Tag Archive | Cooking

A Single Parent’s Guide: From Cradle to College

A Single Parent’s Guide: From Cradle to College

 A Guest Post By Daniel Sherwin

Parenting is never easy. And when you’re going it solo, you have one less set of hands to help out. But, with a few preemptive measures, you can make your single-parent home a safe haven for you and your kids no matter their ages.



The first two years of your child’s life has her at her most vulnerable. From illness to the inability to explain aches and pains, your baby is 100% reliant on you. Start by giving her a safe place to sleep. A current model crib with a firm mattress and fitted sheets is best. Avoid the temptation to wrap your baby in heavy blankets and instead opt for warm, well-fitted pajamas. Do not place a pillow in your child’s crib and invest in a baby monitor, which will let you complete chores around the house while keeping a watchful eye on your sleeping baby.


Redfin offers this advice regarding toxins, which are inviting to a curious crawler, especially when at eye level, “Chemicals and poisonous or toxic substances, such as toilet bowl and window cleaners, oven cleaners, bleach, paint thinner, dish soap, etc., should be kept in a locked cabinet, in a cabinet that is secured with a child-proof safety latch, or in a location that is elevated.”



As your little one graduates from crawling to walking, he has a whole new world of ways to get himself in trouble. Since you can’t have your eyes on your child 100% of the time, you can prevent falls by using child-proof gates on stairways and keeping climbable furniture away from the kitchen, where a hungry toddler might be tempted to reach for the cookie jar. HealthyChildren.org also stresses keeping children out of the kitchen while you’re cooking and never leaving him unattended near an open source of water – no matter how small.


Car safety should also be a priority in the toddler years. And while you won’t likely have another adult to help calm crying child, it’s best to keep him rear-facing until at least his third birthday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers more information on car seats and booster seats.


Young children

At this stage, your child is really gaining a sense of identity and independence, which can lull you into a false sense of security where their safety is concerned. Kids from preschool age to late elementary should never be left home alone — even for just a few moments. Talk to your child’s school about before and after care and summer day-camp programs.


Teach your children about fire safety, and make an escape plan in case of emergency. If your child is active make sure he has a properly-fitted helmet for biking, skating, or skateboarding. Make sure he or she understands how to react to strangers and which people are safe should they become separated from you. Today’s segment about “Tricky People” is a great 5-minute read that could change the way you, and your kids, think about stranger danger.



Although they are growing ever more independent by the day, the 9-and-up crowd still need you to look out for their health and well-being. Today, one of the biggest issues facing adolescents is something we use every day and has changed the world for the better: the internet. This is the perfect time to stress online safety. Never allow your children to text, chat, befriend, or instant message someone they do not know in “real” life. This privacy and internet safety Q&A by Common Sense Media is a great place to start.


This is also an age where children learn to drive. Make sure they have plenty of practice, understand seatbelt laws, and never drive when tired. Also discuss with your child to dangers of peer pressure, sexual activity, and drugs and alcohol.


As a single parent, you pull double duty 24/7. However, you can still keep your children safe if you make safety your #1 priority. For more information on parenting from pregnancy through young adulthood, visit the Centers for Disease Control online at CDC.Gov.

A Tired Moms Guide To Self Care

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I hope 2018 has started off great for everyone!

The one thing I am going to work on for me this year, aside from the eternal struggle of Potty training, is taking care of myself. I find that is the one thing us moms have a hard time with, self care. We need to feel the best version of yourself in order to keep your sanity and be the best mom and significant other we can be! I have made a small list of ways we can treat ourselves, without rushing it at night, and incorporate the small children that are around us 24/7, that we love, but sometimes wish would play safely in another room. SO! Here we are:

The Tired Mom's Guide to Self-Care

  1. Lavender Air Fresheners

    I have these in almost every room, except the bathroom because that has its own stronger smelling on. They are a light pleasant smell , and  is known as a calming and relaxing herb and has frequently been used for insomnia, anxiety, depression, and natural stress relief. One recent study discovered that  the scent of lavender increases the time you spend in deep (slow wave) sleep, though the effects were stronger for women than for men. So, surrounding yourself with that scent will help you throughout the day…. In theory anyways, I still live in a toddler type zoo, but it smells nice
  2. Monster Time
    I have two or three different masks that I use throughout the month, well I should say that I try and use throughout the month. But when you have two toddlers ripping and running around all day, a house to clean, food to cook, and dishes to do makes life a bit busy. Not to mention school and school related activities, so what can we do, to make sure we take care of our skin and manage children who want to play? Throw on a mask and play monster from the lagoon, or sand pit, or in my case zombie! My son loves it, he passes me one of light sabers and I am an alien Jedi and he is going to fight me, and my daughter just sits and laughs, some times joins in and wants to be chased by the tickle monster. I sometimes do it while the kids are in the bath tub, and I am the sea creature off to get them with shampoo and soap.
  3. Cup Of Tea
    Sometimes all you need is to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea, to sit back and relax and not worry about the mountain of laundry for 20 minutes, or the dishes, or the trash in the bin that you are sure is going to attract wildlife at some point. So, make a nice cup of caffeine free tea, cool of a cup or two (depending on the brood you have) and show them how to enjoy a quiet cup of tea just like mommy, or have a tea party with real tea, its a nice memory and also can be semi relaxing for you.
  4. Book Time
    I have always tried to read with my kids, their books, my books heck even a magazine or seven in a waiting room someplace. So, to make sure I can have some time to read a book, or my kids need to wind down from something I grab a book and read it. It can be kid friendly or, not so kid friendly depending on how brave you are and how much you know your child will repeat. For my 3 year old I find it relaxing having him on my lap for some quiet and bust out the Harry Potter chapter books and he will sit there and listen, enjoy and even point out certain words or letters that he knows. With my daughter I read what I am reading and he loves it, I think she likes to just hear me talk to her and try and talk like a man, as I am reading Outlander currently and she enjoys sitting with me so I can find some time to enjoy my book and relax and include her in that as well.
  5. DIY Exfoliate Scrubs
    My son likes to help me with anything and everything in the kitchen, and when i found a few recipes for Do It Yourself face scrubs that we easy to do, non toxic and kid safe I figured why not get him to help me. He loved to mix things with the spoon and help me dish it out into containers. He even uses a special coffee Vanilla one ( 3 Table Spoons Coffee Grounds, 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and as much Coconut oil to make it into a paste) he likes washing his hands and his belly in the tub with it. So why not make a special spa treatment you can share with your little ones?
  6. Music Playlist
    We all, as parents, are always listening to what our kids want, because it makes them happy. They saying is ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’, but us moms know the truth. If the kids are happy, we are happy and husbands don’t get snapped at for leaving the toilet seat up…. Again. So, what works for me, is i have a Spotify playlist that has a mixture of my kids song that I can stand as well as some of my favorite songs, and we sing and dance and sometimes I will just sit with them and let them look at my phone, or read a book with them while the music, instead of a TV, is on in the background. Our Favorite Right Now Is “The Unicorn” By The Irish Rovers, and “The Narwhal” Also By Them.

    Well, these are some tips that I have been using to make myself sane during the day, and honestly I feel happier and a better person for my kids, sharing certain things with them, and they are happy because they are still the center of my world and enjoying things.

    Please let me know if you have any relaxing tips that you use with your kids as well. Thanks so much for reading!

    -Ashton <3

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Solo Fatherhood

Guest Post By: Daniel Sherwin

Being a single dad is a tough job that gets way less credit than it deserves. In addition to the challenges you’d expect from single parenting, dads have a few unique issues that sneak in from time to time to dampen the day.


  1. People assume the mom has a hand in everything good.


According to Adam Petzold, a single dad interviewed by HuffPost, anytime his son looks well put together, people automatically assume the mom had something to do with it.


  1. Everyone has an opinion, and it’s rarely in the dad’s favor.


While the number of single father households is on the rise, there is still a stigma that can be hard to shake. It’s not uncommon for strangers to make innocent comments such as, “You’re doing a great job for a man.” While well-meaning, most dads are never prepared for the way this hurts.


  1. Support is hard to find.


There are single parenting networks across the country. Most cater to women. Even when men are “welcomed” into the group, it can be awkward. This Forbes contributor and single dad says many support groups are openly hostile to men.


  1. Breaking stereotypes is tough.


When you think of a nurturer, you think of a woman…maybe a new mom, a grandmother. You wouldn’t picture a bearded, flannel-wearing, manly man. Society as a whole portrays men and women differently. Dads were once boys, who were raised to adhere to these same notions. When they suddenly become the one that has to change diapers, mend broken hearts, and listen as their children recount the actions of the playground bully, they have to learn to be gentle.


  1. No one understands why the child isn’t with the mom.


There is no denying the bias toward women when child custody is in question. The US Census estimates that women are awarded care and financial support by the courts 82.6% of the time. When dad winds up with full-time parenting duties, it brings questions about the mother…questions that can be hard to answer when your child is within ear shot.


Mental and physical toll


Single parents, and especially dads, report negative mental and physical symptoms at a far higher rate than their married counterparts. And despite the availability of mental health professionals, men are less likely to seek help, which goes back to societal expectations of strength. These mental and physical health issues have serious consequences on the family as a whole, as men who rate their health poor to fair tend to be un- or underemployed. Worry about money only exacerbates the issues.


While you can’t do much to alter people’s perception of your parenting ability, you can take preemptive measures to ensure your family (and your health) doesn’t suffer because of it. Start by discussing your situation with your children in an age appropriate way. Help them prepare for questions by other children and educate them that there are many different family structures, and yours is no better and worse than others.


Finally, learn to focus on your own needs in everything you do. As mental health advisors note, “The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing.” When you’re a single parent, the easy thing is to ignore the issues, but facing them head on and with a positive outlook may be the best thing for you and your children.


Image via Pixabay


**Thank you Daniel so much for writting this peice, If you want to see more of what Daniel is writting you can check out his blog at www.dadsolo.com

Reluctant Stay At Home Mom…

I have been a stay at home mom going on 2 years, don’t get me wrong I love it and everything these two have brought to my live.

But I have been working since I was 14, baby sitting and I was a summer nanny to 2 kids one summer. Then at 16/17 I started cleaning wellsite trailer for my uncles leasing and fabrication company, that moved me into customer service at movie rental places, gas stations and a grocery store! I worked all through high school, did bad things and even got myself fired from a job back then. At 21 I started working as my moms assistant doing HR and payroll and rolled out to helping accounts payable, accounts receivable, and the accountant department. I learned I have a knack for certain things, and I took that knack to a 3 day course to become a book keeper. And then at 23 I started at my last job and was there for almost 5 years, and I loved it so so much. But many factors came into play and here I am at home with 2 little toddlers, and a list of things to do that I cant seem to motivate myself to do.

I do dishes, I cook, I tidy and I make sure the kids are bathed with clean clothes always, but my house has gathered clutter and I look at it and say it needs to be delt with but never really get to it.

I am a part time single mom, my husband is home 1 week a month and the routine is just out the window during that one week. I am ok with it, but now as I don’t have a real house cleaning routine, and no real motivation to gut my house it takes me a week after he leaves to get everything back in a functioning order.

I love being the one who gets to bond with my kids and see them grow into little amazing people. I have thought about going back to work on more than one occasion, but it’s not possible to do. Day care averages for my childre , $850 a month for my daughter, and $850 a month for my son, and my son is only part time Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays because he is in school 4 hours a day, and I cannot work Wednesdays because those are important meetings, trips, and many other things that are school related with my son. As you may remember from many many posts about this, Spud is delayed due to his prematurity, so keeping in constant communications with his school is key, and I am a hands on mom when it comes to that, I would rather hear it from the horses mouth than second hand. I have played way to many games of Telephone as a child to know that this would not end well. 

You might be thinking, how are trips useful, well they teach skills, and are fun for the little kids, weren’t field trips fun for you in school? But, with all these dilemmas the one thing that hurts is due to the fact that life costs money and I cannot make any, my husband is working camp jobs and losing time with his kids, seeing them grow up through pictires and videos. If I could I would change places with him, but I can’t, my skills are set to start at $18.00 an hour and cap around $25.00 an hour, where as my husbands start at $22.00 and hour and can cap at $45.00 or better. We are just starting his career here, so we are still on the low end when it comes to supporting a family of 4 and a Bijoux, so I am the reluctant stay at home mom. 
I love it…. But I also hate it….. 
-Ashton <3

Mommy Groups

I am a part of a few mommy groups but there is one I post in quite a lot in one of them because the admins are great and keep a lot of people in check. There is a lot less negativity there and next to no mommy shamming, I have done a post about mommy shamming in person but the most common kind of mommy shamming is online. The power of the pen and anonymity makes people a lot braver and bolder with what they say to other people.

Mommy groups were made for all of us moms to talk to each other, get advice, vent about kids, husbands and life. We need that outside of our friends sometimes, sometimes we need the advice of people at a different part of life to help with what we are doing right now. You can get 2 to 100 comments on a post depending on the topic.

Even in the best of Mommy Facebook groups there are those moms who will bring you down when you are feeling your worst. There are moms who vent about their kids and how they are acting, how they can’t handle it and ask other moms how they dealt with it. They will get 100 comments that are nice and helpful about the situation at hand, but then that one comes in. That one that either has a snarky undertone, or just comes across as just plain mean. That is the one that is going to stick with you the entire time.

Mommy Facebook groups are not for the faint of heart, whether it be what people reply to your posts, what  people ask, or some of those pictures that get posted! Its a scary place where a lot of drama can take place if you let it. BUT, it is also a place rich with so many wonderful ladies who have either gone through the same thing or a similar situation, and are willing to help you out as much as you need.

You need to take your time and observe the Mommy Facebook groups you have joined for a bit and see the goings on in each group before you commit to the one you are going to post a lot into. All of the above is my opinion only, and I am here to present all that I can to you lovely people! SO, I posted 3 questions to the mamas in two of the Mommy Facebook Groups I am a part of, and one mom stated what keeps her coming back is she has a place to go to vent and not worry about people bashing her. Another mom put:

“I really want to be able to go to a place that is unbiased and non-judgmental. A place where even if I’ve never met them in real life, I know the moms have my back and I can say (just about) anything without being afraid to do so.”  -Mama Ronni

 The 3 Questions I posted were as follows:

  1. What are topics you really want to avoid in a Mommy Facebook group?
  2. What are the things that keep you coming back for more?
  3. What are the things you look for in a Mommy Facebook group?

What topics a lot if not all are saying they want to avoid in these groups are topics along the lines of, Circumcision, breast feeding vs formula feeding; they are OK with as asking for advice if you are doing one or the other but please don’t take poll before your baby is here, that can just get nasty. A few other topics that can get touchy are car seat rules and laws, as the box and instructions state one thing, each county, state, province and country does have its own rules and regulations that you should follow, if you are not sure police stations and pediatricians will be a good source of information for you. Politics and religion are 2 very big topics that also should be avoided in these groups.

What keeps these lovely mamas coming back for more is a mixture of having a place that you can just blow off steam about your kids, your husband, partner or any member of your family or extended family and not be met with judgment and negativity. There are a lot of tips being passed around as they work for certain moms, for potty training, snacks and meal for fussy and picky eaters, things along those lines. Name calling is only allowed towards Mother-In-Law’s (or any inlaw/family member) who deserve it, baby daddy’s who are as useful as tits on a bull, Baby Daddy’s Girl Friends who cant seem to stay on their side of the parenting line, and creepy men/coworkers that cant catch a hint.  Sanctimommies are welcome, but be warned you start any shit they will come after you with a verbal vengeance. There is also a lot of humor and honesty that it put out there to bring some lightness to some serious topics, despite a lot of the ugly that pops up these moms do support and care about one another, even if miles separate them, there is a closeness between a few of them.

“Some moms can really encourage and give you support especially when you are stressed or down.” – Mama Leslie

What is looked for in a successful group is the type of advice that is being given, making sure there is no shaming or making a mom feel worse than she already does. There is a HUGE difference between constructive criticism/advice that takes you in a different direction from a different point of view, and just flat out shaming this poor mama for something that is Nine times out of ten, out of her hands in the hands of the terrible one, I mean the kids….. You don’t always have to agree because lets face it, we never do on a lot of topics, but as long and you are respectful and see in some way what they are saying, that is a big thing they look for in a group. Being a mom is hard, and we all do it the best we can in different ways, so support is a very big thing that is needed in the groups, some people are so far from family and friends and need some sort of support system and these groups can be it, and we need to make sure they stay safe and supportive for that, and many other reasons.

“I am a first time mom..So seeing another mom mess up worst or just like me makes me feel like I am not so bad at this mom thing. We all try are hardest and a group is supposed to be there to raise people up.” – Mama Rebecca

This is the true story of what I think and feel as well as what other moms think and feel about Mommy Facebook Groups.

Thank You for reading, please Like, Comment, and follow me on social media.

Love, Hearts, and Pretty Things

Ashton <3


Welcome To Our Preemie Family 2.0!

Here we are, starting over Fresh, what a vast place of possibility!

The grownups have left me unattended with a computer, internet access and a blog! Mwahaha! I cannot wait to see what trouble I can cause here.

Well, we all know, well if you followed my last blog, I am far to lazy and busy to cause to much trouble, but the kids on the other hand, you will be here in the front seat watching what goes on in the troubled and turbulent life of my kids, and how life is unfair because mommy’s favorite word is NO!

I will have a few posts up very soon, some new and some from my old blog that I would like to move over!

Thank you for reading, Please follow me on any and all Social Media I have!

Love, Happiness and Other Pretty Things

Ashton <3

The Mommy Dilemma

What do you do first…. ?

Last night, you caught a case of the “fuck-its”, where you looked at that pile of laundry that needed to be folded and said, “Fuck it.”

The kids actually went down to bed at their proper bed time, no fighting at all! And you look around at the toys… Snack plates, sippy cups, bottles and a few stray Cheerios “hiding” under the TV stand… It’s only 8 pm, you have time to do all the cleaning, unload and load the dishwasher, fold the laundry… But just as you are getting out of the chair, you say “Fuck it!”

You find that home spa kit your husband bought you 2 years ago, you never got to open, bust out the bath salts, bubble bath the scented candles and pour that extra large glass of wine! As the tub is filling you look at YOUR book shelf, and grab a book you have been meaning to finish for the past 4 years. You put the baby monitor on the counter beside the bottle of wine, there is no sence in wasting that tonight, because god knows when this will happen again! 

Jusat as you put your hair in the bun, and start to strip….. The baby starts to whine.

What do you do? You know by the whine, she is not hungry, dirty or sick… You triple checked everything in her crib, before you started this, that there was nothing that would fall on her, or for her to cover her face with. BUT, you know that the whine will turn into a cry, only for 5 minutes max, but in that 5 minutes the cry will possibly wake the toddler… And he will be much more difficult to passify back to sleep.

What do you do? Because, after fighting with the toddler back to sleep, the bath will be cold and you might as well start on the nightly chores and turn in to bed, because after a nights sleep, it starts all over again the next day.

Or, do you continue with you awesome case of the “fuck-its” and leave it up to chance and crawl in that nice warm bath with bubbles and lavender and rose scents, while the picture of Fabio on the cover of your book calls to you. This is an impossible mommy dilemma. 

Each mom will answer differently…

Each mom is justified in her choice…

But you know what the ultimate solution is to this dilemma…

“Oh Honey!! The baby is crying for Daddy!” 

Thank you for reading, Please Like, Comment, and follow me on Social Media.

Love, Hearts, and Pretty Things

Ashton <3

Stop The Mommy Shaming


****Warning there will be A LOT of foul language in this post, I am sorry now.****

Mommy Shamming… We are all guilty of it in some aspect or another; I know I am every so often.

This was not what I wanted to post today; I was going to post about my day planner and my scheduling system, and how I can run my household as a single mom 85% of the time. But today, today mommy shamming hit close to home and in a way that I hope no mommy has to EVER go through or feel.

I got mommy shammed today… By two people back to back in Wal-Mart today, it actually brought me to tears!

My husband works out of town 90% of the time so I am left to do everything with my 2 year old son and a 6 month daughter in tow. Since yesterday was a bad day we didn’t go get groceries, but we needed go today because I was out of baby food, formula and training pants for my son as well a few things for meals I wanted to cook for the next 2 weeks. I loaded up the kids, stopped at MacDonalds for a small frie for my son because I can put him in the cart with the fries and he is good as gold the whole trip…. Not today, I am running on maybe 3 hours of sleep because my daughter is teething and it seems to be the end of her world. I go to put my baby carrier on at the store and discover she is now too big for it and it is now weighted down too much and sitting wrong on her and on me. So I put my son in the big part of the cart and put my daughter in the seat and strap her in, as she can sit independent for the most part. My son starts acting like an ass-hole right away, standing up when the cart is moving, not holding my hand when I try and get him to walk alongside me, throwing EVERYTHING out of the cart when I stop, including 3 glass jars of baby food…. that was the final straw.

I had the main things I wanted so I head to the check out and he is still being just so unbearable. So I pick up my daughter carry her in one arm, put my son in the seat, strap him in and he is being terrible kicking me as we walk to the front end. If I wasn’t out of important things I would have dumped the cart and just fucking left.

I never yelled at him but I whipped out that mommy tone a few times. So here I am, trying to control my terrible 2 year old son who is missing his daddy, while holding a little girl in one arm and unloading everything with my other arm, he got the point where I stopped grabbed his chin to get him to look me right in the eye and I said “What is wrong with you today? Where is mommy’s good boy? Why are you being bad? Why are you such a bad boy today?”

And then I hear it from 2 tills over this woman, in her early 20’s, pipe up “You shouldn’t call him bad.. It will give him a complex and grow up damaged.” That was it, she hit that raw nerve I had tried so very hard to calm. I looked over to her in smug face and said “With all due respect, Fuck off.” And went back to unloading my cart with one arm, then I hear that voice again “You really shouldn’t swear around your kids, they will repeat it.” And at this moment I forgave my son because as clear as day I heard him say “Fuck Off”.

I of course gave him heck and said “No, that is a grown up word.” and ignored the woman, still watching, across the way.

Then I hear from behind me, “Well now you know you should have only had one kid, because obviously you can’t handle the two of them.” I look up to see this perfectly manicured, picturesque young mom pushing an expensive baby stroller while an older woman, I later learned it was her mother, unloads the groceries from her cart. Before I can open my mouth to verbally punch her in the face, her mom steps in and brings her daughter crashing down from her high horse.
“Who called me at 11 last night, again at 2 am and 4 am, in TEARS, because your son refused to sleep? As well as the 3 nights before? Who BEGGED me to go grocery shopping with her because they couldn’t handle the idea of their 7 month old in cart while they shopped was too much for them? I did this with you and your 3 brothers and you were exactly like her son. So you say you’re sorry and shut your face. YOU are being BAD.”

I gave the mom a small thank you smile, paid for my shit, loaded my kids in the car, my stuff in the car, turned it on and just fucking broke down in tears.

I have done the bad shops with my kids, I get my shit and get out, and get over that stress when we get home because I am in my safe place and after 20 to 30 minutes he is back in his calm rhythm and my son again. I can handle that stress, its mommy stress, but getting called out… twice! For doing nothing but minding my own business broke me. I didn’t yell, I didn’t hit, and I didn’t threaten my kids… Don’t get me wrong he was on a time out for a long while in his room with all his toys locked up and all the books he had when we got home.

But that was my business, and it was being handled as best I could. Once it was all said and done, both kids were calm and happy the whole ride home, and good the rest of the day… Well, after his time out Spud was.

Please don’t shame other mamas. Please.

Thank you for reading, Please Like, Comment, and follow me on Social Media.

Love, Hearts, and Pretty Things

Ashton <3