MOTHERHOOD: AMONG THE WILDFLOWERS

Last week my mom and I took Lilly to a local flower farm.  I’m always looking for outdoor, social distance activities that L and I can do together and I’ve had a handful of friends recommend this activity to me.  I was truly thrilled with the experience and the farm itself, and I’m so excited to recount our adventures for you guys.  

A hidden jewel of Northwest Ohio, GardenView Flowers is a 60 acre family-run farm that specializes in designing beautiful bouquets for weddings. Not only does the farm offer the most gorgeous fresh-cut flowers for brides, but they also offer a U-Pick Garden and seasonal flower design workshops.

My mom and I had never been flower picking before and it was so delightful. It was seriously a very relaxing and very fulfilling activity! The flower farm opens daily at 8:00 a.m. We arrived around 10:00 a.m. and there were only a few other people there picking flowers. Upon arrival, we headed over to the cutest farm Flower Stop. The Flower Stop offers bouquets to go, dried flowers, and other gifts. It’s the most charming little building.

Adjacent to the Flower Stop is a check-in table where you pay for your experience and pick-up clippers and a cup/vase in which to place your picked flowers. Because Ohio is now under a mandatory mask order, I felt extremely safe. All of the staff and visitors were wearing masks and people were practicing social distancing. I was very pleased too with the disinfecting precautions the farm took to ensure the clippers and other supplies were cleaned in between uses. Plus, they offered hand sanitizer and complimentary bottles of water (it does get hot out in those flower fields)!

After we checked-in, we chose a field of wildflowers and started picking! The farm plants over 30 varieties of fresh-cut flowers and there was a colorful mix of varieties and textures from which to choose.

L and I were drawn to the bright pinks and purples, so we picked a lot of Zinnias, Cosmos, Dahlias, and Sweet Williams. There were also plenty of Sunflowers, Gladiolus, Snap Dragons, and Blue Ageratum. There were so many different varieties and colors and you could easily come home with multiple bouquets depending on the look and feel you are going for.

We picked flowers for almost an hour and I was actually kind of sad to leave! L absolutely loved smelling the flowers, helping us pick them, and frolicking through the many fields. Her face of pure joy really just sums up our experience. We definitely plan to return again and again. If you are local to Northwest Ohio and are looking for a family friendly, safe activity, flower picking at GardenView Flowers is a must!

Be sure to check out their website and follow them on Instagram!

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  

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 

MOTHERHOOD MILESTONES: ONE YEAR

“Hold her a little longer, rock her a little more, read her one more story, you’ve only read her four. Let her sleep on your shoulder, rejoice in her happy smile. She is only a little girl for such a little while.” – The Paper Heart Family 
SO. MANY. FEELS.
Our baby girl turns ONE this week and I’m a mix of excited and emotional.  I’ve been busy planning her party and making sure it’s extra special, but at the same time, I’m wondering where in the heck did the time go?! 
This past year has been hard.  But it’s also brought more joy and love that we even knew existed.  We’ve grown so much and learned so much and are better because of our sweet girl who teaches us about life every single day.  
As I reflect back on these past 12 months, there are so many things I want to share.  But gosh, where to begin.  I’ve learned so much this year.  I’ve learned that my body is insanely strong and and resilient and that sleep deprivation sucks, but it only lasts a little while. I’ve learned to lower my expectations – basically about everything.  It’s very hard for this controlling, perfectionist to sometimes let things go.  If the dishes don’t get washed, fine.  If the laundry never gets folded, fine.  If I only shower once a week, fine.  If there is dog hair everywhere, fine.  None of these things matter, but what does matter is that I have a healthy, safe and happy baby.  
I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be present and appreciate the season. Lilly always seems to remind me that sometimes I’m glued to my screen way too much.  Because of this, I’ve learned to put down my phone and really enjoy the moments I have with L.  And if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that time goes SO FAST.  So be present and enjoy every second with your loved ones.
I was an anxious, over thinker before having a baby, but now my fears are tenfold.  Motherhood comes with a whole slew of fears that I never even knew existed.  In the beginning my fears were all about SIDS, making sure she was getting enough breast milk, and how she would adapt once I went back to work.  I worried about her development (physically and mentally) and worried that she was where she needed to be.  I worried about transitioning her from nursing to bottles and how she would do with formula (that is a whole other post).  
My fears continue to change, but they are always there.  I worry about her sleep and if she’s getting enough.  I worry about the new foods we are introducing to her and how she will react to them.  I worry about her falling and hurting herself now that she’s on the go.  I worry that she will eat something she shouldn’t.  I worry that we are giving her enough new experiences and exposing her to enough new people. I worry that we will forget to teach her important life lessons and that she won’t be prepared for the real world.  I truly worry about it all.
Through all of these worries, I pray and hope that we will raise her to be a kind, caring, confident, and accepting person.  
I would say the greatest triumph this year has been my ability to better adapt to change.  Before L, I hated changed.  I would drag my feet and worry until I was blue in the face to avoid change.  Becoming a parent makes you have to embrace it – it’ll sure be a long and bumpy road if you don’t.  L has definitely taught me time and again that she is always ready for growth and becoming more independent far sooner than I am.  If I don’t adapt to her changing, then I’m going to miss out on a whole lot.  
If you’ve made it this far, you are a gem.  This has been a post full of emotions and I cried more than once writing this.  Motherhood is messy, chaotic, and challenging, but it’s so much more than that too.  It’s beautiful, rewarding and full of so much love.  
L has completely changed our lives and we can’t imagine things any other way.  We absolutely adore our sweet, giggly, independent, loud, assertive, smart, and beautiful girl.  She sure makes life a whole lot brighter.  
So cheers to my sweet girl and her FIRST BIRTHDAY!! 
Sláinte,
Shannon 
p.s.  L’s outfit details are linked below.

GIVEAWAY!

You guys know how much I love supporting local businesses, so I was thrilled when Angela from Pineapples and Parties reached out to do a giveaway!

Pineapples and Parties is a local event planning and decorating business that specializes in attention to detail. From weddings to showers to parties and fundraisers, Angela does it all!

She also provides budget analysis, day-of coordination, event design, gift baskets, favors, florals, full event planning, guest list creation, holiday decorating, partial event planning, timelines, to-do lists, and vendor selections.

Pineapples and Parties celebrated their ONE year anniversary this summer! In celebration, I’m partnering with Angela to give TWO of our followers a Pineapples and Parties t-shirt, tote bag, and a $50 gift card to Pineapples and Parties for a future event!

Head to my Instagram for the giveaway details and to enter! (For those that live out of town, you can still enter to win and Angela will work remotely to help you plan an event!)

Sláinte,

Shannon