Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

No, No, No

Here we are, in the “NO” zone with my just about 2-year-old and I hate it.

This morning, I opened his bedroom door and said, “Good Morning!” as I always do. Normally there is no response, but today, I heard a stern, “no.”

Sure, we all feel that when our alarms go off each morning before work. This was a great example of how he is knee deep into using this word daily! I’m also not as chipper as that text may read to you when I say my good morning to him.

There is no sugar coating this phase because it’s hard and we don’t know exactly how to correct it. We know every kid goes through it though and it’s not simply the Terrible Twos everyone loves to tell me are coming. *eye roll*

Truly, I think it’s getting worse before it gets better. Which is how most scenarios work, right?

I’ve offered to give him away. (Anyone who doesn’t understand that and is judging me, move along.)

The face when he says “No” to dinner. Life isn’t ALL smiles all the time, people.

Reality is we’re stuck here for a moment until we figure it out. I have searched on what we can do as well as reached out to friends who work with children regularly to help me know what other things we can try.

I find myself being extremely frustrated with him. More than I’d like to admit to but I’m human and it’s exhausting. He’s exhausting because he has mom’s stubborn and persistent side that I knew would be coming for me to handle and deal with.

One of my closest friends works with kids daily in her job so she was someone I reached out to when I felt like we had hit a wall and who could provide some tips for us to try.

Below are a few of the items we discussed trying in the next few weeks to ease our stress and direct him out of this phase. Maybe they’ll help another parent going through this phase at the same time as we are.

  • Changing the trend. He is used to getting away with things for so long, that we have to stand firm when we ask something of him and follow through. Do not allow that long rope as we have done before. He will learn the new pattern after some time.
  • Rewarding the behavior or words that you want and ignoring the negative. Give over the top praise or big celebrations so it is very clear that what he did was good, and we’ll hope that he repeats again.
  • Provide choices to him. They feel that they have a little more control when provided a decision to make on their own.
  • Ask him to help a lot. Instead of saying, “it’s time to clean up” ask them instead to help me and try to make a game of it for them.
  • Favorite one is to always redirect. Quoting her here, “it’s my go to for when we’re stuck on the “no” merry go round.” By telling them, “Let’s do this” instead of “do you want to…” can help.
  • Last resort is to send to the grandparent’s house. 😊

I’ve already told my mom that she may have a new house guest if he keeps it up! She has no problem with that, but of course that’s not how it works for us.

We’ll keep pushing through these tough days of his phase and hope that the tips given work. We as parents do need to work together on this too so we’re on the same page giving him the same reactions and actions from each of us.

To be fair to this sour patch kid of mine right now does have the biggest heart for his mama. He gets me flowers when we’re outside and gives me the sweetest hugs when he sees I’ve hit my limit with him. Not before I’ve heard about 300 “no’s” though.

Send some hugs our way and hope we make it through unscathed! 😉

Posted in Mom life

Sometimes We Need a Hand

The title is a metaphor for a story that happened last week.

We went out to dinner at a restaurant located at our mall. Afterwards we went through the mall to Target, of course. As we approached the escalator to go down a dad and two kids were ahead of us. The dad and son hopped on and down they went. The daughter froze at the top in fear and began to cry. She was maybe 7 or 8 years old.

He quickly realized he made a mistake and was in a pickle as he saw us coming up behind her and she wouldn’t move. He kept saying, “c’mon, it’s alright!”

My best guess is that he doesn’t go out with them alone much or else he would have grabbed her hand for the confidence she needed to step on it. He wasn’t anyone I’d say wouldn’t have helped her if he had known. I saw the fear and worry on his face of, “do I keep going? Do I run up? Do I ride back up?”

Before anyone comes at me for COVID rules, everyone was masked, kids included, but mine who is still too young for the restrictions.

My son was beginning to be restless himself, so my husband was carrying him through the mall, so he had him, and I was the diaper bag carrier. There was lots going on from a parent’s perspective at this moment as we got closer to the escalator and I realized the dad was stuck on what to do next.

My reaction was asking her if she would hold my hand to go down the escalator. She didn’t even look at me to know that’s all she needed. I was a perfect stranger, and she needed a hand that I was willing to offer. I did look at the dad for some form of “okay” and we rode down together.

She kept crying a bit, but she said, “I was just scared!” Girlfriend, let me tell you, I get it!

We made it down safely and back to dad and brother she went.

I relate to her in the fact that when something scary is happening, I want a hand to hold to tell me it’ll be alright, whether it’s physically or someone supporting me verbally. I want someone with the courage to tell me, “we got this!” I want someone to push me to do it even though I’m scared.

A little bit of support truly can get someone through a really tough situation. Of course, we all handle them differently but simply being there for someone can make all the difference in a situation.

I believe this goes for children, as that little story tells above that we experienced last week. They rely on us as their parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. to help them find a way through the scary and hard stuff life throws at them that they have not experienced yet.

My son is showing more and more emotion as well as using more and more words to express himself daily. We’re currently in the “no” phase.

I keep reading and watching things on how to help children develop or handle things because I don’t know what to do all the time. The things I’ve learned help in knowing that sometimes if I simply sit with him when he’s upset, that is all he needs. He doesn’t know how to handle big feelings yet and to be honest, I don’t either some days.

But if as his mom I can show him that I’m here, even after I scolded him for something, that is going to show him the support and hand is there to help him in the end to resolve the situation and I’m not simply the bad guy all the time.

I may be rambling to you, but do it, put your hand out for someone. Even if that someone is your child after a bad day at daycare or school. Show them you’re there to just sit and be there to talk about what happened and that it can be corrected or avoided.

I’ve had a few friends put their hands out for me in all forms of personal life or work life and I can’t tell you how much that’s meant to me. Also a little *high five* for my hubby because he handles me so well when I need that support.

Sometimes, we need a hand, even the little ones around us.

Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

Creating Confidence

I am 33 years old and I struggle with my own confidence. However, what I don’t want is my own child to as he grows up.

The world we’re in is mean. It’s unforgiving. It is unfair to anyone who wants to and should love themselves for who they are and what they look like. To boot, we have social media that makes everything worse.

I want to teach my son everything I can about loving himself for who he is and what he looks like.

My husband and I have conversations constantly of how we want to raise him and what we can do to nurture him to be who he can be. Remember, we’re first-time parents and we don’t know much other than we want to raise a kind human who loves himself and others around him.

Children are the fastest learners and are sponges when it comes to what they see and hear. The struggle of ensuring that we are doing and what we are saying in front of him that harness what we want him to see is there every day. We both make comments on our own appearance and how we feel that we never realized before were so effective to how he perceives us.

I have had to change my own views of myself in the short 2 years that he has been here. My husband even corrected me recently on something I said out loud. In relation to the scale, but let me tell you how we help our son see himself as strong using that scale already.

We have a scale in our room we step on from time to time and our son does too. When he hops on it, I quickly ask him, “How strong are you today?!” It takes a moment to get him to uncover the weight since he thinks it’s cool to step on the light-up part. But that’s what I want him to know when we weigh ourselves, that it’s about our strength and not the actual weight.

That’s exactly what my husband told me recently when I stepped on the scale and wasn’t too happy about it. He reminded me by asking, “how strong are you today?” And I just smiled because he is right. How can we teach our kid that if we don’t believe it either?

Another story to add that he does what he sees us doing.

I started another workout program that I do in our basement. The other evening, he was full of energy and I was preparing to go downstairs and get my workout in. Most days I do it when he’s napping or too early that he’s not awake yet, but I was lazy this day, so the evening was the best time to get it in.

I invited him to join me and come workout with mama. In his little head, he hears time with me and quickly agrees, plus there are toys in the basement he doesn’t see as often as others he has upstairs!

We started the workout, and the warmup began. He watched me do a jump rope action as well as high knees and attempted both. I wish I had recorded it but the pure joy I got out of watching him try to jump and then step those tiny knees as high as he could was perfection. He was so proud of himself to keep up with me and what we were mimicking on the TV.

Of course, his attention went off to his toys most of the time during this workout and he got into other things. I would continue to invite him to join me on things I thought he may want to try. He in turn did join a few more times but not on most of it because toys are cooler than goofy moves with mom.

He gave push-ups a try, which that cute butt goes straight in the air as he tries. Then he did mountain climbers. That was easily my favorite one of the day. He ended up laying on the floor and kicking his feet like he was swimming. After each one we high fived and he would sometimes give me a “YEAH!” with his little fists in the air.

The point is that he followed mama trying to workout and keep her own confidence and health in check while we cheered one another on as we did it.

If it’s normal to them to treat themselves this way and see you do it too, they’re going to continue to build that confidence we all know we need.

Oh yeah, one more thing I did with him the other week that made me smile. He spotted himself in my full-length mirror and was smiling. I made sure to ask him to blow himself a kiss and say, “I love you!” and it came out, “lahh you!”

I was surprised he actually did it but man, did that make my heart explode. I need to do this too when I see myself in the mirror.

Again, not every day is this way that we instill the best ideas that come to mind. We’re human, we have bad days, he does too. I’m harder on myself than I ever should be, but I really hope as parents we can work on ourselves and teach him how great he is and how strong he is in every way.

Do what you can to help those little minds develop self confidence in any way you can.

Also, go to the mirror and blow yourself a kiss while saying, “I love you!” 😊 You deserve it.

I’m interested to know if you use any techniques, sayings, or routines of any kind to help instill confidence in yourself or your children! Please feel free to share in the comments so we can all learn and help our children grow with strong confidence in themselves.

Posted in Recipes To Try, Two Cents Worth of...

Recipes – Staples to our Menu

It’s been almost a whole year since I shared our favorite recipes with you. Last time I shared them it was because we had all been in COVID lock down for a couple of months and everyone was cooking more.

For us, we love to cook. We also love easy meals though.

I’d say these are kid friendly BUT I’d be lying to you. We plate it for our son and give it a shot, but more than likely he doesn’t want it, so we go to the standard toddler meals.

Those include frozen homemade meatballs, frozen chicken nuggets, a Danimal with a side of fruit or mac & cheese. I am no super mom. I provide a meal and hope for the best.

On that note, let’s start with the homemade meatballs!

Links for the recipes are in the title of each recipe!

Homemade Meatballs

I use Alex Guarnaschelli’s recipe for my meatballs. She’s one of our favorite Food Network chefs if you don’t know who she is. She has a sauce to make too to go with it, but I haven’t made that. These meatballs are SO tasty! They freeze well too. I make a double batch and typically freeze most of them in our Stasher bags so they’re ready to go for any meal or quick meals for our son! When making them I use the 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion them out. It’s perfect.

For the kids, pop them into a bowl with a touch of water to keep them moist and microwave them til warm throughout and top with your favorite sauce. The other night our son crushed 5 of them for dinner. He approves for sure!

Best Beer Chili

This is a new favorite of ours because my husband is a hunter and I recently discovered Miss Allie’s Kitchen, Venison Everyday cookbook! She makes venison more versatile to use and has lots of tasty recipes than our usual. The best part is it’s not gamey like a lot of recipes you find for venison, also it’s a family favorite! I know we’re sneaking into spring and some days it feels like summer but it’s a solid go-to for your menu options!

Our son actually loves beans, so this is a recipe he has had and picked every bean out of to enjoy! 😊 The rest is left for the dog to enjoy. I guess he figures that’s his way of sharing.

Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Honey

This one is my husband’s favorite request. It’s a bit more work than some of the recipes I’ve shared. However, it is worth it especially with the Spicy Honey! Personally, I cut the cayenne pepper in half because it packs a punch.

Even the little man of ours has tried this because he likes the sauce, of course, with his sweet tooth!

Coconut Lime White Chicken Chili

I know, it’s a 2nd chili recipe! It’s not even close to the other one shared. It’s a refreshing chili for spring if that makes sense. It’s light and bright in flavors and can be done in 1 pot, which is a mom need some nights! A friend of mine shared it with me this past week and it was THAT good that it was immediately added to our list of keeper recipes.

My favorite tip for this recipe is how to shred your chicken. Once it’s cooked and you take it out to shred it, put the chicken in a large bowl and grab your electric hand mixer or Kitchenaid Mixer and go to town! Screw the two-fork method that takes forever. This is one of those hacks that makes you go, “WHOA! Why didn’t I know this sooner?!”

Burgers & Fries

I have no link because here’s the thing, we buy frozen burgers and frozen French fries from the store. It is a staple for us and delicious! I said before, I’m no super mom. 😉

We cook the fries in our oven so they’re crispy and not fried. Mainly because I don’t have fryer or air fryer big enough for all that we need because my son lives on fries. Then we toss a slice of Kraft American cheese on the burgers with our favorite buns and voila! Dinner is served.

We all enjoy them and it’s something quick when needed. Now that spring is here, it’s great to get to fire up that grill and eat outside in the yard or on the porch together.

I know I’m not a food blogger, but I am a mom and wife just trying to get through each day. I hope these few meals help you add to your weekly menu and make life a touch easier!

We all need to eat and feed the families around us. Enjoy them and I hope the littles may like one or two of these as well so you don’t have to grab another thing to make them!

Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

Winging it

Did you realize yet as a parent that no matter how much you read, how many questions you ask, how many things you google, we’re all here winging it?


No book can prepare you for the little one(s) you have. Sure, we all cross similar bridges with developmental milestones with them and different situational experiences. The true experiences though cannot be planned for.

Trusting ourselves is the best we can do…
Given you’re a decent human. (Yes, I said that because there are many that aren’t, sadly.)

I am going to enjoy telling this story 1,000 times over that happened a few months back.

My husband was giving our son a bath and he will stay in there until the water is cold. He LOVES a bath and plays forever. This time was quick though. He stood at the edge signing to my husband “All done.”

He didn’t think much of it, so he threw him into his towel and diaper. Then he realized the situation.

He came running downstairs to where I work from at home and while I was on a call with a coworker he whispers, “he pooped in the tub and I don’t know what to do.” We both started laughing as well as my coworker and I could only respond with, “As long as he’s out just get a cup and scoop it out!”

Someone needs to write this shit in a book.

Another moment we had the other night is more relatable to how my son is learning he can get things his way with his attitude or possibly the “terrible twos” are setting in as we near his 2nd birthday that everyone talks about.

Either way, we came in the other night and my son saw his Easter cookies he painted. Obviously, any child would want a cookie over what is for dinner. He had a full-blown melt down in our kitchen to the point we thought he may throw up he was working himself up so much.

We both continued to tell him, “you can have this cookie after you eat your dinner.” We sat with him to show him his food, we tried to calm him, but no luck. So instead, instincts of removing him from the situation hit me and I walked into his room with him and sat him on the rocking chair. I told him to stay there until he calmed down and then he could join us for dinner.

Truthfully, inside my husband and I were getting to the boiling point hearing him scream like that for so long. Removing him from the room was best for all of us. We all know we only have so much patience.

He came out once still crying so I walked him back in again and said the same thing. He sat for another 5 minutes and then we hear his bedroom door shut. My husband jokingly said, “he has the teenager door slam down already!” But really, he came out and shut the door behind him.

He quietly walked to the dinner table, put his cup on the table and hopped into his seat to begin eating his dinner. We all sat together eating and enjoying ourselves. It was nice.

Honestly, I was taken back that it actually worked and so was my husband. No one taught us that or told us to do that.

When he was done, he hopped down and began to walk away but I quickly got that cookie he so badly wanted and handed it to him. I reminded him how great he did at eating dinner and that he was very good once he got to the table and he smiled and went along to his recliner chair to enjoy his cookie.

Of course, we’re going to chalk that up as a win. However, realistically, I’m not sure how many times that will work moving forward. We can only try though!

My point in the matter is these kids do not come with any type of REAL instruction manual.

We have our parents, friends, and doctors to help guide us. Outside of that, the books only give us what each parent encountered. We must trust our parental instincts that what we will do is the best for our child in that moment.

From what I can see around me with those I know as parents, everyone is doing a damn good job! So keep that shit up!

Just remind yourself none of us knew what the hell we were doing when these little ones came into our lives and all we can do is wing it and try our best!