5 Toys to Keep Baby Busy & Your Wallet Happy

Disclosure: This post contains affiliates links meaning if you click on a link and purchase an item, I get a small percent. However, the opinions in this post are my own. 

Our kids are spaced far apart in years (17 y/o, 12 y/o & 9 months!), so there’s no toys to pass down to the little one. Being a new SAHM, I now have to be conscious of where the money is spent or at least ensure that it is worth the cost. Little ones don’t need the fanciest, most expensive toys. Happiness can exist on a budget. Let me share 5 toys to keep baby busy & your wallet happy!

5 toys to keep baby busy and your wallet happy

 

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack:
I know I had this and I’m sure you did as well. Zoe loves her Rock-a-Stack. We take it on the boat, to grandma’s, play on the floor, or in the high chair! For under $5 and Amazon Prime eligible, everyone’s happy with this toy.
Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks:
At only 9 months old, she’ll be playing with her blocks for awhile. She loves the multiple pieces and the colors. We’re still working on matching the shapes. 😉  Under $10 and Amazon Prime eligible.

Savings Tip: Do not purchase the bundle of the Rock-a-Stack & Baby’s First Blocks together. It is $4 more when bundled together.

Fisher-Price Elephant Clicker Pal (Available in Elephant, Lion, Zebra)
For under $10 and Amazon Prime eligible, this toy does a lot and is cute too!

Savings Tip: Do not purchase the bundle of multiple clicker pals as again you save more when purchased separately

VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone – Pink (Also available in Blue or Orange):
Zoe loves anything with music and lights (and she loves my smart phone too-swiping the screen with her fingers when she gets her hands on mine). Under $15, Amazon Prime eligible


Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Stack & Roll Cups:
I just picked up a set of nesting cups for Zoe and she loves all the pieces. Her excitement when I handed all of the colorful cups to her ensures that it only takes a few dollars on a toy to keep a baby happy. Under $10, Amazon Prime eligible

Add them all up and you get 5 toys for under $50 & Free 2 Day Shipping!

While I enjoy indulging her with a new toy on any shopping trip, keeping it simple keeps her happy too! All items listed in this post are Amazon Prime eligible with Free 2 Day Shipping.  If you don’t have Amazon Prime, Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.

What are your 5 toys to keep baby busy and your wallet happy?

-Mama Curtiss

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliates links meaning if you click on a link and purchase an item, I get a small percent. However, the opinions in this post are my own.

10 MUST HAVES for New Mamas & A Few Can Do Withouts

10 MUST HAVES for New Mamas & a Few Can Do Withouts

Zoe was 5 weeks old when this original post was published and updated at 9 months postpartum. This new mama can share with you the MUST HAVES and a few that may be unnecessary. Here are 10 MUST HAVES for New Mamas & a Few Can Do Withouts. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

10 MUST HAVES FOR NEW MAMAS

10 MUST HAVES for New Mamas

1. Wipe Warmer

I fell in love with the idea of a Prince Lionheart POP Wipe Warmer, Pink when completing our registry and when I plugged it in the afternoon we got home with baby, even more excited. However, when I woke up around 4am, the wipes were cool. Sure enough, I was prepared and the poor girl still had to go a week with cold wipes.

2. Baby Carrier
I’ve still yet to get one of these. And I can only imagine the amount of stuff I could get done around the house with the baby strapped to me, or how much easier it would be shop for groceries without a baby carrier. Shopping with two carts is not possible when the husband is not with us.
Update: I got a Boba Baby Wrap, Grey and I absolutely wearing her, however, I find it difficult to put on by myself as the baby moves the opposite direction. Honestly, I need two more hands for this. Not just for the wrap but for mamahood in general. I’d like to try this one, Bibetts Pure Linen ‘Gray’ Ring Sling Baby Carrier. She’s just under 20 lbs and the max recommended weight is 35 lbs, so we still have awhile to get some use out of it.
3. Packed Diaper Bag
Yep, forgot this on our third outing to her second doctor’s appointment for a weight re-check. OF COURSE, she was wet when I removed the diaper for her naked weigh in. I can’t imagine putting on a wet pair of panties. And felt like I earned the bad mom of the day award with this one. (I know it won’t be the last time!)
Update: I now use two diaper bags. One is my personal and the other is for when she goes places: to grandma’s, to daycare, or out on the boat with daddy.
4. Baby Health Kit 
The bugger bulb, and the nail files are priceless. Do you know how many snots a baby makes? And lets not forget the tiny finger nails we are expected to cut. Words of advice: Despite having baby finger clippers, the nail files do the job well and it doesn’t result in bleeding. File them, mitt them, and finished. There are other valuable pieces in these kits that I haven’t needed yet.
5. Bouncer AND Swing
I made the mistake of not putting a swing on our registry and I didn’t push my husband on the importance of it until we’re 4 weeks in. BIG mistake. Though she likes her bouncer, its not as helpful as swinging.
Update: This swing is her favorite. My husband even said if it broke, he would happily buy another.  She has 5 more lbs (25 lb weight limit) and then her swinging days are over.
6. Carseat/Stroller Travel System
I am so grateful to have a carrier, two bases, and snap-n-go stroller. We actually went to the mall, each had an eye doctor appointment and 5 hours later with travel, no outbursts. We really are blessed. We kept her moving in the stroller throughout the appointments and lunch. Whatever works, right?

Update: I absolutely LOVE my Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller. The canopy covers her completely from the sun and it is easy to set up and break down with a baby in tow.

7. Boppy Pillow
I feel like a kid with a blankie the way I tote the Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner, Owls around with me. Done. Get one if you’re breastfeeding. Get one for positioning and support even if you are not breastfeeding.
Update: Still love the Boppy. And I love her owls. 🙂
8. Bassinet
People may claim that this is an unnecessary expense. I thank the wonderful cousin of my husband for gifting us one. If I didn’t have one, I’d probably end up sleeping in the glider or on the nursery floor so I can hear every sound and check on her a few times a night. And though she has slept in bed with us twice due to a bad night, I’m sure it would have been far more occurrences if she was sleeping in the nursery.
9. Travel Changing Pad 
I use this in the bedroom on our bed for night time changes and as long as she’s in the bassinet, this will be her evening changing table. Its also convenient for its intended purpose, too. I also enjoy these for public changing tables.
10. A Working Keurig Machine (and some stock in K-Cups)
Mamas Don't Use Tea CupsThis is serious though. Zoe wasn’t even two weeks old when our Keurig machine crapped out. It started with lime build up due to hard water, then loosening of the lime caused more blockages. It was three days of diligent work from my husband (soo thankful for paternity leave) cleaning, poking and prodding. My husband was determined to fix it, I was ready to lose my shit. He just didn’t want to spend unnecessary money with me on leave for 9 weeks and Christmas quickly approaching. This is serious though. Luckily, I survived for now (as long as the Keurig is still functioning).
The amount of coffee consumed as life fuel by both of us makes me realize we should have invested in K-Cup stock when initially trying to conceive.
Update: His damn fix is holding up. I still have the same Keurig Machine. Luckily, no more service hours have been put into it aside from some minor cleanings/descaling. Then one night when he was bringing me coffee in the tea cup pictured above. I laughed and asked “Is this a joke? Mama’s don’t use tea cups.” Husbands are funny.
& A FEW CAN DO WITHOUTS
1. Huggies Newborn Diapers
I was under the impression that Huggies is a quality brand but my experience has been everything but positive. I thought it was fit but as she put on weight slowly, Huggies never proved to be ‘our’ diaper brand of choice. I have 135+ Huggies Newborn diapers that cannot be returned, the ones that could be returned went back immediately. I brought Pampers home from the hospital and continue to use Pampers Swaddlers.
2. Sleep
As long as my #10 MUST HAVE is functioning and on hand, like pain, these sleepless nights are temporary. I can handle this for her. (She’s actually a pretty good sleeper on most nights.)
Update: I have been blessed with the best sleeper (but I still need my coffee). At her 9 months well baby check, doctor asked how she’s been sleeping and I could only recall 2 times that she woke up during the night in the previous 3 months. I miss my baby some nights and wish she would occasionally get up for a change, a feeding, and a cuddle.
3. Hemorrhoids (I will spare you the pictures!)
After unsuccessful pushing for 2 hours that ended in a c-section due to positioning face up, I could do without the hemorrhoids. Stool softeners and tucks pads it is, yay! I got the scar and the hemorrhoids but I’ve only had one baby. haha.
Update: Improved. Nearly non-existent.
What are your go to items and which ones could you skip?

-Mama Curtiss

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase an item using my link, I am compensated a small amount. However, all opinions are my own.

Petite Pudding

10 Things to Do Without Internet

We are connected to social media 24/7 through our laptops, our phones, and for some their watches. Whether for business or pleasure, a break in those connections can be unsettling.  (Especially when I have online classes starting in Sept!) But what happens when you’re internet company employs individuals that lack the knowledge to maintain the infrastructure and provide quality service when your internet stops working? You gain a whole lot. Here are 10 Things to Do Without Internet.

10 Things to Do Without Internet

10 Things to Do Without Internet (there IS time to read a book!)

  1. Read a book. I do actually have time to read; I just choose to read Pinterest and blogs instead. But in all actuality, picking up a book to read with my morning coffee was a refreshing habit to start. When we go on vacation, I always bring a book. Staying at a cabin in the mountains or on a lake makes me want to read a book and relax. But why does a vacation have to be that time. I can do this every day.
  2. Cook recipes. You mean I’m supposed to cook all these recipes I pinned?! Actually, I wasn’t able to cook from my Pinterest recipes because my phone data connection is so slow (I live in the country folks!). So I went out and bought two cookbooks (since all my old cookbooks were vegan/vegetarian and the one regular cookbook didn’t have a single zucchini bread recipe). Planning recipes for the week and for holidays and making grocery lists is fun too!10 Things to Do Without Internet
  3. Learn a new skill. We purchased 5 cases of canning jars and supplies about a month ago. However, I had been putting off the chore of learning this new hobby (partially because I didn’t have enough tomatoes from the garden). Well, I bought a the New Ball Canning Cookbook and I am addicted. Why did I wait so long to start this?10 Things to Do Without Internet
    I want to can EVERYTHING now! So far I’ve made 5 half-pints of Apply Pie Jam, 4 half-pints Cranberry-Grape Jelly, and 5 pints of Hot Salsa. I’ve also shredded zucchini and froze it in 3 cup portions (8 bags) to use for zucchini bread. Ya’ll, I haven’t wasted a single zucchini from my garden this year (even the GIANT ones!). This is a record.
  4. Pinterest projects. Oh wait, duh.  Use your phone, get some ideas and run with it. This warrants a trip to Hobby Lobby. We did actually make a trip to Hobby Lobby looking for the new Silhouette Cameo that was just released and looking around at supplies and pretty paper. I know Zoe’s only 8 month-old but I whispered “This is going to be our favorite store!” (aside from Carters, of course). She was just happy as can be in the shopping cart, holding her hand up for high-fives and cackling every time. AND she waves at EVERYONE now.
  5. Finish home projects. I’m notorious for starting home projects and not finishing them. Hence the once wallofficeprogress in our bedroom not painted because I ran out of paint; or the trim not up in the dining room because I still need to paint it; or the office area we’re building in the basement. School starts September 12th and I’m really good at pushing deadlines. This time disconnected got the paintbrush back in my hand.
  6. Organize your laundry room. This one here is my vice. I hate this space in my house. Its cramped, lacks enough storage for a family of 5, and I can never keep it under control.
  7. Get ahead on your cleaning schedule. Easier said then done. I do enjoy a nice freshly cleaneed house, especially the floors free of dog hair and dust. Keeping it clean is another thing when you have two boys and two large dogs.
  8. Go to bed early (or take a nap). Get more sleep. Take a nap during the day. I love my sleep and going to bed 45 minutes earlier, instead of spending time on the internet or watching tv was lovely. I love a good nap too! And any chance the baby girl allows me to snuggle and nap with her, I try to never pass up. Anything else can wait.
  9. Start Back2School shopping. I actually shopped the no tax weekend in Iowa this year and got some great deals, including tax free, for all three kids. Zoe is currently wearing 9 and 12 months, so I’m building the 18 month wardrobe. I’m actually getting a bit jealous of this little girl’s closet. Ha!
  10. Say Yes to buying movies. Every time the kids ask you to buy a movie, consider it. Say yes more than no. The reason I bring this one up is because I canceled dish 2 months ago  and we’ve been streaming for all of our tv watching needs. I even stream all the music I listen to. So when the internet goes out for a week, we are in silence, have a horrible selection of movies, and I don’t enjoy playing Xbox. So our choices of movies were: Hunger Games Catching Fire, Tombstone, The New Guy, Alice in Wonderland, a few Transformers, Robots, Hotel Rwanda, and a few others not worth mentioning. Basically our movies suck and I felt like I was being punished for all the times I was against purchasing dvds. They just end up scratched and missing from their cases, so what’s the point in wasting the money. Now I know why. DVDs for everyone’s birthdays and Christmas! Something has to be done if we are faced with this situation again!

As much as I love playing with the baby, only having the sounds of her baby piano, gloworm, or singing puppy is enough to drive a mama cra-cra, whether its a day or a week.

What are your 10 Things to Do Without Internet?

-Mama Curtiss

Petite Pudding

how motherhood makes me resent my absent father even more

Motherhood Makes Me Resent My Absent Father

There are so many ways to describe American families these days: blended, single parent, grandparent raised, multifamily, etc. Its so common that a traditional family is almost a minority. I grew up in a single-parent household (mom) and we lived with my grandparents for several years. On weekends (every other), I visited my dad and step mom until 4th grade. That’s when my dad and step mom split and my dad went running for the hills (YET AGAIN!). As my baby turns 9 months-old today, I realize that motherhood makes me resent my absent father even more. Let me explain.

how motherhood makes me resent my absent father even more

 

EXPERIENCED (Marathon) RUNNER

When I say my dad went running for the hills, I should say he ran several marathons out the door, out of town (or state), and out of the lives of his (many) children. You see, he has children from four wives. My mom is wife #2.

Man marries wife #1, they have 3 children (2 boys, 1 girl) together. He runs.
Man marries wife #2, I am born (1983). He runs.
Man marries wife #3, they have 2 children (2 boys, 1989 & 1991). He runs.
Man marries wife #4, they have 1 child (boy). He stays.

That’s 7 children(!) and only 1 he’s ever been responsible or present for. I’ve heard of other deadbeat dads but I realize as I type this that mine takes the cake. I honestly don’t know what went on to end each relationship but the common factor is his missing status. That’s all that matters. I feel like we should all stand and applaud Bravo! for him finally getting it on his 4th wife and 7th child.

About 4-5 years ago I found him on Facebook. After about 20 years without contact I had the opportunity to speak with him. I limited it to only Facebook as I didn’t feel the urgent need to speak over the phone. (And he lives in Michigan.) The conversations were good, I was over my anger. Those conversations and comments ended shortly after that and I did receive a card in the mail for my birthday but it ended there. Since then many big life events took place: I got married (which my step mom and two brothers attended) and had a baby. And again no contact. I should be used to it by now but there’s really no getting used to having your father choose not to be present.

A CHANGE IN PERSPECTIVE: MOTHERHOOD

I have a supportive family (a great stepdad, Zoe’s granddad) and a wonderful husband. The birth of my daughter was an unforgettable experience and I never considered my father’s absence until 9 months after her birth. This morning after feeding her, we sat in bed playing, and as I was observing her this morning, I reflected on how grateful I am to stay home with her and observe her growth and milestones. Surprisingly some how my absent father of 23 years (minus the mentioned Facebook chatting) came to mind. And I realized after years of resentment, getting over it and forgiving him, I now may resent him a little bit more then I did growing up. The anger is gone, thankful for that. And I know I should let go of the resentment, but you see, I come from a different perspective now. I’m a mother.

As I reflect on myself in the respective role of parent, I refuse to sympathize with whatever he had going on that was more important than to care for and be present in his children’s lives. Well, he is for one son. So kudos to him for that small victory. Though it doesn’t make up for the other 6.

I cannot imagine being absent in any aspect of my daughter’s life (let alone 6 of my children). His weakness and cowardly actions, or lack of, has molded me into a stronger woman, wife, and mother. Though motherhood makes me resent my absent father even more, I have a few thank yous to him.

THANK YOU ABSENT FATHER

So thank you, absent father.

Thank you for not being there and letting my mom pick up the slack, she had great support from family and friends and she rocked it!

Thank you for being an example of the man I never wanted to marry. I waited until I was 30 years-old to marry my husband and though I waited out longer than I had hoped for, I landed a good one and he’s nothing like you.

Thank you for being absent and allowing my dad to step in. He’s more of a dad than you ever were and a loving granddad to my daughter.

Most of all, thank you for being another example of the parent I never wish to be. I will always be present, available, and giving of my love and time. I will read her books, play dolls, go on adventures, attend her sports events, be present at her big life events; everything you failed to do for me and my 5 siblings.

Through your mistakes and (hopefully) regrets, I am the parent you never were. And the resentment I have for you doesn’t cross my mind often but when it does, it is unfathomable that you could miss out on 6 eighth grade graduations, 6 high school graduations, 6 college graduations, 6 weddings, and the births of your grandchildren from your 6 children. Not to mention everything else that happens in between.

My daughter waves hello and goodbye now; however the difference between you and I as parents is that my goodbyes will never be for long.

-Mama Curtiss

paleo peppers sausage

Paleo Peppers & Sausage with Caulifower Rice Recipe

Paleo Peppers & Sausage with Cauliflower Rice (and fresh garden salsa)- a healthy, easy, under 30 minute recipe is packed with fresh flavors. Instructions included for ‘How to Make Cauliflower Rice (and freeze the leftovers!)’.

This is a perfect dish for the hot summer days. I threw this together when I had fresh tomatoes, green peppers, and jalapenos from the garden. And after my husband was working in the sun all day, he wasn’t in the mood for a heavy meal.

paleo peppers sausage

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 package Turkey Sausage, cut
1 Green Pepper, chopped
1/2 c Shredded Carrots
1 Jalapeno, diced
1/2 medium Onion (your choice), diced
2 medium Tomatoes, diced
1 head of Cauliflower, chopped
Small amount oil of choice
Salt & Pepper to taste

Paleo Peppers & Sausage with Cauliflower Rice Recipe

DIRECTIONS

  1. Medium size bowl- Combine tomato, onion, and jalapeno. Place in fridge to chill.

    paleo pepper & sausage with caulifower rice recipe

  2. Cut cauliflower to florets
  3. Using the shred blade on your food processor, feed florets into processor using the pulse setting. This will produce much more than needed and can be bagged for future meals (Instructions at end of post)

    Paleo Peppers & Sausage with Cauliflower Rice Recipe

  4. Place small amount of oil into 2 frying pans and preheat on stovetop
  5. Pan #1 : Cook sausage approx 4 minutes on each side
    Pan #2 : Add 3 cups cauliflower rice and saute for approx 5 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste. Stir freqently
  6. Toss in green peppers and carrots to sausage, cook for 3 minutes. Stir frequently
  7. Plate: Cauliflower Rice, Peppers & Sausage, and top off with fresh garden salsa
  8. Enjoy!

    paleo peppers & sausage with cauliflower rice recipe

 

 

HOW TO FREEZE CAULIFLOWER RICE |

  1. Put 3 cups cauliflower rice in a sealed freezer bag
  2. Flatten contents in bag, remove air
  3. Place in freezer

I am big on convenience and prefer to keep healthy options available in the freezer for quick meals to avoid us from going out to eat or choosing a frozen pizza instead. Substitute cauliflower rice for noodles or rice with any recipe. Goes well with curry dishes, pasta sauce, and stir-frys!

HOW TO COOK FROZEN CAULIFLOWER RICE |

  1. Place frozen ‘rice’ in a small saute pan with lid
  2. Stir frequently and break up pieces
  3. Remove lid and cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir frequently

If you choose to make this recipe, please share your thoughts and anything you did to adapt this recipe. I’d love to hear from ya’ll.

Enjoy!

-Mama Curtiss

should customer service include baby interaction

Should Customer Service Include Baby Interaction?

I understand that nowadays everyone is wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and simple interactions are missed. Years ago in a sociology class, it was coined the McDonaldization of America. It all started with the microwave and it now influences our human interactions and customer service. Reflecting on an interaction I had with my baby at a local small town shop: Should customer service include baby interaction? The opinions varied greatly when I took it to Facebook. Let me share my reflections and the opinions of others.

should customer service include baby interaction

LOOK AT MY BABY, DON’T LOOK AT MY BABY

Its a conundrum, I swear. I remember when the little Zozo bird was less then two weeks old and we ventured out to Walmart. This was a couple days before Thanksgiving and it was a zoo, or more like a freak show. My husband recalls the first time he really noticed the Mama Bear come out in me.

Zoe was less than two weeks old and both her and I were still very vulnerable (oh the hormones!). I was approached by a man reeking of booze (coming out the pores, yuck!) trying to get close to look at the little baby. He carried on about loving babies and while his intentions may have been harmless, I just wanted him to go away. My husband was distracted by the man with the long curly mullet and another lady with a rat’s nest on top of her head reminiscent of a early AM Sunday walk of shame. He was unable to rescue us from the nice man but we survived. Mama Bear was on full alert.

What I’m trying to explain is that everyone loves babies (even the drunk at Walmart). Though there are times when we don’t want the strangers near the baby, they grow up quick and seek the attention (through smiles, waves, and hello). These interactions are necessary to their development.

THE SITUATION

We live in a rural area and though we may be limited at times on places to shop or eat, customer service is still a key factor if deciding whether a place deserves our money. I mean, we’re a single income household, if I’m going to spend money, it better not only be good but a positive experience as well. I digress. So, the baby and I stopped for a drink (mama wanted a cold caffeinated beverage) and when standing at the counter placing our order, Zoe was in her usual happy mood. She smiled and babbled away as the lady took my order. We were the only patrons, hence she was not ‘too busy’.should-customer-service-include-baby-interaction

Not a single reaction to the baby in front of her. No simple smile or hello while Zoe is 2-3 feet in front of her. NOTHING. Two other customers walked in and the rude lady went to the back to get her co-worker. “I have a drink for you to make, its for the lady with the baby”. So now we have confirmation that she actually SAW the baby.

I receive my drink, say “Thank you. Have a good day!” and the baby and I are out of there.

MY REFLECTION

We drive away, head home and its not until I had been home for awhile that this interaction really started to bug me. I was sad for Zoe, genuinely sad. Like feel it in the stomach, sad, and I realize this won’t be the first time. I acknowledge that those feelings of sadness were not related to getting attention for my baby. I considered that, but nope. (I know I make pretty babies, I don’t need any reassurance. Ha!) My sadness came from a place of disappointment that she will experience at several points in her life when she is ignored for no reason.

As a mama, of course, I think my baby is the sh!t. 😉  I mean, come on, she’s been sleeping through the night since a couple weeks old (and when she does wake in the night, I’m excited. I know, sick.) and the only time she fusses is when she’s hangry. She gets that from her mama. Ok, sidetracked there. Back to the point…

I acknowledge that there will be moments that my child is treated poorly due to whatever is going on in someone else’s life. However, she’s only 8 months-old and its my first experience. Luckily, she’s too young to understand.

What it comes down to is that I want my child to be acknowledged when she is babbling and smiling in your face. If you want to talk back to her go ahead but in the least, smile. I, ESPECIALLY, want her to be acknowledged when I am a patron in your employer’s establishment. Its a part of good customer service! And in case you live under a rock or in a cave, you should be aware that good customer service is vital to the success of every business.

TAKING IT TO FACEBOOK

Should customer service include baby interaction? This is where it gets interesting. My post:

Mamas… How do you feel when someone doesnt acknowledge your happy babbling baby in front of them? I was sad for Zoe. (Not that she cared)‪ #‎poorcustomerservice‬ ‪#‎grumpylady ‬‪#‎sadmama‬

I don’t expect to receive attention but she could have at least smiled at the Zozo.

Please note: I did not blast the business or the person.

Many replies consisted of “How could you not smile at that cutie?” or similar. I agree! But there are a few posts worth noting and some I did consider myself.

REPLY #1:

Responder #1: “Its not that we are trying to be rude, kids just aren’t on our radar”

MC: “Even when a baby is 2 feet in front of them and they are taking our order?  Part of good customer service is acknowledging and welcoming those we serve. Why would we choose to frequent a place that doesn’t make you feel welcome? Its vital to the success of any business.”

Responder #1: “I know where you’re coming from. I would be really upset if I had my dog somewhere and he wasn’t acknowledged.”

MC: “You are comparing a baby to a dog? It would be one thing for you to be defensive or argumentative, if this specific situation involved you. I honestly don’t know where you are coming from in these responses. Hope you achieved whatever you are trying to accomplish here.”

This person is a wife, mother, and newer grandmother! WTF.  I understand that not everyone’s baby radar is on, however, if you are working customer service, you should. Customer service is really a part of every place of employment. Retail, Service, Healthcare, Education, etc. I am still puzzled by these comments, especially from a grandma.

REPLY #2:

Responder #2: “I can agree with [Responder #1] and babies not being on our radar, although that has changed since I’ve been around the niece and nephew but I would hope that wouldn’t impact my tip if I didn’t know that people wanted me to acknowledge their babies.”

MC: “Its not a fact that I want everyone to acknowledge my baby. Its not their job to give me attention for my baby but it is their job to engage to some degree in a positive manner even if its minimal. If a baby is smiling and babbling at you, you wouldn’t at least smile back?”

Responder #2: “I mean, I would now because I’ve been around them but back in the day, I can’t say I would…”

First, let me explain that responder #2 is nothing like responder #1. She is not a mom, nor a grandma. She is a sister, an aunt, and works in the service industry. There are two parts I want to discuss here: age/life experience and again, customer service.

How we respond to babies and children can be a reflection of our age and our life experience (AND whether our uterus is quivering or not!). I don’t expect a teenager or young adult to be all about my baby. I don’t expect anyone (well, except for a few) to be all about my baby. However, if you work in a customer service position, it is necessary that you acknowledge my baby acknowledging you.

And yes, it may affect your tip, if I don’t feel that all parties at your table were welcomed. It includes acknowledging my baby. Its simple customer service. You may have other tables but I remember when I was a server, everyone was my top priority and if they didn’t feel that way, I was quick to apologize. See, I want to feel good and I consider that in all my interaction regardless of receiving a tip or a paycheck.

Responder #3 put my thoughts in her words:

Well, now you’re going to hear from someone who has been around the block a few times. I was in the service industry, specifically in food and beverage for more than 20 years…as a server, bartender, catering director and food and beverage manager. Customer service was always our/my priority…always!!! We/I always acknowledged everyone, young and old. No one is asking you to hold, feed or change their baby…but if there is an adorable little one there, acknowledge them!!! No one is asking you to do more than that…it has nothing to do with being on the radar, liking children or anything else!!! It’s called common sense, courtesy and our society has lost that…old school practices are gone. Now it’s all about computers, phones, technology and the all mighty dollar!!! Glad I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s…

Word.

Responder #4 addresses mental health issues:

There are hurting people in the world. There are people with mental health issues, many of them. I personally can easily see how someone would ignore a baby. I don’t think it is right of course. Maybe it helps to just imagine how miserable that person must be to act like that. It’s sad all around.

Nice points and I considered these. Normally I go on my way and say a prayer for the hurting people. But my sadness stems from the innocence of a baby or child being ignored and later becoming that miserable person. There is a mental health epidemic going on and its flooding many areas of society due to a lack of services and facilities. I acknowledge that and though I don’t know this lady’s whole story, she’s been like this before I was pregnant, when I was pregnant, and now towards my baby. I have thick skin but again, acknowledge the baby when you work in customer service.

Responder #5 and #6 are animal lovers and the topic gets off point but Responder #7 brings it back:

Responder #5: “If I see a baby, I am not affected at all. Not my thing. If I see a puppy, I definitely need to pet them and oogle over them. Not everyone is created equal.”

Responder #6: “I totally get both sides of this…dogs definitely make me smile much more too!!! BUT when in the service industry whether you like them or not you should always smile at babies ..I don’t love them but they are always still super cute and deserve appreciation. Especially when trying to be a good server. Ps your little one is adorable, and deserves lots of smiles :0)”

Responder #7: “Again it’s not about ogling over the baby its just about acknowledging them.”

Responder #5: “Why? Everyone everywhere should acknowledge everyone around them at all times? And I realize that’s going to offend a lot of mothers out there haha.”

MC responds: “No Responder #5, its not about acknowledging all babies. However, when you work a customer service job, in a small town, yes you should acknowledge them when they are smiling and babbling in your face. And I do go out of my way (such an inconvenience) to acknowledge others around me in passing. It can be a smile or head nod, or a simple ‘hello’. I’m not talking about a full engagement but to acknowledge. I feel like my step is lighter when I’m around friendly people and I hope to portray that all as well.”

Responder #5: “I read the comment as if what if anyone doesn’t acknowledge a baby. Not in customer service aspect only. Which even in customer service, maybe she just doesn’t like babies or maybe has had something happen in her life recently that seeing a baby brought up bad memories or something so she didn’t make eye contact. you never know. But I get it. I’m not a dick either, I try and say hi to people on the street and stuff. But sometimes it just doesn’t happen.”

I CONCLUDE

Should customer service include baby interaction? Of course!  Again, we don’t know the story of the other individual and that is important to take away here, however, it is also important to be mindful of how we make others feel around us. And whether the baby is on the radar or not, if you’re working, please acknowledge all parties involved, not just the ones responsible for your tip. In general, acknowledge others around you. It may make someone’s day.

TO THE LADY THAT DIDN’T ACKNOWLEDGE MY BABY:

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for your misery. I’m sorry for whatever made you the way you are. But I won’t apologize for my smiling baby and how you made me feel as a mama.  Just don’t do this to her again, when she can understand your rudeness, or I might have to publicly turn you into a lesson of “How not to act toward others: A lesson of kindness”.

Sincerely,

The lady with the (smiling babbling) baby

 

(I’d love to hear other mamas’ thoughts on this. Please share in the comments and spread the dialogue by sharing to Pinterest and Twitter.)

The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback
no bake lactation boosting bites

RECIPE | No Bake Lactation Boosting Bites

Grab this easy to prepare No Bake Lactation Boosting Bites recipe to increase milk supply and indulge a sweet tooth at the same time. I’ve used this recipe as well as my Lactation Boosting Smoothie Recipe  (featured here on Romper.com) to boost my supply enough to feed and pump throughout the day.

Three key ingredients to boosting milk supply: Oats, Flaxseed & Brewer’s Yeast #breastfeeding #lactation #newmoms #recipes @mamacurtiss

Click To Tweet

First, let me address what some people may be thinking: How do these bites boost my milk supply? Three ingredients in this recipe are key: Oats, Flaxseed (I get mine at Aldi’s or Walmart), & Brewer’s Yeast (natural food section of most major grocery stores). These ingredients are galactagogues(*), which are known for promoting milk production or flow. And because these are everyday ingredients, they are safe for everyone to enjoy (including husbands)!

NO BAKE LACTATION BOOSTING BITES

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 c. Old Fashioned Oats*
1/2 c. Ground Flaxseed (Flaxmeal)*
3 tbs. Brewer’s Yeast*
1 c. Coconut Flakes
1/2 c. Nut Butter (your choice)
1/2 c. Honey (or agave)
1 tbsp. Dark Cacao Powder
1/2 c. Dried Cranberries
1 tsp. Vanilla

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix all the ingredients
  2. Set in the fridge for 30 minutes
  3. Roll into balls
  4. Taste
  5. Store in air tight container and place in fridge

SUBSTITUTIONS

This recipe is easy to adapt to your ingredients on hand. However, I recommend only substituting dry for dry or wet for wet to keep the dry-wet ratio the same. For instance, I like to use chunky natural peanut butter in mine or you can use almond butter. One variation I’m curious about but have yet to try is replacing the dried cranberries with 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips (I prefer dark chocolate) and substituting mint extract for the vanilla. OMG! Mint dark chocolate chip no bake lactation boosting bites! Yum. (If you try this variation before I report back, please share your thoughts.)

Enjoy!

-Mama Curtiss

free printable weekly cleaning schedule

FREE PRINTABLE Weekly Cleaning Schedule

ATTENTION SAHMs, WAHMs, and Working Moms! We all struggle with the task of developing a cleaning schedule to keep the house ready for visitors at a moments notice (or at least I do!). This post contains a free printable weekly cleaning schedule with ability to customize to your household and have your house ready for guests at a moments notice.

WHY A CLEANING SCHEDULE?

As I settle into a SAHM routine, I’m preparing for fall when I begin my first official semester as a grad student/SAHM (technically a WAHM as I will be putting in full-time study/online classroom hours). I’m getting really nervous. However, I am developing a free printable weekly cleaning schedule this week to help keep me on track. I am a list maker and I find great satisfaction in checking off completed tasks (anyone else?).

While there are many printables and lists available online, I couldn’t find one that spoke to my household. So I came up with the following FREE PRINTABLE WEEKLY CLEANING SCHEDULE and I’m a firm believer in sharing what works for me. Because it may work for you!

2016-07-11

mamacurtisshasslefreecleaningprintable (.pdf)

mamacurtisshasslefreecleaning (excel doc – may edit)

The Microsoft Excel document above gives you the ability to customize this free printable weekly cleaning schedule around your routine. For instance, I do all my weekly shopping on Wednesdays. Therefore, I clean the kitchen and meal plan on Tuesdays.

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR IMPLEMENTING THIS WEEKLY CLEANING SCHEDULE:

  • Customize document
  • Print out your free printable weekly cleaning schedule
  • Purchase a frame & hang it
  • Use a marker to check it off throughout the week
  • Use color coding (markers) for each individual in the household to assign daily/weekly duties.

I accept that this is a work in progress and I will probably change it several times before it becomes routine.

Do you have suggestions for developing a weekly cleaning routine? WAHMs, what do you do?
Please share.  

-Mama Curtiss

 

THE MONDAYS: Goals for the Week

‘A Case of The Mondays’ has a new meaning since recently becoming a SAHM. While I used to dread Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday during the Mon-Fri work week, I now look forward to the new week ahead as Sunday evening winds down and I look ahead to a new week.

On Monday mornings, I drink my coffee, play with the baby girl (who is now a noisy, active 8 month old), and I set my goals for the week. This is the week I will get it done (Ha!).

Goals for the week of July 11th:

  • Eat clean
  • Drink lots of water
  • Meal plan before grocery shopping
  • Attempt a daily cleaning schedule and create a printable to reflect the schedule below:
    • Daily Cleaning Schedule

      I will report back next Monday with the condition of the house and how its going.

 

Have a great (productive) week!

-Mama Curtiss

should-customer-service-include-baby-interaction

Zoe turns 8 months-old!

This beautiful girl is 8 months today! Rolling all over the place and almost crawling… slow down, love.

She loves boating on the lake, her big puppies, and chewing on her toes; her arms look like french rolls, her thighs are nice and plump, and her hair slowly grows. We love you Zoe Mae! ♡

-Mama Curtiss