Monday’s Mama is Queen Bee.

And she’s a BUSY Bee, too.

Bee’s blog is called I Just Wanna Finish My… (Um, that’s the end of my sentence but how do you add a period after ellipses points?)

Bee wants to finish her coffee, her meal, her sentence, her thought. Her anything. Momlife is hard, y’all. However, she does finish her blog posts. I Just Wanna Finish My… is one of my favorite new blogs. Bee has only been blogging for about six months and I Just Wanna Finish My…  is FULL of awesome crafts and parenting hacks and activity ideas and yummy recipes and hilarious stories.

Bee2

Bee is a pediatric occupational therapist turned stay at home mom. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two adorable, wonderful, hilarious kids. These two children stole her brain, though. She realized she couldn’t complete a sentence or even a thought. Bee started blogging to reclaim her own brain and to think about more than just which store has the cheapest diapers or when was the last time her toddler went potty.

Bee is awesome and hilarious and extremely HELPFUL. Her pediatric occupational therapy background completely shows in her writing. You should totally read her blog and follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Who among us can’t use a little help?

Her majesty answered a few questions for me. My hypothesis is confirmed. Bee is freaking awesome.

1. I ADORE your blog and I feel like I know you and your kids. Yet you never post pictures of your kids faces. I kind of love that, though I basically do the opposite. How/why/when did you come to that decision?

Ah, so you noticed that! I’m glad it looks intentional and not just like I am that bad at cropping photos, haha. It was definitely a very conscious decision that I thought a lot about before moving forward on the blog. I actually LOVE seeing other people’s kids on their blogs and Instagram, and I know that I couldn’t tell my stories without at least partial pictures of them, but I have a couple reasons for keeping their names and faces off of my blog accounts. First, I think it gives me a challenge to write content that isn’t just about the kids. You (Darlene) have seen my personal IG and Facebook, and it is baby spam, all day, every day. My kids are SO CUTE (totally unbiased…) that I think placing this restriction keeps me from just writing a post each day about how funny the toddler is and how adorable the baby is with a picture to match. The posts that feature the kids become more about the activity we’re doing and less about how adorable they look doing it, if that makes sense. I have to get creative in staging pictures so that I can show, yes, they do exist, but no, you won’t recognize them in public. 
My other (more serious) reason is for their privacy and safety. I share pictures of them constantly on my personal accounts so that relatives and friends can see them grow up, but my husband and I decided that we just weren’t comfortable with putting their pictures out for just anyone to see on my public profiles. Our faces are fair game, though. 
Beekids
2. Your blog covers a lot of topics, and they are all so well done. What is your favorite thing to write about?

Thank you! I do cover a lot, which is probably bad for finding a niche, but it’s good for me because I just want to write about what I find interesting! I love to share activities for families. I had a whole series of “pumpkin projects” in the fall and I would highlight which skills that particular project could address, as well as ways to make it work for different skill levels. Right now, it’s easiest for me to write about activities for the toddler age, but that works out, because that was my favorite age to work with as a pediatric therapist. Posts of that nature are one way I can still feel like I’m contributing to my field, even if I’m not actively working. I also try to present projects that are cheap and realistic. I can’t stand when craft projects are tagged as toddler age, but there is no way a toddler could do even 50% of it on their own. Or, when you need approximately $40 in supplies for 5 minutes of entertainment. No thanks, give me a bunch of construction paper and some scissors and we’re good to go.

3. Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?

I normally don’t because I know that I will only last a week of eating only salads and exercising before I give up on it. I think people put too many expectations on themselves to make major lifestyle changes and it’s just intimidating. 
That being said, I did make one last year that has kind of worked out. I decided I was going to me more intentional this year. I think it sounds kind of millenial, so you can laugh at it with me if you want, but a vague resolution like that actually worked! I started meal planning (some), making smarter grocery lists (most of the time), and being more mindful with budgeting instead of just winging it all the time (except this month). It wasn’t a measurable resolution, just like a “hey, be a better adult” resolution.

4. It’s the PTA Bakesale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE?

Homemade, all the way!! I might stay up until 2am doing it, but those oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are gonna be DELICIOUS and full of real butter and sugar. Treat yo’ self!
Bee is so right. YASSS QUEEN.
Treat yo’ self AND be a better adult. Can you imagine if we ALL decided to be better adults in 2018!? Let’s do it. Who’s in?

Cat and Jack in the Cold.

This year I will not buy too many clothes for Babystar.

This year I will dress her in hand me downs and work with less and do more laundry.

This year I will just layer a lot and save some money.

HAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHA NOPE.

Omg I cannot stop buying long sleeves and sweaters and sweatshirts for Babystar. And it’s alllllll Cat and Jack from Target. I don’t even think I have pictures for everything. But my favorite is this Bear Sweater. It’s my favorite because Babystar loves it. And Babystar loves it because it has a Bear Butt.

Y’all. It totally does.

bear butt

I kept a list, though not everything is pictured. And most was bought on sale.

  • Leggings $5
  • Leggings $5
  • Leggings $5
  • Sweater $16
  • Long sleeve shirt $7
  • Long sleeve shirt $7
  • Sweatshirt $4.90
  • Sweatshirt $4.90
  • Long sleeve shirt and pants set $8.39
  • Long sleeve shirt and pant set $11.89
  • Sweatpants $6.99
  • Purple sweater $12.59
  • Sweatpants $4.20
  • Long sleeve shirt $3.85
  • Long sleeve shirt $6.99

My favorite is the ruffly purple sweater that works over almost anything.

new sweater

Babystar’s favorite thing to wear are her new Princess Poppy slippers (Marshall’s $7.99). She doesn’t quite understand that slippers are not shoes, so she wears them everywhere. I guess it’s a good thing that we bought her all those boots.

poppy slippers

Hey, did you know that Starbucks will give you a free small cup of whipped cream for your ToddlerMonster so she can stop asking for the whipped cream from your fancy coffee drink? #themoreyouknow

RAISING BABYSTAR: $24,562.15

NoVa’s Hottest New (Kids) Club.

STEFAN

Scramble is this winter’s hottest new (indoor kid’s) club. It has everything: a coffee shop made entirely of foam, a Big Ben boxing bag, a giant waving flag slide with both stars and stripes, a replica of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, cake pops, a hidden chamber with an Egyptian Mummy, and Space Balls. What are Space Balls? Its that thing where you take up all the space in a padded room with giant painted planets and then add a bunch of kids.

YOU GUYS THIS PLACE IS SO LIT. If you live in or near Northern Virginia, spend all of your cold winter days here. Scramble is HUGE. And it’s new, which means that at least for this season, it is CLEAN. It cost $10 per kid on weekdays and $20 per kid on weekends. One adult is free per kid. Extra adults are $5 each. So I paid $15 for Babystar, the Teenager, and I to get in last week. We have already been again, but I forgot my wallet and my friend paid. I’ll pay her back eventually, but right now that second visit is free and we are a family of vagabonds.

Anyway. Scramble. Apparently it is based off cool indoor play spaces in Europe. Maybe that’s why they went with an around the world (but mostly Europe tbh) theme.

Yes. I know that Sydney is not in Europe. It’s in Austria. Duh. 😉

Just LOOK at how cool this place is.

 

The smaller toddler play space is awesome enough. The big one with rocket ships and space balls and a secret passage is so big that adults can climb around in there quite comfortably. Although, to be fair, that is technically not allowed. But all the adults chase their kids through there and it’s basically fine. It’s also FUN! That slide is ON POINT.

Scramble 2

Babystar went down the slide all by herself and she tells everyone. She’s so proud. She should be — look at that thing! I went down a whole bunch of times. It’s soupy* fun.

At one point, I counted at least ten adults chasing their kids through the play structure and the thing did not feel at all crowded at all not even a little bit. Freaking. Awesome. Plus, the snack bar prices are actually reasonable prices. I spent $5.75 for two cupcakes, one banana, and three drinks.

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $24,444.46

*Babystar says soupy instead of super and literally nothing in the world is cuter. PLEASE NO ONE CORRECT HER.

Monday’s Mama is a Hustler, Baby.

This Monday I would like to introduce the other half of The Salty Mamas. Jaymi has one husband, two children, and approximately seventy-nine side hustles.

Y’all. This woman is RIDIC. In the best possible way.

jaymi with ian

Have you ever had a Chick-fil-A open near you? If so, you know that there are usually some people who have clearly lost their minds that sleep outside the night before the Grand Opening in order to win free Chick-fil-A for a year. Yep. Jaymi did that. (So did Christine but shhh we are talking about Jaymi today.) This is just ONE of her many many micro-hustles.

Jaymi blogs and tweets and shares her life on Instagram and Facebook. She can tell you a minimum of ten ways to make money on the side before she’s even had her coffee. After her coffee, that number jumps to infinity.

Jaymi answered a few of my questions, but she didn’t answer the one I forgot to ask. WHY is her four-year-old’s name on that Starbucks cup (which is of course a SALTED caramel something)?? Jaymi, does Lila just like hearing her name? Or is that actually HER coffee? Is Lila the saltiest of them all? Lmk, k?

jaymi with lila

Below are a few questions that I remembered to ask.

1. Jaymi, you ladies are SLAYING the micro-hustle game like I’ve never seen before. What is your favorite side hustle? Why?
This is kind of braggy maybe, but my favorite was having my son as model.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to hear “hey, your kid is super cute, like a few thousand dollars worth?” And I get to see things like this in the store, which legit cracks me up.
Abe as a Model
2. I cannot even believe that you camped outside for free Chick-fil-A for a year but I’m seriously so excited that you did. Is that the wildest stunt you have done for free stuff? What would you do for like, a free car?
Oh, that was small potatoes compared to what I would do. I mean, people will camp out for an iPhone and then GIVE SOMEONE ELSE a thousand dollars. This is way smarter 😉 And yes, this is probably the wildest stunt I’ve done yet for free stuff.  I’m not sure what I would do for a car, but it would probably be ridiculous. (Also, heyyyyyy there car companies! Pitch me a crazy idea. I bet I’d do it.)

3. What is your favorite family holiday tradition? What is something that you skip?

My favorite tradition is baking cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. We have a little personalized plate with the kids’ names on it that we put the cookies on. It’s a whole thing, and there are lots of sprinkles involved. (So. Many. Sprinkles.)  I have historically skipped Elf on the Shelf because DON’T WANNA, but I think with my daughter in school the jig is gonna be up and I’ll be hearing “Why doesn’t Santa send ME an Elf?!?” in a hot minute. So I may have to reevaluate this one. 

4. It’s the PTA Bakesale. Handmade, store-bought, or nope?

I sign up to bake four hundred cookies, but my Passion Planner fails me and I don’t remember I signed up until the night before. I remember at 11pm in a cold sweat, set an alarm for 3am, and bake cookies until the sun rises. And then probably drop three dozen of them on the ground on the way in to school. But the ones that actually make it to the bake sale? Deeeeelicious.
Go follow her blog and all of her everything to read about all her Hustling Ways. Now. Go do it now. You can’t afford NOT to follow her.

Santa Baby.

December 7, 2017. Yesterday. AKA the day I met the REAL Santa Claus.

YOU GUYS, OMG!

Babystar is mildly obsessed with Santa this year. She loves his beard (just like Granddaddy, she says) and his reindeer and mostly his laugh. “Ho, ho, ho.”

She also knows that he will bring her a present. (I don’t get in to that whole if you’re good thing. Yet.)

Today we decided to go visit Santa at the nearest mall, which happens to be Pentagon City mall. The Teenager and I also booked free Aveda mini-facials because I really thought that Babystar would be all HELL NO when it was time to meet Santa.

I was incorrect.

Before we left, she wanted to find a present to bring him. At first, she wanted to bring him a strawberry smoothie. (Not even his own. She just wanted to share one with him.) The Teenager finished the smoothie (thank you darling daughter) so she had to find something else. On Wednesday, we made tons of salt dough ornaments, so she wanted to bring Santa some ‘decorations.’ She decided on a ‘heart’ and a ‘guy’ aka gingerbread man shape.

Y’all. I had no idea she was this fucking sweet. (Or this genius? Either her toddler heart is full of kindness or she’s stacking the Nice List in her favor.)

I mean, I knew she was sweet, but Bring-A-Gift-TO-Santa sweet? Amazing. #blessed

We went to see Santa and she gave him the ‘decorations’ and he asked her to help him put them on his Christmas tree.

santa with tree

She said she DID NOT WANT to go anywhere near his chair, and Santa was fine with it. He talked to her by the tree, and thanked her for the gift, and gave her a sticker in return. When she left, she said, “I love you, Santa.” And she wouldn’t put the sticker anywhere. She had to save it since “Santa gave it to me.” It is still unstuck, and I think we have to keep it for eternity.

Y’all. IT WAS A STICKER. All stickers immediately go SOMEWHERE. Not this one.

Please note: this wonderful man who is clearly the REAL Santa Claus hung out with Babystar even though she was NOT going anywhere near the picture bench. And the lovely photo people there let me take a few cell phone shots of them together since the mall camera didn’t turn that way.

Pentagon City Mall, you did it. You found him. Well done. If you are in the DC Metro Area, the real Santa is at Pentagon City. Shhhh. It’s a secret.

We left Santa Claus. The big girls got our facials. We all had some lunch. On the way out, Babystar decided to go say hi to Santa again. There was no line so I figured it was fine.

Her ornaments were still on the tree.

ornament on tree

Santa showed her the ornaments, and then Babystar and Santa started chanting ‘HO HO HO’ to one another.

ho ho ho

Babystar decided that she wanted to sit with Santa but not ON HIS LAP. (Obviously that was ok. We are all about consent.) Babystar wanted her sister with her, but she was really excited to be on SANTA’S CHAIR!

So. Yeah. I dropped fifty bucks ($52.98) on the cutest Santa picture ever. The package was $29.99 and the frame (yep) was $19.99. And now this pic (both of the girls!) is part of our official Christmas decorations. Right next to my firstborn at only nine days old on Santa’s lap in 1996.

santa pics

Oh, you see that Santa hat she’s wearing? It is not a prop from the mall. Babystar BROUGHT IT with her so she could ‘match with Santa’.

Call 911. I’m dead.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $24,423.71