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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for Finding Simplicity as a SAHM

With the holidays just around the corner everything about the world sees a little more magical and fattening. How is a mom supposed to stay healthy when the whole country practically encourages gluttony from Thanksgiving to New Years? Christmas cookies, giant turkeys, stuffing (my favorite), egg nog (not my favorite), and more are waiting for consumption and since us moms are the ones who make the food and put it away, we may end up sampling a little more than everyone else. I almost forgot all of our kids left over Halloween candy! Yummy.

With all those treats a couple of extra pounds are only a few weeks away. Then of course we mama’s will want to be swimsuit ready by summer. Losing weight is so hard! It’s easier to prevent the weight than to lose weight. The trick is to give yourself the treats without going overboard. Here are a few tips to keep yourself from gaining several pounds over the holidays:

Count Calories with an App

I’m not suggesting you count your calories all year long, but counting calories makes you aware of what and how much you are eating. Awareness alone is often enough to help you navigate holiday food. Definitely indulge a little but remember – you can lie to yourself but not to your scale. If you try to cheat by not counting every cookie or chocolate, the scale will tattle on you.

 

Buy More Fruit and Veggies

I don’t know about you, but if I get hungry for a snack late at night, I do not want to leave the house and go get something out of sheer laziness. If you buy healthy food – remember, not to go to the grocery store hungry – then when it’s night time you will not have unhealthy options available. Buy the good stuff and leave the bad stuff at the store. Try to fill your cart from the outer edges of the grocery store and not the inside aisles. But do not forget coffee. Definitely venture into the middle of the store for coffee.

I go the extra mile and make sure I buy my kids sweets I can’t stand. I buy cookies and ice cream I do not eat to avoid snacking on their stuff. Halloween candy is an issue though. Avoid buying the kids too many snacks though too. Holidays come with plenty of sweets. For the holiday season, buy the kids snacks like peanut butter crackers, string cheese, and fruit to eat when they come in from school or playing outside.

 

Add a Little Healthy to Your Cookies

Being healthy does not mean giving up cookies. Just be cookie smart. Try adding a few healthy ingredients to your cookies and cakes. For example: flaxseed is full of omegas, fiber, and vitamins and has delicate nutty flavor. Mix a couple of tablespoons in with your cookies, pancakes, cakes, and other baked treats. All you need to do is take out a couple tablespoons of flour and replace with the flaxseed.

Mix other ingredients for a bit of a healthier dessert. Try adding in oats (or make no bake cookies with oats!), chia seeds, almonds, use coconut oil instead of canola or vegetable oil. Use partial wheat flour instead of all white flour for a little extra fiber. Finally, you can add in applesauce instead of oil.

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Oct
30

Why Do Kids Ask So Many Questions?

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina Palmerquestion markI began writing this blog five or six times trying to avoid asking questions because my annoyance stems from my children’s questions. When you think about it, asking questions is a normal part of everyone’s day. At grocery stores they ask, “Did you find everything you need?” Or “Will that be all?” But not us moms…

As a stay-at-home mom, I do not hear the same questions my husband does. No one asks me if I finished a report, if I am ready for the next presentation, or if I want to join them for lunch.

I spend my day with non-verbal questions from the cat for more wet food and the dogs yipping to go outside. Then my kids come home from school. 

Wait a minute, back up. I forgot about the mornings!

As I stumble out of bed to the fresh cup of coffee, which my husband has waiting for me on the counter, my thirteen-year-old comes around the corner asking, “Hi mom! How did you sleep?”

I think I manage to grumble in response, which I hope Rick knows means, “I’m still asleep.” My girls, Bri and Alex, focus on getting ready for school, like they realize I should not be forced to deal with words until the bottom of my coffee mug is visible. Then the deluge starts:

“Mom, can I get on the computer after school?”

“Mom, can I take two juice boxes today?”

“Hey mama, can I put candy in my lunchbox?”

“After school can we go to Walmart so I can spend my report card money?”

“Mom, when you were my age did you like going to PE class, or did you think it was pointless exercise too?”

“Is it raining outside?”

“What’s for dinner tonight?”

The coffee pot is groaning at this point because it knows I will lean on it for my sanity. I should tell you, I am not a morning person. I am a night owl, so questions in the morning is a big fat no-no. This is the reason my husband has my coffee ready because he doesn’t to kiss me until I drink my magic elixir. Moving on. 

By school’s end, my kids, who are stuck at desks all day, are ready to bombard me with more questions. These tend to be similar to the morning questions. However, by dinner time, their question take a creative turn:

“Mom, what is your favorite meal EVER?”

“When you were my age what was your favorite dinosaur EVER?”

“If you opened a restaurant what type of food would serve?”

“What is your favorite part of the song Bohemian Rhapsody EVER?”

“When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

“Did you EVER want to be an actor?”

 

If the questions were not enough, every sentence that is not a question has an adverb or the word never:

“I literally never want to eat onions.”

Seriously, I never tried that before.”

“I really really want to eat ice cream tonight” 

Actually, I would love some cake tonight.”

By the time dinner is over I am ready to put a cease and desist order on the kids’ foreheads. One time I got so overwhelmed with their questions, I made a question cup and they had to write all of their questions down or I would not respond to the question. The method did not work, I had to find a pen and respond on paper. More work.

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Sep
28

Breakfast and Lunch For Busy Mom

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Sunday nights are busy at my house because we do meal prep for the week so weekday mornings are easy and fast. Setting up breakfast and lunch on Sunday means you can worry about other things on Monday morning, like finding your kids left shoe, or their Chromebook charger. With food taken care of, I can get to working earlier. A lot depends on your kids personal tastes but here is what our family does for breakfast and lunch for school weeks.

 

Breakfast

I always have an assortment of cereals in the house – preferably not super sugary or marshmallowy cereals. Bagels and cream cheese, oatmeal, frozen waffles, and frozen cinnamon sticks are available too. But some weeks the kids want something different or it’s a test week and high-protein meals are necessary. Enter baked omelets. The recipe is so easy, mix a dozen eggs with some milk (or half and half, which my family prefers), add a little salt and pepper and pour into muffin tins until each cup is half full. Add in anything you like, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, spinach, ham, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, whatever your family loves in omelets. Bake for about 20 minutes on 350 degrees. The eggs will puff up as they finish cooking but will settle down after they cool. 

These microwave well and store easily in a large plastic container or even a zip-lock bag. When the kids wake up, they can place a couple of the egg muffins on a plate and microwave for about thirty seconds. You can make different egg muffins for different people. My husband loves pepperoni in his egg muffins but my kids prefer ham. I make one batch for each without a lot of extra work. I always sneak in a veggie, and as long as it’s not onions, the kids still eat them. Since you can make twelve egg muffins per tray and bake up to four trays at once, that’s breakfast for the whole week done in twenty minutes. 

 

Lunch 

School lunches may be convenient but the cost adds up and if your child has food allergies or sensitivities, packing lunch is the way to go. Making lunches every morning is a tiresome chore, try making all the lunches on Sunday night instead. Here is how we do lunch: 

  • You will need to get a few clear, space-saver bins to store the sandwiches in the fridge. 
  • Figure out how many sandwiches you need for the week. My house needs 15 sandwiches (three kids times five days). 
  • Lay out the bread you will need on a clean counter or table. Get creative and change it up every week. My kids favorites are flour tortillas or Hawaiian Sweet Buns (they make them in hamburger size or slider size). Sandwich bread does not tend to hold up all week like the tortillas or the buns. The options are endless for breads. 
  • Put condiments such as mayo and mustard first but only a thin layer as these sandwiches are for the whole week and no one likes a soggy sandwich. If you prefer, you can buy little packets of mayo and mustard and put them on the side to prevent sogginess. 
  • Next put the meat, cheese, and place any veggies such as lettuce or tomatoes on last. This order prevents sogginess. 
  • Meat choices are limited but cheese options can be changed often as can the veggies. My kids go nuts for aged white cheddar with ham but also love turkey with Colby Jack. 

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Jul
16

What Chores Can My Children Do?

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Do Boy with Choresyou have children over the age of four? Then you have children old enough to do chores. Children need play time, trust me they will find the time to play, but chores are necessary for them and for you. Remember one of our jobs as parents is to raise children up to be adults that are an asset to society, not a debt. Teaching responsibility is one of the most important parenting functions. How do you teach responsibility? By putting your children in charge of cleaning up after themselves and others. Teach them young, so they will understand they will need to clean more than just their messes. When they become parents, if not sooner, they will be cleaning up after children and their spouse.

Here is a list of age appropriate chores children should be doing. They live under your roof, do not teach them their room and board are free, or they will expect life to be free.

0-1 year – Not a whole lot you can do at this age for chores. Let them learn to use their bodies, chores later.

2-3 years – This is the magical age where children want to use their new-found abilities to help so they can be a big kid and are capable of the biggest messes. Hand them a few plates to put by the sink, let them help unload unbreakable dishes. Let them retrieve the condiments for dinner and put them on the table. Most importantly, teach them to pick up the stuff they pull out. Many kids this age will want to follow mom or dad around and help because it seems big and they want to be big. Promote the idea of being big.

4-5 years – This age can clean their room without help, not well, but they can. Expect to go in and help organize every once in a while, kids this young seem to not understand organizing, make sure they see your organizing and understand why you’re organizing. Other chores include:
Sweeping up the dust after you sweep with a handheld dustpan and broom.
Cleaning the toilets
Cleaning the counter tops in the kids bathroom
Clearing the table after dinner
Picking up shoes around the house and putting them away
Picking up toys and trash in the backyard
Dusting furniture
Emptying the bathroom trash

The possibilities are endless. Do not put them in charge of a whole chore, instead a portion of a chore. Expect to send them back several times to do the job right, do not forget this step. You remember the old saying, “Any job worth doing, is worth doing right.” While they may need several tries and your head may actually combust from the sock they still missed on the third go picking up the backyard, they really can find that sock. Tell them the sock has chocolate in it, then they will find it, trust me. Read More→

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Jun
12

Summer Tips for Mom Who Work From Home

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerSummer is here. My three kids have been out of school for a full week and we are getting into a routine. I would love to sleep in now that I do not have to wake up and get the kids off to school but my cat is adamantly against me changing her eating schedule to an hour later. Is it legal or effective to duck tape a cats mouth shut? Sometimes she is lenient and lets me sleep until eight. Only if I am a good girl which apparently is not often. Moving on.

What I want to talk about is the sun. I do not let my kids outside (if I can help it) between the hours of noon and four pm for playing or recreation outside, including the pool. Reason number one: my daughter has freckles and red hair. She is more likely to burn… and fast! She also does not tan. Bri is like me. We are ghostly white or lobster red, with little in between. The other two midgets tan to a beautiful golden tan like their father and do not burn as easily. Freckle-Face does not want more freckles, so my hubby and I have put a few summer rules in place.

* No going outside, for more than a few minutes, between the hours of noon and four pm.
* If you are going outside, wear a hat.
* Sunblock is your smelly best friend.
* Pool time is before 10 am or after 4 pm because the sun loves the pool too.
* One hour in the pool and then some time in the shade.

With our summer rules, my children completely avoided sunburns last year. We also avoid places like amusement parks in the summer. They are much more tolerable and fun in the spring or the fall. Trying to explain to my kids they still need sunblock if it’s not summer is a yearly conversation if you are staying outside. Read More→

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May
15

How To Spot a Scam Job Offering on Craigslist

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerAs a stay-at-home-mom, I seek opportunities to work from home. I need to be there if one of my midgets is home sick, or for holidays, and for school breaks. Boy was I happy the other day when I found an opportunity on Craigslist that looked promising. This venue has offered little success in the past but you never know. I went in with wide-open eyes ready to find any issue that would tell me this job was a scam. Here’s the breakdown of red flags:

Salary – The first clue a work-at-home-job is too good to be true is the job is for an exorbitant amount of pay. This job offered $600 bi-weekly for twenty hours of work. This was not a red flag, in fact, this gave me hope. The pay broke down to $15 an hour, which is reasonable for a virtual assistant. Be wary of a job offering hundreds or thousands for little to no work or experience.

 

Investing – Even better than a reasonable salary offer, the potential employer did not ask me to “invest” my money. If a job suggests you fronting money to make money working for them,  walk away. If you want to invest money than try MLM, such as Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, or some other such venue. Otherwise, save your money and invest in your own opportunities, not someone else asking you to front the money so they can make cash. 

 

Send Money – The opportunity I found did not have the shaky habit of sending money to potential employees. Who wouldn’t want free money? How could this be bad? You know why. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Why would they send you money before you have done any work for them? Better accept these offers are illegal and they are asking you to do illegal tasks with stolen money. Walk away. 

 

No Interview or Strange Interview – This was the first clue that this job was not real but a potential scam to steal my identity or money. The lady I was corresponding with wanted to communicate via Google Hangouts. She never interviewed me or asked me what skills I had. If she had not asked for my resume, this would have been more of a red flag. Either way, I was cautious at this point. Expect an interview. Expect to communicate via email, phone, and/or video chat where you can see each other face-to-face. Be wary of anything else. 

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Apr
24

Computer Paper and Other Things Kids Waste

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerOnce upon a time, my seven-year-old daughter planned to write and draw the best princess story that ever existed. She grabbed a handful of white printer paper and stapled them together. The title on the first page was in pink with a sloppy princess with long flowing blond hair. The second page was filled with… nothing. Same with every other piece of paper she stapled together and left on my husbands desk… three weeks ago. She wasted all that paper as if I haven’t told her one hundred times computer paper costs $2.50 at Walmart and shouldn’t be wasted. She replied she thought was cheap, and I responded it is until you have to buy six packs of paper every month. 

Kids waste stuff. Computer paper, food, soda, toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, the list goes on and on. Why do children waste everything? Because they are unaware the item has value and guess who’s job it is to teach kiddos value? Yep! Yours, mama. Let’s add one more thing to our to-do list. But this one is important as your kids will take this lesson into the future with them. Don’t make that scared face. I have another list for you.

Computer paper, crayons, paint, and other art supplies – do not put these items out of reach, trust me, your child will climb up on anything if they are feeling creative. Put limits instead. My three cannot get computer paper without both permission from me and from my husband. That cut down computer paper usage in thirds. Take that you wasting wasters. They also have to ask before they use other art supplies end of discussion. Well, not quite if they leave art supplies out they lose them for a week. 

Food, drinks, milk, cereal – the worst is leaving boxes of food open to go stale. Nothing drives me more nuts than wasted food. I stopped throwing away or replacing stale food. The kids have to eat it and I won’t buy more of that snack until the old one is gone. Now they use those handy little clips I got from Ikea’s checkout aisle. Other methods are to give clear guidelines for snacks. Only three cookies, only one small glass of juice. If they don’t listen don’t buy that item again. My kids eventually ask why I stopped buying the item and I say because they were wasteful. The promise until their eyes turn purple they won’t waste anymore and that lasts about a week. 

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Apr
04

Curiosity Killed the Cat

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerSimplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerMy daughter Bri is in fifth grade and reads at a high school senior level, which is fantastic except that books at her reading level do not match her age level. She is obsessed with books about fairytales and reads books that spin off from Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. The young adult section is full of books along this happy, engaging genre. But that same section is also filled with stories about vampires, killing, witches, and every other level of creepy you can think of. I also like to read teen novels because they are more imaginative and about other worlds, instead of novels filled to the brim with adult problems reminding me of my adult problems. 

Recently, I read a teen novel that fell into the fairytale genre, a Chinese Cinderella in a way, and was excited to pass the book down to Bri when I finished reading. Then I read a section of the book where the main character killed a woman, ripped out her heart with her bare hands before eating the heart to gain power from the woman’s lifeblood. Yeah, too creepy to hand down to my almost eleven-year-old child who has never seen anything creepier than a dead armadillo on the side of the road. I needed to tell my avid reader she could not read this book when she had already been waiting impatiently for me to finish the book so she could read it next. 

I sat miss Bri down and told her I would not let her read the book until she was older. She looked disappointed and then in the nature of all children asked why. I could have told her ‘because I said so,’ or ‘I’ve decided the book is not appropriate,’ or ‘there is content in the book you are too young for.’ I said none of those things. Instead, I said, “The book was great and fairytale like but there were a few scenes where the main character ripped out the hearts of animals and even another human and ate them. The scenes were written in a lot of detail and I don’t think you needed to read such vivid scary scenes in such detail. To which Bri responded, “Ewww. Gross! I don’t want to read that. I will go get a different book.” Boy was I thankful she responded in that manner. 

Why, though, did I give her details instead of invoking my parental rights to say ‘because I said so’? Because curiosity killed the cat. Sometimes ‘because I said so’ suffices to answer a child’s question. Other times, their inquisitive nature will propel them into disobedience. Had I responded differently, there was a real chance Bri would have snuck the book up to her room and read by flashlight under her covers after she had been told to go to bed. She would have woken up screaming as she envisioned a waif-like Chinese princess ripping out her heart. No, thank you. 
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Feb
15

Fight the Flu

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina Palmerheart in snowWith the flu season in full gear, us stay-at-home mom’s have the convenience of making a wonderful pot of homemade soup to help our children (and husband and ourselves) get well faster. Not just the flu, but Strep, and bronchitis, and mono, and all the other illness that like to keep our kids home on school days coughing, feverish, and miserable. I will share with you my simple and tasty chicken soup recipe along with a few other tricks I use to combat the woes that come with winter. 

Chicken Soup

3 handfuls of angel hair pasta or egg noodles or potatoes (5 medium potatoes peeled and cut)

5 fresh garlic cloves chopped fine

1 medium white onion chopped fine

2 containers of chicken broth or stock 

1 can of cream of chicken soup (preferably the Aldi brand or one without creepy ingredients like MSG)

1 bag frozen mixed veggies 

4 cups of water

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

 

To taste, sage, thyme, garlic salt, onion powder, bay leaves, salt, and pepper

Start by sautéing the chicken in olive or coconut oil then add in the fresh garlic and onion until everything is a golden brown. Pour in the chicken broth or stock and mix in cream of mushroom soup and water. Add in spices and bring to a boil. Next, put in pasta or potatoes and bring back to a boil until cooked through. Add in the flaxseed and allow to boil for another minute or two. Serve. 

Other tips I swear by (to compliment traditional medicine or by themselves):

Anointing oil – I pray over my babies when they are sick. God can surely handle a cold!

Essential oils in a diffuser – I love eucalyptus to help open the nose and germ fighter (also called four thieves) to kill germs in the air. Oils can also be mixed with a carrier oil and put on the body. I suggest lavender for almost everything.  

Wet sock treatment – This is a new one in my repertoire been using for a few months and found to be quite effective (please talk to your doctor if you have any concerns before trying). The purpose of this treatment is to force your (or your child’s) immune system into overdrive. 

Take one pair of white regular socks and place in a bowl to soak of ice and water. Soak your child feet in warm water in the tub or in a foot tub for ten minutes. After ten minutes, put the wet socks (wring them out first) on the child’s feet and then put dry thick wool socks (if you don’t own wool socks, use two pair of thick socks or fuzzy socks) put the child to bed and make sure they are covered up in a blanket and warm pajamas. This has brought fevers down every time and stopped others in the house from getting sick.  Read More→

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Jan
22

Take Away the Panic

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerTwo autumns ago, my family vacationed in Disney World. Day two we spent in Epcot visiting various countries including the Mexican Pyramid. Our clan of five plus my dad, stepmother, and two young sisters lined up for the boat ride. Mexico teamed with people visiting booths, activities, and the same line we endured. One, two, three, four, five little heads I counted several times while waiting for thirty minutes for a two-minute ride. Two pink shirts, one blue, a purple, and an orange. I must have counted the wrong pink shirt because when I glanced over, my daughter Alex was gone. 

Blinders covered my eyes as I rushed out of line on the hunt for my baby. Calling her name I weaved in and out of the crowd pushing people out of my way until another mom stopped me. Was I looking for a little blond girl in a pink shirt? I was. She knew where my baby was and took me to the vendor where my five-year-old princess waited as my throat slowly released the choked panic and fear. Alex chattered away to an employee as I approached ready to kiss all over her and never let her out of the safety of my arms again. The world was no longer black and grim, but brimming with color and hope again. 

Alex, upon finding she had lost her family in a strange place, did not panic. She found a mother who took her to a booth or store and more specifically, to a person with a name tag, where she asked for help finding her mama. Alex was fine. Apologizing over and over again, Alex calmed me with her peaceful happy-go-lucky attitude telling me she was fine she knew just what to do when lost. I had prepared my children for worse case scenarios on the twenty hour drive to Disney. 

If the kids got lost, they were to find a mom or an employee with a name tag. That was exactly what Alex did. She took charge of the situation and got herself to relative safety until I could get to her location. Alex chatted with the employee as they were about to announce a missing child to the throng of faces. My little one scoped out souvenirs and bubbled over with five-year-old chatter, not a hint of alarm or trepidation spoiling her day in the world of magic. 

Communication about potential threats was only one security measure in my arsenal. Every day after my children and sisters dressed for the day, including shoes on, I would take a picture of them in their daily outfit. The drive over also included quizzing my children about mine and my husband’s phone numbers, our names, and other distinguishing factors they may need to give under bad circumstances. This was our families typical car discussion. We talked about possible scenarios and how to handle them if they happen. I am very thankful now that we tell our children what to do in potentially scary situations as it saved us tons of panic at Disney. 

We have gone over situations such as what to do when:

– A stranger offers you candy or anything else to get into their vehicle or go with them somewhere.

– If they get separated from us anywhere. 

– They come home and we are not there and they cannot get into the house. 

– How to figure out if someone is safe to approach for help.

– What to do if they come home and the doors are open, our wallets, purse, shoes, and phones are there but we are not.

– If there is a fire, tornado, or other disasters. 

– Someone comes into the house uninvited. 

– What to do if we run out of coffee (okay, this one is a joke, but also kind of real).  Read More→

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