February 8, 2016

5 Things To Do When You Feel Like You Failed As A Mother

5 things to do when you feel like you failed as a mother

If she’s honest, every mom will admit she has had a day (at least once) when she feels like she failed as a mother.  That’s a horrible feeling.

Not many things are worse than feeling like you’ve been entrusted with these little people and you’re completely messing it up.

My (most recent) event was just a few days ago.  My beautiful 9 year old lost her mind.  I don’t know how else to put it.  She came completely unglued over something.  Whatever it was, she was NOT happy.

She had an ugly fit, yelling, crying, screaming, slamming doors, you name it.  This went on for what seemed like an eternity.  I was proud of myself though.  After all, I’d been praying for God to help me to be strong, self-controlled and slow to anger.  I’d been praying for strength, patience and wisdom as a mother.  I did very well.  Daddy was at work.  I was completely calm, cool and collected.  Until – I wasn’t.

I blew my top.  I didn’t cause any bodily harm or anything like that.  But I yelled.  A lot!!  I was mad.  I had just been screamed at for 15 minutes by this little person who’s butt I’ve wiped and who’s vomit I’ve cleaned off my bathroom floor.  The nerve!!  I stayed mad too.  For several hours.

On those days when I feel like I failed as a mother, (after I beat myself up over my poor handling of the situation) there are 5 things I do to get me through it.  They are pretty simple and you can do them too.

  1. Pray.  Ask God to give you patience and wisdom.  Ask God to help you give your child grace just as He gives you grace.
  2. Remind yourself that God wouldn’t have given you that child if he didn’t trust you.  He knows you’re not perfect and wants to help you do this.
  3. Call a friend, call your mom, call your neighbor, call anyone who can “talk you off the ledge” and tell you they understand and they’ve been there too.
  4. Don’t lose sleep over it.  Remind yourself YOU are in charge.  You have their best interest in mind.  They might not be happy with your decisions or your rules, but at the end of the day, while you struggle with what you should or should not have done, they are sleeping like babies and will wake up in the morning like nothing has happened.
  5. After the punishment has been handed out, hug your child.  Show them grace.

Being a parent isn’t easy all the time.  We think it should be.  We think it will be sweet and blissful all the time and our kids will be grateful every day for every decision we make on their behalf.  You will feel like you failed as a mother, you will not be alone.  We’ve all been there.

When it’s all said and done I have to remind myself that of the two of us, my daughter doesn’t have the big picture in mind, I do.  This day is only one piece of the larger puzzle.

Love and patience,


Please share this with another mother that needs to know that we’ve all been there. 


Health and Beautiful Living
February 2, 2016

Amazing Natural Pain Killer – Black Pepper Oil

Natural Pain Killer Black Pepper Oil

If you’ve used any essential oils at all, you’ve most likely used all the usual suspects – peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, etc.  You probably even have a few “go to” oils.

Do you have a favorite “go to” for pain?  At our house it’s black pepper oil.

My husband has bad knees and because of his work, he often comes home with knee and/or back pain.  He used to take over-the-counter meds nearly everyday for pain.  Not anymore!!   Now he walks in the door from work and says “get out your oils!”

When I started experimenting with essential oils, I wasn’t completely sold on their efficacy for healing and/or treatment of any kind.  At first, I only used them to make cleaning products.  Eventually I started using oils in my beauty routine almost out of necessity due to skin allergies to many ingredients in beauty products.  However, like a lot of husbands, mine was a little slower to jump on board the “essential oil train”.

Last summer, I rocked his socks off when I used rosemary essential oil to treat his poison ivy.  (I’m not sure if that’s a recommended use for rosemary oil, but it worked like a charm in our little corner of the world.)  After the poison ivy, he doesn’t mind letting me “try out” new oils on him.

I’ll be honest, we had a harder time finding an oil that really worked for his knee and back pain.  We tried all the recommended oils (some single oils and some blends).  While he did experience some relief, it was  nothing significant.  When I found black pepper oil, he was happy to “try another one”.  (I could tell he didn’t expect much.)  Boy, was I surprised when after only 5 minutes he said “what did you put on me?”  He said, “I can’t believe how much better my knee feels”.

We have since used the black pepper oil for his knee pain and his back pain with great success.  I’ve used it for the occasional lower back pain also.  I have even seen my husband loan out his bottle of black pepper oil to friends.  Each one came back with stories of success and ordered a bottle for themselves.

It’s not just for pain, here are a few other great uses for black pepper oil and here’s where I get mine.

I hope it works as well for you.  It may just become your new “go to” oil.  Be sure to let me know how you like it.

Love and great health,


January 26, 2016

My Child’s Homework Is Not MY Homework

I do not help my child with homework. Here's why.

I do not help with homework.  Period.

My parents didn’t help me with my homework.  Ever!!  It was my responsibility.

At the risk of sounding like my parents…..  When I was a kid, the expectation was “your homework was YOUR homework”.  If I had homework, I did it.  If I didn’t do it, it didn’t get done and it would reflect in my grades and then I would be punished.  End of story.

I was not a straight “A” student but I graduated with good grades and went on to lead a productive life.

Here’s my point.  A while back my daughter’s “well-meaning” teacher told me she was doing very well in class and the only thing I needed to do as a parent was help her with homework.  Her teacher is about 20 years younger than I am.  I’m sure she’s just doing what she’s trained to do which is to encourage “parent involvement”.  I politely told her that I DO NOT help with homework!!

There are 2 reasons I do not help with homework.

The first reason is that my beautiful, kind, funny daughter is fiercely independent.  If you are a mom of a daughter, you know that when I say “independent” what I’m really saying is she’s “stubborn as a mule”!!

We butt heads, big time.  She’s right and I’m wrong.  The sky is too blue today.  3 is NOT one less than 4, it’s one MORE than 2.  Duh!  (Eye roll)  You get the idea.

When she asks for help on school work, it really means “give me the answer and I’m going to argue the validity of that answer when you supply it!”

Which brings me to my second reason for not helping with homework.  Me helping her does not help her learn or problem solve.  After a few years of her arguing with me over homework answers, I realized when she’s in her classroom her beautiful little brain comes up with answers all by herself.  As a matter of fact, she’s on the honor roll.  Again – all by herself!!!  Shocking I know.

I’m like every other mom when I say I want the best for her.  I want her to be successful and have a great life.  She’d be a great lawyer (if you have a daughter you know what that means too!).  But, if she decides to be at home raising children, I want her to be successful there as well.

Part of her being successful means I have to resist the urge to help and let her figure some things out for herself.  I won’t always be there to give her the answer.  One of the best ways for me to show her my love is by letting her spread her wings and solve some problems on her own.

Love and patience,








Health and Beautiful Living
January 18, 2016

5 Easy Ways To Cut Back On Sugar

ways to cut back on sugar

Sugar can really do a number on our health.  More and more studies come out everyday that change everything we’ve been told for years about what we eat.   For ever and a day we’ve been told that fat makes us fat (or sick or fill in the blank).

Now studies show that it’s not “fat” that we need to be most concerned with, it’s sugar!! (There certainly are bad fats but that’s a discussion for a different day.)

Winter is the perfect time to cut back on sugar.  Sugar can impact our immune system, making us more susceptible to colds and flu.

I would love to eliminate sugar for good, but there’s one thing standing in my way.  Willpower.  I have none.  Zero.  So, I’m always looking for ways to cut back.  Steps in the right direction are still steps!

Here are a few easy ways I cut back on sugar.

  1.  Use Less.  I know that sounds obvious but hear me out.  I ditched my soda habit a few years ago and now we drink sweet tea.  Still sugar, but less chemicals.  I live in the south where it’s almost mandatory to have sweet tea ready at all times.  I’ve been to some places where the sweet tea is so thick it could be mistaken for maple syrup.  I’m always trying to use less sugar when I make my tea.  If you start with 1 cup per gallon, go down to 3/4 of a cup and then 2/3 of cup.  I’m down to a 1/2 cup of sugar per gallon.  When I make hot tea I’m always shaking more and more sugar off that spoon before it goes in the cup.
  2. No Fat-free products.  When they take out fat it usually means they’ve added something else.  That “something” is usually sugar.  Or worse.
  3. Switch Salad Dressing.  Try Vinegar and Olive Oil.  There can be a lot of added sugar in each serving of salad dressing.  Let’s be honest.  How many of us actually only use their idea of a serving anyway?
  4. Change Your Drink.   We all know water is best.  However…….   I can’t just drink water all day.  I love the naturally flavored waters (with no sweeteners).  One of my favorites is Hint Water.  Occasionally I’ll get coconut water.  For dinner we drink water with lemon or orange slices.  “Mini-Dawn” loves fruit in the water.
  5. Eat Fruit.  Of course fruit contains sugar, but we are trying to do better and fruit is definitely better than a candy bar.  If I keep fruit in the house, I will eat it.  If I keep candy in the house, I will eat it.  You get the idea.

Every trip to the grocery store is an opportunity to swap out one product for a healthier one.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Just do your best!!

I’d love to hear what’s working for you to help you beat the sugar addiction.

Love and health,



Just Doing My Best – “Tip of the Week” – don’t confuse “more expensive food” for “healthier food”.  Some pricier brands are healthier, some are not.  Bottom line, if you can’t pronounce something in the ingredient list try to avoid it.


January 11, 2016

1 Easy Way To Carve Out Couple Time

Simple way to spend more couple time together

As a couple and parents it can be hard to find just 5 minutes alone together.  Life is crazy busy with children, jobs, kids activities, houses, etc.

Like a lot of people, we have a young one at home.  Luckily she has a pretty early bedtime (8pm) and 30 minutes of “quiet time” before bed.  On a “good night” (when the planets line up just right), this early bedtime allows us to work out together, do a bible study, read, etc.

Needless to say, life happens and that doesn’t work out every day.  Not to mention that eventually bedtime will be 9 or 930 or even 10.  10 o’clock!!!  What???  It’s all I can do now to stay awake past 930!

A few years ago we decided to move our coffee pot into our bedroom. (We drink hot tea, so it’s really a hot water pot.)  We have a table in our room where the tv sits and under that is a shelf.  On the shelf we have our hot water pot, cups, tea bags, etc.

Every morning we make a point to wake up 30 minutes early.  We have a cup of tea, watch the news and pray together before we start the day.

It’s just 30 minutes, but it really helps us prepare for the day together.  It’s not a dinner date, but it’s free and it’s time together.  Because let’s face it, once the day starts who knows what will happen!

You may not be on the same schedule as your husband, but I hope you are encouraged to carve out time where you can.  Even 10 or 15 minutes can be huge when it comes to building and keeping that connection with your spouse.

Please share with me a creative way that you and your spouse carve out a few minutes to connect each day.

Love and great connections,



“Just Doing Your Best” – Tip of the Day – If you don’t already have a secret message or code you can text each other, try to come up with one.  A phrase, a series of numbers or a code word that only the two of you understand.  Seeing your secret code come across the phone can make a crazy day at work a little brighter.

January 5, 2016

Book Review Grandma Was Right After All

Book Review John Rosemond Grandma Was Right After All

When it comes to your kids, have you ever felt like you were at your wits end?

John Rosemond has written several books to help parents.  I’ve read most of them.  He’s a family psychologist who offers “no holds barred” advice.  There are several times I have literally wanted to smack my own self in the forehead after reading one (or more) of his chapters.

I have had my moments as a parent.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  The moments where you feel you like you’re the only one.  “No one else has ever had this problem.”

Sometimes I don’t want to ask for advice.  I just want to get advice in the privacy of my own home.

“Grandma Was Right After All!” by John Rosemond reminds us that our parents didn’t read books, they called their moms (our grandmas).

WARNING –  If you’ve never read a John Rosemond book, they are not for the faint of heart.  His books are not going to tell you how to boost your child’s self-esteem.  They also are not going to instruct you on how to be your child’s best friend.

His books are very straight forward.  I don’t know about you, but that’s what I need.  I need it “in my face”.

“Grandma Was Right After All!” is about how “parenting” was done 50 years ago.  It’s about how society has changed, kids haven’t.  Parents attitudes and beliefs have changed, kids haven’t.

The chapters in this book are aligned with old sayings from our grandparents.  Here are just a few:

  • Chapter 1 – “Because I Said So”.  This one spoke to me the most.
  • Chapter 7 – “You Will Have to Learn Your Lessons The Hard Way”.  Letting kids learn on their own.  I need a reminder about not “swooping in” to save the day.
  • Chapter 14 – “Money Doesn’t Grown on Trees”.  Great advice on money and allowance.
  • Chapter 15 – “I’m Only Going To Say This Once”.  Another chapter that had my name on it.
  • Chapter 16 – “Lower The Boom”.  Wow!!!

At the end of each chapter is a bible verse that ties in and a question for you to ponder.

If you’re ready for real advice for real situations I recommend “Grandma Was Right After All!”.

Love and great parenting,


Please share the love and share this post.  I’d love for you to come back and tell me what you thought of this book. 

December 29, 2015

The Present Our Child Wanted For Christmas But Didn’t Get

One way to avoid spoiling children at Christmas

We have a 9 year old girl.  By and large, she wants “stuff” for Christmas, Birthdays, etc.  She’s not really choosy.  She just wants “stuff”.

She asked for a lot for Christmas this year.  But, we made sure there was one thing she didn’t get.  As a matter of fact, we do it every year.  We make sure there’s one present she doesn’t get.

It’s not the same thing each year.  We just make sure there’s one thing that she asks for that doesn’t show up under the tree.


First of all, let me say that I wish we started the tradition of only 3 gifts (like baby Jesus) when she was little.  Or the tradition of 1 want, 1 need, 1 thing to wear and 1 thing to read.  We didn’t do any of that and I think it’s too late to start now.

Second, she had enough gifts.  Not too many, and nothing too expensive.  Like I said, she likes “stuff”, so at this point we can still buy $10 and $20 items and she’s in heaven.

This year she asked for a particular book.  We didn’t buy it.  (Yes, Santa still comes to our house.)  When she didn’t find the book, she noticed.  She didn’t get upset, but she mentioned it.  I simply told her that it was good she received a few gifts cards so she could buy it herself.  That was my plan all along.

  1.  We don’t want Christmas to ever be the “be-all and end-all”.  We don’t want her to think that every year her “wish list” will be a guarantee.
  2. We want her to be grateful for the gifts she does receive.
  3. We want her to understand the value of things.  As she gets older the gifts will undoubtedly get more expensive.  If she has to buy a few things herself (especially when Santa no longer comes), she’ll see how much things really cost.

The way we see it, our job is to raise a child who is a kind and grateful citizen.  She can’t grow up thinking we or anyone else owes her anything.  I’m not sure how we’re doing, but I know we are just doing our best.

Love and Luck,


“Just Doing My Best” Tip of the Week – Want a free Christmas?  A friend of mine, uses her Discover card exclusively throughout the month (gas, groceries, etc.)  She pays it off at the end of each week.  When she gets her “Cash Back Bonus” each month, she saves them for Christmas and Birthdays.  That way most of the presents she buys are free.

Please show the love and share this post with other mom’s. 


Fashionable You
December 14, 2015

Stitch Fix Review December 2015

Stitch Fix Review Dec 2015

stitch fix 121115Have you tried Stitch Fix?  I’ve love it.

Stitch Fix is a clothing styling service where a nice person actually picks out clothes for you and sends them to you to try on in the comfort of your own home!!  Yay.

Here’s how it works.  You fill out an online profile about your style and clothing preferences.  You pay $20 for the “styling fee” for each box you receive (usually monthly).  That $20 is for a stylist to read your profile and pick out 5 items just for you based on your preferences and their inventory and covers shipping.

You can get anything; tops, purses, dresses, jeans, pants, scarves, jewelry and they are working on shoes.  I can’t wear earrings and request only “natural fibers” for my tops and dresses.  I’m allergic to antiperspirant and most deodorants, doesn’t that sound fun?  They’ve been great about sending items according my specific needs.

When your “Fix” comes, you only pay for what you love and send back what you don’t.  They send a postage paid envelope for returns.  If you keep all 5 items you receive a 25% discount, in addition to taking off your $20 styling fee.

You choose how often you receive a “Fix”  I usually get one once a month.  You can get them more or less often.  Do you have a wedding coming up?  They can send some dresses for the occasion.  Have you lost weight?  They can send new pieces to update your wardrobe.

90% of my clothes come Stitch Fix now.  No kidding.  I’m not driving around looking for tops for spring or looking for the perfect pair of jeans.  BTW I have gotten the BEST jeans from Stitch Fix!!!  Truly.

Having someone pick out clothes for me and has made me try things I never would have bought on my own!!  My last 4 fixes have been at least a 4 out of 5.  I’ve had fixes where I’ve sent back everything and I’ve had them where I kept only 2 things.  The stylists aren’t perfect and not every fix is a home run, but it’s always fun.  You can go on Pinterest and see what others have received and pin to a board that your stylist can see and give her ideas of what you like.  Love that!!!

Here’s what I received in December:

  • Street Level Meyer Tassel Clutch in a pretty dark green color.
  • Market & Spruce Nina Asymmetrical Sweater Tunic in two tone grey.
  • Mystree Carleton Crochet Detail Henley Knit Top in charcoal grey.
  • Mak Briello Cowl Neck Sweater in off white.
  • Just Black Winslette Skinny Jean in a beautiful burgundy color.

Stitch FixB 121115Stitch FixC 121115

I kept everything, but later ended up selling the Asymmetrical Sweater.  Before I sold the sweater my cost was $209.  That’s after the 25% discount.

My November fix was a bit more expensive because I asked for a winter coat and I got one.

Nothing is better than having a box of new clothes delivered to your house and being able to try them on in your house in front of your mirror.

Try it for yourself here.  I hope you love it and it makes your shopping less stressful.  Be sure to let me know how it works for you.

Love and happy shopping,


“Just Doing Your Best” Tip of the Week – Be specific on your Stitch Fix profile  and definitely do a Pinterest/Style Board, but don’t expect your stylist to be perfect.  I’ve gotten some great “Fixes”.  But, they are only as good as your preferences and their inventory. Whether it’s a 2 out of 5 or a 5 out of 5, it’s so fun waiting on that box each month.

Health and Beautiful Living
December 7, 2015

2 Supplements To Start Taking Today If You’re Over 40!

Maca Root and Collagen for women over 40

As women we have different health concerns than we did in our 20’s and 30’s.

We know we need to eat more veggies, get plenty of rest and exercise, but sometimes we need more!!

Are you taking Maca Root or Grass Fed Gelatin?  Here’s the scoop on both and how they affected me and my husband.

First, I have to say I’ve never been a “vitamin taker”.   The more I read about additives, food coloring and GMO’s, I’m even less thrilled about taking vitamin supplements than I was in the past.

Having said that, about 2  years ago, I learned about 2 supplements that could help with my bone and joint health, give me energy and help with my libido.  Well heck, as a woman over 40 I need all of that!!

The first is Maca Root.  I’d never heard of it before.  I loved what I read here  I immediately went out and started looking for it.  After some trial and error, here’s where I found the best Maca Root.

Truth be told, the taste is kinda yucky.  Not horrible, but it’s no bowl of ice cream.  We buy it in powdered form and add it to water in the morning.  It’s quick and easy.

Within a few weeks I noticed I had more energy and my husband noticed a difference in my “interest level”.  If you know what I mean.  Wink Wink.  Every morning, he’s more than happy to mix up some Maca Root and water for me.  He’s so thoughtful!!

I take the red Maca for libido, menopause symptoms and energy and my husband takes the premium for strength, energy and mental focus.

The second supplement is Grass Fed Gelatin.  We started taking it for our joint and bone health, but here is a great article about its many benefits.  It’s really incredible.  After just a few weeks we noticed in the morning we weren’t as “creaky”.  We don’t hear the snap and crackle anymore.  I used to have back pain often.  I could have a minor misstep around the house and throw my back out for days.  Since we started taking Grass Fed Gelatin that happens less often and if it does happen my pain doesn’t last as long.

Another great benefit (especially as a woman) is my hair and nails grow incredibly quickly.  Love that!!!

This is the Grass Fed Gelatin we use.  We put a couple scoops of Gelatin and a scoop or two of Maca in the same glass of water in the morning.

I can’t speak for everyone and what you’ll experience with Maca Root and Gelatin, this is just our experience.  FYI, I receive no compensation, whatsoever, from these companies or products.

Please share this post with anyone who can benefit from Maca Root or Gelatin.

Love and Good Health,


“Just Doing My Best” Tip of the Week – Read carefully about the supplements, vitamins and such that you take.  These days we are all trying so hard to eat better and be more conscience of where our food comes from.  It doesn’t make sense not to take the same precautions with supplements.


November 19, 2015

Is Downsizing Right For Your Family?

Is downsizing right for my family?

We downsized our home over a year ago and it was one of the best decisions we ever made.  In this time of “bigger is better” we decided that wasn’t what we wanted for our family.

We loved our home.  It was beautiful.  Over 3000 sq. ft., 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, a pool, large lot and a 50 foot bonus room.  Yep, 50 feet long.  It was awesome for having people over.

Now, a new family is enjoying our beautiful “old” house.

It all happened after one our “yearly budget meetings”.  Every year (usually sometime after Christmas), my husband and I sit down, take at a look at our money and expenses and see if we can be better stewards of our money.  How can we save more?  In what areas can we spend less?  You know the drill.  We are a one income family so we try to be mindful about where our money goes.

It wasn’t really an issue of not being able to afford our house, it was more of a realization during one of our “meetings”, that the electric company must really love us.  We always try to save on electricity, but with over 3000 sq. ft. and a pool, our electric bill was over $300 in the middle of summer.  Yikes!!!

Then it occurred to us that we had more “house” than we really needed.  With a bigger house comes bigger taxes, bigger utility bills, more insurance, etc.

Skip to 4 months later, we sold a ton of stuff (oh my gosh, did we sell stuff) and moved in to an 1800 sq. ft. house in a nice neighborhood with a ton of kiddos.   We have now been in our lovely new house for a year.

Not counting a house payment, here’s a snapshot of how our bills changed.

  • Electric – went down approx. $50 -$100 a month.
  • Gas – saved at least $60 a month ($60 monthly bill at the old house, no gas in the new house).
  • Monthly Home Owners Insurance – went down approx. $35 a month.
  • Water – went up $40 a month.  Boohoo.  It has to do with moving closer to town and not being considered “in the county” anymore.
  • Cable – went down approx. $25 a month.
  • Yearly Property Tax – went up $200 annually.  Again, because we are closer to town.

As you can see, it was definitely a profitable move.  We saved a lot of money and again, this breakdown doesn’t account for a lower monthly mortgage payment.

So, where does our new money go now?  Since my husband is self-employed, we mostly concentrate our savings in to our emergency fund and building our retirement.

This may not be the right move for everyone, but it was a great move for us.  We see the benefits in our bank account, our stress level at budget time and the smile on the face of our kiddo who’s grateful for all her new friends.

If you have a great money saving tip that has helped your family, please share it in the comments.

Love and less stress,


“Just Doing My Best” Tip of the Week – When we moved in to our smaller home we made a deal with each other.  We agreed that we wouldn’t spend our “savings” from one of our old bills on something else, just because we could.



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