Parenting Strengths and Weaknesses

>> Tuesday, January 15, 2019

In my own life, I've been trying to examine my strengths and weaknesses as a parent. One reason is that I want to work on myself for the sake of my kids. Yelling all the time isn't something I imagine they want to grow up hearing. On the other hand, I also need to give myself more credit for the things I DO do well, because I'm not the type of person who tends to think positively with self-talk (and that needs to change).

I'm good at getting my kids to sleep. 

Some kids just don't sleep -- and I get that. But I will say that I've had three different kids now . . . and though keeping a consistent schedule and working on sleep issues as they arise, I've been able to get them napping well and sleeping through the night a good portion of the time. (I'm probably jinxing myself!) Of course, there are periods, like teething and developmental leaps, when things go crazy. However, this area has often involved sacrifice and a lot of work on my part, so I consider it something to be proud of and to give myself some kudos for.

I could work on kinder discipline. 

Because I yell -- a lot. I even swear. Are you shocked? Maybe, maybe not. But Ada's at an age now where she'll certainly remember all the yelling and four-letter words (I'm so embarrassed sharing that!). The thing is, I know yelling doesn't really work. I'm dipping my toes into a few parenting books right now and finding out just how ineffective it is. So, yeah.

I'm good at engaging interests and providing activities. 

I'm not a Pinterest mom, but I make sure my kids are exposed to areas that interest them and find ways -- sometimes creative ways -- to provide those activities. For example, Ada wanted to do a sport this fall, but we were short on time and money. I searched around and found a running program that was essentially free on weekends when we had the time to take her. Otherwise, I hunt around for deals on gymnastics leotards and utilize inexpensive school activities rather than signing her up for all the $$$ stuff. With Eloise, I hunt thrift shops to find fun things for her to do at home and -- yes -- I sometimes do take the time to get creative.

I could work on my level of patience. 

I suppose this goes with the yelling. I can go 0 to 60 very quickly when I get miffed. It's as if I have no mental stamina. So, I need my own patience for better discipline and also in times when my kids are possibly TRYING to do good stuff, but just don't have the ability or desire to to it quickly enough for my liking.

I'm good at consistency. 

Maybe this goes along with sleep, but in all areas of life . . . I'm pretty darned consistent. Our family has a predictable schedule. Or if I'm being gosh-gee-golly blogger mom here, we have a rhythm. It changes seasonally and depends on our schedule. However, my kids generally know what to expect at different points of the day, and I think that helps them. I know for sure it helps Eloise because she goes from one activity to the next in life without tantrums (trust me -- she does have them, though! Just not regularly).

I could work on food. 

I know. You may be surprised to read that food is a shortcoming of mine when it comes to my kids. I've gotten quite lazy in the past year, buying lots of packaged snacks and generally not providing much variety of foods. I tried much harder with Ada, but the demands of life have sucked the energy I have had for this area. Last night I took the time to make some granola bars. It's a small step, but it is good to be moving in the right direction. Now, I'm not saying all packaged food is the devil. It's just when your 2-year-old heads to the pantry and crinkles all the wrappers searching to "dinder" because she'd rather have junk food . . . that's when it's a problem.

These are just a few thoughts for today. I think it would be fun to check in again in the future with some more strengths and weaknesses. I'm giving myself some grace here. I'm not going to be the old Ashley and set out and outline for exactly how I'm going to change all these "bad" things about myself. This post was just a mental exercise for me. Maybe you'll feel inspired to do it for yourself as well!



>> Friday, January 11, 2019

I feel like we've had almost every toy out there in our house. By now, I have a good handle on what my kids play with time and time again. And those loved toys may not be the ones you'd most expect. Anyway, I get a lot of questions about what toys our kids have + play with most, so I figured I'd compile a page of our favorite toys, etc. I'll try to update this from time to time as we edit our own collection.

Note: We own all of these toys and have purchased them with our own money.

* These are Amazon affiliate links, so I do receive a (very) small percentage of any sales. Thank you for supporting (never)homemaker and making my content possible!


Weeknight Meals: Vegetarian Tikka Masala

>> Thursday, January 10, 2019

I keep posting photos of myself making this meal on Instagram, but I don't think I've ever formally written out the recipe on the blog. We make this Tikka Masala in the crock pot at least once every two weeks, if not more frequently. It's highly adaptable, so if you have other veggies on hand that you think would work -- use them!

Oh, and I should note that this recipe is made using sauce from Aldi. Here's where you can find all my other Aldi tips, tricks, and recipes.


  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 large onion (approx 1 cup), chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato (approx 1 to 1.5 cups), chopped*
  • 1 to 1.5 cups frozen peas
  • 1 jar Tikka Masala sauce from Aldi

* I often use carrots or white potatoes in place of sweet potatoes.

Then just toss everything in your crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours. If you want to get extra fancy, you can make your own paneer, which is an Indian simple cheese you can easily make at home. And your own naan, which is Indian bread to have on the side.


Homemade Almond Milk
Our Go-To Pizza Dough
Homemade Ciabatta Bread
Homemade Muesli
Adventures in Cereal-Making
Homemade Bagels
White + Whole Wheat No Knead Loaf
Three Seed Crackers
Expanding Our Homemade Pantry
Homemade Flax Crackers
Homemade Pancake/Waffle Mix
Awesome Couscous Crackers
My Favorite Hummus
Stephen’s Homemade Pickles
Homemade Applesauce
Red Curry Kimchi

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