Marshmallow Playdough | Inspiration on Monday

Posted 20 July, 2015 by Trish in Crafty / 5 Comments

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Homemade Marshmallow Playdough

Hi guys!! Before we begin, I want to introduce a Guest Hostess for today’s Inspiration on Monday. Bex is joining us from An Armchair by the Sea. She is mum to two littles, lives in the UK, and blogs mostly about books but also shares crafty ideas (she is a quite the crafting inspiration!). She also hosts a regular book swap (Ninja Book Swap). You can also find her on Twitter. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome!!

Homemade Marshmallow Playdough

Generally, I am not one of those Mums who spends all of her time making different kinds of goop for her kids to play with. Mostly I just pin those kinds of things and think about doing them and then we play with shop bought stuff instead, but earlier this week I discovered a bag of mini marshmallows in the cupboard and remembered seeing a recipe for marshmallow playdough and thought I’d give it a go. The recipe I used was from My Buddies and I but I only had half the amount of marshmallows so I halved the recipe.

Cooking Marshmallow Playdough

Despite this it came out pretty well, although I think I should have added less cornflour as it was fairly crumbly in the end. As we didn’t have much of the marshmallow dough I decided to make an improvised chocolate dough as well. The recipes I’d seen called for flour, salt, cocoa powder, vegetable oil, cream of tartar and boiling water. I didn’t have enough salt or cream of tartar for any of the recipes I found so I just used what I had and it came out really well. The texture was more like cookie dough than playdough but it contrasted the marshmallow dough really well.

Marshmallow Dough Balls

The greatest thing about both of these doughs is that they are both fine if ingested, meaning that my one year old was able to play too. He did eat more of the marshmallow dough than I would have liked, but it was pretty yummy so I can understand that!

Fun with Marshmallow Playdough

We got out some of our silicone cupcake cases and our playdough tools and had a bakery. The boys must have been there for at least an hour making a wonderful mess! Trying things like this always inspires me to want to do it more often!

Playing with Marshmallow Playdough

 

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Inspiration on Monday

Welcome to the second July edition of Inspiration on Monday! Inspiration on Monday is a forum to share things that we’ve created and things that we are doing to help inspire others. Posts about projects in progress, finished projects, tutorials, and how-tos are all welcome. Feel free to share recipes, crafts, lifestyle, organizing, and DIY tips, and any other idea that can spark inspiration.

Inspiration on Monday

Link-Up Rules:

1. Link up your post(s) below. This can be a recent post or an old post, but please do not re-submit a post you’ve already submitted for Inspiration on Monday.
2. Please link back to Inspiration on Monday or my blog somewhere in the post you are submitting
3. If applicable, please share the source that inspired you in your post. Credit where credit is due.
4. Try to comment on at least one other participant’s post. Encouragement can be so inspiring!

 

The next Inspiration on Monday will be August 3rd. What inspiration has struck you lately?

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The Importance of Me Time

Posted 16 July, 2015 by Trish in Life, Mommyhood / 24 Comments

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The Importance of Me TimeBefore I became a mother, I knew that my life would change once a little one came into my life but I didn’t know exactly what that meant. In the first few months of motherhood, I was so absorbed in my new duties and my altered life that I forgot about myself a little bit. I remember standing around the house while Elle napped and having no idea what to do with myself. Sometimes I simply just stood around feeling lost for her entire nap.

Did I deserve to take a little bit of time–to steal away some minutes–and do something for me?

It wasn’t until I realized that I was suffering from post-partum depression that I knew the answer was YES. It was imperative for me to take care of myself and do some things for me. Whereas I sometimes felt selfish for taking a bit of time for myself, I now believe that not taking that time and allowing myself to rejuvenate is selfish.

These days I am a fierce proponent of having ME time and I urge all mothers (or parents, or anyone living) to find some way to fit in a little time for yourself during the day.

Do something for you. Maybe not every day, and maybe only for a few minutes a day, but do something for you. Something that you enjoy just for the sake of yourself.

I read an article on Scary Mommy last week that really got me thinking. It’s a terrible article and the second half is baffling (I truly don’t understand what point she is trying to make), but she talks a bit about how Mommy Me Time is “a massive crock of shit.” This made me really sad and then it made me defensive.

One of her points in the article is how maintenance (getting your hair done, taking a bath, enjoying hot coffee) does not count as “me time” and while I understand her point (this one at least), if one must take time out of the day and away from the kids to do a bit of maintenance, have the grace to enjoy the time to yourself.

For my part, it’s sometimes hard not to feel anxious about time away from the house and I am the worst about wanting to do chores or errands that will cause me to be gone. But, if I have to sit in the hairdresser’s chair, I might as well take some deep breaths and enjoy the silence (please don’t talk to me while cutting my hair!).

Why Me Time is Essential to Mothering

One reason why I am a proponent of Me Time is because I want my girls to see that I am a person outside of their needs. I love love love my daughters to the moon and back but my entire world does not revolve around them, nor do I think it should. Of course my world has greatly tilted in their direction since their births, but I need to keep a piece of myself to keep myself afloat. I’m not just a mother…or a wife. I’ll always be a woman first.

Additionally, time apart also means that my girls are relying on the care of someone else–they have time to bond with their daddy or sometimes even grandparents. We are incredibly blessed to have family close by who loves spending time with the girls, but if we didn’t have that support net, a babysitter could also provide and hour or two of help.

Having some time to myself allows me to recharge. As an introvert, I often think about what it means to be an introverted mother. I cannot recharge when I am going a zillion miles a day without a break or a chance to catch my breath. The time to myself lets me refocus my energies once I am back with the kids rather than constantly wondering when I’ll be able to have a break. And no, bathroom time is not a break when you have 20 little fingers poking under the door.

How do I spend my Me Time?

Me Time Activities

I’m sure you guys can guess the answer–but lately if the girls aren’t home then I’ll work on my sewing. I find sewing to be incredibly relaxing, especially when I have some jazzy bluesy music playing on Pandora. This year I’ve spent hours sewing and one of the best decisions that I made this year was to take a long-term sewing class that required me to get out of the house for 3 hours once a month. Plus I have homework every month and can use this as an excuse to sneak away. I’ve also been working on quilts for the girls and hope to start the actual quilting process next month.

My other favorite way to spend Me Time is reading a good book. Though more often than not these days this also means a nap. While I love the idea of reading in a coffee shop or some other cozy public place, I’m too distracted a reader to actually make this happen. Related to bookishness is the blog–I love to draft up posts and quiet Me Time is the perfect distraction-free time to spend time putting to words what is inside my brain (except for when twitter gets the best of me).

The key is to find something that you enjoy doing. Maybe it’s walking around taking pictures…or just walking around. Maybe it’s exercise or baking. I find that my interests change occasionally and that everything is a choice. I would love to scrapbook more, but I choose to do other things instead. If you’re having a tough time squeezing in some time, try to find other times when you could be using your time better for something you really enjoy. But when people ask me how I have the time, my response is that I make the time because it’s important.

I’m an introvert so my Me Time is for recharging, but I don’t think Me Time necessarily needs to be spent alone. Getting together with friends is still time that is important and while I need like 10 more alone times to every group time, I do cherish the nights that I’m able to meet up with girlfriends for way too many laughs.

How do I squeeze in Me Time?

Admittedly, yes, this is the tricky part. I’m a working mom, but I have the ability to come home during my lunch break for about 20-30 minutes (not including commute). That might not seem like a lot of time…and it is likely a waste of gas, but the few minutes I have in my craft room is well worth the time. Plus it means extra audiobook listening during the day!  A few times a week I do choose a book over anything else while I’m eating my lunch. When I was working too far away from home, I would hide away at lunch and read or even hit the building gym for some exercise. I cannot stress how grumpy I was on the days when we had lunch meetings and I lost my Me Time!

I spend most of my evenings with Scott after the girls have gone to bed. Yes, we watch quite a bit of TV, but by 9:00 I’m mentally done for the day. A few nights a week, though, I make a point to take the time for myself rather than spending it in front of a screen. I read in bed or write. I keep thinking that if I could wake up an hour earlier, I could have a whole hour of Me Time…but sleep usually wins. ;)

The weekends are the easiest time for me to fit in something for me because the girls take naps or quiet time (we make Elle stay in her room for the duration of Evie’s nap…for everyone’s sanity). I use this time for exercise, blogging, and reading. When I was home during maternity leave, I always fit my Me Time in during nap. I wasn’t great about this with Elle–the guilt over keeping a clean house and being productive usually won, but I realized my errors with Evie and spent most of those hours curled up on the couch with a book.

Occasionally I send the girls off to run errands with daddy or they hang out with him in the garage. Sometimes while everyone is busy downstairs (playing or watching a movie or whatever) I’ll run upstairs and steal some time. In a pinch, I’ll squeeze in a bit of Me Time while at Target. While this could be included in the “maintenance” category because of the groceries, I also browse crafts and jewelry and clothing and books. Sometimes I’ll just wander around the store with my Starbucks until my timer goes off and it’s time to get back to business (yes really).

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I’m always looking for more time. Always. There’s never enough of it to go around. But I do the best with what I have and try not to squander the time away. While I do sometimes catch myself standing around trying to figure out what to do with myself when the kids are gone, I no longer feel like I’ve lost myself.

How do you squeeze in Me Time? Do you find it is essential to your being?

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Three Audiobooks

Posted 14 July, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 11 Comments

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Audiobook Love

Ahem. I tried to keep these short, but you know how that ends up. If you want the bottom line first, Yes Please and No Land’s Man are recommend-worthy audiobooks. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz not so much.

 

yes please audio

Title: Yes Please | Author/Narrator: Amy Poehler
Published: 2014 | Pages: 352 | Audio Duration: 7 hrs, 31 min
Genre: Memoir (Celeb)
Rating: Yes! Please!

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Life philosophy according to Amy Poehler, star of Parks and Recreation and popular comedian on Saturday Night Live.

Other Quick Thoughts: There were some parts that I really loved about Yes Please (Amy’s thoughts on life and motherhood, particularly) and others that I tuned out a bit (the name dropping and her stints at the various comedy venues), but overall I really grew to enjoy Yes Please and was sad when it was over. I am familiar with her work but haven’t watched P&R or very much SNL (the latter does not appeal to me in the least). Overall I found I have a lot of respect for Amy and really just wanted to be her friend. Plus she loves exclamation points.

On her imaginary books on divorce: “After review, I realized that all of my books had exclamation points at the end of their titles. But I think people want exclamation points in the titles of their books and I don’t think I am wrong!!!!” (those exclamation points are imaged since I listened, but I can’t figure out why this book isn’t titled Yes, Please!!)

Recommendation: My one regret with listening is that I missed some of the photos included in the book (I perused this one at Target to quickly catch up). While I’m not gaga over this one, it was a very pleasing audio. Listen!

 

no land's man audioTitle: No Land’s Man | Author/Narrator: Aasif Mandvi
Published: 2014 | Pages: 240 | Audio Duration: 4 hrs, 23 min
Genre: Memoir (Celeb)
Rating: Hilarious and Thought Provoking. Really!

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Mandvi looks back on his youth and how his heritage and immigration shaped his life.

Other Quick Thoughts: I wasn’t terribly familiar with Aasif Mandvi before listening to this audiobook, but it came recommended on twitter and I’m a sucker for celeb memoirs on audiobook. Mandvi’s short little book didn’t disappoint in entertainment value, but what I really appreciated about this memoir is that it went beyond talking about the rise to fame, the celeb name dropping, and how things blossomed once he became more well-known–Mandvi tackled many other subjects such as his families immigration and what diversity looked like to him growing up as an Indian immigrant from the UK living in Florida. Even without being familiar with his show appearances, No Land’s Man was well worth the listen.

Recommendation: Definitely give this one a listen!

 

Wizard of Oz Audio

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | Author: L Frank Baum | Narrator: Anne Hathaway
Published: 1900 | Pages: 156 | Audio Duration:3 hr, 52 min
Genre: Children’s Classic
Rating: Impressive and annoying narration

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Dorothy, the sweet impressionable girl from Kansas is swept up and taken far away from home to the strange land of Oz.

Other Quick Thoughts: I read this one years and years ago when I was just a wee one, so it was interesting to listen to this with an adult’s ears and having grown up on the movie. It was a fine way to pass four hours of driving (or less since I upped the speed), but nothing beats Dorothy singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the movie version.

Recommendation: Stick to the print (or just the movie, ha!). I look forward to reading this one with my girls, but Hathaway’s voices are too caricatured and often painfully obnoxious though I was impressed by her range of voices.

Have you listened to any good audio lately??

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Reading Guilty Pleasures

Posted 12 July, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 28 Comments

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Sunday Bookish Funday

A few days ago I was in the lunchroom at work devouring as much of Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) as I could in an hour. A coworker, who has recently rediscovered reading as a hobby, asked me what I was reading. I told him that I was reading one of the Outlander books, totally not expecting him to know what I was talking about. “Oh, what genre is it?” Me: *quickly searching brain for an appropriate answer* “Uh, It’s kind of romance, adventure, time travel.” Him: “Oooooooh” *quickly walks away*  Perhaps I should note that he is currently reading Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood–a likely higher-brow book than my current fare.

My first instinct was to feel embarrassed that I’m reading something so silly and frivolous (not that I truly believe this, mind you…), and my second instinct was to feel a little tinge of guilt. But by the time it came for me to answer his question, I decided what do I have to feel bad for! Why should I have to make excuses for what I want to read?

Reading is such a fantastic hobby and for the most part I would wage that most people partake in the hobby of reading for enjoyment. Surely we should be allowed to escape to the worlds we want to escape to and with the people we want to know more about. When telling my co-worker that I’m reading Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, do I need to add “oh, it’s just an old YA novel.” Or regarding Drums of Autumn: oh, it’s just a romance novel. It’s just a beach read. It’s just chicklit. It’s just a celeb memoir.

Guiltless Reading

The books we choose to read should be a personal choice based on our preferences and interests. Perhaps some of the guilt goes back to the fear of what our reading choices say about us, but ultimately a hobby should be about enjoyment and fulfillment. I’ve noticed that when I’m pregnant I enjoy a little bit more romance than I normally might. Sometimes I crave something lighter and sometimes my brain desires more of a workout. Most of the time I enjoy older books but sometimes it’s fun to get in on the newer hyped up books.

Bottom line, though, we shouldn’t have to apologize or make excuses or feel guilt or embarrassment over what we are reading. I hear friends and sometimes book bloggers utter little blips of guilt over reading choices, that perhaps they don’t read diversely or aren’t reading what others might consider highbrow. I’ve even heard apologies or guilt for enjoying extremely popular books or books that have been on Oprah’s Book Club, for example. But the choice to read at all should be celebrated! The diversity in our reading choices should be celebrated. Is there any reason to judge someone based on reading choices?

Though, I will note that I have been made to feel embarrassed for choosing heavier tomes such as Brothers Karamazov and Les Miserables. “You’re reading those for fun?” Ok, maybe nothing about Brothers Karamazov was fun, but it certainly was a choice!

Your Turn!

Do you ever experience guilt when it comes to reading? Do you feel as though others are judging your reading choices? Care to divulge your “guiltiest” reading? Is it easier to justify a guilty pleasure read when everyone else is reading it, too? (see Fifty Shades phenomenon?)

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Books Recently Finished: Absolutely nothing since my last post. I’m halfway through Drums of Autumn and expect I’ll be reading/listening to it for at least another week or two. I did “review” Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret…so that’s something.

New Books in the House: This week I’ll be awaiting the arrival of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and Armada (audiobook) by Ernest Cline and narrated by Wil Wheaton. I’m excited for both, but I don’t expect I’ll actually get to them…until…who knows.

New Books on my E-Reader: I recently picked up All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior. Amanda recommended this one highly, so I swooped it up as a Daily Deal. More importantly, I GOT MY NEW E-READER!! I have a Paperwhite and I love it. Love love love (I know, Lisa, you told me I would). I’m still getting used to the differences between this and my Nook e-reader, but the no-glare screen is awesome.

Books on the Nightstand: Drums of Autumn Baby. Scott was out of town all last week so as soon as those girlies were in bed, this mama hopped into her own and read until falling asleep! I’m in for the long ride.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods today?

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Rosemary Pork Tenderloin

Rosemary Pork Tenderloin

  As I’ve previously discussed, my family is not big on chicken. Because of this, I’m constantly on the search for protein for our dinners that is still lean. Pork Tenderloin cooks up beautifully and is tender and moist. This Rosemary Pork Tenderloin recipes is one of my favorites and SO easy to make! From Betty Crocker’s Entertaining Basics this is the easiest “fancy” meal I cook and a savior on nights when I’m trying […]

Posted 11 July, 2015 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 20 Comments
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Living on Lake Time

Living on Lake Time

I’ve been thinking about creating a tag called “photo dump” to cover these types of posts. The thing that holds me back? The 1,000 other posts that don’t have such fun tags. :) One of my favorite things to do on a hot holiday is to escape with the family to my parent’s lake house to enjoy a bit of fun in the sun. Thankfully the weather wasn’t outrageously hot and we even had a […]

Posted 9 July, 2015 by Trish in Life, Travel / 17 Comments
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Closet Organization using KonMari Method | Inspiration on Monday

Closet Organization using KonMari Method | Inspiration on Monday

Hello everybody!! Or perhaps I should say Good News Everybody! I’ve finally had a chance to organize my clothes using the method described in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up which means I am one step closer to never mentioning the book again. Bahahahaha. Just kidding. I’ll be talking about this book for the rest of my life. I keep my clothing in three places in the bedroom. I have two dressers with my casual […]

Posted 7 July, 2015 by Trish in Life / 21 Comments
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No Inspiration Today

No Inspiration Today

  My weekend was full of screams. Mostly the good kind. Now it’s Sunday night and I’m playing it solo with only the little one…which is oddly more difficult than having both munchkins at home. I’m exhausted and keep having to run upstairs to soothe the little. I’m allowing myself to bow out for the evening. There is an Inspiration on Monday Post being drafted in my head…but that’s where it’ll stay until I’ve gotten […]

Posted 6 July, 2015 by Trish in Life / 9 Comments
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Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Title: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Author: Judy Blume Published: 1970 | Pages: Genre: Fiction (Young Adult) Rating: Can’t believe I waited until 33 to read this one On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible In Short: Margaret is almost 12, entering the sixth grade, wants a more robust bust, and isn’t always sure God is listening. Why I Read Are You There God: More appropriately, why didn’t I read this sooner? […]

Posted 2 July, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 20 Comments
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Six Household Organizational Tricks| Inspiration on Monday

Six Household Organizational Tricks| Inspiration on Monday

Hi! Welcome to a special edition of Inspiration on Monday–the week in which I give myself more work than I probably should. Ha! Since there are five Mondays in June, I thought for this 5th week we could have a themed event–Organization! If you missed the memo and have another type of post planned, no worries–link it up! Next Monday will be a “regular” link-up as well. If you have a favorite way to stay […]

Posted 29 June, 2015 by Trish in Life / 28 Comments
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