March 25, 2015

It's Back - Mamas Tell All

mamastellall
I am so, so, so, excited today because I am announcing that Mamas Tell All is BACK! We had a blast last time we did this, and we are hoping it is even more fun this time!

For those of you who weren't around for the last round, Mamas Tell All is a link up series with myself, Christine, Ashley, and Melissa, as our newest co-host! The point of this series is for moms to talk about the real stuff that we deal with and our thoughts on different parenthood subjects. You can join in for all the topics, or just one, or however many you want! Just write a post and link it up via the widget at the bottom of each post. If you aren't a blogger we still want to hear from you too. Post comments and share your thoughts. Think of this as a forum for discussion.

We recommend that you follow all the co-hosts so you never miss any of the posts on the different topics! We really want these posts to start conversations and give moms an outlet to tell it like it is! 

Here is the schedule for this round of Mamas Tell All:
April 1: Hiding in the Bathroom with Food – the weird things we do to get some time alone (or eat our favorite foods)
April 8: To Spank or Not to Spank – a discussion on discipline: when to start, how to implement, and how does it change as kids get older
April 15: Kids Say the Darndest Things – the crazy things that come out of our kids’ mouths
April 22: Saying Goodbye to Diapers – tips and tricks or just stories about the potty-training process April 29: The Man Behind the Mama – talking about husbands, boyfriends, etc.
May 6: Fighting the Green-Eyed Monster - talking about how all mamas sometimes get jealous of others
May 13: Dating my Daughter/Son – spending special time on “dates” with our kids
May 20: Last Year We Bought a Zoo (or Not) – a discussion on pets in the family - do you have any? why or why not?

We really hope you'll join us over the next eight weeks...we are really excited to see what you all have to say!

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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February 19, 2015

My Heart is Full & My Belly is Growing

It's been awhile since I've visited this space and I feel like I need to explain why. Well, I lost my direction with a lot of things in life and needed to hit the refresh button. More than that I need to reevaluate my priorities and make sure I wasn’t headed in a direction I would one day regret.


I took time away from the blogosphere, a lot of time, and in that time a lot has changed. I’ve done some serious personal reflection and I've put my life and my family on a new path. A path for success, a path for renewed relationships, a path for closer bonds and hopefully a path of less stress and more happiness. I don't claim that this path will be easy but I am hopeful it will be just what my family needs. 

I've decided to step away from my full time job. I will continue to work from home on some smaller projects but I won't be in the office 40+ hours a week. I won't be commuting to and from work 10+ hours a week, my son won't be in daycare for 10+ hours a day and my family will have more of my time and I will have more of them, which I think is great considering our family is expanding. 

I'm so blessed to announce that my husband and I are going to welcome another little boy to our family in August. Another light, another beautiful face, another responsibility, another love bug, another crazy and rambunctious life that will call me, "mommy." My heart is so full of love for my unborn baby, my son. I envision the moment we meet him and knowing that moment will change our lives forever. I imagine our new baby meeting Austin, his big brother, and I can just see what an amazing role model he will be. My heart is full and my priorities have been refocused. I know in this moment I am abundantly blessed.



I want my growing family to always be my priority. I want them to get the best of me, not the leftovers after a stressful and crazy week at work. I want to provide them home-cooked meals not another night of fast food or something from the freezer section. I have big plans for field trips to the zoo, for trips to see family and friends, for time on the couch cuddling and finger paint projects gone good (and bad). I really don't know what my future holds but I know that my priorities have changed, and so have many things in my life. I want to make sure that my blog focuses on the very real struggles and the very real joys that I'll experience on this new path. 

I'm sorry for my absence but I assure you that things they are a'changing and I think for the better. I have a renewed sense of self, a fresh spirit and a willing and open heart. If you're still reading, if any of you are still out there...thank you. Thank you for those that have reached out inquiring. I heard you, even in my silence. I just needed some time for myself and my family. I hope you understand and that you'll continue to follow me on my crazy journey in a growing family full of boys. 

Always and Forever - Be Blessed,
Brittany
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November 28, 2014

Untraditional Toddler Gifts


The toys pile up. They sing, they dance, they spin in circles and flash lights and frankly at the end of a long work day they can drive me bonkers. Which is why this year I'm trying to take a nontraditional approach to some of my gift giving, at least for my toddler. My little guy has a budding imagination so it takes next-to-nothing to entertain him and most of the time he's only interested in doing things that are off limits or doing things with my husband or I. 

I thought about it and I can't be the only mother out there on the prowl for great gift ideas and with Black Friday upon us this is my gift to you. A list of some of my favorite untraditional toddler gifts.

Untraditional Toddler Gifts




Bring Nature Closer. 
It doesn't matter what season it is, the outdoors offer an amazing beauty that just isn't overlooked by a young eye. Adding a bird feeder to your outdoor space, even if it's limited, only enhances that beauty and it ensures that your toddler will look forward to spending time outside or at least they will enjoy their view from the window.

A Way to Relax. 
If you have a toddler I can almost guarantee that you could use an extra 15 minutes of quiet time or a minute to actually sit down. I can't ensure that a comfy kids chair, like this one from the Land of Nod, will give you that time but coupled with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Cars, your odds are much better. The reason I like this particular chair over others is because it's less expensive, comes from a great brand and personalization is FREE!

Plus Land of Nod is offering 15% off and free shipping until Dec. 1st, just use promo code: SAVE15.

Discover the Inner Artist.
Toddlers learn more and more about their coordination everyday and art projects and other creative outlets allow them to hone those developing skills while also providing an outlet to improve their imagination. I really like the Step2 Flip and Doodle Desk with Stool Easel because it has plenty of space to hold art supplies and it should withstand the torment of a toddler.

Think Summer Time. 
We may be in the grip of winter but that doesn't mean you can't think ahead to sweet sweet summer time. Why not prepare your little ones with water toys and accessories like this amazing Swimline Galleon Raider Inflatable from swimoutlet.com? Not only will this impressive float be a showstopper under the tree, it's sure to be a toddler favorite AND swimoutlet.com is providing free shipping on all orders over $49. I've bought some items from swimoutlet.comhttp://www.swimoutlet.com/p/swimline-galleon-raider-inflatable-7530648/ and yogaoutlet.com in the past and I'm always blown away by their great selection and amazing customer service.

What's on your toddlers wish list this year? Do you have any other great nontraditional gift ideas?


Brittany
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November 12, 2014

Working it Out

It's hard to believe that the time has come for our very last Mamas Tell All Linkup post. Over the past several months I have sincerely enjoyed getting to know many of you through posts, comments and pins. You have inspired me, motivated me and taught me so much about being a mother. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. 

And with that, there's still time for you to join the fun. If you're a blogger link up with us. If you're not, leave some comment love and join the conversation. Make sure to follow the hosts and display the button! 

Let's get started...
The Hosts

Everyday Thoughts The So-Called Homemaker That Southern Mama 
Brittany from Everyday Thoughts // Christine from The So-Called Homemaker // Ashley from That Southern Mama

The Button
Grab button for Mamas Tell All
<div class="Mamas-Tell-All-button" style="width: 200px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="http://everydaythoughtsbybrittany.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow"> <img src="http://images2.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp83232%3Euqcshlukaxroqdfv586%3A%3Dot%3E2368%3D763%3D%3C4%3B%3DXROQDF%3E2%3B362%3C985323%3Aot
1lsi" alt="Mamas Tell All" width="200" height="200" />

The Topic
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle when you have children
_______________
_____________________





Some of you moms are simply super women. You can balance it all: work, kids, a husband, a household and somehow you still find time to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

I strive to be like you. Once upon a time, I was the epitome of health, a young college athlete conditioned to push my body fast and further. Every ounce of food was meant to provide long-term energy. I was a trained machine. But life moves on and things change. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is still important to me but it's more difficult than ever to actually realize

I try to stay active - running and yoga are my preferred methods. For the most part I like to think I eat healthy. Since I cannot commit as much time to my workouts as I once did, it's more important than ever that I make healthy meal choices regularly. I recently started making smoothies each day and I'm trying to increase my water intake, both of these things are easy to execute on a consistent bases without sacrificing valuable time with my family. In fact my son, LOVES the smoothies too so it's a win/win. 

So to help make your lives a little easier and to help you reach your health goals, I'm sharing my favorite smoothie recipe. 

Ingredients:
One Banana 
10-12 Frozen Strawberries
1/2 Cup Frozen Blueberries
1/2 Cup Orange Juice 
1 Cup Baby Spinach 


Preparation Instructions:
  Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Serve cold and enjoy. 

Tip: I use a Vitamix (and I highly recommend it). The entire process takes less than 2 minutes. Investing in a great blender it a time saver that also helps you reach your goals. 



When it comes to healthy living my number one tip is to take steps forward. Even if they are small. Tackle small things that will help you make a lifestyle change and stick to it. Right now my focus is my family and my career - I can't commit to working out five times a week but I can make an honest effort to eat breakfast each morning, cut my caffeine intake, take a 15-minute walk during lunch. The goal isn't to do it all at one time it's to make small, manageable changes so that improve your health and quality of life without giving you that overwhelming feeling that you are trying to paddle across the Atlantic with just a canoe. 

How are you maintaining a healthy lifestyle after having children?
___________________
_______________


Brittany
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November 7, 2014

The Size of Your Heart

In the last couple months, I have a renewed faith in the human spirit and its capacity for kindness and generosity. It's amazing the capacity of some people's hearts when they have a cause to champion. 

I recently shared that my friends have begun down a life-long heart transplant journey with their two-year-old daughter. They've taken full-time residency at the hospital, CHOA Egleston, here in Atlanta waiting for the phone call that will give little Mallory a chance for a normal life. They're waiting for a heart to become available. Now as you can probably imagine, there is a lot of pain and courage and prayer needed not only for Mallory but for the donor's family. Mallory's new chance at life does not come without a struggle for another family. A family that will lose a precious child and in do so will provide life for Mallory. 

To come to terms with this reality is almost impossible for me to comprehend as a mother. So instead I have set my sights on God's plan for my friends and their daughter. Her life is precious and she is fighting for it now like never before. We patiently wait and we trust in God's plan. 


But the reality is that Mallory's heart is too big for her tiny body She will likely need three heart transplants over the span of her life and with each transplant comes a series of obstacles from health-related concerns to financial obligations. 

The length of Mallory’s hospital stay will be determined by a complicated algorithm prioritizing other children in need, blood types, health issues and most importantly organ availability. Mallory's condition is so severe that she is at the top of that list, but still the average wait time for a heart ranges anywhere from three months to a year. That is a year of hospital living, a year of parents dividing their time between their heartbroken angel and their energetic, older daughter. That is a year of deductibles and copays and some uninsurable expenses. That is a year that both parents need to somehow maintain their full-time jobs in order to make ends meet at home while also staying day and night with Mallory. 

Here is a glimpse of Mallory's story.


Our goal for Mallory is garner 100,000 prayers, 100,000 shares and 100,000 dollars. We need prayers for health, courage and strength, shares to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and $100,000 to help cover transplant-related expenses. When you donate to COTA in honor of Mallory Kate, 100% of the funds contributed will assist with Mallory's transplant-related expenses now and throughout her lifetime. 

The blogging community is a powerful and tight-knit group that has raised money and awareness for a variety of needing charities and individuals. I'm asking you to find it in your heart to share Mallory's story with your reader and your community. 

See more at: http://cotaformalloryh.com/ #FollowHerHeart 


Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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