It’s 2:59pm, do you know where your energy is? If you’re like most working moms and dads, it’s probably hanging out with all those missing socks from the laundry. Unfortunately, when your energy is MIA you’re SOL, which isn’t very LOL. What are you to do?
Get Your Zzzz’s
Adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep nightly, but the average person gets only 6 hours each night. Think six is enough? According to a University of California sleep study, only 3% of the population is genetically capable of being rested after 6 hours of sleep. Chances are, you’re part of the 97% who desperately need eight hours.
My kids absolutely LOVE smoothies! As a mom, I absolutely LOVE all the fruits and veggies I can stash in there and the kids still beg for more.
For me, the dilemma is a) having the ingredients on hand and b) having the time to put it all together.
With school back in session, I was determined to find a quick and easy way to prepare the smoothies WITHOUT having to buy the pricey “smoothie blend packs” that are full of added sugar.
Luckily, making your own ready-made smoothie packs is super easy and you probably already have everything you need. We’re big fans of coconut over here, so I filled my ice cube trays with coconut milk and coconut water.
If you’re not a coconut lover you could easily use another juice, almond milk, or even greek yogurt for added protein goodness. After your cubes have frozen, cut up the fruit and/or vegetables you’d like to add to your smoothie mix. Once you have everything ready, divide up the portions into baggies and freeze.
Whenever a smoothie craving hits, all you have to do is grab a ready-made smoothie pack from the freezer and blend. Voila!
NO measuring, cutting, searching for ingredients…within 5 seconds you’ll be blending a vitamin and nutrient packed smoothie. Yum!
What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?
We took a poll at the glamaLIFE facebook page about “Me Time” and guess what??? The #1 request for “me time” was just 15 minutes alone to relax and take a bath without the kiddos beating the door down! Tune in as I share our TOP 3 tips for getting “Mommy Me Time”.
What’s your tip? Leave it in the comments below!
1. Get Healthy
Nothing is sexier than touchably soft hair with lots of bounce. Give your hair a healthy pick me up by washing with a tea tree shampoo that will strip out impurities and then deep condition with a vitamin rich conditioner. My personal favorite is TERAX CREMA, it can transform hair in one wash and won’t weigh it down.
2. Get Highlights
No need to schedule a hair appointment, you can do this on the cheap. All you need is a couple highlights that frame your face to create a come hither look that guarantees extra kisses. Pick up a boxed highlighting kit, like Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Multi-Lights Highlighting Kits. (PS…only mix as much as you need…keep the rest for a later date!)
3. Get Tousled
No matter your hairstyle, nothing screams sexy like a slightly messed up style. The subtle suggestion of bed head hair can help get the imagination going with your significant other. Simply style your hair as normal, but leave a little bit unkept. A slight tease at the nape or maybe tie it back on a sloppy low sitting bun. Need some extra volume? Get waves and soft curls by setting hair with large rollers or even braiding damp hair and letting it air dry. Have fun with it!
4. Get Fresh
Is your hair limp and lifeless by the time Happy Hour rolls around? Fix it fast with dry shampoo. Spray this quick fix at the roots and you’ll recapture your bounce in minutes. My favorite is Klorane Dry Shampoo. Loaded with oat extract and B5, it gives lift without drying your hair out.
5. Get Shining
Hair that glistens just begs to be touched. If your hair isn’t naturally shiny, feel free to cheat a little with a couple of spritzes of shine spray. This tip is a great staple for any fashionista as it serves double duty as a cure for frizz and will leave your hair smelling fantastic. If you’re looking for one that works as a daily conditioner to boot, check out Biosilk Shine On Spray.
It’s early Tuesday morning and my work/life balance is already threatening to topple. Overnight my day became jam-packed with a list of “to do’s” that came out of nowhere. A business development opportunity sprang up earlier than planned, bringing along with it new (and urgent) deadlines. As excited as I am, however, I won’t be able to touch the project until the kiddos are sound asleep tonight.
The reason is simple, four weeks ago I promised my Kindergartener I’d tag along with her for a field trip to the State Capitol. It’s moments like these that my worlds collide. When that delicate work/life balance threatens to topple.
When your two main passions are world domination and mom of the year, situations like this are inevitable. I have two voices in my head. My business voice saying, “You’ve already been to two trips, there’s always next time…she’ll understand mommy has to work.” Followed by my mom voice, “This is the whole reason you created Glamajama, the opportunity to work from home and create a kid friendly work schedule. You’re blessed to have the opportunity to take her, don’t take it for granted!” As I debate the points in my head, a deal breaker emerges. The bottom line is I promised her I would. No excuses. I want my kids growing up knowing that when mommy makes a promise, she keeps it. There’s integrity in my words, especially when I tell them they’re my priority- not work.
So I’m off to learn more about Texas legislative history and more importantly, get caught up on all the kindergarten gossip. My phone will be off until 2:30pm and I’ll be brewing a cup of coffee at 9pm as I start digging into my new project. It’ll be a late night for sure, but I’ll sleep well tonight knowing I kept my promise to my little girl.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and nothing says “I love you” like a beautiful bouquet of red roses.
But how do you make those 110 million red roses that are bought each year last longer?
(psst…Did you know that of those 110 million roses, 73% were bought by men?)
I contacted a few florists for their “make ‘em last” strategies and got the scoop!
Feed Your Flowers with One of these Homemade Mixtures:
- A mixture of 1/3 Sprite and 2/3 water
- Water and two crushed baby aspirins
- Water, 1 Tablespoon Vodka
*for all mixtures…and 1 Tsp. Bleach to keep bacteria stench at bay
- Change the “water” daily so they have a constant fresh food supply
- Snip the ends with a sharp knife about one-half inch off the end of the stem at about a forty-five degree angle every other day (otherwise stems seal themselves locking out food)
- Store your flowers in your fridge overnight, their ideal temperature is between 40 & 50 degrees.
- Remove all leaves from the part of the stem that is submerged under water.
Tips & Tricks:
- Use a straw to fix any broken or drooping stems
- Remove dying flowers immediately! (dead blooms emit ethylene gas that will cause the healthy flowers to wilt)
- Keep the flowers out of direct sun and away from heat and drafts. Even a fan can cause flowers to wilt quicker.
Do you have any tips to share? Add them below!
With the new year upon us it’s a wonderful time to reflect and create life balance. To truly step back, grab a pen and paper, and take a heartfelt look at your everyday life. Are you living it to the fullest? Do you wake up every day with an eager smile and spring in your step? If yes, good for you! If not, its time to finally make some changes. Don’t let another year slip by, seize the moment TODAY. Let me help you get started with some simple steps for achieving life balance.
Take a Life Inventory
With your pen and paper handy, draw a straight line down the middle. Mark one side “In“, the other “Out.” Now just relax, close you eyes and daydream about your ideal life. If you could spend your day how you want, what would it look like? What daily rituals would you love to practice each day? A couple examples to get you started: time at the gym, 30 minutes to meditate, a good breakfast before work, evening walk with the dog, more playtime with the kids, or even 30 minutes of uninterrupted time for a relaxing bath. Jot those daily goals down on the “In” side of your Inventory. Now think about all the little things that add stress to your day, the chores that just never get done, the annoyances that plague your thoughts when you’re striving for a peaceful moment. This may include taking care of the lawn, doing the laundry, balancing the checkbook, helping your teenager with her homework, or just having to constantly run up the stairs to turn off all the lights your toddler leaves on. Mark all these unpleasant moments in your “Out” column.
Now that you’ve detailed all the aspects you want “In” and “Out”, you’re one step closer to achieving your ideal lifestyle. After all, the first step to solving any problem is simply identifying it. In this next exercise, I want you to freely brainstorm solutions. Do not limit your ideas. For example, whether the money is available, if time constraints are in play, or if you don’t know a professional that could solve the problem, etc. -these are NOT your concern right now. This is about cataloging any and all potential solutions, not feasibility at this point. Don’t be afraid to think BIG.
Create the Change
Armed with your inventory and a solid list of potential solutions, you’re ready to start creating your “best life”. Work through each of your potential solutions and research the possibilities -be creative! For example, you want more time to take a yoga class (“in”), but hate spending each night frustrated trying to teach your teenager Algebra you don’t understand yourself (“out”). A solution could easily be signing up for a monthly membership at your local yoga studio and finding a tutor for your teen. Money an issue? Perhaps call around and offer to volunteer at the studio in exchange for class credits, or even barter your professional skills in exchange for classes. Can’t afford the tutoring? Do you have a family friend that would be better suited? Could you trade off babysitting her toddler for her tutoring help? Think win/win and the possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to suggest a deal or initiate a mutually beneficial relationship. You NEVER truly know another persons needs. You just might find your ideal situation and help a neighbor create their best life to boot. The secret to success is focusing on win/win solutions.
Re-Evaluate Your Inventory
Once you’ve enacted some of your changes, take time each month to self reflect and re-evaluate your life balance. Are you truly happier? Are things working as smoothly as they can be? Complacency is your enemy when striving for your ideal lifestyle and you must be proactive in preventing it. Living life to the fullest is a full contact sport, not to be handled from the couch. Once you start making these strategies and mindset a part of your daily decision making, you will find yourself feeling more optimistic, empowered, and less stressed. YOU have that power now- not life‘s little hiccups. The secret to achieving life balance? Don’t pursue happiness, create it.
A few uber cool sites to help you brainstorm solutions:
Vocation Vacations: Ever dream about owning a winery, breeding thoroughbred horses, or working in the movies? Test drive that life by apprenticing with people actually living it.
Shared Earth: Love to garden but don’t have a yard? Dream of having your own orchard or being able to wake up to fresh picked fruit each morning? This unique networking site connects landowners and wannabe green thumbs throughout the world for free.
BarterQuest: Have a boat, but need graphic design services for your business? Are you a professional photographer willing to exchange a free wedding shoot for bookkeeping help? The possibilites are endless at this “all things bartering” website.
Mint: Budget planning couldn’t be easier with this all-in-one free financial planning website. Get weekly digests of your budget goals, consolidate all your credit card/loan/banking accounts, and even snag special deals based on your exact needs.
Has this helped you get motivated to make a life change? Would love to hear your thoughts below!
Work life balance is a tricky beast. What inspires us to achieve it is even trickier. Why does it take tragedies like the recent senseless shooting of Gabrielle Gifford’s to remind us all of our own mortality? The reality is that our chances of getting killed in a car accident on a daily trip to work are more likely, but that never gives us that same sense of urgency?
As a mother of three and entrepreneur for the past seven years, I vow each day to make work-life balance a priority and it is a constant decision maker in my career choices. My family life comes first, work second. However, I didn’t always have that clarity of purpose. It took a sudden onset health crisis to prompt me to achieve my work/life balance.
The day started just like any other, but I planned a stop at my doctor’s office in the morning. I had been having some odd symptoms I couldn’t explain and figured a doctor’s input couldn’t hurt. After a brief wait, I was whisked in and the nurse took my temperature, blood pressure, and the other usual formalities. My doc walks in and we chat, I casually start explaining my symptoms. I have numbness in my arms that last for hours, brief bouts of distorted vision, and my hearing becomes muffled. As I continue, I can’t help but notice as the expression on her face transfixes from intent to terrified. I pause at her inquisitively. She takes a deep breath before declaring,
“I think you have a brain tumor, we need to find out ASAP.”
The next thing I know I’m being rushed off to the ER. Once there, it’s an endless series of MRI’s, MRA’S, CAT scans -you name it. As I lied there in the coffin-like tube of the MRI machine, I struggled to make sense of what was happening.
After a few hours, the tests finally ended and all initial readings looked good. No tumor detected. I was ecstatic and relieved. Those feelings were short lived however, as my mysterious symptoms only worsened. A typical “episode” would start with a slight tingling in either my finger or face, followed by loss of feeling in my corresponding arm, face, or both. My vision would become prismatic like I was looking through a kaleidoscope, or I would have a visual field deficit (meaning I couldn’t see anything to my left or right- my brain simply would not process the image). My hearing would be muffled with ringing. When the episodes were severe, I would become so dizzy and nauseous I couldn’t stand. These symptoms lasted for hours and were followed by a severe migraine that left me pleading with God for a way to just stop breathing. Never to die, but to stop the pulsing pain of my breath for a brief moment of relief. The “episodes” were completely random and could be either sudden or slow to onset. I might have three one week or none at all. As a person who strives to be in control of their life and destiny, mentally my spirit was being broken.
After countless visits to specialists, no one had any answers. My illness couldn’t be categorized and they continually speculated on treatments, diagnoses, and potential causes. I was placed on migraine medication to no avail and then even on blood pressure medication to help control the possible vascular cause. Nothing worked, but I was now plagued with fainting spells due to my already low pulse being forced too low. The only option left was to monitor damage. I would regularly visit my neurologist so he could place an electrode in my elbow, finger tip, and then electrocute me to measure how fast the electricity traveled through my arm. This helped monitor whether I was sustaining any permanent damage in my arms. Needless to say, I never looked forward to those visits.
Despite it all, I was still attempting to live a normal life. I was a full time mom to a toddler and new baby girl. As well as the CEO of Glamajama, managing all operations, a staff of six, and coordinating some of my most ambitious marketing campaigns. For the most part, I think I was in denial of my health crisis. I simply took the approach that I wasn’t going to let it stop me. In retrospect, I realize how naïve and reckless my behavior was.
The breaking point was in the wake of a sudden, severe “episode” that snuck up on me while I was leisurely folding laundry. Within minutes my whole body felt numb, I couldn’t stand, and the numbness had taken over my face and mouth. I couldn’t speak -just mumbles as if my mouth were full of marbles. I was in complete panic that I was finally experiencing the major stroke my doctors had warned of. I frantically called my mom. She heard my mumbles and instantly knew what was happening. My baby was in her crib and I was desperately trying to crawl the stairs to be with her. By the grace of God, my mom was in the neighborhood and arrived in minutes. To hear the frightened, shaky voice of my mom calling “Heather? Oh my God, Heather???”, my heart broke. No mother should have to feel that anguish. As she found me in a helpless heap on the stairs, I knew she shared my same fears. Was this the big one?
As with so many things in life, the outcome was unexpected. After about an hour my symptoms subsided and the “episode” was passing. Feeling blessed, I took the whole event as a sign that changes needed to be made. In a leap of faith, I started researching alternative therapies. I ultimately sought the help of a well-respected acupuncturist with a history of solving complex problems.
Never a huge fan of the unconventional, I tried my best to be open minded. After all, what were my choices? Nothing else had worked. The acupuncturist took an in depth evaluation and listened attentively to my story. As I finished, she asked, ‘Heather, have you considered that your body is simply under too much stress and shutting down?” I was dumbfounded, “What? How could stress do THIS?” She went on to explain the extreme physical (sleepless nights with newborn, nursing, active lifestyle with toddler), mental (challenging job responsibilities), hormonal (unstable after giving birth, additional strain of nursing), and emotional (my health dilemma among many other smaller hiccups) stress my body was currently under. As she detailed all the obvious, the picture become so much clearer. I had no idea how bad things had become and how insanely hard I had been pushing myself. With a potential cause in sight, I was eager to finally find treatment. Her explanation seemed just as plausible as the others, why not give it a shot?
I ceased taking all medications and vowed to get back to a more natural state of being. I made it a priority to exercise daily, watched my diet closely, and kept regular appointments with the acupuncturist to help me control my stress levels. With her guidance I also incorporated a strict biofeedback program. This way, I could have a deeper understanding of my body’s warning signs. I was soon able to identify when my heart rate was increasing and was then able to initiate meditation and breathing techniques to calm myself. Within three months my “episodes” were nearly nonexistent and I had a new found respect for work/life balance. I started re-building my life with a deeper focus on well being.
It’s been four years since the last “episode” of my mysterious illness, but I still live each day with the reminder. Never again will I neglect my health and well being. If anything, I feel fortunate I was given an opportunity to see the error of ways and a second chance to correct my path. So many people aren’t given those chances. I think the moral of the story in all this is that we shouldn’t wait until there’s a tragedy, personal or public, to make achieving work/life balance a priority. Every day is a blessing and we need to wake up each morning respecting that reality.
I hate to rant like this, but I guess I’m feeling a little feisty. I’m sitting here in a crowded coffee shop being forced to listen to an ongoing saga of how “So and so” won’t call him back, he can’t “catch a break”, and that sometimes “If only he was ________, things would be easier”.
I beg to differ Mister. The reality is we all have a cross to bear. Whether you’re too shy to cold call prospects, too old to learn something new, too pretty to be taken seriously, too established to start over with a new career…the list goes on and on. My problem with all those statements is there’s zero value in them. All you are accomplishing is reinforcing your own self limiting behaviors.
The man isn’t getting you down, YOU are. The reality is that we all have the power to overcome obstacles, no matter how big or small they are. We have God given gifts that allow us to adapt, evolve, and thrive in almost any situation. Instead of focusing your energy on self limiting statements like “If only…”, put your energy into empowering statements like “I can change this by…”
Just by changing that simple statement, you can turn problems into solutions. The bottom line is that while we might not be able to always control the obstacles thrown at us in our lives, we CAN control how we react to them. We are only as helpless as we let ourselves be.
“If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.” Mary Kay Ash
Determined to find some great tasting and thrifty alternatives, I scoured the web and found some great websites I wanted to share.
Hasbro: The company website has a recipe list that uses your traditional brownie, cake, and muffin mixes but alters the baking instructions for the Easy Bake Oven. These recipes have been the easiest by far since you just add water for many of them.
Budget 101: A good collection of basic cake recipes. My daughter loved the “Barbie” recipe, but that was probably just because Barbie was in the recipe name (and it was pink!).
EBORecipes: This site is dedicated to collecting Easy Bake Oven recipes and has the greatest selection by far. Whether you are looking for bars, breads, frosting, pizza, or caramel corn- they have the recipe!
Recipezaar: Over 63 recipes dedicated to the Easy Bake Oven with many of them user generated and tested. The site has pictures of the creations and a rating system to see which recipes passed the taste test.
Easy Bake Oven Gourmet Cookbook: Such a greta find! This is an actual cookbook and includes some very fancy easy bake oven recipes. Who would have thought you could make a Cornish game hen in that little thing? A super fun cookbook for easy bake oven foodies.
Baking with Mommy Cookbook: Another cookbook, but this one focuses on more traditional easy bake goodies such as cookies, cakes, pizza, etc. The book has excellent reviews and makes a great “on hand” reference for your little easy bake chef. If you don’t want to search the web each time you bake, add this to your collection.
I hope this list comes in handy with your own Easy Bake adventures. As always- happy baking!
Do you have a much loved Easy Bake recipe you’d like to share? Add it in the comments…we’ll all give it a try!
Let’s face it: your to do list is long, your priorities are many, and as much as you’d like to travel a bit more, it feels like a goal pretty out of reach. I’ve got one thing you can do to make those travel dreams a little closer to a reality: start a journal.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy nor does it have to be a travel journal per se, though I do highly recommend the Abroad Travel Organizer/Journal. It just needs to be something small that you can carry around with you so that when you have an empty moment, you can take a 5 minute time out and write in your journal.
Here are four things I’d like you to start writing in it. It doesn’t need to be organized in any special way, but these are the things I want you to start thinking about:
- Barriers: What’s getting in the way of having that special travel getaway you’ve been wanting? Is it time or money? Get it down on paper so that you can look at it objectively. Even if it is something serious that you can’t get around, such as an illness or disability, there are always options, such as a smaller trip not so far away.
- Experiences: What kinds of experiences do you crave? Don’t think about destinations just yet. Do you want to relax in the sun and do nothing all day, or do you want to hike a mountain and get some fresh air? This is the time to get specific – whether it is spicy food or you want a hotel with a claw foot bathtub.
- Others: Ask your children or your partner to doodle a few thoughts of their own. What kind of experiences do they want to have? If they are different than yours, that’s fine, but you need to keep that in mind when choosing a destination. If they’re the same, awesome!
- Destinations: Ok, this one is the easy one, especially after you’ve done the previous task. Are there places you speak the language and have always wanted to practice, or locales that just fill you with passion and vigor? Write ‘em down.
Now Make It Happen
Once you have things on paper, start making some tiny, tiny steps to making those travel dreams a reality. For each of those barriers, what can you do now to get rid of them?
- If it’s money, how about starting a tip jar and asking everyone to contribute as often as they can? What can you cut for a few months to save some pennies?
- If it’s time, then ask yourself the hard question: what’s the worst that could happen if I disappeared for a week or two? The world will continue to rotate on its axis, I assure you.
I’m not saying that if you start a travel journal that tomorrow you’ll be sailing in the Caribbean worry-free. What I am saying though is that if you put your travel desires in black and white and start taking an objective look at what is standing in between you and those dreams, you can figure out how to make them a travel reality. Broaden your horizons and see a bit more of the world: get a travel journal.
Andy Hayes is the Managing Editor of Sharing Travel Experiences, a popular online travel magazine. Check out their extensive travel resources for everything you need to make your next trip rich, more authentic, and experiential.
As moms, we all know that we wind up at the bottom of the priority list. I’m preaching to the choir when I say “remember to make time for you!” But in all seriousness, it’s important to do just that. Here are some organizing tips to help you get time for you!
· Take at least 30 minutes to an hour to plan out the week.
· Review the family calendar to see what’s on the schedule for the coming week.
· Make a list of things you need to buy and shop for them at the beginning of the week. This will save oodles of time.
· Sign permission slips, write checks for activities, arrange car pool, if necessary, and get the dreaded laundry done.
· Choose your outfits and your children’s for the week.
Not having to “deal” with these things on-the-fly will help reduce your stress and create space to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea along the way.
Prepare the night before …
As simple as it sounds, waking up to an empty sink and a freshly brewed pot of coffee can be the start of a great day! Taking the time in the evening will make your morning run smooth. Here are some tips for making mornings manageable:
· Set the breakfast table
· Have diaper bag and/or book bags near the exit door
· Make lunches or set out lunch money
If you’re like most moms, you spend a lot of time in the car. It is your home-away-from-home, your office on wheels, your mission control. Maintaining an organized car is an important part of reducing your daily stress. Keep what I call a “Mom Sanity Saver” on hand, which includes the following:
· Extra change of clothing—Ever had a baby spit up on you? I’m afraid it will happen, so make sure you’re prepared by keeping an extra shirt on hand in your car.
· Ziploc® bags can be a lifesaver! Whether it’s a dirty diaper and nowhere to dispose of it or a messy spill and you need a place to put a dirty shirt, sealing up the soiled material will keep the smell from wafting through your vehicle.
· Pair of sneakers—You never know when you’ll have a chance to take a walk in the park or just give your feet a rest from those trendy boots you’ve been trudging around in all day.
· Bottled water and snacks, including energy bars for mom—These items can be lifesavers if you don’t have time for breakfast or when you pick up kids from school and all they can say is, “I’m hungry!”
· Folder to place current paperwork to have on hand when running errands (not papers you need to file or coupons that you might use someday).
By Stacey Crew, Mom of 2, Organizing Expert, and Author of The Organized Mom, available online and at booksellers everywhere. www.staceycrew.com.
We live in an imperfect world. The “fast lane” isn’t always fast, the 10 items or less line at the grocery store is full of cheaters, and our kids don’t always “know better.” It’s a mad, mad world. What always amazes me is the speed and grace that Moms exhibit as they navigate all these hidden gotchas. Your baby sitter calls in sick 30 minutes before your big business proposal? No problem, plan B is on its way. Your little one catches a nasty stomach virus the day before the family trip? Mommy can fix it.
Moms have many superpowers, but I think one of our greatest is the ability to make the most ridiculous and impossible situations seem completely normal and effortless. We do this purely for the greater “good”, not recognition, praise, or even a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. As Moms, our needs are simple. All we want is safe, secure kids that are full of life and bursting with confidence to tackle the world in all its glory. To know that as we nurture these small minds they will grow to become great minds. Great minds that are full of possibility and purpose and will help make our world a better place.
It’s easy to lose sight of that big picture as we get caught up in the details of everyday life. Instead of feeling proud, I feel guilty for forgetting to pack an extra juice box for snack time, not having the energy to walk the dog, or for letting a DVD teach my three year old the alphabet. These are the voices of “mom guilt” that sneak into our thoughts as we strive for perfection each day. As Moms with superpowers, this is surely our kryptonite.
To help defend against “mom guilt”, I’ve made a simple change. Instead of focusing on all the “things” I need to do to make it a productive day, I now focus on all the “moments” that will make it perfect. My “to do” list starts with snuggle time with each kid, teaching my three year old how to catch fireflies, reading with my oldest, and pink manicures with my daughter. When I look back at my day’s accomplishments, missing those things are what will hurt most. These are my true priorities. I can mail the Netflix tomorrow, but I can’t re-live a missed moment with my kids.
This reality is my best defense against mom guilt and I keep my list close. When life’s little surprises threaten to derail my day, I can check my list and see in an instant I did what counts. BIFF! BAM!!! POW! My superpowers are re-energized and I’m ready for more snuggle time.
As Moms, we are often our own worst enemies. While motherhood can bring out our more endearing qualities such as selflessness, adoration, and servitude. It can also bring out less favorable qualities such as self-doubt, mom guilt, and feelings of helplessness. We want our kids to have the world at their finger tips. All too often we are willing to sacrifice ourselves to help accomplish that. Our lives are no longer our own. The new priority is nurturing our little one with everything that is good and wholesome. While this is a noble task, it is often fraught with frustration, guilt, and at its worse-depression.
So where did it all go wrong? Ever hear the saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. Let’s just say there’s some truth to it. You can’t raise a happy, emotionally stable, confident child if you yourself aren’t happy. To put it simply, if you want a happy child, you must be a happy Mom. Seems easy enough, huh? It is. At least until you factor in that nasty little devil called “mom guilt”. This little guy whispers in our ears that a solo trip to the grocery store counts as “me” time, that we must wear sneakers 24/7 in case our six week old sprouts wings, and that you need vocal training to sing nursery rhymes. (Feel free to blame him for still wearing your maternity clothes and flip flops to baby’s six month check up as well. I’m sure he had something to do with it.)
So what’s the morale of the story? Motherhood isn’t about being the real life June Cleaver, it’s about loving your little one without abandon and promising to always give your best. To give your best, you must make sure you’re at your best. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It just might be the best thing you can do for your child.
Come on girls, say it with me- No More Razor Burn! Feel better? I don’t think there is anything more annoying than razor burn, especially after I’m already annoyed by the fact I have to shave my legs in the first place. I simply don’t have the patience for it! Needless to say, laser hair removal is at the top of my list for 2010. In the meantime, here’s some great tips to help keep eyes on your cute little red skirt and not your red razor burn. One more time ladies… NO MORE RAZOR BURN!
* Always shave in warm water, preferably at the end of your shower…hair will be easier to remove since it has had time to soften and the hair follicles are relaxed
* Use shave gel and a fresh razor, change them often and steer clear of the 10 packs for $1…you get what you pay for! (clean razors between shaves using alcohol to keep them bacteria free)
* Shave in the direction of hair growth, not the opposite. While it might seem like you can get a closer shave by going against the grain, you’re risking razor burn and cuts.
* If you’re prone to razor burn make exfoliating a daily routine, it cleans pores and lifts the hair follicles which helps keep irritation to a minimum
* Soothe redness after shaving by sprinkling on baby powder
* Use an drugstore cure for no more razor bumps (Tend Skin is the best in the biz)
* Apply calendula cream immediately after shaving to calm irritation naturally
* Make a paste of two regular strength aspirin and warm water, pat onto irritation and leave for 30 seconds, rinse thoroughly
Have any tips to share? Would love to hear them!
One the keys to looking great is making sure your hair color and make-up actually compliment your natural skintone. Skintone is typically classified as being either warm, cool, or neutral. There are several tips for determining which one you are, but they can be a little confusing. Especially if its been a while since you’ve actually seen your real hair color or can’t determine if you “tan easily”. Solve the mystery by standing in good natural light, and take a peek at the veins on the inside of your elbow. If they have a greenish tint, you have a warm complexion. If you have a bluish tint, your complexion is cool. If you can’t determine a blue or green tint, you’re safe going with a neutral shade.
Exfoliate to keep skin looking fresh. Dry skin can look flaky and dull leaving your make-up looking caked on which will age you considerably. Take the time to exfoliate at least weekly or semi-weekly depending on your skin type. Olay has a great system that won’t set you back too much here. Also, don’t forget your lips, rub a little baking soda on a soft toothbrush and gently exfoliate for softer lips.
After exfoliating, your skin will be ready to soak up all the goodness in your moisturizer. Look for moisturizers that contain ingredients such as milk, jojoba oil, grape seed, almond oil, or olive oil. Just make sure you choose a daily moisturizer with at least SPF20 to help combat the skin damage that can happen regardless of the season. Your night moisturizer needs to fit your skin type, but opt for creamier formulas that typically provide more moisture.
Winter weather typically means heaters will be running non-stop indoors. While these are great for keeping you warm and toasty they’re notorious for drying out skin and hair. You may be warm, but your skin will be parched and your hair full of static and brittle. Counteract these negatives by investing in a good humidifier for at least the bedroom where you’ll spend most of your time at night. You’ll wake up refreshed!
More quick tips:
- Drink up! Water will keep your body hydrated. Check out this nifty calculator to find out how much you should drink.
- Opt for lukewarm showers and baths, if the temperature is too hot it’ll dry your skin even more.
- Always apply body lotion immediately after taking a bath or shower, it’ll lock in the moisture. (My current fav is Vaseline Sheer Infusion Body Lotion , it’s not greasy, affordable, and keeps my skin soft all day-love it!
- Consider using a creamy foundation, blush, and lipstick. They “plump” your skin instead of settling into fine lines the way powder based cosmetics can.
- Check your bath soap. Certain brands can be very drying, especially if they’re “antibacterial”. Be sure to read the label! (PS…you can’t beat Aveeno Body Wash when it comes to soothing dry skin.)
- yogurt covered raisins
- cheese sticks
- graham crackers with peanut butter
- dried apricots
- popcorn sprinkled with parmesan
- fortune cookies
- mixed nuts
- pretzels with peanut butter for dipping
- peanut butter & Nutella Sandwich fingers
- carrots with ranch dressing
- turkey & swiss cheese tortilla wrap
- baby corn
- cherry tomatoes
- black olives
- celery with cream cheese
- hard boiled egg
- baby dill pickles
- peanut butter & banana tortilla wraps
- wheat crackers
- trail mix
- banana chips
- dried cranberries
- cauliflower/broccoli with ranch dressing
- thermos of soup
- mandarin oranges
- baked tortillas
- watermelon balls
- bagel with cheese
- pasta salad
- pita triangles with hummus
- cheese and crackers
- granola bar
- beef jerky
- cereal mix
- mini rice cakes
- dry roasted edamame
- yogurt covered pretzels
- ham and cheddar tortilla pinwheels
- Nutella and banana tortilla wrap
- chocolate graham crackers and marshmallows
- raisin bread & jelly sandwich
- baby bagel sandwich with peanut butter
- sugar snap peas
- dried apple crisps
- Nilla wafers
- yogurt cup
- tuna fish & crackers
- English muffin pizza (sauce, pepperoni, cheese)
- apple slices with caramel
- granola with roasted nuts
- cereal bars
- graham cracker sandwich with peanut butter & bananas
- homemade chex mix
- yogurt covered pretzels
- celery sticks and cream cheese
- frozen fruit
- turkey jerky
65. Via @DaphneCohn burrito w/canned beans, tortilla, salsa & cheese. Wrap in tortilla, heat in olive oil. Kids luv it!
Finding the perfect “surefire” bedtime ritual for baby can be a little tricky at the beginning. Some babies fall into a natural sleep/wake cycle within weeks, while others take (what seem like) endless months to realize that “nighttime” means “sleeptime”. One technique that helped me with our less “sleep friendly” little ones was the Ferber Method. If you’re frustrated and sleep-deprived, it might be worth a try!
The Ferber Method is a sleep technique for infants developed by pediatrician Dr. Richard Ferber that encourages infants to use “self-soothing” techniques to achieve a better night’s sleep. Ferberization is suggested for infants at least 6 months old and has been cited as a highly successful sleep training method for babies that have difficulty sleeping through the night.
Step 1: PROVIDE BABY WITH DAYTIME ACTIVITIES
Ensure that baby’s day is full of fun and exploration so that the infant will indeed be tired at nighttime. Excessive napping during the day can sabotage your efforts for getting baby to bed as they will already be rested. One tactic is to not allow your infant to sleep past 5pm, but the exact time will depend on baby’s wake time, nap schedule, and ideal bedtime.
Step 2: DEVELOP A BEDTIME RITUAL
It’s important that baby can distinguish between daytime (play) and bedtime (sleep). To do this you will need to develop a bedtime ritual that helps the infant calm down and prepare for a good nights sleep. One example of this would be a relaxing bath, story time, and a lullaby followed by goodnight kisses from Mom and Dad. Other popular bedtime rituals include infant massage, lavender scented bubble bath, the playing of a Heartbeat CD, or even listening to a song on a crib mobile. It doesn’t matter which bedtime activities you decide to include, but ensure that the room is dark enough to signal its nighttime, that baby is warm but not too hot, and that the crib is free from any toys that may be distracting.
Step 3: LEAVE BABY IN BED AND LEAVE THE ROOM
At this point you will have completed your planned bedtime rituals and baby is dressed, diaper changed, and ready for bed. Let baby know it is time to sleep and quietly leave the room without hesitation. Your infant may start to cry and become upset, but it is important to leave the room without emotionally reacting to him or her.
Step 4: FOLLOW A “PROGRESSIVE WAITING” SCHEDULE
This final step is critical to success with the Ferber Method and the cornerstone of Dr. Ferber’s sleep training technique. “Progressive waiting” is the practice of progressively waiting longer and longer between comforting the baby at bedtime to encourage the infant to learn how to soothe itself to sleep. For example, on the first night you may wait three minutes before returning to baby’s crib and reassuring him/her and that it is time for sleep. Do not lift the infant out of its crib, but simply comfort the child with pats on the back, stroking of their hair, or giving the baby his pacifier. After briefly comforting the baby, once again leave the room as before. However, instead of waiting only three minutes before re-entering the room, wait five minutes instead. Keep practicing the “progressive waiting” at intervals such as 7 minutes, 9 minutes, and so on until baby falls asleep. The first night will most likely be the hardest, but with time baby will learn to soothe itself to sleep without your intervention.
Has this worked for you and your baby? Leave a comment below, let us know your tricks!
The hottest buzzwords in celebrations for girls this year are “fashion” and “budget-friendly”. With shows like Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model, and the newly launched “The Fashion Show” topping the primetime cable rankings, it’s easy to see why. While “fashion” and “budget friendly” might seem a bit of an oxymoron, a red carpet ready party can be done on the cheap. Here are some frugal party suggestions that are sure to please both your wallet and your daughter’s dreams of hitting the runway.
Give your invitees a taste of the creative fun they’ll have at the party by creating a hand made invitation. Buy blank card stock squares and adorn them with fabric remnants, ribbons, and buttons. You can either hand write the party information or use a graphic software program to print the information on sticker paper for easy readability.
“Calling All Fashionistas” Activity
Whenever I plan a children’s party, I like to get the kids started on a small, quick activity to get them rounded up and focused on a task. Once they settle in, I start explaining the next big activity which will be the highlight of the party and require the most concentration. For our fashion-themed party, a great starter activity is letting the girls create their own fashion design illustrations. Pick up an assortment of scrapbooking paper with different colors and patterns. Before the party cut these sheets into shirts, pants, skirts, belts, hats, etc. If you need help with the shapes, a simple Google search for “fashion illustrations” will provide images you can use as cut outs. First, have the girls draw their fashion girl on a blank piece of paper. Next, they can glue on their fashions to dress up their “model.”
“Ready For the Runway” Activity
With the warm-up behind them, the girls will now get their chance to put their design skills into action. The party-goers will design their very own high fashion tee! Materials needed include plain t-shirts (any size, color, and style), fabric paint, embroidery floss, scissors, and iron-on embellishments if it’s in the budget. Encourage the girls to change up the t-shirt by altering the neckline, sleeves, or length. A couple ideas to get you started are cutting the shirt down the sides and then hand sewing them back to together with embroidery floss in a contrast color, slitting the top of the shirt sleeve and then tying it back together with a decorative knot, or adding a v-shaped neckline in the front that’s accented with embellishments or turned into a collar by sewing the corners down with the embroidery floss. Once the basic alterations have been made to the shirts, the girls can put their creativity to work decorating the shirt with the fabric paint, iron-embellishments, or using the embroidery floss to sew graphics onto the shirt.
Once all the fashions have been finished, have the girls model their creations and then participate in a secret ballot to vote for their favorite creation. In the true spirit of ‘Project Runway”, the winning fashion designer would receive a special fashion related prize. Another fun idea is to create a red carpet backdrop and take pictures of the girls modeling their shirts on the “red carpet.” You can then send the pictures home with the girls to add to their “fashion portfolios.”
Party favors are always a highlight for party goers, especially when it comes to children’s parties. The girls will already be taking home their custom made shirts, so don’t worry about purchasing too many additional items for their goody bags. Finding some inexpensive bracelets, flip flops, or hair bands at your local dollar store will be perfect for accessorizing their new shirts. Throw in some fashionable stickers and candy and you should be good to go.
Fashion themed parties are really about exploring creativity and self expression, so feel free to let the party be as quirky or sophisticated as your daughter likes. After all, this is her day to be on the fashion “A List.” Have fun taking pictures of the design process with groups shots of the girls modeling their masterpieces. This fashionably frugal party is sure to become a treasured moment for the scrapbooks!