You may have noted that mommy-brain moments are slipping on the site lately. I don’t know if I have gotten my act together or I just forget them, they have become so natural in life. Today’s could not be ignored though!I have noticed that a lot of my mommy brain moments happen in the grocery store. There must be something about planning out a week’s worth of food, combined with going into the store and the overwhelming choices. Couple that with kids who usually want to be anywhere but the grocery store, trying to concentrate to make good financial and health choices and…..it all makes for a pretty good time and a grocery store mix up!
I usually plan out my trip to the grocery store first by writing out the meals we would like, writing down any ingredients, and then getting our usual staples. So…standard meal items (i.e. fruit, bread, milk, eggs), plus the stuff that we will be needing for our meals. Sounds good, right? I write everything down in my trusty little notebook, and tear out the sheet with my list as I walk into the store.
Unless…I forgot to take out the previous week’s shopping list, meaning that 2 weeks in a row, I had the same list in my hand. Halfway through the food shopping, I realized, I was buying everything for the old list. Now, some people might stop their shopping, run out to the car, and grab the “right” list…I figured my family didn’t complain the week before, so the same menu was going to be put into play. Who needs diversity in meal planning, right?! So the big test – will my family even notice? My guess is no. I am thinking that this mix up will be the kick that I need to simplify the cooking in my house!
What do you think – is the grocery store the prime place for mix-ups to happen? Do you have a good grocery store story to share????
Hope you are having a mommy-brain moment free week this week!
A couple of weeks ago, I heard from Graze Delivered, to see if I would be interested in testing out their products. I was very interested in hearing more about the company – because when I looked at their website, I could not help but be blown away by the description of what Graze Delivered is…
Graze is a weekly farm-to-fridge online delivery service which brings fresh, wholesome and sustainably produced foods directly from Vermont’s family farms to your front door.
Now it is no secret that I have been loving my local CSA for years…but the potential of receiving food fresh at my door each week, from an amazing selection of foods is overly exciting to me. Yes…food arriving at your front door – just like this:
With my first Graze experience, I was lucky enough to have a sampling of some of both their staple items, as well as their prepared meals. Klinger’s Vermont Maple Oat Walnut Bread, Maple Meadow Farms Cage free Jumbo Eggs (seriously – they are jumbo, about 3x’s the size of my local grocery stores!), Milk, and Yogurt were just some of our “staple items that we enjoyed for the week.. I also tried the one skillet prepared meal and the quinoa salad. The one-skillet meal – Sherwood Farm Turkey Sausage with Primavera Veggies, Parmesan, and Farfelle Pasta, I prepared for my husband and I one night as the kids were eating dinner. The whole meal took 21 minutes to make (as you can see!)…and was, absolutely delicious.
We also experienced the stir fry vegetables, which I served with some of my frozen turkey meatloaf. Having a CSA for years, I am used to fresh veggies. It kills me in the winter months that I am not getting the types of vegetables which I am used it…but this stir fry was perfect. So fresh and absolutely delicious. And EASY to whip up, as everything was ready to go!
Knowing that I had children, I also received some items specifically for my children to enjoy, including the individually packaged lunch meats of both ham and turkey. Check out the labels of these – don’t they say just about everything you would want to see for your children??? Making lunch could not be easier, when you just put one of these packages into the lunch box!
The kids also enjoyed a dinner for the kids – which was chicken and mixed vegetables.
Now…both the skillet meal and the dinner for the kids say that they serve 2. What they didn’t say was that they serve two people, two nights! It was great to have such easy to prepare food, ready to go, two nights during a busy work week.
I was truly thrilled with my Graze experience, and look forward to becoming a customer of theirs…I was really impressed with the ease of ordering, the quality of the food, AND that I had to prepare very little to enjoy some fantastic meals. I wrote to Graze a couple of days into my food testing that the service is a busy mom’s dream!!!
Here is some further information about Graze, which you may enjoy seeing…
Graze currently delivers to Southern Fairfield County, Connecticut, the South Shore of Massachusetts, Eastern Westchester County, New York, and Vermont. They are kicking of service in New Haven, CT and Newport RI.
They have a CSA which you can participate in – this is a great option for people who do not have local CSAs, or do not have the time to pick up their items from a local farm. For more details – click here. Their CSA is all organic, local Vermont Farms, and no overloading of any one item because they work with a co-operative of farms.
And this link goes to Graze’s “come to our zip” sign up page. Graze looks at this every day and combines all the zip requests to determine where they are wanted. Some communities have used this as a “mob” sign up….recently a bunch of people in Hingham, Massachusetts got about 20 people to use the zip link within a few days and Graze is now delivering there! If you are interested in requesting Graze to your community, click here.
You can find more about Graze on their website, or their FaceBook page.
Disclosure: I received the items listed above in exchange for a post, however, all opinions above are my own.
When I asked my little girl what kind of party she wanted to have – her response was “Butterflies!” I didn’t know what to do exactly – a butterfly birthday party – huh?! But, in typical almost 2-year-old fashion, she was not budging.
Our decorations were mostly brightly colored tablecloths, flowers, all types of butterflies…really anything to make us forget that it has still not warmed up yet! One of my favorite decorations to use is potted flowers, mainly because I plant them after the party, and it helps me remember the fun of the day. I planted a pink rose-bush when my daughter was born, so I figured doing the same on her birthday each year (or until my garden is overrun with roses) would be a nice idea. It was also a nice bonus that I put off a lot of my shopping until the week before, so there were many spring items on clearance after Easter!
I tried to keep the games simple! We had about 15 kids, ages ranging 2-6 who would be participating in the activities,
Flower “Pail” decorating: We started off by decorating flower “pails”. I went with pails instead of pots, because…well, the youngest kids were 2…things break. I found a ton of cute stickers with varying themes – flowers, little critters, sports, jewels, and more. I found the pails at Joann’s, and picked out varying colors of blue, red, green, and pink.
Put the Spots on the Butterfly: We are big fans of “pinning” type games – mainly because, again, kids of all ages can do them, and its a nice little game that the kids usually enjoy playing. I found a butterfly template online, and put a butterfly together fairly easily. I then was lazy super efficient and found Martha Stewart circle label stickers at Michaels. I wrote each of the children’s names on the stickers, and they were able to put them right on the butterfly. I did not use a blindfold because the kids were so young, but they all closed their eyes, and made it on to the butterfly! It came out really cute!
Music Mandy: My little girl LOVES music, dancing, singing, and pretty much, being as active as possible…so, the perfect party entertainment was Music Mandy. Mandy is a local mom to three who is an unbelieveably talented singer and guitar player. She had the kids laughing, singing, and moving for a full 40 minutes. Such a blast, and if you are in the area, I highly recommend following her on FaceBook to see where she is playing locally in Fairfield County, CT, or hiring her for your own kids party.
Dirt and Seeds: We had to fill those flowerpot pails with something, and I wasn’t about to get too dirty at the party!
Obviously they have some yummy snacks included, but I went for some dirt! Here is my version of the goodie bag items, with the pail that went home with our party guests:
I heard from some of our guests after the party, and they said their little ones were anxiously awaiting the growing of their seeds…so fun!
Personalized Buckets: Our favors went into these personalized bucket/shovels (picked up at Michaels), which I had personalized by Me, Myself, and Mine, which is a local CT company. Her items can be found on FaceBook.
My friend Eva over at My Sleeping Beauty does a variation of these as well. She can be found on Etsy and Facebook as well.
Lastly – what is a party without food!?!? Being that the party was at 3, I went for appetizers and cupcakes. I also went a little cheesy and named the dishes after kinds of butterflies. Why not, right? If you decide to do a similar idea, you can use this site for butterfly names.
So we had:
Purple Emperor Pink Lemonade
Monarch Mac and Cheese Bites (it’s not a party at my house without them)
Clouded Yellow Caprese Bites (fancy for….grape tomatoes and mozzarella on a toothpick)
Violet Copper Veggie Platter
For dessert, I made cupcakes which had pink, purple, yellow, and green frosting, and were decorated with little flowers, and there were butterflies on the platter.
And…in perfect MMB fashion, I made a butterfly fruit salad with a strawberry marshmallow fruit dip (Recipe from Taste of Home). The fruit salad looked adorable…BUT….I found it in my fridge after the party, so none of the guests got to enjoy it. I am just lucky that I at least got a picture of it, because I was showing it to a friend who was unable to make it to the party. So…for my readers who were also at the party…here is what you missed
All in all, my little two year old had a fabulous time, and loved every bit of her butterfly birthday party! We had such a fun day, and it was definitely a memorable party!
I received a reader question the other week, which I would love to throw out there for your suggestions…“I am 9 weeks pregnant, and will be sharing my news at work shortly – do you have any suggestions on revealing your pregnancy at work? Any tips for my conversation with my manager?”
After going through this now, um, three times…here is some of my advice…
Know what you are entitled to, both during your pregnancy and maternity leave. As an example, my company gives off some time prior to the due date of the baby, we also have a paid maternity leave, as well as FMLA. I looked all of this up prior to my conversation with my manager, so that I could share the information, or at least, point them in the right direction.
Be aware of the team deadlines that are coming up, and how your leave may affect those deadlines. Talk to your team about the deadlines and your inputs as much as possible prior to your leave. If you travel, give a “drop dead” date that your travel will have to stop. As someone who had to fib her way out of Poland because their recommended flying periods are different…I highly recommend being aware of this before getting on a plane
Remind your manager of your timing…if needed, frequently. While we are aware of how many months, weeks, and at times, minutes pregnant we are at any given time, not everyone else is! Especially if your boss is in a different location from you, they may have a hard time remembering that your due date is approaching. I didn’t comprehend this until I saw my boss from my first pregnancy in person…and said – “whoa, I didn’t realize how close we were getting to your leave!”
Be prepared for not everyone having a positive reaction. You are jumping off the walls with excitement, your family is happy for you, your friends can’t wait for your bundle of joy to arrive…but at work, well, chances are, someone else is going to have to do what you usually do. Especially in the current economic times, it is more often that someone will take over your responsibilities, as opposed to someone being hired temporarily to do your job. Good planning will help to ensure that there is smooth sailing in relationships with your colleagues!
Here is a little snapshot of how my conversations went….
“I am excited to share that I am expecting. I am currently 12 weeks along, due in XX. I know that we have a lot going on right now within the team, so I wanted to be sure to tell you the news as soon as possible, and as well as the potential timeline.
While things are sometimes unexpected, I am expecting that I will be able to travel internationally until X, and domestically until X. I will most likely go out on leave starting XX as we have a policy that gives time off before the baby is born. If all goes according to plan, I will be back when my 16 week maternity leave is up, on XX. There is obviously a lot that will be going on during my leave, so I will be sure to share with you a list of my responsibilities, and am happy to talk through everything as much as is needed prior to my leave.”
Of course that is a bit concise…but it covers the main points of the conversation!
For the most part, all of my news sharing went extremely well, and my managers were all extremely happy for me, and were happy to work with me to address any time off, shift of responsibilities, etc. I know that not everyone is that lucky though!
What advice do you have for the reader momma to be?
Yesterday, so many people were rocked to their core by the events in Boston. Pictures, stories, and videos seem to be everywhere. We continue to wait and hear whythis happened.
Last night on the MMB FaceBook page I posted:
“It’s the kind of night that bedtime hugs and kisses last a little longer than usual, that you can’t resist going in just to stare at the miracles God has blessed you with one more time, and that parents go to bed praying that our children will be the force of good that overcomes whatever evil is out there.”
Once again, as a parent, I felt helpless. Not only could I not get information about what was going on as I was trying to shield my children from the images on the screen, or hearing the word “Boston” connected to tragedy, as my husband’s family all lives in the area and they would, to put it mildly, freak…but I felt helpless because I don’t know what kind of world I am raising my kids in. Are we really living in a world where when an elite group of runners are accomplishing a unbelievable feat, there is a bomb that goes off? Or one where children are killed in their classroom?
Unfortunately – that is the world we are in. We don’t know if, when and where there will be another attack in our country. We don’t know if there is someone who is wishing evil so vehemently on us. We don’t know what causes that kind of hate, or destructive behavior.
But here is what I do know….as parents, we can make sure that in the face of tragedy – we make sure that not only our children see the good, but we teach them to bethe good in the future. We teach them kindness, compassion, and strength. Obviously, the best way to teach this is by demonstrating those characteristics in ourselves…but how else can we do this as parents?
Last month, I shared one of MMB’s “Real Moms”. She talked about teaching her kids social responsibility, and asking them every night what they did kind for someone else. I started putting this practice into play in my house. After prayers every night, we ask, “What did you do that was kind for someone else today?”
At 4 and 2, the answers started off shaky (and they continue to be for my 2-year-old!)…but in addition to asking the kids, my husband and I have to answer the question as well. It is embarrassing as a mom to stand there and say to my child that the nicest thing I did that day was hold the door open for someone else. As a family, we have challenged ourselves to do more kind things for others, every day.
My son who started with “I let my sister sit next to me while I ate dinner” has changed into giving answers like – “when the boys were picking on one of the girls on the playground at school, I told them to leave her alone, and I played with her.” His answers are developing, and we know that he is becoming more aware of being kind to others. My greatest hope is that building awareness at a young age will mean that in times of tragedy, my kids will be helpers. They will be the ones running to help others in need. They will carry an injured person to safety. They will be the teacher that shields their students. They will be the one who stops and asks someone “how are you?”, and means it.
Unfortunately, I know that there will be tragedy to come…but I also know that as long as we promote good in our children, love will always win.
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