Maybe Matilda

Friday, April 22, 2016

For the Love of Screen Time



This post is sponsored by Hulu.

I’ve met some moms in my day who are totally anti-screen time. Maybe you’ve met them, too. Maybe you are one of them!

My theory on motherhood goes something like, “If that works for you, great.” This applies nicely to a lot of mothering topics, and applies well to the families I’ve known who don’t allow much or any TV watching, movie nights, tablet time, etc. If that works for you, great.

But in our house, the kids love their screen time. I think I might love their screen time even more. And here are a few reasons why.

screen time love

The quiet. I am sorry to say that these sweet angels don’t have the most angelic behavior. It’s a rare day when I don’t have to break up multiple fights, negotiate toy swaps, and convince them that they ought to still be friends after one has wounded the other (whether physically or emotionally). But when these two are placed in front of one of their favorite shows? It is so peaceful. So quiet. I bask in the absence of whining and crying and arguing and feel rejuvenated to handle another round of parenting when their show ends.

The influence of great shows. Sometimes I turn on the TV and feel bleak about the world. There’s so much garbage out there. But at the other end of the spectrum, there are shows that I love to let my kids watch, because they inspire their curiosity, or teach them kindness, or expose them to new ideas or places or people. I’m selective with the shows my kids are allowed to watch, and our favorite for years has been Curious George. I love that after watching George, my kids have exciting new thoughts and ideas, and they’ve learned new things. I can’t tell you how many times Forrest has told me something interesting he’s learned, and when I ask him where he heard it, the answer is Curious George. My kids are obsessed with that little monkey, which is fine by me, since it’s a show I’m happy to let them watch!
http://www.hulu.com/curious-george
Curious George is now streaming only on Hulu, so you can easily watch all 9 seasons (that’s more than 100 episodes!) as well as the animated film Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, exclusively on Hulu. We have had a Hulu subscription for quite a while, so I love the convenience and easy accessibility.

curious george on hulu

Screen time as a reward. I’m not above using a little bribery to squeeze good behavior out of my kids, and offering screen time is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to reward the kids. Their all-time favorite treat for good behavior is being allowed to stay up 15 minutes past bedtime to watch a show, and knowing that this reward is waiting for them has helped us survive many grocery trips and boring errands.

how i handle screen time

Getting stuff done time. Every day when Jeff gets home from work, he’ll list off all the things he accomplished that day, then asks me what I did. And I reply with an embarrassing average of 3 tasks I’ve completed (and sometimes those tasks are as simple as “I fed the kids lunch”), because it’s nearly impossible to get anything done when I’m constantly being interrupted to fetch snacks or referee arguments or change diapers. I’m amazed at how much stuff I can get done when the kids stay put on the couch for a few episodes of a show. I love being able to complete a chore uninterrupted, or work on dinner without having to stop every few seconds to help someone. I feel better about my day when I’ve ticked a few items off the to-do list, and the kids’ screen time helps me get important things done.

curious george

All 9 seasons of Curious George, as well as the animated film Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, are now streaming only on Hulu. As with all kids programming on Hulu, Curious George streams commercial-free.
How do you handle screen time in your house? Do you have Curious George fans, too?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mother's Day Truths




This post is sponsored by the theatrical release of Mother’s Day, in theaters April 29. #MothersDayMovie

Motherhood is the greatest gift, the biggest challenge, just the MOST of every emotion you can possibly fathom. And no matter how well prepared you may feel as you wait for your little one’s 
arrival, no matter how many books you’ve read or mom friends you’ve chatted with or viral Facebook articles you’ve shared on your wall, you simply cannot imagine the reality of daily motherhood until you experience it yourself. You will be endlessly surprised and frustrated by the things you’ll learn and experience.

mothers day

No one else’s kids will ever be half as cute as your kids. Or even a third as cute. Or a quarter as cute. Your kids’ cuteness will absolutely demolish the cuteness of every other child you will ever behold. And every mother will think this about every child she has, whether they are actually beautiful or entirely average looking or even kinda goofy. 

Somehow, motherhood will simultaneously be the best and the very worst part of your life. You will understand deep in your soul that being a mother is the best, most meaningful, most beautiful thing you will ever experience in life. And I guarantee that less than five minutes after this realization hits your core, you will be at your wit’s end, fully prepared to set your children in a box on the side of the road with “free, no returns” scribbled on the side. And you will spend the next 18 years with these two extremes somehow co-existing in your heart. The good outweighs the bad—of course it does—but nothing else in your life will drive you to the brink of insanity with such merciless efficiency.

mothersday

You’ll never feel like you’re doing a good job. You might feel like you’re doing an okay job, if you’re lucky. My oldest is only five, so perhaps the confidence comes later (I can only hope!). But so far, I’ve spent five years second-guessing my every decision, weighing myself up against other mothers (and consistently coming up short), and ending most days with a miles-long mental list of parenting regrets.

But they’ll let it go and love you anyway. I’m always amazed by how quick my kids are to forgive me 100% when I’ve screwed up and shouted at them for the fiftieth time in the span of an hour. They may sulk for a few minutes or use your mom guilt to manipulate you into buying them a donut at the grocery store (and it will work, every time), but they will always be ready with a hug and a sticky kiss. You’ll remember the mistakes you made today far longer than your kids will.

You’ll freak out as they grow up. And they’ll grow up so fast, just like everyone warned you they would. I do not consider myself a “baby person.” I always say that if I could just give birth to a 3-year old, I’d happily skip the baby stage entirely. And even so, I cry when I look at the pictures I took 3 or 6 or 12 months ago, wondering how is it possible that they’ve gotten so big?! 

But they’ll get better with age. This has been true so far. And I hope and pray with all my little heart that this continues for their whole lives. I am scared silly by the thought of my sweet babies growing into lumbering, sulky, emotional teenagers, but am comforted (slightly!) by the knowledge that each new stage my kids enter is my new favorite, and they just keep getting sweeter and cuter and more fun the older they get.

With Mother’s Day coming up, I can’t wait to see Mother’s Day in theaters April 29th. Three women. Three stories. This Mother’s Day, let go of your fears. Embrace the ones you love.




COME CELEBRATE THE MOTHER OF ALL HOLIDAYS. See #MothersDayMovie in theaters on April 29, starring Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, and Jason Sudeikis!  https://www.facebook.com/SeeMothersDay/

This is the day that connects us all, and I’m so excited to watch this movie with my own mom! It’s a big-hearted comedy with a star-studded ensemble cast, and I bet it’s going to be the perfect way to celebrate.

mothers day


Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Kitchen for the One Room Spring Tour

I'm excited to be a part of the One Room Spring Tour blog hop today with Lindsay Hill Interiors! Every day this week, 5 bloggers are sharing one room in their homes, and how they've decorated for spring.

one room spring tour

Today's featured room is kitchens -- if you're hopping over from Kelley Nan, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

On to my kitchen, which I think makes a great backdrop for spring decor in all its bright white glory.

white kitchen cabinets spring decor

Tulips are the ultimate spring flower to me -- they are just so peppy and inviting. I love this big planter box filled with yellow tulips. If only they'd last year round.

spring kitchen tour

spring kitchen tour

spring kitchen tour

My kitchen hutch is fun to decorate for different holidays and seasons. For spring, I added a few pink plates to the white dishes and plants I always have on display. I love the splash of color.

spring kitchen tour



spring kitchen tour

spring kitchen tour

spring kitchen tour

Do you like how I dressed up all stylish and fancy for these photos? This can double as a home decor and a fashion post. This is my very nicest sweatshirt. For my fashion-forward readers, you can find it at a local boutique called Walmart.

spring kitchen tour

Thanks for swinging by for my spring kitchen tour! Make sure to head over to Driven by Decor tomorrow morning as she kicks off the final day of the blog hop with her spring dining room!

3 Creative Snacktime Cracker Toppings

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StackItUp #CollectiveBias

Nothing sounds more boring to me than eating the same thing day in and day out. I need variety, especially when it comes to my food. 

Instead of eating plain crackers for a snack (although, to be honest, my kids are thrilled with plain crackers), I thought I'd try out some creative add-ons to make snack time a little more interesting at our house. The kids had fun playing around with different toppings, and they all turned out so yummy!


3 creative cracker snack topping ideas

We started with RITZ Original Fresh Stacks that I picked up at Walmart earlier this week, as well as Peter Pan Simply Ground Peanut Butter (which I love, btw, and used in an awesome peanut butter bar recipe HERE). Love that the RITZ Original Fresh Stacks make it easier to take snacks on the go -- I can just toss a small sleeve in my purse and be set for the day without having to package up individual baggies for the kids. Anything that speeds our mornings up a bit is a plus for me. You can also find RITZ Fresh Stacks Ultimate Butter for a limited time!


ritz fresh stacks and peter pan simply ground pb

For our cracker snack setup, I laid out a variety of  topping options:

- sharp cheddar cheese slices
- sliced green apple
- cream cheese
- diced bell peppers
- peanut butter
- marshmallow fluff
- chocolate chips

The crowd favorite, hands down, was a peanut butter s'more cracker. First, a layer of peanut butter over a cracker. Then a layer of marshmallow fluff (one child preferred it with the fluff, and one with just the peanut butter). Sprinkle with chocolate chips. The salty cracker plus sweet toppings make an awesome treat, and I love the texture of this peanut butter. So good!


peanut butter marshmallow fluff crackers

We also really liked topping the crackers with a slice of cheddar and a thin slice of Granny Smith apple. For some reason, cheese and apples together always seems fancy to me. 


cheddar and apple cracker topping

I was a bit unsure of the cream cheese and pepper topping idea . . . but it was awesome. My favorite of the bunch, which I was surprised by. You'll have to try this out at home. Really good. 

Cream cheese and pepper cracker topping

If you want to try out your own delicious cracker topping snack setup, grab your ingredients next time you're at Walmart! You'll find the RITZ Original in the cracker aisle.


ritz at walmart

What's your favorite way to top a RITZ Original cracker?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Creamy Bacon Potato Salad

I learned two interesting things this weekend:

1) Bacon definitely deserves a spot in potato salad.

2) As far as photogenic dishes go . . . potato salad does not rank high.

creamy bacon potato salad

We hosted a little barbecue this weekend and had a lot of fun. I wanted to make a potato salad as a side dish and realized that I don't have a go-to recipe that I love. I tinkered a bit with one that I found online, and oh, it came out tasty. Really tasty. Just do not skip the bacon. It is vital. VITAL I say.

Creamy Bacon Potato Salad
adapted from Allrecipes.com

2 pounds clean, scrubbed new potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
4 eggs
1/2 pound bacon, cooked
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm. Drain and cool.

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately cover and remove from heat. Let eggs stand for 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel, and chop.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, eggs, bacon, onion, and celery. Add mayonnaise, garlic, salt, and pepper (adjust seasonings to taste). Chill at least an hour before serving.

creamy bacon potato salad

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