Simple mom style #Spring30for30

#Spring30for30 challenge

 

I’m a woman and mother who is hardly ever satisfied with her body. I feel like my body is constantly changing (partially due to motherhood) and I feel like nothing looks good on me. I want to only have clothes in my closet that help me feel good in my body. I want to be confident about the clothes that I wear and the way they look on me.

Simple Mom Style: #Spring30for30 Challenge

#Spring30for30 challenge

I am so excited for the month of April. I am choosing to only wear 30 items of clothing for the whole month (not including workout clothes, shoes, and accessories). This challenge is called Spring 30for30 and is hosted by Shawna from Simple On Purpose (I discovered her blog through this challenge and I love it) and Raj from Pink Chai. Several mom bloggers are taking part in this challenge.

The challenge begins April 1st and goes through the whole month.

Why I am doing this?

I am doing the #Spring30for30 challenge for several reasons.

The first and most important reason is the reason listed above. I want to fine tune my wardrobe to only clothes that help me feel confident about my body. I don’t want to spend time feeling conscious about my clothing not being flattering.

Second, I’m trying to be minimalistic but I have so many clothes and I only wear a small portion of them. I wear the same outfits a lot (I actually don’t mind this) and I am looking forward to being challenged to wear a different combo for a whole month. This will show me how well (or not well) my clothes actually go together.

Third, I need to make more room in my closet. I have very little space and I am currently sharing it with my toddler. Going through my clothes to choose 30 things to wear for a month gave me the opportunity to get rid of clothes that I haven’t worn in awhile and have no desire to wear again. I ended up with a garbage bag full of clothes to donate!

What do I hope to get out of this?

Besides gaining confidence and having less stress about clothes, I’m hoping this challenge will help me be more creative with my accessories. Especially since I recently became a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope, I want to be a pro at accessorizing to best showcase the beautiful fair trade items I am selling.

What are the 30 items I have chosen?

I recently went out and bought a couple pairs of jeans from Value Village (a thrift store) along with a gold t shirt and a black t shirt. Having 3 of my 30 items be jeans is kinda crazy for me since I have been more into skirts and dresses the last few years. I feel like my style is always changing but I have gotten more into fashion in the past year, so maybe my style is changing for the better.

I have chosen lots of t shirts. These are not boring t shirts but flattering (not tight in the tummy) with interesting cuts. Other shirts include some dressy shirts that I wear on a regular basis. I usually wear nice clothes even though I don’t leave the house most of the time but I also have those days of wearing workout clothes all day.

My other choices include:

  • 2 dresses– one striped and one black and a shirt dress.
  • 3 cardigans– a simple black cardigan, an ivory cardigan and my favorite: a long mustard yellow and gold cardigan with pockets, I wear this with almost everything
  • Four skirts– two pencil skirts and two maxi skirts (one solid black and the other patterned)
  • Two pairs of leggings (both patterned… to go with some of my longer shirts)
  • One pair of leather legging pants

Each day I am going to post a photo to Instagram using the hashtag #spring30for30 (see feed below)

Here’s a list of all the bloggers taking part in this challenge:

Kayla at The Accidental Nomad Life
Shawna at Simple On Purpose
Louise at Talk Nerdy to Me
Jenny at Ruminating Mommy
Hanna at Honey and Huckleberries
Shannon at Adventurous Mama
Roya at Bitsy Ideas
Emily at From Designer to Diapers
Krystal Leigh at The Valley Mom
Raj at Pink Chai

You can join us by using the hashtag #Spring30for30 on Instagram.

Tell me, what is your mom style?

Bravery: From Fear to Mother Pursuing Her Dreams

Bravery: from fear to mother pursuing her dreams

Our lives are filled with opportunities to be brave and to be the person God created us to be. To be honest, I have lived so much of my life in fear. It is so tempting to hold back and to barely live in a world that is full of negativity and discouragement.

I have done many brave things in my life but the bravest thing I have done is become a mom. Motherhood has challenged and grown me more than anything else. I have learned how to love in a way that I didn’t even know was possible. I have more love for my son than I thought could fit in my heart.

This week I wrote a guest post for Whatsoever is Lovely Living. Read the rest here.

Bravery: from fear to mother pursuing her dreams

How to create a quiet time basket for a toddler

how to create a quiet time easter basket for a toddler

Toddlers love to mimic their parents and if your toddler is like mine, he is constantly getting into your stuff. He loves to “color” with my highlighters. Keeping him occupied while I get work done or read my Bible is important so that we can have some quiet time together. It’s not always easy but I want to have an environment that encourages him to be independent. Creating this quiet time basket for my 21 month old will help me do that.

How to create a quiet time basket for a toddler

how to create a quiet time easter basket for a toddler

I am planning on giving this basket to Hezekiah on Easter. It will be so nice to have a basket that we can keep Hezekiah’s coloring supplies and Bible books in. He loves joining me when I do my devotions and I think including him in this time is a good habit to start now. He mostly colors but sometimes he looks at his Bible (he got several for Christmas last year). This will be a basket of age appropriate items for quiet time. Each year I can update it according to age or to replace the used items.

Here are some of the things I am putting in the basket (everything came from the thrift store or Dollar Tree):

  • A clipboard from the thrift store. This is a great surface for kids to use for coloring, drawing etc.
  • Writing and drawing utensils such as crayons. We need some that are big enough for my 21 month old to use easily and won’t break right away. Mama Natural recommends some natural beeswax crayons (see link below).
  • Coloring book. I am hoping to find a Bible theme or at least something that he will like more than my Care Bear coloring book.
  • Blank notepad or sketchpad.
  • Stickers. Toddlers love stickers. He can use this to decorate his clipboard, coloring book or a random cardboard box. Stickers are great fine motor practice.
  • Bible books. The dollar store usually has some small Bible themed books.
  • other quiet activities can be added as well

Check out Mama Natural’s Easter basket ideas.

how to create a quiet time basket for a toddler

 

 

 

What do you use to keep your toddler occupied while you get work done?

 

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What I am most looking forward to with baby #2 Guest post

What I'm excited about baby #2

Lisa from Naptime Chai is featured today writing about her excitement for the arrival of her second child. Soon she will have a newborn and toddler to care for. I’m excited for her get to watch her toddler become a sibling and for her whole family to fall in love with this new baby.

What I am most looking forward to with baby #2

What I'm excited about baby #2

Originally, I thought I wanted kids that were close in age. 18 months apart, to be exact. I had it all planned out, as people often do before they actually become parents.

Actually, I thought I would have kids close in age even after Clara was born… but that changed as soon as she became mobile. Then I realized that having two toddlers sounded really, really awful.

And right when I had this realization is when I got pregnant for the second time. God has quite the sense of humor!

So, now I’m expecting kids 21 months apart and, if I’m being honest, I’ve managed to live in a steady state of denial so far. I did the same with my first baby, though, so baby #2 shouldn’t take it personally. I’m trying my hardest to enjoy pregnancy and to not think too far into the future, since I have absolutely no idea what we’ve gotten ourselves into and trying to envision what life might be like will only bring unrealistic expectations. At least that’s my view on it.

But, even though it wasn’t necessarily in my plans to have two babies so close together, I couldn’t be more excited about our expanding family, and I say that with my whole heart. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew that God’s plan was bigger than my own, and I felt an instant sense of peace. I can handle this, because it’s His will for me and our family.

Here’s what I’m most excited for this time around:

– Clara becoming a big sister. Clara is obsessed with babies. She cannot handle a baby being in the room if she’s not within inches of him/her. She carries her baby dolls around everywhere and continuously tells me that they need to eat or have a diaper change. (It’s very frustrating that I need to change her doll’s diaper more than hers, but such is life.) I actually don’t know where she got this nurturing instinct, but it is so sweet and I cannot wait to see her in action. Although, I know it’s going to be exhausting because she is very bossy when it comes to how to care for a baby!

– Finding out whether Baby Beni is a boy or a girl. We don’t know the gender, and I’m excited for the big moment!

– Experiencing labor and delivery. Weird that I’m excited for this, right?! We had a terrible time at Clara’s birth, and I’m hoping Baby Beni’s birth is a redemptive story, of sorts. I would love to have a natural birth experience, but I’m open-minded that anything can happen.

– Watching my husband (Tim) with two babies. I am fortunate enough to be married to a man who loves babies. He was so excited to become a dad the first time and he’s extra-excited this time, now that he knows what to expect! I know that our marriage is going to go through some rough patches in the adjustment, but I have no doubt that he will be the most devoted dad to our two little ones.

– Snuggling a newborn. I’m one of those women who love newborns. I love everything about them. I loved Clara’s entire newborn stage. I realize it’s going to be a different experience now that I won’t be able to lounge around all day with a newborn (it turns out that toddlers have a lot of demands), but I’m so excited to snuggle a little body to sleep.

– Introducing another baby to our family and friends. It’s always so special to see my loved ones instantly fall in love with a new little person. It makes my heart melt just thinking about it. Isn’t it awesome how we all have such an infinite capacity of love, and meeting a new person just creates more room in our heart?

– Beginning a new chapter. I fully embrace life changes and transitions, and my life has been full of them lately! in 2012 I got engaged and married and moved to a new apartment, in 2013 I got a new job and got pregnant, in 2014 I had a baby, in 2015 we moved across the country, and in 2016 we’re having another baby! I’m ready for this new chapter to begin, and to see where we’ll go from here.

Even though this baby isn’t coming at my most ideal time, and I’m a little worried about my ability to handle a newborn and a toddler and eventually two toddlers, I’m also excited for everything that is to come. Our friends who have kids with similar age differences have admitted that the first few months are hard, but that it does get a lot easier. And then way further down the line, everyone has said that it’s really nice when the kids start playing together. It is my biggest hope that our family only grows closer with this new person in it.

Do you have kids that are close in age?! I would love to connect with you at my blog or through social media!

 

Lisa Benroeck bio photoLisa is a lifestyle blogger at ‘Naptime Chai’, where she writes about embracing life and its simple moments from one naptime to the next! She loves writing about a little bit of everything, but the topics closest to her heart are marriage, pregnancy, and motherhood. Through her writing, she hopes to encourage other women and mothers in whatever stage of life they’re in. She resides in the PNW with her laid-back husband, a very-fast-moving toddler, a high-strung dog, and the soon-to-be newest member of the family who is due to arrive in April!

You can connect with Lisa via her blog, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Related Posts from The Motherhood Journey

Babywearing photos for lending library

babywearing photo by Courtney Pegram

Babywearing has been an important part of my parenting and since I don’t have a car it has been a necessity. My son has always loved to be held and when he was a newborn the only way I could eat lunch was by having him in the Ergo.

I was so excited for this opportunity to get some photos wearing Hezekiah before he gets too big to wear (he turns two in 3 months). The babywearing group in Spokane is starting a lending library and Courtney Pegram, a birth doula and photograhper at Small Beginnings Photography and Birth Services, volunteered to take photos as a fundraiser.

The lending library will give moms and dads the opportunity to try different kinds of carriers. The cost of a year’s membership is a lot less than most baby carriers. This lending library will give parents the opportunity to borrow wraps and carriers that they would not be able to afford and find the carrier that works best for them. I am looking forward to becoming a member of this

babywearing photo by Courtney Pegram

My little boy can be so serious sometimes (like during this photoshoot) but at home he is crazy silly. I love him so much. In the photo below, I was bouncing Hezekiah trying to get him to smile. It wasn’t a success and he looks grumpy like he does in so many other photos.

Ashley_02

Babywearing meetings are a great way to make friends and get help with babywearing. In these photos, I am wearing an Indajani handwoven wrap that I got for my birthday last summer. I haven’t had much luck getting Hezekiah on my back on my own so just a few minutes before this photo was taken, one of the volunteer leaders of the group helped him get him on my back. I was so grateful for the help.

babywearing photo by Courtney Pegram

I’m so thankful for the babywearing groups that I have been a part of and am looking forward to helping new moms learn how to wear their babies when I help moms as a postpartum doula.

Thai tomato soup

Thai tomato soup

Last week, I posted my meal plan for the week. I was left with some tomato paste and coconut milk. I was having such a hard time figuring out what to make using those two things (besides the exact meal I made last week). My husband suggested this Thai tomato soup. We were unsure if it would be good but I decided to go for it and was pleased with the results. It’s easy, quick, healthy, and kid friendly.

Thai Tomato Soup

Thai tomato soup

I love to make soup because it is so easy and healthy. Soup is the perfect side to a sandwich for the nights when you don’t feel like doing a lot of cooking. All of the quantities below are approximate because you can just use what you have.

Thai Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger (about 1 inch of fresh ginger)
  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 red bell peppers

Directions

Step 1
Pour coconut milk into pot.
Step 2
Add tomato paste, curry and ginger to taste.
Step 3
Stir over medium heat until smooth.
Step 4
Chop the tomatoes and peppers.
Step 5
Blend the tomatoes and peppers until pureed.
Step 6
Add puree to pot and cook until desired temperature.

 

I told you it was simple (like most things I post on this blog :). The best part is that my toddler loved this soup. This is a big deal because he refuses most foods.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any ideas to make this soup even better.

How I have hope in hard times

Last summer, my son and I moved across the state to live with my parents. The transition has not been easy. I moved away from a city that I loved, with friends nearby, most of my life was in that city.  Since August, I have  been looking for a job, praying for my marriage to be restored, and constantly adjusting to being a mom in a new city.

At the end of last year I was reflecting on one of the words that had been coming up a lot: hope.

This year has been full of hurt and disappointment. If you know what is going on in my life, it would appear to be anything but hopeful. It has felt like my life is moving backwards instead of forwards, I’ve been scared and at times not able to see any good in my future.

Read the rest of my guest post on Mommy’s Front Porch View.

How I Have Hope in Hard Times

Project Lead Kindly: Help Homeless Moms

bloggers leading kindly
I am passionate about helping moms especially those facing a crisis pregnancy. Recently, another blogger asked for help with this project and I enthusiastically volunteered because this project fits so well with The Motherhood Journey’s mission. It is so important that these mothers receive the help that they need.
Project Lead Kindly is based in California but there are shelters and maternity homes that serve pregnant women across the country. I have compiled a list of  housing resources you can view here. Check out Project Lead Kindly and see how you can participate below.
As bloggers, we use a lot of words. We have realized that WORDS are POWERFUL and we have decided to use our words for good and spread a message about a great cause…
Today, I wanted to introduce you to Project Lead Kindly and their 2016 Pregnancy Shelter Hop.

Project Lead Kindly is a nonprofit organization that assists mothers & children affected by domestic violence and homelessness. They are also on a mission to encourage, inspire, and remind everyone that we ALL have the potential to serve & “lead kindly,” no matter our circumstances. Each year, Project Lead Kindly provides a BIG service project to the community. Last year, they organized a children’s book drive.This year, we are raising money for Project Lead Kindly’s 2016 Pregnancy Shelter Hop. We will be assisting 5 different shelters throughout California that house homeless, pregnant mothers and their children. We will be donating newborn necessities to:Harvest Home, Precious Life Shelter, Casa Teresa, Angels Way Maternity Home, and Elizabeth House. We will also be throwing two events to assist the mothers serviced by Elizabeth House & Angels Way Maternity Home.

How you can help!

While the events are local to California, we wanted to find some way for the amazingly supportive online community to help out! We’ve set up a GoFundMe with a goal to raise $1000 for Project Lead Kindly:
12804185_10207707526433899_1218166114_n
All funds donated will go to Project Lead Kindly & help:

1) provide these necessary items for the mothers & their babies at all 5 shelters,
2) throw the events for the mothers from Elizabeth House & Angels Way,
3) help spread the Lead Kindly message (the reminder that ALL have the potential to do good and to be an example to others, no matter what trials they face) to these women who need to be encouraged & reminded of their worth & potential and that they are cared for!

Please consider donating even $1 to the cause. Every little bit helps. In addition to donating, if you want to share the cause with us, please:
1) take the image below
2) share it in your own blog post and social media

3) encourage others to join our initiative & donate!

You can also email projectleadkindly@gmail.com your blog post link so they can share it with others!

And if you don’t have a blog, but simply want to share the cause, we encourage you to take the image & share it on social media! We have a goal of $1000, and if we all use our words together, we can reach it!
We also wanted to include a fun giveaway as a thank you for your support! This giveaway is sponsored by the bloggers and not Project Lead Kindly directly.
bloggers leading kindly

The prizes:

Raewyn will be giving away a $25 Starbucks gift card and ad space on Be a Warrior Queen.
Pam will be offering ad space on Hodge Podge Moments
Emilie and Laura will be offering ad space on Burke Does

Check out our giveaway hosts:

How to enter:


Any little bit helps! If you want to find out more information about Project Lead Kindly, visit www.projectleadkindly.com

Thank you so much for leading kindly with us!

Housing and Shelter Resources

housing shelter resources pregnant moms

There are many options for moms who need a safe place to stay. Most cities have shelters and some have maternity homes which offer pregnant women a family atmosphere and support to find permanent housing. Please let me know if you have other resources to add to the list.

Housing and Shelter Resources

housing shelter resources pregnant moms

Women’s Shelters

A nationwide directory of women’s shelters

Life Call

list of shelters and maternity homes that house pregnant women across the country

Life Services Maternity home (Spokane)

“Life Services’ Maternity Home offers a “family” setting for up to six women at a time, with live-in house parents providing posi­tive relationship modeling.”

Anna Ogden Hall (Spokane)

Project Lead Kindly’s 2016 Pregnancy Shelter Hop (OC, California)

 

Tips for helping your child adjust to a new sibling

tips for helping child adjust to new sibling

There are many things that parents can do to help their child adjust to the new baby making the transition easier for the whole family. I am looking forward to trying out most of these ideas when the time comes for my family to have another baby. Getting the older child involved helps make this a positive transition for the family.

Tips for helping your child adjust to a new sibling

tips for helping child adjust to new sibling

I don’t yet have experience with having a second child of my own but exactly 25 years ago yesterday my younger sister was born when I was 21 months old. I know it wasn’t easy having to share my mom’s attention with a newborn. I was extremely jealous of my sister and threw a lot of tantrums, just like the tantrums that my son Hezekiah has when I hold other babies.

Be aware of the possibility of regression. A lot of toddlers regress with potty training after the new baby is born.

Involve your older child

One way to prevent some of these unwanted behaviors is to keep the older child involved in preparations, pregnancy, and caring for the baby after he is born. Find simple tasks that the older sibling can easily help with. Some examples include fetching supplies, picking out the baby’s clothes and singing to the baby. Having a way for the older child to help makes them feel important and that they are a vital part of the family.

One on one time is so important now that they are having to share you. It won’t be easy but you can do something special with your older child while the baby is taking a nap.

Communicate about expectations, changes, and babies needs

Talk to your child ahead of time about what to expect and what things are going to be different. Explain what will happen when you go into labor. Will somebody babysit your child while you are at the hospital?

Will your child be present during the birth? One of my friends had her son present during her home birth. To prepare him, she showed him home birth videos and talked about the sounds she might be making. I think having your child present during the birth (especially at home) is a good way to start the sibling relationship.

Explain what babies can and cannot do. Talk about what babies need (the book suggested below is perfect for this). If they have not been around a lot of babies, try exposing them to more babies or practice being gentle with a doll. If your child’s friends have siblings, you can use that as a conversation starter.

When talking about the baby (before and after birth) make sure to be positive and never blame the baby for not being able to do things.

Big brother/ big sister gifts

New siblings want to feel special and these gifts will help occupy your toddler/ preschooler while the parents are occupied with the newborn. Some suggest having this be a gift from the baby.

  • sticker books
  • audio books
  • childrens camera— I have heard many parents say that this is a great way for the new older sibling to bond with the baby and it gives the older child a job in welcoming the new baby.
  • activity/ busy bags for toddler
  • coloring books
  • baby doll
  • big sibling baby book
  • Big Sister bag this can be adapted for a big brother
  • A favorite toy that they have been wanting

Here’s some free printable “big sis” and “big bro”  tags for the gifts.

Gift from older sibling to new baby

  • Let the older child help pick out a special gift (have them wrap it) or have the child help make something like a blanket.
  • stuffed animals– my son and I both have sheep stuffed animals and already have one for the future baby (that does not exist yet).
  • A book or toy that the older child no longer plays with.

Books that help prepare children for a sibling

When I was a nanny there were two books about welcoming a new baby that I loved. These books can be adapted to different ages and have suggested activities to help prepare a child for a new sibling. Both books are from the Sears Children’s Library

Other books that are highly suggested by parents:

Basket of special things for nursing sessions 

Some of the gifts listed above can be put in a basket for the older child to use while mom is nursing the baby. Quiet toys like crayons or play dough are perfect for this. Check out When at Home’s post for more ideas.

Rainy Day Mum’s post describes the kind of items that you want to include in your nusring basket/ box.

What are your biggest concerns for adding another child to your family?

What tips would you add to this list?

 

Follow my Pinterest board for more resources.
Follow The Motherhood Journey’s board Transitioning to two (or more) kids on Pinterest.