“Dad Rocks” Paperweight Recipe for Father’s Day

Father’s Day will be here before you know it! Check out my article here, to read about this Paperweight Craft as well as 10 other fun and free things to do for Father’s Day this year.


Paperweight Recipe 

¼ cup salt

½ cup flour

¼ cup water

Bowl

Cookie sheet

Tiny rocks or pebbles

 

Mix first three ingredients together in bowl. Roll into a ball and then flatten out about ½ inch thick. Place pebbles in dough to spell out ‘Dad Rocks’ pressing firmly but not too hard. Bake at 250 degrees for 2-2 ½ hours. Let cool on cookie sheet.

The Mother’s Day Dare

One of my favorite publications to write for is right here in northwest Arkansas. Peekaboo Magazine is a great resource for parents who are looking for up-to-date events and parenting advice. My latest article about The Mother’s Day dare has been a favorite among my mom friends. See if you’re ready to take the dare.

xoxo, Meagan

Delicious Recipes Using Peanuts

March is National Peanut Month which means, of course, I needed to write about all-things peanuts. I polled my friends on Facebook to find out what their favorite recipes were and one came through my feed from Rebecca Lesue. She recommends adding peanuts to your stir fry and says this recipe from the Minimalist Baker is one of her favorites.

I love to add peanuts to my trail mix. Here’s my personal recipe:

dried cranberries, peanuts, plain m&ms, popcorn

For recipes using peanut butter…I received quite a few.

Marguerite Perry makes Energy Bites:

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup quick oats
1/4 cup chocolate chips
3tbs cocoa powder
Pinch of salt

Roll into little balls and refrigerate for 2 hours! Store in an air tight container. Good for 2 weeks!

Amber Tillman makes Flour-less Peanut Butter Cookies:

1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
Cook at 350 for 8 minutes

Danielle Schaum makes Avalanche Bars:

1 cup Rice Krispies
I bag of white chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup marshmallows
I handful chopped salted peanuts

Melt chocolate and mix everything in.
Pour into pan and then cut into squares.

How about you? What’s your favorite recipe using peanuts? Add it in the comments and I might just make it!

Don’t Give Up On Your Bucket List

This Christmas, my mom gave me one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. She mailed me my gifts this year like she does every year since we live in different parts of the country but the feeling I got when I opened the gift was one I’ll never forget.

I picked up the gigantic box from my doorstep and carefully cut it open. Stockings galore stared back at me when I lifted the flaps to look inside. My mom had made a stocking for each one of my children. I pulled out Dylan’s and Hannah’s and Elinor’s and handed each one out to my kids who were jumping up and down at this point. At the very bottom of the box was a big, furry stocking in all of its glamour with three little mice figurines taped to the outside of the stocking. I peeked inside the stocking and pulled out a black book with the words “My Bucket List” on the cover. A huge grin covered my face and immediate feelings of love, gratitude and understanding came over me.

I had my mom on Duo so she was able to watch me open the book. If you know me you know how excited I get about talking about my bucket list, checking things off my bucket list and encouraging others to start their own bucket list. She told me she found the book in a little store while on vacation at the beach and knew I had to have it.

On the front of the stocking those three little mice figurines I told you about were actually holding money. I didn’t see it at first but my mom had rolled money and tucked them inside the mice. It was the cutest thing ever and so meaningful to me. Her message, “Here’s some money to start your next bucket list item.”

It’s never too late to start working on your bucket list. Start by writing down at least one thing you’ve always wanted to do and go from there. Start taking little steps towards making it happen.  I promise you – it’s one of the most thrilling and exciting feelings to see your bucket list dreams come true. I devoted an entire section in my book, “I See You: Helping Moms Go from Overwhelmed to In Control” to the idea behind bucket lists and there is a fun bucket list sheet for you to write in your own ideas.

Learning guitar was on my bucket list and I’m about to start my sixth month of lessons. I’ve been trying to decide what’s next. I guess we’ll see 🙂

 

Teaching Your Kids About New Year’s Resolutions

As the New Year approaches, I find myself thinking about my kids and trying to gauge how much they really understand about the idea behind making New Year’s resolutions. I wrote this article that appears in January’s edition of South Florida Parenting Magazine to teach (myself) and others how to get the message across.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Have you talked about them with your kids? I bet you’d be surprised to hear what your child’s resolutions are. I know I was!

For My Friends…because You Asked :)

Because you all asked for it…here you go. Today’s blog post is about my three kids cutting their own hair. Let me premise this post with something. I have to tell you I had a dental implant put in on Friday so I’m still a little loopy. Okay, with that being said, I’ve asked the kids to have extra patience with me as I parent them during fall break. I think that was mistake number one. I let my wall down. I let my guard down. I’m pretty sure that was my kids’ “in” for taking full advantage of mom.

We woke up this morning all rested and happy. I slept a straight 12 glorious hours and I wasn’t sure what to do with myself when I woke up. I was (don’t tell anyone) still tired. Do you think it had anything to do with the whole idea the more sleep you get the more tired you will be? I made my cup of coffee and turned on the news. My kids got their allotted phone time in the morning and all was well. I made everyone breakfast, did some laundry, let the kids play and jumped in the shower. I should have known something was wrong when I saw my 4-year-old holding the kitchen scissors. That might have been mistake number two. Not sure, but pretty sure.

I actually believed her when she told me “no reason” when I asked her why she had the scissors. I simply put the scissors away and that was that. I think that was the medicine reacting and not my normal ‘mom’ self. It wasn’t until I went upstairs and saw the mass destruction in the playroom that I lost it. That’s when everything went blurry. I started yelling at the kids to pick up the mess and when I walked into the upstairs bathroom to throw something away…that’s when I saw it. Hair. Chunks of blonde hair on the floor. What the…? DYLAN!!!! When Dylan looked at me I saw it. The shag haircut underneath what used to be his bangs. Was telling him he looked like Justin Bieber a mistake? Was he really trying to look like Bieber now? I won’t bore you with our conversation because it was exactly how you think it would be between a 9-year-old and his mom after she found out he cut his hair and then encouraged his two little sisters to do the same. ‘Nough said.

This is our fall break. I think I’m naive. I think that is mistake number three. I thought we were past all of this little kid stuff of cutting hair without asking. I thought taking showers by myself was the ordinary and something only new moms with babies had to worry about. Guess not. Guess my kids showed me that you’re never too old to do things you’re not supposed to do. Here’s to one more day of fall ‘break’ for the Ruffings. I am looking forward to Thursday when school is back in session. I love my kids but I also like it when they have hair on their heads.

Also, I have the coolest friends in the world because more than one has called me pretending to be a client asking for a haircut. You guys are the best 🙂

For the Mom Who is Sending Her Little One to Kindergarten

I knew this post would come some day. It was inevitable. After all, my kids are getting older and with that comes a slew of things; including kindergarten. My middle child, Hannah, dubbed “the unicorn child” by her pediatrician, dentist, friends’ parents, preschool teachers, and anyone else who happens to have the privilege of meeting her. I would have never known what calling someone a unicorn child would mean prior to having a child like Hannah. Simply put – she’s perfect. Absolutely perfect. I have three children so I can tell you with complete confidence that she is indeed, the poster child. When you think of having a little baby girl, you think pink bows, glitter, dresses, and headbands. Hannah loves it all. And she let me carry her around like a little doll. I have been intentional about making sure she is heard and noticed as the middle child. My sister (who is also a middle child) gave me a front row seat into the highs and lows of being a middle child. As the middle child you’re often overlooked, ignored, and sometimes forgotten with the best of intentions. But as the middle child, you are almost always considered the most responsible and most caring. I can say this about both Hannah and my sister.

Hannah tells me she loves me…just because. She helps her older brother with anything he needs and she offers not sometimes – but all the time, to walk upstairs with him to bed because she knows he’s afraid to go by himself. She doesn’t point it out and doesn’t rub it in. She simply leads the way up to their rooms and offers him a smile with a sweet “goodnight”. She’s the one who wakes in the morning without making  a noise and prepares her own breakfast if she can reach it. If not, she waits. She will wait until I get out of bed and she will softly say, “Mom, do we have any donuts?” It’s the same question every morning. My kids know they only get donuts on the weekends but I swear, she must dream about getting a dozen every night because every morning, she’s convinced we have donuts somewhere in the pantry. The easiest way to her heart, is a donut. Her favorite is Boston Cream from Dunkin’ Donuts but really, any donut will do. If you’re lucky enough to sit next to her while she’s eating one, you will never eat a donut the same way again. She takes one little bite at a time and savors every bite. A piece of food no bigger than my fist brings her so much happiness – it’s hard to make her wait for the weekends.

I always tell myself that God knew I needed a “Hannah”. He knew my life would not be complete without one. And so, with this belief on the front of my heart I lead each day treating her with the love of a mother who knows she can never repay the One who gave her to me. I’ve asked myself on more than one occasion, why did He pick me? Why did God give Hannah to me? She is the light of my life, the beat in my heart, the breath that I breathe, and I cannot wait to see the woman she will be some day. But today, I find myself asking, “How did 5 years go by so fast with her?” Next week I will walk into her new school and meet her principal and officially register her for kindergarten. I’m both happy and sad. I’m both proud and in denial. How can this be?

These words tonight are for the mom who has a child, whether it be her first, second, third or her last, whose son or daughter will be going to kindergarten in the fall. I know the joy and sorrow you feel because I feel it too. I know the happiness you feel about your child growing and succeeding but the sadness you feel for the last summer you have with her as a preschooler. The sadness not just because she is getting older, growing up, and spreading her wings to a 5-days-a-week school routine (!) and you wonder if she’ll be so tired when she gets home from that first week? But the way you look at her while she’s sleeping and think, “Can I keep her this little forever? Will I remember this moment years from now?”

I prayed for you today. I prayed for the mom, all the moms, who will be sending their littles off this fall. I prayed that you would replay as many moments as you can in your head of that child of yours laughing and smiling so that you will get through that first day. I prayed peace for you that you would believe with all your heart that you were and are the best mom to love this child all the way through her first and last day of kindergarten. I also prayed for myself. I prayed that I wouldn’t hold on so tight that Hannah wouldn’t be able to enjoy this last year before she goes off to school. I prayed to enjoy the good moments and bad moments of parenting because the long days of having littles at home is getting shorter and shorter.

I have a younger child, Elinor, who is 3. Although I’m sad about sending Hannah off to school, it helps knowing that I will have her little sister to latch on to when I get emotional and just need to give someone a good squeeze and kiss on the cheek. It helps to know that I will still have a little one who needs me and cannot do everything by herself yet. And the kicker? I love that she still takes naps. It makes me think she is still so teeny tiny. But I have many friends, and maybe it’s you, whose child is their last and they’re looking, searching, questioning and humbling themselves for what’s next. What comes after being a stay-at-home mom? Who are you without your kids at home? What do you do with yourself?

The truth is, we all want our kids to get older and be great people, God-fearing people who know right from wrong and still choose right. And maybe that’s part of it? Maybe part of why we’re so scared to let our babies go off to kindergarten is because we’re letting a piece of them go. Not just a little piece – but a huge piece. A piece that up until the fall, has always been under your roof. But mom, yes you mom, have to believe that everything you have done up until this point is enough. All of those time-outs, apologies, boo-boos, scrapes, tears, and yes, even tantrums have not been for nothing. They’ve been for everything.

For the Mom with Littles Who Has Depression

I was diagnosed with clinical depression almost 15 years ago. I was in college and going to therapy once a week but still couldn’t get my thoughts to move in a positive direction. When I started taking medication for my depression – it was like a whole new world opened up for me. I felt like myself again. I was able to bounce from one thing to another without the weight of questioning every decision. Fast forward to today and I find myself going through a medication change and feeling all of those helpless, negative thoughts I felt so long ago. That’s the thing about depression – it has the power to take you down out of nowhere.

The difference between then and now is that I have 3 children…3 little children and I am still very much in the thick of parenthood. Sure, there are no more binkies or diapers or sleepless nights but there are hurt feelings, let downs, and boo boos that still demand my attention. I am a mom with littles who has depression and sometimes it’s really, really hard to get out of bed.

Sometimes I find myself questioning every parenting decision big and small. Should I have let her have the IPAD that long this morning? Should I have allowed him to stay at his friend’s house all day? Did I read enough to my kids today? Am I messing them up? You may be thinking, we all have those feelings and I don’t suffer from depression…the difference for those of us with depression is that these little talks we have with ourselves in our heads are debilitating. They consume us. They stop us from continuing on with our day. They cripple us. They make us feel like we can’t breathe. They make us question EVERYTHING. It is a battlefield in my head and I can’t stop it.

I’m a pretty open book but I don’t normally talk about depression with my friends because I usually have it under control. And really, who wants to talk about this stuff anyways? It’s hard to understand and explain to people who don’t know what it feels like. It’s also hard to be a mom when you feel like you’re not doing a good job. I know this is the depression talking and it’s not reality but I want you to know if you’re reading this and you are a mom who has depression or thinks she has depression – you can feel better. There are ways to get out of the pit. There are things you can do to help you get out of bed even when you can’t think past getting out of bed.

Start with one small step today. Just do one small thing to feel better. That will look different for each of you. It might be calling your doctor and scheduling an appointment to talk about what you’re feeling if meds are right for you. It might be calling a therapist and scheduling your very first appointment. It might be telling your husband you think you’re depressed even though you have an amazing life. It might be taking extra care of yourself today by not having a to do list. It might be just sitting on the couch, holding your children because you don’t know what else to do.

If you are a mom with littles who is suffering from depression, know this – it will pass. These feelings will pass and you will feel better again. You will feel like yourself again and you will get through this.

I found this checklist on the Internet and I think it’s a great place to start if you don’t know if you have depression. Hang in there mama. You’re doing a great job and this will pass.