Tips to Help Your Child Become More Independent

Teaching your child independence can be a difficult task. I mean how can you blame them? They are born into a world where we feed, change, and bathe them. They are reliant on us for everything. As they grow older, you struggle to find the ‘right’ time to give them independence (I know I do).

  • We don’t want them making a mess everywhere, so we do it ourselves.
  • You don’t have enough time in the morning for them to change themselves because their muscles immediately become lifeless, so it feels like hours for them to take their socks off
  • They melt your heart because they assume you don’t love them because you are refusing to help (holy mom guilt!)
  • They cry and get frustrated, and you don’t feel like listening to it
  • They get more soap and water on the bathroom floor then their bodies
  • Your anxiety shoots through the roof just looking at the mess they are making

The list could go on and on, but of course you don’t want your child growing into their teenage years being completely dependent on mommy and daddy. Trust me, I’m totally guilty of ‘not cutting the cord’ as my husband would say and helping my kids with everything.

Give yourself (and them) some extra time. You always should remember in the back of your head that they are learning, it doesn’t take a few minutes to completely tackle something you’re not used to doing. Think about it…

  • It’s hard to run a marathon if you’ve never ran before
  • It can take a few tries to perfect a new meal if you’ve never cooked
  • You don’t learn to swim after the first time in a pool

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Things take practice, so your little ones need that extra time. I’ve started giving my son and myself 20 minutes of extra time every morning so we don’t get behind and he can do his morning routine on his own.

Organization. I’ve learned that an organized environment is extremely helpful for a little one becoming independent. My son has an organizing shelf in his room that toys used to be thrown into randomly.

  • Cars mixed with LEGOs
  • Trains mixed with Action Figures
  • Paw Patrol mixed with Blaze and the Monster Machines

That’s no longer happening. We now place each item into different bins so the process of cleaning his room is easier. He quickly knows where everything goes, and he doesn’t get super frustrated during the cleaning process. Now that he is starting to read, I’m going to label each bin so he can read off what toy goes where.

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Use safer and smaller cleaning supplies. A big responsibility I’m trying to teach my son is cleaning up after himself.

  • He leaves his juice boxes laying around
  • gummy wrappers sitting on the couch
  • plates left on the dinner table with crumbs all over the floor.

Luckily my son enjoys cleaning, but only when Mommy is doing it too. When he must clean up his own mess, it becomes devastatingly hard to accomplish. So, to help him out we bought a mini broom and gave him his own little bin of rags, wipes, and a small spray bottle of kid-friendly cleaner. If he gets to spray something, he loves it. So, I try to work around what he enjoys so it becomes a ‘fun’ chore to tackle in his mind.

Let your kids know you trust them. There is where the ‘cutting the cord’ comes into play for me. Give them some freedom when it’s time to play or clean up.

  • Allow them to go outside while you watch from afar
  • Leave their bedroom when it’s time to clean it
  • Have them run out and check the mail while your inside

This can be a huge confident booster for your child and it can help make them believe they are capable of more, but you will always be there for assistance. It could reduce the number of outbursts with them complaining that they can’t do it or that it’s too hard. Maybe it’ll also motivate them to do more independently.

Be there for them. Always be their number one motivator. Stay calm and motivate them along the way. If there’s a mess after they attempt to pour their milk alone, tell them it’s okay and that they are learning. Grab a rag and have them clean it up. If you get upset then that will make them upset, and their confidence goes out the window. Praise and positivity are two great ways to communicate to your child.

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 Independence is a learning experience in the end. There will be multiple failed attempts before you succeed.

That goes for adults too. We’ve gone through it.

With success, comes reward. My son knows that if he successfully completes his chores, he receives a dollar. When he doesn’t complete his chores, or complains then he loses a dollar.

 I do believe in letting your kids be rewarded when they complete what they are asked, but I also don’t want them to become greedy, hence why the money will be taken too.

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5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Hydrated

It’s always good to start a good hydration routine with your kids, especially over the summer months. Their bodies don’t cool down as easily as adults, so dehydration is at a higher risk for younger ones. I always push water on my children even when they say they aren’t thirsty. Especially since my oldest could be sweating bullets, but continues to insist he isn’t thirsty.

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I put together a list of ways to keep your kids hydrated over the summer. There are multiple ways to get water in their system other than just drinking out of a water fountain or plastic cup.

If you’re like my family, it’s a never-ending battle to get your kids to drink water. I’ll definitely be trying these tips over the summer to increase the water intake in my kiddos.

  1. Add fruits and vegetables into their daily meals.

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Food such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, oranges, raspberries, lettuce, and celery have tons of water in them.

Mix up a smoothie for them if you have trouble getting them to eat green veggies. Add some spinach in there, along with sweet fruit.

Did you know spinach is 92% water?!

You have to sneak those in while you can. Not only will they get hydrated, but they will get their daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

  1. Make popsicles.

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Have them make their own popsicle with fruit and water. You can even mix it up a little and use some Gatorade or Propel. I personally enjoy using coconut water.

Surprisingly enough, a two-stick popsicle has enough water to help hydrate a young one. If you don’t want to do popsicle’s, just add some fruit to ice cube trays and freeze it. It can make the water look ‘prettier’ and they might drink it more willingly.

  1. Have them choose their cup.

When a little one gets a something new, they love to use it! So, try mixing up their water bottles.

My son recently received the Nuby Thirsty Kids Flip It cup. He loves it! Especially since it’s his favorite color, green.

This BPA free 12oz (360ml) water canteen is perfect for my son since he’s constantly on the go. There’s an easy to use hygienic cover that keeps the spout clean when closed. It is made from tough durable break-resistant Tritan plastic from Eastman, and has a colorful silicone band for easy gripping. You can find multiple colors at Target.

I’ll be sure to add this into the mix of his favorite cups. It’s the perfect size for him.

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  1. Infuse their water naturally.

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Have them pick out some fruits and let them add it to their water. I love lemon and mint in my water. My children love eating strawberries and blueberries, so I’m going to experiment with all different fruit varieties this summer.

Hopefully, the water won’t taste as ‘boring’ to them and they will consume more.

  1. Be a water role model.

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Monkey see, Monkey do. Show them how much mommy and daddy love drinking water. I try to drink water all day long and show them how good it can be for you. I also let them know that drinking water helps grow big strong muscles.

Kind of like a flower, you water the flower than it grows big and strong. If they put water in their bodies, they grow the same.

Use these tips to go along with my other post, 100 Ways to Get Your Kids Outside!

 

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*I received this product from Nuby as a review, but all opinions are entirely my own*

 

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What I’ve Learned From Becoming a Mother

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When I became a mother, my entire life changed. During my first pregnancy I thought motherhood would be a breeze. I thought I knew it all and I was one hundred percent prepared.

“I read the baby books, I’m good”

Yeah… nope. I wasn’t good. I learned so much once my son was born, and even more when my daughter came along. Motherhood is one crazy, intense adventure. You will never have it all figured out. Every day of motherhood is completely different and your kids will always surprise you.

Here’s some things of what I’ve learned along the way! I’m sure you mama’s out there can all relate.

  • Silence is not Golden. If you have a toddler, you’ll understand. Unless they are sleeping at night, do not underestimate the silence. Chances are they into something they are definitely not supposed to be into!
  • Your house will never stay “magazine” clean. Let’s just be real. Little ones get into everything! They drop food on the floor, pull out every toy possible, put their fingers all over your windows. Trust me, I clean up multiple times a day to make my house look good enough. But, it will never be spotless.
  • Toys are pointless. I have bought numerous toys for my children over the years, and what do they play with? Tupperware, boxes, cups, etc. Half of their toys just lay around or eventually get packed up in boxes. I certainly don’t recommend going overboard with toys. If they want a new toy, tell them they should donate one first to another child who’s in need of toys.
  • Everything happens at the worst times. When we’re running late and rushing out the door, guess who decides to blow out her diaper last minute? Or my toddler, who decides to vomit in the car when we’re going somewhere that requires him to wear nice clothes. Always make sure you are prepared because anything can happen! I always pack extra, or give myself extra time.
  • Sleep is non-existent. Seriously, it’s not. You may think waking up every few hours only happens in the beginning, but no. There is the teething, the stuffy noses, or that random ‘I want to wake up in the middle of the night’ playtime. It’s inevitable. Let’s not forget that they decide to wake up at the crack of dawn on the weekends, but want to sleep all morning during the week when you have places to be.
  • Forget about privacy. Just the other day my son had a massive meltdown because he wasn’t in the bathroom while I was taking a bath. He absolutely lost it. They will follow you to the bathroom, the kitchen, your bedroom. You’ll always have a little one watching you.
  • Half the time you’ll look a mess. I’m that mom who will doll her kids up, and make them look adorable while I’m sporting no makeup and a mom bun. The effort and time to get myself together is rare. I’ve come to not even care what I look like anymore. Then when I do get dressed up, I feel like a freaking queen!
  • Pick your battles. As much as I love for my kids to look amazing, if my son wants to wear two different socks, I let him. I’d much rather have him all mix matched then dealing with a meltdown. If my daughter keeps pulling out her ponytails, whatever. She can have crazy hair for the day. Sometimes it’s just easier that way.
  • Take one moment at a time. Things will rarely go as planned. It’s nearly impossible to plan a whole day without something having to get switched up. I now go with one activity at a time. If we have time for another, then we’ll do it. I’ve given up on creating an entire day worth of activities.
  • Baby wipes are life. If you’re a mom and don’t agree to this, I’m shocked. Those little wipes can be used to everything! Cleaning butts, cleaning faces, cleaning tables. They are the best thing ever! I’m pretty sure when my kids no longer use them, I’ll still buy them.
  • Always put extra food on your plate. My daughter is only 11 months old and already wants to eat what’s on my plate. Don’t even get me started with my 4-year-old. I tend to always put double on my plate of what I know they like to eat, because it never fails that half of it won’t be eaten by me.
  • If your kid wants to snuggle, then snuggle! As they get older is doesn’t come often. So, when they ask, do it! Even with my younger one. She’s on the move now so she barely wants to sit still, but when she does I soak up every single minute of it. I can’t get enough of it.
  • Your car will never be clean, probably for the next 18 years. You’ll start with baby toys and pacifiers, move on to toddler toys and snack crumbs, and end with sports bags and water bottles. It’ll be an ongoing battle for the next few years!
  • Coffee is your best friend. Before kids, I could go without coffee. Now a days, coffee is my best friend. I’ve learned to love it and I’m sure you will too (If you don’t already).
  • You will feel like you aren’t doing a good job some days. It will happen, you’ll feel the mom guilt. But always try to remember, tomorrow is a new day and those tiny humans will always love you no matter what happens!
  • Raising a child is difficult, no matter what age you are. I was a young mom. I had my son at 22. People tend to think having a child at younger age will be harder. But I disagree, being a mother at any age is hard.
  • The worrying never goes away. I thought once my little ones were older and more independent, I’d worry less. That’s not the case. My son is four and I still constantly worry about him. I don’t think that’ll ever change, even when their adults.
  • You’ll be late to things. This happens, a lot. My husband and I are constantly late to events. Usually it’s that we forget something for the kids, or we underestimate how long it takes to get all four of us ready. Don’t feel bad when it happens, usually everyone gets it.

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6 Ways to Earn Some Extra Money While Staying at Home

Happy New Year Everyone!

One of my New Year ‘Resolutions’ is to save money. We can always use a little extra money. If it’s saving for a trip or just to help pay the bills each month, I can provide some tips on what I do from the comfort of my own home. I’ve read many posts about making some extra income over the computer, but I was still skeptical, until I tried it. Now I can’t get enough. Below I want to give you a quick list of what I currently use.

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  1. Swagbucks.com. This site is my all-time favorite. You can take surveys, watch videos, play games, and earn money each time! You can also get money back on your everyday online shopping purchases! There’s codes you can find online to give you some extra money, the opportunities never end. I’ve even gotten free samples to get paid to try, including salad dressing and even a pack of diapers for my daughter! I’ve made over a couple hundred from this site, and it went right into my Paypal account. You can also use it for gift cards. Here’s my referral link if you’d like to sign up! http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/KatieCunni Just say I referred you, and we both get a little something!
  2. Ibotta. I have earned over $300 from using Ibotta during my grocery trips. All you do is select the products you need/want to buy, scan your receipt and the money comes right back at you! This app you can also save on online purchases, hotels, even alcohol! The money can go right into PayPal or Venmo. Here’s my referral link to sign up! https://ibotta.com/r/hlhaoyv
  3. Checkout 51. This app is like Ibotta. It has many grocery products you can choose from to get rebates back. You simply choose your item, scan your receipt, and when you are ready to cash out they will mail you a check!
  4. Vindale Research. This is another site for surveys. If you have the time to sit and fill out a few surveys, your money will add up quick. I’ve completed surveys that varied from $1 to $5, and all I had to do was answer some questions and watch a few videos. They will also send you a check when you are ready to cash out. Here’s my referral link if you’d like to try it! http://tryvindale.com/V0lPfWWM
  5. Paribus. This app is super simple to use! It’s an app designed to track if online items you purchased drop lower then what you paid. The app will automatically file a claim, and the difference will get put right back on your card! All you do is simply enter in your email address where your order confirmations go, and the app will work its magic! It’s a life saver when I order online from Kohl’s. I ALWAYS get money back.
  6. Dosh. Dosh is a new application that you can download right onto your phone. You simple add as many cards as you want, and everytime you use that card at participating stores money automatically goes back onto your app! Once you want to cash out, you can just transfer your money via PayPal! It’s simple! Did I mention you get a $5 bonus just for adding a card! Here’s my referral link. If you sign up using my referral link, I’ll get an extra $5 also! Win, win! https://link.dosh.cash/YCLI/VQ5CmUHyeJ 

 

I’ve earned close to $500 just by using these websites and apps. You can never go wrong with a little extra money. Check em’ out and let me know what you think! It’s never a waste of time when you’re earning money.

Tips To Prevent Nightly Binge Eating

Happy Sunday Ya’ll!

With a new week ahead of us, it’s time for a fresh start! I wanted to share some of my own personal tips when it comes to binge eating at night. I don’t know about you all, but during the evening is the hardest for me when it comes to wanting to munch. I do great throughout the day, but once my husband comes home from work and my kids eat dinner, they can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound. I’m not so lucky. I watch my husband eat and gain the pounds. So, I started to incorporate some ways to refrain from binge eating at night. In the end, it all boils down to self-control. You need to tell your mind you don’t need those chips or those delicious chocolate chip cookies. Everyone has their own ways to refrain from overeating, but here are a few of mine that seem to work out great!

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  1. Drink Water. This is a pretty common tip. Drinking tons of water tricks your mind into thinking you are full. So, when your body tells you they want a snack, chug a glass of water. You should feel fuller and that craving will hopefully subside. Water is the best thing you could possibly drink when trying to lose weight.

 

  1. Brush Your Teeth. For me, after I brush my teeth I don’t want to eat anything. For some reason, when my teeth are clean and that minty taste is stuck in my mouth, I don’t want to get rid of it. It also curbs my hunger immensely. Plus, you can never brush your teeth too many times. It’s a win win.

 

  1. Eat When Your Kids Eat. I am the Queen of picking off my kid’s plate when they are eating dinner. If they don’t want their chicken nuggets, I’ll grab it. Don’t even get my started on stealing french fries. I’ve learned to have my meal prepared at the same time as theirs so I can concentrate more on eating my food then theirs. Then when they are finished, I take it right to the trash can and dump it out. No more picking for this Mama.

 

  1. Walk Away From The Kitchen. If you’re not eating, don’t sit in the kitchen. It’ll give you the urge to rummage through the cabinets. If my husband or kids decide to eat before I’m hungry, I make their plates and either walk in the living room, or clean the house a little (vacuum, dust, work in laundry, etc.). I try not to think about food until I’m ready for my meal.

 

  1. Whiten Your Teeth. Yes, this is a totally crazy tip, but one of my favorites! I’ve recently gotten into whitening my teeth. I’ll put the strips on for an hour a day, and of course you can’t eat while you have them in. With all that said, the perfect time for whitening is in the evening. I’ll put those on, and it’ll keep me from eating for a good hour. Plus, your teeth get whiter! Another win!

 

  1. Exercise. When you get the urge to eat, just start working out. Do a few squats, hop in the treadmill for a little. Exercising seems to control your hunger. Just sweat that craving right out of you, and you’ll feel better then you did before. Also, if I work out right before dinner, I tend to feel fuller with my meal.

 

  1. Have Snacks During The Day. When I say have snacks, I don’t mean grab a handful of chips or eat some chocolate. In between meals during the day, have a small snack. Eat some almonds or a protein bar. I like to eat three meals a day and two snacks in between those meals. This really helps me from picking at night.

 

8. Keep Motivation All Around Your House. Post some pictures on your refrigerator of some fitness quotes, or the body you are working towards. I have my letter board in my living room to remind me every day that ‘I Got This’ and I can do whatever I put my mind too. I take one glance as those motivational posts, and hop right back on track.

 

Give some of these tips a try and let me know what you think! As I said before, these are tips that personally help me. Don’t get discouraged if they aren’t effective for you. Do some trial and error, research and find what’s best for your body and mind. But always remember to try and have self-control.

Follow my fitness page for extra motivation! @kcunnifit

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Date Your Spouse, Inexpensively!

My husband and I have a fantastic relationship, but we are terrible when it comes to date night. We usually choose the same old restaurant, have a few drinks, and usually eat the same foods. Every time we end up spending more than we intended. So, this year we’re going to try some new and less expensive dates to go on and still have a blast without emptying our wallet. I’m hoping to conquer every date on this list and then some. What’s better than having a blast with your spouse and not spending a fortune!?

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  1. Make A Dinner Together. Let the kids have a night at their grandparents and you two stay in. Think of a delicious meal to make, cook it together and enjoy!
  2. Camp Out. Hubby and I love to camp. We were so close to buying a camper last summer because we loved it so much. Go pitch a tent at a local camp ground and spend the evening together sitting by the fire and drinking your favorite drinks.
  3. Go To A Winery/Brewery. For our first anniversary, we went to a brewery in Hershey PA. $5 bought us a tour of the brewery, a free beer, and plenty of beer samples during the tour. It was a blast.
  4. Have A Picnic In The Park. Make up some sandwiches and a few sides and head to a local park to eat and just talk about your day.
  5. Take A Fitness Class. Hubby and I are both into fitness, so taking a fitness class such as kick boxing is the perfect date! Break a sweat, laugh, and feel so great after.
  6. Visit A Farmers Market. Go to a local market and see what they have and taste some free samples. There so many around where I live, so I’m excited for this!
  7. Attempt To Set A World Record. If you’re the competitive type like I am, this would be an awesome time. Rent the Guinness Book of World Records, and find some good ones to beat.
  8. Volunteer Somewhere. If you’re a lover of animals, help at your local shelter! Just leave your wallet in the car, so you don’t come home with 3 new puppies 😉
  9. Play A Sport… Loser Cleans The House. Basketball, baseball, soccer, whatever. Go to a local park and play a few rounds. Loser must do all the chores that night.
  10. Visit A Random Town. Find a local town around you that you both haven’t been too and visit it. See what different stores they have and browse around.
  11. Binge Watch A Television Show. This is ideal for me. Put on some sweatpants, snuggle in bed and binge watch Netflix for a few hours.
  12. Get Lost. Find some random back roads around you. Drive a bunch, and don’t use GPS to find your way back. Here’s an idea, grab a penny. Heads means right and tails means left. Every time you hit a stop sign or red light flip the penny and turn that way.
  13. Nerf War. My husband would love this! Go buy some cheap nerf guns, hide all around the house and have a nerd gun fight.
  14. Go To A Home Depot Workshop. They always have free “How-To” classes, look up your local Home Depot and see what they have coming up!
  15. Go To An Arcade. Bring out your inner child and go to an arcade and play some games together.
  16. Play Dirty Scrabble. Just like regular scrabble, but you can only use dirty words 😉
  17. Go Fishing. Visit a local lake and catch some fish. Whoever catches the biggest wins.
  18. Create A Bucket List. Write down everything you want to do in your lifetime, then make a promise to conquer them all.
  19. Go To Open Houses. Find a bunch of open houses in your area and go to them all. Eat their goodies, look around, and leave!
  20. Truth Or Dare Jenga. Buy regular Jenga, split the blocks and write different questions and dares on there for each other. Whoever knocks down the blocks must clean the house.
  21. Stargaze. Hop in the car, go to a dark field and see if you can find all the constellations in the sky.
  22. Work On A DIY Project. Make a piece of furniture for the house together out of some cheap wood and paint it. Maybe like a coffee table, or some new shelving.
  23. Go Fruit Picking. Whichever season it is go apple, peach, or strawberry picking! It’s cheap, fun, and delicious!
  24. Make Drinks For Each Other. Look up cocktail recipes and make a drink for each other. There’s so many to choose from, so get creative!
  25. Go Thrift Shopping. Go in with $5 each and whoever comes out with the best find wins.

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Ten Ways to Handle Motherhood Less Stressed

Stress is draining and excruciatingly overwhelming at times. Add it into motherhood and it’s a double whammy. When I became a stay at home mom, we completely cut two incomes into one. That instantly put a complete cloud of stress over my head knowing that I’d have to rely on my husband for just about everything. Learning how to manage expenses while caring for a toddler and a newborn really put a lot on me. Let’s not overlook the stress of motherhood in general. Trying to be patient with two children at home can be tough. A short time ago in the morning while trying to get my son out the door for Pre-K, he was refusing to get ready and I lashed out.

“If you touch one more damn toy before you’re dressed

I’m going to throw them all in the garbage.”

The look on my sons face as he got up to put his clothes on broke my heart. I am a stern believer of disciplining your kids, but this time I felt in the wrong. I had to remember he’s only 4, and he’s simply playing with his toys. He isn’t doing no harm, he’s just being a kid. Having a mother scream at you the way I just did can’t possibly make any situation better. The whole ride to daycare I felt so sick, and fought back tears. I shouldn’t lash out like that to my children. I’m the one who molds them into the adults they will one day be. I don’t want any negativity to run through their minds.

After that day, I started to find ways to destress through my crazy world of motherhood. I get it, it’s hard to find time for yourself when you’re a mom, but I’ve learned a few simple tips to make stress diminish and motherhood run a little smoothly.

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  1. Give Yourself More Time. Fifteen extra minutes a day can work wonders. Although we don’t have to pull out of the driveway until 8:15, I tell myself and the kiddos that we need to be in the car and ready to go by 8. My son is a master at last minute kid excuses. ‘Wait I need to potty Mommy. Can I have something to drink. I need to get a toy to take in the car’. The list could go on forever, so those extra minutes are a life saver when trying to be on time. It also saves me from damaging my vocal chords.
  2. Let it Go. Attempting to have your kids look perfect in the morning is a disaster in the making. If my son wants to wear two different socks, go for it. If he wants to wear pants that are completely mismatched from his shirt, do your thing. Nobody is going to care if your child walks into daycare with a milk stain on his shirt from the ride over. They get it, we’re all raising these little humans. Simply, LET IT GO (in my best Queen Elsa voice). At the end of the day, it gives them character, right? 😉
  3. Have Fun. Leave the dishes in the sink for a night, order some take out, hold out on folding laundry. Go play a game with the kids or build a tower out of LEGO’s, play hide and seek, whatever! Just forget the household chores for the night and have family time. Enjoy yourself. The grow up quick, you don’t want to miss these times. Plus, the kids would probably have a blast knowing Mommy wants to play all night.
  4. Go to Sleep Earlier. As much as I enjoy my alone time when my kids go to bed, staying up super late makes me feel extra drained in the morning. Getting a solid night’s rest can make you feel refreshed in the morning. It can relax your mind to prepare you for the morning ahead. I usually get the kids to bed, take a hot bubble bath, and go right to bed.
  5. Take a Run/Walk. Something about the fresh air and sunlight brings out the best in me. Take the kids for a walk or if you need that ‘me’ time, go alone. Breaking a sweat is a great way for me to destress. It clears my mind and cleanses my brain of all the negativity. It’s a great way to stay in shape and lower stress levels.
  6. Write it Down. Start a journal if you’d like to be more personal and jot down your feelings. Write down what currently struggles you and think of ways to overcome it. Write down some goals, and some motivational tips. You could also do as I did, start a blog! Write about it, learn from others, share your experiences. You never know who you could help just by expressing your thoughts and vice versa.
  7. Ask for Help. Don’t be afraid to hand the kids to your husband/significant other and ask for some time. They are in this with you. Don’t feel obligated to handle everything on your own. It’s natural for us moms to figure everything out and get organized, don’t wait for someone to ask if you need help. They aren’t mind readers, they can’t tell if you’re stressed and overwhelmed. Simply ask and they most likely will oblige.
  8. Break the Rules. Sometimes schedules get broken. Sometimes the kids stay up later than usual so you can read them books. Sometimes they have an extra piece of candy, or we skip out on something just so we can snuggle on the couch all day. If we all accidentally wake up late one morning and we’re late for something, so be it, I’ll take being less stressed. If you’re the rule maker, you can be the rule breaker, just one of the many joys of being a mom.
  9. Find Ways to Save Money. I don’t know about ya’ll, but saving money makes me happy. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I save. I’ve saved so much money with coupons, online surveys, and money savings apps on my iPhone. I’ve gotten back or earned close to $500. The money gets sent to my PayPal account, and it’s there for whenever I need it. It may seem unbelievable when it comes to earning money while sitting on your couch, but I’ve done it and it’s helped out an abundant of times when I was in need of a little extra cash.
  10. Have That Glass of Wine. By have a glass, I don’t mean chug the whole bottle to drown your stress. Sip a glass while reading some chapters in a book, or while you’re in the bubble bath. It’s a little night cap before bed to wind you down.

Tips for Having a Successful Week

After a relaxing weekend especially during the holiday season, the last thing you want to see is Monday roll around. I know, as a stay at home mom you’re probably thinking “why is she so worried about a Monday, she doesn’t work 8 hour days”. Well, as a matter of fact we dread Monday’s too. Monday’s mean back to packing lunches, waking the kids up and getting ready for school, having to kiss your husband goodbye each morning and not seeing him all day, fixing dinners, and keeping the house clean. As a busy mom I’ve learned to make Monday’s more positive and less stressful.

Here’s some tips I’ve learned to help own not only Monday’s, but the entire week!

Always start off with a positive outlook. Never look at a new week as something stressful or exhausting. Look at it as a time to accomplish something new or as an opportunity to be able to progress in your life.

Set goals. Not only should you set goals, but be excited to accomplish those goals. Wake up Monday morning and be ready to kick some ass. If it helps, write those goals down in a visible location where you can read them each morning and check them off as your week progresses.

Make sure laundry is done. Fresh clothes for a fresh week is always the best. I never want to worry about doing laundry mid week or my son running out of matching socks. Which somehow he finds a way to lose a pair at least once a week.

Figure out dinner. Have your meals for the week already planned. Know what you’re cooking each day and double check that you have all of the ingredients before the week starts so you don’t have to run out and get something. I always leave the non-refrigerated ingredients on the counter the night before so all I have to do is start cooking when my husband gets home.

Have the kids ready. Just as stated above, have their lunches picked out for the week. Prep them in little baggies & label them for each day of the week so you know what day is each bag. I always prep the non refrigerated items in five different baggies and leave a space in the refrigerator for five cold items and five juice boxes, so all I do is make a sandwich then grab and go. Same applies for their outfits, I pick out five outfits for each day of the week and have them ready for the next morning on the kids dressers.

Meal prep. When I meal prep, it is a life savor for me. I always have to run and grab my son around lunch time, but as soon as I get back, I easily can grab a meal, eat it, and spend more of the afternoon with the kids. If you work full time, do the same for breakfast too! Put them together and make it a quick grab and go for the morning.

Set a day to pay bills. If you own a home, you know the bills stack up. They are alway due at different times, and it can be so confusing. I always choose a Monday morning to make sure all the bills are paid before they are late. If a bill is due before the following Monday, it gets paid at that time. I never like waiting until the last minute and thinking “did I pay that bill” while laying in bed.

Review the upcoming week. Double check if you have any doctors appointments or school functions coming up during the week. Not only do I keep them on my calendar in my iPhone, but I have a dry erase board right by my front door that I write on every Sunday to prepare me for places I need to be during the week. When the day is over, it gets erased.

Fill your tank. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I hate waking up on a Monday with an almost empty tank. The last thing I want to do is stop and fill it. Sunday’s I always make sure my tank is full or filled enough to where I don’t need to stop.

Make some time for yourself. This might be the most important. Don’t overbook yourself to where you’re constantly running and make some time to do something for you. It can help relieve stress and make your days run smoother. It could range from a simple bubble bath to dinner with your husband or friends.

Hopefully these tips help you as much as they help myself! What else do you do to help prepare for the week ahead? I’d love to hear!

Tips for Visiting Santa with the Little Ones

Hi ya’ll! I just wanted to share some tips when it comes to visiting Santa with the little ones. These are a few that I’ve learned over the years and hopefully it’ll help more mama’s out there. Feel free to comment more tips below. I could always use extra advice!

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  1. Lower your expectations. A crying baby is a memory to look back on, don’t stress about it. Young ones aren’t going to understand Santa quite yet, so don’t expect “the perfect photo”. Plus, you can always embarrass them when their older with the photos.
  2. Prepare the kids. Tell them you’re visiting Santa. Maybe walk past Santa’s workshop a few times so they can check it out. Let them get the feel of it. It’ll make them more comfortable when the time comes to sit on his lap.
  3. Try to avoid them watching other kids on Santa’s lap. If they see other kids crying, it might give them more anxiety when it’s their turn. I try to refrain from having my children see other children cry on Santa’s lap. Maybe have them watch some kids who are smiling, but that’s about it.
  4. Always look “picture ready”. You never know when you’ll have to jump in with the kiddos to make them sit on Santa’s lap. You don’t want to ruin the picture with sweatpants and a mom bun 😉
  5. Put on their outfits right before they sit on Santa’s lap. This applies more for the boys. I don’t know about you, but my son could just be walking next to me and dirt would fly on his shirt. That’s my luck. So always be ready. Or at least have a jacket zipped up over them.
  6. Bring extra clothes. My son is the king of throwing up, while my daughter is the queen of blowouts at the WORST times. Usually right before daycare when I have somewhere I need to be, or right after a new outfit change. I’ve learned to carry extra clothes for them everywhere.
  7. Bring extra bows or headbands for the girls. My daughter is a professional at taking off her headband or pony tail and throwing it on the ground. For some reason she thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. I don’t, so bring extra.
  8. Don’t buy the whole package. Those places are SO expensive to purchase their packages. Order one (or even the digital photo), go to Target or Walmart and copy copy copy!
  9. Have toys for while they wait. My toddler gets bored very easily. He won’t sit still for more then 30 seconds, then he starts tugging at the ropes. So, if the lines are long, be prepared by having activities. Such as coloring book or if you allow technology, a tablet.
  10. Go early in the season. The earlier you go, the less crowded it’ll be. Plus you’ll have time make Christmas cards or use the photo’s as a Christmas gift.

Overall, just enjoy the photo session! Don’t get too stressed out or worked up over the perfect photo. They are young, these are fun memories to always look back on.