Make Valentine’s Day Special For A Child In Need




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What better way to cheer up a child in the hospital than to send them a Valentine! These virtual cards can be viewed in Augmented Reality on any mobile device as well.

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Click here to send a custom Valentine to a child in the hospital.

11 Awesome Blogs to Read Today – Sunshine Blogger Award

Happy hump day!

This is a special post regarding The Sunshine Blogger Award. It’s a fantastic exercise and the questions involved can be used for yourself to do some self reflection. Read on or jump to:

What the Sunshine Blogger Award is.
Some fun questions I answered.
Who nominated me, and who I’m nominating.
My fun questions for them.

I woke up this morning feeling a little down. I’ve been working on some posts and, as a new blogger, I’m working hard to create quality content for my readers.

My ultimate goal for this site is to provide helpful, relatable stories that give others the support and tools they need to make it through each day.

I have tons of ideas about what I want to write. But I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. I want to make something to grease the wheel.

That can be a difficult task in the internet age, and the main challenge I’m facing is how to give fresh perspective on things.

I search for answers as a reader myself—how to clean this, how to handle that, how to raise my son, and how to stay sane while doing all of it.

Granted I find a lot of good articles, and I’ve found a lot of fantastic bloggers on my journey, but I don’t often find guidance for when my Pinterest project fails. Or when I declutter the whole house only to have a disaster zone again next week.

So, as a blogger, it gets challenging to incorporate your passion into quality content that will stick out in the world. And that’s what I’m working on.

That’s why being nominated by the wonderful Creative Cochrane really brightened my day. 

Not only is she amazing at momming, cooking, crafting and blogging, her nomination post really says it all for what new bloggers AND overwhelmed moms are going through. Something she said that really stuck out  to me is,Did I bite off more than I can chew?” 

So I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart. This is really what I needed today to keep my gears spinning!

Without further ado, let’s get on to the rest of the Sunshine Blogger Award post.

What is The Sunshine Blogger Award?

This is the first question I asked myself. I’ve seen a lot of it floating around so I did a little digging.

From what I gather, this is award is for those who inspire readers and spread joy and positivity. In the blogging world it helps writer’s to connect and promote each other’s work.

But for me(a new blogger) just being nominated by someone is an award in itself. To know that someone actually thought of my work is wonderful and I’m proud to display the logo on my site.

Rules and Nominating Process

1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you for the blog post and link back to their blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.

3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Questions for me

If you could revisit and relive any age of your childhood what age would you pick?

My childhood was actually pretty rough. Looking back makes it hard for me to pick a certain age. I cherish the memories I had with my family though. When I could cuddle with my mom while she rubbed my back, or when my dad taught me about nature on our trips to the woods.


2.If you won some strange lottery that gave you the ability to buy any ONE item, what would you buy?

Honestly, I would buy a mansion for my mom. And (insert Price Is Right voice) a brand new car! I would probably just give her the money, because she’s worked so hard her whole life to help me get to where I am today. If I could do anything in the world, it would be to make sure she never has to stress a day in her life again.

3.If you had three books to bring with you on a deserted island to re-read for the rest of your life, what would they be?

This is a tough one. I do like to read, but I don’t actually read many books. I read a lot of blogs and magazines. Books that I do enjoy reading are self help or self teaching, so I’d say I would bring a book about surviving on a deserted island, a Good Housekeeping magazine and book about edible plants.

4. What is your guilty pleasure song? (you know that song that you can’t help but sing along and dance like a fool to anytime it comes on? Mines Justin Bieber.. :O)

There are quite a few songs that pop on the radio from time to time that will just annoy me to no end. Those tend to be the ones that get stuck in my head. A recent one is Taylor Swift’s “Look what you made me do”.

On a side note, I do like Justin Bieber now. I still have a hard time admitting that.


5.Would you rather have the ability to fly anywhere in the world or be invisible?

I’d rather fly! I could go anywhere and experience the world. I’d love to go to Italy or somewhere in Europe!


6.Who is your greatest role model?

I’m going to answer this one in relation to blogging. My greatest role model would be Natalie Lue over at Baggage Reclaim. I started reading her posts years ago when I was going through a nasty relationship. I read her content every day and became a regular reader. She really helped me pull through some dark times. And I hope to be able to reach people like that through my own site one day.

7.Where do you hope to be next year with regards to blogging?

As I mentioned above, I would like to provide great content that will people can really identify with and use. I want to be able to help others find their balance and joy in life. This time next year, I would like to have a regular readership built. I’d like to have my writing style really polished and a weekly newsletter with subscribers.

8.If you could offer any advice to someone considering blogging for the first time what would it be ?

Do I have to pick one thing?! I’m  still new at actually *doing* the blogging, but I’ve toyed with it over the last few years. I havebeen2 important pieces of advice.

DONT STOP. Serious blogging takes a lot of focus and patience. You can do it no matter what your situation is in life, but it won’t happen over night. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

YOU’RE NOT PERFECT AND YOUR BLOG WON’T BE EITHER. Don’t get wrapped up in the name, design, and pretty colors. Make sure it’s easy to access and read, but something I’m learning is that readers want good content. Think about it. When you’re reading a big site, what color is the sidebar?

Exactly. We don’t pay attention to that. We pay attention to the words.

9.If you were to get up in the middle of the night and grab a  snack what would it be?

Something sweet. I have a wicked sweet tooth at night. My current craving is Graham crackers and Nutella.

10.What is your dream vehicle?

I feel like I have that. My whole life I’ve dreamt about fancy cars or houses. I thought having those things would make me feel whole.

But they don’t. They just make you look for something else. I currently have a 2017 sedan and it’s perfect. Why? Because it functions, it drives well, and it’s not falling apart.

11.Last but not least – What is your favourite animal?

Elephants. They represent strong will and patience. Second place is pandas because they are so happy and loveable, and third is birds because they’re beautiful and graceful. I love watching birds.

Nominations

All the bloggers that follow work hard every day to spread their passions and create a better world. Please support them by checking out their sites, and if you can, they would love feedback and conversation on their posts.

I was nominated by  The Creative Cochrane– A wonderful blogger with amazing recipes and crafts.

I would like to nominate

1. Baba’s Field Notes – a talented artist who shares hilarious cartoons about parenting that we can all relate to

2. Kelcie Makes Patterns– another talented artist with the passion to spread wonderful graphics for your site or project. Not only does she have amazing patterns for free, she even does tutorials on how to make your own!

3.Sarah’s Sage Advice– this woman really covers the struggles of momming. From married moms to single parents she covers it all. My favorite post is about making a mom friend. 

4.Family By Choice– an inspiring site full of articles that make you look inside and really challenge yourself. Created by a blended family with a passion for creating community. They really make you feel welcome and supported.

5.My Passion Projects– if you are looking for ways to boost your productivity  and yourself, this is the place for you. She has lots of wonderful how tos for new bloggers as well.

6.No Light Without Darkness– as a recovering addict, this one really pulls at my heart strings. If you or someone you know is a recovering addict please check out this blog. It will give you a taste of what it’s like to walk in those shoes.

7.The Violet Blonde– looking good can make you feel good, and she has a knack for helping you do just that. From beauty to saving money and more, she covers a wide variety of lifestyle topics.

8. The Jumbled Brain– recovery isn’t just about drug addiction. There are millions of people who struggle with disabilities and injuries if all types. This blog gives you a peek inside the life of someone with TBI (traumatic brain injury).

9.Pampered Wife – a blog for those living the married life, she shares her story and talks about the ups and downs she has faced in her own life.

10.Pieces of Ashley– what blogger doesn’t love a blog about blogging (say that 3x fast!)? Ashley provides tips and advice that she wishes she had when she first started out.

11.Ellie’s Bits of Beauty– find out how to pamper yourself the right way with this beauty blogger. She suggests products and tips to really make yourself feel good.

Wow,that was tough.There are so many great blogs covering a wide variety of topics. It took a lot of time to think about and nominate just 11! Now, here are my questions for you.

1. What made you start a blog?

2. How did you narrow your niche?

3. What did you do to find readers, or what are you doing to increase them?

4. What are your 6 month goals for your site?

5. What’s your favorite way to relax?

6. What’s your favorite topic to read about on other blogs?

7. What’s your favorite part of the day and why?

8.What are some of your hobbies outside if your blog/what you write about?

9. If you could wave a magic wand and make anything happen, what would your life look like?

10. Who is your favorite blogger/role model?

11. Lastly, what do you love about YOU?

I look forward to hearing your answers, and I hope you have as much fun doing this as I did!

spring-clean-declutter

The Real Reason We Make Excuses

Spring cleaning can be a time to purge all the clutter of your house and mind. But it’s not just about that. It’s about feeling better and building momentum for the year. So why is it so hard?  What’s stopping us? One word: excuses.

Read on for the meaning behind our excuses, or jump ahead to some common excuses and how to fix them. 

You can also download the Interpersonal Skills Worksheet  directly.

(The worksheet was made on Canva on my mobile phone, so it’s a little rough, but gets the job done!)

Excuses: everyone’s got them

But why? What’s the point of making up excuses to put something off? Why stop ourselves from doing what makes us feel good? There are lots of reasons we make excuses. While they may feel better short  term, they catapult us into a never ending cycle:

Cycle of Mess

To defend ourselves.

Excuses are a perfect defense. We don’t want to admit that we suck at times. Society frowns upon being lazy. Why would we want to come out of the closet? Besides, we know we have “it” in there somewhere.

We’re “comfortable”.

We have built our lives around comfort. Humans are creatures of habit and we don’t like change. On the surface, we may be itching to change, but deep down we like our life just the way it is.

A saying I really enjoy is that comfort is uncomfortable. Comfort zones provide us with a ton of excuses for putting something off. Think about it: how many times do you feel like you could do better? Be better? If you were truly happy, you wouldn’t have these thoughts.



 

We’re afraid.

Fear is defined as unpleasant emotion caused by a perceived threat. Throughout our lives we pick up what we know as limiting beliefs. These beliefs tell us that something is dangerous or painful to us.

There are many kinds of fear. They are often deep rooted and birth the limiting beliefs that lead to our excuses. 2 of the biggest ones I see in myself and others are:

Fear of failure(Perfectionsim)

Perfectionists set themselves extremely high standards. We see other moms with a spotless house and wonder, “How the hell do they keep that up? That’s what I want.”

So we resign ourselves to go above and beyond where we’re at in our own lives. We shoot for the stars when we are still on the ground. This causes a huge problem. You can’t skip a step on the ladder to success. You’ll trip.

Fear of success.

What happens when we actually succeed? Then we have nothing to strive for. We think we’ll feel better when we “get there”, but we don’t even know where “there” is. We’ll never see ourselves as able to actually achieve it. That helps us create: you guessed it. EXCUSES!

We have low self esteem.

Our limiting beliefs not only make excuses, they feed off our low self esteem. The perfectionist in us says we’ll never be enough, which in turn makes us think we can’t do it. It also tells us we don’t have the resources to accomplish it:

If I only had x,y and z I’d be better at this.

If I only did x,y and z I’d be better at this.

We have supermom syndrome.

Supermom

We compare ourselves to others we see as having the things we want. This makes us feel worse. What we fail to remember is that we just aren’t there yet. We’re in a different place on our journey, but that doesn’t mean we’re better or worse than anyone else.

I was talking to my girlfriend the other night. She’s someone I’ve always looked up to. She’s what most of us would see as the ultimate supermom- she works full time, goes to the gym 6 days a week, does all the cool things with her kids and keeps her house immaculate. I don’t know where she finds the drive to do it.

Despite all this, she still sees herself as a failure because she struggles with her own fears and insecurities.

Now that we’ve covered why we make the excuses, its time to identify the ones we make.

The excuses we make

Problem: Too Busy

We just don’t have the time.
Work, school, all the kids’ extracurriculars. Cooking dinner. All the errands we have to do. Writing blog posts(what do you think I could be doing right now?). We find plenty of time do what we see as important to keep our life together. But do you want to come home to a messy house? Do you like coming home to beat yourself up? Messy house= messy mind.

If you’re like me, your morning consists of getting the kids ready for school. Wake up. Wake them up. Make breakfast. Eat. Get dressed. Get them dressed. Brush your teeth. Brush their teeth. Sometimes make their lunch. Gather all their papers/folders/books and extra clothes. Stuff it in their bookbags and shove them out the door/ into the car.

So where’s the time to clean? The counters are a mess, there’s laundry all over the floor and dishes in the sink. You’ve got to get to work/errands/appointments!

Solution: Multi-task.

Getting dressed: pick up extra laundry laying around on the floor while picking out your clothes.

Brushing your teeth: clear the bathroom counter. Put away your makeup/styling products/ that box of cold meds from last week.

Breakfast: wipe the counters down. Literally, wipe the crumbs on to the floor(this helps me sweep later because I can’t stand stepping on crumbs). Put the cereal boxes away.

Gathering items for school: toss the stuff you don’t need. Seriously. That science worksheet they did in school? Not going to benefit anyone by sitting on the table for weeks.

Problem: Too overwhelMed

Stress

When we come home from busting our ass at work/errands/grocery shopping/etc, the last thing we want to do is start cleaning. We used all our energy on the day’s activities. Plus we have to start dinner, do homework with the kids, and try to keep our sanity.

We take one look at the mess from the morning or the piles of stuff laying all over the house and we stress.

Solution: Pick up as you go.

Walking to the bathroom? Grab a few things along the way. Hubby’s hat and shoes ? Grab them and put them where they go. Kids’ toys all over the floor? Scoop them up and shove them into a corner for now (we’ll get to that later). Books, magazines, notebooks? Snatch them up and stack them neatly on that counter or shelf.

I know what you’re thinking. “How’s this going to help me actually clean?” Trust me. It will help. The little stuff piles up. Taking a little bit at a time and grouping it together helps you start sorting it out.

Solution: Catch all bins.

I bought a fabric tote from the dollar store and when I don’t know what to do with something laying around, I toss it in there. It’s currently full of toys, spare clothes, papers and magazines that I’ll “get to later”. When I head to another room, I take it with me and empty it out a little at a time.

Solution: Shush the perfectionist.

Relax. This mess is only temporary. Like Rome, it wasn’t built in a day. Unlike Rome, it will take more than a day to come down. One. Step. At. A. Time.



Problem: Lack of support

It seems that most moms are on their own sometimes. Sure, we may get help from time to time, but our main responsibility is to tend to the house.

But it takes a village. How are we supposed to pick up after ourselves and the significant other and the kids and, in some cases, the animals(we have 2 dogs who I also count as kids).

Solution: Communicate.

Be a broken record. Explain to your family why you need the help. Download this Interpersonal Skills Worksheet to help you do it effectively.

Solution: involve the family.

No matter their age, kids can help too! Make it a game. Whoever picks up their stuff first gets a treat. Build it into their routine. Make a conscious effort to have them do something small every day.

Ask your significant other to help as much as they can too. Try to devise a plan of who will do what chore for the day/week/forever.

Homework: Find your block

Now that we’ve learned a few of the blocks there are and how to combat them, we’ll take some time to reflect.

Use a few minutes of down time through your day today and really think about what’s stopping you. Think about why it’s stopping you. If you could wave a magic wand, what would wish for? More time? A maid? A cleaning robot? Or just the drive to overcome that block?

Let me know what you come up with. Is there something blocking you that I didn’t cover? What kind of excuses do you find yourself making? What can you do to nip them in the bud?

Tomorrow we’ll dive into what area you’re manifesting as a result of this block.

http://wecareonlineclasses.com/too-busy-to-clean-your-house-read-more-for-some-great-easy-tips/

Spring Cleaning CHALLENGE!

Spring Cleaning is a pretty well known tradition here in the Midwest. When the weather starts to tire of toying with us we get itchy. Snow melts, the first flowers pop up(I can’t wait to see if my new Crocus will), and the sun will start to stay a while.

A lot of the time we tend to “hibernate” through winter, so spring means waking from our beauty sleep. This usally gives us a boost of energy and makes us want to clean up our winter mess.

I have a feeling that you’re thinking to yourself, “but it’s not spring yet- it’s still winter!’. So? Just because it’s called spring cleaning doesn’t mean we have to wait until Spring.

Take advantage of your extra time

Wouldn’t it be great if you had those first weeks of spring to get out of the house? Enjoy the mud and rainy days with the kids? If I know anything about kids, it’s that they hate being bored.

Take my son for example. He is currently going nuts looking for something to do while I write this. He was outside adventuring and playing all day, and he still finds a way to be bored.

I see spring cleaning as a way to purge all that winter build up. Physically, less sun for me means less happiness. I always feel better when I spend the day in the sunshine!

When I’m less happy, I’m less active. When I’m less active, I clean less. When I clean less, I get clutter. When I get clutter, I’m less happy.

See how that works? It turns into a never ending cycle of clutter and guilt. Throw in those dreams about SuperMom traits and it’s all downhill.

Why We Don’t Do It

There are many reasons for procrastinating at something. Cleaning can be a big one. Aside from the fact that I struggle from depression, I am a huge fan of putting responsibility on my future self. I always find time to “do it later”.

3 things I hear that prevent others from tackling things are:

They don’t have enough time.

They get overwhelmed.

They lack family support.

All of these can be good reasons/excuses as to why we don’t clean.

The Fix

If you guessed coffee, you’re wrong! While coffee helps us in the short term, it doesn’t clean our house. So I came up with this Spring Cleaning Challenge to add the extra oomph the coffee can’t provide.

The Spring Cleaning Challenge

Over the next 5 days, we will spring clean one area of our house. I don’t care if it’s a huge living room or a small corner of the bedroom. In fact, I don’t care if it’s your kitchen counter!

The goal of this challenge is to help you clear your mind and tackle that one thing that’s dragging you down.

What We’ll Do

Day 1- We’ll identify what’s blocking you from getting started.

Day 2-We’ll pick an area. Room, corner, closet, whatever.

Day 3-We’ll devise a slacker-proof plan THAT will actually work to help you DECLUTTER your space and your mind.

Day 4- The hardest part of the challenge. We. WILL. START.

Day 5- We will assess our progress and tweak our plan if needed.

Homework

For today, simply think about your state of mind right now. Think of the winter and the things you’ve done over the past few months. If you’re somewhere in a different season, think of your winter time too.

This is getting posted on a Sunday night, so if you see it soon it will be perfect time to reflect. If you’re finding this at a later date, no worries! Go at your own pace!

I’ll see you back here tomorrow!

5 TV Moms With Realistic Traits

Do you ever feel like a failure? I personally struggle with the fact that I am forgetful, clumsy and terrible at organizing things. These are some of the traits I lack, but I still aspire to be the best in my own right.

Running a house is challenging. It’s not helpful when you have Supermom syndrome either. I define Supermom syndrome as striving to be the matriarchal machine with a spotless house, well dressed children and dinner on the table by 5.

While a lot of women have one or two of these traits, no one person can have them all. We always seem to make it work though, despite our shortcomings.There’s just something about taking care of the kids that drives us to succeed.

As you may know, the media tends to portray fantasy personalities who seem to be perfect. It gives us something to strive for. But we aren’t all cut from the same cloth. Some characters are there to remind us that everyone has their faults.

These 5 moms can be strict, overbearing, and downright dirty at times— but they’re more like us than we know. The one thing we all have in common: We just want what’s best for our kids.

Beverly Goldberg- The Goldbergs

http://www.amodelrecommends.com/2016/12/06/jumpers-beverly-goldberg/

Traits: strong, supportive, organized, creative, loving, watchful, involved

Pitfalls: overprotective, “smother”

Beverly Goldberg is the poster child of a mother in the 80’s. She is the matriarch of her family and is constantly pushing her kids for affection. She is very loving and has a huge heart, which is a blessing and a curse.  She has the drive to help her kids succeed but can push the limits too far. Her catchphrase is, “I have failed as a mother,” which points out how we all feel sometimes. Despite her perfectly clean house and fantastic homemade meals, she still sees herself as a failure from time to time.

She has a very creative side and loves to scrapbook, power-walk and bedazzle. While she can push the limits with her involvement in her kids’ lives, she is often there to step in and save them when they really need her the most.

what we can learn

The biggest thing to take away from this “smother” is to take advantage of every moment you get with your kids. They will be grown before you know it. So seize the day and love like there’s no tomorrow.

Jessica Huang- Fresh Off the Boat

https://asianamericanpopculture.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/jessica-huang/

Traits: Determination, leadership, loyalty, traditional, competitive, confident

Pitfalls: Struggles to readjust, perfectionist, aggressive

Jessica Huang is the culture shocked leader of the Huang family. She is very traditional and struggles to fit with the American lifestyle. Her perfectionist streak and high expectations cause her to push her kids to the max. She is aggressive in her endeavors and can be very controlling at times. Although opinionated and stubborn, she does have the ability to think through her actions and make amends afterward while explaining her goal (she just wants whats best for her children).

what we can learn

If there’s one thing every mom wants to know, it’s how to parent the “right” way. This usually involves  an authoritative parenting style. While she can be too much at times, Jessica knows how to steer her kids in the right direction.  So don’t be afraid to take away that extra snack. Put your foot down. Your kids will thank you for it one day.

Katy Otto- American Housewife

http://tvline.com/2016/11/04/american-housewife-full-season-1-order-renewal-the-real-oneals-abc/

Traits: Honest, we can identify with her, smart, innovative, resilient

Pitfalls: Apathetic

Of all the moms on this list, Katy Otto is the one I relate to the most. I come from a humble background and don’t value status as much as comfort. Katy is just that: a creature of habit. Moving into a wealthy, pretentious neighborhood has provided her with many trials and tribulations. She tries to fit in but it’s just not her. This causes waves from time to time. She is snarky, honest and always thinking of ways to get what she wants from her children.  She has a very blunt parenting style and tries to teach her children to be independent.

what we can learn

Embrace who you are! So what if you aren’t the head of the PTA? Your children love you anyways. Sure you may screw up from time to time, but mistakes are how we learn! So take the ups with the downs and keep on moving. You’ll get there eventually.

Rainbow Johnson- Black-ish

http://www.refinery29.com/2016/12/131633/blackish-episode-8-biracial-identity-interracial-dating

Traits: Hopeful, laid back, hard working, passionate about cultural identity , open minded

Pitfalls: short attention span

Rainbow Johnson is a bi-racial anesthesiologist who came from a humble background. She has a lax parenting style and wants her children to grow up with more than she had. She does her best to raise them in a society where color is not a factor. She works toward this goal by pushing her husband to break down racial barriers in the business world. She has a hard time communicating with her children, though, and struggles to be open with them.

what we can learn

To communicate  Communication is not always easy but it’s definitely worth the effort. Rainbow’s inability to effectively do this with her kids shows us that it takes a lot of time and conscious effort  to master this skill. So practice every chance you get!

Rebecca Pearson- This Is Us

http://www.vulture.com/2016/12/this-is-us-safe-progressivism.html

Traits: Independent, insightful, resilient, fighter

Downfalls: indecisive,  judgmental

Rebecca Pearson was introduced to us as a fighter. She started out with a stillborn child out of the triplets she birthed. She  then adopted a black child and faced challenges bonding with him. Her ex husband is an alcoholic and she was often left to tend the house and kids on her own.  As a result of this, they divorced. She has struggled with big issues throughout the series. There are no ways to blow them off. Her biggest fear is watching her children struggle, and as a result holds them to very high standards.

what we can learn

Ambition.  Resilience. The fighting spirit. No matter what happens in life, it is only temporary. What you’re going through? It’s been done before. If Rebecca can do it, so can you. So pick yourself up, brush the dirt off, and keep going.

 

Are there any traits you aspire to have? What’s your biggest challenge as a mother? Drop me a comment and let me know!