How I lowered my expectations for "Fun" Mommy-hood

When my twins were babies, I couldn’t wait for them to be old enough to do mommy-kid activities. I wanted to finger paint, cook, play Memory and Candyland, snuggle and read for hours, and make happy, rosy memories with my boys.
When they were around 2 years old, inspired by the success of my mommy friends and the parenting blogs I adored, I excitedly laid out paper and paints, prepared elaborate craft projects, bought games, and borrowed books from the library. We were going to have FUN and be happy and laugh and I would take pictures and make photo albums of my happy kids and my happy motherhood.
Here’s what really happened:
The paints were a mess. The paper got soaked and ripped. The colors were mixed into a color that resembled a really bad poopy diaper. The art project took longer to clean up than the boys spent "painting."
My boys played “Ants in my pants” instead of moving their gingerbread men through Candyland. The colored cards flew all over the living room, joining the tiny demon-cherries from “Hi-Ho! Cherrio!” The homemade Memory cards were ripped and crumpled.
Cooking was a circus. Cups of flour were dumped on the counter instead of in the bowl. Eggs slipped and smashed on the floor. And one of my sons was so afraid of the hand-mixer that he ran screaming out of the room before it was even turned on.
There was no snuggling and reading for hours. My two year olds could barely sit still for one picture book. “Green Eggs and Ham”? WAY too long! I learned to flip through books at the library and throw back the ones that had more than 15 pages or 10 words per page.
This was supposed to be a "Two hours of FUN" box! not "10 minutes and I'm done" box
I was discouraged, depressed even. I was failing at Mommy-hood. Most days I thought: “Well, that was a fun 5 minutes. What am I going to do for the rest of the day? I guess I could start by cleaning up this mess.”
We made snakes with beads for 3 minutes one day. Then I cleaned up beads for the next 3 months
I wanted to make those special memories with my kids but every activity was either a failure or over before I could even snap a picture.
Plus I was going nuts and yelling things like “THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN! We are GOING to have FUN, OK???”
I was a real Fun Mom.
I eventually gave up. I lowered my expectations for Fun Mommy-hood.
We didn’t do messy craft projects anymore. I threw “Hi-Ho Cherrio” and the memory cards in the trash. I made cookies while my boys napped. We read “The Foot Book” instead of “Green Eggs and Ham.”
And this was the best thing I could have ever done.
I discovered that the things I liked to do were not the things that my kids liked to do. The happy memories I had of coloring, playing board games, cooking sweets and treats, and reading on the couch with my mom for hours were not the same things that made my boys happy.
I had to accept that they loved running and wrestling, not sitting still playing board games.
I swallowed the fact that they weren’t interested in coloring or “making things.” And I realized that any craft that took longer to prepare or clean up than it did to make and play with was way overrated.
I still made them sit and read with me but we would read one board book instead of three picture books.
And when I did tackle that Pintrest Project from my “Fun Activities for Kids!” board, I learned to say “Well, that was fun!” after 3.5 minutes and really mean it.
So glad I have this picture because I think this is the only time they wore these adorable pirate costumes 
 Most importantly, I discovered that my kids are different from me and that is ok. And I learned that the best memories I could make with my children was not “doing things” together: it was seeing my boys happy, grins that lasted for seconds, not the “activities” that lasted for hours.

Recipe of the Week - Amazing Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our family has been on a grain free journey and sadly the ONE thing I had not been able to create without good-ole-fashioned FLOUR was a solid chocolate chip cookie. Until now. These cookies from Amee's Savory Dish were incredibly simple to throw together (even toddler helper friendly). And the taste is incredible. Incredible. They are not chalky, since there is no flour substitute at all, just the nut butter and shredded coconut working magic.

Make them. You will thank me. Well, maybe not after you have eaten all two dozen...

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies from Amee's Savory Dish Adapted From Fast Paleo


  • 1 cup almond butter (love Barney Butter smooth!)
  • 1/3 cup honey (can sub real maple syrup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp. almond extract (or can use all vanilla extract) - (Lauren note: I would use all vanilla next time)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (*only add the salt if you are using unsalted almond butter)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life brand)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Oil baking sheets or line with parchment paper. 3. Stir together first 7 ingredients. Mix well. Make sure honey is fully incorporated. 4. Add coconut and chocolate chips and mix until well combined. 5. Scoop with a cookie scoop onto cookie sheets. Bake 9-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Yield: about 20 cookies with a level 2 Tbsp. cookie scoop (Lauren note: I got 24!)

Kanned Goods: DIY Glass Etching

Our first Christmas married, I spent hours perusing websites for cheap crafts I could make for others that were beautiful, meaningful, practical, and, well, looked like something you’d buy in a store.  I stumbled across Glass Etching on Martha Stewart’s website, and it has been my go-to for lots of neat (and sometimes last minute) gifts.  That Christmas I etched everybody’s name on a glass mug (that I found for $2.50 at Wal-Mart). I promise it is not near as intimidating as it sounds and it takes a whopping 15 minutes.  I recently pulled my supplies out to etch a vase for some newlyweds we’re dining with.  We had bought them some fresh tulips, but wanted to make it the gift more personal.  I etched their names and wedding date on the vase—now it is something they can use over and over again.

You will need to make a trip to your local craft store for the etching cream and stencils.  It’s a bit of an investment up front ($10-20), but it will last you through many projects!  I bought the smallest bottle of etching cream and reusable stencils, and I still have ¾ a bottle left.


Armour Etch Cream

Stencils (You can make your own or buy these handy-dandy Rub N’ Etch stencils. There is a special glass etching stencil display where you find your cream.)

Rubber gloves

Masking tape

An old paint brush

A glass vase, mug, plate, etc.


Warning:  The etching cream bottle is covered with cautionary procedures for using it.  You even have to be over the age of 18.  With that said, please follow all instructions.  Wear protective clothing, do the project outside, if possible, and ONLY work with the cream when your children are sleeping or someone can watch them.


I’ll give you a run down of what to do, but please read all instructions and labels before proceeding.  I do suggest practicing this once on something cheap to make sure you have all the instructions down and you know how your stencils are working.

First, you’ll want to make sure the glass surface you are etching is clean.

Second, you will want to arrange the stencils.  This is my least favorite part.  It takes forever to get letters lined up in a neat row.  Make sure that if you are placing multiple stencils together that there are no exposed edges or crevices.  Apply masking tape all around the stencil(s) to hold it firmly in place.

Third, make sure you have everything you need — glass with taped-on stencils, paint brush, etching cream, and watch/timer (if needed).  Also, wear protective clothing and eye gear in case of accidental spills.  Using the paintbrush, apply a thick layer of etching cream to the stenciled area, completely covering it.  If you’re using the Rub N’ Etch stencils, you only need to let the cream sit for 60 seconds.  If you’re using a different kind (the label should tell you), you will need to let it sit for 5 minutes.  Make sure to close your bottle of cream as you don’t need to be smelling it all that time!

Fourth, run the glass under warm water, washing all the cream away.  Remove stencil and masking tape.  You may not see the etch right away, but once you towel dry it,  it should appear nicely.   Let me tell you, it really feels like magic :).

The best part is the etching is very durable.  You can pretty much do whatever the glassware says is possible (dishwasher, microwave, etc.).

I hope this inspires some beautiful handmade gifts!  Feel free to share ways that you use glass etching for your crafting.