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 Ways to Make the First Day of School Extra Special

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

It’s Back to school season! And either your kid is on-board or they’re not. 3 out of my 4 kids are now in school. My two oldest are in their final year of junior high. My five year old just started kindergarten. The teens were looking forward to the first day of school. They were excited to see friends and finish their last year before high school.

My kindergartner on the other hand was a bit nervous. Which wasn’t like him at all, really. He’s always been fairly independent. And so smart, he just loves to learn. I think he just had way too much fun this summer and didn’t want it to end! Right with you there, buddy…

Ideas for making the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

I wanted to make sure that the first day of school was something really memorable and special for him. While the teens got themselves motivated, my kinder kid needed a little encouragement. I created these fun and easy ways to make the first day of school extra special. These are particularly sweet for very young children (though secretly, my teens got a kick out of them too!) Keep reading for a free printable and a special offer from Windex® brand and Shutterfly®.

1. A Special Wake-Up

I’ll be honest. On most days, I wake up my kids by either snapping on the overhead light or opening the window to let in the sunshine! But on the first day of school (and maybe even for the entire first week), I’ll wake them in a special way.

Take a picture of them sleeping first. There’s nothing cuter than a sleeping kiddo!

Make the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

For my music-loving kindergartner, I put on his favorite dance song and placed the CD player in the hallway before waking him gently. He happily jumped out of bed!

Long ago when my eldest son was in kindergarten I’d wake him up with a finger puppet character. Seriously. For some reason he’d get mad if I tried waking him up myself. But if Madame Queen the finger puppet awoke him by bopping him on the head he thought it was hilarious! Hey, you do what you can to keep the morning routine from completely melting down from the start, right?

2. Breakfast To Start the Day Off Right

My five year old would eat waffles morning, noon, and night. I know that waffles will be his request for the first day of school breakfast.

Make the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

  • Take a breakfast request a few days before the first day so you can make sure to have all the ingredients on hand.
  • If morning time is tight, consider preparing as much as possible the night before. I tend to make waffles in batches and freeze them. Then I can just pop in the toaster to reheat in the morning.
  • Even if you only have time for cold cereal, make the meal more well-rounded by adding fresh fruit like bananas, blueberries or sliced strawberries.

3. First Day Photo Op

I’ll admit it, I’m a photo-taking-social-media-sharing-mama! I love to take a cute first day photo and share it across social for everyone to see.

  • Document each step in the morning process, from waking up your student, breakfast, outfit, to catching the school bus.
  • Take your first day of school photo in the same place each year. It’s awesome to see the growth of your kiddos!
  • Get inside the classroom and take a photo of your child sitting at their desk.

Ideas for making the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

4. Welcome Home!

When my kids come home from their first day, they’re always a’ bubble with things to share. They want to tell me all about so-and-so in their class, a strict new teacher or what they did at recess. This year I wanted to surprise my kids with a special “welcome home” window that celebrates the first day of school. In particular, I knew my 5-year old would love the decorations and fanfare for his first day of kinder!

Make the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

I needed a clean and shiny surface to work with, so first I picked up Windex® Original Glass Cleaner at my local Kroger store, Food 4 Less. Windex® brand is known for its famous streak-free shine, so clean up on the window was quick and easy.

Ideas for making the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

While I was in the cleaning mood, I was able to clean up the kitchen and bathroom quickly with the Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner. I’ve always liked how versatile vinegar is to clean with but I’ve never liked the smell of it. This special ammonia-free formula has no harsh vinegar smell. It leaves behind only a fresh, clean scent.

Make the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

Once the window was prepped, I was able to decorate it from the outside with a temporary glass marker and crepe paper announcing the first day of school!

Make the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

The whole thing went together in just a few minutes and the impact was great. Check out the happy face on my kindergartner! And the big kids thought it was pretty cool too. And when it was time to clean up, Windex® Original Glass Cleaner came to the rescue again and wiped the window streak-free again!

Make the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

5. A First Day of School Memento

I’ve created this first day of school certificate printable. My son proudly held his “award” for completing his first day of kindergarten so I could take a picture.

Make the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

FREE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PRINTABLE – Simply write in the name of your student and the date presented. After you take a photo of your student with their award, stow it for safekeeping in a school memory folder. I have a 3-ring binder for each child that holds awards and certificates.

Ideas for making the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

Once you’ve shared those adorable first day pictures on social media, it’s time to make a permanent memory of them. I’ve been using Shutterfly® since my teenager was a baby!

You can take those first day pictures and put them in a photo book. Or wouldn’t they look cute on the front cover of a spiral bound notebook? I also use the back to school photos that I take on my Shutterfly® calendar each year.

Make the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

Check out this amazing national offer with Shutterfly®. Buy 2 Windex® products and get $20 to shop at Shutterfly®. (Offer valid 7/15/17 – 12/1/17. Visit here for terms and conditions).

How will YOU make the first day of school special for your kids?

Make the first day of school extra special, from breakfast to an after-school decoration and free printables! #MomentsShineWithWindex #ad

First Timers Guide to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World

Last year I had the chance to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World. I was visiting for a conference and had my (then) 5-month old daughter in tow. I didn’t do much research to prepare but these are a few things I gleaned from the visit. Here are my 20 first timer tips for taking on the Halloween Party at Disney World!

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

1. You Need a Special Event Ticket, Not a Park Ticket

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a “special ticket” event. You do NOT need a regular Park ticket to attend. You need to purchase the event ticket only. Prices for the event vary, depending upon the date you attend.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

2. The Party’s at Magic Kingdom

If you’re going to use a Park ticket to visit the Magic Kingdom in the morning, understand that this Park ticket doesn’t include the Halloween Party. This means you won’t be able to stay and Cast Members will be strategically clearing out the Park (Halloween Party-goers receive a special wristband designating them to stay for the party). If you have a Park ticket and not a Party ticket, you’ll be asked to leave at 7 pm.


3. Sleep In & Rest During the Day

With party hours extending to midnight, my suggestion is to take it easy during the day. The party ends at midnight and then you still have to walk to transportation and get back to your room. It was nearly 1:30 am by the time I rolled into bed!

Try and sleep in. Spend time relaxing at the Resort. Take a nap if possible. Save your ticket and skip going to the Parks that day. You’ll want to save your energy for the Party!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

4. Tricky Weather

“Darn, It’s Hot!”

“Hey, Now It’s Raining!”

Keep an eye on the weather report. It’s likely going to be VERY hot and humid during the Party. On my visit it was already hot and then it sprinkled and the humidity shot up. I was wearing leggings and a tank with a shirt over the top. That shirt came off pretty quickly! Bring a poncho if rain is in the forecast.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

5. Plan Your Costumes

Speaking of heat and humidity, you don’t want to be overdressed in an elaborate costume. I mean, Sully from Monsters Inc. is a great costume but TOTALLY not appropriate for the Party because you’ll be way too hot. I suggest lightweight and layers. This way you can take things off as needed.

Adults are allowed to dress in costume for the Party event only. Be sure to check out the costume guidelines first.

Lots of families go with a costume theme, like all the characters from Peter Pan, Inside Out or Alice in Wonderland. Search Pinterest for lots of dressing up Disney ideas.

Nobody says you have to wear a costume, but it is a fun way to get into the Party spirit. Consider Disneybounding! Or just wear a simple Halloween or Fall-themed tee or face paint.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

6. My Disney Experience

Pre-party be sure to do your research and plan out a bit of your evening. Those 5 hours of Party time go very quickly and if there are certain things you want to see and do, try and schedule them out. The My Disney Experience app is free to download on your phone. You’ll be able to schedule showtimes into the app along with keeping track of dining reservations.


7. You Can Get In Early

Though the Halloween Party at Disney World actually kick starts at 7 pm, guests with the special event ticket are actually allowed to enter much earlier! You’ll be allowed to enter at 4 pm with your Party ticket. Plan to arrive earlier to pass through the crowds at security. Then at 4 pm on the dot you’ll be permitted into the Park!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

8. Get a Guide Map

As you enter the Park, Cast Members will be handing out small treat bags for collecting candy along with a guide map. This guide map is your key to the evening’s activities. It includes times of the shows, which attractions are open, character greeting locations, what restaurants are serving food and where guests can trick-or-treat.

Save money on Your Disney Vacation!

Purchase discount Disneyland and Walt Disney World tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).

9. No FastPass During the Party (But Here’s a Trick)

True, there won’t be any FastPass distribution during the actual Party (7 pm to midnight) but here’s a little trick. With your special event ticket, you will be able to book FastPass from 4 pm to 7 pm! I was able to pre-schedule two FastPass on the day of the event before the Party began.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

3 extra hours before the Party so we went on rides!

10. Eat Early

Advance Dining Reservations will be available during the Halloween Party so book those early to dine at your favorite Magic Kingdom full-service restaurant. However I would suggest that you try to eat before 7 pm so as not to “waste” your precious Party time.

Also many of the dining locations will close during the Party so your choices will be more limited and lines for quick service will be longer. Check your guide map to verify which locations will be available. I ended up eating a boring burger & fries at Cosmic Ray’s because my first choices were either booked full or were closed.


11. Plan Your Evening

Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet will sing in Frontierland.

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular happens 3 times each Party night. Singing, dancing and slightly spooky fun. This is a LOUD show and several villains appear, so if your kids are particularly nervous, you could choose to skip this. The last show of the evening is the least crowded.

Happy HalloWishes Firework show happens only once per Party night. I recommend finding a place to view it in front of Cinderella Castle at least 30 minutes early.

Boo-to-You Halloween Parade happens twice. Keep reading for why I suggest watching BOTH shows!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

12. Party First, Candy Later

Everyone, even the grown ups, are encouraged to trick-or-treat. But don’t jump into a treat line right away. Lines will be extraordinarily long at the beginning of the Party. If your little ones can hold out, consider taking advantage of the shorter ride lines and Halloween Party shows first. Then trick-or-treat after 10 pm when the lines are considerable shorter.

13. Special Bags for Those With Allergies

Concerned about food allergies? Request a special bag from Cast Members who are handing out treat bags & guide maps. This teal colored bag will signify a food allergy. Cast Members at the various treat stations will hand out teal tokens. These tokens can be redeemed at special locations for allergy-friendly treats like cookies, gummy worms or even non-food Halloween crafts.

14. Watch the Parade Twice

Yes, the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade is that good! The Parade happens twice each night and I waited to watch the second showing. I was kicking myself for not watching it the first time too, because I LOVED it! The Headless Horseman, the elaborate floats, Gravediggers, favorite characters and the catchy theme music is not-to-miss. My favorite was the Haunted Mansion float (trust me, you’re going to want to watch it twice!)

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

15. Want to See Characters? Expect a LOOONG Wait

Looking forward to meeting with Jack Skellington and Sally? How about Snow White and ALL 7 dwarves? I’ve heard of wait times hovering around 2 hours! With the Party only lasting a total of 5 hours, I’d think twice before spending so much time waiting in a line for one photo op.

16. What’s Open & What’s Not

Some attractions do not stay open during the Halloween Party. For instance, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise are open only as treat locations to distribute candy. However Pirates of the Caribbean is open as both an attraction and as a treat location. Check your guide map before promising any rides to your kids and verify the attraction will be available!


17. MemoryMaker Photo Ops & Magic Shots

PhotoPass photographers will be located around the Park taking special photos during the Party. They will be available at character meetings to take pictures with their camera or even your own. Magic Shots and Animated Magic Shots will be taken at several locations – Magic Kingdom Main Entrance, Haunted Mansion, Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A. and Liberty Square. You’ll pose, the photo will be taken and you won’t know what surprise characters will show up in your photograph!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

18. Happy HalloWishes is a Must-See

I love a Disney fireworks show and this one is AWESOME! I sat on one of the grassy areas in the hub (about 30 minutes before the show began). I had no problem finding a place to sit and the view of the show was perfect. I wore my Made with Magic Mickey Ear Hat and the ears lit up and flashed alone with the music for the show, it was so much fun!

19. Tips for Little Ones

When I visited Magic Kingdom with my preschooler he was able to stay up past midnight. However that’s because I’d kept him on West coast time so it was really only 9 pm for him!

If your kiddos are used to going to bed earlier than when the clock strikes midnight, consider that you may be leaving the Party early to get them to bed. Depending upon your child’s temperament (and how much candy was consumed) there might be an epic meltdown. Or take advantage of the earlier timed events and then let the kids fall asleep in their stroller.

Planning on taking a baby to the Halloween Party at Disney World? Check out my Disney Baby post.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

20. Things to Bring with You

  • If you have kids under 5 (or a child who will fall asleep early) definitely bring a stroller.
  • Glow sticks allow you to find family in the dark
  • If you want to collect LOTS of candy, bring an extra trick-or-treat bag
  • Pack in healthy snacks and bottled water to off-set the treats

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

 

 

Traveling with an Ergobaby Baby Carrier – Must Have Travel Item

Since my daughter was about two weeks old I’ve used a baby carrier. Neither of my boys liked their baby carrier experiences but I’ll be honest- I didn’t consistently use the carriers with them, but I did with my daughter. Since my daughter was 5 months old (she’s now 17 months), I’ve traveled cross-country with her twice and the baby carrier has proven to be the must have travel item. Here are a few reasons when traveling with a baby carrier can truly make your vacation experience better and why the new Ergobaby Omni 360 is ideal for babies of all ages.

I received a complimentary Ergobaby Omni 360 for review in compensation for this post. No further monetary exchange was made and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Traveling with an Ergobaby Baby Carrier on Vacation

While it might not necessarily fit inside your diaper bag, a baby carrier should absolutely be something you take with you when traveling with a baby. I traveled alone to Walt Disney World, across the country by myself and my 5 month old. I would not have been able to do it without my baby carrier.

Even if you think that there will be plenty of people to hold the baby on the trip, bring the carrier. Babies can get easily overstimulated and appreciate the close quarters that a baby carrier provides.

The Ergobaby Baby Carrier is my MUST HAVE baby travel item, read why! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

I use my Ergobaby baby carrier every day at home. See why I take it when I travel too.

Even if the baby is old enough to walk, bring the carrier. Little ones get tired and want to be carried and you won’t want to tire yourself out from carrying her.

Places like airplanes can have a lot of strange germs. Placing baby in a carrier can keep him from touching everything. And keeping him in the carrier also dissuade germy people from reaching out and touching the baby!

Click through and use the special code at the end of this post for a discount!

1. Baby Carrier at the Airport

If anything, you want to be hands free at the airport. From having to take out paperwork like tickets, passport and ID, dragging your carry-on bag, and removing and putting back on your shoes, putting items on the conveyor for scanning, you’re going to need your hands. If you’re taking a stroller, that’s just one more thing to push around.

I preferred having my baby snuggled in close in her carrier while going through the airport. I was even able to pass through airline security with my baby safely sleeping at my chest. TSA swabbed my hands and allowed me to skip the full body scanners.

2. Baby Carrier on the Airplane

Since I was traveling alone with my baby, I didn’t have anyone to hold her on the plane. Having the baby carrier was so convenient during the flight. I did have to take my daughter out of the carrier during take off, as requested by the stewardess. But as soon as we were in flight, I was able to slip her back inside the carrier. This made everything from eating a snack, holding a book and yes, even using the bathroom that much easier!

The Ergobaby Baby Carrier is my MUST HAVE baby travel item, read why! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

While you can’t baby wear during take off or landing, you can wear Ergobaby Baby Carrier in flight.

3.Baby Carrier While Touring on Foot

There are some places where pushing a baby in a stroller just isn’t conducive to the environment. For instance, what about when the terrain is rocky or steep (like on a hiking trail). How about when the streets are cobbled or overly crowded. Or perhaps it’s raining and you need to keep baby under an umbrella. In these cases having baby in a carrier makes so much sense. You’ll be able to climb stairs without looking for an elevator and easily navigate through crowds.

4. Baby Carrier in a Hotel

At the end of a long day, I found that it was sometimes tricky to get my baby to calm down and sleep. The strange location and having the entire family inside one room was disturbing her rest. Holding her in the baby carrier while I walked around the hotel room, prepping for the following day, allowed her to relax and actually fall asleep. Then I was easily able to transfer her into her crib.

5. Baby Carrier at an Amusement Park

In many cases, when visiting an amusement park, you’ll have a stroller with you. I suggest that in addition to the stroller, bring along the baby carrier as well. I tuck my carrier in the basket under the stroller and use it throughout the day. While standing in queue, you’ll be able to hold baby without sore arms. While my baby napped inside her carrier, we were able to go on family-friendly rides without disturbing her. I was even able to nurse her inside the carrier while I walked around the parks. Most convenient was being able to hold my daughter in the carrier while folding her stroller and boarding a Disney bus to and from the parks.

The Ergobaby Baby Carrier is my MUST HAVE baby travel item, read why! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

Some amusement parks will allow you to ride with baby in the Ergobaby Baby Carrier without any nap disturbance!

Tips for Your Baby Carrier

I recently received the Ergobaby Omni 360 baby carrier for review. Offering all carry positions, the Ergobaby Omni 360 can switch baby to face out or face you and easily adjusts from newborn to toddler (7-33lbs), no infant insert needed.

Get Used to the Parts

The various straps, buckles and buttons on your baby carrier can be overwhelming at first. Definitely sit down with the manual and your carrier to get familiar with the different styles of carry and techniques for the most comfortable fit for your baby. It helps to have another adult there to help you with interpreting the instructions and diagrams.

The Ergobaby Baby Carrier is my MUST HAVE baby travel item, read why! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

Watch a Video

If you’re struggling to understand the instruction manual with pictures, try watching a video on Ergobaby’s Facebook page for more clarity!

Practice at Home

Your vacation shouldn’t be the first time that your baby has been in the carrier. Make sure both you and and the baby are comfortable with the carrier. Practice putting him in and out of the carrier and let him ride around the house to get used to it.

The Ergobaby Baby Carrier is my MUST HAVE baby travel item, read why! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

Get work done while baby naps in the Ergobaby carrier

Follow Size Rules

It is very important to follow the size rules for your baby carrier. Take into consideration the size of your baby and take note of what methods to use for each age.

My daughter is now a toddler, a petite 21 lbs and 17 months old. She still enjoys riding in her baby carrier, especially when traveling. She likes being close to me. However my arms and shoulders get so tired when holding her for extended periods of time so I’m happy to have the Ergobaby Omni 360.

Try a Variety of Positions

I can place my daughter facing in, which is perfect when she’s napping. In the Ergobaby Omni 360 my daughter can also face outward, ride on my back or sit on my hip. Velcro tabs and button closures help me quickly adjust the carrier for my baby’s size. Double-lock buckles are easy to snap in and release with one hand.

Comfort for Parent and Child

The fabric and design of the Ergobaby Omni 360 is soft and flexible, but still offers sturdy support. The padded straps and ability to crisscross in the back helps relieve any discomfort to my back when carrying my daughter.

10% off coupon code at ergobaby.com: BBMkp9VIniU

Valid until 12/31/2017

As always, shipping is free!

Find Ergobaby on Social Media Here!

Instagram: @ergobaby

Facebook: facebook.com/ergobaby

Twitter: twitter.com/ergobaby

Pinterest: pinterest.com/ergobaby

See what is my MUST HAVE baby travel item! #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn #ad

Encouraging Kids to Make the Most Nutritious Food Choices

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyMilkMyWay #CollectiveBias. I am working with The National Milk Life Campaign.

“Do you want to grow up big and strong? Finish your milk!” I can say with honesty that I didn’t have the best nutrition growing up. Too much of the not-so-great stuff and definitely not enough of what was nutritious. I knew right away when I became a mom that I wanted things to be different for my kids. I wanted them to crave the good stuff. To choose the good stuff even when the not-so-great stuff was an option too. I didn’t want them to have the same bad eating habits I had – choosing poorly, picky eating and refusing to try new foods. My kids are choosing well, and drinking milk daily is one of the best choices they make.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

 

As a family of six, we purchase a lot of food. Over the past few years my husband and I been focused on purchasing more of what’s nutritious. More of what’s wholesome and satisfying. More good sources of protein. Naturally milk plays a big part in our family’s diet. With four kids (ages 17 months to 13 years old) we go through a gallon of milk every two days. Drinking milk and using it in my daily cooking is a great way to fill our bodies with natural, high-quality protein plus other nutrients we need.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Why Do Kids Need Milk?

I’m fortunate in that all my kids are huge milk drinkers. We purchase whole milk for the baby, who needs it for proper brain development. The rest of the family drinks low-fat milk.

One 8-ounce glass of milk provides eight grams of natural, high-quality protein. Protein helps to build lean muscle and keep bones strong. So when we’re telling our kids to finish their glass of milk because it will make them stronger, it’s speaking truth!

Unfortunately many kids overall are drinking less milk. That means some kids aren’t getting enough of milk’s 9 essential nutrients, like high-quality protein calcium, potassium and vitamin D. Kids desperately need these to grow. Dairy milk is the top food source for these three nutrients.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Ways to Encourage Kids to Drink More Milk

My kids start off each day with a well-rounded breakfast. I’m always shocked to hear how many of their peers don’t eat breakfast at all before school. Even if breakfast is grab-and-go, a glass of milk is a simple and wholesome way to help kids get natural protein and balanced nutrition. I serve my kids an 8 ounce glass of milk at breakfast and again at dinner. Each cup of milk has 8 grams natural, high-quality protein.

Low Pressure and Balance

As a formerly picky eater I can attest to pressure from my parents as a big reason why I would not try new foods. I was stubborn and it was definitely a control thing for me, being able to say “No, I’m NOT going to eat that!”. I’ve found that encouraging the “just one bite” or “just one sip” method brings fewer struggles with my kids.

We actually just went through it this morning, when my son didn’t want to try his blueberry smoothie. I told him he didn’t have to like it, he just needed to try it.

Offer a good balance and don’t flat-out banning treats (especially if your child has become accustomed to eating them). Yes, we still eat dessert. Just not after every meal and not even every day.

What If Your Child Says They Don’t Like Milk?

What if kids aren’t crazy about the taste of white milk? No worries because flavored milk also counts as a serving of dairy and provides the same nine essential nutrients. Or choose to create recipes that incorporate the recommended daily serving of milk in another way.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Do Adults Need Milk?

Many adults simply do not get the necessary amount of protein each day. I used to be one of them. And naturally, without the natural, high-quality protein in my system, I’d be hungry again within an hour after eating. I personally find myself craving milk so I know my body needs the extra protein and calcium.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Did you know dairy milk protein is a complete protein? Most plant proteins are incomplete. This means they’re missing some of the amino acids your body needs. Milk is also a top source of calcium in the diet — with one cup offering about a third of the recommended amount for one day. An 8-ounce glass of milk gives you about 30 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin D. The vitamin D and calcium work together to build and maintain strong bones, helping to protect older adults from osteoporosis.

And as someone trying to shed the last 15 lbs of “baby weight” I’m incorporating milk consumption in my diet as a way to increase muscle mass. A study in women found that including fat free milk in a recovery routine during a 12 week training program resulted in greater muscle mass, strength gains, and fat loss (compared to a carb-only sports drink with the same calories).

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Other Ways to Get the Benefits of Milk

There are some easy ways to incorporate milk naturally into the day. Of course, drinking a glass of milk is the easiest way to take advantage of the nutritious benefits! Here are some ways that I add milk into our recipes:

  • Serve milk with cereal or grains at breakfast.
  • Use milk when making scrambled eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles or French toast.
  • Make a low-fat or skim milk smoothie. I freeze fruit and greens (like kale or spinach) just before they’re overripe. Then toss them into the blender with 8-oz of milk and a few ice cubes.
  • Make milk-rich recipes for dinner like quiche, macaroni and cheese, creamy broccoli soup, Alfredo sauce or frittata.
  • For dessert, make pudding, frozen smoothie pops or custard.
  • Add chocolate to milk to make cocoa.

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #ad

Confession Time

I’ll be totally honest. I don’t like the taste of plain white milk! I never have, even as a child. But I do still drink my milk by including it daily inside a smoothie at breakfast. Toss in lots of frozen berries and even a handful of greens and I’m good for the day.

There are lots of other ways to include milk into your daily diet – Looking for more ideas on how to incorporate more milk into your everyday? Visit MilkLife.com for more information and recipes.

What if you could give your kids a nutrient-rich, delicious, farm fresh beverage with natural protein and no sugar added – all for about a quarter per serving? Surprise – it’s something that’s likely already in your fridge – white milk!

How can we encourage kids to make the most nutritious food choices? These tips help incorporate complete proteins, vitamins and essential nutrients. #MyMilkMyWay #ad

When Did We Stop Rooting for Ourselves?

This post originally appeared on my blog Painted Butterfly Studio on Sept 28th, 2010. I reread it this week and find that topic of accepting compliments and cheering for ourselves to be relevant. Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

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

The Soccer Game

“At what point do we stop cheering?”

We were sitting on the sidelines watching our six year old soccer players celebrating after they’d just scored their uncontested sixth goal. The dad next to me posed the question. About 90 seconds later we got our answer when the seventh goal was scored. Parents didn’t cheer and just a small smattering of applause could be heard from our side of the field.

Later in the day, I got to thinking about that question.

“At what point do we stop cheering?”

Do we ever stop cheering? Or rather, should we ever stop cheering?

And I’m not just talking as parents, but just as adults?

“At what point do we stop cheering?”

Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

Shrugging Off Instead of Accepting Compliments

I was reading Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy this week. The section I happened upon was about how as adults we tend to downplay our accomplishments. We shoo away compliments and never really revel in them as we should. She suggested that we pull out our awards, something we’ve created, or anything that really makes us proud of ourselves and put them in a prominent place in our home.

Why, as adults, do we hide our light under a bushel? Why do we shrug off encouragements from others instead of just saying, “Thank you so much! I’m proud of it too!” This daily reminder of seeing visually what we have done should be a push towards what we can do.

I recall hearing about a baseball player who didn’t display any of his awards in his home. The announcer noted how humble the player was and that if you walked into his home you’d never have guessed he was a ball player.

This actually just seemed kind of sad to me. If this man was a sculptor or an artist, would he not decorate his home with a few of his own art pieces? Is it not appropriate because it wouldn’t be humble? Or even just to have an important plaque on the wall, or one special baseball on a shelf that was particularly meaningful, something that recognized his accomplishments? Nothing?!

I’m not talking about constantly tooting our own horn here to the point of rudeness or painting an entire mural on our living room wall with our likeness. But really think about why we stopped cheering…Because we didn’t want to come across to others as too confident? Because it might hurt someone else’s feelings? Because we’ve been taught as children to be humble and modest, that we shouldn’t be “too good”?

 

Kids Are Naturals at Complimenting Themselves

Now, back to the soccer game…7th goal was scored. The little boy who scored the goal had already scored 4 others in our game, but just the same he looked excitedly over to the sidelines for recognition. We put our hands together and clapped briefly and smiled back at him. He wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed in the least to have created such a lopsided score.

As we were leaving two players chattered boldly to each other, “We scored 7 and they didn’t have ANY!”

One of the moms said, “Shhh, not so loud”, to which one of the boys looked up at her and said, “Why?”

The unabashed pride of these six year olds was actually inspiring to me. Humility and modesty will come eventually, as it should. But at this age it’s refreshing to see the exuberance about each accomplishment. Whether it’s getting across the monkey bars without falling off, finishing an entire puzzle without help or scoring the final goal in a 7-0 game.

Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

Rooting Ourselves On

I’m going to root myself on. When someone pays me a compliment, I’m going to say a simple thank you and not follow it up with something that undermines the entire good thought (you know the kind, “That’s a pretty blouse!” and we say, “Yeah, too bad I’m so fat that’s too tight on me now” FROWN!). That completely diminishes the compliment (and is not very kind to the person complimenting you either). “Thank you” is the perfect reply to any compliment.

I’m going to make some pillow covers to put in the living room and if anyone compliments them, I’ll happily share that it’s my own handiwork. I will bravely admit that there are things that I’m really good at and I’m going to promise myself that I won’t be too shy or humble to admit it!

I hope that by my modeling this, my own children will pick up on the air of confidence and not be ashamed or embarrassed of their own accomplishments. Accepting compliments and sharing what you’re confident and strong about isn’t bragging, it’s knowing that you are worthy. Knowing your worth and can humbly accept praise is given to us by God. And that’s something to cheer about.

In what ways and areas of your life could you be more confident and assured? Please share with me below in the comments!

Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland 2017

I have been blessed to attend a Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event for the last three years. These conferences are definite highlights of my blogging year! Not only do I get to mingle with my blogger besties, I also get to hear about upcoming Disney news and receive invaluable social media advice. And the bonus for the last two years – admission to play in the Disneyland parks after the conference. You can’t beat that! Keep reading for what we learned at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland 2017.

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road Conference. I received breakfast during the conference, complimentary park hopper tickets for me and my family, complimentary MaxPass, FastPass tickets to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: MISSION BREAKOUT, FastPass tickets for Fantasmic! and a bag of gifts from Disney. Travel expenses were paid by me. As always, opinions are my own.

The first year I applied and was accepted to attend On-the-Road in Portland, Oregon. It was my first trip to the Northwest and I loved every minute of it! Last year was invite-only and the event was held inside the Paradise Pier Hotel at the Disneyland Resort! It was the year of their 60th Anniversary and what a magical time that was. Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland was when I got my first look at Moana.

My first #DisneySMMC On-the-Road, in Portland Oregon

Pixie dust landed in my email once again this year as I was invited this month to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland for 2017. The event was held inside Stage 17 at Disney California Adventure park. Attendees of the event were allowed access early into the park. The trolley driver even stopped for us so we could capture a few photos on the empty streets of Hollywood Land!

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

My first two On-the-Road events had very similar social media tips but this year offered some fresh new advice. In fact, my brain didn’t quite catch up to my fingers and I captured as much as I could. I was really trying to soak it all in because it was all very relevant and helpful information for those in the social media/blogging community! Follow @DisneyMoms on Twitter for more details on the event (and other Disney updates).

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

A Few of the Disney players hosting and speaking at the event:

Leanne O’Regan (director of public relations at the Walt Disney World Resort – @leannej on Twitter)

Courtnee Collier (social media manager for Disney Parks – ms_courtnee on Twitter)

Erin Glover (Editorial Content Director at Disneyland Resort – @gopluto on Twitter)

Megan Sayers (Social and video strategy lead at Babble – @megansayers on Twitter)

Takeaways-

  • Video is most effective when used to share something that can’t be seen anywhere else, is personal or unexpected.
  • When planning photo and video shoots, create a video production check list. This will allow you to save time and be more efficient during actual filming.
  • 80% of videos are watched without sound. Upload a caption file for Facebook.
  • If wanting to add a link with your video, insert link in the comment and not the copy. Adding in the copy can hurt the algorithm.
  • Think about a “content franchise” and serialize your content. What do you do everyday that your fans respond to? What can you make as a episode program?

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Rose Gold Ears (and Other Exciting Stuff!)

One of the hottest news buzz in the room at DisneySMMC was rose gold Mouse ears! Or specifically, the lack of them. Seems everyone wanted a pair but they’d been quickly sold out in the Parks. However four coveted pairs of rose gold ears were raffled off to lucky winners during the conference. And there was a spare pair for photo ops!

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Dawn Winston of I Am a Mommy Nerd became one of my very first blogging friends when I started writing. I had the chance to meet for the first time! We’ve been on the Blogorail team together for years and have a very special connection that has to do with our Dads. My baby daughter was even born on Dawn’s birthday, which I find just perfectly delightful!

Dawn and I have bonded over our repeated applications to the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search. Several years ago we both made it to the final round, trying for a lone Disneyland opening.

We were so excited to hear during the conference that applications for the 2018 year will open on September 6th. Hey, that’s MY birthday, so that has to mean something, right?!

If you’re considering applying to the Disney Parks Moms Panel, all the information is available RIGHT HERE.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure

Kevin Deters (@storyman9 on Twitter) and Stevie Wermers (@supercaken on Twitter) from Walt Disney Animation Studios introduced clips and story line of the new installment in the Frozen series, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. They have co-directed this “featurette” that will show before the feature film Coco. Set for an November 22nd release Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will be 22 minutes long with 4 new songs. After just watching the clips I can tell you it includes so much of the charm we’ve come to expect from the Frozen series! I adore Olaf 🙂

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Stacia Martin, Disney Artist & Historian

I soak up Disney-lore and love hearing backstories. Stacia Martin is a wealth of information. And in her 39 year stint as a Disney artist and historian, she’s a gem herself. What fun it was to watch her easily draw Mickey, Tinker Bell and Winnie the Pooh right before our eyes, while handily offering historical details on the characters and her art background.

We were each gifted one of her original drawings at the end of the event. Mine was Mickey (my favorite character!). It has my name on the drawing and is signed by Stacia as well. I can’t wait to frame it and put it in a place of honor in my home.

Here is a video I took of Stacia as she sketched during our event:

Amy Robach, Good Morning America

Our surprise guest speaker was Amy Robach (@ajrobach on Twitter) from Good Morning America. Amy’s story began with her getting a live mammogram on the show. But her story has a turn, when she found out that she had breast cancer. 80% of breast cancer patients have no family history and Robach was clearly in shock to receive such a diagnosis.

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Amy discussed how her life-changing health event caused her to start parenting differently and begin living in the moment.

Wrapping Up the Conference

My friend and fellow TravelingMom and Blogorail team member Leslie Harvey of Trips with Tykes got her photo op with Mickey dressed in Roadster Racers costume. There is an all-new Disney Junior! Live on Stage Dance Party featuring many characters from the channel.

What’s New & What’s Ending at Disneyland Parks?

After just having visited Disneyland for a summer family media event, I’ve shared a post about What’s New, What’s Returning and What’s Coming to Disneyland.
The #SummerofHeroes event is wrapping up at Disney California Adventure park on September 10th. However some of the super hero fun lives on with the hot new attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: MISSION BREAKOUT!

MaxPass includes unlimited PhotoPass downloads. I was thrilled to have my kids with me for the event so I could capture this great photo of us in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle! Hmm, I need to stop time because two of my four kids are now taller than me!
What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!
I hadn’t seen Fantasmic! in nearly 10 years so I have been looking forward to watching the newly updated show! We were excited to watch the show with a wonderful vantage point. One of these days I’m going to spring for a dinner package so I can have a place to sit. Standing for an hour pre-show then during the show itself with a squirmy toddler was hard!
What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

I was so excited to have the opportunity to see the Main Street Electrical Parade one last time before it “glows” away! This parade is near-and-dear to my heart as I remember watching it with my Dad. In fact, it’s the only parade I remember watching with him at Disneyland (he was more of a “ride all the rides kind of guy!”)

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Thank you to the Disney social media team for the much-appreciated invitation this year! I truly enjoyed the new information and am already pushing myself to use some of the newer features on social media that I’ve been resisting (Instagram Stories, anyone?!) Thank you again for the magical Disneyland day, my family and I had a fantastic visit!

 

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

 

Back to School Snacks on the Go from SunRype *GIVEAWAY*

My kindergartner is a snack fiend. Seriously I have to hide the school snacks or he’d be helping himself to them all day long. And you know how that goes; then the kid doesn’t want to eat his dinner! We’ve taken to limiting the purchase of pre-packaged snacks in the home because he’ll eat them all up so quickly.
However I do like to have snacks with me on hand to take on-to-go. Fruit and veggies are ideal, but not always practical. My kids won’t eat a bruised up apple and fresh strawberries are best when chilled.
SunRype back to school snacks make eating fruits and veggies on the go easy and delicious with their 100% fruit snacks that are preservative and gluten free
We recently received samples of SunRype Fruit to Go. These are 100% fruit strip snacks, which I love. My first choice for snacks isn’t something heavily processed or that adds a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce. No added processed sugar here, just natural ingredients and no preservatives.
SunRype Fruit to Go are perfect for the back-to-school lunch box because they are also vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and peanut-free. Even my husband packs them in his lunch box (and he’s very particular about his food!)
SunRype back to school snacks make eating fruits and veggies on the go easy and delicious with their 100% fruit snacks that are preservative and gluten free
I received complimentary samples in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post includes affiliate links. Clicking and purchasing through the links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!
We tried both SunRype Fruit to Go in Apple Strawberry and Apple Strawberry Watermelon Flavors. They have a pleasant, fresh and flavorful taste. Not overly sweet and no aftertaste. And at only 50 calories, this little snack isn’t ruining anyone’s dinner!
SunRype back to school snacks make eating fruits and veggies on the go easy and delicious with their 100% fruit snacks that are preservative and gluten free
SunRype also offers a 100% fruit and vegetable bar called FruitSource. In flavors like Apple Mango Strawberry Carrot, I’m excited to try those next time! These make for the perfect school snack.

SunRype is available in the produce department at most grocers next to the fruits and vegetables. It is also available from Amazon. (SunRype Apple Strawberry Fruit to Go 100% Fruit Strip Snacks and SunRype Apple Mango Strawberry Carrot Fruitsource 100% Fruit Bar)

 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY or enter on the SunRypeUSA Facebook page.


WEEKLY PRIZE PACK DRAWING/PRIZE DETAILS:
From July 24 – August 28th, 2017 from the current entries received at the time of the drawing, the sponsor will be selecting at random two (2) winners each week (“Weekly Winner(s)”) beginning on Monday, July 31st, 2017 to win a prize package consisting of:

o   **A Blu-ray of “The Lion King” valued at SRP $39.99USD **Not Available Until August 29th, 2017

o   $50 Pre-loaded Credit Card

o   The Lion King BackPack – Suggested Retail Value $50

o   1 Case Of SunRype Product – SunRype Fruit To Go Strips/ FruitSource Fruit Bars Valued at approximately  $20-$25 USD) 

Prize packages collectively have an approximate retail value of $160-165.00 USD each.  There are a total of 10 of these weekly prize packages available to be won and the last drawing will be done on Tuesday, August 29th, 2017.  Entries will be carried over from one week to the next, however any one (1) person is only eligible to win one (1) prize throughout the entire Promotion period.