Monday, July 31, 2017

A Few Of My Favorite Things - July Roundup + Book Giveaway {Tuesday Talk}

A Few of My Favorite Things

I am in complete denial that July is almost over! Although there is so much to look forward to in August, Summer is coming to a rapid end, and it really is bittersweet. My days with four kids at home are fun, but so busy that I don't have as much time to blog. I miss writing my favorite things roundup each week, so I decided to share a few of my favorite things from July to end the month!


One of my favorite things about blogging and social media is discovering awesome products and companies that I might never have even known existed. Social media influence really is a powerful thing! It has definitely worked on me many times. Some of the products can even be life-changing, so when I discover something that works for me or my family, I love to share with others!

A Few of My Favorite Things - July Roundup


DISCLOSURE: I received some of the items listed below complimentary. I ONLY share it if I truly love it, and believe it could be beneficial to my readers!

Lillebaby CarryOn Toddler Carrier


I am a big fan of extended baby wearing! Although Liam is small for his age, at almost 4 years old, he was getting too big for our beloved carrier. Liam's tendency to run is a safety issue, especially while I'm trying to keep my eyes on three other kids!

A friend recommended the Lillebaby CarryOn Toddler carrier, and it is the life-changing product I mentioned! It is designed specifically for kids who wear 2T pants and above, up to 60 lbs. It can be used for a front, hip or back carry, and features lumbar support that makes it unbelievably comfortable to wear your child.

The wide, padded waist belt and shoulder straps help distribute the weight (an added bonus is no tummy bulge or muffin top) and the 3D mesh promotes airflow. The carrier also features a removable sleeping hood and a large pocket to safely store belongings.

Since I received this carrier, I've been wearing Liam so often! It makes quick trips to the store, walks around the neighborhood and our family outings so much easier. It's the most comfortable carrier I've ever used, and I love the fact that I will be able to safely wear Liam for a few more years!

Lillebaby CarryOn


Nike Air Max Running Shoes


I'm one of those people who become attached to comfortable running shoes, and wear them until they fall apart! I never get blisters or sore feet from running, so I dread giving up a pair of beloved shoes and breaking in a new pair.

After many miles in my favorite running shoes, I finally had to toss them. My dear friend bought me a pair of Nike Air Max running shoes to replace my old ones,  and I love them! I was so worried about the change, but they fit just as well as my previous pair of Nike shoes, and I'm running comfortably and pain-free!

Nike Air Max

Origins GinZing 


I'm not getting much sleep right now! These products from the Origins GinZing collection, which I received free for review from Influenster, are amazing! They are formulated with coffee and help wake my skin up.  Do you know how your skin just feels really good after using a product? That's what these do! Plus, my skin looks brighter, so I don't look like a Mombie, even if I feel like one! 


Book of the Month


I'm still making my way through my Summer Reading List! Although I would love to read one book a week, it just isn't happening right now. I finally finished Into The Water by Paula Hawkins. I didn't love it as much as The Girl on the Train, but it was my favorite read in July. It's definitely suspenseful, it held my interest, and I LOVED the twist at the very end, even if I did predict it! It's the perfect pool/beach read!

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Nuby Thirsty Kids Flip-It Active


We are always on the go in the Summer, so I tell my kids to grab their reusable water bottles as we run out the door! Lily is 5, but she still prefers straw cups, and I insist on a cap and a no-spill design. We BOTH love the Nuby Thirsty Kids Flip-It Active water canteen!

Made for kids 18+ months, this 12 oz cup comes in a variety of colors for boys and girls, and the prints are more grown up. It's BPA Free, made from durable tritan plastic, has a silicone band for gripping, and is no spill when the cap is closed.

Lily loves her pretty purple cup! It has already gone on many adventures with us this Summer, and will be joining us in a few weeks on our road trip to the beach!

Nuby Thirsty Kids Flip It Active

Nuby Thirsty Kids Flip It Active

Connect with Nuby:


Gloves In A Bottle


My hands get so dry these days! I never used to have this problem, but it started about a year ago, and it can be really uncomfortable. I'm always on the lookout for a good moisturizer, and I loved Gloves In A Bottle!

This lotion is different from others because it is a shielding lotion. It means it bonds with the outer layer of dead skin cells and protects the skin so it can heal using its own natural oils and moisture.  I have been using Gloves In A Bottle every night before bed, and I noticed a big difference after just a few days!

Gloves In A Bottle

Block Island Organics Mineral Sunscreen


My family spends so much time outdoors in the Summer. We love to go to the park or to the pool!
All the time outdoors means sunscreen is a must. We love this all natural mineral sunscreen from Block Island Organics!

I do worry about all the chemicals in regular sunscreen, so I prefer to use mineral sunscreen. This SPF 30 formula for face and body is free of phthalates, sulfates, parabens, dyes, artificial fragrances and petrochemicals! It's kid tested × 4 AND mom approved! 





block island organics

Natasha and the Christmas Wish + Giveaway


Ever since I had Liam, I became very passionate about Down syndrome awareness and adoption, particularly special needs adoption. Right now isn't the time for our family, but I do hope that one day we might have room in our home for another little one who is blessed with Down syndrome, and needs a loving family!

Sometimes the thought of all the kids out there who need a loving home is too much to handle.  Kids with special needs, like Down syndrome, are especially unwanted. If I could find a way to shower them all with love, I would!

I was recently given the chance to review an incredibly moving book called Natasha and the Christmas Wish. It's a story about Natasha, who has Down syndrome and lives in an orphanage in Russia, and the family who is desperately trying to adopt her, but couldn't bring her home due to the Russian adoption ban. 

Spoiler alert: This is a true story, and I had to choke out the story through tears as I read it to my kids for the first time. Katrina Morriss, who is one of the authors, is still fighting against the adoption ban 5 years later. Purchasing this sweet and beautifully illustrated book will help benefit Downside Up, which is an organization that provides resources to families who have a child with Down syndrome in an effort to keep them out of orphanages.  Proceeds from purchasing this book will help Downside Up AND help bring Natasha home to her loving family!

Down syndrome blogs

GIVEAWAY!!!

One reader will receive a copy of this beautifully illustrated children's book, which is perfect for kids of ALL abilities!

Natasha and the Christmas Wish

To enter: 

  • Leave a comment telling me who the lucky recipient of this book would be!
Additional entries:


Giveaway will end on August 2nd at 11:59 PM EST. Winner will be verified and notified the following day!

Down syndrome


July was a great month! Although I'm looking forward to all the fun events in August, I hope it goes by VERY slowly! 


What are some of your current favorite things?

A Few of My Favorite Things - July Product Roundup


You might also like:


Motherhood

TUESDAY TALK


It's time for Tuesday Talk! Grab the button, link back to your hosts and add your blog post link on the widget below!


Tuesday Talk


Tuesday Talk

Crystal at Hall Around Texas | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram 
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
                                        Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Best Tips & Tricks for Moving with Kids

The Best Tips & Tricks for Moving with Kids #sponsored

DISCLOSURE: This post is brought to you by Northwood Realty Services and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own. 

When we bought our home in 2004, we didn't put much thought into it. We just wanted our own place! The fact that we were very young homeowners was something to be proud of, and the house was built by my husband's grandparents, so it was a sentimental purchase. However, we didn't think about our future family during the home buying process. Now, our home is too small for our family of 6, but the thought of moving with kids gives me major anxiety!


Kids

When Grant and I first moved into our home, the 3 bedroom house seemed so big. As our family expanded and our kids grew, our house seemed to shrink. Our kids are growing fast, and we are rapidly running out of room. Oh, who am I kidding? Our stuff is practically exploding out of our home! The time has come to start thinking about our options, and preparing for that inevitable move.

Up until last month, I had no idea where to start! That all changed when a group of Pittsburgh bloggers (myself included), who just happened to be moms, gathered with a group of mom realtors from Northwood Realty Services for a brainstorming session. There isn't a lot of information out there about moving with kids, and we were on a mission to change that!

The end result was an abundance of awesome tips and tricks to take parents through the buying, selling, and moving process with kids! We came up with so many tips and tricks that they couldn't all fit onto the graphic. We voted on our favorite tips, and the most popular ones were used to create this handy guide to help minimize the stress of moving with kids!

Print


PREPARING TO SELL


  • Start decluttering immediately. Donate or sell items that are no longer wanted or needed, pack up items that are not currently useful (seasonal/holiday items), and take down as many personal touches as possible. 
  • Give each room in your home a single purpose and remove all unnecessary items.
  • Consider renting a storage unit, and remove as much stuff as possible from your home until you move. 
  • Sell any items that are in good condition, and save that money to cover additional closing or moving costs!

SELLING

  • List your home over Halloween to expose potential buyers to your home as they take their kids trick or treating.
  • OR list your home over the holidays when it looks extra cozy and festive!
  • You can also list your home while you are on vacation so you won't have to worry about keeping your home clean for all the showings!

SHOWING YOUR HOME

  • Invest in a storage container for each room. That way, if there is a last minute showing, you can quickly clear all the daily clutter from each room and shove the containers into closets or in the back of your car.
  • Try to keep pets out of the way during showings, but better yet, take all pets out of the home during showings if possible!
  • Conveniently schedule showings while you are out of town. 

BUYING

  • Even though the holidays are stressful, buyers are more willing to negotiate during the holidays. It could work to your advantage!
  • Make a wish list of everything you are looking for, but be flexible. If something could be changed, it could be the perfect house for you.
  • Focus on location. That's one of the most important things, and you should walk around outside and explore the surrounding town before making a decision.
  • Get your kids involved in the process. Have them write a pros and cons list of what they liked/didn't like. Assign them the job of taking pictures of each room. All of these things could help in the decision making process!
  • Bring a babysitter to showings so they can step in if and when needed. 
  • Bringing your kids will alert you to any dangers that may be lurking inside or outside the home.

PACKING

  • Instead of using large boxes, pack everything in smaller boxes so they can be carried easily and unpacked quickly. It will feel less overwhelming.
  • Pack the most important and most used items together so they can be unpacked first.
  • Clearly label each box with the exact room it needs to go in.
  • Create a master list of what is in each box so you don't have to frantically search through boxes to find what you need.

MOVING

  •  If your kids are in school, try to time your move for early Summer. That way, the kids can adjust to their new home, start making friends, and be able to participate in Summer sports.
  • Take lots of pictures of your kids in your old home and in the backyard, so you can record all the special spots, rooms and memories. Take a video of one last tour through your entire home.
  • Consider using a removable growth chart from the time your child is born, so it can come with you wherever you go!
  • Set up the kids' rooms first so they feel more comfortable when they arrive in their new home. 
  • Have a first night in your new home tradition! Have a pizza party or camp out in the living room for a fun family movie night!

SPECIAL NEEDS

Can you tell which tip I added to the guide?!? Coming from the mom of a Toddler Tornado/Houdini, I know we will have to bring Liam, who has Down syndrome, along when we look at houses. If there is a dangerous spot, he will find it! If there is a way to escape, he will figure it out! We need to know these things BEFORE purchasing the home!

My other tip is to reach out to other special needs families in the area to get the scoop on services, schools, and medical care for your child. You can find groups on Facebook, or reach out to a local medical professional or hospital for advice and connections. It helps to hear about the community and services from a parent who is in your shoes!

As for my family, I don't know what the immediate future holds. Although I'm still overwhelmed by the entire process, I do know that we need a bigger house ASAP! I already started to utilize some of these tips (hello, decluttering) so moving with kids won't be as stressful when the time comes!


DSC_0117

The Best Tips and Tricks to minimize the stress of moving with kids! #sponsored


Are you buying or selling a home in the Pittsburgh area? Northwood Realty Services, which is one of the region's largest real estate service providers, can help!  Northwood Realty Services has 39 offices in 30 counties in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. They can help you with every step of the buying and selling process!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

In less than 3 weeks, my family will be heading out on a road trip to Virginia Beach! Dylan, Lexie and Lily go back to school one month from today, so it will (sadly) be our grand finale for Summer Break. I'm already preparing for our trip, so I wanted to share one of our favorite road trip ideas with all of you: a DIY Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray!


I made these simple travel activity trays for my crew a few years ago, and they were a hit! They stay in our SUV year round. I originally shared the idea on my blog two years ago, but I figured I would expand on the idea, because it was just briefly featured in my simple road trip ideas for kids post. It's still one of my most popular pins on Pinterest, and gets re-pinned daily from my travel board!

DIY $2 CHALKBOARD COOKIE SHEET 

TRAVEL ACTIVITY TRAY


$2 DIY Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Trays

These activity trays are simple and inexpensive to make, are perfect for kids ages 1-10, and can be slid under the seats for easy storage!

SUPPLIES:


  • Cookie Sheet ($1 at Walmart or a dollar store)
  • Chalkboard Spray Paint (1 can will easily cover 4+ cookie sheets)

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Activity Tray


DIRECTIONS:


  1. Thoroughly spray one side of the cookie sheet with chalkboard spray paint. Dry 3-4 hours.
  2. Thoroughly spray the other side of the cookie sheet and dry 3-4 hours. 
  3. Repeat on both sides. 
  4. DONE!!!
DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

PLAY SUPPLIES:

  • 1 box of chalk
  • 1 box of crayons
  • Travel Soap Box to hold the crayons
  • Mini Chalkboard Eraser
  • Coloring pages
  • Magnetic clip to hold the paper in place (2 pack for $1 at the Target Dollar Spot)
  • Cars
  • Magnetic letters and numbers
  • Storage bag to hold the letters
  • Magnets
DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

PLAY IDEAS:


{Letter Matching}

Write the uppercase letters on the travel chalkboard activity tray, and have your child place the matching lowercase magnetic letters onto the uppercase letters. This activity really helped Lily learn to recognize all of her letters, and now I'm doing the same thing with Liam!

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

{Counting & Number Recognition}

Draw 10 squares on the activity tray then draw counters (large dots) for each number inside each box. Have your child count the number of counters inside each square, then place the correct number on top of the box.

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

{Simple Chalkboard Play}

Draw a picture, play hangman or play tic tac toe!

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

{Magnetic Play}

Playing with magnets is fun and mess-free! (We love our Shape Mags for this! They are perfect for Liam!)

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

{Roads & Tracks}

Grab the chalk, draw a road and some parking spots OR train tracks, then play using toy cars and mini trains!

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

{Coloring}

Print out some coloring pages, clip a page to the activity tray using a magnetic clip, and color away! We love to store our crayons in travel soap boxes, because the cardboard box always gets crushed and the crayons break easier. (This is a great Back To School tip, too. Add it to your school supply list!)

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

A small, plastic, suction cup bath caddy suctioned to the window is perfect for holding crayons, markers and other small toys and supplies on road trips!

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

STORAGE:


When my kids are done playing, I simply place everything into a gallon storage bag, zip it up, clip the bag to the travel activity tray using the magnetic clip, and slide it under the seat!

DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips


These simple DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Trays get used several times a week. Not only are they perfect for road trips, but they are great for keeping my kids busy while running errands. I bought some new activity tray supplies for our upcoming family vacation, so they are already organized and ready to go!


DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray for Road Trips

What activities would you do with these trays?


DIY $2 Chalkboard Cookie Sheet Travel Activity Tray + Play Ideas #RoadTrip #Vacation

You might also like:

The Road Trip Survival Kit Caddy for Kids

Road Trip Survival Kit


TUESDAY TALK


It's time for Tuesday Talk! Grab the button, link back to your hosts and add your blog post link on the widget below!


Tuesday Talk


Tuesday Talk

Crystal at Hall Around Texas | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram 
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
                                        Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram


Monday, July 24, 2017

The Husband Behind The Blog

Happy Monday, my friends! Today is a special day. Today, the husband behind the blog is celebrating his birthday!


Parenthood

In honor of this special day, I decided to dedicate this post to my hard-working husband! Grant is very supportive of my blogging endeavors, and proud of my accomplishments, but he rarely makes an appearance on this little space of mine. He just prefers to stay behind the scenes, and I completely respect that.

Today, however, he deserves a shout out! I'm going to share a few fun facts about my sidekick for the past 18 years. (Yes, we really have been together THAT long!)


Down syndrome awareness

  • Grant and I met when we were teenagers, when we were cast as the leads in a musical. He was Adam. I was Eve. We were destined to be together.
  • We (obviously) have a shared interest in musical theater!
  • Grant has 1 brother, Eric, who is 3 years younger than him. I am the baby of 8 kids and have 25 nieces and nephews. Holidays with my family was like culture shock for him.
  • Grant's dad passed away almost 5 years ago, and he misses him every single day.
  • Grant wanted 1 kid - maybe 2. I wanted 4. Guess who won? 
  • When we received Liam's suspected Down syndrome diagnosis, Grant just smiled and told me, "It's okay. We got this. We can do this!" He was so brave and in control, while I was losing my mind, even though he was unbelievably scared, too.
  • When it comes to parenting, Grant excels at making each child feel important. He goes out of his way to spend one on one time with each of his kids.
  • Grant wanted to be a history major in college, but ended up taking computer programming and business courses instead. 
  • If you're wondering what Grant does for a living, he's a mortgage guy! It's incredibly stressful at times, but he made a complete career change 5 years ago and worked his way up in the company. I am so proud of how far he's come and have no doubt that he will climb even higher!
  • Grant loves baseball, and even though we live in Pittsburgh, his favorite team is the Detroit Tigers.
  • When it comes to football, however, he bleeds black and gold. Go, Steelers!
  • Grant taught himself how to play guitar and he really is quite good! He plays every weekend. He has a beautiful voice, too.
  • If  you need to know anything - and I do mean anything - about music, movies and TV shows, just ask Grant. He knows trivia like no other!
  • Grant LOVES Charles Bukowski and Charlie Chaplin.
  • His favorite TV show is Game of Thrones. He's a happy camper right now!
  • Grant has 3 tattoos: the Misfits logo, Dylan's initials and Lexie's initials. He isn't really into tattoos anymore, but wants to add Lily's initials with a tiger lily, and Liam's initials with boxing gloves.
  • Grant likes to play video games, but it doesn't consume his life. He really likes Fallout, Skyrim and Madden.
  • His favorite color is hunter green.
  • His favorite animal is a bear.
  • Grant despises mowing the grass and was more than happy to pass that chore onto his oldest son this Summer!
  • Grant loves iced tea. So much that he goes through 1-2 gallons of homemade sweet tea each week! 
  • Grant is a fan of weird drinks. Aloe water? Check. Drinks with chia seeds floating in it? Check. Drinks from other countries that have the texture of lumpy jello? Check. I think it's just his way of not having to share with his family! He's like that with unusual foods, too. His birthday lunch choice for today is a green smoothie, coconut chips and sunflower seeds. (I threw in his favorite sour candy to even things out.)
  • Grant's family is a Chevy family. His family owns a dealership, and his uncle just retired from GM, and is very well known among Camaro enthusiasts. Grant dreams of owning a Camaro one day!
  • Grant loves to just get in his car and drive around. (That's exactly how we celebrated his birthday together last night! Dinner at Moe's, a trip to the grocery store, and hour drive and ice cream. It was a wild date!)
  • Grant did not push himself in high school, but he's actually very smart. He's very well read, knows a lot about politics and current events, and he excels at word games, geography and history. 
  • Grant loves the beach as much as I do. We hope to retire to the beach one day...or maybe sooner!
  • Grant is very personable, and can easily make friends with everybody. It's one of the things I love most about him!


The Lucky Few

I hope you enjoyed the condensed version of getting to know Grant, and learned a few things about the husband behind the blog. Happy Birthday, Grant! We love you SO much! 


The Husband Behind The Blog

Friday, July 21, 2017

10 Ways Busy Moms Can Sneak In Self Care

10 WAYS

DISCLOSURE: I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, and I receive service and promotional items in exchange for monthly posts.

Motherhood is a strange and beautiful thing. I have never been this exhausted, stressed and busy before, yet this is the happiest I've ever been! I'm a busy mom and I love it. I love my four kids beyond measure, and I wouldn't trade my time with them for anything


Motherhood

(No, you're not getting the posed "motherhood is beautiful" shot. You're getting the real life "I'm trying to embarrass my almost-teenager by looking cool and posting it on Instagram" shot.)

But speaking of time, there is NO time for myself these days. I sacrifice sleep to get things done and give up some of the things I love to spend more time with my family. In some ways, I lost a little bit of myself, but the truth is, I gained so much more!

I love mom life, but the most difficult thing about having four kids is juggling four different schedules plus my own. My kids, my husband, and my work come first, and often, there is no time left over for anything other than meeting my basic needs.  There simply aren't enough hours in the day, and even if I skipped sleep entirely, I couldn't cross off everything on my to do list!

One thing I recently realized (it only took me 12 1/2 years) is that I HAVE to take care of myself, too. And I mean more than just meeting my basic needs! With four kids (one of whom is rocking an extra chromosome), I have to do the Mom Sneak in order to fit in much needed self care!


If you're a mom, you know exactly what the Mom Sneak is! It's hiding in a closet for five minutes, devouring a chocolate bar, so you don't have to share with your kids. It's sitting in a hot bath for 25 minutes because you have a "headache." Or taking just a bit longer while running errands alone.(Alone...what's that?) It's staring at a wall, in a silent room, for 10 minutes because you have sensory overload. And it's sneaking out to your car to watch an episode on Netflix while your husband thinks you are doing housework. (Not that I would know.)

There are so many ways busy moms can indulge in self care, and I'm going to share my favorite ways with you. I encourage you to choose one item off my list and do it for yourself TODAY. Every mom deserves a little break! And at the end of this list you just might find a giveaway for one of my favorite #MomSneak methods!

10 Ways Busy Moms Can Sneak In Self Care



1. Wake up a half hour before the kids. 

It's tough to drag yourself out of bed before you have to wake up, but those few quiet minutes alone are completely worth it! Climb out of bed, drink your coffee (or hot tea) in peace, and focus on only yourself for 30 minutes before the chaos begins! 

Motherhood

2. Reward yourself.

Once a week, buy yourself something little to enjoy! It doesn't have to be anything big.  It could be your favorite candy to hide and eat alone when you need a treat, a lipstick that makes you feel pretty, or a coffee while you are running errands. You deserve at least a few dollars a week to spend on just yourself!

3. Make time to read each day. 

Books are a great escape from the reality of everyday life! I used to be able to read one book a day, thanks to my speed reading skills. Now I'm lucky if I can make it through one book a month, and I miss it! Although most days I can only sneak in 10-15 minutes of reading, it's important that I do so. I love to get lost in a good book, and I look forward to my reading time each day!

Although my house is rarely silent, I take advantage of those quiet moments when my kids are eating lunch or enjoying their iPad/TV time. It's the only time I can sit down all day, so I can relax for a few minutes to lose myself in a few chapters!

Self Care

4. Do something that reminds you of your pre-mom days.

There are so many things that get bumped down or even off the to do list once you become a mom. Manicures and pedicures, a facial mask or hair treatment, writing in a journal, scrapbooking, music, art, etc. I'm sure there's something little that you wish you still had time to do.

It really is this simple: MAKE time for it. Schedule it into your week, and stick with it. Instead of racing around trying to do all the things while your kids nap, make time for yourself, too.

Give yourself that manicure or pedicure. Kick up your feet for ten minutes while using a facial mask or hair treatment. Pour your heart out in that journal. Rediscover your creativity through scrapbooking or painting. Belt out a show tune or play an instrument. The end result will be a mom who feels a bit more like their old self!

5. Get some exercise.

It's difficult to find time to exercise unless you are REALLY committed to a fitness routine. My family, my kids' activities and my blog always comes first, and I don't have time to exercise nearly as much as I used to. The problem is, when I don't exercise regularly, I notice a huge shift in my mood and energy. I have to plan my workouts around 6 different schedules, which is incredibly challenging, so sometimes I just skip it, and then I regret it!

Although it is ideal to exercise without kids, it doesn't happen often, and I'm sure many moms can relate. So stop the excuses, lace up those running shoes, strap the kids into a stroller and go for a walk. You'll be glad you did! Not only will your mood improve, but it's good for your health, too. A healthy mom is a happy mom!

Self Care

6. Get out of the house ALONE!

Schedule a Moms Night Out, a date night, dinner with a friend or just a day to go shopping alone once a month! And if you can do it more often, kudos to you. (That doesn't happen in my home!) Every mom deserves a little bit of time away from everyday life with kids, so make it a priority. If your significant other happens to complain, gently remind them that everybody deserves a little break now and then! Having time away from kids (sleeping doesn't count) is vital to a mom's well being!

7. Take a hot bath.

To me, there is nothing more relaxing than soaking in a steaming hot bath, in a dim and silent bathroom! It can easily reset my mood. Obviously, this can only happen when my husband is home, so I try to do this once a week when I am feeling really stressed! (If you have to claim you have a headache in order to get in there, just do it!)

But don't just sit in the tub. Make that rare time alone special! Lock the bathroom door, light a favorite candle, dim the lights, turn on the fan to block out the noise, put a cooling gel mask on your eyes, toss in a bath bomb or use some special bubble bath, then sit back and relax. (If you're a person who thinks sitting in dirty bath water is gross, just quickly rinse off in the shower before and after. That's what I do! Psst...F Bomb anyone?)

Self Care

8.  Try a quick yoga or pilates session. 

As moms, we are programmed to be highly energetic to keep up with our kids, and we have the ability to tune things out. But living with tiny humans can be stressful AND exhausting! A short pilates or yoga session can work wonders on frazzled moms.

There are times when all moms feel like they are reaching their breaking point. When that feeling hits, naptime, quiet time or electronics time is a MUST. On the days (which will be most days) when you can't escape alone for a run or barely have energy to stand up, a few minutes of yoga or pilates can work wonders. All that stretching and breathing instantly calms you down, and makes you feel so much better. It works like a charm every time!

Self Care

9. Go for a drive without the kids.

When you reach your breaking point, it's so important to escape for just a few minutes to refresh and recharge! Have a secret code worked out with your significant other that you both can use when you absolutely need a break. Sometimes you just need to leave for a few minutes to calm down or decompress.

There's just something so therapeutic about driving in the car without kids. I often turn off the radio and just get into the driving zone. Other moms may prefer to sing along with the music. For me, silence always does the trick! After a few minutes, I'm ready to return and start fresh!


10. Do the #MomSneak to binge watch Netflix!

I'm not going to lie. I love to sneak away to watch Netflix! Most of the time I spend watching Netflix is with my entire family for weekly Family Movie Night or with my husband 4 nights a week for our Netflix Date Nights. But sometimes I just want to escape and watch what *I* want to watch, with no interruptions.

I love getting lost in the world of NCIS, re-watching episodes of the Gilmore Girls or House of Cards, or enjoying my guilty pleasure, Switched at Birth! I usually grab my iPad and binge watch episodes while I do dishes or laundry. Those chores can sometimes take a lot longer than usual if you catch my drift! I'm not ashamed to admit that I download episodes on Netflix so I can watch them while I'm waiting at kids' activities. (Two hour dance classes anyone?) And sometimes I sneak out to the car just to be alone...

Netflix Stream Team

I'm definitely not alone with the #MomSneak! In a recent poll, "(71%) of moms admit to sneaking in TV “me-time” while juggling a busy schedule, with some even hiding from their kids for just a moment of peace."

Netflix Mom Sneak Graphic

And I'm obviously not the only mom who hides in the car to watch Netflix!

Netflix Mom Sneak Neighborhood Graphic

It took me nearly 13 years of parenthood before I began to make self care a priority again! It took some work and tweaking to find a good balance between family life and time to myself. To be completely honest, I still give my all to my husband and kids, and sacrifice a little bit of myself in return, but I'm happy in this stage of my life. It's exactly where I want to be, and it's 100% true: Mom life IS the best life!


10 Ways Bus Moms Can Sneak In Self Care - + Netflix 6 month subscription giveaway

What are your favorite self-care tips?

GIVEAWAY!!!


CLOSED - Winner is arress!

Who wants to win some Netflix?!? I have ONE 6 month Netflix subscription up for grabs for one of my readers!

TO ENTER: 

Share how you sneak in your Netflix shows by sharing a quick story or a selfie in action on social media, using the hashtag #MomSneak.  Share the link to your social media post (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) in the comments of this blog post.

*US participants only. Giveaway will end on July 30, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST. Winner will be chosen randomly, entry will be verified, and winner will be notified the following day. (Do NOT delete your social media post. It needs to be verified!)

GOOD LUCK!!!

While you wait, get in some #MomSneak time by printing out this activity sheet to keep your kid(s) busy! (Click HERE to print!)

Mom Sneak Activity Page

A YEAR OF COLOR


It's the third Friday of the month which means it's time for the monthly A Year of Color linkup! Justine from Little Dove and I are still co-hosting the linkup, but this month we have two new co-hosts. Welcome, Thrifty Wife, Happy Life and Sunshine and Munchkins!

A Year of Color link up

The color for this month is:

A year of color link up


I had something else planned for this month's post, but life got in the way, and an item I needed for the post hasn't been delivered yet! This left me scrambling for a post idea at the last minute! And, well, other than that big red target, nothing thrills me like seeing these red letters:


Netflix


It really is the little things in life...

So read those self care tips, enter that awesome giveaway, and share your #MomSneak methods in the comments below. And don't forget to link up your RED posts all month long!

Join us next month for:

A Year of Color link up


Plan ahead:

July 21- red
August 18- neon
September 15- blue
October 20- black
November 17- orange
December 15- metallic