The Valentine Gift

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Samantha from Mommy to a Princess. Take a few minutes to check out her blog after you read this!

She is the 28-year-old mother of Princess Roxy and wife to Russ.  She is a paralegal at a small law office in Kentucky and is involved with her local March of Dimes chapter.  In her spare time, she blogs about the antics and milestones of raising a 29-week micropreemie.

February 14th. Valentine’s Day. Its only 5 days away! Are you ready?

I checked Wikipedia when I agreed to do this guest post to read up a bit on the history of Valentine’s Day. I already knew it was previously known as Saint Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t know that it had been taken off the Roman Catholic calendar. I wonder how they decide to remove a special day from the calendar? I was also shocked to know that Valentine’s Day originates from way back in 500 A.D. That’s a long time! Unfortunately, I believe it remains on our calendar today as a commercial holiday that boosts the economy one $60.00/dozen rose purchase at a time.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Is it with the usual flowers/chocolate/dinner out?

The first two Valentine’s Day when I had a boyfriend, I received stuffed animals. The first was liberally sprayed with my high school boyfriend’s cologne. I guess it was the thing to do back then.

My first Valentine’s Day with Russ I received a dozen long-stem roses at work. Along with two other dozens of roses from family members who didn’t want me to be the only one at work with no flowers. Um, where do I put three dozen roses on my desk? I even had a co-worker offer to buy a dozen so that he wouldn’t have to order any for his wife.

What do I want for V-day this year? There are a few things that top my list:

  • A massage. I don’t care if its 30 minutes or an hour. Its a little bit of heaven for a hectic mommy.
  • New socks. Goofy request I know, but I can’t help it. I am spending way too much time in the morning trying to find two socks that match or that match the outfit I am wearing.
  • A meal that I don’t have to cook and that I can eat while its warm.
  • Any of the commercial V-day gifts would work, too. Flowers, chocolate. They are always good.

I was searching for a good gift for Russ for Valentine’s Day this year and I can tell you a few things that he is not going to be getting:

  • A new furnace. Because, well, we just got a new one and even if we hadn’t, they are a bit expensive for Valentine’s Day. However, according to a local radio station and their advertising, it would be the perfect way to “warm” your significant other’s heart on V-day.
  • Bacon anything. A search on MSN led me to a site with anything bacon – bacon candles, bacon flavored coffee, chocolate bacon, bacon bandages for boo boos. Yep – its not happening. As much as I love bacon for breakfast, I do not want that smell hanging around my house. Ick!
  • A picture frame. I tried this one our first V-day together. Its still in my closet somewhere because Russ left it at my house and never tried to take it home.
  • Candles. I saw an advertisement for candles for V-day. It was a set of two for $73. $73 for a candle? I don’t even want to pay Yankee Candle prices and I adore their candles! These two were supposed to be two different rose-based scents (enough for a migraine to start right now!) that could be burned separately or together. The other selling points? When sitting together their abstract design forms an abstract heart. Same with the packaging. No need to wrap. For $73 I had better not need to wrap them!

3 Things I’d Say to My 17-Year-Old Self If Had the Chance

Hey there! I have a great guest post for you all today! It’s my great friend Brandi from Dysfunctional Supermom!

We met a while back on Twitter, hit it off and have been friends ever since! She’s a great, really (she even sent me an awesome necklace for helping her out)! Check out her blog you’re sure to be entertained with what she has to say about life, kids, and everything in between!

Like me she’s a mom with 4 awesome kids and it took a marriage or two to find the perfect man, in her case it’s The Saint. Between the two of us we’re learning things along the way and doing the very best that we can for our kids.

Hope that you enjoy the break from the regularly scheduled programming! Oh! I almost forgot! I’m over at her place today…. go check it out! Quickly!


Why, hello there, magic lovers. I’m very excited to be here and can’t say enough about your wonderful
bloggess, Jackie. She’s been more than a doll to me in the short time we’ve been friends and the fact
that she’s willing to let me post here just proves that she’s got HUGE *ahem* heart. *Snort*

I’ve got to tell you, that when I tossed out the feelers to see which of my Twitter friends wanted to do
a blog swap with me, I was very happy that Jackie was the one to jump on in. I like Jackie. She’s pretty

And I stayed happy, because we easily agreed on the topic: ‘things we’d tell our younger selves’. Easy
breezy, mac & cheesy. (Ummm…by the way, I feel as though I should tell you that since I’m doing my
very best not to be full of the foul over here out of respect for Jackie’s space; I’ve decided that to make
up for it, I’m going to be the most obnoxiously corny character I possibly can. You’re welcome.)

Where were we?

Oh yeah. Sorry.

Ok, so I started thinking about my younger self. My 17 year old, engaged to my first husband, fresh out
of high school self; and y’all…she started to piss me off. (Wait. Can I say that here?)

Crap. Anyway.

So here goes.

Dear Brandi,

There are few things I’d like you to know before you take one more step. So, please, PLEASE, for the love
of all things holy…STOP! That’s it. Right there.

Nope. Don’t even bother opening that cute little pie-hole of yours; because nothing insightful will come
out anyway. No, you are not as wise as you think you are; so just please sit down and shut up for a few
minutes. This won’t take long, but it just might save you a couple decades of pain and suffering.

Ready? Here we go.

1. 18 is too young to get married. Period. You are not ready. Everyone around you that says
otherwise is a moron. Do not listen to them. It doesn’t matter that he is a preacher and comes
from a good family, because he is also too young and you will both regret it. Trust me. However,
I know that you are going to do this anyway, which leads me to number 2.
2. When you are 23 and your life is falling apart around you: your marriage, your career,
your friendships…and everything you believed to be stable and ‘real’ all of the sudden
crumbles…please do not blame yourself. You are only human: just a little girl still in many, many
ways. God is great, but therapy is necessary. Start early. Trust me on this one.
3. Finally, at least for now, because there is so much more that I want to tell you, but I’m going to

need a big ass journal. (Wait…can I say that here? CRAP!) *Sigh*
You are NOT the sum of all of your failures, or your successes. You are a paradox. You are
cracked, but not broken. You are a little ‘off’ but not crazy. You will be a different kind of
mother, but you will be damn good at it. You will have no idea what you want to be when you
grow up for a very, very long time…but you will also be okay with that fact.

Cut yourself some slack, girl. You’re worth the effort.



Making “Me Time” Happen

Single Mom on a Budget Jill is a single mother living in Colorado with her three sons. She works full time, functions as CFO, maid, psychologist, chauffeur and coach, and specializes in maximizing her income through smart, careful budgeting and cost-saving strategies. Her humor and fixation on frugality play out at Single Mom on a Budget.

As the single mom of three boys “me time” is hard to come by.  I mean, those boys are demanding.  Emotionally.   Financially.   Physically.  You name it, they want it.

I also work full-time.  Sometimes going to work is a break from the commotion of home life because at least someone else is “in charge” and I have goals that cannot be put off.  (Unless I want to be a single unemployed mom of three boys. And I really don’t.  But then again, I would prefer not to have to go to work too.  Never satisfied, am I?)

There are days where I believe that I have done more by the time I arrive at work than some do in a full day of work.  And there are also the days where I have used up every ounce of energy just to get out of bed and face the day and yet 16 hours just lie in wait for my sunshine and light.

Every day, the bills are paid and all of my commitments are met.  Okaaay, alright… most of my commitments are met.  The important ones… like feeding the kids, making sure homework is done and sweeping the floor.

It is fair to say that “me time” doesn’t just fall in my lap so commitments that I make to myself, FOR myself, are pushed aside more often than not.  There are nights where I lay in bed wide awake at 1am because my mind is putting together all of the pieces of what needs to take place over the next few days.  Trying to figure out how I’m going to get the teenagers to different places at the same time and get my 7 year old picked up from after-school care.  I can’t even find me time at bedtime.

Me time is important.  When I’m exhausted and emotionally spent I am not a good mother.  I am not a good person.  My kitten doesn’t get her treats my plants don’t get watered. It really isn’t pretty.  When I start to savor time stuck in traffic, I know it’s time.

I have to make time.  Sometimes it is just a matter of curling up on the couch and reading a book or watching a movie.  Sometimes it is treating myself to a pedicure.  Sometimes it is a massage.  Sometimes the best me time is a nap in the middle of the day!  Sometimes it is making plans with friends (and actually following through).

One time I lost my identity so badly I went back to school. It was awesome and incredibly rewarding and I found myself again.  When I was satisfied that I was accomplishing “something”; I quit.  Not quit as in gave up, but quit as in put it aside.  In hindsight I pushed me time to an extreme by going back to school, probably not something I’ll do again anytime soon (I hope).  At the same time, if I hadn’t done it I probably would have ended up in a room with white walls, crayons and 3 square meals a day.

Raising kids is an accomplishment in and of itself, but it’s hard.  It is largely a thankless journey.  And it’s a helluva lot of work!  With being a single mom and doing everything by myself it is terribly easy to get caught up in being “Mom”.  I mean I hear it 52,728 times per day so how can I be anything else?

No matter what IT is – book, movie, Vegas or a pedicure – I have to make IT happen.  After my back to school stint I recognize that balance is important.  For my own sanity.  My boys aren’t going to go off the deep-end if I leave for a few hours.  And frankly, even though I am the coolest mom ever, I think they would rather that I have me time than not.

Truthfully, even though I have spent the last few minutes whining about how hard life is, I have it pretty good. I have a good career because I made IT happen.  I have good kids because I work hard at being a good mom and that includes me time.  Thus far, I have avoided crayons and white walls although the thought of someone else feeding me three times a day does have its appeal.

Make “me time” happen, no matter what it is.  How do you get your “me time” in?


I Finally Get It

Recently I was looking for someone to do a guest post for me, found someone, and it went really well! So well that I sent out a tweet and was able to get another person to do a guest blog post! It’s great! It helps me in growing my blog but it also lets others write about something different, grow their blog, and best of all it helps build friendships!

This week Jessica from The Unemployed Mom is my guest blogger! Her blog is one the first ones that I started reading and from there I went on to finally start my own blog. I guess you could say she helped inspire me!

Family stuff, our mom’s being right, and teaching our kids something valuable! Read on!!

I remember hearing my mom say things like “this is what life is all about” and I used to scratch my head thinking she was crazy. Was life really about sitting around with family doing nothing? I could have thought of a million things that seemed like more fun, instead I was dragged along to family
functions. To me, those things were boring and I never understood why she got so excited about them. Why did we always have to do family stuff?

There were a lot of things that my mom thrived on that I just didn’t get. She was always about being in her comfort zone and never thought about stepping outside of it. She worried about my brother and me all the time, something that drove me nuts! She used to always say “someday you’ll understand” or “just wait until you have kids”.

Fast forward 20 years later and I am blown away at how smart my mom was! I finally get it! Life is all about those precious moments shared with loved ones. I never quite comprehended that until having a child of my own. In our child free years, my husband and I enjoyed a non-stop lifestyle. We were
always on the go, whether it was traveling, going shopping or walking around Disney to get out of the house. We hated just sitting around doing “nothing”.

Don’t get me wrong, we still enjoy getting out and about but it is much more difficult with a kid. Even a quick trip to the market takes planning (diapers, snacks, toys, extra clothing, etc.). I keep reminding my husband how our life is more enriched with our little one, but sometimes he has a hard time seeing it (he’d prefer to be sipping Mai Tai’s in Hawaii or shopping in the Big Apple without worrying about a tantrum). Our son brings us so much joy, he is truly a blessing. Even on days when he shows his true
2-year old spirit, I can envision my mom telling me to savor the moments because “you’ll miss these days when they are gone”.

I just find it amazing that she was right on all accounts! NEVER would I admit that to her of course, but wow! It seem like yesterday my son was this helpless little bundle that needed me for everything. Now, he’s so independent and growing up right before my eyes! I hope I can teach him the same valuable lessons and morals that my mom taught me!

On cookies and frustration.

Not that long ago I set out to find someone who was interested in doing a guest post for me. I posed the question to all the great people who are part of the Crayon Wrangler’s Blog Frog community as well as on Twitter and was able to get an immediate response from my new friend, Maryline, from Franco-American Dream! Needless to say I was excited… and still am!

Do you have kids? If so, you can totally sympathize with Maryline! I know I went through it with my girls and am going to be going through it with my son! Wonder what we’re talking about? Keep reading! 

This past month has reached new heights in dinnertime struggles with my now 17-month old.

Two nights ago was the perfect example of the doomed 6pm disaster…

And I mean it. Food everywhere except in his mouth. Constant screaming, crying, and kicking, with some head-throwing back against the high chair – just to spice it up. Me? Starting to scream back and lose my mind. Oh yes.

To the untrained eye, this baby is in excruciating pain from teething, it’s so obvious. He’s shoving his fingers all the way in the back of his mouth and literally screaming bloody murder. I was surprised none of the neighbors knocked on the door to check in on us.

But in reality, set him down, and all is fine again. So, now I know better.

Except this past night? Much worse. Screaming at the pasta which he normally loves, screaming at the applesauce… Come on, who screams and rejects applesauce, at 17 months old?

Do I really make food for him to just decide he will not eat? Hell no!

Food, I swear, is everywhere. He first spits it out, slowly so that the food slides down his chin and neck. He then rubs his face with his fists, slowly painting his cheeks, eyelids, and forehead with the edible body paint of the day…

Bibs at that point are WAY useless. In fact, I don’t even put them on. Why add to the laundry? The clothes were going to get washed anyway!

In the past moments, I’ve been fuming and cursing inside; at my husband, who should give it a try once in a while to give me a break; after my son who’s clearly not understanding I am feeding him THE very best; at the dog for not being able keep up with the nutritious projectiles covering the hardwood floor, the legs of the high-chair, and the tip of my toes.

By the way? Don’t wait for your kids to beg you to get a dog, get one the day you start solids with your first-born. It’s a win-win, trust me! (Actually, make that happen from day one if you can, as it turns out, dogs also crave wet burps. Gross? Not really, just convenient.)

And so that night, I felt like my son was going to bed on a nearly empty stomach. But soon after, realized I did not have a choice. Let me confess, just between you and I, I briefly attempted the force feeding thing (yes, the one thing all parenting books will tell you not do), it did not work well at all. The screaming was getting louder, the mess just bigger and my sanity was NOT saved.

And so tonight, I changed my approach, I filled a few small bowls with different foods he likes – Goldfish crackers, cantaloupe, raspberries – on the ottoman, and let him play/eat for a bit. Then I sat him in the chair, with a bowl of food (pasta, red sauce, beef – homemade!), and two spoons. With the dog in stand-by to clean up after him, always.

And I? Stepped away. Still there, just not by his side holding the fork or trying to entertain him as I always have done.

He actually ate at least as much as he would have with my intervention, not necessarily much more. However I’ll admit it was far less hectic.

I would not say quiet. But sustainable. And that is good news, because I have about 18 more years of dinners to go.

And this is how I realized my son is making his way through life, learning independence. Just like I’ve learned to let him play with the front door until he gets tired of it. Because a tantrum over a door isn’t worth it.

Conveniently, my son just learned a new word over the past few days: cookie, and with the French accent, please! It’s so cute, it actually sounds like ka-ki.

Tonight when he was pointing at the pantry chanting ka-ki, ka-ki, I did let him have a little piece so I could strategize on the dinner plan. At least I knew he would not go to bed on an empty stomach!

Sometimes cookies are better than nothing. No doubt the next lesson my son needs to learn is simply “no”. I will wait for my husband to come back from his business trip to get started!

When it comes to our children, don’t we all lose our mind over battles not worth fighting?

“Testing mommy’s boundaries, one meal at a time.”
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