Being a parent isn't easy. When you combine working and parenting, it's downright difficult. After working a full day, you have to come home, cook, clean and spend quality time with the kids, all while hoping to get some sleep that night.

My blog will provide encouragement, information, and hopefully a few laughs to support working parents (myself included). Sign up with your email address if you'd like to get that encouragement and information directly in your inbox!

**This blog is very new so check back often (or subscribe by email) as I add more information.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Easy chocolate pudding recipe

Our 3 year old insisted on making chocolate pudding for Santa instead of cookies this year. I found an easy, delicious recipe for Chocolate Cornstarch Pudding on I highly recommend it!

I love easy recipes I can quickly make from scratch with ingredients I always have on hand!

The 'baby illusion'

My younger son is 4 months old today. I remember when I first saw our older son after the baby was born. He looked huge! I attributed it to the fact that the baby made him look big but there is some research that suggests there is more to it.

In this Today Mom article, they reference a study from the journal Current Biology. Based on their findings, it seems that moms are actually estimating their youngest (or only) child to be smaller than he/she really is. Estimates of older children are more accurate.

I thought this was very interesting. What do you think?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Seeing the world through 3 year old eyes - the first snow

I love 3 year olds. They're old enough to have great conversations but young enough that they don't yet care what others think of them.

We recently attended the kick off to our town's Festival of Lights. They lit the town Christmas tree and decorations and Santa visited. This event happened to be the evening of our first significant snow fall this winter.

My 3 year old and I bundled up and trudged through the snow. Well, I trudged, he bounded. He couldn't have been happier. What is better than playing in snow for the first time in months under the glow of lights while Christmas music is being played over speakers for everyone to enjoy? Not much, unless you're 3. Then snow angels make all of that even better. 

When you're 3 and you have endless amounts of untouched snow, you must fall backward every chance you get. After all, enjoying the lights while looking up from under a tree is something most people don't have the creativity to try. It's been years and years since I threw myself backward into a pile of fresh snow and looked up to enjoy the view.

Not one person walked past my son without smiling that night. He couldn't contain his excitement. I have no idea how many snow angels were left behind when we headed home. It was a lot, though.

I picture people walking through and smiling at all of the snow angels. I know I did. What a wonderful reminder to enjoy the beauty of everyday things and take the opportunity to have fun without caring about who's watching.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sick time

The dreaded stomach flu is ravaging our child care center. Children and staff are out sick in huge numbers. 

I would love to keep my kids home with me until it passes but I do not have a lot of time off left after being on maternity leave. At this point, they've already been exposed so all I can do is wait snd hope they can avoid getting sick. 

It's so difficult to be in this situation. Every time my phone rings during the day I panic, worried it's the dreaded, "come get your kid because he just puked" call. 

I know that they'll be sick a lot less when they reach elementary school because they're exposed to it now, but it's still frustrating. It leaves me feeling terribly guilty to drop them off each day, knowing that many of the people around them have been sick. 

I guess we'll just have to keep washing our hands and sanitizing everything. 

I'm sure this won't be the last such instance of illness going through the school, I just hope I have more sick time saved before the next one. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tator Tot Casserole

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (separated)
  • 1 bag tator tots
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Brown the ground beef. Drain and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter over medium low heat.
  4. Add the flour to the butter and stir until a paste is formed.
  5. Add milk and stir until blended. Cook until the sauce is thickened. Add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
  6. Mix the ground beef and cheese mixture and spread into the bottom of an 8x8 inch pan.
  7. Spread the remaining cup of cheese over the meat.
  8. Arrange the tator tots across the top of the cheese.
  9. Bake 25-30 minutes or until tator tots are crisp and cheese is melted and bubbly.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I don't have all the answers but I can tell you what works for me

Most people who spend much time with me have probably noticed that I'm a little "type A" and a little granola. These two personality traits are an interesting combination that helps me to (try to) stay organized while embracing the chaos of my life.

I've been told that I run a "tight ship" around the house, although you couldn't tell by looking at it most days.

Here are some of the things that work for me.
  1. Make a weekly menu and make sure you buy everything you need to make those items through the week. I actually write down the menu and post it on the refrigerator. That way, my husband can start cooking if I'm busy and he can't say he didn't know what to make. I schedule some foods that would go right from the freezer to the oven/crock pot. That way, nothing goes to waste if we have an unplanned dinner out - it just stays in the freezer.
  2. Two words: Crock Pot. Nothing makes me happier than throwing in a few ingredients in the morning and coming home to a cooked meal. (It feels a little like you have a personal chef.)
  3. If you're cooking anything that can be frozen, double it and freeze half. I cook most things from scratch so this saves me time on nights that are a little more hectic. You do have to plan ahead and thaw the food in the refrigerator the night before. That's another reason the menu comes in handy.
  4. Do what you can to get ready for the next day the night before. I like to sit down and eat breakfast with my 3 year old and I'm not good at rushing. That means I need to be organized in the morning. (Because I don't want to get up any earlier than I already do!)
  5. Let your children help you. Many times you'll find my 3 year old cleaning/cooking with me while I wear the baby in my Boba wrap. It might take me a little longer, but I'm actually killing two birds with one stone - getting some necessary tasks done while spending quality time with the kids. I've also taught my 3 year old how to sort laundry. Another chance to spend time together while reinforcing colors, etc. (I'm pretty proud of that one.)
  6. Use the tv to your advantage. If you know me, you know I have a child development background. Before my second son was born, I was not a big fan of tv for children. Before my first was born, I swore my children would not watch tv. Things change... I allow my 3 year old to watch age appropriate shows while I'm busy doing other things. He doesn't watch them all day and it keeps him occupied (a.k.a. keeps him out of trouble). I enjoy watching tv once in awhile, too. It's really not the worst thing in the world. (Trust me, I've read many studies on it.) 
  7. Tackle laundry one load at a time. If you do one load each night, you'll never spend an entire day chained to the washer and dryer. I also have a system in the laundry room to keep me organized. Everyone has a basket where their folded clothes go. I also have a double bar where I hang clothes. I fold or hang the clothes as I pull them out of the dryer so they never sit in a basket getting wrinkly only to be thrown in the dryer again later. I do have to admit, our laundry room looks like a closet because I don't have time to carry the clothes upstairs very often, but at least they're clean and organized.
  8. Make sure things are where you need them and everything has a place. Here are some examples - I have two diaper changing areas set up in my house: one upstairs, one downstairs. Our living room end tables have doors: one has books, one has toys. Our son can play there but once things are put away it still looks like an adult space.
  9. Make lists. My husband and I have an app on our phones that allows us to create shopping lists that can be accessed by either of us. We also keep a running list of things we need. If we use the last of something, it goes on the list right away. That way, we're not trying to remember everything once we get to the store.
  10. Keep a calendar. The app I mentioned above also has a calendar feature. You can even color code appointments for different people (which I love). We can set up reminders that come as texts and emails. I also share our appointments so they can be saved on our work calendars. That way, we never forget to take time off when we need to.
Basically, I've tried to create a system for major tasks that need to be completed. I am not rigid about sticking to it everyday but I think that is why it works for me.

Feel free to share what works for you. I'm always looking new for ways to stay organized.

Staying connected during the day

I am very lucky. Not only do I work from home, I live a mile from our child care center. Most days, I am able to stop by on my lunch break to feed the baby and then sit with our preschooler while he eats.

This isn't the case for everyone, so here's an article from with some ideas, Feeling the Working Mom Guilt? Here's How to Stay Connected to Your Kid During the Day.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I love you when you're angry, I love you when I'm angry

It's easy to get weighed down by the chaos and lack of sleep when you're a working parent. Sometimes I get frustrated and do not react as I would when I'm thinking clearly.

It is very important to me, though, that my children know I love them even when I am frustrated and angry. I also want them to know that I love them when they are frustrated and angry.

When my 3 year old is having a particularly rough time, I remind him of this. I'll tell him, "I love you when you're angry, sad or frustrated. I love you no matter what." When I'm in a bad mood, I'll remind him that I am frustrated at that but I love him no matter what.

I've found that having these discussions helps him to deal with situations better. Who doesn't feel better knowing they're loved no matter what?

I've also discovered that he can talk about his feelings easier. He has words for different emotions and feelings.

That helps us all to be able to work through situations that might bring out those feelings.

I hope my children know every day that they are loved and I will support them no matter what.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Easy crock pot white chicken chili


·         2 frozen chicken breasts
·         2 cans of white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed
·         1 bag of white corn
·         1 cup chicken bouillon
·         1 can cream of chicken soup
·         ¼ cup taco seasoning
·         ¼ cup sour cream
·         Shredded cheese


1.       Put chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock pot.

2.       Pour beans and corn on top.

3.       In a small bowl, mix bouillon, soup, and taco seasoning. Pour mixture over ingredients in crock pot. (Stirring not necessary.)

4.       Cook on high at 4 hours. Take out chicken and shred with two forks. Put chicken back in and mix, along with sour cream.

5.       Add cheese to taste (in individual bowls).

Friday, December 6, 2013

Quick, easy homemade keepsake ornamants

If you're like me, you have a Pinterest board full of cute craft ideas but aren't sure when you'll have time to do them. Here is a holiday keepsake ornament tradition I started last year.

Buy a clear ornament and add your child's wish list with the year. It's as simple as that!

There's no mess and they're sure to be treasured in the future!

Finding time for exercise

As a parent of two young children, I struggle to find time for exercise. I know how much better it makes me feel, so I really try to exercise as often as possible.

Bright Horizons Family Solutions offers suggestions for Exercise and the Working Parent.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What does forgive mean?

Lately we've been having a lot of discussions with our 3 year old about being honest.

Today, while I was sorting laundry, he came running into the room and stood and looked at me. I stopped what I was doing to see what he needed. 

After a bit of a pause he said, "I broke the frame with the picture of me and dad when I was a baby. I stored the pieces under my bed." Then, with big eyes he looked at me and said, "mom, what does forgive mean?" 

I have to give him credit for throwing that last statement in there. He knows I'm a softy and that would ensure he wouldn't get in too much trouble. 

I know he had put some thought into whether or not he should say anything. You don't hide a broken frame under your bed if you planned on accepting responsibility from the beginning. 

He recently ripped one of his wall decals while trying to move it. I found it wrinkled up in his closet afterward. We had a long talk about how being honest is a better way to go; that you'll usually end up in less trouble for something than if you lie about it first. I'm glad he decided to fess up about the frame. 

I asked him to go under his bed to collect the pieces. While he was under there, he said, "mom, aren't you glad I was honest?" He really does know exactly what to say to me. 

We sat down and talked about what happened. I thanked him for honest and told him he needed to be more careful. 

He and I have also been having discussions about how his actions affect other people. I told him that, because he was not careful (he was jumping on his bed and knocked the frame off his nightstand), he no longer had a picture of him and dad in his room. I also told him I was disappointed because it was a special frame I picked out before he was born. He apologized again. 

I know he knew what forgive meant when he asked, and I'm sure he was trying to ensure I didn't get too upset about the frame, but I hope he also learned something from my example. 

I hope that he continues to let us know when he makes mistakes, big or small, so that we can help him learn from them. Someday we won't be right there to provide guidance. I hope these lessons stick with him. 

Seven reasons I won't lose to my 3 year old on purpose

Last night, my 3 year old son and I were playing board games. He would occasionally try to choose cards that would put him in a better position to win, even though they were not at the top of the draw pile. I called him out on it every time.

I know many parents who purposely let their children win when playing games. After all, it's just a game, right? I will never be one of those parents. Here's why:
  1. I want my child to learn to try his hardest at all times. I want him to understand that life is not always easy but that does not mean you do not try your best at everything you do.
  2. I do not want my child to think he deserves to win every time. As much as I want my child to be happy, I also want him to learn that life is not always fair and even when we try our hardest, we don't always win.
  3. I want my child to learn to how to handle his emotions when he loses. It is frustrating when you don't win and he needs to know how to handle that frustration.
  4. It is important that my child understand how it feels to lose. That way he'll be more considerate of others when he wins.
  5. It's not honest. If I allow my child to be dishonest with something as minor as a board game, he will think it is acceptable when something more serious comes along.
  6. I want my child to be an adult with integrity. You don't earn respect by taking the easy way out.
  7. I want my child to understand the joy of earning his own victories. That will go a long way toward teaching him to be a hard-working adult.

Salt in the microwave

Yesterday, my husband opened the microwave and the salt shaker was inside. He was surprised, but I was relieved. I had been looking for that and was going crazy wondering where it went after I used it at dinner the night before.

That just about sums up how tired I am. It's been months since I've had any significant sleep or slept for more than three hours in a stretch. I have given up on catching up with the DVR. I would choose sleeping over eating right now. And I love eating.

I am so tired that I actually did a Google search recently to see if you could die of exhaustion. (It turns out that it is possible, although unlikely. You have a good chance of becoming delirious, though, which explains a lot.)

To my baby on your first day of child care

I hope today hasn't been too hard on you, it has been very hard on me. You've been with me almost every minute of your life so far and right now I feel like I'm not entirely whole without you. I feel like I've left part of me behind.

I know you'll have fun and make friends. I will be at all of your parties and special events. I will stop by often and your teachers will know me well. I already called to check on you. I'm glad you took a nap and had a chance to play.

Please don't think we made this decision lightly. We did our research and made sure that you have the best care possible. We have spent time there and will continue to in order to make sure you're happy and cared for.

There will be people who judge us for putting you in child care. They might say that I don't love you or shouldn't have had you if I didn't want to parent full time. They are wrong.

The truth is, I love you more than anything and being a working mom does not make me less of a parent. I promise you that our time together will be full of love. We will play and read and cuddle and I will be present.

I love you.

Benefits of child care

Sending your children to child care is difficult, even when you're confident that it is a good setting. My infant son just started going to child care this week and the guilt is overwhelming at times. I have told my husband I needed to quit my job more than once.

It's always refreshing to read research that backs our decisions. I recently came across the Fox News article, "6 ways daycare is healthy for kids--and moms too". While not all of the reasons are relevant to me, there are some that really help me feel better.

My older son is 3 years old and has been in child care since he was an infant. I have watched him grow and learn and make great friends. I know that he is benefitting from being in quality child care.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Choosing Quality Child Care

It is hard to think about being away from your children all day, so it is important that you're comfortable with your child care arrangement.

Fortunately there are resources to help.

Child Care Aware has tools for parents to know what to look for when choosing child care. You can also contact them for a referral.

If you'd like to learn more about choosing quality child care, check out their publication, "Is this the Right Place for my Child? 38 Research-Based Indicators of Quality Child Care".

When you're comfortable with your child care arrangement, your child will be as well.