With a busy bee of a toddler running around at all times, books and coloring are so important to have accessible when it’s time for some down time.
Redfin reached out to us and asked to write a short piece describing an at home learning area that would work well.
You can read the full article here but I thought it would make a fun post to show you the little nook my toddler has for all his fun activities.
When it comes to at home learning or activity areas it’s so important to have everything open and easily accessible because I feel like it makes less of a mess. That way your kids will see it automatically and be able to grab what they need.
I love using little bins for crayons, art stuff and activity books. I use this cute personalized basket for my toddler’s things.
Another great tip is storage cubes! I feel like they are so great for toy organizing, book organizing or even learning and school organizing.
Adding pops of colors with books and crayons are always great to keep your kids engaged.
I like to keep our seasonal or favorite books on this bench ottoman and a couple inside it as well for easy reading access since majority of our time is spent in our main living area.
Also it’s a great place to store toys away and still have your living space look nice!
So many fun ideas you can do for a little learning nook but these are some of my favorites!
What type of areas do you have for your children when it comes to their learning and activities?
From the moment those two pink lines show up, you are being told how hard being a parent is.
Constant crying, feeding on demand, diaper overloads.
And of course those 3am wake up cries.
But they never tell you the pure emotional exhaustion you will truly feel from trying to be the perfect mom.
And I’m not talking about I’ve just worked a week of 12 hour midnight shifts in a row…I’m talking your whole body is tired, your shoulders and neck are sore and kinked from constantly looking over at your baby, chasing after your toddler. Your mind is on auto-pilot and you forever hear crying even when they aren’t.
It’s just exhausting being a mom.
There’s no explanation needed.
It’s. Just. Hard.
You put all your energy into these tiny little humans that you have been so blessed to have.
Every thought is about them now.
How do I make my baby happy today?
Is my toddler getting too much screen time?
What can I do better so we sleep better at night?
How do I split up my attention equally?
How do I keep them healthy and safe always?
How can I be better?
How can I be perfect for them?
How do I make time for my husband? For my home? For my career?
That’s the root of it all. We always want to be better, we want to do better for our babies.
We want to be the perfect mom.
The one who looks flawless without a hint of dark circles under her eyes.
The one with hair that looks like she is able to wash and exfoliate regularly.
The one who never has a spot of spit up on her clothes or the smell of it radiating from them.
The one who looks like she’s never changed a blow out diaper in the Target bathrooms in her life.
The one who’s kids look like they would never have a tantrum in aisle 5 at the grocery store.
There’s no such thing as a perfect mom.
Yes, some might hide it way better than others but we all have one thing in common.
We are all exhausted.
We are all at some point everyday dealing with diaper overloads and spit up and drool stained clothing.
Meltdowns during the day and waking up to those 3am cries at night.
So don’t ever think you aren’t a good enough mom, please.
Because we’ve all been there.
We are all exhausted.
We are all emotional.
We are all so blessed to have these babies.
But one thing I hope to never happen to any mama’s in this world? You will never be alone in your feelings, EVER. Please just know that.
And if you ever need a reminder? Well, we are here even during those 3am wake up cries.
We kicked off summer with an INCREDIBLE vacation to Port Austin, MI. It is our favorite spot to camp, and we go back as often as we can.
We tent camp, and I could write a whole blog on camping with kids and a dog. It’s a lot of work, but the work is totally worth the reward!
I wanted to talk about this awesome small town at the tip of Michigan’s thumb! This is the second family trip we’ve taken, and we plan to go back again as a yearly tradition.
We always camp at a Michigan state park, Port Crescent State Park. It is called that because the park is on a crescent shaped bay right before the Saginaw bay.
The water is shallow and crystal clear and super sandy for many yards out. It is perfect for kids or young swimmers. The sand bar was insane this year. It actually started at the shore which is something I have never experienced at a Michigan beach.
The sunsets are INCREDIBLE. I live on the east side of MI, so we get stunning sunrises, so experiencing sunsets is my favorite part about the trip.
It’s also a pet friendly park, so we were about to take Addie with us! She REALLY enjoyed digging in the sand with the girls. She loved exploring all things!
There is plenty of hiking and fishing you can do as well at the park. There’s also a nice playground and two bathrooms with showers if needed!
We kayaked one year to a very famous rock structure, Turnip Rock! That trip was so much fun. We rented kayaks from Port Austin Kayak. We rented them for the four hour time. It took roughly two hours to get to the rock structure. It was totally worth it. My phone died just before we got to the structure, so I borrowed an image from Huron County Park’s website.
There is also Caseville up there too! That is home of the “Cheesburger Festival”. Yes it is a festival dedicated to cheeseburgers. Such a fun little town.
We loved traveling so far and are planning another trip in August! Do you have any recommendations in or near MI?! Let me know!
Does time get away from anyone else or is it just me?!
I just thought I would share a little life update since I’ve been so MIA!
We lucked out tonight, and softball was canceled due to weather. Michigan got snow last night, and if our bodies haven’t reacted enough to spring, we get to go through it again!
I am starting a new job with a huge corporation this week! I have been a dispensing optician for the past (almost) 9 years, and I truly have loved every moment of it!
The first office I started at was awesome! The doctor and his wife were some of my favorite people. What is that saying though? People don’t quit a job, they quit the management? Yeah, that’s what I did. The manager was not the nicest person. In fact the 7.5 years I was there, we had 25 employees come and go. Some lasted a year some not even a day… it was so sad because I had truly gained so much from that office.
The last office I worked at was amazing all around. Such good people! One of the docs though… I’ll just stop there. 😂 I just knew that it wasn’t going to be a good fit for me in the long run, so I’m taking a turn with a corporation from HOME! No more going to an office!
There is SO much to learn though. I am on the computer 100% of my day. Not really a bad thing, but there is no face to face interaction. Although during a global pandemic, I’m not mad about it.
SPORTS! My daughters are in sports! I had mentioned softball earlier, that is what my oldest daughter is playing. My youngest is playing soccer! I know nothing about softball, however I played soccer as a kid and really enjoyed it, SOOO I volunteered to coach! I’m not sure what I was thinking when I did that!
We have had some health problems here too! No COVID, at least that’s what the tests say, but I’m not sure what to believe or not to believe anymore. My girls are still having issues that may or may not be related to whatever “virus” they did have, BUT they are overall healthy and were just praying the heal quickly!
Oh, and I dyed my hair pink! I love having fun with my hair, and this just seemed right!
That is my life update! Lots going on daily, but that is pretty much the just of it!
We want to thank you all for your support! This week actually marks one year of blogging for us! We enjoy every post we do, and every connection we make with each and every one of you! Keep reading, stay healthy and stay safe. ❤️
Becoming a mom was the best/scariest experience! Being a first time mom myself I know just how scary it can be not knowing anything.
I’m here to give you a few tips today on the mistakes I’ve made as a new mom in hopes it will help all you other mamas out there!
Moms supporting moms is my favorite thing!
Believing everything you hear.
I can’t even tell you how much advice you will get while you are pregnant or a brand new mom.
Some of it is fantastic but then there’s the horror stories and the snarky comments.
Trust me when I say, you just can’t believe everything you hear. Every parent has a different experience with parenthood. Every birth is different.
Most of your anxiety comes from listening to others and your own mind so relax mama, you’ll be fine!
Not napping while the baby naps.
I was notorious for this. I felt like I needed to get EVERYTHING done while the baby napped but you don’t.
You really, really don’t!
Take that nap, or just take time for yourself when your baby naps. It’s so important and you will appreciate it in the long run!
Comparing your baby or yourself to others.
Just don’t do it. Nothing good will come of it. Each baby goes at its own pace and that’s perfectly fine. Just because your friends baby is walking at 8 months, doesn’t mean your baby won’t be up and running around soon!
So many women I know were having babies when I had my son and I felt myself comparing and it was the worst thing I could ever do.
Just because one mom looks like a superhero by getting everything done, doesn’t mean she’s not exhausted and feeling as defeated as you are at times.
Ignoring your spouse.
I feel like the easiest thing as a new mom is to get wrapped up in the baby, it’s just the most natural reaction to motherhood.
But don’t get so wrapped up that you ignore your spouse, the one who helped create this beautiful tiny human. Yess they might seem annoying because they get out of the house daily or get to sleep more but they are feeling overwhelmed too so lean on each other.
Communicate and be kind to each other.
Take time for yourself.
Even if it’s just an hour at your favorite store or 30 minutes reading a book. Or even a nice long hot shower.
Take time for yourself as much as you can to recharge, to clear your mind, to breath.
You’ll be a better mom, you’ll feel better and you just need to do it.
Ask for help.
As much as you want to, you can’t do everything. It’s impossible.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Having a support system will be the best thing for you and your family.
Whether it’s meals being dropped off or maybe just an extra hand with laundry or dishes. The best thing I ever learned as a first time mom is definitely not to be afraid to ask for help when you need it!
I hope this helped you out mamas! And if you are a seasoned mom please feel free to leave advice in the comments below!
Always love hearing others experiences since everyone’s is always so different ❤️
Lately I’ve just been so burnt out. There really aren’t enough hours in the day.
I just can’t keep up.
For a very patient person, my patience’s has been thin lately. Juggling all our rolls is tough.
I don’t know how some make it look so easy.
Full time working life
Plus all the small things in between. It’s exhausting.
I yell more than usual which is no fun. But when you have a toddler in the hitting stage and a puppy in the digging stage, it happens.
I feel like I’m either asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow or laying wide awake at night feeling guilty about not playing enough or not finishing the laundry or just knowing my head wasn’t in the right place that day.
I know this is just a temporary phase but sometimes even though I have all the help in the world which I am so grateful and blessed to have, I still feel alone sometimes.
It just feels like you have so much on your shoulders and even when the weight is a little bit lifted, something else comes long.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.
I guess I’m just trying to say is that, I see you.
I see how exhausted you are.
I see how guilty you feel when you have a bad mom day.
I see the work you put in to your family and your life.
I see how hard you try every day.
I get that sometimes that’s all you want.
To be seen.
For everyone to know how hard you try.
I see all you mama’s out there and I hope you know how great of a job you’re doing.
How all these sleepless nights and tired days and exhausted body’s are worth it.
Hey Friends! I wanted to do something fun today and kind of a get to know me type post! I love reading these and wanted to share some things about me.
1. I am TOO optimistic! The glass is always half full in my greener pastures! Everything is sunshine an rainbows 99% of the time.
2. I wanted to be an algebra teacher. I know it sounds super crazy but math was always my favorite subject!
3. I performed in plays throughout my childhood until I was a senior in high school! My favorite was Anita from West Side Story.
4. I married my husband when I was 18! We were BABIES (kind of still are)!
5. I HATE cooking, but LOVE baking! If I’m cooking it’s either a crock pot meal or something very simple, but I will bake you ANYTHING from scratch.
6. I hate winter! It was my favorite season for ever, until last year. Now I long for the days of summer!
7. My favorite color is green. More specifically lime green! The brighter, the better!
8. I used to play a TON of musical instruments! I played the tenor saxophone in band, I played a bit of piano, and guitar once I got older. My favorite instrument is the hammered dulcimer. Look it up if you’ve never heard or seen one.
9. I’m very strong willed! I try to speak my mind as much as possible and stand my ground.
10. Family is THE most important to me, but it’s always God first.
Do you ever wonder what life could be like without comparing yourself to anyone else?
Well, I think it’s time for us moms to stop trying to live up to everyone else and just be ourselves!
Yup! You heard that right, my friend, just be ourselves. Not our neighbor, not our co-worker, not our mom, sister or best friend and just be ourselves.
Friends, your authentic self is the only one I want to be around.
Your authentic stories are the only stories I want to hear. I want to experience the downright ugly parts of your soul as well as all of your triumphs.
I want to cheer for all of your children’s amazing adventures and goals being reached but also gasp at how awful they have been behaving on a daily basis.
So can we make a deal as moms?
Can we stop comparing and rather live our lives as our true selves? Can we stop attempting to live up to all of the online parenting tips, that are often way too hard to attain and allow ourselves to make up our own parenting rules… the rules that work for our family? And rules that take into careful consideration each child living within our unique household.
And please, for our own sanity, can we please stop attempting to live life as a generic woman?
We are all molded, as our own unique selves, but somewhere along the way I think many of us forgot that truth. Or maybe society started to tell us how to behave, how to dress, what our homes should look like and how our children should behave.
But we need to stop this nonsense and just be…
So how do we do this?
It’s not an easy task, let me tell you.
But one thing I know is this…if we all support one another it will be much easier to live as our authentic selves.
Upon a lot of reflection, and there has been a great deal the past year, I have come up with three ways to start living life as our authentic selves.
Take time for reflection:
Set aside a quiet moment or maybe twenty minutes alone, no distractions, just time with good old fashioned silence.
It’s powerful! Within this time, think about you… not the burnt waffles this morning, the four loads of laundry waiting to be folded, a conference call at noon and how you are in desperate need of a haircut. This is a moment for you to delve deep and remember who you are. What are your dreams? Your goals? Desires? What makes you happy? Truly happy? Have you been hiding anything lately? Pushing it away or numbing the pain? And most importantly how do you love yourself best?
I found it helpful to listen to my inner soul quietly and reflect, then write out my thoughts on paper.
My paper was a mess. There were words all over and not organized at all but it was a start.
The simple act of writing out these thoughts was bringing me back to my true self.
If I couldn’t recall who I truly was, how was I going to be able to live a life of authenticity?
2. Putting into action a part once lost.
Remember the reflection time where you made a list? Well, now it’s time to choose one or how many you are comfortable with and begin to bring them to light again.
For me, I knew my true self was a writer. It was my passion and the only way I could express myself as the honest woman I wanted to live. So, day by day I started to write more.
At first I began writing down some thoughts, which then lead to poetry… I forgot how much I loved poetry. I eventually realized it was time to take the next step and really let my true self out of the dark and start to share my authentic self, the writer in me. So for me, as scary as it was it meant starting a blog. My friends, for each of us the experience will be different, the time frame will not be the same but one piece will be constant for all of us and that is becoming the women we are meant to be… our true authentic selves.
So I urge you to take action with your list. Don’t let it sit there in a drawer or in the notes on your phone. Take the leap and call into action one or more of the amazing parts of yourself and let it take hold. You may be amazed at how far you will go.
3. Make peace:
Finding one’s self is not always an easy task. For some of us the thoughts of who we truly are may be easy to find, but for others, muddling through the murky waters of our own self can be daunting. I’m confident though, we can do this as long as we make peace with who we truly are as ourselves and love ourselves more than we expect any other person to love us.
It’s time, my friends, to live our lives fully and to the capacity which works for us… not for the comparison of what we see on HGTV or Pinterest, not for the comparison of ourselves and the other mom at the playground and how she parents. It doesn’t mean we are selfish. It doesn’t mean we should feel any mom guilt. It simply means we should be proud to finally show off our true authentic selves and the phenomenal women we are.
So friends, I pinky promise you this… our authentic selves will bring about more light than we ever imagined and what a blessing for our loved ones to experience. They will be blessed beyond measure with a woman who loves herself and radiates it out for the world to see.
Ali Flynn lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and husband. She is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents, The Mighty, Her View From Home and His View From Home, where she shares inspirational stories about motherhood while keeping it real.
I am celebrating 10 years of being a mom this week! I still remember the moment that I first looked into our little girls big eyes. It’s crazy how fast that time flies!
This week I wanted to tell you my top 5 beauty must haves. If there is one thing that I’ve learned in the past decade of “momming”, it’s that some time self-care isn’t a long luxurious bubble bath, or a day trip to the spa. Sometimes it’s simply getting your self presentable within the 10 minutes you have before bolting out the door in the morning.
This little device has changed my life SIGNIFICANTLY! It has literally knocked a half an hour of time off my routine. I had asked my husband to get it for me for my birthday, and he did, and I have used it every day since. The best thing about it was I could dry and style my hair at one time, and for being a busy lady, it drastically improved my life!
Nuetrogena Hydro-Boost Line
I cannot recommend this product line more! I started using the moisturizer the moment it came out. I have dry skin, but in the winter it turns extremely dry! This line has literally saved my skin. It gives me that nice dewy glow without looking oily and greasy. It is perfect under makeup, but quite honestly it’s made me comfortable in my own skin too. That’s a lot of pressure for a product!
I think Vaseline is a very under rated product. I use it for literally everything! Lips, eyebrows, even on my cheek bones to give an extra glow. My hands have been dry and cracking for the past year now (thanks COVID), and at night time I will coat the top of my hands. So soothing!
I don’t use foundation anymore. Even before masks over took our faces. I started buying a good concealer. I started with Tarte Shape Tape, and then Elf came out with a dupe. It’s the 16h Camo Concealer. I honestly can’t tell a difference, but I’m no expert. I just apply under my eyes, depending on how dark the circles are, blend it out, and go!
Wow, I’m not going to lie. I totally inteded doing my top 5, but it’s “mid winter break” and they are still responsible for school work “virtually”.