My Unexpected Joys of Motherhood

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When I was younger and I would daydream about having children one day, I somehow imagined having three kids. Three girls.

Having girls just seemed like the natural fit; the comfortable fit for me. I grew up with only a sister, no brothers. My sister and I always thought it would be cool to have one more girl in our sorority of two. Maybe we watched too much Charmed on WB. Who knows? Nevertheless, being around mostly girls is what I was use to, so the idea of having three daughters sounded like a fun time.

Fast forward to present time and I am a proud and dotting mother of three boys. Yes, that’s right. BOYS.

I clearly remember the first time I was pregnant and wondering if I was growing a little boy or girl inside of me. I found myself dreaming about a son.

I realized then that dreams change as we grow. My mere idea of motherhood as an adolescent was severely different than my real aspirations as an adult. I would have been happy with a healthy baby regardless of gender, but somehow my curiosity of what it would be like to raise a son made it exciting.

Out popped my little man, and over the next several months, I learned what an indescribable love it is to share with a child. I also learned that motherhood was natural for me. I surprised myself by how much I truly enjoyed it.

I experienced a deep revelation. I finally grew into myself.

Up until I became a Mom, I was a self-assured, happy-go-lucky sort of person. Motherhood gave me an entire new level of confidence and purpose that I never before experienced.

I liked the way I felt about myself as a Mom. My biggest challenge became more about not losing my identity of Self in the label of being a Mom. Most of the time, I felt Self and Mom were one in the same.

To make a long story short, a few more years went on and out popped two more little dudes that call me “Mommy”. The next thing I knew, the outside world labeled me as “Boy Mom.”

I no longer would be able to leave an airport, shopping mall or Costco without at least one person alerting me that I am heavily outnumbered. And sometimes I get puzzled looks and deeply concerned questions and comments like, “How do you do it?” or my favorite, “God bless, you.” Why thank you I think to myself as I smile politely and continue looking for the peanut butter in aisle 9.

Boys are loud. They are messy. They have a bottomless energy pit. Therefore, I totally understand the cause for concern about my well-being and I thank each stranger and acquaintance for checking in with me.

Here’s the thing—Although I always knew of the possibility, I not once actually expected Mother Nature would tip the scale on the same side three different times and stick a “Boy Mom” label on me, but here I am…

Loving my life exactly the way it is. Exactly the way it was meant to be.

Feeling the joys of motherhood, a privilege that I know many struggle to receive.

Enjoying my sons and each of their unique personalities.

Witnessing the growing friendships that my boys are forming with one another.

Obsessing over matching clothes and playing mommy paparazzi.

Stretching myself to explore and surprisingly enjoy activities I never would have otherwise.

Feeling proud to have the responsibility to shape some good men. We need more of them.

Daydreaming about the mother-son dance that I’ll get to do three different times.

Promising not to be the dreaded mother-in-law and feeling confident that I’ll be an awesome one.

Receiving love and the greatest joy from three amazing little kids that are all mine.

 

Life is unexpected. Life is full of surprises. Life is amazing.

I never in a million years thought that I’d someday marry the one and only boyfriend I had, who I met before I got a driver’s license. Never did I dream that I would change careers three different times before age 35. And no, never did I think I would be living in a house filled with 4 dudes, three that own a piece of my DNA.

But here’s the thing…

“As much as you want to plan your life, it has a way of surprising you with unexpected things that will make you happier than you originally planned. That’s what you call God’s Will.” – Unknown

Today, I thank God, the universe, the energy around me that has given me these beautiful little souls to be a part of my journey. They are the absolute loves of my life and I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I love my boys dearly and I know deep in my heart, that I was meant to be their mom. “I chose you,” is what my eldest says to me all the time. And I am glad his brothers followed!

Life is full of unexpected surprises and being a “Boy Mom” has been messy, loud and the greatest joy of my life.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and cheers to happy surprises on this crazy ride! XO

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Just a Thursday Morning

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I could feel that today was going to be “one of those days” before it even officially started.

The kids all decided to play musical beds last night and the fractured sleep is taking a toll on my eyelids.

This morning, I clenched onto a few more minutes of sleep before I had to peel myself away. Saying goodbye to my bed felt like the worst breakup ever.

I could hear my husband and two older kids getting ready to start the day, and I just couldn’t get myself to pop up and join the whirlwind. Instead I laid there for five extra minutes while the baby, who was fully propped up and awake, pounded on me and laughed. I really should have just gotten up.

Luckily, I packed lunches last night so it was one less thing to have to do. I have an amazing partner who frankly, would have packed lunches had I not gotten to it. But today, I didn’t have to feel guilty about throwing that responsibility over the fence.

That feeling of being ahead of the curve felt like a win so a few drops got added to my empty tank.

As I waved goodbye to my husband and toddler, who just started preschool a few weeks ago, I felt happy seeing their grinning faces.

A few more drops got added to my empty tank.

I went back inside to finish getting my Kindergartner ready and then loaded up the baby in the stroller so we could walk to school. We were on-time for a change, so I didn’t have to lovingly bark at my son to move faster. He loves to walk to school and today we would enjoy our morning together outdoors.

A few more drops got added to my empty tank.

We started on our short trek to school when I nonchalantly admitted to my son that I was tired. “Man, I’m just pooped today”.

Then the most amazing response I could have ever heard came out of this wiser than words child of mine:

“You’re doing really good for pooped.”

I could have bawled my eyes out but somehow he made me laugh the biggest belly laugh.

I was shocked at his perception. I was amazed by his thoughts. I was floored by his compliment.

I didn’t realize how badly I needed to hear that sentence. And the fact that it came from my son, made it that much more meaningful.

My son changed the entire trajectory of my morning with one simple sentence. Small drops were being added to my tank, and then this guy just tsunami style drenched me.

I am tired. I want to climb into bed. But that sweet reunion with my fluffy comforter and cold pillow won’t be happening until much later today. So I will conquer the day and I will replay that sentence in my head in my son’s sweet voice, “You’re doing really good for pooped”.

Thank you my baby boy. You just made my day.

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7 Secrets for New Moms to Survive & Enjoy Newborn Life

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The reality is, there is absolutely no solution to avoiding an emotional meltdown at some point after you’ve popped out your warm, cuddly little angel baby.

Whether it happens moments after you’ve squeezed out this giant watermelon from your body or a few months later when you’re covered in turd the color of mustard (or what they are now calling Gen Z Yellow), that meltdown is coming.

And you will inevitably then feel “mom guilt”.

You will question your mental stability. You will question how this tiny 8 pound creature who doesn’t do anything but eat, sleep, and poop could possibly be the cause for you to be one straw away from going bat crap crazy.  As if you’re watching a movie on Netflix (remember those?), you see yourself beginning to unhinge, but somehow you just can’t grab the remote control quick enough to turn it off.

The good news?

You are still human despite feeling like a drunk sloth. A human that loves her child dearly and is adapting to this new role of putting somebody else first. Every. Single. Second. Of. Every. Single. Day.

More good news?

There are ways to minimize these meltdowns and work through your emotions to build a positive experience for you and your family the way you, once upon a time, pictured it in your head before you actually became a parent.

Here are 7 secrets to surviving and enjoying your baby’s first 3 months of life at home. It’s possible, I promise. I am living, breathing proof. I have played the star role in this tear-jerking movie many of times, which brings me to this conclusion with great conviction:

1. Accept that it’s hard and that it will get harder before it gets easier. Once you fully accept that you’re not doing everything wrong, but that this season of life is actually that difficult, you will be more mentally relaxed to face the challenges. Accept that you will be at times emotionally and physically exhausted. Accept that things will go wrong at times. Accept that you will make mistakes. Accept that you will learn from those mistakes. Accept that you will succeed at being the best darn parent to that sweet, little cherub. Everything takes time.

 Nobody said it will be easy, but it will be worth it. And if they did. They lied.

The forecast is “scattered showers” for the next few months. You might get drenched at times, so just do a little dance and splash around. The reward is little rainbows along the way that will guaranteed, melt your heart.

2. Enlist help. Nobody is expecting you to be a martyr. Eat well. Replenish. You are the Mommy and there is no doubt you will be leading the show. You will be tempted to be the Super Mom that you are in all her glory without giving your body the rest it needs. Your body has housed this absolute miracle and then has undergone intense measures to debut this beauty to the world. Give gratitude to your body by allowing it to heal. Nourish yourself so you can nourish your child. And sometimes that means you need to enlist help.

Find a Mother’s Assistant if you can afford it. Enlist family and friends for some babysitting and meals. Lean on those around you to support you and your family.

 Then take it one step further.

Try to remember who you were just a few weeks before you became a mom. What were your interests and hobbies? What did you do to relax and unwind? What made you happy before you experienced this new form of happiness with your baby?

Find a way to bring that back into your day, even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes. Do some yoga stretches if that is what takes you to your happy place. Do you love to sing? Are you an avid reader? Does doing your hair put a bounce in your step?

Allowing yourself to pull from your “old Self” into this new experience of motherhood will be comforting and rejuvenating.

3. Set daily goals and keep them small and achievable. When baby takes over your life, it’s easy to feel like a hot-mess. You know in a past life you were a fully, functioning adult that was able to accomplish more than taking a shower but it’s almost hard to remember her.

Write down goals for the day that are achievable. They can be as simplistic as “Eat a balanced meal”. “Do one load of laundry”. “Make a phonecall to a friend/family member.”

Cross off these goals as you accomplish them. Since you are mommin’ so hard day and night, it will feel satisfying to know that you were able to be productive outside of this new role.

As time goes on, your daily goals can become more detailed or ambitious. The key is to feel accomplished.

As much as you know keeping a tiny human-being alive all day is the most important job in the world, knowing you were able to that and more will feel satisfying.

4. Keep the social outlets open because it’s easy to become isolated. You were probably going to some type of workplace before you had your baby and now you’re on maternity leave or maybe you’ve decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Not only have you just acquired a brand new job with responsibilities far greater than any other job description (i.e. Keep Human Alive…yeah, that’s a big one), but now it’s just you and your baby. As much as that sweet pea’s coos are precious, you are really going to need to hear another human’s voice that sounds more than a little gargle.

Find a mom’s group. Invite a friend over for a playdate. Try to keep a decent spread on the social calendar, despite the temptation to throw in the towel. Your friends and family will lift you and pull you forward.

Does this mean start hosting potlucks every weekend? Oh, heck no.

But keep the communication lines open with family and friends, because this will energize you when the going gets tough. I unexpectedly made a group of SAHM friends once I had my baby and it was the biggest blessing because we were on similar schedules and I had people to talk to throughout the day, even if it was just through text messages.

Also, know that some of your current friends simply may not understand the changes you are going through, and that’s okay. But you do need to find a tribe that can relate and help you recharge. They are out there, you just need to be open to receiving.

5. Take a deep breath. Say I love you. Put your child in a safe place. Walk away for 1 minute. Give yourself a time-out. When you have tried everything- changing a diaper, giving milk, rocking, swaying, playing music, pulling out different toys, running the sound machine, taking a walk outside, singing a song, and whatever else you can think of that would look completely absurd to an onlooker (and you secretly thank God nobody is watching)—it’s time to walk away. Changing sceneries and being in silence may inspire a new solution, so give yourself a time-out. Don’t feel guilty about it. You are doing it to be the best version of yourself for your baby.

When your laptop freezes and you’ve tried every darn key on that keyboard, you finally hold down that power button for a few seconds, and voila—back in business.

Hold down your power button for a minute. It’s okay.

6. Openly communicate with your spouse/partner. At the end of the day, this is your person. When the tensions are high, and the sleep quality is low, the first person to end up in the line of fire is the beloved spouse/partner. When hormones are flailing and your milk jugs are leaking and your husband can’t remember where he put the burp cloths, you can’t help but unleash the dragon. But remember, this man right here is trying to help you and he’s also going through some major changes himself. Let him know how you’re feeling and be direct about how he can support you.

Dads, cut your lady a little slack…she has performed no less than a miracle to deliver this child and now her body is adjusting. It’s called 4th trimester. She needs you in the same way she’s needed you in the last 9 months. Remember those foot rubs you were doling out just a few weeks ago? Keep them coming. You think you’re being helpful by taking the baby for a feeding and doing diaper changes, but remember, your wife needs you too. Ask her how she is doing. Give her some extra hugs. Tell her she’s doing a good job. Communicating and being there for her is just as important as pitching in with your new responsibilities as parents. Trust me, this will go a long, long way.

7. Remind yourself that this is just a phase and it will get better. And no, you don’t have to love every second. Being a new mom is hard. People will tell you to cherish every moment.

 Let’s be real.

Who is thinking to themselves when the baby is incessantly crying when you’ve tried everything under the sun, “Oh man, I’m really going to cherish this right here. Because I’m going to really miss this.

Yeah, nobody.

It’s okay to not cherish every single second of the day. Don’t feel guilty for it. You are human and this doesn’t mean you love your child any less than those “other moms”.

It is however important to have gratitude for the peaceful moments with your baby. To cherish the cuddles, the new little movements and quirks you will discover each new day. To surrender to the deep love you are now experiencing which you didn’t even know existed in the world. And to be open to learn about yourself because you are growing just as quickly as your little baby.

Having gratitude is what will allow you to get through the hard times.

 

There you have it. A laundry list of ways to successfully survive those first few months after you’ve welcomed your newest and cutest family member.

Be kind to yourself. Allow help. Take breaks. Have gratitude. You have got this, my dear. You’re strong like a Mother.

Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression should always be addressed with a trusted healthcare professional. The thoughts and ideas in this article are not meant to be used as medical advice.

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Product Review: Personalized Christmas Stockings

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One of my most treasured pieces of Christmas decorations are my personalized stockings for each member of my family.

Aren’t these just adorable? I just picked up my last one for the baby, which now completes my collection.

The stockings are well-made, there are 11 character choices, and the best part has been that the collection has been available over the last 5 years, so that I have been able to add a matching one for each of my babies over the years.

The trick is to order this on Walmart.com. The item actually ships from www.PersonalCreations.com but you get the Walmart price! Don’t we love deals?

Choose the ‘Ship to Store’ option for *FREE* in-store pick up at your nearest Walmart. The closest Walmart is less than 10 minutes away from my home, so it wasn’t a big deal at all to pick it up and save on shipping costs. I’m not a Walmart shopper, so I like that I can go straight to the pick-up counter, grab my things and head out.

To order your personalized snow cap stockings, click here.

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Recipe: Palak (Spinach) & Kale Paneer

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Here is my rendition of palak paneer, a North Indian favorite in our household. In true Masala Mommy form, it’s a quick, healthy recipe that only takes 15 minutes and tastes good too. This makes about 6 servings.

Confession: I am one of those people that can’t follow directions well  (I just march to my own drumbeat, okay?) and as such, I do not measure things very well in the kitchen. I like to wing it. I play some good music, smell the different masalas as I cook (yes, I really do that) and just go with the flow. Therefore, I tried my very best to break it down into a recipe format for you. I love when readers ask me for recipes!

Gravy:

6 cups spinach

2 cups kale

½ yellow onion

½ inch ginger

1 cup sour cream (fat-free for adults)

½ cup plain greek yogurt (optional for added protein)

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp. turmeric powder

2 tbsp. tikka masala powder (or less depending on brand)

1 tsp. mango powder

Dash of Cinnamon

1 tsp. sugar

Salt to taste

Paneer:

2 tbs. cooking oil (Olive Oil preferred)

1 medium block of paneer cut in cubes (Tofu substitute optional)

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. mango powder

Pinch of salt

Additional items:

2 cups spinach

1 large diced tomato

2 tbs. butter (or butter alternative like Smart Balance) Continue reading “Recipe: Palak (Spinach) & Kale Paneer”

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Mommy 3.0 is the Coolest Version

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Mommy has been upgraded.

She is on her third and last iteration and it’s clear that this version is made to last.

Mommy 3.0 may have chipped nail-polish and lets the laundry pile up a little longer but she is so much cooler and here’s why:

  1. She doesn’t worry as much. She knows that rash will go away. She knows that the cluster-feeding doesn’t mean she is running out of milk. She knows when it’s something that will pass and when it really warrants a call to the doctor and the pediatrician loves her for that.
  2. She bends the rules. Sure, the kids can eat on the couch. Sure, we can have dessert before dinner. She knows that bending the rules sometimes isn’t really that big of a deal. And if bending the rules gives her a chance to fill up on an extra cup of caffeine, then the answer is “Heck yeah!”
  3. She takes risks. She wings it. Forgot the diaper changing pad? No problem, she’ll improvise. No diapers? Her scarf suddenly has a new purpose in life. This woman is innovative and for that reason, she’s a risk taker. If there’s a problem, it WILL be handled.
  4. She’s smarter. There’s been a lot of learning that has happened with each child. She has seen just about everything by now. Google, you have some serious competition.
  5. She says what’s on her mind. Want to know how that dress really looks on you? Ask Mommy 3.0. She lost her filter once she pushed out that last baby.
  6. She’s a great friend. She might not pick up the phone as often but she knows the true value of friendship. She’s that woman who will find a way to help a friend, even if it means adding one more thing to her toppling over plate.
  7. She’s always down for some wine. Somebody get this woman a glass, quick. She deserves… Every. Last. Drop.
  8. She’s such a mother hen. Her grays might be sticking up and she might smell like spit-up, but this woman has so much love to give. Drop your kids off at her house. Take the dog. Take that homeless looking fella. She’ll take care of them all.
  9. She’s easily pleased. She’s surviving on her kid’s leftovers, so she really won’t care what restaurant you choose. Anything you choose is an upgrade from eating over her kitchen sink.
  10. She’s so loved. She’s got one more little kiddo that gives her wet kisses. One more little dude that will bring home priceless scribbled artwork. She is their “home” and they make sure she knows it.

Mommy 3.0 is crushing it.

She’s faster, smarter and high in demand. She has quite the fan-base and she loves every bit of it.

She might have a few glitches here and there, but she’s definitely built to last. Just hand her a giant cup of coffee when she’s buffering and she’ll be back to new in no time.

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Top 5 Things to Pack for a Comfortable Labor & Delivery

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In honor of having a handful of prego friends around me, many of which are first time moms-to-be, I’m inspired to share my top 5 favorite things to pack for your hospital stay during labor and delivery.

Now, I’m not going to get into the obvious things like camera, cell phone, toothbrush…there are tons and tons of checklists available on the ‘net already that will cover all the basics.

This list covers all the things that I adored the very most during labor and delivery. Each labor was a little different for me, so this list is a comprehensive list between all 3 times I popped:

  1. Music Playlist Specifically Created for Labor. Music to me instantly changes my mood and creating a playlist for labor helped me get into the mood I wanted to have through the contractions and into delivery. Don’t make your playlist too early; within a couple weeks of your due date is ideal. This way you can go with your vibe at the time. Each time was different for me: With my first labor, I wanted it to be super tranquil, so I had music on my playlist that helped me feel calm and zen out. With my second, I was listening to workout music that was super upbeat and I was dancing and moving through my contractions. With my third, I was listening to hip hop and letting out my goofy side by blasting stuff like “Push it”. Go with your mood and how you want to embrace labor. I personally used Spotify. I was listening to my playlists from when the contractions started at home, in the car and at the hospital during labor.
  2. Robe and loose flannel pajama pants. The hospital supplied a gown, but I just didn’t enjoy wearing the hospital gear longer than necessary. Having a light, cottonish robe was convenient since I was breastfeeding every couple of hours. I’m picky about the material I wear, so if you’re like me, then stick to materials you enjoy. I was tempted to buy a silk/ floral kimono because it would be cute in pictures but I knew I wouldn’t dig the material. I picked mine up from Target a lot like this kimono style one. I bought one size up from my non-prego size. It was a bit snug but it did the job and I can still wear it. Win-win. Flannel pants were awesome because they were loose, kept me warm, I didn’t care if they got beat up, and did I mention they were loose? There is so much going on waist down, that having some loose comfy pants was the best. Think Christmas morning and you just got the most amazing gift ever. My flannel pants were actually my husband’s flannel pants…details details. They’re mine now.
  3. Nursing bras and a Nursing Tank. If you plan on nursing, then definitely take some nursing bras with you. In fact, I just started wearing mine during pregnancy. I bought a size up from what fit me perfectly during pregnancy to keep extra real estate for when my milk came in. If you are not going to nurse, still take a comfortable, supportive bra. I have been happy with this wireless full-coverage nursing bra made by Motherhood Maternity. And it’s on sale right now, guys. Woohoo! I also got use out of my nursing tank at the hospital when I didn’t feel like wearing a robe.
  4. Exercise Ball. So, no I didn’t pack this but I did find out from the hospital beforehand if they would have one I could use for labor. I started sitting on this every day during my late night TV binging in the last month of my pregnancy. It is comfortable to sit on and also is a great way to stretch. Having it during labor was very handy in order to get into a comfortable position when I didn’t want to stand. I could sit on the ball and crouch over the hospital bed and get some relief. Hubbers did a great job applying pressure to my lower back through my contractions when I had “back labor” the first time around. Having the ball helped me reach my goal before surrendering to the epidural. Oh, epidural..how I loved thee.
  5. Snacks. I didn’t realize how starving I would be getting my first go around. Luckily, the hospital I delivered at provided 24 hour dining (it wasn’t as bougie as I just made it sound) which was surprisingly decent. I delivered at a different hospital the second time and their food is probably where the saying, “It tastes like hospital food” came from. Yuck. And the little food they provided was only during certain hours. For this reason, pack snacks that you can munch on when other food is not available. If you’re lucky like I was, you will have family that can bring you some food too. A girl has to eat, right? Especially after an extreme workout sesh like popping out a baby!

A few other tips for your labor hospital stay are listed below because, well, I just have a lot to say:

-A going home outfit for baby appropriate for the weather. Remember, baby needs one extra layer than we do.

-A going home outfit for you. You will still look about 6 months pregnant, so plan accordingly.

-Car-seat properly installed. If this is your first time, your local fire department can install it for you free of charge and make sure it is done correctly.

-Toiletries. Think staycation. If you’re picky about your shampoo, take your shampoo.

-Prenatal vitamins. The hospital will supply this as well, but I wanted to stick to what I was already taking.

-Cameras, phones and CHARGERS. Clear out memory cards beforehand so you have enough storage space.

-Gifts “from the baby” to older siblings when they visit. Preparing older siblings is something we began quite early on in the pregnancies.

-A bag of essentials for husband or your delivery teammate that may be staying overnight with you.

-Coconut oil. I didn’t do this, but my doctor mentioned that some women bring it for lubrication during delivery. If you’re into that, don’t forget it.

-Breast pump. The hospital will supply this as well, but if you have questions on yours, you can take it and get some tips from a lactation consultant. Remember, most health plans provide a free breastpump via Affordable Care Act that passed a few years ago. Oh, how I miss our old President but I won’t get into politics.

Happy Laboring, ladies! What did you take that was helpful to you for labor? Leave a comment below for other soon-to-be Mommies!

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Product Review: OTC Remedy for Eczema

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My 3.5 month old baby started developing a rash along the hairline around his sweet little face.

I kept up on the moisturizing and switched to a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic soap. I tried jojoba oil and coconut oil, both of which didn’t really give me great results.

I ended up taking him to the pediatrician who recommended a prescription steroid cream since the rash was red and inflamed. It looked like eczema.

As always, I asked for a milder alternative.

I do not like using strong medications unless absolutely necessary and over the years, our pediatrician knows that I am more than likely to ask for an alternative in medication or technique. MasalaMommy Tip: Sometimes, I get a written prescription and hang on to it and continue to try other remedies depending on the illness. If symptoms do not change or worsen, I immediately fill the prescription, but 9/10 times I do not end up needing to fill it.

Anyway, the pediatrician mentioned that Aveeno has an eczema balm that I could try on my bubba before trying the prescription.

I picked up a small tub of Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm. This stuff is gold.

I wish I would have taken before & after photos. The rash was all along his hairline on his forehead down to the front of his ears on both sides.

The rash was angry, red and bumpy.

After 2.5 days of use, there is no evidence that the rash existed.

I applied the cream to the rash 3-4 times a day. The rash was kept moist with the cream at all times. I reapplied right after baths.

I was very pleased with this product and will keep it in my arsenal for anytime the kids break out in a rash.

I picked up my jar at the local drug store. I didn’t know at the time that Aveeno makes a baby line of this balm as well, since the drugstore did not have it. I did however receive confirmation from the pharmacist that this version was safe to use on my baby. Had I known, I would have gotten the baby version, but this has worked amazingly.

 

I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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How I Get My Movers & Shakers Some Extra Calories

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Okay, so let’s state the obvious…I have 3 BOYS!

I am not much into stereotypes and believe Gender Roles are Real…Real Annoying. But there are times that this gender thing really does apply in my household.

Boys have LOTS of energy and are constantly moving around is definitely one that I can confirm.

Mine particularly, at least the older two since the baby is still into sleeping and pooping at the moment, love to be on the move. If we didn’t force them to sit down and eat, I’m not too sure that they would.

They would much rather run around with their light sabers or jump off furniture than withstand the so-called torture we put them through which is commonly knows as “lunch.”

Nevertheless, I’ve had to get creative with how I get these guys to eat enough calories. And let me tell you, I’ve tried everything.

Making fun shapes out of their food, drizzling Nutella onto anything and everything, abusing electronic devices, even shamelessly following them around the house and shoveling bites into their mouths.

The struggle is real.

Anyway, there’s one little trick that has overall worked well. Queue the clouds parting and angel voices…oh yes.


I put out a bunch of healthy snacks in a container with multiple compartments. We call it the “Snack Tray” and when it comes out, the kids are pretty excited about it. It also means they get to eat in the family room so that adds to the appeal.

I will put anything in it from veggies, fruits, crackers, raisins, pretzels, nuts…and the list goes on. I only use dryish foods that are less messy since they get to eat outside of the kitchen.

The key is to put anything you are content with them eating and that they typically like to eat. It has to be healthy but something they will go for on their own and can graze.

I particularly use a storage container because whatever is not eaten within an hour, I cover and stick in the fridge. I bust it out later in between meals and it usually gets finished up. One container means less to wash. I’m all about simplifying and for that reason I even have a favorite lunchbox.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

I know some may think that the snacks will ruin their appetite for meals, but my thought is as long as the snacks are healthy, it’s like having an appetizer! I think of it as an extension of their meals. As long as they are getting healthy calories, it doesn’t really matter when and where.

What kinds of tricks do you guys use to get your movers and shakers to eat enough calories? Sharing is caring…leave a comment!

 

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Product Review: Our Favorite Lunchbox

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Well, this is week two of Kindergarten and we have all survived the emotional roller-coaster of starting a new chapter in my first-born’s journey. It’s indeed bittersweet, but I’ll spare you the details on how we managed through all the changes this past week.

What I will tell you is, I like to make life as simple as possible because it’s already complicated. Managing schedules for 3 little human beings, and maintaining a home, marriage, social life, extracurricular activities, and my sanity requires as much streamlining as possible.

Enter, Bentgo Lunch Tray.

This lunchbox has saved me so much time and effort without forgoing quality. So, I’ll get right to it:

Pros:

  • It has just the right amount of compartments to provide a variety of finger foods for my son. It also keeps me in check that I’m providing a well-balanced lunch since I can visually see all items that are being packed.
  • It’s the right size. I imagine that this will be an adequate size through elementary school. I can fit one-half of a sandwich in the long compartment. That’s as much as my guy will eat as far as the sandwich goes so it’s perfect. I imagine I could stack two halves of a PBJ in there as well. If you’re trying to pack a full, thicker sandwich, it might be a little small.
  • Keeps all the food organized. If you need to include a dipping sauce, it won’t run onto other foods. Everything stays put.
  • I only have to wash one container. Can I get a woot-woot?
  • We are more eco-friendly by using this lunchbox. We’re not using sandwich bags and creating garbage. Go us!
  • It fits inside his Batman lunch bag nicely. His lunch bag is a standard size, so I imagine that the container will fit in most lunch bags.
  • It is BPA, PVC, phthalate, lead, and vinyl free accordingly to the Bentgo website.

 

Cons:

  • It’s a little tricky to open and close. My son practiced a few times before we sent it with him to school. He got the hang of it pretty quickly.
  • There’s no ice-pack compartment at the bottom. If you need to send something that needs refrigeration, you can place the box on top of an ice-pack inside of a lunch bag.

 

MasalaMommy Tip: I bought two. That way I can put the used one into the dishwasher, which we run every night, and I have a spare one that is available for me to pack his lunch for the next day. Streamline baby, streamline.

I picked up the Bentgo Lunch Tray on Amazon.com. How I’d survive without Amazon Prime, I don’t know. It’s on sale for $9.99 (orginally $12.99) making it reasonable enough to buy two.

Happy lunching and hope this review was helpful. If you end up buying the Bentgo Lunch Tray, I’d love to hear how it works out for you!

I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

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