Mom Hacks Motherhood

Morning Routine + FREE Printable

I absolutely love my morning routine.  It sets the tone for my day and helps me be the best mom I can be.  Right now, I’m waking up around 530am to workout and complete my morning routine and complete my quiet time.

Once my 3rd baby was sleeping through the night consistently, I was able to start this routine. Prior to that, I was NOT able to get up consistently.  If you’re in a season of inconsistent sleep, I wouldn’t worry about trying to have a morning routine.  When you’re up in the middle of the night, you can easily become exhausted during the day.  So please do not read this and think you need to add a morning routine to your tasks.  This is simply for those who feel they have the capacity to wake up and get their quiet time in.  Of course, if you’re a night person, you could do these things in the evening/nightime if that works better for you.

Here’s how my morning typically goes:

525am wake up, brush teeth, change into workout clothes and make electrolyte water.

535am begin workout. I vary my workouts between Peloton workouts, mostly Barre and Pilates as well as walks/runs on the treadmill.

605/610am complete workout.

610am make coffee and sit down to complete my morning routine. Morning affirmations, prayers, daily schedule, daily goals.  See free printable worksheet for more details

645am shower, get ready for the day

715am see kids off to school


If you like this routine, here is a free printable that you can use to get started.


The Weight of the Motherhood Mental Load

To the mom who is overwhelmed in motherhood.  I see


You are the one keeping your entire family together. Working endlessly behind the scenes to make sure everyone inn your family feels cared for.

The mental load is what makes motherhood feels so heavy.  It’s because even the simplest tasks are JUST what it seems.  They are done with so much intention.

It’s not JUST grocery shopping.  It’s making sure that you have healthy and balanced meals planned for a week at a time.  and it’s not JUST a meal.  It’s curating a meal that everyone will love.  It’s making sure that everyone has a “safe” food.  and it’s not just one meal, its 3 meals a day plus the endless supply of snacks.

It’s not JUST laundry.  It’s making sure everyone has clean clothes.  It’s making sure the red shirt tis ready for red shirt day.  The leotard is clean for dance and the basketball shorts are ready for the game,  It’s making sure that your husband is dressed for that promotion he’s up for.  And of course, it’s trying to remember if the stain was pretreated before you put it in the laundry.

It’s not JUST bedtime.  It’s making sure they are clean, but not too clean as to not dry out their hair and skin.  it’s making sure they’ve been read enough books and that every child feels special at the end of the day.  It’s praying that your mistakes that day didn’t ruin them too much.

And when the lights go down and it’s quiet in the house, it’s not time JUST to relax.  There is still laundry, emails and texts to return.  It’s about maintaining relationships and making sure you’re getting the self care you need.

And when it’s bedtime for mom, it’s not JUST time to go to sleep.  It’s the time you remember that obscure thing you need for tomorrow, trying desperately to put it in your memory so you don’t forget.  It’s remembering you never did find that cup of milk that you lost in the playroom. And now you can’t remember if you pulled the chicken out of the freezer or not.

But you’ll eventually fall asleep and do it all over tomorrow.  Because it’s not just love, it’s motherhood LOVE and you’re the one that keeps the family together.



Mystery Reader Books: 30 Books for 1st Grade

Mystery Reader

When our first grade teacher told us that the school was opening up for parent volunteers this year, my heart did a little pitter patter!  I’ve desperately been waiting for this day to happen since before I had kids!  That seems like an exaggeration, but I promise, it’s not!  The first opportunity I had to volunteer in my son’s classroom, was as a mystery reader.  I signed up at “Meet the Teacher” for a date “way in the future” in September, thinking I had plenty of time to get my life together and choose appropriate books.  Well, as September approached, I quickly realized that it was MY turn to be a mystery reader and MY turn to pick books.  Luckily, I have a great following that includes several teachers so they helped me more than any list on the internet.

I was insanely nervous to show up as the mystery reader.  I wanted to bring books that my son hadn’t yet heard, but that were funny, entertaining and not too long.  I was also so nervous that my son would be embarrassed by me (but he wasn’t, he ABSOLUTELY loved it)  It turned out to be so much fun and the kids LOVED the books I picked.  If you have the opportunity to volunteer as mystery reader, I HIGHLY recommend.  PS, yes, I did practice my book that morning AND in the car RIGHT before I went in 🙂


Because I know how nerve wracking it was, I wanted to share a GREAT list of books appropriate for 1st and 2nd grade classrooms.  I found a great list for Kindergarten books by another local blogger, Lucky Lovely Life, so if you need recommendations for that age, head to her blog!


What I decided to read as Mystery Reader

I ultimately decided on these two books because we had not read them at home and because they are funny and silly.  I feel like it helped me to be less nervous knowing that the kids would think these were silly and funny.

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast 

The Day the Crayons Came Home is the companion to The Day the Crayons Quit

The book I ultimately choose as mystery reader

Close Second Picks

These were three books that I highly considered and if I had more time, would have used these books for sure!

Dragons Love Tacos

After the Fall: How Humpty Got Back Up Again

The Rain Came Down 

Funny Reads

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates 

The True Story of The Tree Little Pigs

The Princess and the Pony 


When Sheep Cannot Sleep 

The Legend Of Rock Paper Scissors

Diary of a Worm

The Retired Kid

David Goes To School 

Heartfelt Stories

The Dot 

And I Mean it Stanley

Make Way for Ducklings 

The Boy Who Loved Words 

The Climbing Tree

Easy Reads

How Dinosaurs Go to Bed

The Pigeon Has to Go to School  or any books from this series

The Couch Potato 

Visual Stunners


Hot, Hot, Hot

Water Boy 

Owl Moon 

Last Stop On Market Street 




First Day of School Printable

The last several years, I’ve purchased the $5 reusable chalkboards from Target with the intention to promptly remove the chalk paint that I used to personalize this year.  Every spring, when it’s the last day of school and every fall, when it’s the first day of school, I realize that I broke that promise to myself AGAIN!   It turns out, I have not taken off the chalk paint and its 9pm or 6am and I gotta get it off!!  This usually includes Windex and a cloth or whatever the heck else I can find.  Then I have to wait for it to dry and figure out my chalk paint markers again!

So this year, I decided to get smart-printable.  AH-HA!  So much easier! Plus, I’m a big fan of anything that is FREE!   And because I love y’all, I decided to share it with you!!  I hope you enjoy!  Tag me on Instagram in your pics if you use it!



2021 Summer Bucket List


in Saint Louis is like nothing else!  There is a vibe all over the city that always brings me back to my first few weeks here!  I moved here in the summer of 2007, walked out of my apartment on to Lindell Blvd, my hair instantly fell flat and I was sweating bullets by the time I got across the street to McGannon Hall at Saint Louis University and I SWORE, I’d NEVER LIVE HERE!  I vividly remember thinking that the humidity here was more than I could handle and I longed for the cool summers of Chicago.

Well, spoiler alert, I’m STILL HERE!  Nearly 15 summers have been spent here in the insane humidity and somehow, I’ve managed to be pregnant during the summer months for all three of my pregnancies, talk about hot!

But seriously, Saint Louis knows how to do summer vacay.  Since my kids are finally getting to the age that we can do fun things and it doesn’t totally ruin our routine, we decided to come up with a bucket list.  Things we could cross off our list and enjoy all summer long.  I polled my IG followers and 95% of you said you wanted to see our list.  So how I can deny y’all!!?!  So without further adieu,

here is our list:

  1. 9mile Garden
  2. Saint Louis Aquarium
  3. Carousel at Union Station
  4. Ferris Wheel at Union Station
  5. Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
  6. Children’s Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden
  7. Fitz’s Rootbeer
  8. Natural PlayScape at Forest Park
  9. MADE by the Magic House
  10. Long Row Lavender
  11. Sandcastle Beach at Magic House
  12. Waterfront in Historic Main Street St. Charles
  13. Grant’s Farm
  14. Butterfly House and playground
  15. Apple picking at Eckert’s Belleville
  16. Wabash Frisco and Pacific Railroad in Wildwood
  17. Try as many sno-cones in STL as we can
    1. Tropical Moose
    2. Southern Sno
    3. The Frozen Tiki
    4. Glaciers
    5. STL Sno To Go
    6. Wally’s Sno Cones
    7. Under The Sun Sno Shack
    8. Ballwin Sno-Cone
    9. Aloha Mini Golf and Shaved Ice
    10. SnoBall and Custard Shop
  18. Big Joel’s Safari
  19. Bird Sanctuary and Playground
  20. The Muny
  21. Hike the loop at Powder Valley
  22. Science Center Discover Science with Me
  23. National Museum of Transportation
  24. Visit as many playgrounds as we can
    1. Veteran’s Tribute Park, St. Charles
    2. Twin Oaks Parks
    3. Drace Park
    4. Variety Wonder Park
    5. Jakes Field of Dreams Park
    6. Zachary’s Playground
    7. Towne Park
    8. Kirkwood Park
    9. Ferris Park
    10. Pioneer Park
    11. O’Day Park
    12. Southwest Park
    13. Shaw Park
  25. Willoughby Farms
  26. Edwardsville Children’s Museum
  27. Frisco Train Store
  28. Play Street Muesum
  29. CityGarden
  30. Paddleboats Creve Coeur Lake
  31. Water Slide at the Lodge of Des Peres Aquatic Center
  32. Primate Canopy Trails, Saint Louis Zoo

What’s your MUST visit place in St. Louis? I’d love for you to comment or visit me on Instagram!


For the Mom Who is Defeated Tonight

It’s been a LONG week of “momming”.
Started with my kids getting into an area of the house they shouldn’t have been in, finding presents stashed away for another day.
Then this happened (see pictures). Permanent, non removable paint on my (new to me) dining room table (luckily slated to be redone soon).
And finally the icing on the cake, an innocent game of “wedding” (without my knowledge) turned into my wedding band being lost.
Since all these “things” are just earthy, replaceable possessions, I’m trying hard to keep my perspective and cool when my selfish heart wants to be angry.
This situation reminded of the time that my I ruined my parents BRAND NEW floors when I was around 10 years old. I still remember my mom gently hugging me, making sure I was okay, and never once mentioning HER floors being ruined ever again. In fact, she left the ruined floor for 20 years, even with the daily reminder that her daughter, who should’ve known better, ruined her stuff.
So, I’m trying desperately to remember my mom’s gentleness with me as well as the Lord’s gentleness with me as I privately cry about my lost wedding band and the frustrations this season of motherhood has brought, knowing that this season will too pass, just as the ones before have passed me by.
I was reminded of the swiftness of seasons today when I drove by our starter home, the one 2/3 babies were brought home to and I was reminded of the growth that motherhood has provided me. While one side of my heart yearned for those sweet, simpler and quieter days 🥴, the other side of my heart ached with the reminder of the loneliness and uncertainty those early years of motherhood bring.
So I’ll cry for another minute and then I’ll get myself together, prepping for the one thing I’m certain of, that God gave me MY babies and my #1 priority is to care for them and love them with a gentleness that only the Lord can provide.
So if you’re feeling defeated tonight, remember, you’re not alone, sometimes seasons of life suck 🤣 but it will pass ❤️.

Migraines: 20+ Ideas for Reducing Symptoms


It’s estimated that up to 12% of the population suffer from this condition (source: which means you or someone you know may suffer.

I started to get migraines when I was about 6 months post partum with my first baby.  I was scared as my symptoms mimicked other terrible conditions which I found through Dr. Google.  My symptoms varied but always included feeling flu-like symptoms, body aches/chills, dizziness and distorted vision.   I finally sought out an evaluation by an ENT to rule out things that I’d found on the internet that I was sure gave me 3-6 months to live. and alas, I was diagnosed with migraines.

I was given a prescription medication that certainly helped but it includes caffeine which keeps me up, doesn’t allow me to get good rest, which perpetuates my symptoms.  So I had to find another way of getting relief.  Laying down, in a dark room with my eyes closed for 20-30 minutes is often the best way to experience relief, but like you, I’m a busy mom and do not always have time or space to allow that to happen.  The other things have given me relief included CBD oil and magnesium citrate that comes in powder form.

When this combo didn’t work for my last migraine, I turned to Instagram crowdsourcing, which is definitely a great way to get info! Here’s some ideas that help my followers:

Ideas for Relief

Please note: I am not a doctor or medical professional. ALWAYS, consult with a physician before taking any medication or supplements.

I’d love to hear what works for you and what doesn’t!  Drop a comment below!


To The Mom Who is Tired

Hey you, yeah, you. I see you 👀!

I see you because I’m one of you!

You hanging in there?
Feeling worn out? Discouraged? Not good enough? Exhausted?

Is the best thing you did today, survive!? Then, five girl 🤚🏻🙌🏻 you did it.

I struggle with the same feelings as a mom, a wife, a friend, a coworker and a content creator. And I have to constantly remind myself to get out of my head.

A friend recently told me, the best part of being a mom, is that you get to make the rules. You get to be the mom you want to be. And that was so powerful for me!

I make the rules for our family so there is no need to spend one more minute of my time comparing apples to oranges!

So here I am, reminding you, you are enough. So go on and be your bad self!!!

You rock momma. And remember, you can always come here for a reminder that you’re not alone.

So hey, have you invited your bestie to this community yet? Tag a friend, then text her to remind her she’s a good mom 👊🏻.


New Years Resolutions: A Couple Thoughts

You come here for honestly and authenticity so like it or not, you’re gonna get it 😬😂🤷‍♀️.


New Years Resolutions

This is a picture of the last time I was at a NYE party without my kids. 2015🤪. I’ve always hated, with a passion, NYE. It has soooo much hype and never delivers, plus I hate staying up late 🤪😂🙈.

So it makes sense that even now, I hate the hype of the “new year” and here’s why.

Transformation is a painstakingly SLOW process. It cannot be done in a year. It takes so much damn time. So New Years resolutions literally give me the creeps because I know the time, effort and pain that comes with transforming your life. For most, it’s a journey and it’s unrealistic to think that we can do it in a year.

So can we for a year, can. We. Stop?!? 👏 Stop with the pressure??!?

A few years ago,
I shifted my mindset from transformation to showing up and it’s been life changing. The difference is subtle but it means the end isn’t determined. I have goals, but they are fluid, flexible and obtainable.

Showing up means embracing imperfections. Imperfect skin, clothes,
Decor and more. Being okay with being YOU! You are worth being you. And I guarantee, those who love you, will only love you more when they catch a glimpse of the real you.

I’m literally sick of this space telling me that I will be “happier” if I join a program to follow, buy their product or have a perfect home. It makes me nuts!!! You just need to believe in yourself and ask. for. help.

So throw out the idea of resolutions this year and focus on showing up, even if that means inviting someone over even if your house isn’t picked up. You are worth being you but keep going towards your goals.


Hallmark Christmas: What if it’s not for you?

Guest blog written by my mom Carol Danielson.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year – right????? But, what if – what if it is not? What if you are feeling sad, lonely, angry or simply down in the dumps? What if Christmas ISNT the most wonderful time of the year for you?

Several years ago my adult kids had a fight – a bad one. It wasn’t physical, but some horrible, seemingly unforgivable words were spoken, loudly, well, shouted actually. It was at the beginning of summer. People said “Oh, it’s just a fight. My kids fight all the time. They will make up. Things will be fine”. But this wasn’t “just a fight”. I felt like my world had just imploded. Many years of family dysfunction, conflict avoidance and people pleasing crashed in on me that day. My carefully constructed image of a “perfect family” disintegrated right in front t of my eyes. I was devastated.  I couldn’t sleep. I would lay awake at night and one of my biggest stressors was that Christmas was coming. It was still summer, but I knew that sooner or later Christmas would be here, and I could not face it.  There would be no perfect Christmas this year. The closer Christmas came, the further downward I spiraled.  My Husband and I kept our tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree but my heart was not in it. When we got the tree home I realized I had chosen a very small, very crooked Charlie Brown tree. I put a few ornaments on it, but not many. It had lights but I never turned them on. I just couldn’t. I wanted Christmas to just be over. I didn’t send out any Christmas cards, nor did I open the ones we received. I would look at all the smiling Christmas family pictures on FB and feel nothing but pain. I literally could not watch TV because the Christmas commercials were too hard to watch. The expectations of a perfect Christmas were overwhelming.  I remember very little of how we ended up celebrating the holiday. The day after Christmas I threw out our Christmas tree and tried to erase the holiday. January brought an amazing sense of relief, as I could forget about Christmas for the time being.

The next 2 years I struggled my way through the holiday season. I continued to go through the motions, but there was no joy.

As Christmas of 2018 approached, I decided that, regardless of my circumstances, I was going to enjoy Christmas. And that meant that things were going to have to look different. That would mean getting rid of some old traditions and beginning some new ones. I started off with our Christmas tree. I told my husband that I wanted to chuck our tradition of cutting down a tree and I wanted a pre-lit artificial tree. It felt so freely to walk into Home Depot and walk out with an artificial tree – something I had never wanted before.

Over the last several years I have made some other changes that have helped me to enjoy Christmas again. Christmas on this earth is just temporary stuff.  So if you are not anticipating a Hallmark Christmas – if money is tight, if your family doesn’t get along, if you know you will be on the receiving end of bitter, hurtful comments, if you won’t be able to get together as a family for Christmas because, well, Covid, if a family member is missing, or if you are all alone, whatever the reason, here on some tips that have helped me.

1. Expectations Keep mindful to avoid unrealistic expectations. Expectations are often the fuel that feeds that “let down” feeling. Instead of focusing on what isn’t, focus on what is and what can be. There is so much pressure to have the most wonderful time of your life during the holidays. Unrealistic and unachievable expectations set us up for disappointment and resentment.

2. Establish new traditions – out with the old, in with the new. Trying to keep things EXACTLY THE SAME only emphasizes that nothing is the same.

3. Keep up with your self-care Sleep, exercise, eat well.

4. Don’t use money, alcohol, food, or sex to deal with pain and sadness.
5. Finally, for me, keeping my eyes and thoughts on the real reason I am celebrating Christmas. “That the One who heard our weeping became a child in manger sleeping”. I know it seems easier said than done, but that is what I will be doing on Christmas – keeping my focus on the baby Who was born to die, “Born that man no more may die”. Will you join me?