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Fight Hunger and Win Studio Movie Grill Tickets!

19 October 2015

Hi, guys!

I cannot believe it is the middle of October WHAT?! The Holidays are essentially here, hate to be the one to let you know.

Last week I wrote a post for Dallas Moms Blog on all the ways you can use your Partners Card to get a head start on holiday shopping while benefiting The Family Place. If you have been wary of buying the card before, learning through my work on this post all the genius ways you can use the card made me a life believer!

Local movie favorite Studio Movie Grill also just reached out to me about an amazing promotion they are hosting at their local theaters. Today, October 19, through Thursday, October 22, you can enjoy a movie just $5, with your entire movie ticket price donated to a local food bank (Metro Relief, Tarrant County Food Bank or North Texas Food Bank, depending on your local theater) to fight hunger. I feel like this week is almost the last chance for a little impromptu fun before all of the holiday activities begin! I am going to grab a girlfriend and enjoy a weeknight movie with Studio Movie Girl's amazing popcorn!

You can also include Studio Movie Grill in your local holiday shopping for a cause! Pick up one of their Hunger Games Studio Movie Grill digital gift cards available from October 23 - November 25 and 10% of sales will benefit a local food bank as well. I am SO excited to see Mockingjay 2 when it opens November 19!

Just in case you can't make it in for a movie this week, I am giving away three family four packs of tickets to Studio Movie Grill! Enter below:

Off Schedule

07 October 2015

"So, Heidi today pointed at her belly a lot and said 'Mommy baby'...we just thought we'd ask if anything new was developing at home! You know, you're the only mom in Heidi's class that isn't waddling in here for pick up."

It wasn't unusual to talk about new words or phrases from Heidi with her teachers, or what she really loved in her lunchbox or a certain book she took to in circle time. This update caught me a little off guard. Had I missed a homework assignment for class? 

They are on to something. Not only is their anecdote of the other moms in Heidi's class true, most people I am friends with that have a baby Heidi's age are expecting or planning on it. I think lately the talk from other people online regarding the effect of these types of questions can have on people is great. What if I was trying to get pregnant? Not to mention the fact that it must have slipped the teacher's mind that Heidi is adopted. I tend to see questions for face value - random conversation makers and people being curious. It's just enough of a question to make me second guess myself. And some days I'm a little too worn out from being a mom to give myself the pep talk that it's fine to be a mom on my own schedule.

When Markus and I got married, we knew we wanted to wait up to five years to add a baby to the family. We were young and had spent a lot of time living apart from each other. It was a decision I am constantly thankful for as we raise Heidi. What happened along the way, though, was other people had babies. The nerve! It made me feel, even with our own needs and plans, like we were behind. Like there was only a certain amount of perfect babies that would ever be born to this planet and we were going to miss one. Occasionally, I got a little too focused on it and missed the goodness of the season we were in. It could feel like everyone else was on schedule and we were off schedule. 

Thankfully, we waited and things turned out awesome. And again, it appears some days that we are off schedule. Now, as certain as I am writing this, I know life is full of surprises. But for now, we're good with the steady good and not focused on anything new, even for a few more years. 

Are we being crazy and getting so wrapped up in Heidi that we're going to have to "start back at square one" or "have to be parents forever?" So far, those haven't been so bad. Do we ever stop being parents anyways? Infant and toddler years are a different planet, but I'm not sure I want to "get it all over with," like I'm sometimes told. Maybe I did it once and when I do it again I'll be a little older and wiser and sure of myself during those wild nights. Note to self: I could also strike it big and have a loving wet nurse! :o)

All this reminded me of my sentiments on when to get married, your life is yours and it should grow as you do, not because you need a baby before an age or another one when your first is however old. If they are close together, I can assure you from my relationship with my 18 months in age apart sister, it is an amazing experience. And if you wait, I can say through my life now, I love nothing more than having all of my focus be on one sweet little soul for the time being, and knowing as she grows how excited and helpful she can be for another addition to our family - one day. 

When I feel off schedule, I have to ask myself who I am looking at - myself or the people around me? For me, life seems to keep happening right on time. 

Simple Things with Paleo Folks

04 September 2015

I blogged at the very end of last year how I was ready for the steady goodness of a simple life, and I have been fortunate enough to receive it in spades lately. I've really worked on my filter and been adamant about keeping evenings, weekends and life around the house easy going and simple. Heidi discovering the world around her right now is just such a joy, so I am trying to make plenty of room for her to do that and for me to take pleasure in watching it. 

We recently downsized her toys to around five in her room, inspired by this Dallas Moms Blog article. She loves to stack, sort and lace beads right now, and it's so fun to be able to easily find a toy that will be a fun challenge and discovery tool for her. Even if it's just 15 minutes before we head out on a Saturday, there's more time to play because it's easy to get started and clean up. 

I've also been working on cooking more, finding simple ingredient recipes without a ton of prep and clean up. I'm making some big advancements and slowly working on a cooking post to share! Around the time I was getting started on this endeavor, a sorority sister of mine reached out to me about her new baking mixes, Paleo Folks. They are everything I am loving right now: simple and organic ingredients, easy to make with items already in my kitchen and just one bowl and the hand mixer to clean when done.

I used to bake a few times a week as a stress reliever and hobby, and I have to admit, it's been a LONG time since a fluffy cake has left my oven. Lately, baking has seemed more daunting than fun. After reading the limited ingredients (in the mix itself and what I needed to add - just coconut oil, honey, vanilla and eggs) and the simple prep, I was ready to try it.

A note on the paleo: I don't follow a paleo diet, but I do enjoy many "paleo" items and appreciate them being grain free, so I know they are safe from gluten. Simple and natural ingredients are always a big plus with me, so I was really looking forward to this cake as a week night treat, when I usually try to limit dairy and sugar. As for Heidi, I stock gluten free and dairy free for her at home, but don't insist on a restrictive diet for her as it hasn't presented itself as necessary at this point. Loubies and Lulu has a great post about restrictive dieting with her kids that I agree with.

paleo folks chocolate cake mix
A super easy and fun night in the kitchen with Heidi, thanks to Paleo Folks!

My mom and I baked so much growing up. Knowing this cake would be simple made me really excited to try it with Heidi! She really liked standing on the stool and the quick dump, mix and bake process held her attention for exactly the right length of time. In one of my favorite (only) parenting books I've read, Bringing Up Bebe, the author references the French baking with small children to teach precision, patience and a healthy relationship with treats. The little project definitely captured Heidi's attention and she was eager to get involved. This was a fun memory and way to break up the week! 

Admittedly, the best part was my little chef heading to bed before our paleo chocolate cake came out of the oven. I topped it with a little coconut yogurt and some blueberries - perfection! 

I'm learning right now with Heidi, less is more. A simple activity together at home is easier, goes more smoothly and can be more memorable than anything else. I'm so excited about this age and all of the things she can do! Next up is probably Paleo Folk's Chocolate Chip Cookie mix. :o)

It's so nice to find more and more companies each day who value wholesome ingredients. Paleo Folks is growing fast - landing on Whole Foods shelves near you and one of the many friendly faces you might see the at GFAF Dallas Expo! Don't forget to enter to win your free tickets in my former post! 

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