Monday’s Mama is Inspiring AF.

**This month I’m dedicating all of the Mondays to Mamas in Colorado. Hey, y’all, hey. Let me infiltrate, please and thank you.**

Please meet Shabana Waheed of Fierce Living. Shabana lives in Denver, Colorado, and she is pretty freaking cool. Shabana is married to her very first match on eHarmony, and they have one daughter and she’s currently knocked up with another sex tbd. (Congratulations, Shabana!!) Also, check out that title picture. This chick can wing her eyeliner like WHOA.

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Shabana really does live her life fiercely. She has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Celiac disease, both autoimmune diseases, but they do not stop her from pursuing her fitness goals and staying active. She has lost seventy pounds so far which is AMAZING. She’s currently growing a person using only her body, but still hopes to stay active and healthy during her pregnancy.

And because everyone likes a before and after pic, check this out.

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Also check out that super fly unicorn hat. WANT.

Shabana is all about fitness (obvs), health (double duh), product reviews (she is also a HUGE contributor to Guidance Guide), electronic dance music, dancing, and staying as fierce as possible. Fierce Living encompasses most of this, though I haven’t seen any videos of her dancing at a rave yet. Maybe next week.

Shabana was nice enough to  answer some questions from this Colorado newbie. Thanks, girlie!

1. What is the coolest thing about Colorado? What is the most annoying thing about Colorado? What is the Colorado-est thing about Colorado?

The coolest thing about Colorado is that we have the mountains not that far from Denver. There are so many Winter and Summer activities to do. Our weather changes a lot but most of the time it is sunny, which is great. But again the most annoying thing about Colorado can also be the weather as well. It can be 75 degrees one day and snowing blizzard the next. It’s crazy but cool. The most Colorado-est thing about Colorado is people who are from Colorado are proud to be from Colorado. We love our state flag, displaying it, stickers on the car, shirts, hats… we love it all, we are proud!

(Darlene here. Note to self — gotta get a flag.)

2. I love the name of your blog. I love the idea of living fiercely. What is something we mamas can do everyday to live fiercely?

One thing that moms can do to live fiercely is to remember to take care of themselves. So often we treat ourselves last or forget about ourselves altogether and we are left feeling empty. I believe in taking time for yourself. Whether that’s going to Target alone and leaving the kids with your husband or partner or tag teaming with another Mom friend. I like to get my hair dyed, go out with friends or just relax in bed alone. Making sure you get “me” time to recharge is a way to stay the fiercest version of yourself! You are important! Take care of YOU!

3. Everyone outside Colorado wants to know: are people here walking around high all the time? What are your thoughts on the legal weed?

Are people walking around high all the time? Well, I’m not. I mean, there are definitely people who are but I haven’t really seen a huge difference in my interaction with the public. I am not opposed to legal weed use. I do hope people are being responsible but you know there are always those few who make everyone else look bad. That comes with the territory, I think. I did vote yes for the legalization. I have seen it help people in their day to day lives and I believe more research needs to be done on the benefits of  cannabis. There are huge possibilities, I believe.

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

I’m usually a nope mom but I LOVE TO BAKE so I’d probably bake some gluten free cupcakes that are decorated. I particularly love decorating cakes and cupcakes, so that’s my jam.

Darlene again. OMFG I love the phrase ‘nope mom.’ We should all strive to be ‘nope moms.’

Read her blog or follow her on Instagram. Get some Fierceness in your life.

Monday’s Mama is Flossy Flossy.

Please meet Flossie, the awesome flossy flossy mama blogger behind Super Mom Hacks.

Flossie McCowald bio pic

Omg she just might virtually murder me for that title but I CAN’T HELP IT. I tried to think of another title but all I can hear is Fergie. (Flossy = super amazing.)

And Flossie IS super amazing. She was a teacher before becoming mama to Kimmie (age 8) and Essie (almost 6). Flossie is a country girl who married a city boy, and she and her family now live in Suburbia, U.S.A. She enjoys bicycling, cooking, crocheting, volunteering, and chauffeuring her darlings to Scouts or swim lessons or church choir. Flossie shares all her parenting tips, tricks, and hacks to save busy parents time, money, and sanity at supermomhacks.com. Her blog is full of really useful information. You will find simple recipes, easy home DIY that a regular person can actually pull off, and lists of vacation tips, cleaning tips, and organizing tips. She even has a post about getting melted crayon out of laundry.

And just in case you wonder ‘what if’ or maybe you are super into schadenfreude, Flossie also tells you all of the ways she tried that DID NOT work. It is refreshing to know that even Super Moms sometimes take two or three or fifteen tries to get something right.

Flossie is so good at work-arounds that she has figured out a way to show us a picture of her and her kids without actually showing a picture of her kids. Behold her genius.

Kimmie-Flossie-Essie Halloween 2017

Flossie rocks so hard, and she was nice enough to answer a few of my questions.

1. Your blog is SO FULL of helpful information. How do you know everything? Are you a genius? Why aren’t you President?

Sure, I’m a genius lol. No, seriously, I’m actually pretty dense sometimes – but I like to problem-solve, so I find myself thinking “There’s GOT to be a better way!” Whenever I stumble across something that makes my parenting existence easier – whether it’s a recipe hack, a super-useful product, or a better way to do something – then it’s going to be posted on the blog, sooner or later. I actually started my blog when a friend of mine who was always running her parenting questions by me, told me, “you should start a parenting blog with this stuff.” So I did. I was a teacher until Kimmie was born, so it’s fun to get up on my soapbox and tell everyone how NOT to make the same mistakes I’ve made. (And unlike teaching, there’s no essays to grade – yay!) 

And hey, what the heck, any native-born citizen can be President, right? I briefly considered being President when I was little; one day I learned at school that the president’s salary was $200K, and that sounded close to millionaire-dom to my seven-year-old-self. But then I decided it would be too much work.

2. Do you have any Super Mom Hacks about unpacking? Asking for a friend.

Haha, unpacking after a move. Yeah, I last moved almost a decade ago, and I *still* have a few boxes that I haven’t touched since packing them up! My favorite hack is to pile them all up together until you either A) need something in them or B) get sick of the pile sitting there. Once you get through all the A boxes, someday you’ll get to the Bs and when you open each B box, you’ll be like, “no wonder I lived without all this stuff for so long!” It’s remarkably easy to let go of the contents at that point. (The ideal hack, of course, is to get rid of as much of your $#!+ as you can BEFORE you move, so there’s less to unpack. Or so I’m told – can’t say I’ve ever truly pulled that one off.)

3. What is your most top secret, nobody else knows, super awesome mom hack? We won’t tell anyone. 🙂

I’m afraid you’re too late, because I’m not very good at keeping ANY hack secret (hence my blog). Probably my all-time FAVORITE parenting hack, for which my dear husband gets credit, is the Mommy Potty. It was the only way to get out of the house with my children for the 3 or so years I had a kiddo working on toilet training.

(Darlene here interrupting: OMG go read the Mommy Potty Hack. Brilliant! I would have never thought of that!!!!)

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

Definitely homemade – seriously, when do I have time to go to the store? BUT you have to give me at least a month’s notice. Three to six months is better. That way I can bake it ahead (preferably with the girls’ help – something to occupy them on a Sunday afternoon, double-win) and stick it in the freezer. I probably have some double-chocolate zucchini bread hiding in my freezer that’s almost as old as Essie.

You need Flossie’s wisdom in your life. Really. Definitely check out Super Mom Hacks. And follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Help HER help YOU. Really, dude. Trust me.

 

Monday’s Mama is Earth Mama FOR REALZ.

This Monday I am pleased to introduce Jessica Claire Haney. Jessica is the founder, publisher, and editor of Mindful Healthy Life who is likely going to be annoyed that I totally added an Oxford comma to her bio.

Jessica Claire Haney Headshot

Jessica is very busy. She is the author of the Guide to Holistic Family Living in Metro DCShe volunteers on issues related to wellness in public schools and was the founder of the Arlington/Alexandria Chapter of Holistic Moms Network. A writer working on her first novel, Jessica offers writing, editing, and consulting services.

She probably also sings to plants and harvests artisan catnip for feral felines. I’m assuming.

I met Jessica in 2016 at MommyCon DC. We realized that we were basically neighbors and planned to get together for coffee someday. You all know how that goes. I’m not convinced that she even drinks coffee. Jessica seems more like a kombucha kind of lady. Last October, we randomly ran into one another at the Type-A Parent Blogger Conference. We totally hung out that weekend, and Jessica is the sweetest. I’ll miss running into her at those East Coast Conferences.

SPEAKING OF CONFERENCES, Jessica will be at BlogHer Health next week so if you are there too, tell her I said hello. You will have an instant friend. Jessica might be the kindest person on earth. I’m not sure. I haven’t met EVERYONE.

Jessica was nice enough to answer my questions. Jessica put SO MUCH THOUGHT into my silly little Monday’s Mama questions. That is just who she is. Genuine. Considerate. And MINDFUL, y’all.

jessica claire haney

1. What is  your go-to yoga practice, or meditation, or whatever else works to keep you centered in your every day life?

I have been doing yoga since 2001, and in the past few years, I’ve tried to integrate it into other aspects of my life. Sometimes that’s been more successful than others. I’ve taken my mat to the lawn of a blog conference – two years in a row – but had other times when I fell off the wagon.

I’m super pleased that I’ve been starting each day with movement for the past six months. I do a jiggling and tapping along my meridians that is sort of a Qi Gong “lite.” It gets your lymph flowing and awakens your energy pathways to clear out stagnant stuff. I do it three times – head to toe – followed by three deep breaths and centering.

Then I do a yoga sequence that takes just about 12 minutes. I do it first thing, no matter what, and I think it’s really helped to do this daily. On school days, I do alone in the dark. On weekends, it happens whenever I get up, even if my kids are running around or watching TV or trying to crawl under me.

The kids don’t often join in on their own mats, but sometimes we practice together. At least they see me doing yoga regularly now, and they know they are doing it on my business card and website, so that’s something!

2. What is one easy thing we could do/change we could make for those of us wanting to stay both mindful and healthy in their everyday lives?

Easiest: Get out in nature every day.

Harder: Eat foods mostly from the perimeter of the grocery store.

Really Big: Make a list of goals and ideals for how you want kids to feel and to interact with the world as they grow and mature. Consider what kind of future you really want for your kids for their heart and soul and then to think about what behaviors, habits and special moments align with that vision.

3. What is your most crunchy hippie belief or practice, in your opinion?

How could anyone start their day without scraping their tongue, make it through without at least a few essential oils, or go to bed without spraying magnesium oil on their skin?! Ha ha ha.

(Darlene here: Jessica gave me those links. Thankfully. I left them in in case you ALSO wanted some further explanation.)

Oh, and I am a sucker for health and wellness conferences and events. I probably attend even more than most reasonably crunchy people.

jessica haney at conference

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

I don’t speak Bakesale!

No, seriously, I just opt out. Given my history with celiac disease and my kids’ genetic markers for it, we are all gluten-free and I’m mostly grain-free. It’s clear that my kids have also inherited the need to be super conservative with sugar consumption.

Of course, sugar isn’t good for anyone, and neither are artificial dyes or artificial flavors, so I wish schools would stop elevating sweets in a public way with bake sales and birthday celebrations and other treats and leave families to manage their indulgences outside of school. Lots of kids have more severe food issues than mine, and it is no fun for anyone to feel left out!

(Darlene again: Jessica is TOTALLY RIGHT OF COURSE but I like cupcakes. So.)

There are plenty of non-food ways to celebrate and have fun. For a school to serve the needs of the whole child, I’d like to see it pursue best practices toward health and wellness. I’m so glad to see more gardening integrated into schools so kids can have a better understanding of healthy eating and of where food comes from.

school-courtyard-gardens-Jessica Claire Haney

Follow Jessica on Facebook,  Twitter and on Instagram. Jessica’s personal blog is Crunchy-Chewy Mama, which is also on Facebook and Twitter.

And remember to say hi if you see her at BlogHer Health next week. She won’t even give your cheese danish any side eye. Ask me how I know.

Monday’s Mama is Slaying the #cutefood.

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This Monday, I would like everyone to meet Angie Arias, the amazing mama behind the thepeacheepear.com. Angie is freaking awesome! She makes the CUTEST FOOD for her toddler. And it’s healthy. And she takes pictures of it, so follow her on Instagram for inspiration. Or, if you’re like me, follow her just so you know that at least one awesome mama is making these awesome adorable lunches for her toddler.

Ok, she did inspire me to break a granola bar in half for eyes and put it on a plate with a banana and Babystar LOVES it so Angie is totally onto something here.

Y’all.

I am OBSESSED with Angie’s Instagram. You will be too.

Angie is a stay at home mom to one beautiful, smart, funny, and active little girl. Her name is Emma and she will be two this month. (Happy birthday, Emma!) Angie love to cook so created this blog to share her healthy and delicious recipes. You can find everything from homemade baby purées, to finger foods, to fancy holiday themed meals to family meals and more. I have asked her more than once to come be my personal chef but I think she thinks that I’m joking. (I’m not. Her toddler food is fancier than anything I make for myself.)
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Angie (Angelica if you’re nasty) answered some questions, because she’s so cool like that.
1. Are you kidding me with the food that you make?! Your Instagram has the cutest food EVER.  I am dying to know: Does Emma really eat it?
Thank you! Yes, she really does. But she does have days that she wants to be difficult so she chooses what she wants to eat from her plate and what she refuses. That’s why I like to give her a variety of healthy and nutritious foods with all her meals. I get peace of mind that she’s still getting essential vitamins and minerals she needs from her foods.

2. Do you have any ‘simple spice it up’ advice for those of us that can’t make masterpieces out of every meal but totally want to make cute food that our kids will eat?

Just get creative and have fun with it. Use as many colors as possible and a good balanced variety of foods (fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, etc). The more colors the better. Also, my secret to a beautiful plate is using cookie cutters. I get all of mine on amazon and they’re pretty cheap. Use them on your fruits and veggies or even your bread to make a fun shaped toast. We all eat with our eyes and kids are no exception!

3. What is YOUR favorite food? And what is your favorite UNHEALTHY food?

That’s a hard one! Lol I really love food!! I guess I would have to say Salmon! And unhealthy food has to be pizza! I can eat a whole large pizza by myself lol!

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

A- Homemade of course! Thank you so much for having me.

(OMG y’all. Angie is a total badass AND she’s got manners. AND she can eat an entire pizza by herself. #TripleThreat)

tl;dr GET COOKIE CUTTERS FOR YOUR KID’S FOOD.

You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest . But don’t sleep on that Instagram. You’re welcome.

Monday’s Mama is TWINNING!

This Monday, I am pleased to introduce Nadia Gabriel. She is the mama behind The Non-Adventures of a Stay-at-Home-Mom. Like me, she has been spending most of January moving. (That is the extent of our twinning. We don’t even live in the same hemisphere.) Unlike me, Nadia is moving BOTH her physical home and her, um, metaphysical blog space. Way to shake it up in 2018, Nadia!

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Nadia lives in South Africa so she is warm right now. If you are reading this in literally any of the United States, think about that for a minute. (Shhh, not you Hawaii and California. Just sit there and be pretty, ok?)

Nadia is a SAHM to two amazing little girls and makes time to write in between changing nappies and making a million snacks a day. She is currently in the process of rebuilding her personality back to the point where she is no longer just ‘Mummy’. (Girl, PREACH.)

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The Non-Adventures of a stay-at-Home-Mum is everything: hilarious (like when she takes down common fairy tales), informative (like when she reviews products), deep (like when she delves into the challenges of raising a super sensitive child), and uplifting (like when she profiles local momprenuers who are TCB). I always look forward to her posts because Nadia is above all insightful.

And kind. Kind enough to answer my questions.

1. I love the candor in your writing. I know you just ‘came out’ to family and friends as a blogger in the last few months. Have you found that you censor yourself now?

Going public has been great with all the encouragement and positive feedback but YES, I do feel restricted at times now, which is a huge bummer. Especially when it’s something that I NEEEEEEEED to get off my chest or process on (digital) paper. I even went back and deleted entire posts ‘just in case’. I feel it does stifle me somewhat because my writing is very much in the moment and full of raw emotion but I would never choose to hurt anyone’s feelings. So yeah, it sucks. But I can deal.

2. What sucks the most about SAHM life?

The housework!!!! Omg the housework. I hate it! Cleaning bathrooms (gross), washing dishes (ugh does that sink ever get empty???), vacuuming (every damn day because of our cats), washing clothes (how do we use SO MUCH clothes?), ironing (just kidding! I don’t bother) and cooking. I count cooking as a chore now because I no longer get any enjoyment from it. Now its just a case of ‘what can I make that’s quick and relatively healthy?’ So yeah, if it weren’t for the housework I feel as if I would have much more time to really enjoy my kids. 

I’m going to be cheeky and add another on here. What really gets my goat is that people don’t get what I do all day. Every time I am asked ‘so what do you do all day?’ I want to scream. I literally want to throw my head back and scream. The thing is, even if I listed everything I did, the person asking the question still wouldn’t get it. It really is a job that has to be experienced to be understood. I understand that some people are just curious and I can usually tell by the tone of the question whether it’s curiousity or assholism driving the question. Usually.
3. Facebook or Instagram?
Facebook. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. It’s a real timewaster but is such a great way of staying in touch with people without actually having to talk to them. Plus it’s a great way to store photos. I’m currently more in the Love phase at the moment since I made my blog public.
4. It’s the PTA Bakesale (is that a thing in SA?): homemade, store bought, or NOPE?
You know, I actually have no idea if that’s a thing here. I know there’s usually a few parents on the School Governing Body but I haven’t heard of bakesales the way you guys have in the States. I think the closest alternative would be Bakerman where every kid gets a Friday each term to be said ‘Bakerman’ and their parent has to stay up past midnight in the kitchen the night before, baking something according to the theme of the week. It’s pretty cool (for the kids) who end up with Frog Prince cupcakes or Incey Wincey Brownies but it’s kind of a pain in the ass to be honest. I’m just gonna outsource the next one.

 

You should totally subscribe to her blog. (I’m pretty excited to see the new 2018 version myself!) And follow her on Facebook. And Instagram.

Also, I mentioned that I really wanted to visit Cape Town and apparently it is the coolest place ever: “PLEASE save up and book that flight to Cape Town! Sooner rather than later. You will not regret it. South Africa is ridiculously beautiful, but if you’re planning your first trip then Cape Town is the place to be. We lived there for a year and not a day went by that I didn’t feel like I was on holiday. It’s gorgeous. Like living in a postcard. Plus there’s a crazy amount of kid friendly places there. And THE FOOD!!!! Omg the food 😍 I love it!!!!! Plus I feel that if you go to Cape Town you will definitely want to see other places in South Africa. So many gems.”

So. Nadia lives in paradise. But I like her anyway. I think you will too.