Guest Feature: What’s Best for Your Health??

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Thank you to Daniel Sherwin from dadsolo.com for sharing this article with us: Tips for Taking a Stand Regarding What’s Best for Your Health. Excellent advice and food for thought!

The state of our health can easily be neglected. However, when we feel terrible, it’s then that we decide to be more proactive about what is conducive to our health and what isn’t. In other words, we learn to take notes regarding our health because we know ourselves and our family better than anyone else. So if that’s you, and you’ve been letting everyone around you decide what’s best for you or your kids, here are some helpful tips from earnest mom on how to voice your opinion more.

What are your options?

Taking care of your health better means being aware of the various options available to you when choosing a health insurance scheme. There are quite a few options out there, so you might want to consider doing a fair bit of research into what a Health maintenance organization is (or HMO), what an Exclusive provider organization (or EPO) is, and what your options are regarding point-of-service (or POS) plans. As you can see, knowing what these are and what this entails can be quite the process to go through, let alone understand. However, research like this can end up saving you in the long run – and not just from a money perspective.

Develop a relationship with your doctor

Trust can only be built where there is open communication and honesty between two parties. The same could be said of the relationship between you and your medical health practitioner, meaning you can’t learn to trust and accept when there hasn’t been an ongoing rapport between you and them. 

Ask for a copy of your medical records

Did you know that you are well within your right to ask for a copy of your medical records? Just having your own medical records on hand to refer back to could be what you need to request a second opinion if your gut doesn’t feel right. 

Speaking of gut feel…

Suppose that you feel that your first diagnosis wasn’t entirely accurate for some or other reason, then it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a second opinion from another physician to confirm your suspicions or allay your fears. For example, you could consult with an online doctor if you want to consult with someone urgently. Furthermore, you will have access to various treatment options if you see one that you think could be beneficial for you or your child’s condition. Also, if your child needs their medication quickly, your online doctor can complete a prescription quickly for you and have this sent to your local pharmacy, where you can conveniently collect this along with your child’s medication.

Step up.

Sometimes, we just need to step up to the plate when it comes to our health and our families’ health by being more intentionalabout it. This may mean making the most of every opportunity to exercise, such as taking the stairs and not the lift, and getting off the train or bus a stop or two earlier so you can walk the rest of the way to work, for example, or by making jogging a daily exercise that is mandatory for you and the kids so that you can bond and get fit together.

At the end of the day, it is up to us as moms to take a stand for our families’ as well as our own health by making smarter choices. This can only assist us in being better parents, knowing we have done all we can to secure the well-being of our loved ones.

Every Child Matters. My Story.

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Warning. This article may trigger those who are victims of residential boarding schools in Canada and the US, and those who have been affected by all manners of abuse.

“For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.” – Sir Thomas More, Utopia

I have written and rewritten this post over and over. Being a second and third generation of residential school survivors, as the news that broke from Kamloops, BC of the 215 children found in unmarked graves I was overcome with emotion. Grief, anger, sadness, shame and in some respect relief.

The news that Canada and the US had a horrific secret, that they took countless indigenous children forced from the arms into schools that beat them, cut their hair, degraded and verbally abused them, then ultimately sexually abusing them as well. The world was shocked, friends of mine reaching out and saying, “Is this true? We never knew.” The thing is, we knew. We knew all along.

Growing up in an Indigenous family and within the Indigenous communities of Windsor and Six Nations Ontario Canada, we knew. As a people who culturally share a verbal history, we were told of what happened to our family members, why our grandparents could no longer speak their language, why substance abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse and brokenness was prevalent. My father shared a story with us from his youth as we were children. He asked my great grandmother if she could teach him her language (Mohawk of Six Nations) and with tears streaming down her face she shook her head and said “I cannot make the words come from here (pointing to her head) to here (pointing to her mouth).” I can distinctly remember the first time my father shared this story with me, his eyes filled with tears as he remembered how broken his grandmother was. The truth is, they beat children who only knew their language (some as young as 3 or 4) until they spoke English. Heartbreaking.

I remember a story my mother shared of her father, who was in residential school until he was 16. He ran away, joined the US Army having lied and saying he was 18. His intent was to go to war and die, rather than return to residential school where he was abused beyond what my words can share. Let the fact that at 16, being killed in war was the better option, offer some perspective.

These children were then sent home, raised by abusers and not knowing any better themselves as they were “lucky” enough to some back home alive, and they in turn would raise broken generations. Today, our families, our people struggle to overcome this part of our history. Then these 215 beautiful souls cried out from the earth and gave a voice to what we have been carrying for generations.

I cannot speak for all children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren of residential school survivors, but I can speak from my own personal pain and experience. Intergenerational trauma has manifested in my family in the forms of verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, alcohol and substance abuse, suicide and mental health issues and shame.

Heart in a bottle
High on a shelf
Fragile, but just out of reach
Cause you build a fortress
With the distance you keep
But when your heart aches
Doesn’t it cut deep?

You don’t have to suffer
Suffer in silence
You don’t have to suffer
Suffer in silence

Don’t you know that your
Heart can feel like an anchor
When you keep it all inside
No no, don’t suffer in silence

Withered in sadness
And hurting inside
But feeling afraid to impose
So you’re an island
But you don’t have to be
Cause if you’re inclined
You can talk to me

But you don’t have to suffer
Suffer in silence

– Susan Aglukark, Suffer in Silence

I remember sitting in the dark in the back of my parent’s car driving to Toronto and watching the headlights pass as I sang this song, Suffer in Silence, we all sang at the top of our lungs. This song echoed through my heart constantly. The burden that was the knowledge of knowing what happened to my family in those schools, the trauma that caused my stomach to flip when I had my first child and praised God that I did not have to face him being taken from me against my will and risk never seeing his round smiling face again. It welled up in me and grew into shame. The shame of the behaviors of my family, the shame from knowing their hurt. The shame from suffering in silence.

Every Child Matters brought light to the shame, and there was a relief that it was illuminated and cast out. The intergenerational shame of feeling like it was our fault, we were the savages and that is why it was kept out of the history books, the shame that anchored to me and pulled me down was released. I cannot fully explain why it is this way, but it is. It was a darkness that was tangible and visceral that was always there.

Today, as Every Child Matters, Orange Shirt Day (Canada) and Truth and Reconciliation (Canada) events will be held, I ache for the loss of generations but honor the voice they have given to this generational shame. It is only by sharing, given a voice to the broken, forgiveness and healing will we see true reconciliation.

What is Orange Shirt Day, Residential Schooling, Every Child Matters, and Truth and Reconciliation? See links below.

https://www.orangeshirtday.org/

https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/national-day-truth-reconciliation.html

https://boardingschoolhealing.org/education/us-indian-boarding-school-history/

https://www.nicwa.org/boarding-schools/

Rate My Park – Summer Series Part 2

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An Earnest Experience in Erie County Pennsylvania

All summer long, Fridays will be designated to exploring parks in Erie County PA and rating them!  The Earnest Littles and I are having a blast park hopping and seeing what is out there!  Each post will give a final rating out of 10 for the overall park and then we will break down the categories.  For each park we are looking at equipment, cleanliness, bathroom options, parent spots and picnic facilities.

Please note, the opinions given in this post/rating are our opinions alone and do not speak for the parks, the townships or anyone else.  Our intent is to give a glimpse of our experience and how much we, as a family liked the park.

Greene Township Playground, 9333 Tate Road, Erie PA 16509

Overall Rating 9.75/10.  Wow!! This playground is amazing.  The play structures are huge and numerous, there is a side designed for children 5-12 years old, and 3-5 years old – perfect for our kiddos who range from 4-12 years – and it was mainly all fenced in.  There was so much to do we felt like if we left too soon, we would miss out on all the fun.  The running, laughter and joyous screams were aplenty as many families had made use of this incredible playground while we were there.  There is a massive amount of green space offering gorgeous panoramic views of baseball diamonds, football fields and what appears to be wooded/forested areas.  There is also the Paradise trail that is a ½ mile paved path which goes out to the vast green space behind the playground.  This park we HIGHLY recommend, if you go to any parks this summer, make sure you make it here!

Equipment:  The playground is massive.  I am not sure that I can fully describe it and ensure I have included all the adventure that is available.  On the 5–12-year-old side there is a massive climb structure/climber complete with a walking bridge (that lead to another climber that resembled a gazebo/playhouse), wall climbing, monkey bars, four slides (large covered twirling slide that what the height of the structure, one small one at the first level; and three slides side by side about halfway up the structure, that offered different textures/shapes for sliding experiences).  This is where we lose the 0.25 in the rating, the three slides are bumpy and all three of my kids said they did not enjoy 2/3 slides that are side by side since the ride down was slightly rough.  The ground cover on this side was wooden mulch/wood chips.  The swings were plentiful with six belt swings, one large swinging saucer and an inclusive swing on the 12-5-year-old side, then there were three bucket swings including one that was a parent-child swing on the 3–5-year-old side.

The 3-5-year-old side had a mini merry-go-round, and numerous play/climbing structures that resembled playhouses, a boat (which has an appropriately sized slide), a tractor, and a train.  There was so much to keep little feet busy and to discover from a percussion stand to large displays of braille letters (lower and upper case) and numbers.  The ground cover on this side was the manufactured rubber intact flooring (not the rubber pieces). 

All in all – this park was fully enjoyed from the 4-year-old to the 12-year-old.  In the picture of them, my 7-year-old gave a sideways thumb for the rough slide experience.

Cleanliness:  The park was very clean, there are plenty of trash cans located all over the park that allows for easy access and helps to keep it clean.  The equipment itself is kept up well, with natural wear from use it was pleasantly clean as well.

Bathrooms:  There is a decent bathroom building available for use (it was open when we were at the park).  It was fully stocked with toilet paper and soap at the sinks.  They appear to have at least two toilets per restroom (Men’s or Women’s) both equipped with a handicap option.  However, we did not see a change table option for itty bitty ones.

Parent Spots: There are numerous of benches located right by the playground, a few even had shade from some nearby trees.  The benches were located all around the playground equipment as well, lots of options – some had natural tree shade and on the 3–5-year-old side, there were benches with pergolas above them.

Picnic Facilities: Two large pavilions (one was smaller) with many wooden picnic tables fully.

Stay tuned for our next review.  Live in Erie County?  Have you been to this park?  What are your thoughts?

Guest Feature: Helping Kids Learn Self-Care

We here at earnestmom.com are honored to once again have, Leslie Campos of https://wellparents.com to share some helpful tips on helping our children to learn some self-care – perfect for summer down times! Image via Pexels.

Practicing self-care is an important life skill that too few people are actively taught. In our society, the pressure is on us to always be the best. But if you don’t take time out to care for yourself, that becomes impossible. That’s why it’s a good idea to teach your children to practice self-care on a regular basis, as it will help set them up for happiness and success in the future. 

Encouraging Self-care

It’s easy to tell your children that taking care of themselves is important. What’s more difficult is being a role model and showing them how you take care of yourself. Let your kids see you taking time to practice self-care. Explain to them what you are doing and why. They will see the difference that taking care of yourself makes and be encouraged.

One important element of teaching this skill to your children is prioritizing them in your life. The day can get so busy, especially when life is busy. Actively plan when you will have quality time with your children and make sure you honor that commitment. Having a routine will make keeping the habit much simpler. That includes things like having a special bedtime routine together or having a Friday movie night.

Even if you have things to get done, you can involve your children. When you’re working in the kitchen, let them help or complete other simple chores in the area. If you have work to do from home, maybe they can read a book or color at your desk while you type.

Self-care Activities

Self-care falls into four categories: emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual. The activities are used to promote health in these areas and to eliminate stress. Some examples of self-care practices appropriate for kids are:

Emotional

  • Family time. Spending time around people who you care about and who care about you meets emotional needs.
  • Positive affirmations. Telling yourself positive things helps you build confidence and develop the relationship you have with yourself.

Physical

  • Eating healthy. Beyond just feeding your kids healthy foods, teach them about foods and help them have a positive attitude about what they eat.
  • Exercise. Even if it’s just going on a walk, teach your kids to get active. Some exercise on a daily basis is the best for most kids.
  • Reduce screen time. Not only does excessive screen time damage vision and prompt headaches, but it also promotes a sedentary lifestyle that is not good for your physical health.

Psychological

  • Journaling. Take time each day to reflect on events and write them down.
  • Creating. Whether it’s a drawing, a craft, a story, music, or something else, creative work exercises the brain and develops the mind.

Spiritual

  • Meditation and prayer. This gives you a chance to reflect and connect to a higher power or simply tune in to the world around you. 
  • Volunteer. Making connections in your community and serving others is powerful.

Self-care Is Important

Self-care is more than just basic hygiene and having a hobby. It is really slowing down, focusing on yourself, and taking care of your mental health. To see how one family manages it all, check out the earnestmom.com.

How We Plan Our Summer as a Homeschool Family

Anyone else hit summer and look for ways to have some structure but not over-structure? Me. I am anyone else. Homeschool ends, and then I feel overwhelmed – “What do I do for summer?!” I want my children to feel like they are more relaxed, and to be able to differentiate from homeschool. We will not do any formal full lessons and I will give them time to be bored because boredom is not a bad thing. I do not want the summer to pass and also feel like we have done nothing.

I have three children, 12, 7 and 4. I included them in the planning and set specific goals for each day. Now these goals will not rule our whole schedule as vacations, summer camps and other events will definitely happen but we will have a loose plan for each day. I am not sure about you but by breakfast each day my kids are asking “what are we doing today?” and they are typically not satisfied with “nothing.”

Here is what our summer schedule looks like for the months of July and August. Mondays are zoo mornings (we get a membership to the local one each year), Tuesdays are pool afternoons (we have a small pop up one otherwise it would be dedicated water play outside). Wednesdays are mornings the the museum (again we have a membership to the local children’s museum but we will also explore our other museums as well). Thursdays we will visit the library and a park nearby hosts picnics in the park with family entertainment for free. Fridays are our adventure day, we will be checking a new local park or two (we will also blog and rate our experience for those local to Erie County Pennsylvania).

Using the Notability app on my iPhone I created these fun color coded calendars (I also use similar ones for our homeschool year), I then took advantage of the $0.99 magnet deal on the Shutterfly app to create magnets as a reminder for the fridge.

This helps us have an intentional and focused summer not being limited by what we plan, but if we feel like we have nothing to do it helps to have a plan already! Let me know your tricks to keep summer fun and easy for your kiddos.

x. earnest mom

Rate My Park – Summer Series

An Earnest Experience in Erie County Pennsylvania

All summer long, Fridays will be designated to exploring parks in Erie County PA and rating them!  The Earnest Littles and I are having a blast park hopping and seeing what is out there!  Each post will give a final rating out of 10 for the overall park and then we will break down the categories.  For each park we are looking at equipment, cleanliness, bathroom options, parent spots and picnic facilities.

Please note, the opinions given in this post/rating are our opinions alone and do not speak for the parks, the townships or anyone else.  Our intent is to give a glimpse of our experience and how much we, as a family liked the park.

McKean Community Recreational Park, 8798 Main St, McKean PA 16426

Overall Rating 8/10.  This park is large, it has a nice sized parking lot, baseball diamonds, other large sporting fields and a walking track.  It is a lovely, open green space with a nice breeze and a lovely Veteran Memorial.  All in all, we really liked this park, while we were there the kids were quick to make friends with a family who frequents, and they were so kind to invite us back to play.  We recommend checking out this park for some free fun in Erie County PA this summer!

Equipment:  The playground has a decent size climber complete with three slides, monkey bars, a crawl tube, bridge, a sliding pole and fun climbing options.  The ground cover appears to be older mulch so there was a complaint from the seven-year-old (and contributed to her rating of one thumb up and one thumb down) that she kept getting dirt in her crocs.  There is a swing section that has both belt swings and full bucket baby swings.  Ground cover also appeared to be older wooden mulch. The equipment is slightly dated in our opinion, but that did not stop is from being a fun place to play.

Cleanliness:  The park was very clean.  There was a little bit of litter from recent visitors who left their trash Juice boxes and napkins) after it got blown away from them, however there are plenty of trash cans located all over the park that allows for easy access and helps to keep it clean.  The equipment itself is kept up well, with natural wear from use it was pleasantly clean as well.

Bathrooms:  There is a decent bathroom building available for use (it was open when we were at the park).  It was fully stocked with toilet paper and soap at the sinks.  They appear to have at least two toilets per restroom (Men’s or Women’s) both equipped with a handicap option. 

Parent Spots: There are PLENTY of benches located right by the playground, a few even had shade from some nearby trees.  The benches were located all around the playground equipment as well, lots of options!

Picnic Facilities: There are so many picnic options here.  Two large pavilions (one with kitchen facilities and a ton of seating) with many wooden picnic tables fully shaded and had grills (both decently close enough to the playground) and one small one that has one wooden picnic table with handicap access.

Stay tuned for our next review.  Live in Erie County?  Have you been to this park?  What are your thoughts?

We Mix the Play Dough.

I will admit. I was not the mixing of the play dough colors kind of girl. I like things just so. Order, proper places, and keeping things neat and tidy. I like to know that when I go looking for something in it’s rightful place, it will be there. Then I had kids.

Keeping up the house, having dinner on time, kids in line, making all my own “homemade” everything, keeping all the crayons sorted and NOT mixing the play dough colors. That is how my parenting style looked, before I had actual real, brilliant, wild, breathing, crying, incredibly full of life children. I could leave a list here of all the things my imaginary kids were NOT going to do, then give the perfect counter as to how my real life children have done or are currently doing all those things.

Rigidity in motherhood for me was a fallacy. It took a while to learn that being flexible, honest with my emotions and not ‘keeping everything together always,’ was what would be best. Early on as a mom to one, I was one of the few in my group of friends and family to have children. My son was adored by my siblings, grandparents, parents, and friends; he was so loved. He grew up enjoying one on one with his father and I, and excelled in language skills holding conversations with adults by the time he was 4. He was amazing, and he is still a rock star at 11, in my honest and totally unbiased opinion but I digress. Then we had our daughter. Life changed, for the better but not in ease.

Overnight, our daughter was born and I went from a full-time working mom of one to a stay at home mom of two. Talk about learning a new way of life, I am not afraid to admit that I was wholly unprepared for the challenges as a stay at home mom but we survived. In the midst of recovery and getting settled with a new little person, we moved states. A move that took me away from my family, friends, and village; then opened wounds and showed vulnerabilities I did not know I had. Relocating is not easy, reestablishing and making a home somewhere other than the only home I knew was a bit traumatic. It was tear-filled, fear-filled and over all a learning experience. Did I mention that I like things to be just so?

Then there were three. Three years of getting settled into a new state, we were a family of five. I always heard how three changes everything, and much to my chagrin it proved to be true. Our loveable, strong, honest, loud, happy, snuggly, kind-hearted Wreck-it-Ralph came barreling into our lives. Our family dynamic changed. Breakables were placed high, but when climbing began most were eventually stored for safety. Church service is exhausting as I chase, play, distract and feed our busy little man. He is so full of life it literally bursts over everyone we come into contact with. He mixes the play dough, he mixes all the colors; then he mixes it with sand, water, food, or anything else that brings playful joy to his big old heart. Toys are dumped and thoroughly played with; passion roars from him like a lion and love comes out gentle as a bunny. He is the wild to my quiet, the chaos to my perfection, the love and life that my heart never knew it needed.

After three kids, homeschooling, a pandemic and the change to rules/opinions daily we find refuge in our home. Here it is safe, here we have order among the wild things, and we are learning to love deeper, respect more and most of all, learning to become the people God has designed us to be. When I started out in motherhood I would cry in frustration when things were not just so, when my plans would get muddled and mixed and I felt like things were out of control. Now, the phrase I often heard “blessed are the flexible for they shall not break” rings true every single day. Here, we mix the play dough colors; which is still hard for my first born as he was raised with more of a rigid mom who taught him we had to keep things the ‘right’ way, a mom who was quick to react and slow to listen. Now he has a more flexible, albeit less stressed (well sort of) mom and we are learning the power bending and not breaking together in life. In the flexibility we have found happiness, we have found resilience and now we are growing together. It is not always easy and there are fractures from past rigid moments that can make things stressful, but slowly the as we stretch old wounds they begin to flex and not hurt so much.

“When the milk is splattered all over the floor, and those little eyes are looking at your for your reaction, remember what really matters. It takes 5 minutes to clean up spilled milk. It takes much longer to clean up a broken spirit.”

Rebecca Eanes, The Gift of a Happy Mother.

I saw this truth just this week. My children love balloons, and I love to have them for fun occasions. Recently we surprised them with 22 inch balloons for a homeschool celebration. I made the rules clear, the balloons are for floating and leaving alone today and tomorrow they could have at them. Half way through the day, my youngest wild one who is 4, was sprawled out facedown on the floor crying, I sat down next to him and said “It sounds like you are feeling upset. Did something happen you want to share?” As he sobbed he cried out “I popped one of the balloons!” Immediately my heart broke, I thought ‘Oh no, is he crying because he is afraid of getting in trouble?’ So I responded, “Ok, the balloon broke. Can you tell me why you are crying?” He responded “I broke the rules and I am so sorry. Do you forgive me?” Could I have disciplined him? Sure, he did not listen and the balloon broke, but I realized his heart was already sore because he chose to break the rules and he knew it was wrong. Lesson learned.

Talk about unpacking some personal trauma – I decided to be the adult I needed when I was too scared to tell my parents my mistakes, and I often hid from them. I asked him for a hug, and as we sat on the floor, cheek to cheek, heart to heart I thanked him for his honesty, and even though he knew it was wrong he chose truth, and told him that I forgave him. I reminded him (even though he is only 4) that I am always here for him and no matter what I love him. This child who has ran naked through the middle aisle of the church, who mixes all the play dough colors has caused a great work to come upon my heart.

I am not perfect, no way do I get this parenting thing right every time but moments like that remind me how far I have grown. A decade ago, when I preferred things ‘just so’ I subconsciously placed unfair expectations on my children. I judged my mothering success by their behaviors, but slowly as we have mixed the crayons, spilled the milk, been too loud, ran too hard and broke the mold that I was placing us in – I have taken that unfair pressure off of all of us and started enjoying the ‘new’ that we create when we mix the play dough. To this day, I organize the kids books in my living room according to color. Yep. I place them in order ROYGBIV and when I sit down to relax after a stay at home/homeschool day, that sight relaxes me. No one sees it but me, and a few days later I am left to sort them again – the way I like it because I like the way it feels. In this small way, my ‘just so’ attitude gets satiated. I was not one to mix the playdough colors but I love how motherhood is molding me into something new, different and dare I say…better.

An Earnest Attitude of Gratitude.

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It is November. We have Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving that we host every year and so quickly I can get distracted by the planning (I like to really plan with a lot of care and thought our Friendsgiving to create an intimate time for the group of us that have been celebrating for the past 3 years). I am seeing on social media, people posting thankful anecdotes daily, which is so refreshing to read when I decide to scroll – especially when I haven’t been online for a few days and all the thankful posts pile up! Some have been known to cause a few tears in my own eyes.

I feel like while I am mama, teacher, cook, tidy-upper, help mate and all the other hats that I juggle through my days I miss being thankful for my life, abilities and the little things!

Someone once told me it could simply be a matter of switching up the narrative in my head. when my days get busy (especially lately when home inspection calls are non stop some days), I get caught up in the stress of what I have to get done. Earnest dad will come home after a long day of inspecting and maybe hunting, and he wants to relax. All I can see is what we have to do and I quickly get overwhelmed. There are days he comes home early and the moment I see him, I immediately think of my have to list and I don’t stop to even greet him. (I feel awful saying it but it is true).

The word of God says,

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100: 1-5

Be thankful to him, for the Lord is good and his mercy is everlasting. These words were life to me this week.

We use a curriculum that we print monthly – and it is a lot of printing! Well we start a new unit TODAY and because of the busyness and time spread everywhere, I started printing last night. And last night, nothing was going right. With lack of sleep (thanks daylight savings), homeschooling, business phone calls and energetic kids I was done. I felt, as Bilbo Baggins so eloquently put it, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” My patience, calm and thankful tanks were on empty. I went to bed and as I fell asleep I remembered the words, attitude of gratitude.

As I got up this morning feeling resting, my youngest little laid on the ground with his little fingers reaching under the door and began singing one of my favorite hymns. In my head I hear, attitude of gratitude. I go to get my morning vitamins and breaks and my little guy climbs up to sit on the counter with me (I was with him the whole time) and brewed me my k-cup (again with my support). Again, I am reminded attitude of gratitude. I need to change my narrative.

Here I sit, with my printer trying to print our workbooks we should already be working out of and there is a paper jam. Then mid print job, it cancels itself. No error information, no reason that I can see. Attitude of gratitude. So I changed the narrative. Today for homeschool we will read stories together, we will clean up the house together, we will do our supplemental subjects already printed and ready to go. We will go outside and get some vitamin D and watch our favorite squirrel at the park as he buries his acorns in planning for his winter survival. Today we will do what we can with what we have. That is all that we ever have.

Instead of telling myself I have to, today I will remind myself that I get to. I get to school my children in my home because my husband works hard and the Lord blesses us. I get to clean up with my children because all of us are healthy and able. We get to go the to park because we have an amazing set up less than a block away in our quiet neighborhood. I get to work with my technology because we have the ability to own the necessities to do so.

I sit here, printer in error state, some kids not clothed running about the house with more screen time than I would like. But we get to do all of this because of the blessings that we have in our lives. This earnest home, family and life we have is such a privilege and honor, I am working daily to keep in an attitude of gratitude and to not let the sideways, caught off guard messes throw me off. Let November be the month you work to gain gratitude, then keep it all year long. Not because you have to, but because you earnestly get to.

x. earnest mom.

Hey Mama…

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This is a reminder.

Mama, you are so loved. Even in the moments of overwhelming and complete failure, you are still the best mom your children have had. None of us has this mom-gig worked out, and that’s ok! Your children love you so much. Let them see you fail, cry, pick up your pieces and try, try, try again. Resilience is learned from example and motherhood is the perfect opportunity to show your children that we can make mistakes and still keep going.

You are not perfect, but your are the perfect mom for you children. I heard this quote and felt that the word “perfect” made me feel anxious. Let’s drop perfection all together. The only perfect person that there was will make all things new again, until then, let’s stop setting an impossible bar for ourselves and other moms. There is beauty in our idiosyncrasies, our imperfections and our quirks. Let’s revel in them, celebrate them and the ones we don’t like, slowly work to focus on the good ones. Each mama has their own motherhood journey, let’s celebrate that instead of comparing, measuring and weighing ourselves (and each other).

Nothing is as it seems. Two words, social media. If scrolling is depressing you more than inspiring you, it is ok to log off. Instagram perfect shots, Facebook perfect posts and trendy TikTok clips may seem harmless but filtered, spotless, crisp, clean snippets are not how things always are. We cannot compare our 24 hours to 24 seconds of edited snap shots. Let’s put down our phones and appreciate what is around us. Real life lives in real homes filled with life and with tiny little humans who love us so much they rather enjoy watching us poo!

None of us are getting it right 100% of the time. Life is full of mistakes, that is who we are. Things crumble and because we have emotions, we will not get things on point every time. I err daily. Daily. I am quick to speak and slow to listen, I give too much advice instead of being a listening ear, I have a hard time with silence so I feel like I need to make conversation all the time. I rewind my conversations with my children, husband, friends and family every night and make edits on how I could have said things better. Maybe I am the only one, but I am so thankful that I wake every morning with a chance to try again.

Lastly, mama taking some time for you is a good thing. I am the first one when I am away from my children to immediately feel that pang of guilt that I could walk away and enjoy time “sans children.” Mom time is needed time, not just a spa mask on Sunday nights either (though keep doing this too!). You cannot fill from an empty cup, since I cannot often just get away I find my mom time in small moments. When my husband gets home, some nights I need a twenty minuter, alone in my room. Other times (currently I have put in a formal request) I need a 24-48 hour break, alone – just myself to recenter, reconnect and refresh. We moms are integral to our homes, and when we are worn, the whole ship can start to tumble. It is okay to get away.

We are in this together, you are not alone. Please know, asking for help is a good thing too. Reach out if you need, there is no shame if you cannot do it all. Doing everything is just too much, a weight that can be shared. Lean in to those who love and support you. Be encouraged to find some fellow moms you can talk to, visit with and simply fellowship. A little MOPS plug here – find a local MOPS! You never know where your next BFF is waiting! You are doing a good job, you are wonderfully made and so loved.

x. earnest mom.

The View From Our Table: What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street

The view from our table will be a feature where we look at some fun things we have done in our homeschool.

We are the kind of homeschool family that homeschools in the summer. It is less formal and much shorter, but we are a family that is constantly learning together. One our favorite times is “Morning Time.” We often start our homeschool days at the dinner table with our basket of books. Mama reads while the littles keep their hands busy with handicrafts. We love it.

This summer we decided to read, What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street by Felicita Sala (can be purchased here – non affiliate link). This book was given to us by a dear friend who thought that we would have fun with it. We had so much fun!

Each page introduces the reader to recipes from all over the world. Salmorejo (a cold soup served with ham and boiled eggs), Little Trees (stir fried broccoli), Sole Meuniere, to name a few. Each day, we reread the book and then we chose a recipe we wanted to try. (I even discovered a mild allergy to pine nuts lol).

We had a such a blast trying flavors from all over the world and felt like we were joining the neighborhood for their pot luck feast at the end of the book. The illustrations are lovely and recipes rich and flavorful. So far this is one of the tastiest and fun books we have chosen for our morning time adventures.

If you are looking for something fun that will introduce your palate to flavors from many cultures, we highly recommend this favorite from our table. It has been a great way to try foods and cook with the three wild and three free and me!