Mommy Monday

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‘Tis the season for resolutions!

I’m going to lose twenty pounds!

I’m FINALLY going to finish my novel!

This is the year I take that European vacation! 

Resolutions are different for each person. However, I feel like there are a few resolutions that us moms desperately need to embrace.

  1. Exercise…and not just your body.

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Don’t get me wrong, being a SAHM is very rewarding, but some days when you’ve watched Frozen for the 900th time or read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? until your own voice is annoying you, you end the day feeling like you’ve had no intellectual stimulation at all. It’s so very important for you to exercise your mind! PICK UP A BOOK. Do a crossword puzzle. Download a trivia app or Tangrams! There’s even a study that suggests video games can help boost your memory and mental fitness! Watch a documentary on PBS/Netflix/Hulu or pop in your headphones and listen to a TED Talk. Do SOMETHING that gets your neurons firing. Even if you’re only able to do this once or twice a week, you need that time.

 

  1. Drink more water.

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Seriously. Dehydration is a serious energy and mood-sucker. If you’re dehydrated, your heart has to work overtime—meaning you can do a lot less physically—and you can get super cranky. Who has time for all that when you’ve got ankle biters to chase? Sip some agua and thank me later!

 

  1. Keep your kid’s bedtime firm and send them to dreamland EARLY.

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Kids that go to bed at a set time each night = more time for you to do what you want. Not only that, but research has shown that kids who go to bed at the same time each night (and earlier than their parents) are more physically fit, all-around healthier, and have better behavior than those who burn the midnight oil. Plus, a recent study came to the conclusion that earlier bedtimes for the kiddos affects mom’s mental health in a positive way!

 

  1. Stop Unnecessary Scrolling!

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Facebook.

Twitter.

Instagram.

Pinterest.

The various social media outlets are great for keeping in touch with folks, learning new things, and keeping up with news. They’re also huge time-sucks that can waste A LOT of your day if you let them. I get it; when the kids won’t stop talking about Minecraft or you’re eating lunch or the kids are playing outside, it’s so tempting to just open up Facebook on your phone and start scrolling. I totally understand and I’m guilty of it too. But this is a habit we need to try and break. Our kids deserve so much more than the back of our phones. Not only that, but social media can be addicting and its hurting our health. Seriously. Take a gander and this article from Forbes as well as this one.

 

  1. Be Grateful

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As SAHMs, we can sometimes get bogged down by the “woe is me” syndrome: “I’ve changed twenty blowouts today!”/”MY CHILD WILL NOT NAP!”/”I need out of this house!” and we can forget why we chose to stay home in the first place. A habit I’ve formed has been to think about three things I’m thankful for each day. I may write them down, I might text them to a friend, or I’ll just tell the Hubs. Either way, it makes me take my day into perspective and exercise having a thankful, grateful heart. And a grateful heart literally improves physical health and can improve your relationships!

 

  1. Spend More Time Outside

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Right now, I get it, this isn’t feasible. Well, today in Oklahoma it’s actually pretty nice, but I know in other parts of the country it’s snowing/blizzard conditions. BUT, when the weather is nice, go outside. It’s good for your kids and it’s good for YOU. So go catch some rays!

 

  1. Make Time for a Hobby

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I know, I know; I can hear you already: “Jessica, I barely have time to pee during the day and you want me to take up a hobby?! Are you on crack?!” Hear me out: there are so many hobbies out there that don’t take up a lot of time and can be done while sitting in front of the TV (like crocheting or knitting) and can improve your quality of life and reduce stress! Last year, Huff the Hubs bought me a banjo for our anniversary and I’ve been taking lessons once a week for a few months now. I. LOVE. IT. It’s a way for me to engage my mind that has ZERO to do with the house, the kids, or The Hubs. It’s just MINE. That’s part of the reason why I love it so much! It’s only thirty minutes a week, but man it’s awesome! Find your “banjo lessons”. Maybe it’s going to the gym or going for a run. It could be that you want to do a wine and painting class or start a blog. Find something that works with your schedule and make it happen!

 

  1. Eat a Veggie/Fruit a Day

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Moms often forgo nutrition for convenience. I ain’t judging! Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. But since we basically take care of everyone under our roof, we’ve got to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves. Even if you’re not a “health nut” or have zero intention of making any kind of health-related resolution, just TRY to eat a fresh fruit or veggie a day. Pick up an apple or a banana at 7-Eleven when you go in for a Big Gulp®. Grab one of those carrot stick packs at Walmart when you’re making a diaper run. Do something small that will impact your health in a big way.

 

 

What do you think about these “mom-o-lutions”? What would you add to the list? Share in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year! I feel like we haven’t talked in so long! How’ve you been? How was your Christmas? Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, its time to start thinking about how you are going to make 2018 YOUR YEAR! Any plans? Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, I’ve got chu.

I’ve posted about this before, but I’ll do a little recap on how I like to do my resolutions list.

Write out “2018” vertically on a sheet of paper. Then, for the number two, write the two best things that happened in 2017. For the zero, jot down a habit you’d like to break in the new year. The one is for your one wish for 2018 (i.e., health, stability, find love, etc.) and the eight is where you list eight goals you’d like to accomplish over the next twelve months. Need help coming up with ideas? Here’s my list to help you get started!

 

2—The Two Best Things That Happened This Year

 

Adding to My Friends List

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No, I don’t mean on Facebook. I’m talking about real life, yo. This year I’ve really got to know some awesome ladies and have become super close with. It’s just nice to have some gal pals you can commiserate with, laugh with, and swap stories with who totally “get you”.

 

Teaching KidFit

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Last year was my first year teaching at my church’s Mother’s Day Out program. I enjoyed working with the Littles I taught but this year, instead of working in a classroom with the same kids all day, my co-teacher and I decided to shake things up and teach “KidFit” (basically P.E.). It’s so much fun! We get to see all age groups of kids AND we get paid to PLAY. How awesome it that?!

 

 

0–Something You Want to Stop in the New Year

 

Getting Unnecessarily Stressed Out

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Ugh. I do this so much. Something trivial will happen, I’ll freak out, and then later I’ll think: “Wow that really wasn’t a big deal. And now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’m super embarrassed about how I handled it.” This happens to me frequently throughout the day. I want to be more relaxed—especially about stuff that doesn’t really matter—because I think that will add to my (and everyone around me) quality of life. *takes deep, cleansing breath*

 

1—My One Wish for 2018

 

Health

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Last year I saw so many people I know and care for come down with terrible sicknesses and diagnoses. My wish for the New Year is health—for me, my family, my friends, and acquaintances.

 

8—Eight Goals for the New Year

 

Get Down to Pre-Huff the Tot Weight

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This has pretty much been a goal since I gave birth to HtT…four years ago.

 

Find a Literary Agent

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Again, this has been a goal of mine for YEARS. Last year, I may have sat down to work on my book and find an agent ONCE. O-N-C-E. I really want to become a published author with a literary agent, so I’ve got to actually TRY.

 

Practice Banjo Everyday

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For our anniversary last year, Huff the Hubs got me a banjo! I’m super excited about learning and I’ve been doing lessons now for about three months. As you can imagine, it’s hard to accomplish anything when you’ve got two little ankle biters running amok, so my practice times have been few and far between (especially with the holidays). But, it’s the time for resolutions and I’m ready to stick to this one!

 

Be Consistent with Tot School

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I’m prayerfully considering homeschool my turkeys. For many reasons, of which I won’t bore you with now. I have basically two years to decide whether or not it will be the avenue our family will take, so I’m trying to get a glimpse of what it would be like by creating—and sticking to—lesson plans for Tot School. This is a BIG goal of mine for 2018!

 

Wake Before the Kids

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This is a constant goal. I want to wake before the kids so I can workout, shower, read a devotional, eat breakfast, and pretty much get my head in the game before, as Huff the Hubs calls it, “The Krakens awaken”, ha!

 

Read One Book a Month

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Last year I read two books. TWO. FREAKING. BOOKS. That’s it. My sister has read NINE in the past two weeks. Yeah. If I want to be a better writer, I’ve got to be a better reader. This means I need to read so I can learn from other writers I enjoy (and even some I dislike)!

 

Blog Consistently

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The holidays really threw off my groove. I felt like I was doing okay with blogging and then bam! Thanksgiving hit and it was all downhill. I want to blog more consistently; even if folks don’t read what I post, it’s a great outlet for me!

 

Save More Money

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When Christmas came around, I sadly saw my checking account was not as plentiful as I had hoped. Why? Because, Target Dollar Spot. And Chick-Fil-A. And Starbucks’ cake pops. And Chick-Fil-A. And Chick-Fil-A. (Seeing a pattern?) I’ve made up a personal savings plan for myself (I even made a spreadsheet in Excel, woot!) and I intend to make it rain…in the safety of my account.

 

What about you? What are your resolutions? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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One of my goals for 2017 was to try new hobbies. Because, as a mom, my hobbies include balancing two children on my hips at the same time and laundry. SO. MUCH. LAUNDRY. One of the hobbies I wanted to try was crochet. My mom has been crocheting since she was about 12 years old and is super good at it. She’s tried to teach me before but I was never really able to grasp the concept.

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However, a few weeks ago, she showed me again and something just clicked! I FINALLY got it!

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I told Huff the Tot I’d make something for her. At first I told her I’d make her dolls a blanket. Buuuut, now I think its just going to be a scarf. I’m kind of getting tired of just doing row after row. Now that I’ve got it down, I want a bit of a challenge!

 

If you’d like to learn to crochet, here’s a link I thought gave great instructions! And here is a tutorial that’s also pretty great:

 

Do you crochet? Have any tips or tricks? Share in the comments below!

Try It Tuesday

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We’re three days into the new year, how ya doin’ with your resolutions? What?! ALREADY? Come on, guys! Jk, jk… I know its tough to stick to resolutions. But don’t worry, I’ve got some tips, tricks, and apps to help you stick with it!

One thing that has helped me in the past to actually keep my resolutions was to stop calling them resolutions. Instead, I call them goals. It may sound simple (and a little trite) but it honestly took some of the pressure off and made me want to achieve them even more.

 

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The next thing I do is make a plan. Benjamin Franklin said, “A failure to plan is a plan to fail” and boy, did that kite-flying Founding Father know what he was talking about! Saying, “I’m going to exercise three times a week” is a great goal, but do you know how you’re going to accomplish it?

“Well, no, I’m just going to do it.”

Yeah, well, hate to break it to ya but you’re “just going to fail”.

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When do you want to workout? In the morning so you’ll get it over with or in the evening to help you de-stress? Pick a time a stick with it. What kind of exercise are you going to do? For how long? Make a plan, get organized, and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. (There are a lot of great resources out there to help you get fit. Personally, I really like Jillian’s 30 Day Shred to kick off the new year. Its only 20 minutes a day and it works!)

People make all kinds of resolutions and have a hard time sticking with them because of lack of accountability. But, thanks to technology, you can have accountability right at your fingertips! There are many apps that can help you plan and achieve your goals! I’ve blogged about some in the past, but here are a few new ones:

 

HabitBull

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Have a lot of goals this year and don’t feel like having a ton of apps to help you keep track? HabitBull is basically a “catch all” for your goals. You set the goals, determine when it is considered successful, and track your progress! I downloaded this app and its pretty awesome!

 

Elevate

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Do you want to strengthen your memory or increase your focus in 2017? There’s an app for that, too! Elevate is a daily “mind-strengthening” app filled with games designed to help you focus and train your brain! After all, if you’re going to get your body in shape, might as well work on the ole noggin, too!

Gratitude 365

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Want to be more positive in the new year? You should definitely try it! Studies show that by being grateful for the things we have, we improve our immune system, lowers anxiety, and even makes our hearts healthier! The Gratitude Journal 365 app is an awesome way to keep track of the things you’re thankful for. You can add photos to your lists, password protect your journal and back them up to your computer so you can print them later!

 

You may say, “That’s great and all, Jess, but my New Year’s Resolution is to spend less time on my phone.” I’ve got an answer for THAT, too–the K Safe.

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The K Safe (aka, The Kitchen Safe) is a time locked container that you drop your phone, TV/gaming remotes, cookies, candy–whatever it is that is tempting you–into for a specific amount of time.  Once you’ve placed the tempting item into the safe, set the timer, and go about your business. There’s no way to hack into the safe until the timer counts down to zero, so there’s no way to cheat! If you’d rather not spend the $49.95, you can always make your own version like I did! (Mine only cost $2.50!)

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What are you hoping to accomplish in the new year? What do you do to make it happen? Share in the comments below!

Try It Tuesday

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Today’s Try It is actually a continuation of yesterday’s post. I talked about how I wanted to make sure I was eating more nutritionally-rich foods instead of the fattening casseroles and baked goods I’ve been shoving in my mouth this holiday season.

I watched a great documentary the other day (while riding the stationary bike) called Hungry for ChangeIn the doc, one of the folks interviewed talked about how if you say, “I’m going to stop eating every single thing I’m used to eating and completely overhaul my habits overnight,” you will fail. There’s basically a 99.99% chance after the first day you’ll say, “This is too hard. I’m done.” So he suggested just adding new stuff to your diet.

Then, he went on to talk about some great things to add to your daily menu.

For example, if you normally don’t eat breakfast because you’re always in a rush, buy some bananas. They’re portable, able to be eaten with one hand, and full of good stuff! Or, if you like to eat salads with your lunch, go a step further and add cucumbers or toss in some kale with your romaine lettuce!

Another “addition” he talked about was chia seeds. I had heard of these seeds before, but I hadn’t really tried them, mostly because I didn’t know how to eat them. Turns out, you can just add them to stuff you’re already eating! I decided to do just that.

I popped over to WalMart and bought a small packet of them (I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something I wasn’t sure I’d like):

 

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I added 1 tablespoon to my morning oatmeal:

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Honestly, I didn’t even notice they were there! So, the next day, I added some to my smoothie. Again, I couldn’t notice them! But, I knew I was getting a ton of benefits from them, such as:

~Omega-3 fatty acids (great for promoting healthy brain development for Huff the Babe)

~Fiber (which most preggos will tell you is a MUST during those 9 months of carrying a wee one)

~Calcium (helps keep Momma’s bones strong as well as giving that bone-building nutrient to the tiny bundle in your belly)

~Antioxidants (aka, stuff to help boost your immune system; which is needed during pregnancy!)

 

Have you ever tried chia seeds? What do you use them in? Share in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Mommy Monday

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Happy New Year, y’all! Well, we’re four days into 2016 and I gotta tell ya, it feels a lot like 2015. Except for the fact that I’ve noticed gym parking lots are FULL and Christmas clearance shelves are empty.

Did you make any resolutions? As you know, I’m not that big on resolutions, but I like setting goals. I filled out my “2016” (see this blog post) and my one wish for 2016 was “health”. I decided I needed to start making that wish come true.

Ever since Thanksgiving (I would say Halloween, but I had a nasty tummy bug that made even the thought of candy repulsive) I have been eating like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s factory. Seriously, its been bad. Plus, I haven’t been working out as much as I’d like to be.

“But you’re pregnant!” You may say. “You should eat whatever you want and just relax.”

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Yeeeaaahh…. the thing about that is, when you eat whatever you want, you’ll have to burn that ish off if you want to get back down to your pre-pregnancy weight. Also, studies have shown that working out during pregnancy can actually help during labor and delivery as well as improve the health of your baby and knock down the chances of complications.

I knew that I needed to start eating healthier (relax; I’m not trying to lose weight. I’m just trying to put good things in my body that will benefit me and Huff the Babe) and be more intentional about my exercise routine.

I also knew that there was absolutely no way I’d be able to start until after our last Christmas/New Year get-together. Thankfully, that was Saturday!

The heat is on now, folks. If you’re a momma-to-be, I’ve got some helpful tips and websites that have helped me!

 

For Mommas-to-Be: 

~Eat breakfast! If I don’t eat breakfast, I get a serious bout of “pregnant brain” as well as nausea.

~Drink LOTS of water. I track my water intake in my FitBit app! There are TONS of apps to help with this!

~Add dark, leafy greens to your diet. Spinach and kale are powerhouse foods that contain a TON of folic acid (which is vital to baby’s brain development). If you like smoothies, add half a cup of spinach; you can’t even taste it, I promise!

~Swap a “treat” for berries or a banana. When I was pregnant with Huff the Tot, instead of eating ice cream or something with little nutritional value, I’d dollop 1/2 cup Greek yogurt into a bowl and add about 1/2 cup berries (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries). It was so good AND filling! Plus, I was getting protein from the yogurt as well as fiber from the berries!

Helpful Links:

Pregnancy Workout Video from Parents.com

Exercise Tips During Pregnancy

Nutrition Help During Pregnancy from FitPregnancy.com

Eating Healthy During Pregnancy from WebMd.com

Tips for Eating Healthy from BabyCenter.com

 

Please don’t take this post as “Oh, she’s body-shaming me into something” or “Stop with the guilt trip, no one eats perfect all the time!” First, I’m not body-shaming or trying to guilt. Second, you’re dang skippy that no one eats perfect all the time! I know I don’t (just come look at all of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Tree’s wrappers on my desk)! But it is important to me to make sure I’m giving my kiddo the nutrients he needs to be a healthy newborn. And if that means eating spinach and taking walks, I’m going to do it!

What about you? Do you have any health tips for mommas out there? Share in the comments below!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1….

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Its that time of year again, folks!

That time of year when people say they’re going to get fit, get rich, and get organized only to putter out around Valentine’s Day. But don’t worry, I’ve got a way to make your resolutions simple and attainable!

Remember on NYE 2013 when I blogged about how my sister was teaching her fourth grade class about resolutions? No? Then read this. I’ll wait.

You done? Good. Let’s continue…

Here’s what to do.

Write this out on a sheet of paper:

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0

1

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For the 2: Name the two best things that happened in 2015.

For the 0: Name something you want to STOP doing in the New Year.

For the 1: Your one wish for 2016.

For the 6: Six goals for 2016.
Here’s mine:
The 2 Best Things of 2015:
We Bought a House!
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I had been a long road to buying our first home, but we did it! We lived with my sister, Bridget, for a year and a half and were able to save a 20% down payment! We’ve finally settled in and have *almost* everything finished!
BABIES!
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My newsfeed has been blowing up this year with pictures of positive pregnancy tests and new little ones being brought into the world. I found out I was pregnant in July and my best friend found out she’s pregnant a few months after! Up with babies!
Something I Want to Stop in the New Year:
Putting chores before my kids. 
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Dishes can wait. Laundry can wait. Dusting can wait. You know what can’t wait? My little girl saying, “Momma, come dance with me!” or “Momma, you read dis book to me?” I’ve been really bad lately about trying to just get everything done that I forget that there’s a tiny human that craves and needs a lot of my focus and attention right now. These are precious years I’ll never get back. And, she’s going to have a little brother soon that will also require my time. Chores can wait.
My 1 Wish for 2016:
Health
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This year was filled with so many of my friends and loved ones getting seriously ill. I don’t like it! My wish for 2016 is that my family, friends, and I all have excellent health!
Six Goals for the New Year:
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Workout Consistently
I’ve lost some of my speed and endurance. I’d like to get that back!
Be Able to Live on One Income
Eventually, I’d like to become a SAHM. But I’d like to try living on one income for a while, just to be 100% sure we can do it.
Be Present
So much of my time that I spend with family and friends is consumed with thoughts like, “Okay, let’s get this over with because I need to do A, B, C…” or “I need to check Facebook one more time…” I want to be able to stop the distractions and actually be present. 
De-Clutter
Nothing like moving to show you how much crap you have and how much crap you don’t need. I’ve already started getting things organized for a garage sale next summer!
Save Money
Huff the Hubs and I have a lot of goals for our family and we can’t really do a lot of them unless we watch our spending and save. Now that the holidays are over, hopefully it will be a bit easier!
Travel
We traveled a little this year, but I’d like to take a trip with Huff the Hubs and a family vacation next year. We’ll see if my tune changes once Huff the Babe gets here!
What are your goals for the new year? Have you filled out the “2016” form? What would your’s say? Share in the comments below!