Monday, February 26, 2018

Becoming a More Mindful Mama... Impossible or No?

I'm about to share with you something I really suck at. (I like how that sentence makes it sound like I only suck at one thing... wouldn't that be nice?) But really though, I'm about to let you in on a secret. 

I suck at being present. Whether it's when I'm with my kids or while I'm in the grocery store or even while I'm at the gym, I'm constantly running through various To-Do lists in my head thinking about what needs to be done or what I've already failed to do. It's a constant battle trying to remain present in the moments of Motherhood without getting overwhelmed by busyness. 

This is where the practice of mindfulness comes in. We all have the capacity to be present. It doesn't require any fancy tools or apparatus. All we really have to do is look within ourselves to cultivate innate qualities of peace and presence. Sounds easy, right?

The practice of being mindful encourages moms to let go to of the notion of perfect parenting and all of the areas of motherhood that this spills over into. Mindfulness as a mom means learning to stay patient in the presence of meltdowns, finding ways to better manage stress, choosing ways to stay present with your family so you don't miss every day moments and prioritizing play over productivity. 

At the start of the new year, I decided that "mindful" was going to be my word of 2018 and I wanted to share with you today a few ways that I've been incorporating the practice of mindfulness into my day to day life. 

On my best days, I'm up before the sun and most importantly, I'm up before my three boys. Some days this looks like the 4am hour and others I can squeak by until 6am. On the mornings I'm fumbling around in the dark for my exercise clothes, I'm mindful that these quiet hours are a gift and to choose wisely how I spend them. It's been a little over one month now that I've been consistently going to the gym at 5am each week and in that time I have learned to love the dark and the quiet that comes with the early wake up. It's typically the only time of the day that I am not constantly needed or being pulled in numerous directions. The post-workout endorphin rush is another bonus to this newly adopted self-care practice.

Being mindful also means slowing down to enjoy the process of things. I wholly admit that I am not the best at this but I am trying each day to find peace in ordinary moments. For instance, when I return home to the gym and have to make school lunches, a task that I typically loathe with every fiber of my being, I try to stop and remind myself what a blessing it is to have three boys to pack lunch for and to belong to a school community that I truly love and appreciate. 

Recognizing what I'm putting into and on my body has also become a part of my own personal mindful practice. Adopting habits of clean eating and cleaner living have already benefited my family in so many ways. 

Last month I introduced you to prAna, a clothing company dedicated to inspiring healthy, active, living through the use of their sustainable fabrics. prAna is incredibly mindful of the way they source their materials and use them to create pieces that are designed to be worn in all aspects of life, from fitness activities to every day living. They recently sent me two pieces that have become comfortable reminders of my newly adopted practice of mindfulness. 

Getup Sweater // Shala Pant

I am a work in progress but I am also happy with the small changes I've made so far to become a more mindful mother. 
My friends at prAna asked that I share the following code with you. It's good for 15% off of all things regularly priced: MPAPS18. The discount code is active through March 20th. 

Happy Shopping!
#mindfulprAna #prAnaSpring18
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Mom Hacks: In The Kitchen: 3 Tips to Appreciate The Dinner Witching Hour

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of PERDUE®; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Chances are, if you’re a parent, you can’t remember the last time you actually enjoyed cooking dinner for your family. If your house is anything like mine, the evening rush hour is a circle of Hell that Dante forgot to write about. Perhaps during this time dinner prep is taking longer than expected, maybe you forgot an ingredient and in between raiding the pantry for snacks and singing an acapella version of “I’m So Booooooored,” your kids are beating the veritable stuffing out of each other. In fact, if your house is anything like mine, by 5:00pm you’re one “I’m-so-bored/hungry-he-won’t-keep-his-hands-off-me,” away from an unexpected visit to the Emergency Room. Like you actually have time for that.
Ever since the first of the year I’ve become acutely aware of how much I loathe the evening rush hour, how much more I raise my voice during that time and how much less time is actually spent enjoying my family. I’m sure it has everything to do with the fact that my days are consumed with errands, gym sessions, pick-up’s, drop-off’s and orchestrating swim lessons and music lessons. That as soon as we’re home and our feet hit the floor, it’s a crazy, chaotic dance of homework, reading logs and balancing the attention-seeking needs of little boys clamoring for just a bit of their mama’s undivided attention.
Meanwhile, dinner ain’t gonna cook itself.
I’m learning that with a little forethought and some pretty awesome mom hacks, I can kick the chaos to the curb and focus on what really matters during those early evening hours- being present with my family. That’s why I’m sharing with you today just 3 simple hacks to be used in the kitchen to help you hate the dinner witching hour just a little bit less.

  1. Simplify the Meal Plan
I used to think that I had to cook up these grand meals with fancy ingredients because that’s what stay-at-home moms did. After all, they were home all day! They have all the time in world! Very quickly I learned that’s incredibly untrue and when those fancy meals were made, someone always complained, refused to eat them and spent most of dinner time kicking and screaming on the kitchen floor. Stick with what you know and what your family loves. If that means you have the same 12 meals on rotation for the month, so be it. K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Superstar!)

  1. Less is More
Less time spent prepping means more time spent with your family. PERDUE® understands this with their new line of PERDUE® FRESH CUTSTM boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Available in diced, strips or thin sliced, PERDUE® FRESH CUTSTM  chicken helps busy parents skip the hassle of cleaning and cutting up chicken and later having to scrub cutting boards, counter tops and their hands over and over again. It might not seem like much but eliminating just those activities alone has saved me up to 30 minutes in the kitchen of prep and cleanup time per meal! Not to mention, I don’t have to touch any gross, slimy chicken parts.

  1. Stop What You’re Doing and Dance
You probably rolled your eyes just now but a good kitchen dance party has saved my sanity on more than one occasion and now that I’ve shaved up to 30 minutes from my normal dinner routine by using PERDUE® FRESH CUTSTM chicken, I have more time for family fun! Stop what you’re doing, turn on Alexa, your phone, the music station on TV and get your kids into the kitchen and dance. You’ll be giving them the undivided attention they so badly crave while letting loose and being silly. Two songs and ten minutes later, you won’t believe how much less your kids will resent you when you tell them you have to get back to cooking. Trust me on this!

One of the most popular (and easy) dishes in our house to whip up are these Buffalo Chicken Flatbreads. I put this together in less than thirty minutes on Super Bowl Sunday. Served with fresh veggies and a side salad, it made for the perfect pre-game meal. With the extra time I saved by not having to handle or prep the chicken, I was able to spend more time getting my fame face on with my boys!
Serves a family of 5

We all know that busy moms need real, simple meal ideas that work. Creativity and quickness included, PERDUE®  FRESH CUTSTM chicken  allows busy parents less time to prepare a meal and more time to enjoy it. Just look at how much more relaxed this Mom looks once she ditches her regular chicken routine for PERDUE®  FRESH CUTSTM chicken!
For additional PPERDUE®  FRESH CUTSTM chicken recipes, head here. The best part is that PERDUE® chicken comes with a “No Antiobiotics Ever” promise, so you can feel confident that you are feeding you family responsibly, and saving time doing so.
Be sure to enter the PERDUE® #30MinuteMeTime social media contest for a chance to win a $100 gift card to SpaFinder, Fandango or Amazon. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited and outside US. Must be legal US resident 18+ (19+ in AL and NE; 21+ in MS). For full rules, see here.
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