Mama Mojo

The Salty Mamas: Award Winning Bloggers

21039709_10102403228263397_24966802_nYou guys. We won a THING!

And not like a raffle! Like something based on at least a minor amount of skill or talent!!

We want to thank our families, our friends, and, our readers. We are grateful for the nosy people at Panera, the jerk checker at the grocery store and, most importantly, our husbands, for giving us oh.so.much to write about. Oh and The Salties. Where would we be without The Salties? Probably eating dinner at fancy restaurants with tablecloths or on vacations at adult only resorts, but we have kids so we’re here. With LOTS of hijinks to write about.

But most of all, we want to thank The Wordy Mom for choosing to nominate us for the Liebster Award for New Bloggers. This award serves to give exposure to new bloggers that are considered to be on the rise.

Hear that, judgy people at Chick Fil A? We’re on the RISE.

When we first started blogging a couple months ago, we didn’t know how we would be received, if anyone would ever read our pieces, or if this was even a thing that we could do. We have been surprised by so many aspects of this whole blogging thing, but mostly, we are pleasantly surprised by the community we’ve built and the support we’ve received. We are so grateful for all of you!

The Liebster Award is given to new bloggers with under 200 followers (want to help us break through that threshold, pretty please? Click “Follow by email” in our sidebar (desktop) or down below on a phone). Nominees are asked to answer ten questions about themselves, and then nominate five other new bloggers to receive the award.

The Wordy Mom asked us:

  1. What’s your blogging niche?

Jaymi: We know that no mama is one thing all the time. Sometimes you’re the “I just can’t even” mama, sometimes you’re the Pinterest mama, and sometimes you’re both at the same time.  It all just depends on the day, your mood, and, usually, how much coffee you’ve had to drink. So sometimes we’re sweet, sometimes we’re salty, but we’re always big fans of keeping it real. And whichever mom you are today? We’re here for YOU.

Christine: We’re a couple of Mamas that are by NO means perfect, aren’t Pinterest-worthy, and that have embraced the art of lazy parenting – which is actually still a decent amount of work! We found ourselves sending each other texts that said, “OMG can I complain about something real quick?” to which the other always replied “OF COURSE!” We figured we couldn’t be the only Moms that were a little salty about motherhood, and The Salty Mamas was born!

  1. On a personal level, what do you get out of blogging?

Blogging gives me something that is just for me. A way to be creative, to learn new things, and to engage with the world in a way that is mine-all-mine (And also kind of Christine’s. But you know what I mean).  I love this way to pursue my own interests, interact with other moms, and, maybe most importantly, find ways to carve out time that is just for me. 

I get a way to make all the nonsense even more worth it. The fights my kids get into with each other over the crazy stuff, feels less crazy when I put it out into the world. I see things my husband says or does through a more comical lens, and I’m able to laugh about it instead of let it drive me crazy. And I can wash my hands of all the stupid things people say by writing about it and then washing my hands of it. Basically all that crap that happens doesn’t happen in vain anymore! I just use it to fuel my creativity.

  1. Besides blogging, do you have any other creative outlets?

I love to bake and rotate through crafty pursuits like it’s my job. I’ve been a papercrafter, a seamstress, a cake decorator, and am now onto my Cricut. For real though- I cricut ALL THE THINGS.

I love to bujo! Bullet journaling is definitely my outlet for drawing, coloring, making something beautiful. I wish I could just stop time like once a day to bujo to my heart’s content.

  1. If you could give a new blogger one piece of advice, what would that be?

Decide upfront what you want your “brand” to be. Who are you writing for (besides yourself 😉 ) What is your name, what do you stand for, what kind of things do you want to post? Write something like 10 posts ahead of time so you can get a feel for your own vibe before you commit to it. Like, if you can only think of 6 recipes, a recipes-only-brand is not going to work for you. Also, get ready for the technical parts of blogging, and the social media aspects. It’s all hands on deck once you go live, and there’s LOTS to learn, especially in the first few months. 

Be ready, because it’s a LOT more work than you think it is! In my head I was like, Cool, I’ll basically journal my day and it’ll be fun! But now it’s figuring out Instagram and Twitter and Pinterest and algorithms and I hate math and you’re doing ALL THE THINGS. But at the end of the day – I’m loving it.

  1. Breakfast in bed, reading in the tub … Describe one ritual you cherish.

Everyone once in a while, I do this really long pampering routine.  First I take a twenty minute detox bath (Epsom salts, essential oils, baking soda).  I soak, I read a book, I drink a glass of wine. When I get out I do this ridiculous charcoal mask that is just fun. I don’t know if there’s any actual benefit to it, but it feels like the real deal.  I paint my toenails, I deep condition my hair, I rock out to this mellow Pandora station I made. It’s a tiny slice of heaven, and is actually super out of character for me, which is probably why it feels so indulgent.

I haven’t done this in a LONG time, but I love to drop the kids off at school or my Moms or anywhere and go to breakfast by myself, order a fancy coffee the size of my head, eat something sweet AND something savory because I can, and enjoy my coffee alone, and then read a good book while getting a pedicure. I’m totally setting up a date to do this again asap.

  1. Who’s your favourite musical artist, and why?

I don’t have a favorite musical artist per se, but I typically like music by Sarah Bareilles, Regina Spektor, Corinne Bailey Rae and the like.  Something mellow but with a little bop-bo-beep to it. I think that’s how it’s described in the music industry. 

I feel like “Trolls” is the wrong answer….honestly? I’m such a music dud. I don’t listen to music that often and when I do it’s probably like the Pop2K or 90’s station on satellite radio! I love cheesy music that I can sing and dance around to so we’re throwing it back to some classic Britney, I’m team *NSYNC forever, throw in some Lady Gaga, and I’m a happy camper.

  1. Introvert or extrovert?

I am an extrovert. For sure. If I don’t have people to talk to I wilt like a sunflower in the basement.  I “recharge” by talking to people, even people I don’t know if necessary. So be nice next time someone overly chatty is next to you in line in the grocery store. They may NEED you!

We were just talking about this! Being an introvert is so hot right now… I think everyone would say I’m an extrovert because I’m loud and friendly and have some characteristics that are very easily identified as extrovert. But I read once that it’s about where and how you recharge – and I crave alone time, am a thinker, so then I go, “maybe I’m really an introvert.” But I don’t want to say that because it’s SO ON TREND. So I had no other choice but to go to the internet and take a quiz. That said I’m an ambivert! Which is apparently a blend of the two. And since I’m a libra and am indecisive as hell, that sounds about right.

  1. Dog person, cat person, neither or both?

I am in love with my dog. He is my first baby, and even though he is a total jerk, I love him unconditionally. So I guess a dog person, but probably it’s more accurate to say I’m an Ace person.

I’m a dog person that has two cats and no dogs, haha! We got our first cat when we lived in a place that wouldn’t allow dogs and our second so he’d have a friend. Then we had a baby. And another. And another. And I said, NO DOGS until our first baby is 10. So for now, cats!

  1. Would you consider yourself to be a risk taker?

Oh heeeeeck no.  Nothing scary, nothing with potential for danger, nothing with potential for loss.  No gambling. No stocks.  None.of.It. This blog is probably the riskiest thing I’ve done!

Medium? In my mind, yes! But then I think I just like to ride roller coasters, not take ACTUAL risks. This may be another case of “I used to be, before I had anything to lose.” And now I’ve got all these kids and a life and people that rely on me, so that’s not as fun. But I tried to go a week without coffee and that seemed to be pretty risky so….. 

Oh and gambling. I do love to gamble at like a $3 craps table.

  1. If you were being sent to a desert island and only allowed to take one thing (not person) with you, what would you take?

Only one thing?!? Aaaagh!! Can it be a tablet loaded with all the books and all the music and the complete series of the Office? Is that cheating? I say no. I mean, it’s technically one thing and this is my blog and I can do what I want.

The complete collection of Harry Potter.

Until what Jaymi said when she cheated. Then I want exactly that.

And now it’s our turn to nominate other fantastic bloggers you oughta know:

1. Mish Mash Mommy

2. 3 Mom Circus

3. With Love and a Little Self Deprecation

4. The Non-Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom

5. Chaos in Mommyhood

If you delightful ladies would like to accept this nomination, it’s your turn to write a Liebster Award 2017 blog post. In your post, please follow these simple Liebster Award rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you for the Liebster Award (thesaltymamas.com)
  • Link back to the blogger who awarded you (us! — thesaltymamas.com)
  • Upload the award to your blog. It can be done as a blog or on the sidebar.
  • Answer the questions you have been asked. (Scroll down)
  • Nominate 5 blogs with followers less than 200 followers that you believe deserve to receive the award. If you feel others deserve the award, then you are welcome to nominate more.
  • Notify the nominated bloggers so that they can accept the award. Bloggers can be nominated more than once, giving their readers more chances to learn more about them.

Our questions for you:

  1. What’s one thing about parenting that makes you salty?
  2. What’s the sweetest thing your kid has done recently?
  3. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure TV show?
  4. Would you rather have free Starbucks for life or free trips to Target for a year?
  5. What’s your dream date night?
  6. What’s the worst parenting advice you’ve ever gotten?
  7. What is your favorite little luxury (or MicroLuxury, as we like to call them)?
  8. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  9. What is your favorite restaurant to go to with your kids?
  10. What advice would you give someone just starting out in the world of blogging?

Please check out our other nominees! And thanks again to everyone that let us do this for this long and get this far!

momlife, parenting

A Relaxing Trip to the Cabin

Laughing already?

I am too.

Once upon a time, Chad and I used to spend lazy summer weekends at his family cabin in the Sierra’s. We would pack up the car, drive a pleasant few hours, and plant ourselves in hammocks. I’d bring a stack of library books, eagerly anticipating lounging in the late morning quiet by the small river, devouring each book one by one. We’d live off chips, beer and s’mores. We’d take casual hikes through the giant majestic trees surrounding us. And we’d be completely cut off from communication with the outside world. No tv. No wifi. No cell service. Just one old rotary telephone in case of a dire emergency.

As I sit here today, I find myself wondering how the HELL that paradise became the four day trip that has me so anxious I want to cry/vomit/run away. Why is it that all I can think of now is how fast the river is running this year, how bad the mosquitoes are, will any of the kids get carsick on the windy road, how there have been rattlesnake sightings on site. Rattlesnakes. And all. That. Prep.

The lists in my head are ridiculous. The food, the toys, the clothes, the repellent, the sunscreen, the medicines just in case because there’s NOWHERE to buy anything, the diapers, the wipes, the snacks (very different from “food” of course), the car activities, the STUFF. Endless, endless stuff!

But of course, I know why. Kids. They turned the vacation into a trip. On vacation you wp-image--1013931929.lounge and eat what you want, when you want, where you want – preferably at a restaurant or somewhere you don’t have to clean up afterward. On a trip, you’re still cooking for everyone. And doing dishes. And hunting down a thousand water cups for tiny hands that have misplaced theirs. Because apparently kids can’t live off chips, beer and marshmallows alone – though to be fair I haven’t tried…..

On a vacation, you go on a hike, taking breaks where you want and you sit and take in the beautiful views. You can walk at your pace because there’s nothing (no one) slowing you down and nothing (no one) to chase. You bring a book because you might find a perfect spot to spend the afternoon. On a trip you have one kid strapped to you and two more running in opposite directions. You have to bring a thousand snacks because they can’t go five minutes without food. One of the walkers decides halfway that they’re going to die and throw themselves on the ground saying they’ll never walk again.

On a vacation you bring that thick 600 page book that you’ve been waiting to crack into, because you know you can dedicate all the time to getting hooked on it. You spend the rest of the day falling further into the fantasy world before you. On a trip? Bring a magazine. Maybe. Or something that hooks you right away and is only about 150 pages. Nothing with confusing characters or plots or you’ll spend most of the time re-reading pages you already read because you were interrupted by cries of, “Moooooooommmmmm! I neeeeeeeed youuuuuuuu!”

And did I mention THERE’S NO WIFI???

So maybe for me it will be a trip. But I can still keep it a vacation for my kids. Read them all the books. Let them hike and get dirty and find bugs and explore. Make them eat real food, but also go nuts on the s’mores. Help them make memories so they’ll one day talk about the awesome vacations they went on.

And then, after I’ve sufficiently worn them out, tuck them into bed, grab my book, go out on the porch, grab a beer and sneak a few minutes of vacation before morning.

momlife, parenting

Mom-Style Super Powers

A Naptime Chat with Jaymi and Christine

J: So how did date night go? Did you make it to Wonder Woman before you fell asleep?
C: Yep. We had a very relaxing 32 minute dinner and chugged some margaritas first.
J: As one does.
C: Well we were going to go to, like, a 9:30 show, but we did the math on it and I go to sleep at 9:47 so pretty sure that wouldn’t have worked.
J: Gotcha.
C: So I was like, quick, throw all the chips in my mouth and bring me margaritas.
J: That sounds a little like heaven.
C: I got to eat all the chips without sharing. I mean, I had to share with Chad, but he’s old enough to ask for his own damn basket.
C: But yeah, anyways, the movie was like REALLY good. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t live up to all the positive reviews I’d seen but I REALLY liked it.
J: We’re gonna go see it next weekend and I REALLY want to like it.
C: I still thing the Lasso of Truth is weak though.
J: That is my reservation exactly. I mean, Lasso of Truth?!? I feel like they gave her the wimpiest super power, because GIRL.
C: No, she is SUCH a badass and I love her. And she’s from an island of KICKASS warriors. I can’t tell you much more because spoilers, but you’ll like it.
J: Okay now I’m excited again.
C: I think the lasso was just an unnecessary extra almost. Like in my life, lasso of truth could be cool. I’d tie Cole up and make him tell his secrets. What he did to Evie, etc. “Did you REALLY have three bites of your chicken?”
J: OMG YES. But I’d be too tempted to use it on Michael, and sometimes you don’t want the TRUTH truth. Like, do I want to know if you REALLY like my haircut? No. No I do not.
C: Or, “What do you think of the house?” Chad: “This place is a wreck! Did you even do anything today?”
C: Or worse, he’d jack it and use it on me, hahaha. “No! For once I didn’t do anything today! I sat on chat eating a taco with old Southern Charm episodes on in the background!” But the baby is literally attached to me, so that at least counts as something productive.
J: So productive! And you deserve a day off.
J: Okay, oh no, for real, I have surprise houseguests on the way to my house so I have to do a mad scramble. Because of course.
C: OMG NO!!!
J: Yes, and like it’s usually level V clean when they’re here. Right now we’re at negative 3. Pray for me.
Four hours later.

J: Okay we made it. It ended up being just the husband coming so my house was appropriately clean. And I’m glad I didn’t mop because I made cookies with the kids and there’s flour everywhere.
C: Your version of clean is very nice.
J: Why thank you. Maybe my superpower is speed cleaning. But maybe I have two superpowers, because I do have a Super Sense of Direction, too. Like the assassins in Assassin’s Creed. I go to a new area and BOOM. My mental map expands and I just know where everything is.
C: I have zero skill in that. I freeze and freak out, haha
J: I will pilot all of our adventures then. And you can bring your Lasso of Truth.
C: F that, I want something useful like the ability to stop time. So I could get shit DONE.
J: omg yes.
C: It would be like my kids actually all napping at the same time, but for as long as I want.
J: And if your kids are driving you crazy, you just push pause, have a Cherry Coke, and resume life when you’re in a better place. I always say I want my super power to be the ability to never sleep without getting tired. Because I could get all my work done, read for hours, and basically do whatever the hell I want while the rest of the house is asleep.
C: No, see I hate that. Like when I watch Twilight, it makes me sad that the vampires don’t sleep.
J: Why?!? I’m like, “Those lucky bastards!”
C: Because when you have time to sleep it’s soooooo nice. You lay in bed, you watch a show, maybe a snuggle, drift to sleep and it feels soooo good. I just don’t have time for it.
J: I forgot that was a thing that happens.
C: Hence stopping time.
J: Well maybe with my super power you just don’t HAVE TO sleep, but you can if you want to. But you might be on to something with stopping time.
C: Feed the baby, put the kids to bed, STOP TIME, all the sleep, wake up, start time, they’re still sleep, and you get shit done.
J: But if you want, like, a week off…do you get older while your family stays young?
C: Oh no, that would be bad. I’m already aging exponentially.
J: If you didn’t need to sleep, think how refreshed and non-wrinkly you’d look.
C: Cole asked me what the squiggles on my face were yesterday.
J: If you didn’t need to sleep, you could watch all the makeup tutorials on YouTube and contour the wrinkles away.
C: Or do all the side hustles so I could throw some money at the problem.
J: Yes! See I’m on to something here.
C: I still say stopping time for the win.
J: We’ll have to call it a draw.
C: Weird one- I was watching trolls and thought, what if you could poop cupcakes
J: No, girl. No. I Could.Not.Get.Past.It.
C: Too far? But what if it was to feed random people that just show up?
J: Oh snap. You might have me there.
C: Like, thanks for coming, here’s a to-go plate of FRESHLY MADE cupcakes? I mean, they just showed up out of nowhere. They deserve it.
J: And they’ll never get it out of me where they actually came from. Not even with the Lasso of Truth.

collage-2017-07-05-17_40_42.jpg

momlife, parenting, The Daddys

The DaddyQ

This summer, we will all gather for birthday parties, holidays, beach days, pool parties, cookouts and campouts. And at every single one of them, a version of this will occur:

A cluster of women will be standing in a circle near a cluster of men. One of the women will bemoan the fact that her husband NEVER cooks. Said husband, from his conveniently adjacent location will hear these words like a homing call, turn around, address the women and proclaim, “Hey, that’s not fair! I barbeque!” This will be followed by a collective eye roll from the women. The wife, if she’s smart, will just say, “That’s right dear” so everyone can go back to having a good time.

19866568_10213897522978555_178113277_n

But lets be clear.

The men do not DO the barbeque. Here is what a barbeque ACTUALLY entails.

Step one: Plan for the barbeque.

You may have a conversation with your partner about WHAT actual meat will be grilled. If you’ve got one of the fancy ones, he may even offer to toss on some sort of vegetable. At this point, you will be required to select all the side dishes, get recipes, go to the store and buy everything. You will also be required to make sure this stays within the family grocery budget.

Step Two: Prep EVERYTHING. 

Marinate the meat, chop the vegetables, cook the pasta for that homemade pasta salad he loves and suggested you make (even though you had your eye on that premade stuff from the deli), wash and cut up fruit, bake something delicious for dessert, basically, you know DO the entire meal. Oh, and see all those dishes you just used? Well, just a quick reminder….they’re not going to wash themselves. Yeah, that’s probably on you too.

To be fair, the men are not COMPLETELY exempt from this step. During this incredibly important phase, your partner will walk over, and turn on the grill. It’s not to be missed and is crucial. It’s basically on par with all that other stuff you just did. He also grabbed a beer while he was doing it, so don’t say he can’t multitask!

Step three: BARBEQUE!

Here, it is, his BIG moment!19858447_10213897670822251_73273742_n

But you should probably help just a little. Help him find his tools real quick. Then when he’s ready, bring him the meat you marinated. Don’t forget to run back in and get him a NEW platter for the cooked meat. Wash the one with the marinade when you get a sec, okay? Don’t want stuff piling up!

While he’s doing this, it’s a good time for you to finish all the other items. Toss salads, make sure everything has a serving spoon, are the plates and utensils ready, refresh people’s drinks – oh shit I forgot to put out the chips and salsa before! – do that, check on husband, maybe grab him another beer – now is NOT the time for multitasking, honey! – the meat has to be flipped at the PRECISE moment!

19679873_10213897670062232_1199026602_nOnce it is, he’ll set it on the tray (the one you brought him) and stand proudly, tongs in one hand, beer in the other and survey all that “he” has done.

Don’t ruin that moment for him.

Step four: Enjoy

He did it! He barbequed!!!!

Everyone will tell him how DELICIOUS the meat was, perfectly seasoned, cooked to perfection. The corn salad that took eleventy years to chop is great too, of course. It just doesn’t get the same acclaim as MEAT. But at this point you’re too exhausted to care. Instead, you grab a margarita, kick back and forget about all those dishes.

Later, once the friends are gone, but the buzz remains he’ll say, “that was a great barbeque, we should do it more often.” You’ll nod, because it was nice. And now you can say, “but honey, you didn’t barbeque. You did a daddyque.”

Caffeine, koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, Traditions

Family Breakfast

Once you’re running around with a herd of kids, some things just don’t happen if you don’t make them a priority. If you don’t give them the sacred status of a “tradition.” Plans can be cancelled, but you don’t F with tradition.

And so it is that every Saturday morning, rain or shine, feeling like it or not, we load up all the kids and head to our local breakfast spot, The Potholder. (Or as Evie says “Popholder”) We went once on a lark, when we had just two kids. Evie was still a bucket baby that we could take in her carseat as she – God willing – slept peacefully while we ate. We had a good breakfast, but more than that we had a good meal. The next Saturday, we decided to try it again. And again.  And again. Before we knew it, we had a tradition. We had our spot. We had our “thing.”
Those early days were a fun time to focus on our firstborn,  give him some attention while the baby slept. Dinners as a family were touch and go….Mommy exhausted from a day of doing all the things, Daddy tired from working hard to take care of us. Cooking was a chore that prevented me from embracing the meal that followed, restaurants even worse. Saturday mornings seemed to be just the ticket. We were refreshed and looking forward to all the weekend had to offer. We had the confidence of parents that were going to tackle it all together – starting with breakfast.

As Evie grew, we had mornings that were absolute nightmares. More food on the floor than in anyone’s stomachs; jelly wars leaving everyone sticky and grumpy; bitter battles fought over the potential stacking of creamers – an activity that inevitably ends in an explosion causing you to ask, “how can there be SO MUCH CREAM in that thimble???” I felt the eyes of the other patrons burning into my soul, sure they were asking themselves why, OH WHY, we thought it was a good idea to go out in public with these kids. We left big messes – and even bigger tips -in our wake, shouting both apologies and promises to see everyone next week.

But some days are like pure magic. Our kid are polite, the people in the neighboring booth smiling at us as though we’ve done something right. IMG_20170128_075912310[164].jpgThey happily share pancakes, not even fighting over the melting glob of butter they both covet. The fold their hands and wait for the food, Evie squealing “our food is coming!” with a look that contains more excitement than the grown up me knows how to possess anymore. They play games we made up as we wait for our food, making us laugh and smile and wonder how in the hell we got so lucky to have these kids. And that’s what we call “The Sweet Spot.” It’s an elusive moment when everyone is pleasant. It’s fleeting, so sometimes I feel afraid to blink and miss it.

So we go when the kids are terrible. We go when they are lovely. We go when I feel like I could take on the world. We go when I ask Taylor, our regular waitress, to administer an IV drip of hazelnut coffee. We’ve gone when I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant. We’ve gone with a five day old.

But we go.

Someday we’ll stop going. And it will probably break my heart. So for now, we go.