Call Your Family More – Seriously, They’ll Appreciate It

With our lives being busy and hectic, we tend to neglect the little things in life. For me, it’s the aloe plant on my balcony. Those things are hard to kill but somehow, I have managed to neglect my poor little gooey plant to the point of a pitiful, drooping, sad looking little thing. For others, it may be throwing out last week’s take out that’s been sitting in the fridge. Other times, we tend to subconsciously neglect the people who mean the most to us. Forgetting to call our family members is easy to do. Often times, we don’t even think about picking up the phone for anything other than checking e-mails or Facebook.

My mom and I mostly use Facebook’s messenger app to communicate. Phone calls have become a type of old school form of communication. Nevertheless, phone calls can definitely make someone’s day. Especially our grandparents, bless their hearts, most grandparents wouldn’t know how to operate a cell phone if it came with a step-by-step tutorial. The first time my grandma sent me a text, she signed it at the bottom like a letter.

If we could take a minute or two out of our days to occasionally call a family member, one might be surprised at how much a short, simple conversation can lift a mood; especially on a special occasion.

Use an Address Book

Who really uses address books anymore, right? Well it doesn’t have to be a pen and paper kind of address book, you can just as easily use your cell phone’s contact list.

Keeps the names and numbers of all of your family members together in one place; this could be on the same page or two of your prehistoric pen and paper address book or in a group you can create in your cell phone’s contact list. Along with the names and numbers, keep a record of everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries. You could also create reminders in your phone for these special occasions or write it on an actual calendar if you, like me, appreciate such vintage means of date keeping.

A quick phone call on gran and gramp’s 54th anniversary is sure to bring a smile and plenty of joy to everyone involved; especially if gran can’t figure out how to put the phone on speaker.

Call Just to Say Hi

We all have our down days. Sometimes we need a pick-me-up. However, we never seem to think about others having a bad day unless they actually tell us or we see the frustration on their face in person. If I’m having a bad day, I like to call my husband to vent. If I’m having a bad day and my husband calls me out of the blue, there’s always a huge sigh of relief when I see those heart emojis next to the word Hubby. I bet if you call your mom or dad or whoever, after they get off work, I’m sure they would be relieved to have someone to vent to about all of the crazy that took place at work that day.

Sometimes just a 3 minute call just to say you were thinking about them and check in. See how they’re doing, how their day was, how work went. More importantly though, call to say you love them.

Call In-Between Tasks

Between work and kids, daycares and schools, everything just seems to run together. It seems like you never have a chance to sit down and do nothing. What is sleep? What is rest? What on Earth is this “free time” you speak of? I know things get crazy and it seems there truly is no rest for the wicked, or free time for that matter. However, there’s always those boring drives from work to the grocery store… See where I’m going with this yet?

I doubt anyone would mind a quick phone call that starts with the words, “Hey, I only have about 5 minutes to talk, but…” See! That’s only 5 minutes out of your day, doing a mundane task, no time was wasted, nothing had to be shifted around or rescheduled and suddenly Aunt Jane’s day just got 10 times better.

Set a Special Day

If if wasn’t for my planner and my handy dandy calendar, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with anything, and you guys wouldn’t ever hear from me. I schedule everything so much that it’s a wonder I don’t schedule myself bathroom breaks. One thing that may help you keep up with calling up the fam a little more is to set aside one particular day of the week to make a call. Maybe you could use Sundays for calling granny after church. Or Friday night could be for calling mom to chit chat about your week.

Whatever you decide to do, whatever fits your lifestyle, try it. Of course, as with any of my suggestions, you can draw your own ideas. We make our New Years resolutions because we want to keep them, but sometimes it’s hard to do that. I really hope that I am helping someone in someway to keep their resolution. If you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Getting in Shape this Year?

We all have things we don’t like about ourselves. Many of us choose to dedicate a New Year’s resolution to losing weight and getting in shape. Here are all of the best tips I have for you.

Set small, reachable goals. I gained 100 pounds when I was pregnant with my daughter. I lost over 60 pounds of that so far but now I’m stuck. Yes, I would love to lose the last 40 pounds but I’m really shooting for 30. However, I’m not just shooting for 30 pounds, I’m shooting for 3 pounds this week and at least 10 pounds this month. They may be small goals but they’re realistic for my life and I know I won’t be stressed at the end of the week that I have a ton more pounds to lose to reach my goal, but I may actually lose more than my goal and that feels really nice and encourages me to do it again next week.

That kind of ties in with this next tip. Don’t over-stress it! You’re doing what you can and that’s all you can expect of yourself. You’re gonna mess up, you’re gonna over eat, you’re gonna miss workouts. That doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human. Welcome to the club, there’s like 7 billion of us.

Don’t weigh yourself all the time. One day a week on the scales is plenty. Weigh yourself at the beginning of your journey and take your “before” picture if you want, then don’t step back on that scale for another 7 days! Weigh yourself at the end of each week of your fitness journey to track your progress.

Have cheat days. You don’t have to be miserable to lose weight and get in shape. One cheat day a week won’t hurt anybody so go ahead and eat a cookie on Sunday! You’ve been working your butt off (or in my case, working my gut off) and you deserve it.

Water is your friend. Consider getting a reusable water bottle, preferably one that you can see through. Mark your water bottle with the number of ounces you want to drink by the end of each hour until you reach your daily goal. You may need to pee more than a toddler at bed time but it’s good for you and your body will get used to it soon.

I know we’re all really busy and “spare time” is an imaginary friend we forgot about a long time ago, but try to carve out just a few minutes of your day to take a walk. For me, it’s walking my girls (my daughter and my dog-ter) two or three times a day for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time. It’s nice to get out in the sunshine and fresh air every once in a while. It’s really great for de-stressing and gathering your thoughts while getting that heart pumping.

If you’re ever presented the opportunity, take the stairs. Stairs definitely help keep the heart healthy, and your legs and booty will thank you too.

Make a vision board and put it somewhere you will see it every morning. It could be on your phone or on actual poster board. However you decide to make your vision board, do it. I put my monthly, weekly, and final goals on mine with words of encouragement along the way.

Change the way you snack. Put down the potato chips and pick up apple chips. Forget slices of cake and try slices of banana. Replace all of your bad snack foods with good ones. Apples have more natural sugars than the average cup of coffee. Eat an apple in the mornings and you’ll be set for the whole day. Banana slices and dark chocolate are a great way to curb your sweets fix and keep it healthy. Also try swapping your bad fats and oils for the good ones. Like avocado instead of butter and coconut oil instead of olive oil and vegetable oils.

Lastly, BE PATIENT! Rome was not built in a day and neither was Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is going to take time so just take it day by day. It took me 9 months to gain 100 pounds. It took me 4 months to lose 60 pounds of that. I know I’ve slacked off but just remember that nothing in life is really instant anymore.

Need to Save a Little More Money This Year?

This year, my husband and I have decided that we really need to work on our money saving techniques. We have been able to save our money before, but we always wind up spending it in the end. So here’s how we have always saved money and how we plan to be better at it in the year 2018.

My mom and aunt are coupon queens and they have taught me a few of their frugal ways. Always check the ads for the grocery stores you shop at and build your grocery list around the deals that are running at each store. Clip paper coupons out of your local newspaper and download digital coupons using the store’s app. I know many places like Winn Dixie and Dollar General have this option. Also, use rewards cards at any store you can. Like points at CVS and Walgreens.

Check your bank account and look for any monthly subscriptions you may be paying for but you don’t use the services. Like just the other day I had a charge on my account with no business name next to it, just a phone number. I googled the number and it turned out, I was being charged for a monthly subscription to a magazine I never even got in my mail! One phone call just saved me $15 a month.

If you use a satellite provider, Wifi, or a mobile phone network,  you may be paying for services that you really don’t use or need. If you pay for all of the sports channels in your satellite package but don’t know what a 2 point conversion is or what RBI stands for, you’re probably paying for the wrong package. Call your providers and see if there are any deals in your area, or any way you can cut down on the cost of your services like downgrading.

I know you’re not 10 anymore but piggy banks can still be useful in adulthood! If you ever use cash at all for anything in your life, get a piggy bank or a change jar! Put it somewhere that you will see it as soon as you get home. Make a habit of emptying your pockets and putting any and all loose change and small bills in the bank or jar. But also, make yourself pinkie promise not to dip in unless it’s absolutely necessary.

One way to keep yourself from grabbing the change you’ve worked so hard to save is to roll it. You may not want to go out and buy a pack of coin rolls and do it yourself but you can easily go to your bank and ask them for a few rolls of pennies or quarters or whatever you would like to keep. Keep in mind that a roll of pennies is $0.50, a roll of nickels is $2.00, a roll of dimes is $5.00, and a roll of quarters is $10.00. Keep them in a box. Keep them in the rolls or break them out if you want but be sure to keep them until you have reached your goal.

The last tip I have for you is to check your grocery list and your buying habits. Sure its easier to buy frozen french fries, but it’s cheaper to buy a few potatoes and slice them and fry them yourself. You could work on cutting back on buying junk food and those quick fix foods like freezer pizzas, frozen dinners and microwavable snacks and meals. Many of them are just as bad for your health as they are for your budget. Try to cook all of your meals as close to home made as possible.

Trying to Declutter Your Home?

 

If you’re anything like me, you have way too much stuff and no where to put everything. Living in a small apartment can do that to you. So, I have created a little routine for myself for every time I feel I need to declutter my space.

I always start in one room and make myself stick to that one room at a time. I have really bad cleaning ADHD so if I start cleaning in one room, I most likely will be on the other end of the house before I know it and no progress has been made. So, I make sure to stick to one room at a time.

Once in the first room, I start in the closet. I tend to use the storage in my closet to hide away all of the clutter that I don’t want to stare at every day. I clean out clothes that I don’t want anymore, shoes that don’t fit, random items that I’ve hoarded but have no use for. I separate everything into piles; trash, donate, and a pile for things that need to be put away in another room.

After closets, I move to nightstands and dressers. In the drawers and on top! My nightstand started out as the perfect place for my bedside essentials but then turned into one really big junk drawer. Cleaning that out makes a world of difference for space to keep actual essentials.

Once you’ve gone into each room and cleared out your biggest hoarding spots, you can sort through your piles. The trash piles are obvi the easiest. Then comes the donate pile. Do I want to give these jeans to my sister-in-law? Would my mom like these shoes? Most of my stuff usually ends up going to friends and family members but a lot of times I take some of my clothes, shoes, and accessories to places like Plato’s Closet to see if I can make any money for them and the leftovers go to GoodWill.

When the time comes to start putting everything back in order, it’s very helpful to get some nice looking bins that you can label on the outside, the major tip here is, don’t use lids. Using lids on the bins makes everything seem like it’s packed up, not organised to be used. I have small bins for my daughters hats, bows, headbands, bibs, and shoes, all along the top shelf of her closet and it’s so easy to look for the label, pull the little bin off the shelf, grab what I need, and put it back.

If you have a lot of things on your walls like pictures and paintings, it may make your space feel a lot smaller than it really is. Try getting some collage frames to put multiple pictures in one space. The more you have hanging on your walls, the more claustrophobic you may feel in your own home.

After everything is said and done, your house should feel a little more airy. It usually only takes that one good cleaning to get everything where you want it. Of course none of it is going to look exactly as you have it forever but it does make putting everything back a lot easier when it gets messy.

Now, when you go out, and you feel like you want to buy something new, I want you to remember this process and think if you have the room for your new item. If you don’t have room for it, what are you willing to get rid of to make room? If you don’t have an answer for either of these questions, maybe you don’t need anything new. You can only have as much stuff as you have room for.

Advice For New and Veteran Moms

Being a first-time mommy, I realize that there is a lot for me to learn. While of course I can learn a lot from my own mom, mother in law, and other moms in my family, but it has been quite a few years since they’ve had babies and things have changed over time, so having other mom friends of my own to share their experience and advice with me has definitely come in handy since I brought my little love into this world. Here is some of the advice I have gotten so far, and some advice other first-time moms have shared that may be a blessing to someone else too.

Cloth diapers. Yes, I know that’s what your grandma used on your moms and dads, but cloth diapering has come a long way from rags and pins. Modern cloth diapers are adjustable, snap-on diapers with absorbent cloth inserts to keep your little one’s hiney dry and comfy while saving mommy and daddy lots of money on disposable diapers. Just like the cloth diapers of old, just wash them and reuse again and again, even if you have another baby in a few years, you can use the same diapers on them, instead of buying all disposable diapers again.

Nap time for baby is nap time for mommy. I know that it seems like the only time you can get anything done around the house is when your baby is sleeping, but what good are you gonna do if you’re too tired to function and you accidentally start pouring coffee into the dog’s bowl and pour milk over a bowl of dog food because you mistook it for cereal? Mommies need sleep just as much as the next person, we just have different schedules on which we get it. So, snuggle up with that little munchkin and get you some rest! You’re gonna need it come dinner time, Lord knows.

No screaming over spilled milk. As your kids get older, you’ll come to realize that making messes and tearing things up is pretty much hardwired in their DNA. They’re going to make plenty of messes and break all kinds of things, they’re gonna break things you didn’t even know they could break. Just roll with it and use it as an opportunity to teach them. Maybe today’s lesson will be that cereal goes in bowls, not on a plate, or hold our cups with two hands. When they’re old enough, you can start teaching them to clean up their messes behind themselves. Granted, they may not get it all up, or they might just wipe their crumbs off the counter right into the floor, but at least their showing initiative and trying to help. That’s a big sign of maturity and responsibility. Help them, guide them, teach them, but don’t go yelling and screaming over tiny messes that can easily be cleaned up.

Not all advice is good advice. Everyone and their momma (literally) is going to be giving you advice and telling you all sorts of things that you should and should not be doing with and to your baby. Not all of their advice is going to be what’s right for you and your child. All of us women are pre-programmed with mother’s intuition on our factory hard drives. There will be times when someone is going to give you a piece of advice about the mothering of your baby and you are going to know in your heart and in your gut that it’s just not right, politely decline, disagree, or just smile and thank them for their suggestion, but you will know for a fact that is not something you should do. Always listen to your gut!

Photo ops are everything. Many moms feel like they’re constantly shoving cameras in everyone’s faces, do it anyway. You’re gonna want to remember all these little things because they’re not going to last forever. So take lots of pictures and have them printed to make albums, record videos and save them to a USB so your kids can watch them later down the road and reminisce on that little girl who used to live next door that always wore piggy tails and had that snaggle tooth, or the time they fell off their bike and thought it was the end of the world until daddy scooped them up and told them never to give up on themselves, or just those dress up tea parties that seemed to happen a lot more than occasionally. Whatever it is that makes your heart happy now, record it for the years to come. You’ll thank yourself.

Water and sunlight isn’t just for plants. A little H2O and some vitamin D can make a world of difference in both mom and baby. Health and mood benefits are definite pluses in my book! So, take that precious little human out in the stroller for a quick walk. I know it may seem like there’s no time, but I assure you the dishes can wait another thirty minutes. Grab a bottle of water for you, a bottle of milk for baby and go walk the neighborhood. It will make you feel a ton better, it’s good for baby’s immune system, and what a simple way to burn some calories and lose a little of that baby weight!

Don’t blink. It may be cliché but trust me. One day you’re going to be out shopping and see a child younger than your own and you’re going to look at them and say, “I remember when you were that little! What happened to my tiny baby!” Every stage they go through, every milestone and achievement is worth remembering, so take your time with them and really enjoy every moment.

We may be super hero moms, but we are still human, and humans make mistakes. Not everything you do or say is going to be right. Don’t spend too much time dwelling on something you can’t take back or change. Learn from your mistake, apologize or talk it out, and move on knowing that not everyone is perfect and you’re still learning just like your little one.

Sometimes babies just feel like crying. There are lots of moms who don’t pick their babies up every time they cry, and that’s okay. There will be times when their butts are clean, bellies are full, they’ve been burped and there’s nothing they could possibly be crying for. They’re just having a fuss. You don’t know why, they don’t know why, but stressing yourself out trying to calm them is just going to make it worse. Your baby can feel your emotions, your stress and your anxiety. If you’re frantically patting them and doing the freaked out “it’s okay, it’s okay!” they’re just going to freak out even more because they know mommy’s freaked out and that’s not cool! You can always put on some soft music and rub their little heads and talk to them gently to calm them, or just let them get it all out. Either way, you’re not a bad mom for letting your baby cry. I repeat, you are NOT a bad mom for letting your baby cry under these circumstances. The more you hold them and freak out with your frantic, anxious, mental and emotional overload, the more likely you are to hurt your baby and that’s definitely not good.

In all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Nobody hands you a How-To Manual at the hospital when you have a baby and there is no real set of rules to follow, so if you need help, ask someone (Google and Siri included) for advice. Remember the smile and nod approach to the advice you feel doesn’t resonate with you personally, but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We all need a new perspective every now and then.

If you have any advice of your own to share, feel free to do so in the comments! I know there is lots of advice waiting to be shared from one mom to the next. Let me know if any of this advice helped you and if you need more, you know where to find me!