Friday, January 30, 2015

Time Saving Tips

Time is something most of us wish we had more of. We have a list of things we need to get done and by the end of the day, we notice that only half of them got done. So, here are some great time saving tips for you today.


Schedule: I've never been a big planner. I don't usually have lists of stuff that I have to do or time planned out for every little thing. But I do have a schedule for the week. Mine looks like this:

Sunday: Church from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm

Monday: Gym 5:30 am - 7:15 am
               Laundry day
               Grocery shopping
               Blog post

Tuesday: Cleaning day
                Crowdtap
                Running

Wednesday: Costco trip if needed
                     Blog Post
                     Running

Thursday: Any other errands
                 Crowdtap
                 
Friday: Running or gym 6:00 am- 7:00 am
            Play day
            Blog post 

Saturday: Free day to do what ever we need

So, as you can see, I only have a few things that are set in stone time-wise. This is mostly because I have kids so that are home with me so I have to be really flexible with when we go to the store or do our other things. As long as those things get done that day, the rest of my to-do list is on a "when I have time" basis.

Prioritize: What is really the most important thing to do that day? What ever it is, try to focus on that thing first, then go to the next thing. You'll notice that once you get yourself going and marking off your check list, it will be so much easier for you to keep going. "A body in motion, tends to stay in motion"
  When you're working on something that is on your schedule, don't try to multi task. It just ends up taking more time to get the important stuff done that way.

Organize: Make sure your house has a good organization plan so that when you're in a rush out the door, you always know where your keys and wallet are. You want to make sure your know where all of your stuff is, so when you need it, you can go grab it and get on the move again. When I'm worried about forgetting something I need to return, like a library book or a redbox movie, I put it in or by my purse so when I see it, I'll remember to go drop it off on my way to run my other errands.
I keep my purse in the same place all the time. When I need to remember to take something with me, it goes right by my purse.


Don't waste time: Duh, this is a no brainer. But it happens all the time. You think that you have two extra minutes before you have to leave so you can make that quick phone call. Before you know it, it's been 15 minutes and your friend is still telling you about the funny thing their kids did yesterday. Save those "to-dos" for last. If you leave for the bank two minutes early, you might get back early too and then you can make that phone call.

Pick and choose: Somedays we only have time for one thing. Don't agree to something you know you don't have time for. If someone wants to have a play date, and you already scheduled going to the library with your kids, try to schedule it on a day you know is slower than others. You can either do the play date, or go to the library.

Plan ahead: Kids are not planners. They don't have to go to the bathroom until they are in the car. They don't think they are hungry until we are heading out the door. So, remember to have them go to the bathroom first, grab a snack before you leave so that you don't have to go back in and grab one. Babies always have the big blow outs when you're not home. Plan to have that happen so you don't have to rush home and grab a diaper. I keep a diaper and an extra pair of clothes in my purse when I'm taking a baby around with me.
Everything I need to get on the go quickly is kept neatly in my purse.

Phone-less time: For me, this is when I'm most productive. We are living in a world that our phones run our lives. Every day, when my kids are doing quiet time, I have phone-less time. I keep my phone in a completely different place and I put it on silent so that I'm not tempted to go answer it or see who facebooked me. This is the time I get to work on things for me. My blog, Crowdtap, answering emails, editing pictures, etc. Then, when my check list is all marked off, I get to spend time on my phone, or reading a book or whatever else I want to do for "me time".

What are your favorite tips for saving time or getting things done? What is your biggest time waster?



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Francis Tea Party 2014



If you're in need of a fun party idea for a little girls birthday party, a bridal or baby shower, or just because it's nice to mix things up and throw a fun party. Heres one of my favorite ideas!

Last year, all the girls in my family had a huge tea party. I can not tell you how much fun this was! It was pretty quickly decided that this needed to be a yearly thing.


We all dressed up in fun hats and dresses and lots of jewelry. We had amazing decorations and some gorgeous tea sets.




We all brought a little something to add to the food. I brought some brownies, there was fruit, veggies, cookies, scones, little sandwiches, cupcakes, and of course a couple different kinds of juice for our "tea".




J loved the cupcakes, and dressing up like a princess.



Not to mention, this is one of the most beautiful places I know. My grandparents own this cabin and I've been so lucky to have grown up spending countless hours up there.

Wouldn't that be such a fun bridal shower? Imagine the possibilities for decorating. Thats half of the fun!

What are your favorite kind of parties to throw? 


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blogger men tell all

Found this fun link up today, and talked Trevon into helping me with it tonight. So here you go.





1. What is you favorite memory with your blogger?
    T: The evening I got to see her after two years apart (only hearing her voice 4 times in two years), I finally got to hear her in person, which she said "you're wearing that!?"
           J: haha in my defense, it was the middle of August, and he was wearing a thick sweater and jeans. It was hot. Also I've been known to say weird things when I'm nervous or super excited, and in this case it was both.

2. What is her best quality:
     T:She's not afraid to try new things. Like cooking, projects, new parenting things, etc. She's braver then she thinks.
     J: That's so nice. And true that I don't think I'm very brave

3. What is something you enjoy doing together?
   T: I would say just being able to talk about anything. Which can also be a problem when we do the other thing I like to do together, which is watching movies. Thats unfortunate.
    J: I do talk a lot. Sometimes I just get too excited to wait until the end of the movie to tell him something. Or sometimes it has something to do about the movie so it would only make sense to tell him right then. Or sometimes the movie gets boring...

4. What is your favorite post she's ever written?
   T: My wife blogs?
   J: Gee, thanks hun....

5. How much time do you think your wife blogs a week?
   T: Now that I know, 1.44000000000e+16 picoseconds.
   J: I don't even know what that means....


Monday, January 26, 2015

How Exercise Fits Into My LIfe



One thing I’ve always been grateful for and loved to do is exercise. God gave us these amazing bodies. He wants us to take care of them and He gave us those tools to do so. Some people struggle with working out though, and it’s not always easy to find time and energy to do it. Here are some ways that exercise fits into my life.


The reasons I exercise:

          I exercise because I love it. I love that it makes me feel stronger, happier, more focused, energetic, productive and calmer all day long. It helps me sleep better. It helps me concentrate on things that I need to do and that are important to me. 
       Exercise gives me time to reflect on my life and figure out the problems that I'm dealing with. It helps me come up with better solutions. It helps me feel better about my trials. 
     There are countless benefits to working out. Not all of them are health benefits (though so many are), and they differ for everyone. 



How:

           How I make time for exercise. I make time for it. I schedule it in so that my husband and kids know when I'm going and how long I'll be. This is what my schedule looks like:

Monday: Power pump class at the gym 5:30 am -7:15 am. 

Tuesday: Running at the clubhouse  8:00 pm -8:30 pm

Wednesday: Running 8:00 pm- 9:00 pm

Thursday: Take a break

Friday: Free work out (this just means I do what ever I feel like that morning.) 6:00 am-7:00 am

Saturday: possible run whenever I can 

Sunday: take a break 

            I know this schedule won't work for everyone. Everyone has different lives and different things going on during their day. Find time that you have even just a few minutes to squeeze something in. If you work full time, and don't have time after or before work to get a work out in, try doing something while you're at work. I know this sounds a little distracting from work, that's not what I mean. What I mean is that you can take a few minutes at lunch time, before you eat, to go do a couple sets of stairs. Do an Insanity block or two. Or you can take a sack lunch and go to a park where you can eat it and walk around. You'll be amazed at how much more alert you feel after and how much more work you can get done. 
            

            How I work out, what I do to get exercise. Sometimes it’s hard just to know what to do. You want to do something that is fun for you. As you can tell from my schedule, my thing is running.  I’ve always loved it. But, running isn’t for everyone. If you’re struggling to think of things to do, try a gym class. You learn the right way to do things. They are fun and you meet new people. After you’ve been there for a while, people notice when you’re gone, so you feel sort of responsible for going back.
            If a gym class isn’t your thing, try finding a new sports hobby. Try biking, running, a dance class, yoga, pilates, rock climbing, hiking, swimming…There are countless ideas. Or if you're working out during your lunch break, and don't have much time, find some quick, easy exercises to do at your desk. 

            How I keep it up.  I keep it up because I have a drive. I make goals for myself. I love to see improvement so it’s pretty easy for me to keep going back. Some days, just like everyone else, I just don’t feel like it. And that’s ok. It’s alright to take a day off. Don’t burn your self out; just don’t make a habit of being lazy.
            Find motivation. Just like you bribe your toddler with a prize when he/she fills out their potty chart, find something you want, make a goal chart and start filling it out. Get a work out buddy. Find someone who has the same goal and hold each other responsible for going everyday. Put a picture or an inspirational quote up to remind you why you want to work out.


What are some of your favorite tips to making exercise fit into your life? What gets you out the door when all you really want to do is eat ice cream in your p.j.s?




You may also like: Goal setting, 6 tips for motivation

Friday, January 23, 2015

"Come What May, And love it"

I'm so glad that it's time for this link up again! I love to take the time to review how things are going for me and to see how things are for everyone else. So thanks, Jenna and Kerry, for the chance to do that.



Here is an update on one of my goals for this year, being content. To me this means that I'm happy with how things are in my life. Or at least working towards being happy about them. I haven't felt like I've put a ton of effort into this goal yet but at the same time, I already feel improvement.
 Right now Trevon is his last semester at school. He has one night class and he has to put a lot of time into studying. This can be really hard for me because by the time we sit down to eat dinner, I'm just done for the day. I want to relax and read a book, or watch a movie, or go running. I don't want to have to worry about getting the kids ready for bed and listening to them yell for me for another hour. Most nights Trevon is home and can work on homework while I go running, and I'm very thankful for that. So I've been trying not to worry about it when he has to spend extra time at work or go back to school.

 When I do get to go running, I've been listening to some of the LDS General Conference talks instead of music. I wasn't sure how this was going to work because music usually pumps me up pretty good. I've found, though, that listening to the talks not only takes my mind off of how far I've gone, but it also teaches me something. It comforts me, it lightens my spirit and makes me feel loved and looked out for.

 There have been several talks that have stuck out to me and have helped me with the goal of being more content. The first one is Come What May, And Love It.  This talk was so great because Joseph B. Wirthlin taught about how things are going to happen in life that we don't always love. "Every day has peaks and shadows. And times when it seems that the birds don't sing and the bells don't ring. yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result." 

 He talks about how we need to learn to laugh, Seek for the eternal, Trust in God, and the principle of compensation. I think this talked helped me realize that the way we react to things can determine if you're happy or not. He says "Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?" then he goes on to say that instead of getting upset about things like this, we should learn to laugh about them. Every one can relate to at least one of those examples. I found myself this week laughing a little more when both girls were having melt downs. Or when I went over to our club house to work out and none of the equipment worked (we really have to get out HOA to replace some stuff!)

The other talk that I liked was President Monson's talk Finding Joy in the Journey. He talks about how we need to stop wishing for future things. I find myself doing that a lot. "I wish we owned a house." "I wish the girls would stop making such a mess." "I wish Trevon was done with school." The list goes on. But President Monson talked about how fast time goes and how instead of wishing the times that are hard were over, finding joy in them. 

This talk has been on my mind the last few days because I have been noticing just how fast my kids are growing. Jay is so smart, she's starting preschool soon. She is funny and beautiful and, for the most part, a really good girl. Mags is already 15 months old. She's getting such a great, happy personality and she's not scared of trying anything. I know it sounds cliche, but time really did go so fast. Sometimes I wish I could go back and have them be tiny again. But instead of dwelling on the past I need to enjoy where we are in life now. 

Life is all about making memories and learning new things. I've been trying to remember that and find fun things to teach and show the girls. I want them to experience things. I want to be a fun mom. (on the other hand I want my girls to know they can't get away with certain things). I need to let them be little and explore things out. 

So, anyway, I feel like this goal is going pretty well so far. I feel like I'm reminding my self more often that I need to slow down and let my kids enjoy life. I feel like I'm not doing a lot of wishing time to move faster. I feel more happy and content where I am as of right now.

What are some ways you remind yourself to slow down and enjoy the way things are in the moment?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

6 tips for motivation from a runner


I'm excited to be guest posting today. I love being able to do this and meet new people and share a part of myself with all of you. As the new year is here, and we are all making goals, I decided to share what I have learned from years of running experience. Hopefully it will help some of you with what ever you may need. Weather that's motivation or a question answered.

 Let me start out by telling you a little about my running experience. I've been a runner since I was about 12 years old. I loved it from the start. I wasn't very good at it right off the bat, but it was such a great way for me to release stress and anxiety. I ran on my school team in High School and then, after graduating I continued to run. I ran my first relay marathon in 2008. I ended up running 20 miles of it. Then I took a break. I would run every so often when I felt like it, but no more than 5 miles. (That sounds like a lot to most people, but when I was used to running 10ish miles a day, 5 was pretty mild). After having my first baby in 2011 I stopped running. As much as I needed the sanity that I got from it, I just didn't have time and energy for it. I started running again after my second baby in 2013 and I did a few races that next year. I did pretty well in them, and it gave me the running bug all over again. September of last year I was diagnosed with onset asthma and so, once again, I'm working towards building my milage and speed. Trying really hard to make it back to my three mile mark so that I can run in more races.

 As you can see I've had a pretty fare amount of experience in this. I wanted to help others who are just starting or who are struggling to get back to where they want to be. So, here are a few of my tips for runners.

 1. Find the right gear: First, the right shoes. There are some great running stores, who know that it's really hard to find the right pair of shoes if you haven't run in them, and they let you try them out at the store. I know that 26.2 is one store that lets you run on a treadmill with the shoes. Here in Utah, there is a fantastic, family owned running store called Runners Corner. I have been getting my shoes from them for years and they are fantastic at working with you and letting you try different shoes. I know that they are only in Utah though.
  Next thing you need to have is good, comfortable running clothes. I hate running in looses clothing. I just don't like the way long sleeves rub on my arms when they move. If you're not comfortable, you're not going to like running and won't be motivated to do so. Find clothes that fit, that you are comfortable in, that are breathable. Don't just find what you have in your closet that might work. Even down to the socks.
 If you're going to run with things like your phone, water, an inhaler etc...I suggest finding something to carry them in on your body so you don't have to hold them the whole time. My favorite thing to use is called a RooSport. You guys, I have three of these in my house! You clip them on your waste band. They clip on with a magnet. You forget that it's there. It doesn't move or get uncomfortable. It doesn't rub. It's the perfect size. I can fit my iphone with headphones in there. There are zipper pockets for things like money and keys. That comes in handy when you're running a race. If you're a runner, look into it. Seriously one of the best gifts I have ever gotten. You can get a roosport on Amazon here.

2. Find your perfect time of day: I say "your" time of day because everyone is different on this. I'm definitely a late morning-afternoon runner but because of my schedule I have to run first thing in the morning or after my kids go down for bed. That's really hard for me and I always talk to my husband about how much I wish I could run in the afternoon. He, on the other hand, is a morning person for work outs. If he waits to work out he feels like he's waisted a whole day. Every one is different, find what works for you. Even if that means running with your kids in tow or running on your lunch break. Find a time that you know you'll go running.

3. Set goals: They don't have to be goals like "I'm going to run a marathon". Just make small goals for yourself. Measurable goals.  Goals like "I'm going to run for 10 minutes today." or "I'm going to go running three times this week." Those are goals that you're going to keep because you can see the progress and you won't feel like you're working for nothing.
  With those goals, track them. Find an app, make yourself a sticker chart. Some how make yourself accountable for those goals. One of my favorite ways to help me stick to my goals is to tell someone about it. Someone who cares and who will be excited about it for you. Someone who will ask you once in a while how it's going. If you can't think of someone who would do that for you, email me. Seriously, I will be your cheerleader.

4. Warm up: warming up and stretching were really hard for me to do at the beginning. I felt like I could do better by saving my energy and not warming up. But it's been proven to help. And It would have saved me a lot of trouble with injury. So just do it. It's worth it.


 5. Listen to your body: This doesn't mean that every time your mind says that it's too tired to run, you don't go. This means when you're hurting and you need to give yourself a recovery day, do it. Again, I would have saved so much trouble with injuries in high school if I'd learned that the first time. You don't want shin splints, and you do Not want a stress fracture. It's not fun to be in that much pain. So when you feel your body getting really worn down, give yourself a day or two. No more than that. Ice your legs, stretch, relax and get better so that you can preform better. (That doesn't include your muscles being sore from the day before. There's a difference).

6. Find motivation: I have a couple of favorite quotes about running. I don't know who said either of them but they are both exactly how I think every runner feels. The first one is "If you would have went running when you first started thinking about it, you'd be back by now." The other one is "The hardest step for a runner is the first one out the front door." Because these are both true, you need some kind of motivation to push you along. Find a running buddy, Find some good pump music. Sometimes listening to a book on tape helps more than music.  What ever you do, don't get lazy and don't give up. Keep going, because if you stop, you might not start again.
  Here is a short, kind of funny, story about what motivated me in high school. As I mentioned before, I ran off of stress and anxiety. One of my coaches caught on to this. He noticed that I did a lot better in my races if there was something driving me. I was just coming off of a back injury and I wanted, so bad, to run the 800 meeter (2 laps around the track). He told me that because I had been injured they weren't going to put me in that race, just a few races that would keep me moving but not pushing too hard. I was livid. I'd been working so hard to get back and they weren't going to let me run my race. He let that brew inside me for an hour or so and then came and said that I could run it, if I promised to PR (personal record). I promised him that, and I did it. I cut almost 7 seconds off of my time that day. After a season of this happening, I realized he was sometimes doing it on purpose. It worked. It drove me further. So if it helps you to think of all the things that make you mad, do it. Run all of those things off until you feel like they are no longer problems. I'm telling you, when you're done running, you'll feel that light feeling, the happy runners high everyone talks about.

I'm always looking for new running gear, what are some of your favorite things to run with? Anyone have a great running playlist? Please share below. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Love story: How we met

How We Met

When I was about to start high school, I remember being so worried about how I was going to make it to all of my classes on time because I thought the school was so big. I remember talking to my dad about how big and crowded it was. He laughed and told me "just find the tallest guy you can and follow him down the hall." I'm pretty sure he was mostly joking. 
  I went to school the next day and was on my way to my second class. Not paying attention to anything except my schedule. I happened to look up and see some guy waving at me. I hadn't ever met the guy and thought it was super weird that he would wave at me, but I waved back and went on to my class.
  When the bell rang, I started off to my third class. Walking back down the hall, I saw the kid again and he waved. I started to think he was stalking me. So I just smiled and walked on. Then at lunch time I saw the kid one more time, he didn't wave but he was walking the same way I was. 
  This went on for a couple of days. I started thinking it was super weird. So I told my sister's boyfriend (now husband) about it. He laughed and I didn't understand why he was laughing. Then he pointed out a group of three guys talking to each other and asked if it was them. I told him it was. It wasn't one guy stalking me. It was three different guys being friendly...and possibly thinking I was my sister since they knew her first. 

  After he took me to meet them, we because good friends. Tavis was a year older than me, he was also Trevon's brother (who was the first guy that waved at me.) The third wasn't even related, although he looks like he could be for sure. His name is Jason and he was Trevon's best friend. 
  That's how Trevon and I met. We hung out all through high school. We had all the same friends. And now we have some really fun stories to talk about because we were friends for so long. 
  I don't think my dad realized when he told me to find the tallest guy to follow around I'd take it seriously for the rest of eternity. (Trevon is 6'3" and I'm 5'2") 
 
this picture is clearly not one from when we met but it's one of my favorite pictures of us. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

5 Do's of Date Night: a guest post

I'm excited to be linking up with Kendra from Open Spaces Blog for a guest post again today. I really like what Angie from Chasing My Halo has to say about dating. I know that Trevon and I try really hard to plan date nights, and have been doing better lately, but it's tricky to plan around schedules, kids, budge, etc. So here are a few helpful hints from Angie about all of that. 

This is a guest post written by Angie from Chasing My Halo.
With February quickly approaching it starts to happen: Love is in the air! Pinterest abounds with recipes, gift ideas, crafts, and romantic sentiments to make Valentine's Day special. I'm the first to jump on Cupid's wagon, but I also try to remember that romance is a year round goal that doesn't always mean flowers and candy. My marriage is only a little over two years, but some of the best advice we've been given is to make space for date night. It sounds so easy and a little trivial compared to all the harder things in marriage, but it's the smallest things that can make the biggest difference! Here are my 5 Do's of Date Night.
Make it a priority 
This is the hardest part for us. We put it in our calendar, but then other things come up that seem more important and it gets cancelled. We know some couples that pick a certain day of the week and set it in stone. That is a great way of making it a priority, but it's just not practical for us. We will check our schedule for the upcoming week and set one night (or day) aside that works best depending on that week. The important part is keeping it even when last-minute things come up that aren't of vital importance. I've also heard that making it a habit pre-kids helps for when it gets even harder to get away after kids!
Make it persistent 
Every.single.week. Missed weeks start to accumulate, and before you know it it's been months since good quality time with each other.

Make it practical 
Every couple is in a different situation. Kids, finances, health, and all sorts of things come into play and it is not always possible to have an extravagant night out week after week. A Fresh Start on a Budget has a GREAT list of 50 inexpensive date ideas. If its been an exhausting week have a night in! Many of our date nights are pretty chill, but even if it's dinner in with movie the point is to make time for just each other.
Make it pleasurable 
This is kind of a given, but have fun with it and change it up! You want this to be something you look forward to week after week. Step outside the routine and experience something new with each other. Life hands out enough lemons as is so being able to go to each other as a place of refuge and laughter is all-important!
Make it unplugged
Last but definitely not least! It is so irritating when we are out and checking our phones. We have to be super intentional about turning off our devices because it's second nature at this point to constantly check in. Force yourself to make eye contact and have real conversation. Your social networks will still be there at the end of the date I promise!
So this season why not save all those Valentine's Day ideas you pinned and use them year round? You may even find that romance is even sweeter when it's not on February 14th ;-).

Friday, January 16, 2015

11 kid approved activities




When it's bad weather and you have run out of things to entertain your kids with, what do you do? This time of year, it's a pretty frequent thing that this happens. They get board of the same toys. They only last so long doing the same things. The start to do things they know are no-no's because they have nothing else to do and they get restless. And so does Mom.
 Some days, my kids burn through all of our fun inside ideas so fast that by 11:00, they are ready for lunch. It's too cold and wet to go out and play for very long. So we came up with a few, fresh ideas that we don't do very often.


  • Throw a toy a birthday party: This is a fun one. We don't do it very often, but when we do it's always a special day. I let my daughter pick out which toy's "birthday" it is. We make a special treat. I let her help me plan one fun thing to do for the party. Most of the time, it's watch an extra movie. I usually try to have her pick out of short movies just because I don't like her watching a lot of TV and movies have become her quiet time activity as well. Sometimes we even decorate and make party hats. 

  • Make a collage together: This can be a mess, and more work than others. But it's fun to let them pick out the pictures, you do the cutting and help glue and then they can put their picture on the fridge or in their room. For holidays, it might even be fun to frame it and have it as part of your decorations. 


  • Pull out old toys: Whether it's a toy that they haven't played with in a while, or one of your old toys that you still have, this is a big hit. It's like Christmas all over for them. I have a few dolls and toys that were mine when I was little that are still in really good condition. I make sure to remind the girls that these are Mommy's very special toys and they have to be careful with them. And most of the time they are. If they start to get too rough with them, they know the toys will be taken away. 

(We don't normally play in our room but I was in the middle of cleaning this day.)

  • Dance: Sometimes we all just need to get moving. I have a ton of kid music that I got growing up. There are nursery rhymes, abc's, songs about tying your shoes, you name it. There's even a song about cleaning up called "gunny bag". My girls love to dance and be silly to them. And it's good exercise. But even if you don't have kid music, look some up on your phone. Find a disney station on Pandora or Spodify and listen to that for a little while. Kids love music that they recognize! 

  • Bake: Let them be messy. Teach them how to make something simple. Then take it to a neighbor and doorbell ditch your treats. It teaches kids some really good lessons on serving others. As well as a home making skill that they can use their whole lives. (I have to admit, it gives me anxiety to bake with my kids. Even to have them help with dinner. I worry about things not turning out right or about the big mess I'll have to clean up. That being said, I know it's a good skill to learn, so I try to grit my teeth and go with it.)
  • Clean: Kind of like baking, cleaning is a skill that everyone needs to have. And who doesn't want help cleaning the house? Find easy chores for the kids to do and have them go at it. Don't worry if it's not being done perfectly. They are still learning. My daughter loves to wipe down the walls and to dust. So while I'm vacuuming the floor or cleaning the bathroom, she gets a Lysol wipe, or a squirt bottle with water in it and a rag, and she goes to town. She would do that all day if I'd let her. 
  • Teach them something new: Turn an "I'm bored" moment into a learning moment. My daughter has always loved learning her letters. So when we have nothing else to do, I pull out some paper and write letters on it and have her trace them. Sometimes she does really good and sometimes she needs more help. But it's always good to keep her busy and teach her that learning can be fun. Hopefully she will learn that before she starts school so that she's excited about starting school. 
  • Read-a-thon: This works better with older kids. Remember those days at school when we could go in PJs and a snack and read for the last hour or so of school? My sister and I used to make tents out or our beds and blankets and we would have read-a-thons at home. My girls don't ready yet, but I can read to them. Or they can look at their favorite books while I get a little reading of my own in. 
  • Bubble bath: When we are having a really slow day and it's cold out side, I let them just get in the bath. It feels nice, it warms them up, it kills some time, and I don't have to do it before bed. 
  • Exercise: Hold an exercise class for your kids. Turn on some upbeat music and teach them how to do jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, run in place, stretch, anything you can think of. It's a good thing for kids to learn. Exercising is so good for kids, and since they cant go out and run around, it's a good way to get their energy out. 
  • Kids spa day: Give your girls a pedicure. Give the boys a foot rub. Rub them up with lotion, paint their toes, give them a hand massage. Make them feel relaxed, just like you would feel at the spa. (wouldn't that be nice right now?) 

These are just a few of the things we like to do when we have nothing else to do. What are some of your go-to's when your kids get restless and bored?  Everyone could use some more ideas, so share away! 


linked up today with Health, Love & Fire

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

20 minute pajama pants

Do you ever get tired of spending tons of money on kids clothes that they grow out of in a month? I do. I feel like the prices can be so ridiculous for something they are only going to wear for a couple of months.   I decided to try to make pajama pants, instead of buy some. It was something I learned from my grandma and, although I hadn't done much sewing since then, I needed to try my sewing machine out. So I started looking on pinterest for an easy pattern and I found a patternless pajama pant tutorial and decided to try it out. (the link isn't working for the pattern I found, other wise I'd share that.)

First, you need about 1 1/2 yards of fabric (I used flannel because its super soft and warm), 1 yard of 3/4" to 1" elastic, old pj pants, scissors,  thread, sewing machine.

Fold your fabric in half long ways. Fold the old pj pants in half and lay them down on the fabric so that the legs of the pants are on the fold. (You could also fold your fabric in half, long ways, again and then only cut once.)
Some of the tutorials I have found say to cut around the pants but I felt better tracing them first. These pants are a little short but currently fit Ladie so I added 4" to the bottom. Be sure to also add about 1/2" to the side for seams. After tracing the pants twice (one for each leg), I cut them out using a rotary cutter. 

You should have two shapes like this. 


Turn the legs inside out and sew a straight line from the bottom of the pants to the crotch on both legs.

Turn one leg right side out and put it inside the other leg. The two right sides will be touching.


Line the seams up and pin the crotch area like this:


Sew a line from the top of the pants, down to the other seam. I'd double stitch both sides because this area gets a lot of wear. Then turn the pants inside out. 


Now you're going to hem it. Fold the bottom up about 1/2-3/4" and press it so that it will sew a little straighter. 

Next is the waist band. Fold over about 1", maybe a little more than that and press it. Sew a straight seam all the way around. Leave about a 2" gap where you can put the elastic in. 


To put the elastic in, put a safety pin on one end of the elastic, and insert it into one side of the waste band. Ease it all the way through until the it pulls through the other end. Sew the two ends of elastic together and cut the excess off. Then, to finish the pants, sew the hole closed. 




There you have it. Pajama pants, with out a pattern, in around 20 minutes. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

DIY Purse Organizer

A couple of weeks ago, I got a new purse. I wanted something that I could use as a diaper bag too, but not something huge like a lot of purses are now days. I've mentioned before, I'm not one for accessories and I've never liked to carry a purse. But, I can tell you now that I like carrying a purse way more than a diaper bag. I feel like diaper bags are so bulky and I never want to put my hand in there because of all the nasty crumbs and crap you feel...anyway. So I got this new purse and I'm loving it. The only problem was is that it didn't have a lot of organization. Then  I saw this on Studio 5. Looked super easy, so I thought I'd give it a try.

So, here is how you make it. You guys, it took me about 10 minutes. That's it. Anyone who has a sewing machine can make this.


Start with a placemat. On studio 5, they say you want one that's cloth but thats thick enough that when you fold it up and let go, it falls back into place. I had this old placemat, that I'd never used. 


You fold it in thirds and then pin it in the middle, that's where you're fold seam is going to be.

Then you're going to measure things like your phone, pens, hand sanitizer..anything that you are going to put in the organizer. 

To measure, just lay the item on the placemat and put a pin where you want another seam. On the show, they mention that you can also put a piece of painters tape down the length of the organizer, that will help you sew a straight line the whole way down.

Once all of the pockets are marked, sew the sides down and then you just sew straight lines where you've measured. You'll end up with something like this. 


I did a pocket for my phone, 2 pens and gum or sanitizer on one side and one big pocket on the other side for an extra diaper or check book or my wallet. 

I think it turned out pretty great and it was super easy. Like I said, it only took me about ten minutes. It fits great in my bag. I'm sure that this is going to be something that I make over and over for gifts or for other bags or just to switch things up when I want. 

What is your least favorite thing about a disorganized bag? What would you put in your organizer?



Friday, January 9, 2015

Eat: book review

I've been part of a group called blogging for books for a little while now, I love doing it, because who doesn't love free books? This time I got a book called Eat by Nigel Slater. It's a cook book that has some really great, easy recipes in it.


Most of the recipes in it seemed a little intimidating at first because they have ingredients that I don't ever use and some I've never heard of. But it turned out to have some really quick dinner ideas that are super easy.

So I wanted to share this recipe with you. I made it for dinner last night and it was a pretty good dinner. My kids loved it and we didn't even have left overs.

Light Chicken Ragu
feeds 2 

What you need:
14 oz chicken breast
2 cloves Garlic
Green onion
1 Tbs lemon thyme
2 Tbs parsley
salt and pepper
2 Tbs flour.
1 2/3 cup chicken stock
fresh lemon juice
4 ounces fettuccine

Cut the chicken in to small pieces and brown in a little butter or olive oil. Slice onion and garlic and add as the chicken browns. Stir in thyme, parsley and a little salt and pepper and flour. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add chicken stock. Let simmer for 15 minutes stirring regularly. Check the seasoning and adjust where needed. finish with a squeeze of lemon.
Cook 4 ounces of pasta (I used regular spaghetti because thats what we had but it would probably be better with a little thicker noodle like fettuccine.) When it's cooked, drain the pasta and add the sauce.
I sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on it. You can't do pasta with out it. Next time I think I'd add just a little cream to the sauce to make it just a little creamier than it turned out. 

What I liked about this recipe, as well as some of the others I tried from this book, is that it was super easy to make. It didn't take much time. And, the flavors were really fresh and light and almost summery.

There are still a ton of recipes that I haven't tried, and honestly some I know I wont try because I just don't like fish. But this has turned out to be a pretty good cook book. It's a good one for someone who needs some new ideas in the kitchen.
If you're interested in this book, go here for more info.

What are your go to recipes? How do you make them different when you need a change?


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Currently: January

It's time for our currently link up today. I love being able to do this link up with Anne and Jenna. It's always fun to get a little update from everyone and to share what I've been up to as well. So here is the Currently link up for January:

Planning: I'm planning lots of projects to work on with my new sewing machine. Remember I'd wish-listed this in November?  Well, Santa delivered this year. And so you guys will be getting lots of fun how to's and project updates in the next coming months.


Baking: Sadly, I'm not baking anything. It would be nice to have some fresh baked...somethings, but we have been battling sore throats, fevers and aches at our house and that doesn't leave a lot of room for baking. Hopefully soon we will have a little more time for that. 

Wearing: I've never been one for accessories. I always just felt they got in the way. But, I got 3 different infinity scarves for Christmas and I have been wearing them a lot, and actually loving them. I don't usually like to have tons of extra stuff to carry around where ever I go, but I'm growing to like the whole accessorizing and dressing up thing a little more now and then. And these scarves are really great to make a simple outfit look a little more classy and cozy. 

Hoping: I'm hoping that this little blog of mine is helping someone somewhere. I'm hoping that people look forward to reading it and that it's not just another blog in the internet world. I'm hoping to make more friends from this and to share more stories and help someone where I can. 
I'm also hoping no one else gets sick in our family. It's no fun. 

Resolving: You can look here for my list of goals for this year. 


Choose one of the topics above and comment what you're currently planning/baking/wearing/hoping/resolving. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Goal Setting: keeping your goals


Do any of you have a hard time sticking to goals once you have made them? It's easy to say you have a goal to do something, but it's a totally different thing to actually make it to your goal. Today I'm going to share a few tips on goal setting and keeping. So lets jump right in.


1. Reminders:  One thing that helps me remember my goals is to put sticky notes up with encouraging things written on them.  That way, when I'm feeling a little weak in what ever area I'm working in, I see a sticky note and it reminds me to keep at it. 



2. Tell someone: I know that if I tell Trev or one of my cousins or someone about a goal that I have, I'm way more likely to follow through because I'm more accountable for it. One thing I do when I'm planning on going running in the morning, is put my running clothes and shoes out so I can see them, and Trevon can see them. I'm more likely to actually go running that way because Trevon knows, the night before, that I'm going to go. And if I don't go, he's going to ask me about it. I'm also a pretty competitive person, and pretty stubborn. So if I tell someone that I have a goal to run a race or to make a quilt or, anything else really, I can't not do it and then have them bring it up. I have to prove that I followed through with things. 
Telling people also gives you cheerleaders. The more you tell, the more people you have that will celebrate with you when you reach the goal. It might also encourage others to join you. I had a goal of running a half marathon, I told my cousin and she wanted to do it too. So for a summer we worked together, we ran at least once a day until we could run far enough that we felt confident entering. We ended up running much more than a half marathon, but thats a story for another day. 

3. Incentives: Give yourself one incentive for each goal you accomplish. Just like your boss would give you an incentive for making a goal at work, or the incentive you gave your 3 year old for pooping on the toilet, give yourself something for all the work you're putting into you goal. For me, the incentive for running is that I will buy myself a new pair of running shorts. (Mine are all pretty old and getting worn out) but I have to prove to myself that i deserve them first. 

4. Start small:  Don't burn yourself out. In high school I did this way too often. I'd injure myself because I'd push to hard for too long and not listen to my body. I think this is the same with anything though, not just running or sports. My goal for growing my blog isn't going to get my anywhere if I only focus on the big things first. I have to focus on getting more readers, comments, etc before I can have a goal of making money or anything like that on for the blog.  If I focused only on the money I'd be too overwhelmed to think about what kind of content my readers will enjoy. (Since that's what matters anyway). 

5. Big picture: When you start to get discouraged, remind yourself to step back and remember why you made this goal in the first place. It's ok to have a few off days here and there, but don't lose sight of what you're working for. When there is a set back, pick back up where you started and push through it.

What do you do to help you or your children keep on track with your goals?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My 2015 Goals


Happy New Year, I hope you all had a fun, safe holiday. We had a very quiet holiday at home. Our furnace and car were both having problems so we spent the day fixing them.  Then, by night, we were worn out enough to put the kids to bed and relax for the rest of the evening.

I'm not one for new years resolutions. I think it's mostly just the word "resolution".  It feels so much more definite than a goal. A goal a desired result that you work towards. It gives you a little wiggle room so that if you miss a day or mess up once, you can try again. I feel like thats one reason people don't keep resolutions, if they mess up they feel they can't go back.
So anyway, this year I'm not making resolutions, I'm making a few goals to work towards in hopes that next year I will be better in these areas of life.

First, I've been an avid runner since I was twelve. After having kids, I got back into "race shape" and did really well in a couple of races. Then in September I was diagnosed with onset asthma. Boo to that. I had an allergic reaction to something and that's what set it off. So since then I haven't run more than a mile and a half. Which is still good, but it won't get me doing any races. So my first goal this year is to get back into "race shape". I want to find a fun 5k that has a good cause and run in it.
I know a lot of people have goals for getting in shape. If you want to be a runner, like me, I'll be posting tips and results and what not for running, so stay tuned.

My next goal this year is to build this little blog. I only started a couple of months ago, and I feel like things are going well. I'm enjoying sharing my thoughts and ideas. And I really enjoy when I get your comments back and hear your ideas. I love making new friends through this blog.  I hope everyone will help me grow this blog. I'm going to be working on doing more scheduled post and possibly some give aways and other things. So I hope those of you who are regular readers will enjoy coming back and bringing your friends with you.

My last goal for 2015 is to be more content. I have a hard time when I don't feel like I'm making progress. When I get stuck in a rut like that I start to panic and find some kind of new hobby or think about going back to school or getting a job. The truth is that I do love being a stay at home mom. And I've never liked the idea of sending my kids to a day care while I go to work. That's just the way I am. I have huge trust issues and all. Any way, I'm going to work on being happier with where I am in life and not feel like I'm so far behind or in such a hard spot. Because I think that there are hard things no matter what part of life you're in.

Share with me what your goals and resolutions are. Or if you have tips to help me along the way with my goals, please share those too!