Thriving Thursday

Thriving Thursday Saving Money

 

Welcome to the inaugural Thriving Thursday! This idea came about when I started thinking about resolutions for 2019 and how I wanted to talk about some things that have worked for me in the past, mistakes I’ve learned from, and maybe offer some help/direction for anyone else looking to make positive changes this year! Each Thursday in January, I will be discussing some of my resolutions as well as tips and tricks to help you (if you’ve made similar ones) and also check in throughout the year to keep up with progress!

Among the goals I have set for myself for the next twelve months was to consistently save money and cut down needless spending. Last year, I gave it a try and I feel like I did A LOT better than in years past, but there’s always room for improvement.

In December 2017, I found a year-long savings plan that would help me save money throughout the year without making the BIG deposits during the most expensive months of the year (November and December).

I actually did pretty well with this! That is, until the summer.

I decided not to work during the summer months at the Mother’s Day Out program where I teach during the school year because I wanted to be able to have the freedom to go and do things with my kiddos/visit with family as much as possible. It was a fun summer, but I felt the pinch of my purse strings quite a bit.

This year, however, I’m determined to complete this challenge!

Here is my savings plan:

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I know it doesn’t seem like much, considering what most households are able to save with two, full-time incomes, however for a stay-at-home-mom like myself, this is will come in very handy!

Do you have a money saving plan? What are some resources you use? Share in the comments below!

Try It Tuesday

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A few weeks ago, I had a horrible ache in my shoulder. I chalked it up to stress of the holiday season and did everything I could work the tension out of my shoulder. Nothing really helped. Cut to me at Walmart, looking for an Epsom salt soak in the bath soap aisle and I stumbled across this:

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Intrigued, I decided to buy it and see if it could help my aching muscles.

That night when I took a shower, I remember this and squirted a little into my palm and instantly I felt the heat! I started massaging it into my shoulder and it felt SOOO good!

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The heat didn’t last very long, so I used it two more times and by the time I got out of the shower, my shoulder felt the best it had in DAYS! I think this would be great for anyone with arthritis or even just for an at-home pedicure!

 

Have you ever tried this? What did you think?

Mommy Monday

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Hey Mommas! How was your winter break? I’m sure it started out like most of ours: excited for the fun times ahead, filled with hope that everyone would get along/decorate those gingerbread houses with Joanna Gaines-like artistry, and everyone gathered around the table perfectly dressed and coiffed.

Then, Day Two came.

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I can relate.

You know who else can? The women over at WhatsUpMoms! Check out this hilarious video they made, describing exactly what winter break is like.

 

Solidarity, Mommas. Its almost over.

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Mommy Monday

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Well, Momma, we survived Thanksgiving! Now the holiday season has kicked into full gear and we’re only four days away from December. I know, I get a little {more} panicky and anxiety-ridden during this time, too.

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Don’t freak out! Its going to be okay. We just have to be sure to take care of ourselves even more over the next few weeks. Don’t know where to start? I have a some great tips that have helped me and a few that I’m going to try this year as well!

 

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Write It Down

I love writing lists. If I can write down all the things that I need to get done, with dates attached to them, it helps me to calm down because I can see that I actually have time to do them all. And if I don’t then I…

 

Ask For Help/Delegate

Repeat after me: “I do not have to do it all.” You do not have to wrap every single present yourself. You do not have to make every person in your family a handmade gift. You do not have to go shopping for every person either. You know that list you made? Cut it in half and give some of it to your husband or kids! If that doesn’t work for you, then try my next tip!

 

Just Say No

December is a crazy-busy month just with the holidays. But then throw in all the “extras”–Christmas pageants, Santa-related events, parties–and its just gets too hectic. Think about the traditions and events that are important to you and your family and then forget about the rest. If an event is going to cause you more stress and anxiety by going then DO. NOT. GO.

 

Eat Right

Some of my favorite foods come around this time of year and I am already ready to eat copious amounts of them. Having said that, something I’ve found is if I eat too many sweets I end up feeling sluggish, cranky, and have zero motivation. Mix that with the shorter amount of sunlight and its a recipe for seasonal affective disorder. A simple rule I follow when at parties and potlucks is eating what only comes around in December. For example, my mom makes amazing cookies, but she makes them at other times throughout the year and not just at Christmas so I usually skip those at the holidays. But her rum cake? She only makes that around Christmas/New Year’s so you better believe I’m digging into that! I also try to eat as healthily as I can about 80% of the time so the other 20% I can indulge. Its a great way to take care of my basic nutritional needs while also having some wiggle room.

 

Take a Vitamin

Its no secret that stress can lower your immune system, but mix that with the chilly weather and being cooped up indoors most of the day and you’ve got all the ingredients for catching a cold. Talk with your doctor about what supplements could be good for keeping your immune system in fighting shape! Around this time of year, I take a B-vitamin supplement in the mornings to help me have energy and keep the sickness away!

 

Slow Down

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can make a person feel like they’re constantly running. When we do this, we end up feeling spread too thin, getting irritable, and we start to resemble The Grinch. Slow down. Schedule breaks. How do you like to recharge your batteries? Do you like taking bubbles baths? Maybe watching a cheesy Hallmark movie is your bag. Or maybe you feel better after talking with your bestie. Whatever it is that you do to relax, be sure you do it!

 

What about you? What are some things you do around this time of year to make sure you’re not feeling frazzled? Share in the comments below!

 

 

I Went To Disney With Small Kids, Here’s What I Learned…

Last week, Huff the Hubs, the kids, and my in-laws went to Disney World. It was a magical (and exhausting) time! I tried to prepare for the trip as best I could, knowing that I’d basically have to bring our entire house with us and somehow make it fit onto a stroller while we walked around the parks.

A lot of knowledge gained through a Disney vacation is acquired through trial and error. So I’m going to share my accomplishments and failures so you can have the best Disney vacay ever!

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Make “Park Bags” In Advance

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Listen to me: you are going to want to fall into bed AS SOON as you get back to the hotel. You are not going to want to reorganize a diaper bag/backpack when your back is aching and you have the stench of sweat and sunblock. Plan ahead! I got 2-gallon zip top bags and filled them with what I thought we would need while we were at the park: diapers, baby wipes, a change of clothes for each kid, medications (like Tylenol, Benadryl etc.), and whatever else you think you may need.

 

Buy “Souvenirs” For The Kids Before You Leave

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to buy a “Walt Disney World” magnet before you go. What I’m saying is, your kids will ask for everything–and I mean eeeeeverything–in sight while you’re at the parks to the point where you will start trying to hide their eyes from the souvenir peddlers on the street because they will be like flies on honey with that stuff. My advice is: go to Dollar Tree and buy a few little figures of Mickey and pals to hand to your little ones when they want something. Its cheaper, its faster, and they have something in their hands to keep them busy during those long waits in ride lines. Also, if you plan on staying until the fireworks show, grab a bunch of glow sticks while you’re at DT! They even have Disney-themed ones! Such a money-saver (the glow stuff at DW was like $12 and up!) and you can splurge on something else later!

 

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

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I didn’t really drink water while we were there (unless I got it at the resort because, filtered water). Huff the Hubs had a Camelbak, but he used tap water and it was just too funky-tasting for me. Plus, I needed caffeine because I was sooooo sleep-deprived. But, I should’ve just sucked it up and drank the funk water. Or bought a 24-pack of water bottles and taken those to the park. I ended up get a heat rash because I was under hydrated. Its the worst. Don’t be like me. Just drink some water every hour to avoid dehydration and all the crappy symptoms.

 

Plan Rest Days

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If I could do it over again, I would’ve planned two extra days just so we’d have time to rest at the hotel in between going to the parks. We should’ve done a rest day every other day, but we only had a limited time and limited budget. Next time, though, we’re splurging for more days so we can rest and not be so crabby/sleep-deprived.

 

Pack Snacks 

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Even if you’re doing the Disney Dining Plan, you’re going to want to pack snacks for your kids. You’re not going to want to spend your precious snack credits on a Danimals yogurt you could get at home–you’re going to want to use those for a Mickey-shaped cake pop, yo! Go Go Squeeze applesauce pouches, Goldfish crackers (they even have Mickey Mouse-shaped ones!), and peanut butter crackers were our saving graces during this trip.

 

DO NOT JUST “WING IT”

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Before we left, I kept seeing all these posts about planning your Disney World day. I was like, “I’m not going to plan out every second of our day! I just want it to be a leisurely thing.”

That was the dumbest decision I have ever made, second only to the time I decided to have my baby shower TWO days after giving birth.

You NEED a plan. You need to know who wants to ride what, which characters are where, and how you’re going to execute all of it. I though it would take the fun out of it, but as it turns out, having a plan makes things run so much smoother and you’ll be a lot less stressed if you do.

 

Have you ever been to Disney World/Disneyland with little ones? What advice would you add to the list? Share in the comments below!

Fan Girl Friday!

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Since today is our last day at Disney, what better way to celebrate our day than with a House of Mouse-themed Fan Girl Friday?

I know Maleficent is a villain, but she’s pretty bad-a. Show your love for the bewitchingly bad fairy with this awesome tee from Hot Topic!

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Y’all, I’m not much of a jewelry girl. I wear a few rings and a necklace every now and then. But OH. MY. SEAS. I want this ring!

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This 3-D ring is an exact replica of Triton’s castle from The Little Mermaid covered in blue and purple glitter!

 

Of all the Disney secondary characters, I feel like Edna Mode from The Incredibles is the most underrated and under-represented! She’s smart, creative, and has some wicked one-liners! Like this one featured on a tee!

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That chick is wise, too! And, as expected, this shirt does NOT come with a cape!

 

Not all Disney gear has to be a t-shirt. Check out this cah-yoot skirt, straight in from the street markets of Agrabah!

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The border on the skirt has silhouettes of your favorite characters and views from Aladdin! Street rat? Nah, girl. Street chic.

 

OH. EM. SQUEE. I seriously think I may order this to hold one of our photos in from Orlando!

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This Mickey “heart hands” frame holds a 3 by 4 1/2 inch photo–perfect for those pics from Splash Mountain or The Haunted Mansion!