Inauguration Day FREE Printable for Kids!

Inauguration Day is a BIG day for our country, rooted deep in tradition, and as you watch today’s events unfold it’s quite possible that you’re sitting next to future Mr. or Madam President of the United States! Here are a few presidential prompts to ask your children, and save this keepsake printable for years to come… you never know when you might need it at their own inauguration!

free inauguration printable

 

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PDF PRINTABLE HERE!

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10 Ways to Self-Care in 20 Minutes

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I’ll be honest, self-care is not something that I have ever seen a need for or found a desire to participate in. I have been blessed with some pretty chill kids and am lucky to have a relatively relaxed day-to-day routine. Annnnd then our family welcomed our third little one and things have taken a turn toward chaos. I’m a bit more irritable, sleeping less, and have started seeking out ways to relax. 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time on myself and found it to be refreshing and revitalizing. Since then and in between feeding, cleaning, cooking, and entertaining little people, I have found ‘spoiling’ myself for a handful of minutes has shown to reset a ‘bad’ day or refresh me for the next. Below are my favorite self-cares that take no more than 20 minutes, but feel like I gave myself a whole lot more time.

  1. Home Mani/Pedi – a quick trim, file, and a few coats of polish. If I am really feeling wild and crazy, I’ll treat myself to a fun new shade.
  2. Organize – This is my favorite! There is always a small something that needs organizing. The pantry, kitchen junk drawer, under the bathroom sink, the sock drawer…you get the idea. This works well for me because it is complexly distracting and leaves me feeling accomplished.
  3. Television – Yep, it’s great. No better way to let your mind wander than to watch some reality TV, a cooking show or a few strangers who typically don’t agree with each other buy a house (House Hunters is my go-to mindless, distraction show.)
  4. Pinterest – I love searching for a fun new diy project, creating a board for a future celebration or finding a few new dinner ideas. 
  5. Showering – This seems obvious, but often I find myself hopping in and out of the shower, without truly taking a moment to stop and enjoy it. I enjoy cranking up the warm water, blasting some tunes, and letting myself escape for a few minutes. 
  6. Journaling/Coloring – I am not big into these, but I have given them a try and find them to be quite relaxing. I do find this to be more enjoyable when using fun, colorful markers or gel pens-my inner child still gets quite giddy at the thought of new markers.
  7. Reading – I love, love, love reading, but have a difficult time being able to sit down and enjoy a book. I find that by putting effort into researching a novel and setting aside time specifically for reading, I enjoy it so much more.
  8. Working Out – This goes without saying. There are tons of (free!) options available on Pinterest and YouTube. Do a quick search to find the type of workout you enjoy and break a sweat. The workout will boost your mood and metabolism! Even 10 minutes will make a difference!
  9. Drinking – I know how this sounds, and well, it helps. So, grab your favorite beverage, or try something new, find a cozy seat, and enjoy the company of yourself. You can mix this time up by reading, working on a crossword puzzle, or catching up on social media. 
  10. Conversation – I find that making time for myself includes making time for the relationships meaningful to me. Schedule a chat with your best buddy and catch up. Gossip, swap recipes, chat about kids, fashion, whatever strikes you. 

I am new to the self-care phenomenon but have found that it has already made a difference in my mood, sleep, and relationships.

So, what are you waiting for? Borrow one of my self-cares or find one of your own and give yourself a few moments to reset, revitalize, and renew.

Instilling Belief in Our Children

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Belief, faith, and hope are words that we all need in our lives. Whether we’re in the boat, riding a good wave, or tipping over in a storm, as humans, we must believe that things will get better or that we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be. But putting action into this belief business is tough.

My husband lost his job three months ago. Things got hard. He became anxious and nervous about our future. He did his best to act calm while at home. He’d leave the house for interviews with his head high, chest puffed out, full of confidence.

But…there were no takers in the job department.

We continued to add glue to parts of our family that needed a firmer foundation. We began communicating more as a couple and with our kids. My five-year-old son would ask, “Why did Daddy get fired, Mommy?” or “Is Daddy going to find another job?” We tried to answer those questions honestly with him. But at the same time, we wanted to keep that safe bubble wrapped around him. We said things that would affirm a positive outcome, “Daddy will find a job soon. Maybe this interview will be the one!”

Instilling Belief in Our Children

Slowly, I think we began to believe these things, too. Yes, my husband and I had days when we wondered what would happen. We began researching different and unique ways to make money. Things got a little interesting to say the least. But we had a belief that it would indeed work out. It just had to.

Last week I came home from my graduate class late into the evening and I heard my husband talking on the phone. It was the CEO of an investment firm he had been eyeing for weeks. Out-of-the blue, this man called my husband at 8 o’clock at night. When my husband hung up, his neck was flushed and his belief was busting at the seams. There was an interview scheduled for that next day. And before my kindergartner left for school the following morning, he looked at his dad and said, “I believe in you, Daddy. Don’t forget to believe in yourself.”

At 3:27 my husband walked humbly through our door. “I got the job,” he said. Tears of relief rolled over the brims of his eyelids. He believed in himself, and in the fact that it would all work out. When he told our son the good news a half an hour later, our son said, “See, I told you, Daddy. You just have to believe.”

Somehow our little kindergartner picked up on our vibes. I’m sure he picked up during the days when believing was harder than others, too. But he witnessed the fight in his father and the confidence about our future as a family. Having belief can be hard—tricky, too. Sometimes the negativity weighs you down like the anchor at the bottom of the ocean. But remember, the anchor is supposed to keep the boat afloat—never letting you sink.

A Messy Mom’s Hacks for Getting Organized This New Year

I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions. They start off well-meaning and seem to fall by the wayside after just a few weeks.

However, a few years ago I came up with a different idea. I’d set a “goal” for the year and each month have a smaller project to accomplish to help meet the said goal.

For 2020, my plan was to get organized. Each month I’d focus on deep cleaning and organizing one room or area of my house. That was the goal at least.

To help put me in the right mindset I read the book “The Year of Less”. For those that have not read it, the book describes how a woman decides to downsize and minimize her spending habits for an entire year and how those habits helped to change her life.

For January I started off strong with my resolutions. I bought these little baskets and reorganized our bathroom and medicine cabinet. I used the bigger version of the same basket to hold scarves and hats in our front hall closest.

Next, I tackled the kid’s closet. However, as fast as they grow I ended up going through their clothes and reorganizing the closet two more times during the year.

One of my favorite and cheapest organizing hacks came in the kid’s bathroom. I spent just $4 for these baskets and clear shower curtain hooks to help hold the kid’s bathtub toys.

Another easy and cheap organizing hack are these cloth bins. I use them to hold everything from the kid’s toys and books to their winter hats. Plus they add a fun element and decor to their room.New Year's

 

My other favorite organizing update is our front entryway. Our house doesn’t have a mudroom. In fact, when you come into my house whether from the front door or the garage you walk right into my kitchen. So I needed somewhere or something to serve as a spot for holding coats and putting shoes on. The coat hook I bought on Etsy and the bench I made at a local art studio.

New Year'sI also put a wire basket by our front door to collect shoes instead of having them lay all over the floor.

New Year'sI was going strong with my resolutions and organizing plan until June when summer and the quarantine got the best of me. I mean who seriously wants to be cleaning when you can spend the day outside by the pool?

Luckily, fall arrived and the possibility of virtual school was looming. Since we don’t have a dedicated office space in our home, I needed to put together a little “school-work” zone for my kindergartner. A kid’s folding table, crate, and storage cart from Amazon were all I needed to set up this simple school space.

For 2021, I’m making the same goal. Partly because my house could still use some major help and also because I feel we need a do-over of 2020!

What does the new year have in store for you? Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions or goals?

Looking for family fun around Mid-Michigan? From parks and coffee to the best pizza, check out our guides to Mid-Michigan.

Mommy Anger: When Mom Needs a Time Out

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Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like your child is doing everything you don’t want them to? Whether it’s taking a brother’s toy, or slapping someone for no reason, you are at your wit’s end on what to do. They’re just having a bad day and can’t snap out of it. It’s the life of toddlers. They have ups and downs just like everyone else. 

mom anger

But have YOU ever had one of those down days that are hard to snap out of? I know I’ve had my fair share. Whether it’s sleep deprivation, poor diet {the most likely cause}, or literally the only response you can muster up. It’s just bad. You’re angry and you don’t know why. You’re irritated. You long for quiet and compliance. Why can’t they just listen to what you say?! I MUST BE LOUDER! We all know that helps nothing.

On days that I just can’t snap out of it – the days when I’m just as moody as my toddlers – I remind myself that they’re watching me through the good and bad. I’m setting an example no matter what. I can either choose to give in to the anger and flip out, get loud, then feel terrible. Or I can choose to embrace those times when I WANT to flip, and instead, let them see a real person with feelings just like them.

mom anger

We tell our children “use your words”,  but do WE always use our words? I know I don’t. I use my volume and my facial expressions to try and intimidate them into listening. It never works, and I feel like a failure within minutes. But when I use my words, I can say “I’m getting upset and I need you to hear me. I don’t want to yell, and I don’t want to get angry.” And they respond so differently. Does this happen every time? Absolutely not. I give in to my emotions so often. But do you know what I do immediately after? I hug them, and I say I’m sorry. I tell them I was wrong for behaving that way and that I need some time to calm down. And they understand! They can relate!

mom anger

I’m not writing all of this to make it seem like I know all the answers to mommy’s anger. When it strikes, and we all know it does, it’s a tough battle. It feels so good to give in sometimes. But as a parent, I need my children to know that I’m not perfect, but I respect them enough to let them know I’m wrong. That I acted out, and I’m sorry.

Children are so quick to forgive, aren’t they? Some days I feel so undeserving of that. But I also try to learn from it. And those days that THEY can’t snap out of the bad mood, I want to extend that grace and lovingly guide them through it.

 

“Mommy, Will You Play With Me?”

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One of my favorite aspects of having children who are close in age is seeing them playing together. Hearing one of them call down the hallway, “Come on, Tanner!” Eavesdropping as one of them tells the other to “attend this is a castle”… instead of pretending.

And while it does bother me a lot to hear them giggling and squealing their way through “quiet time,” it does kind of touch my heart, too.

It certainly isn’t always giggles and squeals and misuse of words, of course. They fight, and they both want to be the hero, and one ends up crying fairly often. He wants to play RescueBots, and she wants to have a princess tea party. He wants to know why the hist monster trucks aren’t welcome at the ball.

But the sad part of this story is the separation of my 5- and 3-year-olds this year. Samantha has started school full-time this year, which leaves Tanner with, well, me. Five days a week. My 18-month-old doesn’t provide a lot of stimulating play for her big brother, so the burden falls on me.

“Mommy, play with me!”

I consider myself a pretty fun mom. I do crazy voices, and I love to snuggle, and I love to read books to my babies.

But guys.

It’s like I’ve escaped out of a post-Peter Pan movie, like the lost boys in Hook are staring at me in dismay and devastation. I’ve forgotten how to play.

When did this happen? I have very fond memories of playing by myself with my dollhouse for hours on end. All sorts of crazy stories were played out with my toys. Maybe it’s one of the reasons I always wanted to be a writer and tell fantastic stories. I just loved it.

But now, faced with those tiny RescueBot figurines, I’m at a complete loss.

“Please?”

If you’re like me, and you’re useless in the face of a Barbie or a Paw Patrol pup, let’s try to make a conscious choice. Look past those crazy, terrifying toys, and see the big, longing eyes of the child holding them. At the risk of sounding like one of those songs that make me cry whenever I hear them or my husband quotes them to me — in the blink of an eye, they won’t be asking us to play with them anymore.

Next year, I’ll be sending that sweet boy to preschool. That’s three days per week that he won’t be looking to me to be a playmate. Then, the year after that, he’ll be gone, every weekday. And when he’s home, he probably won’t want me to play with him.

So I’ll make a conscious effort to grasp that doll or AutoBot or Octonaut and play make-believe. The dishes can wait.

Childhood can’t.

I’m Tired. You’re Tired. We’re All Tired.

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Lately, I find myself battling with the phrase, “I’m tired.” My trigger was during a week when my toddler was cutting her back teeth, like ALL of them. All week long we were building on getting up four times a night to every hour. Suddenly I was back to those first couple of newborn weeks and dreading bedtime.

This was my reality and that week is when I seemed to have conversations with all my friends and started hearing the phrase “I’m tired” on repeat.

It almost felt like a competition – who was the MOST tired?! Whose reality was the most challenging and gave them the right to be more tired than the rest of us?!

All you mamas out there are probably laugh {crying} at this point! I think most of us recognized that deciding to become a parent meant giving up on sleep for a huge chunk of our lives. But acknowledging that you’re going to lose sleep is much different than actually losing it. And I for one don’t think it ever gets easier.

So what was my problem and why was I suddenly hating on other people saying how tired they were? Because we all are! I’m tired. You’re tired. WE’RE ALL exhausted! And it isn’t a competition. There are no winners of sleep deprivation.

The last year has been hard and we’re mostly still living that hard. It has drained us all and so we ARE all tired. Hearing people say it over and over suddenly made me hyperaware of saying it myself. Did it solve anything by telling other people I was tired? Definitely not. Did it make me feel better? Not really. If anything, the expression was becoming a filler phrase. No different than “um” or “ya know”.

I started to stop myself from saying it. I started getting aggravated by other people saying it. But then I asked myself an important question – what did my friends need in telling me they were tired? When I was facing exhausting days after sleepless nights, what was I as a mama hoping to hear if I told someone I was tired?

Grace. Compassion. Gratitude. Encouragement. Prayer. Coffee. Help. All of the above. Above all, I wanted somebody to acknowledge my effort and struggle. I wanted somebody to let me know they saw me and recognized how difficult being a mama, in particular, is, especially during these pandemic days. To tell me I was doing good and to keep going.

Dwelling on how tired we all are isn’t going to change it. Ignoring how we’re feeling and never talking about it is also not always the best answer. So I’m striving for a balance. Asking my friends what they need when they say it to me. Following up by telling someone I’m tired by asking for what I need.

Feel it. Acknowledge it. Move on. Thank you, next.

Igloo, Outdoor, and Shanty Dining In + Around Mid-Michigan

Life has changed quite a bit over the last year, but coming together with others to enjoy a delicious meal – that you did not have to prepare or clean up after! – remains a favorite pastime.

In light of these changes, restaurants and eateries throughout Mid-Michigan are getting creative with their dining options. Enter igloos, shanties, and heated outdoor dining!

So if you are looking for a night off from the kitchen or want to safely gather with others, we’ve put together an interactive map and guide to all the amazing Mid-Michigan restaurants that offer igloo, shanty, and outdoor dining. Bon appétit!

Local regulations and guidelines related to dining change often and unexpectedly. Before heading out to any of the locations listed, please call or check their social media pages for the latest options, availabilities, and requirements for igloo and outdoor dining.

Did we miss a local igloo or outdoor dining option?
Leave a comment below!

Check out all of our guides and resources to the Mid-Michigan area here! From the best pizza and tacos to where kids eat free – We’ve got you covered.

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If I Was Ever a Toxic Person in Your Life, I Humbly Apologize

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Toxic People. We’ve all rubbed elbows with this fearsome group of people who are just downright difficult to deal with. The friends, family members, significant others, or even acquaintances who require so much work, who leave us mentally exhausted, who just don’t make us feel like our best selves.

Toxic people are emotional vampires, capable of sucking the energy and positivity out of us. Like chameleons, their toxicity can change its spots – staying one way, or alternating between depressing, negative, jealous, self-centered, and even controlling. Quite simply, toxic people are exhausting.

I know all about the tangled web of toxic people because, not only have I experienced toxic people, but I’ve been a toxic person myself.

The older I get, the more I am given to introspection. For this I am incredibly thankful – I know it’s not a quality that everyone possesses, but it’s an important one. Looking inward and examining one’s thoughts and behaviors is incredibly uncomfortable. A lot of times I really don’t like what I see. More often than not, I’ve cringed at some of the things that I remember doing, saying, and feeling.

This is why I am certain that I’ve been a toxic person in other’s lives at one time or another. I’ve been jealous. I’ve demanded time and attention. I’ve been self-centered. In my younger years, I was incredibly dramatic and took enjoyment in stirring the pot more than once in my friend groups and amongst family members. It’s not pretty, but it’s the truth.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this level of toxicity, too. And it’s awful. I’ve been in relationships that were incredibly toxic and didn’t even realize it at the time. I knew something was off, but oftentimes I thought it was me. Consequently, I would work harder, adjust, and pivot to try and make the friendship or relationship work.

Because I am now able to recognize toxic qualities in myself, I am able to see them more clearly in others. Moreover, I have looked back on my past relationships and friendships that just didn’t stay the course. In retrospect, I now understand why I was so exhausted and drained at the time. There’s also a sense of closure and relief that I wasn’t able to feel before. Toxic relationships are often irreparable. One or both of the parties has to make a significant change. If not, the relationship will run its course or turn into a cycle of toxic behavior.  

Toxic relationships can take on many forms and can escalate to a number of levels. I am not proffering myself as an expert. Nor am I addressing any sort of physical or extreme mental abuse. I am aware that these scenarios exist, and I am not a professional.

My wisdom comes from personal experience and, again, a ton of introspective probing and analysis. I look inward to better myself, and to grow. I aim to be an overall good person. I want to set a positive example for my children and strive to be the best version of myself in any situation or relationship.

But I’m human, and certainly not infallible. If i have ever been a toxic person in your life, I humbly apologize.

I’d like to think I didn’t realize it at the time, or that my immaturity or even unhappiness at that point in time wasn’t healthy for me, and that I projected it onto others. Whatever the reason, if I created a toxic environment for you, I sincerely apologize. I am a continual work in progress, always aiming to know better and do better.

Toxic people are so challenging. If you’re dealing with a toxic person in your life currently, I hope that you are able to identify the relationship for what it is. I encourage you to seek support and guidance. I am fortunate to know many amazing, supportive, and strong women in my life. These female friends and family members have set positive examples, have grown with me, and have helped to teach me who I’d like to be. Thankfully, toxic is on my radar but is no longer a part of my life in any way. 

Have you encountered a toxic person in your life?
Or, like me, maybe you’ve been a toxic person at one time or another.
How did you move forward, and what did you learn?

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