Perfectly Imperfect Mom

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Instagram Round Up!

By on July 1, 2017

  I decided it would be fun to give a shout out to some of my favorite Instagram accounts. I always love seeing who other Bloggers follow. Instagram has to be my favorite social media outlet for following fellow bloggers. 
Here are some of my fave Instagrammers at the moment
 

Crumbs and Glamour. Amaris is seriously the cutest. She has such a contagious smile. She is honest about having anxiety and I really admire her.
 

 
PB + J Babes. Amber is a Mom of 4 and so adorable. I love seeing all her kids. They might win the cutest family award. She has beautiful photos and her son’s monthly update photos are always hilarious.  

 
Bits of Bri. Brianna is a Mom of two and she has a youtube channel that I really like watching. She is super sweet and you can tell she just loves being a Mom to her little cuties. 
 
 
 Crista Olson Style. I really like her instagram because she is showing wearable clothes that many people can afford. She is a very relateable Mom. I really like that in a fellow Instagramer. 
 
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FREE Summer Reading Reward Chart Printable!

By on June 15, 2017

  Hey guys! Hope everyone’s Summer has been going well. So far ours has been a blast. I had lined up activities everyday for the kids so we wouldn’t be stuck at home all day. So far we have been to the fire station, Chick-fil-A and Park Avenue Gymnastics for open play. It has been nice being able to spend time with our friends before we move. It’s definitely been hard thinking about leaving everyone. 

So back to these Reading Charts. I wanted to make some type of reward chart for the kids so they would be motivated to read each day. In Summer it can sometimes be hard getting them to sit down, relax and read. I made these printables so you can easily hang them up and keep track of your child’s reading progress. Just print and you can have your child color the squares in, put stickers in them or punch holes. Super easy! 
To get the printables just go HERE for the pink and HERE for the blue. I hope you all like them! 
 
 
 
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parenting | Summer

How to Plan an Epic Summer on a Budget

By on June 12, 2017
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/269793833910449501/

 
Summer break has officially started!  My best friend, Kat, and I made a huge list of all the fun things we want to do with our kids this Summer and tried to keep everything under $10.
 
But how do you plan an epic Summer when you have three young children and don’t want to spend a lot of money? 
Here is a list of activities that are either free or under $10
*This post contains affiliate links which means I may make a small income from the company. This in no way affects you so no worries on your end! 
 
1. Go to free or dollar movies at your local theater. Regal Cinema and other theaters have Summer Movie Programs where they show movies on specific mornings for only a dollar. You can’t beat that! 
2. Picnics in the park.
 
3. Get a frozen treat. When I was pregnant with Ace and I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with him it was disgustingly hot and humid out. Anytime I had to leave the house I stopped at Burger King for an Icee. They were only $1 and they were the perfect treat for a hot day. Seven-11 has slurpees as well and they are under $2. 
 
4. Have a glow in the dark party. We love to buy glow in the dark jewelry for the kids, turn out the lights and put music on. They love this. It is probably the easiest way to entertain them at night. If you live near the beach you can make it even more fun and have a glow in the dark party on the beach at night. You can get glow in the dark party packs for less than $10 here
 
5. Have a scavenger hunt. You can make this as easy as getting a sheet of paper, getting crayons and coloring squares and telling your child to go find items with the color of each square. Something fun my best friend and I do is use our Shopkicks app and have our kids scan items on the app at different stores. It’s actually fun and you earn points towards gift cards, ha! And no this isn’t sponsored, we just actually like doing this and it’s out of the heat. 
 
6. Check out your local library. Many libraries have story times and activities for children of a variety of ages in the Summer. They also may have a Summer reading program, a great way to get your child reading more. If your library doesn’t have any of these it’s still a great way to spend time indoors, out of the heat, and read some new books. 
 
7. Watch the Sunrise.
 
8. Watch the Sunset. 
 
9. Make your own bagel pizzas. You have to buy food for lunch anyway so make it fun!
 
10. Make S’mores. 
 
11. Explore new areas in your town.
 
12. Visit the local museums. Ours has free admission the first Tuesday of every month! Check to see if yours has any free days. 
 
13.Make your own popsicles. Go here for over 70 recipes!
 
14. Play hopscotch using sidewalk chalk
 
15. Go for a bike ride. 
 
16. Feed the ducks. 
 
17. Play freeze tag.
 
18. Make fluffy slime
 
19. Have a water balloon fight. We love these water balloons because they are easy to fill, have 3 sets of different colors (one per kid) and are under $10. If you want to spend less you can go with a more simple set like this one
 
20. Make forts out of sheets and furniture. 
 
21. Get ice cream from Chick-fil-A. The kid cones are under a dollar and your children can enjoy the air conditioned play area! Check your local Chick-fil-A for other events like Cow Appreciation Day on July 11th. Dress like a cow and you get free food! 
 

 Don’t forget to pin this for later!

 

What are some of your free or inexpensive activities for Summer? 
 
Want to write for Perfectly Imperfect Mom? Email your submission HERE
 
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guest posting | parenting | Summer

Summer: Fun Weekly Themes by Fallan

By on June 10, 2017
Thank you Fallan for giving some fun weekly themes to keep our kids busy this Summer! 

 
Summertime is upon us and if you’re like me, you must be wondering how to occupy the kiddos to curb summer boredom (trust me, it’s coming) and save your own sanity.

The plan? Weekly summer themes.

Hear me out.

I’m a planner. I work better with a schedule and so do my children. My children have never attended camp because I make summer both fun and educational (I can’t help it! I’m a teacher!).

Weekly summer themes can be incorporated anywhere, even with vacations. It works for children of all ages and with both free and expensive activities. All you need is a bit of planning and some research. 


Let me break it down:

These are the weekly themes I came up with for this summer, with some help from my kids: Zachary, 8, and Oakley, 4:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/269793833910449510/

You can be as specific or vague as you want with your themes. When my daughter was younger, I was broader with the themes to incorporate activities for both age groups. For example, last summer we had a week of transportation so my son could read up on submarines and space shuttles while my daughter learned about the different types of transportation we use in the air, on land, and to sail the seas.

Once you have your themes, now comes the research. With every theme, we go to the library once a week. It allows for quiet time, it’s free, it’s in the air conditioning, and it lets us chose books that help us learn about that week’s theme. We look for both fiction and non-fiction books.

Next, I think about local attractions and events that may accommodate our theme. Some of these are easy, like going to the science museum for science week or seeing the fireworks for the Fourth of July for the week focusing on America. 

But it helps to think outside the box here. You don’t want to necessarily go to the same attractions your family would go to on a regular weekend. I like to find something we rarely do or even something we’ve never tried before.

For example, we plan to try the glass blowing demonstration in Hollywood, as it’s something they’ve never seen and we’ve wanted to try. 

Summer is known for being kid-friendly so flipping through a local parenting magazine, such as South Florida Parenting, or searching online for a few keywords or even on Pinterest, can give you a multitude of ideas for your themes.

I like to look up free or cheap options to help keep costs down so we can often be found free museum days or at local parks with a magnifying glass. You could choose to just do a few weeks this summer.

Weekly summer themes can be as detailed as you want them to be. Have fun and happy summer!
 Want to save these ideas for later? Pin it! 

  Want to be published on Perfectly Imperfect Mom? Email your submission HERE
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Adoption

An Adoption Story: Kelly’s Mocha Beauty

By on June 2, 2017

I am so excited for you all to read about my friend Kelly’s family. Kelly played a huge role in my decision to adopt Ashlyn. She had recently just adopted her daughter and was back in town while waiting for her ICPC to clear. She reassured me and answered my questions. I am eternally grateful for that day…


I have this great memory of our lovely Perfectly Imperfect mama, Brenna- we were about eight years old, eating the old-school Funfetti icing straight out of the plastic can, and sitting on the floor watching Power Rangers. Basically we were elementary school spirit animals. (Can that icing come back? Did it? I just moved back from three years in Europe so I am behind on a few American things.) We have stayed in touch through the years and I still think she is so fabulous.

Our family is made up of myself, my husband and our three adorable, sweet girls. We have eight year old twins and a three year old. We are grateful to have grown our family through pregnancy and adoption– which often leads to some crazy questions and interesting comments. I usually share that we wanted to adopt first but most agencies don’t take a 22 year old seriously when they call. Also to note we are mere mortals and not Hollywood celebrities- so finances were a bit of a factor.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome made conception difficult: but thankfully not impossible. We celebrated when our IUI (or intra-uterine insemination) was successful and our sweet girls were born that following spring. When the twins were four, we decided the timing was right to pursue an adoption. Initially we wanted to try for an international adoption but our military life made that a little too difficult. I scoured blog posts, adoptive parent forums, and family magazines- basically praying my guts out the entire time that this would work before Uncle Sam moved our little crew again.

I stumbled upon an adoption consultant and had a gut feeling this is who we needed. We completed our home study and paperwork- and worked with her as she connected us to different birth mothers through various agencies and private adoption attorneys. My husband and I had such a strong connection to one woman in particular and she ended up choosing us to parent her baby girl. We spoke in July and our peanut was born in August. Yes, four weeks later! What an answer to years of prayers!

It was incredibly difficult to watch her make the decision not to parent our little Star: a selfless choice made wholly from love. We were able to be there when our youngest was born and I am so grateful to have been there to see her take her first breath. Every adoption begins with loss and that is not lost on our family. There is a woman who loves our little peanut so much and she misses her every day. We honor the choice that she made and are so grateful to her for this incredible gift.

Many have asked us about birth parent contact after an adoption. I think that is what scares people the most- what does that look like, what will be our relationship be, how much will he/she know about our family? Every adoption is unique. Our adoption is totally final- our names are on Star’s birth certificate; we are her parents. Her birth mom receives an update and pictures every year. We also like to send a Christmas update. These are the terms we agreed upon and we honor those. Some families have no contact, some Facetime or call. It just depends. Do not let this stop you from pursuing an adoption, if that is where your heart is leading you. It has shaped our lives so beautifully and can’t imagine being without this experience.

Our youngest is our mocha beauty- and I am super proud of my acquired hair skills. It is so beautiful to see our girls together- each unique in skin tone, hair, personality. We are a family knit together with this incredible love and I am grateful every day to be their mama.
 

  For more adoption related articles click HERE
 
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life | Must Haves | parenting

What’s in my…Mommy Purse

By on June 1, 2017

  A couple years ago I did a similar post but now that my little ones are older I no longer have a diaper bag. I must say, not having to carry around diapers, ointments, wipes, bottles and formula for now one but two babies has made getting out of the house much easier. 

This post contains affiliate links. 

So what do I keep in my Mommy purse with three children 5 and under? Lets take a look…

1. Wallet. Yep, this will be forever a staple. I actually just got this wallet a couple weeks ago at WalMart, I don’t usually go there often because we don’t have one super close and when I did go I was shocked to see such a cute wallet. Can’t be that it was under $10 as well, but will it last? Only time will tell. I also found this similar one that is really pretty.

2. Water. Depending on where we are going I usually will just throw a water bottle in my bag in case anyone gets thirsty. If we are going to the park or beach I will pack individual thermoses for each of them since I know for sure they will use them. These are my absolute favorite. They last forever and keep drinks cold. 
3. Snacks. Another one that will probably always be a staple in my bag. It never fails that we will be out and someone gets hungry. A quick and healthy snack is a bonus. We recently were sent these snacks from Beech Nut and my kids love them. Their favorites are the fruit & veggie melties  and blueberry cereal puffs and you probably will be stealing their quinoa crispies and fruity oat bars. If you have smaller ones these oatmeal pouches are a perfect way to feed your baby on the go. 

4. Pens and notebooks. I try to remember to bring these because all of my children love to draw. It keeps them busy and preoccupied when I need them to calm down and chill out. It is also great for when you are at a restaurant and they are over coloring. 
5. Bandaids because my children are always getting some kind of boo boo at the park or outside. I love being able to have character ones but my children think of them as stickers and end up crying wolf on boo boos so I had to switch to the skin colored ones. 
6. Benadryl Itch Relief Spray. Ace and Ashlyn are both allergic to mosquitos so this is a huge life saver when they are freaking out over their monstrous mosquito bites and being crazy itchy. 
7. Starbucks Gift Card. A sweet gift from one of my students. These kids know the way to my heart. I am seriously going to miss them when they graduate. 
8. Random socks and toys. Because it would’t be a Mommy purse without something random of your children’s. There was also a random silver flashlight keychain my kids play with in there.
9. iPhone charger. I got this teeny charger awhile ago and it charges super quick. 
As you can see my Mommy purse has a lot less than my old diaper bag days. I definitely don’t miss having to make sure my bag is stocked every night. 
What are some of your must haves for your purse or diaper bag?

 

 
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Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

By on May 10, 2017

This post contains affiliate links.
Mother’s day is quickly approaching and if you have yet to get your Mom or Wife a gift you might want to get on it.
I love Try Amazon Prime because it ships quickly so definitely use that if you are in a time crunch. 
Want to try it for FREE for 30 days you can HERE


For the Coffee Loving Mom
A Keurig, this is actually what I asked for for Mother’s Day. I am over constantly cleaning out my coffee pot, coffee cup and filter. This makes it easier. I use it at work so I knew it was time to upgrade. I love that there are reusable filters you can buy as well. This way you go through less trash. It obviously it still one more thing clean but makes me feel a little better about my carbon footprint. 
For the Jewelry Loving Mom
My all time favorite jewelry is from LacKore Couture. I have a lot of her pieces and they are amazing. I even have a toddler bracelet for Ashlyn. My favorite has got to be the any of her bangles and initial necklace. She also makes custom pieces so if you would like a custom piece you can email her. Branden did this for me two Christmases ago. 
For the Fit Mom
These Nike shoes are on sale for under $75.00. I really like these because they are great for going for a run but running errands and don’t look bulky or ugly. They have a sleek look. You can’t go wrong here! 
For the Mom Who Loves to Cook
This everyday mixer is so cute!  It’s bright and cheery and the price is amazing. If you want the top dog of mixers, though, you can always go with the Kitchen Aid mixer. I love the variety of colors. 
For the Bookworm Mom 
I miss the days of being able to read a good book without a thought. Now it takes forever to get through a book so I need one that will hold my attention and keep me coming back for more when I have time. I am a huge fan of all Emily Giffin books! I am reading her latests book, First Comes Love, now and can not put it down. 


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life | parenting

What Kind of Mom Are You?

By on May 6, 2017

Originally published May 6, 2016
 This post may contain affiliate links
In honor of Mother’s Day this year I decided to talk about the different types of Moms I have come across. Now, this obviously is not all types of Moms but overall it is some of the most common ones I have come in contact with. Which Mom are you?

 
The First Time Mom 
All of us Moms have been there. You get pregnant, envision this perfect cherub faced child who will nurse every few hours, sleep in between and you will sleep when baby sleeps, piece of cake…
 Then reality hits and you are crying over your cheerios and breast pump. You haven’t slept more than an hour at a time, your baby nurses for eternity, passes out at the boob, wakes up the second you put him down and you kind of want to strangle your husband because baby only wants you and he gets to sleep. You might hover over the baby while he sleeps or stress about which organic formula is the best. Is he eating, sleeping, and pooping enough? You are your own breed and we love you for it. Don’t worry it gets better, I promise! Then you can your second baby and realize how fun it is to have a first time Mom as a friend. I mean it really is entertaining. 
 
The Fun Mom
This Mom is the one who is running around the playground with her kids, pretending to be Captain Hook while your kids are the lost boys. She isn’t afraid to get dirty or look silly. You love her for her free spirit and energy. Your kids love going to her house for play dates because she has the best dress up clothes and games. It’s never a dull moment with her. She is also awesome when it’s a Mom’s night out and can party with the best of them. You can always have a guaranteed fun time with her. 
The Perfect Mom
She is always dressed in a comfy cute outfit, her child is dressed to the nines and she is the nicest person.  And let’s not forget her house is perfection. Does a child live there? Who knows! You would hate her for all her perfection if she wasn’t so sweet and threw a wicked awesome party. Lets be real though, she seems perfect but as we all know no Mom actually is but she comes pretty close. 
The Hot Mess Mom
She is the Mom who is running into play dates with her kids running in all directions, probably forgot to brush her teeth and needs a drink. She has a heart of gold and makes you feel better for not exactly having your shit together. She is the Mom who will help you when you need someone to watch your child and they will have the best time because even though she’s kind of a hot mess, she is also the Mom who makes everyone’s child feel like they are special. She also is the best Mom to go to when you are having a rough day, life is crazy or you just are miserable because she is empathetic and gets it. She somehow knows exactly what to say to make you feel better.
The “Expert” Mom
This is the Mom who you turn to when you are busy crying over your cheerios and breast pump and your baby baby won’t sleep. She reminds you how hard the first couple months are and promises it will get better. She offers any and all support to help you through. She seems to have some kind of powers over getting your baby to sleep and calming down. She has been there and you can count on her to help you through the toughest parts of Motherhood. She is probably your own Mother, Aunt, Cousin, Sister or Friend and you love her!
The Overprotective Mom
The Mom who knows how to baby proof a house in 2.5 seconds and can see a safety hazard a mile away. She might even be there the whole first day of kindergarten because let’s face it that day is harder for Mom than child. Her child will never see a bruise from falling off their bike or skates because you better believe they are covered in knee, elbow, shin and any other kind of pads on the market and of course a helmet. These Moms are serious about safety and you can count on them to know what kind of scary sh*t is out there. Stuff you didn’t even know you should worry about or things that seemed small are a bit more scary because this Mom knows what is up. She is the WebMD of your Mom group and you probably would have a broken child without all her knowledge. 
The Drama Mom
There’s always one, right? This is the Mom who you try to get to know or include but it just doesn’t work. Nothing seems to make her happy or she finds issues with other Moms. You can’t quite figure her out and what the problem is. She constantly has problems with someone in her life and it doesn’t seem to matter who but it’s a constant. You realize that maybe it’s not everyone else but her, common denominator if you will. After your best efforts you learn to steer clear of her. Hey, at least you tried!
The Best Friend Mom
Does it get any better than the best friend Mom? The one who you either met when you became a Mom or your best friend who also has children. She is the person who you rely on for support in all aspects of life but having that bond over being mothers at the same time makes everything better. She gets what you are going through and knows that all you need is an ear to talk to or someone to say “I get it! I’ve been there.” You’ve cried together, you’ve laughed together, you’ve been there for each others’ child’s milestones and it’s the best thing ever! Your kids grow up as best friends or even like cousins. You are fiercely protective over their child as if they were your own and you would do anything to make Mommy hood easier for one another. If your lucky you have more than one of these like me! I wouldn’t survive motherhood without these girls. They know who they are and this post (except for the drama Mom) was based on all of you. You are all a mix of these Moms and have made my life as a Mom amazing. 
Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing Moms out there! 
So…which Mom are you? Which Mom is your favorite to hang out with?



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Adoption | Ashlyn | life | parenting

Talking about Adoption to our Children

By on April 27, 2017

  Since Ashlyn is adopted we talk about adoption randomly and are very open with our children. Now that Ashlyn is getting older I try to talk about it a little more than before because I know she is going to start understanding things. 

talkingaboutadoption
Ashlyn and YaYa in October 2016

Tonight we were reading a book from her first mommy called Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You. I love this book so much. It is seriously such a great book for children who are adopted. The book is read by her YaYa so in the beginning she says this is a book for you Ashlyn from your Mama YaYa. It’s a great way to remind her that she has two mommies and how lucky she is to also have two more sisters. 
Tonight I told Ashlyn that she was in YaYa’s tummy. When I asked her whose tummy she was she goes JoJo’s (her Godmother). I was like no you were in YaYa’s. She laughed and said no JoJo’s, Gavin’s Mommy. She thought it was so funny. 
This is the interesting thing about an adoption. We are learning how to talk to our children about it and when is the right time to tell them certain things because we aren’t quite sure they will get it. This was a time when I realized I really needed to make Ashlyn a book about her adoption and family so it’s less confusing. 
Another funny thing the girls do is when we talk about Ashlyn’s sisters she will then ask who are Everly’s sisters and I will tell her you are. She doesn’t get yet that she has two extra sisters so then they both just say they have two more sisters. I know as time goes on things will make more sense to them but it is funny to see how they process things. Ace gets everything way more than the girls and seemed to understand it a lot earlier too. I think the girls have a harder time because they don’t understand why one has something the other doesn’t. They don’t really know how to separate themselves from each other in that way yet. 
 
I am curious how other families talk about adoption with their toddlers. I never want it to be a shock to Ashlyn so we have always talked about it, talked and met up with her first mom so hopefully it will just be her norm.

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