Life Lived Well

Learn To Love The Seasons Of Life

The seasons of life are inevitable.

Children grow up, graduate, and move out.  New job opportunities, promotions, and second careers.  Friends moving away and building new relationships.  Milestone birthdays.  All of these things are seasons and all can turn your world upside down if you let them.

Life happens.  When it does it can throw you for a loop.  Things seem to be humming right along and BAM, seemingly out of nowhere, BIG CHANGES.

Your attitude and outlook have a lot to do with how you move past all the change.  Will you embrace change or go running in the other direction?

I don’t know if it’s true what they say “everything happens for a reason”.  But, people seem compelled to say it when big changes occur.  Especially, when it’s happening to you and NOT to them.

I’m not sure if I believe it as much as I believe that God uses everything for HIS good.  So, I need to wait and put my Patience Pants on.

In my 40-some years, I have experienced a lot of life changes.  Many seasons of life!!

One big change happened about 5 years ago.  I decided to quit working full-time.  I was in my 40’s.  Most of my brain was saying I was crazy.  My husband supported my decision.  We both wanted to do the right thing for our family.

I had always worked.  I was in direct sales for almost 20 years and the Air Force before that.  Working was all I knew.  Now what?

My other thought was that if I stop working, am I a quitter?  I built a very successful business and I’m just walking away.

Then I realized a few things.  I was very successful.  I earned many accolades and a great many awards and trips with my company.  I made some lasting friendships.  But, my business served its purpose.  It was my income for a long time and I helped other people earn an income as well.   But, now I was needed somewhere else.  I had a young daughter who needed me at home.

It was time to move on to the next phase of my life.

Learn to love the seasons of life even if that means being temporarily uncomfortable.

 

Do you believe in signs?  I do.  When I was thinking of moving on from my career, there were signs.  Not the kind of signs where you get blinded by the excitement of new opportunities.  They were signs that involved doors closing.

Nothing seemed to be working.  I was putting in the effort (hours and hours of effort) and nothing was happening.  Doors closing.

Finally, after attending a wonderful conference with my company, my attitude didn’t change.  I usually left those meetings excited and invigorated.  Not this time.  I still didn’t see myself continuing or feel compelled to “give it another year”.  When I got home, I knew it was time to make the change.

Not long after that, we changed churches.   How do you do that without feeling guilty?   It’s church!!!  Again, we wondered if we were being quitters.  Our church wasn’t filled with bad people, it was simply was not meeting our needs.   We made friends at our old church and great memories, but it was time.

Another tough decision.   All the signs were there that it was time for our family to move on.  When we walked into our new church, we instantly knew it was the one!

Again, we tried not to be blinded by the excitement and enthusiasm that often accompany change.

In the days and weeks after we visited, what would be our new church, no one called from our old church to ask why we hadn’t been there or to say that we had been missed.  We knew doors were closing.

Seasons of life can be good.  Seasons of life can also be frustrating.

When changes come it’s important to focus on the good that can result.  What can ultimately come out of this?  The “temporary” and “sudden” can get us out of our comfort zone.  When we are uncomfortable, often we aren’t able to look beyond right now.

When new seasons come, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Did the old season benefit me?  
  2. Did I grow as a person?
  3. Is there an opportunity for me to grow now?
  4. Can I see myself benefitting from this new event? 

In order to love the seasons of life, it’s important to look beyond right now and imagine what “can” happen.  Recognize the closing doors and set your sights on coming out of this season better than before.  Even if that means being temporarily uncomfortable.

If you enjoyed this article, I’d love for you to check out this one about putting the past behind you.

 

 

 

Life Lived Well

Best Tips And Tricks For Keeping Your House Clean and Decluttered

Keeping the house clean is probably at the forefront of your mind just about every day.  Meaning that just about every day you probably look around your house and think this needs to be done and that needs to be cleaned. But, does the thought of it overwhelm you?

My house is not spotless.  As a matter of fact, if you would do me a favor and call first before you come over that would be a big help!!

I don’t know anyone who’s house is immaculate on a daily basis.

Like most people, I stress about the way my house looks most of the time.  And, usually, my husband will say “there is nothing wrong with this house”.  (I love that about him.)

However, when it comes to keeping the house clean, perfection is not my goal.  If there are signs we actually live in the house but you cannot immediately tell we have a child and 2 dogs, we are off to a pretty good start.

Before we go any further, let’s define what clean means to you.  A “clean house” to me means on a scale of 1 – 10, it’s a strong 8.  A nine, if the stars are lined up just right.  If someone said they were coming over, I could get everything looking presentable in about 20 mins.

Again, not perfection.  My goal is to be a somewhere closer to “did Southern Living Magazine just leave here?” And further away from “did you just have frat party?”

I have worked from home for over 25 years.  That means, yes I’m home all day, but I am working.  So, I need to have a plan and a few simple tricks to get everything done in a way that doesn’t involve waiting until the last minute or pulling my hair out.

 

Keeping your house clean shouldn't be overwhelming. It's ok to have a few tips and tricks ready to get it all done.

 

Here are a few of the best tips and tricks I have found for keeping the house clean and decluttered:

A Cleaning Schedule  Creating a cleaning schedule changed my life.  No kidding.  I’ve always hated the idea of cleaning the entire house in one day.  The very thought of it has always seemed like such a daunting task and not how I want to spend a day off.  And, if it seems like too much, I’ll just keep putting it off until eventually, the house looks a tornado blew through.  With a cleaning schedule, a little is getting done every day (or when it fits your schedule) instead of all at once.  I found a few great cleaning schedules here and here that really helped me change the way I clean my house.

Try to find a schedule that you can make your own.  My cleaning schedule is based on my busiest and lightest work days.  Monday’s are my busiest days.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are not as busy so I do more housework.  I don’t do much at all on Saturdays and Sundays.    Below is a glimpse of what works for me.

  • Monday – Clean glass/mirrors, vacuum, wipe down toilets and sinks.
  • Tuesday – Clean floors (kitchen floor, bathroom, Swiffer, Shark, etc.)
  • Wednesday – Upstairs, check bedrooms.
  • Thursday – Clean bathrooms
  • Friday – Dust, vacuum, clean glass again.
  • Saturday – Odds and ends.
  • Sunday – General picking up.
  • Every day – Clean up the kitchen after meals, at least one load of laundry, general picking up.

Dusting Hack    I’m a bit of a Germaphobe.  I admit it.  I change out bath towels, hand towels, and kitchen towels all the time (once or sometimes even 2x a day).  Admittedly, they probably aren’t all that dirty.  It just makes me feel better.  But, here’s what I do with the hand towels when they are being changed out (and probably don’t need it), I dust a baseboard or two, the mantle or a window sill before it hits the laundry basket.  Since I’m changing out the kitchen towels so frequently, the house is completely dusted all the time.

Kitchen Timer –  When I have very little time and a very big project, I use a kitchen timer.  I set it for 15 minutes and knock out what I can before the timer goes off.  If I have more time, great, I keep working.  If not, 15 minutes can put a big dent in a cleaning or decluttering project.  I just carry my timer with me to whatever room I’m working in and get as much done as I can before it goes off.

Donation Box – When clothing doesn’t fit, a toy is not being loved anymore or something is being replaced, it gets donated right away.  I have a cabinet where I placed a medium sized box.  I folded in the flaps and when it’s time for something to “live with someone else” it immediately goes in the donation box.  When the box gets full, the items get loaded into the trunk of my car and taken to a donation station.

One In One Out – We try not to make a habit of bringing anything in the house without letting something else go.  It works really well with clothes and toys.  My daughter is always dying to spend her money.  We tell her to think about what she’s buying because it should replace something.  What will that something be?  What are you willing to donate in order to bring this home?

Never Leave A Room Empty Handed – If things need to be picked up or put away, grab something as you walk past it and put it in its rightful place.

Don’t Be A Hero – You can’t do it alone.  Make sure everyone who lives in your house has a job to do.  Everyone benefits so everyone helps.

Keeping the house clean doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  But, it never hurts to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make a plan come together.

Here’s an article you might enjoy on cutting back on Life Clutter.

 

*This article contains some affiliate links.  I may receive some compensation for these links.  I don’t recommend anything I don’t love or use myself.  These links keep me from using those yucky pop-up ads we all hate.  Ick!!  Thanks for your support.  

Parenting

Important Things About Middle School My Daughter Needs To Know

Middle school was the worst.  It was a long time ago.  But, I remember not knowing “me”.  That meant there were a whole lot of other things I didn’t know as well.

My body was changing.  I thought I knew everything.  My parents were so stupid.  And, of course, my life was the worst.  (Insert teenage angst here.)

My daughter will be starting middle school soon and I’m pretty sure she thinks a lot of these same things.

More than anything I want to be there to help her with a few things.  What I really want to do is walk behind her in school and whisper things like:

  • Don’t talk to her, she talks about everyone and she’s not nice.
  • That boy will be trouble in 5 years.
  • Smile at that boy, he thinks you’re pretty.
  • You hate this class now, but you’ll be glad you paid attention later.

I can’t be with her every day in middle school.  All I can do is try to share some very important things with her before her first day.

Deep down I think she would like me to be there to help.  Though, we all know, she would never admit it.

Important Things About Middle School My Daughter Needs To Know

Middle school is hard for boys and girls. Here are few important things I want my duaghter to know before her first day.

 

Be nice to everyone, but make 1 or 2 BEST friends – Make sure you have a small handful of friends you can really count on.  You will need them.  It’s ok to be nice to the rest.  But not everyone will have your back.  Make sure you know who your real friends are.

Be yourself, but fly under the radar ~ It’s ok to listen to your own music, wear what you want and have our own interests.  But, trust me, middle school is probably not the time to go out on a limb and really stand out. Everyone is trying to figure out who there are.  Unfortunately, when kids march to the beat of their own drum the other kids aren’t always nice.  Whenever possible, stay in your own lane!!

Girls can be mean – Don’t be one of them.  The backstabbing and conniving started in 4th grade.  Neither one of us were ready.  It was a rude awakening to find out that while they are all still playing with dolls at home, at school they are already leaving mean notes for each other, spreading rumors and telling everyone “we are NOT talking to HER”!!  That’s when we started the conversation about having 1 or 2 best friends.

Mean words cannot be unsaid ~ If you say something that hurts someone, you can’t take it back.  You can and should apologize, but it can’t be unsaid.  Be careful.

Boys can be stupid ~ Cute boys are inevitable.  She’s already started noticing them.  She needs to know that there will be a lot of very nice boys that she might overlook.  But, at this age, boys are noticing girls and don’t want their friends to know about it.  So be prepared for boys (even nice boys) to say really dumb things especially in front of their friends.  They are figuring things out too.

Let them be surprised ~ If you’re smart, that’s awesome.  If you’re terrific at a sport, even better.  Don’t show off.  Don’t brag.  It just gives kids one more reason to give you a hard time.  My daughter is a black belt in karate.  The kids have already started saying things like “that’s not a real sport” and “oooh you think you’re so tough because you know karate”.   We tell her not to talk too much about karate, that way if she should ever have to defend herself her opponent would be very surprised.

Your body will change ~ Everybody’s body is changing.  It’s normal, no matter what anyone says.

There will always be someone who wishes they were you ~ While you are wishing you had her hair, or her personality or her clothes, there are just as many girls who wish they had what you have.  When you get upset because you didn’t get an A on a test, there will be someone in your class that wishes they could get better than a C.  When you are complaining about how embarrassing it is for your parents to drop you off at school, there is a kid in your class who wishes their dad could be there to pick them up.  Every time you complain about the food that was packed in your lunch, there is at least one kid who wishes they had all the food you probably threw away.  Be grateful!

None of this will matter soon ~ School won’t last forever.  Remember that you are loved.  You are special and there is life after school!

I can’t be there sitting next to her in class.  So, I hope I can teach her some very important things before she starts this next phase of her life.

If you enjoyed this,  you might enjoy this article too.

 

 

 

 

Parenting

You Really Are A Great Mom!

 

Repeat after me, I am a great mom!!

There are days when I certainly don’t feel like a great mom.  There are entire weeks when I don’t feel like a great mom.

Have you had those days?  Those are the days when you’re sure someone is going to tap you on the shoulder and say “ok, you’re done, I’ll take over from here.”

I recently had a conversation with 2 other moms and all three of us agreed that we feel like we are really “messing up this motherhood thing.”  The funny thing was that we were all coming at it from different angles.  We all had different problems and different concerns.

None of our kids were being horrible kids and we weren’t being tyrants.  There were no crimes being committed and the kids were all bathed, clothed and fed.

In other words, we were doubting ourselves and our abilities to handle whatever we perceived to be the Problem Of The Day.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some days when these kids drive us absolutely bananas.  Like, crazy out of our heads bonkers!!

But, what we are really talking about here is personal. How WE view our abilities as mothers.

Most of the time we only think we are great moms when the kids say “I love you Mom”.

But, there are a lot of other factors to consider.

Here are just a few things to think about before removing your application for Mom Of The Year:

You really a great mom. Here is how you can know for sure.

Are your kids bathed, clothed, and fed today?  (Yes, once in a while, swimming counts as a bath!)

Have you ever made your kids write thank you notes after receiving presents?  

Have you ever made your kids apologize, face to face, to someone for something they did wrong?  

Have you ever taken away electronics, tv, or toys for a few days for misbehaving?  

Have you ever made your kids answer the door and tell their friends why they cannot come out and play today (because of their behavior)?  

Have your kids ever had to pay for something they broke?  

Has anyone ever said to you, “You should be proud, Billy was so good at our house”?

Has a teacher ever said to you “I love having Susie in my class”?

Have your kids ever told you “YOU ARE SO MEAN” because you said NO about something they really wanted to do (because of their behavior)?

If you said yes to 2 or more things on this list, you are probably a great mom and need to give yourself a break.

Not every day will be perfect.  

There are a lot of great days in the parenting journey.  There are a lot of bad days in the parenting journey.

Remember this, God gave those kids to YOU.  Not anyone else. He didn’t want anyone else to raise those kids but YOU!!!  You can do this.  You ARE doing this.  If today wasn’t a good day.  Tomorrow is a “do over”.

I recently heard someone say, ” only good mothers think they are bad moms”.

How many great moms say “I am an awesome mom”?   Most of us say it jokingly, but deep down think that on a scale of 1-10 we are somewhere south of 8.

Social media doesn’t help.  I love social media, but it’s hard not to second-guess yourself with all the pictures of perfect homes, perfect bodies, and perfect family photos.  It’s easy to think that we would have all the right answers if we could just find the right article from Pinterest.

Trust me.  I have pinned a lot of articles (I’ve even written a few), talked to a lot of people and read a lot of books.  You know what I have learned?  What works for one mom doesn’t work for every mom.

Motherhood is not one size fits all.  We need to give ourselves a break and give each other a break too.

We also need to be there for each other.  I get a lot of good advice from friends.  Some of it works and some of it doesn’t.   Not because it wasn’t good advice, but probably because it wasn’t good advice for me and my family.

The bigger point here is that if you are confiding in other moms, reading books, and searching for motherhood articles on-line, you are a great mom!

WHY?  Because you are constantly trying to get better at the hardest and most important job you will ever have!!!

If you are doubting yourself.  If you answered “yes” to two or more questions above.  If you are constantly trying to do better.  YOU ARE A GREAT MOM!!!   Believe it!!

(Here a few of my favorite parenting books.  This one is good and this one is my absolute favorite!!)

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like this one or this one.

 

 

 

 

 

*This article contains an affiliate link or two.  What does that mean?  It means I may receive some compensation from these links.  I don’t recommend any products I don’t use myself.  This helps me keep this blog alive and helps me avoid having to use those yucky pop-up ads we all hate!!!  Thanks so much for your support.  

Life Lived Well

The Most Important 15 Minutes Of The Day

What can you do with 15 minutes?  15 minutes may not sound like much, but it could be the perfect amount of time.

Often, I will set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes to tackle a small project on my to-do list.

What are the most important 15 minutes of your day?

I’ll give you a hint.  It’s all about YOU!!!

If you’re like the rest of us, you work (in or out of the house) and have a family.  Plus, you have laundry, cooking, cleaning, and errands.  I’m sure you have other family obligations as well.  Maybe your kids have activities that have you running around town.  There are so many things competing for your time and attention.  It’s called real life.

Real life is what takes up the bulk of your time.  Real life is real.

Real life can zap you of your mental and physical energy, leaving you with nothing left for the very people you’re working so hard for every day.

If you are a wife and mother, you have obligations and people counting on you.  When you have people counting on you, whether it’s your family or your co-workers, you can’t do anything well if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

What do you do just for you?

Whatever you do, just for YOU, is the most important part of your day.

I call it “recharging my batteries”.  I need a few minutes to just turn off my brain.  Not think about anything important.

We all need it and we all deserve it.

If you have more than 15 minutes, that’s wonderful.  You are my hero!!!  But, I’m guessing 15 minutes is about all you have or can spare, on most days.

If I don’t get about 15 minutes to turn my mind off, I’m completely useless.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth.

Here are a few things you can do with that precious 15 minutes to recharge your batteries.

The most important 15 minutes of the day is all about YOU.

Nap ~ There are people who NEVER nap!!  I have a best friend like that.  She can work on very little sleep.  I am not one of those people.  I need my sleep.  I don’t sleep 12 hours a day, but I need a decent night’s sleep, otherwise I am worthless during the day.  There aren’t many days that I don’t shut my eyes for just 10-15 minutes.  I need to shut off.  After a few minutes, I’m good to go for the rest of the day.

Prayer ~ I start each day with prayer.  It gets my day off on the right foot.  But there are days when you need a boost in the middle of the day.  Time to center yourself and think about what it’s all about.  Prayer or a short devotional like this one could be the way to do just that.

Exercise ~ Ideally we need more than 15 minutes of exercise, but sometimes what you need is a just a few minutes to blow off some steam.  Wake up and get that adrenaline pumping.  Exercise could be your answer.  Go for a walk, even if it’s just around the house.  Jumping jacks or lift some small weights.  Do something good for your body and your mind at the same time.  Here’s another article I wrote about exercising,

Read ~ Reading is a great way to turn off your brain and escape.  You might only have time for one chapter, but it’s a terrific way to destress and take your mind off things like work or bills.

Call a friend or your husband ~ My husband can usually take my mind off things, make me laugh, or just distract me.  A short phone call or a short texting break can distract me and get me refocused.

Play cards ~ In a time when everyone does everything on their phone, try to pick up an actual deck of cards.  Put the device down, give your eyes and neck a break and learn a game.  It’s good exercise for your mind and your dexterity.

Pinterest or Puzzles – Both of these are mindless.  They take your mind off your work.  Puzzles like these and these are a super way to relax and exercise your brain.  Try a new trend on Pinterest (Whole30 Diet), plan a trip (maybe to the mountains), or a DYI project (upcycle an antique into a light fixture for your kitchen).

It doesn’t really matter what you do for your 15 minutes, just find something that helps you shut off and gives your brain a much-needed break.

Remember what the flight attendants say when they go thru the preflight safety briefing;  “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.”  You are no good to anyone if you’re not strong, rested and recharged.

 

 

 

 

 

*This post contains some affiliate links.  I may receive some compensation for these links.  I don’t recommend anything I don’t use or wouldn’t use myself.  These links keep me from using those pop-up ads we all hate.  Thanks so much for your support. 

Life Lived Well

7 Simple Ways to Make Your Home a More Positive Place

If your home is your castle, it should make you happy.  Your home should be a positive place.

When you are in your home, you should feel good, warm, safe and secure.  When you’re out, you should look forward to getting back to the comfort of your home.

Your home should be the place where you are your happiest and most content.

It’s not difficult or expensive to make your home a positive place.  It’s not about stuff as much as it is attitude and outlook.

When your home is a positive place, it’s welcoming and friendly.  People want to be there.  You enjoy being home and want to invite people in to enjoy it with you.

Being positive doesn’t mean that life isn’t hard at times.  It certainly can be.  Being positive is about finding the good whenever you can and trying to surround yourself with as much good and positivity as possible.

Your home should be a positive place that comforts you and makes you happy.

 

7 Simple Ways To Make Your Home A More Positive Place  

~ Say Thank You.  Say it often.  Be thankful for the little things as well as the big things.  We have a 10-year-old and we are pretty insistent about her saying Thank You whenever she can.  It’s not easy to teach kids gratitude (that’s a topic for a different day), but we try to model it as often as we can both in and out of the house.  We say Thank You when we pray at dinner and before bed.  We say Thank You at stores and restaurants.  My daughter hears my husband thank me for things like dinner and laundry and she has started doing that as well.  Saying Thank You is free and it can make a world of difference.  But, it can also make a difference in the world.

~ Say Hello to your neighbors.  It’s always a good idea to have a friendly relationship with your neighbors.  It makes the small world around you more enjoyable.  When you say Hello to your neighbors it’s almost impossible for them not to say Hello right back.  

~Lower the volume.  Speaking a little lower or not raising your voice can be a big help when you’re trying to make your home a positive place.  Yelling begets yelling.  When one person yells, more people start yelling.  It becomes a vicious cycle.  We found that when we speak in a lower volume our daughter listens more closely.

~ Serve others in your home.  Look for opportunities to do nice things for each other.  When you do nice things for the people you live with and say “Thank You”, people want to do more nice things when they see it’s appreciated.

~ Open the Curtains.  Open the windows on a nice day.  Let the sun in and feel the outside air when the weather is nice.  The sun and fresh air can help you feel happy and positive while cleaning the air in your home.

~ Be Thankful.  Every night at dinner or at bedtime we discuss one thing we are thankful for from that day.  Some days are easier than others.  That’s life.  Even on difficult days, this is a great way to show the kids that there is “good” in every day.  We started out this year with Gratitude Journals.  We each write something we are grateful for from the day and share with the family before bed.  It’s a little thing that can eventually make big changes in the mood of the family.  We used these journals in different colors or this one.

~Surround yourself with the things you love.  You don’t have to be filthy rich to surround yourself with things that bring you joy.  Take a look around your house and see if there is anything you absolutely hate.  Can you donate it or get rid of it?  Try never to bring anything into your house that you don’t love and doesn’t make you happy.

When you make your home a positive place, it will feel like a warm cozy blanket, something that comforts you.  When you’re home is a positive place you’ll be on a mission to make positive changes in other areas of your life as well.

If you liked this article, here’s another article you might enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

*The post contains affiliate links.  I may receive some compensation from these links.  I never recommend anything I don’t love and use myself.  These links keep me from having to use those yucky pop-up ads we all hate.  Thanks so much for your support. 

Life Lived Well

Showing Love in Amazing Ways for Valentines Day

Showing love in amazing ways for Valentines Day doesn’t have to be limited to your spouse or significant other.

Thousands of cards are bought and sent for Valentines Day each year.  Wives and girlfriends anticipate candy, flowers, or jewelry, while men struggle to find just the right gift to express their undying love for their sweetheart.

Early on in our relationship, my husband and I decided not to do much for each other on Valentines Day. He knows I love flowers, but they are so expensive, especially as Valentines Day approaches.  (Since he knows I love flowers, he usually avoids the flower shop altogether and just visits the Floral Dept at the grocery store.  Same show of love for a third of the price!) 

As for a gift, with Christmas in December and my birthday in January, I can’t think of much I need just 4 short weeks later in February.  Saving money on this particular holiday also allows us to save up for something fun for our anniversary in the summer.

This year, we’ve decided that instead of showing love for each other on Valentines Day, it would be more special if we tried showing love in amazing ways for other people.

Showing love in amazing ways for Valentines Day ~

Showing love in amazing ways doesn't have to be just for couples. Read more here.

 

  • We often think of the homeless during Thanksgiving and Christmas time.  What if this year, we showed love to the needy for Valentines Day?  It’s still very cold in February, maybe even colder than it was in December.  Hot coffee, blankets, socks, hats and scarves would be a nice way to show love for people who need our help year-round.  Get your friends together and do a “red blanket brigade”.  Find a bunch of red blankets and see how many you can pass out for Valentines Day.
  • Shut-ins need people to check in on them in winter as well.  Do you know anyone who lives alone and has a hard time managing by themselves?  You can show them love by bringing them a hot meal, shovel their snow, take out their trash, or just visit for a while.
  • Single friends or neighbors can be very lonely when everywhere they look people are talking about “love” and “spending time with your sweetheart”.  Invite them to have dinner with you and maybe even give them candy with a note that says “It is so sweet having a friend/neighbor like you.”
  • Grandparents would love to be shown some special attention on Valentines Day, especially if they live alone or have lost a spouse.  They still need to know they are loved.  If they live close by you can bring dinner to their house.  If they live far away you can send them a “card shower”.  This is where they receive several cards over the span of the week or two leading up to Valentines Day.
  • Make the day about the kids.  Occasionally, we go out to dinner “around” Valentines Day, but never on the day.  A crowded restaurant with very busy staff is not my idea of romantic.  So, we usually stay home and have a nice dinner with our daughter.  I decorate the table and we give her a little candy.
  • Another idea for the kids (not my original idea) is the “Love Fairy”.  On the night of January 31, we put one paper heart on our daughter’s bedroom door so she sees it in the morning (Feb 1).   The heart has a handwritten message sharing one thing we love about her (i.e. you have a beautiful smile, you are a great student, you are kind, etc.).  She gets a new one every night until Valentines Day.  On Feb 14, she has 14 hearts with messages on them.  She loves them so much she usually keeps them up somewhere in her room all year long.  We all pretend that we have no idea where the notes came from or who wrote them.  We just tell her it must be the Love Fairy.

When most couples have birthdays, anniversaries, Christmases, etc. to shower each other with love and maybe a gift or two, showing love in amazing ways for other people can be a new tradition.  A great way to show love and share love with the rest of the world.  You might just make all the difference for someone who really needed to feel loved.

I’d love for you to come and visit me on Instagram or Facebook.  Stop by and tell me how you are sharing love!!

 

 

 

Health and Beautiful Living

The Best Oils to Fight Colds and Flu

A bad cold or the flu can bring a household to its knees.  Just when your family is getting into a winter routine, BAM, it hits.  Coughing, sneezing, sore throat, body aches, and fever.

If your family only gets a cold, you’re lucky.  It can and usually does get so much worse.  Then, as we all know, when one person gets sick, everyone gets sick!!

Normally, at the first sound of a sniffle, we start spraying disinfectant and wiping down every surface in the house.  “Please, God don’t let us all get sick!”

When the inevitable does happen, what do you do to fight colds and flu while trying to avoid the unnecessary chemicals found in most over-the-counter meds?

Essential oils can be the answer for natural, but effective relief from colds and flu.

Not only can essential oils naturally help support your recovery, they can also be used to keep illness away in the first place.

Most essential oils are either antiviral, antibacterial, anti-infectious or all of the above.  You almost can’t wrong with any of them.  But there are some that have been found to be highly effective for keeping sickness from bringing down the house.

The best way to start with essential oils for fighting colds and flu is by diffusing them in your home.  When you diffuse essential oils they can help kill viruses that are in the air and living on surfaces.

In addition to cleaning the air, you are also benefiting from the essential oils by inhaling them.  Studies show that inhaling oils can be one of the best ways to fight colds and flu, bronchitis, sore throats, etc.

If you’ve never used a diffuser, it’s similar to a vaporizer.  Basically, it distributes essential oils in the air, giving your house a great smell while helping you stay healthy and eliminating those nasty germs.  This is my favorite diffuser.

The Best Oils to Fight Colds and Flu.

Essential oils can help you stay healthy. The best oils to fight colds and flu.

 

Great essential oils for diffusing and cleaning the air:

  • Palo Santo is warm and woodsy and wonderful for cleaning the air.  I diffuse this in my daughter’s room when she’s at school.
  • Rosemary is another great oil for germs and is terrific blended with Lemon.  I keep Rosemary on hand for a variety of uses.  I diffuse it to clean the air in the house, and we love it for poison ivy during the summer months.
  • Lemon and Grapefruit are nice blended together for a great smell while also handling the viruses in the air.

Powerful topical use essential oils to help fight colds and flu, coughs, and fevers:  

  • Lemon and Grapefruit are very powerful for immune boosting and chest congestion.  Add a few drops to a little coconut oil and rub on the chest or the back behind the lungs.  To boost immunity during cold and flu season, rub a few drops on the bottoms of the feet on a regular basis.
  • Lemongrass, Lemon, Peppermint, Eucalyptus Radiata can be used to help bring down a fever.  Add a few drops to a little coconut oil and rub on the chest, shoulders, or along the spine.
  • Lemon Myrtle can be helpful for colds, flu, congestion, and bronchitis.  Add a few drops to a little coconut oil and apply to the chest or back.
  • Manuka is one of my favorite “go to” oils when I need to knock out coughs, and illness right away.  It’s similar to Tea Tree Oil.   Read more about Manuka here.
  • Oregano can be very helpful for fighting viruses.  A word of warning:  the smell can be very strong.  I don’t like to use this before leaving the house.  This is good to apply to the feet before bed.
  • Eucalyptus Radiata can help with fever but also for breathing easier.  Diffuse alone or blend with coconut oil and apply to the chest or back.
  • Thieves Oil is a blend that can be super helpful for fighting and shortening the life of a cold.  It’s a blend of Lemon, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary.  Think of this as a “one stop shop” of oils for colds and flu.  It’s great applied to feet or along the spine or simply diffused.

I hope these help keep you and your family healthy during flu season.  Experiment to see what works best for you.  I get all my essential oils here.

I’d love to know what oils you use to stay healthy and help you fight colds and flu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links.  I don’t recommend anything I don’t use myself.  I may receive some compensation from these links.  These links make it possible for me to avoid using those yucky pop-ups that we all hate.

Marriage/Love

5 Things You Need To Do Every Day With Your Husband

What are some of the things you do every day with your husband?  Probably like the rest of us, you sleep next to each other, have dinner, maybe have a cup of coffee.

Do you have anything that the two of you do intentionally every day?  Things that you make a point to focus on daily?  Maybe they are some of the same things (coffee, dinner, etc.).

My husband and I are very aware that if you’re not careful a great relationship can take a sharp turn at the drop of a hat.

It’s easy to plod along every day in your routine of life, jobs, kids, etc. and not really pay attention to your marriage.  We all “see” our spouse on a day-to-day basis but how many times do we really stop and give our marriage the attention it deserves.

If you’ve read my article Making My Husband My Top Button you know my husband and I are very intentional about spending time together and connecting each day.

As a wife and mom, it’s unreasonable to think my husband and I will spend hours of uninterrupted time together every day.  Life happens.  Some days we are lucky to get minutes of uninterrupted time together.

Some days are busier than others.  Some weeks are busier than others.  But, every day we try to give our relationship attention.

There are also things I personally need to do to keep our relationship going in the right direction.

5 things you need to do every day with your husband

 

Here are 5 things I do every day with my husband:

  1.  Connect throughout the day.  We talk to each other a time or two during the day, but we also text.  We send each other messages that are sometimes important, but mostly loving and goofy.  We have our own secret codes and messages we use when we text.  Of course, we send the usual messages like “I Love You” and “I’ll be home in about 20 mins”.  But, we also send each other things just to make the other smile.  Just because!!
  2. Sit together.  Even on really hectic days, we make a point to just sit together, even if it’s for only 10 or 15 mins.  Here’s one easy way we spend time together.  We almost always have dinner together as a family.  But, as we all know, occasionally there are those CRAZY busy days, where nothing is normal.  On those days, we may not be able to sit together until bedtime.   Sitting together, even for a few minutes, gives us the opportunity to talk, catch up and maybe even hold hands.
  3. Kiss.  Kissing is personal and can connect you as a couple.  There isn’t always time for real intimacy (which we all know men need a little more than women).  A kiss is a small way to connect intimately even just for a few minutes.  At the end of those CRAZY busy days, we will be getting ready for bed and my husband will look at me and say “have you kissed me today?”   Take time to kiss every day, until you have time for more!!  Here’s a fun article about the 15-second kiss.
  4. Ask his opinion.  I’m really guilty of just doing what needs to be done in my house.  It needs to be done and I do it.  Not the really big stuff of course.  But, sometimes those little things need to be handled and I just make it happen.  I have to remind myself that my husband wants (no – he needs) to be included in some of those decisions.  My husband has told me that he just wants to be asked.  He has told me he doesn’t even care if I do it his way (some of the time), he just wants to feel like he was included.  He wants me to involve him in the process.
  5. Listen to him.  We’ve all heard that women talk more than men.  If that’s the case, I’m probably the typical woman.  When my husband comes home from work I want to tell him all about my day and our daughter and what’s happening with her.  I have to remember to stop and let him talk.  I have to let him tell me about his day.  I have to give him the opportunity to vent or tell a funny story from his day.  If I’m the typical woman, then he is the typical man.  He doesn’t often have much to share, but I have to be willing to listen, just in case.

 

I’d love to know what you do every day with your husband to be intentional about your marriage.  Please leave me a comment.

 

 

 

Health and Beautiful Living

7 Secrets to Eating Out and Not Ruining Your Diet

Do you love eating out as much as I do?

All the choices and trying different foods.  And, of course, there’s the fact that you don’t have to do any of the dishes.   I could eat out every night.

My husband and I love to try new foods.  If there’s a new restaurant in town, we can’t wait to check it out.

Unfortunately, there are two things keeping me from eating out on a nightly basis.  The first is my bank account.   The other is my waistline.

When my family goes out to eat, it’s tempting to eat whatever we want and justify it because it’s “a special occasion” or it’s “just this one time”.

Dessert and the free bread are the worst for me.  They constantly call my name.  I could easily fill up before dinner was even brought to the table.  And then order dessert.  When I finally leave the restaurant I feel like I am going to bust.

All that changed when I turned the big 4-0.

Then……… 45.  Oh my!!!!

No more eating whatever I want, whenever I want.  Especially when we go out to eat!

I needed to come up with a few tricks to eating out and not ruining my diet.

7 secrets to eating out and not ruining your diet

 

Here are my 7 secrets ~

  1.  Say NO to the free bread.  I could eat bread all day every day.  So could my daughter.  It drives her crazy, but often when the server comes to take our order I will tell them not to bring the free bread.  If it’s on the table, I just can’t help myself.  When I started steering away from bread I noticed that I didn’t feel so bloated and uncomfortable after a meal.  I still get full, but not “miserable full” like I used to feel after eating bread.
  2.  Ask for a doggie bag immediately after the meal is brought to the table.  When I put some of the meal into a “to go” container right away, it’s not tempting me.  I won’t feel the need to pick at it.  Plus, I now have a meal for another day.
  3. Ask for part of the meal to go.  Most of the time they bring the meal out in stages.  Salad first and then the main course.  Several times when the meal “comes with” something like soup or a salad, I ask for the “comes with” portion to go.  That way it’s not in front of me and I don’t feel obligated to eat it.  Of course, filling up before the main course.  Usually, that soup or salad is just enough for me for lunch the next day.
  4. Go to a “sit down” restaurant vs. a chain or fast food.  The food tends to be better quality and they are more likely to accommodate a special request when you ask nicely.  My husband loves to go out for burgers.  His goal in life to try all the burgers the world has to offer.   When ordering a burger, we often ask for the burger with no bun.  Additionally, in some restaurants, the servers will let you order the “lunch portion” of the meal if they have one.  You never know if you don’t ask!
  5. Drink water or an unsweetened beverage.  I gave up soda several years ago (way before I started reading labels and being concerned about ingredients).  At the time, I decided that I liked good food way too much to fill up on sweet or carbonated drinks.  Now I usually order unsweet tea or water.
  6. Be conscious of salad dressing.  I’m not a fan of the ingredients in bottled salad dressings in general.  But, if you love them, you have a couple of options. First, you can order the dressing on the side.  You can also bring your own dressing in a small premeasured container.  I usually order Olive Oil and Vinegar for my salad. It’s super healthy and most any restaurant will make it available for you even if they don’t list it as one of their regular options.
  7. Split dessert.  If you have to have dessert, and let’s face it, sometimes you just have to have dessert, split it with the person you’re eating with.  You will still satisfy your sweet tooth without walking away from the table feeling completely miserable and guilty.  Want to know a secret?  My husband loves carrot cake even more than burgers.  When we go out and he orders carrot cake, he only eats the cake and I only eat the frosting.  One piece and we both win!!!!

These are my simple secrets for eating out and not ruining your diet.  What are your secrets?  I’d love for you to drop me a comment and share them with me.

If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy 5 Steps to Starting a Real Food Lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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