Just a Little Bit Crazy

I had a freak out this past weekend. I have a bad temper that only my husband and kids are “blessed” to witness. I’m ashamed to admit that. I yell. I throw things. I get over-the-top angry. I storm around, slamming doors and locking myself in the bathroom. Better to be locked behind a door with everyone else on the outside. I can’t hurt anyone’s feelings in there. I cry it out. I wash my face. My anger simmers down. And I come out, embarrassed.

I truly hate those angry flare ups. In the moment I’m certain that I’m right to have anger. It just seems to right. I have a point, damn it. Why do I have to yell, shout, cry and get MAD just to express myself?! I guess I don’t. Nobody HAS to get mad. But it feels like the right thing to do in the moment. Until afterwards, of course. When the dust settles and I realize that I truly freaked out and usually don’t even remember what it was that I was flipping out about.

A Little Bit Crazy

Sometimes I think I have a bit of a crazy streak and it scares me. Crazy tempers tend to run in the family. I’ve heard the stories and they aren’t pretty. My mom, wanting to break the pattern, used to scream, “Get out of the house!” when she was mad at me. She didn’t want to resort to spanking so it was better for her to make me leave. And I would, running out the front door to escape, letting the screen door slam behind me.

Knowing my mom now, the calm grandma who regularly has upwards of 5 kids in her house at one time, it’s hard to see the temper. I can’t remember the last time I saw her “crazy” surface. With time her temper has faded, with calm and patience smoothing over the crazy cracks.

I worry that the crazy temper has painted me in a unflattering light for my husband. He’s got a bit of the crazy in him (he’ll freely admit that, I’m not letting any skeletons out of the closet there). But it seems that when I’m around him lately every small slight becomes a major offense in my eyes. Every comment he makes to me is taken as a slap in the face. I’m challenged to breath deep and give myself internal time outs. But I’m struggling and it feels wrong to let everything go when in the moment, I’m hurting. In the moment, I feel like the wild animal that just needs to roar.

Why Do I Allow That Behavior?

I worry even more that my temper is becoming normal for my kids to witness. Would I ever let my kids stomp off, muttering unflattering words? Would I let my kids storm away from the table and lock themselves in the bathroom? Would I tell my kids it was okay to scream frustrations at the top of their lungs?

Nope. Not once would I ever let that sort of behavior slide from my kids. And yet, they witness Mom doing these things on the regular. It turns my stomach thinking about it and I hope it’s not too late. I pray that they haven’t picked up lifelong issues from seeing my temper flare in front of them.

I love my children. I love my husband. And I’m pretty sure that I’m not certifiably crazy. I’m totally able to control my temper when I need to. I don’t know why some days I’m a saint of patience around my family and other days I’m a caged tiger let loose, fangs flashing. Hormones? Pent up frustration? Who knows.

For many who know me and have never seen a speck of temper flare up in me, that’s proof – I am in control of my mood. So why do I feel so “comfortable” with my children and husband, those I love the most, that I would allow them to witness such a nasty side of me?

 

I’m ashamed to admit I let my temper go around the ones who love me most.

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. -James 1:19

Oh boy. That’s a hard one to take in. Nobody’s off the hook on that one – “Let every person”, He says. He doesn’t say anything about those who were offended, that it’s okay then to lash out. He doesn’t excuse moms who get mad when their husbands diss their cooking or the kids are misbehaving. He says, “Every person”.

Quick to Hear

Hearing isn’t the problem. I hear it all. I hear too much, in fact. I let what was actually said develop its own personality and twist into something totally different.

When I hear my husband say, “I saw some moms running together at the trail today”. What my brain processed was, “I saw moms running. Why aren’t you running? You should run, too. What’s stopping you from running? If you were running, maybe you’d be in better shape. Julie, I don’t respect you because you walk instead of run. Why did I ever marry a girl who doesn’t run?” My mind literally jumped from that simple comment to the commentary in my head and I could feel the burn of outrage flaring inside me.

Perhaps for me, “Quick to hear” should be hearing only what is said and not elaborating or embellishing in between the lines.

Slow to Speak

Notice “Slow to speak” comes before anger. Because if we carefully construct our words and take the time before speaking, the anger probably won’t develop at all. I feel like I very rarely stop before speaking. Perhaps it’s because I’m the mom of four and the chatter is astounding at times. I often feel like I’m having to talk above it, louder and faster to be heard. But I don’t think I’m being heard even with that tactic.

Perhaps not speaking at all will “speak volumes” instead? Maybe I need to learn to hold my tongue and let what it only truly mulled and processed release into speech.

Slow to Anger

I’m praying that by training myself on the first two points, anger will be slow to come or will not develop at all. I truly pray that the anger I’ve been feeling, that the madness, the crazy side of me fades into something that used to happen. And that all traces of “mom’s freak out” will be a thing of the past, not something that my children remember as life shaping.

I don’t think it’s too late to make amends on this. I don’t think it’s ever too late to make changes when you really want to. I’m so well loved. Even if my temper does flare occasionally. I’m well loved, even if I am a little bit crazy.

“This Time I Really Mean It” – The Good Health Snowball Effect

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #NourishOnTheGo #SnackWithPurpose #CollectiveBias

How many times I’ve said that phrase, “I’m going to get healthy this time, I really mean it!” Only to fall off the wagon as soon as a piece of chocolate cake crosses my path. Unfortunately chocolate cake seems to cross my path frequently and I’m off the wagon more than I’m on it! Now that I’m reaching my mid-40s and starting to see the effects that years of neglect (and too much chocolate cake) have done to me, I’m finally seeing the light. I’m making little changes for a big difference. I’m getting serious about my health and am pushing myself to finally make good on all the promises to improve my eating and exercise habits. This time, I really DO mean it.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Odwall Chocolate Protein, a much better choice than cake!

Holding Myself Accountable

It’s easier to stick to my goals if I hold myself accountable. For me, that means choosing people I trust to lovingly nag me! Yeah, I probably don’t really want to hear the question, “Did you go to the gym today?” when I decided to skip going. But if I KNOW that someone is going to ask me every day, then I’m more likely to go. That way I can say, “Yep! Already went to the gym first thing in the morning!”. Opening up to people who can gently guide you towards your goals helps you to stay on track.

Healthy Living Tip#1 – Choose your inner circle of people whom you trust to lovingly ask you about your healthy journey. Choose one person for each task, someone to ask you about exercise, another to ask you if you ate a healthy breakfast, someone else to ask you if you’re drinking water. A text is good, a phone call is better and someone actually in your face is optimal (and not as easy to ignore!)

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Little Goals Are Still a Big Deal

Though of course I have the big picture in mind, setting smaller goals helps me stay focused. If I concentrate on losing 5 lbs at a time, this seems more “do-able” than the entire 25 I need to tackle. And if I remind myself that 30 minutes of moving is all I need daily, once I already have my gym clothes on I’m more likely to stretch that 30 minutes into an hour.

Healthy Living Tip#2 – Even if my goals are small, they’re still important to me. Set goals in manageable chunks so they seem easier to accomplish.

Make It Prominent for All to See

After years of breaking my healthy living promises, I don’t trust myself. It’s way too easy for me to hide the sweets and eat them all myself after everyone is in bed. It’s too easy to just let the exercise slide and soon enough, it’s been weeks since I put on my gym shoes. I’ve decided to make a checklist that I’m displaying on the fridge. Then everyone in the family can see it, good or bad.

Healthy Living Tip#3 – Sure, smart phone apps are handy for keeping track of this stuff, but it’s for your eyes only and too easy to hide. If I don’t have it on display for all to see, it’s way too easy for me to blow it off. Maybe you’re the same way? I have a check list on the fridge that outlines if I’ve exercised, how many cups of water I’ve had and my food log.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Do the Same Thing Everyday

Getting into a healthy pattern takes practice. For me, it helps to do the same things day in and day out. Wake up and put on my gym clothes. Exercise before I can talk myself out of it. Eating a good breakfast is part of what I’ve added to my routine too. It’s easiest and most reliable for me to grab and go breakfast in the mornings. Having an Odwalla before I hit the gym ensures I have good nutrition in my body to sustain me for a workout.

Healthy Living Tip #4 – What are the things you can make routine? If you’re currently in a rut, how can you switch things up for repeat success?

The Good Health Snowball Effect

When I’m working out regularly I’m encouraged to eat better as well. I don’t want to ruin my workout by eating something that will cause me to backtrack. Having Odwalla on hand helps me to make the best choices when refueling.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

My local Vons has a large juice section in the fresh produce department with a fantastic variety of Odwalla 100% juices and smoothies, protein and almond milk shakes. Ingredients are non-GMO, have no added sugar and taste great. I had no idea there were so many varieties of Odwalla!

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Right now you can save on fresh cut fruit when you purchase any 2 Odwalla product at participating stores. I’m practicing good habits that have me reaching for fresh fruit instead of empty carbs.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

It’s so easy for me to stock up on Odwalla to have on hand. Then I just grab one after lacing up my gym shoes and drink it before my workout. 32 grams of protein in the Chocolate Protein Smoothie gives me long-lasting energy so I can push myself to meet (and exceed!) my goals. I’m eating better and exercising more; Which in turn makes me want to continue to give my body the good stuff (sorry, not sorry chocolate cake!).

Save $1 on your next purchase of in-store fresh cut fruit when you buy any TWO (2) Odwalla 15.2 fl. oz. (You’ll receive a print out coupon at the register.). Offer ends 10/31/2017.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Teach Yourself Something New – What to Learn & How to Do It

I’m a learner. A figure-it-out-er. Not a school textbook kind of learner (sorry, Math!) but a hands-on, “I want to know how to do that” sort of gal. I believe it’s never too late in life to learn something new. And teaching yourself something new gives you the biggest emotional boost you can imagine!  You didn’t used to be able to do it but you took the time to teach yourself and NOW YOU CAN DO IT! Showing your kids you can teach yourself something is also a wonderful example for your children. Let’s talk about learning new things and how to go about teaching yourself something new.

Parts of this post originally appeared on my blog Painted Butterfly Studio in February 2012. Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Still Learning After All these Years

When I was about 7, the only bike I had access to was my dad’s rusty old bike from when he was a kid. It was a sturdy pink girl’s beach cruiser and Dad had used it to deliver newspapers. As the oldest of 8 kids, I’m sure he didn’t even care that it was pink, he had a bike!

And I didn’t care that it was rusty, had flat tires and weighed about 50 lbs. I had a bike!

I taught myself how to ride it in the backyard. I would lean the bike against the fence, climb up and perhaps get one or two pedals before I’d fall off. The bike was so large that I couldn’t actually sit on the cushion and reach the pedals at the same time. So I had to pedal standing up (I’m sure I had thighs like steel back then!).

I spent a full summer in the backyard, practicing on that old bike with the flat tires on the grass. Occasionally I’d call my mom outside to watch me.

For Christmas that year, I got my first new bike! It was beautiful. I remember that it was blue and had streamers from the handles. And a banana-seat! That morning my Dad was going to put the bikes in the trunk of the car and he said he would teach us how to ride them that afternoon at my aunt’s house.

“Dad, let me try and ride! I just know I can do it.”

He was hesitant. I remember my mom chimed in and said that I’d been practicing on his old bike in the backyard for months.

I swung my leg over the bike and took off pedaling. I remember how fast the bike was and how easy it was to pedal. After months of being on flat tires, this was it…I was riding!!

As I rode back towards my Dad, I remember his smile and how proud he looked. I’d done it. I’d put my mind to it and I’d taught myself, without anyone’s help. And that thought has carried with me my whole life.

What's the one thing you've always wished you could do? Here are practical tips & ideas on how to teach yourself anything!

Riding through the forest in the Czech Republic. Terrifying but glad I was able to do it!

Teaching Myself What I Want to Learn

When I wanted to learn how to knit, I got a pair of needles, some yarn and a book from the library and I taught myself. It was hard, especially because I’m a lefty and the book showed it from the right side. I had to reverse the directions in my head but I know how to knit a scarf!

When I want to try a new recipe, I buy the ingredients and I make it.  I took sewing lessons in high school to learn the basics. When I want to make an outfit, I tweak a little here and there on the pattern and I make it my own.

Practical Ways to Save Money on Groceries and Still Eat Healthy

As an adult and as a mom, I’m still learning, yes. And I hope that I’ll forever be learning. I know that there are tons of other things that I’d love to know how to do (play piano, bake bread from scratch and plant a garden). And I have many years ahead to learn them. NOTE  When I originally wrote this post in 2012, I’d written that I wanted to learn how to bake bread from scratch. I’m happy to note that I’ve since learned how to do this!

It’s just the start for my kids. I want to foster in them that they can be their own best teacher. That with determination, anything is possible. And I’m hoping that these little moments (like learning how to ride a bike) are the turning points in their life that it was in mine.­­­­­­­­

Teach Yourself Something New – What to Learn & How to Do It

Is there something you always wanted to learn? This is the time! Here are a handful of ideas on things you can learn NOW and tips on how to do it.

  • Playing the piano. If you don’t have a piano at home, start with a keyboard. There are online lessons or DVDs to watch that will teach you. Or if you need one-on-one, find a local piano teacher who can help you start with the basics.
  • As a seamstress, I hear from friends all the time that they wish they could sew. That’s easy – buy a simple sewing machine, some fabric and practice! There are plenty of simple, straight edged patterns you can follow (like pillowcases, tablecloth, elastic waist skirt or a blanket).


  • How to do a cartwheel. Or any gymnastics skill. Sorry to break it to you but as an adult, you’re more prone to injury if you aren’t already in tip-top shape.  I’m a tumbling teacher (I’ve been teaching at a local rec center for 20 years). You don’t want to just throw yourself around the living room or on the grass at the park to learn a tumbling maneuver. Your best bet is a local gymnastics school or YMCA that offers specific classes geared to adults.
  • Want to take beautiful photographs? You don’t even need the fanciest camera, just a few handy tips about lighting can help make a big difference. Find a book (I bought Digital SLR Cameras and Photography For Dummies)
  • Auto mechanic basics can not only save money, they come in handy during an emergency. At the least learning how to change a tire is a great thing!
  • I taught myself how to braid my own hair in high school but had a trickier time when it came to braiding my daughter’s! There are some really cool books and online videos with hair styling ideas.

  • Learning a new language can open up a whole new world! I’ve never been able to grasp languages myself but I had a friend who wanted to learn Italian so she took a class at a local community college.
  • Is there a kitchen skill you’ve always wanted to learn? There are so many fun cooking classes available that will teach basics like efficiently chopping onions! And of course a helpful cook book will help you expand your horizons and help you get creative.
  • Looking for enlightenment? Consider a Bible study at your local church, a small group discussion or find topics online that will help strengthen your spirit.
  • Always wanted to be an artist? If you make art, then you’re an artist! So grab a few supplies and start creating what comes to you. No need to obsess about perfection, just draw, paint or create what makes you happy (and don’t get wrapped up in Pinterest or a so-called “fail”!)


How to Learn

  • Ask around. Chances are you want to learn something and someone you know already knows how to do it. Perhaps you can trade skills?
  • The library is a great resource for books. They also sometimes conduct free classes.
  • Community college. If you can’t take a full course, many schools have weekend “crash” courses for a nominal fee.
  • YouTube and Google. The internet is your teacher. Type it in and you’re sure to find a tutorial or video.

What’s the one thing YOU’VE always wanted to learn? Share with me in the comments!

What's the one thing you've always wished you could do? Here are practical tips & ideas on how to teach yourself anything!

5 Back to School Season Routines Moms Can Adopt for Themselves

I was on Pinterest last night and saw a Pin description that caught my eye. It said, “How Moms Can ROCK Back to School Season”.

Naturally the post was about lunch packing tips, best school supplies to purchase and streamlining the morning routine. Pinterest Mom rocks the school year by making sure things are smooth sailing for the kids and that the home routine is awesome. You know, cutely cut sandwiches in the lunch box. Crock Pot meals ready by 5. Adorably coordinated outfits and sweetly braided hair.

And of course, there’s the opposing player to the perfect rockin’ Pinterest-type mom. That’s the mom who doesn’t give a damn if her kid doesn’t have lunch with each food group represented. She’s just happy her kid remembered to bring his lunch box home and it wasn’t left at the lunch table. Dinner? You realize that we just had breakfast and you want me to think about dinner already? No cute outfits here because the teen refuses to wear anything you bought her at the back to school sales and hasn’t styled her hair since she was 10.

How are YOU Rockin’ Back to School Season

Okay, so extremes aside, I think most of us fall somewhere in the middle. You probably have a little bit of both mom-types in you. Maybe you’re awesome with the dinner planning. Or packing precious Bento box school lunches makes your creativity flag fly. I’ve written a post about streamlining the morning school routine myself. (I’ll freely admit that I’m rockin’ the morning routine. No late kids on my shift!)

How can moms REALLY rock back to school season? Here are a few ways I'm taking back "back to" season for myself!

But the post got me thinking, “How can moms really rock this season?” Sure, it’s back to school time for the kiddos. But this season shouldn’t focus on just the kids. How can moms go “back to school”? What can we learn? What can this season do for us? With the return of routine, this is the perfect opportunity to refresh and revise your own routines as well.

Or maybe it’s “back to” something else? Something that’s been lost along the years, while you were cutting bologna sandwiches into stars. Back to work? Back to the side hustle? Back to reading novels before bed? What is something you used to enjoy, something that you need to be doing, that stopped.

And so, on the eve of back to school day, I’m sharing a five ways I’m getting reading for this “back to” season. But first, getting prepped.

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

Prepping for “Back to” Season with New School Supplies – Just for MOM!

When I picked up the kid’s school supplies, I picked up something for myself too. I bought a pretty, colorful binder, clear page protectors and good pens. I’m hiding it all in my desk so nobody will nab it (because all the good pens seem to disappear!)

I skipped the store and ordered directly from Target online. And really, any time I can shop online and not have to take all four hooligans into the store with me, the better! Plus Target price matched in store and gave me the lowest price automatically. I loved just being able to pick up my stocked bags at the front desk and be on my way.

How can moms REALLY rock back to school season? Here are a few ways I'm taking back "back to" season for myself!

I’ve found a few practical printables and added them to my folder. My “back to” season includes keeping better track of my ME time. Because if I don’t take care of myself, I’m not going to be any good for anyone else. What are 5 things you’ll dropped that you’d like to pick back up this season. Here are mine:

1. Back to an Exercise Routine

I’m not saying I didn’t exercise this summer, but I certainly tossed my routine out the window as soon as the kids were out of school. I have goals and this time next year, I plan to have smashed those goals. Honestly the only way I’m going to do that is with regular, challenging exercise. Writing things down and sticking to the routine is important. So while my teens will be running the track at school PE, I’ll be working out at the gym or at home during the baby’s nap time.

Shared from Printable Crush on Pinterest (click to Pin)

2. Back to a Bedtime Routine

Kids have their bedtime…and so should I! My husband has been working nights this summer, which has meant I’ve been staying up later than usual to work. 2:00 am is okay when I can sleep in a bit. But not so great when the school day alarm goes off at 6 am. I know that I feel better, am in a better mood and am more likely to eat healthy and exercise when I’m well rested. I need to get to bed no later than 11 pm (the dark circles under my eyes told me so).

3. Back to Budgeting (Time and Money)

While my kids are budgeting their time to complete projects, I’m doing the same. I find that I do much better with getting my “to-do” list done when I write it all out and check off things as they are completed.

We had some fun day trips this summer but now it’s time to tighten the purse strings. I have two kids with birthdays and of course the holiday season to look forward to this year. Time to revisit the budgeting plan and get serious about savings.

From Chasing Foxes on Pinterest (Click to Pin)

4. Back to Healthy Eating

A friend cut cheese out of her diet this year and her skin cleared up. I’ve been breaking out and wondering if dairy could be the issue? But then, “No pizza?! No nachos?!” Another friend eliminated carbs. Again, “No pizza?!” No nachos?!” Can you tell what I’ve been surviving on all summer?

I’m going to start my food diary. I’ve done this in the past, logging everything I eat. I’ve been able to see exactly where I’m going wrong (too many late afternoon snacks) and what foods are giving me trouble.

I’m also getting back in to meal planning. I hate that last minute scramble for dinner that usually means nachos! I want to make sure I’m feeding my family healthy and well-balanced meals. Meal planning and conscious grocery shopping will help.

Shared from I Heart Planners on Pinterest (Click to Pin)

5. Back to Quiet Time with Meditation and Prayer

10 minutes a day. That is seriously not that much time to etch out but I always seem to forget until right before I fall into bed, exhausted. I’m adding prayer to my calendar this season. It’s important. It’s necessary. And it keeps me on track for all the other things I’m working on.

What are 5 “back to” things you’d like to incorporate this season? Share, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

How can moms REALLY rock back to school season? Here are a few ways I'm taking back "back to" season for myself!

Cultivating Peace and Relaxation With a Portable Home Sanctuary

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

One of the things that I’m incorporating into my life is more peace. Simply put, I’m too tired to be putting up with constant drama or negativity. I just want peace. It’s a little change that makes a big difference! With four kids at home, quiet time can be hard to carve out. I take “me time” when I can get it! One day I might find myself alone on the back patio. Sometimes I have to wait until everyone is in bed and I take up space in the living room. Another day, I’ve locked myself in the bathroom, leaving the chaos outside the door! I’m creating a relaxing home sanctuary, where ever I can. Because it’s good for me (and you!) to fit in peace, calm and meditation into daily life.

#ad Cultivate peace at home with a DIY portable home sanctuary that contains everything you need for relaxing moments. #GladeAtmosphere

Creating a Portable Home Sanctuary

As much as I’d love to have a dedicated peaceful resting place, space is limited. A room all to myself, what a dream! For now I make do with my portable home sanctuary. I’ve collected a few special things into one container that I can tote with me wherever I need to unwind. I have a medium sized wire basket that I use for my sanctuary items. I can easily pick up my home sanctuary and move it wherever I’d like and all of my special things are contained in one place.

Collecting Special Items for Your Home Sanctuary

When filling your home sanctuary box, consider these:

  • What are the items that bring you the most joy?
  • What brings you peace when you’re alone with your thoughts?
  • What items best help you relax?
  • What things represent “you”?

Think about the five senses when collecting your items. How can smell, sight, taste, touch and sounds completely motivate and take away your stress? Here are a few ideas when building your portable home sanctuary.

#ad Cultivate peace at home with a DIY portable home sanctuary that contains everything you need for relaxing moments. #GladeAtmosphere

Scent:

Enveloping yourself in a scent can truly transport you into a calm mood. I have  Nº 1 Enraptured™ PlugIns® Scented Oil from The Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrance by Glade® placed around my house. So even when I can’t get to my sanctuary, I’m still able to breath in the jasmine, lady apples and sweetheart rose petals with the base of cedarwood. It really does soothe my spirit to catch the scent throughout the day.

World-renown fragrance designer Ann Gottlieb has layered the artisanal scents specifically for this product line. I was delighted to find such upscale fragrances at my local Kroger store, Food 4 Less (keep reading for a special offer!)

#ad Cultivate peace at home with a DIY portable home sanctuary that contains everything you need for relaxing moments. #GladeAtmosphere

I’ve included a N°3 Free Jar Candle, 4.2 oz. in my sanctuary box. This relaxing scent of starfruit, beach woods and coconut reminds me of the soothing sound of waves. Of a tropical drink and my toes in the sand. Ahhh… I light the candle, close my eyes and I’m already there on the beach. No matter that I’m sitting in my living room. This scent takes away all the stress and starts off my peaceful sanctuary time perfectly.

#ad Cultivate peace at home with a DIY portable home sanctuary that contains everything you need for relaxing moments. #GladeAtmosphere

Sight:

Why do parents need rejuvenating “me time”? Having the time to relax means we can be more well-rested, more patient and more flexible for our children. I like a small reminder of why I’m taking time out for myself. A picture of my kids is a nice addition to my home sanctuary.

My quiet time often comes in small snippets. This means I don’t always have the time for an in-depth novel. An uplifting parenting book, poems or the Bible are my go-to when I want something to read.

Taste:

Oh yes, most definitely a favorite indulgence can help me unwind! Something special to eat or drink is a must. I included amazing oatmeal cookies but sometimes it’s a glass of fresh squeezed juice on ice or some chocolate. During my peaceful time, I make sure to really taste each bite and not gobble my treat up too quickly. If I’m having “me time” I don’t have to share and I don’t have to eat it fast, so I can appreciate each nibble.

#ad Cultivate peace at home with a DIY portable home sanctuary that contains everything you need for relaxing moments. #GladeAtmosphere

Touch:

When I’m worried about something in particular, having a treasure to touch and meditate with can help ease my stress. Add a polished stone, beach shell or gemstone into your home sanctuary box. I have a shell with a carved detail that my dad bought for my mom many years ago, so it holds special memories for me.

Journaling is an important way for me to relax. I can feel my breathing slow as I write down my thoughts and turn each page. Choose a pretty hard-bound book that you reserve only for sanctuary time. A pen that feels good in your hand is essential too.

If you opt for a larger home sanctuary box, you could include a cuddly soft scarf or blanket to wrap around your shoulders.

Sound:

What are the sounds that bring you happiness? Perhaps it’s background music that you have playing while you read? Maybe calming chimes or bells that you ring when entering your peaceful zone. Or maybe it’s inspirational songs that you can close your eyes and sing along with.

Choosing the Right Container

This wire basket cost me only a few dollars and is roomy enough to hold my sanctuary essentials.

Other inexpensive and creative ideas could include:

  • Cardboard photo box
  • Wooden tray or crate that you can paint and decorate yourself
  • Pretty glass tray
  • Wicker basket

Find a container, box or tray that will neatly hold all of your home sanctuary supplies. The idea is that you can store it somewhere so it’s already loaded with what you need. And it should be easy to get to and mobile for moving around your home.

I keep my basket hidden in my closet where I can grab it when it need it but it’s out of sight for everyone else. I love the idea of being able to pull out my sanctuary box so I can indulge in some peaceful time, wherever that is!

#ad Cultivate peace at home with a DIY portable home sanctuary that contains everything you need for relaxing moments. #GladeAtmosphere

What will you add to your home sanctuary?

Start by choosing a fragrance that reflects you and build from there. Here’s a special offer on The Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrance by Glade® – Save $1.00 when you buy any ONE (1) Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Product. Valid 8/13 – 8/26.

#ad Cultivate peace at home with a DIY portable home sanctuary that contains everything you need for relaxing moments. #GladeAtmosphere

 

Little Ways Moms Can Make Big Differences in Their Health

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

In a few weeks I’m going to be celebrating my 44th birthday. Celebrating? Yes! There are definitely times when I’m the oldest mom with her kids on the playground (and I have the creaky back to prove it!) So I might be older but what I don’t want is to feel old. I want to wake up with the energy everyday that I need to parent my four kids. I’m making little changes NOW that are going to make a big difference. It’s the “snowball effect”. One little change begets another on my way to a healthier life.

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

Out for a walk, moving more and sitting less!

Moving More. Sitting Less

As a writer, I’ll admit that I tend to sit more than I should! One of my goals is to be moving more and sitting less.

  • Stand when doing household chores. I stand when folding laundry and sorting socks.
  • If you have trouble remembering to move, set your phone alarm to remind you. Even a 20 minute walk or an impromptu dance party helps!
  • Can you walk instead of driving? Work in walking to the library or the store as part of your exercise for the day.

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

Portion Control

When I’m busy with my kids there are times when I forget to eat. Unfortunately that means the next time I sit down to eat, I’m ravenous and tend to overeat. And of course there are many side effects to overeating, from feeling bloated to weight gain.

  • Eat off of a smaller plate to trick your mind into thinking you have more food.
  • Take a look at proper serving sizes. Use a measuring cup to get an idea of sizing.
  • Serve food in the kitchen and don’t return for seconds.
  • Add twice as many vegetables as anything else on my plate.

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

Listening to My Body

Stopping and really listening to my body throughout the day helps keep me in check.

  • Is my throat dry? I’m probably not drinking enough water.
  • Am I stiff? Maybe I need to run through some stretches.
  • Am I really hungry? Then why am I opening the fridge again?
  • Am I tired? Why am I forcing myself to stay awake! I should get to bed earlier.

Taking a Daily Probiotic

Taking a daily probiotic is definitely one of those things that helps me to balance my gut health. I feel so much better when I’m taking one. And when I’m feeling better, I’m more motivated to make good choices. That’s the snowball effect of good, healthy choices. And for me, I start with Nature Made® Digestive Probiotics Adult Gummies.

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

 

Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that exists naturally in cultured or fermented foods (like yogurt and certain cheeses). Probiotics offer benefits for your digestive system by pushing out unwanted organisms. This allows more of the “good” bacteria to be present in your gut. And “good’ bacteria can help you feel better (remember the “snowball effect”? It’s real!)

I picked up Nature Made® Digestive Probiotics Adult Gummies at my local Walmart. As directed, I take two a day. I appreciate that Nature Made® is produced to the highest quality standards to ensure purity and safety.

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

Nature Made® Digestive Probiotics Adult Gummies have dual action probiotics plus energyǂ† B12 (ǂVitamin B12 supports cellular energy production.† †These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.)

And let’s be honest. Chewing an adult gummie is FUN! I look forward to taking my Nature Made® Probiotics Gummies, it’s like a little treat just for me!

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

In what little ways are you making a difference in your health? Is a probiotic part of your daily routine?

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

5 Things I Do When Budgeting Money Makes Me Cranky

Okay I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but constantly budgeting my money makes me cranky! With 4 kids and a limited budget, there’s not always a lot of wiggle-room when it comes to “fun money”. Yes, I’m always putting money in the savings account for our retirement and there’s a little bit going into the Disney bank. But when it comes to right here and now, not being able to just buy whatever-I-want whenever-I-want-it makes me irritable!

So I can’t go on a spending spree and that’s okay. These are 5 things I do when I need a little escape from reality. They are just the right pick-me-up when the budget is tight.

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

What are the little things you can do when budgeting makes you cranky? 5 Things I Do When Budgeting Money Makes Me Cranky

1. Plan a Fake Vacation

Can’t hop a plane or jump ship? Just like reading a book transports you into another world, planning a fake vacation can transport you around the world with a click of a button. This is one of my most favorite ways to daydream. Pick a spot on the map and delve into this area as if you were really going to visit!

  • Borrow travel books from the library. Which part of the world are you most drawn to?
  • If you could only drive 500 miles or less, which direction would you go and what would you do?
  • If you had to travel in central Europe which country would you go to? (I actually made this decision when I won a travel contest!)
  • Read up on cruising. Check out the Disney cruise restaurants and menus – They’re all online!
  • Which attractions would you visit in Orlando other than Walt Disney World?
  • If money were no object (and it never is when planning a fake trip) which extravagant add-ons would you make?
  • Perhaps someday when you win the lottery (that’s totally going to happen, right?), you’ll already have your travel itinerary ready to go!

Planning a Disney trip? Pick up one of these recommended Walt Disney World or Disneyland books for everyone in your group!

2. Fill my Online Shopping Cart with Clothes I’ll Never Buy

I’m not literally going to go to Target, load up a cart and then abandon it at the door. But it’s TOTALLY okay to do that online! In an online shopping cart you can virtually mix and match, quickly move from dresses to shoes to jewelry. And when you’ve gotten the shopping bug fix, simply close the browser window and you’re wallet is still intact!

3. Get Rid of Stuff

If I’m on a budget I can’t buy more stuff but it does give me some joy to pass along some of the stuff we already have. Purging and giving makes me thankful for things I was able to purchase and reminds me that I already have enough “stuff”.

  • Weed through kid’s closets. What doesn’t fit and who can you pass the clothing down to?
  • Is there something in your closet you haven’t worn in a very long time? Request a bag from ThredUp and you may be able to resell some of your items.
  • Have a garage sale. Put the money you make towards something special.
  • Be ruthless in the kid’s toy bin. Keep only what they really play with and donate the rest.
  • Next time you pull out the holiday or seasonal bin, see how you can pare down the decorations so that you only keep your most favorite items.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

4. Buy Something Little and Fun

A cheap but meaningful splurge can really boost spirits when the wallet is tight. Obviously you can’t do this one every day (or even every week!) but once in a while buying something small is just what you need. What little thing makes you happiest? For me it’s something that pampers me, like new Jamberry nail wraps or a lipstick! For family fun, choose a new board game or get a gallon of vanilla ice cream and a few toppings for mid-week sundaes.

What are the little things you can do when budgeting makes you cranky? 5 Things I Do When Budgeting Money Makes Me Cranky

A manicure at home (on a budget) makes me feel better!

Look Ahead to Something Real

What fun thing do you have coming ahead in the calendar that you can look forward to? Whatever it is, start your planning now! I love planning and think that research is half the fun. So if you have a vacation ahead, cultivate your own official itinerary. Research restaurants, peruse online menus and decide which mouth-watering dessert you’re going to order when you get there. I find that looking ahead (and not dwelling in the I-can’t-right-now) really fills up my thankfulness cup and reminds me why I’m budgeting and saving in the first place!

What do you do when budgeting gets you down? Share in the comments!

Start (and Stick to!) an Exercise Routine On a Budget

I used to think that if “I only had a gym membership”, I could get into shape. Or if “I only had more time in the day to exercise”. It’s only with time that’s I’ve come to know that the only thing preventing me from good health are MY EXCUSES! There is a way to get fit for everyone on every budget.  Get it out of your head that you require a personal trainer, costly equipment or fancy spandex clothes in order to exercise. You really just have to push past the excuses and do it!

Before you begin, make sure you’re in good health by getting a check-up from your doctor. Please note that I include affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Starting an Exercise Routine on a Budget

What are your goals and what do you hope to accomplish? You’re unlikely to meet your goals if you don’t first establish what you want.

  • Purchase a calendar that you’ll keep in a prominent location where you will note your workout days and log your exercise every day. I keep mine on the fridge for everyone to see.
  • Write down your goals and place your goals in a place where you’ll see them and can be reminded of them so you’ll better stay on track. Do you want to lose weight, improve cardivascular health, become more flexible?
  • Find a like-minded workout buddy that you can schedule exercise with and meet up at a regular time & place. You’re less likely to fall off the workout wagon if you have someone else counting on you!

1. Hit the Streets

This is most often my exercise of choice, a walk or run through my neighborhood. I am fortunate to live in an area with plenty of good walking courses, some that have challenging up-hill sections. I appreciate that I can put my littlest one in his stroller and we can take a walk nearly any time of day and I don’t have to arrange babysitting for him. My oldest son is interested in improving his long-distance running skills (he’s more of a sprinter) so he’s been joining me for jogs around the neighborhood. It’s nice to have the company and also to have someone encouraging me to get up at 5am for exercise!

Benefits of an outdoor exercise

    • It’s free! All you need is a decent pair of shoes.
    • Relaxing to get out in to the open air and hit the streets, rather than a treadmill in front of a television
    • Entire family can come along, so no babysitting is required           

Disadvantages of an outdoor exercise

  • Neighborhood may not be safe or comfortable to walk in (no sidewalk, poorly lit or too hilly)
  • Inclement weather (too hot, cold or wet)

Walking Tips

  • Invest in a good pair of walking shoes.
  • If your neighborhood isn’t ideal, considering driving a short distant to a nearby park or school that allows guests to walk on their track.
  • Be sure not to let the walk become a stroll. You should still be challenging yourself and pushing yourself by extending your walking distance or by speeding up your time.

Start (and Stick to!) an Exercise Routine On a Budget

 

2. Work Up a Sweat in Your Living Room

I alternate an outdoor walk or jog with an in-home kettle bell workout. The kettle bell cost me less than $20 and I have found a wide variety of workouts online that I can do with it. I add in crunches, planks and push-ups to the routine and come out with a heart racing cardio workout in my living room. Consider streaming a workout video that you can follow on your TV (Zumba anyone?) My mom has the Leslie Sansone: Walk Away The Pounds: 30 Minute Walk DVD. I’ve done this with her and it’s excellent for getting a quick workout in at home, especially if space is limited.


Benefits of exercising in your home

  • Minimal cost. Consider picking up a few inexpensive pieces of equipment like a yoga mat, kettle bell, free weights or a resistance band.
  • Ideal for those who are intimidated by the gym and would like to perfect their form or routines before taking it out of the house
  • Easy to squeeze in the time (early morning before rest of family awakens or during a child’s nap)

Disadvantages to exercising in your home

  • Too easy to get distracted (kids, chores, etc) with things that pull you away from or shorten your workout
  • Certain spaces might not be conducive to cardio or floor-based exercises (ie: floor too hard, area too small for some cardio routines)

Home Workout Tips

  • A padded yoga-type mat can help cushion during some exercises when flooring is inappropriate.
  • Resist the urge to exercise in your pajamas! You won’t put forth the effort needed for a decent workout. Slip on a good sports bra and gym clothes and pretend you’re at the gym.
  • And so what if you are in your pjs and ready to watch your favorite show? Squeeze in a 5-minute set of crunches and planks during each commercial break!

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

3. Squeezing in a Quick Ten at Your Desk 

We’ve all gotten deep into a project and suddenly 20 minutes at the computer turns into two hours! I have a reminder on my email system at work (you could use an app on your phone as well) to remind you to stand and stretch once every hour. Incorporate some neck, wrist and shoulder stretches to ease tension after long typing sessions.

Benefits of exercising at your desk

  • Easy to do in quick bursts of time and energy
  • Little to no equipment needed (you can even do it in heels!)
  • Beneficial to your health and back to move and stretch several times an hour

Disadvantages to exercising at your desk

  • You might feel embarrassed doing squats at your desk, especially if your desk isn’t in a private office! Do what is appropriate and feels comfortable. Ask your boss first for the okay if there is any question about the exercises.
  • May not get an elevated heart rate & will need to supplement with cardio     

At Your Desk Exercise Tips

A desk exercise probably isn’t going to be strenuous enough to break a sweat, but it’s a great way to supplement your routine and keep limber. Resistance exercises are particular effective and quick to do while sitting.


4. Join the Gym (If the Cost is Right)

My husband has a gym membership and I do not. He was “grandfathered” in to his current rate, a very low $9.99. It makes sense for him as he goes to the gym after work, is able to shower there and go straight to school. If I were to join up, the cost would be about $20 a month (still pretty low) but only cost-effective if you can get there frequently. My schedule wouldn’t allow me to get there often enough so I’ve opted out of the gym membership and choose to exercise at home.

Benefits of a gym membership

  • Money invested into it may be a good incentive to go and “get your money worth”
  • Personal trainers may be available. This is sometimes given as a one-time sign up initiative that you should absolutely take advantage of.
  • Wide variety of exercise classes & equipment that can help prevent boredom                 

Disadvantages of a gym membership

  • Hours open may not be conducive to your schedule
  • Cost may be prohibitive (monthly dues plus yearly renewal/initial sign-up fee)
  • Babysitting not always available or may be an additional cost

Gym Tips

If you are considering joining up at the gym, first figure out roughly how often you’ll be able to go. Total the cost (including the initial sign-up fee) and get an “Average Cost Per Visit” so you’ll know if this is a price you are willing to spend per workout.

exercise3

5. Work Out…Anywhere & Everywhere! 

With the kids – Play with the kids when they play. Put on music and dance along with them. Climb the stairs, slide down the slide, push them on the swing. Anything to get you off the park bench and moving along with them.

In the car – Squeeze and hold your butt muscles tight while waiting at a red light (put the car into park first!)

In the kitchen – Do as many squats or jumps as you can while you wait for the pot of water to boil.

While you wait – Waiting your turn at the doctor or dentist office? Ask the receptionist if she’ll call or text you when you’re next in line. Why sit in the stale office reading old magazines if you can take a brisk walk outside instead?

When kids have extracurricular activities – Instead of sitting on a bench watching them practice, put on your walking shoes and go!


How are you incorporating exercise into your daily routine every day?