Let’s Be Friends

So I just read my last post on my blog.  (Sometimes I do come to the site to see how things look).  I just changed hosting providers and set up a new theme, so I wanted to see how it looked today with fresh eyes.

cue Embarrassed Emoji… 

So my pictures were GINORMOUS cuz I thought I had a setting that limited their size – which I need to dig into.

One of them was sideways (amateur move, that one!)

And another one was blurry.

Sigh. 

Even I can tell I’m out of blogging practice. 

But I’m a “Jump-in-the-saddle” kind of gal, not a “Hold-your-horses-Lady” so here we are.  Welcome to my world.

Anyway, I wanted you to know I have been thinking about you since I scheduled the last post.  Yep, for real.  I do think about the ones of you who stay to read my posts and sometimes comment – and want you to know that I appreciate your time.  I appreciate how busy life gets and how sometimes you might need a few minutes outside of your own scope to see life differently.  I feel you on that.

Some days I really just need a different perspective.  So maybe the sideways picture wasn’t so awful, huh?  Maybe it made somebody laugh.  Maybe it made one of you stop to take your mind off your own pressing matters to wonder about the kind of person who posts pictures sideways on her first entry into 2019.

What I probably shouldn’t mention is how excited I am because I am prepping some new posts about prayer and I wanted to share my excitement with you.  But I think I will take a little more time on the editing side of things and hope they can be more beneficial than just purely entertaining…

Next week, I will be sharing my “WORD” for 2019.  Subscribe by entering your name and email in that right sidebar so you don’t miss it (or any of my other silly foibles, for that matter!)

Either way, let’s be friends, shall we?

2019 Catch-Up

So this post probably shoulda been posted in the first week of January.  It was in my head, and that is where it stayed.

I have been wanting to reach out – so many changes have happened over the past 4 months…

  • I quit my 2nd job as a cashier before my birthday in December.  It ended up they were only working me 5 hours a week and ONLY on Sundays.  Which pretty well defeated the purpose of my working there.
  • Got a different 2nd part-time job with an agency in Marionwhich is still being worked out as of this date – but I think it will be something I enjoy!  I will be assisting with parenting classes and working with parents of juveniles who have been involved in the court system there.  I will be an ASSISTANT – not a coordinator – so I think I will learn a lot and enjoy interacting with people.
  • Accepted another job credentialing providers for a mental health/counseling agency in Mansfield.  Now this is something I REALLY enjoy doing, and have done it in the past.  It is mainly computer work, and I will do most of it – At Home – while kids are in school.  Which is something I have been praying about and works really well for us…
  • IF MY KIDS EVER GET TO HAVE SCHOOL AGAIN!  Has this been a Winterpocalypse in your neck of the woods, too?
  • We adopted a new puppy, Lucy Jo, a 6 month old chihuahua.  It truly is like having a 3 year old in the house – and I am feeling more my age these days.  ha  But she is a sweet little thing – who loves us all and competes with Sam for my attention.  That has been entertaining to say the least.  She came to us as a rescue, who was fostered for a little bit – and actually partly potty-trained – so it’s all good!

It has been several years since we have seen so much snow and such cold temperatures for any length of time here in northcentral Ohio.  We have had numerous flood warnings over the past month – between the snowfall which melts within a few days and the rain that seems to follow right behind in the next weather system.  One morning this week when I took Lucy outside, I was surprised by a bright round moon in the dark blue sky, and the snow glittered like diamonds all around.  It was absolutely breathtaking! The roads are breathtaking for totally different reasons…

Basketball season is in full swing.  Both Kaity & Sam have played.  Kaity’s coming to her tournaments this weekend while Sam’s games / tournaments extend into March.  It has been busy since my hubby, Greg, has been helping coach both teams!

I hope that 2019 is being good to you!  Leave me a comment to catch me up on your news!

When You Feel Like You Are Losing Your Mind

Hey everybody!  Fall is in full swing – and several started-but-unfinished posts have been languishing in my draft folder for weeks.  I hit a wall – with life in general, really – and have been in sheer survival mode.  Many days (and nights) I have been convinced that I am losing my mind!

I started a 2nd part time job and it is more physically demanding and less mentally demanding than my other part-time job.  Hours were a bit long in the beginning, but they have eased up and I am settling in.  Just in time for the Holidays.  (I am part-time bookkeeper for a non-profit agency and also now a cashier at a local drugstore).  Getting my schedule together has been a challenge – let alone finishing posts and making more printables.

So the blog went to the back burner while my mind spun ideas about posts to write during Fall.  

And I know that I am NOT the only one who *hated* all of the robocalls and commercials for voting.  SO glad that is over.  Now maybe we can figure out how to work together like Americans.

THEN Daylight Savings came.

Whoever decided that the Time Change was necessary (and yes, I know all about it) and we should continue to adhere to it despite the shift to industrialization in our country did not have mothers in mind.  Or working women.  In their late 40s.  With kids who stress over minor changes…

We are STILL adjusting to the darkness.  My kids are begging to go to bed at 6:30.  But then getting up at 5:00 a.m.!!!   It is NOT good!!!  All 3 are having sensory reactions to the changing season – more significantly than in previous years – and sometimes, we have all been in bed by 8 pm just so everybody could HANDLE things.

I am thankful that I can pray to a God who hears and sees.

For real.  I pray quietly, I pray out loud, and I pray by journaling.  If I did not have prayer, I would not survive this crazy time. 

I have said more than once – I feel like I can’t handle my life right now.  Lots of juggling balls, tracking schedules, dealing with finances.  It has been crazy messy more often than not.

I am also thankful for essential oils.

More often than not, I can be found diffusing or applying essential oils while mumbling out a prayer at the same time.  I have been using “stress” and “sleep” oils more often than not of late.  The stress makes it hard for me to sleep through the night and not sleeping makes the stress harder to roll with.  I am taking the vitamins and drinking the water and trying to find at least ONE thing to be thankful for every day, but sometimes the waves feel stronger and I lose my breath.

I am writing all this in the spirit of encouragement really.  When you feel like you’re losing your mind, I can highly recommend 2 strategies :

  • PRAYER
  • ESSENTIAL OILS

Yes there are other things like counseling, journaling, mindfulness, checkups, naps, etc., that can be beneficial. 

But these two things have made all the difference between FEELING like I’m losing my mind and actually LOSING my mind!

I want to share some essential oil recipes soon along with some favorite Fall treat recipes!  That’s what I have brewing in my blogging pot, and am praying I can get them out here for you to enjoy!!!

Fall Family Update

About a week and a half ago, my husband and I were sitting out back together discussing just how perfect the weather was.  It had been cool and a little misty that morning, but the sun had come out and a few fluffy clouds floated through the sky.  We celebrated with our new fire pit he & Kaity put together in the back yard – roasting marshmallows, burning cedar that had fallen in our yard and just watching the fire burn.

i love fire

Fast forward to yesterday and it was an abysmal HUMID almost-90 DEGREE day!  In October!  

Personally, I think it should be illegal.  I think it is dangerous to pumpkins and other gourds (hey – maybe I am a PUMPKIN!!!)  and it should just be banned from the repertoire of fall weather.  I expect rain showers and thunder storms.  I expect fog delays and cool evenings.

Anyways, it looks like that typical fall weather is coming in the next 36 hours, so I won’t complain anymore.  I enjoy the colder weather and watching football and drinking hot chocolate…  

I got a sweet Facetime call from Porter on Sunday night.  Oh that little guy.  Can’t even believe how much he has grown since we got to see him in March!  His sweet Mama said “he has found his attitude” and I got to see it a bit.  Oh my I remember those days.  At least he is still cuddly.  Although I can’t complain, because when I let her, my 13 year old still climbs in my lap for a hug every so often.   He is saying several words (or NOT saying several words upon request. lol) and said “Gigi” a bunch – which obviously melted my heart!!!  

Flag football is in full force, and Sam is having fun playing!  He caught the first touchdown of the season – and since then has worked on trying to pull a flag and catch another ball.  He is definitely in second grade cuz he is torn between paying attention to the game or flossing between plays with his buddies…

He only has a few games left in the season and then sister Kaity will be starting basketball.  Kaity is in 5th grade and started band this year.  Claira decided not to continue playing flute, so Kaity is picking it up this year. 
The school got a new director who seems to have added some sass to the band’s performances -and she really enjoys her classes. She is excited about learning and playing and says she might play in marching band AND be a cheerleader when she is older.    For this basketball season, Dad will be assistant coach again, and apparently several of her teammates from last year are already asking when practices begin!

Greg started eating Keto about 2 months ago and is seeing lots of great results!  He has lost about 20# and continues to eat Keto for most meals.  It is somewhat similar to THM (S) meals, so at times, I will join him.  We have tried some really interesting recipes and he keeps finding more to try.  Some of them are great for the family, and some are just for him & me. 

As for me, I’m working more and staying busy, trying to get the house ready for cooler weather and keeping kids on schedule and on task.  Yep, I’m tired.  I recently won a little giveaway on Instagram from a Cleveland planner group (@CreativeClevelandPlanners on Instagram) and was SO excited to get my prizes!  I am using a TN (traveler’s notebook) and have been for months – this came in a different size with some CUTE accessories!

Right now I don’t have inserts that fit the planner cover, but now that I have it, I can make plans to use it next fall when school starts!  Who says Pumpkins can’t come til October??? 

It’s a fun time of year and we enjoy our Pumpkin spice lattes and hot cocoa with marshmallows, and will have many more cups to come.

Happy Fall, Y’all {Free Printables}

Happy Fall, Y’all! 

This is just about “the most wonderful time of the year” as far as I am concerned.  I love the changing season and cooling weather.  I love it when it hits the mid-40s overnight and warms up into the low 70s during the day.  The leaves are already dropping and pumpkins are popping up everywhere!

In fact, I made Pumpkin Spice Lattes for my kids yesterday.  Even with coffee.  I diluted pretty heavily and I think only my teenager finished hers, but they helped usher in the new season!

I just brewed a medium-strong cup of coffee and dumped it into a saucepan and added another mugful of hot water.  I slowly brought the heat up while adding about 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, several good dashes of pumpkin pie spice.  I also stirred in 1/2 cup almond milk and sweetened it with Stevia.  When everything was nice and hot, I divided it up into mugs.  I let the girls use non-dairy creamer and we sipped to our hearts’ content!  It was NOT just like my favorite coffee shop, but I will say that it was very satisfying!

In light of the beautiful days of Fall, I wanted to share some new Fall *fr*eebie printables!  I had a bit of fun putting these together (seriously loving pumpkins!) and hope you enjoy them! 

They are sized to print 5 x 7 (actual size) so you could easily use frames you already have and print the ones you like without using up all your color ink! 

You can choose to print smaller if you’d like, but you will lose some detail if you want to print it larger. 

Keep scrolling for the links to download these printables to add some fall color to your home or office space! (I have one of these hanging in my office because I have NO windows!  I hope these make YOU smile the way they make me smile!

Just click the link to the printable you want to download!  Be sure to comment if you like what you see, have any questions or problems, or just want more FALL goodies!!!

TALL PUMPKIN

SHORTY PUMPKIN

HOT COCOA

PSL

Fear. He really is a Liar.

My struggle with depression and anxiety hit a peak this summer.  In conjunction with my physical health (and issues I am dealing with) and circumstances which were deeply disappointing, I found myself in a pit of despair and after fighting it off for some time, I just let it wash over me.

But here’s the thing.  Most of my anxiety was driven by fear.  My anxiety really amps up my depression, so being able to look back and see that fear was driving it all made me understand so much m ore clearly that Fear really is a liar.

We love the new song by Zach Williams.  When it comes on the radio, most of us in my family chime in and sing along.  In fact, we’ve taken to resorting to quoting it when we catch our kids telling half-truths.  {Only because, being the wise parents we are, we interchange our kids’ name with the word “fear.”  t usually contributes to some honesty, so it has proven effective.}

It is hard for me to admit to depression.  I am a bootstrap kind of girl who can get her head on straight, think positive and “just keep swimming.”

Notice anything there?  Yeah, me too.  It’s a bit much about doing too much myself and NOT putting my faith in God.  It’s a vicious cycle and it always takes me to a place of exhaustion, stress, and yes, depression.

All these positive vibes, uplifting self talks, and meaningful mantras are really just empty because they keep fueling me to attempt to live my life in my own strength and do things my own way.  I fail every time.  Every. Single. Time. 

My pit of despair is really just a tool that God uses to speak to me.  When I’m too tired of trying to do everything all by myself, can’t lift my head, and want to give up on everything – I can finally hear HIS voice.  Y’all.  I am so hard-headed and so hard hearted sometimes, it is utterly shameful.

But God.  He is just patient and faithful.  My word for 2018 is “Joy” and now I am seeing why He spoke that to me.  It’s because He wants me to stop trying so darn hard to do everything all myself an rest in His strength and stand in His grace.  Fear is a liar.  Jesus is the Truth.

Whatever you are facing in your life – that impossible circumstance, that endless struggle, the ongoing disappointments and those overwhelming feelings of failure, the growing darkness – if you feel like you can’t take one more step, or one more breath.  Remember this:  fear is a liar and Truth can change everything!

           The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7/365 at                 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your call is free and confidential.
Worried someone you know might be suicidal? You can #BeThe1To help. Here are 5 steps to #BeThe1To help someone in crisis 
http://bit.ly/2wQnayB

Dress Well at Any Size

I have been a “big girl” for a few decades and finding nice clothes that are flattering, comfortable, and that don’t “age” me is a primary challenge.  Whether I want to stay casual at home, look appropriate for work, or dress up for dates with my hubby – I want to dress well at any size!

I hate shopping for these reasons.  Fortunately, I have been blessed with several hand-me-downs or pass-along clothes from people who love me and have not had to shop too often.  I find that shopping for clothes can be uncomfortable, disappointing and very frustrating.  And I get hot & sweaty.  (anybody else?)  It’s not worth my time to try on 5 things and not have any fit well or flatter me.

Enter Chicwe

I am a BIG fan of online shopping – have been for many years.  It is both convenient and time-saving, but when it comes to clothes, it can be risky.  NOT trying on clothes can be almost as bad as trying on those 5 things that don’t work, right?  What looks good on the screen can be completely different at home – in color, in fit, in so many ways.

At Chicwe, ( www.Chicwe.com) you will find a wide variety of sophisticated plus styles (Size 14+) –  tops, bottoms, jackets – as well as dresses and accessories.  I am always looking for more tops that are both classy and fun – I don’t mind wearing bright colors – and really like the selection I found.  This is a site I have bookmarked for future shopping!

I got a top that is colorful, comfortable and flattering. I wore it to work and really loved the way it fit and felt throughout the day.  It is made of a soft knit material, with a chiffony-hem of bright blue!  I love wearing blues and the colors in this top are just gorgeous!  What do you think???

Right out of the package

Even though it was a SCORCHING 93 degrees yesterday (where did Fall go!?!) I was very comfortable in this top and glad I had it to wear.  I happen to own some bright blue cropped pants that I matched to it and was perfect for work!

Right now, I am able to offer my readers a 20% discount at Chicwe!  Just use code MOMMIESCOFFEE3 for your 20% discount!

Just click this link to visit Chicwe online (don’t forget the discount code: MOMMIESCOFFEE3) and check out their great tops and dresses (or pants or scarves!) – so many are on sale and at a great value!  After wearing this top yesterday, I know I will be shopping at Chicwe again!  It’s nice to find a store that offers plus size clothes that are affordable and stylish!

Disclaimer:  Check out theChicwe site and click the link above to take advantage of your 20% discount! I have an affiliate relationship with Dealspotr and received this top (value $34) in exchange for this review and I am being compensated for writing this post.  You should know that I am sharing my honest opinion and would never recommend something that I wouldn’t use myself or wouldn’t want a friend to use! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at mommiescoffee at gmail dot com.

Mom’s Back to School Tools

One thing I have been doing for 2 weeks is shifting my kids into the school schedule again.  It is never easy to do this because our schedule seems to be changing all the time and we have last-minute shopping or prepping and things have felt a little bit “wonky”.  I have been finding and using some great Back to School Resources and wanted to share a few with you.

The Organization Toolbox from Megan at The Homes I Have Made

The Organization Toolbox is an amazing collection of printable (editable!) forms & charts for just about everything a mom might need to help her family get back into the groove of school.  Or life.  I have found myself struggling in many areas this summer, and with my ongoing fatigue, I have let a lot of things slip.  This Toolkit provides printables and a guide to help you put things into place.  

With the change in our schedule for school, I am implementing new chores.  And will be rolling out chore charts along with morning, afternoon, and evening routines for the kids.  We are all pretty visual, so they are still in the works and not posted, but I have a few days before Monday, and plan to get several things in place.  Literally.

Armed with my laminator and color printer, and relying heavily on my Traveler’s Notebook/Bullet Journal, I am making my way into some sanity.

I had a serious epiphany about why life wasn’t “working” in so many ways, and God really put this Organization Toolkit in my path to help me in my resolve to commit several things to Him.

I am NOT an affiliate for Megan or the Organization Toolkit, but I highly recommend it for anyone who loves printables and needs some help getting systems put into place.  She offers a 7-day membership at $19 and a lifetime membership at $49 (which includes all new items and updates).  

School Ready Supplies

Are you a mom that loves school supplies!?!  For me, it’s almost the most wonderful time of year!  We set up a “homework station” in a central spot so everybody knows where to find it.  Sometimes I do have to hide a few things to save them from the everyday “use them and lose them” that happens around here – but I usually keep the following available:

  • Crayons /Markers
  • Sharpened Pencils / Pencil Sharpener
  • Big Erasers
  • Scissors
  • Glue Sticks
  • Notebooks / Loose Leaf Paper
  • Color Paper / Construction Paper
  • Mom’s In Box

The kids know where to find these supplies and I do keep extras tucked away in a bag in my closet.  This year, I am using a “Moms’ In Box” for all the things that come home with my kids.  It will be a large basket where they put everything for me to review when they get home.  They can walk in, hang up jackets/coats, step out of their shoes and empty their book bags into my In Box.  Hopefully, this will eliminate the “surprise!” pile of papers on our couch or the “I can’t find the paper I need you to sign” that happened more often than we liked last year.

Big Happy Planner

When Planners go on sale, it’s always a fun time for me to shop!  It’s like Christmas for me, really, and this school year I settled on using a Big Happy Planner for school year planning.  It will be the place I add all the kids events, project due dates, school meetings, etc.  

The great thing about using a BIG Happy Planner is that I can punch the papers that come home from school that I need to use as reference and keep it inside the planner.  I have a pocket insert, too, which will hold some of the different sized papers that come.  

You know the ones – the fundraising papers, teacher introduction pages, PTO announcements, etc.  Those are the papers I always lose track of and also the ones I need to find – so I will be punching them and adding them to my Big HP.  

If you don’t like or don’t have a Big HP, you could always use a 3 ring binder to do the same with pocket inserts and sections for your kids – and use a hole punched monthly calendar for planning.  They usually go on sale after school starts and that’s a great time to stock up on more school supplies for your homework station, too!

Diffuser Jewelry

I will say this right now.  I could not get through most days without my diffuser jewelry.  I discovered Vitality Extracts via Instagram.  I saw an ad for diffuser jewelry on sale and couldn’t believe it.  I clicked over and saw that this website had all kinds of jewelry items using lava beads and decided to stock up.  I stocked up for myself, for the girls for their birthdays, and for a couple of friends.  I also bought the “Angel Rose” blend rollerball and it has been my go-to all summer long.  Rose is one of the most powerful scents (and one of the most expensive, so this little rollerball is really great!  

I can offer YOU a 20% discount on your first purchase at Vitality Extracts if you click THIS LINK.  From lava bead bracelets to necklaces, to rings & even earrings – you can find something for yourself OR your kids for a really good price! (They even sell kids sizes which is a terrific way to introduce essential oils to their sensitive systems and allow them to have oils at school!)  Just click THIS LINK to check out the jewelry.  (And Vitality Extracts has a Loyalty Rewards program for customers, too, so check that out!)

Are you ready for Back to School?  What are your go-to tools for success?

As Summer Comes to an End

Does it feel to you – as it does to me – that summer just got started?  Whew!  I am not sure where all the time went, although I do know we have been pretty busy and I guess it has just been the motion of our lives…  As summer comes to an end, though, I think I can say we are ready for school to start.  For the most part.

June was a nice month here in Ohio.  Cooler than previous years, we did spend a lot of time outside – sitting on our back deck watching the wide variety of birds twitter around our yard.  Kaity had done a bird project during school last year, and she had learned a lot about different birds.  We saw gray catbirds (her bird of choice), bluebirds, chickadees, finches, sparrows, robins, titmice, 4 different kinds of woodpeckers, house sparrows, and so many more.  We have a tree that hosts hummingbirds and our feeder saw lots of action before it got hot – and is seeing it again, now that it’s a bit cooler in the evenings.  Hummingbirds are amazing.  I love watching them.  The kids and I got to make a trip to visit my Aunt Vicki outside of Ft Wayne Indiana, and then to my parents overnight.  We were able to release butterflies in honor of my niece, Ashtyn, who was an organ donor.  That was very special.

July came and it got HOT.  Thankfully, our central air has been holding up and we have some refuge inside.  July & August are when I spend lots more time indoors.  I can’t take the heat or the humidity.  And now that August is halfway through, the evenings are getting cooler at times, and I can enjoy sitting out back with my family again.

We have had several major events this year.  Greg was driving to work and got hit by a deer (yep, she hit him).  It was a doe.  A deer.  A female deer. ahem.  At least he wasn’t seriously hurt and we got to spend an extra day together!

It wrecked his front end and the car was no longer driveable.  We have remained a one-vehicle family for the bulk of the summer – and while it has been challenging, God has blessed us with a family who has been VERY generous in loaning us a car or taking me to work the 2 days I work.  It is not easy for any of us, and we are still praying for the right vehicle.

We also added a TEENAGER to our house this summer!  Ack!  Kaity turned 11 in July, but Claira turned 13 just last week.  I cannot believe how fast my children are growing and don’t like the way time is moving so quickly.  Claira is starting the 8th grade; Kaity is going into 5th; Sam is going into 2nd.  Wowza.  I wouldn’t feel so old if my kids weren’t growing up so fast!

I have done a LOT of reading up on herbs & essential oils.  When I got the Herbs & EOs ultimate bundle earlier this year, I knew I would be referring to the e-books that came in the bundle, but I have also joined several Facebook groups and am learning so much!  I also visited an iridologist which was a VERY interesting experience, and I am able to enjoy some herbal preparations which have been a new experience.  I am also hoping to visit a chiropractor/naturopath in a neighboring town for some additional learning opportunities.  

My love for herbs has grown dramatically this summer and I get super passionate talking about them with anyone who actually KNOWS about herbs & oils.  I love my EOs and we use them ALL THE TIME, but the herb is not just an EO source, and I love knowing the benefits of incorporating herbs into a healthier lifestyle.  Growing them, harvesting them and turning them into products we can use at home…

Greg started the Keto food plan this summer, and while I have been slow to jump on board, we are definitely eating more veggies & more balanced meals.  He has lost some weight and is keeping to it!  We are learning to cook new things in new ways and learning to like it.  My Aunt has an air fryer and Greg & I have already discussed the idea of getting one for our anniversary/Christmas in December so we can cook in even more healthy ways.

I hope you have enjoyed your summer.  School starts next week for my kiddos and we will have a few more fun weekend activities before we settle into our school routine.  Easing into the schedule change has been a little rough – even for me – but we are getting there.

Feel free to post comments on your summer activities, new learning opportunities you have had, events & milestones in your life – or just say Hi!