Your Weekly Top 10

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Start Of Oprah & Deepak's 21 Day Meditation Experience Couldn't Be Better Timing!

Free as a bird
Today was the kick off of Oprah & Deepak Chopra's brand new 21 Day Meditation Experience, Energy Of Attraction - Manifesting Your Best Life and it couldn't have come at a better time (for me.)  I am currently very pregnant with our 3rd baby and feeling like I'm going to pop any day. Pop from having this baby as well as pop from stress.  We're planning to have our 2nd home water birth with an awesome midwife and doula team and of course my amazing beyond words husband. The home birth isn't what I'm stressed about. I'm actually excited to experience another home water birth because it's such an amazing, empowering, life changing experience.

What has been stressful is being pregnant with baby #3 - meaning I have baby #1 (who is now 6 1/2) and baby #2 (who is now 4) running around like wild needing life to carry on with business as usual. It's hard to explain to a small child that mommy is super tired from pregnancy insomnia, or super crabby from being uncomfortable simply because I'm 9 months pregnant (which I currently am). It's also hard to explain the emotional roller coaster a pregnant women goes on, especially during the very end of the 3rd trimester when everyone else needs life to carry on with business as usual - including adults, and you are not even the same person you were 2 months ago let alone 9 months ago when things were running "smoothly."  Does parenthood ever run smoothly though?  Let's be honest.

When I was pregnant with baby #1 over 6 years ago this last trimester was filled with very easy going days completely dedicated to nesting and getting ready for baby. Oh-my-gosh-I-didn't-know-how-good-I-had-it-back-then! Now my days are filled with raising two busy, high energy, creative and imaginative children who are also busy with swimming classes, dance classes as well as an upcoming Christmas recital that both kids are in - oh and did I mention there is a a dress rehearsal 2 days before my due date? (WHAT on Earth was I thinking when I signed up for this tap/ballet combo class??!!)  We are also going to nature preschool a few times a week. I'm totally drained. However, nature preschool is actually very relaxing (once we finally get there that is.)  The mornings trying to get 2 kids out the door early enough to beat the morning rush hour traffic is not so relaxing. But once we are there, completely surrounded by nature and we drop our preschooler off for an hour & a half of exploring and discovering and playing in nature's raw beauty, we hit the dirt trails for a nature hike in the fresh morning air. It's magical! The other day we spotted two Great Horned Owls just hanging out in the trees staring down at us. This place does not have any cages or anything like that so these owls were free to roam wild.  I've never seen wild owls in their natural habitat that close up before. Amazing! So the nature center rocks!  (Look for one in your city. You probably have one near you and don't even now it.)

So I was totally delighted when I discovered that Oprah & Deepak were once again offering a Free 21 Day Meditation Experience and that it was starting so soon! Today in fact!  If you have not registered yet you still have time and each day's meditation is available for 5 days after it gets released. So go sign up. There is still time!

I participated in the last one a few months ago (give or take) and it was a really great experience. I have to admit I did not complete every single meditation. In fact, I even missed Day 1, which I was bummed about. But I didn't give up on it and I just tried to do what I could when I could do it and I was so glad I did!  I felt more calm and peaceful after doing the meditations and even my midwife noticed a difference. More relaxed and calm.

So, normally I do not give out personal information like my due date. After having 2 kids I don't even like giving out the due date - period! Especially when you don't go into it having a "planned birth" (like an induction or a c-section), the due date really just becomes a guess. However, only the mother is aware of this apparently because a week or so before the due date you start to get hounded by everyone and their grandma asking you, "have you had that baby yet?"  And of course the answer is, "if I had you'd know about it." People think of a due date as a date that is written in stone or something. Babies rarely come on their due date. A lot of time first babies even come late. My lil guy actually did come right smack on his due date which doesn't seem to happen too often. He was my home water birth baby. My lil Honu swimming into my arms.

As for this baby? Who knows. However, for the purpose of this blog post I will tell you that the 21 Day Meditation Experience starts exactly 21 days before my due date. (Give or take if the due date is even totally accurate, that is.) Coincidence?  I think not. I'd like to think of it as divine intervention for an overly frazzled and overwhelmed preggo mama who is due with baby #3 soon and who needs desperately to find some peace, calm, quite and relaxation in her house full of wild monkeys - my husband being the ring leader of the monkey circus of course.

So Thank you Oprah & Deepak Chropra!  You have no idea what this means to me!  I'm looking forward to a little calm in the storm right now as well as some serious meditation practice to build up to the serious meditation I'll be doing once I'm in labor with baby #3!

Will this baby be a boy or a girl?  You'll just have to check back and see because we didn't find out the sex. There are so few surprises in life and this is a really big one!

Until then...

Namaste.

Oprah & Deepak's (FREE) 21 Day Meditation Experience

My Water Birth Story

My Journey To Motherhood: The Night It Hit Me, I'm A Mom!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Top 10-ish Reasons Why I'm a Crappy Mom's Blogger And Should Just Go Back To Being a Writer

1.) My blog seriously has no rhyme or reason. Zero. It's all over the map. It does not fit into a cutesy decrative box I bought off etsy and then wrapped in an elaborate bow I made after reading a post,"how to tie cute bows"on Pinterest. One post on here will be about cooking or preschool crafting or DIY Halloween Costumes or kid's birthday parties ideas and earthquake kits for school/daycare, another will be about breastfeeding or postpartum depression or my water birth story, or a water birth poem or one about how time flies by so fast with little ones. Another will be a crazy, random rant about how I hate facebook and why I'm deleting my account the day my child starts kindergarten, then I'll write a silly parenting Top Ten, my attempt at giving parenting advice, about how to find the balance, or a love letter to my children and Spirited Child, and how we (finally) got our Spirited Child to sleep and nap advice in general, and then I'll send out a commentary on how we need to help the homeless, give thanks and appreciation to those who have sacrificed for our country and those who are less fortunate than us, even showing appreciation for what I have personally as well as trying to figure out how to make sense of a tragic world while protecting our babies. Oh, and I wrote a children's book, entered it into a contest and got it published too. ****

"Can you follow a script please? Geez!"  Umm......not..... really. Sorry.


2.) I'm long winded. I'm guess I'm just channeling my inner Hemingway. As you can see from the above post I kinda talk a lot and ramble - which translates into I write a lot which isn't really what people are into these days when they are cruising the interwebs for stuff to read. They want quick, they want in and out, they want 140 characters, they want Pinnable links that are all ready to go without needing to cut, paste and add a description and they want awesome, fabulous, creative pics. The average post these days is like 8 words long and filled with a zillion DIY pics that most likely took 3 weeks to complete. Mine are just filled with a bunch of words. And my grammar/spelling sucks. I realize this. I do try to change it and correct it if I see it but I am also aware that there are probably grammar nuts who are cringing while reading this. Feel free to red pen this mo fo. I'm ok with that. ...that is if you are still reading it.

3.) I don't write about celebrities or their crazy antics at awards shows or whatever they do to try to stay relevant. I also don't write about their babies because that is their private life and I believe that a baby and a child has the right to a private life regardless of who their parents are. That is a huge market for mom's bloggers/mom's message board blogs I've noticed but it's just too gossipy for me. Besides, I don't know these people. No one really knows them - unless you are actual friends with them in which case I doubt you'd be blogging about their crazy antics and still call them a friend. It's just not my thing. But I do know how hard it can be to be a new parent without being in the public eye with your every parenting decision under a microscope, like in this Top Ten Unfortunate Places For Your Toddler To Throw A Tantrum - nightmare! That alone makes me glad I'm not a celebrity mom! I also know that 99.999% of what you read on those sites is all BS. I don't think mom's should judge each other on how they parent or birth. Even when they are a celebrity. The child didn't choose that life and that is their mother who loves them with all of their heart and they will grow up and read the internet someday. Don't be a jerk and a lie spreader. That's just poor people skills and very lazy writing. Like my dad always used to say, "If you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all." Which brings me to #4.

4.) I will not under any circumstances sell out my children or husband for a laugh in a mean or hurtful way. I have said or shared some funny things about my kids that someday they too might find funny. But I will not degrade them, embarrass them, make fun of them, tease them, harass them, pick on them, call them names, laugh at the things they haven't learned yet or post naked pictures of them on the potty with a caption underneath telling the world from here on out the age at which they made their first big toilet poop. Jr. High/middle school is hard enough without the threat of finding your frenemy's old, old, old ass pic from their potty training days where their mom posted a pic of them pointing at the doo doo they made on the potty - which then gets printed up and shared all over school. Let's clarify - I do have pics like these because I'm a mom it's part of the job description, but they will never see the light of day on the internet. For this reason alone, I don't really relate well to some (most) of the other "mom humor bloggers" out there. I feel that sometimes it gets a little mean and bully-ish all in the name of a laugh and blog hits. It just reeks of jr. high to me. "Maybe they'll think I'm cool (funny) if I say this crappy thing about my friend (in this case, my own kid.)"  Not gonna do it.  I also do not feel comfortable in anyway plastering their faces all over my blog and tweeting pics of them constantly with their sweet lil baby faces. That is not to say that I don't have any pics of my kids on my blog. But some bloggers go above and beyond posting constant pics of their children.  To clarify, I'm not opposed to seeing pictures of kids online, I am a mom who loves kids - I'm just kinda surprised to see these children's faces posted so often online by their own parents to be honest.  People are weird and people collect pictures of children on their computers that they don't even know. (I have a cop neighbor who deals with catching child internet pedophiles and child porn freaks and weirdos. They collect pics from the internet even if you don't think it seems like it would be a pic they would steal. More on that later.) Also, bloggers don't realize how much personal info they share on their blog over the many posts they write, talking about where they live, etc and it's really easy to connect the dots if you are trying to. The "child shaming pics" (as well as "dog/cat shaming pics") are real hot right now too, like the "get along shirt" pics, give it 5 years and your child will hate you for posting that pic of them online looking pissed and embarrassed for fighting with their sibling. These pictures don't ever go away. ever. Especially if they have been pinned on Pinterest - which they have. A trillion times. If you did a search for first day of school pics on twitter you'd be shocked at how many people posted pics of their child standing in front of their school sign and gave out basically every bit of info on that child. Their full name, age, grade, school, teacher, school address and phone number, the child's face and if you just click on the parent's profile you'll find everything out about them in no time some way or another. Not too smart. Everything changes when you see a picture of your child after doing a search on yourself or when it's been posted/linked from someone else's blog or gets hacked on a pregnancy message board for a fake profile of someone who is pretending to be pregnant with her 3rd set of twins in 3 years. Some people are totally OK with giving their child to the internet. Call me paranoid, I can take it. I just want my kids to be their own person and not have someone come up to them someday saying, "hey I've seen you before on your mom's blog talking about...whatever."

5.) See #2

6.) I love my husband and am very impressed with his mad skillz as a 100% hands on dad so I don't complain about him via my blog on the rare occasion I am upset with him for something. And really, who wants to read about some lady who is gushing over her hubby 24/7. *gag*  So, it's kinda back to the point on #4. I don't sell my family out for a laugh and that is a huge market right now which is a sad commentary on our society I think. I realize that the blogger finds it funny and most likely harmless to poke fun at their kids so that other people can then laugh at them and share the post on their page so even more people can comment and laugh at them too and then ...well... you know what I'm going to say here. We don't need to go getting all "after school special" over here. It's just not cool.  However, I did write this Top Ten about husbands and guys in general.

7.) I do not have any type of blogging/posting schedule therefore I have no repeat followers coming back every week for my "Happy Friday Post," or my "DIY Tuesday Post," or my "Manic Monday Post" or my "Selfie Sunday's post,"or my"Weekly Recipe Roundup Post." I'm making all of this stuff up btw. If there are actually people doing these actual blogs I'm not actually picking on you. I'm just not that organized to do something weekly. I kinda envy those mom bloggers because they seem uber organized and...well...I'm not. This is a take it when you can get it kind of blog. Like a lending library or one of those little penny trays at the grocery store. Take what you need and leave the rest.

8.) I don't have anything for 8. I don't have a clever, ironic or extremely cute pic for it either. Sorry. I didn't plan this out very well.

9.) I worry about stupid stuff like, "how in the world do some mom's bloggers have 50 comments on a single post and I'm wondering if anyone is even reading anything?" Crickets. To be honest, I've actually gotten over that one...a bit. You know, that's why I've listed it as #9.

No, no, it's ok I'm not crying I just have an eyelash in my eye. It's cool. We're good here. I'm not really sad about not ever having any readers or comments. It's all good.

10.) For the most part I'm kind of a say-what-I-feel-without-mincing-any-words kind of gal. Especially if I'm protecting my children or my family. I'll go all Mama Bear on you in the blink of an eye if I feel that my kids are being threatened in any way. So I think I offend people and make them defensive because for one I'm very sarcastic and in person it comes off hella funny (No, I'm not from Nor Cal but my hubby is). However, sarcasm in the written word is tricky. If people know you, they they know you, so they know you are being sarcastic so they will laugh. When people don't know you which is pretty much 99.989% of the world of people online - they read something that is supposed to be sarcastic and just think, "Wow. Well aren't we just a miserable b!tch all chalk-full of bitter sauce?  Bitter, party of one your table is now available. Bitter, party of one?"  Another reason why I'm a crappy mom's blogger and piss people off is I talk about stuff like #4 and I write things about how I hate facebook enough to delete my account 100% from my life!  and boy, some people get crazy defensive about their reasonings for liking facebook, for staying on facebook and why they "can't ever" delete their account and honestly, I'm not asking you to delete your account. I'm not judging you if you spend 8-12+ hours a day on facebook because you are most likely judging yourself on that one. What I am offering is a different way to look at something. I feel like it's my job to ruffle some feathers a bit every once in a while because when we're all ruffled up and fired up and feeling saucey we make changes. Changes are good. Changes are healthy. Changes are necessary. But that doesn't mean I don't feel like the black sheep over here or the lone wolf of the mom's blog world. "Hey ladies, am I right? Can I get a retweet over here?!  Woop!  Woo-- Oh, you all went home?  That's cool..."  Crickets.

11. I think I could possibly be anti-social on some level. I'm not a good "mom's clubber/playdater" kinda person in real life either. My family marches to the beat of our own drum (as documented here) and we find that doesn't usually fit into any type of early morning schedule (or any schedule actually) that most mom's club type groups fit into. We've tried oh-so-many times to make a group like that work over the 6+ year span I've been a mom and it just doesn't work. It never has. I don't know about you, but I find it really hard to plan things too far in advance because my kids are in such different places in their own lives right now that I never know "where" we'll be at that exact day and time. It's usually in our jammies playing at home with our wooden trains, legos or our Calico Critters. I'm cool with that. Some of the ladies I've met are really nice and I'd love to hang out more, we just can't ever seem to make it work during mom's club hours. My bad. And some of the moms I've met are just like the social groups in high school where they spend most of the time at the picnic table locked into a gossipy chat with other moms about the moms who didn't come that day while their children are off killing each other in a Lord Of The Flies showdown on the playground. Inevitably you'll see a kid about to fall off the top of the slide or someone has another kid in a headlock pouring sand in their face and if you say something to the mom or call their attention away from their TMZ session then all of a sudden YOU become the helicopter parent as they attempt to completely downplay what was just going on with their child when they weren't paying attention. Why are parents so easily put on the defensive by other parents? Instead of saying, "Thank you for letting me know my 18 mo old was about to fall off the monkey bars!" you'll hear, "he's fine. I saw him. I don't hover over him like that because I let him learn the hard way. He'll only do it once if he falls and gets hurt."  I got a mom's attention once in Costco when I noticed her infant was licking the handle and the side of the dirty shopping cart like an ice cream. The mom was bending down getting something lower than the cart and I did what I would want anyone to do for me (fellow mom or not), let me know that my baby was having a germ sickle of a time on the nasty cart and she got totally offended. "I saw her. She's fine" and then of course as she walked away she told the baby not to lick the dirty yucky cart because it has germs and she'll get sick. After you have interactions like this it makes you gun shy to help anyone out and I know where we lost sight in, "it takes a village to raise a child." However, we are firmly grounded in our convictions that we know everything and we know what is best in every way and you better not dare to give any help or advice when it's not asked because you'll get told off.

Am I still doing a top ten?  Oh crap I am. OK sorry...

12. Most of the time I don't have a picture for a blog post and I have no desire to go create one or go searching for one either. Which now makes the article in no way "pinnable" I guess which makes it pretty much obsolete in our world today. The End.

13. I don't know the lingo for blogging or for the internet in general. I might as well be my husband's 90 year old grandmother. (Sorry Nanny. Don't tweet that, OK? You have more followers than I do and I don't want anyone getting offended and deleting me. Love you!)  So I'm not participating in any weekly mash ups, join ups, link ups, jam ups or tweet ups or you post mine and I'll post yours kinds of things. It seems like so many articles I read anymore are things that have been taken from another blog with a link to the original blog but no real credit to the original author/poster. So if you are a lazy reader then it will be assumed that that person wrote it which they didn't and that's just not cool!  I feel like I'm a detective on a manhunt or some modern day internet Robin Hood trying to find the original author of a blog post before I pin it in order to give the original person credit, and if I'm the one doing the pinning I'll always try to give the original blog credit in the caption of the post. I spend way too much time caring about fairness like that I guess. But I just can't stand the half-written post that offers vague commentary reminiscent of a high school book report on a book where they only read the jacket cover, then gives the link to the original post at the end that is always way more artistic and well thought out - all in the name of traffic and hits. And the thing that sucks is that the Impostor Poster will always have a ton of hits and links and tweets and pins on the post they didn't even write and the original blogger won't hardly have any on the same post. Call me old fashioned but that isn't cool. It's lame and it's stealing someone else's well thought out idea and passing it off as your own in some way. This has gotten so bad I saw a post on a recipe where the lady supposedly "cooked" the thing herself yet used every single picture the original lady took and posted yet gave no credit on each picture of course, she even copied the recipe verbatim complete with the original lady's comments about her family preferring it a certain way, and then at the very bottom in small print the Impostor Poster said here's the link to the original recipe! And yes, it got pinned, liked, shared and tweeted a gazillion times via the Impostor Poster's page. Even some pinner's have given the Impostor Poster full credit for the recipe. That is just lazy, irresponsible steal blogging. It's Stealogging.

15. Oh and I don't give away free shit. Mostly because I never get anything free to give away to readers. I think you have to actually have readers to give something away to them. My bad. I did give away a Starbuck's card once that I paid for myself but that was about it. If you want free shit go to the Pioneer Woman's blog. Free shit for days. Plus she has an awesome blog. Beautiful, creative, smart, artistic, funny, awesome and inspiring. And she's even on TV and in cookbooks for goodness sake!  We don't have cable because we're on one income since I stay home so I have never seen any of her shows but I bet they are as fantastic as her blog. Utter perfection. Everything my lil blog ever dreamed of but isn't. In fact, you know what? Here you go. Go check it out for yourself. The Pioneer Woman in all it's spectacular glory. You don't belong here. This post doesn't even have a picture for heaven's sake! Save yourself. In fact, eff this I'm heading over there now. I'll see you in a few.


OMG. Tears. Seriously. It's gorgeous.


Anyway, that is probably enough reasons why I'm a crappy mom's blogger if you haven't already been making your own mental list while reading this. Now for my next post...hmmm, should I write about renewing my license at the DMV and how I was the only person in the entire place of hundreds to offer up my seat to an old lady with a cane who was trying to prop herself up against the wall for the 2 hour wait or about my attempts at trying the save the world through teaching my children to have nice manners and do good deeds?  Actually, those might be similar posts. Scratch that. Maybe I'll blog about my BBQ pork and coleslaw baked potato I ate the other night at Disneyland and it was so friggin' good it deserves it's own blog. You'll just have to come back I guess.


****About #1. Yes, that was a shameless plug of what I write on here to get more readers a reader. I admit it. I had to make myself just. stop. linking. to. so. many. posts.

So, I ran it by my editor, who is amazingly awesome btw and is totally my #1 fan and I asked her if #1 was too shameless, (because of course it was shameless but was it too shameless?) and she said, "You don't have any readers. It doesn't matter what the hell you do on here." And when I peered over her shoulder after I pretended to walk away I noticed that she was pinning things like crazy from The Pioneer Woman's blog and tweeting to everyone that they should just go there if they wanted to read anything of any quality. Then I wept and opened a box of French truffles. 

Hark! I know what I'm going to write about!!  I'll write about how I think I was a farmer/Little House on the Prairie type girl (but in France with lavender fields making goat cheese) in a former life! See, and you thought all that talk about The Pioneer Woman was pure snark and jealous sarcasm and it was quite the opposite actually. I read her blog more than I read my own. 



BTW my complete and total facebook deletion is real and it's spectacular! 


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dog Days Of Summer - The Art of Doing Not a Whole Heck of a Lot

It's getting towards the end of July and the reason I know this is because the TV and stores are now bombarding us with back-to-school shopping ads. Oh and I was in Costco the other day feeling pressured to buy a thick, furry rain coat for my child because if I don't get it now they will no longer carry them when I actually need it - in about 6 more months. (I didn't buy one.) I know when I go there in a few more weeks (in Aug) I'll be able to pick out my child's Halloween costume if I so desire and a week or so after that I'll be able to buy my fake Christmas tree with all the trimmings. 

Can we just be done with speeding through life already?  

I know I'm fighting a loosing battle because that will never change, as annoying as it is. But for now while I am a stay-at-home-mom creating a little, tiny bubble around my little, tiny family we can ignore all of the pressures of society - as much as possible anyway. As my kids grow older and we are out in the world more (like kindergarten), I am really noticing this push to do everything, be involved with everything and learn everything as young as possible so you have several years to hone your talent before you start making your parents millions of dollars. OK, slight exaggeration, or is it?  All you have to do is take one class with your child to witness first hand the parents who are trying to get their child on track to excel in that particular thing whether the child wants to or not. 

As a kid I had a good friend who literally did everything. She had no down time whatsoever because her time was filled with several commitments a week and she was never, ever available to do the typical childhood things on the weekends due to these commitments even though she desperately wanted to be a regular kid. She couldn't go to sleepovers because her weekends started very early in the morning with various practices, competitions and recitals and for this same reason she couldn't go to birthday parties in general, or any playdates for that matter. However, when I was a kid we didn't call them "playdates."  We just called it "playing outside with the neighborhood kids." 

Now that I'm a mom I'm very careful not to schedule too many things at once, even fun things they want to do like dance classes and swimming lessons. First of all it's expensive. But when you have more than one child doing more than one class a week you can see how your days and weeks get away from you and they no longer belong to you - they belong to the schedule. 

It's important to know your child's personality type to see if this is a good thing or a bad thing - for them. Notice I didn't say to pay attention to your own personality type. Many times we are very different from our children even though we may not want to admit it or "deal with it." Just because a parent likes to be super busy and on the go with several things scheduled at all times, this doesn't mean our child thrives in this situation and vice versa. Just notice your child's daily/weekly tantrum level to see if this is the case. (Even older kids have tantrums in their own ways.) Most tantrums are thrown by children who are overwhelmed, over tired, over scheduled and over stimulated with no room for transition time between activities. If you find yourself running from activity to activity, eating restaurant meals in the car or on-the-go, your kids are doing homework in the car or prepping for the next class and your only "down time" is the drive to the next function (whew that makes me tired just typing it), you are very likely over doing it and setting yourselves up for failure. Kids need down time to discover who they are are, what they like and what they are capable of doing on their own. 

When I was a kid 30+ years ago, our summer days looked a lot like this:


  • Wake up lazy
  • Have breakfast
  • Pack a picnic lunch (my mom put in a lot of time packing awesome, healthy summer picnic lunches)
  • Head to the beach or the park until dusk
  • Get an ice cream at Thrifty's (back then it was only 25 cents a scoop)
  • Fall asleep the second our heads hit the pillow
  • Repeat the next day


That was basically it. 

If we went to the beach we'd take boogie boards and sand toys, beach chairs and an umbrella.  If we went to the park we took bikes or roller skates/skate boards, and maybe a board game or a deck of cards. We never, ever bought food at a snack shack because my mom had that covered. She even made extra sandwiches to last us throughout the several hour beach day. That didn't keep us from asking for snack shack food of course, but we never spent money we didn't have. 

The only time we'd ever get anything at a beach snack shack was when my grandparents lived walking distance from the pier down in San Clemente. To this day San Clemente is my very favorite beach of all time - even after living on Kauai. I have so many great memories of San Cle. When I was a kid the snack shack down at the pier had the best cheese burgers around. Kind of like In-N-Out Burger if you are familiar with them and their fries were great too. So this was the only time we splurged at a beach snack shack. 

How can you do nothing when there are chores to do?

As a mom, my goal is to fine tune my house keeping so that I'm not bogged down the entire weekend with piles and piles of laundry and dishes. The following has been a good system for me so far, but stick with me til the end because it might sound crazy at first if you have been accustomed to the weekend filled with hours of laundry:

Every morning I put in 1 load of laundry. We have a laundry sorter in the garage next to our washer and dryer so I gather up the clothes in everyone's rooms each day to take them out to the main sorter. At this point it's usually just a few items since I'm doing this every day. When that 1 load is finished washing I put it in the dryer or I hang it on the line (depending on the time of year) and this is the biggie: I do not start another load of wash. However, I do make a mental note of which load I'll be doing the next day. When that load is done drying I take it in and fold it right away and then I put everything away. Because I have only 1 load to do this takes very little time and effort and I'm almost 100% successful at it each day because it's one complete load of laundry from start to finish.

I do the same thing for the dishes however, it varies slightly. We usually run the load of dishes throughout the night. If time permits my husband empties the dishwasher in the morning before work and I fill it throughout the day. I cook at home and make homemade meals for dinner each night so we always have a ton of pots and pans to wash. In a perfect world, the drying rack gets put away as well as all pots and pans that are drying on the stove. This doesn't always happen, ok it rarely happens, but that is the goal if I want a clean kitchen. 

A preschool teacher we had made this great suggestion that I have found to be useful: wipe down all bathroom counters each day with a paper towel and spray cleaner, very quickly swish out and wipe down the toilets with cleaner (everyday!) and get rid of all bathroom clutter (ie; hang towels, put things back where they belong, etc.) Depending on how many bathrooms you have, you could get this daily task down to about 15/20 minutes or less a day. Because you are wiping everything down everyday it doesn't get the chance to gather any gross bathroom funky build up that takes a lot longer to scrub. 

If you are super organized (I'm not) you could accomplish this with your kitchen/stove top and counters every day too. My kitchen has become a catch all because we don't have a proper office so this is harder for us - but we're working on it.

These are just a few tips I try to do daily to minimize and eventually eliminate the long weekend cleaning days. 

If you only do one of these things every day I suggest doing the laundry thing. 

It makes a huge difference!  Especially when you have multiple people living in your house. Resist the urge to do more than one load a day if possible (I know it's hard because that is not how we are trained to do things) because when you do many loads at once, chances are you will not be able to successfully wash, dry, fold and put away multiple loads of laundry - and seeing it to the very end (clothes in closets and drawers!) is really the daily goal. When I get backed up from life getting in the way it only takes about a week to get back on track where the majority of our laundry is clean and in drawers or hung up. There are even some days were I'm actually looking for something to wash for that days load if you can believe that. That is when we do bigger things like sheets and stuff. 

I remember seeing an episode of Oprah were she said she has fresh, clean (and ironed!) sheets on her bed daily!  I don't know about you but I was kind of shocked when I heard this as were most audience members because they panned out across the audience to wide eyes and all mouths agape. She even looked kind of surprised (and sheepish) at the audience's reaction to see that most people do not change their sheets daily, let alone iron them. Someone in the audience made a reference to her having housekeeping help and even she agreed and said, yes, that makes a big difference. That must be so nice to have someone cleaning your house regularly!  

Ahhhhh....just give me a second to dream.... 

Imagine the free time you'd have?!  

Well, do my laundry trick and I promise if you keep it up all week and stick to the 1 load a day rule until you get a firm handle on it you'll feel a bit of freedom from the piles and piles of weekend laundry. This of course only really works if you don't have to go to the laundry mat, or share a common laundry room in a complex of some sort. Been there done that and I feel for you in that situation with a family, I really do. 

As far as not doing much during the summer because I kind of digressed a bit there, if you can get a handle on the household chores you have more free time to do not a whole heck of a lot. I don't mean spend the day watching TV, playing on the computer or playing any type of electronic device for hours on end. I mean spending time outdoors doing basically nothing. When I say "nothing" I mean where your child's day is not scheduled out for them with a class or anything structured and they get to make their own fun using their own brain, their own creativity with maybe a few things provided like a bike at the park or a ball, sand toys at the beach or something like that. But no cheating with electronics!! Hopefully you get exactly what I'm getting at here.

Here is a list of what nothing looks like for us:


  • Going to the park, setting out a blanket, taking a lunch and just letting the kids play and explore. 
  • Going for a nature walk in the neighborhood and discover the world around you.
  • Taking a lazy stroll or slow bike ride/scooter ride through the park, beach trail or neighborhood.
  • Lie on the grass and look at shapes in the clouds.
  • Go to the library and discover something new, attend a FREE toddler/preschooler story time or get involved in a reading club.
  • Turn on the sprinklers in the back yard, fill up the water table, play in the sandbox and have a picnic outside.
  • Garden, dig in the dirt, plant something.
  • Look into FREE things through your local parks and rec like public wadding pools for little ones and concerts in the park in the evenings and different events for Holidays like the 4th of July or Easter Egg Hunts, etc.
  • Have a backyard family camp out.
  • Have a night time family movie party (the kids pick the movie) and get a pizza or make something fun to eat and put out a blanket and let the kids eat in the living room picnic style while watching the movie. This will be a huge, fun treat if your kids never get to eat in front of the TV. (That is a good thing btw!)
  • Reading!
  • Painting with watercolors
  • Arts and crafts
  • Exploring the wild outdoors
  • Most importantly - slow down.

Have fun discovering what your family likes to do that is not a structured, scheduled, indoor event. Those have their time and place in our lives too but they should be the exception, not the daily agenda. We have a rule in our house now with extracurricular classes scheduled through parks & rec (especially since we have baby #3 on the way): Each child gets to take one class at a time and we take a break in between sessions. The classes we usually take are once a week for about an hour and at this age we have been able to combo some classes like tumbling or take them the same time at the same location but different teachers like swimming lessons, or back-to-back on the same day with the same teachers like soccer. (I had a very strict rule that there was to be no electronic devices used during the soccer class while the other sibling had class. Their options were to actually watch their sibling play and encourage them while doing so, or find their own fun running around looking for bugs and leaves and chasing birds at the park. Sometimes we took supplies to color or draw. It was never an issue. Mom stuck to the no electronic device rule too because as you know, you teach by example as opposed to just using words without backing them up with an example.)  

This summer is a bit different since our daughter is taking a kids Science and Nature Summer Camp at the Nature Center and these summer camps run for a week at a time from 9-noon. So far we've taken two different ones and have one more week on the schedule. So for now she is the only one who is taking a scheduled class because the ones for preschoolers filled up too quickly and we didn't book them in time. We've learned our lesson for next year! However, my little guy is doing plenty of fun things because we have a pass to our local water park and usually go several times a week for a few hours or so.

If you need any more ideas of things to do in the summer I wrote a Summer Bucket List a few years ago. Some stuff no longer exists like the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, but you can fill in your own activity in that one. 


Here are some lazy family pics of us doing "nothing." 


Dog Days Of Summer - The Art of Doing Not a Whole Heck of a Lot
Learning to surf from daddy at Doheny Beach, California
Dog Days Of Summer - The Art of Doing Not a Whole Heck of a Lot
Exploring the stream at the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach, California
Dog Days Of Summer - The Art of Doing Not a Whole Heck of a Lot
Exploring the trails at the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach, California 
Dog Days Of Summer - The Art of Doing Not a Whole Heck of a Lot
Splashing in the wadding pool at a local park.
Dog Days Of Summer - The Art of Doing Not a Whole Heck of a Lot
Making up their own games with their own rules.
Dog Days Of Summer - The Art of Doing Not a Whole Heck of a Lot
Taking a scooter & bike riding detour to throw sticks and leaves in the stream at a local park.
Dog Days Of Summer - The Art of Doing Not a Whole Heck of a Lot
Exploring a local water fountain after having lunch out.
Dog Days Of Summer - The Art of Doing Not a Whole Heck of a Lot
Mom's Night Out! Mama's perfect version of doing nothing!  (This one is a solo act btw!!) 

MyTalesFromTheCrib - Coco Cana
My favorite beach of all time: San Clemente, California

Monday, July 14, 2014

Getting Back To The Roots Of Our Life

There is something about adding a family member that is making me want to totally downsize our life. Since I haven't mentioned it on here yet, we are having another baby! We will now be my favorite show from the 90's, Party Of Five.  We're not finding out the sex of the baby (just like we did for baby #2) and we're due sometime around the beginning of December. I already feel like this baby was brought into our lives to change my outlook and focus as a parent.

Our family is in a huge transition right now. It's stressful and overwhelming yet feels like it's exactly how it should be and it's not to be rushed. But it seems that slowing down is not what we are allowed to do anymore. My husband is in Europe right now for business and he texted me today (bedtime on Sunday our time, Monday morning for him) and said that something about being in (Western) Europe makes him feel like we are doing it all wrong. Not our family per say, but the US as a whole. I couldn't agree more. We are failing ourselves big time and we are getting so far away from what we really need as a society it's not even funny. Just what we are doing to our food alone is making me feel like I'm going insane most of the time. Many European countries have banned GMO foods yet we are pumping them out faster than the 1940's could get doctors to endorse cigarettes for magazine ads!

I have been feeling for a few years now that I need to do something totally drastic in order to preserve the innocence of my family and protect them from the negative energy our society is producing at a rapid pace. This feeling inspired me to get rid of my Facebook account*. I wrote about that here. And it's really making me feel like I'm a black sheep when it comes to other people, particularly other moms. I really felt it this past year with my daughter being in kindergarten. We go to a public school but it's ranked very high and has won all sorts of distinguished honors for a California public school. Originally, when we were looking for a house this was our biggest draw - a great school district. Well, we are in one of the top in the state, where all of the elementary schools including the middle school in our district are California Distinguished schools, and the high school ranks right up there as a top performing school as well. What I learned very quickly what this actually meant (for our school and Principal anyway), is that the Principal's main focus is going to be keeping scores up at all cost. This is not necessarily a good thing because the amount of stress it puts on the staff, the teachers, the students and the families is horrible. However, it seemed at times I was the only parent who was frustrated by this. More for another post for another time because I can already feel my blood pressure rising and it's not good for the baby. In short, we were very unhappy with our first (official) year of school - and we were only half day as a kindergartner. I saw my very bright, creative, imaginative, adventurous child become a test taking, homework doing zombie by about the second/third month of school. Her entire year was centered around doing over an hour of homework each night of the week and taking multiple tests on multiple subjects every week. I might need to remind you that she was only 5, and not 15 getting ready to apply to college. Thanks to good 'ol Common Core Standards.

When I was in kindergarten we took naps, played with play-dough everyday, played with a million wooden blocks, played dress up and kitchen and lots of other make-believe games and basically were encouraged to not eat the paste. I know 2 year olds who are in all day "preschool" programs who would look at my kindergarten experience as a 5 year old and roll their eyes and call it baby-ish. Back in my day my own child might as well have been a third or fourth grader with what she was expected to do at 5.  Is this really progress though?  Is this the magic solution for our schools?  And my child is bright. I'm not just saying that because she is my child. A retired elementary school teacher we know refers to her as gifted and even her own teacher told us how smart she is. I can only imagine how stressed out I'd feel if my child was one of the many kids who were falling behind in her class. So many of those kids were just slipping through the cracks and if the parents don't step up and practically dedicate their entire lives to their child's education they are going to keep slipping because the teachers are too overworked with trying to keep up with Common Core to get every kid caught up.  Besides the fact there isn't any money for classroom aids so they are totally reliant on volunteer parents. The teachers are just doing what they can to cast a wide enough net to get as many kids as they can but the ones who are slipping are slipping at a rapid pace because there just isn't the time there once was to get them caught up during class time. How can parents who both work full time jobs keep up?  I'm very fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom but even with that flexibility I felt completely overwhelmed to get everything done. How is this progress?

Throughout the year I saw my child's bright light start to diminish in ways I could see becoming a permanent thing if exposed long enough and this was absolutely not OK with me. It brings me to tears just thinking about it. Our relationship took a drastic change for the worse and I found that I was no longer able to be the happy, positive mom who encouraged her to frolic in nature looking for cool bugs, paint with water colors for hours on end or explore a tiny imaginative world of make believe with her Calico Critters and Lego's. Something a 5 year old should still be doing on a regular basis. We simply didn't have enough hours in our day. She didn't hardly have any play time because it was all taken up by school work and as a 5 year old, this should not be the norm. And we were only going to school from 10:10-2:30!  In first grade she is supposed to go from 8:30-3:30. Or is it 3:00?  I don't remember. I've blocked it out since we're smack dab in the middle of summer vacation.

My mission this summer was to find my child again. To find myself again. To make my husband want to be around me again. To reclaim the happy-go-lucky pure blissful happiness my toddler felt before the stress of school plagued our family. He didn't understand why he was having more and more tantrums, but I do. I felt the same way but wasn't as free to display my emotions as he was. My mission was to repair the very damaged relationship my daughter and I developed during the school year where I became a prison warden who was a slave to the clock and the day of the week and the box I needed to fill in on the homework log. Before I became a lunch making, paper filing, homework forcing, flashcard flinging, classroom volunteering, PTA fundraising, room mom maniac who was constantly exhausted and always running late yelling like a drill Sargent to get out the door regardless of how early I woke up or how much prep I did the night before.

I don't like that mom very much. She was a tired, frazzled, constantly screaming, miserable person to be around and frankly, my kids hated her. I hated her whenever I saw her in the mirror. I think of her now and want to tell her to chill the fuck out - but I couldn't back then. Our life as we knew it wouldn't allow for it. It was an unhappy, dark time in our lives and this was only one school year. Supposedly the easiest one yet!

The only thing that kept running through my mind on a constant basis was, "somethings gotta change. We can't live like this."

Then we got pregnant with Baby Pickle. (That is the nickname our kids have given the baby.)  BP is already this beaming light shining brightly into our lives exposing the dust bunnies and the clutter and forcing us to rethink, reexamine and regroup all the while bringing in more love and happiness.

It's a bit easier to refocus on the positive since it's summertime and as you know, the living is easy. But we really are trying to get back to what matters to us. We're sleeping in, not planning much for our days, keeping less of a schedule and my daughter is taking a science and nature camp at the nature center, something she is passionate about. We are spending many of our days at the local water park (we have season passes so that makes it easier), or the little wadding pool at the park by my parents house. We are also trying to have picnics in the park as much as possible and eat a lot of meals outside when we are home. This does make it a bit tough considering our neighbors are outside chain smokers and their patio is literally about 10 feet from our kitchen, but again, I can't really go into it because the baby doesn't appreciate the rise in blood pressure. So there are times where we'll just get everything settled and we'll start eating and we smell their smoke sending us back inside. But whenever we can, we eat outside. But boy living next to constant day and night chain smokers really makes me hate smokers. I try to be the type of person who doesn't hate anybody. I'm usually very supportive of people's life choices but I can honestly say that I think smoking is one of the most vile habits on the planet. If I met you and you are a smoker I wouldn't necessarily hate you as a person, but I would absolutely hate the habit you have since it doesn't just affect you and that would probably keep me from wanting to be around you if you smoked in front of me and/or my kids. If your habits only affected you it wouldn't bug me because those are your personal choices. However, once I have to start rearranging my life around your need for nicotine, that is when my blood starts to boil and my hackles go up. I just can't handle it.

Wow, I didn't realize I had so much pent up hostility raging through my veins right now. I guess it's good that I'm writing this post then. It's been a while since I've posted anything. The stress cloud we've been living in has kept me from doing a lot of things I once enjoyed, like writing. While I'm at it, can we talk about the paper waste that is going on in schools? Holy cow! Can we eliminate some of that please?! Trees are dying over here people. I don't need a reminder flier sent home about the reminder flier that was sent yesterday about yet another fundraiser the school is having. We all have an electronic device stapled to our eyeballs 24/7, please use that instead of so much paper! But there are many positives right now too. We're having a baby! We found a super awesome midwife and a great doula and are prepping for another home/water birth like we had for baby #2. It was such a positive, life changing experience I couldn't imagine bringing this baby into the world any other way.

Like I said, our life is in a huge transition right now and major changes are underfoot. I'm inspired by living simply and embracing what drives us to be happy and living our passions. Right now we don't have all of the answers and some things will totally be out of our control, but we're open to changes as well as insisting on changes, so it will be an interesting year to say the least.

You can read about my beautiful water birth with baby #2 here and here.

*BTW, this August will be a year since I deleted my Facebook account and it was a great decision. No regrets and no looking back.

It feels good to get back on the horse.  Enjoy your summer and don't forget to slow down! If you need a few ideas here is my Summer Bucket List from a few years ago to inspire you.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Death By Chevron Print Overkill

someecards.com - Chevron Print, Chevron Print Go Away! And Don't Come Back For Two Decades!

Ladies, we need to chat.

Ummm...Chevron Print.

Thanks to Pinterest, DIY blogs, Pinterest, and all things cute and crafty (Pinterest), we have a bit of an overkill going on over here regarding the trend du jour, Chevron Print.

Yes, I admit. I have seen a few chevron-y things that are kinda cute. But it's gone too, too, too, oh-so-far, far. I've seen entire walls of rooms c-o-v-e-r-e-d in Chevron print complete with matching bedding and DIY curtains and accent pilows. (And no I'm not linking to it because you'll pin it to your "All Things Chevron" Pinterest board!)

Ladies and Gays, hear me out - it's venturing into this sort of obsessive/compulsive, life of it's own, pre-teen-puppy-love-OneDirection-JustinBieber-OMG!-JenniferLawrence-just-cut-off-all-of-her-hair-Beyonce's-secret-album-drop-is-that-a-Jennifer-Aniston-baby-bump-ten-year-reunion-rumor-Black-Friday-Deals-starting-in-the-summertime-and-lasting-all-month-gotta-have-it-gotta-have-it-gotta-have-more-stuff-more-stuff-more-and-more-and-more-more-stuff-can't-function-until-my-life-is-totally-utterly-completely-plastered-in-some-crappy-Charlie-Brown-T-shirt-zig-zag-print-from-the-70's (minus the drab colors of course.)

Not that I really have any issue with it, of course.


A Crafty DIY: "I'm Over You Chevron Print/You Can Go Now" Picture.

Let's move on people. There's nothing to see here.  

BTW: if you make a youtube video of yourself reading the above rant in one breath I will make you a chevron print decorated sugar cookie that will be totally Pinterest worthy. 


Love,
Coco Cana

someecards.com - I have a confession: I hate chevron print because it's really ugly. I didn't want to tell you because you pinned 287 things covered in chevron. Still friends?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Holiday Hilarity


I have been having a little too much fun creating those funny, terribly sarcastic someecards. It's kind of right up my alley right now because each picture is like a perfect little writing prompt. Great for when I have writers block and need a lil fix o' funny. I have a lot of them so I have decided to start blogging them into categories just for fun. Here is my Fall/Winter Holiday edition. 
If sarcasm is your jam then check out my other someecards on my Pinterest board called: My Funny One Liners






Here is some Holiday Hilarity for you:



someecards.com - I hope you like the gift I got for you that's kind of like a gift for me too. I'll let you open it though.

someecards.com - So I told the saleswoman,

someecards.com - Christmas when you're married: Here honey, you can open the gift I got for the both of us. someecards.com - Is it ironic that I'm a white girl wearing yoga pants drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte talking about how happy I am that it's finally cooling off enough to feel like Fall?

someecards.com - Lemme get this straight: I need to shop for gifts, wrap & hide them, cook fabulous holiday meals & cookies from scratch, entertain our families, create & blog the nighttime shenanigans for an elf - anything else?

someecards.com - PumpkinSpiceLatte Math: One someecards.com - Mom & Dad, I'm a child. I don't need an iPad, iPhone, every single toy, new video games and 24/7 TV. What I really need is to learn how to read, write and interact w/ humans. someecards.com - I don't always drink eggnog... but when I do it's more like rum with a dusting of cinnamon.
someecards.com - Just a friendly reminder that the venti, 2% milk w/ whipped cream Pumpkin Spice Latte you're drinking right now has 470 calories. Happy Holidays!
someecards.com - I decided to try all of my grandmother's homemade Thanksgiving dinner recipes and do everything from scratch and then I decided to make reservations instead.someecards.com - I don't always eat broccoli salad... but when I do I eat an entire days worth of calories in one sitting.
someecards.com - Most Popular Fall Pin on Pinterest: Create a cute, unique, DIY jack-o-lantern along with a recipe to turn the leftovers into a Pumpkin Spice Latte!someecards.com - I'm sorry your mom convinced you the whole family is allergic to gluten.someecards.com - I was on Pinterest getting excited about Fall, wearing sweaters & scarves, all of the different seasonal colors til I remembered I live in Southern California - I won't see any of it! #westcoastprobs someecards.com - OK kids, let's go over this one more time. Mommy wantsSnickers, Reese'sPeanut ButterCups & M&M's. Any questions?

Hope you got a laugh! I'm not going to say "sharing is caring" because that's lame. But you know what to do.

Happy Holidays!

Love,
Coco Cana

To read more of these wacky cards click here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Enjoying Fall Through the Eyes of My Child

We don't get much of a Fall here in Southern California like most places as far as the crisp snow-like autumn air and all of the fiery colors go but there are still many natural things to enjoy. I love experiencing life through the eyes of my children. When we slow down long enough and take in the sites that mother nature is so willingly offering us we can experience a different world that is often times right under our nose. 

My little guy and I were off on a chilly adventure just the two of us to find "tiny things." Well, chilly for us anyway. We did have our long sleeves and fuzzy boots on even though he was wearing shorts and was walking around barefoot most of the time. We scrunched down to explore the Earth, to discover new bugs and we searched for itty bitty flowers and baby pinecones hiding in the grass under the fallen leaves. Since it's the unwritten Toddler Law that a child cannot, under any circumstances, leave the park without finding a really cool stick, we found a really cool stick and made our own tree with different leaves that were scattered about. 

It's fun when you present an idea to a child - "let's go to the park and explore some Fall" and then you turn over the reins to them and let them call the shots on how to go about it. It's never what you were originally planning to do...

"Let's find really super tiny fings, Mama!" Said with big, excited eyes. 

 ...and it's always so much better. 


Keep in mind that this is the itty bitty palm of a 3 year old, so this is a very small flower and a brand new sliver of baby grass. 


Crawling around on the grass near the base of a huge tree we discovered this beautiful little seedling thing. Smooth and perfect as only Mother Nature can make and yet funny and silly with "twisty hair sticking all out." A perfect thing to huck through the air we discovered. 


Having fun throwing a pile of leaves in the air. If only you could hear the squeals of laughter that went along with this photo. 



The clouds growing dark and coming in quickly told us it was time to go home, curl up with a warm blanket and sip some hot coco. 

Until our next adventure!

Happy Fall!

Love,

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Top 10 Things Never to Tell a Pregnant Women During the Holidays (or anytime!)

Pic credit: Barginlifestyle dot com


It's the holidays and you're out and about feeling merry and bright with your most precious gift - your baby belly - when sure enough someone makes a Grinchlike comment that dims your holiday glow. In the spirit of giving, share this list, and help make the world a better place!





1. “You're looking quite jolly in that red dress.”

2. “Are you hiding an elf under there?”

3. “Are you sure you aren't having twins? (This really has nothing to do with the holidays.)

4. You: “Hey Babe, does this white maternity snow jacket make me look too fat?”

Hubby: “No, it's cute. You look just like a snowman.”

5. “Too bad you can't have any wine right now. We're drinking the bottle we just brought back
from that little winery villa we stayed at in Tuscany." (Holiday or not, this is So-Not-Cool!)

6. “You know you can't eat that raw cookie dough, right?"

7. “How cute, when you laugh your belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly.”

8. “Are you sure you want to eat a third piece of pumpkin pie after you raided the refrigerator at midnight and finished off the rest of the turkey and mashed potatoes? You've been complaining a lot about heart burn, insomnia, swollen ankles, gas and constipation. You can't blame everything on the baby.”

9. “It looks like the bird has been stuffed already.”

10. Your Husband: “Honey, I just got the menu for my holiday work party. They are serving candy cane martinis and cranberry sangria, all you can eat sushi, and sashimi, goose liver pate, oysters on the half shell, deli meat tray with brie, camembert, goat cheese and port cheese, authentic Caesar salad, swordfish or Thresher Shark with veggies covered in hollandaise sauce, and a dessert tray with spiced rum cake, dark chocolate mud pie with espresso ice cream, custard tarts, Grand Marnier and Bailey's filled chocolates, homemade eggnog, hot buttered rum, and Irish cream or Kahlua coffee.”

You: "Looks I'll be making scrambled eggs for dinner again.

Did an interaction with a stranger (or loved one who should know better) leave you feeling Scrooge'd this holiday season? Tell us your awkward pregnancy comments below, and let us revel!



*This was originally posted on December 23, 2011 for mom365. Click here to read more of my Top Ten Lists on Mom365.