I don’t know where the heck the last couple of weeks went, but this week, I am officially hitting the halfway mark of my pregnancy. My morning/all day sickness has subsided, the baby bump is growing, and well, $hit is starting to get real around here…our family of 5 is a reality. With week 20′s arrival, comes the big question..perfect for today’s manic Monday – do you find out the baby’s gender???
I am guessing that my usual readers know I am a bit of a planner. Despite my “slight” absent-mindedness, pretty much, most things in my life are well thought out.
Knowing that fact, everyone is a bit surprised to learn that with my kids, we usually go the “surprise” route. While this is definitely more of my husband’s influence, I have to say, I have loved being surprised – going through the months of “wondering” and having my husband be the first to tell me if it’s a boy or a girl has been incredibly special to me. For lack of being completely cheesy – it seems like the you are waking up on Christmas morning, and getting the best present that you could ask for….
Our nursery was painted green, and I had a boy and girl’s nursery designed both times – meaning the links to all products were saved in a spreadsheet on my computer, etsy sellers were “favorited”, and everything was ordered within a day or 2 of the baby’s birth, and the baby’s nursery was decorated within a couple week’s after we arrived home. We also had a couple of names picked out for both boys and girls, so we were set.
This time, I am feeling a little more practical though – I have a boy and a girl and I am ready to clear stuff out of my house!!! When I was at my 16 week appointment I had an ultrasound – my doctor told me he could tell me then what we were having, I was majorly tempted to scream out “tell me, dammit!” but I knew that my husband would be incredibly disappointed with me, especially as I was on my own at the appointment! I know that the question is going to come again this week…I am going to be bringing my son with me, and he is dying to know as well. In fact…it doesn’t help that there are 6 other moms in his class who are all due this summer, and 5 of them have found out what they are having.
Ahhhh….what to do?!!?
Did you find out, or leave it to as a surprise? Would you do it differently if you had the chance to go back in time?
Continuing on my fruit theme from the last couple weeks, this week we are up to Apple Muffins. I promise next Costco trip to limit my fruit purchases, and add some variety to my recipe ingredients! Like last week’s strawberry bread, this Apple Muffin Recipe came from my family cookbook, and was provided by my grandmother.
As a side note – the family cookbook was put together several years ago by my mom for Christmas. She reached out to my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents and asked them to share their recipes. The recipes were all collected in a binder, with pictures, old and new. It is how I got my hands on some of the recipes I have loved my whole life, and love that they are in book that I can pass down to my kids, if they want someday.
Ok…back to the Apple Muffins! Hope you enjoy this one….it is such a simple recipe, and although the best apples are found in the fall, it is certainly a fruit you can find year round at your fingertips in your closest grocery store. This is another playdate snack favorite, breakfast goodie, or, in my case, a breakfast I am happy to eat on the train!
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
2 apples, pared, grated
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together; mix the liquid ingredients in a separate bowl (include the grated apple with the liquid ingredients).
3. Mix all ingredients together, place in cupcake papers, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Either enjoy immediately, or place in a freezer friendly bag to enjoy at a later time. When reheating, you can just put in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
Time for another Celebrating Mom’s Thursday, with another amazing Real Mom. One of my favorite parts of this series is hearing from mom’s about their day, how they make things work, but most importantly, how you hear the pure love and admiration for their own role as mothers (or in this case, mums!). Here is today’s “Real Mom”…
Mom Q & A
Occupation? Retail manager of a women’s clothing boutique.
How many children do you have? What are their ages? One son, who is six 1/2
How many days a week/typical hours do you work? I work five days a week..Mon thru Friday. Typically 40 hours a week.
Do your children attend school/day care? If so, what type? He attends elementary school and an afterschool program
Describe your typical weekday… I get up at about 6:30am and check my emails etc over coffee and breakfast. My son likes to wake up, get dressed and ‘surprise’ me…it’s a fun game we play and a huge help to the timing in the am! He usually awakes anytime between 7 and 730…seldom do I have to wake him! He has his breakfast whilst I get his lunch ready. This is also my time to either get ready for a run, shower, do some cleaning or just have some snuggle time! After putting him on the bus at 8:10 I go for a quick run, shower and fly to work…with a pit stop at Dunkin!! I have to be at the store for 9:30 am and usually work straight through till 5…my hours should be till 6 but because I have to pick my son up at his afterschool program before 6 my boss makes an exception for me! This doesn’t always work out, if there are staff issues I have to find an alternative plan. On snow days I’m fortunate enough that I can bring my son to work, its challenging to have both Manager and Mom heads on at the same time but doable and he loves it!
After pick up, in the winter, we go home, have dinner and do our homework and spellings. If it’s not a bath night we usually watch TV together or play a board game… right now our favorites are Trouble, battleships and Othello!! In the summer we often eat outside at the park or the pool…and either swim, play ball or go for a bike ride. At 7:30 he puts on his pjs, washes up, brushes teeth and we lay in his bed for book time.
This is our time to talk about our favourite time of the day; did we do something kind today? ..things that worry us or any deeper conversations. Ending with Prayers and the’ You are my Sunshine’ song the bedtime routine is over! My son is a very good sleeper, he usually sings or talks to himself for 20 minutes and then he’s out! About once or twice a month he asks to sleep in my bed and I pretty much always say yes. I know one day he’ll laugh at the idea!
I normally spend the next hour talking to friends or on the laptop, facebook, etc. Sometimes I have orders to write/ review for work…or I clean, do laundry, get stuff ready for the next day etc. By 9 I’m ready to stop and zone out in front of the telly! Typically sleeping anytime between 10/11.
What is your biggest daily struggle? How do you cope with it? I constantly worry and second guess my parenting skills. I have permanent guilt that all of our family is in England….especially on Holidays. My heart breaks for him when I can’t explain why his Daddy doesn’t want to see him…. Being both parents….I often worry I’m being to “hard” but I fear him becoming a “softie”/ Mamma’s boy/ wuss etc if I don’t provide strong discipline…Not owning a home and providing that stability, having to move every year..Finances.. .and I feel like crap daily that I can’t give my son a dog because we live in a small apartment …not yelling…not taking out my personal issues or moods on my son…these are every day struggles, how do I cope? Wine! Not alone there, ah, what would we do without wine?!
What is your secret for finding a healthy balance between all of your responsibilities as a mother? Healthy balance??? Kidding… running outside gives me a chance to be free, for that brief time I don’t have to worry about my next move, I can let go of my stress or have the time to clearly contemplate something… it makes me a better Mommy.
What is your least favorite household “chore” and why? Cooking…is that even a chore?! I love to clean and organize, love to do laundry, love to grocery shop, love to bake…HATE to cook!!! Why? Hmmm… dunno, maybe intimidated by it, no one taught me how, silly to cook for just us..not sure why! AH!!! This kills me!! I see Freezer Friday meals in your future
What is your favorite mommy moment? My son leaves me notes everywhere telling me I’m the best mummy, etc…and he writes Mummy with a ‘u’ on purpose because he knows that’s how we spell it in England Isn’t this the sweetest?! Absolutely love this!
What is the one thing about your children that worries you and keeps you up at night? Ugh, really? I get emotional just thinking about it… What happens to my son if I die. The State would give him to his father and without details, trust me when I tell you that that’s not good.
What is your biggest indulgence/thing that you do for yourself? Hire a babysitter and go out! It could be a date or with my girlfriends or sometimes just to go for a loooooong run!
What celebrity mom/child would you want to have a play-date with and why? Honestly, Justin Bieber and his mom was the first duo that came to mind. My son would LOVE to hang out with him..probably sing along with him in the studio whilst I chatted with his mom. She was a single parent also. I know that was probably not the scenario you were looking for! (Maybe not…but it was perfect!!!)
What is one piece of advice that you would pass on to other moms? Tell your child/children you love them every day. Hug them all the time. Expose them to as much fun stuff as you can, and do it with them! Take photos of you with your kids…my mum died when I was 13 and I really wish I had a photo of us together. Read to them every day. Pick your battles. Get advice from all sources, I’m constantly seeking advice and opinions. Structure… it works great for our lifestyle. Be Thankful every day that you have these little miracles we call kids! Woops…you asked for just one piece of advice, sorry!!! I may have just asked for one….but I am loving all of these!!!
I hope you enjoyed today’s “Real Mom” – I loved her insight and honesty.
If you are interested in being featured as a real mom, or know someone who would be perfect for the site, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The other week, my kids and I went on an adventure to Marco Island, Florida, to meet up with some family. I have to say, I was a bit scared to take this trip. Whenever I mentioned to people I was getting on a plane with a 4-year-old and almost 2-year-old, they looked at me like I was bonkers. I started to think, maybe I was. With the help of lots of snacks, coloring books, movies, and the 18 month old baby who was screaming crying behind us, that made my kids look like little angels, the plane ride was surprisingly smooth. I have heard a lot of great things about Marco Island and wanted to share our experiences with you – especially activities for kids on Marco Island. Even though the weather did not cooperate with us, and it was MUCH chillier than I both hoped for and expected, we were outside a ton, and the kids and I had a blast.
This beach is gorgeous. Beautiful white sand (which my CT born son kept saying looked like snow!), beautiful shells, and tons of space made this the perfect place for us to hit. We went one evening to watch the sunset and spent some more afternoons just playing in the sand.
We drove about 25 minutes from Marco Island to Naples to visit the Naples Zoo. We are big animal lovers, and I found that there were so many unique exhibits at the zoo which made it a truly unique zoo experience. We got up close and personal with a lot of animals as you can see in the pictures! To be honest…the closeness freaked my kids out a bit in some cases! Some of my favorite features were having the chance to hand feed giraffes, take a boat tour where you saw primates living on various islands, and a funny, engaging Safari Show, where you saw the animals extremely close up!
The Rookery Bay focuses on sea-life from Southwest Florida. the learning center is great, and my kids had a ton of fun there both learning, and playing. They had a fun pretend boat that the kids could drive, and collect various animals, a reading/dress up center, in addition to lots of fish, a touch tank, and spots where the kids could get a closer look at the animals. You can see my little scientist here…
After visiting the learning center, we took a walk on their path outside. It was a nice little walk, and perfect for burning off some more energy!
This park and community center puts to shame pretty much any park I have ever visited. Adult and kid basketball courts, a lake that hosts remote control sailboat racing competitions, a splash park and wait for it…a playground that is the shape of a massive pirate ship…my kids were in absolute heaven. On our final afternoon when I asked them if they wanted to go to the beach or the playground, they said the playground! There were several concerts, kids classes, etc. offered here as well. Definitely a must hit if you are looking for activities for kids on Marco Island!
What’s vacation without good food, right??? I love visiting restaurants, and heard great things about the food at Mango’s. When I looked up the restaurant menu, I did not see a children’s menu. I was a bit hesitant to go based on that (usually no kids menu = not kid friendly), but I packed some of our plane entertainment, extra snacks, and figured we would try it out. I could not have been more wrong about this place…not only did they have a kids menu, but they immediately brought us crayons, had amazing fish tanks around the restaurant that the kids were captivated by, AND magnetic fishing poles set up for the kids near their gorgeous waterfall, so that they kids could “fish” until their food came. It was an awesome meal, great service (especially loved that the waitress asked me when I would like my kids food to be brought out…biggest pet peeve is when they just bring the kids food early!), and we were all entertained. And while I did not get to indulge in their amazing looking drinks, their Mango Iced Tea was a big hit with me!
On a sidenote…I was fascinated by the many protected habitats for the burrowing owls around Marco Island. Once a burrowing owl hole is found, you cannot build on the property. These owls have some of the best real estate, right on the canals, next to beautiful homes, it’s amazing! We took frequent trips to visit the owls near where we were staying, and here is a glimpse of one of the little guys!
I know that we are always looking to find great kid-friendly vacation spots. I highly recommend Marco Island for your next trip – as you can tell, there are a TON of Activities for kids on Marco Island…and all great for the adults as well!
Have you been to Marco Island? Did I miss any hot spots? What are your favorite family friendly vacation spots??
When my daughter was born, my friend Jen (mom to 3 girls) put a note in a congratulations card, which said – “as a mom to a little girl, your wallet will be lighter, but your heart will be full.”
Well, 2 years later, I can tell you, that card was absolutely correct. Headbands, tutus, American Girls…there are no equivalents for little boys! A couple of weeks ago, I was scanning my FaceBook news feed, and a picture of a friend’s daughter caught my eye..and that saying rang true in my mind once again!
Not only was the little girl in the picture adorable…but the headband she was wearing…well….my daughter had to have it! I quickly found out the name of the company and placed an order. After emailing with the amazingly talented owner and creator of Hops and Hoots, I am thrilled to share these great products and an even better deal with MMB readers. Visit the Hops and Hoots FB page, and select your items – there are several styles, and TONS of fabrics. Every order is handmade/custom-made, so you can design what suits your taste. By mentioning MMB within your order, you will receive 1 item free with the purchase of 2 items.
Here are some of my favorites, but seriously, check out her page…she is always adding new goodies!
Knot Bow Headbands ($5 or 5 for $20)
Boho Braided Headband (Boho Braided Headband $5 each, Boho Braided Headband with little pointed flower $7 each)
Pointed and Rounded Flower Clips ($12)
Are you as in love with these as I am?! So much fun!! Let me know what you think of this find!
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