Garbage Mom

It started as a running joke between Emily and I, “You’re a Garbage Mom”. My husband is an accountant at a waste and recycling company so you can see where the humor stems from.

We coined the term and use it when the struggle of momhood is all too real. You all know what I’m talking about. Those days when the chaos snowballs and you turn your back for a second and your toddler is eating hair conditioner in the bathtub. Ya, I can be a garbage mom some days but I don’t consider it a put-down. It’s a way of laughing at the craziness and keeping things in perspective especially with social media being such a huge influence on us moms.

I wasn’t prepared for the judgement and competitiveness from other parents when I became a mom. For me it started in the hospital. I had my mind made up, I only wanted to pump when my son was born so my husband and I could both enjoy bottle feeding our son. And if it didn’t work out, so be it! Fed is best. Right?

Picture me, all alone in a hospital bed with a newborn baby. My husband went home to get some sleep and take care of our dog. I have gotten 2 hours of sleep in a 48 hour period. It’s 2 am and I ask the nurse for a bottle so I can feed my crying baby and get some much needed sleep. She looked me in my tired eyes that were starting to form tears and said, “Breast is best.” and left the room.

I will never forget those words and the sting I felt. I was no longer the doted-on mother-to-be. My wishes did not matter. I was simply a vessel, a source of food. Whether I got sleep or time to heal wasn’t an issue. That was my decision to make, not hers but that night she won. To this day, I wish I would have had the emotional strength to say something in that moment. But the exhaustion and hormonal crash I was riding suppressed it.

I ended up pumping for 2.5 months and I absolutely hated it but was so proud of myself and grateful I was able to give my baby what he needed for that time. I was so relieved the day I packed up my breast pump and put it in storage. I was never able to produce enough and always supplemented with formula. I got a bad case of mastitis when Oakes was 2 weeks old and that was the most painful and exhausting thing to go through while still trying to heal and take care of a newborn.. I was proud of the mountain I climbed and happy it was over and I have zero shame in admitting that. Pumping was so challenging, exhausting and alienating for me and Oakes needed a happy and healthy mama more than he needed a couple more ounces of breast milk.

I was shocked by the amount of people who asked or assumed that I breastfed my baby. Like it was any of their business… I also got the unwanted “advice” from those who were clearly judging me for giving it up and had no problem of their own producing a freezer full of supply while blindfolded and standing on one leg… There were also the mom’s who judged me for getting an epidural and vaccinating my son. What happened to this “mom tribe” I heard such great things about that was supposed to be full of supportive, non-judgmental women?

Well I am here for you! Breast fed or formula fed, epidural or all natural, cloth diapers or disposable. Our personal decisions shouldn’t prevent us from supporting each other. There is more than one right way to be a good parent.

Give advice when asked and be supportive always. 

Maybe I’m a garbage mom because I didn’t breast feed. Maybe I’m a garbage mom because I didn’t get any photos of my son’s first Easter. Maybe I’m a garbage mom because I fed him hot dogs for dinner 3 nights in a row last week. But maybe I’m a good mom because my son is always fed. Maybe I’m a good mom because I spent a whole day with my family free of cell phones. Maybe I’m a good mom because I skimped on dinnertime so I could make sure everyone had clean clothes.

The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already are one. Be kind. We’re all garbage moms and we’re all good moms.

Laura_Signature


Simple Korean Beef & Kale

Simple, tasty, recipes that don’t make you feel like garbage are staples in our house. Especially this time of year when we’d much rather spend more time outside than slave away in front of a hot stove. This recipe was inspired by a Pinterest find and was perfected over time after sharing it with family and testing different variations on Juan and Violet. It has less than 10 ingredients and we rarely have leftovers because it’s just that good.

You will need:

1 lb ground beef
3 cups fresh kale- chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. ground ginger or 2 tsp. fresh ginger
1/2 cup Coconut Aminos or Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
Red Pepper Flakes to taste

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and break it up into small pieces. Continue to cook the meat until a nice crisp starts to form. Add in your minced garlic but be careful not to burn it. You may need to adjust your heat. As your meat is browning, mix together the coconut aminos, ginger, sesame oil, brown sugar and red pepper flakes until the sugar is dissolved. Add your mixture to the meat and stir to incorporate. Add in your fresh kale, stirring occasionally until the kale is wilted and warmed through. Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice & top with green onion for a bright crunch.

Chef’s notes:

  • Even if you are not soy sensitive, I would recommend using coconut aminos to get the perfect blend of flavors.
  • You can add onion to the meat mixture for an additional level of flavor.
  • Take the time to brown your meat until it has nice, crunchy edges- thank me later.

Emily_Signature


Cleaning Product Round-up

When was the last time you went through the cleaning supplies under your sink.. It’s probably been a hot minute. I feel you. Before we dive too deep into our spring cleaning, let’s take a look at the cleaning supplies you plan on using and decide whether or not they are the best option for cleaning your home.

With a toddler around, it’s important for us to make sure cleaning supplies aren’t accessible to our little rugrat but it’s also important for us to do our homework and make sure we’re using non-toxic cleaning supplies. Today I will cover common household cleaners and their “cleaner” dupe for making your household safer for your family.

Standard Glass Cleaner vs. 50/50 Vinegar Water 

This alternative to common window cleaners is safe and also CHEAP. Mix 50/50 distilled water and white distilled vinegar inside of a spray bottle and enjoy a non-toxic, streak free shine on all of your windows!

Common All Purpose Cleaner vs Thieves/On Guard

I recently made the switch to using Thieves/On Guard (whichever you prefer, I use both!) all purpose cleaner. I had been using Method brand all purpose sprays but still felt like the scents were a little too harsh. It’s still a “cleaner” option over Lysol or Clorox sprays as it is plant derived, but it still contains ingredients that you wouldn’t want your baby putting in their mouth.. With your homemade Thieves/On Guard spray, you can basically clean anything. I have used it to clean the upholstery on our couches, disinfect toys, spray carpets and rugs to deodorize, cleanup spills, wash the high chair.. The list goes on! And the best part is that it’s completely safe for your little one. No need to rinse.

Disinfecting Wipes vs Green Works Wipes

Being mindful of the amount of waste we produce is so important. Did you know that almost all disinfecting wipes are not biodegradable? That’s right folks. They are made of synthetic fibers that decompose slowly in our landfills. And most name brand wipes use a solution that is to be rinsed thoroughly with water, especially if you are cleaning an area that will be in contact with food. I used these bad boys for YEARS until I learned the truth.. A better solution is the Green Works Compostable Cleaning Wipes. These wipes are made of natural wood-based fibers and are made with 97% naturally derived ingredients. They make quick clean-ups a breeze, they’re safe for our little ones and they are better for our planet. Win, win, win.

As you begin your spring cleaning, I hope you keep these swaps in mind. In the end, you will have a clean home, more money in your pocket and our earth will thank you. Friends don’t let friends clean with chemicals. Happy Cleaning!

Laura_Signature


Chipotle Lime Chicken Salad

This recipe is one of my favorite meal planning hacks and is totally sustainable to whatever ingredients you have in your kitchen. Just a couple super simple ingredients and minimal effort for maximum flavor and it gets better the longer the flavors meld together. It’s perfect to make on a Sunday and eat throughout the week. Put it on a salad, in a wrap or just eat it on it’s own and you will thank yourself for this killer lunch option.

You will need:

Primal Kitchen’s Chipotle Lime Mayo: You can make your own chipotle lime mayo fairly easily but this is an easier hack and will last longer in the fridge than your homemade option. Plus, no cleanup!

Rotisserie Chicken or Two Chicken Breasts, shredded: If using chicken breasts, you can cook them in a crockpot and shred them ahead of time or just chill them before making the rest of the dish. Rotisserie chicken can be shredded easily and depending on your preferences, you can use both white and dark meat for more developed flavors.

Roasted, un-salted cashews: This is a go-to for me but slivered almonds, roasted peanuts, pecans, whatever nuts you’d like to give this recipe a little crunch. If you are nut free, then simply omit this ingredient.

Green Onion: I personally like green onions for this dish because they tend to be a bit more mild when it comes to sharp oniony flavor. But whatever onion you have on hand will be just as good.

Grapes, dried cranberries, raisins, whatever you like: I personally love a good fruit option. Fresh grapes will give this dish a nice crispness, dried fruit will give some sweetness but watch out for added sugars.

Toss it all in a bowl and mix! It’s really is that simple. The best part about this recipe is really no measuring is needed. Use ratios that make sense for your tastes and what you have on hand. Then start with 1-2 spoonfuls of the chipotle lime mayo and mix. Keep adding little by little until you get the creaminess you want. Store it in the fridge and enjoy!

Emily_Signature


Simplifying Your Skin Care

As a mom of a very active infant who is currently refusing to sleep in her own bed, I need simple routines in my life. Complicated regimens with too many steps, to-dos or requirements don’t work for my current lifestyle, so when I decided to really focus on cleaning up my skincare products, I knew I needed less products that gave me the most bang for my buck. Here are four items that I’ve found to be “must-haves” for anyone who needs a simple and effective skincare routine.

I’ve written about collagen peptides before in our Collagen Smoothie Bowl Recipe and they have been a total game changer. I started adding them to my morning routine a couple month ago and I will be the first to admit I was skeptical. I wondered if I was just getting sucked into a fad supplement routine but I’m here to tell you this stuff works. I originally wanted to take them as a joint support supplement but the benefits I’ve seen go FAR beyond that. Hair and nails that grow like weeds are an added bonus but skin elasticity and overall complexion improvements are the real winners here. I put one scoop of beef collagen peptides in my morning coffee and I have seen a world of difference with my overall texture of my skin. Improving your skin from the inside out will make a huge difference in how you absorb topical products as well.

When it comes to cleansing and moisturizing your girl has tried everything. Drugstore brands, Proactive, Dermalogica, natural remedies and I’ve always had some form of a breakout every few weeks. After having a baby, my skin went from oily to dry and everything I thought I had learned about my skin was useless. I knew I wanted to try Beauty Counter for a long time but the prices made me shy away, hoping I would find a cheaper option that would be my magic acne cure. I decided as a gift to myself for the holidays I would go all in and purchase the Countermatch Regimen to try out the entire line and see what products worked.  If you have the funds to purchase the whole kit, girlfriend DO IT! But if you’re looking for the essential must haves, the cleansing balm and Countermatch moisturizer are it. The cleansing balm is my all time favorite and they have a travel size for $40 that has lasted forever! It’s a mask, a cleanser, a moisturizer and heaven all in one little jar. I was super skeptical about cleansing with such a thick and “greasy” balm but it’s so soothing on your skin and leaves you dewey, not oily. I would 1000% buy it again.

My daily moisturizer for the past few months has been the Countermatch Adaptive Moisture lotion by Beauty Counter. I love their products because I can feel good knowing there are no harsh chemicals or additives that wreak havoc on your body over time. It’s perfectly lightweight and is designed to match the moisture needs of your skin which literally can change from day to day. I put this on my wet skin and allow it to fully absorb before putting on my makeup for the day. A little goes a long way and I love how lightweight it is. Perfect for any season too which I love because that means I’m not having to switch out products for the summer. 10/10 would recommend.

The last thing I’ve implemented is DIY Dermaplaning- basically shaving my face. Ya’ll this one is key because if your skin is covered in hair, dead skin cells and remnants of your makeup, those amazing (expensive) products you’re putting on top are not getting the chance to soak in to the deeper layers of tissue. I am NOT trained to do this but I watched a few YouTube videos and feel confident doing this for me, and only me. I use an eyebrow razor that I get in the makeup section at Target, my cleansing balm and warm water to give myself a little mini facial about once a month. After cleansing, I keep my skin moist and carefully shave away the top layer of gunk going both directions. It takes 10 minutes and my skin is left feeling amazing. I then apply a good layer of my balm to soak in for the evening.

Ya’ll I am by no means a beauty guru but I have a fine appreciation for taking good care of the only skin I’ve been given. As I get older, safer yet effective products that are not a massive waste of money are super important to me so I’m happy to share these picks with you in the hopes that you find them useful!

Emily_Signature


Saying “No” so you can put yourself first

I don’t like to say no… Now, I’m not talking about to my toddler because we all know he hears that word A LOT. But you get it, right? Can you get this finished by Friday? Yes. Can you do dinner on Wednesday? Yes. Can you bake something for the potluck tomorrow? Yes. Can you design my friends sister’s wedding invitations? Yes… It’s easy to get stuck in the perpetual trap of saying yes but before we know it, we are putting ourselves and our families aside to accommodate others.

I love helping others, I really really do. And surrounding yourself with good friends who are willing to return your favors is so important. But sometimes we have to say no and that’s okay. Especially when it’s unlikely that your back will be scratched in return. Entering toddlerhood with our son really put a spotlight on this for me.

A toddler needs so much of your attention that you probably don’t even give yourself everything you need. I’m talking about crawling into bed without a shower because you’re too freaking tired, skipping lunch so you can take your babe to their doctor appointment, or reheating the same crappy cup of coffee 3 times because you haven’t been able to sit down and drink it. Forget pedicures, uninterrupted meals and warm coffee. Who has time for those anymore?! Can you see how adding all of those extra things to your schedule on top of your already busy life can really take away from not only your babe but yourself? Honey, you already come in last most days. Give yourself a BREAK!

Gone are the days that you could still make a lunch date or a shopping trip work because your baby would snooze in their little infant carseat and only wake for a bottle or diaper. Now you have this little personality that runs, throws food and decides for the whole household if it’s going to be an eating day or a non-eating day.

It’s okay to say yes, too. It’s fun to grab the babysitter and go out for dinner with friends or brave the restaurant with your kids on a good day. But you also don’t have to feel guilty if you want to stay home to catch up on laundry and not totally F up your child’s bedtime in the middle of the week. To each their own.

Long story short, it’s okay to say no. Because now you have this awesome excuse we call “children” and anyone who has kids of their own will understand when you have to say no. Don’t apologize or feel bad for putting your child or yourself first.

Say no to one thing this week and take time for yourself, you deserve it.

Laura_Signature