Sunday, December 2, 2018

How to Take Care of Yourself When You're Dirt Poor

Practice Self-Care on a Budget. We use affiliate links below. If you click links you might be giving us a small commission, but it will not cost you any extra. Thank you for your support! 



When we moved across state lines again, we were told our house we bought would rent in the next ten days. I know how stupid it sounds to have believed that. 

This was in August, and it is NOVEMBER and we still don't have anyone in our house yet. Our budget is dying a miserable death. 

We are now paying a mortgage in one state, and living in another state with another mortgage. 

This is military life. 

This is why self care is so important. 

I know military families don't have a monopoly on financial hardships. There are reasons why anyone can be having a hard time and needing to stick to a budget. 

I get it. 

You won't find judgement here. Pain is pain, no matter who you are. 

Self care is usually the first thing to get neglected. 

"I'm fine, just pay the bills"

And we suffer. Then everyone suffers, because you can't fill anyone's cup when yours is empty. 

Self care doesn't have to be costly. But how? Here are a few things to try:





Meditate


Meditation is so great for your budget, right? It takes some time, but costs nothing. 

Sit. 
Focus on your breathing. 

Be aware of yourself and your presence. 
Imagine your negative thoughts and feelings being carried away from your being as you exhale. 

Picture yourself free and thinking clearly. 
Visualize your successes in your day and be ready for your day's challenges. 




Shower

It is so normal to forgo taking a shower when you're not feeling mentally your best. Moms are notorious for skipping showers to make sure everyone around them is taken care of first.

Taking a shower will help trigger your impulse to take care of yourself. You are worth it.

You'll feel like a million bucks after a nice hot shower by yourself. 





Read Something Fun  



When was the last time you read something for fun instead of operating instructions? 

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads only lives one." George R. R. Martin 

Reading and using your mind to create rich worlds will help your stress level goes down. 

Pick something that excites you and holds your attention, that way you won't get bored. I never thought I would love reading in my adulthood because Harry Potter had such a lasting impact on me. 

Once I began reading again, I haven't been able to stop. I use Scribd to get all the audiobooks and ebooks. Scribd has a huge selection of books and audiobooks, and it's great if your library doesn't have much. 

We recently moved to a new area and the library doesn't have much of an online library, which is difficult for me. 

Scribd has been great because now it doesn't matter what my library has, because Scribd has everything I want. Click here to start your trial at Scribd, and then tell me if you love it too!  

I've listened to 3 books this month while I was doing housework or waiting in the pick up line at school. 


Dance  


Start practicing now. 

Someday those little children are going to be teenagers and totally embarassed of everything you do. 

Dancing is great for you, also. It helps your coordination in ways that nothing else you do will. Your back will love you for it too, as long as you don't go too crazy. 

Learning how to dance is fun too. It can be challenging but also very rewarding. I love finding new work out videos on YouTube. 

The Fitness Marshall is my favorite of all. He has new videos often, and they're fun songs I want to dance to anyway.

This one is Pilates through this lovely channel, called "The Balanced Life". I find her workouts to be just enough difficult to be a good workout but not overwhelming. She also has a nice 15 day challenge every few months. I linked you to her free 30 day challenge.

What are your favorite ways to take of yourself when you're dirt poor? Tell me below! 

Friday, November 30, 2018

How to Convince Your Children to Like Each Other

"I wish I didn't have brothers."


That's how the morning started with my beautiful daughter. We have mornings that start with screams five days a week. 

This particular morning was awful, because of my youngest, the trouble starter.

He decided he wanted more food, but didn't like the food on his plate--he ran out of grapes. They're a hot commadity here. 

Glancing over at his lovely sister's plate, he sees what he's looking for. 

He creeped over to her plate and grabbed two of her grapes and ran away as fast as his little legs would take him. 

She screams. 
He screams. 
We all scream. 

There's pushing and knocking over chairs and the morning is a rush of anger and frustration.

No one wants to start their day like this. 

I just want peace in my house, and people who enjoy being around each other. I want my children to love each other and have a lifelong friendship. 

This is important to every family, but as a military family I feel the pressure to encourage friendship.

The one constant in their lives is each other.

There will be friends that will come and go, maintaining friendships from states away is a hefty task and most friendships won't last. 

When they come home they'll always have me and their built in best friend siblings.

Through all of our moves I have found a few ways to cultivate that friendship among siblings. Here are my best tips.






1. Encourage Family Talk




Family talk is talking about the bond and relationship you have with each other. We are so blessed to be able to grow this tight knit relationship. 

At the end of the day we always talk about our favorite thing about the day, and I interject a little family bonding during that time. 

We talk about any specials we did during the day, and I like to throw in little things I noticed that showed someone's love for another. 

If Josie helped Joshua go down the slide or learn to write his name, we talk about that. 

Recently, my daughter struggled with her fear of heights, we praised her accomplishments that night together. 

She was so proud of herself for climbing those ropes to get to the top of the playground. 

It was scary, but she did it! 

My son loves talking about how awesome his sister is for accomplishing things. "You did it Josie-beautiful!" he exclaims. 

Of course, bedtime isn't the only time to show how much we love one another. Another way we encourage family talk is when we're shopping, or out and about. 

If we see something, like a truck, we always bring up how another sibling would love it. 

Relationships aren't always talking about loving each other, and trucks though. In every relationship especially when you live together there will be conflict, or just all together bad days. 




2. It's Okay to Not Like Each Other Some Days 


Sometimes we have bad days. I don't like ANYONE every day. 

It's human nature. 

We want to encourage our children to still be good people on those bad days, but giving them grace on their bad days can help with their relationships. If they believe you can ONLY show love and NEVER be unhappy with someone, it will breed a lot of resentment later on. 

Encouraging empathy and understanding of bad days or bad moods can only help them. You want your children to know how to argue or disagree and still remain friendly. 

Label those feelings for your child so they can understand it's not who they are, but their feelings and emotions driving their behavior. 

Maybe they're feeling a little lonely because they miss Daddy while he is at work, and instead of realizing it's loneliness, they're presenting as angry. Name that emotion for them, and try to talk through it, and give them tools to work through it themselves. 

Maybe they can write a letter to Daddy for when he gets home, or they can have alone time in the kitchen coloring. Find what they need in those emotions. 

Allow them to cultivate a loving relationship by giving them space --They don't have to play together all day every day

Sometimes just playing in the same room is enough. 

One child playing with blocks on the floor while another does word searches at the table is playing "together" in a child's mind. It's still building a relationship and bonding. 

Allow them to be their own person when they want or need to be, and they'll grow to love each other and their differences. 

3. People Are Always More Important Than Things


Joshua loves his PJ Mask toys. He could sit and play with them for hours and never be bored or unhappy. 

Then in stomps his little monster brother with his destructing hands, and drooly mouth. You can see the anger boiling in Joshua. His face turns red and he begins anxiously grabbing every toy he can around him as fast as he can. You can SEE the panic taking over his little body. 

What else is there to do but scream, slap and kick your brother who stole your favorite toy

Without the tools to deal with this situation, they'll revert to their caveman tendencies.

Can you hear it while you're reading this? *grunt* ME WANT TOY! *slap* I cringe thinking about it.

The older children know to get a toy back from their younger sibling, but in the moment they may need guidance to do the right there. 

In our house to get a toy back, they need to trade. It's as simple as offer him a different toy he might like more and get your toy back. He took your PJ Mask toy, so you go and get him a handful of blocks to play with. 

If that doesn't work, come tell mommy. 

Sometimes I need to remind myself how little they are. I would love to say my children are so good at using their tools that they don't even need me to help. That's really asking a lot though. 

These are big emotions they're working though. 
There are times they need help to wade through those issues better. 

Ideally, everyone plays with everything -- but favorite toys happen -- and often younger siblings use favorite toys as a weapon to get more attention from mommy. 




4. Comfort the Hurt First


Any attention is good attention. 

When Josie hits Joshua and you go to Josie to talk about her feelings and why she hit, that shows her that hitting will get her attention

Instead, go to Joshua and scoop him up in your arms and ask him if he's okay. Address his hurt and his pain, and hear his side of the story. 

We often send the other to their bed for a minute to cool off, so they can come tell me their side of the story calmly. 

Talking through the problem and labeling the feelings with the hurt child will often correct it. Things like "Are you upset? Oh, I see, you're upset that Joshua took the toy away from you? Did you take the toy away, and that made them mad?" 

Usually we have to cycle through a few different reasons why they're upset before we find the right one. 

This step can be a whole new post, so I don't want to talk too much about it here, but it's important to label their feelings so they can learn to label them too

Later on, they'll be able to tell you "I'm mad that Joshua took my toy, and I need your help" because they have that tool now thanks to your parenting. 


5. Empathy, Empathy, Empathy. 


Every relationship has turbulence. 

The important thing to remember and to show your children is conflict doesn't end relationships

You can disagree with someone every day, and still love them. Bonus points if you can see their side. 

Try to find a way to show your children how to see their sibling's side. 

Family talk is a great way to do this, and independent time also. When driving to gymnastics class last week, Josie told me in the car she wishes her brother was here so she could show him this new book they had in the waiting room. 

Some days we are going to wish we didn't have siblings, and that's okay. Build up your children's friendships with each other so they can get through those feelings. 

As you can see, relationship management with children is mostly conflict resolution, and teaching them to get there on their own. 

Did you find these tips helpful?
Comment below and tell me how YOU deal with conflict with your children. 



Thursday, September 27, 2018

7 Apple Books That Will Make Your Kid Crave Autumn

I've gotta admit, we are an apple family. Pumpkin spice is great and all, but apple is where it's at. I love apple crisp, and my father makes the smoothest apple cider I've ever tasted in my life. I remember going to a cider mill in school and learning how they squish apples to make apple cider, and at the end of the day we all enjoyed apple cider donuts. I remember apple cider donuts being at the core of all gatherings as a school aged kid. Perhaps being from Upstate New York contributes to my love of apples, and all the joy it can bring to your life. It was never only about the apples themselves, but the memories they brought with them. Apple picking with my husband is one of my favorite memories I have in New York with him, and it helped him enter into the world of loving apples. You can enjoy the crisp, cool air, as well as the beautiful changing colors of the leaves before winter falls. I want to share this love with my children so they can fall in love with my home, the land of apples, and they can learn about them too.




Well hey! I use affiliate links in most of my posts, so some of the links you click might give me a small commission. This doesn't cost you a thing, but helps my family and keeps this blog running. Thank you! 

My favorite way to tell my children about things is to give them books. We learn so much, even things I don't already know through the books we find at the library or on Amazon. Here are a few of my favorite autumn / apple books.

You may also like: Preschool Graduation Gift Ideas



These two are nice easy reads for boosting the confidence of our your early elementary child. They can quickly learn some of the more difficult vocabulary, and then be able to read you the story. 

This teaches children about the process of making applesauce, and explains how this family has a special pot they have handed down through the generations to make applesauce in. I love it because it gives you a great, child friendly tone, and explains how applesauce is made.


This book is a more technical, and less about telling a story. If you want the facts of how apples are made, pick this up. My son loves learning about flowers . . . I would even say he's a budding botanist, so he loves books like this and learning about the aspects of how the trees grow. 

4. Apples
This one is popular among teachers when introducing apples and fall to their classrooms. It introduces Johnny Appleseed and talks about the pollination, and how apples are made.



5. Trish's Fall Photography
I am a huge fan of Giselle, and the awesome Kid's Yoga books she puts out. They give you a story as well as introduces simple and fun yoga poses to your children. My daughter LOVES them, and loves trying out all the yoga poses she learns while we read the stories to go along with them.  

6. Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie
This is a fun chapter book for early elementary school aged kids. Amelia Bedelia is a household name, and a classic favorite. We usually read chapter books before bed most nights. They're a great way to get lots of reading time in, and helps your child with reading comprehension.



7. Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship
A book roundup would't be complete without a cute little story, right? This one is about a little apple who becomes friends with a worm. This leads to a lot of bullying and people telling that little apple he shouldn't be friends with a worm.

Have you tried Amazon Prime yet? Because it will change your life if you haven't. Click here to get a free thirty days. There are so many benefits you'll love. Give it a try!

Later this week we're going to talk about apple crafts and apple learning.
What are your favorite apple books?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Best Summer Road Trip Audio Books

Traveling this summer? You'll need some audio books to get you through those long drives. 





I asked a group of friends what self help books they would recommend for a road trip, and I got a great response. Here are all the recommendations, and how to listen to them. 


Well hey! We use affiliate links here to help pay for this blog, and our family. If you click a link below, it might provide me with a commission. It's no extra cost to you, so thank you! 

This summer, my family and I are moving from the East Coast to western Tennessee. It will be a thirteen hour drive, and we will be going through the evening. I'll need help staying awake, so while I'm not doing jumping jacks at the gas station to wake myself up . . . I plan to listen to a lot of audiobooks. I love them because you can download them on your phone ahead of time, and listen to them without depending on wifi, and you can read them without looking at your phone. This is obviously important as we're driving. 

How do I get audiobooks to listen to in the car? 


First, get a library card. It's free. It's wonderful. You won't regret it. My children and I go to the library once a week now, but when my youngest was a baby, I got a library card and used it to check out books on their app, Overdrive. I could read for free, and they would return automatically. Something my post baby brain didn't have the ability to remember. You really can't beat free, so that should always be the place you look first.

If your library doesn't have something available, look on Amazon. They may have it, or Audible might have it. If you'd like to try Audible for a month and get two free books, sign up here.

Lastly, one of my favorite sites to find Audiobooks, although it's not free, is Scribd. It's a subscription service with the majority of the most recent and popular books of today. With this link, you'll get a free month, which is all you need for this road trip!

Okay, okay, so what are these awesome audiobooks?

What Self Help Audiobooks Are Great For Roadtrips?

1. Cultivate by Lara Casey. As the founder of Cultivate What Matters, and Power Sheets, a FANTASTIC way to dig deep and discover your goals and then crush them, she knows a thing or two about self help. All of her books are incredibly helpful, but this one is first because it's my favorite. I also put it first because her wonderful group offered me all the suggestions I compiled into this list. 

summer audio books goal creation

2. Make it Happen by Lara Casey. I love her books. This one is great if you're like most women and strive for perfection. You can break that cycle of overwhelm and anxiety, and this book will help show you how. I can't recommend it enough! 

3. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. This book has been wildly popular this year, and I have loved reading it. Sometimes I have to stop myself and contemplate my life and feelings while I was listening. It's eye opening in the best way possible, and shatters those awful lies we tell ourselves as women. 

4.BrenĂ© Brown. All the books she wrote were mentioned. I watched her Ted Talk after I saw this recommendation, and I'm all in. Since I've read all the previously mentioned books, I will be reading one of her books this trip. Here are three of her most popular: The Gifts of ImperfectionDaring Greatly, and lastly Braving the Wilderness. I think you can't go wrong with any of them, so try them all! 

5. Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. This is about finding blessings in every day life. 

6. There were several mentions of "Essentialism", and when I looked this up, there were so many different books by this title. I think this is what the several suggestions are referring to. Essentialism, about the benefits of minimalism. 

7. Thrive by Arianna Huffington. I have seen this book offered as a suggestion to reading lists over and over again, I can't wait to give it a listen.




8. The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran. The picture speaks for itself, doesn't it? Get more done in 12 weeks (that's a quarter of a year!) than others do in 12 months. Wouldn't that be awesome? This seems like a winner to me. 

9. The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst. This seems to be about saying yes to God, and what you want to be in front of His eyes, instead of saying yes to everyone. Ideally, this would give you a roadmap for how to shape your life. Saying yes to what is essential for being the person you want to be instead of who you think everyone else wants you to be. 

10. The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. This is about drawing prayers around your biggest challenges. 




11. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. This is a great framework for building habits and creating a better life through better habits. 

12. The More of Less by Joshua Becker. Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own. 




13. The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. You know her. The one who created Shondaland. Gray's Anatomy. How to Get Away with Murder. Scandal. She's amazing and incredible, and everything I've ever dreamed of being. She reads this book for the audiobook, and it's one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to. If you're looking to be inspired, this is it.

This is not a complete list. There will be more added as I receive more recommendations. The free PDF will be compiled after I close this post. If you'd like to be on the wait list for it, sign up below. Thanks for your patience, and I hope you found your new road trip audiobook here! 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Simple Hacks to Help You Build New Habits




You Can Build New Habits, Here's How


Starting a new journey is never easy. There are a million hoops to jump through before you actually feel successful. Creating new habits isn’t easy, either. Here are six simple hacks that will make it a little easier. Use them until you’ve internalized the new habit and don’t need them anymore.

 How long will it take to stick to my new habit? Tips here! 

Schedule It And Put It On The To-Do List 



Sometimes we forget to do that new thing we were trying. Maybe we forget that we’re supposed to be having eggs for breakfast instead of a stack of waffles, or that we need to get that daily walk in. 

Schedule your new habits or make them part of your daily to-do list until they become something you do automatically. The first few days are always simple easy, because you just started and you're excited to do it, and you're excited to eventually see results. It's when those results don't come overnight that our energy tends to wane. 

Make It Public and Be Accountable 


Let family and friends know what new habits you’re trying to establish. They will call you out if you don’t stick to your plan and get you back on track. 

You may even go as far as sharing it publicly on Facebook or write a blog about your new journey, like me (if you do this, leave a comment so I can read it!). Knowing that others read it and know about it might be just enough to keep you going when you feel like throwing in the towel. When I was struggling with finding time for blogging, I posted about it on Facebook and received countless messages telling me what I say matter to them, and they like when I post. It was SO heartwarming a few days ago when a friend of mine told me a post of mine helped encourage her to drink more water. So make it public, you never know when something you say or strive for will help someone around you. 

Piggyback On A Habit You Already Have 


Whenever possible, add the new habit to one you already have. For example, if you always start dinner at 4pm, and you want to get in the habit of taking a daily walk, make the new ritual to go for your walk and then come back and start dinner. Hooking your new habit onto already established habits will make you much more likely to remember.

It’s much easier to amend an existing habit or ritual than creating an entirely new one. My favorite task to add things to is my cup of coffee in the morning. When I get to enjoy my coffee all alone in sweet silence, I put together my to do list, and enjoy the benefits of single-tasking and being crazy productive.  

Find An Accountability Partner to Achieve Success


Find someone with the same or similar goal. I call these accountability partners. Find a friend who is eager to make progress in their own life, and succeed together. Not only will you work harder because you want to improve, but you'll be reminded by them each day (or maybe you'll remind them!). My friend Becca is my go to accountability partner. We have joined yoga challenges, learned to eat better together, and done Pilates challenges together. Did I mention she lives a thousand miles away from me? Accountability partners don't have to be your neighbor (although that's fun too!), they just have to have your phone number. Keep tabs on each other and encourage each other to keep going. It’s much harder to skip a walk or work out if you know someone else is depending on you being there. 

Make It A Group Challenge 


If one accountability partner is good, a whole group is even better. And they don’t even need to be local. Find a supportive group online and challenge each other to stick to your new habit for the next 30 days or so. Not wanting to be the first one to give up will keep all of you going until you establish that new habit. 



Give these simple little hacks a try. Keep using the ones that you find helpful until you have made new habits you can stick with without the help of any tools or support. I made you a printable to use to help you work through these steps one by one so you can build your new habits quickly and easily. Find it below:


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