Read My Guest Posters Here!

6/10 Bouncing Back From Breastfeeding with the Right Bra

5/24/2011 – Top Grocery Shopping Tips With Kids

5/23/2011 – Fine Dining: FAIL!

“Green Cleaning Recipes” – A Guest Post by Maria Rainier

In my quest to be a better parent, I am always looking for cleaners that are safer around my children.  A week or so ago, Maria contacted me and peaked my interest in homemade cleaners for my home!  I was thrilled that she wanted to guest post so that all of my readers could have access to these economical and safer cleaners as well!  Please enjoy and share with your friends!
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at The Online Degrees Site, where recently she’s been researching different social work degrees and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
Green Cleaning Recipes
By Maria Rainier

We all want the best for our kids—that’s why we keep the house as pristine as possible with antibacterial soaps, bleach, roach bombs, and pesticides.  In this scenario, however, we are fighting fire with fire, replacing one evil with another.  For example, did you know that ingredients in everyday cleaners like air fresheners, all-purpose sprays, and glass cleaners have been linked with health disorders like asthma and even cancer?  These ingredients include (and for whatever commercial reason, are perfectly legal in the United States) carcinogens, neurotoxins, mutagens, teratogens, and endocrine and hormone disruptors.  Although adults are prone to these complications, too, children are even more so.
Imagine the toxins from which you’d be protecting your children if only you had safer cleaning products.  While green cleaners do exist (Seventh Generation is a reliable brand), some of them tend to be more expensive than the ones with which we’re more familiar.  With these recipes for various cleaners (made from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen), you can save money, the planet, and your children.  You might even be able to save time—have the kids help you out during the next cleaning day!
For the Kitchen
Disinfectant: Rather than bleach, combine 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap (vegetable castile soaps come in different scents and are available at most grocery stores), and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil (a natural antiseptic).
For stains, mildew, and grease streaks on metal or tile surfaces: Spray or cover with lemon juice or vinegar (either white or apple cider, not balsamic!).  Let it sit for a couple of minutes and scrub with a brush or the lemon from which you squeezed the juice.  You can do the same by sprinkling baking soda on the stain and scrubbing with a lemon.
For countertops: Sprinkle baking soda and wipe down with a damp towel or sponge.  If you have stubborn stains, combine a drop or two of water with the baking soda so it forms a paste and leave it on the stain for a few minutes, wiping away later.
For ovens: Make a paste with baking soda and water and cover the inside of your oven with it.  Leave it overnight and scrub off the next morning.
For clogged drains: Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain and let it sit until 2 cups of water you put on the stove starts boiling.  Pour the water into the drain.  If that doesn’t do it, chase the baking soda with ½ cup of white or apple cider vinegar and then with boiling water.
For Windows and Mirrors
Combine 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water; fill a spray bottle with it.  Spray and scrub with old newspapers, since paper towels tend to leave streaks.  You can substitute the vinegar with lemon juice or club soda (although the vinegar won’t smell after it dries).
For Carpets and Floors
For very recent spills: Remove any solids and then cover the mess with club soda, blotting with a towel or rag.  The carbonation brings stains to the surface to make it easier to clean up.
For big spills: Cover the mess with cornmeal (really) and then vacuum it up after 15 minutes.
For spots: Put ¼ cup of liquid castile soap and 1/3 cup of water in a spray bottle and shake.  Spray the spot, and rinse with white vinegar.  Blot thoroughly.
For stink: If you carpet has been smelling funky lately, sprinkle baking soda all over it (1 cup should suffice for a medium-sized room) and vacuum after half an hour or longer.
For wooden floors: Put ¼ cup of white vinegar and 30 ounces of warm water in a spray bottle, shake up, and spray on a soft rag or towel until damp but not dripping.  Now, get on your hands and knees and start scrubbing.  Alternatively, you can soak your mop in the solution as long as it’s not sopping wet.


“The Mommy Labels”  A Guest Post by Crystal – 11/17/2010


It is an honor to present a guest post by Crystal, author of  I met Crystal almost 5 years ago online while pregnant with my fist daughter, and she her first son.  Since then we have journeyed through the birth of her second son and my two younger daughters.  Crystal has taken a break from blogging and this is a step back in!  Please join me in welcoming her back and encouraging her to keep it up!

You can find Crystal @MommaCDG on Twitter!


So what kind of mom are you?

A Super-MomAffectionate MomStrict Mom, or Laid Back Mom? Check out this survey to see (Obviously, if you’re a “super mom” or a “laid back” mom you can’t possibly also be an “affectionate mom.” And especially not if you’re a “strict mom”.)
Or maybe you fit into one of these categories from
The Funseeker Mom, The Alpha Mom, The Helicopter Mom, or The Free-Range Mom?
Or maybe you are a: Soccer mom? Crunchy mom? Granola mom? Hippy mom? Feminist mom?
Are you Authoritative? Permissive? Earthy? Attachment-oriented? Old-fashioned? Modern?
There seem to be a million labels out there for us to slap on ourselves as mothers, and I find myself wanting to fit in to one label or another. I consider myself a feminist, but do I really feminist parent? I do let my boys buy pink toys and stereotypically girl toys, if they choose. I tell them they can like and play with whatever they want, regardless of those labels. But then I worry that my 4 year old is going to get laughed at if he goes to school and tells the others that his favorite colors are green and pink, and I don’t go out of my way to buy them “girly” things. I don’t try to buy “gender neutral” clothes. That’s pretty impossible anyway and I’m too busy (lazy) to go out of my way for such things. And it is hard when there are very few people in my “real life” that feel the same way as I do.
I’m a “working” mom. I always thought I’d be the “anti-homemaker” sort of mom, a rebel of sorts, buying store-bought cupcakes for school and basically not doing any of those “typical” mom jobs. But then I found myself baking Halloween cupcakes with my oldest. (Having my boys bake with me… hmm maybe that is feminist?)  I also baked and decorated a cake for his fourth birthday, something that I NEVER thought I would do. I mean, I don’t even like to cook at all.
I love all the “crunchy,” “earthy,” and “hippy” moms. I find myself wanting to be like them. I try to buy organic foods and limit “bad” foods. But then, well, like I said, I hate to cook. Processed foods and eating at restaurants is always going to be a part of our lives. My oldest is an extremely picky eater, and I really just don’t sweat it. If I get him to eat a piece of bread and some shredded cheese for dinner, I consider that a success! Also, my boys are circumcised, a choice I hardly gave a thought to with my first and then wasn’t going to have them different from each other. And I’m OK with that decision.
I want to be the “funseeker” mom too. I try to take my boys out to do fun things and do crafts with them. But then, I often just don’t want to! I hate having to clean them up after they’ve been painting. I have little patience when doing projects with them when they don’t seem to be getting it. Many pretty days pass when I think, I should take them to the park. But I don’t.
I also look up to those doing attachment parenting. I do believe strongly in responding quickly to a baby’s needs. (Confession: When my oldest was 4 months old, we tried CIO out of pure desperation. It was hell and it didn’t work.) I co-sleep (which pre-parenting I swore I never would!). I slept with my first until he was 2 ½ and am still sleeping with my 20 month old, who still breastfeeds. But my first was mostly formula fed after an unsuccessful attempt (and I mean my absolute best attempt) at breastfeeding. And I HATE baby wearing. Slings, wraps and other baby carriers just feel so unnatural to me and I just can’t do it! And sometimes, I would give my left arm for some time alone.
I am very anti-spanking, but my youngest son is such a challenge. I am ashamed to confess that I have slapped his leg a few times out of desperation to get him to listen to me. I’m really laid back in a lot of ways, like with the eating and letting them run in the house and such. But then I really put A LOT of thought into other things, like their Halloween costumes, Christmas presents, the clothes they wear, school supplies, and many other things that my husband things I’m crazy for over thinking.
So where does that leave me? A mom with no label? I mostly feel like I really don’t fit in with any mom group, a sort of outsider. I felt that way in school too, so it may just be my personality. I just wonder if any of you other moms out there ever feel like you just don’t fit in. Do you have ideals about the type of mom you WANT to be versus the mom you really are?
Hey, I know. Just label me the anti-label mom. J


GUEST POST: Melanie Sumner: Live.Create.Inspire
“A Different Sort of Mommy Guilt”

I was dealing with a bit of mommy guilt yesterday (wishing I could have Dylan all the time instead of sharing him with his father), and was thinking about it more when another mother confessed she was dealing with mommy guilt as well. I dismissed mine; it had no place in reality and I was able to let it go. It got me thinking though, about parenting and my relationship with being a parent.

Everyone always assumed I’d have children. I was given the wonderful opportunity to talk to my long lost best friend from elementary school, and she said she was really surprised that I only had one child; she always thought I’d have at least four or five. I cringed at the thought; I love being Dylan’s mother but the idea of that many children is just way too much for me to handle. Just the idea of it. Not even the real thing.  So, yeah.

I thought about how my son is a tad spoiled- he’s four years old and just received his own Wii. I bought it for him (a used one from my local Game Stop) for a very specific reason. He’s discovered Mario Kart, and kept wanting to take my (beautiful, black) Wii home with him. It was my birthday present to myself, and, as my fellow gamers will understand, I’m a little attached to it. Now, I also have a Wii Fit Plus setup, and like doing my morning yoga with it. So it’s been difficult. I sacrificed my routine so my kid can race around a pixellated track as a little green frog (he always picks Yoshi). He also gets a toy every time we go to WalMart. It’s usually not more than $10, and it keeps him occupied while I’m trying to finish the shopping. It was a brilliant plan at the beginning- but now….now I’m sort of re-thinking the whole thing.

I realized that too often, I’ll put things back that I need, in order to get things that he wants, because I have this driving force that keeps me going and makes me want to be the best mother possible. But, I also realized, I don’t think I’m doing him any favors. I don’t *think* that it’s divorce guilt, but then again I could be wrong.

There’s something else though. What does it say about us mothers that the expression exists “you’re too hot to be a mom!“? I know that it’s usually meant with the best of intentions, and as a compliment…but has anyone stopped to really think about that for a minute? What does it say about mothers that they are no longer expected to be hot?

That got me really thinking, and examining my own actions.

I remember when Dylan was first born- I was terrified to even TAKE A SHOWER because I was worried that Dylan would need something during the ten minutes that it takes to wash my body and hair. Terrified. I’m not sure what I really thought would happen. Now I don’t know about your babies, but mine ate, cried, pooped and slept. Nothing really life threatening there. But I sacrificed my own basic needs, and would only shower if someone came over and held him. Talk about new mom neuroses.

I realized, too…it’s not much different now. Well, I do shower but still won’t do it when he’s at the house, I do it before he comes over or after he goes back to his dad’s house. And it doesn’t stop there. Why is it that I will spend a hundred dollars buying my son summer clothes but I hesitate to purchase one top for myself if it’s more than $20? Why will I buy him a nice winter coat but won’t do the same for myself, rationalizing that I can just layer and wear a scarf? Why is it that I will take time to play trains with him, but won’t take the 30 minutes a day that I should to exercise and get myself back into shape? I’ve even been cutting my own bangs (and you can TOTALLY tell) so I’d have more money to spend on him.

In trying so hard to be the perfect mother, I let myself get lost along the way. I need to bring more of a balance back into the picture. I need to bring a toy with us to the store instead of constantly buying him more. I need to spend less on his wardrobe- he doesn’t need 20 different outfits for one week- and a little more on mine.

I want to teach my son discipline and to not constantly want things- and I will confess that right now I am not doing a very good job at that.

I realized also that I’m sending a clear message to my son- mommy is not important. This message is in clear opposition with the message of mutual respect, of learning to honor one another. I am sending mixed messages when I refuse to take the time to honor myself. Sometimes we joke that our kids act like they own  the place- but have we stopped to think that maybe it’s our fault? We are the ones responsible for their social integration. Keeping all the focus on them all the time is not helping them integrate into the family at all, and it’s really no wonder that there are kids who grow up feeling entitled and as though the whole world revolves around them- because it has!

I’m not beating myself up about it. But, I am aware of it now and will be working to change things. I would also like to encourage my fellow mothers to examine their own motivations and actions, and take a second to consider whether or not you are sending your kid the message that you (mommy) are not important at all.

I took the first step myself, tonight. After dinner, I told Dylan that it was mommy’s turn to use the television. At first he balked a little bit (“but I want to watch MORE Little Bear!”), but then settled down and played with his trains. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and I got to enjoy a television show for once.

It was really great.