My Fall Bucket List!

I love fall, y’all!

Pumpkins, apples, Halloween, THANKSGIVING! It’s my favorite time of year.

I love waking up on a chilly morning with coffee in my hand, taking the pups out for a morning run (the dogs, not me!). I go check on the chickens, and Pauly our rooster let’s put his cock-a-doodle-doo!

Fall mornings seems like everything moves a little slower for me.

My youngest had me print out our fall bucket list! I’ll insert it below!

I created my own bucket list for fall. Mine is going to look a bit different.

Slow down

Enjoy the little things. Enjoy the way the leaves turn, and enjoy how the air gets more crisp. Enjoy family time with the hubby and my daughters. They grow so quick, so enjoy the little moments.

Make time for my husband.

We get so lost in taking care of the kids. We do everything we can to make sure they are happy and healthy. We often lose sight of what started it all, our love. Making time to enjoy each other is essential. Wether it’s date night, or just a quiet night on the couch.

Prepare for Winter

Winter is dark and depressing, honestly. It is not my most favorite time of year. I’m going to enjoy and mentally prepare for the dark ahead. Start taking care of my body, and my mental health. Do things for me, to make winter a little more bearable.

Get more organized

I can’t stand clutter! My goal this fall is to get more organized. That should always me my goal, but like I said, I hate winter. Hopefully being more organized will make me enjoy the winter months a little bit more!


Little changes can make a big difference. Hopefully my bucket list for fall will help me enjoy it just a little bit more!

Don’t get me wrong, my youngest girls bucket list sounds fun too!

Keeping busy while social distancing!

We are still trying very hard to social distance.

It’s been tough not surrounding ourselves with the many people we love, but also trying to find things to keep our girls occupied!

I’m gonna share some of the things we’ve enjoyed doing.


Crafts

Painting, modeling clay, slime making, bracelet making! You name it, we’ve done it! We love doing crafts, it’s been something the whole family can enjoy. Our favorite has been the clay, though. The girls love making little sculptures, and painting them. I’ve already gotten a few new jewelry dishes. 😉

Lots of Reading

Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book? I know we have really enjoyed it. A lot of our summer reading is done outside in our hammocks. It’s our favorite spot to chill. My youngest (A) loves the Mercy Watson series, written by Kate DiCamillo. My oldest (C) loves The Never Girls series! I will read anything, but I’m a true die hard Twilight series fan. I know 🙈

Video Games

I know what you’re thinking, video games?! Really?! But we honestly enjoy playing so many video games as a family. Minecraft is one of our all time favorites. We also enjoy all of the Super Mario games: Mario Kart, Super Mario World, Mario Party, etc. I also started getting the girls into Animal Crossing, although that’s not a multi player so we don’t play it often.

Outside Play

Sprinklers and pools were a huge part of our summer fun! Riding bikes, scooters, roller blading, swinging on the tree swing, playing fetch with the pups! So much fun stuff to do outside, and the fun is honestly endless when you’re outside. We also have a wooded area on our property which is fun for nature hikes and scavenger hunts! In September all the mushrooms around the yard pop up, and it’s fun to go around and identify some of them.

It’s definitely been an interesting year for us all. Trying to find things for the whole family to enjoy can be challenging.

Hopefully this gave you some ideas if you needed them! ❤️

Time flies when you’re raising children…

Sitting at dinner the other night, and we were talking about how fast this year has gone by.

It could be because of COVID, and most of our year was “wasted” by “quarantine” or simply because our littles aren’t so little anymore and they are growing SO fast!

It’s hard to sit back some time and REALLY enjoy these little moments.


I’m not going to lie, I had a mini breakdown last week. Full blown toddler tantrum…

I finally had some time off of work, to enjoy my 10 year wedding anniversary (holy shit, how has it been 10 years?!).

Day 1 of vacation and I start getting texts from work (I can’t get away from this place). I really wanted to get away for the big decade anniversary, but let’s face it, two kids and a global pandemic later, and no one has the time or money for that shit!

To top it all off, my kids we’re making me INSANE with their constant arguing and pestering about every… little… thing!!!

I finally broke down, and LITERALLY called my mama crying!

She talked me down, and we laughed and cried. Finally she asked me if I remembered going to my aunts house for the weekend every other month or so… because she too had the same moments I had. Every mom, or dad, NEEDS time to be an adult, and enjoy alone time wether it’s with a spouse or by yourself.

Then she said, get yourself a Starbucks (or whatever over priced coffee you like), get home, and get on with your day because you are going to remember the time spent with your family, more then you’ll remember this breakdown.

That women was so right! We had an AMAZING day exploring Frankenmuth, MI (see picture below)!

Then on our ACTUAL anniversary, we shipped the kids to my hubs mom’s house for the night, we ordered take out, and watched ALL the bad TV we could fit into the 16 hours we had ALONE!!!

It was HEAVENLY!


ANYWAYS, Back to my original thought about how FAST time is moving… I just wanted to share that story because it was raw and real, and it is not all sunshine and rainbows here!

I am in the trenches of motherhood. I am at war with myself because these are their most formative years, and I want to make sure they look back on their childhood and say, ‘wow, I was respectful and respected, but we also had a GREAT childhood.’

I’m definitely not one to give advice. You will not see me at any baby shower telling that new mama-to-be how she should only breastfeed, and use cloth diapers because it’s better for the environment, etc.

However, I’m passing along advice from my mama who raised 6 kids…

“Take time for yourself. It is one thing to be so in love with your child and do everything for the baby, but you have to not lose sight of yourself as a woman to balance out motherhood.”

Sounds simple right?!

But how many days have gone by since you’ve last taken care of YOU?!

Let’s just try harder. Every day is a new day for growth and opportunity.

You hear it all the time, “self care”, but do you really do it?!


WOW! How many cliches can I put into one blog?! 😂

But, thanks for hearing my heart! ❤️

Amanda (the boss bitch that keeps me motivated) and I, want to do a Q&A with all our readers! So if you have a question for us, leave it in the comments below!

Guest Post- Navigating a Busy Toddler During a Pandemic.

Ahh toddlers..

I Lost count on how many times a day I say “what’s in your mouth” “come back here please”, “no get down.” It must be enough because my toddlers favorite word is NONONO now…oops! (She’s a week shy of 17 months by the way.)

Yet still my baby who likes to be rocked and cuddled to sleep and is still so so sweet. I miss the baby stages I really do, but this new adventurous toddler stage is so fun and so exhausting. 

Patience

How does one have enough patience in the day without full break down and exhaustion… the answer is.. well you nearly don’t. 

I became a “stay at home mom” the week my daughter turned one and this pandemic shut down began. I was and am SO excited to stay home and spend more time with her but it was so draining to not see any friends or family or basically the outside of our house since it was still cold out. 

Now that we are looking at this being the new “normal” for a while here are some tips that have saved me!

Tip 1: The mom guilt! Don’t feel guilty about napping when they nap. Or even to binge watch TV all day.  There’s so many expectations that the house should look immaculate if you’re a “stay at home mom”, but let me tell you, its just going to be messy in 5 minutes again, so TAKE THE NAP! Or do something for yourself mama.

Tip 2: Make mommy friends! It can be the most uncomfortable feeling putting yourself out there to make mommy friends but its been so worth it for me AND my toddler! Find a local group if available and reach out you never know you might have a reply within 5 minutes (I did!) Pre Covid we attended a weekly music group and newborns support group and I’m so thankful to have met some lifelong friends from those groups, so it’s never too late to find mommy friends! I also used the peanut app briefly when my daughter was first born, it’s a great way to connect with other moms either in your area or not in your area.

Tip 3: Get adventurous, and don’t be afraid to get dirty !  Check out the site “busy toddlers and beyond” on Facebook it’s been a lifesaver. Parents/caregivers provide pictures of activities to do with your toddler or any age! Some favorites for us have been sensory boxes, water activities, or using recyclables.

Or another way to get adventurous is to try out a new park and have a picnic! I know for a while the playgrounds were closed down, it was even refreshing to go for a daily walk or two to a local park and just let your toddler RUN!!

I hope my three tips helped you maybe get out of a funk of feeling like you’re going crazy or out of ideas and remember YOU’RE NOT ALONE, and THEY ARE ONLY LITTLE ONCE!

– Halie Porritt

COVID and School

We want to keep this page fun, but there is a big fat elephant in the room, and I’m here to talk about it and share my thoughts and feelings!

School.

As you know, I am a mom to two amazing school aged daughters. My oldest is in the 4th grade, and my youngest is going into first. We love our school so much!

We had just gotten back from a spring break trip March 13. We had so much fun, but little did we know, we’d be coming home to pure chaos.

The night we got home, our Governor held a press conference stating she was shutting down our schools. What were we going to do with our two daughters while my husband and I work full time hours?!

If there’s a will, there’s a way.

A week after the schools shut down, my boss decided to shut down my work. It was scary, but also really great because we were able to focus on getting a routine established for “remote learning”. There were still SO many fears and concerns.

I’m not going to lie or sugar coat it, but it was rough. It was so new to the teachers, the students, and for most parents. We sort of had a good idea on what to expect as we had done online school for our oldest daughter in the past (that is another story for another time…).

Honestly, our girls did not handle the shut down well. At. All. For the first few weeks, there was little to no routine.

My oldest hates school. She is so smart, and she knows it. However, that doesn’t mean school comes easy to her on all subjects. She loves using the computer, and prefers learning through apps, and online videos and instruction. She was THRIVING once we figure out what apps were “OK’d” by her teacher and the school. Getting her to sit down and read, was a challenge, but she loved having books read to her via Audible. (That was a Godsend.)

Now, my youngest is completely opposite. She loves sitting down in her bean bag chair with her books, and journals. She loves using flash cards and doing her work sheets. The online stuff was cool, because it was a little more interactive, but she definitely is a pencil and paper kind of learner.

By the end of the school year, we had established that we were going to keep our girls learning, but we did it in our own way. We used materials given to us as a guide, but really built our own methods.


SO, Summer is wrapping up here this month, and that leaves us with a HUGE decision. What in the H-E-L-L are we going to do about the 20-21 school year?!

Who the hell knows!

As of right now, we are definitely leaning towards online learning. It will be hard to find a balance, between work, school and home life, but I truly feel in my heart, this will be in the best interest for my family.

I know my daughters more then anyone else, and I know they did NOT do well with the shut down. It took a lot of persistence to get my kids going on a good schedule. There was a lot of yelling and tears, not going to lie!

I know that if I can get my kids on a good schedule right at the beginning of the year, it will make having another “shut-down” a lot easier IF we end up having one. If not, and COVID “goes away” then we won’t be behind, and my kids can jump right back into the school year in the classroom in January.


I understand there are A LOT of different opinions about school, and COVID. I’m not trying to make a political statement by any means. I’m truly doing what I feel is best for my family during these unprecedented times. No one understands what we are facing, and no one is making a right or wrong decision wether you are doing virtual, or not.

Amanda and I truly appreciate all of our followers, and we hope you enjoy our blog!

Thank you so much for reading, and if you feel like throwing your opinions in the comments, by all means, please do!

Next week, I’ll keep things a little more light and fun! 😉

Guest Post- Busy Mom’s Guide to Essential Oils.

Essential oils are all the rage these days. You can buy them almost anywhere but with so much information out there, it can be overwhelming and time consuming.  You’re a busy mama, I get it, I felt the same way when I first started to use essential oils.  I had a few around the house but had no idea what to do with them but I always liked the idea, so I just dabbled here and there. Then I got hooked up with a friend of mine and she taught me all the things. She even taught me the science behind them, and I was hooked.   I want to be that person for you. I want you  to see all the ways you can use essential oils to support you  and your family with natural solutions to health concerns, to look and feel better and to create a clean, safe home.  

I want to share a few statistics and facts with you about chemicals in the home and your health. Did you know that Americans spend between 80-90% of their time inside, and that the average American home contains over 63 hazardous products? From antiperspirants to perfumes, from toilet bowl cleaners to over-the-counter painkillers, from skin care products to “air fresheners” and candles with synthetic perfumes, Americans have been slowly poisoning themselves and their families with hundreds of chemical compounds that the body is unequipped to deal with. Today, chronic illness of some kind plagues roughly half of the adult population in America, and now we are seeing more children with compromised health.  Commercial products are full of synthetic ingredients that are known  to be  endocrine disruptors that means that they jack up your hormones and wreak havoc on our bodies. They are harmful to you, your family and even your pets.

There is a better way, the natural way.

Essential oils are redefining health in the modern world. They represent a gentle, supportive approach to health. Because of their chemical structure they are metabolized in the cells like other nutrients. They are volatile so they evaporate quickly. So unlike synthetic drugs, they do not accumulate in the body as much. The remarkable qualities of essential oil chemistry make using oils an overall safe and natural alternative for health in the body.

Essential oils are simply distilled plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, resins, and fruits. Think of them as plant concentrates. Essential oils help the plant stay healthy, and they can do the same for us. You can use them for aromatherapy, home cleaning, personal care, and to support every system of your body. They have been successfully used for thousands of years and are mentioned in the Bible many times.

The thing is though… not all oils are created equal. 

 Well, for me, it all came down to something called Seed to Seal and Young Living is the ONLY company that provides this. Seed to Seal is a quality commitment unlike anything else; they have control of the ENTIRE process, from the seed to the sealed bottle. You can rest assured that you are getting a quality product made with the highest quality essentials oils and other naturally derived ingredients.  And the best part… if the oils do not meet these high standards they are rejected and will not be bottled as a Young Living product. Check out more info on their Seed to Seal promise at www.seedtoseal.com.

                      There are three ways to use essential oils.

One of the most common ways to use essential oils is AROMATICALLY, breathing them in through our nose or you can diffuse essential oils in your home and your car The aroma of essential oils can have a positive impact on your mood,  and overall well-being, and they can help purify the air naturally. There is a great deal of research on how essential oils work with our emotional brain to help balance emotions.  If you are not a “sciency” type of gal, hold tight, it’s worth it, mama.

When talking about emotions, we must mention the limbic system. The limbic system is a system of nerves and networks in the brain that controls basic emotions and drives. It is the emotional brain. It supports five major functions: emotions, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and sense of smell. Have you ever spontaneously cried or laughed depending on whether the memory was happy, sad or traumatic? This reaction is your limbic system at work. When we inhale the aroma of something like baked goods, fried food, grass or essential oil, the odor molecules travel through the nose where they register with nerves in the olfactory membranes in the nose lining.

The odor molecules stimulate this lining of nerve cells and trigger electrical impulses to the olfactory bulb in the brain. The olfactory bulb then transmits the impulses to the amygdala – where emotional memories are stored – and to other parts of the limbic system of the brain. The unique structure of the molecules of essential oils can directly stimulate the hypothalamus and limbic lobe of the brain. Inhaling essential oils may alleviate stress and emotional trauma as well as increase the production of thyroid and growth hormones. The amygdala (where emotional memories are stored) plays a major role in the storage and release of emotional trauma. Our sense of smell is directly linked to emotional states and behaviors, even if they have been stored since childhood. Our sense of smell, one of the five senses, is the ONLY way to stimulate the amygdala. The amygdala does not respond to words said or words heard. Therefore, the use of essential oils is so therapeutic to the release of stored emotions.

 The next way to use therapeutic-grade essential oils from Young Living is TOPICALLY, right on the skin. Essential oils have a small molecular size and are quickly absorbed. When you apply an essential oil topically, it’s in all the body’s cells within 15-20 minutes, helping the body maintain optimal health at the cellular level.  Young Living has an entire product line  just for kids. Essential oils are already diluted to use quick and on the go when a little extra help is needed.

The third way you can use Young Living’s therapeutic-grade essential oils is INTERNALLY.

Vitality Essential Oils are approved by the FDA to be used internally and can help support the systems of the body and is a great way to help maintain optimal health! You can use  Vitality oils like Cilantro, Cumin, and Oregano in the kitchen to spice up your meals and since you use so little they are budget friendly.

Just like any product we use there are a few safety guidelines. Thank goodness, with essential oils there are not too many.  Some essential oils should be used with a carrier oil when applied to the body. Citrus oils like Lemon, Bergamot and Lime should not be worn if you are in the direct sun. If you are using them and going outside just put them under your clothes.

 Now that you know what essential oils are, how they work you may be wondering what the heck do you do with them?

                                           Skin Care

                                   Cleaning and Laundry

                                         Personal Care

                                     Health and Wellness

                                            Cooking

One of the biggest game changers for me was when I learned that essential oils could help balance my hormones, and emotions. Many women, no matter their age struggle with hormonal issues which can cause emotional ups and downs.  Remember those endocrine disruptors I mentioned earlier? Yep, they only add to the problem.  I was struggling with issues that come along as we age.  I believe women of all ages can benefit from these hormone supporting essential oils. If you want to learn more about how to help nourish and balance hormones and your emotions using essential oils I’m your girl.

There are hundreds of essential oils and just as many ways to use them. While I love to talk about them ain’t nobody got time for all that. So, I made you some sweet printables to print out and enjoy. (see below)

Ready to learn more or get started on this oily journey? There are a few options for you.

Join my newsletter to get tips, recipes and more.   http://marieinmontana.com/landing/newsletterpage

On the Go Learning options with textable/email micro notes to learn at home  (406) 400-9546

Website  www.marieinmontana.com

Email me with any questions  at  hello@marieinmontana.com

Follow me on Instagram at   https://www.Instagram.com/mylife_inthe_middle

Start a  Young Living wholesale account. Thinks Sam’s Or Costco>>>> You never have to sell or share with anyone, unless you want to.( That’s the business side of Young Living and it’s totally optional)  You can see all the  ways to get started  at  http://marieinmontana.com/starter-kits.

If you decide you want to start your own membership, email, or message over on Instagram so I can walk you through it so we  make sure you get the free  oil that is offered each month. If you cannot wait, use this link. https://bit.ly/startYLNOW.

 Quirky Work Moms Special—We have a wonderful group of busy women learning natural ways to take care of their families and tons of free resources to help you on your journeyWhen  youstart a wholesale membership with a premium starter kit  and Essential Rewards with us  and I will  send you a diffuser or a $25 credit to your Young Living account for  future orders and you will get a sweet welcome packet in the mail to help you get started.

 I hope this was helpful and that you see that essential oils can be used every day to support our bodies and homes in a natural safe way. 

To Your Health,

 Marie

Back to Work!

I started back up to work last Monday, and I am TIRED!

We called this blog the Quirky Workin Moms, because that is who we are. We are both moms who work. HARD!

I work for two eye doctors as an optician. I L O V E my job so, so much. However, during this pandemic, I’ve faced many challenges.

I don’t know if you’ve been to an eye doctor recently, but the thing about my profession, is we are in your face ALL. THE. TIME!

I could not do my job, 6 feet away. It’d be impossible. From measuring your glasses, to adjusting them, or training you to put contact lenses is. I’m right there, 6 inches away.

I have found a few things to be useful though during these crazy times, and it’s nothing new. It has given me some piece of mind!

PPE has been a must. I wear a mask majority of the day. If you are in my optical, I have my mask on.

Excessively washing my hands, and using hand sanitizer. My hands are fried. I’m not sure if they will ever recover.

Coming home and putting clothes right in the laundry basket. I don’t want to bring any germs into my house where I could potentially expose my family.

Shoes are kept OUTSIDE! It’s a rule I strictly follow at this point.

It has been difficult getting used to this new “normal”, but I am so grateful to have a job that has opened back up!

I hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

And if you’re essential, THANK YOU!!!

See you all next Thursday!

Edible Cookie Dough! YUM!

Who is OVER this virus?! I know I am.

It’s been hard being cooped up in the house. I went back to work Monday (BLAH!), and I miss being home with my girls and hubs.

During the time of self-isolation, I indulged (as I’m sure we all did) in some major sweets! My go-to: EDIBLE COOKIE DOUGH

Just admit it! Your favorite part about making chocolate chip cookies is the cookie dough. I know that’s mine. 

My oldest daughter loves to bake, but she’s been a little preoccupied with Pokemon to want to help in the kitchen. It’s my littlest daughter who has been helping me make it. She claims she is the “Secret Ingredient”! So sweet! 

The very first time I made it, I wanted chocolate chip cookies SO BAD, but we were out of eggs! During this time, it isn’t so easy just running to the store, so in comes this recipe.

We made quite a few successful batches, but there were some fails as well. I’m going to give you some of the tips I found along the way!  
 
First things first, did you know you shouldn’t eat raw flour?! It should be cooked before you indulge in this snack. I simple pop my flour into the microwave for 60 seconds. Maybe more or less depending on your microwave, I stop around 30 seconds, and whisk it around, otherwise it’ll clump together. I then let it cool. It worked better when it wasn’t as hot! 

Second, don’t be a #hotmessmom like me and forget to pull out the butter. It should be at room temp. If you do end up forgetting, just soften it in the microwave! 

Third, I say vanilla is “optional” because I ran out after my second batch, and no one really noticed a difference. I thought it was richer with it, but again it’s “optional”. Don’t make your hubs go out and get it if you’re out! 

Last but not least, chocolate chip to dough ratio is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL! I LOVE to have chocolate chips in every dough bite, BUT my hubs just wants to eat the dough and no chocolate. Weird, I know!  

Sooo, Without further ado, I present my recipe for EDIBLE COOKIE DOUGH! 


INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 c. unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tbsp. Milk
  • 1-? C. chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS: 

  1. “Cook” or heat up your flour. The internal temp should be 165 degrees.  
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together on low to medium speed, butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. It should be creamy, and a light brown color. YUM! Beat in the salt, and the vanilla (if you have it!) 
  1. Beat in flour until combined. I add about ½ a cup at time so it doesn’t explode everywhere! It will start to come together. SLOWLY add your milk a little at a time. Fold in your chocolate chips with a spatula. 
  1. ENJOY!

This is honestly such a quick and easy recipe!  

I hope you enjoy this treat as much. Let me know if you end up making it!

Also, if you have made a similar recipe already.

Hot Mess Mom

If you are a hot mess mom, raise your hand!

Here I am, two different blog posts written (but not completed), running around the house doing laundry, while feeding the girls a bedtime snack at 10:15pm! My life never ends as a mom. Motherhood for me looks like this on a daily basis. Balancing working, cooking, cleaning, play with the girls, doing “school” work, it’s the season I am in and I am LOVING it.

I love being a hot mess mom. I know that sounds super crazy to some. OF COURSE I would love to have a daily schedule, get work outs in, meal plan, but living with no schedule has allowed me to enjoy every moment that I’m in with my family.


Obviously we are in the middle of this global pandemic. I don’t want to talk too much about it, but during this time, I’ve really been able to sit back and enjoy the life that I have. However, to make sure I don’t lose my mind or the kids theirs, I did set myself some ground rules.

Sleep “Schedule”

I set an alarm for eight o’clock every morning. We’re letting the girls go to bed a little later, so they sleep in a little. Waking up at eight allows me to watch some t.v. and drink my coffee. I also try to get to bed by 11.

School Work

All school work has to be done by noon. Then we have lunch, and the rest of the day is free time! The kids are LOVING that they don’t do school work for 7 hours a day.

House Work

My hubby and I really have tackled this together. We try to get dishes and laundry done while the girls are doing school work, so we can enjoy that free time as well!


I am a hot mess mom, and I am proud to be it! Our life isn’t perfect, but it was perfectly made for me.

Today’s blog post was supposed to be a recipe for my family’s favorite sweet treat: edible cookie dough (YUM!), but once again being a hot mess mom, everything in the universe stopped me from doing it!

However, it will be here next Thursday, so don’t forget to stop back by!