MOTHERHOOD: STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER

Strawberry picking! An activity the Solt family had never done before and I’m still not sure who had the most fun! We are still sticking pretty close to home and when we do take L out, we only go to outdoor spaces with plenty of room, strict social distancing, and mask wearing standards. A local farm where I typically buy pumpkins and mums in the fall offers you pick strawberries for two weeks in June. I did my research to make sure this farm was taking the proper precautions that are mandated by the Ohio Department of Health and feeling comfortable, we decided to try it out.

Stevens Farm in Monclova is the perfect setting for a morning out with the family. There is a cute little farmhouse at the front of the property with an old log cabin and small barn with horses and goats you can feed and pet. They have a greenhouse with fresh herbs and flowers and just across the way a small pond with a dock and canoes. Just past the pond is an orchard with peach and pear trees. Lilly loved running through the rows of trees! And just then just beyond the orchard are fields and fields of strawberries.

We arrived soon after the you pick opened and I’m so glad we did! Within 45 minutes they were almost sold out of spots – aka rows. All of the employees were wearing masks, they were sanitizing berry carts, and every family had their own row and they alternated rows so that people were spread out comfortably. We felt exceptionally comfortable.

We spent about a half hour picking strawberries and filled up two pints. These were literally the most delicious strawberries I’ve ever tasted! So fresh and so sweet. I think Lilly enjoyed squishing them between her hands more than she enjoyed eating them though.

We ate a fair amount throughout the day after we got home and washed them. But I also ended up making a strawberry cobbler that was so yummy and refreshing. You can find the recipe for that here.

It was a beautiful summer morning and I’m so glad we ventured out for these happy family memories!

Slainte,

Shannon

OHIO SPIRIT WEEK

The past couple of weeks have certainly forced me to break out my creativity when coming up with activities for L.  So far we have tried sensory bins, stickers, baking, gardening, legos, and cleaning!  We surely have been doing our best to stay home to help protect those on the front lines. 

This week the Ohio Governor’s Office is hosting Virtual Ohio Spirit Week!  Our family are proud Ohioians and we will happily be supporting Governor Mike Dewine and his team and participating in some fun, engaging activities with L.    

If you want to participate with us this week, below are the different themes for each day!  Remember, we are all in this together and it’s important we continue to stay home to keep others safe! 

MONDAY: PAJAMA DAY

Stay in your pajamas all day! I have been continuing to get dressed each day, so this will be a fun activity for me!

TUESDAY: GARDEN DAY

Get outside and plant your gardens, or in our case, we will be doing yard work! 

WEDNESDAY: SALUTE YOUR HERO

We are forever grateful for those who are on the front lines fighting this virus.  Thank you to all of the doctors, nurses, truck drivers, firefighters, teachers, refuse drivers, city workers, grocery store workers, and everyone else who is considered essential!

THURSDAY: SPIRIT DAY

Show your love for your favorite sports team!  We will be showing our love for our Ohio teams.  We are a Buckeyes, Indians, and Redhwaks through and through. 

FRIDAY: PIZZA DAY

Order pizza in or make your own! We will be making our own version of pepperoni and bacon pizza – our favorite!

Thanks for joining us!  Stay safe and well. 

Slainte,

Shannon

MOTHERHOOD: CREATIVE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

FULL DISCLOSURE: Please no judging if you are a professional in the kitchen, as I do not consider myself to be a baker or chef.   This activity was meant to be fun and it turned out with some pretty edible cookies, so win-win! 

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that L and I whipped up some chocolate chip cookies today.  I sadly was out of brown sugar and chocolate chips, so I had to improvise.  I did google “how to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch” so I could have a basis of measurements.  Beyond that, I pretty much made up the below recipe!  They are hubby approved so I thought I’d share.  I’ve included a few notes based on what I did and what you probably should do instead.  

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups of all-purpose white flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt 

1 ½ sticks of butter (I would use 2 though)

1 cup of stevia and white sugar (I ran out of stevia, so I topped it off with sugar.  You may want to up this to 1 ½ cups, I just try to limit my sugar intake)

2 tsp vanilla extract (I forgot to add this in mine – oops!) 

2 large eggs

Two full hershey bars chopped (or chocolate chips if you have them)

Two handfuls of pecans (this I made up as I went)

Sea Salt 

Note: My girl Claire from Home with the Wileys gave me a great tip – if you don’t have brown sugar you can substitute it with maple syrup and sugar. 

Instructions:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and butter and mix well.  Add in the vanilla and eggs and mix.  
  3. Add the flour, baking soda and salt to the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix well until dough forms.
  4. Add in chocolate and pecans and mix.
  5. Use an ice-cream scoop to scoop dough onto a cookie sheet.
  6. Add sea salt to the top of each cookie.
  7. Bake 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I combined everything at once and mixed it well and they turned out just fine! Also, these cookies are pretty dense, so if you prefer thinner chocolate chip cookies these are not your jam.

Enjoy!

Slainte,

Shannon  

STYLE: FAVORITE PLACES TO SHOP FOR TODDLER CLOTHING

As soon as we found out we were pregnant with a baby girl, I knew I would have a problem with shopping for clothes for her. Although I’ve had my moments, I’ve actually done pretty well splurging on items for special occasions and keeping it realistic for everyday clothes. Because let’s be real, kids grow SO FAST. Also, the wear and tear on their clothes is pretty intense and I would rather get the best bang for our buck on her everyday wear.

But, I do LOVE buying her special occasion clothes and I have found some top notch children boutiques. Almost all of these boutiques are small businesses and I’m more than happy to support them. And in all honesty, the quality of the clothing for these specialty boutiques is fantastic. If you are looking for well-made, high quality craftsmanship for your littles, specialty boutiques are the way to go.

I’ve broken down my favorite places to shop based on special occasions (birthdays, baptism, holidays, etc.), everyday wear, and local.  

SPECIAL OCCASION 

Lilly Pulitzer 

Bella Bliss (based in Kentucky)

The Bella Bean (based in Columbus, OH!)

Shrimp & Grits

Coming Soon: Shop Maddie and Connor (This shop opens later this spring, but follow them on Instagram for some teasers!)

EVERYDAY STYLES 

Baby Gap

Old Navy

Cat & Jack for Target

LOCAL BOUTIQUES

Kids Klotheslines

Bowinkles

Hopefully this list is helpful! I love sharing where I find the cutest baby and toddler styles.  If you know a great place to shop for toddler clothing that I haven’t listed, please feel free to comment and provide a link!

Slainte,

Shannon 

MOTHERHOOD: STAY HOME FAMILY ACTIVITY

There is no doubt this is a challenging time.  But I am truly, from the bottom of my heart, thankful that Rob and I are able to work from home (and thank you to all of the essential workers who don’t have this luxury and have to go work.  We appreciate you all!!). Although this requires extra juggling and extra patience, we are so grateful for this time as a family.  

Because we are together all day every day, we are having to find creative ways to keep L engaged. She is an insanely curious and energetic child, and playing in her playroom all day just isn’t keeping her occupied. She’s very much in a stage where she wants to mimic everything that Rob and I do. And one area she has taken a great interest in is cooking with us. She loves being at the kitchen counter with us, helping prep whatever it is we are making. Even if she’s just playing with a wooden spoon and an empty bowl, she’s happy as a clam.

We don’t want to exhaust this new activity though so we only let her play at the kitchen counter every couple of days. And so far, it’s working like a charm! She’s happily helped us prepare pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and our favorite Scottish scones. (Side note about the scones: When we were in St. Andrews, Scotland my sister introduced us to the deliciousness that is the scones and clotted cream.)

To further share the happiness of these moments, we are sharing this yummy treat with you all.  Enjoy!

Slainte,

Shannon

Simple Scottish Scones

Ingredients:

2 cups of flour 

⅓ cup of sugar

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda 

½ tsp salt

8 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen

½ cup sour cream 

1 large egg

Note: Blueberries, chocolate chips, raspberries, raisins or any other sweet ingredient can be added. 

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (we used our mixer).  Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal).
  3. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
  4. Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form.  Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together).  Add in your desired amount of blueberries or chocolate chips and mix together.  
  5. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-8-inch circle about ¾-inch thick.  Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about one inch apart.  Bake until golden brown, about 15-17 minutes. Cool for five minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.  

Recipe originally from allrecipes.com. 

MOTHERHOOD: SEEKING OUT JOY

If you all are like me, I’m sure you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and even afraid during these uncertain times.  A germaphobe on my best day, I’m really having to seek out the little things that bring me joy to help me feel centered and grounded.

Staying connected to people always helps me to center myself. I’ve never felt more love and support from my IG community and for that I am truly thankful. When my friend Sarah from Cozy Little Joys reached out and asked if I wanted to do a collaborative post with her about seeking joy, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to help others in the midst of chaos.

Below are some ways of how I am seeking out the joy and establishing some sense of normalcy to our everyday lives.  

  • Take a walk. For me being near the water grounds me, so there will be many family walks down by the river and lake in my near future.
  • Learn a new hobby. I’ve wanted to learn how to use the manual mode on my DSLR camera. What a perfect time to teach myself a new skill and capture precious moments in the process.
  • Practice yoga or meditation every morning and as needed. L loves to do yoga poses with me so might as well make it a family activity.
  • Catch up shows or movies you’ve been wanting to watch (hello Newsies, Sound of Music, and everything on Disney Plus).
  • Turn on your favorite music and have a dance party.

If there is time to learn how to disconnect from all the noise, now is that time.  We must take care of ourselves, mentally, emotionally, and physically, in order to get through these very trying times.  We also must take care of those around us too. Be kind. Be flexible. Be loving. Have faith. Hug your family tight and let’s all hope for the best. 

For more ways on finding the joy in the everyday, head over to Sarah’s page, Cozy Little Joys!

Slainte,

Shannon 

MOTHERHOOD: A DAY IN THE LIFE, WORKDAY

A few weeks ago I shared a glimpse into what a day looks like when I’m at home with L.  Today I’m attempting to share a look into what a day looks like for us when I’m working.  Our morning and afternoon routines are always the same on working days, but my actual work day in the office varies.  I can provide a general idea of what my day consists of, but working in public relations means no day is the same and you constantly have to adapt to the unexpected.  So, without further ado, here is another peek into our life. 

6-6:30am: Hubby and I wake up.  Sometimes I get up and do yoga and sometimes I sleep until 6:30 (the latter is more realistic ha!).

6:30-7:00am: I shower, get dressed, put on my makeup, clean up the master bedroom and bathroom.  Hubby heads downstairs and takes care of the dog, eats breakfast, empties the dishwasher. 

7-7:30am: I make my breakfast, pack my lunch and L’s lunch, write out her schedule, pack up our bags, etc. 

7:30-7:50am: L wakes up and gets breakfast. 

7:50-8:00am: Babysitters arrive (if it’s a Monday, one of us drops L off at my sister’s house).

8:00am: I arrive at work.  For anyone new, I manage the public relations and marketing for my city (Yes, I work for the government and I love it). 

8-9:00am: I check all the social media accounts and respond to questions and comments.  I read and respond to all emails. Then I go over my to do list for the day and prioritize what needs to get done 

9-12:00pm: This is where it gets tricky to quantify what I do.  Depending on the day, I could be in meetings, responding to media requests, working on graphic design projects, planning out social media for the week, developing new marketing and informational materials, drafting talking points for City officials, the list goes on and on.  Each day is different and that is what I love about working in PR. 

12-1:00pm: I generally take an hour lunch break during this time.  Sometimes I go home and eat and relax, sometimes I run errands, and sometimes I stop by and see L.  Just depends on the day! 

1:00-2:00pm: Social media and email check-in.  Review what needs to get done on that particular day and prioritize those tasks.

2-4:30pm: Similar to earlier, I could be in meetings, responding to media requests, working on graphic design projects, planning out social media for the week, developing new marketing and informational materials, updating the website, drafting talking points for City officials, etc. 

4:30pm: Leave work and pick up L.

5:15-6:00pm: If I’m picking L up, we usually get home about 5:15.  We unpack the car, bags, and lunch boxes, take Gryff outside, change our clothes, prep dinner, and play if we have time. 

6-6:30pm: Family dinner time.

6:30-7pm: Playtime with daddy while mommy cleans up the kitchen.

7-7:15pm:  Bath time.

7:15-7:30pm: Relaxing and watching Peppa Pig, Blue’s Clues, or Paw Patrol.

7:30pm: Bedtime. 

And there you have it! The days I work are extremely busy and I’m usually ready for bed by 8:00pm!  But I do love the variety of the day and love that most weeks I know that the following day I get to be home with my sweet girl! 

Slainte,

Shannon

MOTHERHOOD: A DAY IN THE LIFE AT HOME


A week or so ago my friend Katie (Sunshine Style Blog) shared her morning routine and I loved reading about that glimpse into her life!  I’ve realized that an easy way to connect with others in this digital age is by sharing something we all can relate to.  Everyone has a schedule or routine, and my family is no different.  Although it varies from day to day depending on if I’m working or at home, we still stick to a general structure to our day. 

I’m at home two days a week with L and boy do we have fun! Enjoy this fun glimpse into what we do each day!

7-7:30am: I get up and make my coffee, chat with my hubby before he leaves for work.

7:30-7:45am: L wakes up and we sit and watch a show for about 15 minutes (usually Mickey Mouse or Peppa Pig). 

7:45-9:00am: I make breakfast for L and me.  This usually consists of eggs in some form, French toast and an organic purée packet.  After breakfast I clean up the kitchen and then we head upstairs so I can get ready for the day. 

9-9:45am: We read books, play kitchen, practice fine motor skills, engage in sensory activities, etc. 

9:45-11:30am: We venture out and run errands, go to a park, the aquarium, the library, Local Roots (local juice shop) or the 577 Foundation (local spot that has a greenhouse and tons of outdoor activities).

11:30am-12pm: Come home and start prepping lunch.

12-12:30pm: Lunchtime! I eat and clean up whatever needs to be cleaned up in the house. 

12:30-1:30pm: Playtime (reading, playing outside, anything and everything).

1:30-1:45pm: We head up to the nursery and get ready for a nap.

1:45-4pm: Naptime usually lasts about two hours, sometimes less and sometimes more.  While L naps, I do household chores and rest a bit myself.  This is also usually my time to dedicate to my blog – writing and planning out posts, taking pictures (with my trusty tripod), etc.  I usually wash my hair and blow it out during this time.  There is always lots to do during naptime, which makes this time go by far too quickly. 

4-5:30pm: Wake up and have a snack.  We then play some more, go for a walk, or run last minute errands before Daddy comes home.

5:30-6pm: Usually all of us are in the kitchen, prepping dinner and catching up on the day. 

6-6:30pm: Family dinner time.

6:30-7pm: Playtime with daddy while mommy cleans up the kitchen.

7-7:15pm:  Bath time.

7:15-7:30pm: Relaxing and watching Peppa Pig, Blue’s Clues, or Paw Patrol.

7:30pm: Bedtime. 

And there you have it!  If I’ve learned anything over the last 16 months, it’s that everyone’s schedule looks different and you do what works best for your family.  We’ve changed our schedule many times based on L’s needs.  I’m sure it will change again at some point, but for now, we are happy with this stage and are embracing the every day. 

Slainte,

Shannon

HOME: PLAYROOM UPDATE

Time for a playroom update! We are moving along with styling and organizing this space. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen we purchased some shelves and organizational bins for Lilly’s books and toys! We might add another set of these items to the other side of the window, but we are waiting a little while longer to see if that’s needed.

We gave Lilly a kid kitchen set for Christmas and she was also gifted a set of table and chairs. So far she is loving both items and we are having so much fun playing tea, making toast, and learning our food groups.

My next step in bringing this room altogether is to begin shopping for some artwork! As of now, I don’t have a “theme” for this room.  I just really want this space to be a collection of items that we love and that are inspiring. 

I’m taking my time looking for artwork that stops me in my tracks. One piece I did purchase months ago is a beautiful watercolor from Bittersweet Farms, a nonprofit I used to work for that serves adults with autism. Bittersweet Farms has an art therapy program and one of the artists painted this piece. I instantly fell in love with it and I finally had the time to hang it up.

I’m also eyeing this oversized alphabet print from Etsy. I just love how bright and colorful it is. I just look at it and feel inspired. I’m going to think about it a little while longer and if I still love it in a few days, it may be our next purchase!

Other than that, I’m still organizing, rearranging and making more room in this space so Lilly can learn, grow and imagine! 

I’ve linked all the items we’ve purchased so far below! 

Slâinte,

Shannon 

SHOP OUR PLAYROOM

KID KRAFT KITCHEN SET | WHITE SHELVES | DELTA TABLE & CHAIRS | PEHR STORAGE BINS (Similar)

Working Mom, Stay at Home Mom

One of the aspects of my life I haven’t really talked about on this platform is my role as both a career woman and a mom.  

I read and hear about the challenges and joys for working moms and stay at home moms, but I never really hear much about us part-timers.  I consider myself both a working mom and a stay at home mom. For those that don’t know, I work part-time (three full days a week) in public relations.  I do all the PR, marketing and social media for my city (suuuch a fun gig!).

I’m soooo fortunate to be able to work part-time in an amazing job that is two minutes from my house. And I’m equally fortunate to be able to stay at home with my sweet baby girl two days a week.

Although this setup works great for us in this stage of our life, being a part-time working mom and part-time stay at home mom definitely presents its own challenges though.  

One of the biggest challenges is feeling like you aren’t giving enough of yourself to either your job or your family. When I’m at work I feel like a chicken with my head cut off, running all around trying to play catch up and stay ahead. I have that same feeling on my days at home, trying to juggle quality time with L but also trying to get some basic household chores done. I often feel anxious that I’m not doing enough on my days at work and vice versa on my days at home.

Some weeks I work over my regularly scheduled hours, which means less time for my family and that is always really hard on me. (Thankfully I have a stud of a hubby who picks up the slack and takes care of L, the dog and the household.) And then other weeks (like this one), my family demands more attention and I have to give less at work.

Another big challenge of being a part-time working mom and part-time stay at home mom is finding time for myself. It’s really important for me to be fully committed to my job and to be fully present at home.  That leaves very little time for me and that wears on me over time.  And I’m definitely someone who loves my me time and my hobbies.  

But this arrangement definitely has its plusses. For one, I get to spend two days at home every week, just me and L, which is amazing. And, on the flip side I get to do work I love, in a city I love, with some pretty stellar human adults. I get my dose of motherhood and my dose of adult interaction every other day and for me, that’s perfect.

We spend a lot less on childcare since I’m home twice a week.  Childcare is ridiculously expensive and I feel for you families who spend a fortune on it when there is no other option. 

I have more time to blog and produce creative content with this arrangement. When I was working full time I only had time on the weekends to write blog posts and take pictures. Now I can work on some of my blogging during L’s naps and on the weekends.

I also get to spend more time with my family on my days at home with L.  In the summer that means going to the zoo or swimming at my parents with my siblings and nephews.  In the winter that means shopping with my mom or going to the aquarium with my nephews.  I’m definitely one who needs my family close and to see them often so I’m grateful we are in a position where I can do this. 

This is definitely a topic I love to talk about, so please reach out if you have questions, comments, etc.  Whether you work full time, part-time, or stay at home, all of us are doing the best we can with the resources we have and all of us mamas are in this together.  

Sláinte,

Shannon