Posts — Page 9 of 12 — Stella Nadene | Health + Wellness for Working Moms
My 7 Cheap + Favorite Home Workout Equipment Options

My 7 Cheap + Favorite Home Workout Equipment Options

My most favorite 7 pieces of low cost home workout equipment, how I use them, and why I love them.

 

7 most favorite + low cost home workout equipment

 

In all honesty, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t work out. I mean, from the time I was a teen until now, I’ve always known that keeping active was a really important way to stay toned and strong and healthy. But also to keep extra weight off.

Admittedly that’s way harder once you have kids. But the bottom line is to stay moving for your health, whether it’s walking, cardio, or strength training. That’s what True Self Care is about–keeping your health strong so you can run your household well. And be a great wife and mom. Which can be time consuming. That’s why I love these 7 pieces of low cost home workout equipment. They’re cheap, easy, and stay right here at home sweet home.

Which is where I tend to enjoy working out the most!

 

My 7 most favorite low cost home workout equipment

1.Kettlebell

 

Until about 8 months ago I was scared of these things. I seem to remember seeing cross-fitters slinging these things around with determined fury on their faces while they dripped with sweat. And all I could imagine was an impending head trauma if their sweaty palms caused it to go flying across the room.

They’re actually pretty awesome, though. Kettlebells give you the extra weight that you need when doing a ton of squats and other work on your legs and butt to help build muscle. Plus if you can keep a grip on them, the swinging exercises are actually kinda fun.

One other way I use them is adding extra weight if I’m doing bridges or anything else standing to help stabilize and work my core more.

There are options for these where you can add and subtract weights, but those can get pretty pricey. I actually went into the store and picked up the kettlebells to see what weight felt comfortable for me. But if you’d rather order online, Amazon has some fantastic options for kettlebells that come as a set of different weights.

 

Schedule in a trip to Walmart or Target or sporting goods store and see which weight you should start with. You want easy enough to lift (obviously) but with a bit of a challenge. Then check pricing and purchase! Heck, get the next heavier weight one if you’re feeling super ambitious!

 

2.Free Weights

 

Ok, yeah, these are teeny little free-weights. BUT–I use them for extra core stabilization, etc when doing standing arm work. I’m telling you, you don’t need a ton of weight for doing that kinda work! A friend of ours got a Pelaton bike and said it comes with tiny ones like that, and he scoffed at it. Until he used them and thought he was gonna die. And this is a big dude.

I originally used free weights back in the day when I did Cindy Crawford workouts at home. (Dear God, how old am I?) Anyway, even the smaller ones help with endurance when you’re doing a lot of reps, and are a really good place to start for low cost at home workout equipment.

 

Check out small free weights online or while you’re checking out kettlebells. See what feels comfortable and get yours! (And if your budget allows, maybe get the set that includes several weights and the stand, or even the option where you can add and subtract weights.)

 

3.Mini Foam Roller

 

TBH, I actually found this little gem at Target. In the dollar spot. So no doubt you’ll never be able to find one again so cheap. However, they do have mini foam rollers at Amazon as well.

These things are used for deep tissue massage. Many people are using at least one day a week now as their rest/recoop day, and this is one of the things recommended to do. Roll out your soreness. I’m not gonna lie–if you’re really sore, you may consider this thing Level 10 torture. But even when I’m not sore, I still roll my muscles on it because it feels sooooo good!

 

Check out rollers online or in the store, and find your fave color and size. Then check out Youtube for instructions on using it! There are really a million different ways to roll the soreness or stiffness out!

 

 

4.Mini Loop Resistance Bands

 

These little cuties will usually come in an assortment of colors to help you tell which is which. Each color means a different thickness of the band. The thicker the band, the more resistance it’ll give you.

My favorite thing to use these for is doing lunges. You just put one around your thighs and do lunges–it’ll make you work twice as hard!

There are a lot of other workouts available online to show you how to use them for working all other muscle groups. But if we’re traveling, this is absolutely what I pack because they’re literally flat. They’re honestly the most travel-friendly of the low cost home workout equipment.

 

Make a list of exercises you can do using resistance bands, and order your set! Make sure to put a copy of the list inside the bands storage bag. Then when you travel, it’s right there! When you’re not traveling, keep these close to the TV–great way to get in strength while you binge your fave shows!

 

5.Ab Roller

 

I really don’t know any other exercise that’s so hard for me to do than use this working all other muscle groups. Basically you get on your knees and grab the handles, and slowly roll it forward to get as close as you can to your chest and stomach touching the floor. Without falling on your face, that is.

Then stop, and pull back up to the knee-sitting position.

Then repeat until your abs are gonna fall off.

 

This one I definitely recommend to try before you buy. Or buy on Amazon Prime w/the free returns option. That way you can send back if this is a ‘no-go’ for you. Before you give up, though, I want to give a gentle reminder that if it was easy everyone would do it! You have to start somewhere, and this thing is crazy good for rebuilding that core after babies have stretched it to kingdom come and back. *Check with your doc if you have diastis recti first, though!

 

6.Yoga Mat

 

I know this one looks obvious, and yes-I do actually do yoga with it. But I also do workouts on the Tone It Up app, and they use a yoga mat a lot of times as a thin cover to sit on if you’re outside. They also use it to sort of delineate a space to work in on certain exercises. So it serves several purposes.

I haven’t owned a lot of yoga mats, so I can’t recommend a certain brand based on quality. And anyway, I’d probably just choose whatever color I liked best anyhow. 🙂

 

This one’s easy: Just pick a color you love and just order the darn thing! 🙂

 

7. Extra-Thick Yoga Mat

 

This, my friends, is what will save your knees and elbows and wrists and ankles when you’re actually doing yoga. Normally yoga classes are done on a hard floor surface, and I don’t have padding on my knees. I’m always in pain. And it makes the class not worth it. And then I’m just frustrated because that was my designated ‘me-time’ and I didn’t fully enjoy it.

So I discovered there are super thick yoga mats. They range from 1/2″ thickness to 1″ thickness. And I’m telling ya, if you have pain on all those joints when trying to do poses on your knees, this is what you need!

I just put mine under my regular yoga mat and I’m good to go! (Also, when the 4 year old wants to do yoga with Mommy she takes the pretty pink one and I get the thick black one.)

 

Try out some poses on your hands and knees with your regular yoga mat on a hard surface floor. If you’re dying, go ahead and find one of these 1/2″ to 1″ super thick mats! They’re lifesavers!

What’s your favorite low cost home workout equipment? Let me know in the comments!

 

Know someone that could use help with finding low cost home workout equipment options? Please SHARE this post!

 

Think a home gym is too expensive? Think again--here are my favorite low cost home workout equipment that you must have for a diy home gym. They need very little storage space! See how these 7 pieces of weights + others are the best at helping build your abs, cardio, arms, and lower bodies into shape. Can even be used with HIIT workouts for fat burning! #fitness #fitnessgirl #fitnessmotivation #fitnessinspiration

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle You Don’t Want to Miss Out On!

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle You Don’t Want to Miss Out On!

So I totally understand that sometimes you just need some resources that are low-cost but laser-focused on your specific needs at that time. Which is why you probably Google specific topics or search on Pinterest for those specific things. I’m telling you right now–if you need a collection of resources that fits that bill for all things Homemaking–The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is IT!

 

 

When you buy the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, you’ll get access to:

  • 62 eBooks
  • 30 eCourses, videos & audio files
  • 34 printables & workbooks,
  • and 3 membership sites

… all curated to give you an insanely helpful collection of resources to touch every part of your homemaking journey – at a price that’s too good to miss.

 

 

Check out the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle right here:

 

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2018

 

Know someone that could use a library of resources valued at over $3500 for just $29.97? Please SHARE this post! But do it quick–it’s only for SIX DAYS per year!! (Ends April 16th, 2018!!)

 

Everything Newbies Need to Do on Their First Day at the Gym

Everything Newbies Need to Do on Their First Day at the Gym

4 Tips for newbies to make their first day at the gym a little less stressful.

Collaborative post.

 

A really great option for Moms to add to their Self Care routine is going to the gym. It gives us the chance to get fit in a safe environment while using some of the most contemporary and state-of-the-art fitness machines. Plus, there will be lots of personal trainers on hand to give you lots of tips and advice.

 

However, lots of newbies can be super nervous about going to the gym on their very first day. It can seriously feel a bit like the first day at school! But there’s no reason to be too anxious about it. Check out these ways to feel right at home plus get the most for your money!

 

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1.Dress The Part

 

It’s super important that you have some good sports clothes to wear. These types of clothes are specially made to help you move easily while working out. Plus, some are made from special materials that will lift the sweat off your body, making you a lot more comfortable during the session.

You also need good quality shoes as well. Ideally, find some sneakers that have lots of support in them as they will prevent you getting shin splints and other injuries from strain.

And last, you’ll need a good gym bag to keep your items in. It’s recommended that you designate this bag only for gym clothes so you can keep everything together, plus contain gym-smells.

 

Ask friends and family for some recommendations on good gym shoes. Especially if you have a specific foot shape or condition that someone else you knows shares. Or Google it! Shoes are super important for working out!

 

2. Take A Look At The Classes On Offer

 

When people think about joining the gym, they often only think about the different machines and equipment they can use. But there are so many more opportunities to help you get fit. Most gyms also offer fitness classes that include cardio options, strength training, a combination of those, and even yoga.

Some clubs, such as Club Fitness have their focus solely on classes. So, on your first day at the gym, it’s a good idea to find out about the different classes you can take to see if there are any that you really like.

 

Classes can be a fantastic way to stay motivated to get to the gym every week! Make a list of classes you’d like to do or try and once you start looking at or find a gym, match up your list to times you can make the classes.

 

3. Take A Tour

 

Most gyms will advise you to take a tour on your first day as a member. This gives you a chance to find your way around and see all of the cool features and amenities the gym offers. These kinds of tours are often taken by the gym’s personal trainers, so you will be able to ask them any questions that you might have.

Some gyms these days will also do specials where you get a free month of personal training. Take advantage of that on your first day at the gym, because they will usually map out a plan for you to reach your fitness goals. This can do wonders for your motivation! (And seriously, trainers usually charge a lot per hour, so this is an awesome deal!)

 

Make a list of questions to ask as you get the tour. Also think about what your fitness goals are so you can take full advantage and be prepared for your free sessions with the personal trainer if they offer that!

 

4. Don’t Overdo It

 

Be easy on yourself at your very first workout in the gym. It’s easy to get nasty (and inconvenient + totally preventable) injuries if you overdo it too soon. But also if you don’t know how to use the equipment correctly.

 

Make sure to stretch before your workout, and take it easy while you learn the proper way to use all the equipment. And don’t be afraid to ask someone that works at the gym for help! That’s what they’re paid to do–help you!

 

Know someone that could use some tips for their first day at the gym? Please SHARE this post!

 

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Complete Closet Cleanout in a Fast Weekend

Complete Closet Cleanout in a Fast Weekend

A massive Closet Cleanout and Organization in a fast weekend with 9-ish steps that will totally liberate your Mama mind.

 

For many of us busy Mamas, our closet isn’t just the place we toss our dirty socks and undies, or hang our sweaters haphazardly at the end of the day. It’s a hiding place. It’s a crying place. And sometimes it’s our best safe haven from a major losing our shiznit-fest. And unfortunately, it’s usually an overstuffed menagerie of too small or big clothes, mismatched earrings, and shoes from the early 2000’s that we just can’t let go of. Because sometimes, a good closet cleanout–like our own Self Care–gets thrown to the wayside. Mom guilt’s just that way.

But. BUT. It’s spring, time for Spring Cleaning, and it’s time to get a grasp on our Self Care, and kick the guilt to the curb. Because part of Self Care is taking care of our stress levels, too. And that means taking the time to get our lovely belongings organized so we can find stuff when we need it. And have a pretty and clean place to hide, cry, or eat the rest of the Girl Scout cookies.

 

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Lately I’m so in love with the concept of minimalization. It’s in ridding ourselves of the extra ‘stuff’ that truly clears out our minds and spirits so we have room to breathe. And that includes our closets. Heck, that probably started with our closets! Women have a tendency to hang on to lots of things because they’re sentimental. So if that’s you, you may have a tough time with this one. But you’re gonna have to make like Elsa just long enough to get some space and sanity back.

 

Here’s your ultimate guide for Closet Organization, and your printable checklists + labels while cleaning and organizing.

 

**But FIRST things FIRST! Set aside a weekend (yes, a whole weekend!!) to accomplish this! You’re a mom, you’ll absolutely  have interruptions and tiny humans to feed and supervise. If your hubby/partner can keep the monkeys outta your hair these 2 days, maybe promise them something nice in return. 😉

Once you’ve confirmed your days, print out your labels and your checklist for your Closet Cleanout + Organization.

*Tips: Start early (like as soon as the coffee kicks in) and keep going as long as you can until your brain feels fried. Then take your first break. When you get a wind of motivation, keep ridin’ it, Sister!

 

1.Purge

 

Get ready for step one. Cause it’s a doozy. And you’re gonna shortly regret this journey probably. Because you need to EMPTY your closet! Seriously, you can’t see what you have, and determine what you haven’t seen in literally a year until you empty that whole entire thing.

Also, you’ll be being very selective with what goes BACK into your closet. So don’t allow anything to sneakily settle underneath your long-hanging clothes. Empty it ALL!!

WHILE you’re emptying, every item needs to be put into either 1-the trash, 2-the donate pile, 3-the ‘think about it’ pile, or 4-the keep pile. This is where those handy labels in your free printable come in.

 

2.Rules of ‘The Piles’

 

Unfortunately, you can’t keep everything and just rearrange it nicely. That’s not what a clean-out is. It’s minimizing the stuff that’s taking up brain-space and physical space. It’s reallocating things you don’t use or need to people who do need and will use it. And it’s getting rid of things that should honestly just be in the garbage anyway. (Like those eye shadow duo sets from 8 years ago that you keep because you *may* see a nightclub again on a girl’s night out that seems to never happen now for…ya know, 8 years.)

So how do you determine what to keep and what to get rid of?

Here are the rules:

Toss bin-Anything that is too raggedy to donate (holes or stains or falling apart or pieces missing or basically any makeup or toiletry item.) Use common sense.

Donate bin- If you haven’t worn it in a year, donate it as long as it’s still in good shape.

Keep bin- Obviously all the things you want to hang on to because you WEAR them, THEY FIT, and THEY LOOK GOOD ON YOU. If it doesn’t fit all of these criteria, DONATE IT. (The only single caveat here would be like one or two ratty shirts and pants if you do DIY work, crafts, or dye your own hair, etc, and need clothes that it’s ok to get messy.)

Think about it bin- This is for stuff you feel like you can’t part with and need to think about. The rule for this bin is that you have 24 hours. You must be ruthless on this. Otherwise you’ll just hang on until you’ve convinced yourself you need to keep it, and the cycle of too much stuff starts over. BE RUTHLESS IN YOUR PURGE!!

 

Grab your FREE Closet Organization packet HERE–click the image below!

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3.Designate Areas

 

So not everything will go back onto a hanging rod, obviously. In that respect, you need to designate a place for different categories of stuff. You know the adage, “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.” That little phrase helps keep us organized so that when we need something, we can find it IMMEDIATELY! (I can’t tell you how much that helps my sanity levels–especially when I’m in a hurry!)

It may help to take a piece of paper and map out where everything should go. And don’t be influenced by these glossy magazines showing perfectly organized and put up closets. Nobody actually lives in those things. You have to organize based on what makes the most sense for you. For example, even though I have a crap-ton of joggers, I actually sleep in some, so I put them in my ‘pj drawer’. That keeps them separate because when I need sleep clothes, I automatically go to that drawer and don’t have to think about it. If they’re not in that drawer, it means they’re all dirty. Check out this guide for how to create your own ‘zones.

 

4.Label Containers

Containers for things you don’t use every day are a really great idea to keep your closet organization on track and looking nice and neat where you can. If you’re a shoe collector and actually store your shoes, get some really great shoe boxes and label them.

I have baskets for different things like toiletry stock-up items, kids’ tooth fairy and Santa letters, and travel items. Each basket is the same size and color, but has a label on the front so I know what’s what. It eliminates the visual clutter of a million things in a container. (Plus hides that kid stuff from nosy little monkeys diggin’ around where they shouldn’t be.)

A label-maker is awesome for this, but also is great to have around the house in general! I use this labelmaker, and have had it for probably 8 or 9 years and it’s never broken. And I think I’ve only changed the batteries ONCE!

 

5.Replace your keepers

Once you’ve gotten everything sorted, stored, and labeled, you can start putting things back into your closet per your drawing. Put ‘everything in it’s place’. Make sure sweaters are properly folded, and if you have drawers, decide if you want to stack clothing vertically (file-system style) or horizontally.

Hang clothes according to season, and then switch out once you’ve purged for that season. (Yep, you gotta keep this purge thing going!)

Place all boxes and containers according to what you need to reach on a more frequent basis.

 

6.Give yourself 24

After the 24 hours is up, go through that ‘Think about it bin’ and either put it in the ‘donate’ bin, or put back in your closet. (It usually belongs in donate!) I really love this infographic from the Dr. Oz site that shows what to keep, toss, or donate:

 

7.Toss

 

Whatever is trash, go ahead and get rid of. There’s no need to keep it hanging around. If you have specific trash days and your cans are full already, I recommend putting everything into a black trash bag, double tying it, and keeping in the garage or somewhere the kids can’t find it. (Am I the only one whose kids can find ANYTHING I’m trying to get rid of and hoard it back into their rooms to make a giant mess with later…?)

 

8.Donate

And lastly, go ahead on Sunday and donate the piles you eliminated from your closet. Don’t forget to grab a receipt for taxes!

 

9. Admire

Step back and admire the hard work you did! It’s really hard to make closet cleanout + organization a priority with everything else in life going on! And make sure to make good on the ‘thank you promise’ you made to your lovey for keeping the rugrats occupied! <3

 

 

**Tips for staying in the Minimized Mama Zone**

>>> Use the “1 in: 1 out” rule–if you go shopping, any time you put any one thing in your closet, you have to purge one item as well. Some Mamas find that if they put ONLY the exact number of hangers they need, it helps them remember this and enforce it with themselves.

>>> Consider a ‘capsule wardrobe’. This helps minimize feeling like you need to buy every little trendy piece you see. It gives your mind more freedom without worry of putting together outfits because nearly everything matches and goes together.

 

Hey, Friend…do you need some serious help with minimizing the clutter around your house?

Check out this absolutely amazing course called Your Uncluttered Home!

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Know someone that could use help with closet cleanout and organization? Please SHARE this post!

 

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How to Find the Perfect Rental Home

How to Find the Perfect Rental Home

5 questions to ask to prevent stress down the road when trying to find the perfect rental home.

Collaborative post.

 

When you are renting a property, rather than buying, the criteria during your search are slightly different. Instead of thinking long term, you need to be thinking about the immediate future and, as you won’t be able to make substantial changes, the finish is important. Some planning and education on your part will make this financial decision easier to handle. And using these 5 questions will alleviate a ton of the stress that can potentially come up afterwards when you’re trying to find the perfect rental.

 

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Before you do anything, you will need to make sure that the property is sound and you get on with either the landlord or the leasing agent. This is vital because once you’re in, these are the main things that you will not be able to change. And, since you are relying upon the landlord or letting agent to deal with problems like faulty boilers or damage, you’ll need to know that someone will be with you as soon as possible. When a problem needs to be remedied asap, you need to know it will happen.

 

You should also look at the interior of the property and decide whether it is to your taste or not. Some landlords are quite flexible about you making changes but others aren’t. How long you are planning to stay may also factor into this. If you are just looking for a quick month rental, you can be much more forgiving about a property interior than if you plan to stay for several years.

 

Is the Property Sound?

 

The first question you should really ask about any property is whether it is sound or not. A sound property won’t have any damp, will be well constructed with no leaks or gaps, and doesn’t have any glaring structural problems. If the property does have any of these issues you should walk away immediately. It will not be worth your time or hassle to deal with.

 

There a few other things you should think about as well. A sound property will be clean and bright and, importantly, shouldn’t smell at all. If there is an overpowering scent of air freshener or potpourri, be wary. You should pay a little more attention while you walk around as it may be covering something nasty. Feel free to run your hands along the walls to check for damp if you suspect it may be there but can’t see it.

 

Is the Landlord or Leasing Agent Easy to Talk to?

 

If you are happy with the quality of the building, the next question is whether you can talk to the landlord or leasing agent easily. This is important because this is who will be solving any issues that arise while you live there. An attentive landlord or agent will be keen to keep you happy while trying to find the perfect rental, especially if you are on a rolling monthly contract, so make sure you get on with them on the viewing.

 

Having a leasing agent is sometimes a slightly easier route as they may be more on the ball than a private landlord. However, this isn’t always true so do take the time to get to know who you are dealing with when trying to find the perfect rental. Do a bit of research on the leasing agency to find out what sort of reputation they have before you go and look at the property. Obviously, you should avoid any leasing agency with a poor reputation but do take reviews with a pinch of salt.

 

Is the Interior to Your Taste?

 

Once you have established the most basic things, you should turn your attention to the interior. Many rented properties, particularly in city centres can be quite small. So it is important that the flow of the property is logical. In houses that have been split into apartments, this might take a little imagination, but as long as there aren’t any really weird things, keep an open mind.

 

Modern buildings tend to be decorated quite sparingly and are often quite easy to move straight into. However, older buildings do have their charm and can be quite forgiving if they are done nicely. If you already have your furniture, measure the interiors to make sure that it will fit. And will fit through the door! Taking these measurements now will make it much simpler later on.

 

The vast majority of properties for rent are done in fairly neutral colors so that you can put your own personal stamp on the place with accessories. However, some properties are not neutral colors. You may need to think carefully about whether you can live with the colors that are there. Some landlords are happy for their tenants to make some changes. But you will need to ask first and always get their terms in writing.

 

Will You Be Allowed to Make Any Changes?

 

When signing a long term contract, always ask whether you will be able to make any changes. Simple changes like repainting the interior will probably not be a problem. Most landlords are fine with neutral colors as long as you agree to repaint before you leave.

 

Sometimes a house for rent comes with a garden, you may wish to make some changes here. Whether you are allowed to or not is a decision your landlord will have to make. Plus, it may be that you’ll have a gardener who comes to the property to maintain it anyway. The best thing to do here is to make a plan of what you would like to do. Then present it to the landlord so they decide whether to let you go ahead or not.

 

It’s very unlikely that you will be allowed to make any structural changes. And, since you are only going to be living here on a short term basis, it may not be worth you spending the money on someone else’s property. However, if you are planning to stay a long time, it might be worth making some suggestions to your landlord and even splitting the cost. This way you get to live in the property you really want for a long time. And they benefit from a much more logical layout.

 

Also keep in mind storage for things and closet space. Organizing a closet later can get challenging if you’re not allowed to add any shelving needed. Some landlords are perfectly find adding things like this into the contract, but make sure all agreements are in writing.

 

Is the Furniture Included?

 

Many rentals are shown with furniture, or staged. It’s important that you clarify what is included and what isn’t. Sometimes the furniture is just there to give you an idea of what your rental could look like. It’s a bit like a showroom.

 

If the furniture is included, you should definitely try it out. Open cupboards, sit on sofas and try the bed – all assuming there isn’t a current tenant living there! If the furniture isn’t to your taste, do say so. And ask whether the landlord would be willing to rent the property without the furniture. This might be a problem, especially if the landlord is looking for a quick rent. But it could be a good move for everyone.

 

Using the current furniture is a good idea if you don’t own your own or you’re only looking for a short rent. There’s no point spending a lot of money getting all new stuff just to move out again soon. Instead, wait until you are in your ‘forever home’ and save the money while you can.

 

Rental properties are great for short and long term stays. But are also perfect for anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of a mortgage or is saving up to get on the property ladder. Getting the most for your money is key to ensure that you can still save while you rent. So think carefully about where you compromise and where you dig your heels in when trying to find the perfect rental.

 

Know someone that could use help with find the perfect rental? Please SHARE this post!

 

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7 Ways to Hydrate the Heck Out of Your Self Care

7 Ways to Hydrate the Heck Out of Your Self Care

Hydrate the Heck Outta Your Self Care: 7 Tricks to Help You Add Even More Water to Your Daily Intake to Boost Your Health and Eliminate Some Unwanted Health Issues.

 

Waaaay back when I was in high school and college, water intake wasn’t on the forefront of health news. And they certainly hadn’t started bashing added sugars, nor started scolding us for drinking sodas. So back in those days, my beverages consisted of mainly straight juice, sweet tea (I am from the South), and sodas. All full of sugar. Like, LOADED with sugar!

I couldn’t understand why certain weird and undesirable things were going on as a teenager and young adult in my body. Things like terrible skin, horrible mood swings, and what I now know was the beginning of my panic attacks.

Being dehydrated, or even almost dehydrated can cause some really crummy things to go on in your body. And as a busy Mama, these crummy things are just some of the little things that stress us out, and put us on edge when we’re already being pushed to our limits in day to day life. Being hydrated is part of our True Self Care.

 

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When you get enough water during the day, it can help with:

>Improving your skin, hair, and nails

>Relieving headaches

>Reducing muscle cramps

>Helping to flush out your body

>Improving weight loss efforts

>Giving you more energy

>Helping wounds heal faster

>Improving concentration levels and mood

 

ALL of those things make it uber worth it to me to drink more!! 

Here’s how I get as much water as possible on the daily:

1.Drink It Before Every Meal

 

The first tip for drinking more water on a regular basis is simple – just have a full glass before each meal and snack you consume, including before your morning cup of coffee. This is one of those simple reminders that allows you to drink more of the good stuff, without really having to think too much about it. Train your mind to know that if you are going to put anything into your body, whether it is your breakfast or a late-night treat, you have to drink 8 ounces of water first.

This provides multiple benefits. First, it reminds you to drink another glass. It’ll also going to help your food digest a little better. Plus, it prevents you from overeating since it helps to fill you up a little. It’s not uncommon to think you’re hungry, when you’re actually thirsty. (Especially if you’ve eaten a super salty meal earlier in the day!) If you’re not hungry after a full glass, wait a bit before eating.

You should also try to drink a glass of water before or after every other beverage you drink. Force yourself to drink the same amount of it as the other beverage you’ve consumed.

 

2.Infuse or Flavor It

 

A common problem people have with drinking water isn’t that they don’t remember to drink it, but they’re just not interested in it. This is totally true for me, and was a big issue when I was pregnant. I finally found one brand that I sort of craved. (Yeah, that had to do with hormones, those darn things!) The good news is, you have some other options. You don’t necessarily have to drink just plain filtered or tap water all day, every day. There are many ways to add flavor and make it more interesting, without piling on the sugar and calories.

The Simple Method

If you are short on time and just want a super quick way to add flavor, go with lemon water. All you need to do is add a few lemon wedges, squeezing in the juice first, then putting the wedges in it. Lemons have a lot of tart juice, so this will flavor your water quickly and easily. You can also try a mixture of lemon and lime, or use other juicy fruits like grapefruit. (Just one tip is to not let it sit for a long time, even in the fridge. The rinds have a tendency to leech out super bitter/sour taste if left too long. Trust me. It’s mouth-puckering.)

Fruit or Vegetable Infused

This is one of my absolute favorites! And when I make this ahead of time and store it in a beautiful pitcher in the fridge, I find that I crave it all day! When you can spend more time on it, you can use other fruits, vegetables, and even herbs to flavor your water. This is called infused water, since it’s a longer infusing process. You aren’t just flavoring it with these ingredients, but adding more nutrients from the produce and herbs.

To make infused water, you should have a glass pitcher and access to filtered water preferably. Prepare your fruits, veggies, and herbs depending on what they are. Berries should be sliced so you can access the juice inside, fruits with hard skin should be peeled first. Veggies should also be peeled and chopped. Muddle your herbs to release the oils and flavors.

Add the ingredients to the bottom of the pitcher, cover with ice, then add your water. Let it sit in the refrigerator for as long as you can before drinking it, which really allows those flavors and nutrients to come through. And oh goodness, are they delicious!

 

3.Choose a Cup You Love to Use

 

Do you want to encourage yourself to hydrate more? It’s all in the cup! Seriously, I’m so guilty of this, and it drives my husband nuts! If you use boring water bottles you don’t like, then you probably won’t drink as much as you should. A good way to have fun with it and remember to bring the bottle everywhere with you is to choose a bottle or cup that works best for you.

This might mean the overall look and color of it, or the ease of holding onto it while walking. There are so many small details that determine if it’s a good fit or not. For example, if you drive a lot, you want it to fit perfectly in your cup holder. On the other hand, if you bike for exercise, you may want it to have a tight lid, but one that is easy to pop off when drinking while riding.

Try out a few different cups until you feel like you have found the one that is perfect for you.

 

4.Limit Other Drinks You Consume

 

Another little trick for drinking more water is to reduce all of the other drinks you consume. This doesn’t mean drinking water 100 percent of the time. But, it does help to reduce the ‘bad’ beverages, so that when you are thirsty, you go for water instead. This eventually increases your water intake simply because you’re going for water when you feel thirsty, and not other beverages.

 

5. Track Your Intake

 

This isn’t something you need to do every day for the rest of your life, but for now, it might be hard to determine how much water to drink, and if you’ve even reached your goal for the day. Start by figuring out a good way to track your water. This can be an app on your phone, a notepad, a planner you keep in your purse, or a program on your computer. {Or just download the one below!}

Start by tracking your water for a few days before trying to increase how much you drink. This lets you know how much you’re currently drinking on an average day. If it’s less than 8-10 glasses of water (8 ounces each) a day, you need to start increasing it. Once you are tracking daily, it helps you know how and when to drink a little more throughout the day.

 

6.Enjoy Fruits & Veggies with High Water Content

 

If you find that you simply can’t drink enough water, then eat your water instead! You should still try to drink as much as you can, but this is good for the days when you’re a little below your water intake goal. There are fruits and veggies that have a high water content, therefore helping to hydrate you. (Read: This does NOT mean drinking these as a juice–this means eating the fruit or veggie, thereby getting the fiber to offset the sugars you’ll be ingesting.) These include:

Cucumbers
Grapefruit
Apples
Pineapple
Lettuce
Celery
Radishes
Watermelon

 

 

7.Try These Reminders

 

If you enjoy water, but you often forget to drink more of it, these little reminders can be helpful for you.

  1. Drink water before every meal, snack, and other beverage
  2. Have a glass first thing when you wake up
  3. Hydrate before or after your workouts
  4. Drink a glass of water after every trip to the bathroom
  5. Have a glass or bottle every time you enter your office or your home

 

As long as you keep these reminders in the back of your mind, and follow the other tips mentioned, you should be on your way to dramatically increasing your water intake and reaping the awesome benefits from it! I promise your body will thank you!!

 

Grab your Hydration Tracker here–click the image below!

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What tricks do you use to get more hydrated? Let me know in the comments!

Know someone that could use help with increasing their hydration? Please SHARE this post!

 

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5 Ways to Manage Your Time Better as a Mom and Get More Done

5 Ways to Manage Your Time Better as a Mom and Get More Done

5 Time Saving Mom Hacks to Manage Your Time Better by Finding More Time to Get More Done.

Collaborative post.

 

Time is an often overlooked and under appreciated gift.  We are each given 24 hours a day, yet we don’t always make the best use of our time. We get distracted with the busyness of life which pulls us in all sorts of directions. If you don’t manage your time it’s easy to spread ourselves too thin to be truly effective within our roles at work and with our family.

 

The most precious resource in the world is time, as while it can be tempting to go on sites like status money to compare how we stack up against our peers, time is way more important than money or status.

 

Time is the most scarce resource we have as it’s comparatively much more difficult to make more time than it is to make more money.  For that reason, we’re going to take a look at some time saving tips and ways to manage your time better as a busy working moms.

 

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1.ORDER GROCERIES ONLINE

 

Think of how much time you could save if you were to simply order your groceries online and have them delivered to your door.  The drive to the store, the time in the store, packing bags, driving back, not to mention the potential for traffic.  Setting essential items to repeat on a weekly or monthly basis is a great way to keep on top of things without having to exert much mental energy.

If they can’t be delivered, nearly every major grocery chain is now doing curbside pickup. So you can just find your stuff online, set a time for pickup, and have them bring the groceries to your car. They even load them into the car for you.

{Read here about how to put 8 household chores on autopilot and save 14+ hours a week!}

 

2.GET A CLEANER

 

It’s true that not everyone can afford a cleaner. But this can be such a time (and sanity) saver, particularly for busy moms. I made the decision to forego other ‘luxuries’ during the month. Instead, I use that money to pay someone to clean our house every two weeks.

 In the alternative, you can always turn cleaning into a fun game where the kids get involved with cleaning as a playtime activity. Or set yourself a timer and see how much you can get done in just thirty minutes making cleaning a slightly more engaging and manageable task.

 

3.WORK REMOTELY

 

If possible, see if you can work remotely, from home, in a way that enables you to work flexible hours; as this way you are fitting your business around your life rather than the other way around.

 

 4.USE LISTS

 

The world’s most successful people have lists for everything, and these tasks get ticked off each and every day.  There are a number of apps such as Wunderlist and Trello to keep track of your lists. And the great thing with an app like this, is that you can create a number of categories in addition to a curated priority list.

 

There’s power in progress.  Indeed, each time you tick something off your list, you physically receive an endorphin rush. As you build more and more momentum, your productivity increases exponentially. This creates a positive snowball effect.

 

5.THE PARETO PRINCIPLE

 

Known more commonly as the 80/20 rule, and it suggests that 20% of our activities account for 80% of the outcome; therefore, you want to focus on what tasks are going to have the greatest impact and get these done first.  

 

The best way to go about this is to write a list of all your tasks for the day, week, or month. Then determine which tasks are going to create the greatest impact; and focus on getting those tasks done above all else.

 

Want to go EVEN DEEPER into time management? Sign up for the FREE Master Course: What Good Mothers Do! (Click the image to sign up!)

 

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What time saving tips and hacks do you use to manage your time better? Let me know in the comments!

 

Know someone that could use help with finding more time and getting more done in their day? Please SHARE this post!

 

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Easy Ways to Make Money During Naptime

Easy Ways to Make Money During Naptime

5 Easy Ways to Make Money With a Side Hustle While Your Kids Nap

Collaborative post.

 

When the kids are really young, many of us dream of long naps and a chance to catch up on our own sleep. The sleepless nights can mean that when they are asleep, we’ve got very little energy or will to do anything. But, then as they start to get older things change a little. Nights get easier, and naps less frequent but for most children, they still come up until the age of three or four. Then, we can feel lost. It seems like the perfect time to catch up with housework but after a morning running around after a toddler that’s the last thing that you feel like doing. You’re not tired enough to nap, but you don’t want to spend this precious quiet time cleaning the house. So, why not use it for making money while the kids nap?

 

Sure, that hour or two isn’t going to be enough to work a shift. But, it can give you the perfect bit of quiet time to sit down with your computer and earn some extra cash. Whether it’s just a little bit of pocket money or some cash for a treat, or extra to help get a debt paid off faster, it’s more than you’d have made doing nothing!

 

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So whether you call them part time side jobs, side hustle jobs, or side income from home, here are 5 easy ways to get started and make money during naptime.

 

Get on the Stock Market

 

Most of us that have never traded in stocks and shares are terrified of it. But, investing small amounts of money (certainly no more than you can afford to lose or do without) can give you a fantastic chance to help it to grow. Tools like a stock ratings checker make it easier for even the most clueless person to make the right investments and moves, and you only need a little bit of time each day to check the markets.

 

Take Some Surveys

 

There are plenty of online survey sites out there that will pay you to complete a set of questions. Often about products you buy or your experiences. They don’t pay huge amounts, but if you sign up for enough sites, there will always be opportunities. And, you can do it while watching TV or when the kids are asleep.

 

Browse the Internet

 

Website and app developers are always on the lookout for testers. They need to know that their products work well before launch. Some of these will pay you for testing them out and reporting your findings back.

 

Sell Stock Photos

 

There are countless stock photo sites out there, always on the lookout for quality photos to add to their ranks. If you’ve got a good DSLR and an interest in photography, start taking your camera out on walks with the kids or take photos of things around your house. Perhaps meals and toys. Or even random stuff while you’re doing activities in different seasons like Bucket List activities. Then, while the kids are sleeping, sort through your photos, do any necessary editing,  and list them for sale online.

 

Start a Blog

 

Blogging might not make money during naptime in the short term, but once you are established, it can make a regular income. Mummy blogs are incredibly popular as women look for advice and shared experiences online, they’re keen to know that they are not alone.

 

Need help budgeting those finances? Grab the Household Budgeting Binder by clicking the image below!

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Know someone that could use help with finding an easy starter side hustle while the kids nap? Please SHARE this post!

 

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How to Create the Ultimate Spring Bucket List Adventure

How to Create the Ultimate Spring Bucket List Adventure

The Steps to Create an Organized but Amazing Spring Bucket List Adventure For Your Whole Family Using Everyone’s Input.

 

Spring is one of my most favorite times of the year! For me it’s time for setting new annual goals, doing my annual review, doing Spring Cleaning AND– starting our Spring Bucket List!

I’m giving a list of epic ideas PLUS a spring-themed printable for you and the kiddos to create a whole new bucket list! Woo-hoo!

 

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So…let’s answer the biggest question here–especially if you’ve never heard of a ‘bucket list’.

Q: What the heck is a ____ Bucket List?

A: It’s a list of things you’d love to do or accomplish during a specified time period. It’s also a super creative way to gather the family and have some crazy memorable fun time that your kids won’t soon forget!

How to Make an Epic Bucket List That’ll Make Everyone Happy:

 

1. Start with categories like ‘places to go’, ‘things to see’, ‘ways to give or serve’, ‘festivals’, ‘trips to take’…you get the idea.

2.Then we let each kid make their own wish list (sometimes with the help of Pinterest).

3.Then we eliminate duplicates, and make one Master List.

4.And then–we POST IT!

(Don’t worry–the kids will nag you to death to schedule each and every one of the things you have listed!)

 

 

 

Fave Spring Bucket List Adventure Items:

 

Plant flowers

Start your veggie garden

Go camping

Donate cold-weather clothing

Make the house smell like Spring

Find an epic lemonade recipe

Paint Rocks

Make a suncatcher

Host a Spring or Easter party

Make plans for the best Spring Break ever!

Go bird watching (here’s the perfect journal!)

Have a movie marathon on the back patio

Make a gorgeous wreath for the front door

Play in the rain

Feed the ducks

Have a garage sale (after your Spring Cleaning!)

Decorate the driveway with sidewalk chalk

Go to the zoo

 

 

Inspired yet??! Here’s the download to get started with your OWN Spring Bucket List Adventure!

{Click the image below to download!}

 

And–if you’d like to document your Spring Break Bucket List in a paperback journal, and encourage your kiddos to write more–you’re in luck!

 

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More of the photobook type? Try Mixbook out here, or check out this post on why it’s our absolute go-to for photobooks!

 

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What’s on your Spring or Spring Break Bucket List?

 

Help a friend or family member create their own epic Spring Bucket List Adventure–SHARE this post or PIN it for later!

 

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Spring Cleaning Like a Mother Mega Guide and Checklist

Spring Cleaning Like a Mother Mega Guide and Checklist

The Mega Checklist to Spring Cleaning Like a Mother.

 

 

If you’ve read anything related to goal setting that I’ve written, you’ll know that I really hate doing any kind of annual planning or goal setting at the new year. I’m not motivated to get a fresh start planning when it’s cold and brown and crusty outside. What really gets me motivated is the start of spring. And Spring Cleaning is ALWAYS the catalyst to get my butt in gear!

Something about the new baby animals, the brilliant greens of new plant growth, and the fresh earthy smell first thing in the morning makes me want to get on shaking all the winter dust off everything and throw up bright colors! (Don’t get me started on Easter…)

But the planning involved admittedly gives me some heart palpitations. Even though I love me a good checklist from Martha Stewart, I’ve felt in the past like some of her checklists aren’t quite as practical or thorough as I tend to get on this type of stuff. (Ask my family–I LOVE a spreadsheet!)

 

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So I’ve put together a guide for your Spring Cleaning (inside and outside) to get ready for this beautiful weather ahead!

And just an FYI–this Spring Cleaning list is VERY similar to the Fall Cleaning checklist, but there are a few changes related to time of year, logistics, etc.

 

INSIDE SPRING CLEANING:

Kitchen

 

  • First things first–do a deep cleaning. You know–pull all items away from back edge of the counter top and wipe underneath everything, scrub out the sink, etc. (Unless you think you’ll make a big mess while doing everything else–then save this for last.)
  • Next (in no particular order) it’s time to clean out the fridge and pantries. While doing this part, it’s a good idea to think about creating a lunch and snack prep area for kids to make school lunches/snacks. I’ve found that just one of these bins in the fridge and a few others in the pantry corral lunch and snack stuff + cheese sticks, etc beautifully!
  • Next you’ll want to go through cabinets and purge items you don’t ever use and definitely that you don’t need (this is especially true for the tupperware cabinet, and the cabinet where you have kid cups/dinnerware, as well as things like popsicle molds, etc.)
  • Then it’s time to clean the microwave inside and out, run cleaner through dishwasher, then wipe down all cabinets. (Microwave and cabinets can easily be cleaned with a vinegar/water solution!)
  • The last thing I suggest is cleaning the oven–because normally you either have to use oven cleaner or do the self-cleaning option, which is best done when you can open some windows and leave the house for a few hours. (I really love this option for oven cleaners because it’s made with citrus oils to clean + creates a non-stick barrier to make future cleanup really easy!) Personally, I’ve grown tired of cleaning the oven (we cook pizzas right on the rack and it makes a huge mess!) So I’ve invested in these oven liners. Place it in the bottom under the coils, and when they’re dirty, just take em out and soak/scrub em! BAM! No oven cleaner or killing birds with the self cleaning oven fumes!

 

Living Areas

 

  • Pretty much every room is best cleaned from top to bottom (remember the movie Annie?) So I like to start with ceiling fans, then move to lamp shades and blinds. Lamp shades are easily vacuumed with the brush attachment on your vacuum. But for dusting– Swiffer does a decent job of this. If you really want to get serious cleaning done (especially if you have allergy sufferers [hand raised]) you’ll want to wet-dust. I’ve found that this handy invention makes it easy to do that–just spray your dusting solution onto the cloth part before you wipe the fan blades.
  • And while you’re up there, you’ll want to go ahead and dust/wipe down light fixtures and replace any bulbs that are out. **DON’T wet-wipe warm bulbs–they will shatter!
  • For blinds, I’ve tried these little things before using a dusting solution as well, but my hands cramp after a while. If you have that problem, too, these dusting gloves are pretty ingenious!
  • Moving to the middle-ish of the room, next would be cabinets for TV/games/movies, etc. You wouldn’t believe how dust accumulates inside here. What’s so bad is that the electronics will start to suck the dust into the cooling vents and cause a lot of wear on your electronics, so keep these areas clean!! Here’s a great organic option to clean your electronics that’s also safe for the screens. Also pay attention to toy areas (purge and clean out/clean any toys necessary.) Toys accumulate a lot of dust as well. If there are small plastic toys, these can actually be washed in the dishwasher, or even throw a bunch of toys into the clothes washer in one of these bags.
  • Also while you’ve got your cleaning cloths out, disinfect and wipe down light switches, remotes, and door frames. Remotes and light switches are some of the germiest places in the house (I’ve read. On the internet. So it must be true.) Ok, so even if it isn’t, think of all the food grime and oil from everybody’s hands that are always on these things. Ew.
  • Next is the upholstery–sofas, pillows, and chairs (ottomans, too?) Any upholstery needs to be vacuumed, and while you’re at it, remove the cushions and vacuum under them all. And if you notice any stains, either spot-clean or schedule a steam cleaning. (From experience, sofas–basically anywhere kids congregate–are disgusting!! The first time I steamed our sofa I was SHOCKED at how dirty it was. I’m talking brown water, folks. Dead serious.) This is the steamer we use. However, if you need a smaller option just for upholstery, this steamer is pretty darn highly rated!
  • Last will be the floor–the understory of the living room jungle. Pull out furniture and vacuum/mop underneath. Vacuum all rugs and carpets, and mop all hard floors. Schedule a carpet steaming if it’s needed.
  • Fireplace: If you’re totally done with the fireplace, all the ashes need to be emptied, tools cleaned and put away, and it may be time to have the fireplace inspected and/or cleaned. Shut the flue ONLY if you’re done with it for the year!

 

Bedrooms

 

  • Starting at the top again, dust ceiling fans, clean light fixtures, and replace bulbs. Go ahead and take down any drapery/curtains/valances that can be washed. If they can’t be washed, use the vacuum brush attachment to vacuum.
  • Clean blinds, and clean windows.
  • Wash or replace pillows (these things should be washed every 3-6 months to keep dust mites out!) Wash bedding/blankets and either store and switch out for spring/summer bedding, or replace once bedroom is all clean.
  • While all the bedding is off, use baking soda + vacuum mattresses/spray with vinegar solution. This will disinfect and pull out any smells. If your mattress has a cover on it, strip it off as well and wash in hot water.
  • If you have a down comforter, pull the down insert out, have it cleaned and store it.
  • Purge clutter and toys–toss any broken ones and donate what you can.
  • Purge magazines and paper (this might be a good time to take note of magazines you never have time to read. Are they just sitting around unread? Unsubscribe!) {Read Here about Conquering the Paper Monster!}
  • Purge arts/crafts (usually for kids’ bedrooms)
  • Purge/clean pet areas. Wash pet beds as well or replace if getting pretty ratty.
  • Clean out clothes and closets. Purge items not used and donate. (Including clothes. Use this crazy useful guide!)

 

Bathrooms

 

  • Again starting at the top, clean all light fixtures and replace any bulbs necessary.
  • Remove shower curtains and wash or replace. Ready for an easy alternative to the stinky (and dangerously fumy) PVC liners? Try this one! It’s antibacterial, waterproof, and fabric!
  • Once the curtains are down, go ahead and purge and clear out all shampoos/soaps/body washes, etc. Once those are cleared out, clean the shower surround. (You know you never clean this thing!) This stuff is great for keeping up with this tedious job! And don’t forget to clean out all the mildew!
  • Go ahead and fill a sandwich baggie with either vinegar or a mineral scale cleaner, wrap it around your shower head, and use a rubber band to secure it into place. This will clean out all the holes in the shower head.
  • If you have a jetted tub, you absolutely need to clean that system out!
  • While your cleaning rags are out, wipe down the light switches, doors, door knobs, cabinets and knobs, and door frames. These areas accumulate grime like nobody’s business!
  • Inventory  towels/washcloths/hand towels and make a list of things you need to replenish.
  • Purge/clean/organize under sink areas and medicine cabinets. Also the cabinet over the toilet if you have one. We try to make sure things like TP, washcloths, and towels are in easy reach for the kids. Make sure any place that has cleaners has childproof latches! These latches can be installed without even drilling!
  • Do your regular deep cleaning (bathtub, toilet–including disinfecting the outside of the bowl, counters, sinks.) Don’t forget to clean around the base of the toilet-especially if you have young kids or boys, lol!
  • Throw rugs in the wash (or replace if needed.)
  • Sweep (including behind the toilet–it gets dusty back there!) and mop.

 

Linen closets

 

  • Take inventory and organize if necessary. I’ve begun labeling shelves to make things easier on everyone. I can’t remember everything always forever. I use this label maker. It makes it a thousand times easier to put all of each size sheet set on different shelves/areas so they don’t get mixed up. Nobody likes having to refold sheets because they were the wrong size. *Spring cleaning tip: Target’s brand of sheets have a nifty tag inside sheets that tell which is the side and top/bottom of sheets so get those things on the bed right the first time!
  • If your shelves tend to put off an old-lady stench like ours do, add in a deodorizer (even just a box of baking soda) or some herb sachets like these.

 

Mudroom

 

  • If you’re lucky enough to have a full-on mudroom, I hate you. Just kidding. We don’t have one–our house (like so many, many others) has the garage door lead straight through the laundry room, which we friggin’ hate. My solution was to use the little closet that’s by the door (that HAS to open the wrong way, of course) as the mudroom ‘area’. I removed the bi-fold doors, painted some fun stripes on the back wall, and installed shelves. Sorry about the tangent.
  • Firstly, purge the area. Take all shoes, coats, backpacks, bags, etc out and figure out what needs to be washed/cleaned before putting back into closets. Throw away everything you can. This is a great time to donate too-small-for-next-year coats and boots!
  • Clean light fixtures and replace any bulbs necessary.
  • Reorganize landing stations. I found this awesome wooden tray  that’s divided AND expandable to place sunglasses lens-side up + put any extra keys or mail that needs to be dealt with on the way in or out the door.
  • Once everything is off shelves, dust everything, reorganize, and replace all keepers.
  • Wipe down light switches, doors, door knobs, and door frames.
  • Sweep and mop.
  • Wash rugs.

 

Office areas

 

  • From the top, clean light fixtures, replace necessary bulbs. Dust ceiling fans.
  • Take down and wash curtains.
  • Clean blinds and windows.
  • Get paperwork under control–here’s a great post on Conquering the Paper Monster if you need mega help with creating a system for staying on top of paperwork.
  • File everything needed/toss/purge. Organize all paperwork. File paperwork that is time-sensitive to the seven-year rule. Maybe do it twice a year to stay on top: spring and fall?
  • Purge office supplies. Organize them all. I use this great system to organize my supplies and keep them in reach. It’s versatile, durable, + requires zero drilling! Score!!

 

Laundry Room

 

  • Top: Clean light fixtures, replace necessary bulbs. Clean windows and blinds.
  • Empty cabinets and purge unneeded items. (Toss or donate.) Wipe out cabinets and replace items, organized. (Label-maker is helpful here.)
  • Clean off top of washer and dryer. Wipe these down completely to get rid of dust and lint. (Including the cords and vents in the back.)
  • Dust down/wipe the walls (you’d be shocked at how much this room accumulates dust + lint!)
  • Deep clean lint screen and slot (ours is so thin the only thing I can get into it is a wire clothes hanger that I bent to ‘hook’ blobs of lint.
  • Schedule dryer vent cleaning. (Seriously–if it’s never been done or it’s been a while, this could be a fire hazard. I usually find great deals for stuff like this on Groupon.)
  • Run cleaner through the washer. Clean the gasket around the door–if you have a front-loader. These things get super gross and harbor mildew and smell.
  • Deep clean the sink area.
  • Wash rugs.
  • Sweep/mop.
  • Wipe all doors, door knobs, light switches, and door frames.
  • {Read Here about 6 Hacks to Cut Laundry Time in Your House Dramatically!}

 

Hallways

 

  • Clean all light fixtures, replace necessary bulbs.
  • Dust all pictures.
  • Dust all shelves and knickknacks. Don’t forget to de-clutter what you can!
  • Wipe doors, door frames, door knobs, light switches.
  • Vacuum or sweep and mop.
  • Spot clean rugs/carpet or schedule carpet steaming.

 

Home Maintenance

 

  • A/C filters--check and change them
  • Check air seals for fridges and freezers. It’s time to get a new seal if you can pull a dollar bill through the seal when the door is closed.
  • Defrost freezers and clean if needed
  • Wet clean all baseboards and corners of rooms on floor (vacuum edge of baseboards + behind doors; wet clean edge of baseboards on tile/wood floors and corners/behind doors.)
  • If you have a programmable thermostat, this is a great time to revisit the settings and make any changes necessary.

 

And if you’re totes ready to actually purge and minimalize the modern way, check out The Uncluttered Home!

 

 

OUTSIDE SPRING CLEANING:

Garage

 

  • Clean out. Purge using bucket system: Keep, Donate, or Toss.
  • Organize. This is soooo hard, I know!! But do your best–using things like these peg boards, and awesome ideas like these on Pinterest will get you in the right direction!
  • Once everything’s in its place, sweep the entire garage–it’s easier using a giant push broom like this one.
  • Then either wash the floor out with a water hose and large squeegie, or even mop. *Spring cleaning tip: If you have a pet that resides in the garage, you probably want to wash the floor out with a good soap. If you don’t want to use a heavy-duty detergent, the blue-colored Dawn does wonders!! (I know this because our cat lives in there and brings dead animals for us in the night. Gag.)

 

Gardening Supplies

 

  • Purge if needed. You may have already done this at the end of summer/your fall cleaning.
  • Clean tools that are keepers with this stuff, or even just some linseed oil.
  • Take stock and list what else needed for your spring and summer gardening.
  • Reorganize area.

 

Patios

 

  • Furniture (clean, pull out of storage.) 
  • Purge and toss toys. Add toys needed to your list.
  • Pull outdoor cushions out of storage. Repair what can be, and anything damaged beyond that, go ahead and toss. (Don’t forget things like checking webbing on patio chairs and carabiner for hammocks, etc.)
  • If covered, clean fans and light fixtures. Replace necessary bulbs.
  • Clean grill with a non-toxic cleaner (is nobody else concerned about putting your food on heated toxic cleaner??)
  • Clean grilling tools and organize storage. Tools usually have a hole at the end to hang–we just keep ours outside on hooks similar to these so they’re ready for use after they get washed. If you don’t have anywhere to mount a bar like that, these magnetic hooks are perfect for mounting on the side of the grill.
  • Shake out and replace any rugs necessary.
  • Then sweep off entire patio, or use the blower to get dirt and leaves off.
  • Last, spray off patio or power wash. Or schedule a power washing if needed.

 

Pool

 

  • Clean out storage area.
  • Next, pull out all pool toys stored from last year. We use a giant storage bin like this one, and it’s awesome!!
  • Make sure chemicals needed are in stock and out of reach of kids.
  • Make list of chemicals needed (or salt.)
  • Clean skimmers.
  • Schedule any post-winter servicing.
  • Lastly, take note of other maintenance items needed, like that little foam-thing that’s constantly being eating up on the end of the shark tail.

 

Driveways

 

  • Weed.
  • Power wash.
  • Anything else POA requires.
  • Schedule any other repairs necessary.

 

Gutters

 

  • First, clean out or schedule cleaning.
  • Inspect for damage (gutter and board behind for rot.)
  • Schedule any repairs needed.

 

Windows

 

  • Remove screens.
  • Scrub and spray off screens.
  • Wash outside and inside (if not done already) of windows.
  • Finally, replace screens once dry.

 

Lawn Care

 

  • First add appropriate fertilizer.
  • Inspect lawn equipment.
  • Repair or clean lawn equipment, or schedule repair.
  • Schedule any spring and summer services and post-winter services.

LAST but NOT LEAST–Print off the PDF checklist for Spring Cleaning (grab it below), tear in half, and give one part to the hubby (or wife). Then get to Spring Cleaning!

Want this list as a PDF checklist? Click the image below!

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How is your spring cleaning going? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Know someone that could use help with Spring Cleaning? Please SHARE this post!

 

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3 Things to Boost Parental Involvement in Education for Your Kiddos

3 Things to Boost Parental Involvement in Education for Your Kiddos

3 Practical Ways to have more parental involvement in education for your kids, without becoming a ‘smother.’

Collaborative post.

 

Are you a parent that takes a back seat when it comes to your child’s education? Or are you one that is so proactive that they might be asking you to back of a little bit? (Or a lot, a la Beverly Goldberg.) Whatever category you fall under, there are always ways that you can get get more productive and have more parental involvement in education of your kids. You know, without being a substitute teacher. 

While it might not seemingly affect you in any way, it’ll massively affect your kids and the outcome of their future. Some children are simply crazy-uninterested in their own education, and that’s where taking initiative is going to come in handy. Here are 3 non-‘smother’-y, but still proactive, things that you can do.

 

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Encourage After-School Activities

 

We can all agree that a lot of children just find education incredibly boring. Sitting in a classroom for hours of the day being talked at for most of the day can be draining. And can you blame them?

So rather than focusing on what’s happening inside of school, try and focus on after-school activities that they might be interested in. It could be a school sports team, school trips that are provided by companies such as NST, or even things such as drama club.

These are all ways to get children motivated to actually keep coming into school, plus it’s an excellent way for them to make new friends that they might not have had.

A lot of the school trips they’ll go on will be educational, but a lot of them are purely fun based. Make sure you’re not denying them of any of the trips throughout their school life if you possibly can.

 

Watch For Signs Of Bullying

 

Bullying is one of the most horrible things that a child can go through. Some other children are horribly cruel, and they can say the most hurtful things to other kids. Sometimes it can even turn physical with things such as pushing in the corridors.

While schools claim to be doing all they can to manage things like bullying, most falls under the radar. Look for signs of upset when your child comes home from school. If they’re unusually quiet, don’t want to speak about their day, or look visibly upset, always question them about it.

So many children take their own life due to bullying. The more proactive you are with managing it, the better schooling life your child will have. Without feeling the need to resort to suicide. Try and make sure they’re always involved with their friendship group and having fun. And if you do suspect bullying, contact the school immediately.

 

Join The School Committee or Parent-Teacher Association

 

The school committee has the power to make big decisions that could affect your child’s life at school, so why not think about joining it? It’ll give you an inside view into how your school works, what can be done to make it better, and might even give you the chance to spy on your child.

Although it won’t pay, and will mean giving up some of your free time, but it can be really rewarding knowing you’re making decisions that could change your child’s education for the better.

 

What kinds of things do you do to be more involved with your kids’ educations? Let me know in the comments!

 

Know someone that could use help with parental involvement with education of their kids? (Without becoming Beverly Goldberg, of course.) Please SHARE this post!

 

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Easy Ways to Declutter Your Mind

Easy Ways to Declutter Your Mind

4 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Mind as a Busy Mom

Collaborative post.

 

Your life changes in every way once you’ve had kids. It’s not just adding a child to your previous life. It’s changing absolutely everything. Your daily routine will be vastly different, your feelings and emotions will change, and you’ll suddenly find that you always put someone else’s needs before your own. It can come as quite a shock, and no longer having only yourself to think about can be strange. Your mind can feel cluttered and messy. You’ve still got all of your old thoughts, feelings and things to do, but you’ve got constant worries and concerns about your child. It can be stressful and overwhelming. It very often feels like you need to declutter your mind. Here’s how to do just that.

 

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Declutter Your Home

 

Have you ever been told that a messy home leads to a messy mind? Well, it’s true. When you’re surrounded by clutter and mess, you can quickly become stressed out. It can be hard to relax and unwind, even when the kids are in bed if you’re surrounded by stuff with nowhere to go.

 

Ideally, when the kids have gone to sleep, you should be able to spend 5 minutes having a quick tidy and putting everything in its home, before relaxing and getting a little bit of grown-up time for yourself.

 

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As a parent, a lot of the clutter in your home will belong to your children. So, the first thing that you should do is look at nursery furniture sets and bedroom storage. Keep their rooms tidy and well organized, and a lot of their clutter will be confined to these spaces. Then, have a really good clear out, recycling, donating or selling everything you no longer need or want, and making sure that everything that’s left has a home. Even if it means that you need to be smart with your storage.

 

Do Nothing

 

One of the biggest changes that many parents find is that they are always on the go. They never just sit and think, or lie in bed, awake, but doing nothing. Their eyes are opened to a morning cry; then they are on the go right up until they fall into bed and close them again. This isn’t good for you. Take some time to stop and breathe whenever you can. Take time to understand what ‘mindfulness’ is and apply it whenever possible.

 

Do Something for Yourself

 

Many moms suffer from guilt. They feel like they have to be with their children all of the time, and that everything that they do should be for them. This isn’t the case. In fact, it’s important for your children that you take a little time for yourself occasionally. It’ll make you a much better parent and give them some quality time with other people. You might want to go shopping with friends, go for a meal with your partner, or just take a long hot bath with a good book and a glass of wine.

Whatever that ‘thing’ is that makes you happy and able to unwind and relax, you should do it!

 

Exercise

 

Exercise is a brilliant way to get some time away from the kids, boost your energy levels, increase your confidence and give you a chance to clear some of the clutter from your mind. Try some classes, some online exercise videos, and some gym sessions to find something that you enjoy.

If you love super bubbly and fun encouragement on the daily, I highly recommend Tone It Up! If you’re on a budget, they have daily moves for a different body area each day. And if you want to spend a little to get a ton more options, you can do that right through the app. Also-if you’re on the fence and want to try it out, you can do that with a monthly payment as well!

 

Know another Mama that could use help with unwinding through de-cluttering the mind?

Please SHARE this post!

 

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The Link Between Your Finances and Your Health

The Link Between Your Finances and Your Health

What you can do to ensure that the link between finances and health isn’t draining the energy and well-being from yourself and your family.

Collaborative post.

 

The link between finances and health is not one that many of us busy Mamas think about when the topic of health comes up. When you want yourself – and your family – to be as healthy as possible, however, it pays to think about all the various aspects of life. Not just what you usually think of as health-related topics.

For this reason, one of the main areas you will always need to focus on is your money. Your financial position has a direct link to your overall health. And the better you manage the one, the better the other will tend to do as well. Therefore, it’s absolutely a good idea to ensure that you’re doing whatever you can to keep your finances in line for your own benefit  and for the health of your family, too. 

 

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Here are the basic things you can do to ensure the link between finances and health is positive in your household.

 

Make Time To Budget Ahead Well

 

The more you plan ahead, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to keep your family in a good financial position. That in turn will mean that you can afford better healthcare, and be able to feed them better. But budgeting is something that a lot of mothers can find it difficult to find time for, for obvious reasons. If you’re in this camp of Queen of the Household, then you might want to try and find an approach that allows time for budgeting. 

First off, bear in mind that you really don’t need to do as much budgeting as you might think. It doesn’t take much of a budget to be able to see your family through the month well, and in most cases you will only need to budget once a month to get everything right on this front.

You might need to budget in an emergency situation too, but other than that you should be fine.

So you only really need to find about an hour or so a month to budget. Keep one night free each month – write it on your calendar – maybe even fit it into your normal planning night. And if at all possible, wait until kids are in bed to go through your finances and budget. Be sure to include every detail you can possibly remember, and to think of the whole family in one go. As long as you do this, you will be able to keep your family budget strong, and that will help their health in more ways than you might imagine.

 

Get Through The Difficult Times

 

One of the biggest ways in which your money can affect your health is when you are struggling to make ends meet, or if you’re in debt. The stress that this situation can bring often means that your health is negatively affected – and as a parent, that means usually that your family is similarly affected.

To avoid this, you should make sure to have a good plan in place for how to get through the tricky times, as hard as it can sometimes seem to do so. If you manage to do that, you will be able to keep your health – and the health of your children – above board at all times, no matter what is happening with the bank balance.

One solution might be to know where to find a good loan, which could be something like homeowner loans by Evolution Money or even just borrowing from a friend. However you personally expect to do it, it will help you to keep looking after your family as well as you possibly can.

And as always, I recommend using the Dave Ramsey resources on his site as well.

 

Finding Money For The Important Things

 

Certain things in life are especially important when it comes to your health and your family’s health, and it is those things which you should make sure you are focusing on mostly when you want to keep your financial position as strong as possible.

Being able to find money for the most important things means simply that you budget for them, and keep the money to one side as much as possible. These things include healthcare costs, attaining good food, and ensuring that your children have the chance to engage in whatever physical activity they prefer.

As long as you manage to take care of these kinds of areas, your money really will be helping you to keep your and your family’s stress levels as low and healthy as possible – without breaking the bank. That alone will be a great accomplishment, and is something you should absolutely be proud of as a mother.

 

Snag your Household Budgeting Binder by clicking the image below!

 

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Know someone that could use help with budgeting to improve their stress levels and health? Please SHARE this post!

 

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2 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Keep You Walking Like a Rockstar

2 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Keep You Walking Like a Rockstar

Why Us Busy Moms Owe It To Ourselves to Walk More as Part of Our Health and Fitness Practice. Here’s how to make it happen.

 

This whole past week I’ve awoken with a distinct cloud of blah-ness hanging over my head. I think this time of year it happens way more frequently because we’re approaching the tail end of technical winter. And of course I know I need to be optimistic. I need to have a happier disposition. Be more grateful. Walk more. Read with more intent. Love more. But gosh darn it, where is the stupid sun??!!

I’m trying hard to stay on task with my HIIT workouts and strength training. Eating healthy is crazy important, but even that gets muddled when all you can do is stay indoors because it’s either too cold, foggy, or rainy. (Seriously-WHAT is going on, we live outside of Houston.)

 

2 ridiculously easy ways to keep you walking every day

 

I know I have a bit (a lot?) of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I’m from Florida, where the sunshine and heat are abundant. And although where I’m from does have a teeny bit of winter, there aren’t many days without at least a LITTLE sunshine. This makes me feel like my goal in life is to become a hibernating Mama bear.

Do you feel like this too? I’m seriously multi-tasking into another window to look up ‘safe’ tanning beds just to trick my insane in the mem-brain into thinking I’ve been lying on a tropical beach somewhere.

The thing right now that I am thankful for, though, is that I have a tread-climber at home. When I bought it, I thought it would strictly be for the hottest of summer because you’re very likely to meld into the asphalt if you try to run or walk in that heat.

But–BUT–I wasn’t anticipating the barren wasteland of fitness that is winter outdoors. So I’ve taken an oath to make that thing worth the dough spent on it. I’ve committed to using it faithfully to walk more. Oh yeah, and make my Fitbit happy.

Think on this, though, Mama. We were designed to walk for miles and miles to hunt and gather our food. Yet, in modern society, we spend most of our time sitting down.  (Why is it more in the winter…?) That’s so NOT good for our bodies, and can lead to a host of health problems. This is probably one of the most important reasons to make an effort to move around and go for a walk each day.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Most of us sit for our work, we eat sitting down, and to be honest all we want to do when we come home from work is plop down on the couch for a Netflix marathon until bedtime.

However– Getting in that movement is an integral part of your overall Self-Care. And thus, you need to figure out how to get your act in gear to walk more.

 

1-Make it a Habit to Walk More

 

So yeah, of course getting and staying in the habit to walk more each day can be a bit of a challenge. After all, we’ve got tiny humans to feed, dress, sign school forms for, go to school events for, take to activities and play-dates, actually do some work, keep the house up, deal with finances, make meals for, oh yeah–and participate in a romantic relationship. (Those things do still take two, ya know.)

But that’s exactly what we need to do. We need to get in the habit of going for that walk just like we’re in the habit of brushing our teeth twice a day or taking out the trash on Tuesdays. Once it’s a well-ingrained habit, it won’t be as much of a challenge to make sure we go for a walk each day.

A great place to start is to find a walking route you enjoy. Your favorite walk may offer breathtaking vistas, but if it’s a 30 minute drive there and back, you’ll be less likely to do it every single day. Instead, save that specific walk for the weekends and come up with something convenient and pleasant for your everyday walk.

 

Try to find a route in your own neighborhood so you can leave right from your front door. Just throw on those super cute sneaks that just got delivered from Amazon and start walking.

 

Taking the same route every day helps form that habit. It’s also encouraging to notice when you can walk the same loop faster or with less effort over time. It proves that you’re gaining strength and endurance.

Listening to your favorite music, podcast or audio books is also helpful. It will make the time go by faster and give you something else to look forward to. You can even use your favorite media as a way to bribe yourself to go for your daily walk. Let’s say you have a couple of podcasts you enjoy. Save them for your walks and only let yourself listen to them while you’re walking. It’s a great incentive to get out there even on days when you’re not feeling it.

 

Make a playlist on your phone (Pandora, Spotify, Amazon music) that’s upbeat and fun! Mine includes Britney’s ‘You Better Work, B!*ch’ and it makes me want to seriously get after it!!)

 

Also, consider walking with other people. Find a walking group in your area, or talk a friend or neighbor into becoming your walking buddy. Not only is it more fun to walk when you have someone to talk to, it also has some built-in accountability. It’s much easier to skip out on walking when you know that other people are waiting for you and relying on you to join them. (And double credit is if you commit to that type-A friend that won’t let you skip out on something unless you’re literally lying in a hospital bed.)

 

Make a list of people or groups you can partner with or join to walk. Now start asking and make some commitments! And hey, this commitment isn’t just to that person or group–it’s to YOURSELF to get yourself in better shape!

 

2-Use A Pedometer or Tracker

 

Setting aside some time to go for a 30-45 minute walk isn’t always easy. We all live busy lives and between family and work, fitting in a workout isn’t always possible. What if I told you that you didn’t have to dedicate a set block of time for your walking workouts? What if you could get the same health benefits by working in a little more activity here and there throughout your day? And what if there was a fun little gadget that helped you keep track of it and motivated you to move more?

 

There is and it’s called a pedometer. You can pick up an inexpensive model at Target or Walmart or order it from Amazon. Or you can go with something a little fancier like a Fitbit.

{Read here about why I freaking love my Fitbit Charge 2!}

Another option is to check your smart phone. Most phones these days have a pedometer built in. All you need to do is download a free app and you’re good to go.

 

The pedometer or fitness tracker will track how many steps you take on any given day. It will also track how many minutes you’ve spent being active and how many miles you’ve walked. In other words, it keeps track of how much exercise you get during your day.

And the good news is that it doesn’t matter if you head out after work for a 45 minute walk, or if you work out in little spurts here and there throughout the day. Maybe you start your day by parking a little further away from the office and walking a couple of hundred extra steps. Then you take a quick stroll during your lunch break. You wrap up your day by walking around the park while your kids play. And just like that you’ve gotten your exercise in without having to block out any additional time.

 

Give it a try. Put on a pedometer or fitness tracker. Or start tracking with that phone you’re always carrying around anyway and see how much you’re walking around any given day. From there, try to get a little more active as time goes by until you hit your stepping goal. For most of us 10,000 steps per day is a good long term goal, but if you’re feeling more ambitious than that, go for it.

 

Keeping track of your steps is very motivating. Looking at your pedometer or fitness tracker and realizing you’re 2,000 steps away from your daily goal may be just the motivation you need to head out for that after dinner stroll. Or treadmill stroll, if you’re still stuck in winter or the rainy season.

 

Research pedometers or fitness trackers–or find an app. Fitbit has a really good one I use that utilizes GPS to track you while you walk or run. The account is free and you don’t even need the Fitbit devices to use it! Then set your goal for steps per day or minutes of walking or distance and get on it!

 

Know someone that could use help with motivation to walk more? Please SHARE this post!

 

Whether you're walking for general health or to lose weight, motivation to get out there and exercise can get away from the best of us. Here's how to make sure you're getting the crazy good benefits of walking whether for weightloss, beginners, or a simple challenge! #walking #weightloss #fitness #fitmom #healthy

 

Try These 3 Starter Solutions for Mom Self Care

Try These 3 Starter Solutions for Mom Self Care

3 Ways to Start Mom Self Care That Are Easy and Low Cost.

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Being a mom is all about looking after things and people. You’ve got your kids to raise and haul around, your work if you’re dedicated to your career as well, and then there’s the house  and laundry which needs to be kept in a semi livable state at least! Putting all your time and effort into those tasks, which are always ongoing and never truly completed, leave little energy for looking after yourself.

 

And that means you need some quick home solutions that won’t cost you anything, and will really work to recharge your batteries. Sound like something you’ve been in desperate need of? Even if you don’t, a little TLC from time to time won’t hurt anyone; here are some ideas for doing just that!

 

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Know What Sets You Off

 

Everyone out there has their own triggers, but when you’re a mom, there’s quite a few themes in the kind of stressors that can immediately rile you up! Once you’ve identified these, you can take steps to deal with how they make you feel. For example, the morning commute or trying to convince your kids to eat their breakfast a little faster.

 

It takes some effort, but it’s worth it in the end. Of course during these times you’re going to be in a rush, or unable to take a moment for yourself, but once you can make sure you do. It’s this time that’ll make the rest of the day go much better. So take a trip to the toilet when you get to work or when you come back from dropping the kids off, to get into a mindful headspace.

 

Get a Good Night’s Sleep!

 

Getting quality sleep is the first thing you should try out in your effort to ease off some of those biggest mommy worries. If you have the energy to cope with a new day and all the unique challenges it presents from your children and the rest of your family, you’re going to have a much clearer head about making any decisions.

 

Your bed needs to be soft, but firm enough to give your body the support it needs. And if you’ve got a mattress that’s nearing 8 years old, that’s going to be impossible. If your bed just isn’t cutting it in the relaxation department, head to ChooseMattress to check out some options at your disposal for getting rid of any lingering aches and pains from bad positioning and residual stress. Sleep is meant to be healing after all, so make sure you have all the right tools at your disposal.

 

Try Laughing a Bit More

 

When you can laugh, your brain and body will think you’re happy. With a smile on your face and joy erupting out of you, you’re going to instantly cheer up. So if you’re faced with a situation you don’t like, try to find you can laugh. Or have some laid-back, silly conversations with the kiddos. Or stick a video on and laugh your guts out!

 

Want a Self Care Starter Kit specifically for Moms? Grab yours by clicking the image below!

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Those were just some ways to ease mommy worries by starting mom self care. Feel free to suggest more of them in the comments below!

 

 

Know someone that could use help with getting started with mom self care? Please SHARE this post!

 

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2 Big Ways to Allow a Mother’s Peace of Mind

2 Big Ways to Allow a Mother’s Peace of Mind

2 Main Ways to Allow a Mothers Peace of Mind as a Parent.

Collaborative post.

 

We are absolutely certain you are a wonderful mother. You’d likely agree it takes a mountain of effort, love, care, sympathy and a range of positive and honorable feelings to become one. It’s earned, not expected. However, it’s perfectly within our capacity as long as we have our priorities and daily habits organized.

 

This is not always guaranteed. After all, you are raising a human life from scratch. There are many books to help you become the best parent around, but none that can accurately ascribe to you the perfect methodology of parental peace of mind. Now, how is a mothers peace of mind defined? Well, it’s that feeling you gain when you believe yourself to have completed (to the best of your ability) your daily parental duties.

 

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There are ways to help you gain this feeling. It can help you stay healthily oriented towards every daily effort you must put in to raising a child well. Here’s how:

 

Recreational Time

 

If you’re unable to spend recreational time with your child, then you’re likely going to feel distant from them. Your child is a duty and a relative task to upkeep. That is not all they are however. That is a means to an end. Viewing your child as nothing more than a responsibility is the first way to making the relationship feel slightly strange.

 

The beauty of having a child is hard to overstate. A deep relationship between you and your child is something necessary to nurture. Recreational quality is important, and can help the entire process feel natural. Setting up games that allow for you and your child to enjoy something silly and simply together works well. Also, reading them stories and spending time crafting small artistic pictures can help you bond in that small way everyday. This allows you to focus on nurturing that intimate relationship and not simply ‘doing everything perfectly,’ which is an impulse often experienced by new parents.

 

Health Awareness

 

Your child is a complex physical being. There are many things that need to be taken care of. This means understanding the many nutritional requirements your child has. Trying to meet these while also developing healthy food habits is essential. There is a happy balance between tasty vegetables and allowing mealtime to be fun. They might not be mutually exclusive. Silly mealtime games that afford a sense of levity is a great way to achieve this.

 

It also pays to introduce your children to medical services in an approachable manner, hopefully attending to the strange new environments for which they must adapt. A visit to an appropriate kids dentist requires a strong eye for the suitability of the practitioner and the practice. It might be you choose an entirely specialized service to help the child adapt. Don’t be afraid to switch up services, or rigorously test the advantages of facility in question. After all, how your child views this experience will be dictated by the entirety of the experience itself. Ensuring peace of mind here means finding the best options tirelessly, and then trusting in that approach.

 

With these little efforts, you might find that your parental efforts will be a little more simple, allowing for a greater peace of mind.

 

Wanna go even further with your peace of mind? Learn things like Time Management as a mom, how to reset unhealthy habits, as well as getting rid of the mom guilt! Click the image below to get started!

 

 

Know someone that could use help with peace of mind as a mom? Please SHARE this post!

 

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The Easy Way to Preserve, Manage, and Organize Family Photos

The Easy Way to Preserve, Manage, and Organize Family Photos

Don’t Lose Your Family’s Legacy:

 How to preserve, manage + organize family photos.

 

 Guest post by Heather Hinson of Hinson Photography

 

Have you been falling a bit behind on printing your beloved family memories? If you are anything like 53% of people who haven’t printed a photo in 12 months or longer, let alone organize family photos – then you are not alone!

In 2015, Professional Photographers of America did a study and found that 67% of the people they surveyed rely solely on digital storage for their family photographs. Let that sink in for a moment. I am sure we can all remember the days of rolling up to the drugstore to pick up our developed photos. And I am sure most of us have piles of family photo albums with embarrassing, heartwarming and downright adorable childhood photographs. What if all we had were floppy discs and archaic computers to look through our photos on? Or worse, didn’t have them at all.

Are you feeling a little nostalgic now? Are you feeling a little tempted to pull out those old family photo albums? I hope so. I also hope you realize that we have an incredible opportunity to document our family’s legacy like never before.

 

The easy way to preserve, manage, and organize family photos

 

Most of us walk around with our phones glued to us. We can pretty much take a picture at any given moment of the day in a matter of seconds. This is awesome. However, we could potentially lose a huge chunk of our history if we rely solely on digital storage. Instead of taking thousands of photos that will never be printed, make them last. Make them tangible and create an incredible documentation of your family’s history.

This is NOT a lecture. I am a busy mom myself and I know how crazy life can get sometimes. Trust me. This is a call to action to become better record keepers to organize family photos, as well as manage them, and I am going to tell you how.

Print, Print and Print Some More

 

family photo organization

Before the digital era struck, we would take a roll of film and get it developed. We would have every photograph that we took whether it was blurry or not. We had to pay to develop our photos before we could see them. Nowadays, we can see our photos instantly and we can perfect our shots.

We are family portrait artists and one of the first questions I ask every new client is whether or not they have experienced a portrait session with a photographer. Many of them say yes! Almost all of them tell me that they paid a photographer for portraits that they shared online but never actually printed. This makes me sad and it’s one of the many reasons we focus on creating tangible artwork for our clients.

 

family photo organization

Having an expert photograph and create wall portraits for your family is amazing but what do you do with all of your snapshots and family photos? Here are some actionable steps you can take to manage and organize family photos.

Set up a system

 

The first step to tackling thousands of images is to develop a system that works. Make it an easy, repeatable and organized system that works for you. This will take some perfecting. Once you catch up on printing everything, it will be easy to maintain.

 

family photo organization

 

Step 1. Download a printing app

 

Download a printing app that will allow you to order prints quickly and easily directly from your phone. Alternatively, you can also purchase a photo printer and print from home. My office printer has AirPrint and this technology is life changing. Since connecting it, I can print right from my iPhone or iPad  in seconds.

Make sure you are purchasing archival quality prints with archival quality inks.

 

family photo organization

Step 2. Create an album  

There are multiple ways to do this. Personally, I store 4×6 prints of every photo in albums and photo safe storage boxes. In addition to that, we also print an annual coffee table book with highlights from throughout the year. I try to create photo books every month as well but life can get in the way of this sometimes!

the best photo books

STEP 3. ORGANIZE PRINTS

 

Now that you have thousands of prints, organize them by either the month, year or event. We organize by year. Due to that method of organization, we purchase a 500 image photo album every year for important events or trips. Everyday moments from that year are placed in photo safe storage boxes.

You can also organize by month but I have found year to be easier to maintain.

 

family photo organization

Display Photos throughout your home

 

In addition to hiring a photographer to create timeless family portraits for you to hang on your walls, showcase some of your favorite snapshots as well! Create a gallery wall, picture ledges or display them on shelves. I love walking into every room in our home and seeing gallery wrapped canvas and framed prints. Consequently, we have an easel in our home and I display some of my favorite portraits on it throughout the year. It’s great for seasonal favorites!

Storage and preservation tips

 

Make sure that you store your prints in an archival quality album or photo box. Avoid writing on them, using adhesives or frequently touching them. The oils from your fingers will deteriorate the print over time. Consider using cotton gloves when handling prints, these can be purchased online. Keep them stored in a cool and dry place. Do not store coffee table books on their spine. Also, try not to display portraits in direct sunlight.

Digital Storage

 

Now that you have printed all of your photos and have them organized, it’s time to store them digitally as well. I know, I know. I just told you print, print, print and print some more. But digital storage solutions are important too, when used properly. My general rule of thumb is to back up photos to three different locations.

  • External Hard Drives
  • Cloud Storage (Dropbox, Amazon etc.)
  • Thumb drives

Back up all of your photos onto multiple external hard drives and also upload them to the cloud. Cloud storage is often free or cheap for most families. Amazon Prime members can utilize Amazon Drive and back up an unlimited number of photos to the cloud.

You can actually buy thumb drives that connect right to your smartphone. This would be an added convenience to ensure that you actually get around to doing this on a regular basis.

 

family photo organization

 Do not back everything up to one hard drive

 

Most external hard drives are very durable and will last but don’t run the risk of losing everything because you put all of your eggs in one basket.

You can also store external hard drives in a safety deposit box for added security. For highly treasured family photos and even important documents, you can easily store them on an external hard drive in a safety deposit box. In the event of a fire or natural disaster, you can rest easy knowing that you have been extra diligent in backing up your treasured family memories. Also, Cloud storage is beneficial in that regard.

I organize digital storage by date and event. For example, 2017>May>Camping Trip

My husband and I both grew up in Florida. We have lived through multiple hurricanes. Due to this we know countless families who have lost photos to fires, floods and natural disasters. It’s devastating and it drives us to educate everyone we meet about preserving their legacy.

Enjoy Your Photos

 

Finally, enjoy looking at your photos with friends and family. Sit around the kitchen table and relive old memories. Holding physical prints in your hands is way better than sitting around your laptop and clicking through photos. (Which never happens, let’s be real.)

 

How do you manage and organize your family photos? Let me know in the comments below!

Know someone that could use help with organizing family photos? Please SHARE this post!

 

Do you have a million and one digital photos on your iphone like I do? Don't stress about it! Check out these ideas for storage, containers, printables, and photo books for all your family photos! #photography #family #kidsactivities #organization

Debt Clearance Steps You Should Stop Putting Off

Debt Clearance Steps You Should Stop Putting Off

Debt Clearance Steps That Will Help Get You on a Better Financial Path Quicker.

Collaborative post.

 

Look, Mama. I know that juggling kids, a husband, possibly a career, and an entire household is hard. But debt is no joke. It’s crazy stressful, and will just bring you to places mentally and emotionally that you absolutely don’t want to go.

It’s not good enough to tell yourself that clearing your debts is something that’s never going to happen. It’s more than possible for you to dig yourself out of the whole you’re in, as long as you’re willing to take the right steps and be focused. Sure, it’s never easy to pull yourself out of debt once the rot has already started to set in and you’ve let things get a little out of your control. But that’s no reason to just give up and let things get worse and worse. Here are the debt clearance steps you should stop putting off.

 

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Learn More About the Specificity of Your Debt Situation

 

Every single debt situation is unique. So just because you have debts, that doesn’t mean that you’re in the same situation as someone else who also has debts of their own. If you’ve allowed things to get a little out of control, you need to take steps to learn about your own situation before doing anything else. That way, you can know what you’re up against.

 

Understand What Snowballing Means

 

Snowballing is one of the best debt clearance steps that I recommend, and the method is growing in popularity a lot right now. The debt snowball spreadsheet will help you learn more about it in depth. But in short, it’s about building momentum and powering through your debts starting with the smallest challenges and taking gradual but progressive steps until your debts are a thing of the past.

 

Limit the Interest Burden

 

Interest could be one of the things that really holds you back when you’re trying to get rid of your debts, and not many people realise the scale of the problem. Look at the interest you’re currently paying on your debts and talk to your creditors. It might be possible for them to limit your interest and help you out a little.

 

Resist the Urge to Borrow to Pay Off Debts

 

Getting into debt so that you can pay off your debts is probably not the wisest idea in the world. It’s something that plenty of people try to do, though. However convenient and helpful it might seem to be on the surface, it’s never the long-term answer to the problems that you’re facing. It’s far better to take a sustainable approach to debt clearance steps, starting with creating a working budget for your household.

 

Pay More Than the Minimum Whenever You Can

 

Simply paying off the minimum of your debts you’re allowed to each month won’t help you get out of debt faster. It will only hold you back. So whenever you have the opportunity to do so, you should try to pay off more than you would like to. It might mean a little short-term pain, but you’ll make big long-term gains.

 

Now that you know a bit more about the kinds of steps you should be taking right now, don’t wait around before taking action. The task begins right here and right now, so take the right steps and get on the path to a better financial future for you and your family. It’s worth putting in the hard work for that.

 

Wanna grab a free Household Budget Planner? Click the image below!

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Choco-Minty Leprechaun Green Smoothie

Choco-Minty Leprechaun Green Smoothie

The chocolate mint green smoothie you’ve been dreaming of to satisfy that ice cream addiction in a more healthy way!

 

Calling all mint chocolate-chip ice cream lovers! Guess what–I have a super minty-cocoa-dream for you in the form of a healthy smoothie!

This smoothie combines healthy greens like spinach and mint with a touch of sweetness, then tops it off with divine pure cocoa!

chocolate mint green smoothie

chocolate mint green smoothie

 

The green and chocolate layered effect makes it that much more festive!

 

mint chocolate chip smoothie

 

Serves 2

159

Choco-Minty Leprechaun Green Smoothie
Recipe Image
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/4 tsp mint extract
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 TBSP pure cocoa powder
  • 2 cups ice

Instructions

  1. Combine everything except cocoa in high-speed blender. Blend 1-2 minutes until smooth, then pour half out into a separate pitcher or container. Add the cocoa to what was left in the blender and pulse a few times till incorporated.
  2. Alternate pouring green smoothie, then chocolate into your serving glass to achieve the layered effect.
  3. Enjoy!

Tags

Courses
Breakfast
Snack
Allergy
gluten free
egg free
soy free
wheat free
seafood free
treenut free
sesame free
mustard free
7.8.1.2
10
https://www.stellanadene.com/chocolate-mint-green-smoothie/

 

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Need an alternative to your mint-chocolate-chip ice cream addiction? This is it!! This choco-minty leprechaun green smoothie is a dreamy layered effect of the perfect mint and chocolate smoothness in healthy form! #smoothie #smoothies #healthysmoothies #greensmoothie

5 Home Issues That Can’t Afford To Wait

5 Home Issues That Can’t Afford To Wait

5 Home Issues You May Not Have Thought About That Should be Remedied ASAP.

Collaborative post.

 

Anybody that has been a homeowner for more than five minutes knows that the vision of a perfect home is little more than a dream. There will always be something that needs attention. In truth, most of those projects will form an almost endless cycle of interior design and home improvements. However, some home issues simply cannot afford to wait.   

 

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When you encounter any of the issues below, attending to those problems ASAP is essential.

 

Poor sleep:

 

Given that you spend around one-third of your life asleep, a good bed is arguably the best investment you’ll ever make. It also helps to pay attention to the surroundings for a better night’s sleep. Nonetheless, the mattress and duvet will always form the central points of focus. So, if you’re suffering from insomnia or broken sleep, quick action is needed. Otherwise, your health will begin to suffer. Worse still, your looks and energy levels won’t be far behind. Busy Mamas like me got no patience for having to worry about those types of things when they can be easily remedied.

 

Broken heating:

 

All homeowners have ambitions of owning luxury items, whether they be gadgets or stylish furniture. However, you’ll never enjoy those features if the home is cold during the chillier months, or like a sauna during the warmer ones. Frankly, HVAC repair is not something that can wait as those systems are used all year round. This can be a good time to think about upgrading to newer cooling/heating systems, too. Even if you avoid that route, though, ensuring that the home is blessed with a solid temperature is essential.  (Don’t forget that studies show cooler temperatures are the best for good sleep!)

 

Leaky plumbing:

 

In truth, some home issues can be left for a couple of days. However, water leaks require immediate action. An emergency plumber can restore the safety of your home and prevent further damage from occurring. Using sinks, toilets, and showers without getting them fixed will only allow the problems to worsen. More importantly, those situations could be putting your family’s health at risk by encouraging mold growth. That’s a route that no homeowner wants to travel down.

 

Broken locks:

 

Even if you live in a town or city where burglaries are uncommon, the threat is still there. Regardless of whether you have security cameras or not, knowing that your windows or doors aren’t suitably secured will prevent you from relaxing. Alternatively, if you’ve recently moved into the property, calling a locksmith may be necessary. After all, you don’t know whether the previous owners had lost keys in the past. Or kept a set, for that matter. Frankly, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 

No personality:

 

In truth, most interior design features can wait. However, you need to inject a sense of character to make it feel like yours. A little canvas art and simple additions like houseplants can make a world of difference. It may be some time before the property is perfect, but at least it will start to feel like home. Focus on achieving this winning atmosphere in each of the living spaces, and you will not go far wrong. Besides, it can offer a little direction for the future home upgrades.

Another point to think about is home organization. When it’s time for spring cleaning or fall cleaning, take that opportunity to get your home in order so that your home’s personality doesn’t scream ‘Clutter Central’.

 

Stay on top of those five aspects, and the property should remain a happy place for your family to live and grow.

 

Want a way to stay organized with your home cleaning and home maintenance? Download the Ultimate Fall Cleaning Checklist by clicking the image below!

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