the picky eater

Do you have picky eaters at your house? Mine does and he goes by the name of NoeyTom. Uhhhhhhggggg, I know on the scale of serious issues this isn’t that far up there but DAMN I find this problem to be one of the most frustrating.

I grew up in a large family where you ate what you were given and you were thankful for it. There was no complaining or mom scrambling to make chicken nuggets or a peanut butter sandwich when someone was less than pleased with the dinner served. I have carried this mentality over to my family and I would like to report it has been less than successful. And I would like to come clean now and say I am guilty of making Noah a special meal, not every night but a few times a week #momfail. Every time I do it I am torn between my feelings of failure and pure relief that the child is eating something!

I would also like to state for the record I am not making elaborate meals for my family. Have you heard of #dictatorlunches? Yeah, we aren’t even close to that. Think chicken, rice and a veggie, spaghetti and meatballs, tacos. Is it too much to ask for my 9 year old to eat pasta with meat sauce? Seriously, I am asking? Last night Noah spent the entirety of dinner sulking over that EXACT dinner.

pasta with meat sauce

I’m starting to feel like maybe you all will think that the kid is starving and mall nourished. While his diet is lacking in SEVERAL areas he does have a handful of things that I know he will eat and are hopefully filling in the gaps. I try to always have these things on hand yogurt, celery, strawberries, green apples, cheese, almonds. My aunt used to say, “as long as they have a glass of milk and a banana a day, they are good.” Well what do you do if your kid will only drink milk if it’s in a milk shake or frappuccino and he HATES bananas? This is what you do, you make sure he eats a yogurt, a nice generous portion of cheese, any and all fruit you can get into his belly in one day, throw your hands up say “fix it Jesus!” and call it a success.

I am not writing this because I want advice or tips. I have read the books, the blogs, listened to the podcasts tried all the tricks you can think of and guess what the kid still eats like shit. I am simply writing this because if there is another mom out there struggling to get their kid to eat ANYTHING healthy I see you, I understand, lets have coffee or wine and chat about our failures.

I will leave you with this to hopefully give you something to hang on to, Corey grew up in a “chicken fingers and fries” house, eating mostly an all beige diet. Fun fact, he ate his first salad when he was 21, let that sink in a minute… twenty-freaking-one! And now he will try anything at least once and honestly eats anything I put in front of him. So ladies it is possible for a tiger to change it’s strips it just might take a while, like till the age of 21.

learning to read

First of all I’d like to start out by saying I AM NOT A TEACHER. Anything I share in this post or any others about teaching my children at home is not in anyway to be taken as “expert advice” and merely the sharing of methods and products that have worked for my kiddos. I am also not being paid to share ANY of these products #Ipaidforthis.

Anyway, like I said before I do not have a degree in education, I am actually fun fact, a beautician. But I will say I am the single most invested person in my children’s academic progress. That fact plus the unending supply of resources and products available to me(and you!) online, at the library or in your local bookstore make me perfectly qualified to teach my babies anything really but today we are talking about reading so lets chat about that….

When Gracie was learning to read I was obsessed with researching and purchasing the BEST tools to help her and guess what? All those super amazing kits/tools I bought spent the majority of their life with us in a box on a shelf and now they live in a beautiful magical place called, The Goodwill. These are the things that worked best for my kiddos and honeslty made the whole process much easier for me.

First, letter magnets. We have had several different kinds but these are the ones we are using right now.


And they are by far a crowd favorite over here. Also, spoiler alert I found them in the dollar spot at Target. These magnets live on our fridge and honestly they are already becoming obsolete because Eliot has mastered letter recognition. My kids spend a majority of their time at my feet while I am in the kitchen so every time I was doing dishes or cooking dinner we would go over the letters just a few at a time until they knew them all and could put them in order.

Another fun toy that was often played on the kitchen floor is this letter puzzle by Melissa and Doug.


This one in particular is perfect for introducing letter sounds and they are self correcting which I am all about anything that does a little bit of the work for me, am I right moms or am I right?

This book was recommended to me by another homeschooling mother recently and I love it.


It focuses on letter sounds and putting them together and it gradually moves on with simple, short lessons that can be completed 10-15 minutes. I did not have this book when I was working with Gracie and Noah and damn I wish I had because it is so easy to follow and all you need is the book, kindergarten lined paper and a pencil.

My absolute FAVORITE products for teaching your child to read is hands down the BOB book series.


Gracie and Noah both used these books and I just added this Sight Word box for Eliot.


They are perfect for building confidence because they follow simple phonics and are perfectly short and kinda funny which is key for keeping your littles attention.

I’m linking an Amazon list I created here with all these products if you are interested in purchasing any of these items for your little student. Also, comment below or send me an email if you have any tips/tricks/tools/products you used and LOVED or HATED for teaching reading.

everything e


Last but certainly not least our sweet Eliot Rose aka Ellie, Elle, Ellie Rose, Elgin, Elgy and E. Eliot is our little bonus baby. After I had Noah, Corey and I decided no more babies! Not only is it difficult for me to stay pregnant, pregnancy in and of its self is HORRIBLE for me. Like seriously next level sh!t. Think puking all day for 9 months. Imagine the worst hangover you have ever had, you know the one where you need to be horizontal or else you will puke? Yeah thats me for 9 months, good times good times. Anyway, cut to Noah turning 3yrs old and I was literally DESPERATE for that third baby. After much discussing convincing Corey finally agreed and then there was, Eliot Rose.


If you know Eliot you know she is a pretty chill kid, easily entertained and pretty much always just happy to be included. She has spent the majority of her life either at a soccer field, ballet or in a crazy long carpool line waiting on her bigs. Don’t let her fool you though Eliot was quite the challenge as a baby. She spent the first six weeks of her life crying. THAT IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION! What we didn’t know at the time was she was allergic to dairy/dairy proteins but once we figured that out it was smooth sailing and it has been that way pretty much ever since. Corey used to say, “If all our babies where like this we would have so many!”


Besides her go with the flow attitude Eliot is a pretty freaking funny kid. She keeps us laughing all day long with her funny one liners and her infectious giggle.


Sometimes when I look at her I catch myself gritting my teeth so hard because all was to do is take a bite out of her!! Is that normal? Actually, don’t answer that. I could go on and on about how I’m obsessed but I’ll spare you all the weird details of my love for her but in all seriousness could she be any cuter??????

Photo Curtesy of : Angie Lipscomb Photography
Photo Curtesy of: Angie Lipscomb Photography

Love you forever Elgy.



all about graciekate

Up next my first baby Grace Kathryn aka Gracie, GracieKate, Baby Girl, Sweet Girl, Lovey, G. Gracie is your typical first child, she is extremely Type A maybe a little OCD which can be wonderful, like during school for instance but not so wonderful when you are running late and she incessantly reminds you of that fact plus has a nice dramatic freak out the whole time you are in the car.


Seriously, the kid has a gift for the stage. I am not just saying this because she is my kid(ok maybe a little) but she is going to be famous one day. Not sure if it will be for ballet, theater or YouTube but it will happen! She is not only talented but extremely driven and tenacious. Her best quality is that she will ALWAYS try even if she wont get it the first time. She is unfazed by the idea of failing or looking silly and when she does “fail” or “look silly,” she doesn’t let that discourage her and she will keep at it until its perfect(see type A personality). This quality and her performance abilities will make her an unstoppable force in the entertainment world.


Plus, she LOVES auditions. That is not sarcasm you just read, she absolutely thrives under that kind of pressure much like when she is on stage. For example, this is a conversation we had at the end of last year…..

Gracie: Do you think maybe I could just do the audition but not the show?

Me: What?

Gracie: I don’t want to be in the show I just want to go to the audition.

Me: Why would you do that?

Gracie: Because I LOVE doing auditions, they are so much fun!


Unfortunately, with all this ambition and talent comes the need to fly away and pursue her dreams and goals. I have had the conversation with her ballet teacher many times telling her how I always feel like I am hanging on to her by the skin of my teeth and I have a feeling a quiet West Side of Cincinnati life isn’t in the future for our shining star{cut to me crying in the shower}.


Gracie, I love you desperately and am so excited to see where life takes you. Please don’t go away too soon, ok? I promise I’ll let you move out when you are 30 or something….maybe….probably…. we can talk about it later.



nothing but noah

I wanted to write a post about each of my kiddos so that when you read about our day to day life you would have a little back story on each of them. I planned to start with my oldest, GracieKate but Noah has been giving me a run for my money lately and I thought it would be good to write down all the things that I love about my boy so he does not find himself on the curb holding a “free to good home,” sign.

So here we go…

this picture makes me melt

Noah Thomas aka NoeyTom, Noey, Bubs, Bubby, is 9yrs old and literally NEVER stops moving. I am not joking the kid is in constant motion and never without a ball. He plays every and all sports including but not limited to football, soccer, baseball, basketball, flag football and futsal and he plays them all very well actually. And not because it comes easy. I mean maybe a little bit is natural talent but the kid is the hardest working most determined kid on the planet. If he is not playing with a ball in the house yard he is talking about his next practice/game or watching old sports games on youtube.


The second love of his life is Fortnite. If you don’t know about Fortnite(how is that possible? do you know a child? or man? or human?) it’s a video game some genius thought of where you have to build stuff and be the last one standing or something, whatever! I try to let that be Corey’s thing with our kids, mostly so that if they ask me to play or for help I can say, “you know what? this seems like a job for Daddy.”

While he is for sure my most active kid, if you can catch him he gives the most amazing hugs and a snuggle from Noah is by far one of my most favorite things in the world. Gosh he is delicious to me. He is like a puppy kinda smelly and mischievous and sometimes I’m not sure if I should hit him on the nose with a newspaper or squeeze him so hard he goes back inside my body(is that to much?)


Moving on, NoeyTom I love you forever even when you make me crazy and want to hide in the bathroom with a bottle of wine. Don’t ever change, except maybe the throwing balls in the house? Could ya stop? I’d like to have at least a few unbroken decorations….




we homeschool but we are still sort of normal

In 2017 Corey and I decided to pull our kids out of school and begin homeschooling. It has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of parenthood to say the least. First I would like to say we were completely happy with the school my children were attending. They were happy, I was happy, they were learning and growing had good friends all that stuff. I just felt in my “mommy gut” that this was not the place we were supposed to be. I was homeschooled as a child, did you know that? Honestly looking back it was such a wonderful gift my parents gave to us kids. My siblings and I are still so close and I believe that is a direct result of the fact that we spent EVERYDAY together. Those relationships have been the driving force behind our decision to homeschool. Anytime, I feel discouraged or I start to wonder if what I’m doing is best I think about all the fun memories of making up games with my siblings, riding bikes in the circle or the endless hours we spent in the woods swinging on vines and building club houses. That is what I want for my kids. Because it really is true that friendships will always come and go and evolve over the years but family, that’s forever.


I’d be lying if I said the transition from private school to homeschool was seamless. Anytime you make a change in your life there are going to be complications and kinks that need to be worked out. I am still figuring out curriculums(I’ll talk more about this later) that work best for my kiddos (spoiler:they all need something different) and most days we are just trying our best. But you know what? Gracie and Noah both did state testing at the end of the year and humble teacher mommy brag, Gracie tested almost identical if not above how she tested in private school and Noah literally owned that test! Seriously, the kid tested above and beyond his previous testing scores {insert mommy giving herself a high five}.

You want to know the best part of having them home? The way they treat each other, love each other and truly enjoy each other is by far my greatest accomplishment. And that relationship I so desperately want them to have with each other? It’s there, growing and weaving their little lives together every day.


We may not homeschool forever but I am so very thankful for this time with them at home. And even if tomorrow we wake up and decide this isn’t whats best for our family anymore they will always have the memory of the two years we spent around our dining room table learning, laughing and sometimes crying together.

If you are interested in homeschooling leave a comment below or shoot me an email. I’d love to chat!

same but different

Hi Everyone! It has been a hot minute since I last blogged, like 6 or 7 years HOLY SH!T. If you did not know I used to write a little blog, also called My Life in Sweats about my life with Corey and the kiddos(we only had two then). It was basically a journal and photos of the cute, funny, sweet, not cute, not funny and not so sweet things my babies did. Here is a little visual to give you an idea…..

Photo on 2010-03-31 at 15.30 #3

I am honestly not sure why I stopped. I am guessing it had to do with the fact that as they got older and busier we traded days of playing in our basement, riding bikes in our cul de sac and swimming in my moms pool for soccer games, ballet class and homework. And while I miss the days when I could solve their problems with a sucker or a snuggle the ages they are right now is so fun! Added bonus, I can not tell you how nice it is to live in the land of no diaper bag, sippy cups and strollers. Oh and PRAISE BE(Handmaids Tale anyone?) I traded in my mini van for an suv! Besides moving on from baby/toddlerville there have been a TON of changes to our life since I left off so let me get you up to speed……

We added a kiddo to the mix in 2013, Eliot Rose.


Adopted the BEST pup in all the world, Sam.


We moved into a beautiful 1930’s colonial in 2014 and have been fixing it up room by room.


Corey started his own business Cincinnati WebTec and works full time from home.

Screen Shot 2019-01-12 at 8.24.27 AM
Cincinnati WebTec

And I started homeschooling our kiddos last year.


It’s been crazy and wonderful and so so fast. This blog will be pretty much the same as my old one just prettier(thanks corey) and more content because my life does not consist of diapers, naptime and popsicles and looks more like this ….

Same but different.

So be sure to subscribe so you can follow along and leave a comment below with ideas of what you would like me to share!

About Me

Hi! I’m Joanna, a wife and mom of three. I was born and raised on the West Side of Cincinnati Ohio and Corey and I are now raising our kiddos here. Our life isn’t all that glamorous or exciting but it’s ours and I’m obsessed.