Laser Eye Surgery Checklist for Ideal LASIK Recovery

Four weeks ago I had my LASIK eye surgery. It was something I wanted to do for a very long time but had put off. I want to share all the details on what you need to know pre and post op about this eye corrective surgery for ideal LASIK recovery. I have included my own personal story experience so you’ll have an insider’s idea on what you might expect. Read the before and after checklist of LASIK tips that will help make your LASIK recovery smoother.

Read the first post in this series, Considering LASIK Eye Surgery? 6 Things You Need to Know.

I received a discounted rate from Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in San Diego to facilitate this post series about laser eye surgery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medical procedures vary between patients so please seek a personal consultation with Clearview to see if you are a candidate for LASIK.

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

Last day with my glasses…so ready for LASIK!

Pre-Surgery Checklist for LASIK Vision Correction

In the days leading up to the surgery you’ll have several things you’ll need to arrange:

  • Scheduling Your Appointment – Take the latest appointment time at the end of the day. After the surgery you’ll go home, take your medication, maybe eat something and go straight to bed. Your eyes will heal best with long periods of keeping them closed. Plus you aren’t able to use your phone or watch TV anyway so sleep is the best thing for you!
  • Have a Driver – You must bring a driver with you as you’ll be unable to drive yourself home. You could have Uber or Lyft pick up but you’ll need to have someone else schedule the pick up because you won’t be able to see your phone! Your driver doesn’t have to wait with you the entire time. We live about 30 minutes from the Clearview office so my husband sat in the waiting room. When my surgery time was up, the staff brought him back to watch the procedure. There were other patients having the surgery whose rides didn’t come until after. The Clearview staff personally called the drivers to let them know the patient was ready for pick up.
  • Arrange Babysitting – The Clearview office is not a place for kids. Schedule a babysitter and do not bring the kids with you for the procedure. In fact, I recommend getting someone to watch the kids overnight (more on that later).
  • Pick Up Prescriptions & Medications – When you schedule your surgery, you’ll receive a list of post-surgery must-haves. This includes two eye drop medications (Prednisolone and Ciprofloxacin), preservative-free eye drops (I bought Stystane) and a bag of frozen peas to minimize swelling. Be sure to have them ready at home because you’ll need them first thing the following morning. Place your eye drops in the fridge; chilled drops feel good on dry eyes!
If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

A list of post-surgery medications needs.

Every Surgery Is Different

Keep in mind that medical procedures and actual results vary between patients. This is my personal story about the LASIK surgery process and your actual experience will vary. I highly recommend talking to the doctors at Clearview Eye and Laser Center with any questions about the consultation and vetting process for prospective patients. 

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort AD #ClearviewEyes #LASIK #vision #eyesurgery

It’s my surgery day at Clearview!

LASIK Surgery – My Personal Experience

I arrived for my appointment at 5 pm and was told the process would take at least 2 hours. There were quite a few people in queue so it actually took about 2 1/2 hours. After check-in, I was brought back and given one Xanax to start the relaxation process. About an hour before the surgery, the staff put my hair in a cap, put booties on my shoes and my eyes and surrounding skin were cleaned. They place the cotton pads over your ears to soak up any liquid from the drops the surgeon applies during surgery (the pads keep the fluid from running into your ears).

The waiting room and especially the surgical room are kept very cold. This is for the protection of the equipment. Dress in warm, comfortable layers as you’ll likely go straight home and flop into bed. Consider a shirt with a wide neckline that will be easy to remove without rubbing across your eyes. I wore leggings, a tee and a loose sweatshirt. I still needed a blanket over me during the actual surgery because I was shivering. Each patient was given a Clearview teddy bear to hug during the surgery.

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

Who care that you’re wearing this? Everyone has their glasses off and can’t see you anyway!

I had remained blissfully ignorant on the actual LASIK procedure. I’m sure if you REALLY want to know all the details of every step, you could find it online somewhere but the less I knew about the surgery, the better! I’ll give you the basics: The surgeon places a lid retractor on the eye to retract the lids and hold your eye still when the laser cuts the flap. After the cuts are made the surgeon tapes your eyelashes open and another laser reshapes. The corneal flap is replaced and that’s it, you’re done. The entire process takes most patients about 10-15 minutes.

Does LASIK eye surgery hurt? Not at all in my case. I was given eye numbing drops and could feel a bit of pressure, but that’s all. I have very small eyes and there was a bit of issue getting the lid retractor on my eye. That was the most uncomfortable part of the entire process and likely something that a majority of people would not have an issue with.

My Personal LASIK Surgery Post-Op Story

Immediately after the surgery I was led out to the sitting area where my husband was waiting. He’d watched the entire procedure on a live television screen. It showed him the magnified view that the surgeon Sandy T. Feldman had during the procedure. Can you see after LASIK surgery? My immediate vision was watery and cloudy. I still needed help getting around because vision was not yet clear.

We were given instructions for what to do that night and process for the following day. They placed a pair of plastic goggles on my face and over that, plastic blackout glasses (like the elderly wear after cataract surgery). This was funny to me, wearing sunglasses since it was now dark outside! Once we stepped into the night, I truly couldn’t see anything. Streetlights were dim but had enormous halos and everything else was black. My husband helped me into the car and I kept my eyes closed for the ride home. My eyes felt very tired and heavy, I could hardly open them even when I wanted to.

Once home, my husband helped me to bed and gave me the first dose of Halcion. This was a pain-relief medication given to me by the doctors at Clearview.  I was instructed to wear the plastic goggles every night for one week, to make sure that I didn’t rub or bump my eyes in my sleep.

I woke once in the night and my eyes seemed to be glued shut, they were so heavy. After opening them, a flood of tears poured down my face. My husband brought me the second Halcion and I went back to sleep.

I was very glad that I didn’t have to worry about my kids. We’d arranged for them to stay with Grandma overnight. I highly recommend having your kids taken care of elsewhere because the combination of sleep-inducing medication and the limited vision would have made it very hard for me to care for a child.

Following Day after My LASIK Vision Correction

I woke up the day after the surgery with my eyes sealed shut. Dried tears had glued my eye lashes together. I was carefully able to open them but the light made them very sensitive. I put on sunglasses and let my eyes slowly adjust. It felt best to just keep my eyes closed.

My vision on the first day was still very watery and cloudy. I had my first follow-up appointment scheduled and discussed this with the doctor after the exam. She explained that I had some fluid under the flap and that this would dissipate in time over the course of the next few days. Each day I would see more clearly.

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

LASIK Recovery Must-Know Tips

The first few weeks after the surgery you may want to use these tips for ultimate healing and comfort:

  • Hands-Off- The plastic goggles should be worn each night for the first week to prevent you from rubbing or bumping your eyes. During the day, there should be absolutely no eye rubbing. You’ll also be instructed not to wear eye make-up for the first week.
  • Get a Very Dark Pair of Sunglasses-Your eyes will be extremely sensitive to light. For the first week, I wore my sunglasses everywhere, even indoors because any light was too bright. Though I always wear sunglasses outdoors, even at four week post-op I still find that my eyes are watering when in bright sun.
  • Minimize Screen Time – You may find that watching television, being on a computer or looking at your phone screen may irritate your eyes. It’s recommended to limit screen usage and to remember to continue using eye drops at least four times a day.
  • Be Diligent About the Eye Drop Medications – You’ll be instructed to apply your medicated eye drops four times a day, at breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime. This does make it easier to remember to take them. The eye drop medications must be taken five minutes apart (or else you’ll rinse one medication out with the application of the other). To remember to take both, I would take the drops out of the fridge and apply one (doesn’t matter which one you put in first), then put it back in the fridge. I’d return five minutes later to apply the second medication and put it back into the fridge.
  • Avoid Dry Eye with Drops In-Between- In between the medications, you’ll need to apply preservative-free moisturizing eye drops. This will greatly minimize any irritation, as dry eye is a major complaint after LASIK. I would apply these drops twice in between the medicated drops, a total of six times a day. This means you’re putting in eye drops 14 times a day! However I never suffered any dry eye side effects so I recommend using the drops as much as possible.
  • Drink Up! – Have a bottle of water with you at all times. The drops will drain down the back of your throat, so having the water to drink frequently will keep the bitter taste at bay.
If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

A bit of eye redness is normal and this will go away.

LASIK Recovery – Better Each Day!

As the doctor had mentioned at my one-day follow up, the fluid under the flap dissipated and the watery vision started to clear. In the first week I was still experiencing vision that would get sharp and then cloudy again. I was told this was completely normal and to be expected. I had some red spots on my eye that went completely away after about a week.

Each day I was able to see more clearly and sharply. It was a gradual process and something that everyone should understand about LASIK surgery. Not every person is going to heal at the same pace. Some may have very clear vision within a few days and for others it may be longer. Every patient is different and you can’t compare.

My Three-Week Post LASIK Recovery Follow-Up

At my three-week follow-up at Clearview, Dr. Sandy T. Feldman was delighted with my vision progress. She tested my eyes and said that healing was going wonderfully. She then showed me what my vision looked like before the surgery and I was blown away. I’m thrilled with my new vision, you can’t even believe it!

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

Every night when I go to bed I still have the strange feeling that I’m forgetting to do something. 30 years of washing contact lenses before bed has been ingrained into my routine; it’s so weird that I don’t have to do it anymore! I wake in the morning seeing the alarm clock clearly. I’m able to jump right out of bed and not stumble around, looking for my glasses. After a four hour drive to Pasadena for the Mom 2.0 Summit, I experienced no vision fatigue (like I always did in the past) while driving for an extended period.

This summer my family and I are planning a week long trip to Disney World. For the first time, I’ll be able to enjoy swimming and water parks without concern that I’ll lose a contact lens. I’ll be able to pack without lugging a giant bottle of solution! I can’t wait to tell you how wonderful a vacation will be without having to worry about glasses or contacts.

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

I loved going on a trip & not having to mess with glasses and contacts!

Checklist for LASIK Recovery

To follow this post series, read the first post, Considering LASIK Eye Surgery? 6 Things You Need to Know.

I highly recommend Clearview Eye and Laser Center, they’ve really exceeded my expectations. Don’t take my word for it, schedule your own complimentary consultation and see how LASIK vision correction will change your life.

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort during LASIK recovery AD #ClearviewEyes #LASIK #vision #eyesurgery

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

 

 

6 Life-Lessons My Mom Taught Me the Hard Way

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I received compensation from Hefty® to create this post written by Julie Bigboy at Mom Rewritten. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Hefty®.

This Mother’s Day I’m reflecting on my mom and the life lessons she taught me that challenged me to stay strong. Whether it is creative ventures, trying something new or even doing housework together, moms everywhere are supporting their kids in whatever they do! Keep reading for the hard life-lessons my mom gave me that have shaped me into the strong mom I am for my kids.

1. Be Yourself

I was a creative child, constantly drawing, singing, and daydreaming. And the creativity simply oozed out into how I dressed and presented myself to the world. Even if that meant paisley pants and a plaid shirt (hey, it was the 70s!) Moms only rule? No mixing and matching of plaids, even if the colors were the same. Other than that, if it fit, it was fair game!

I can remember layering two skirts on top of each other, rocking three ponytails on my head and wearing a floor-grazing skirt that was made from an old quilt. I was sooo confident in my young self and I have Mom to thank for that!

It never crossed my mind that anyone would think I was strange or weird for dressing so interesting – Mom felt that it was important for me to have a strong self-esteem. She also knew I’d eventually figure it out myself that maybe I’d look better without peacock blue eye shadow from lid to eyebrow!

2. It’s an Adventure

I was just barely 14 and my brother only 12 when my mom allowed us to take the bus to the mall. It was our first time navigating public transportation and apparently we did a lousy job of it, because we didn’t get to the mall! As soon as we realized we were miles in the opposite direction, we hopped off and found a pay phone. We were in tears, scared and worried about being in the completely wrong place. My mom laughed and reassured us we’d be fine. She told us to get on the next bus back and said something I’d never forget, “As long as nobody gets hurt, it’s an adventure!”

Going on adventures to places I’ve never been is one of my favorite things as an adult and I’m so grateful Mom taught me that getting lost was part of the fun.

3. Try New Things (And Don’t Whine About It)

I was the worst picky eater as a kid. I would refuse foods and to make it worse, I’d whine about it when my mom would ask me to just TRY it. I actually told my kids this story the other day at the dinner table (pointedly towards my own picky eater!) and they thought it was hilarious. One morning when I was about 12 my mom had made me a protein breakfast shake with malted milk. Malted milk has never been palatable to me (even now) and I refused to even take a sip. Looking back, I know I was a complete brat and deserved what was coming to me, but wow was I mad. My mom, in a fit of frustration, told me, “Eat it or wear it” and dumped the shake on the top of my head!

Two things learned that day; 1. Moms do have a breaking point. 2. What would it kill me to take at least a little taste? I can proudly tell you now that my picky eating days are over and I eat so much more now (but malted milk still isn’t a favorite!) Thank goodness my kids are better eaters than I ever was!

4. Shifting Focus

As the busy mom of four, I often find myself saying and doing things that I regret. It’s a trait that many moms share, I know, internalizing more about the things that we’re doing wrong rather than all the things we do RIGHT! That’s something my mom has pushed me towards – a focus on my strengths instead of my weaknesses. It’s not about perfect, or even just being “good enough”. It’s being the best mom for my kids, being an advocate, a leader and a teacher. About being a good example through my words and actions. That means sometimes the dishes get done. And sometimes they don’t. But I try not to beat myself up about it either.

5. The Job’s a Game

Oh, how many weekends I spent cleaning my messy room! I’m an organized spirit at heart but sometimes my creative side gets the best of me and clutter ensues. Mom taught me to tidy up before I tackle a project and to put things away as I use them to minimize the mess. When we did family chores around the house, Mom always played loud Sousa marching music! This kept things lively and made me move and dance around the house. Even today, I play music as a motivator when housekeeping with my kids. My mom can’t even believe how tidy my house is now when she comes to visit.

This Mother’s Day, Hefty® is helping to celebrate strong moms by teaming up with John Cena and his mom Carol Cena.

Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags help me and other strong moms tackle messes on a daily basis. With kids from toddlers to teens, I know messes! And when I use Hefty®, I know the mess will stay where it belongs. Triple Action Technology resists tears, punctures and leaks and there’s a break resistant grip drawstring to prevent the bag from falling inside the can (I hate when that happens!) Plus, Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags offer that strength at a low price.

6. Share Your Stories

My mom’s childhood was a mix of hardship and joy. Music and singing got her through many of the difficult times. My mom is also an ultimate storyteller. I’m certain that a vivid imagination helped her stay strong when things were rough. The tales and life-lessons of her own childhood were my nightly bedtime stories. I’m blessed to have this library of memories brought to life in her re-telling. Mom had a way of taking something that was challenging for me at the time and telling a story about it that helped me to work it out. I’m sure that’s why I became a writer myself. Mom passed her love of stories to me and now I’m thankful to be able to share them with you.

This Mother’s Day, what stories do you have to share with your children? I urge you to tell your childhood stories with your kids and see what life-lessons you can teach them from what you’ve learned over the years.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hefty®.

Our moms are always teaching us things, whether we want to learn them or not! Hefty® Partner Here are some life lessons my mom taught me. #MothersDay #LifeLessons

Procrastination Is My Mountain

You have no idea how long this post has been sitting in my drafts, incomplete. I’ve come back to it many times, adding bits and pieces here and there but never quite finishing it. I don’t know if it’s a season I’m in right now, or maybe this is the “new normal” but I’m having a terrible time finishing my tasks. Call it mommy brain. Maybe it’s distraction. Perhaps I’m just lazy. Focus has been an issue (see my “Word of the Year“). In any case, my motivation is shot and I’m really stressed out about getting it back!

I’ve been in the kitchen about three times today and this is what I see. Dishes piled up on both sides. Stuff that wouldn’t fit in the dishwasher before it was started last night as well as breakfast dishes. My husband’s French press is there, filled up with grounds to be emptied and rinsed out. My older kids emptied the dishwasher this morning so it’s clear and ready for me to load. Loading the dishes and washing the pans will take me ten minutes, tops. I just can’t get motivated to do it. It will get done for sure. I’ll start on the dishes as soon as my husband calls to let me know he’s driving home from work. That’s my ultimate motivation: getting it done before anyone walks in the door and sees dishes that have been ignored for 10 hours.

Procrastination is my unmovable mountain. Here's how I'm working to overcome the issue that looms daily in front of me (but I can't muster the mojo to get done!)

I should be over there, cleaning up the dishes!

Procrastination Problems

I’m a big time procrastinator. But only when it comes to certain things, I’ve found.

As soon as I’m up in the morning, I wake up my kids and I return to my room. I wash my face and I make my bed. Every day, I make the bed. I never procrastinate on that task. The bed gets made no matter what. It’s not like I enjoy making the bed, it’s just a habit that I get it done before I leave the house.

So why do I procrastinate on some things and not on others?

I know that I have certain tasks to do on the regular. I keep to-do items on my calendar. And sometimes even though they are STARING me in the face and I KNOW I need to do them, I skip right over them.

Why do I prioritize some things and not others? What is deemed more important to finish? I’ve learned that for me, it’s when I might suffer a consequence that I’ll get the job done. If I have a project due, it will get done or I don’t get paid. If my kids don’t have any more socks in their drawer, I’ll be sure to wash the whites. If my husband would be upset to come home after a long day at work and see that I didn’t take ten minutes to wash dishes, I’m definitely going to make sure the kitchen is tidy before he walks in the door.

If there’s no consequence, then I most often don’t push myself. How can I get that internal push to make myself better…for me and not for anyone else or because there’s a consequence?

Procrastination is my unmovable mountain. Here's how I'm working to overcome the issue that looms daily in front of me (but I can't muster the mojo to get done!)

Move the Mountains

I’ve seen You move, You move the mountains. 

And I believe, I’ll see You do it again.

You made a way, where there was no way.

And I believe I’ll see You do it again

Do It Again – Elevation Worship

A few weeks ago in church, our worship leader talked a bit before this song began about the meaning in the lyrics. I’ve sung that song dozens of times and had never thought of it in the terms he brought up. He shared that there have been times when he’s prayed to God that the mountain in front of him be moved. Whatever the obstacle was, he just wanted it gone. However in some cases, instead of the mountain moving, he tackled the problem instead by climbing the mountain, therefore bringing him closer to God.

How Am I Waiting for the Mountain to Move?

I feel like I have sooo many things I want to do, “if only” that thing or this thing wasn’t getting in the way. If I could afford a gym membership, I’d work out more often. If my toddler was more independent, I could go back to work. If I had more time, I’d sew more/write more/spend more time with my kids.

However in so many ways, God has moved those mountains for me but I put up my own mountains back in their place. I lost my job several years ago, which provided me with a LOT more free time! Instead of taking advantage of the blessing of more time to accomplish the things I really wanted to, I filled up my time with extra helpings of sleeping in, social media and television binge-watching. I’m sure it’s not exactly what He had in mind for me when I wanted more time!

Procrastination Is My Mountain

Procrastination has always been my mountain.

I’ve been waiting for it to move and for me to get my “mojo” back. But that mountain isn’t going to move. It’s never going to move. I’m always going to have that mountain in front of me with endless things I have to do, want to do and need to do. My mind and my list are going to prioritize them in order. Some things will happen. Others won’t. But if I keep standing in front of that mountain, waiting for it to go away or move, nothing will get done at all. I’m going to have to climb.

Get Out of My Head

For me, the key to getting all the things done that I want to do in a day in a daily to-do list. There is a certain satisfaction with writing down tasks and visually being able to cross them out as I get them done. It’s been important to my well being to get all the tasks out of my head and jot them on paper instead. Even little things like, “Drop off package at post office” are on the list because nothing is too small of a task. And when it’s done – whoosh, I can gladly mark through it…DONE!

Procrastination is my unmovable mountain. Here's how I'm working to overcome the issue that looms daily in front of me (but I can't muster the mojo to get done!)

I also keep an entire folder of things to follow up on. When I return something in the mail or I’ve made a phone call about something pending or there’s just something I need to check back on at a later date, it goes in my “To Follow Up On” folder. Once a week I go through every single item in the folder to keep myself updated and not let anything slip thorough the cracks. That folder has saved my Swiss cheese brain many times over!

By breaking up my tasks into smaller bits, I’m able to tackle them more easily. Number one on the list was to get this post published. And if you’re reading this, it’s finally happened…yay, me!

Now, how will you climb mountains today?

Considering LASIK Eye Surgery? 6 Things You Need to Know

Tired of wearing glasses and contact lenses and considering LASIK eye surgery? Before you book your surgical appointment there are a few things you must know about refractive eye surgery, from a mom’s perspective. You have to find out if LASIK is the right procedure for you. This vetting process will include an evaluation to determine if you’re a candidate, easing the fears of undergoing eye surgery and of course, figuring out the total cost of the procedure. Keep reading for the top six things you need to know when considering LASIK eye surgery.

Considering LASIK Eye Surgery – My Story

I’ve wanted to get LASIK surgery for a very long time. But I had preconceived notions that prevented me from proceeding even as far as a consultation. I was off-put by what I thought might be an expensive and potentially dangerous procedure. I wanted to know more about the pre-tests, the actual surgical process, and of course the cost factors involved.

I’m a 44 year old work-at-home mom –  was it even “worth” me having the surgery? Wasn’t I doing just fine with my glasses? Isn’t wearing contact lenses good enough? Why was I considering LASIK in the first place? How much would laser eye surgery really change my life?

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

I had questions about LASIK and I wanted straightforward answers from someone I could trust. Now that I’ve gone through the vetting process for LASIK, I want to be the person for YOU! Here are the things you’ve been curious to know about having laser eye surgery.

I received a discounted rate from Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in San Diego to facilitate this post series about laser eye surgery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medical procedures vary between patients so please seek a personal consultation with Clearview to see if you are a candidate for LASIK.

Are You Considering LASIK? – First, Find Your “Why”

Everyone has their own personal reasons for wanting laser eye surgery. Finding your own “why” is an important first step. For me, personally I’ve been wearing glasses since I was six and contact lenses since I was 12. Over the years I’ve grown increasingly tired of the constant care that glasses and lenses require. Getting my prescription “just right” has been a struggle with many wearisome visits to the optometrist. I’m over the cleaning of my contacts each night, the cloudy lenses, struggling to get the soft lenses in and out, and the big bottles of solution that I have to lug around when I travel. I’m sick of my glasses steaming up when I’m cooking, of them sliding off my face when I work out, the never-ending smears across the lenses and glasses getting knocked when I snuggle my kids. It’s been nearly 40 years of dealing with vision problems that I’m ready to ditch. What is your reasoning for considering LASIK eye surgery?

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

I can’t read anymore without removing my glasses & holding the page REALLY close to my face!

1. Do I Qualify As a Candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?

Once you’ve decided that you’d like to learn more about laser eye surgery, it’s very easy to find out if you’re a candidate for LASIK. I was able to call Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in San Diego and schedule an appointment for the following week. Clearview offers complimentary evaluations that will determine what type of refractive eye surgery is best for each patient. I was instructed only to wear my glasses for three days prior to my appointment (not my contact lenses).

My evaluation included a extensive battery of simple eye tests. They use state-of-the-art technology to determine if LASIK is the right surgery for you. If you’ve ever been to the optometrist, many of the tests will be familiar. These evaluation techniques take 3-D images of the thickness and shape of your eye, map the curvature patterns of your eye, and take a microscopic exam of your eye (to check for health related issues).

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

Getting vetted at my extensive consultation at Clearview

The tests are easy and quick. However there are a lot of tests so plan on being there for about two hours. While it’s a good idea to bring a driver with you (since your eyes will be dilated), you should definitely get a babysitter for the kids. The exam areas are small and not a place for little ones.

2. Committing to LASIK Surgery

After the test portion, my counselor Richard asked big-picture questions about my personal vision needs, like what I do in my spare time and for work. He went over some of the surgery details and worked up a surgery proposal with cost breakdown. At check-in I’d received a folder with details on refractive surgical processes done at Clearview and information about medical director Sandy T. Feldman M.D., M.S. Since I still needed to discuss the process with my husband and look at my calendar, I wasn’t able to commit to a surgery date at that time. Which was totally fine – the evaluation is free and I left with all the information tucked in my folder. I liked having the information to take home where I could read it at my own pace.

Everyone I met at Clearview made me feel at ease during the entire consultation process at Clearview and I never felt pressured to commit to the surgery at any time. As someone who likes to take time and mull over a big decision, this was extremely important to me. If you’re a busy mom like me, you’ll probably need to make the arrangements for a good surgery date, along with child care and financial concerns (let alone talking to your husband about everything!) But there’s no need to rush – Your tests and cost proposal are good for 30 days so you have plenty of time to make plans and schedule a surgery date. However if you are absolutely ready to commit on the same day as your consult, you can do that too! They’ll have you scheduled for surgery within a few days.

3. Is LASIK Safe?

Hundreds of thousands of LASIK procedures are performed in the United States each year, making it one of the most common surgeries performed. Clearview uses a sophisticated iFS laser that is completely blade free. Dr. Feldman customizes the procedure individually for each patient, based on their eye evaluation tests. The precision technique takes less than ten seconds per eye. Clinical studies prove that patients have faster visual recovery and fewer dry eye symptoms after surgery with the iFS laser.

Seeing a qualified specialist is tops on my list for laser eye surgery safety. I specifically went to Clearview because of the reputation of medical director, Sandy T. Feldman. She has been performing refractive surgical procedures for over 21 years (over 20,000 procedures!) She’s been trusted by many athletes and even other doctors to perform their eye surgeries.

Refractive laser surgery is a medical procedure. There are no guarantees or promises when it comes to any medical procedure as everyone’s individual results may vary. If a surgical center guarantees “perfect” vision, be wary because that may not always be accurate. Everyone’s final results after surgery are going to be different.

Clearview recommends starting your process with an evaluation in their office and discussing the full details of surgery in person. The pre-surgical testing at Clearview is extensive. As noted earlier, it last around two hours and includes a wide range of vision tests to ensure that everything about the eye is recorded properly. Dr. Feldman personally reviews all records of the tests to personalize the surgery to each patient’s needs.

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

4. Overcoming Fears About Having Laser Eye Surgery

I have to confess that reading and hearing about the LASIK process sort-of gives me the heebie-jeebies! In all honesty, I didn’t want to hear about the actual surgery details at all. Just do the surgery and let me get rid of my glasses!

Naturally the fear of having surgery on your eyes is a major hurdle. You’ll want all the information on how safe the procedure is. You want to feel comfortable before/during/after the surgery. And of course you want to feel like you’re in capable hands. Fear of the actual eye surgery can be a major stumbling block and concerns about the end result often stop people from scheduling the surgery.

Choosing the right surgical center for your procedure goes a long way towards achieving that comfort level. At Clearview, the people you encounter in the office are the same people you’ll see in the surgery room. All of the refractive eye surgery equipment is owned and operated at the Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center so your consultation and surgery will take place in the same office. To put you more at ease, each patient meets with the surgeon before the big day. Having the chance to meet Dr. Feldman and ask your important questions helps with overcoming fear and feeling safe when facing surgery.

5. Best Questions To Ask in Your Consultation

A lot of questions will come up during your consultation. Here are a few talking points you might want to mention:

  • How long does it take to recover after the surgery?
  • What are the possible side-effects?
  • Will I experience pain post-surgery and how long will it last?
  • What kind of vision can I expect a few days/weeks/months after the surgery?
  • When can I go back to work/drive a car/exercise?
  • How in the heck do you keep your eye still during surgery when there’s a laser involved?!
  • How often should I return to the office for check-ups?
  • What happens if my vision gets worse?
If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

A list of post-surgery medications and needs.

6. How Much Will Laser Eye Surgery Cost?

LASIK is considered elective surgery, which means most insurance companies won’t cover the cost. However I was actually surprised that the cost wasn’t as high as I’d expected. You can expect to pay about $2700+ per eye. Talk to your counselor about payment plans offered in-office. LASIK is also a great way to use your “flex plan”. There are also discounts available at Clearview for military and teachers, so ask about that during your consult.

At Clearview, any post-operative visits are covered in the initial cost for 12 months. This includes any possible “touch up” that might be required. It doesn’t happen that often but great to know it’s covered if you need it. After the 12 month period you can schedule additional check ups and surgical touch ups and the cost is only $750 per eye for these procedures.

My LASIK Eye Surgery Experience

I’ll be having my own LASIK eye surgery at the Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in a few days and will share all the details with you in another blog post! Sign up for my email newsletter to be informed when my post-surgery update is listed.

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #EyeSurgery #Vision #Clearview


Create a More Calm and Peaceful Entryway in Your Home

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GladeFineFragranceMist #CollectiveBias

In the last few months, I’ve been focusing on being in a more intentional place. FOCUS is my Word of the Year and I really am trying to press into that. I want to be a more focused mother for my children. A wife who has a great focus on marriage as a whole. And I’ve just started going to night school, so I definitely want to be more focused on my studies. All this focus can leave other things, like housework, in the dust (literally!) There’s only so much of me to go around, you know? Staying focused on a few things means that other things can get neglected. And to be honest, that truly affects my mood. I want to be good at everything, even when I know that’s impossible! But if I neglect ME, then nothing else is going to go right.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

Saying Yes to More Peace

My moms group has been delving into the topic of getting more peace in our lives. Bottom line: It’s not your circumstances that bring you down. It’s the attitude and thinking you have about things that ultimately makes you upset. My happiness should not be based upon what is happening around me. It’s not the circumstances, it’s the attitude and thinking I have about them.

I have it on my heart to be more conscious about my mood when I come home after a long day. It’s too easy to fall into the chaos once inside the door and I aim to be more centered and at peace at home. A relaxed and calm Mom is better at all things!

One thing that I do as a reminder to stay serene is take a moment in my entryway to pause. It’s only a moment that I need before the whirlwind hits me. I have my entryway table set up with everything I need for a proper welcome home. I can choose to think about positives I’m grateful for and not the potential craziness that awaits me beyond the entryway. With just a few key items in this place, I’ve made my home a more calm place.

Creating a Calm and Peaceful Entryway

Creating a peaceful and beautiful entryway helps set up the reminders for me about being purposeful. I have carefully chosen only what makes me happy and gives meaning. Clutter is the enemy! Only what absolutely needs to be there should be allowed in this place. I take time each day to make sure this area is tidy. Even if my office desk has a huge stack of papers or there are dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, at least I know that this one sacred place of peace and meditation is clutter-free.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

These are the things I have in my lovely entryway that bring me joy –

Favorite art and calming quotes. Surrounding yourself with lovely things really does go a long way towards calm.

A table runner is a great base to start from. I went with a neutral so that I could choose to add more color with my accessories.

A place to put car keys because hunting for lost car keys when you’re already running late is going to make you crazy. I love this pretty bowl to use as a catch-all from keys to earrings.

I try to deal with mail immediately while it’s in my hand. I sort out the junk into the recycling and put bills on my office desk. Don’t let paper clutter up your special space.

Add a touch of nature, whether it be a vase with flowers, a tiny cactus or something like this bonsai I have. An earthy reminder can help you to stay grounded.

Include something meaningful to you. I have a pretty vintage cake plate and a soapstone container that my husband bought me on our first vacation together.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

Using Fragrance to Move My Mood

The Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Fragrance Mist helps welcome me home. The scent of fragrance upon coming in my front door is the gentle nudge I need to remind me to breath deeply, stay calm and let the stress of the day slip away. I found these at Walmart. I chose each of these two fragrance mist products for different reasons.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

The notes of jasmine and rose with cedarwood and clove in the No.1 Enraptured™ fragrance helps to put me in a loving mood. The No.2 Bright™ scent has a light and bright note of raspberries and orchard fruits with pear and sweet pea.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

The Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrances are infused with essential oils and masterfully crafted fragrances. Just spray up and sweep side to side. It is a continuous spray so the mist lingers in the air. A quick spray and deep breath from me and I’m in my calm space. Just the welcome home that I need!

How can you use fragrance to transport you into a peaceful place?

Follow this entryway tutorial to put you in the right mood the moment you walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

How Do You Meet Relationship Goals When You’re Exhausted?

My husband has been a zombie for the last few months. Aside from working six days a week, it’s always at least 10 hours, sometimes 12 hours each day. He literally stumbles home after being on his feet all day, showers, eats dinner and then falls asleep.

“All I want to do is relax and watch a movie”. He says this literally every single day. How often does it happen? Sadly, I can’t remember the last time he made it through more than 10 minutes of any television without dozing off. Most nights he’s in bed before our children, around 7:30 pm. He’s back up at 3:00 am to do it all again the following day.

My husband is finishing up his final semester of school. This year he’s doing his course online, which means that his one day off usually includes catching up on homework. Added onto this, I also started night school twice a week. I get dinner done before he gets home but he’s still in charge of facilitating clean up, baths and bedtime for our four kids. Once my husband called me when I was at school and begged me to come home (I did). He was having an anxiety attack with the mental and physical exhaustion.

We have four children, two that are teens and two that are younger (including a toddler). Thank goodness for the help of the older two. Our only free family time together is Sunday. My husband usually like to check a few things off the to-do list that day, since it’s the only time he has. We also spend Sunday at church, meal planning for the week, doing household things, and maybe a small family activity, like a walk or the park.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

Our last family outing, a Christmas morning hike.

#RelationshipGoals

There are some great ideas out there for growing closer to your spouse. However not many of these relationship goals are relate-able for those of us with tight schedules, small kids or budgets. These are the #RelationshipGoals that probably seem unattainable to most.

  • “Read a relationship book together” – yeah, no time for reading together (I think if I started reading aloud, my husband would be snoring in 2.2 seconds!)
  • “Have regular date nights” – that includes not only the cost of an evening out but also a babysitter (and time we don’t have!) I can’t remember the last date night with just the two of us (that wasn’t a work party).
  • “Have meaningful conversations” – that sounds exhausting! At this point, I’m good if I get the chance to even tell my husband that the toilet clogged or to buy cheese at the grocery.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

Making Time for Deeper Relationships

So how in the heck do you create a deep emotional connection as partners when time is so limited? Can you possibly squeeze in “quality time” every day? How are you ever going to hit those marriage goals when you don’t even have the energy for a two-minute conversation? I have a few ideas on how to foster deep relationship even on limited time and energy.

And lest you think these tips are only for married couples, think about them in terms of your children as well. If you find yourself mentally and physically exhausted to the point where you feel the connection slipping with you kids, try these with your children as well.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

1. Find Time Wherever, Whenever

I know that my time to talk to my husband one-on-one is very limited. If there’s something we need to discuss, it can be hard to do that when there are kids around. We try to squeeze in the time for talk whenever we can. My husband will often call me when he’s on his way home from work and talk over the Bluetooth. When he jumps in the shower, I’ll stand in the bathroom and we’ll chat. After dinner is cleaned up, we’ll often head out with the baby in her stroller for a walk. This gives us about 30 minutes of chatting while we get exercise. Where can you grab a few minutes of talking time with your partner?

2. Know When to Share (and When to Wait)

There are things that I need to talk to my husband about. Upcoming business trips, possible family vacation plans, something I’d like to buy for the house. These aren’t quick conversations. I haven’t talked to him about them yet because the timing just hasn’t been right. When my husband is exhausted, pouncing on him with big news as soon as he walks in the door isn’t going to go over very well! Knowing when to speak and when to wait is golden.

3. Showing Appreciation

Everyone wants to feel appreciated. When you’re run down, it’s too easy to get down on yourself. It’s basic but “thank you” goes a long way.  And if you can’t be there in person to deliver it, leave little messages. I put a Post-It note message on my husband’s phone at least once a week. I write it at night and it’s there in the morning before he leave for work.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

4. Expressions of Affection

Physical intimacy isn’t always going to happen exactly when you want it to. However without intimacy and affection, your spouse may feel more like a roommate. Small gestures of touching, like a hug when preparing dinner, a foot massage while chatting about your day or a back rub before bed can really foster that connection. When I crawl into bed at night I’ll place my hand on my husband’s chest and say a prayer over him as he sleeps. He might not be awake for the affection, but it’s still meaningful to me.

5. Plan Ahead

Okay, so right now you’re time is tight and your relationship might be feeling equally tense. Is there a time in the future where you foresee a break in the craziness? Make a plan for the future, when things slow down. Maybe you’ll plan a weekend getaway, a family vacation or even just a day trip together. Perhaps your plan is even larger, like buying a new house or making a move out of state. Planning ahead and talking about it keeps your relationship moving forward towards something.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

We went to Europe many years ago and it’s in the plans for our 10th wedding anniversary to make another big trip!

6. A Kind Gesture

If you’ve been together for any significant amount of time, you know what makes each other excited. My husband loves to have homemade cookies in his lunch. So if I bake them in the evening after he’s gone to bed, it really does make his day. What small gesture could you do out of the blue that would make your mate happy?

7. Switch Off the Attitude

I’ll confess that when I’m overloaded with stress, I tend to blow up on those around me. My husband is the same, unfortunately, letting the anxiety of the day spent at work flow over into our home life. Before my husband even gets home, I have been really focusing on my attitude and words. I don’t want the little time we spend together to be filled with arguing or upsets.

8. Be Present in Each Other’s Company

Unpopular opinion, but sitting in the same room while you’re both browsing your phones is not going to build your relationship! Put your phone on the charger and use the time you would have spent watching videos on Facebook to chat with your partner instead.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

9. Pray for Each Other

Even when we’re not together, I am thinking about my husband while he’s at work. I pray that he’s safe, that he’s having a good day, that he’s healthy, whatever comes into my head and heart at the time. And each night before I fall asleep I place my hand on his back or chest and whisper prayers over him as he sleeps.

10. Remind Yourself That This is Only a Season

Big breath, “This too shall pass”. Hopefully the tight time constrictions currently in your relationship are only going to last a short amount of time before you’re given a breather. Focus on the future and what you’ll do with growing your partnership when you have more time and energy to invest.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)


Tips for Feeding Picky Eaters (I Used to Be One!)

I place the plate of food in front of my toddler daughter and she recoils in horror. The arms pulled back, the face twisted in disgust. It’s a look I know well. I admit that I was not a healthy or adventurous eater as a child. In fact, I was extremely picky! I dreaded eating at a friend’s house because of my food aversions. I had my picky food list in mind and hoped that the meal being served didn’t have something that I’d have to pick out, avoid or gag on! Only in my twenties did I start trying new foods. And it’s because I used to be so particular with eating that I’ve been able to come up with ideas for feeding picky eaters.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

Tips for Feeding Picky Eaters

When my eldest son was born, I knew that I wanted him to develop good eating habits from the start. Today he’s an adventurous eater who loves to try new foods. When I married my husband, I gained a stepdaughter through marriage. She was a very particular eater who (with Autism) has some serious texture sensitivity. She now easily eats everything placed in front of her without any complaints! Keep reading for my tested tips for feeding picky eaters.

Picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater on how to encourage your kids to try new foods. With these practical tips for feeding picky eaters you can take the focus off them and encourage healthy habits.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

1. Start Young

When your babies first start eating solids, offer a wide variety of flavors and textures. It’s tempting to want to keep with the smooth and sweet foods but it’s important that babies learn (once the doctor gives the go-ahead) about savory flavors and to get accustomed to textures. I started by adding herbs and spices to baby food puree to add a dash of flavor. I discovered that a tiny bit of cinnamon with the baby cereal, thyme in the chicken puree and curry in the butternut squash.

2. “You Don’t Have to Like it, but You Still Have to Eat it”

Enlist a family motto like this one, which knocks off the “I don’t like this” excuses. When I first married my husband, his daughter was 5 and had a very small meal repertoire. We knew that needed to change but he’d gotten accustomed to serving her the same foods. It was easier to give in than deal with a possible dinnertime meltdown. Upon giving her a plate of food and hearing, “I don’t like meatloaf”, I replied, “You don’t have to like it, but you still have to eat it”. Saying it flatly and without emotion, drama or any kind of pressure from me seemed to do the trick. She tried it and now meatloaf is one of her favorite meals!

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

3. Make the Meal Less About the Eating

Growing up, I was sooo stubborn about trying new foods. And that’s because during every dinner, the spotlight was on me to verify that I was eating what was served. My parents would make a big embarrassing fuss if I tried something new. So I stopped trying new things, just to be more in control.

We decided with our kids to take the focus off the eating and make mealtimes more enjoyable. We don’t obsess over every bite that our kids take. There is no big fanfare. It’s just food and meal time is not the place to pressure your kids. Push them and they’re sure to push back!

4. Keep Offering

So, they didn’t like it the first time you served it. That’s okay, keep offering. It may take quite a few times of seeing a food on their plate before children will try it, let alone like it.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

My son requested sushi for his birthday dinner.

5. Limit Portion Sizes

How can you get picky eaters to try new foods? Don’t pile their plates! When serving a new food, all we ask is that our children try one or two bites and that’s all. Start with a very small portion on your child’s plate. When they finish it, offer seconds. There are certain foods that my daughter doesn’t enjoy, like black beans. We will literally give her three beans and ask that she finish them. Once she is done, she can request more or she can be finished, there is no pressure.

Consider a Compartment Divided Plate so that foods aren’t “touching” and portion control is easier.

6. Respect Their Lack of Appetite

How do I get my picky toddler to eat?! And why is my kid always telling me he’s not hungry? Kids truly do have small stomachs. Also their appetites peak and wane depending upon growth spurts. Repeat after yourself, “It’s just one meal”. They’ll eat when they get hungry. Kids should continue to sit at the table with you during meals. I let my kids know that THIS is meal time and that if they tell me they’re hungry in 30 minutes that what we’re eating at the moment is what they will be served!

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

7. Keep An Open Mind

You’ve just prepared a new dish and you’re already thinking, “There is no way my kid is going to eat this.” Get that thought out of your head right now, because your picky eater might just surprise you. Go into each new experience with an open mind. Simply serve what you’ve made without a big production and ignore the “I don’t like this, even though I’ve never had it” commentary.

Last year I offered my kids white canellini beans. We’ve eaten a lot of beans (pinto, black, refried, kidney) over the years but I’d never served white beans. My preschooler asked me what they were and then tried one (up to that point, he wouldn’t even TRY the beans we’d offered). He shrugged after eating the white bean and said, “I guess I like beans”. And he’s eaten every bean since!

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

8. Water is the Beverage Option

Though I do offer a small glass of milk with breakfast and dinner, for the rest of the day water is the only beverage option. Juice or caffeine-free soda is limited to special occasions, like at a party. I prefer that my kids get their calories from healthy, nutritious foods and not get filled up on beverages.

9.  Serve Well-Balanced Snacks

Nothing like that just-before-dinner snack to “ruin” their appetite for the main course! Limit snack time to twice a day and under 100 calories. Snacks should be well-balanced and include a little fat (like nuts), protein (like a lean piece of meat) and a carbohydrate (like a half of a piece of fruit). Make it easy for your kids by keeping fruit on the counter and prepped veggies in the fridge, where they are easy to grab on the go. We like edamame that kids can pop out of the pods (they are healthy and they take a bit of time to consume).

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

10. Keep the Choices Fresh

It’s easy to get stuck on serving the same fruits and vegetables. But it’s important to keep things fresh and continue to offer new flavors. My kids have just developed a love of yellow and green squash, which we lightly steam. It’s also essential that you keep mostly fresh foods in the kitchen and to eliminate most bagged or processed items that are heavy on sodium and saturated fat.

We recently tried Dinnerly, which gave us some new ideas for veggies and recipes.

11. Offer Sauces and Dips (or Not!)

My toddler won’t eat meat unless it’s smothered in ketchup. Totally fine by me, at least she’s eating it! What are the foods that your kids might enjoy more if they had a sauce or dip as an accompaniment? And then there are some kids, like my kindergartner who does’t like sauces at all! If it’s easy enough to leave off the sauce on a dish, try letting family members add it themselves so the picky eater can have it “plain”.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

12. Remove White Foods

White foods are often the diet staples of a picky eater! Sub in colorful and more flavorful foods and skip the bland white foods. Avoid white bread and switch to a smooth tasting wheat. Once your child’s taste buds have gotten used to that, you can move to a nutty whole grain instead. Instead of white potatoes, try steamed sweet potato chunks. Use whole wheat pasta instead of pasta made with white flour. Switch out white rice for brown rice. Don’t think that eating healthier foods is more costly – see my ideas on how to save money on groceries.

13. Be a Good Role Model

Kids will totally notice if you are serving them lima beans and you don’t have any on your plate! Make sure you practice what you preach and that they see you eating healthfully as well. Are you ready to start your own healthy eating plan? Check out my review of Personal Trainer Food.

14. Make Meals Distraction Free

While you don’t want the focus on your picky eater during meal times, it shouldn’t be focused on the TV or device either. Make meal times enjoyable with light conversation by turning off the television, phone and devices. Click through to read about healthy breakfast ideas for kids.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

15. Dessert Isn’t the Reward

I know we’ve all been guilty of encouraging dinner eating by the promise of a sweet treat at the completion of the meal. But that definitely gives kids the message that dessert is more important by making it a reward. In our home, dessert isn’t an every day occurrence. And it’s definitely not always a sugary treat. Consider fruits like strawberries with whipped cream or frozen grapes (cut in half before serving).

16. Don’t Let Them Frazzle You

When my husband and I were first encouraging our daughter to try new things, it was imperative that we not lose our cool with her. A large part of being a picky eater is the control that it brings (speaking as a former picky eater herself!) When parents act like food is no big deal, it frees the child to relax and open up to trying new things just a little bit more.

Offer foods without pressure or bribery. If there is a complete meltdown at the mere suggestion of taking one bite, remove the plate and calmly tell the child to leave the table. Do not offer to prepare a different meal. Kids will either choose be stubborn and go without or they’ll begrudgingly eat what is offered. Just keep your cool and pretend it doesn’t bother you one way or another to get the control issue out of the way.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.


6 Ways Mom Can Squeeze in Healthy Exercise and Nutrition on the Go

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewYearNewWater #CollectiveBias

As a busy mom of four (from toddler to teens!) I spend a lot of my time shuttling kids to school, appointments and activities. As someone who just started taking night school classes, I’m also spending more time studying and doing homework. And as a writer, I spend the rest of my spare time typing at my desk. That’s a lot of sitting during the day!

In between I do try and squeeze in exercise. If I’m home, I’ll take my toddler for a long walk with the stroller through the neighborhood (nap time for her, exercise for me!) You’ll often find me doing squats or stretching in the kitchen while waiting for water to boil. I’ve been on a weight loss journey so I’m trying to choose healthier snacks and keep the treats to a minimum. Moms are busy so we have to squeeze in fitness and healthy nutrition whenever and where ever we can!

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

So what can you do to fit in exercise even when you’re out and about? How can you make sure you’re making the best nutrition choices even on a busy schedule? I’m sharing my ideas on packing healthy essentials in the car for those days when we’re on the go. Think about those times in the school pick-up line when you’re just sitting. Think about all that time you spend with kids at the orthodontist! And how about after you’ve dropped off your child at their activity and you have an hour to burn? Here’s what I keep in my vehicle to take advantage of the healthy ME time!

Walking Shoes

There are times when I’d like to squeeze in some exercise but I didn’t wear the proper shoes. Now I keep a spare pair in my car just in case I have time for a quick walk. Lace ’em up and time yourself to see how quickly you can speed walk around the block.

Healthy Snacks

Resist the urge to stop at the convenience store! Not only are the prices high you’ll be faced with too much temptation in the way of sugary snacks. I keep healthy snacks in my car. Choose things that can handle the warmth inside of your vehicle and not melt, like nuts, seeds, popcorn and dried fruits.

Resistance Bands

The school pick-up line is a hurry and wait sort of thing, with a long line of cars waiting for the bell to ring. I line up and put the car in park. By the time my daughter has reached the car, I’ve completed a small arm workout using resistance bands. Resistance bands take up hardly any space and are lightweight, making them the perfect travel exercise choice.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

Journaling

Sometimes a thought will come to me that I want to explore more about. But I don’t want it to be just another “to do” in my calendar. I used to keep a diary as a teen and it was a fantastic way of keeping in touch daily with my thoughts and ideas. Dust off your diary, jot thoughts into a journal and just write, draw or doodle.

Nap Pillow

I asked some friends the other day when was the last time they’d taken a nap. Naturally the ladies without the kids were catching cat naps but the women with little ones hadn’t napped in years! Sometimes all you need is to just close your eyes for a few minutes and be alone with your thoughts. I dropped off my son at a birthday party this weekend and while his toddler sister napped in the car, I had the chance to catch a thirty minute nap myself!

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

Hydration

I try my best to stay healthy and make sure I’m taking good care of myself. Getting exercise and drinking plenty of water throughout the day is top on my list. So while I’ve been doing okay on the exercise and my diet has been fairly clean, I’ve still be struggling to drink enough water. I’ve had issues with dehydration in the past because I just don’t take in enough fluid. Plain water isn’t my favorite choice.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

I’ve been choosing wanu water as my refreshing beverage throughout the day. wanu water is delicious and it still tastes like water – just better! In flavors like Peach Passion, Kiwi Cucumber and Watermelon Raspberry, you’re sure to find a favorite. I love these wanu water flavors because they’re more like a treat! I found these wanu water flavors at my local Vons.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

But wanu water is not only hydrating, it’s nutritious as well. Fiber aides in achieving a healthy weight by keeping you feeling fuller longer. wanu water has 6 grams of non-GMO fiber, equivalent of 24% of your recommended daily intake.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

wanu water is naturally sweetened by monk fruit. Monk fruit sweetens foods and drinks without the harmful effects of traditional sugar and sugar substitutions. No funny aftertaste either. And the palatable flavor makes it easier to get not only hydration but also vitamins, nutrients and even fiber.

Click HERE to save Save $1.00 on the purchase of any two (2) 16oz bottles of wanu (Expiration date: 12/31/18).

How are you taking care of yourself, even on a busy schedule?

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

Personal Trainer Food Review – How Important is Convenience to Weight Loss?

People want easy. Simple as that. If it’s too hard, most people aren’t even going to try. That is the honest truth about most things in life. And never more true when it comes to weight loss. Bottom line: People want simple and easy weight loss.

Nobody really wants to make drastic lifestyle changes. Nobody really wants to give up what they enjoy and start doing something that sounds un-fun. And if the scale isn’t moving in the right direction right away, forget about sticking with it…where’s the chocolate cake?! *ahem* Sound familiar?

I think that all of these “don’t wanna do that” things are what kept me overweight for so long. Did I want to lose the weight? YES. But did I want to make the appropriate changes in order to make that happen? No, not really! The thought of having to research what I should and shouldn’t be eating, calorie counting and early morning workouts stopped me in my tracks each time. I was frustrated by the time and careful thought it takes to prepare a wholesome and healthy meal. Add in that weight loss on my own was soooo slow! I wanted to lose the weight but I felt like I just didn’t have the time or energy to commit to it.

So how important is convenience when it comes to weight loss?

I’d venture to say that convenience is VERY high on the list when people finally decide to commit to weight loss. Convenience may be the most important thing. Most people want foods that are easy to prepare. They want meals that they don’t have to think about -grab, heat and eat – without having to worry about calories. And they want quick results. They want to see loose pants and lower numbers on their scale fast.

For me, what finally worked was Personal Trainer Food. It’s easy. It’s convenient. It’s real, healthy food. And it totally works FAST. Comparing the convenience, cost and time-restrictions of making your own food versus using the Personal Trainer Food program, it’s no contest. I’ve lost a total of 13 lbs in 5 weeks on PTF – this program is extremely convenient!

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

If you’re following along with my Personal Trainer Food Review posts, here are the previous posts in the series.

I received a complimentary box from Personal Trainer Food that included 28-days worth of meals and three butter sauces. All thoughts and opinions about this product are my own. Your results on the program may vary. Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Convenience Factor #1 – No Grocery Shopping

Not having to go to the store is a huge convenience! With Personal Trainer Food, you can skip the grocery shopping and easily order all the food and snacks you’ll need for an entire MONTH. A few quick clicks on their site to pick and choose all three meals for the day. And it comes straight to your door. Just make plenty of room in the freezer because 28 days of breakfast, lunch and dinner takes up a lot of space.

Will the Personal Trainer Food program work for me, a busy mom over 40? #sponsored

Convenience Factor #2 – No Meal Planning

When on a diet, it can be tricky to know what you should and shouldn’t include in your meals. I love that with Personal Trainer Food I don’t have to plan anything. I just reach into the freezer, pull out a protein and a veggie, heat it up and EAT. No planning necessary, which takes the focus off dieting. Truly convenient, right?

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Convenience Factor #3 – No Portion Control or Calorie Counting

One of the things that everyone hates about “dieting” is that they constantly feel restricted. On traditional diets, there are food logs, apps for keeping track of foods, caloric calculations and constant measuring of portions. It is such a relief on PTF not to have worry about any of that. Each of the meals is pre-proportioned with the proper amount of protein and carbs.

Convenience Factor #4 – No Hunger

I’ve been on diets in the past and I know you know what I’m talking about here. You’ve already eaten your allotted calories for the day and yet your stomach is still growling. Hunger can leave you so frustrated and give you less willpower to succeed. The portions on PTF are really decently sized. Paired with snacks like cheese, nuts and a daily apple, I’ve never been hungry on this plan. You can purchase some snacks on the PTF site or follow their recommended snack list (it’s sent with your order).

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Need more? Add cheese, salsa or veggies to your breakfast (no calorie counting!)

Convenience Factor #5 – No Crazy Exercise Routines

I don’t have time to spend hours in the gym, sweating it up everyday. But that’s what we’ve heard works for weight loss. But on PTF, the only exercise that they encourage during the weight loss phase is 20 minutes of walking. Nothing crazy and no huge time commitments. I find it very convenient to squeeze in a quick 20 minutes of walking in my day!

Are you ready to make the weight loss commitment? Check out the Personal Trainer Food program on their website. I highly recommend signing up for their emails (there are frequent coupon codes and specials!)

Taking my 20 minute walk with the baby in the stroller to fit in my daily exercise.


7 Inexpensive and Lovable Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids

Kids really do get into the Valentine’s Day spirit of love and friendship. Maybe it’s the classroom Valentine’s card exchange at school. Maybe it’s the warm and fuzzy feeling woven throughout the month. But more likely it’s the sweet candy and treats! Okay, let’s give children a little more credit. While the school parties and special desserts are fun, I think that kids just naturally love to LOVE. And Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to express that.

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids

I’m sharing some fun Valentine’s ideas for your kids. These 7 ideas will give you inexpensive and lovable ways to share the holiday with your kids. And so not to leave out the littles, I’ve included Valentine’s Day ideas for toddlers, too. There are also some real, memorable ways to create a deeper connection with your kids (with this holiday as the reason to begin a step in that direction).

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Looking to make real, meaningful connections with your children this Valentine's Day? These inexpensive and lovable Valentine's Day ideas for kids are practical and fun tips help make your Valentine's lovely.

My son was SO proud of his handmade Valentine! I have it in my keepsake box 🙂

1. Family Card Exchange

So the kids have already exchanged cards and treats with friends at school. Creating homemade cards for family members is a great way to show off creativity and love (especially for little siblings that don’t yet go to school). No need to be perfect, just let the feelings fly.

A simple construction paper card with a sweet sentiment inside is so meaningful. A new box of customized Crayola crayons will encourage the creativity! Draw a picture or paste a photo inside for an added touch. These are the memories to hold in your heart forever. I still cherish the handmade card that my son made for me so many years ago.

Looking to make real, meaningful connections with your children this Valentine's Day? These inexpensive and lovable Valentine's Day ideas for kids are practical and fun tips help make your Valentine's lovely.

2. Valentine’s Day Breakfast

No need to go crazy – even just doing one thing out of the ordinary will make it a special meal to kick start Valentine’s Day. Doughnuts are always a welcome treat in my book! Sprinkle chocolate chips on the pancake batter in the shape of a heart. Add red food coloring to a glass of milk to make a “pink drink”. I love this idea of cutting fruit into heart shapes for the ultimate Valentine’s Day fruit salad!

Click the image to see more on Pinterest! 

Looking to make real, meaningful connections with your children this Valentine's Day? These inexpensive and lovable Valentine's Day ideas for kids are practical and fun tips help make your Valentine's lovely.

Watermelon Heart Salad from A Designer Life

3. Perform a Loving Act

Just like kids love to give presents at Christmas, they enjoy the giving of their affections on Valentine’s Day as well. This is a great time to show your kids different ways of loving. We can show our love for all people with service, including volunteering to help others. Start with your church or ask in your local community for ways that your children can help.

Here’s a super cute loving act that kids would enjoy – making a Valentine’s Day birdfeeder to hang in a tree. Bet the birdies would love it!

Click the image to see more on Pinterest! 

Looking to make real, meaningful connections with your children this Valentine's Day? These inexpensive and lovable Valentine's Day ideas for kids are practical and fun tips help make your Valentine's lovely. Valentine’s Day Birdfeeders from Wine and Glue

4. A Lovable Outfit or Accessory

Let kids wear their heart on their sleeve (literally!)

ShopDisney has some adorable Valentine’s Day tees. There are also sweet love-themed accessories that can be worn all-year round, like these cute socks and Mickey & Minnie Love Alex and Ani bangles (perfect for tween and teen girls!)

Before I had a million kids, I used to make them a special shirt for every holiday! They really loved wearing their handcrafted creations. If you have a sewing machine and basic skills, you can put together this adorable Valentine’s Day heart tee in about two hours. Click through for the DIY tutorial.

5. Valentine’s Homemade Crafts

Take the time to sit down and create something together with your kids this season. Okay, so I haven’t gotten into the make-your-own slime thing but I know that kids LOVE it! There are lots of other crafty things you can do with the kids during Valentine’s. This paper heart wreath is adorable (and what kid doesn’t love to wield the stapler!) Best part? Totally mess-free!!

Click the image to see more on Pinterest! 

Paper Heart Wreath tutorial from hello, Wonderful

6. Read a Loving Story Together

My littlest kids especially love to snuggle with mom and dad to read stories. Those are special memories for sure.

A Valentine’s Day themed book (like our favorite, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch) is a great bedtime read-aloud for young elementary.

My baby daughter thinks that this book, Disney Baby I Love You This Much! is the best.

Tweens and teens may love having a journal for writing down their thoughts (since actually expressing them outloud might prove to be too challenging!) There’s a plain version (JAM Paper Notebook with Elastic Band) and also one with an embossed heart (Writing Journal with Gold Heart).

7. Give Your Child the Gift of YOU

Ever read about the The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts? There are additional books in this series that help you to love children and teens more deeply. I can’t think of a better Valentine’s gift from a parent to a child than your time, your attention and a deeper and more connected love!

Looking for a few more ideas? You might like this post about Cheap Ideas for Valentine’s Day!

Looking to make real, meaningful connections with your children this Valentine's Day? These inexpensive and lovable Valentine's Day ideas for kids are practical and fun tips help make your Valentine's lovely.