Friday, February 28, 2014

Frantic Mama's 5 Friday Faves (Round 6)

TGIF Everyone!  Here it is, Round 6 of my 5 Friday Faves!

1.  Grove Square Cappuccino K-Cups.  Lovely little packages of sugar and caffeine for my Keurig.  Now that my 3 year old has [sadly] dropped his nap, they are essential around 1:30 p.m. everyday.

2.  Amelia Rose Initial Necklace ($59 per charm) in Sterling Silver.  My mom (you might have read about her in my post, Life According to Ceci) gave me two of these charms, with an initial for each child, when my daughter was born.  I wear it often because I love its simplicity and the way it captures light.  It comes in gold too, if that's your favorite metal.

3.  Sonia Kashuk Eyelash Curler (~$10 at Target).  I know what you're thinking: An eyelash curler!  When I can barely manage a shower most mornings?  But let me tell you, this makes a HUGE difference if you wear mascara.  This particular brand actually works well too, unlike some of the others I've tried.

4.  Suave for Kids Detangling Spray ($4).  My son grabbed for this at a Walgreen's one time, and of course I bought it to keep things under control.  Fortunately, it has come in handy many times.  My son's hair has some length to it, so he wakes up with major bedhead every morning.  I squirt some of this nice-smelling detangler on his hair before I swipe it with a brush in the mornings if we are heading out.  

5.  The Pottery Barn Kids Anywhere Chair.
My mother-in-law has given one of these chairs to each of her grandchildren on their first Christmas.  My son has a navy blue one and my daughter's is pale pink; both are monogrammed with their names.  The chairs are simple and attractive enough that I don't feel like they need to be relegated to the basement.  Bonus:  you can wash the slipcovers!

Like my faves lists?  My friend Jennifer-- a Texan mama with 3 busy boys-- over at her blog, The Intentional Mom, is listing some of her favorite things today too.  Check her out right here!

My new blogger friend, Tara, from the hilariously titled blog, That's What She Saidis also sharing some of her fave things, right here!

~Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lost in Translation (Part Deux)

When my son was almost 3, I wrote about some of the cute and funny stuff he said, right here.  Now, at age 3 and a half (he won't let you forget about that half part!), I laugh even harder at some of the things that come out of his mouth.  It's what help me gets through The Hard Stuff.

Here are a few of my recent favorites.  (Please share your own "things they say" in the Comments!).

*Keep in mind, my son has almost NO volume control.  Anything he says can be heard within a 30 yard radius.

Son:  "Mama, why do you wear hair down there?"
(Dear Lord.  I was getting out of the shower; he was playing in the bathroom.  No words, people.  No words.)

At our usual fine dining establishment (McDonald's):
Son points behind me:  "Mama, is that a lady?"  (I look over my shoulder to see a sweet-looking teenage boy with long hair trying to eat his meal in peace).
Me:  No, sweetie, that's a boy.
Son:  So he was a lady, and now he's a boy.
Me:  ??  Um, no.  He was a boy and still is a boy.

(Google Images)

My husband was sporting a couple days worth of stubble on his jaw area.  My son pointed at my husband's chin and exclaimed with an impish grin:  "That's a creature."
We all cracked up.  Was the stubble the creature or my husband as a whole?  The world may never know.

(Child of the 80's?  You'll remember the cutest creature of all time: Gizmo!)

Last, but Not Least:
Purely out of curiosity, I asked my son who the President of our country is.
Him, completely serious:  "Santa."
Me:   [Speechless].

~Frantic Mama

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Frantic Mama's 5 Friday Faves (Round 5)

I've already been doing my 5 Faves for 5 weeks?  Whew.  I hope my readers are enjoying them.  I know I've had a fun time sharing some of the things that make life more enjoyable. (Also exciting: this is officially my 100th blog post!).

Without further ado, here is Round 5 of my 5 Friday Faves:

1.  The Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug Bee (~$60).  In a world of gigantic, plastic primary-colored crud, it is rare to find a toy, especially a big one, that looks pretty cool in your house.  My one year old daughter loves this ride-on toy (in size Small for ages 1-3).  It makes a great Christmas present or a group baby shower gift.

2.  Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller (~$11).  (Gotta love the name, right?).  This is the one make-up item I religiously use every single day.  I have fair skin and any hint of a dark circle makes itself known if I don't take measures to conceal it.  This roller lasts a long time and it is an easy way to make myself look more human.  Roll it on, then blend with your fingers.

3.  Nestle or Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix.  I drink plenty of caffeine throughout the day to keep up with my two little ragamuffins, but when I want a hot sugary drink without the caffeine, I reach for one of these hot cocoa mixes.  If you are a fan of dark chocolate, you will like this mix so much better than regular cocoa.  (Note: when searching for an image, a few websites said the Nestle version was discontinued.  Let's hope not).

4.  Hue Cotton Leggings (ankle length) in Black (~$28).  When the leggings trend hit the stores several years back, I was in shock.  Aren't those, um, just Stretch Pants?!  But I eventually jumped on the bandwagon because I like to wear them with boots in the winter.  Boot cut yoga pants (my other wardrobe staple) just don't work with tall boots like Uggs.  I have a couple pairs of this pricier Hue legging, and they last a long time without graying or stretching out.  I buy a size up from my typical size so they aren't skin tight.

5.  The amazing cocktail inspiration website, Beautiful Booze, created by my wonderful and talented friend Natalie-- a sweet Southern girl displaced in Seattle.  Natalie has had a ROUGH year, so let's show her project some love.  Stop by her site, chock full of gorgeous photos she took, and be sure to check out her various social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest).

              (The Busted Heart Margarita on Beautiful Booze: One of the many lovely cocktails that Natalie created).

*Miss the previous four rounds of Faves?  Here they are:  Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, and Round 4.

~Frantic Mama

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Monday, February 17, 2014

The Pull of Motherhood

Let's face it:  Once you have a baby, your entire life changes and things will never be the same again.  One of the changes that I experience regularly is what I'll call the Pull of Motherhood.  Once I became a parent, have never been able to leave the house without thinking about my children.  Ever.

Hopefully, you will get to the point where you can enjoy yourself a bit sans kids, whether on a date while your children are with a babysitter or (lucky you) a family member, or out to lunch with a friend while your spouse takes care of the kids.

But I have yet to meet someone who can ultimately escape the Pull of Motherhood.  Here's how it works:  You have been home with the kids all week.  They have been sick; you have been sick.  No one has been sleeping.  A snow day was thrown in the mix, and come Saturday morning you could not be any more ready to get the Hell out of the house.  It doesn't matter where you go:  aimlessly wandering the aisles of Target, window shopping at the mall, staring into space at the coffee shop.  You finally manage to get out of the house.  It feels strange.  Deep breath.  You check your phone and start to relax.  You wander the clothing section, get yourself a latte, and then, inexplicably, you find yourself touching the tiny clothes in the children's section or strolling through the toy aisle where they sell your son's favorite Hot Wheels.  Or, you leave the mall, and notice that your only bag is from Gymboree.

                                                 (Oh, the literal and figurative Pull of Motherhood)

There it is.  The pull.  It starts with gentle reminders of your kids-- clothing, toys, other small children milling about.  Then, after being out for about an hour, you start feeling anxious.  The unexplained need to get home creeps up on you.

It is a complicated feeling because at my best, I know I deserve some time to myself.  I'm a better mom when I've been able to get some breathing space, some adult time without wiping a little nose or changing another diaper.  We all need a break from taking care of anyone else's needs but our own.

Yet it's there.  The pull back to wherever my children are.  The feeling that they need me.  And the surprising feeling that perhaps I need them too, more than I might think.

Even when your dark circles resemble smudges of purple paint and you haven't had a pedicure in two years, the Pull Of Motherhood means that home quickly becomes more appealing than the crowded mall or the fancy restaurant.

~Frantic Mama

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Frantic Mama's 5 Friday Faves (Round 4: V-Day Edition)

Welcome to Frantic Mama's 5 Friday Faves: 
Special Valentine's Day Edition.  

1.  Harris Querles Ruby or Tawny Porto (~$12 at Trader Joe's).  I love a little bit of port now and then after dinner to help me unwind.  If you haven't tried it before, think 'how red wine should taste,' and you'll get the idea.  This one from Trader Joe's is affordable and delicious.
(Note:  The Ruby is sweeter than the Tawny).

2.  Return to Me and Moonlight and Valentino:  These are two of my favorite romantic movies that you might not have seen.  Moonlight got especially terrible reviews, but I think it's great (it even features Bon Jovi! Ha!).  Both films are chick flicks, I suppose, but I think guys secretly enjoy them too.

3.  A heart-shaped box of chocolates.  They can be found lining the shelves of any bland drugstore in America starting in January, but I still like them.  I love it when my husband surprises me with one of the really big ones.  It's an old-school way to celebrate the holiday.

4.  Nothing sets a more romantic mood than candlelight, except maybe the crackle of a warm fire.  No fireplace?  I have a solution for you!  WoodWick Candles (~$11-25).  They have a wooden wick (name says it all), so the candle crackles as it burns.  You get the lovely fragrance, the candlelight, and the crackle of a fire all in one little jar. BAM!  Romance!

5.  There's nothing quite like a juicy read featuring fantastic writing.  I've read a couple of good ones recently, but for my Valentine's Day theme, let's go with What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty.  It has a little romance, a little mischief, a little tragedy, but [spoiler alert] a happy ending.  So good.

*On another Note:  My husband proposed to me on Valentine's Day several years ago, so despite the Hallmark-holiday bad rap it gets, Valentine's Day still feels special to us.  I hope you have a fun one as well!
To read our engagement story on What the Flicka, just click here.

~Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Words I [Try] to Live By

Looking at some of my interests, you might think I'm about 70 years old:  I drink tea, I go to bed early, I wake up early, I read a lot, and there are some sayings from yesteryear that I hold dear.  They are the adages that I gravitate toward and repeat in my head when faced with various challenges.  They are so over-used that they may not mean much to many people anymore, but I like them all the same.  Here are a few.  (Please share some of your words of wisdom in the Comments).

1.  The Grass is Always Greener On the Other Side
Has someone in a different circumstance than you ever automatically told you that your circumstance is "better/easier/luckier?"  The classic example, of course, is the Stay-at-Home Mom and the Working Mom.  I hate to perpetuate this Us vs. Them mentality, but how many times has a mom who works outside of the home full-time told me my job (being a SAHM) is "fun!"  And to be fair, I've heard plenty of SAHM's (me included) bemoan the lack of adult interaction, nice clothes, two-income household, that working moms 'get.'  Let's face it:  working inside or outside of the home all day is hard; there are positives and negatives to both.  There are positives and negatives to most of life's circumstances, right?

2.  Envy is the Root of All Evil
I believe that humans are born good.  That no one is born evil/mean/ill-intentioned.  So when someone is unkind, insensitive, aggressively negative, I often chalk it up to jealousy.  Again, I would caution an envious person to see #1:  No one's situation is perfect; everyone has their challenges, and envy can transform you into a green-eyed monster.  I try hard not to be envious of others, as I do not want to become:

(Well, actually this guy is pretty cute.)

3.  This too shall pass
This helpful little reminder soothes me when I'm facing a challenging behavior with one of my children. Grumpy, clingy, teething?  This too shall pass.  Picky toddler who will only eat hot dogs?  This too shall pass.  3 year old refusing to pee anywhere except in the shower?  This too shall pass.  Followed by a deep breath.

                                 (Hot Dogs:  My one year old will only eat them; my 3 year old won't touch them)

4.  If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all
I try really hard to bite my tongue if I feel something ugly trying to make its way out.  I wish I could say I always keep my mouth shut, but being human, I occasionally slip and something callous pops out.  But overall, I do try.  When I read hostile comments online, etc., I just think 'why on earth write anything at all about someone if all you can think of is something mean?'  That isn't to say all conflict is bad, or that there can't be constructive criticism-- of course there can be-- but you know what I mean.

I'm far from perfect, but I try to be a good person.  What words of wisdom do you look to when faced with either everyday nuisances or the really BIG ones?

~Frantic Mama

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Frantic Mama's 5 Friday Faves (Round 3)

It's Friday again, which means another round of 5 of my favorite things!

1.  My Humio Aromatherapy Humidifier.  The best part about this cool-mist humidifier?  It has a little spot to add drops of essential oils so the entire room can smell great.  It glows different colors, which reminds me of a magical genie-in-a-lamp, but I turn off the light at night.  I use the all-natural oils from Eden's Garden.  I swear the peppermint oil makes me have crazy and realistic dreams!

2.  Ugg 'Cardy' Classic Knit boots.  As many of you know, I have been struggling through the Polar Vortex in Minnesota this year, so warm boots are a must.  You will often find me struggling with my kids  about town wearing my Ugg Cardy boots in gray with a pair of black leggings.

3.  Trader Joe's Frozen Pesto Pizza.  I love, love, love pizza, but I'm a little picky when it comes to which ones I like best.  I don't like meat on pizza, and I like a thicker crust (none of that cracker-thin stuff!).  I also refuse to spend more on a frozen pizza than I would on delivery.  Some of my readers recommended Trader Joe's pizzas, and now I'm a huge fan!  My favorite is this one:

4.  House Beautiful magazine.  A girl can dream, can't she?  It is such a luxury to sit with a cup of coffee and open a beautiful magazine from time to time.

5.  L'Oreal Voluminous Full Definition Mascara.  Remember when I wrote that I usually don't wear mascara?  It's true.  But when I do wear it, I always swear I'll start wearing it more because it makes me look so much better.  This is my favorite one since embarking on the mascara train.

What are some of your must-haves?  Share!  I can use all the help I can get :).

(Liked these faves?  Check out my 5 Faves Round 1 and 2!).

~Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My House: A Beautiful Mess?

Sometimes I get in a funk about the state of my home.  The crumbs, the dust, the spills, the toys.  It's all just so overwhelming.  Even if I do manage a good cleaning now and then, the fact that I have a one year old and a 3.5 year old means we have so. much. plastic. stuff. ALL over our house.

(On a side note, I stay at home full-time with my little rugrats.  You could say I am their daycare.  I have come to accept that we truly do need toys, art supplies, books, etc. all over the house because we are often home all day (especially in winter).  So it really irks me when someone who is not a SAHM/D judges me for having "SO many toys."  Hey, I can judge me, but no one else needs to, ok?  Rant over).

Below are some photos I snapped while the kids were napping (speaking of naps, they are God's gift to stay-at-home-parents everywhere, right?).

The living room was relatively clean at 6 a.m. this morning, but this is what it looked within about an hour of the kids waking up.

Looking at it now, I think, maybe it's not even that disastrous, but here's the thing:  When we moved here, I was sure the living room would be the one kid-free zone in the house.  But it isn't.  The Children have come to dominate it too, leaving behind more than just fluorescent orange Goldfish crumbs.

And here's what our lovely, sunny tiled foyer looks like because my husband was convinced the children would crack their heads open on the tiled floor; he [easily] convinced me this was a serious possibility, and one morning I woke up, and my husband had done this:

It's been this way for about a year.  We don't see it going anywhere in the near future.

In fact, the baby-proofing never ends in our house.  [I am in AWE of families with young kids who barely babyproof].  Virtually every corner in our house has a soft bumper on it.  Every drawer and cabinet with anything even slightly toxic boasts safety latches.  Choking hazards are stored away high above reach until my one year old stops putting everything in her mouth.  Stair gates?  Check.  That no-slip rubber bathtub thingy?  'Course.  Doorknob locks?  Seriously?  Yes!  We have it covered.

That coffee table?  We bought it at a nice home store before having children.  
It will never be the same again.

The aforementioned stairgate (yes, there's one at the top of the stairs too). 
Credit where credit is due:  
Check out the clever rig that Frantic Mama Hubby set up so we didn't have to drill into the post.

So you see, our house is not a fancy one at the moment, and maybe it never will be.  Some days this is harder for me to roll with than others.  I'm not sure I'd call it all a "beautiful mess" as the saying goes, but it's home to us these days.

~Frantic Mama

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Who Are You Wearing?

I love connecting with other bloggers, especially those extra smart, witty, empowering women bloggers out there.  There is a group of bloggers sharing photos of their very unglamorous-- but no less lovely-- selves.
*(To see more of the blogs in this link up, click on the Sunday Parenting Party button on my blog's homepage).

So here it is, folks.  I don't usually put photos of myself in the blog for various reasons, but this is one of my favorite photos of myself sans primping, make-up, posing, etc, as part of the #365FeministSelfie blog link-up.

The photo is from Winter 2012 when my daughter was still tiny and I could walk around "wearing" her like this.  I'm also donning my favorite, much-loved orange sweatshirt (Hmmm...I'm wearing it as I type this too...about a year after this photo was taken.  Probably time for a new one).

~Frantic Mama

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