Worry and Anxiety from Information Sensationalism in Our Kids

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kids, worry, and anxietyDon’t look now, but your kids are watching. They’re listening. They’re taking it all in. And it may be causing worry and anxiety.

Our kids have been through the wringer this past couple of months. They didn’t get the closure they needed to end their school year and say goodbye to teachers and friends. Activity after activity has been taken from them. Their hearts have had to handle so much disappointment. 

Twisting the Truth can Cause Worry and Anxiety.

Last week, the CDC released guidelines offering considerations for ways in which schools can help protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff when K-12 schools start to open. The Center for Disease Control did NOT release an infographic along with this article. However, one was quickly developed by a reader and went rapidly circulating social media. The infographic caught the eyes of others because of its cute design and enormously exaggerated statements. 

Scrolling through my social media feed, I saw it repeatedly come up. Moms threatening to home school, others in a complete panic. In an instant, people were in a tizzy about a graphic that poorly attempted to summarize a CDC document in a sensationalized way.

Should we really share the what-ifs with our kids?

I disagree with the dramatized graphic in many ways, including that the main point is to create intense worry and anxiety. The fact that it was posted with recommendations from the CDC was very sneaky and deceptive. Yet, there was something more than that shook me to my core.

I read multiple moms posting comments like “I shared this with my kids, and they started crying.”

Filling up our kids’ heads with the “what-if” situations is not going to help them in any way. It is only hurting. It is only causing more worry and anxiety. It is too heavy. 

It is not about keeping our children from reality. It is about letting them be kids.

Local licensed mental health provider Lesley Turner shared with me her thoughts on this topic. Turner states

As adults, our job is to provide safety, stability, and love to our children. While some may feel that transparency is one way to achieve that, it can also create anxiety and children who are asked to understand and react to things they don’t have the emotional capacity to handle…Many children are very black and white thinkers, and the CDC recommendations as written are nothing if not grey.”

No one knows what’s next.

But we’re going be okay. 

It’s summer break. (Less than a week into summer break, mind you.) Your kids are home and deserve the break that summer promises. Summer is about recharging. It is staying up past bedtime and barefoot backyard adventures. It is relaxed schedules and less rush. It is repeated popsicle runs to the freezer and SO MUCH WATERMELON

My suggestions on creating this haven at home come from an early childhood background, but my best answer is simplicity. Answer questions in a simple way. Don’t be afraid to say you’re not sure of the answer while offering reassurance and comfort. Let them come to you with concerns and not the other way around. There is no doubt that this entire situation is scary. Our children feel that worry and anxiety. It is so important that we are not feeding into that fear. We can parent them in a way that gives hope. 

Turner also said,

Rather than share these recommendations with children, I would advise that parents talk to their kids about the shared feeling of uncertainty. Validate to your child that right now, much is unknown and that it’s okay to be sad, confused, worried, and angry…If your child is demonstrating significant symptoms of anxiety, stress, or depression, please don’t hesitate to contact a professional for support.”

What our kids need most right now is a beautiful, enjoyable summer. And even in this world of upside-down, we can give that to them. 

summer worry and anxiety

Easy Window Cling:: Rainy Day Craft Activity for Kids

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As the cold turns to warm days, I get so excited to be outside, but there are always those rainy days where I’m not exactly sure what to do—yes, I love a good movie day, but even that can be short-lived at my house. So I found a simple, easy, homemade window cling to do on a rainy day.

I love doing crafts, and so does my 3-year-old.  She loves coloring and cutting but don’t even get my started on GLUE.  This girl LOVES glue. When I tell her we’re going to do a craft, she immediately asks, “are we going to glue things?!” Yes—with this window cling craft, you’re going to glue until your heart’s content!

I saw this idea on Pinterest to make window clings, but it wanted me to get contact paper and some other stuff that I did not have and wasn’t interested in buying.  So I smashed about five different Pinterest ideas together for the butterfly window cling.

butterfly craft

Here’s what you need for the window cling:

  • Liquid glue (Elmer’s is what I used)
  • Paintbrush (small, watercolor paintbrushes work well)
  • Cut up scraps of tissue paper in whatever colors you want
  • One sheet of printer paper (cardstock does not work well)
  • One piece of construction paper in the outline of whatever shape you want (I did a butterfly, but this would be great for crosses, flowers, circles—whatever!)

What to do:

  1. Cut up the pieces of tissue paper. They don’t need to be identical, and a little goes a LONG way.  I cut up mine into about ½ inch square(ish) shapes.  This is a great way to use up some of the super crinkled tissue paper you saved from your baby shower six years ago! You can even have your kid(s) cut the shapes to get them more involved.window cling
  2. Cut out the window cling design you are planning to make. You’ll want just to do the outline of the shape.  Again, I made a butterfly because we were reading the Hungry Caterpillar and wanted to do something related to the book.  I also used a Cricut to cut out the design, but you do NOT have to do that. Try to make the shape be almost a full sheet of paper so that you can use up a lot of the tissue paper.
  3. Dilute the liquid glue to make it easy to “paint” on the tissue paper. I did a 1:1 ratio glue to water.  Again, a little goes a long way, and don’t worry about getting out the measuring cups. Just put some glue in a paper cup and mix it in some water.
  4. Take the printer paper and paint on a little of the diluted glue. Put on a piece of tissue paper. Paint over the tissue paper with the glue. Repeat! Just keep putting glue down and slapping on some cut tissue paper all over the printer paper.  The paper is going to get really wet, and that’s ok (you may want to put down something under the paper, but I was working on a table that easily wipes up—honestly, this was not too messy for us). This method will make your paper look like stained glass (toddler style!).
  5. Let it dry. Depending on how rambunctious your kid is with the glue, this could take some time. Ha!window cling craft
  6. Once the paper with the glued tissue paper is dry, take the cut-out construction paper butterfly (or whatever window cling shape you went with) and glue it down on the tissue paper.
  7. Cut around the shape of the construction paper design and hang on a window for all to marvel!

This window cling craft was one of my daughter’s favorites that I pieced together during the quarantine.

She was busy and occupied for quite some time, carefully gluing down all the tissue paper scraps.

We’ll for sure be making more window clings! The best part is they can be easily adaptable to seasons, holidays, and kids’ interests because you can just change out the tissue paper colors and shape of the construction paper cut-out.  For Grandparent’s Day, they will be getting some flowers, for fall, I’ll be making some orange pumpkins, and at Christmas time, we’ll be making trees and ornaments for all of our windows.

The Cloth Facemask:: Reasons Why It’s My New Favorite Accessory

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I know it’s a bit controversial right now, especially how, after prolonged wear, it gets damp and moist and traps most of my germs. But beyond that, let me tell you why I LOVE my cloth facemask.

Facemask Sewing Skillz.

Remember, in middle school, when the FCS teacher insisted we all learn how to reattach a button or sew a pillow? We never thought we’d need those skills, right? As it turns out, we do. My handy-dandy homemade facemask is visual evidence of my Home Economics grade. In other words, if it looks stunning, I bought it.

Facemask

Oral Hygiene?

I love me some morning java. Caramel Macchiato is my fav. With my facemask in place, I get to savor that smooth, caramelly aroma all morning long. Mm-mmm goodness. Not to mention, it conceals the Oreos-for-breakfast evidence still stuck in my teeth.

Facemask = Sniffer filter.

For all those crop-dusting the aisles with their flatulence, you’re good! I can’t smell a thing in this thing. And if you are wearing your facemask, then you’re in the clear. That Black Bean Burrito recipe I tried last night was pretty potent.

Cover Those Moving lips.

I talk to myself. A lot. Out loud. Don’t judge, but when I’m in the grocery store scanning the shelf for regular Pesto, I verbalize: “Pesto, Pesto, Pesto, not creamy Risotto Pesto, ah-ha! Pesto!” Because let’s be honest, we don’t need to try that Black Bean Burrito recipe again.

Ache facemask…er…coverup.

Once a month, my face tends to revert to thinking I’m two decades younger than I am. Thank you, hormones. But now, my trusty-dusty accessory hides Everest when it pops up on my chin. Seriously, who needs concealer when you have a facemask? (Who needs makeup for that matter?)

Makeup?

See above. Who needs it? With a facemask covering half my face, my makeup-budgeting needs dropped like a rock!

Haircare, don’t care.

My go-to style has always been long and straight or in a ponytail. Curls, waves, and hairspray are best left to the professionals. When I don my cloth facemask and tie the bright and colorful strings behind my head, it flattens and smooshes any attempt I made (which I didn’t) at achieving an actual hairstyle. Messy bun, ponytail, dry shampoo for the fourth day…no one knows.

Incognito via Facemask.

Speaking of…if I haven’t showered or makeup-ed or had an updo lately, I also may not want to be recognized. I’ve learned from all the superheroes if you wish to conceal your true identity, wear a mask. It’s also fun to feel like I’m giving Big Brother and all the face recognition software a run for its money.

Mom-stache Help.

You know how somedays; you pull on shorts and take a gander at you at your legs and think: Uh, no—pants day. The facemask is like that! Pants for your face! Whether you wax or Nair or bleach or well, forgot to, the facemask has got you covered. For real.

Mama, you are beloved even if you believe otherwise.

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Hey MamaDear Ellen,
You are a good mama. You are the perfect mama for your three sons. No one is better suited to be their mama. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made, and they are the fruit of your womb. They are the children you were born to raise.

Yet, mama, you feel that you are never enough.

You feel like you are always letting them down. You believe your time is split. You can’t meet all of your boys’ individual needs. Above all else, you want them to know that they are loved. You never want them to question that a day of their life. You love them fiercely, and it takes your breath away sometimes.

You’ve spent sleepless nights up with nursing babies, sick children, boys who need their mama to hold their hand while they fall asleep. You’ve spent nights awake worried about them, nervous for their futures, afraid you said something that will negatively impact their tender hearts.

You’ve read all the books. The baby books were a walk in the park compared to the nitty-gritty of toddlers and growing children. They’re going to do what? I’m supposed to handle that how? My husband never told me about that!

Your love for them is endless; it knows no bounds.

It is the purest form of love on Earth. You pray they love you back that you’ll always be close. They will tell you their troubles or let you sit with them in the hard places.

You laugh. You cry. You want to grab all the memories and tuck them away in the memory bank fresh and forever, not wanting them to fade or slip.

Some days you are rocking the mama job. Other days getting out of bed feels impossible. When you wear makeup and do your hair, they assume you have a meeting or a date. You talk about gross things and scream when you see a spider and want your little men to rescue you from bugs. They think it’s hilarious.

Certain days you laugh at them. They laugh at you. Certain days the tears flow from everyone.

Mama, you.re enoughYou’ve ordered 3,000 pizzas, cooked 60,000 french toast sticks, and baked 800,000 chocolate chip cookies. They make a mess. You clean the mess.

Some days you don’t want to hear the joke, read the book, listen to the story, play the game. Some days you beg them to talk to you, snuggle on the couch, be in the photo.

These are the days with the most abundant blessings.

You are enough.

You are the mama they need.

You can do this job and answer this calling.

They’re loved; you are beloved. You’ve got this, mama.

Anxiety is a Gift:: Learning This in the Midst of a Pandemic

Anxiety as a gift

The week of March 15th was rough for me.  I had been following the news of the coronavirus spread around China, South Korea, Washington, and then like a bad movie; it came to my town.  This week was the same week my very level-headed husband called and told me he was also following the news, and it was time to go stock up on some pantry staples. It was about a week before the rest of the world would come to the same conclusion. While at Costco, I got enough supplies that I had to assertively turn down an executive membership (and no, I didn’t buy a whole cart of toilet paper). I was afraid of people thinking I was crazy and anxious for nothing.  I was more fearful of this unknown virus spreading across the world and wanted to protect my family. There was so much anxiety, and it was overwhelming.

Shame also set in.

When I am anxious, I feel like I shouldn’t be listened to (it feels very invalidating).  Anxiety feels like a big flaw. In the months since then, I have done some work- learning to be kind to myself and picking apart the swirling thoughts. And in the months since then, I have started to see the ways my anxiety is a gift, and if this is you, mama—it is a gift for you too. Yes, it’s disruptive. Yes, it has value. More importantly, you have value as you are.

Anxiety

My anxiety helps me prepare.

One gift is that my anxiety has prepared me for action in this situation. While the rest of the world was in utter shock and discovering new dangers daily, I was not. It turns out thinking through the worst-case scenario, doing everything you can to avoid it, and letting the rest go has its perks!

It’s easy for me to envision routes of germ transmission. I also already have thought through whether or not germs can live through a washing machine or which surfaces are most likely to harbor germs.  I regularly already have my kids wash hands when they get home from school and know which cleaners kill stomach bugs versus the flu or the cold.

So, while the rest of the world was trying to figure out if they need to clean off their groceries and how I had already made peace with what it takes to lower our risk during seasons of high illness circulation, so I wasn’t as shocked by the mere presence of danger. I had already imagined it, made peace with it and moved forward hundreds of times in the past. While that didn’t make this any easier, I did have a level of readiness and gratitude for it.

My anxiety helps me be compassionate.

Another gift is my ability to be compassionate to others who struggle. During this time, I had a business call with a new coworker. As we were making introductory small talk, she casually mentioned that her husband is an ER doctor in a small town. He was already working on COVID patients.  Despite initially being very non-functioning due to my anxiety, I wanted to reach out to her and comfort her in that conversation.  I was able to show her compassion and ask nuanced questions about how they are managing. In this conversation, she shared that the day before, they had updated their will in preparation for the worst.  We connected on a very human level that day. My ability to imagine the worst helped me meet her (a stranger) in one of her worst moments—with dignity.  I wasn’t looking down on her and her “poor problems” but truly empathized.

Throughout the recent months, I have seen this play out numerous times.  Many who are not usually carrying much weight of anxiety are.  They want someone who can express to them that its OK and that they are seen and understood.  Because of my history of anxiety, I am uniquely qualified for that.

So to my anxious mamas, in our fight to not let anxiety upend our entire lives, let’s remember its gifts. And don’t be afraid to offer that gift to others.

Is it Child Maltreatment:: Things to Consider and More

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

Moms continuously choose between a world of safety vs. risk. How do we keep our children safe while allowing them to fail, get hurt, and learn from experience? Because of our improved perspective on child safety after becoming a parent, we also find ourselves inspecting (even over-analyzing) other people’s children. Why are they dirty? Why are they aggressive? Why did they pull their pants down in front of my child? Questions such as these swarm in your mind and yet leave you feeling like you have a vague sense of what constitutes child maltreatment or what to do about it.

COVID19 has left children at home.

School is at home, and school will soon be out. The calls that typically flood the child welfare office during the nine months of school take a strong hiatus over the summer when there are not as many eyes on children who are at risk. Now, more than ever, those families are unwatched, unseen, and unnoticed. 

The base of my career has been in child development with a heavy focus on child protection services. I have completed investigations, testified in a court of law, overseen ongoing child maltreatment cases, and supported and trained foster parents. What I say next might surprise you.

Child maltreatment is not all about the kids. (But the parents are adults, they should know better.) Two valid points, if those adults were raised in a way that fostered everything we attempt to promote in our children. We want children to be well-cared for and safe. Opinions on what qualifies as safe vary greatly from perspective to perspective. I’m writing in hopes of many things in this upcoming blog series but let’s start with these:

•Arm moms with the knowledge to confidently report or not report child maltreatment.

•Foster a sense of empathy for the family unit who suffers from the impact of child maltreatment.

So how do you identify child maltreatment in a way that allows you to confidently make a report? Let’s take a look at the State of Nebraska’s definition of three forms of child maltreatment.

Physical Abuse: 

“is non-accidental physical injury…as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting…, burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver or other person who has responsibility for the child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caregiver intended to hurt the child.”

Neglect:

“is the failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs. Neglect may be:

•Physical (failure to provide necessary food or shelter or lack of appropriate supervision)

•Medical (failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment)

•Educational (failure to educate a child or meet special education needs)

•Emotional (failure to meet a child’s emotional needs, to provide psychological care or allowing the child to use alcohol or other drugs)”

Sexual Abuse:

“is “the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, and in cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.”

Clear as mud, right?

Let’s break these down. 

A three-year-old has a bruise on his upper arm. When you asked him how he got it, he says his mommy hurt him. Immediately you think, she grabbed him in anger. 

What if this boy was sitting on a countertop under direct supervision. Mom turned her head to grab an egg for the recipe they were making. In that instant, the boy slid off the counter just as she turned her back to him. On instinct, she grabbed him to try and avoid a worse injury from the fall, leaving a bruise on his arm. Does that sound like maltreatment? Keep in mind that bruising around the upper arm is a common bruise to acquire during maltreatment. 

So how do we confidently determine child maltreatment? I’ll leave you with this. Ask yourself three things:

•How well do I know this kid?

•Is there a history of marks/behavior?

•Do I believe this child will be harmed if he/she returns home? 

The Context for Child Maltreatment

One bruise doth not a child maltreatment case make. While child maltreatment is a serious issue, reporting child maltreatment is traumatizing for a family. Don’t be afraid to spend time gathering information if you do not feel the child is in immediate risk of danger. If you think the child is in immediate jeopardy, they should not be sent home without intervention by the authorities. 

I hope this helps during the global pandemic as we, parents, may see more of children and their friends than teachers do.

In the future, I would love to discuss with you why child maltreatment is not all about the kids and why fostering a sense of empathy for the family is of utmost importance in breaking the child maltreatment cycle. 

If you suspect child abuse, please utilize the State of NE’s website to prepare yourself to report. Nebraska is a mandatory reporting state. As stated on the website, “Everyone has a responsibility to report suspected abuse or neglect.  State law requires any person who suspects that a child has been abused or neglected to report their concerns to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline.” 

The Break-up:: Toddlers, Their Security Blankets, and More Questions

Breaking up is hard. Breaking up can be messy. Have we not all gone through it at some point in our life? Although now, as a parent, at what point do you influence a break-up?

As a parent, when do you allow your child to choose when to break-up?

I’m not talking about what you think I am. No, I’m speaking on separating our kids from their “security blankets.”

My daughter and her security blanket

Our daughter will be three years old come this October. She LOVES her baby. She sleeps with it. She even eats with it. Has to have it with her during every car ride. And yes, her baby goes to the potty with her as well.

The other night while putting our daughter to bed, we could not find her baby. She was devastated. Tears and snot-filled face, she finally fell asleep without her cherished friend.

The Break-up of a security blanket

Is it time for a break-up?

The next day as I was leaving the house, I spotted her baby. Covered in grass clippings and soaked in rainwater, her baby was on its way down the sewer when I found it.

Now granted, it had only been one night, but my husband took the opportunity to rejoice and be glad that we didn’t find the baby. He thought it was the perfect time for our daughter to “break-up” with her baby.

On the other hand, I was heartbroken along with my daughter, knowing how much she adores the sweet comfort of her baby.

Questions

As a parent, what decision is best for our child? Do we choose the break-up for her, working through the sadness of her little heart? Or do we rejoice with her when we tell her we found her baby? Should we allow her to choose on her terms when to break-up?

security blanket

Mamas, I know this is a trivial example, and I’m grateful I don’t have to jump right into navigating a real relationship.

No way that this mama could handle that right now.

But the question remains, how are we going to guard our child’s heart as they traverse the relationships of life?

Gifts for Mom from Small Businesses:: Mother’s Day Gifting Guide

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Mother's Day

We are very excited to partner with small businesses to offer you a sampling of the incredible products and services we have right at our fingertips! If you want the chance to snag up free Mother’s Day Gift bags, be sure to check out our Facebook for our giveaway! 

Because of COVID, birthdays and holidays alike have encouraged people to come up with interesting celebration tactics. Another hidden blessing is that our community is supporting small business owners like never before. 

To continue this noble endeavor, here is a Mother’s Day Gifting Guide that highlights small businesses available now with services and products and can deliver to your doorstep in a matter of days.

Open or closed, the following businesses can help you show the mama in your life just how much she means to you. Order online or contact the business directly.

Support Local Business This Mother’s Day

Whether the mom in your life enjoys spending Mother’s Day with her family or on her own at the spa, there is a gift in this guide to grab. From styling consults to virtual gym memberships, these small business owners are here for you!

Gift for Mom

GIFTS FOR MAMA 1

Avant Salon
(4 products, 20% in-store Aveda product discount+30 minute massage with Abbie Jones)

Avant Salon offers Omaha’s finest hair and spa services. You can get your hands on Aveda products and gift cards before the salons reopen. Did I mention massage? Be sure to ask for Abbie Jones, LMT, when you call to schedule your appointment. Avant is open for curbside retail Fridays 3-6 pm and Saturdays 10:30 am-12:30 pm while salons are closed. (Current city mandate is salons will open just in time for Mother’s Day!)

Beachbody
(Shakeology samples + energy drinks)

I’ll admit it. I’m a biased Beachbody fan. The membership is 100% worth it. It’s not just programming, and it’s not just nutrition. It’s a lifestyle choice. If the mom in your life is looking to make a change, invest in her health confidence with Beachbody. 

Color Street
(1 set of nails)

Color Street provides time-saving nail art to upgrade any outfit. Erin can help you perfect your look by steering you towards designs to compliment your style. One set can provide up to two manicures. Have 10 minutes? Try on some Color Street.

Beth Elliott’s Bakery
(Usbourne book + free sheet cake)

Beth makes yummy sweet treats that will make for the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Grab a sheet cake to share (or not). While you’re at it, pick up a few books for the kids from Beth’s Usborne Books Business.

Gift for Mom

GIFTS FOR MAMA 2

Arbonne
(detox tea, 2 fizzy energy sticks, lip balm)

If you haven’t heard of Arbonne, hold on to your pants. Summer is around the corner, and we have all seen the memes about the Quarantine 15. Arbonne has everything you need to fit into your shorts since we can’t go out to buy new ones. A complete healthful living company from nutrition to skincare.

Fulcrum Body Work
(50% off Service)

Tyson Dimmitt, LMT, AOS, CSOM, specializes in restorative manual therapy using the Fulcrum approach. This isn’t your typical massage. If the mom in your life has a chronic or acute issue, from aches and pains to digestion or headaches, Tyson can construct a collaborative approach to restoring vitality and energy. Call to book your appointment!

Gel Moment
(Bamboo Nail Brush and Tinsel Shower Gel Nail Polish)

Another time-saving fashion trend is Gel Moment. Gel polish manicures became all the rage years ago. Since then, this polish has been updated, enhanced, and made available in your home. If you have FIVE minutes to spare, you can Gel Moment your way to salon-style nails. Available for shipping to your door. 

Maskcara

(Foot Cream)

Micaela with Maskcara is the final step to finishing the new look mama is going for. She provides expert advice on applications for foundation, blush, eye shadow…You name it. Maskcara offers a skincare line to give mama’s skin the soft, supple look she’s been dreaming of. Maskcara is quality and affordability you really can’t beat.


Also included in this gift basket giveaway: ColorStreet set of nails, Busy Bousculer stickers & Usborne book

 

Gift for Mom

GIFTS FOR MAMA 3

The Ivory Boutique
(2 Leggings + In-Boutique Promo)

The Ivory Boutique boasts style and comfort right from the divot you’ve created on your couch during the quarantine. Margaret, the owner of The Ivory Boutique, specializes in knowing her clients. She can direct you in the right direction to refresh your closet. Margaret’s boutique carries LulaRoe, known for exceptional comfort and style. Grab a gift card for in-store post-quarantine shopping or allow Margaret to style virtually!

The Mandarin
($10 Giftcard)

Prep now for a night out by grabbing a gift card for The Mandarin. Their cuisine is unique and lively! Currently offering curbside pick up and will be opening their doors as soon as is possible and safe.

Pregnancy, Postpartum, & Beyond
(60 minute virtual/phone consultation)

If a traditional gym class isn’t your thing, check out Pregnancy, Postpartum, & Beyond. An Omaha gym with a local owner/instructor. Kim takes your fitness to the next level, no matter what phase of life you find yourself. 

Busy Bousculer
(Hydro Flask and laptop design stickers)

Everyone is into catchy sentiments right now. We put them on our doors, on Hydro Flasks, laptops, and t-shirts. Busy Bouscular is a fun business and lifestyle brand you can rely on to add a personal touch to your home or office.

*Also included in this gift basket giveaway: ColorStreet set of nails, Young Living(Thieves Household Cleaner + Free Thieves Household Cleaner w/ purchase of starter kit), & Usborne book*

Gift for Mom

GIFTS FOR MAMA 4

Mary & Martha
(Faith Quote Board)

Is gorgeous home decor something the mama in your life loves? Do yourself a favor and check out Mary & Martha. Beautiful centerpieces, serving trays, and more can fill your home with faith and style. 

The Wonder Nook
(Craft Pack)

While this is a Mother’s Day gifting guide, we can’t forget that we also need our children entertained so our mamas can enjoy any leisure time they might be able to nab. The Wonder Nook offers fun and educational classes. Tina, owner and founder, is currently running all over town, delivering craft packs to keep your little ones busy while at home.

Young Living
(Fearless Confidence w/ EO book. EO quick reference tool. Inhale/Exhale oil clutch. 5ML Hope oil)

Young Living doesn’t just specialize in adding essential oil benefits to your life. They also have just what you need to keep your home clean during and after the pandemic! You won’t have to worry about your kids and pets getting into something dangerous. Freshen up your laundry or make homemade soap. There’s an oil for that! Chelsy and Cassie can you show how.

Zyia
($25 Gift Card)

While you’re staying fit or getting in shape, Zyia will help you with form and function in their versatile and stylish activewear. Zyia clothing offers you a comfortable exercise experience or a night on the town.

*Also included in this gift basket giveaway: Maskcara Facial Illuminator & Arbonne lotion*

GIFTS FOR MAMA 5

Vitality Bowls
($25 gift card)

Vitality Bowls specializes in delectable açai bowls, blending açai berry with organic granola and superfood toppers. They also offer smoothies, fresh juices, soups, salads, and more. Everything made is fresh-to-order and available for curbside pick up or delivery during the pandemic

The No Bra Ma
(Free Sizing And Style Consultation + Free Breast Petals w/ Purchase)

Every woman I know discards their bra the moment they walk through the door, reveling in busty freedom. Why not get a taste of this kind of comfort all the time? Angie with Ruby Ribbon, offers comfort in the form of supportive, wireless alternatives from our daintiest bosom buddies to our most voluptuous vixens. 

Norwex
(Body Cloth + Gift Card)

Now that we are talking about clean living let me share Norwex with you. These wonder cloths and products are genius in keeping your home clean without carting around a cabinet full of chemicals. A spritz of this, a dab of that, add a microfiber cloth, and you’ve just cut your cleaning time and budget in half.

MaidPro
(3 Hour Cleaning)

What mom doesn’t want a clean house, especially in this season? MaidPro has adapted all of their daily operations to be safer for customers and PROs (Contactless Cleaning). Every employee has had training specific to this situation. They have shared some information on their IG page, but you can also check their website: http://www.maidpro.com/coronavirus

 

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DIY:: Frugal Flower Arrangements

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Flowers are blooming, and it brings me back to my childhood. My mom loves to garden, and her gardens are grand.

Every spring and summery Saturday morning, my mama spends some time out in her gardens clipping a few blooms off, brings them back inside, and begins arranging them ever so perfectly in little vases. She spends more time placing them strategically around the house, and she always has a little vase with fresh roses, a hydrangea bloom, or other flowers in the guest bathroom.

I hate to admit it because it boosts her ego, but once again, my mother has inspired me.

I don’t have the time to keep up with a garden the way she somehow seems to, but I wanted to share my spin on a few super simple DIY flower arrangement for under $25 bucks straight from Trader Joe’s!

Finding Flowers

We all have that Trader Joe’s “must-have item”. . .

Mine is before you even hit the shelves, TJ flowers!

TJ’s selection, quality, and price point of in-season blooms along with greenery just can’t be beaten.

You can choose whatever meets your fancy, or if you are planning to give some arrangements away as gifts, pick up the recipient’s favorite color or floral.

Here is what I typically go for:

Ranunculus ($5.99)

Hydrangeas ($5.99)

Petite Bouquet ($3.99)

Eucalyptus bunches ($3.99)

Waxflower grower bunch ($3.99)

 

Floral Arranging

Once you get your flowers home, round up some vases that you have lying around, mason jars, a sugar bowl, or little decorative teapots. If you don’t have any, check out the closest dollar tree. There is no need to spend money on lavish vases, especially if you are going to be giving them away as gifts. If you have a pair of shears, you will want to use them to cut the stems to fit into your vases. Next, put your array of stems in a basket to work out of this method, which also helps contain any mess that might occur. Let your creativity take over; I find it is therapeutic to create something with fresh flowers to brighten up your home. I like to sit back and look at the romantic styles that I can create.

Finding Flower Arrangement Homes

On this flower haul, I was able to put together FIVE arrangements, again all under 25 bucks! Once you have your creations finished, find spots to place your blossoms, or give them away as gifts! There is truth in the healing power of flowers. The blooms aren’t just beautiful. There are proven studies that show that flowers offer an array of medicinal benefits to help keep your positive spirit up during a rough patch.

Dining Room Table

table centerpiece flowers

I enjoy mixing up my table centerpieces with different seasons and holidays. Nothing screams spring like pink and white blossoms!

Kitchen

Mason jar with flowers

A mason jar next to your sink filled with your favorites.

Sofa Table

eucalyptus arrangement

To add just a touch of greenery to your space, throw a bit of eucalyptus in a taller vase.

End Table in Living Room

Petit flower arrangement

I went back and forth between the guest bathroom and the end table on this arrangement. I enjoyed the pop of color this gave to my living room.

Gift

This arrangement was the $3.99 “petite bouquet”. . . a beautiful bunch for three bucks of which would make the perfect gift for Mother’s Day or a friend’s birthday!

If you have a luscious garden, cut some flower stems, and get lost in creating something beautiful. Or go to Trader Joe’s!

Garden Planning

Although some people supposedly enjoy the frigid winter months, many of us enter the new year already looking forward to the warmth of spring. Now is the perfect time to begin to plan your garden! My family loves growing our vegetables and fruits, but inevitably if we don’t plan ahead of time, we end up unorganized and spending extra money.    Muddy Graeme

First, you have to consider your garden space. 

Will you be planting in pots, in garden boxes, or somewhere else?  We built some simple, inexpensive garden boxes a few years ago. We have them set-out in our yard in a space that gets plenty of sunlight but is also away from our patio. Having a garden, and precisely some types of plants and flowers, too near your living area can draw bugs and pests toward your home and outdoor living areas.  To avoid this, we simply moved our boxes farther into our yard. We also use large planters on our deck for lettuce, spinach, carrots, herbs, and strawberries. Keeping these up close to the house helps to deter rabbits from eating all of their favorites. It also gives our boys the chance to be more involved and to take responsibility for watering, maintaining, and harvesting.  One of my absolute favorite sights is shirtless toddlers playing in the pots, eating strawberries and herbs directly from the plant.

Muddy Boys

Considering Sunlight

It’s also important to consider what type of sunlight your garden will be exposed to, as well as how easily you will be able to water your plants in that location. Some plants, like cucumbers, melons, squash, tomatoes, and peppers, enjoy full sun (6-8 hours per day). Others, like beans, onion, radish, and beets, prefer partial sun (4-6 hours per day). Finally, some plants enjoy minimal sun (2-4 hours per day). Some of these plants include lettuce, spinach, and kale. Another reason we choose to keep our lettuces and spinach near our home is that it’s slightly more shaded and easier to monitor how those delicate veggies are faring during the intense heat of the summer.

Garden Pots

Space is also a huge consideration. 

Some plants, for example, watermelons, require ample space to grow and spread. First, consider how much space you have and don’t try to over plant your area. Remember, you can always expand your garden the next year, but over planting a garden box may result in plants that simply don’t have the room to flourish. Since our garden boxes are relatively small, we tend to stick to two or three types of vegetables per box. We have two 6 foot by 3-foot boxes. This year, we plan to grow banana peppers and cucumbers in one box, and green beans, sugar snap peas, and tomatoes in the other. Planting vining plants near a trellis for them to grow up is a great way to maximize space. It also makes it easier to see and pick ripe veggies. We chose those vegetables because our family enjoys them, but also because they are easy and fun for our boys to pick and eat. We also tend to end up with excess veggies, and like to choose vegetables that we know that we can pickle or can. 

Planting a Garden Early

One money-saving strategy we try to utilize is planting our veggies from seeds, beginning around March.  Seed packets are typically far less expensive than buying the small, pre-grown plants at a nursery, and we can keep the remaining seeds in the refrigerator to extend their lifespan for several years. Plus, our boys love planting seeds and watching them grow. We keep a few leftover cardboard egg cartons, break them down and evenly spread soil into the carton, and plant our seeds!  We then keep our cartons on a sunny window sill. My three-year-old loves coming downstairs in the morning to check their progress and making sure they’re watered.  These cardboard cartons can be easily separated when it’s time to transplant into the soil. Don’t forget to label your containers, or when your seedlings begin to sprout, and it’s time to plant, you may not know what you’re planting!
Garden DIY

This brief introduction into garden planning truly just scratches the” topsoil” of the incredible amount of knowledge and wisdom required for successful gardening.  One of the beautiful things about gardens is that if you make a mistake, the changing of the seasons will always bring you another chance the following year. Making mistakes is part of the learning process, and will help you to figure out what works best for you, your family, and your garden space. If you have questions, you can always ask your local garden center or find a friend or family member who may be able to offer some friendly advice.  Happy planting!

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