Monday, November 9, 2015

Seren-MOM-ity {Teach, Teach Again, Repeat}

SEREN-MOM-ITY{things I have learned as a mom as I have utterly failed and picked myself up dusted myself off and tried again and then discovered a most delightful gem}

     This week as a mom has been joyous and devastating all wrapped up with a bow on top.  My children had a 4 day weekend simply because I find it ridiculous to go to school on Monday and have Tuesday off and then back for the rest of the week so I had a quiet protest and kept my sweet little peanuts home and we had a lovely extended weekend!!!  Yes you can do that and to be honest if our school district continues to have that as a schedule it might become a new tradition in our family because it was awesome(yes I am the mom that loves snow days)!

    It is always amazing to me the highs and lows of mommyhood.  We go along and are doing great and feeling like I got this mommy thing down and then CRASH!!!  You run into something that you have never dealt with before.  You realize you taught something to your children but missed something so subtle so minuscule you would think it was unimportant but it was the most important for one of your children and that little detail being left out made for a huge mess to fix.  With tears, hugs, love, repentance, and lots and lots of teaching...had by all!  This was not only a huge growing experience for my child but for me as a mom as well.  

     It reminded me that when we are teaching our children as a group we need to think about each individual in that group and ask some questions to yourself.  How do they each learn the best?  What information do they grab onto the most..facts, testimonies of others, quotes?  Is there a child I will need to have a one off with after?  

     As moms we are teachers.  We all have wonderful effective teaching moments with our children that are glorious and then others that fall flat.  Its when we truly mess up and reflect on that error that wisdom comes into our minds.  We are NOT going to have perfect days everyday or heavenly teaching moments every time we teach as our children are rolling on the floor or rolling their eyes. Don't give up or beat yourself up over an oversight or a mistake when teaching your children because I tell you it is going to happen. Giving up only makes the situation worse and beating yourself up over a mistake in parenting only hinders the moments when pure inspiration can come to your mind.  In those moments of devastation remember you are a wonderful mom who made a mistake and it does not take away from your greatness! Dust yourself off and Teach, Teach Again, and Repeat it is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children: taking the time to teach them! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Seren-MOM-ity{Change It Up}

Do you know that moment in your house when you feel like the craziness might make the whole house implode?  Whininess has taken over your once delightful child?  Tears are flowing down the faces of your happiest of children and possibly your own?  Or is it just me?  If it is just me do not read on but I have an inclination it's not and it is in those moments of absolute emotional overload we question our very ability to do the thing we desired to have the opportunity to be our whole life... to be a mom.  In those doubting moments turn to the very one who gave you such a sacred responsibility and trusted you with his children in prayer{even if it is a quick one as you are running to stop disaster from happening}.

     The question is what you do next?  What you do next will impact the rest of your day, week, month and your entirety of mommyhood because its a habit.  Do you scream?  Do you retreat into a secret corner of your house and ignore the contention building in your home as the spirit is being driven away?  Do you call your husband and complain about HIS children?  Oh believe me I have done all of the above before I learned something so valuable...CHANGE IT UP!!!

     Your children are going to find it hard in those moments of tears to not laugh hysterically at mom turning the radio up really loud and dancing around like a maniac, singing off  key into a broom handle.  When the day is long and we have all had it  throwing a blanket on floor for a picnic for dinner will bring the joy right back in to your home.  In the dead of winter and everyone has cabin fever McDonalds with a playplace is  a welcome break(bring your laptop and pay bills or other online chores while they are all distracted).  I spent many of mornings at our local mall with my children playing there in the winter months.  Find a place to escape to in those cold winter or too hot to go outside months if you have them.  Throw all the blankets and pillows on the floor in front of the TV and snuggle up to a favorite movie.  Walk to a park or just walk. Stop and paint your daughters nails. Color a huge mural with them.  This list is endless.  The point is do something completely different than whatever is happening right then in the crazy.  Those change it up moments for me as a mom have been some of the most tender and relationship building with  my children.  It diffused the growing contention and grew love and relationships.  By any means I am not perfect at it and those old habits can sneak back in now and again but I am not perfect and I am becoming a better me everyday.  The key:  keep trying until you find a few change it up go tos that work for you!

BE AWESOME,
JULIA

Monday, October 26, 2015

Seren-MOM-ity{Give Time To Get Time}

     Last weeks Never Lie post was a bit heavy but oh so true.  I was so grateful for taking the time to write it because I needed that reminder.

    This weeks topic is Give Time To Get Time which I know sounds a bit backwards but I promise if you give 5 minutes you get 20 and that is the key to getting stuff done with littles and even as they get older it still applies.

     One day I put my 1.5, 2, and 4 year old at the kitchen table with playdough which was a weekly occurrence a the time and I sat down with them for 5 minutes and we played. I had a huge to do list and so  I got up and did the dishes while watching them create and smush that playdough into grand masterpieces.  When the dishes were done I came back to the table and asked them all about their creations(about 2 minutes) and then I went and switched the laundry and folded it and put it away.  I then came back to the table and made a creation of my own then left the table again to continue down my to do list.  I continued with this pattern.  2 hours later we were putting the playdough away and getting lunch ready.  That afternoon as the children were napping I pondered on how wonderful the morning was.  How much I had accomplished and I even played with my children and the rest of the house was NOT A MESS!!!  Why was that day different than the other days where I felt a little less like a great mom, a terrible caretaker of all things domestic, and left feeling a bit frazzled and feeling behind.  It hit me I gave my time and attention to my children not in a 2 hour playdough fest but a minute here, 2 minutes there and therefore they stayed engaged in their activity longer to show me their creations.  Was this a fluke???   Did I figure out the key to feeling like a good mom and not feeling like I lived in a trash pit???  The next day I put a tub of animals and blocks on the floor in the living room and went about that same pattern.  They didn't quite last the 2 hours as the previous day but I did accomplish a lot in the the hour or so but I felt like I was onto something.  The next day I put glue sticks and paper for them to rip and glue onto other paper and guess what...2 hours again!!!  I realized my children love to create and so the activities that had them creating and not just playing(which important but I was trying to get stuff done while also keeping them engaged)were going to be the key along with me taking the time between each task to praise and create with them. This was one of those triumphant moments for me as a mom to realize I could keep them engaged in a fun activity, get things done on my to do list, and not have a messier house afterwards.  

        To this day I continue this pattern of checking in on them, seeing what they are doing, and then getting my tasks completed.  Now I am not saying by any means that I still don't have days where I feel like oh my goodness how am I going to accomplish this all and I am failing completely as a mother because guess what I do and then I remember this pattern...Give Time to Get Time!

BE AWESOME,
Julia

Friday, October 23, 2015

Oh SOOO Creamy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese


This is about the most amazing thing you will put in your mouth on a bad day.  It is the requested meal from my daughter when she has had one of those days and to be honest it is so so good and a great meatless dinner served with a side salad or fruit.  Without a doubt you will enjoy this creamy dish and one of the best parts is it takes about 20-25 minutes to make!!! ENJOY!!!


1 LB pasta{gemelli and cavatappi are our faves}
1/4 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 Cup Milk
1 1/4 Cup Cream
1 Cup freshly* shredded white sharp cheddar
1 Cup freshly* shredded gouda
1/2 Cup Pasta Water
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped chives for garnish

*If you use preshredded cheeses in a cheese sauce in will not turn out creamy and will have a gritty texture in your mouth due to the caking agent added to the cheese.  Taking the time to freshly shredded your cheese is well worth it.

In a large pot cook noodles until al dente.  Before draining the pasta reserve 1/2 Cup of the pasta water and set aside.

In a large pan melt the butter and once melted stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and onion powder.

Slowly add the milk and cream stirring continuously(I add the cream and milk together in one bowl and add about a 1/4 cup at a time).

Heat mixture until it bubbles over medium heat and continue to stir.

Turn off heat and add the cheeses.  Stir until melted.  Once melted add the pasta water(adding the pasta water helps the cheese sauce to stick to the pasta) and pasta until well combined.

Let sit for 5 minutes to thicken.  Top with chives and serve.

BE AWESOME,
JULIA

Monday, October 19, 2015

Seren-MOM-ity {Never Lie}

SEREN-MOM-ITY{things I have learned as a mom as I have utterly failed and picked myself up dusted myself off and tried again and then discovered a most delightful gem}

     I have realized as of late that I have learned a lot about being a mom over the past 21+ years.  I am by no means a perfect mom and have grown to be a better one everyday.  I have made huge parenting blunders and have joyous moments of triumph.  I also have lots of friends that ask me for advice and I thought well I could share some of that knowledge here that I have in this brain of mine and maybe help other women out that feel like being a parent might be the death of them and believe me some days you are going to feel like that.  Being a mom is hard and we all need help. We all have really bad mommy days and we all have fabulous days...it's true that mom you see over there that looks like wonder mom she has a bad day or even a bad week ..and do you know what that is okay. Your children love you more than you can ever comprehend and are so forgiving just keep trying to do better and you can be a wonder mom too(because you are)!!!

      My first thing I learned long ago was from a young single adult conference I attended.  Yep you read that right a young single adult conference and the keynote speaker was a parenting "expert", he spoke to us several times over the weekend and as a single parent I was soaking everything in.  I had no idea what I was doing as a mom and I was fascinated by his every word.  It was the first time I realized I did not need to figure this all out on my own there are books I can read.  Since that conference I have read many books and I highly recommend it but a word of advice go into reading these books prayerfully and take the nuggets of advice that will work for you and your children.   At this conference I learned a truth that has become at the heart of who I am as a mom... Never LIE to your child!

     Let me explain have you ever said I will come help you after I do this one thing and then you do 2 things?  You have just lied to your child(face palm).  Have you ever made a promise to your child and not kept it and not explained why hoping they would forget?  Again you are a liar.  This is hard to hear being called a liar but this one thing is so important about never lying to your child I want you to get it DO NOT LIE TO YOUR CHILD!!!  When you never lie to your child your words gain a whole new power that I never really understood before.  If you never lie...how much more does I love you mean, I am proud of you, you are amazing, or when you are trying to teach them something of eternal importance...if you never lie those words mean everything and they are true because you never lie.  Powerful stuff right there.  Yes we are going to make a promise we cant keep and possibly threaten to hang them from the ceiling if they argue with a sibling again, its going to happen. Going back and apologizing and explaining the situation or saying sorry for saying something that you didn't mean because you were frustrated takes that lie away.  We want our words to mean something and never lying to them gives power to your words.  Never Lie.  Give Power to Your Words they are important!

Be Awesome,


Julia

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

End After Dinner Chaos

     It's time to do the dishes and well it has been a long day and really what mom after dinner can really remember who had what dishes assignment last?  Or maybe it's just me.
     In my efforts to get my home all ready for back to school time I whipped up a cute little chart using items I had in my house and in less than 5 minutes!


Items Needed:
Scissors
Mini Clothes Pins
Permanent Markers
Piece of Cardstock 
A Magnet

Cut 1.5 inches off the end of a piece ofcardstock  and fold it into however many sections of little helpers you have.

Write one or 2 jobs in each section using your marker.

Using different colored markers color the tops of the clothes pins.  Clip one pin on each job and assign a color to your helpers.  

Use the magnet to hang it in your kitchen.

This was a super simple and quick solution to an issue in my home.  I hope you find it useful in ending your after dinner craziness!

Be Awesome,
Jewels

Friday, June 12, 2015

Homemade "Spaghetti O's"

     I do not know about you but I am beyond the stars, over the moon giddy happy that it is summer vacation!!!  I love having my children home for the summer.  I however have one thing that I struggle with myself and that is eating lunch before the afternoon crash of exhaustion hits me.  When its just me its okay but ravenous growing preteens in the throws of prepubescence is enough without adding starving, hangriness to the mix!  To have things for lunch on hand that are quick and easy is a must and the following recipe is high on my kids list of must have lunch foods, if not at the very tip top;  Spaghetti O's!!!  Not those high in sugar overly processed ones you find in a can but the ones I make and it is so easy to make and you can make a ton in not a lot of time!

Ingredients:
24oz  of Tomato Sauce
1 TB Italian Seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
(the top 3 ingredients can be replaced by a 24oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce)
1 lb Ditalini Pasta
1 cup milk
½ cup parmesan-the fake stuff
Salt to taste


Cook pasta to package directions(salt the water ALWAYS).  While that is cooking dump the cans of sauce into pan. .  Pour milk into the pan and stir. Add italian seasoning and garlic powder to the sauce stir occasionally until simmering. When pasta is done, drain it and add to sauce.  Turn off heat mix until the pasta is well coated.  Add the parmesan stir it into pasta mixture.  Scrap from pan into a large plastic Tupperware.  Let it sit on the counter uncovered until it has cooled down.  Cover and keep in refrigerator for a week.  When your kiddos or even yourself want a bowl scoop some out into a microwave safe bowl and heat it in the microwave!  Grab some salad on the side while its heating up and you have lunch-nom nom nom!!!



     This simple recipe has saved many of lunches around here and my kiddos are old enough to get it for themselves which is fabulous!!!


BE AWESOME,
JULIA

Thursday, May 14, 2015

End of the YearTeacher Gift {Gum Balls}

      Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week and we put together a bunch of fun for the teachers in our lives.  With the end of the year fast approaching I thought I would share one of our more fun ideas from the week.  It can be a perfect end of the year gift for your favorite teacher! 

      My right hand little lady and my goof ball helped fill these soda bottles( www.michaels.com ) with gumballs ( www.gfs.com ) then topped them with lids I also found at Michaels. 

      
       
       I made these cute printables using Rhonna Designs app and A Beautiful Mess app on my phone and tied them on the bottles with twine from Pick Your Plum (which have amazing deals occasionally on twine)!


TIP:  I printed the tags using one of my favorite apps...the Walgreens photo app.  It makes printing tags, pictures for scrap or smash booking, or any other photo needs a snap.  I even uploaded vacation pictures while waiting at the airport and picked up the prints on the way home.  It is so easy to use and having pics in a hour or less is fab.  By the way they can even text or email you when your order is complete!  

BE AWESOME,
JEWELS


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Teacher Appreciation ~ Succulent

     Teacher Appreciation Week is in full swing around here and with my 2 youngest having teachers other siblings have had before coming up with new small gift ideas was key and they needed to be easy.

     We have this fabulous boutique where I live and they have a garden bar.  I'll repeat a garden bar.  If you are scratching your head, I'll explain.  They have an assortment of planters, succulents, rocks, and add-ons.  You grab a tray and start planting.  My kids love it and I knew they would be excited to give their teachers a plant.  I ran there and put together a couple of succulents in cute little pots:

THE Cutest right?!?  The gold dinosaur TO DIE for!!!

     I found these fabulous bags at Marshalls:

and added a cute little printable I made using the Rhonna Designs App.


     If you are like me you use your phone for everything.  You can easily use the printable yourself.  Take a screen shot of the printable.  Edit it in you cameras edit setting.  Then print to your printer or what I do is print to Walgreens using there app.  It is so simple to use for little projects like this!

    Go ahead make a printable, get your hands a little dirty and make your child's teachers day!!!

Be Awesome, 
Julia



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Thrift Store Decor

Hello my faithful Serendipity readers...I went on a bit of a hiatus.  I needed some time to figure out what I wanted my blog to be now that my children are in school and that took more time than I anticipated but I wanted it to be right and reflect me as a woman, mom, and creative being.  I love to create and I have found I love to create beautiful spaces that are useful and have a purpose and have meaning and most definitely Serendipitous!!! I will continue to share family favorite recipes and fun creative things to do with your children but primarily I will be blogging about making your home and life reflect you!  One of my new series will be thrift store decor and I am super excited about it so lets get down to the gorgeous thrift store find!

I love to decorate!  Good decor can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars(but I'm not parting with my money so easily).  I truly believe in spending my decor dollars wisely and saving that money for a piece of furniture I LOVE and makes a statement.  It doesn't have to be a piece of furniture that makes the statement though...


VASES!!!!! 
 I gathered these vases from one of our local thrift stores and do they make a statement for $7.00!!!! One wouldn't be so great  but a group of anything(keep it in odd numbers and different sizes help too) makes a huge impact.  Then when I added them to my other thrifty finds and a Star Wars quote...one word SERENDIPITY!!!



If you are adding pink flowers to your bedroom office, the office your husband requested be added to your design to save your marriage add a Star Wars quote and he will be just fine with the flowers!!!

Find Your Serendipity,
Jewels