‘Twas the Night Before Holiday Mini’s

‘Twas the night before our Holiday minis

when all through the house

Mom was running around like crazy

no help from her spouse.


Cutting tags, prepping outfits, were we matching too much?

With bags under her eyes mom knew she’d need lots of retouch.


The kids were nestled all snug in their beds,

mom ironed and hung clothes in hues of black, white, and reds.


Mom got spray tanned and polished, her hair freshly cut;

was it too late to get the fat, sucked out of her gut?

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I Am Thankful; Gratitude Activities for Children

In such a fast-paced, media driven, Amazon prime(d) and ready world, I find it somewhat challenging to teach my children how to be grateful.  Do they know or understand how good they have it?  Probably not.  I’m not even sure it’s a concept they can grasp yet, but none-the-less, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and gratitude I’m going to try.

And to be completely frank, I don’t just do these activities for my kids.  I can get into a habit of whining and complaining and not realizing how good I have it.  (And bonus these activities force my husband to throw a few “thank you babe”(s) my way so win-win!)

Here are my favorite activities for this month:

  1.  Harvest Thankful Tree (from your favorite place – you guessed it, Target!) –  I keep this tree as our centerpiece in November and every night during dinner we add a new leaf or acorn to the tree.  Even though only 1 word gets added each night, the process opens up some heart warming (and often funny) discussions on why we’re thankful for these things. *Note:  If you can’t find in your local store, check the dollar section for a simpler option.
  2. The Gratitude Game from Teachbesideme.com – This is one of my favorite websites for educational ideas!  I use colored popsicle sticks and leave the tin on my son’s nightstand.  At bedtime after books, we pull one stick and then pray about that specific person/place/food/thing that we’re thankful for.
  3. ‘Thank You’ cards – Call me old fashioned, but I love me some snail mail.  On Sundays, in between football games and during my daughter’s nap, my son and I write out thank you cards.  I raid Target’s dollar section for stamps, stickers, and cards (8 for $1!), and we spend about 30 minutes decorating and writing cards.  There’s no rules; he can dictate to me what to write or simply decorate and sign his name.  We talk about how important it is to tell someone how thankful you are for them while you have the opportunity to do so.  And don’t forget the troops!
  4. Acts of Kindness Jar – I’m not super crafty so I’m sure you could make this into something more creative (like this cookie jar idea), but here’s the plan; write down your favorite acts of kindness from our list and put them in a {mason} jar.  Each morning before you leave for school, have your child pick 1 and focus on accomplishing it during the day.  Bonus – you could do it too (and some you will have to ;-))

*Choose from this list:

  • Give a compliment to a friend.  (Use this one multiple times!)
  • Pick up litter in your neighborhood or community park.
  • Bring coffee or a bagel for your teacher.
  • Call a long distance relative and tell them you’re thinking about them.
  • Donate your old books to a local school or free “take and share” library in your community.
  • Donate old toys to a local charity.
  • Help with a chore you don’t normally do.
  • Make a new friend.
  • Take cookies to a local fire station.
  • Smile at everyone you see today.
  • Hold the door for someone while you’re out.

And lastly here’s some book recommendations for the kiddos:

  1.  Biscuit is Thankful by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  2. The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
  3. Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
  4. Thank you, God by P.K. Hallinan
  5. Splat Says, Thank You! by Rob Scotton
  6. Let’s be Thankful by P.K. Hallinan
  7. Today I am Grateful:  Adventures in Gratitude by Lorraine Miller
  8. The Blue Daisy: A Lesson in Gratitude by Stacie Theis
  9. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are by Dr. Suess
  10. Thankful by Eileen Spinelli

And I’m currently reading, Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World, by Kristen Welch, so stay tuned for that book review!

Which idea will you implement with your family this month?


6 Ways for Busy Moms to Simplify and Slow Down

Some of my days go perfectly according to plan.  There are days when everyone gets along and naps and plays and eats at the precise times I hoped for.  Other days my son gets 5 stitches and my daughter takes my leftover Chick-Fil-A salad container out of the garbage and douses herself in avocado ranch dressing.  It’s called BALANCE.

But truthfully, I don’t believe in “balance”.  I was recently venting to a friend about all I had going on and she told me, “your life is always crazy though.  It’s always a little chaotic.  But so is everyone else’s.”  And it’s true!  So I can’t and won’t feed you any tales of balancing it all.  Because I don’t.  I don’t even know what that would look like!  And you already know that you need to take time for yourself and say ‘NO’ when you feel overcommitted so I’m not telling you THAT either.

What I will tell you is that I’ve found ways to simplify.  I’ve found systems and methods that help me to slow down and be less of a hot mess mom.  Tricks of the trade, if you will, that make my life slightly less chaotic.

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Mom Boss Monday: Dr. Kathleen Vigo, Concierge Women’s Home Health Physical Therapist

There are some pregnancy issues that are simply par for the course; back pain, waddling, discomfort.  Happens to everyone.  Right?  Just grin and bear it.  Or…DON’T.

Contrary to what you may have heard, you can and should have a PAINLESS pregnancy.  The truth is that the discomfort you are experiencing is actually a sign of musculoskeletal dysfunction.  It’s extremely common during pregnancy, but not normal.  If your pain is so severe that it is interfering with basic, everyday functioning then you should speak with your doctor, and as a team, devise a plan for physical treatment.  Moms-to-be, please know that your pain and suffering should NOT be growing as rapidly as your abdomen.  

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that I hope will soon be common knowledge.  There is an ENTIRE branch of Physical Therapy dedicated to YOUR pre-natal and postnatal care. We are Women’s Health Specialists, and obstetrics is our area of expertise!  We study the system of muscles and bones in the female body as they relate to changes during and after pregnancy.  We personalize treatments for your specific issues that prove to be most effective.  more “Mom Boss Monday: Dr. Kathleen Vigo, Concierge Women’s Home Health Physical Therapist”

9 Signs That You May Be a HOT MESS MOM!

You know the moms who have perfectly blown out hair, flawless makeup, they’re dressed in something other than athleisure wear, they’re homes are decorated like a magazine ad, and they’re ALWAYS on time??  Well….that’s not me.  Not even close.  I’m a PROUD hot mess mom.  Hand to God, I went to a friends house for dinner tonight, and in the milliseconds it took me to hold my daughter and walk 2 feet into the other room to grab her diaper (that I originally forgot to bring in), my pantsless beauty peed down the entire left side of my body.  #hotmessmom

So if you’re reading this and you DIDN’T use dry shampoo today, stop reading. This isn’t for you.  For everyone else –

Here are 9 signs that you be a HOT MESS MOM too!  Embrace the GLORIOUS mess that you are.

  1. You’ve worn, in public, only ONE of something that actually requires a pair.  One earring, one eye lined, nails painted only on one hand (True story; I actually feel asleep in between painting hands.  #hotmessmom)
  2. You’ve had to defend your parenting methods by lying and saying, “So I actually read this article that said…”, Yea the article was written by GFY on myob.com.  My kids aren’t perfect and I don’t have the time or energy to explain to you why.  Thanks though! 
  3. You’ve spilled coffee/milk/juice/or have been peed on .5 seconds before leaving your house…and because you’re already running late, you end up wearing that shirt for the rest of the day.  Bonus points if you then act like you have NO idea that the aforementioned liquid is on your shirt.  “Oh my gosh, is there…is there something on MY shirt?  I WONDER WHAT IT COULD BE?”
  4. You wear your hair in a top knot at LEAST 4 days a week.  Bonus points if you also wear a HAT 1 day a week!  Triple bonus points if you use so much dry shampoo that you should own stock in Batiste.  (If you don’t know Batiste, seriously…stop reading!)
  5. You’ve had to open a box of cereal/cookies/goldfish/blueberries AT Target simply to silence a screaming, whining, hungry EVEN THOUGH they just ate 45 snacks at home, child.  Then at the register you say, “Oh, um, is that opened?  Oh, is that already, um…empty?”  OOPS!
  6. You’ve restarted something at least 5x during the day.  Coffee, the dryer, your microwaved dinner, a TV show.  (Hot mess mom tip:  Get a knock-off Yeti cup (http://amzn.to/2xHDnoI) , buy Starbucks iced coffee from the refrigerated section, mix it with your favorite creamer and – VOILA, iced coffee that lasts all day!  No restarting necessary.)
  7. You’ve stirred a homemade cocktail using a toddler’s spoon.  Or eaten your cold as ice dinner with a toddler fork.  Because why dirty another utensil.
  8. You’ve added a few ingredients to a frozen lean cuisine meal and served it to your family as a fresh – made from scratch – I slaved over this for HOURS – homemade meal.  “Isn’t this delicious?!  Do you think I should like – start a food blog?!”  
  9. You’ve had to resort to getting your hair cut at a kiddie salon (because it’s just a trim and it’ll save time right?) and bonus points if you left with surprise BANGS! TRUEEEEEEEST STORY OF MY LIFE FRIENDS!!!

*This post contains affliate links.

Celebrate your BEST #hotmessmom moments below!

The Basic Mom’s Guide to Fall Family Fun (Palm Beach)

Are you thinking, ‘Am I a basic mom?’  Well…if you sip on PSL’s in September, rock crazy Halloween leggings in October, and search endlessly for “Fall Family Fun” events in your area, then you may be a…   basic mom.

I myself am a basic mom, and I DON’T feel bad about it!  I take 1200 pictures of my kids in front of pumpkins in the scorching Florida heat, and I attempt to attend every fall event I can physically get to WITH a PSL (probably iced, it’s HOT out) in hand.

Before you scroll down I just want to say – DONT be overwhelmed, pick the events that seem best for YOUR family and save those dates only!

For all my basic mamas, here is my ultimate guide to the BEST –

FALL FAMILY FUN activities in Palm Beach County.

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How I Went From Junk Food Fanatic to Clean Eating Enthusiast (and lost 6 pounds!)

Like most women, my weight has always been a struggle.  I’ve had more ups and downs than a Six Flags roller coaster.  But it wasn’t until recently, after coming home from a family vacation, that I truly for the first time in my life….felt like garbage.

I knew I needed a serious change.  I found one book, one plan, and although it seemed like an impossible feat, it ended up changing my entire well being – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

And BONUS – I lost SIX pounds in the process!

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Starting Chapter 2: Off to School

I’ve always been someone who was sentimental about change.  The future is unquestionably exciting, but I still get weepy thinking about how quickly time escapes me and how fast things change.  Crawling to walking.  Words to sentences.  Dependent to “I can do it by myself”.  I look forward to the journey ahead, but I can’t deny that the last 4 years at home with Jackson were the most incredible years of my life.

As I thought about this first chapter closing and sending Jackson off to school, I thought about all the lessons and advice I still needed to teach him before he was away from me all day.  Then suddenly I realized he was going to be just fine.  Because while I was so focused on teaching him, I failed to recognize what he had actually taught me along the way.  It turns out that my remarkable little guy ended up shaping me into a better version of myself, a version that makes me proud to be his mama.

So to my dearest little Jackson, I’m fresh out of advice, BUT before I send you off to start chapter 2, there are a few thank you’s that I must say to YOU.

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5 Ways to Have a Great First Day Back to School

For many of my friends I’m the designated ‘teacher friend’ and with a new school year approaching, many of them have been asking me for back-to-school advice (it’s solicited, I promise!).  Things that come as second nature to me were things they had no idea about .  “Do I really need to bring in Ziploc bags?”, “What should I work on at home?”, “How much do they have to read at night?”.  This prompted me to ask some of my trusted teacher pals the TOP tips they would give to parents to ensure a successful start of the school year for their child.

You’ve read other lists, but here’s the REAL advice from ACTUAL teachers on how to prepare yourself and your child for a new school year:    

  1. Encourage a work/play balance. Most parents don’t know that teachers actually want our students to have a comfortable work/play balance at home; meaning, we don’t want your child’s entire night devoted solely to reading and homework.  GASP!  No, it’s the TRUTH.  Run outside, join a club, play sports, try a new board game, help cook in the kitchen, make a craft, design, build, create – these activities actually help facilitate learning so leave time for them….PLEASE!
  2. How is your child going home?  We will (frantically) ask your child 720283465 times during the 1st day of school, ‘how are you getting home?’ This is by far the most challenging part of the first day; making sure each brand new face gets to their designated place (I’m officially coining that phrase).  After care, bus (including number or color and destination), bus after care, walker, car, or bike rider?  Know your plan and keep it consistent for week 1. Make sure your child feels confident that they know exactly how they’re getting home, whose getting them there, whose going with them (siblings or friends), and what will change if we’re involved in a rainy day dismissal situation.
  3. Start a NEW back-to-school tradition.  Make the first day of school more than memorable for your family.  Go out for ice cream, have a picnic at your favorite park, take a walk on the beach, or enjoy dinner out.  THIS is the beginning of a new year – set goals, make plans, and enjoy the newness of the fresh new year!
  4. Ask TARGETED questions.  Instead of “How was your day?” try these questions that are more likely to solicit better conversation about your child’s school day.  “What skill did you learn in math?”  “What books did you read/listen to?”  “What did you work on in fine arts?”  “Who did you play with at recess?”  Please I beg of you…never, EVER, under any circumstances, email, text, or utter the following words to your child’s teacher….”he said that you guys did nothing today”.
  5. Set technology boundaries.  Implement a time limit (1-2 hours a day) and encourage breaks (every 30 minutes).  Establish rules for who your child can message or chat with and encourage the use of the golden rule while using social media or chatting sites.  You can delete, but you never fully erase the words you type to someone.  Secure your child’s access by blocking inappropriate sites and using Google’s safe search.  Your school district’s website will have teacher approved websites that are designed to reinforce skills taught in the classroom.

Last thoughts

  • Some supplies WILL end up as community supplies.  I know, hot button alert.  I recently saw a post that went viral on Facebook, showing a teacher on the side of the road asking for school supply donations for her classroom.  So please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say, because teachers appreciate any and all supplies.  With that said, no one, I repeat, NO ONE loves school supplies as much as I do.  Nothing makes me happier than a new pack of bold Crayola markers, highlighter crayons, and a 36-pack of freshly sharpened colored pencils.  So why would someone with such adoration towards specialized school supplies turn it into community property?  Here’s why.  Like it or not, community supplies saves time, something teachers don’t have enough of as it is.  It creates an opportunity for more INSTRUCTIONAL time.  I would rather read another chapter or answer questions for an extra 10 minutes than spend that time locating and opening 18 individual boxes of crayons.  HOWEVER, I do feel your pain on not getting to use YOUR prized school supplies.  So here’s the deal: If you want your child to use a certain pack of crayons, leave those in his/her backpack or use them at home.  Write your child’s name on the themed folder if its special to them.  But beyond that – just know, the Elmer’s glue with your cuties name on it is definitely going into a ‘glue’ labeled bin with the other 40 glues.
  • Teamwork will in fact make the DREAM WORK!  You, your child, and your child’s teacher are all part of spectacular team that is responsible for child’s school success.  If you need help or have concerns – talk to YOUR child’s teacher.  Occasionally, friends will ask me for advice and the first thing I ALWAYS say is, “did you talk to the teacher?”.  Even if you don’t always agree, remember, you’re still on the same team and you share the same goals.  And lastly, my BEST tidbit of advice, it’s never too early for your child to take responsibility for his/her educational success.  Being accountable for turning in homework assignments, completing classwork, and asking for help are all skills that will ensure long term success in school.

4 Ways I Survived the “Three-nager” Days

If you’ve ever sobbed over quartered grapes that took you 15 min to precisely cut because your child DEMANDED grapes only to be disgusted by them when actually served…then you may know the term THREE-NAGER.

What’s a three-nager?  

It’s a two and a half to four year old child who acts similar to how you behaved when you were a teenager – rollercoaster emotions, hating your parents, debating everything, testing boundaries, not taking no for an answer, asserting your authority, and crying, so.much.crying.

When everything changed…

It was at my son’s 3rd birthday party that I truly realized he had gone from a quiet, mild mannered little angel to a tantrum-throwing, emotionally unstable, unpredictable pre-schooler.  A once cheery boy  wouldn’t greet any of his friends.  Typically even tempered he cried – hysterically – when I wouldn’t allow him to rip off the glued-down decorative construction truck on Playmobil’s dining table.  The boy who ate blueberries, quinoa, and zucchini refused pizza.  He wouldn’t even crack a smile when we sang “Happy Birthday”.  I half-jokingly told all of our friends to enjoy this party because it would surely be his LAST. Then at some point during the party, in between tantrums and screeches, I scooped up my 3 year old, carried him into the bathroom, and started to sob.  I didn’t know who he was anymore, or worse yet, how to help him.

My husband trying to tell my son he can’t keep that truck. You can’t make this stuff up!

Send help…

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