No Comparisons Allowed!

I have toyed with the idea of starting a blog for a couple of years, at least. One of the things that kept me from taking the leap into this wonderful world of social media, is my fear of contributing to the world of mommy-comparisons.

Women, as a whole, tend to be really hard on each other. Even harder on ourselves.

Reading a blog where a mom puts all of the creative ideas and “smiling kid with a clean house background” pictures, it is very easy to compare your worst moments to their blogged moments. I know. I have done it!

I was overly aware that if I created the kind of blog that I dreamed of, I was setting moms up for more unfair self-comparisons.

Let me put your mind at ease:

  • I am presenting the best of me.
  • I don’t do crafts with my kids everyday.
  • I try to keep the mess out of the backgrounds of pictures.
  • Most of my ideas stem from other creative ideas I have seen and adapted.
  • I have daily moments of impatience with my kids. I can be down-right grumpy.
  • I watch too much TV.
  • I don’t cook very well. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty domestically challenged.
  • One of the reasons I want to write is because when I talk, things always come out wrong!
  • My creativity is stifled, as I lose my battle with perfectionism all too often.
  • If you popped in at my house unexpectedly, I would be wearing pajamas (not the cute ones!) and maybe a bra, if you are lucky. My hair would be in a frizzy ponytail and I’d be wearing glasses and no make-up. I would blame it on motherhood, but it’s not that. It’s just the way I am.

The point of this post is this:

Please, when you read my blog, take it for what it is. A sharing of the best ideas and inspiration I could muster.

Motherhood is not easy, especially when you are doing your best to be conscious and present. It’s tricky to be self-reflective, but not self-critical. It’d be a much softer place if we could all show some compassion to each other, as well as ourselves.

Posted in BE present in parenting, BE true to self | Leave a comment

Cloth Diapers Q&A’s

Guppy in his BumGenius diapers

When I told my hubby that I wanted to use cloth diapers with Guppy, he though I had done lost my mind! For 6 months of my pregnancy, he fought me on it- remembering his childhood in the Philippines, hand-washing his niece’s poopy diapers. Only after I stubbornly insisted AND agreed to change all the diapers and clean them, did he reluctantly agree. It has been 8 months of cloth diapering and he has long-since conceded that it was a great decision. (Quietly cheering: Yeay me!)

Especially lately, I have been getting a lot of inquiries from friends and family that are considering cloth diapers. I thought I’d gather the questions I’ve been asked along with my responses for any other folks contemplating cloth vs disposable.

Can you give some pros and cons for cloth diapers, in general?

Pros:

  • Economical. (Saves.So.Much.Moolah! But, only a “pro” if you wash your own. Diaper service negates any money savings.)
  • Environmentally-friendly. (Did you know disposables stay in the landfills for 75-100 years? Think of 6-12 diapers per day for the first 3-ish years of your life sitting in a landfill until you are a great-grandparent! Yikes! Biodegradable diapers are available, but are more expensive.)
  • Healthier for baby. Bleaches and other chemicals found in disposables won’t sit against your baby’s booty for 3 years straight.
  • No diaper rash! Seriously!! Keeps moisture away from your baby’s bum much better than disposables.
  • Super easy to use! These are not your Grandma’s cloth diapers! The days of pins, plastic covers, and washing poop off by hand? Those days are gone!

Cons:

  • Can be a large up-front cost.
  • The washing process takes about 4-6 hours to complete every 2-3 days. (Most of which is waiting time, not active labor.)
  • The washing process takes a lot of water. (For our diapers, it’s cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse. We don’t pay water here, so I can’t estimate the water cost.)
  • Specific washing process. Takes a bit to get comfortable & requires specific detergent type.

Which diapers do you use? Why did you choose them? Would you recommend them?

I chose to use BumGenius diapers. The reason why I chose them was mostly because I didn’t want to have to make further purchases to “size-up” the diapers as my baby grew. It was mostly an economical decision. The BumGenius are $18, and are supposed to fit from newborn through potty-training. When you get prefolds with the covers, the cover needs to be repurchased in different sizes 4 times from newborn to potty-training. The covers themselves run about $10-13.

With that being said, the BumGenius really don’t fit newborns super well. I have big babies (8-9lbs.) and the BumGenius was very bulky for the first month or 2. I have a friend and a family member that both used the pre-folds & covers- they fit the newborns better. I, however, am still happy with what I chose. I had already planned to use disposables for the first few weeks after Guppy was born, simply because I had visions of meconium-filled cloth diapers & wasn’t about to do that to myself while I was healing and exhausted!

I asked my friend who went with the pre-fold option for her input, this is her experience: She is using pre-folds with the Thirsties cover. She likes them a lot and definitely recommends them. No problems with leaking. Early on, she tried the “Thirsties fab-fitted diaper”. She found it easier to put on the baby when he was a newborn, but ultimately returned to using the cover. The pocket diaper couldn’t hold as much urine.

How many diapers have you found you need?

We have 18 diapers. We originally registered for 24 diapers, per the manufacturer’s recommendations, but received only 18. We decided to wait and see if we would need another diaper type before purchasing the final 6. Turns out that we were happy with the BumGenius diapers and were also finding 18 diapers to be sufficient for an every-other-day laundering schedule.

Does cloth diapering change the size/type of clothes you need? Does it make them bulkier?

Although BumGenius diapers are bulkier than pre-folds and disposables, I don’t believe it has made any difference in the size Guppy can wear. If he is about to outgrow something, it may make a week’s worth of difference, but nothing to take into consideration while choosing clothing.

What products have you used with cloth diapering? Still use creams? Anything to neutralize odors in the wet bags?

First, regarding using creams/powders, you can’t use them with cloth diapers (most, if not all) because they create a build up that results in leaking. It can permanently ruin your diaper. The good news is, when using cloth diapers, you really won’t need any cream. With the exception of one antibiotic-induced diaper rash, Guppy has had zero rashes when using the cloths. I believe this is either because the cloths are so much better at wicking the moisture away from the skin, or because of the lack of chemicals, as opposed to what is in the disposables. When he did have that one rash, we needed to use ointment, so we switched him to disposables for about a week. BUT, here’s the thing… when we went on a week long vacation we used disposables for convenience and he ended up with a diaper rash by day 3. When we got home, we put him back in the cloths and the rash was gone the next day.

Diaper liners: A MUST! This is what made my husband decide that this was not such a bad deal, after all. The diaper liners look like dryer sheets and are placed between the baby’s skin and the diaper. They are flushable, so if the baby poops… plop it in the toilet and there is no poop to spray off the diaper, no poop in your washing machine, etc. We use the Imse Vimse Flushable Liner (2PK) 200 pieces/2 rolls (Baby) liners. I cut the liner in half and if Guppy doesn’t poop, I just wash the pee’d-on liner with the diapers, toss it in the dryer along with the insert, and re-use it. They will wash this way about 3-5 times before they look like they should be tossed. Because I do this, I have only bought one package of liners since we started 8 months ago!!

Detergent: You have to be so careful with which detergents you use- some can void the diaper’s warranty. The only one we have used, because it came so highly recommended, and we have had such a great experience with it, is Rockin’ Green Cloth Diaper and Laundry Detergent (Classic Rock, Bare Naked Babies) In 8 months, we have only gone through 2 bags, so at about $14 per bag, it is not as expensive as it appears. This detergent leaves the diapers without stains, and we only have to strip the diaper once per month (see below for more on stripping. The diaper, that is!)

Diaper Pail Liner: We went with the Kissa’s Antibacterial Pail Liner and have been happy with that. I can’t say that it keep all the smells from the nursery when it’s simply in a lidded kitchen pail, as some of the review say, but it’s satisfactory.

“On the Go” Wet bags: In the diaper bag, we carry the Kushies “On the Go” Wet Bags and have been very happy with them. They keep the smells and moisture from escaping, even when forgotten in the bag for a couple days. (oops!) They can hold quite a few diapers- I think we have put 7 or so into one bag. They just get washed along with the diapers and hung dry. Easy-peasy.

That’s it. But, one final note…

DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON A DIAPER SPRAYER. We used it once when we forgot to put the liner in and Guppy poo’d. I used the sprayer to rinse the poo into the toilet. It was disastrous. It took me 5 minutes AND I had to change my clothes, clean up the bathroom floor, and wipe clean the lenses on my glasses from all of the back-splash. If this was what I had to do with every poop, I would never consider dealing with cloth diapers!

Do you hang dry or use the dryer?

I do a combination. In the winter, I hang dry the outer layer (on hangers hung from cupboard knobs in my kitchen! Super stylish!) and dry the insert in the dryer. We, most of the time, just do a load of clothes after the diapers and combine the clothes and the diaper inserts in the dryer to save electricity. The outer layer only takes a couple hours to dry completely. During the summer, I plan to hang dry both outside. I can’t tell you how long it will take for the inserts to hang dry though, since the weather hasn’t made this a possibility for me yet.

Do you have any leaking issues?

POoopsy Daisy!

Yes and no. I have always said that Guppy pees like a man. I don’t know how a little belly like that has room to store what he excretes! Much more than our daughter did, that’s for sure!

During the day, we barely ever have leakage. We change him with every feeding, so every three hours. One thing to note is that you really can’t tell when your baby is wet with the cloth diapers. With disposables, it’s super easy to tell. The cloth diapers wick the moisture away, so the baby doesn’t seem to get irritated after wetting. It also seems to absorb more evenly in the insert, so you don’t have a big wet area as you do with the disposables.

When we do start seeing more leakage issues, we know we must have some build-up on the diaper, so we strip the diaper (the process explained in the next section) and that seems to fix the problem.

We do use disposables when traveling for more than 2 days. (Not everyone is so keen on us using their washing machines for cleaning diapers.) What we have noticed is that we get A LOT more leaking issues with disposables than we do with the cloth.

At night, we have had to adjust strategies with different stages to avoid leaking. While Guppy was under, say, 3-4 months old, we changed him with every feeding throughout the night. That means every 3-5 hours, all.night.long. (I’m packing the bags under my eyes just remembering those days!) There was no leaking issues then. But, as I began sleep training him… therefore, not changing him during the nighttime, we started needing to adjust our diapering tactics to avoid leaking. We started double stuffing his diaper (the regular insert, plus a newborn insert that’s included when you buy a BumGenius diaper). Then, as Guppy grew, and so did his bladder, we needed to triple stuff the diaper (regular insert, plus 2 newborn inserts crammed into the outer shell.) He has gotten to the point now where he is occasionally leaking through that, too. So, now we are considering buying a few inserts made of more absorbent materials, maybe bamboo? I’ll update this post once I have found the secret to success regarding this nighttime super-pee situation.

Any other advice to make it work?

This routine that has worked for me: When the diapers are all clean & dry, I stick 3 of them in a drawer and the rest on the diaper shelf. When all of the diapers on the shelves have been used & are dirty, I know it’s time to run a load. The 3 clean diapers in the drawer allow for more than enough time to wash & dry the dirties.

Stripping the diaper: About once per month, you will need to strip the diaper of any build up and ammonia smell. You’ll know if you are past due on this task when you can smell ammonia and/or your diapers start leaking. For BumGenius, they recommend adding 1/4 cup bleach to the load, once per month. I find that to be ridiculously ineffective. I use the soak recommended on the back of the Rockin’ Green Detergent package, which is 2 tbsp detergent in the first cold rinse cycle, and let it soak for 30 minutes-8 hours, depending on the degree of the funk. I usually let it sit for a couple hours, while I run some errands, then return to complete the washing cycle as usual. Works every time.

That is all I can think of to help get you off to a relatively seamless start. Feel free to post any further questions in the comment section below & I’ll answer them ASAP!

 

Posted in BE healthy, BE money-wise, BE present in parenting | Leave a comment

Free Outdoor Family Fun: Letterboxing

This year, one of our favorite finds has been Letterboxing. It is hella fun! We have found lots of little trails in our area that are like hidden gems. Everyone in the family has a blast and looks forward to it. It’s free AND gets us out in nature. Double score!

Letterboxing with a friend at Mare Island in CA

Letterboxing is like a treasure hunt. You follow a set of clues that leads you to a hidden box. Inside the box is a (usually elaborately) hand-carved stamp for you to stamp your personal letterboxing journal/log, as well as a log for you to leave your mark with your own signature stamp.

Stamping our journal with the treasure stamp. The small book (right) shows how we left our signature stamp, trail name & date in the box's log.

There is a Letterboxing website where you type in the city you want to do your search. You can look through the search results, reading through the clues, to find the one that seems most fun & age appropriate.

It has been our experience that wherever we have wanted to search, there has been several to choose from. There were even a couple hidden in Disneyland! It has actually proven to be a fun way to break up a long drive.

 

What to bring with you when Letterboxing:

  • Printed clues from the Letterboxing Website
  • Your signature stamp. It’s more fun if you make your own! Get the tutorial here.
  • A stamp pad.
  • A blank-page journal. (Or, a blank sheet of paper, to be added into a journal later, if it is a hobby your family turns out loving.)
  • A pen.
  • Any misc items, depending on the letterbox site you chose. (trail safety items, compass, etc.)
  • Optional: Camera, picnic lunch, nature journals

 

Quick tip: Often times, there are also comments for the search results that can shed some light on any challenging clues (ie- if a clue states “past Medusa’s hair”, there may be a comment that can help avoid frustrated kids by “cluing you in” that “Medusa’s hair” is a manzanita bush. This would be a difficult clue. They aren’t typically that cryptic.)

Have Fun!! If you try it, please leave me a comment & let me know what you thought!

 

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Hand-carving Stamps

We took on the task of carving our own signature stamps for our Letterboxing excursions. It ended up being very easy and fun to do.  Lacking in pictures, for sure, but here’s the tutorial for y’all:

Materials:

  • Blank eraser
  • Pencil
  • Exacto knife
  • cardboard, cutting board, or other item to protect your table while cutting
  • Ink pad

Directions:

  1. Adult step: Depending on the size of stamp you want, you can use the exacto knife to cut the eraser down to size.
  2. Any age: With the pencil, draw the design you want for your stamp directly onto the eraser.
  3. Adult step: Carve around the penciled design with the exacto knife. Alternately, and a more challenging option, carve the pencil markings out, leaving the area around it. This would leave you with a negative stamp (design is white & surrounded by ink.)
  4. Any age: Test the results of the carving by using an ink pad and scrap paper. Fun!

That’s it! Piece of cake!

Here are a few of the examples from us, as well as family and friends that we have taken letterboxing with us. We always have spare erasers and an exacto knife when we travel and plan to letterbox, just in case we can share the fun with a loved one.

And, here’s a quick tip. Notice Grifter’s scrabble-themed stamp. If you are going to do any text or other direction-sensitive design, the stamp turns out as a mirror image of your carving. Lesson learned!

 

Happy Carvin’!

 

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Product Awareness: Everyday Ingredients Can Make You Sick

Because of my own thyroid problems and my natural health and wellness profession, I have done TONS of research on causes of hormonal imbalances.

One of the more intriguing and actionable causes I found was the unnecessary chemicals in our bath and body products that can alter our body chemistry. Many are also proven cancer-causers.

I wanted to provide the information for you in a brief(-ish) and usable way. I plan to post DIY alternatives that are also easy and effective in the near future.

Here is why this is important to me:

Unlike any other time in history, we are living in a world saturated with hundreds of thousands of chemicals. The chemicals are present in food, personal care products, household cleaning products, pesticides/insecticides, as well as prescription and over-the-counter medications.

In the United States of America, one would assume that very harmful chemicals would be banned from our personal care products. Unfortunately, we could not be more wrong. Chemicals known to be cancer-causing, toxic to our nervous system, and altering to our reproductive and hormone systems are used daily by millions of families in our country.

More disturbingly, the chemicals don’t just disappear from our systems. Many toxins are stored in our fat cells for several years, sometimes decades. It is accumulating in our bodies daily, as we do nothing to skew the intensity of our chemical exposure.

If we take the time to choose healthier products, not only do we contribute to the well-being of our bodies, we support companies who care more about the safety of their product than the “bottom line”. In doing so, we demand higher standards from our government and corporations. This has already occurred in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and Canada. The time has come for US citizens to empower ourselves and take a stand for our health.

Helpful Tips for Eliminating Harmful Chemicals:

- I have compiled a chart, “The Main Chemical Culprits,” that can be printed and taken shopping with you to help ID ingredients you want to avoid.

Personal Care Products: The Main Chemical Culprits

-If money is a factor, and you don’t want to replace all of your products at one time, try to purchase healthier products as your current products run out. DIY (do-it-yourself) alternatives are also economical, effective, and easily found online.

-One of the easiest chemicals to spot in products is also one of the most harmful- Fragrance. If you eliminate one thing- start with this.

-Look at the Skin Deep Database at: www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. There you can look up any products you have in your home. They will rate the product on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst for you) and tell you which chemicals are harmful and what the effects are. You can also find the safer alternatives to every product.

-Another organization, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, has a website where you can find a list of companies that have signed a contract not to use harmful chemicals. This information can be found at www.safecosmetics.org.

-It may take a while to make the transition. Be patient with yourself and the process of finding products work well for you AND are good for you.

When you get out there and realize how many of our products have these harmful ingredients in them, it would be easy to feel overwhelmed. I would hope that, instead, you are made aware of the chemical load we are putting on our bodies, and are feeling empowered to find an alternative.

If you feel like this post was helpful to you or would be helpful to someone else, please pass it on.

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Cyclone Scheduling

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”- Lao Tzu

You know how every once in a while, you get that truly lazy Sunday? Oh… so awesome. Rejuvenating. Peaceful.

This Sunday that you found: it’s the birthplace of a restful read, a new idea, a leisurely meandering, a new found interest. Feels. So. Darn. Good.  Right?

It’s sad that we, as adults, have such small amount of downtime that we can see a post or two on facebook each week stating how relieved someone feels because they are being “lazy today.” Is this moment so rare that it is worthy of a post, people? Not to mention, are you really being “lazy?” Does it just feel that way because you spent the rest of the week running, much like you did as a kid- sprinting around and around a pool, creating a cyclone of aquatic force? Moving with such intent, that when you decide to stop, it takes immense effort to just be still. Just to be in your natural state?

But, do you know what is worse than us being caught in this cyclone? We, unwittingly, and with the best of intentions, place our kids this same cycle. It’s what we are used to, therefore, they “get to” move along with us.

Since we can’t seem to say “no” for us and our benefit, we often don’t know where to say “no” for them and their benefit.

Yesterday, I ran across a post at The Tie That Binds Us that served as a great reminder to keep life simple and beautiful- for my kids, even more so than for myself.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

It is so easy, especially with school-aged kids, to run your family ragged with activities. It starts with one or two things, then another opportunity pops up, then a great idea to do this or that. With the very best intentions, slowly and steadily, it takes over.

Not only does this “cyclone scheduling” use a lot of our time as chauffeurs parents, but also (when overdone) takes precious down time away from our children. If kids are always either at school, doing homework, at extra-curriculars, or in the car between all of these things, they end up with the same dullness that can happen to us when we are over-taxed.

Down time is the place where they can find joy and appreciation; it is where they can find their imaginations, their strengths, their passions, their outlet. It’s where siblings bond, nature awes, and observation of relationship dynamics occur. And, it can be none of those things. It can just BE.

Life gets complicated as we age. Without knowing the wonders of just BEing a kid, how will they ever see past the constant DOing as an adult? If they never know of stillness, they will never seek it. They will always be way out of balance, and be none the wiser. Just unfulfilled without a compass to understand why.

Re-inspired by The Tie That Binds Us, I am keeping in mind our family’s values and asking the following questions about the activities we already have, and those we are going to be tempted by:

  • Am I/Are we doing this out of obligation? Or, is this coming from a place of inspiration or intention?
  • Does the money it takes to do this take away from something more valuable to our goals? (for the individual or the family?)
  • Does this take from the time we have in the evenings or on weekends as a whole family? If yes, is it worth that sacrifice?
  • Will it truly benefit the participant, long-term?
  • Does it disrupt the family rhythm? Particularly school, dinner, and bedtime.

“If you say ‘yes’ to adding something to your schedule then you must say ‘no’ to something else.” -unknown

Are you stuck in the cyclone? How do you decide what to include or rule out?

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The “I Have a Dream…” Wreath

Materials:

  • Colored paper or foam (3 or more different colors)
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Pen
  • Ribbon

Directions:

First, trace the hands.

I used brown, tan, and white foam sheets from my Bath Foam- Horse Farm project. You could use construction paper, different patterns and colors of scrapbook paper– whatever you have on hand.  HA! Get it?!? On hand!! Yeah, I kill me. Anyway…

I let Ladybird do any and all steps that she is capable of without frustration, bodily injury, or property damage. This included tracing her own hand. I decided it best to trace Guppy’s though.

After I traced Guppy’s hand, I cut it out so Lady could re-trace  it onto the foams.

We thought a MLK Jr. quote in the center of the wreath seemed like a great idea…


Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is our favorite MLK, JR. Day read. It is a great one! A mini-biography with enough action to keep kids interested, it has many of his most influential quotes to share with the kiddos. We all love it!


Lady scanned the book to find which of his “Big Words” she wanted to write on the wreath.

“I have a dream that one day in Alabama little black boys and black girls will join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

She was excited to find a quote that was applicable to the multicolored hands design of out wreath. I was so proud that she got it.

 

 

**Insert intermission. **

It takes some time and patience to cut out all of those hands so I recommend waiting ’til the kids are asleep. You could cut while you watch TV. It’s an odd combination of meditative and annoying. Doesn’t take too long though. The end product is worth it!

Also, for sanity’s sake, I recommend using a hot glue gun to create the wreath while the kids aren’t around. Elmer’s Glue takes an eternity to dry and I reserve its usage for easier projects that don’t have a date we need to have it dry by. You know how kids can use 1/2 a bottle where a tiny dot may be more appropriate? Yep. Exactly.

 

Taking a piece of gray, marbled paper (although a less fancier paper would have been fine!) I traced around the inside of the wreath so Lady knew where to write her quote.

This is where a reality check was in order. The area to write the quote was not nearly big enough to write the quote Lady had chosen. We adapted the plan. The quote was out. “I have a dream…” was in. I wrote a sample of it on a white board so she could space the words out nicely.

Finally, hot glue the quote paper and a ribbon to the back of the wreath .

We hung ours by the front door. It is so awesome. Along with the book, it has brought about discussions of equality, kindness, and bravery. Who could ask for more?

This craft does take more time than most of the crafts we do, but I tried to make it sturdy so we can keep it to decorate for MLK, Jr. Day year after year. It’s a keeper.

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My Morning G.I.M.A.

“It’s been said that the first hour (of the day) is the rudder of the day, meaning that the way you start your day will set the tone for the rest of it.” ~Steve Pavlina


My favorite kind of books to read are ones that provide insight on self-mastery. Having read too many to count, it was impossible to ignore the commonality between them. Virtually all of them preach the value of meditation, gratitude journals, and using affirmations.

About the same time as I was making meditation a daily priority, some friends began raving about their Miracle Morning rituals and the difference it made in their day. I decided to create a first-thing-in-the-morning ritual to start my day off on the right foot and set me up for a high-energy, positive, and peacefully productive day ahead. Boy, am I glad I did! I call it “My Morning G.I.M.A.”

G.I.M.A. is an acronym for: Gratitude, Inspiration, Meditation, Affirmation.

Gratitude

I start by stating (aloud or silently) the things I am grateful for. With closed eyes, picture all of the people and things that are blessings. It brings a smile and warms the heart, every time. It’s the perfect way to start a day!

Inspiration

Quite naturally, the routine shifts into the “Inspiration” phase. I simply imagine what I want my dream life to look like. Often, the things I imagine are interlinked with the things on my gratitude list. I include my ideals of health, relationships, career, and even worldly happenings. An example: I am so thankful for the health and happiness of my children. For the inspiration portion, I picture the kind of childhood I want them to have- imaginary moments of them laughing, creating, exploring, learning, etc.

Meditation

The transition to meditation is easy. Breathe in the feeling you get from those inspirations. Then, breathe out, releasing any anxiety felt about making them happen. Just let it go. I, personally use my breath and a mantra. I breathe in, saying (in my head or under my breathe) “I Am…” when I breathe out, I say “Peace.” Other mantras I use are inhale with “I Am.” or “Just Be.” and exhale with no words. I sit in silence for 3 minutes, sometimes 10- whatever is needed or allowed for that day.

Affirmation

I end my routine with stating things that I want to be, as if they already are. I’ll share a few of the affirmations I use as an example: “I do no harm to my body. I am an athlete. My thyroid is perfectly healthy and works in harmony with my body. I earn a great living doing work that I love. I make money while I stay home playing with my kids. Money comes easily to me. I live in abundance.”

It’s really quite amazing how much ease it immediately brings to the day. Do yourself a favor. Try it out for a week! You can use my G.I.M.A. method, or brainstorm some activities that would enrich your day and create your own routine. You can check out www.miraclemorning.com for more ideas.

Top of the mornin’ to ya!

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Bath fun! Foam Stickers

Lady used to LOVE taking baths. All too soon, she was exclusively a shower girl. But, back in the day of toys and laughter in the tub, she used to love playing with her foam stickers. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here are some “Yo Gabba Gabba!” samples:

Well, because I am cheap frugal resourceful, I scoffed at the $13 price tag and made mine for under a dollar. Muahaahaa!

Materials:

  • various color foam sheets from craft store
  • colored sharpies markers
  • scissors
  • optional: you can trace something like I did : )

Now, before I start, let me tell you that I took these pictures when I first got my camera and had no idea they were so horrible until I saw them on the computer. Definitely in training.

Directions:

Start by tracing or free-hand drawing desired animals/images on the foam sheets.

Cut the image with scissors.

Admire the awesomeness of the little shapes before you kill their cuteness with absolutely horrid drawing skills!

Get to decorating with the colored Sharpies!

I made this for Ladybird’s little friend. He loves horses. I decided to take it to a whole.notha.level….What’s better than a horse farm to play with? Oh, only little (super accurate) figurines of you. mommy, and daddy!

And, in case you are wondering, we do not have hardwood bathtub walls. We rub our butts against tile, just like everyone else. You’ll just have to trust me on this one- they stick, just like the “Yo Gabba Gabba!” version, but without the creepy jumpsuit guy hanging out with you in the tub.

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High Five!

My level of sanity is directly proportional to the effectiveness of certain routines in our home. One such routine is Ladybird’s “High Fives.” It is her visual reminder of 5 things she needs to do at a given part of the day. I saw this at Life as Mom a while back and adapted it to fit our family.

—Disclaimer: These pictures are horrible. They were posted in the hallway next to Ladybird’s bedroom. I was carrying a sleepy Guppy and didn’t bother to take them down. Sorry.

Lady’s “Morning High Five” is done very soon after awakening. (brush teeth, brush hair, water for the dog, take vitamin, eat breakfast & clear your plate)

The “Afternoon High Five” leads into lunch. (clear table from school, get dressed & put laundry in basket, pick up toys in bedroom, tummy time with Guppy, eat lunch & clear your plate)

Her “Evening High Five” is done before dinner. (water for the dog, pick up toys in living room, pick up toys in bedroom, set the table, prepare clothes for tomorrow)

It was such a bit hit that we came up with a “Weekly High Five” for the chores that she can help out with on the weekend. (clean your room, sort dirty laundry, dust, clean windows & mirrors, put away your clean laundry)

By the way, that is actually an outline of Ladybird’s hand. It always gets her more excited to be a part in making new routines. Better sticking power!

Originally, her completion of these items would earn her non-educational screen time (TV, computer, or Wii.) She adapted this herself when she couldn’t care less about earning that time, all she wanted was an actually high five from any and all parental figures home at the time of the “High Five” completion. Okay, fine by me. This leaves me room to have her earn the screen time some other way.  Not sure how yet… I’ll think of something! ; )

We have been doing this successfully for a few weeks now. I’m sure the novelty will eventually wear off and I will brainstorm another approach. For now, this works like a charm!

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