Sunday, December 2, 2018

How To Save Money When You're A Busy Mom

Written by a contributing writer

When you’re a busy Mom, you can’t always spend a long time hunting around for the latest deals and there are some things that you just have to pay for. However, it’s also important to be saving money where you can, as being a parent is never cheap. As soon as you think you’ve got all of your expenses covered, your kids tell you that one of them has lost their shoes and another has no clothes that fit them. Whilst there is no remedy for the ever-occurring costs that you have to pay as a parent, there are some quick hacks that could save you a bit of cash.



Image credit


Thrift

Thrifting is often disregarded by people as something that can only ever bring you musty old clothes that have been rescued from the bottom of somebody’s wardrobe. This is a misconception, as many parents give their children’s clothes to charity after realizing that they’ve outgrown them within 6 months. There is an abundance of children’s clothing out there that have only been worn for a short period of time and will put a smile on your kids' faces. Thrifting is good for your wallet, good for the environment, and will enable you to get your hands on some items that are in near-perfect condition for much less. You’re welcome.

Look at comparison websites and reviews


Look, no parent has the time to go and look through millions of reviews, visit separate websites, and then decide what are the best places to get their gas and electric from. Luckily, there are a whole host of websites out there that compare and review things, from US mobile plans to the cheapest stores to shop in. Not only will this save you the time and effort of researching all of these things for yourself, but they are usually based upon what a variety of people think, from experience. Therefore, they are trustworthy ways to find out what companies are really like and what the typical consumer experience is like. What’s better than an honest opinion?

Use coupons

Ok, you may have watched a show like ‘Extreme Couponing’ and be a bit turned off by the idea of using coupons. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to stand in Walmart waiting for a member of staff to scan over 100 coupons. We’re not trying to get you to annoy everybody in the store. Whilst it’s good to look out for coupons when doing your in-store shopping, there are other ways to get discounts. If you’re buying something online, then look out for codes that you can enter at the checkout. You could save up to 50% by looking out for these and if you can’t get something that impressive, then you can usually at least get free shipping. Don’t pay it if you don’t have to!

So, there are many ways to save money if you’re a busy mom; don’t forget these quick hacks and you’ll be well on your way to having a jam-packed wallet!

Friday, November 30, 2018

How To Develop Emotional Strength In Your Children

Written by a contributing writer


https://unsplash.com/photos/9-nGBzwzquo

As a mom, you’re always going to want the best for your children. But actually establishing what that looks like can be hard. It’s so easy to envision what you want for your children in your mind. But turning that into a reality is the tough part. And it can be really hard on you. Because they have their own idea of how things should go, usually acting out of emotion at first, and you’ve got a completely different idea of what should happen. So motherhood can often seem like a constant battle. Yet, when you know that you really do want the best for your children, you really need to be able to push past this and onto what matters the most. Namely, your children's future happiness and success. Because that can often mean that you make the best decisions today, for the future.

One of the ways that you can do that is to focus mainly on building them up emotionally. If you want to have happy and healthy children, their minds need to be strong. Without strength, they may crumble emotionally in life, shy away from hardship, and struggle to make it through. But at the same time, you may also wonder exactly how you’re going to do this. So let’s take a look.


Be Intentional


To start with, it’s going to help you if you can be much more intentional with what you’re doing. This can often seem quite difficult, but it really doesn’t have to be. You just have to make sure that you know what you want to achieve in a scenario, activity, or even on a set day, and focus on the actions that will get you that result. But also, you may find that living more intentionally feels like a breath of fresh air too.

Be Present

As a step on from that, you’re then going to want to ensure that you’re more present as well. Because if you’re going to be able to make this happen, you need to be out of your head and completely aware of the moment. Plus, the more present you are in your life, the more enjoyable you are going to find it. So it’s essential for you to be able to start making these steps.

Work On Your Own Strength

But then, something that you will really need to make sure you master BEFORE you start on any of these other points is building your own strength. Because if you are not mentally strong, you may not have the willpower of the patience to ensure that your children are. Nor will you truly understand how to achieve it. So you need to spend some time working on your own emotional strength first.



https://unsplash.com/photos/e6lWMBIgNso

Don’t Baby Them

Now, when it comes to your actions and how you parent an emotionally strong child, the first step is to make sure that you’re not babying them. If you wrap them up in a cotton blanket and do everything for them, they are not learning what it means to be strong, secure, nor how to take care of themselves...which is a huge part of this.

Let Them Understand Consequences

Now, something that is really effective here, is the idea of consequences. And it’s incredibly important for you to be able to make sure they understand what a consequence is. Because if you give in to them over and over, they will not be prepared for the real world. And consequences are a huge part of life. And they need to understand what their choices and actions will really lead to in life. When they do, they will be mentally tougher.

Explain Things To Them


It’s so easy to ask your child to do something (or not do it) and then wonder why they don’t listen. Sometimes, you need to explain to them more. When they understand the why, they can connect the instruction with the consequence. The more you can talk to them and educate their minds on actions and thoughts, the more they will be able to think for themselves and make the right choices with their actions.

Focus On Thought, Not Emotion

Another very important step is to encourage them to think before they act - which isn’t usually what children do. Typically kids react according to emotion almost instinctually. Yet the more control they have over their emotions, the more equipped they will be as they get older.

Nurture Their Imagination

It’s also going to be helpful for you to work on their imagination. Because this can help children to expand their minds and think of creative solutions. Magical trips and explorations and this Disney's Magic Kingdom guide could do the trick. But it could also be something simple like reading stories, playing pretend, and imaging things too.

And Their Intelligence


As parents, we all want to make sure that we’re really helping their inquisitive minds to develop too. Because the more they understand in life, the more they can grow mentally and emotionally. Plus, it’s always good to help your child to be as curious as they can be.



https://unsplash.com/photos/FtZL0r4DZYk

Show Them How To Be Strong

Sometimes you just need to show them how it's done! You know that leading by example works. So really demonstrate how they should respond and problem solve. Show them how you handle things, how in control of your emotions you are, and how rational your mind is. They will learn and hopefully, they will follow your lead.

Help Them To Face Their Fears

Something that is really important here, but can be hard on you, is to encourage them to face their fears. They won’t always want to do it at first. Especially when children they are younger. And this can make you feel as if you do not want to push them. But if you let them stay scared, they will not learn to overcome difficult situations. Just make sure that you have a plan when it comes to going about this.

Push Their Comfort Zones

Along with facing their fears, it's good for kids to step out of their comfort zones a little. It can be hard with children, but this really will set the tone for how they approach things in the future. So where you can, really try to encourage them to push past what’s familiar to them.

Focus On Living Well


Above all else, you’re going to want to make sure that they are happy. Because happy and content children rarely have emotional issues. Sure, we all have our moments from time to time. But if you can focus on happiness and living good, wholesome lives, you’re all going to have a better time. So make sure that you do focus on that intent and being present, and you will be able to ensure that you all live well.

And there you have it. To some moms, this may seem like an impossible challenge, but it really doesn’t have to be like that. Instead, you can plan how you’re going to work on this so that your children are happy, healthy, centered, and grounded. Make sure that you work on the ideas that you know will help your children and fit into your lifestyle to get the best possible results for you all too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Barbecue to Experience in Olympia, WA

This post is sponsored


Traveling is something everyone seems to be talking about at some point. Whether it's traveling with family, for business, with friends on a road trip, or taking the coveted break-from-life vacation, getting out of your hometown can be an adventure. One of the best parts of any adventure, at least in my humble opinion, is food. There are very few things better than trying new food, finding new favorite stops, or stumbling upon a roadside diner that is the epitome of the phrase "hidden gem." But, there are times when you're just passing through and looking for something that will hit the spot and please your taste buds. Somewhere that allows you to feel relaxed and comfortable without a lot of fuss. A place that cooks up the food you already know you like.

Well, if you're passing through Olympia, Washington, you may want to stop into Dickey's Barbecue Pit (and check out more information at the location's Facebook page, or the equivalent of Olympia's Dickey Barbecue Pit wiki). Originating in Dallas, Texas, Dickey's Barbecue Pit serves up tasty, no frills, authentic, Texas barbecue. And though Dickey's is now a chain, it has a very family-owned restaurant feel. That may be because Dickey's is still run by family members of the founder, Travis Dickey. Ronad Dickey, Jr. is the CEO if Dickey's Barbecue Pit's parent company, Dickey's Capital Group. He is also the grandson of Travis Dickey. His wife, Laura Rea Dickey, is the CEO of Dickey's Barbecue Pit. So that may explain the family-friendly, welcoming atmosphere you'll find at the Dickey's Barbecue Pits around the country.

Now, the best (and most important) part of any restaurant; the food! They've got ribs, they've got pulled pork, they've got chicken, and they've got their famous beef brisket. As far as sides go, there is so much to choose from. You can keep it simple with potato chips, get some real comfort with mac and cheese, keep it light with a Caesar salad, go for it with potato salad, or opt for some delicious waffle fries. And that isn't even half of the side options that are listed on the menu.

Something that Dickey's has that most other barbeque stops don't offer? Holiday meals. That's right, you can order your holiday meal for your family from Dickey's. Choose from a cajun fried turkey, spiral cut ham, smoked turkey, or prime rib. Plus you can get gravy, cornbread dressing, baked potato casserole, and green beans with bacon. They've also got dessert covered. Choose from pecan or pumpkin pie. Or take both and celebrate, for goodness sake! That sounds like a whole lot of yum with a lot less work for you.

So as I said, if you're in Olympia, Washington, make sure you stop by Dickey's Barbecue Pit. From Texas barbecue to plenty of side options to a laid-back atmosphere to holiday meal options, they sure do have a lot to offer.  And maybe, they will make your travel just a little bit easier and a little more enjoyable.

Monday, November 12, 2018

My Simplest, Most Affordable Skin-Care Routine Yet! Entire Day & Night Routine - Under $65

My skin-care routine...simple? What? If you've been following my skin care for a while, you know that my routine is usually anything but simple.  I like to use ALL of the products.  But recently, my skin revolted. And it was right before a trip out of state...to see family...at a wedding. Really? "I promise, guys, my skin isn't usually this awful, it just randomly decided it hates almost everything I use." I mean there was rough skin texture, there was acne, there was discoloration, there was scarring- it was an absolute mess.

I didn't know what was causing my skin to be so bad. It literally was the worst it's been since I had my son. And even then, I don't know if it was ever that bad. (But thank the beauty industry for makeup in situations like these, right?)

So, at first, I stopped using the Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Overnight. If you saw my previous skin-care routine post, you know that I had been using this night cream for months. But, normally night creams are the culprit in these types of situations with my skin. So I stopped using it. And started only using the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Cream. My skin got better but was still pretty wild. So I did what would be the closest I'll ever come to doing a true skin detox.  I started over when it came to skin care.

I decided to whittle my routine down to three steps, try to use a gentler face cleanser, and limit myself to one glycolic acid product. I was pretty sure I had severely thrown off the PH of my skin with all of the products I was using. Especially since a lot of them contained glycolic acid.

After some thought, these are the products I decided to use. My face is so much better. And instead of dealing with terrible on-going acne, I'm now only dealing with a pimple or two monthly and discoloration from previous acne. My skin texture is also much smoother. And you may be surprised to hear...I'm not spot treating. If I get a pimple, I leave it alone and let my skin balance itself out. And 99% of the time, the pimple goes away on its own in a few days. So... here are my products:



Face Cleanser

Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar - about $1.75/bar

Yep. Something as simple as a bar of Dove soap.  I was skeptical about this FOR YEARS. I have family members who use this Dove bar on their face and swear by it. But the "1/4 moisturizing cream" aspect always made me wary. I thought, without a doubt, this soap would break out my skin. But...surprise! It doesn't. And it's also super affordable. I use it with my Foreo luna mini day and night.

Toner

Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner - $12.95

I kept this in my lineup. I REALLY like this toner. And it's so hard for me to find a toner I even like at all. Basically, I just spray the toner on my face after cleansing morning and night and let it air dry. Nothing crazy!

Day Moisturizer

Garnier Clearly Brighter Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 - about $12

I'll be honest. I wasn't willing to try anything new when it came to moisturizers. So I went with my tried-and-trues. The clearly brighter moisturizer is oil-free, with vitamin c, and SPF 30. And my skin doesn't break out using it. Does it make my skin look brighter? Maybe? I'm not sure. But it's an oil-free, SPF 30 moisturizer that doesn't irritate my skin.

Night Moisturizer

Olay Total Effects Whip Face Moisturizer - about $20 on Amazon as I'm writing this

Ok, I know I said I wasn't trying anything new moisturizer-wise. But wait! I can explain! I can explain how this isn't really completely new for me. Yes, the Olay Whips line is fairly new, however, I have used the Olay Total Effects Night Cream in the past. The only thing that steered me away from it was the fact that it was a little too rich for me to use it long term. So the whips version seemed like the perfect solution. And it has been. I've seen reviews where people complain that the texture isn't technically whipped (as in whipped cream, I guess? I'm not sure exactly how they would be able to achieve that texture in a jarred beauty product.) So I'll give you a heads up that the texture is more of a delightful cream mixed with gel. It does leave a matte finish. So if you are looking for dewy skin from your night cream, this wouldn't be for you (try the original non-whipped version).

This moisturizer has vitamins B, C, and E. It also contains green tea! So many ingredients I love without the one I'm allergic to - Vitamin A as Retinol - Thanks, Olay! I also believe it's oil-free (don't quote me on that). The fragrance doesn't bother me and it is a very clean scent. But I do wish there was a fragrance-free version. (There may be and I just haven't seen it yet?)

**As I was taking photos for this post, I noticed I accidentally bought the SPF version of this moisturizer when I repurchased! Oops! I've been using it at night without any problems (and have used the version without SPF), but if you're looking for a day moisturizer, the SPF version may be a great option!

Eye Cream

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream - $18

Ok...so this is technically a fourth step. But one I only do at night. And, honestly, at times I forget this step. This eye cream is so moisturizing but light at the same time. A little goes a long way. This $18 container usually lasts 2 or 3 months for me. And, yes, I do notice a difference in how my undereye area looks when I forget to use it for a few days.

And that's it!

For now anyway. I do want to add a product to help even my skin tone. Stay tuned!




Monday, November 5, 2018

Unique Gifts for the Person Who Has Everything

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We all have that one person in our lives that is just so hard to buy for.  When it comes to getting them a gift, no one knows what to give them.  Either they have absolutely everything imaginable or they are someone who just isn't interested in typical gift items.  Here are some different ideas on what to give the person in your life who just seems to be too difficult to buy for. There are those traditional, wrap-them-in-wrapping-paper gifts and also intangible gifts that may require a little creativity.

Traditional Gifts

If the person you are buying for is a collector of any kind, you are in luck! This means you know for a fact they are deeply interested something you can purchase. It's also a good jumping off point for gift ideas.  Whether they collect coins (check out Sprott Money), action figures, or baseball cards, this gives you an interest to focus on.  If they collect pricey or hard-to-find items, you can buy them a ticket to an event (like ComicCon) where they will be able to find and purchase those rare pieces themselves.

You can also give products that may go with their current interest.  For example, if you are buying for a coffee lover,  instead of buying just a bag of coffee or a gift card, you can create a custom mug online through websites like Zazzle or Shutterfly. Add in some cute stirrers or spoons, flavored coffee syrups, and cookies or biscuits to accompany a great cup of coffee and then put them in a decorative gift basket and voila! You have a great gift.

Intangible Gifts

Intangible gifts are gifts you can't necessarily wrap.  And these types of gifts can require a little more thought, time, and creativity. Gifted experiences are very popular.  For a travel-lover you could gift a cruise, airfare, or a hotel stay.  Just make sure to check with them before booking anything to make sure they are avaialable. This means you could print out a picture of the destination or cruise ship and include it in their card with a message explaining that you are gifting them the trip.

Tickets to sporting events or concerts are also really great experience gifts than may be a bit easier to plan and surprise someone with. If none of these ideas sound like they are a good fit, maybe a service would be more of what you're looking for.  This could mean paying for a cleaning service to come clean a new mom's house, gifting a food subscription box like Hello Fresh to a busy family, buying a gift certificate for a haircut or spa day for someone in need of a little "me time," or even paying for SEO and advertising services for the giftee's online business or blog.  There are even agencies that specialize in advertising for very specific niche markets (like this one here).

With the holidays coming up, it's about that time to start thinking of gifts for everyone on your list.  Hopefully, these ideas cut your brainstorming session in half and made it a little easier to think of a gift for the person who seems to have everything.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Self-Care is More Than Bubble Baths and Makeup

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How many self-care articles, social media posts, and YouTube videos have you seen? Probably a ton, am I right?  Most self-care articles talk about one facet or another.  Either it's about physical health, mental health, or treating yourself once-in-a-while.  But the truth is, self-care encompasses all of that and more.  And while it's nearly impossible to fully explain self-care in one article, post, or video, we can talk about some self-care options that aren't normally discussed.

Self-Care for the Soul

Sometimes we seem to be doing everything "right."  We are eating healthy, working out, getting plenty of sleep, and indulging every now and then. But we still somehow don't feel our best.  Why is that? It may be because we haven't nourished that intangible part of ourselves.  It's the part of you that feels the need to have goals and accomplishments.  The part that needs to feel some type of fulfillment of purpose. In times like these, volunteering for an organization or project you are passionate about or feel connected to can make all of the difference. There are many organizations that need volunteers (like this one here). It's just a matter of choosing what you are interested in doing.  If you are unable to give your time out in the field volunteering, there are other ways to help make a difference and practice self-care for the soul in this way. For example, you can assist in fundraising for a project or even start a fundraising campaign. And though fundraising sounds intimidating, there are companies that can help, like Global Faces Direct (https://www.globalfacesdirect.com/). Even donating clothes or shopping at a non-profit's thrift store can make a difference.

Individualized Self-Care

The truth is you can read about self-care and get a ton of ideas, but not everything is going to apply to you or be truly effective for you.  Some self-reflection is needed for you to be able to see what is truly missing from your life. Do you simply need to take a timeout to have a nice coffee by yourself every now and then?  Will buying that espresso machine make it more likely that you will take the time? (If the answer is yes - https://www.anthonysespresso.com/).  Or is it that even with time to yourself, you're having trouble relaxing and letting go of the day-to-day stress? If that is the case things we've all heard of like yoga, long walks outdoors, or even essential oils (https://www.botanicuniverse.com/) may help.  One thing you always have to consider is that something bigger or deeper may be going on. Whatever the case may be, it's important for you to take the time to figure out what is going on with you instead of jumping to find trend after trend of "self-care." It's ok to spend time figuring out the problem before you jump into a solution.  That's the only way we can really find the solution, right? Because, unfortunately, there is nothing that works for everyone. And the most important part of self-care IS giving yourself what you need.

Monday, October 29, 2018

How To Enjoy a Road Trip With Young Children

Written by a contributing writer 




Image Credit


The film RV, with Robin Williams, shows the trials and tribulations of a family road trip balanced with the ability for such trips to open our hearts and allow us to reconnect with our loved ones. Indeed, in such a fast-paced world, where we are all often immersed in our digital devices, tasks, and social obligations. The chance to take a breath and just be is a rarity today.

A road trip is a great way to reconnect with your family and have a wonderful adventure, yet “enjoying a road trip with young children” is not something many parents can relate to, as it can be a very testing situation that requires bucket loads of patience and planning in advance to keep young children entertained.

Of course, if you’re travelling with really young children the process tends to be a lot simpler as you can feed them up with some holle baby formula then let the natural motion of the car lull them into a deep sleep that will hopefully last most the way throughout the longer aspects of your driving days.

The thing is there’s always going to be a challenge when people are crammed into a small space for hours on end, with little to do, and when you throw impatient young children that keep asking the dreaded question “are we there yet”, it can be even more challenging.


Here are three tips to help you enjoy a road trip with young children:



1. STOP OFF ALONG THE WAY


It’s a good idea to stop off along the route, often, as this breaks down the drive for the driver (thus improving focus and concentration) but also gives your passengers a welcome break to stretch their legs and engage their minds.

Driving straight down the freeway might be the most efficient way to get to where you’re going, but breaking up the journey in bitesize chunks, with activities planned along the way can lead to a much more rewarding experience for everyone.


2. KEEP YOUR CHILDREN ENTERTAINED

You’ll want to ensure your kids have plenty of activities that don’t require adult participation - for instance, coloring, playing a game on a mobile device, or watching cartoons on Netflix. Just think about how impatient you get on a long-haul flight and come up with as many creative solutions as possible for your young children to keep themselves amused.


3. EAT OFTEN


One of the best ways to keep travel sickness at bay, which seems to be something many adults and young children suffer with - particularly when sitting in the back of the car, is to eat little and often throughout the journey.  It is also a good idea to have some mints to suck on or chewing gum to chew.

There are many pharmaceutical and herbal remedies to treat travel sickness, though this advice of eating often is one of the most useful. Furthermore, it can greatly improve mood as people tend to find themselves getting less patient and more irritable with hunger.