Okay, Okay, the calendar may not read SUMMER just yet, but as soon as school’s out, it’s sweet summertime in my book. When the temps start rising, beach and pool bags start being filled, and more and more pools start opening up, it’s time to bust out the fruit bowls and fire up the grill. While all of that is fun and great, lets be honest, sometimes plain ole water just doesn’t cut it. I’m the first one to LOVE a big glass of iced water, but even that doesn’t always suffice in the summer heat. Last summer I was pregnant and this summer I’m a nursing mom which means I’m not able to put down the amount of caffeine I did once upon a time. I love all the iced drinks, lattes, coffee, frapps, etc. and now I’ve had to find some alternatives to beat the summer heat, but still enjoy a good drink aside from water. Of course, like many women, I took straight to Pinterest, a few friends, and my personal archive, to find some ideas and here’s what I came up with. Some are tried and true and some have yet to be tried, but they’re on the list because…. YUM! You’ll understand as you read….
This first one isn’t from Pinterest, it’s straight from Jens kitchen….
Homemade Strawberry Lemonade
(Yields 1 Gallon)
1 gallon of water
2 cups of sugar syrup*
8 oz lemon juice
Add to lemonade to infuse:
1 lemon sliced
a few strawberries
*make syrup by adding one cup of water to 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan. Heat on stove until sugar turns clear. Cool then add to lemonade mixture
Coconut Lime Cooler
(Photo from Tasteforlife.com)
This next one is a Coconut Lime Cooler and oh my goodness it looks great! I don’t know about you but anything Coconut screams “beach” and “summertime” to me. I’m sharing because I cannot wait to throw this one in the blender. It’s pretty simple, doesn’t include a ton of ingredients, and doesn’t require 20 steps to make it. That’s my kind of frothy, yummy drink.
Find the recipe HERE.
Decaffeinated Sweet Tea
(Photo AND recipe from mollysims.com)
Ya’ll I’m a Southern transplant. I wasn’t raised here, but once I stepped foot on the Tennessee soil back in 2013, I took in all that it had to offer and with that, I became a sweet tea lovin’ gal. I could LIVE off of sweet tea, but unless I want my son to literally bounce off the walls, mama had to replace her Regular Lipton bags (which is what the original recipe calls for), with some decaffeinated ones. There are obviously a million ways to make sweet tea, but Molly's is the one most like what I make.
Find the Recipe HERE.
My favorite way to carry any of these drinks is by using THIS! Seriously, it's huge. It's cute. It's convenient.
One of my most favorite things to keep in the fridge, especially in the summer, is infused water. It is seriously the most refreshing thing ever.
Here’s what I use:
Fill a pitcher full of cold water
Add fresh Mint, Ginger, Sliced Lemon, and Sliced Cucumber
Allow to sit for 6-8 hours before drinking
Decaffeinated Iced Coffee
This one is straight from me. I LOVE iced coffee. Let me be honest, I still drink SOME caffeine and some of us who LOVE caffeine, cringe at the word decaffeinated. I usually keep a 2-quart jar of this Iced Coffee in my fridge because at 3PM when I’m wanting Starbuck’s, but not wanting to fork out $4-5 for Iced Coffee, I can get it from my fridge. Also, 3PM is NOT the time to load up on caffeine while nursing. Unless you’re totally okay with your child being up all night which I AM NOT.
Find your favorite coffee (coarsely ground works best, but fine ground works just fine)
*My favorite coffee here
I make my iced coffee in a cold brew system like THIS (You can also do iced tea in this!)
Insert the filter that holds the grounds and add water, lift the filter until the water seaps out and repeat until the 2-quart jar is filled with water.
Place the lid on and let refrigerate for 24 hours.
*** Mix 1, 12 oz. can of evaporated milk and 1, 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk. Put in container and store in fridge for up to a week.
Fill cup with ice, use preferred amount of sweet cream and add iced coffee. Stir and Enjoy!
(Photo and Recipe from Neverendingjourneys.com)
Want something that’ll make the whole fam dam happy and is PERFECT for the Summer party or a fun vacation treat? I found this on Pinterest and it’s called Hawaiian Punch. NOOOOO, It’s not the same as the stuff you buy at the store, well, it is, but it isn’t. It’s got an extra punch…. ;P... See what I did there?
Check out the recipe Here!
Yes, I know, this is a long post! But now there are plenty of delicious summertime options for you nursing mamas out there. I'm so excited to try the ones that I haven't tried yet, especially while laying around the pool this summer.
What are your favorite summer beverage recipes?
Welcome to Parenthood. Welcome to the sweet little coos, giggles, and adorable moments that you will embrace as a rookie or veteran parent. Now for my veterans, you know all about what I am going to write about when it comes to the first few days, to the first month. My rookie parents, here is the unedited, un-baby powered version of parenthood.
Baby’s job is to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. Your job is to not sleep, feed them, cuddle them, love them, and do your best to shield your face or in some cases your entire body from projectile fluids. Tiny tummies equal frequent feedings and if you are breastfeeding, prop up a pillow and try your best to levitate your child or invest in a Boppy. Some things that are super awesome when feeding your precious angel at 2am is when they start to roll back their eyes poltergeist style with the pure silence and darkness of the night and you’re sure to flashback every horror movie. When breastfeeding, if little one is ready to eat like a champ, sometimes if you don’t fully guide them toward your breast, they move their little heads so quickly as if they were little kittens and you were moving a red laser light back and forth super quick. Don’t forget it is 2am, you were just up 2.5-3 hours ago, and most likely your partner is next to you snoring.
Newborns eat often and need frequent diaper changes. In the beginning, those that lack experience will have so much fun when it comes to lava or mud explosions. The first sign of trouble can be in the form of a warm or wet feeling when holding baby. This simply means you didn’t secure the diaper correctly or what came out just didn’t fit in the diaper. Another sign can be the sound of an explosion coming from their tiny little coolie and do not be fooled. This tiny bottom has tiny space in that tiny diaper, but keep in mind that what is coming out will NOT be tiny. Always give baby time to finish going to the bathroom or during your changing time, baby will continue going in the form of lava. If your second diaper isn’t prepped properly, lava all over changing table, all over baby, and possibly you. Note to self, always have a diaper and wipes ready to go. Go in ready for a war, even if it is just a battle.
This is where having a little girl may be a little easier than a little boy. Little boys have fire hoses that at any second can go off. A chill in the air, entering bath time, or after changing a diaper and attempting to put on a clean one can trigger the evacuation of potty time. The worst is when you’re trying to be cute with baby and kiss baby’s tiny tummy and without any alarms, sprinkle tinkle on you. I admit I find it hilarious that my husband still doesn’t shield away, but it never fails when he tells me he was hosed.
I can’t stress how important it is to burp. Not you mom or dad reading this, your child. Few reasons the task of burping is not optional regardless if they just fell
asleep in your arms and it’s so cute. First, unless you want the deathly screams of your child to arise you from your sleep because you thought it was super cute to watch them sleep after a feeding and decided to skip it, BURP THE KID. 9 out of 10 times, little one will continue sleeping. Second, no burp equals an evacuation of what just went in. Besides making sure you burp little one so nothing comes back up, wait about 10 minutes before laying them down so nothing comes up as well.
Of course this will come with time, but even as newborns you can get some adorable giggles from them and adorable smiles. The only time this isn’t cute is when it is in the middle of the night, maybe you’re solo until someone gets home and then you hear it. You hear it from the monitor or the crib, it is dark in your house, and the movie Chucky flashes in your head. At the same time, a horror movie commercial comes on and all bets are off. You casually laugh at yourself and hope for the best.
Gas is good, but the smell is not. You want your baby to pass gas, and at that time it also gives dad a break of getting all the heat because from baby it is cute. I admit that when my little one wakes up and I am so tired, his 4-5 farts on the changing table make me laugh uncontrollably and remind me it too shall pass. However, the only time life will remind you of how gas isn’t a good time is when you are feeding little one and you are trapped. Bottle in one hand and the other hand supporting baby means nothing to shield your nostrils from the horrific smell that yes, just came from that adorable little baby. No, adding 4 cups of baby powder will not make the smell better. That my friends will make you a lava poop cake when it is all said and done.
Let me start with there are many baby products out there stating how they will make your baby sleep through the night. First, please keep in mind that newborns wake often for a reason. Newborns need to eat and maintain a healthy weight. Second, every baby is different. Yes, Karen will tell you that her baby slept 7 hours, but that does not guarantee you that your little one will. It does get better, the zombie feeling will fade, and then when you are finally able to get 5-6 hours of sleep, you are staring at your sleeping child wondering why they aren’t awake yet. Again, do what works for you and your baby.
All and all keep in mind that every baby is different. That is the most important thing to remember. You will get advice from every person you know from the in-laws and maybe even your mailman. Listen, but do not feel obligated to stand on your head when burping the baby because Sally said it was the best thing for her baby. Enjoy the lava poop, enjoy the stinky gas, because one day they will grow up and those zombie walks at night as you rock baby to sleep will be a great memory.
Whether you work full-time, part-time, from home, or stay at home, we all know Motherhood is the biggest job any of us could’ve ever signed up for. It doesn’t matter if you carried the baby, adopted the baby, foster the child, step-parent children (or bonus parent the child as I like to call it), or just have children under your wing.… you sacrifice EVERY SINGLE DAY for another person.
Easily, just like birthdays, we can get passive about being celebrated. If you’re anything like me, it’s almost hard to let go of pride and humbleness and allow yourself to be recognized for all that you do. It’s uncomfortable. It’s like the feeling you get when there are 20 people around you singing “Happy Birthday” and you don’t really know what to do with yourself while it’s happening.
But Mother’s Day ISN’T “just another day”. You wake up every single day and give yourself freely to other little (or big) people. You nurse, you bottle feed, you make #AllTheMeals, you run errands, you run to and from sports, you try to remain a good partner to your partner, and somehow…. You try to find some tiny little moment in that 12-hour day that the kiddos are up, to keep your sanity. You worry, you pray, you think, you process, and you research any and everything about your littles. You stare at them, you laugh with them, you sing, you dance, you read, you do crafts, you play outside, and you do everything to ensure they’re as well-rounded as possible. You make your home, you clean your home, you do dishes, you do laundry, you make beds, and the cool thing is you GET to do these things. They’re hard things…. But you GET to do them. It won’t always be like this, mama. It’s a season, not a lifetime. A season that at some point you might really miss.
Up all night with a teething baby, yep.
Living on fast food for a week because the kids get out of school at 3 and have to be at practice by 5, you’ll miss that too.
So breathe them in. Hug them tighter. Look them in the eyes. Laugh at their silliness. Rock them longer. You are their world. You GET to be Mama.
For ONE DAY a year, allow yourself to be celebrated or better yet, celebrate your dang self. There’s automatically one day on the calendar every single year that is specifically designated to you being one amazing human being and giving so much of yourself on the reg. Perhaps you just want to spend the day WITH your kids…. Perhaps you want to spend the day without them (no shame, no shame). No gift? Maybe gift yourself. Maybe you snag yourself an adorable Honey from here, while they’re 25% off so you can have something new. Maybe you just want to go get your nails painted in peace or take a nap in a cold, dark, quiet, room. Maybe as a family, you go to dinner or to church and your kids make you homemade cards about how awesome you are. Sheesh, now I’m ready for Mother’s Day as I type this. However you choose to spend it, make sure to allow yourself to be celebrated. Being honored for being as great as you are, isn’t just another day.
I often have people ask me, “So, how does it feel to be a mom?” and I never really know how to answer that question. The first response that pops into my brain is usually: “busy but loving every minute of it!”. I have such a hard time trying to describe to someone how incredible it feels to have a baby but also how challenging it can be without talking their ear off. Motherhood is not an experience that can be described in one simple statement and it is not an experience that is the exact same for every woman. However, there are many aspects and moments in my motherhood journey so far that I believe other mommas might be able to relate to. So, for me, motherhood is:
Packing a diaper bag that is so well stocked, you could last a couple of weeks in the wilderness with it but forgetting your wallet and phone.
Worrying about your child having an identity crisis because you have at least 17 different nick names for them already.
Feeling your heart swell every single time your little one smiles that sweet toothless smile at you.
Turning on your favorite house-cleaning playlist only to realize it is comprised of songs that really aren’t appropriate for your 6-month-old daughter.
Thinking extensively about how amazing it is that you grew this tiny human inside of you.
Having arguments with your husband about the correct lyrics to a Moana song.
Realizing your own mother has been and probably always will be right about almost everything.
Learning to advocate for yourself and what you know is best for your child.
Being excited to put the baby down for the night but then missing them fiercely the instant they are out of your arms.
Covering up the original hardwood flooring in your home with soft carpet because you don’t want your baby learning to crawl and walk on hard floors.
Wondering if the rest of the world knows how freaking adorable your baby is.
Literally milking yourself like a cow so that your baby has breastmilk if you leave the house without them. Ahhh, the rhythmic sound of a breast pump.
Finding that the days may seem long, but the weeks fly by.
Realizing your daughter has your fiery Irish temper and your husband’s stubbornness and that – yikes- you have your work cut out for you.
Thinking that you are totally prepared for the whole parenting thing and then quickly realizing you’re not and nothing can prepare you but the real thing.
Connecting with other moms and making new friends, because there is nothing like bonding over diaper blowout horror stories.
Crying every time your baby outgrows a size of clothing or diapers.
Watching your husband fast asleep and wondering how he doesn’t wake to the baby’s cries the way you do.
Taking turns walking with the inconsolable baby up and down the hallway during the hours of 8-10 pm every night for a month.
Wanting nothing more than to slow time down.
Learning terms like 4-month sleep regression, let-down, and colostrum.
Calling your mom to ask questions like, “how do I know if the baby has a fever?” and “is it normal for the poop to be this color?”.
Pushing a little human out of your body and realizing in an instant that you would give and do anything for the baby you only met moments ago.
Realizing that you are suffering from PPD/A and being strong and brave enough to get help.
Googling things that a person should never have to google and then being pleasantly surprised to see that others have googled it as well.
Gaining a new best friend - someone to listen to you babble on as you fold the laundry, have dance parties with, and teach all of your favorite things to.
Looking into your child’s eyes and wondering if your heart might actually explode from the love you feel towards them.
Spending as much time at Target as humanly possible but having an even better excuse for it than before.
Making eye contact with another mom at the grocery store with a screaming baby and nodding because, solidarity sister!
Reminding yourself over and over that you are the adult and you are in charge but still questioning it to yourself.
Spending an extra 5 minutes in your already short shower to pick the hair off yourself that you have been shedding since 3 months post-partum.
Smelling like partially digested breastmilk all day and being totally fine with it.
Feeling both inadequate and frightened for what is to come.
Knowing that you are going to do your absolute best as a momma while loving your baby unconditionally and that will be enough.
Wearing adorable jewelry that not only compliments your outfit but gives your little one something to keep their hands busy.
Maybe I will print some of these out on business cards and give them out when people ask what its like to be a new mom! If I had to narrow it down to one sentence, I think it would be this: Motherhood is a
whirlwind of the purest joy, selflessness, transformation and beauty that has altered the way I look at myself and the world around me. What is motherhood to you
We weren’t sure how we would introduce the idea of a baby growing inside my tummy or how breastfeeding works to our then 3 ½ year old. Thank goodness we had 9 months to prepare him to not be our “baby” anymore. These are a few suggestions I have for mamas to help their little ones get ready.
Read To Them
My favorite book to read together was “What Baby Needs” by William Sears, Martha Sears, and Christie Watts Kelly. This one helped me give the run down of breastfeeding would be like once a baby came into the world. My son certainly didn’t remember nursing, and the thought was slightly confusing to him, so this was nice to read about together!
Another book I highly suggest is “I’m A Big Brother!” (Or Sister) by Ronne Randall and Kristina Stephenson. I love how this one explains to the sibling that babies grow up slowly, and cannot play, roll balls, or interact with them right away.
A few other cute ones are “The New Baby” by Mercer Mayer as well as “The Birds, The Bees, and The Berenstain Bears” by Stan & Jan Berenstain.
Big Brother/Sister Gifts
Once we got close to my due date I got together a fun little big brother gift basket. He had just turned 4 so we ordered some fun water beads, a new space book, an interactive Minion coloring book for his Ipad, and new pajamas to stay over at Grammy and Poppi’s house while we were at the hospital! I had planned to get him a disposable camera to use at the hospital to take pictures of the baby and our family, but we ran out of time to buy one.
I’m so thankful for that first book, “What Baby Needs” that we read over and over after his little brother was born, to help him realize he will always have mommy to spend time with and mommy just needs to feed brother because he can’t eat like him. We ended up having a smooth transition and he was a wonderful big brother to his baby. Good luck to all you expecting mamas out there!
written by VHS contributor// Britney Kaufman
The Busy Boy Mama
I'll admit I'm a control freak. Not even a little one, a huge giant control freak. It's hard for me to relax during a normal week, but add holiday stress into the mix and I'm a hot mess. Finally after 5 years of being a working mom I'm learning to ask for help and do things for myself. I'm realizing how important self-care is for my mental health and without that, I can't properly take care of the kids and myself.
Here are my self-care tips for mothers, especially new mothers, around the holidays.
Let others do the cooking.
Touching on the topic of me being a control freak, I used to stress myself out doing a million things rather than try to ask for help. This is definitely the hardest for me. Why would I want to spend 10-15 minutes explaining something and answering questions, than just doing it myself? Well it took me almost 5 years to figure out that I didn't have to do everything myself and if I took 10 minutes explaining how to clean or cook something, or even where to take the kids, I could have 45+ minutes to myself. Instruct someone how they can help you out by cooking or what to cook. If you're hosting a holiday party, have people bring side dishes and desserts!
Pictured below is an incident from one week after Christmas, being at 37 weeks pregnant trying to bake birthday cupcakes:
Take a walk.
I'm not talking about around the mall while you're shopping for gifts, I mean getting outside! Exercising can boost your mood, and this is especially important to postpartum mothers. Also, if you live somewhere where it's cold and gray during the winter, you could also be at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is another good reason to get outside in the (limited) sunshine during the winter and get yourself some vitamin D.
Whether It be an extra coffee, tea, glass of wine, massage, or splurging on that $10 bath bomb. Make sure you do something extra for yourself! You are more than likely doing most of the shopping and planning for the holiday, you deserve an early gift.
Take a break from social media.
Taking a break doesn’t have to mean a week; even if it's putting your phone up for a few hours, or a whole day. It's hard to not compare yourself to other families or moms that have their whole homes perfectly decorated. I grew up in a house that was beautiful every year, and do I remember what it looked like? NO! I remember the experience of putting ornaments on a tree and going to dinner at my grandmas. Live in the moment with your baby/kids and enjoy it!
Hope these tips help you relax a little bit and remember it’s ok to be selfish once in a while!
written by VHS contributor// Britney Kaufman
The Busy Boy Mama
We can almost smell the turkey and mashed potatoes! Who else is getting stoked for Thanksgiving?! If you haven't noticed yet we love to celebrate holidays around here by giving away printables! This free "thankful and blessed" printable is just perfect for this time of year. Frame it and this would make a wonderful (and inexpensive) hostess gift to give to whoever hosts Turkey Day in your family! I have mine hanging in our studio with some cute washi tape. If you're thankful :) for it let us know by pinning or sharing this post and we will keep the free printables a coming!
We're also having some fun over at our Honey Mamas Facebook Fan Group ! If you're not a Honey Mama Fan yet we would love for you to join us. Our Honey Mamas have access to exclusive coupons, flash sales & giveaways! Oh and we're even offering an exclusive necklace (at a special sales price woot woot) for members only! So come hang out with us.