What I learned from not having Facebook for 40 days (and what I'm going to do about it)

When I gave up Facebook for Lent, I got a little backtalk from some friends saying it wasn't enough, and others saying that it was a little silly. Who gives up Facebook only? Social media? Yes. But just Facebook?

Well, for the first week, my thumb automatically went to where Facebook was on my smart phone. Every. Single. Time. Which, when trying to stay away from FB, was kind of annoying, but then SO SO convicting. Why is that my automatic response to boredom? To sitting at a stoplight? To not remembering what I came in the room for?

Not OK.

The only thing I needed FB for was for MOPS notifications, as that is their primary source of communication, and it turns out that I really did need to check it for this case. I also received a few messages (not my wall, but my inbox) that were time sensitive, so I did respond to those.

What I realized a few weeks in was that, while I was still curious what my high school and college friends were up to, especially the ones who I've reconnected with more intimately since the onslaught of all the Facebook-y-ness, I kind of got over it.

By week three, I had deleted the app from my phone. Gonzo. It was still an (intermittent) habit to press the button, and I was finding that I was much more purposeful, and not as prone to cheating, when I went to check notifications and/or messages on my computer. Why? Because toddlers/preschoolers are a lot more difficult to control when they're trying to press computer buttons vs. me holding my phone. And? I can't check my computer while sitting in the Target parking lot.

And now that I'm looking back, I can see clearly the much wasted time spent perusing my newsfeed. I've read A LOT MORE. Like a couple of books. And I've found new blogs. Really great blogs. So I'm feeding my soul and my brain, and while I really care about those who post on FB, my time is better spent doing other things.

This is not to say I'm giving up the 'ole social media king for good. Oh heavens no. I do miss it. But I'm not putting it back on my phone. I will limit it to only once a day, if that. And I will resume posting my blog posts there, as it's where I get a good chunk of my readers.

Why post this a whole week after Easter, and my Facebook ban, ended? Because I still can't get back on the FB wagon. I've tried. I've really tried! I really thought that once Easter came around, I would go back to perusing each morning and night, with little intermittent check-ins waiting for Preschool pickup. But I can't force myself to sit and go through my newsfeed AT ALL. Which is weird, because I love it. I just can't. get. through. it.

What I will say, though, is that now that Mr. FB is gone from my phone, I actually spend MUCH LESS TIME on my phone in general. Like a lot. As in, unless I get some quiet time in the morning before the kiddos are up, I'm not checking my email or anything until at least nap time. And sometimes not until bedtime.

Which, let's be honest, doesn't that just make sense?

So, what now? Nothing. I'm going to continue on this new path and see where it takes me. I've written so much more, read so much more, and actually spent more quality time with my children. I can't really see any reason to go back to my old ways, so I'm just going to keep the course I'm on.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kuda


Five Minute Friday: Glue

Every week, a whole heap of fabulous women get together and write for Five Minute Friday. Today's prompt is...



Today, my brain is glue. Sticky. Slow to move. Then stuck.

Stuck in the haze of this season of life. Not remembering the minutes of the day, but know I've run yet another marathon. Longing for alone time, then longing to smell the sweet scent of spring in the hair of the little ones surrounding me, needing every part of my soul. Selfishly yearning for moments of freedom, then running after those moments wishing I could hold them tight in my palms so they make an imprint I can't forget.

I am glued to this place, to this moment in time. Wanting out, but then aching when I can't have more of it. More of the constant questions, endless giggles, silly silly girls and boys, running without abandon, trying things new. I pray these things are glued onto my brain, in my mind so I have access eternally.


Until next time,
Mrs. Kuda

Five Minute Friday


Wednesday Confessional

Such a sweet day. The skies were sunny, there was a warm breeze. Miss E finally sort of conquered her fear of flies, and we headed out to enjoy glorious Spring at one of the awesome local parks. Isn't that a sweet picture?

Wait... Let's zoom in a bit...

A little closer...

That would be my son. I forgot to put shoes on him. He went to the PUBLIC PARK without shoes on. And proceeded to take off his socks. And I tried to pretend that I was totally ok with it.

Until next time,
Mrs. Kuda


To the Sweet Woman at Giant

The past few weeks have been hard (you may have noticed). Like the kind of weeks that haunt you as a parent, that make you question every decision you make, that make you question why on earth you ever had children in the first place.

Ok. Maybe that was a bit melodramatic. But sometimes I can be so sharp. So impatient. So unkind with my words and actions. They're one and three. I hear so often how hard I am on them, that my expectations are too high. But what if I'm that way with them because that's all I know? Or that's all I can do to cope on a day to day basis?

On a beautiful afternoon the other day, Mr. Kuda had been out of town for several weeks, in and out for work, and we hadn't been to the grocery store in over a week. We had to go. Mr. C started this weird 18 month year old kick where he decided not to sleep for more than a few hours at a time, and I was back in newborn mode: a walking zombie, trying to get through each day, short on patience and rest and "ME" time. This was after we'd suffered the three year old "I don't want to poop on the potty anymore, even though I've been potty trained for over a year and my parents are going to lose it" month and a half. Momma was (and is) spent.

The first few days of this particular week were actually going pretty well. It turns out, that as much as I tell myself that this isn't so, the three year old in fact does dictate my mood. She shouldn't, but when she's happy, it's a pretty good bet that the rest of us are. Even when the rest of us are sleep deprived beyond what's healthy.

Back to the grocery store.

The kids were being really good; I even let Miss E have a sample of some sort of 'carmel vanilla mocha gelato.' Mr. C didn't want any, as he doesn't like anything he's never seen before, because he's 18 months old and that's what he does. I was trying to be patient while cursing to myself for not writing a list. Because if I can't remember what I wanted to pick up at the store when I've had 5 or 6 hours of straight sleep, I'm not sure why I thought I could remember what I needed after only a handful of hours of sleep over the past three days.

As we got in line to check out, Miss E asked me to hold her trash of the melted 'carmel ice cream,' and I, as patiently as humanly possible, because in my brain I was still making sure I had gotten the God-forsaken-bananas that must exist in our house lest the 1 year old lose it the moment he wakes up and doesn't have a banana for breakfast, said, "Honey. Hold on to it. We will find a garbage can, but I am not holding your trash right now." Five seconds later, I watch her slowly, but deliberately take the end of her spoon and put it into the ear of her brother.

"E. Please don't put the spoon in your brother's ear. That's not safe."

"Ok, mommy."

Shock. Isn't this how it's supposed to work every time you correct your child?

Two minutes later as I'm asking the cashier if I've swept my card yet, because I don't remember my last name, much less what I did five seconds ago. A woman taps me on my shoulder.

"I'm so sorry to bother you, honey, but I have to just comment on something..."

And the tears are already starting to well up because this week has been just so hard, and I just have no patience, and I just probably said something awful to my children and she's going to tell me what I'm doing wrong (this would not be the first time this has happened). And I just have so much of that in my life, even if it's not directly... The world telling me to be more patient with my kids, be more kind, cultivate a friendship, do more. Always do more. Be more.

"Your children are precious. Whatever you're doing, you're doing right, so keep doing it. I know that these are hard days, but whatever you do, keep going. You'll see the fruit of it as they get older."

Bless that woman.

Because isn't that what we need to hear every once and awhile? Don't we need to hear that we're doing it right? Even when we know we falter, we are just humans, after all.

Encourage your sisters. Your mothers. Your friends. Encourage them. Because you don't know, when what you think you're seeing looks like pure bliss, in actual fact it's just a mom trying to keep her wits about her just for the moment she's in the public eye.  Because we've all been there. We've all lost our patience. We've all said the wrong thing at the wrong time. But we get up the next day, and try again because we have to.

Encourage each other. Please. This sweet sweet woman, who owes me nothing. Who knows me from nowhere, blessed me today more than I could ever know was possible. She, without knowing, empowered me as a mother and as a woman and as someone who's just trying to do good in this hard, hard world.

Be that blessing. Be that light that someone needs. You will never regret being kind, but only what you were too afraid to say.

I just have to add this tid bit of the story, because you wouldn't have noticed if you weren't standing exactly where I was in that very same moment. Behind this sweet, sweet, wonderful woman, was a man. LIkely her husband. Beaming. So proud. Be this woman. Love on someone who needs it. You never know who's watching.

Until next time,
Mrs. Kuda

Linking up this week with Amanda at Serenity Now!


Five Minute Friday: Paint

Every week, a whole heap of fabulous women get together and write for Five Minute Friday. Today's prompt is...



We're all artists if you think about it. We all paint the picture we want others to see, whether it's family or friends or those in the community. But we do it, because sometimes we just don't want to let others in. We do it because our own reality seems too hard to let others see. We brush strokes of perfect careers, of perfect children, of perfect lives.

We went out for lunch today. I've had a bit of a rough winter, and I'm trying to be less serious, more spontaneous, trying to remember what childhood is all about. And Mr. C. had already napped in the car this morning, so I knew he wasn't going to nap again today.

So we went. And they were so good. So sweet. So well behaved. I'm sure I had some sort of smug look on my face. I was so proud. But wasn't it just a facade? Wasn't it me just hiding the fact that I haven't slept in days? Or that Miss E had a 45 minute tantrum this morning because I had asked her to go downstairs to get her shoes on (the horror), making us late to school?

And then, after we had played in the little play house, as I silently nodded to myself, you're such a good mom, someone landed on someone in the tube slide. There was crying and shrieking. Mommy saying we have to go. MIss E throwing a fit because she wants ice cream. Then really throwing a fit because I say no.

Paint splattered all over Chick-Fil-A. A mess of my emotions. Of my patience. Of my fear of judgment and loss of control. Of everything. Spilled all over the floor. And as it happened, our lives became more exposed for what they really are. Our beautiful composition revealing its true colors. A momma who is tired, just trying to get through this day, praying to our sweet Lord for more than a few hours of sleep, for the patience I don't have.

As we drive away, I'm able to take a breath. To look in the rearview mirror, tantrums subsided. The beautiful illustration of our lives, one paint stroke at a time in refreshing, vibrant new colors.


Until next time,
Mrs. Kuda

Five Minute Friday


Spring Decor (For the Love of Bunnies)

Have I mentioned how happy I am that it's finally Spring? Like the real Spring, that doesn't include inches and inches of snow?

Because I am. I AM SO HAPPY!

This. This was a month ago.
Like as in the month of March. In Virginia.
Nothing like combining one of the most snowy winters in Virginia's history with a move to a place you don't know many people, and throw two littles into the mix. Fun times.

Momma needed some Spring.

And nothing says Spring like some muddy rain boots. And a bunny.

And with the move, and the new house and all, we got a mantel. Y'all! A mantel! I've never had one of those before, so you better believe that I took the chance to decorate the heck out of that son of a gun. Especially after I read this gem with some sublime suggestions about mantel decorating. It was on. AND there will be a TV at some point (the horror, I know) above said mantel. It screamed at me to decorate it.

So, since all some none of our boxes were unpacked, I did the first thing any sane woman who has no friends and has been cooped up in her new house with two babies (and a whole bunch of unpacked boxes) for the longest winter ever does: I went to Hobby Lobby, then to Home Goods, and added in a little Target. And of course, some stuff I already had :)

Ta da!
And here you have it! It's not perfect, but it will do, and in addition to my Spring wreath, it made me oh, so happy, especially during that last bought of snow. That one almost got me (and my sanity).  And what a great base to start from!! Mr. Kuda has no idea that this is just the beginning of my bunny collection. It may become a problem at some point, but for now, enjoy!

I combined bunnies with bunnies. All different sorts of bunnies, and I love each of them...

That tall gentleman? I couldn't capture it on film, but he's COVERED
in glitter. Tall bunny + glitter = WIN

The sweet angel was a gift from a friend as a welcome to this area. She's made from a Civil War era quilt. So homey and sweet and relevant to where we're living now. Love.

Burlap bunnies? I think we have another winner. Thank you, Target!

We got this clock as a gift when we first got married. It reminds me of our fresh start as a newly married couple. It tracks nap times and bed times, and has been a silent observer of the time we've spent in this little life we've created.

As fun as the bunnies are, I wanted to make sure we aren't overlooking the true reason of this Easter season. God has been so good to us, has been faithful to us, and continues to provide us with grace and mercy day after day after day.

So, happy Spring! Hope you can get outside and enjoy the fresh air this week!

Until next time,

Mrs. Kuda


Five Minute Friday -- Writer

This week's Five Minute Friday writing prompt is writer. Which is funny, because I've never considered myself a writer. But I have a blog. And I write on it.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that this has been on the back-burner. It has been that little secret burning in the back of my mind... I want to write... But I was too afraid. But since this year I'm moving on from my scared places, stepping out from the ledge of my secure place, and putting myself out there in a real way, why not write? Why not do what I've been hearing the little voice in my head say for as long as I could remember?



I grew up in a small town outside of Chicago. I knew everyone I went to school with, everyone knew me. I didn't really need to learn to make friends outside of Kindergarden because I had already made them. I was comfortable being the shy girl in the corner, kind of awkward, kind of strange. But because I didn't make a sound, a splash, or anything at all really, it didn't matter.

Until I turned 14, and my mom and I moved to Georgia. The first day I showed up at my new high school, there was so much tension in my throat from being so terrifyingly terrified of speaking to anyone I didn't know (which was everyone), I couldn't choke out a single word. I shook the entire day. Actually, physically shook, not knowing if I'd ever find a comfortable place.

But I wrote. In my diary, in notes under the door as apologies for being an indignant teenager to my mother, for assignments in class. And I eventually came out of my shell. And it's funny, because people who know me now would never guess that I'm actually a shy introvert, trying to get through this life without making too much of a ripple, too much sound.

Apart from my father, Mrs. Calhoon, my sophomore lit teacher, was the first one to say it out loud: Kristin, you're a writer.

But I didn't know what that meant or what it looked like, "to be a writer," so I continued on. I continued on a path that was comfortable, that required no baring of my soul because that would be too hard.

Until I heard it again in college. It was my senior year and I was applying to graduate school to become a speech pathologist. I had been a sociology major, and my professor Dr. Toshi told me, Kristin, you're a writer. You sure you want this?

Was I sure I wanted this? To only have to write reports and conduct objective tests? To talk to others for a living and to touch lives in a way I never thought possible, all while staying inside myself, never letting anyone know the depths of my heart and soul?

YES! That sounds great! (If only I knew how vast the speech pathology field was at the time, if only I knew how different and amazing and wonderful my life would be because of becoming an SLP. More on that another time...)

I actually heard it again from a professor in graduate school, but it never really stuck. Not until I started this blog, and not until my sweet Gran died. And for the first time I publicly poured my heart out. I wasn't kitschy or silly or funny. I was honest about where I was at that time. And it was comfortable and wonderful and terrifying, but it was the real me. Since then I've been trying to find that girl. The one who doesn't hold back. The one who speaks truth lovingly, but with conviction.

And here I am, a writer.


Until next time,
Mrs. Kuda

Five Minute Friday


Toddler Tantrums vs. Preschooler Tantrums: A Commentary

Toddler Tantrum:

Mr. C (pointing, screaming, tears streaming): Ugh! Meh! Nana! Ugh! Meh! Nana!

Mrs. Kuda (calm voice, hiding smile because it's so darned cute but I know it's bad to laugh so I don't): We're eating dinner soon. No nana now. Would you like to play with your train?

C: (pointing, squealing toward train, smiling, laughing)

End of tantrum.

Preschooler Tantrum:

Miss E (whining, with the threat of tears): I want my peanut butter sandwich.

MK (calmly, but only because my eyes are closed I'm and breathing deeply because this is the fifteenth time today she has both whined and demanded something without using please or thank you or anything kind that she said when she was not giving me previews of what she'll be like when she's sixteen): Let's try that a different way.

E (whining, higher voice, tears in eyes): I want my peanut butter sandwich on a plate and carrots and an M&M. NOW.

MK (eyes still closed, calm but strained voice): That's not how we ask for things. Try again.

E (full blown tears, now hanging off side of her chair): Saying PUH-LEASE is so HAAAARRRRRD. I want my lunch!!! I am so hungry!!!

Tears continue. Sent to room. Thirty minutes later, Miss E starts laughing, comes down stairs: I'm so sorry mommy! I love you! May I please have my sandwich now?

End of tantrum?


Until next time,

Mrs. Kuda


Spring Wreath Tutorial

Good morning, y'all! March sure went out like a lion, but the clouds have finally parted, the sun is shining, and IT IS SPRING! Thank heavens!

A side note: This is how I blog lately. Lap child. Thank goodness he's cute...

If you must know, I'm a bit obsessed with making my own wreaths. It's a little ridiculous, but it makes me so happy! AND making them from scratch is So. Much. Cheaper. Really. Like much cheaper than any you'll find in Walmart or Target. Without further ado, I present to you my first....

Note: This wreath was inspired by an article in HGTV Magazine. I'm not sponsored, just love the wreath, and the magazine!

Springy, right?! Let's get started.

* Foam wreath
* 1 1/2" ribbon. I used this. For my 14 inch wreath, I used exactly 6 yards.
* Variety of felt colors, 4-5 squares or about 1/2 yard
* Some push pins or floral U pins
* Hot glue

Time commitment:
* About an hour, maybe two, depending on how many felt flowers you do, and how many children you have running around you while trying to complete it (see photo above).

Start by wrapping the ribbon around your wreath. I used floral U pins to secure.

I folded the ribbon edge over before pushing the pin all the way through so it has a nice finish.

I left a bigger loop for the very end of the ribbon, which I will later use to thread twine through as the means for hanging.

Moving on to the felt flowers! I chose white and yellow. As a side note, I am very aware that there are different qualities of felt out there. I am cheap. I will not pay more than 25 cents/12 inch square. Even then I try to get it for 40-50% off at Hobby Lobby (again, not a sponsor, just a place I frequent often). For this project, I had 4 white squares and 4 yellow squares. I did A LOT of practicing and playing with different patterns, and I had several squares left over for future projects. I am not going to go in depth for these flowers, but I will tell you that there's a lot of great info and tutorials on youtube :)

My first flower is similar to a rose. Start off by cutting a largish circle (the above is about 5/6 inches), then cut a spiral until you reach the middle.

Begin by rolling the smaller end of of the circle on its self. Here's where a little hot glue comes in handy to keep it in place, but I would practice a few times before you glue it. When it's small, it can be tricky!

Look how cute they are!

A variation of this is to make your lines wavy as you cut. Go through the same process, starting with rolling from the end into the center.

I glue on the bottom as I go.
Here, you can see the difference between the two. Both are adorable, of course.

Here's another fun flower... Simply cut a two-inch strip, fold it in half long ways, hot glue at just the edge leaving a space in the middle, then snip about 2/3 of the way through all the way down every 1/4 of an inch or so.

Once you've finished, began rolling the strip on itself from one end.

The nice part about this particular flower is you can add another strip, or part of a strip, to make the flower bigger. You really can't tell if there's a seam. Win!

You can either leave the loops as is...

Or snip the loops for a different kind of texture. I used both for this wreath.

One more! I had actually not planned on an additional design, but the wreath needed something more... For the final flower, you need 4-5 (or more) of the same sized felt circles. Mine were about 2 1/2 inches, and made a ~3 inch flower. I used a different color for the center of the flower.

For the center, fold your desired color in half, then roll it up, somewhat loosely. Secure with hot glue.

Continue by folding each subsequent circle in half, then in half again.

Glue each twice-folded circle around the center. It takes a little playing with, so practice before you glue!

Ta da!

So pretty :)
After you've completed your felt flowers, it's time for some arranging. I always try to play with different placements before gluing. Usually it becomes pretty clear where things should go after a bit.

I used hot glue to attach my flowers. For the inspiration wreath, they suggested using colored push pins to match the design. What a great idea! I didn't have any on hand, and I wasn't going to make an extra trip out, so hot glue it was.

After I finished gluing the flowers on, I needled some twine through the ribbon loop I had left at the top of the wreath.

Annnnnnnnnnnnd.... Here it is! I may end up adding a bow at some point. Sometimes I live with my wreaths for a little while, then end up adding to it.

What do you think? So springy, right? Seriously, it makes me smile every time I drive up to the house.

Until next time!

Mrs. Kuda

Linking up this week with Serenity Now. Enjoy!
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