scotland next week is a sure thing {this time}, we had our last mums & tots group this week.  We're gonna miss this.  Because the kids sure weren't having a good time or anything {please sense sarcasm}.   Look, J#3 was even caring for a baby in a stroller.

Does anyone else think it is the COOLEST thing when kids start to really develop and utilize their imaginations?

Mums.  Love.  These are a bright, vibrant yellow.  We turn the corner near our place, and there they are.  Brightens my day every time.

So friends, what are you most thankful for this week?

Linking up with:


Aisle to Aloha

& Jeannett

life rearranged

P.S. Just a reminder folks, we are nearing the end of the 31 days series on how to be a better mama.  If you are just joining me here on the blog, please make sure to check it out here

P.S.S. If this is your first visit to my humble blog abode, please take a look around {I've got nothing to hide}!  Leave a comment and say hi, because I'd love to come for a visit at your place too.  

Patience :: Day 21 [31 days to being a better mama]

20.  Today's focus: patience.
Sorry.  I just had to stop laughing before I could type.

This could be one of the more challenging items on the list.

Remember this day?  I keep the Serenity prayer next to my bed!

I didn't get a job description for this mama job I have, but I am pretty sure one of the requirements would have been patience.  So, I guess that means I better buck up, chill out and be patient.  Even if I do have a two year old.  

It's not like he is trying to try my patience, right?  {wink}

It's true.  Love is patient.  Loving our children requires patience.

And come to think of it, so much of parenthood requires patience.  Being patient for the days that they are more independent.  Being patient for the days that they will make us laugh when they tell a joke or make us proud with some school accomplishment.  Being patient {for me} for when they just plain have more words.

Its like they are tell us...

Source: etsy.com via Jenny on Pinterest

Today, I will.  And every day going forward, I will do my best.

Tell me... what kind of tricks or methods do you use to remind yourself to be patient?  Am I the only one that struggles with this one?

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.


Inspiration Workshop: Favorite Accessories

This week's Inspiration Workshop prompt?  Favorite Accessories.

My favorite accessories?
Hehe.  I know they aren't accessories.  But they are with me almost all the time.  {wink}

But, for realz.  Here are some of my favorite real  accessories: 

First up...do you all consider perfume an accessory?  I just saw Gussy's post, and it looks like she does...so here goes:

A classic perfume.  Well, classic for our generation, right?  I have a little sample size bottle that I have been moving around with me, and I put some on this morning.   Sigh.  Love.

One of my other faves is Clinique Happy.  And I might just have two FULL bottles of that waiting in the wings.  Okay, I do.

Bags!  Purses, diaper bags {cause I have to like those now}, wallets, camera bags,  Gussy Sews bags {of course}, you name it.  I love it.  But that could be an entire post.  So, we move on...

Shoes.   I have a love/hate relationship with shoes.  I love buying new ones, but I am too impatient to let them get worn in, so I always go back to the old stand-bys.  And usually comfy shoes {High-heel girl? I wish I could be, but just doesn't happen. In fact, I am amazed at the women in the Netherlands that ride their bikes in high heels and run across the uneven and bumpy cobblestone streets here in them.}.  An example of comfy shoes I like?

Source: 6pm.com via Jenny on Pinterest

Chuck Taylors are on my wish list.  Have always wanted a pair.  And they have green???  Dreamy.

and my newest infatuation:

Toms.  Check out this pair, its like a map!  Not sure if they would be the pair I buy, but how fun!

And then, of course there is jewelery.  As it is with shoes, I end up usually wearing the same stuff over, and over, and over again.  But this mama stackable ring would be a nice addition:

Source: etsy.com via Jenny on Pinterest

How about you?  What are your favorite accessories?.  Oh, and let me know if you'd like to know my shoe or ring size.  {wink, wink}

Now, I am going to head over to Gussy Sews to check out some other ladies' favorite accessories!

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Independence :: Day 20 [31 days to being a better mama]

19.  Teach your child one thing he can do on his own today.

I think I'll stick with just doing this with J#3 for today.  If you don't mind?  Not sure exactly what I could teach J#4 to do at this point.  {wink}

One of the things we have been working on lately is getting J#3 to take off his own shoes when we get in the house.

He is perfectly capable of getting OUR shoes off and on.

Exhibit A

{november 2010.  geez, he still looks like a baby here!}

Exhibit B.

But his own?  Not so much.

So that will be my challenge for the day.  Perhaps I'll make a game out of it.

Maybe if I have some luck with that, we'll work on how to get them on too!  He has gotten pretty close a couple of times...

Do you have any suggestions on how to teach him to do it?  And get him to keep doing it?

If you are just joining me, please be sure to check out my 31 days to being a better mama page for previous posts.
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