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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Staying Balanced as a MOM

If you are a stay at home mom (SAHM) or working mom, then its important to not loose yourself in the kid tide. Being a taxi for your 'lil ones and folding underwear is in the job description, but you need to find balance and not loose who you are as a WOMEN! Staying balance isn't the easiest thing to do, but its super important. Finding a hobby or something you can do just for yourself, once a day or week will help so you don't feel lost in the shuffle.

A happy mom is a happy home! Or is it....IF Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy? lol

I love being a SAHM, but it has taking time to find myself as a person and know when I need me time. I can now tell when I am feeling not balance and that's when I say hold up, wait, I need to get in check. You are not helping anyone around you if you are not balanced and all tense and about to LOOSE IT!!! When mom is unbalanced, stressed or burnt out, everyone suffers. Kids can feel tension from mom and tend to start acting out, so its a loose~loose situation.

If you take an hour or two just for YOU, for whatever makes you happy or relaxed, the rest of the day (or week) will be easier and more fun for everyone. Your husband and kids will enjoy having an energetic and refreshed mom to play with them and have a full filled day. Lets get down to it by saying, that by paying attention to your own needs as a MOM even if your a SAHM or working mom, you’ll actually be better at meeting everyone else’s needs.

 Here are some ideas to stay balanced:

1-Exercise!!!! Even if its only taking a walk, do it!!!! Clear your head!  It releases so much stress and tension. If you can do it alone, great, if you can head to the gym and be surrounded by others who are soaking in the exercise euphoria, great. Just find a way to do it. TRUST me on this one.

2- Spend time with other moms! Playdates are not just for the kids! Set up regular time to visit with other moms to just vent and chat. Its best to find other moms you actually LIKE hanging out with. Don't just set up playdates bc the kids are friends, set up playdates with YOUR friends! I think its funny when moms feel obligated to do playdates with a child's friend and you don't enjoy it as a parent. We have little time as it is, choose to surround yourself with people and other parents that you enjoy. Laughing and smiling is the best medicine! Funny friends make for a happy heart. Need some time to yourself, then do a trade with another parent! Even having an hour to yourself to go shopping, get a pedicure, massage, is just enough time to unwind and get your head straight. Lets be honest, going to the grocery store by yourself sometime feels like a mini vacay!


3-Meet with a girlfriend for coffee or tea. If you have to bring the kids, bring a bag with snacks and activities to keep them busy so you can chat with your gal pal. If you can get away and do it without the kids then all the better. Time without them to drink your coffee without having to make sure they are happy and not getting into stuff is nice to do too.
4- Fill the tub with warm water, turn some relaxing music on (literally-type in relaxation music on pandora! its great), bubbles, sea salt to relax those muscles and then...........this is key .......................................LOCK the DOOR!!!! Close your eyes and just take time to relax. Let hubby take care of the kids and just take time for yourself. Don't worry that they are probably making a mess, just clear your mind and breathe. Taking time to breathe really deeply in general will not only relax you but provides your body with extra O2 to energize you for the remainder of the day.


5- Lock yourself in your bathroom and give yourself a facial and do your nails! Do some SLOOOOW beauty~dry brush your skin, oil treatment for your hair, anything that keeps focus on yourself. Cleaning the tub does not count!
6- DON'T, I repeat, DONT skip on sleep!!! Not only is a tired mom a grumpy mom, but sleep deprivation releases cortisol into your bloodstream that makes you well, lets get real, FAT! And that will make you feel grumpy for sure, gaining weight or lugging around extra lbs. So instead of staying up late to try to be a super hero, pinteresting kinda mom, think again and go to BED!! Also, if your child is napping, take that time for yourself to unwind or curl up and nap with them. I know you probably feel that you get so much done when they are sleeping, but you know what? It will still be there tomorrow and the next day. Take that time for yourself, not to mop the floor.         

7-The one thing that I have been told by moms with grown children that sticks in my head is: don't worry about having a clean house all the time. Take that time to spend playing with your kids. Before you know it, they will be gone and your house will be sparkling clean. I'm not saying let it get gross and smelly, just don't put so much pressure on yourself to have a perfectly clean house. I mean really, you clean it and its messy 20 minutes later anyway.

Take time to play, because it sometimes gets skipped over after all the errands and taxing around. Play with your kids, your husband, your friends!


8- Meditate! Do it in the bath, yoga class, in bed at night, wherever you can. Stop and clear your mind of all that needs to be done. All distractions ignored and just close your eyes and breathe.

                                                Some advice on how to meditate.

9- You don't have to do it all, all the time. Your family is capable of doing things too! I know, its a shocker right? They might not do it exactly the way you would or want, but really, who cares? The kids can do the dishes, pick out their clothes and brush their teeth. They don't need mom for everything and the hovering as well as the need to feel needed isn't as important as raising self sufficient children and a balanced happy mom.

Are you saying to yourself right now,

"I ain't got time for that! who's got time for that? Aint nobody got time for dat!" (oh sweet brown-lol, got to love youtube)

Well, do you ever watch TV? One program is at least 30 minutes??? Ditch the fluff and do something for yourself instead. Ever since I turned my cable off, I get so much more done and more time to myself. For some reason and tips to get started check out our post Join the NO TV Movement. You don't have to turn your cable off, just choose NOT to turn it on, even if its background noise and see what HAPPENS......
I like to use music to set my mood and help with stress that may come my way. So~Turn on some music and DANCE!!! It really works and your kids, the dog, neighbors love to join in,  and your exercising too (*bonus, cha ching)! Music really helps to set any mood, and if I am at home, the music is on. So stop by for a dance party or relax session, it could be either at any time :)

 LIVE! Play! LOVE! That will keep you balanced, your family happy and a full filled life. You only get one, make it the best you can.

Take care of yourself so you can take care of your family.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Join the No TV Movement

What? Seriously? You may ask. Why would I want to do that, it entertains me and babysits my kids when I need 20 minutes to do the dishes!!!!
 Heather hasn't had cable for over 10 years and inspired me to do the same. For me it has been one of the best decisions I made for my family.  My hubby has been a 'lil sad without his ESPN, but he can still get all the info he needs through apps on his phone and Internet without spending all the time watching it on the TELLIE. I decided to turn off our cable bc I felt like it was becoming such a distraction to my kids. It got to a point that they would just automatically turn it on as soon as they walked into the door or woke up! I was at fault too. I would record all these shows then feel the pressure to keep up on them. That's when I said ENOUGH!

They recommend that you only watch 2 hours a day, but really 2 hours??? Think about what you and your family could do with that time?? I feel like people are really missing out on the finer things in life and filling it with TV time. I mean really, I don't think the TV is the devil or is going to ruin your life if you are watching it, but really, what else could you do or would do if its not on??
 Read a book? Play a board game with kiddos? Learn to play an instrument? Do crafts? Paint? Shoot hoops? Bike ride? PLAY? PLAY? PLAY??
The average American watches 81 hours of TV per month (under 3 hours a day), that's 972 hours per year!! =That's 40 days a year just watching TV! Say your kids start at age 2, by the time they are 80years old, they would have waisted almost 9 years of their life watching TV!! ek

Why not give it a shot??? Try it! Do a no TV week and see what happens? What could it hurt? Not like you aren't recording it all anyway!! ;) Teach your kids that there is better things to do with their time and their LIFE!

Not only does it save you time, but it also saves you  The Cheese, The dinero , PESOS, lets get it straight~ MONEY!!$$$$$!!! And really lets be honest, who doesn't like saving that! If Heather was paying just $50 for cable a month , for
10 years , that's  $6,000! And that's just basic cable, which we all know that is not what everyone has. 
The average price that is paid for cable is $75, if you invested that money each month (with inflation of cable prices), with lets say a return level of 4%, after 56 years you could of saved over 600k!!!!!No lie!! That's a lot of GREEN!
I have found that my kids play together more, read books, listen to music and together we are enjoying LIFE!

Here are some of Heathers tricks she uses to get her boys ELECTRONIC urges under control:


     Even without cable my boys would spend every spare moment on an electronic device
 if we let them. After many exhausting conversations with them about finding other things to do we decided to make a "NO ELECTRONICS" rule Monday thru Friday afternoon and it is working great!  My middle son has a very hard time concentrating and so far we have seen great improvements with him coming home and getting his work done. I also feel like I have my boys back during the week.  They are back to making forts, playing Lego's, drawing, playing games, and just hanging out together.  The house is messier, my boys are laughing more, and I am much happier not having to be on them about how long they have been plugged in. 

~I think the best thing to do is have set rules and stick to them. Working together with your husband or wife is VERY important because it shows the kids that you are on the same team.  Not on the same team against your children but working together for your children.

           ~Having three boys all different ages makes it a little harder to have the same set rules for all of them.  What might be good for my 5 year old isn't as great for my 12 year old and vice versa. Sometimes the younger ones will complain that its not fair, but I just try and remind them that they will be older one day also.

-One of the rules we have made for our 12 year old is that he is allowed to be on his ipod from 8-9 if all of his homework, reading and chores are done. The younger ones are in bed so we don't even have to mention it to them.  It has worked out great for me because if he is being mean to his brothers or not listening then I can take him aside and let him know that if it continues the hour will be taken away.  His attitude changes real fast.

~Sometimes we have to change it up, but as long as we establish a new rule and stick with it, then it works out fine. One we have added is they may have 1 Spongebob at bedtime. This was put in effect to keep me from going grey at the young age of 31.  For some reason my boys always get the wildest right at bedtime!  Instead of yelling at them or getting upset I give them 5 minutes to get jammies on and get into bed if they want to watch a show.  If they get out of bed after the show then they lose the show for the next night.  We still have a few nights of chaos but 90% of the time its easy sailing.

         ~My kids are not the only ones who have "NO ELECTRONICS" during the week.  My husband and I decided that we would stay off  when we are with the kids until they go to bed.  My husband compared it to being a drug addict going thru withdrawals.  It was hard at first but the rewards make it all worth it.  Soon the kids will be all moved out and we will have all the time in the world to play and watch mindless electronics.    
~My kids really enjoy watching movies, playing games and apps on their iPods, playing Xbox, watching funny YouTube videos and just about anything else that is electronic and now they can enjoy them without me nagging them to get off......... on the WEEKENDS!  We both win! ~

We here at Sparkly Polliwog want you and your families to spend as much time together as possible. You never know if you will have another day together, so why waste it watching TV!?  LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE <3
With love,
Heather & Brandi  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

McMomald's- Healthy Fast Food

Do your kids LOVE to eat out?  Do you love the quickness and ease of fast food, but don't go very often because of how unhealthy it is?  Do you skip the drive-thru because you and your family are vegetarians?
My answers are YES, YES, and YES!

I used to LOVE hearing my boys get so excited after telling them we were going out to eat. They would all load up in the car with their smiling faces and then fill their little bellies with greasy, delicious, processed, who-knows-what-is-in-there kind of food.  Then to top off the wonderful, "Let's not worry about our health night," they would all bring home every germ from the play area that you could think of.  Not only did we get to buy over-priced junk food with very little nutritional value, but we also got a trip to the doctor's office!  YAY!

Now that we are much more conscious of what we are eating, those days don't happen very often.  After hearing many "Can we please go out to eat mom?" from three boys (whom I have a hard time saying no to), I came up with a new idea......

How awesome is McMOMALD'S?!?!?

My boys asked, "What's for dinner?"  I replied, "McMomald's!"  They all looked at me like I was the weirdest mom in the world.  I just smiled because I knew they were going to LOVE my new fast food restaurant.

To make it fun, I took their dinner order ahead of time.

Do you want a 4 or 6 piece nugget meal?
I used meatless and soy- free Quorn nuggets.  They are made from fungi and oh so delicious!  Definitely the BEST vegetarian nuggets we have had.

What sauce would you like? 
I went to McDonald's and bought dipping sauce for the nuggets for $.25 each.  The first ingredient in the sweet and sour sauce is HFCS, so you might want to make your own.  If you have time, you could try making this recipe:

Do you want fries with that?
Organic, oven cooked, no salt, GMO free, yummy fries.

You don't have to choose between fries and apples at McMomald's! Organic, fresh, bag-free apples are mandatory with every meal.

Would you like milk, water, juice, or ginger ale? 
I found the cutest mini Hansen's Ginger Ale cans at Whole Foods!  I think the boys' favorite part of going out to eat is always the drinks!  These were very fun and the boys LOVED them. You can buy them online HERE for less than $.50 each! 

For here or to go? 
You could pack it in a bag with the McMomald's logo on the front, or serve it on a tray.  I don't remember where we got our trays, but I found some great ones on Amazon: Silver Tray, Green Tray, 6 Pack, 6 Compartment Tray

There are no cheap plastic toys at McMomald's, but every meal comes with a pack of Glee Gum!  My boys can NEVER get enough gum! Glee Gum has no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners.  You can find it here online. 

They loved putting in their order and I LOVED how fun and easy dinner was!

When I was all done filling up the trays (no one wanted their meal "to go"), my middle son yelled out, "Can we have McMomald's EVERY night?"  We wont be having fast food every night, but I think this will be a fun weekly tradition for our family!

We also had a showing of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs at McMomald's tonight!
These are the little things the kids will remember forever. :)


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