Honestly, I’ve had bit of a mental block when it comes to my decluttering journey over the past six months. I was letting the “stuff” win. I felt overwhelmed, and dreaded the task. So I shelved it.
As we hit mid-summer I started to think about the new school season and how good it would feel to get moving on my decluttering journey again. So, I pulled myself together, found some good podcasts and got to work.
I decided to begin with two categories that would have an immediate impact on not only me, but my family as well… toys and kids clothes.
Tackling these areas have been monumental and have got the ball rolling again.
You can watch my entire toys and kids clothes decluttering process here…
It’s the eternal struggle of parenthood; how to get your kids to eat enough fruits and vegetables.
Willow hasn’t been a particularly picky eater. As an infant, she would devour whole avocados, eat cucumber sticks and happily gobble down broccoli. But as she’s gotten older, and is learning to think for herself, she sometimes refuses point blank to eat what we put down in front of her.
Meal times have become a complicated dance of bargaining and trying to convince her how yummy her food is by eating some myself, which usually backfires as she starts to feed me instead.
She is hard to convince sometimes, so there have been many days she misses out on some aspect of her meal.
I know lots of kids, especially toddlers, can go through this phase and thought I’d share two fruit smoothie recipes I like to use to sneak more fruit and veggies into Willow on days when her eating is erratic.
These recipes make roughly one glass, and can easily be split into two servings for little ones. They are such a great snack or drink to accompany breakfast. It’s also a nice way to include toddlers in the kitchen as it’s easy to measure out ingredients and let them tip fruit into the blender. Willow absolutely loves doing this and takes her smoothie making duties very seriously.
Pineapple Strawberry Slushy Smoothie
1 cup water
1 cup spinach/kale
1 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
Green Pineapple Mango Smoothie
1 cup water
1 cup spinach/kale
1 cup fresh (or thawed) pineapple
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
Blend water and greens first until you have a green juice and there are no large chunks of spinach/kale left.
Add in your fruit, ground flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
Blend and enjoy!
These recipes are two of our quick and easy go to smoothies, but the fruit combinations are endless. We’ve had days of greens, strawberry and blueberry smoothies, greens, mango, banana and strawberry smoothies…
Whatever you decide to add into your smoothies, I recommend keeping the frozen fruit to 1.5 cups. Any more and it’ll be too thick to blend. However if you’re using some fresh fruit or thawed frozen fruit, then you can play about with the ratios of water to fruit to see how you like it.
As you can see I’ve used frozen pineapple for one recipe, and fresh for the other. Using frozen pineapple or fresh (or thawed) pineapple will change the texture of the smoothie. If you want a more frozen “slushy” texture, then keep it frozen. Want something a little thinner and more like a thick juice? Then opt for fresh pineapple, or simply pop a bowl of your frozen pineapple in the microwave to thaw it out before adding.
Pineapple is a great fruit to use as it’s so sweet and can make the smoothie taste more like a treat than a healthy glass of spinach for those skeptical toddlers. It also creates a nice thick foundation to add more fruit to, and I like to use it as my main fruit in smoothies.
I either use spinach or kale (or both!) to give a good serving of greens alongside the fruit. A great tip for keeping greens from wilting, is to pop your fresh clean greens in the freezer! This seriously improved my smoothie game as I was never having to rush to make smoothies before our produce went off, and I always have fresh greens on hand for when those smoothie cravings hit!
Buying large bags of frozen fruit from Costco is extremely cost effective and last quite a while if you buy a few different fruits and like to mix up your smoothie flavours as we do.
I also use flax and chia seeds in every smoothie our family drinks. If you’re unfamiliar, flax and chia seeds are nothing short of a magical superfood.
Both are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, a great source of omega-3 fats, full of fibre, protein, and lower the risk of stroke, heart disease, cancers, and all sorts! They don’t taste of anything, and can be added to just about everything! They’re an effective way of incorporating a nutritional boost for your little ones without any effort.
Whether you have a picky eater, or simply want to up your kids fruit and veg intake, these two smoothie recipes are easy to make, affordable, nutritious and delicious! Comment below and let me know what your favourite fruit smoothie combinations are!
Roseanne is the blogger behind the honest and inspirational personal blog Roseanne Writes. Native to Scotland and now calling Canada home, Rosanne helps mothers navigate motherhood while remaining true to themselves. You learn more about Roseanne and follow her personal blog here.
When you’re busy, finding time to put yourself together can be challenging. One of my favourite ways to spend my self-care time is doing my nails. I’ll usually do it after I’ve put the baby to bed, with a glass of wine, and while it may seem simple, you’d be surprised how effective having your nails done can be at making you feel easily put together!
There is always such a huge selection of nail polish colours available that trying to pick a colour can be so hard! Don’t worry, I’ve picked the top 5, most universal colours that are guaranteed to suit everyone and anyone. These are my favourite nail polishes ranging from neutral and discrete, to bright and bold.
OPI- Lisbon Wants Moor
If I could only wear one colour for the rest of my life, this would be it. It’s a beautiful creamy pale pink with neutral undertones. It’s the kind of colour that doesn’t look washed out on lighter skin tones and pops on darker skin tones. It’s a great colour if you just want an everyday polish that goes with everything. The classic pale pink and a staple for any nail polish collection.
Essie- Clothing Optional
If you are looking for the perfect dark neutral colour, look no further! This sienna brown toned polish the perfect compliment to every outfit. It’s flattering on every skin tone, in every light, with every outfit. I love this colour going into the end of summer and beginning of fall when the temperature starts to drop and I start pulling out my comfy sweaters.
OPI- Gelato On My Mind
For a bright colour that is still discrete, Gelato On My Mind is your colour. It’s an almost robin egg blue which is bright enough to feel different than your neutrals but is still modest enough not to draw too much attention. It’s a great starter colour for the ladies looking to slowly step out of their comfort zone and try something different!
China Glaze- Pool Party
This colour is NOT for the faint of heart. It’s the brightest, boldest, and most beautiful tangerine orange nail polish I have ever seen. It is perfect for the summer months and guaranteed to be noticed when you wear it! The formula is great but it does best with a glossy topcoat as it dries down matte.
Sally Hansen- Strobe Light
No best nail polishes list would be complete without a glitter polish! Sally Hansen’s Strobe Light polish is the only glitter you will ever need. For a subtle look, apply one layer on a clean nail but to amp it up, apply a couple of coats for a more opaque colour. You can also layer it on top of your favourite colour to give a different look to your usual solid colour!
Finding ways to feel put together doesn’t have to mean spending hours on your makeup everyday or having perfectly styled hair! Something as simple as having your nails done can make a huge difference. Bonus, you can do it at home which is super cost-effective for the mama’s on a budget. Enjoy!
If you want to learn more quick makeup tips that you can add to your everyday makeup routine, check out www.elysemorency.com. You can also find Elyse on Instagram at www.instagram.com/elysemor/ where she talks about the real and raw life of motherhood and makeup!
Bringing home twins was probably one of the most intimidating experiences of my life. Firstly I was terrified of the hormonal and physical toll I was likely to experience. For example, when my daughter was born postpartum knocked me off my feet. From inconsolable crying to torrential night sweats and almost hourly epsom salt baths, I felt like I had been in a traumatic battle. So needless to say I was terrified of the twin postpartum phase and the hormonal changes times two.
Secondly, I was petrified of bringing home and caring for two tiny babies and one needy toddler. I imagined so many scenarios that ended in me locking myself in the bathroom or taking off down the street half dressed and hysterical. Luckily for me, my imagination made things out to be a lot worse than it was. Do not get me wrong it was a difficult transition, and there were many moments where it was overwhelming and I was on the verge of hysterics. However, as a second time mom I knew what was likely coming my way and this time I was ready for all the ups and downs of postpartum and was well equipped.. The following list I would like to think is what made those first few months tolerable at their worst, and may I dare say wonderful at its best. I am hoping other moms-to-be, twin moms or not will find this list helpful to them as well.
Mom Friends: someone who you can turn to, who at that exact moment is also experiencing what you are as well. For me it was a neighbour whose son was born two weeks after the twins. We quickly bonded over life as second time moms. From weekly walks to long coffee chats she was my life line during those precious and sleep deprived months. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to look far for a mom pal, but I definitely suggest connecting with other moms through facebook groups, local early years centres or even through apps that are available specifically to connect moms.
Smash + Tess Rompers: I lived in these! So comfortable, flattering, loose in all the right places, perfect for breastfeeding and dare I say pretty cute too. The last thing I wanted to think about postpartum was what I was going to wear. Being able to pull this romper out and put it on within seconds made it a huge win in my books.
Native Deodorant: as I mentioned above, postpartum sweat is real, and so is postpartum smell! For me this deodorant not only worked amazingly well, but it also is aluminum free, cruelty free and paraben free, so I felt safe wearing it around the little ones
Sleep Consultant: this is probably my number one recommendation for twin moms-to be. When I found out I was expecting twins I connected with another twin mom who just had twin boys. She recommended a sleep consultant that she had hired who not only assisted with forming a sleep plan for twins, but also provided overnight sleep support – aka stayed up all night with the babies while you and your spouse slept! Obviously this is not an affordable option for everyone, but for us it was life changing. As you can imagine as a pumping mom I was functioning on very little sleep, as was my husband who was up every few hours feeding one of the twins as well. The ability to have a trusted person in our home looking after and feeding our twins twice a week allowed us to recharge and emerge as functional human beings again.
Swaddle and Sound Machine: these were both life savers for us in ensuring our twins fell asleep and stayed asleep, and were recommended by our sleep consultant. With my first child, who hated being swaddled we used terrible velcro swaddles that she would always manage to break out of. We also gave up so easily on swaddling her because she would protest. We also had a sound machine that would turn off just as she was entering into her next sleep cycle, and would wake up. To remedy this with our twins we used the “Swaddle Up” zip up swaddle and used an inexpensive sound machine with a continuous play function we bought on Amazon.
Snap n Go Double Stroller: I used this baby until the bitter end, when I literally thought it was going to collapse under the weight of the twins. Although this stroller is not the easiest to maneuver and I would not recommend taking it for long trail walks, it was amazing for quick trips into the mall or grocery store. Being able to keep the babies in their infant car seats while quickly snapping them in was invaluable. A bonus, I was able to score one from a second-hand store and definitely got my money’s worth.
Swing and Bouncy Seat: having numerous places to put the twins down was essential, especially when I was solo. From swings, bouncy seats, baby loungers, rockers, you name it we had it at some point. Every baby is different and instead of buying two of everything I bought a few things and then assessed whether it was worth it to buy a second. My house often looked like a baby amusement park at this stage.
Homemade Frozen Meals: easy, delicious and fast. That is all you need when you are home, exhausted and hungry! I enlisted my mom to make a bunch of healthy meals that we could freeze and eat without worry.
Diaper Stockpile: especially for twins, you will not believe how many diapers you will go through. Disposable or reusable, stock up in advance! Our family threw us a diaper party and the amount of time and money we saved was such a gift.
Couch: This was a tip that I learned from the Nesting Story blog and probably one of my favourite nursery design decisions ever. I initially intended on purchasing an oversized glider for the twins room but quickly decided that even though it would allow me to sit with both twins, my husband would have no place to sit. Nesting Story showed me how a loveseat sized couch was perfect for not only allowing two people to sit and feed the babies, but also allows a place for one baby to lie down (supervised and within reach) while feeding the other baby. The couch is still used today by us to cuddle, read stories and lounge on while watching the twins play.
Honourable Mentions: good quality double breast pump, tons of activities to keep any older siblings busy, dry shampoo (this is how I often “washed” my hair), adult diapers for those post-birth days/weeks, and a huge water bottle – stay hydrated and combat all the water loss.
Fallon Melander is a thirty-something wife, reformed lawyer and mother to twins plus one. As a survivor of anxiety and depression, she hopes that by sharing her story she can help to inspire and bring others together.
I never expected to be a mother to twins. Twin boys even less so. Yes, they run in my family. But after two singleton pregnancies, it had fallen off of my radar.
Twins seemed to amplify everything – pregnancy became high risk, followed by a scary hospital stay and preterm delivery. Caring for premature twins – the first year we were followed so closely by a medical team, everything was much more medicalized and full of questions and protocol. It wasn’t until their 4th birthday, when we were officially discharged, that we started to feel like we “got through it”, the hardest part was over.
Except that it isn’t really over. Old challenges appear to be continually replaced by new ones. And one of those new ones came in the form of Kindergarten Registration.
Like most parents, I had done my research. I spent time researching area-schools, even reaching out and asking questions. At the end of it all, they had one question for me – “same class or different classes?” that left me thinking.
If you happen to be trying to make a similar decision, here are 4 things that dictated our decision-making…
1. Independent or Dependent?
That unique connection shared by twins can create an extra level of support in the classroom enviable by most. But, if this sibling support prevents our kids from being able to navigate their day at school independently or prevents our kids from establishing peer relationships with children other than their sibling, we may want to rethink it.
2. Sibling Rivalry
In this age of parenting we are slowly reintroducing the idea of “friendly competition”. We know that our kids have their own unique set of strengths – but it’s oh so easy to keep comparing our twins. Even more, how do we navigate this as they begin to notice disparities between themselves? Do they raise each other up or fight for the top? If one twin seems to always be struggling to keep up with the other, it may be worth looking into separating them.
3. For Your Convenience
Think about your family dynamic for a second. It’s not hard to find families with two working parents, siblings to think about, meals to plan and extracurriculars to attend. Making ourselves available to have the relationship with our kids school that we want to have – sometimes the convenience of having one teacher, with one newsletter and one set of field trip dates to keep track of, is enough of a win to keep your twins together.
4. Extraneous Circumstances
Sometimes it’s not about what is happening inside the classroom at all. If they are going through any kind of transition – like moving to a new home, navigating divorce, experiencing grief/loss – then it may be worth thinking about whether or not having them undergo the stress of being separated as a necessary one.
We’ve ultimately decided to keep our twins together for their kindergarten year. But this decision, but that’s just what will work best for our family this year. We’ve transitioned to a new city, and as our boys attended the same preschool class, it was clear that their interests couldn’t be more different, resulting in different peer groups for the two.
Still not sure? The way our kids act at home isn’t necessarily how they are going to act at school. Do they attend daycare or preschool? Speak to someone who has supervised them in an unparented capacity, they will have some good insights into how they will behave in a classroom setting.
Keep an open mind and speak up, having open and ongoing communication with your school and kindergarten classroom teacher will ultimately be the best approach. Know that your decision doesn’t have to be the ultimate one. Decisions CAN change and so will your kids – what works this year may not work for next year.
A pro/con list will always be my favourite pathway towards a decision. Sit down with your thoughts and maybe take a deep breath or two, as the next challenge waits for us just around the corner.
Lindsay Fricker is a mom of four – two plus twins. Kindergarten teacher by day, Lindsay enjoys helping others find ways to navigate the ugly parts of parenting, while keeping their sanity and positively supporting their children. You can read more from Lindsay here or follow her on Instagram @serendipity.six.