this mothering stuff… it’s hard

Yep.  It’s true.  This mothering stuff…  it’s hard.  And no one likes to talk about the hard stuff.  But I’m tired of all the blind-siding I’ve been feeling, and I’d love to know you are a little more prepared for all of this than I was.

This Mothering Stuff...  It's Hard.

You know what?  I always wanted to be a mom.  It’s ALL I ever wanted, actually.

In Kindergarten, when they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered “a mom”.  In 1st grade, same answer.  By 2nd grade, I learned my lesson (the ‘mom’ answer was not the ‘right’ answer) and I made up something different each time.  But inside, I was always shouting “a MOM!  I just want to be A MOM!!”.

And guess what?  I’m here!  I’m exactly where I have always wanted to be.  I am MOM.

That is no trivial thing.  I am beyond blessed with my not-so-little family and every day I am blown away by these little people God has entrusted me with.

I know so many people who are struggling with the longing to be parents.  And please don’t get me wrong, I feel their pain.  I feel it so deeply.  And I am in no way saying I don’t want this hard life…  I LOVE this life.  Hard, or easy, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

But I do wish I had known a tiny glimpse of how hard it would actually be.

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why I fell in love with essential oils

You guys, I was the biggest skeptic ever.  Until now…

Why I Fell In Love With Essential Oils

I have been hearing about essential oils for years and have just been ignoring all the ‘kooks’ (yes, my friends) that use the stuff.

I dabbled here and there in the last several months…  a little clove oil (mixed with coconut oil!) on my babies’ gums when they are teething is a lifesaver.  And yes, lavender is very soothing, I give ‘em that.

But beyond that, I took everything in one ear and out the other, smiling and nodding as I went.

But then, I just couldn’t ignore it anymore.  More and more people, that I know, love and trust, were telling me their stories and ‘oily testimonies’ and I finally figured I needed to really dig in and see what all the hype was about!

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favorite foodie gifts, Christmas 2013 edition

Ok, so I love doing these gift roundups for you guys.  I know it’s a little silly, but I just love sharing with you the things that I enjoy most in my kitchen!

(If I was Oprah, I would be giving you all one of each of these!!  As it is, I can only give you my thoughts.  But I still want to share!)

If any of you are still trying to figure out what to give the foodies in your life, here are some ideas for you!

(And if you have or sign up for a trial of Amazon Prime, you can get these to your door in 2-3 days.  Plenty of time for some last minute Christmas shopping!)

The very very top of my favorite things list, is my beloved Cuisinart 3-in-one Multi-Cooker.

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I know I’ve talked about this before, but you guys, this thing is amazing.  Not only is it a great 6qt slow cooker, it is also an electric skillet and steamer.  You know how many slow cooker recipes still want you to brown meat on the stove before you put it in the slow cooker for the day?  Well, now you can do that all in one spot.  You really can’t beat that!

The next item on my list is my beautiful, dreamy, 7 qt. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.  It is a piece of art, really.  More than that, it is my friend.  I couldn’t work without her!

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And really, any Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer is a great gift.  If your loved one has a small one, upgrade them!  If they don’t have one, spoil them!!  This is my favorite classic mixer, if you don’t need a 7 qt. powerhouse.

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Ok, that’s enough of the big guys.  On a smaller scale, here are some more of my kitchen favorites.

This wooden pastry board (or rather, one similar to it that I have had for years!) is one of my most treasured kitchen items this year.

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With the constant chaos of feeding my family 24/7 (or so it seems!), I can always have a clean, ready to go workspace with this board.  I wipe off a counter, pull this beautiful board out and I am ready to go, no matter what the state of the rest of my counters.  I love it!

On a similar note, I am completely in love with my bench scrapers.

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If you have ever tried to clean up a flour and dough covered counter, you know what I mean when I say that it is not fun.  Flour+water=glue, right?  These bench scrapers solve that problem perfectly.  They also cut beautiful, uniform brownies and bars!

And my last favorite kitchen item this year…  is my beloved Cuisinart Hot Water & Coffee Maker.

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I know most everyone these days is head-over-heels for their single-serve Keurig-style machines, and I think they are fun too, but in my life, a cup of coffee at a time is just not going to cut it.  I drink my coffee by the bucket-full.

(I do have 3 little kiddos who are allergic to sleep, you know!)  

I also use my hot water every day.  Instant oatmeal, hot tea, hot chocolate…  cup-o-noodles.  I actually tossed out my hot water kettle, because this is just so much easier!

And there you go, friends!  These are a few of my favorite things (I hope that song is playing through your head like it is mine!) and last-minute gift ideas…

Now I want to hear yours!  What are some of YOUR favorite kitchen items?

*This is NOT a sponsored post.  I just love these items and want to share them with you!  I do earn a small affiliate fee if you buy these items, or any Amazon items, once you have clicked through my store.  I appreciate your support!

mothering… the hard stuff.

Today I am having one of those days.

One of those days I don’t even like to think about, let alone talk about…  The kind of days where I am counting down the minutes until bedtime, hoping I make it through in one piece.  With all my kids in one piece.

The kind of days that I feel guilty for even having, let alone talking about.

Mothering...  the hard stuff.

But I know how horrible it is to feel so completely and utterly alone in my thoughts, which is why I am going to share these with you.

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thoughts on diapers…

*This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks & Luvs.  My opinions are completely my own!*

Some of you may remember that I tried cloth diapering several years ago.  I started when my oldest was about 6 months old and loved it!  Until I had baby #2 who couldn’t wear cloth (long story).

And then baby #3 came along, and for a while there all 3 of those ‘babies’ were in diapers at the same time.

Needless to say, I quit cloth.

And although I think about going back sometimes, the truth is…  I’m just too lazy.  And too content with where I am right now.  (And maybe too hopeful that in another year or so I will be done with diapers?!)

So, I a little reluctantly sold off all my cloth diapers several months ago (Did you know that cloth diapers have an amazing resale value?!  I didn’t at first either!) and never looked back.

I am happy with my disposable diapers.  And I am truly sorry for adding more of a burden to the environment, but my life is just too overwhelming to change now.

Or maybe I am just having too much fun with cute little girl outfits that don’t have to factor in a big fluffy bum?!  ;o)

Anyways, I have been pretty set in my ways as far as which disposable diapers I love to use.  So, I was a bit skeptical about trying something new when I was offered the chance to give the new and improved LUVS Ultra Leakguard diapers (they are only available at Walmart…  the clue is in the blue!  These special ones have a blue seal on the box!) a try.

But I realized it never hurts to try something new, and you might like to know what I think about the redesigned LUVS as well!

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I have been using them for a few weeks now, and I have to say there have been no leaks and no major issues with them.  If you liked LUVS diapers before, you will probably love them now, with their new overnight leak-guard!

Unfortunately for me, ever since my first pregnancy several years ago, I have been hyper sensitive to perfume-y smells and the LUVS scent is just too overwhelming for me.

I really don’t know if it’s just me (that’s entirely possible!) but the fragrance they put in the diapers is so strong that I can’t even smell my daughters poopy diapers through the scent.  I suppose that’s the point, but to me that is just gross.  I WANT to know if my child has just filled their diaper, because I want to change it as soon as possible!  Especially with my girl…  I don’t want her sitting in that stuff!  YUCK!

Also, my boys think the ‘scent’ of the diaper is a dirty smell, so they keep trying to tell me every 30 minutes that she is dirty, even when she’s not.

I have to say, I won’t be using these diapers again for that reason.  But, I will say again that if you have liked LUVS in the past, or scented things don’t bother you, these fit well and we had no issues with leaks or blowouts, so for that, they definitely did their job!