Gingerly Made

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Making Friends With Other Moms

Making Friends with Other Moms

Earlier this summer while visiting with family, I had an interesting conversation with a fellow mom. She was telling me how hard it is to make friends in their new neighborhood. She is an out-going, easy to get along with type. If she has had trouble making connections with other ladies in her neighborhood...well then I don't feel so bad that I haven't either.

My besties don't live locally. They are the ladies I connected with earlier in my life; pre-motherhood. And as life has run its course, we now live in different places. While I miss face time with them, that's part of life. I still connect with them regularly over the phone. And I have a few ladies locally that I've gained a close friendship with, but I'm not going to lie, it has been difficult meeting and making friends since I've had kids.

So I've got two questions.

Moms have Different Priorities: 

As a parent our focus immediately becomes about our families. It's true. Parenthood gives our lives a whole new set of not only priorities, but also boundaries. Before kids, night was the best time to hang out with friends. You were done with school or work or whatever and had plenty of time to socialize. Now, that baby's sleep schedule is a precious, precious thing.

Gone are the nights of staying out late because you have to get up with the sun to take care of your family's daily needs; even on the weekends.

So the rest of the world is sleeping in on Saturday. By the time they get up, it's nap time for your little one. You get a few golden hours in the late afternoon/early evening where you could do something. But once evening hits and child-less people are ready to eat dinner, you've already eaten, cleaned up and are getting ready for bath and bedtime routines.

So if a Mom blows you off, consider that it may be because of her kids schedules, unique family routines and/or needs. Please, don't take it personally because most likely she would LOVE to sit down and talk about something other than the world of children for once, but she just can't figure out when.

Moms are Busy:

I blame busyness for much of the mom-friendship problems. We get so involved in rushing our kids from place to place and taking on every volunteer activity that comes along plus the daily chore list that there isn't time left for anything. Notice, I said "we". I am guilty of this - tremendously guilty!

I think many of us want so much for our kids that we allow them to take on any and every activity they want to do without taking time to ask ourselves if this fits into our family life without over-filling it. And we feel guilty if we say no to coordinating the church bake-sale, so we take that on too.

All this busy activity doesn't add value to our lives. It adds stress and gas mileage and wakeful hours instead of rest. We are surrounded by people, but rarely connecting with them. Maybe the trouble with making friends is that we have become so bound up that we don't have the time to connect.


Be Available:

I'm not saying that we should drop everything. Moms are busy people there are things that must be done. But it may be that we need to evaluate what is adding value to our lives and what is stressing us out. Then letting those stressful extras go. It's hard sometimes. Personally, I just stopped singing in the choir. I love to sing and I love the fellowship I have with people in the choir. But the late practice was disrupting our entire following day and sometimes part of the day after that. So, I let it go and I'm glad I did. Maybe I can go back to it in a different phase of my life.

We can also make ourselves available with the time we have.

If a suggested play date doesn't work for your schedule, suggest a different time or date instead of just closing the discussion and feeling like you missed an opportunity.

Friday nights with out the kids don't work for you? Suggest a late morning play date so the kids can play and you can get in some talk time. Can you grab coffee while the kids are in dance class? Make it work with the schedule you have.

Join a Group:

Ok, I know this is the exact opposite of what I just said about being too busy and letting extra activities go, but hang in there with me for a second.

Some people do take on too much. Some however, aren't doing anything but floating from work to home. They aren't a part of any particular group and find it difficult to meet people who share similar interests or are in a similar life stage. I've been in this boat too. It's a lonely and frustrating place to be.

Find a Meetup group for people who share interests with you, a book club or crafters group maybe. Mommy & Me groups, and Homeschool Co-ops have been a blessing for me personally. When you make friends with a whole family it's so much easier to get together and find activities that everyone can enjoy.

Start a Conversation: 

This tip is so much easier for some personality types than others. If you are blessed with the gift of gab, you are probably already doing this. If you are a more reserved personality, this will take some stretching on your part.

If you spend a lot of time at your kid's sports practice, reach out and talk to the other moms there. Or, that other mom at the playground could be a surprising friendship waiting to happen. If you never open your mouth to say hello and start a conversation, you'll never know.

I've been making it a habit to say something, anything to people I meet. My days are filled with little people and even a 2 minute chat with another mom in the grocery store check-out line can give me a little boost of energy and a feeling of camaraderie instead of feeling like I'm the only mom out there dealing with whatever it is we are dealing with that day.

Have you struggled to make friends after moving to a new place? Or even when you've been somewhere a long time? What has worked for you? How do you reach out?

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Owl Paper Lanterns

Owl Paper Lantern

This week in school, we are starting a new book "Owls in the Family." I've never read it before, but the summary says it's about a boy who takes in two injured horned owls. I like trying to come up with art projects for the girls that relate to the books we are reading together. It helps them to soak it all in. So, one day while Hayley was taking her nap, Caitlin and I sat in the classroom and made these hanging owl lanterns.

It's really perfect timing for this book! Caitlin is taking a Flying Creatures class in our co-op and they have already discussed owls. Now my girl is walking around the house making little screaches and squeals like a baby owl. I guess they heard one in class??

The lanterns were super easy to make using some pretty paper, glue sticks, and tape. The only time we used glue was to glue the black part of the eye to the white part. Then we used tape to adhere the eyes and everything else onto the lantern. That way, we can hopefully reuse the lanterns for something else later.

They keep spinning around so it was hard to take a picture of all of them. That one in the back especially didn't want to have it's picture taken.

Paper Craft Owls

This is our third book of the school year, but I got lazy and didn't photograph any of the projects we created in for our earlier books. Our Charlotte's Web study projects would have been great for this time of the year with all those spider and fair type crafts. Sigh. So I'm going to try and do better with this one. I have lots of owl themed crafts coming your way.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Brunswick Stew

Brunswick Stew

A few weeks ago, I was commenting on another blogger's post about a recipe she had made that maybe didn't look so great, but tasted amazing. We all have recipes like that! Don't we? The number one recipe for me, that I always thought looked kind-of eh, but tastes sooo good is Brunswick Stew.

If you've never heard of Brunswick Stew, you most likely don't live in the South. And if you HAVE had it, you love it of course, but yours may be very different from mine. It's one of those recipes that varies from region to region; like pulled pork here in the Carolinas. Don't even get me started on vinegar-based pulled pork versus tomato based. Luckily I live in central NC, so I get to sample both kinds.

Brunswick stew is a thick stew that doesn't have a lot of liquid left after it cooks down. It has some, but is not soupy. It's a perfect dish for using up your left overs too. Sure, you can make it without leftovers, but it's so much easier to just make some extra of a few dishes and then make stew later in the week.

For instance, we had roasted a chicken for one meal and had the breasts leftover because everyone around here likes the dark meat. And at another meal we had pulled pork sandwiches. So there was plenty of meat to toss in the pot.

For those of you who are familiar with Brunswick Stew, you may notice that mine doesn't have any lima beans. That's just because I don't like lima beans, so I choose not to add them. But if you like them, toss them in! That's a more traditional version anyway.

Soup & Stew Recipe


1 stick butter
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 can corn, drained
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1.5 lbs pulled pork
2 chicken breasts, shredded
3-4 small potatoes, diced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Optional Add-ins: (Lima Beans, Carrots, Okra)


Saute onions and garlic in butter until soft.
Add all other ingredients and let simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from scorching.

Serve with a side of corn bread.

Pulled Pork Stew

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Real Life - September Wrap Up

Wow, here we are at the end of another month. This one has been a bit of a doozy for me. August was full of celebrations (a wedding anniversary, my birthday, my mom retired) and fun things like school starting back. September however felt like it was a test of strength! Getting my energy back has been a struggle, but you know us moms can't give in to low energy. Life must go on.

We started off the month with potty training. That last weekend of August/first of September Hubs and I locked ourselves and the kiddos in the house and really worked hard on potty training our youngest. It was a looong weekend, but we got the potty part DONE. We're still working on the other part. If you're interested, here's how it all went.

Immediately after that weekend Hubs left for a business trip. It probably wouldn't have been that bad if I hadn't already been exhausted from the potty training weekend. And poor Hayley didn't sleep very well at all without her Daddy home. I was an exhausted mess by the time he got back. It seriously took me the whole next week to recover and catch up again and I still feel like I'm running low.

On the plus side, we had a lot of fun girl time while he was gone. The girls LOVED playing "hair salon" and making me "pretty".

With all that hair fun, we even decided that it was time for Hayley to get her FIRST haircut. She was so good and mostly still. She was very motivated to get a sucker after it was over.

And of course, they were just silly gooses. It does a momma's heart good to watch her kids playing together like this.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Show & Tell #95

Welcome back to Gingerly Made's Show & Tell party!

BIG UPDATE! I have been wanting to partner with another blogger for some time now to boost this party and give us all a few more eyes on our projects. But I was waiting for just the right person to come along. Well, the stars have aligned and some of my blogging buddies, Ashley from 3 Little Greenwoods and Lindsay from My Creative Days are going to join us.

To make this work out for everybody, we have decided to re-brand the party and move it to Saturdays. SHOW ME SATURDAY will begin next week on October 4th! If you're on the party email list, you'll get a reminder email on Saturday to come link up.

It's going to mean a LOT more exposure for you. We are not only going to comment on your posts, but also pin them to a new Pinterest board and share our favorite projects each week.

Ok, so now for this last Show & Tell party. Let's start with some amazing features!

The most viewed link, and some advise I am going to take... Restoration Beauty's How Grapeseed Oil Saved My Skin.

Little House Living has some cool Uses for Apple Peelings. Seriously, check this out.

Uses for Apple Peels - Little House Living

A Hot Southern Mess (love that saying - I use it all the time) made some Brazilian Cheese Puffs that look great!

Pao de Queijo ( Brazilian Cheese Puffs)

And, I guess I was in a foodie mood too. Just in case you've missed some of this week's post , here's what I've been working on.

Reclaimed Wood Pumpkin

Dip-Dyed and Polka Dotted Pumpkins

Ok, Let's see what YOU have been doing this week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dip-Dyed & Polka Dotted Pumpkins

If you are a crafter, you probably have those incredibly frustrating nights where your brain is creating at 3 am. You lie awake with thoughts of projects you want to do, how you'll do them, photograph them, etc. Please tell me I'm not the only one! Anyway, last week I could not sleep for thinking about dip-dying little pumpkins. Since they kept me up half the night, I figured I had better make them.

And while I really, really, like my sleep, I'm so glad I made these cute little pumpkins with their bright colors.

I washed and dried each pumpkin to get off any dirt or grime. Then squirted some paint into a paper plate and began painting. At first I dipped, then swirled the pumpkin around in the paint to get the dip-dye look. I suppose I could have used a bowl, but I didn't have any disposable ones and didn't want to put paint in my everyday bowls.

After they were well covered, I turned them upside down to dry. This meant that some of the paint ran a bit and part of the paint was touching the plate.

So you can see that touch ups were necessary. That's ok. I was able to do touch ups with a brush and apply it thickly enough that no brush strokes show.

I even painted a couple with polka dots.

The funny thing about all this was I had no idea where I was going to put them. The idea had just kept me up and so I made them. Thankfully I had gotten a bell jar from Michaels and needed something pretty to put in it. Perfect!

I love this little vignette on my desk adding some fall flair and a punch of color!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Reclaimed Wood Pumpkin

Did you know that tomorrow is the official first day of Autumn? I had to check. That makes this post and Happy Fall Y'all reclaimed wood pumpkin a fun way to welcome in the season.

I'm not the best at looking at something old and seeing how it can become new again. But every now and again, the light bulb comes on. I made a cute little autumn decor sign for my front porch out of a piece of a broken wedding gift.

We had been given this nice wooden salad bowl 11 years ago. I still can't believe I've been married that long! Anyway, a few weeks ago, it fell apart. If you can't tell, we've used it well. As I stood there looking at the pieces of my bowl, I knew I had to use that bottom piece for something. I mean, it was this perfectly round piece of wood just waiting to be used. And since my front porch has been seriously lacking lately, I thought why not use it there.

First I sanded the board to remove any old stain. Also the bottom had warped some, probably why it fell apart, and sanding helped work out some of those raised edges. Next I painted with a simple flat white. Then sanded again to add some texture lines.

All that was left to do now was add some embellishments. I added a leaf cut from burlap, some rope twisted up for the stem, and a pretty ribbon. Then, I sketched "Happy Fall Y'all" onto the "pumpkin" with a pencil and traced over it with a Sharpie.

The only thing was that pumpkins aren't circular, so I tried to find a way to make the sign look a little more squat and pumpkin like. So, I put all the pieces on a little low hoping it help my pumpkin look less round. I don't think my plan worked all that well, but I still like how everything turned out.

It was a pretty quick project to do and I love this happy Southern greeting sitting on my porch making me smile whenever I drive up.

Have you done any Autumn decorating yet?

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