Granola Mom Failer
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Welcome and thanks for visiting my blog!

By February 16, 2018 Uncategorized

I am so glad we found each other! I hope you find my blog as sarcastic and charming as I am. I’m Courtney G., aka Mama Failer. I enjoy raw honesty, the endless search for inner peace, and trying and failing at many things, including motherhood and things I find on Pinterest (those things all go hand in hand, right?!). The secret I want to share with everyone is that just because you’re a FAILER doesn’t mean you’re a FAILURE. Failing can be frustrating, or anxiety inducing, often expected, but sometimes it can actually be fun! So click around and join me as I celebrate and commiserate this crazy adventure we call motherhood & parenting.

Mama Failer

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My First Airplane Ride with a Toddler

By January 28, 2018 Uncategorized

In January I had the pleasure of taking a trip to Arizona to visit my parents. I love traveling in January for a number of reasons- 1) Because the holidays are over, it seems like less people travel in January. People are tired and broke from all the hustle and bustle of December, and spending less in the new year. 2) My birthday is in January, so its a nice treat. 3) I’d rather be anywhere but Illinois in January. For any of my locals, you know it can be brutal!

My husband on the other hand hates traveling in January. The new year marks the beginning of vacation time, and using that time up so early in the year is not something he likes to do. What’s a wife to do?? I normally would not hesitate to take a vacation without him, its not a huge deal for us, but now that we have a toddler, there are more facts to consider.

My husband and I always wanted to do a little traveling with our son, but I never thought about taking him on a trip by myself, let alone flying solo with him for his first ride in an airplane. To say I was nervous was an understatement. I tried to plan and pack for the worst case scenario, but the day of I was an absolute wreck, pacing back and forth, stomach churning.

“The Plan”

Planning the trip, I had an absolute fantasy in my head. I didn’t want to check a bag because once we landed I wanted to get settled in as soon as possible. I looked up ways to get my son and I through the airport and considered my options. 1) He could walk- no, 2) I could push him in a stroller and wheel a suitcase and juggling a purse- nope. 3) I could carry him- hell no, 4) I could cart him (but then I’d have to buy a cart), or 5) I could use an airport carseat strap.


I really researched and weighed this decision before buying. The cart was nice, but expensive. We don’t travel much, so how much would I really use this investment? The car seat strap was less expensive and straps to your luggage, turning your luggage into the cart. The reviews for both products were good. Considering I was by myself, I opted for the car seat strap so I didnt have to lug a suitcase and a cart. In the airport it worked great!

We went through the airport with no problems. Going through the security section we were directed to the wheelchair / stroller section, which I highly recommend. I had to untether the strap, put the suitcase through the machine along with my personal items, and his car seat went to the side to be checked by hand.

Everything went surprisingly smooth! I was moving slowly, putting our stuff back together, when someone asked me if these were my shoes in their hands. I just thought they were being nice because I was moving so slowly, but then I looked up and saw them motioning me to join them at the podium. I checked the TSA website before the trip and found out food and drinks were acceptable for traveling with a toddler. Still, that motion is a little unsettling. “Whatever you need, just take it,” I thought. My son’s sippy cup of milk was about 5 oz., and thus tested for explosives etc. No big deal. We got through and halfway to the gate I realized I didn’t have my ID in my hands anymore. Gulp. That was a big deal.

We hauled ass back to the security check point, and I talked to one of the officers, who had already turned my ID into another department. Apparently I left it in a bin that got scanned. We were quickly escorted to another type of security booth, and I got my ID back with plenty of time to make it to the gate. It’s definitely not something you want to have happen, but it turned out ok.

When we got to the gate I checked my car seat and the lady at the desk told me I would need to check my suitcase as well. I had not planned on the suitcase part, so I had to adjust my plans on the fly. They would send the suitcase to the baggage claim, so I had them send the car seat there as well.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Before we left I researched TSA restrictions, and boy have they changed over the years, in a good way! There are many perks they afford to child travelers, including allowing liquids over 3.4 oz.
  2. We booked through southwest, and didn’t pay for early check in- and our boarding number wasn’t that good, despite checking in right on time. Luckily they have family boarding betweem Group A & Group B. If getting the best choice of seating is important to you, spend the money! If budget is an issue and you don’t mind leaving seating options to chance, skip it.
  3. I planned a late flight to increase the odds of him napping. While he didn’t sleep the whole flight, he did get a decent nap in- mostly because:
  4. We sat in the front row- It seemed like a good idea and it was! There was a little more space for my toddler to move around. It was hard for him to get comfortable in my lap, but I packed a muslin blanket, put it on the floor and he stretched out for a decent nap.
  5. The bad part of sitting in the front row was that you can’t have a bag stowed under the seat in front of you. I had a swing pack purse I snuck under my jacket full of snacks and small toys. After the plane got up to altitude they allow you to have more personal items with you, but being by myself, I made do with what was in my swing pack.
  6. As always, plan for the worst, hope for the best!

Overall, the flight out to Arizona went better than expected. Flying by myself with a toddler was an experience, but I was fortunate to have no major melt downs in the air. My toddler fussed for maybe 10 minutes about a half hour into the flight because he didn’t get his way- it wasn’t even directly related to ear popping. After that did I bribe him to behave? Absolutely. I had a game plan of snacks and activities, including felt books from Target, playdough, figurine toys, and Melissa and Doug Water Wow books and luck was on our side.

Could I have done things differently? Yes. Because of my budget I opted to not do the early check in, and not book my toddler his own seat. Both things turned out ok on the way there, but on the way back could have been very helpful. To book an airplane ticket for a small child I recommend calling the airline and asking about reduced fairs, which is something I had not considered until it was too late on the flight coming back.


Click Here to Read Part 2- How I Joined the Mile High Mama Club



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Book Review & Giveaway: The House That Cleans Itself

By January 15, 2018 How To, inspiration, Uncategorized, Wins

Book Review: The House That Cleans Itself
Mindy Starns Clark
Harvest House Publishers, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0736918800

It is no secret that I am not the best housekeeper. I love organizing and condensing household items, but I HATE CLEANING! One of my biggest anxiety triggers is cleaning. True story. Whenever I start to clean my house I get overwhelmed by the fact that cleaning just doesn’t come naturally to me, and I beat myself up over how my efforts never seem good enough. If someone is watching me clean- forget about it! I shut down and I become paralyzed by this anxiety.

For years I have been trying to overcome this hurdle in my life. From trying different cleaning schedules, hacks, and habits, to hiring housekeepers to come once a month to help out when I was working. I’ve gotten better at cleaning over the years, but I finally found an absolute game changer in the book, The House That Cleans Itself.

Finally I have found someone who gets me! In the first chapter the author admits that cleaning is a talent that not everyone possesses. Throughout the book she offers relatable stories from her own journey from messy to tidy, as well as sprinkling in “My most embarrassing messy house stories” from others. One thing that hooked me was the promise on the cover to show me, “how to keep your house twice as clean in half the time.” Digging in deeper (page 11), she spoke directly to my soul when she said her system will “take a person who feels like a failure in caring for his or her home and change that person into someone who is unburdened, unashamed, and successful in caring for their home.”



Awe struck at these sentiments, I couldn’t wait to turn the pages and reveal the secrets of the universe, and I was not disappointed! Her creative approach takes you through a step by step process that focuses on changing your environment instead of focusing on changing your habits. This was mind blowing to me! Her reasoning rings true though, if you could change your habits you would have done it already. What a game changer!

Skimming the table of contents, there are 2 parts to this book. The first part is her step by step process to start the journey to a tidier home, the planning and implementation, including two chapters on inviting God to your cleaning party. Trust me (or ask my husband), when it comes to keeping the house tidy, I definitely need God (laughing but serious). Its actually very refreshing that this is included in the book. Part 2 is about the CONVERT system that makes the cleaning process more manageable and includes tips on maintaining your new clean home.

Overall I loved this book! As a mother of a young child, there’s a constant struggle to keep an organized home. Toys can quickly add up, schedules can become overwhelming, and this book offers great solutions for those problems and so much more! The author’s tone is so relatable and down to Earth- there’s no judgement and it’s an easy read. I rate this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5.


Purchase The House That Cleans Itself: Creative Solutions for a Clean and Orderly House in Less Time Than You Can Imagine**


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2017 Recap & Top 3 Posts

By January 4, 2018 inspiration, Uncategorized, Wins

What a crazy year 2017 was! I started off the year working part time as a poker dealer at the casino for 6 months. I loved working there, but I was always stressing out about working weekends and finding babysitters around my husband’s shift work schedule. I kept trying to make shift switches with others and drove myself crazy trying to make it work while not forfeiting my entire paycheck to childcare costs.

The breaking point was when my husband and I decided we wanted to go on a 3 week Road Trip in September.  I rationalized that I wouldn’t possibly get the time off without losing my job, so I would put in my two weeks notice beforehand. We started planning this in May, and in June I decided to make June 29th my last day so I could enjoy being off for 4th of July.

Transitioning to being a stay at home mom terrified me completely! Growing up, I never considered being a stay at home mom. I’ve always had a strong work ethic and enjoyed the benefits of being financially independent. Working gave me a sense of accomplishment and contribution to the household that I could clearly define. Not having a job and depending completely on my husband was a completely foreign concept to me.

So there I was, trying to figure out what a stay at home mother does, trying to fill my calendar with playdates to fend off boredom, and trying to keep the house together when I felt like everything was falling apart. Luckily I had a great support system in my husband and parents and in-laws… until my parents and my in-laws both decided to move to Arizona. Eeep! There were several times I considered going back to work, but I couldn’t go back to the casino because of the hours, and starting over doesn’t really afford anyone the opportunity to start at the top and make their own rules like I wanted to.

Within 4 months of being at home with my son, I decided to look into Work At Home Mom jobs. My son was 18 months old at this point, and starting to be a busybody. With all that toddler energy and mayhem, WAHM jobs were not gonna happen.  At about this time, Facebook changed its algorithm and I kept seeing the same posts from the same people (my favorite pages) over and over again.  That’s when I decided, “I can do that!” When I was much younger I wanted to be a writer. That was 20 years ago, I was 12, and the internet was not what it is today.

Fast forward to today, and I am so excited to have my own website, a super supportive Facebook following, and over a dozen articles- which all came together in the last 6 to 8 weeks! I am so grateful to have this opportunity to write and connect with all of you!

In case you missed any of it, here are my top 3 articles of 2017:

5 Easy Tips to Smash the Hell Out of Your New Year’s Resolution!

The Best Gratitude Tip on The Internet

4 Creative Ways To Have The Ultimate Staycation

I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for all of us! Thanks for tuning in!


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Quiz: What Type of Granola Mom Are You?

By October 7, 2017 Uncategorized

For those of you who don’t know, a Granola Mom is a mother who is a nature loving, holistic, free spirit; who is into natural & DIY remedies, being green, and studying Montessori principals and minimalism. She is often described as an environmentally conscious neo-hippie, possibly leftist, who has achieved life balance and inner peace by meditating, going to yoga, surfing Pinterest, and eating sprouts… Clearly this is not me. I’m exhausted just reading that, but I do think some of those qualities are admirable and worth striving for in order to live your best life. While the above description seems a little hardcore, there are many levels to being Granola and living a well-balanced life. Take the quiz below to find out what kind of Granola Mom you are:

1. What is your favorite yoga pose?
a. Cat pose / Cow Pose
b. Planking when I go to sleep?
c. Flying Lizard
d. My yoga pants don’t actually go to yoga

2. If I’m lacking energy, I’ll grab a drink of:
a. Water
b. Coffee
c. A green smoothie
d. An energy drink

3. If your child scrapes his or her knee, your first reaction is:
a. “Rub some dirt in it!”
b. “It’s ok, I’ll take care of you.”
c. “Let me rub some healing salve on it.”
d. “That’s what you get for running around so much.”

4. When you think of meditation, you think:
a. I’m glad I can find 5-10 minutes to clear my mind
b. I’d like to try it, but I don’t have the concentration
c. Shhh…. OM…
d. Who has time for that

5. What do you do for fun?
a. Hiking, biking, anything outdoors really
b. I like cooking or listening to music
c. Belly Dancing and learning other cultures
d. Zone out in front of the TV

Now, count up your answers and check the results. You may fit into more than one category, or none of them.

If you answered mostly A’s- You are a granola bar mom. You like the idea of being granola, but you also like convenience since you are always on the go. Others might call you “scrunchy.” You like nature, but you can appreciate modern convenience like electricity and flushing toilets. You are open minded and like to try the latest healthy trends.

If you answered mostly B’s- You are a granola cereal mom. You’ve thought about upping your granola game, but you like to stick with what works for you. Sometimes you like to read about the latest health trends or parenting hacks but you only apply practical concepts to your daily routine. Your goal is to raise well-adjusted kids in this crazy world.

If you answered mostly C’s- You are an authentic, homemade granola mom, probably with flax seed or sorghum. You love living by your own rules and you only want the best for the people in your life. Often times that means going outside the box compared to what is mainstream. By marching to the beat of your own Shamanic drum, you have found your own recipe for happiness and personal enlightenment.

If you answered mostly D’s- You are a Rice Crispy Treat mom, not even close to granola, but delightful in your own way. You are straight forward, sticking with what works for you, and you don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Your idea of enlightenment is giving zero f*cks. You probably think granola is for hippies who like eating cardboard.

Bottom Line: Let’s face it, whether our idol is Martha Stewart, June Cleaver, a Granola Mom, or someone else, we all have an idea of what being a perfect mother is, and we are all failing to live up to our high expectations. No one is perfect. There is no way to prepare for motherhood, there is only taking one day at a time and trying to survive and hopefully thrive. Some days you will feel like you have it all together, while others you may feel like a Granola Mom Failer. And that’s ok, so long as you put one foot in front of the other and realize that just because you are a FAILER does not mean you are a FAILURE.


Please comment below with your results. I look forward to hearing your responses!

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