I’m a garbage mom…

It started as a running joke in our house, “I’m a Garbage Mom!”. My husband is an accountant at a waste and recycling company so you can see where the humor stems from, right?

My sister and I have 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 off everything that doesn’t go quite right.

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.”

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. 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 mastitis when Oakes was 2 weeks old and that was the most painful and exhausting thing a mother can 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. 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, vaccinated or un-vaccinated. 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 baby was always fed. Maybe I’m a good mom because I was too busy soaking up a beautiful, cell-phone free Sunday with my son that I forgot to get any photos. Maybe I’m a good mom because I got over my fear of giving my son solids and now he is a fantastic, independent eater who effing LOVES hot dogs.

Be kind. We’re all garbage moms, we’re all good moms.

-L

 

 

 

 

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Stinky kitchen sink? Try this trick

One thing I can’t stand is kitchen odors and I know I’m not the only one.. I have been using this little trick for a few years now and it never fails me! It keeps my sink smelling fresh and even has antibacterial properties.

Okay, I’ll just say it.. Essential oils. My versatile little helpers to the rescue! If you smell a kind of smelly smell that smells smelly, look no further than your citrus essential oils. I’m talking about Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit and even Bergamot. These happy smelling oils are tough on grease and odors! I like Eden’s Garden essential oils and you will find them in every room of my house.

My current oil of choice is Lime and I keep it right next to the sink. When I’m done with the last of my dishes, I simply rinse the sink and dry it with a towel. I like the Kitchen Towel by Norwex with Antibac. I then place a few drops of essential oil in the bottom of the sink and even a few drops in the garbage disposal. I then take that same towel and wipe down the sink again to disperse the oil.

Now, inhale… and, exhale… because your dishes are done and your sink smells FRESH AF. I would love to hear your tips and tricks for a clean smelling kitchen!

-L

My favorite clean burning candles

Monkey Farts, Tired as a Mother, They Whine I Wine… These are a few of the amazing scents of candles from one of my absolute favorite CLEAN candle companies, Happy Little Flame. My friend Bex was on a mission to create a clean burning candle after discovering how toxic regular candles can be.

Most candles on the market are made with paraffin wax which is made from petroleum. When burned, paraffin releases toxic chemicals into the air including known carcinogens like benzene and toluene. Bex makes her candles out of soy wax and coconut wax made from cold pressed coconut meat. She also uses 100% cotton wicks that are free of lead and zinc to keep the air we breathe in our home clean.

On top of being family friendly, her candle names CRACK ME UP. Monkey Farts, being one of my absolute favorites for summer, is a fruity pineapple scent that I keep in the patio for cocktail nights with friends and Tired as a Mother is a beautiful lavender vanilla scent that gets lit in our house when the lights go down for the evening. Even with toys strewn across the floor and unfolded laundry staring at me, this candle brings me peace in the evening after the baby goes to bed.

We all have our “things” that we are into and candles happen to be mine.. Poopy diaper in the trash? Light a candle. Cleaning old leftovers out of the fridge? Light a candle. Had a tough day? Light a candle, and open a bottle of wine…

-L

Aldi Freezer Meals for maternity leave

Before I went back to work, I knew I was going to have a tough time adjusting to a completely new schedule so I made it a goal to make freezer meals before heading back to my full-time job. Recently, I had an outpouring of moms in my area who wanted to know what I do for meal prepping so here is my list of meals and my Aldi grocery list! Of course, you can find all of these items at any grocery store. I just love the amount of money I save when I shop at Aldi. They even offer a lot of organic options now!

IMG_2645(Makes about 18-22 Freezer Meals) 2-3 hour prep time – have Grandma watch the kiddos and get cookin’!

  1. Chicken Enchiladas (1-2 pans)
  2. Rigatoni with Meat Sauce (2 pans)
  3. Tater Tot Hot Dish (2 pans)
  4. Chicken Carbonara (2 pans)
  5. Meatloaf (2 pans)
  6. Tortellini with Sausage (2 Pans)
  7. Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese (2 pans)
  8. Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (1-2 pans)
  9. Cheesy Chicken Hashbrown Casserole (2 pans)
  10. Honey Pepper Chicken and Cellentani (2 pans)
  11. Ravioli Lasagna (1-2 pans)

Aldi Shopping List:

  • 10 Kirkwood Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cooked and shredded, I boil mine in hot water and then shred)
  • 7 pounds of ground beef (only brown 4 and season with salt, pepper, onions, garlic)
  • 1 package of Bacon
  • 1 package chicken or turkey sausage
  • 1 package diced ham
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • 1 8 oz. tub Sour Cream
  • 2 bags Shredded Cheddar
  • 2 bags Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 package Sliced Swiss Cheese
  • 1 package tortillas
  • 2 packages of Cheese Tortellini
  • 1 can bread crumbs (you can also use crushed crackers or corn flakes)
  • 1 box Rigatoni
  • 1 box penne
  • 1 box Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 box Cellentani
  • 1 small jar of honey
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans organic Cream of Chicken
  • 2 cans organic Cream of Mushroom
  • 3 jars of Red Pasta Sauce
  • 3 jars Alfredo Sauce
  • 1 Bag frozen Tater Tots
  • 1 Bag Frozen shredded Hash Browns
  • 1 bag frozen breaded chicken tenders (fully cooked)
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 bags of frozen ravioli

Dollar Tree Shopping List:

  • 10, Square Foil Cake Pan 2 Packs
  • 1, Foil Loaf pan 2 pack (for Meatloaf)
  • Pop-Up Aluminum Foil Sheets, 30 ct.


Chicken Enchiladas

  • Qty. 2 Chicken Breasts Shredded
  • Qty. 1 can Enchilada Sauce
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Combine shredded chicken in a bowl with 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and half of the can of enchilada sauce. Pour enough enchilada sauce in the base of the pan to cover it. Spoon chicken/cheese/sauce mixture into tortillas, roll and place seam down in pan. Cover enchiladas with remaining sauce and the remaining shredded cheddar cheese. Freeze.

To serve: Bake @ 375 degrees uncovered until bubbling around the edges. Top with your choice of shredded lettuce, sour cream, sliced avocado, diced red onion and/or tomato.


Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

  • 1 box of Rigatoni pasta
  • 2 lbs browned ground beef
  • 1 jar of Red Pasta Sauce
  • 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella

Cook pasta until tender. Drain. Add the 2 pounds of ground beef, the jar of pasta sauce and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (optional) to the pasta and combine. Distribute evenly into 2 pans and sprinkle mozzarella over the top. Freeze.

To serve: Bake @ 375 degrees uncovered until bubbly. Serve with a fresh Caeser salad kit and garlic bread.


Tater Tot Hot Dish

  • 2 pounds browned ground beef
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom
  • 2 cans full of milk
  • 1 bag frozen tater tots

Combine ground beef, frozen vegetables, cream of mushroom and milk in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Distribute evenly into 2 pans and cover with tater tots.

To serve: Bake @ 375 degrees until bubbly and tater tots are crunchy on top.

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Chicken Carbonara

  • 2 shredded chicken breasts
  • Bacon Crumbles (4-8 slices cooked and chopped up)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 box Penne Pasta
  • 1 jar Alfredo Sauce (cut with some milk if you need)

Cook pasta until tender. Drain. Add Alfredo sauce and bacon crumbles to the pasta. Line the bottom of your pans with as much or as little of the chopped tomatoes as you want. Pour Pasta, alfredo and bacon mixture to the pan. Cover with Shredded Mozzarella.

To serve: Bake @ 375 until bubbly and cheese starts to turn golden.


Meatloaf

  • 3 pounds of ground beef (uncooked)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (or crushed crackers, I like to use ritz or the Aldi Buttery Rounds)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion or 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp low sodium Worcestershire (you could also use bbq sauce, soy sauce or leave it out altogether)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tsp mustard

Combine all ingredients in a bowl ( I like to use my Kitchenaid mixer for this one). Divide evenly into 2 loaf pans. Freeze.

To Serve: Bake covered @ 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with green beans and potatoes.


Tortellini with Sausage

  • 2 packages of cheese torellini
  • 1 package of your choice of seasoned sausage (I buy the Mild Italian Chicken Sausage from Aldi)
  • Sliced bell peppers and onion (optional, if your kiddos like them or not)
  • 1/2 jar of Alfredo
  • 1/2 jar of red pasta sauce
  • shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine Tortellini, sliced sausage, alfredo, red sauce and a dash of milk in a bowl (no need to cook the tortellini!). Divide evenly into 2 pans. Cover with shredded mozarella. Freeze.

To serve: Bake uncovered @ 375 degrees until bubbly and cheese starts turning golden.


Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese

  • 1 box elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • bread crumbs (or cracker crumbs, crushed corn flakes, use whatever is stale as shit that’s been sitting in the pantry too long..)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni until tender, drain. Make a roux with dry ingredients (including spices)  milk and butter. Add shredded cheddar cheese until fully incorporated. Pour over cooked macaroni and stir. Divide into 2 pans and cover with cracker crumbs. Freeze.

To serve: Bake @ 375 degrees until bubbly and golden on top. Serve with your choice of fruit/veggie. I like a good ‘ol broccoli steamer bag with this one.


Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

  • 2 shredded chicken breasts
  • 1 pkg of diced ham
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1 can milk
  • 1/2 container of sour cream
  • 1 pkg swiss cheese slices

Combine shredded chicken, diced ham, cream of mushroom, sour cream and milk in a bowl. Spoon into pan. Cover with swiss cheese slices. Freeze.

To serve: Bake @ 375 degrees until bubbly and swiss cheese slices are melted and started to golden. This one also goes great with a steamer bag of broccoli or brussel sprouts.


Cheesy Chicken Hashbrown Casserole

  • 2 shredded chicken breasts
  • 1 20 oz bag of shredded hashbrowns
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 container of sour cream
  • 1 can cream of chicken
  • 1 can of milk
  • bread crumbs (or cracker crumbs, crushed corn flakes, you know the drill..)

Combine all ingredients except the bread crumbs in a bowl and divide into 2 pans. Cover with bread crumbs and freeze.

To serve: Bake uncovered @ 375 until bubbly and golden on top. Goes great with steamer bag veggies!


Honey Pepper Chicken and Cellentani

  • 1 bag of breaded chicken tenders
  • 1 box cellentani pasta (or whatever pasta you choose. I just have a thing for the spiraly kind because I’m a 5 year old at heart…)
  • 1 jar alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • a pinch of the following: chili powder, garlic powder, ground ginger, pepper

Combine honey, soy sauce and spices in a little container and set aside. Cook pasta until tender and drain. Add alfredo sauce and cheddar cheese to the pasta and divide into 2 pans. Lay chicken tenders on top of the pasta and drizzel the honey pepper sauce over the top. Freeze.

To serve: Bake uncovered @ 375 until bubbly. This is my cheap version of the Applebee’s Honey Pepper Chicken and one of my absolute favorite meals..


Ravioli Lasagna

  • 2 bags of frozen ravioli
  • 1 jar red pasta sauce or 1 jar alfredo
  • shredded mozzarella
  • your choice of remaining ground beef or shredded chicken

Pour enough sauce in the base of your pans to cover it. add a layer of frozen ravioli. add a layer of meat. add a layer of cheese. add a layer of sauce. Continue to follow these steps in both pans and finish with a layer of shredded cheese on top. Freeze.

Tip: You can add fresh spinach to the layers if your kids don’t mind it!

To serve: Bake uncovered @ 375 degrees until bubbly and cheese is golden. This one also goes good with a salad kit and some garlic bread!


This is my monthly meal prepping in a nutshell! Feel free to adjust to meet your families needs and then please share below! Questions about my process? Just ask! Make sure to label your dinners before freezing, happy meal prepping!

-L

A natural deodorant that actually works – 10% off code inside

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I received a happy little package from Primally Pure last weekend! I purchased the Lavender Deodorant, the Dry Shampoo for Light Locks and the Cocoa Lip Balm. My Challenge was to replace my normal items with these 3 products for one week to see how well they really worked.

My life is forever changed.

I will start with the Cocoa Lip Balm. Lip Balm is my vice. I keep several at home, one in my car, one in the diaper bag, one in my purse and one in my desk at work. I can safely say that I will forever buy Primally Pure Lip Balm from now on. This stuff goes on so smooth but isn’t too soft that it leaves too much on your lips. It is incredibly hydrating and the Cocoa flavor from the Cocoa Butter is lovely. I love the simple list of ingredients and the use of coconut oil in this Lip Balm! I will be replacing every Lip Balm I own with every flavor of Primally Pure Lip Balm. These would make a great gift or stocking stuffer too!!

05-04-18-06-53-41_0001_Layer+Comp+2.jpgNext on the list is the Primally Pure Lavender Deodorant. I have tried many natural deodorants out there and I have never found one to actually work for me.. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, this is a game changer.. This deodorant smells beautiful and at the end of a crazy day, chasing my 7 month old around, this scent is still going strong! Primally Pure Deodorant is not an antiperspirant so it is not intended to prevent sweating (as it’s the bodies natural way of eliminating toxins) but I didn’t have an issue with sweating! I think the baking soda in this stuff helps with that issue. I was also asked this week if I had any issues with this formula leaving marks on clothing and I have not! This stuff is “Black Cardigan Approved”! I am officially converted and even my husband has started using this deodorant. There is a lot of hype online about this deodorant and I am telling you first-hand, it’s all true. I encourage you to give it a try.

Now here comes the big test.. Anyone that knows me, knows that I could not live without 3 things: coffee, cheese and dry shampoo.. I have very thick, long and wavy hair and most days I just throw my hair in a bun before I shower, as to not get it wet. I am one of THOSE mom’s that only washes my hair typically once a week. But hey, I’m saving time and saving the earths water! I have always used aerosol dry shampoos but have loved the idea of trying a non-aerosol dry shampoo because I go through so much of the stuff! So I finally took the plunge with Primally Pure Dry Shampoo for Light Locks. I was very happily surprised with this product! I admit, I was skeptical about going from a spray to container that I had to sprinkle onto my hair but it works great! The Cocoa and Kaolin Clay give the powder a nice color that blends into my hair so much better than other dry shampoos and the finish was very matte and unnoticeable which is great! The scent is lovely too. It smells like peppermint with a very subtle hint of cocoa. It’s very light and I love it! With some dry shampoos, my hair would feel gritty and my scalp would get irritated but I have not had this issue with Primally Pure.. A little truly goes a long way and I will be using this product from now on to keep my hair looking great between washes!!

Primally Pure uses certified organic and fair trade ingredients whenever possible and consults with industry experts to assure that their products are safe and effective.

Do you use Primally Pure products or have a natural beauty product that you swear by? Please tell me all about it in the comments below!

Use Code: GODDESS10 for 10% off your purchase!

-L

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USE CODE: KIND15 AT CHECKOUT

 

My top 6 favorite essential oil uses

A few years back, I wanted to invest in a basic set of essential oils that would cover all of my needs (cleaning, aromatherapy, pest control, etc.) so I did my research to find the best quality oils at the best price. I was recommended many popular brands but never liked the prices.. I came across Eden’s Garden™ and fell in love with everything about this company.

Not only are these oils high quality, but incredibly affordable. Eden’s Garden™ is a Non-MLM Essential Oil Company meaning they are not a Multi-Level Marketing Business where products are sold by individuals who earn a commission, so no paying big markups.

I purchased a 12 oil kit that contained all of the basic oils I needed to get started. It’s called the Best of the Best Set and costs only $60.95! That’s only about $5 per oil! It contains: 12, 10 ml bottles of Cinnamon Leaf, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, Spearmint, Sweet Orange and Tea Tree.

All Eden’s Garden™ oils are 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils and whenever possible they source their products from organic growers and distillers.

Here are some of my favorite uses for my Eden’s Garden™ Essential Oils!

  • 3 drops of Lemon Essential Oil in the sink after we finish dishes to keep it smelling fresh
  • To keep bugs away, we put a few drops of Spearmint, Peppermint and Tea Tree Essential Oil on a cotton ball and place it on a little dish by the front and back door
  • For a stuffy nose or cough, we add 5-10 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil to the babies humidifier
  • For a relaxing bath while pregnant, I added a few drops of Lavender and Clary Sage Essential Oil to a carrier oil and rubbed it on my belly while I soaked
  • A combination of Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint Oil and Witch hazel in a small spray bottle to spray on my swollen tired feet in the summer was SO relieving
  • A few drops of both Sweet Orange and Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil in your diffuser during the fall months is a delicious and comforting smell in the house

What are your favorite essential oils and their uses! I would love to hear it below!

-L