Month: January 2017

Frugal Fun With a Little One!

Adventures & Travel Community Family Inspiration Simplicity

Frugal Fun With a Little One!

The possibilities for fun are endless when you’re a stay-at-home-parent. Unless you’re having a bad day, then it feels impossible to plan an adventure (for me, at least). So I keep a list of fun ideas for each season handy for days when we want to go out and about but don’t have much money to spend or for days when we just NEED to get out of the house.

When my oldest was in preschool one morning last week, me and my youngest, Meadow, went over to Be Well Cafe in Bryn Athyn. It’s simply adorable there. They are in a new space, a few doors down from their previous location, and the energy and flow in there are invigorating! I can grab a tea and get a little treat for Meadow for $5 while we sit and enjoy and chat.

be well bakery and cafe
be well bakery and cafe

 

The best thing about the new location is that they have an adorable play space for little ones complete with a wall chalkboard, kitchen, books and action figures. Different toys = happy kids. It gets crowded almost always, but that’s ok. After we had some fun we hopped in the car for a 2 minute drive to the Huntingdon Valley Library where they (obviously) have a beautiful book selection, but OH MY, the toys! Full size wooden kitchen, dollhouse, giant trucks and more. Meadow made me lunch 5 times at the library kitchen and it was delicious. They have all the fun ingredients – wooden jars with removable lids and pretend milk cartons! I sat at the kid table and soaked in the sunshine by the huge window. It made me smile.

The only problem was the not wanting to leave. It was the first time I was late for a preschool pickup! Eeeek.

Huntingdon Valley Library
Huntingdon Valley Library

 

Some of our other local frugal favorites in Montgomery County, PA include:

  • Briar Bush Nature Center – Free for Abington residents, very small fee for others. Live turtles! Snakes! Real bugs! Trails to explore and a bird watching house that is creepy in a fun way (at least to me). Clean bathrooms. They offer affordable camp options and fun looking birthday parties (neither of which we have experienced yet). Of note, I did not find the trails to be stroller friendly, so pack or borrow a baby carrier.
  • Meadowbrook Farm – This tiny little gem is one of my FAVORITE places on earth. I love to just visit and explore the grounds and the garden center. This is FREE, parking is easy and once you park you get a little red plant wagon to pull around for fun! We don’t usually buy plants (more on that later)…well ok it’s later, I need a lot of help keeping plants alive. But we LOVE them! A magical path of wonderful greens and flowers leads you to a crossroad, and you decide your fate. Travel right for the garden center and explore the nooks and crannies of the greenhouse full of hanging terrariums, cute gifts and creative pots and plants OR turn left and explore the historical grounds and see fountains and ferns and statues and lily pads! Whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed.
  • Meadowbrook Bird Sanctuary – This is across the street from Meadowbrook Fam. This is a slice of peace. Here you find a small patch of earth full of winding trails and cozy benches. Little birdhouses and a children’s garden. The link is old but the pictures look just like I remember. We usually bring a picnic lunch. The kids love to chase each other with the butterfly nets from the children’s garden.
  • Library Cultural Passes – This simply makes me giddy!!! Many of the libraries in Montgomery County have passes to awesome places (that cost a lot of dollars to get in) for FREE! Yep! We are kinda like library groupies. We are ALWAYS at one of our local branches. Lingering. Jumping around. Occasionally we read there but the kids really like to frolic and we leave with huge stacks of books that we read at home. My mom banned me from the library when I was younger because I’d get a million books and apparently lots of late fines. I still get tons of books today but I’m much more organized about renewing them.

I hope this inspires some frugal fun with your little one! Depending on your interests, these could even be fun for a solo-self-care quiet day alone or a sweet date with someone you love.

xo,

Marjorie

Where’s the Quiet?

Creating Family Motherhood

Where’s the Quiet?

It’s 6:20 am on Saturday, I’ve already done a morning meditation and started drinking my coffee. Normally I LOVE to devour books at this time of the morning but I’m committed to this blog and really need to set some more pieces of it up. So I open my laptop and start logging in. I start thinking. The gears are turning. I work on a quick post idea draft in 5 minutes. My brain is on already.

Then it happens. THE KIDS ARE UP. Crap. How are they up already? How do they never sleep? How is this possible? Good for everyone I’m feeling balanced today, otherwise this occurrence may send me into an anxious place that can last the whole day.

Sean and I have a deal. He can have from 5:30-8:30 am uninterrupted so I can leave for yoga at 8:30 am. It’s my turn to get the kids. I run upstairs with the sips of coffee I have left and find the cutest kids in the universe standing at the door of a pitch black room on the verge of freak out. They are half-awake and confused and starting to scream. We all snuggle back into bed. My thoughts are with my computer. I try to shut that down and be grateful for the 1/2 hour of uninterrupted time that I really enjoyed already today.

I’ll give it 15 minutes. If they don’t fall back to sleep, we’ll all start our day together. It doesn’t work. They are AWAKE. We start singing silly songs and make our decent downstairs.

There is no guarantee to time around here. Ever. It’s so hard to accept sometimes. I cannot think or focus unless there is quiet. I can’t work on blog stuff, make soap or pay bills when the kids are talking to me. Can anyone? Instead of wishing I had more time, I try to accept this maddening opportunity to be present yet again.

It’s gonna be a great day!

The Sweet Spot

Creating Creative Small Business Family Motherhood

The Sweet Spot

How did this happen? This finding what I love as a stay-at-home-mom which evolved into a handmade, creative business owner which feels a little strange because I never thought any of this would happen. Run on sentence = intended…that’s how my brain works.

Not having a “9-5” felt incredibly strange for a bit, but now I’m used to it and loving it. The biggest struggle for me is continuing to relish in the gratitude I find deeply embedded in my heart while being frustrated beyond belief at feeling as if I have no “time” to do anything at all.

My brain is flooded with ideas on my business, soap creation, recipes, networking and essential oil scents yet I can only grab these thoughts in fleeting moments between screams of “Mommy!!!!” and daily dinner prep. I hurry to write an idea before it evaporates. Frequently the ideas do run away before I can grab a pen (or crayon) and I’m trying to trust that an evaporated idea may not have been a good one so I let it go.

The irony for me is that I feel frustrated at not having chunks of time to create and brainstorm and think and write because of my parenting responsibilities yet being a parent is what got me in this stay-at-home position which led to an abundance of awesome soul-searching and making space for things I actually love. It’s just so ironic.

Sometimes it’s hard to say just how content I feel in my role because the waters chop and I get mad and anxious and then I question things. Or I feel inauthentic because here I am claiming to be in a sweet spot yet I feel stuck on certain days. Am I really happy? How did this happen? But after many rounds of that, I always come back to center and realize it was just a bad day or week. My true nature is not that shaky ground. When the earth moves a little, I just need to stay put and the ground will become still again.

So, I find myself in the sweet spot, day after day, being a stay-at-home-parent and relishing in all that this role has to offer while dreaming and grabbing at whatever scraps of time I can wrap my fingers around to dream, write, think and create.

Being Open While Saying Goodbye to Something Good

Identity Inspiration Motherhood Yoga/Mindfulness

Being Open While Saying Goodbye to Something Good

Sometimes, after a while, a part of us needs to move on. I said the following when I described my feeling to a friend:

It is difficult to step away from a role that I enjoy and has helped me grow so much but I’m certain there is some kind of seed in me wiggling to grow in other directions and I need to give it space. I need to open up that room for my other passions that I love equally…it’s just their turn now!

This role is that of a breastfeeding support person in my community. I consider myself a peaceful breastfeeding advocate. What I mean when I say that is, I support all parents’ decisions in how they choose to feed their babies and I am educated and interested in offering technical and emotional support to women who choose to breastfeed. Having breastfed two children for 4+ years combined, I would not have met my personal breastfeeding goals without a supportive network. I found that support in La Leche League – a non-profit support group for breastfeeding mothers. I loved the group so much that I went on to study and later became a Leader within the organization. Leaders facilitate local discussion/support groups and are required to complete a training curriculum where you study technical aspects of breastfeeding as well as exercises in communication and group dynamic skills.

I was a leader for just under 2.5 years and just this month I resigned. Nothing happened, nothing was “wrong” but there is some kind of seed in me wiggling to grow in other directions and I need to give that seed space.

It just feels a bit strange, this issue of identity always seems to be presenting opportunities for me to learn. Again. I’m guessing you may share these identity issues too, I think we all do. We think we are “someone” or “something” and then it goes away or moves to the left and we are like, hmmmm, now what?

So I take a page out of Justine’s book (my ALL TIME FAVORITE yoga teacher) and explore the idea of BEING OPEN. Again. One January, every week the theme of her yoga class was to be open. This can be particularly difficult in a time of hunkering down and dark, cold, winter days. I choose to be open and curious and excited about the space I’m creating.

We are not the roles we play but the whole of each of us is made up of the various pieces of our lives and activities and roles – big and small. They all add up to the complex, ever-changing person that we are.