Category Archives: parenting

Ivy the Helper

August 3, 2017

Three kids basically means you have your hands full at all times. There’s always someone that needs something at all times of the day. Since having Faye, it’s been tough to keep up with things around the house, being a stay-at-home Mom has never been harder! Recently though, I’ve been noticing that Ivy is asking to help more and more, her intuition that Mom needs help has definitely kicked in (thankfully!).

I’ve been having her put her laundry away and make her bed for about 6 months now, but that’s really the only chore I have made her do, besides the obvious ones such as picking up toys and dressing herself. I feel like I’ve totally deprived her of helping out and being independent! Not that any child really likes chores, but Ivy totally does! I plan on taking full advantage of that until she’s a teenager and hating it!  I think it’s the feeling of being involved and doing what Mom does.

Ivy has recently asked to help dust and empty the dishwasher, she’s all of a sudden such a big girl and such a big help! I feel bad that I haven’t had her help with those things for months! It took her to ask to help instead of me encouraging her to be a big girl and help out around the house. #momfail. I love that she’s independent and I know that having chores around the house will make her feel involved. Time to encourage all of that!

I looked up some other chores on this site and this site that are age appropriate and I couldn’t believe all the ones that I could be making her do! We’ve been doing the no-brainers, like pick up toys, get yourself dressed, put clothes away, etc., but the ones I never would have thought about are helping set the table (WHY didn’t I think of this! DUH!), scrape your own plate into the garbage, water the plants, clean the windows, put away groceries (obvi she knows where the snacks go! Haha), etc. I am excited to get her to try out some other chores around the house! Here’s another site that has great ideas too! I’m considering doing a chore chart. Looks like a fabulous way to stay organized and to encourage them doing their chores on their own.

The thing I have to get over, is that I know it probably won’t be done exactly how I would do it (I tend to be particular about some things!), and it will take longer than if I do it myself, but what a great opportunity to teach!!! And for her to learn! And hello, 4 hands are better than 2! It will take patience on both of our parts for sure, but she is to the age where I want her to feel her worth around the house and take pride in learning and helping out. And she is antsy to help! Time to take advantage of that before it’s gone! :)

What are some chores you have your toddlers do?


July 28, 2017

Well, we’ve officially joined the “crazy club.” 1. Crazy to have three kids 2. Crazy: as in chaos crazy. Nevertheless, with all the craziness going on, I could definitely add a third crazy 3. Crazy in love! Not to quote Beyonce or anything, but this third kid suuuurely has my heart. Maybe it’s being the baby of the family, there sure is something ultra sweet about Faye that has completely filled up my heart.

Enough gushing. Really. Okay what you really want to know… How IS IT with three?

Someone asks me this almost every day with the same look on their face expecting me to say how hard it is and how tired I am and how much work it is, everything you’d expect if you had three kids, and all most of those things are true, but they’re missing one key thing about all of the 3 kid business – that BABIES SLEEP. Praise the Lord! This is the only way I’m surviving right now!

Faye has been such a good sleeper! She made it 7 straight hours at night for two nights in a row this week! WHOOP! Otherwise, she’s usually around 6. Then she just wakes up to eat quick, chug-a-lug, then right back to bed for another 3-4. So again, THANK GOD for sleepy babies! Plus during the day, she hangs out and has Ivy in her face every second for an hour, then back to sleep. Hallelujah. During her naps is where we get things done!

This has given me enough energy to make it through the day to keep up with these rascals. I’m NOT good at staying home, I get antsy, the kids get antsy, we just have to either get outside, or go somewhere. Faye’s mellow personality has allowed us to keep doing the things we love to do – pool or park day all day errry day! Or the zoo to run these kids wild from animal to animal. Basically anything to maximize our time away from the house and get these kids to use up their energy.

Oh. And popsicles. YAAAAAS. They’ve saved me keeping Ivy and Leo entertained! I need 15 minutes to nurse… POPSICLES. I need 15 minutes to shower… POPSICLES. I need 10 minutes to change because I got breastmilk or spit up everywhere… POPSICLES. I need 30 minutes to cook dinner… TWO POPSICLES. Haha, okay maybe not that extreme! But popsicles have saved me this summer! (I could also replace ‘popsicles’ with ‘ipad’ to be honest! Judge the way you want!)

Mostly, three kids has been about a new routine.

New routines, like, I might just have to throw a kid in their bed without a book because I’m trying to get three kids to bed at the same time. I might just have to clean that mess up later because I have to go nurse. I might just have to get fast food on the way home because it’s easier. I might just have to neglect a kid a little because another kid is screaming. All the things that give you SERIOUS Mom guilt. Your attention is divided amongst another child and it’s tough on everyone. It’s really hard to put Faye down because I just want to hooooooold her and snuggle my baaaaaby, but I try to use her naps to the fullest and take that time to be present with Ivy and Leo. Then her hour awake time before she falls aleep again is when Ivy and I get to play with her, because Leo has NO interest whatsoever #boys

Thankfully kids are resilient and change as we change, after those first few temper tantrums, of course, but eventually they get it.

So, how is it with three? Two to three is definitely harder. I swear, Leo’s had more meltdowns this last month than his whole life. Everything takes so much longer, especially with nursing before we go anywhere. Ivy is curious and asks a million questions in my space and Faye’s all day. Routines get all messed up as we start new ones. I have serious Mom guilt on and off all day as one of the kids is always getting neglected. BUT we’re getting the hang of it. And choosing to be positive and trying to be easy going really does generate a good mood amongst everybody! We’re just going with the flow here and trying to survive.

My goal with three is just to embrace all of it. The minute I realized we need new routines and everything won’t be perfect, was the minute I knew I would be okay, WE would be okay. Nothing is right, nothing is perfect, it’s basically a shit show, but I’m going to embrace the shit (pun intended… baby poop diapers, MY GOD) and try be as stress-free as possible and just love on these little kids and enjoy this chaos as much as I can! Our last little baby, gotta hold her as much as possible! And frankly, it doesn’t last forever! These kids grow up too fast!


A Trip to the Stensland Farm

May 31, 2017

Today we took a trip to the Stensland Farm and the kids had a blast! The farm just opened up an ice cream shop in Sioux Falls, which is BEYOND delicious, so we have been anxious to go see the whole process and take a tour of the farm. Stensland Family Farms was established in 1915, and is a family owned and operated, multi-generational farm located near Larchwood, Iowa. They have almost 200+ cows and they also farm 1500 acres of organic cropland. All of the forage the cows eat, comes from the non-GMO crops they grow! Read more about the farm here and see more on their facebook page here.

Today was so nice to take my mind off of things with this baby coming! I’ve just been keeping busy keeping these kids busy… just waiting for baby! So this was a perfect opportunity to get outside and walk around hoping to induce some labor! :) Due on Sunday, June 4th! EEEK!

Leo could be a total farm boy after seeing him out there today! He loved to see all the cows, tractors, and there were tons rocks to throw around to keep him busy. He had so much fun! The kids got to pet and feed the baby cows a bottle of milk, so cute!

The tour also took us to see the cows getting milked, all by machines, which was crazy! The cows just go in there on their own when they want to be milked (I hear ya on relieving that pressure!!). The machine puts a collar on the cow and it begins sending information straight to the farm’s computer.  The collar identifies each cow and relays weight, temperature, activity, and rumination. So high tech! Then it cleans the utters and uses lasers to find the utters to milk them! So neat! Each cow produces about 9 gallons of milk each time! Wow!

Then we got to also see the cheese making factory. Cheese production wasn’t taking place at the time, but neat to watch the video, and I LOVE CHEESE! The curds are amazing!

Lastly, they brought us through to see where all the mama cows hang out. They lay on water beds and are very well taken care of with a self-grooming station in there too! The kids loved to try to feed them and get close!

At the end we got to go have samples of their milk, cheese curds, and ice cream! Their chocolate milk was amazing! And I don’t even like chocolate OR milk really!! Leo had three cups, haha. It was the perfect way to end the tour.

I think Leo would have preferred if I would have left him there! :) He LOVED it! Thank you for the great day Stensland!

Here’s a video to see more of the farm



Shop Spotlight || Bloom Box

March 18, 2017

If you are from Sioux Falls (or really anywhere for that matter) and haven’t heard of Bloom Boxes yet, you need to! When Andrea from The Speech Mom reached out to us to try one of her Bloom Boxes, we were so excited! I’ve seen them all over social media lately and have been wanting to try one!

A little about Andrea (Instagram @thespeechmom) – she is a mother of two adorable boys, Hank and Gus, and she’s also a speech language pathologist who has a passion for speech, language, feeding, and kids! I swear, Andrea is like a wonder woman, she does everything and is soooo knowledgeable! We’ve worked together on a social eating post with our four kids (see that post here) and it was a blast – so much to learn from her!

Andrea has recently launched her new venture – the Bloom Box, a monthly rental program enhancing child development through play. Choose one of the various boxes (over 20 options! And growing!), and it will be delivered to your doorstep with an activity guide to help target your child’s development!  Enjoy a month of play while your child develops language, cognitive, social, fine motor, and sensory skills! Then at the end of the month, you just ship it back with the prepaid shipping label and if you purchased the subscription, then comes another to your door! AMAAAAZING!

Ivy chose the cupcake bloom box to play with and it was above and beyond my expectations! All of the items in the box were in terrific condition and were great brands like Melissa and Doug, Learning Resources, and Hape. All of the supplies were very high quality, very well taken care of, and the box was very well put together! I was blown away! You can tell Andrea put a lot of thought into choosing items that would fit her vision!

Plus, there were SO MANY things to play with! I was expecting maybe just a couple of items to play with for the month, but no, the box was FULL with several different hands on items and about 8 different structured activity lessons to go through with your child. And that doesn’t even count the free-play that Ivy and Leo loved! I just let them explore with everything in the box at first, and they sat and played for an hour straight before I had to pull them away for lunch!

The description on the activities and on the box says for children ages 3-7, but I’m telling ya, Leo almost loved it more than Ivy and he’s only 22 months!! He was all about making cupcakes, using the mixer, and attempting to master the tongs! Which was hilarious :)

Ivy, on the other hand, really got into the activities and lessons and loved making the cupcakes and playing the “Cupcake Shop” activity. She would make her cupcakes for her store (there were pictures of cupcakes you could make for a price amount to give the kids ideas, but Ivy was all about being creative and coming up with her own creations!), then I would be the customer and come choose and pay for a cupcake with the fake money that was included in the box. I’ll admit, even I was having fun with her!

There were pink, brown, and white fluff balls to represent the flavors of the cupcakes (I’m a white vanilla fan!!! She was obsessed with pink, of course!), then there were little fluff balls to top the cupcakes off with candy or cherries or whatever you wanted it to be. So many options to get creative with your cupcake making!

There were also two other sets of cupcakes to venture into – these Learning Resources cupcakes that separate and you could match the shapes to the shapes in the pan, then also happy birthday cupcakes with candles that you could attach. Ivy sang “Happy Birthday” to all of us each with a different cupcake, so cute!

Plus, she had never used tongs before and she had so much fun trying to figure it out before she finally mastered it. A great skill to learn, I think I’ll start using her in the kitchen more! ;)

Overall, you’ve got to give the Bloom Box a try – you can purchase month-to-month, or do the six or twelve month subscription.  It’s so nice to know you have it for the month. I’d pull it out every other day or so and it was like a brand new toy for them each time! Plus if your kids are like mine, it’s nice just ‘renting’ these toys because mine get sick of theirs so fast before they’re on to the next thing. Great opportunity to give toys a try then ditch em when you’re done. Love that idea! Tired of so many toys around the house anyways! Love that you can have fun toys for a month, then move on to the next thing. Totally fits kids’ 2 second attention span ;) Haha.

Good news! Andrea is offering blog readers a discount – use promo code appleofmyivy for $15 off your box! Head to now and pick your box to get started!



When You’re Just Really Proud

February 7, 2017

I had a big hell yeah MOMent yesterday. One of those days where everything went well and easy and I don’t think my heart rate even accelerated in frustration once, which is a total feat in my world with two little kids! It made me sit back today and acknowledge that I’m just really proud of my kids, and I don’t do that enough. I’m usually hard on myself to have well behaved kids and have everything go right, which is a long shot with two free-spirited little ones. But yesterday, I just felt good about my kids and being a Mom.

And it all started with Ivy. Yesterday, it just hit me like BAM, she’s a little girl growing up so fast and so well behaved and trying to be such a good sister and influence on Leo. It was one of those moments where you just TAKE THE MOMENT actually and sit and watch your kids. I was watching her pick out her whole outfit, picking out her dress first, “my favorite pink dress!” as she throws it out from her closet, remembering what Mom always says, that it has shorter sleeves so she needed a sweater, getting some “pants because it’s coooooold outside,” and finally picking her socks and “Anna and Elsa undies!!” Outfit complete and then, “Oh yeah! My pink bow and necklace!” Can’t forget those :) She continued to dress herself, buttoning her own sweater, getting her socks on right, and finally asking to put her bow in and necklace on. I watched in awe that she just did that all by herself, this little tiny three year old, completely dressed herself from head to toe. She’s done this for a long time but I’ve never really sat and watched and THOUGHT about it. I sat there smiling and soooo proud of her, and a little of myself, that we got it right with her. We got it right. So very proud.

I realized what we did right with Ivy (and probably got a lot of wrong too!! But meh…) was that we were always making her feel like she can do it, she can be independent, she can be strong, she can achieve it. I constantly made sure that she got a chance to try something before I would do it for her. She was always persistent too and wanted to do it herself and I absolutely love that about her. So independent and willing to fail, try try again, and then to finally succeed. I really admire that quality in her. I was all gushing up about how proud I was about her, filled with love up to the top, then I looked at Leo, haha. And realized, here he is 21 months tomorrow, and I haven’t even made him try to take his own coat off yet! EEEEK! #momfail

As quickly as I was beaming about Ivy, I was torn down about my parenting with Leo #whiplash. But I pushed that Mom fail guilt aside FAST as it was a moment to learn to slow down, remember that I HAD THE TIME WITH IVY to teach her independence and beating struggles, and now with two kids, somehow I don’t have the time like I did with Ivy to teach Leo that. So I recognize I need to slow down and take that time, get him to his independent stage and quit doing everything for him just because it’s faster and easier, because honestly I’m usually running out the door shoving his clothes on him! Leo deserves the same opportunities and learning that Ivy had because I KNOW he can do it too. And just to think, we have another baby coming in June, so all of a sudden the pressure is on!

So, another MOMent to learn from, sit back and just be proud of your kids and yourself for a second. We are raising kids and as tough as that is, we are doing a great job!!!! Take those moments to learn and reflect on your kids and your parenting. This really made me aware of how much I’ve changed as a parent from 1st child to 2nd child, in many good ways, but in this example, a not so good way either. Get back to square one with what do I want my children to be like, and for goodness sakes… time to JUST BE PROUD! :)

dress | leggings | bow