Monday’s Mommas: Anne from “Just Only Home”

It’s Monday and I have another great blogger to introduce you to this week.

I’m going to let her just take it away….

Hello! I am Anne from Just Only Home and I want to say a big “Thank You!” to Kristina for having me as a guest here on her wonderful blog. I am a wife and mother to 4 wonderful girls, bonus mama to 3 more. I love being a stay at home mom and making life beautiful for my family. I love cooking and fun activities with my children. I feel one of my greatest responsibilities is using our limited budget to its fullest potential. This is my career, making the most of what my husband makes.



Mom Monday My Way

Since it is Monday I thought I would share my take on “Mom Monday”. I know we never REALLY get a day off… but I think it’s important to have a day where self expectations are lowered. I know that for me personally weekends are everyone else’s day off in my home. This means busy busy busy for Mama. There is always the expectation for fun and getting things done that my family members aren’t able to do on their busy week days, and as the center of the family it is often my job to facilitate that. Bu Monday morning I am ready for a vacation!
I am a list maker and my daily schedule is full and busy.

Regularly Scheduled Programming:

  • 5Am – wake up so I can actually have a shower and some bathroom time before the teenagers take over. Make the bed, pick up the bedroom, and bring the laundry down.
  • 6Am – Empty the dishwasher and toss in the strays, throw the laundry in the washer, and get some breakfast made for the kiddos
  • 6:30 – Time to wake up my 4 gals. Get them sitting up to the table with breakfast and pack lunches and backpacks.
  • 7Am – Time to get the kiddos dresses, hair done, teeth brushed, in their gear and out the door. I’ll be done dropping them off around 8
  • 8Am – Now time to run any errands that need running and get supper into the crock pot.
  • 9Am – Noon – Blogging time! Writing, responding to emails, and finding out what’s new on social media. Plus I need to make sure to visit a few of my favorite bloggers!
  • Noon – Lunchtime for me, the little one, and my home schooling high schooler.
  • 12:30-3Pm – Time for helping out with home schooling and doing personal projects/planning projects for Just Only Home.
  • 3-5Pm – Kiddos need picking up from school, whatever running they need to do, and then help with homework or maybe a fun activity with the little ones.
  • 5 Pm – Dinner
  • 6PM – Housecleaning
  • 7PM – Bathing, reading to, and tucking in the little ones.
  • 8Pm – Fold and put away that laundry that I washed today and making sure I have the dishwasher loaded and ready to empty by morning and a load of laundry sitting in the washer waiting to start in the morning.
  • 9Pm – Time with my teenagers and/or hubby or on the rare night that they all have something else to do maybe some time with a book by myself
  • 10PM – To bed! Must be rested to start all over tomorrow!

And THAT is on a day with no appointments or events! If you think of everything we have to accomplish as moms of COURSE we need to take a breather day. Now for my Monday schedule.

My Mom Monday:

  • 6:30Am – Sleep in a bit and throw on the yoga pants and a pony tail, wake the kiddos and have a quick breakfast and get ready.
  • 7:30Am – get the kiddos to school by 8. No errands or appointments get made on Mondays so I am free to get home and start drinking that pot of coffee I have made for myself.
  • 8Am – Noon – Doing what I want to do! I’ll probably still check my emails and browse some blogs that I have been wanting to, or find some new ones. Play around on Pinterest or visit my favorite CafeMom groups; Make Life Beautiful and Cuties with Cloth Booties. That is where mommy’s friends live!
  • Noon – Light lunch for us, leftovers or sandwiches. Ask high schooling home schooler if she needs any assistance. Since she knows it’s Mom Monday she will usually decline, having planned being self-taught on Mondays into her schedule.
  • 1-3Pm – Hmmm, time for maybe a snooze and a snuggle with my 4-year-old? A movie we can watch together? Maybe a little more computer time? Oooh, my book! Yes, please.
  • 3-7Pm – Pick up the kiddos from school, we try not to plan much on Mondays as the into to the week so it’s home we go. Do a little home work help and chillin’ with my gals, maybe Uno, maybe a movie. My high schooling home schooler takes Monday night dinners for her cooking class so no worries about what to eat, that has been planned in advance in our Meal Plan. All the kids and hubby pitch in and clean up after supper as a thanks for my doing it the rest of the week. They know I need a Mom Monday!
  • 7PM – Sometimes hubby or one of the teenagers takes over bath time but I of course still need to be a part of tucking in.
  • 8-10PM – The rest of the night is for reading or hanging out with hubby and my big girls.
  • 10PM – Off to bed because it’s back to the race tomorrow!

I feel blessed to have a family that supports my day off. I also LOVE being able to be in control of my own schedule.

Do you have a day that you take for yourself?


Monday’s Mommas: Theresa Pickett

Welcome to this week’s Monday’s Mommas feature.

I’d like to introduce you to Theresa Pickett, owner of Theresa’s Review Blog. Theresa is a writer and blogger with an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Vanderbilt. She is a mom to two girls, Samantha and Georgiana. In this guest post, Theresa shares some tips to get your baby (and the rest of your house) a good night’s sleep. This is a topic we can all relate to! theresa


Best Baby Sleep Advice: 10 Tips

by: Theresa Pickett

Taking care of an infant is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Developing a normal sleep schedule is important for babies as they grow. As a parent, I remember being terrified that if my newborn baby fell asleep without me watching her, something might happen to her. Parenting has taught me some tips for getting babies to sleep well. Follow some of my top 10 tips for getting babies to sleep.
Invest In A High Quality Crib Mattress
Splurge for quality. Get a crib mattress that provides a healthy, comfortable sleep environment. Some mattress companies, such as Moonlight Slumber, specialize in quality instead of affordability. My older daughter sleeps well and often rests on her bed at night to read to herself because of the luxurious foam interior. The mattress goes through the most extensive testing program on the market, which covers air quality, product performance, and material contents.
Create A Bedtime Routine
According to Simply Psychology, object permanence develops when babies are around 8 months, which is a critical time in the development of sleep routines. Create a bedtime routine of sleeping in the crib every night. If your child stays in your bed through this phase, you will end up with a preschooler who continues to sleep in your bed. You will sleep much better if you put your baby to bed in the crib consistently after she is 6 months old.
Provide Comfort For Your Baby
Help your baby feel calm and loved. Use your body language to communicate that rest time is a relaxing experience. Pat your baby on her back. Give your baby light, gentle caresses. Baby back massages can help your baby go to sleep. As your baby relaxes, she will get into a comfortable resting position and start sleeping in no time.
Bathe Your Baby
Baths make babies sleepy. Tepid warm water can help lull your baby into a rested state of mind. Wash your baby with high quality products, as untested products can create irritations. As a mom, I use Noodle and Boo products, which are FDA-approved, hypoallergenic, clinically tested, pediatrician tested, and ideal for babies with sensitive skin or eczema. When I previously used untested products, I always noticed that my children didn’t sleep as well. Include a limited amount of toys in the bath. Make sure that bath time doesn’t get mistaken for play time.
Dress Baby For Bedtime
Keep your baby at a comfortable temperature throughout the night. Think hard about where you set up your crib. Setting up a crib near a door or window will make the baby cold at night. Dress your baby in one more layer than you wear. Feel your baby’s cheeks to determine whether she is hot or cold. Babies can overheat if swaddled with too many layers. Swaddling works well for infants, but as babies get older and don’t want to stay in the swaddle you can use fleece sleep-sacks for winter and light cotton nightgowns for summer. Avoid using blankets until your baby is a year old.
Nursing Moms, Check Your Diet
If you are nursing, your baby could have a hard time getting to sleep if your diet is not baby friendly. Avoid spicy foods, which can cause an upset stomach. Reduce your intake of caffeine. Quit caffeine temporarily to help get your baby’s sleep on schedule.
Feed Your Baby
Late night hunger can keep your baby awake. When you aren’t sure what might be wrong at night, try feeding your baby. Nursing can comfort babies and give them warmth, but avoid nursing your baby to sleep, which may interrupt the sleep routine. Burp your baby well. A baby that needs to burp feels uncomfortable and stays awake.
Check Your Baby’s Diaper
Babies get fussy when their diaper feels wet. If your baby is fed and has trouble sleeping, give a new diaper to help provide comfort.
Sing To Your Baby
Sing a lullaby to put your baby to sleep. Babies love hearing their parent’s voice. Using a lullaby CD can work too. If you use a children’s CD, choose relaxing songs that aren’t up-tempo.
Let Baby Fuss
Let your baby fuss just for a few minutes. Rushing to your baby immediately when she fusses can make you sleep deprived and anxious. As your baby learns her bedtime routine, she will more easily fall to sleep without your help. Fussing it out for five minutes is not a big deal as sometimes mom needs sleep and rest too. Check that your baby is fed well and has a clean diaper before you let her fuss.
To learn more about Theresa’s parenting tips, visit her blog at Theresa’s Reviews.
I have previously received free items to help inform my writing, but not for the purpose of writing this article.

Monday’s Mommas: Sarah Harris from Live, Laugh, and Learn

It’s Monday and that means time to meet this week’s Monday’s Momma. Sarah Harris from Live, Laugh, and Learn joins us this week.
Though she received an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Master’s in teaching, Sarah’s real education began seven years ago when she became a mom. That’s also when you can pinpoint the sharp increase in her coffee consumption. She currently spends her days building with Legos, fashioning super hero capes and Elsa gowns out of dish towels and safety pins, and dancing around the kitchen like only her kids are watching. You can find her on Twitter quoting her kids (@skh4102) and on Instagram capturing their every adorable move (@sarah.livelaughlearn).
Check out her guest post here!
Legos, Money Management and Delayed Gratification
Evan is a Lego nut. Well, a Lego seed, because…you know…nut allergy.
Anyway, he’s obsessed. And I love this obsession. I love Legos because they’re the best toy ever. But beyond that, I love that there are “story” sets of Legos, like Lego Ninjago, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. I love that, through playing with Legos, reading Lego encyclopedias and books, and watching Lego animation on YouTube, Evan is gaining an awareness of some of these great stories and the characters in them. Because of Legos, Evan can’t wait to read The Hobbit and the Harry Potter series. I love that. And I love that he incorporates his own story-telling into his play with Legos….
…until he reaches a point in his story line that calls for a very specific, very hard-to-find Lego mini-figure that he found in one of his many “Lego catalogs.” And, because he’s savvy enough to know that the internet can make just about anything “happen,” he knows that all he needs to do is “type the name into the search bar, Daddy, you’ll find it!” And he does. Every time. Ebay is like a purgatory for all the rare and hard-to-find Lego mini-figures. Some, like random mini-figure-holding-a-briefcase will stay there for all eternity. But others, like the Lego Star Wars Elite Clone Storm Trooper, will wait patiently, knowing that someday, some desperate parent will shell out four times the actual retail value (plus shipping!) on the tiny bit of plastic to help her son finish Chapter 12 of Series 2 in Evan’s Star Wars Battle Story.
Well, not this mom, damn it.
I almost did. I almost spent ten dollars, TEN DOLLARS, on this mini-figure because I just love Legos, okay? But I didn’t. Because this will not be the only time that Evan reaches a point in his storyline which demands the introduction of a new figure or set.
So we came up with a plan.
We told Evan that he could buy this Elite Clone Storm Trooper, but that he’d have to use his own money. Our boys earn an allowance (and Molly will, too, once she realizes what we’re up to) of $2 each week. Our goal for providing allowance is for precisely this purpose, so that they will have to save up for and buy their own “extras.” However, allowing Evan to decide he “needed” this mini-figure and, that very afternoon, spend five weeks worth of his allowance on it seemed rash. Yes, technically, it’s his money and he should be allowed to do with it what he pleases…but the other goal of providing an allowance is to teach money-management skills, including delayed gratification.
So…here’s what we did:
We talked about how, when we want or need to make a big purchase (our car, for instance), we don’t rush out right away and buy it. First, we research which cars we can afford and which ones of those make the most sense for our family. When we’ve made a decision, we put the money we will need to spend on it aside (metaphorically) and think about it for a few days. The money is right there, reserved for the car we want to buy, but we want to make sure we are still happy with our decision after the excitement of finding a new “want” has worn off. Then, when we’re sure, we make the purchase.
So Evan went upstairs and took “enough” money out of his wallet. (The fact that he was willing to break his beloved $20 bill was indicative to me of his seriousness about this purchase.) We set it aside (on the fridge) and wrote down what he wanted and a date, five days from the day he decided he needed it.


During the five day “waiting period,” he mentioned several more wants and needs. Each time, we said, “Okay. Would you like to take back the money you set aside for the mini-figure and think about buying  something else instead?”
Each time, he thought about it and decided that no, he really wanted the Elite Clone Storm Trooper.
Finally, on October 6, he decided he was still happy with his choice and we made the purchase. We gave him change for his $20 (the official buying price came in lower than expected at $9.79 including shipping…a lucky bonus to our “waiting period” policy) and now we just wait for it to arrive on our doorstep.

Lesson Learned: We don’t always have all the answers, but I think this one might be a good policy for us to use from now on…as our kids, and their wants, get bigger. I mean for the kids. It’s not like I would ever need  a “waiting period” before making purchases. It’s not like I have a Zulily problem or something. [cough. cough.]

Monday’s Mommas: Suzanna from One Hoolie Mama

Thanks for checking out my Monday’s Mommas feature. This week I’m pleased to introduce you to Suzanna.
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Suzanna is a mom to a multitude of hooligans. You can find her over at  She’s a wife, boy mom, fur mom, runner and fitness enthusiast, blogger, volunteer, who also happens to work full time.  She blogs about their lives and the lessons she’s learning along the way. Read her post about introducing animals to your little ones.
Introducing the Boy to the Pack
I’ve been a mom to our fur children for many years now, so when we learned that we would be having our first non-fur child, I spent quite a bit of time researching how to introduce the new baby into the pack.   There are many different resources that give tips about introducing a little one, but I wanted to share how we chose to (both successfully and relatively easily) bring #BabyD into the pack.

We didn’t spend any longer at the hospital than we were required to by the doctors, so we weren’t away from the dogs too long (I am very thankful to have family close by and a brother who is willing to house & dog-sit when needed).  The only dog we had any hesitation about with the baby was Bella – she’s our youngest, a total daddy’s girl, and pretty much a diva hooligan.  Rather than bringing home baby clothes or blankets for the dogs to sniff out (like I said, we didn’t want to spend any extra time at the hospital, so why take the time to make an extra trip home?), we decided that our plan of attack was for me to come in first, say hello to the dogs, and let them out into the backyard.  Then Hubby would bring #BabyD in, and we’d let the dogs in one at a time to meet their new brother.






Bella was let in first and, while she was very curious about the new creature, she immediately caught on that this little thing was important to her daddy, so she decided he was going to be important to her as well.  Bella decided that this was going to be “her” baby and was attentive to his every fussiness.




The rest of the dogs have adjusted also very well to their new brother – sniffing him and giving him kisses whenever they get the opportunity, and letting him pet them almost whenever he wants.  Now that #BabyD is getting more mobile, sometimes he bothers the dogs enough for them to leave the room, but they are good sports.




All in all, we had an easy transition for the dogs, though they did need some extra attention from us in the beginning.  I think that most dogs will accept a new member to the pack as long as they still get love and attention too.


Monday’s Mommas: Jen Rudd from

Hello all…Thanks for checking out this week’s Monday’s Mommas feature.

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Jen Rudd from Jen Rudd HeadshotJen is a Work-From-Home wife and mom of two kids and two beagles from Redondo Beach, California. In addition to running her own Business Development firm, she also blogs about her experiences being a full time mom as well as a business owner. When she isn’t stressing about deadlines or preschool homework (why does a three year old have homework?!?), she enjoys long walks on the beach, making overly ambitious cakes for birthdays and reality television.

Read Jen’s touching post about the love for her children.



You Are My Sunshine

My favorite lullaby for my kids has always been “You Are My Sunshine.” I remember it as a child and it is etched in my memory as a song that has always soothed me.

In my post-partum haze after my son was born, I actually looked up the lyrics – I wanted to sing more than 1 ½ verses to him. What I found surprised me. It is a pretty sad song, about a scorned lover. It really doesn’t seem to be appropriate for a child’s lullaby, but it still holds true to me.

My favorite two verses are:

The other night dear
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you
In my arms
When I awoke dear
I was mistaken
and I hung my head and cried

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey
You’ll never know dear
How much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

I sing them over and over to my children. The song sometimes brings a little tear to my eyes – the thought of losing them is so frightening to me.

It is frightening because I almost lost both of them.

Both of my children had a rough first couple of months. My pregnancies were awful – I was being tested for pre-eclampsia at thirty weeks for both and they were both induced.

My daughter had a pretty bad start. She was born with fluid on her lungs and spent the first night in the nursery. She went home with jaundice light belts and was tested every day because she was not gaining weight. I thought her spit up was just a part of being a baby. It was a rough few weeks. But at 4 weeks, I felt we were out of the woods. I could start to relax. I actually slept for a few hours at night.

But then the shoe dropped.

We were playing on the floor and she just stopped moving and her lips turned blue. I picked her up in shock and she started moving again. It took me a few minutes to realize something serious had happened, and I called my husband in from the other room and took her to see the doctor. She was admitted to the hospital immediately.

After 3 days of testing, she was diagnosed with milk protein allergy, and SEVERE acid reflux. I found out later that her ALTE (Apparent Life Threatening Event – turning blue) was what was called a diver’s reflex. When the acid gets so bad, they actually hold their breath so they don’t swallow it. It was horrible with her in the hospital and all the testing, but I was glad to have answers and a course of action. Eventually she went on hypoallergenic (expensive) formula and medication and finally outgrew the acid reflux.

My son had a little better entrance. He got to come with me to our mother baby closet suite and seemed to be thriving.

Well for 12 hours at least. After my disastrous time with nursing and a hyper sensitive daughter, I still tried nursing him. Well, 12 hours after he was born, he was projectile-vomiting. It was hitting the side of the bassinet as he lay swaddled on his side (a technique I learned with my daughter. His bassinet was also raised at an angle).

After X-rays to rule out blockage, I immediately requested the pediatrician approve him for hypoallergenic formula. We immediately set him up with a gastroenterologist (from the same practice my daughter went to for the first year of her life) and thought we were doing everything to prevent another episode. We held off putting him on medication until he was a month old due to the side effects it could cause in newborns.

At exactly a month old, he had his ALTE.

I had just put him in his bassinet by my bed and settled down to watch a show with my hubby. I heard some strange noises and looked in his bassinet. He was bubbling and gasping for air. He was a strange shade of purple and struggling. I picked him up and we immediately started trying to get him to breathe. I found out later that blowing in their face helps snap the child out of out of the diver’s reflex episode. We called 911 and he started to come out of the episode. My husband thought we were going to lose him that night.

After the ambulance came and we spent the night in the county hospital (they took us there because the hospital was the closest one that dealt with ALTE pediatric cases) we went to the nearby children’s hospital for testing. He also had severe reflux and allergies.

Going through so much to get our kids to a good place has given me so much to be thankful for, but I also am painfully aware how easily they can be taken away. The days are long with a three and a one year old, but gosh, I am so supremely lucky that they are here to drive me nuts.

So every night, when I put them to bed, I hold them a little too tight as I sing my favorite lullaby…

Please don’t take my sunshine away.

Monday’s Mommas: Pets, Parents, and How Children Cope Best

Hello and welcome to my new feature “Monday’s Mommas”. Each Monday I will spotlight one or two bloggers with a fabulous guest post.

I’m kicking off the series with a post by Janet S. Lopes. In this entry, she writes about kids, pets, and the lengths we’ll go for our kids. Surely a great read whether or not you have pets!

janetJanet is a wife and mother of two living in Connecticut.  She is an award-winning television journalist, photographer, and blogger.  You can check out her outdoor adventure blog, “The Trail Mix” on


Pets, Parents, and How Children Cope Best 


Yep, that’s the name of my daughter’s hamster.  I can’t remember how she came up with it. Bella tried to change it a few times. But, those didn’t stick. This one did.  And for about a year, Babycakes was living the high life, as only a hamster could, until now.

Babycakes is a teddy bear hamster; cute, pudgy, and as my husband, Tom, notes, still a rodent.  Bella, who is 10, takes offense to that.  She feels it’s in an insult, tells her dad under no uncertain circumstances it is, and for the last year, tried to convince him otherwise.  Well, it may have finally paid off.

Because, like a vigilant hawk, Bella, just a few days ago, noticed something was amiss, “Mom, something is wrong with Babycakes.”

I looked at her, back at the hamster, saw nothing of concern, and tried to settle my daughter’s fears.

“She looks perfectly fine. She’s doing what hamsters do,” I said.

That was mistake number one.

Next day….same thing.

I took her from her multi-level cage (oh yes, only the best), checked her out, and dismissed her lethargic movements and bloated appearance.

“She’ll be fine,” I assured. “She’s just getting older and resting more.”

Mistake number two.

By this time, Bella is bursting at the seams, pleading with me constantly, finally, taking Babycakes from her ‘condo’ digs and sticking her in my face.

“See! Look at her again.  Can we take her to the vet?”

“What? Are you kidding? There aren’t many vets that take care of hamsters.  And, besides, it’s probably nothing,” I said.

Mistake number three.

And this…this is where the turnaround comes.  Before Bella went off with her sister for a weekend sleepover, she took me and my husband aside and quite seriously informed us, “Mom, Dad… you’ll have to watch out for Babycakes now.  Make sure she’s okay.”

And, like any other parent, we made our assurances, before we set out on our day.

Now, mind you, my husband and I were celebrating our anniversary.  So, we had big plans in mind.  We spent the day on the shore and hoped to catch some dinner and a movie.

But, before setting off again for the night, my daughter’s soft-spoken request kept whispering in my ears.

“Take care of her.”

So, I checked.  And, like Bella repeatedly told me, she was right. Something was wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. With most vet offices closed for business, I made Babycakes as comfortable as possible and set off to dinner with my husband.

But, the situation continued to gnaw at me.  And, while dining on some fine French food (as opposed to our normal French fries), I voiced my fears to Tom.

“What are we going to do about Babycakes?”

And, from the man who won’t even come near the tiny critter came, “We have to take her to the vet.”

So, now the race begins. As the appetizers head for our table, Tom is dialing up every emergency vet clinic in an hour radius.  No joke.  Now, we are seriously changing our nighttime plans, to pay a potential $100 emergency room visit to figure out what’s wrong with the little guy.

The transformation from doting husband to doting parent is instantaneous.  Yes, he feels bad for the hamster.  But, what is even clearer is that as a dad, he’s ever loyal to his daughter’s needs.

Despite the cost and inconvenience, we are both on page to do what’s right, save Babycakes’ life and make our own daughter proud of us.

But, it isn’t easy.  After a good hour of calls (in between the main course and with no

time for dessert), we are no closer to finding an on-call vet that could help us out.
But, this is our mission.  We are obsessed. One night’s search has now
turned into a full-fledged weekend offensive, to find someone.  Finally, with lots of phone consults, and an appointment in hand from a specialized vet, we make an early-morning visit.

And the news isn’t good.

“She’s much older now,” he said. “Her body is shutting down.  It’s time for a family discussion.”

The dreaded talk…the talk we already knew we had to prepare for.  But, there is no preparation.  Not for us, not for the kids, not even for the hamster.  But, it had to be done.

It wasn’t long before the tears flowed along with the questions, and everything in between.

But in that moment of sorrow and discomfort, what I found most remarkable, was that

we, the parents, became the very children we aimed to console. Whereas, Bella, the child,

became the caring and wise adult.

This, as I finally voiced a soft-spoken, “I’m sorry.”

Only to be met with her quiet strength.

“It’s okay.”