The Toys That Make Me Want To Lose My Mama Mind

If your home is anything like my home, then it is probably packed with toys from room to room. You could easily take a stroll through my house and find atleast a handful (if not more...) of Amaya's toys scattered about in each room of my house. The birthday parties, Christmas', Easter, and just general toys from short shopping trips add up rather quickly.

I've come to the point that at holidays and birthdays when family and friends ask about what Amaya 'needs/wants', I strongly urge for NO MORE FREAKING TOYS, but rather suggest that they offer an experience or adventure for her to do, like:

- contribute to her dance class
- bowling passes
- membership to a museum
- passes to the zoo
- things of that like or educational experiences

To be honest, I much rather us collect experiences and memories than possessions and honestly, things that are just going to junk up our house. Now, rest assure I'm not some Joan Crawford mama who rules the roost with a wire hanger but there are just some toys that irk me to my core.

Does this mama silently cringe every time she asks for or pulls one of these out to play with....Ummm yes.

Does this mama also get on the floor and roll around with these Satan created S.O.B's.....also yes.

This is mom life.
And my short list of the toys I despise at the present moment:


Playdoh 
I have pledged my undying annoyance for this mushy mess time and time again. Everytime she brings this out to play with, I die a little on the inside. My type A has an internal meltdown when she decides to open the fresh canister of new beautifully colored doh and then proceeds to mix the ever loving crap out of them.

Is she using her imagination and creating loving cupcakes of multicolored madness, yes....but she is also driving her mama mad with the tiny balls of squished and long forgotten dough that I find dried up all over my casa.


Fingerlings (and toys of the like)
I take no responsibility for this as my girlfriend bought this for Amaya for Christmas, but I just don't get it. It's a monkey who makes sounds and moves his head back and forth and makes sounds while attached to your finger.

That's it.

Granted hers does have a jungle gym but it literally does a whole lot of nothing besides taking up space in the house. She played with it initially but the only thing it is good for now is scaring the shit out of me in the middle of the night when I forget to turn it off and it motion sensor screeches at me.


Shopkins
Is this how our parents felt about Polly Pockets?

Because I curse the parent hating creators of these small ordinary object with faces. Why, oh why, would you create the most tiniest toy ever with a plethora of must need 'collectibles'? I can't count how many times I have been down on all fours looking under the couch and in the crevices of our furniture for the cutestsy cupcake and magical mushroom and all of their friends. Or when she needs a super special approximate one that we haven't seen in months but is seriously necessary for tonight's bedtime routine.


Seriously, these bad boys are barely as big as my fingernail.
I will be more than happy when we're over this stage of tiny toys.

Okay...I lie. I lie.

I will probably miss the shizz out of these when they're missing from my existence.


Fast Food Toys
We all know them...the little knick knacks and poorly made plastic toys that come in almost every kids meal out there. These are the toys that are usually found at the bottom of the barrel and are definite throwaways until your kiddo sees them and then 'omg, that is my favoooooooowite toy mommmmmy'.

*insert strong mama side eye here*

I always try to throw these away on the sly and these are definitely the first to go during the toy purges but do you know what also makes me despise these? That if it is an actual good toy that I know she enjoys, there is no way to get a replacement for it once they run their course at the restaurant.

Although we rarely enjoy many fast food restaurants, the times we do get McDonalds, I've opted for the book option instead of the toy. We've started a small book collection in the car of those books.

I'm sure there are are few more such as battery operated annoyances but that's a post for another day. I promise I'm not a monster of a mommy but let's keep it real and admit that some things just get under our skin and these are the toys that do it for me.

What toys make you want to lose your ever loving mama mind?
Please tell me I'm not alone in this.

April: Refresh

It's a suffocating feeling when you look around your house and see the piles of junk and clutter climbing the walls and trying to escape the baskets and bins you tried to use as homes from them.

This crushing mama induced anxiety attack over alllllllll the freaking things usually comes after a major holiday or change of season, when I feel the need to refresh and revitalize my physical and emotional clutter.

If you're anything like me, then these times seem to be the purge and reorganize windows of insanity/sanity for you.

1. Back to School |
 When there is color coordinated appliances and organizational folders, bins, and binders out of the wazoo, I usually get the urge to organize all of my paper and financial documents at this time of year. I want everything to be color coded, in their well defined folder and any other junk mail I want shredded.
SHRED IT ALLLLLLL I SAY!!!
I am a shredding ninja when it comes to junk and old mail that has no place in my home. Be gone, you sad tree that died for no reason.

2. Christmas + New Year |
I think this is the more popular one for everyone with the after Christmas clutter and the need to hit the reset button for the New Year. I usually always try before Christmas to go through her toys and do a purge of old, un-played with, broken, and/or damaged toys but it is inevitable that some sneak through the cracks and those dollar store stop junky toys start piling up again.

And don't get me started with New Years...
I go in with the best of intentions to change my ways and habits and set realistics resolutions but reality hits the hard fan and my best intentions fly right out the window.

Which leads me to:

3.  The Spring Clean
This is where I am at right now.
The second day of April and even though there is a stupid winter storm that blew through dumping another round of snow, I feel the need to liven and freshen everything up in the hopes of willing real Spring to come.

My year did not start off as planned and with unexpected expenses, home repairs, car repairs, and emotional stress for life in general, I crave a change for the better and to restructure for the rest of the year.

I would like to chalk up the first couple months of the year as a trial period and initiate a quarterly refresh starting now.


So being the list and task maker I aspire to be, I compiled a list for myself of things that I would like to refresh or restructure for the remainder of the year in a realistic way to fit our current lifestyle and situation.

Quarterly Refresh 

Home |

Carpet + Decorate Playroom :
This is mostly a cosmetic project to finish but is one that I'm looking most forward to finishing. After evaluating my budget and goals that I have for the next couple of years, it made more sense to stay in our home that is already paid off then trying to move after this divorce. In light of that, I wanted to utilize and make the most use of out our small house and turning our attic into a playroom/guest room has made the most sense to me. It would clear out clutter from our already cramped living room while giving Amaya her own space for her toy collection and imagination.

Fix Pipes for First Floor Bathroom :
This past winter has been a nightmare for me living as a single homeowner. During a couple small mental breakdowns this winter with all the things that can go wrong, I realized that as a single mom and homeowner, there are some things that I need to learn and reconfigure to make our livable space more...well freaking livable. For the past three months, we've thankfully been able to use our 2nd floor bathroom after our pipes busted to our first floor during the deep freeze in January. This spring we will work on repairing those and coming up with a better plan/solution for next winter.

Replace Baseboard Heater : 
This is one that should have been completed when I was still married since it hasn't worked since then but one that needs to be solved regardless. These last almost two years of living on a single household income made me reevaluate our utility usage and since my house runs on electric heat, I have been murdered this year with heating costs through the deep freezes and the never ending winter.

There is many other big and small home related projects that I would like to accomplish but these are the major ones that will give me a little piece of mind if I'm able to finish for this year. Working on my budget and needs for next year, there is a couple larger projects that will require a good chunk of change so this year is about handling projects that are prerequisite to those.

Health | 

Put down the carbs Ivy : 
I have definitely eaten my feelings over this past year and pretty much made mac and cheese my boyfriend and we need to break up ASAP. These carbs are literally weighing me down and I can definitely feel and see the extra weight I've put on. I'm doing anything strict or eliminating completely yet, but I will be cutting back drastically.

Continue work on my mental health :
This past year and a half has really put me through the ringer mentally and emotionally and I'm hoping to continue to find better coping tools for my anxiety and depression. Blogging and writing things out is a great outlet for me so I plan on continuing that as well as photography since it allows me to find the beauty in ordinary things. I am also planning on seeking out therapy perhaps just for myself. If you were around during my marriage you will know that my ex and myself sought marriage counseling but I think it will also be beneficial to me to seek it solely for myself.

Exercise...Exercise...Exercise : 
I think this will fall right in line with the previous two and will be good for my other all health and self body image. I need to get up and get moving and after this never ending winter, I am dying to get outside for walks and outdoor play with Amaya. If you have any good but novice workout plans, please send them my way.

Happiness |

Getting my finances together :
I know money doesn't buy happiness but financial freedom and peace of mind do and that's what I strive to accomplish throughout this year. I know I will not getting everything paid off and my credit score won't skyrocket over night, but my aim is to reduce my debt and increase my score over these next couple of months.

Vacation :
This may seem counteractive to my previous goal but I'm going to be greedy and live life to the fullest. We are not promised tomorrow or the time we have with others, so I made an executive decision this year to plan an exciting vacation for Amaya and myself. Our trip was paid in full with cash and I'm excited to share all the details soon.

Raising a happy child :
She will not be a content child 24/7, what child is? But I am trying my hardest at letting go of the little things and really following the mindset of #letthembelittle. We're definitely into our groove and our new normal as a duo but there will always be a few kinks to work out. I'm trying to be more of a 'yes' mom, acquiring adventures instead of possessions, and maintaining a positive co-parenting relationship with her father, all things that I think are progressive to a happy child and in turn happy mama.


These are really just the tip of the iceberg of items I want to accomplish for myself.  I have a more detailed list that you can find here , but this list is at the forefront of brain right now.

It's Spring now, and while everything else is blooming and creating a new life for itself, I want to do the same and polish up the little life I've been given too.

Do you have any special goals for yourself or resolutions that may have fallen by the wayside at the beginning of the year that you plan on picking back up now?


Lazy Mama Easter Pretzels

Have you ever made a promise to your kid?
For example, an early in the day promise where you explain that if they do x-y-z than you'll reward them by making or getting a special treat later on that day?

A special treat and promise that they apparently have been thinking about all day and in excited anticipation have reminded you every 1.3 seconds on the ride home. A treat that you have even gassed up in your mind, that you decided to forgo making dinner in favor of leftovers so that way you had ample time to make said treat.

You are both pumped up and after you finish washing the dishes you excitedly get all the utensils and ingredients together, only to realize YOU DON'T HAVE THE DAMN MAIN INGREDIENT!!!

Yep...
That was me today.
The mama who gassed her daughter up all morning to make Rice Krispie Treats after school, only to not have any freaking Rice Krispies.
Hello disappointed, party of two.

In a complete tizzy and frazzled mommy state of mind I searched high and low in my cabinets to assemble some sort of easy treat for us to make and to make up for my lack of conscious grocery shopping.

Luckily for me, I had a couple sweets and treats buried in my baking cabinet to assemble these super simple bad boys...


Lazy Mama Easter Pretzels

24-48 mini unsalted pretzels
Half a bag of pink Candy Melts
5-10 regular sized marshmallows
3 tablespoons of Easter themed sprinkles

Almost too many ingredients for my little mind to handle...haha.


Now if you've read any of my other 'recipes' you'll know this is where the hard part comes in and where you will need Jedi mind power to focus and not mess these pretzel puppies up. 

Or ya know, look at the pictures. 

- Assemble desired amount of pretzels on a wax paper covered cookie sheet
- Melt half of a bag of pink Candy Melts in microwave, according to instructions on bag
- Dip one half of pretzels into melted candy mixture
- Place back on cookie sheet to let melt harden.....but.....
- While melt is still warm, decorate/sprinkle with sprinkles before melt hardens.

Repeat steps also with marshmallows is you want an extra sweet snack. 


This was a tiny lifesaver tonight from a before bedtime sap session of 'but Mommy, you promised.'

I was glad I was able to pull this out at the last minute and she thought she was so cool dipping and decorating by herself. There may have been some excessive sprinkling from time to time but I'm going to call it a win. 

They're the perfect mix of salty and sweet and hit the spot for an after dinner special snack. 

Tomorrow I'll be stopping at the store.
Obviously, for Rice Krispies.

Cottontail + Carrots

Every Easter that rolls around, I promise I'm going to do better.
I'm going to make a better basket.
I'm going to do more Easter activities.
I'm going to buy more Easter outfits.

I'm going to shine and show off that I can Easter with the best of them.
But this year, I'm scaling it back.
Keeping it simple.

That's what everyone says right?
Let Jesus again be the reason for the season
And every other year I would have claimed that but still over excessively bought cheap dollar stop trinkets to fill her basket with without any real thought behind it.


This year I decided to take it back a notch and fill her basket with some goodies that I know she would get good use out of.

With all the good vibes and hopeful thoughts for Spring to be seriously under way, I decided to grab her a pair of rain boots since homegirls feet are growing like crazy. I swear this child is going to legit outgrow me by the time she heads off to kindergarten. If a girl has a good pair of rainboots, than of course she has to have an equally awesome raincoat to go with it. How can you pass up this bunny themed bunch of cuteness? I know I couldn't.



I also couldn't pass up those circle sunnies either.
I will easily admit that my child is a 1000x cooler than I'll ever be.

The one thing I was most excited for though, was this little beauty...


Ever since the Christmas before past, Amaya has been obsessed with the idea of Baby Jesus from when we go to church on Christmas Eve. She has held onto that little nugget of thought and over the last year I've tried to find a good fit place of worship for the both of us.

I think after a long and trying year I've found that place for us but I'll share that in another post. I'm excited though to give and be able to enjoy Amaya's First Bible and Prayer book with her. We read a book every night before bed and I'm looking forward to adding these into our nightly routine.

I couldn't think of a better trinket to add to her basket, especially at Easter.

Besides the obvious of learning the testaments and prayers, this book is just beautifully illustrated.


Gorgeous amirite?
I may be a little bit more excited for this book than she will be. 
But pretty pictures will definitely help this mama understand the word more, because I'm not too well versed in it myself. 


I also grabbed a couple other snacks and goodies to fill it with because every babe needs a chocolate bunny and some treats in their basket. This year though, I just didn't make it the main event. 

I'm also pretty happy that I have the majority of my Easter baskets done before the holiday weekend. I also scaled my nieces and nephews back too so it made the whole basket making endeavor that much more seamless. 

What kind of goodies do you fill your kiddos baskets with?
Do you keep it simple or is Easter second Christmas for your cottontailed cuties? 

Lucky Charm Marshmallow Pops


I haven't been too big on the recipe section of this blog because to be honest, cooking and concocting delish meals is not really my jam. I would love it to be the case but cooking is not something that has ever come naturally to me.

Touching meat and sautéing veggies just doesn't interest me, but do you know what does....sugary sweet snacks and treats.

And simple ones at that.

So with St. Patrick's Day around the corner, I wanted to make up a fun little treat for Amaya and I to enjoy. If there is one thing that I am proud of as a mother, it is that I instilled a strong love of holidays in her. This girl loves a good holiday celebration with all the food, decorations, and holiday apparel she can get her little hands on.

So with that and her love of of marshmallows in mind, this was once of the simplest and sweetest treats to concoct that satisfied our sweet tooth.


Lucky Charms Marshmallow Pops 

2 cups of Lucky Charms cereal
Handful of green colored Candy Mets
12 regular sized marshmallows
Skewer sticks or lollipop sticks


Now this is where the hard part comes in guys, so focus and follow along:

- Melt candy melts in microwave safe bowl as instructed on bag
- Apply marshmallows to lollipop sticks or skewer
- Dip top of marshmallow into candy melt mixture
- Before the melt hardens, dip into cereal
- Let the melt harden

And BOOM you're done!

You may be skeptical about this sweet treat but trust me, I tried it and it is the perfect mix of sweet, chocolate, and crunch for your little treat bags. Plus it's super easy to make and your kids will get a kick out of dipping and trying to scoop up the most marshmallows.

Plus, Lucky Charms and wee little leprechauns make everything better.
Happy Early St. Patty's Day. 💚


Stitches

There are many milestones you remember from the lives of our little ones.

Most likely, from the moment they start invading our uterus, there are a host of special and memorable first time moments we don't want to miss.

Their first steps.
First words.
First food.
You get the point.

But the things we don't look forward to but still hold a natural memory of is sometimes the 'bad things'....the not so cheery but yep, this is a part of childhood type of things. One of those things for us was this past summer when Amaya unluckily got here very first set of stitches.


After all was said and done, she was nothing short of proud to show off her battle wounds.

Mama on the other hand was a ball of nerves and stress when I got the dreaded phone call from her dad explaining there was an accident but that she was okay. Hearing that your sweet little angels beautiful face was busted open and now needed to be stitched together was not the phone call I was expecting to hear on a Saturday morning.


Apparently, while they were out shopping, Amaya was a little rambunctious and was running through the checkout line queues when she tripped over on of the metal signs and smashed her little chin and face on the next metal one. Ouch.


That's the last thing you want to see is your baby hurt but especially if it's something that lead to a lasting scar. Luckily it was a small cut and only required two stitches but it made me sad regardless. Thankfully I wasn't there to witness it, otherwise I may have freaked out more but all is well now and thank goodness it was nothing more serious.

Amaya, on the other hand, does not pass up a moment to practice her dramatics...

I wonder where she gets that from?
Her dad, definitely her Dad.
There is no way those antics come from me. 😉

One Word: Conscious

I always set out in the New Year with the best of intentions to become a better version of myself for the incoming year. I've learned over the years that strict resolutions always left me coming up short and feeling like a failure when I didn't accomplish my set goals, so over the last couple years I've taken to having a 'word of the year' and use that guide me in the areas of my life that I want to approve upon.

Last year, I chose the word Focus.

I chose that word because with the couple months prior to the New Year, our lives changed dramatically and I wanted a word that kept me grounded and had me stay focused on the important parts of my life and wellbeing, instead of dwelling on the negative and staying stuck in my emotions. Choosing that word actually helped me tremendously and actually did keep me focused on making the most positive changes and choices for Amaya and I.

You can read that post here.

For this year, while remaining focused on our goals, I want to put forth a more conscious effort doing so, so I chose my 2018 word of the year to be:

 Conscious 

Conscious - / adjectives / - aware of and responding to one's surroundings, awake

Apparently, if I was one of the cool kids (which I'm not...), I would assume this definition would lead me to being 'woke'.

Oh Childish Gambino, I am not.

But in reality, yes...I want to be aware of my surroundings and really take note to what I'm giving back in this world, whether it be to myself, my child, my peers, or the universe in general. We can all see the shift and negativity that has consumed the world and especially the media lately and it sickens me to think that this is the world we are raising our children in. Sure, I have my thoughts and opinions but I want to try to convey those in a positive manner, so that my daughter can look up to me as a strong woman and mother who was able to have her voice heard while still respecting myself and others.

With that said, here are some areas I would like to put a more CONSCIOUS effort towards:

Myself 
- immersing myself in more of my hobbies
- allowing myself to process my emotions and not apologize for it
- find the non monetary things that will bring me happiness

Amaya
- continue to foster a home of love and happiness
- try to say yes more (within reason)
- implement more behavioral methods to curb discipline and acting out
- get back on track with our routines (which will hopefully help the attitude)
- decrease screen time more and bring in more imaginative play
- continue 'adventure days' and Mommy + Me dates
- continue to enjoy the couch cuddles and rocking because one day it will end

Co-parenting
- continue to keep lines of communication open
- maintain boundaries and expectations of each other
- continue to foster a healthy relationship between all parties
- involve each other in more hands on and one on one time between her
- continue scheduled visitations and custody arrangements

Faith
- purchase the She Reads Truth bible
- find a womans devotional to follow
- attend church regularly with and without Amaya
- find a good base church + sunday school
- allow myself to continue to question and seek counsel

Health
- go to the gym every other weekend
- incorporate more in home workouts
- find and try more healthier meal options
- meal plan more
- be more observant of labels and the ingredients of our food
- cut soda, drink more water
- eat smaller portions

Home
- work on home renovations, such as:
    • plumbing/pipes in crawl space
    • carpeting attic, creating playroom
    • repainting kitchen/laundry room
    • removing finish from deck then staining
- print and hang more of my photography
- deep clean the entire house
- clean and clear out clutter from the basement
- continue to find my home style and implement it

Finances
- pay off debt bills
- continue to create and add to emergency + expenditure fund
- continue to raise credit score
- be more stringent on monthly budget to accomplish these goals
- create a savings account for Amaya
- find expenditures that are unnecessary and that can be cut
- read a Dave Ramsey book....suggestions?

Life
- once again, finding a life I am happy with
- creating memories and moments with Amaya
- allowing myself to take time for myself
- keeping my heart guarded yet open to new possibilities
-living my fucking BEST LIFE!

Because really, isn't that what we're all aspiring for?


There are so many peaks and valleys that life throws at us and I'm sure this year will be in some part the same. The struggles of last year have only strengthened me for this year and have added to the layers of the woman I am becoming.

I'm not the same Ivy from a year ago (thank goodness) and while some coff at the resolutioners, I applaud them. Sure, we may not meet every goal or make a dent in the diet we've been longing for years to achieve but I see nothing wrong with wanting to be better yourself and aspiring to become a the best version of yourself whether it be for a day, month, or year.

Hats off to you and to everyone looking to make the positive changes in your life for yourself and for the ones around you that you love. Here's to a New Year and the blank slate ahead of us.