Recycling and Other Earth Friendly Activities for Kids

Spring is in full swing and this past weekend we got to celebrate Earth Day! This is the first year I have felt like my daughter was old enough to grasp some of the Earth-friendly concepts that make up Earth Day celebrations.

Last week we got into the spirit by planting some organic tomato and organic cucumber seeds to create a container garden, making bird feeders, discussing the meaning of “reduce, reuse, recycle”, and explaining certain practices like cutting the rings on soda can packaging.

Our seeds were gifts from the Easter Bunny, a tradition I hope to continue throughout my girls’ childhoods. Apparently my grandfather, Pops, always planted his garden on Good Friday. I thought it would be a nice nod to his memory to start the tradition of giving seeds every Easter.

We created bird seed “cookies” using this tutorial from the CornellLab of Ornithology. This was am activity that both my 3 year old and 1 year old thoroughly enjoyed. We also created bird feeders from our recyclables using an old milk jug and an old cream bottle. I let my 3 year old paint these with acrylic paint and then cut them to turn into feeders after they dried.

We are listening to the Recycling Song by Jack Johnson to broaden our learning experience

We are also working through this free recycling workbook from The Department of Conservation Division of Recycling of California. It’s pretty extensive and parts are a little advanced for a 3 year old but I think it’s a great resource to get the conservation conversation flowing.

To round things out (and because the only way I’ve found to keep the 3 year old occupied enough to let baby sister nap is with television) we watched a Magic School Bus episode that focused on a recycling plant. During the episode they showed how many objects we use everyday are made from recycled materials. After the show we had a lot of fun looking through our house for objects that were made from recycled materials. My daughter thought it was really cool that some of her toys used to be milk jugs!

I hope you’ve gotten some ideas to explore the topics of recycling and other earth friendly choices with your children. Here’s a little free printable activity you can work on together:

Earth Friendly Ideas for Families

Grab this printable here:


How did you celebrate Earth Day? Do you talk to your kids  about ways to be kinder to the earth? Tell me how your family handles this important topic in the comments below!

If you would like more mini lesson ideas look over here. For motherhood inspiration and a few funny anecdotes look here – and if you haven’t grabbed your FREE 30-page printable self-care workbook go get it, girl!

Stress Awareness is a Women’s Health Issue: Encouragement to Combat the Stress of Motherhood

Stress awareness month occurs every year in April. Motherhood stress is a very real burden for most of us. However, we need to do our best to keep mama healthy!

I personally know that I am in dire need of some self-care this week. In the last two weeks both of my girls have gotten sick with an illness that brought with it high fevers, clinginess, restlessness, and general misery for mama and child alike. We also have been inundated with massive storm systems in our area. Needless to say, we have been stuck inside the house to the point I have felt like climbing the walls.

Keeping two tiny people happy and the house in a reasonably safe and livable state can create a HUGE amount of mama stress. For one thing, there is the noise level that occurs with a small home and small children at play (or expressing upset). Then there are the endless messes that occur to keep these little people occupied.

I don’t mind the messes so much, but sometimes it creates safety issues. Tripping and slipping are very real potential outcomes.

Like yesterday, my obituary very nearly read “slipped in secretly spilled bubble solution and hit her head on a stepstool”. My heart is still a bit racy remembering that moment of uncertainty as to whether I would be able regain my footing before braining myself with no other adult home to assist me in the worst-case scenario.

STRESS!

Not much time elapsed before my younger daughter somehow poured most of the bath water on the floor- only to have my older daughter run in and slip, barely missing her head on the cast iron tub.

STRESS!

Mothers as a whole have a huge amount of responsibility on their shoulders. We keep other people ALIVE every.single.day. People who are hell-bent on finding the most dangerous possible things to do and diving in, we have to referee that mess! That right there is STRESS. Women stress about so many things because they have to.

We are the ones who remember that the older child only eats triangle sandwiches with no crusts while the younger one only eats crust. We remember a gallon of milk needs to be bought if anyone is going to enjoy their nectar of the gods in the morning (coffee is comfort in a mug for me!) and that the well-check appointments need to be made and that the power bill is due on Tuesday.

stress awareness is a women's health issue

Stress is definitely one of many women’s health issues that needs attention, so I thought I would take a moment in honor of stress awareness month to urge you to practice some self-love and offer some women’s health tips related to stress.

I love quotes, they inspire and encourage me along my path. I found these self-love quotes particularly lovely:

“Self-love is the source of all our other loves.”

– Pierre Corneille –

“It is not love that should be depicted as blind, but self-love.”

– Voltaire –

“We can climb mountains with self-love.”

– Samira Wiley –

And these mom health quotes are a great reminder of how important it is to prioritize ourselves and make mama healthy too:

“I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.”

– Joyce Meyer –

“Your body hears everything your mind says.”

– Naomi Judd –

“The groundwork of all happiness is health.”

– Leigh Hunt –

Stress awareness is so important. Did you know that stress can take a toll on all of your body systems?

Motherhood stress could be impacting not just your mood but also your respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, reproductive, and nervous systems.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, some ways to combat the effects of stress are:

  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol
  • Mindfulness
  • Breathing
  • Time for yourself

Mama stress is such a real thing y’all. We have to take the time to take care of ourselves and prevent stress from harming our bodies.

Stress awareness month would be a great time to look at ways to implement routines that promote more time for you to devote to self-love, self-care, and mama health in general.

When we take care of ourselves we are better able to be the mothers and women we aspire to be.

Sweet mama, please tell me what you do to keep your stress levels down in the comments! I am always searching for new ideas to implement in my own life and to share with my loyal readers.

 

If you are looking for some inspiration to get your groove back, reduce your stress, and make self-care a priority please go grab your FREE copy of my 30-page printable self-care workbook for mamas just like you here!

To read more about ways I try to implement self-care, click here. If you’d like to hear more about my mothering journey click here.

As always, thanks for reading!

Until next time,

n Our Happy Imperfection!

 

 

Mom You Are Loved, Remember to Love Yourself

Moms, you are appreciated.  You are loved beyond measure.  You are your children’s rock and safe place. Motherhood can feel all too thankless and we often forget to care for ourselves. Alexandra reminds us how much we matter- and that practicing regular self-care is critical to be your best self in all that you do.

 

gratitude for mom self care adviceAlexandra is the founder & blogger of The Happy Life Formula. She is passionate about living a happy life through wellness, love, fun, lifestyle, money, gratitude and purpose. You can check out her blog or follow her on Facebook or Pinterest!

I distinctly remember being in the car with my mother when I was 22 years old and home for some time off from college.

 

In the car is when it is easiest to have conversations that are difficult, awkward, or meaningful since the other person can’t exactly run away and is forced to listen to whatever you have to say.

 

Usually, it had been my mom having one of these conversations with me. But on that day, I took a moment to let her know something that had been on my mind after conversations with all of the people and friends I had met at school.

 

Mom, I just wanted to thank you for being the parent that you are. You encouraged, inspired, enabled and loved me through my years and I wanted to say thank you.

 

Mamas, while I may not be a mother yet, I am a daughter. In that moment I realized how much time, energy, love, and sacrifice my mom gave to me.  I was finally able to express my sincerest gratitude to her for mothering me when I was 22.

 

It took me 22 years to put into words the thank you that she deserved for shaping me into the person I am today. So I want you to remember a few things as you continue your journey with motherhood (and I hope I remember to take my own advice when I become a mother!)

mom self care mom love

You have to love yourself first

 

I know, you’ve probably heard this advice a million times but sometimes I think we need to remind ourselves of this a million more times!

 

Yes, I know you have tiny humans relying on you to meet all of their needs, but in order to do so you need to be well taken care of yourself.

 

You know on an airplane, when they are going through the safety instructions and they always remind you that in the event of an emergency, you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help others? That same example applies to every day life.

 

mom self care self love

 

What does this mean?

 

Find some time to practice self-care. Ask your partner to watch the kids while you take a shower alone, without little ones prying the door open. Link up with your neighbors to take turns watching the kids so that you can take a nap or read a book for pleasure. Have grandma and grandpa take the kids for a weekend so you can visit a spa or hang out with your girlfriends.

 

I promise you, it is OKAY to take time for yourself! It will make you a happier person who will bring more to your interactions with your family. You’ll have new experiences to share and more love to give if you are filling your own bucket with love.

 

Your children’s opinions are the ones that matter

 

I thought that when middle school and high school were over it would mean the end of drama and judgmental people. Turns out, some of these people never grow out of middle and high school.

 

But guess what? Who cares what these people think of you! I know it is tempting to feel mom-shamed by other mothers who are posting photos of the handmade dresses they sewed for their daughters while making them organic bento box lunches and hosting Pinterest worthy birthday parties for their 2 year olds who won’t remember them. But the only opinions you need to listen to?

 

 Your children’s.

 

They are the ones that matter. They are the ones who should be driving your decisions and they are the ones who you want to make happy. And I promise you, in their eyes, you are doing an amazing job.

 

You don’t have to be perfect

 

There is a quote by Voltaire that sums this up beautifully:

 

“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

 

What this means is stop letting the fear of not being perfect paralyze you and prevent you from taking any action towards something that can be good!

Baking a cake for your child’s birthday is an act of love, it doesn’t have to look like the perfectly frosted creations you see in the bakery window. Doing something and enjoying the process of spending the time with your loved ones is what matters.

 

Besides, I bet your kids and your family think you are pretty perfect already!

 

My hope for you, moms, is that you stop being so hard on yourselves. You may not hear the thank yous or the profound proclamations of how wonderful you are for many, many years but I promise you that a mother is a precious gift to a child. You may never know how loved you truly are, but I promise you, you are.

 

Xoxo

Alexandra

Mama, if you are ready to show yourself more of the love you deserve, check out the FREE 30 page self-care workbook made just for you right here, at Our Happy Imperfection. Or find more mothering inspiration here.

Free Self Care for Moms Printable Workbook

Until next time,

Sarah

Why I Work from Home: Why Working from Home is Better for Me

I know people may wonder why I work from home. To be honest, I’ve never seen another option I could live with long-term. I’ve always known I wanted to work for myself. After all, it’s the only way to ensure that I have full control over the priorities in my life.

Namely, my family.

I can remember the scoffing and “smart” remarks that many adults would make when I voiced this as a teenager. However, it’s always been my dream.

After having my first child I realized that I could never happily leave her in the care of someone else. It wasn’t really breaking news for me, just confirmation of the gut feeling I had always had.

Once my second child arrived, not only could I not bear the thought of being away from my miracles– but I realized I would have to be earning quite the pretty penny to even make working outside of the house financially worthwhile.

why I work from home

There was no way I was going to go to work outside of the home, away from my babies, only to net a couple of hundred dollars after accounting for expenses.

Since becoming a mother I have earned money in somewhat creative ways that allow me to be with my children.

I have picked children up from school and babysat. I have run a successful Etsy shop selling handmade toys and women’s accessories. I have culled items from our home and sold them for a profit. I have worked online as an independent contractor.

Now, I am focusing my energies on more online income streams to make a more stable and lucrative income.

I have also saved money in many areas to stretch our budget further than most people would ever think it could go. Some choices I have made have saved hundreds or even thousands of dollars:

  • cloth kitchen towels
  • cloth wipes
  • cloth diapers
  • breastfeeding
  • secondhand furniture
  • secondhand clothing
  • secondhand baby gear
  • living in a smaller home
  • going without cable
  • owning one smaller used car
  • holding my babies (as opposed to having multiple contraptions to soothe/hold them for me)
  • menu planning based around low cost meals
  • shopping sales and clearance
  • pursuing minimalism
  • cutting my husband and daughters’ hair at home
  • getting a free haircut once a year by donating my hair
  • enjoying small pleasures- like a picnic at the park- rather than more expensive outings

…just to name a few!

When being with my children day in and day out became my number one goal in life, I found ways to make it happen, and that is why I work from home.

It isn’t flashy or glamorous (yet) but I am doing my best to contribute to our household in a way that makes me happy and at ease in my soul.

There have been many moments along the way where I have doubted myself. I think my choice to put staying home with my children first comes with a certain amount of judgment sometimes. However, at the end of the day, what matters is how feel about my choices and how my family feels about those choices.

I know that if I worked outside of the home for someone else it would sap my joy. I would be constantly anxious with worry about my children. Especially because I know one of them would wilt in daycare. She’s just a very sensitive little soul who needs her mama, and that’s okay. She won’t always need me so much, but I want to be there for her now while she does.

In time I know that I will be able to look back and feel confident that I made the best choices I could for my family.

I won’t live with regret that I missed my children being small. I won’t live with regret that I gave my all to a business only to get laid off. Why I work from home isn’t just about me nowadays, it’s about my family too. It isn’t for everyone- but for me, it is the only choice.

To read more about being a work at home mom click here.

How has your career changed since you became a mother? Did you decide to become a work at home mom or do you work outside of the house- or not at all outside of taking care of your family?

Why Moms Work From Home

Have you ever wondered why moms work from home?

It seems simplest to go to work and drop the kids off with a care provider. It’s what most people do.

Some mothers always know that they will be stay at home moms. However, they wish that they could contribute more to the family’s finances.  Other moms intend to continue working full-time only to realize everyone is suffering in the end.

Being both a mother and a provider can feel impossible.  Every mom has an ideal image of what her life “should” look like.

We are constantly bombarded with perfect images of assertive career women who are also mothers. These incredible women apparently “do it all”:

  • Climb the corporate ladder.
  • Look perfectly polished and calm no matter the work or parenting challenge.
  • Make gluten-free, paleo, organic, locally sourced, homemade meals every single day.
  • Remember to buy the toilet paper.
  • Exercise and meditate daily.
  • Organize everyone’s schedule.
  • Throw Pinterest-perfect parties with everything made from scratch by their own two hands.
  • Spend quality time with their partners regularly every week.
  • Volunteer their time at school and charity events.
  • Attend every performance or sports scrimmage.
  • Keep their houses immaculately clean and organized.
  • Maintain their sanity and a bright demeanor.

I’m not sure about you, but I am far from convinced these women actually exist.

This parody video by Jono and Ben of a woman being interrupted during a BBC interview is meant as a joke, but I think most mothers can relate despite the over the top hilarity:

The thing is, something’s gotta give.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a working mother.  There is nothing wrong with doing your best to “do it all”. Mothers who work outside of the home are truly amazing individuals.

But we are human. Sometimes “doing it all” in the way society presents is not the best choice for our own happiness.

 Working away from home can cost a LOT. A lot of time. A lot of money. A lot of missed experiences. A lot of stress.

More and more women are realizing that the costs of working outside of their homes is too high. They want to be with their children and families more. They want their sanity. They want a healthier life balance.

 

why moms work from home

These are just some of the reasons why moms work from home. According to Parenting more women than ever are seeking alternatives to a traditional 9-5 job.

More and more women are “doing it all” on their own terms.

These determined mothers are prioritizing their visions of motherhood and their families’ bottom lines.

They are becoming entrepreneurs, bloggers, and remote employees. Becoming a “work at home mother” can be the perfect solution for many families.

Stay at home mothers and working mothers alike are realizing they can earn a respectable living while prioritizing balance in their lives.

Mothers can work from home in countless ways. With some creativity almost anyone can figure out ways to earn some income from home.

Here is just a handful of ideas for mothers considering a career change to work from home:

  1. Previous career women are finding creative ways to market their finely tuned skill sets through outlets such as:
    • blogging
    • virtual office hours
    • remote positions
    • consulting work
  2. Crafty mothers are having major success with marketplaces like Etsy.
  3. Some moms find the extremely flexible hours of countless contract positions to be the best fit for their lives.
  4. The best solutions are often the simplest. Many moms provide childcare or tutoring services.  Some even teach a skill like piano or guitar.
  5. Many mothers have discovered that blogging can create an income stream and provide an outlet.

Whether they always planned to stay home with their children or they’ve realized it’s the best choice for their lives, many women find that working from home makes the most sense for their dreams.

FREE Printable Spring Quote Watercolor Floral Wreath

Happy Spring, Mama!

There is nothing like those first glorious days of this new season to refresh our spirits.

The warm sun upon our faces.  The birds singing and the bees buzzing.  The sweet little faces of the flowers peeking out to greet us.

I hope you are blooming too, sweet mama.

Spring reminds us that the doldrums of winter don’t last forever.  It signals us to shake off the cobwebs and come fully alive.  The rhythm of the seasons- rest and then rebirth- brings us comfort in its predictability.

spring floral watercolor wreath quote

What are you doing today to help yourself thrive?

Are you remembering to absorb the beauty around you?  To be fully present and revel in the moment?

I hope you do something wonderful today.  That memories are made.

Maybe you will drink your coffee in the backyard.  Perhaps it’s a great day to take the kids for a hike or out to the park.  A nap in the sunshine always feels luxurious. You could even plan a little garden plot with your children- just a small container garden could bring a lot of learning and enjoyment to all of you! Whatever it is, be all there.

Soak it in, sweet mama. Enjoy today.

If you’d like to print out this pretty quote without the watermark, simply join my email list by filling in the contact form below.  I will occasionally send freebies and updates, but I will never spam you.  You’ll instantly receive the pdf file to this sweet little printable spring quote in your inbox.  Hang it somewhere just to make you smile.


If you are feeling a bit wilted despite the changFree Self Care for Moms Printable Workbooke of seasons, please treat yourself to my beautiful FREE 30-page self-care workbook.

A labor of love to encourage self-care, created to rejuvenate you.

For more encouragement in your mothering journey take a look around here.

Until next time,

Sarah

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) Simple Ways to Gain Control for the Newly Diagnosed

Hi there! Were you recently diagnosed with PCOS? Are you feeling a bit lost?

I have been there.

I spent years seeking a PCOS diagnosis, only to be devastated when it happened. There was relief, yes. I finally had some answers.

But I had so many new questions.

So I did nothing. For months I sat on my duff feeling like a powerless victim.

That was months I could have spent getting healthy sooner.

Thankfully, that was only a blip in my PCOS story.

After some time I started doing my research. Lots and lots and lots of research.

I was shocked to discover all the things I was doing wrong with a PCOS diagnosis (some were even at my doctor’s suggestion!). 

That is when EVERYTHING changed. I realized I was the only person fully invested in making sure the best choices were made for my health.

I took action. I made a plan. A very simple plan. A starting point for a path to wellness.

And I am sharing the most basic pieces right here:

PCOS Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Help for Newly Diagnosed

I took the time to create an easy peasy download of this pretty list just for you.

These first simple steps…along with a huge change in attitude have made the biggest difference in my health.

I lost the weight. I got my health back. I even got pregnant and have TWO healthy children. 

I am not reaching so far as to say these things are all anyone needs to be healthier with PCOS. Some people need help that lifestyle changes alone cannot provide. However, I do know that almost everyone with a diagnosis can benefit from these simple steps.

They are a starting point. Take action. Take back control. Start now.

Simply fill in the following form to join my E-mail list and this pretty PCOS Action Plan to be sent directly to your inbox for reference.

Do what you need to do to be as healthy as you can be. You deserve to feel your best.


If you are also struggling with self-care, check out this FREE printable 30 page self-care workbook I created just for you!

 

Until next time,

Sarah

FREE Printable Self-Care Quote Blossoms

Motherhood is glorious, but it’s also exhausting. Take some time to take care of yourself, sweet mama.

It’s way too easy to get swept away in all the things that need doing.  All the care that has to be put into everything else. Sometimes we need a little reminder to remember ourselves.

Self-care is a real need.

I made this lovely FREE printable as a little reminder to you. Print it out and place it somewhere that you’ll notice it throughout the day.  Entering your info into the form will provide you with the file to download which will remove the watermark. Enjoy!

Mama, if you’re feeling burned out and weary I have another FREE gift just for youI created a 30 page self-care workbook with 7 days of guided reflection and actionable steps to help you bloom again.

Download self-care quote printable for free here>>>


Until next time,

Sarah

Save Money by Prepping Fresh Strawberries Properly

Some links in this post may be affiliate links which means we may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through one of my links. This does not increase any costs to you but helps us keep creating this blog. We only link to products we use or would use with our own family.

Our daughters basically eat their weight in strawberries each week if we let them.  It’s crazy how much money we spend keeping them in fresh organic strawberries.  I am really picky about only buying strawberries if we can find organic ones at a somewhat reasonable price.  Conventional strawberries always seem to make the top of the “Dirty Dozen” list which concerns me when they can make up a huge portion of the girls’ diets when we have them around.

If there is a good sale on organic strawberries or we find a great price we always grab several pints.  However, as all strawberry lovers know, strawberries don’t keep well for long.  They become plagued with mold and nasty spots within a couple of days.  That’s where my strawberry attack plan comes into play.

Make Your Strawberries Last

Whenever we get home with a haul of strawberries I immediately dump them into a large bowl and fill it with a few glugs of white vinegar and cold water.  I leave that to soak for a while, occasionally stirring the berries around.  Once they’ve soaked at least 15-20 minutes or so I dump them into a colander and rinse again with cold water. Then I let them drain for a bit.

Sometimes I run out of time at this point and have to stick them in the fridge to wait for a bit.  When I have enough time I take all the berries and process them by cutting off the leafy tops and quartering them up.

Finally, I seal all the quartered berries in my my beloved glass Pyrex storage bowls and pop them in the fridge.  They last a good week or so using this method (if we don’t gobble them up sooner!).

So Simple.

It’s so convenient having the berries already washed and cut up to toss into yogurt or serve as a healthy dessert with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Anytime I skip my berry saving steps I end up regretting my choices because I always wake up to moldy berries that must be tossed. Yikes.  I know it is well worth my time to dunk those berries in their vinegar bath to kill off any mold spores and to process them so they don’t get funky from being crowded together and damp.

Tell me all about it down below!

What methods do you use to make your food purchases last longer?  Do you have a special method for strawberries in your house?

For more budget friendly tips and tricks go here.