Keep It In Perspective, Momma

It has been a struggle for me to stay focused on my purpose in this phase of our life.  Through my journey so far, I have noticed a few things that have helped me keep my role as a stay at home mom in perspective.  By changing my perspective, I have realized my purpose.  Spoiler alert: it’s not what I thought it was going to be! I hope my experiences can help some others that might be struggling with their purpose in the stay at home mom role.

*Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Keep it all in perspective, Momma
Finding Your Purpose

Real talk time

Since I’ve been staying home with our two little girls, I have been blogging occasionally and I also have a small business called Down Home Decor and More.  It is hard to be a stay at home mom and when you add on top of that trying to somehow manage a blog and a side business and basically you become a woman trying to work at home with two annoying co-workers who don’t pull their own weight.

If you’re looking for a post on how to balance it all, this is NOT it.  It’s not that I don’t like my business or my blog, because I really do! I just love my kids more.  And, I have to admit that I can’t be the best mom, blogger, and small business owner all at the same time, at this time.

Well, I was noticing a pattern for my days. As I was spending more time working online, I was also getting more frustrated with the girls.  When I had a goal I was trying to complete for my blog, every time the girls would come to me, I would get annoyed.  I would get frustrated, they would get more whinny and we were all unhappy and exhausted. My focus was in the wrong place.

 

Finding my purpose

I like to feel like I have accomplished something at the end of the day, and like even more so when I can see what I’ve accomplished.  As a stay at home mom, I know I serve a purpose.  I am keeping little munchkins alive, and that’s huge, but I struggled for a while with that being my purpose.

I kept finding myself thinking, if I wan’t bringing in money for the family, then I wasn’t fully serving a purpose.  Like, I had to be a stay at home mom that made money to be really serving a purpose.

Because of this, I was pushing the girls away so that I could work on my blog or business. Finally, I had the realization that that is not my purpose right now.  It’s about caring for them, making them laugh, teaching them things, making memories, and building relationships.  That’s it.  That’s my purpose right now.  It’s not about getting two blog posts a week published.  Not about growing DHD&M right now.  It’s just about the little moments with my girls. I feel like I’m getting my perspective right.



Get help getting your mind right

One of the biggest things that has helped me with this is increasing my times with God throughout the day.  Being intentional about it and working it in, even on busy days.  For my top tips on how to find those times for solitude throughout the day, click HERE.

Take it one day at a time

I am still working on this, but it is so worth it to me.  I’ve found that when I stay off my phone and computer, and listen to their cues when they need me to interact, I feel much better at the end of the day.  For a while, I was so stressed at the end of the day because I didn’t feel like I was getting it all done.  I wasn’t expanding my business, getting a blog post done, and making the girls happy.  I felt like a failure as a stay at home mom. It was because I was focused on too many things, or the wrong things.

Now that I’ve switched my focus to the girls, it has helped me keep it in perspective. I don’t think that I can be the only one who has these thoughts.  I hope that another struggling stay at home reads this!  It is really hard to go from working really hard outside the home, to working really hard (in a very different way) inside the home.

Keep it all in perspective

Think about how important your role is for your family right now.  Like I said earlier, I like to feel like I’ve accomplished something at the end of the day, like I have served a real purpose.  Some days as a stay at home mom, I can’t see that.

Take a step back, though, and think about how important your role is.  If you’re watching your kids at home, that means that your significant other can get up and go to work and not have to worry about: getting the kids to the sitter, how the kids act at the sitter, kids getting sick, or paying a sitter at the end of the week.  You are taking care of all of that!

On top of that, you’re taking care of meals for the family, running errands, housekeeping, taking care of pets, making appointments, paying bills, and countless other things you do in a day! Your partner doesn’t have to worry or think about any of it!  You’re allowing your husband to go be the best he can be at work because you’ve taken all of that off of his plate. You’re basically making him better at his job! 🙂

We all have different roles to play throughout our lives, sometimes it can be hard to see our purpose in our current role.  Step back, try to look at it from the outside and keep it all in perspective!

Keep in touch!

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Why we are having an America party, not a Super Bowl party, on Sunday

This Sunday we will be having an America party, not a Super Bowl party.


 

Football

I’m not sure if we are the only ones in this boat, but we have not watched a single college or NFL game this year.  Now, we all live in Texas and we all love football.  When my husband and I first met we bonded over our love for college football! My four year old daughter has attended mini cheer camps for two years now so that she can cheer at the high school games! So, it is not that we don’t love football.  We just do not like what is has turned into.

*Note: this post does contain affiliate links that I thought you would like! If you click on these links, I might receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Un-American

We can’t support an organization (the NFL) that seems to have become so un-American.  They have ruined the game.  We put these players on a pedestal and pay them ridiculous amounts of money to play a game.  I do NOT mean to blanket all of the players because I know there are a lot of them that do wonderful things for their communities and give back tremendous amounts of their time and money.  However, the ones that seem to get much of the spotlight are the ones that are most disrespectful.  Whether they’re disrespecting our flag or women, they are plastered all over the media, only increasing their fame.  The league doesn’t seem to stand up to these players that defame the game.

How to have an American party
Why we are not having a Super Bowl party this year

Last year, when I was teaching high school, everyday in 2nd period, we had time for the Pledge of Allegiance, the Pledge to the Texas flag, and a moment of silence.  For the first time in six years of teaching, I had to deal with kids that refused to stand for the pledges.  Where do you think they learned that?  Well, there was no question, because they would proudly proclaim that they were Kaepernick-ing.  And I couldn’t do one thing about it.  My brother serves in the ARMY for their right to sit there on their phones during the pledges.  My grandfather lost his hearing when a grenade went off right next to his head when he was in a fox hole so that they could be so tough to sit down during a pledge to our flag.

I don’t want to come across as blind to injustices in our country.  I do understand that there are things that are not fair in this country.  And, I understand it is a football players right to kneel during the Anthem.  Well, it is also my right to not watch that anymore.

‘Merica

America is a country of opportunity.  Anyone can become anything they want to be, if they are willing to work hard.  There are so many NFL players that exemplify this.  I have a hard time believing that any of them didn’t work hard to get to where they are today.  Unfortunately, the ones that take advantage of their fame and status are the ones that we are constantly bombarded with on TV.

Why we are not having a Super Bowl party
How to celebrate America

So, this year we will not be having a Super Bowl Party.  We will be having an America party! Kind of like the 4th of July in February!

We will be watching John Wayne movies and grilling and baking and watching all of the kids play together.  But, we will not be watching the Super Bowl.  Instead, we will celebrate all the things that America should represent!  Even if we could watch the game, we would have to hide the kids eyes from most of the commercials and the half time show.

After church on Sunday, the whole family will get together and celebrate.  We spend most Sundays together as a family, and that is something I think my grandfathers would be proud of.

We are all in different seasons of our lives right now.  Some of us are thriving financially.  Others of us have taken a step back from work to focus on family and self health.  There are five kiddos (just in the immediately family) ranging from 2-6 years old that keep us on our toes. Some of us have our own businesses, some in education, others are in various areas of public service. But, whatever season we are in, we all work hard to provide the best that we can for our families.  Faith and family are the pillars of our lives.  That’s what being an American is to me.  And that is something worth celebrating on Sunday!


How will you guys be celebrating this Sunday?

*Note: I know this post is not really like my others, but I just thought it might inspire some others that need an excuse to get together but don’t want to watch the Super Bowl.

How to Find Time for Peace as a Mom

Hey Y’all! I am trying something new today!  I have rounded up some of my favorite mom bloggers to give you guys some much-needed tips on how to find time for peace, or solitude, as a mother! Whether you stay at home with your kids, or are a busy working mom, it is just hard to find that time. That is why I am so excited and honored to bring you this message today!

Finding time for Peace and Solitude as a Stay at Home Mom
How to find peace and solitude as a stay at home mom

I have included a blurb about each author, as well as a link to their blogs.  So be sure to go check them out!

If you did not catch my full post on Finding Solitude, be sure you check that out HERE! As a stay at home mom of two girls (ages 2 and 4),   I have found that I have to find the time in short spurts throughout the day.  Plus, I tell you the five exact things that work best for me!

*Note: This post does contain affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I may receive a small commission.  For more information, check out my DISCLOSURE POLICY.  Thanks!

 

 

OK, now for the tips from my friends!

Get Away

First up is Gina. Gina is a Certified Health Coach and mom to two children who never sleep. She blogs about wellness and parenthood (with a little wine thrown into the mix!) at www.winewellnessnosleep.com.

Gina says: “I stay at home with my two children, ages 2 and 4. We recently moved and don’t have any family or friends close by. My husband works 10+ hours everyday. Although finding solitude is imperative, it’s nearly impossible.

I have to work really hard to carve out time for myself. Occasionally, I leave my family for a day to read and write at a library or cafe. I used to feel very guilty leaving for an entire day but if I don’t get a break, I grow increasingly impatient until finally exploding. So, I don’t make apologies or excuses anymore; I just leave. If I’m feeling really overwhelmed, I’ll even cancel weekend plans and spend the day by myself.

Those breaks are revitalizing but infrequent, so I also take a daily break. There’s a small window of time between when my husband gets home and my kids start their bedtime routine. No matter what, I run up to take a shower before hauling everyone to bed. Showering at night also has great health benefits, such as washing away seasonal irritants and germs and regulating your body temperature to ease you into a restful sleep. So, it’s a win-win.

I know this stage in life is brief, and I’m sure as my kids grow older and more independent, I’ll have no problem finding solitude. I might even miss these days but every mom deserves some solitude because we all sacrifice so much for our families!”

So true Gina! I try to remind myself that the days are long, but the years are short, to help keep things in perspective!  Thank you for sharing your advice!

How to find solitude as a stay at home momma
How to find solitude as a stay at home mom

Get Over the Guilt!

Next up, we hear from the momma behind https://www.TheMamaOnTheRocks.com.

Here is a little more about Brynn, in her own words: I am a wife, a mama, a teacher, and a lover of all things outdoors. I live tiny, love big, and laugh always. I write because it is cheaper than therapy and everyone needs that one funny girlfriend to cut up with at 3am when your yoga pants are covered in spit up and you just found your coffee in the microwave from yesterday. You’re welcome.

Here’s what she says about finding solitude: “I am not the typical mama. My husband and I just sold our home and acerage last summer  to buy and live in a 36ft tiny home with our two kids so we could afford to Roadschool our kiddos. I work outside the home teaching in a second change high school in an inner city while my rockstar husband teaches our son with behavior disorders and our one and a half year old daughter. I also blog about our crazy little life. It is my side hustle and I am incredibly passionate about it.

I am the world’s worst at taking time for myself. Just ask my husband. I carry so much guilt when I do anything for myself, by myself, or with my friends. I guess it is ingrained with motherhood, but I really struggle. Beyond the traditional mama guilt, I also just enjoy being busy. I thrive on productivity so slowing down seems inefficient to my Type A, color-coded world. However, when I do agree to take this kind of time to recharge, I always return to my family better for it.

The other side to this is taking time to refresh with friends. If I have learned anything in the 12 years I have been with my husband, it is that guys need bro time, and women need girl time. Even though I am a salt of the earth tomboy through and through, it is crazy how much better I feel after dinner, wine, and a pedicure with one of my close friends. My husband is the same. He is my best friend and confidant, but we argue sometimes about our kids or the bills. It is good for us to get around “our people” and vent so we can feel challenged, accountable, and encouraged by someone other than our spouse. Do it! You will thank me for it.”

Personally, I think Brynn is hilarious and if you want more of her, be sure to check out her Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheMamaOnTheRocks.



Just Make it Work!

And finally, we have Lisa from www.stepbackandbreathe.com.  I like the sound of that already, right?!  Here is what she says about finding solitude:

“I haven’t worked outside of the home since my husband and I were dating. Back then, I had ample time to myself. I could clean, write, read, scrapbook, take a walk, call someone on the phone, so on and so on, whenever I wanted. There were no constraints on my time.

Then my husband and I had our son, nicknamed Choo-choo. I was completely unprepared for just how much of my time was taken up caring for my child. Then there were still the duties of making meals and taking care of the house. As time went on, I realized that I spent about zero minutes on myself. I had no idea how to find “me time” anymore.

I finally discovered a not-so-secret secret: I had to make time.

That’s all. It sounds so easy, but it really isn’t. Taking time for myself was especially difficult back when I had an infant to care for.

My husband played–and still plays–a key role in my ability to make time for myself. He started taking our son out for lunch or to the park or playground. He does this even now. They also occasionally grocery shop or run errands, sometimes staying away for hours in order for me to have enough time to decompress, work, nap, shower, essentially do as I like by myself.

There are times when no one, including my husband, is available to watch Choo-Choo, even for just 30 minutes or an hour. Do I still get alone time during those days? Yep. How? Well, I just find a way.

Granted, my only true alone time occurs when my son is in bed, especially during nap time. But there are other moments when I still make time for me. I give my son something safe to do, even if the activity is simply watching a new episode of his favorite TV show, and then I sit in the next room in silence, working on what needs to get done. Sometimes I even read part of a book in this space of time. While the house is not silent (my son is a fairly loud child), I still feel what I need to most: peace, accomplishment, and good mental health.”

How right you are, Lisa! As moms, we just have to make it work for us and figure out how to get that time for ourselves!

What a great collaboration!

Thank you ladies, so much, for your tips on how to find time for busy mommas! I hope that our advice find some moms that need to read it!

Be sure to check out each of my guests’ own blogs and for more tips, don’t forget to go read my tips on Finding Solitude HERE.

Want more?

If you want to read more like this, check out some of my most popular posts:

Achieving Minimalism

How to Find the Joy in Life

Mom’s Must Have’s

The Wannabe Minimalist Mom Wish List

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Finding Solitude: Tips for Mothers

Viewing every day as a new start helps me to make small improvements and set and re-set my goals as I need to.  One of my challenges for myself, that I set a few months ago, is to find more time for quiet, or solitude in my life, daily.  In this post, I give my tops tips for finding solitude as a mother.

*Note: This post does contain affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I may receive a small commission at no charge to you.  For more information, check out my DISCLOSURE POLICY.  Thanks!

Hey Y’all! Happy 2018!

Welcome to the New Year! New years bring new excitement, anticipation, anxiety, and resolutions on repeat.  Personally, I like to view every day as a new start, rather than every year.  The new year puts so much pressure on us. Pressure to change, sometimes into things that don’t fit or work for us.  We make resolutions that we don’t or can’t stick to, and it’s frustrating and we feel like we’ve failed, when, really, who knows if that was even a good resolution to begin with?

(If you guys want to learn more about me and my journey as a new stay at home mom, check out some of my most popular posts: Perfection is the Progress, and Achieving Minimalism.)



How to find solitude as a busy stay at home mom
Finding Solitude as a Stay at Home Mom

Finding Solitude

One of my goals that I am still working on everyday is finding solitude.  My take on it is more in a spiritual sense, rather than taking time for myself away from the kids, although the time can definitely overlap and apply in both situations.

Our preacher discussed the topic of solitude and challenges us to find time to spend with God.  Solitude is just quiet time talking and LISTENING to God.  As I was listening to him speak, I was thinking YES! This all sounds great and I definitely want to do this!  I could see how spending this time with God would benefit all areas of my life and I understood how important it was.  And, then the big question popped up in my mind: how, the heck, am I going to find time for that?!  He told us that you have to carve out the time for it and make it a commitment, and just like anything, if you make it part of your routine for long enough, it will stay there.  Just like taking the time to brush your teeth, soon you’ll take the time for solitude.

How to find the time?

So, I tried, I really did, to get up early in the mornings before the girls woke up, and read the Bible and pray and listen to God speaking to me.  And, a few things happened: the girls woke up extra early because they have a ninja-sense and know when mom is awake; or, while trying to be quiet and listen to God, I kept thinking about everything I needed to get done that day (not the point); and, eventually I stopped trying it that way.  Props to those moms that can get up super early and get stuff done, I am just not that mom.

How to find time for solitude
Finding Solitude

I had to figure out something that worked for me, because it is important to me.

Here is what works for me: finding solitude in small spurts throughout the day.  Now, this is not locking yourself in the bathroom while the kids are beating down the door.  It is finding times that work naturally in your day.

My Top Tips:

Bible App

  • I have downloaded an App on my phone.  It is the Bible by YouVersion. (This is not a paid endorsement, I just have it and use it.)  The App is super because it is FREE and it will even read the Bible to you! You can select different plans for what you want to achieve.  I am doing the Bible in a Year plan, so every day there is a devotional and several verses, that you can read or have read to you.  If I haven’t found time all day to read, or listen to it, I will read them while I am putting the girls to sleep.  Every night, I have to sit on the end of their bed and sing to them and then just sit there until they are both asleep, luckily, they usually don’t mind if I’m on my phone, so instead of scrolling through Facebook, I’ll read the Bible.  It’s great, because it is quiet and I can use that time to pray and talk to God.

Listen to Classical Music

  • The next suggestion might sound weird, but I play classical music on my phone while I am in the kitchen.  During meal and snack prep times, doing the dishes, just straightening up the house, I just have it playing.  The girls aren’t crazy about it, so they usually stay out of the kitchen and it gives me time to think and pray.  Plus, they say, just listening to 10 minutes a day of classical music, relieves stress!  I’ll take it!

In the Car

  • If you are more on the go and not at home all day with the kids, I love time in the car.  Sometimes I put the radio on the uplifting music radio station and just listen to the music and listen to the words and feel how they apply to me.  If the girls fall asleep, I might turn the radio off and just be quiet and try to listen to God during this time.  I realize that time spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic is not a very relaxing time, but you could try it and see how it goes!  Luckily, I don’t live in a place where I have to face that on a daily basis.

Read my Devotional

  • My favorite devotional is Jesus Calling and I love the desk top version to keep you on track throughout the day (pictured below)! Part of the reason I love it so much is the pieces for each day are short, so you can quickly read it anytime throughout the day and it helps to guide your thoughts and actions for the day.  I try to read it early in the day so that my mind can think about it all day, but anytime is good!

Nature

  • My last suggestion is to get outside.  Get out in nature.  Take the kids on a walk, let them run around in the backyard, take them to the park, drive out the to country.  Just get out! Usually they are excited to get out, and being out in nature always relaxes me and amazes me at how beautiful our world is, which directs my thinking back to God.  It is amazing how much better I feel after spending time outside.  I realize this looks different for everyone, depending on where we live, but if you can do it, do it!

Solitude Achieved

Imagine, if you found three 10-minute spurts throughout the day to pray, or talk to God, or listen to God, then you’ve spent 30 minutes focused on Him, and that’s pretty good.

I have found that when this is in line in my life, everything else seems to fall in line. I’m not saying all of my days are filled with butterflies and rainbows, but it helps me stay focused on God and his promises for me and it helps me be a better mom and it helps me not get bogged down in the little things that weigh me down.

Collaboration Post: How to Find Time for Peace as a Mom

Don’t just take it from me! Finding solitude as a stay at home mom is hard and I have rounded up some of my favorite mom bloggers to get their opinion on the matter. You can find that post HERE.  This was my first collaboration and I think it was awesome! Be sure to check out their great advice!

Thanks for reading what helps me find solitude in my life.  I hope it might help you, or inspire you to find other ways to achieve solitude in your life! Please, feel free to share your thought below in the comments!  What do you do to find solitude?

If you enjoyed this post, check out Finding the Joy and Leap of Faith for more inspirational reads!

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Achieving Minimalism….Am I there?

Hey Y’all!  Life has been a little busy lately and I haven’t been able to find the time (or make the time) to be as active with my blog.  I did want to make time today though because I think I had a breakthrough! I think I have achieved minimalism! Ok, so that might not be something super exciting for you, but maybe it should be! So, why am I even working towards achieving minimalism and what is minimalism? And, how do I know if I am really there?

How I achieved minimalism in my life
Achieving minimalism

Ok, so I am just going to give you my thoughts on this today and pray that it finds somebody that needs to read it!

*Note: This post does contain affiliate links.  Which means if you click on them, I may receive a small commission at no charge to you!  Thank you for your support!



What is minimalism?

To be honest, I don’t completely know.  When I first heard the term I thought it was a little hippie-ish.  Kind of like an all laid back approach to life (and clothing) and whatever else.  Of course, in some contexts a minimalist has almost a negative connotation.  If you are hired to do a job and you do the bare minimum (minimalism), that’s not so great.  And, that’s not really how I role, either.

My version of minimalism

I think my version of minimalism is very Pinteresty.  It is a less is more approach to life and raising kids and running a household.  In my opinion it is a return to the important things in life and leaving behind of those things that bog us down so often in life.  For example: my husband and I do not get our kids the things that they ask for in Walmart and we are not planning on buying the newest, hottest toys for our kids (or each other) for Christmas.

Now, I am not saying that I am not buying my kids anything or that I don’t want them to have gifts to open for Christmas.  But, I am saying that I want to raise them in a way that they understand and appreciate that life is more than all of that.  I want them to be just as excited about getting to ride out to the farm for the evening as they are about getting a toy.  And let’s be honest, they are going to enjoy those moments spent with you more than the five minutes or so that they are interested in that new toy.


In my version, minimalism is not spending money on things that we don’t have to have, but it is also not spending energy or time on things that aren’t adding value to our lives.  Another good example: we would rather put money towards a trip (or an outing like a day at the zoo) with the girls than spend it on toys, clothes, etc…  The money that we spend on the activity is like an investment in us and our kids and our relationship as a family. Experiences over excess.  Does that make sense?  I hope so.

My Ah-Ha moment!

So, there I was, it was Black Friday, I was scrolling through my emails from countless stores displaying all of their Black Friday deals, then cyber Monday rolled around and more emails came.  So, I hopped on my phone for a minute and did some searching.  Do you know what I bought?  I bought one new pair of tennis shoes for my daughter that cost $15.  That was it!  And when I realized that I was completely calm about all of the potential missed deals, I realized I had done it! I had achieved minimalism.  Well, my version anyway!

Achieving Minimalism
How I achieved minimalism

I think that this approach to life is very typical of the older Millennial generation.  That younger Millennial generation…who knows what they want?! (That was sarcastic, I’m sorry, I used to teach high school can you tell?)  But seriously, I think there is a push for the less-is-more approach.  Fewer objects, more relationships;  less stuff, more experiences; minimize junk and leave more space for the important things.

How did I achieve minimalism?

Ok, so I think I’ve always been a minimalist.  I’ve always been a girl that would rather go out to the country than go shopping.  I’ve never been super into clothes and makeup and all that.  My mom was a big influence on that growing up.  We didn’t buy something new unless the old one broke!

Now, I still really like nice things and I like my house to be clean and in order….but guess what helps get it like that?  Not having a ton of junk everywhere! If my husband gets around to reading this, here’s your shout out: my husband definitely brought out more of the minimalist in me.  Yes, sometimes I call him a Scrooge but he has helped me see the value of the little things in life.  He is a huge money saver and has really encouraged that in me too.  Honestly, it was our saving that allowed us to be able to make this change in our life and let me stay home with the girls.  So, thanks honey!

Here’s the comical part.  Living on one income and raising two little girls will push you into minimalism real quick! Ha ha! Yep, being real broke will help you not buy stuff! We went to see our financial adviser the other day and he was a little puzzled as we were not giving him money and he said “Alright, well you’re living on love, and you laugh a lot!” Nailed it! But I swear y’all, in this time off of work I have gotten parts of myself back.  I laugh a lot more.  I actually try to do my hair and throw on a little makeup most days.  I’ve gotten some of my love and compassion back.  That might sound weird and you probably need to click HERE to read the post that gives a little more background.

Have Faith

But seriously guys, it has been a little freeing.  There are definitely times when I don’t want to check my bank account because I’m afraid of what I will (or won’t ) see.  But, I just buy us what we need, which isn’t as much as we all think it is, and I don’t have to worry about the extra decisions.  The extra is what stresses us out anyway! Read more about letting go of your stress HERE.

I’ve mentioned before that we are taking a leap of faith in our life right now and I 100% believe that our faith is what it getting us through this time.  The money thing can be super stressful at times but I have complete faith that God is not going to let us down.

So, I challenge you to remember that life isn’t about what kind of clothes you wear, or how fancy your house is, or any of that other stuff.  (If you like this topic, you have to check out THIS post.)  I encourage you to remember that your kid will get just as excited about opening a $5 gift as they will as $100 gift as long as you take the time to play with it, with them.


What to get a Minimalist

I am not totally crazy, y’all; I still have some things on my Wish List.  Last night, I told my husband it’s funny because I actually have a wish list this year.  In years past, I just bought what I wanted and needed but Momma’s broke this year!

If you have a Minimalist, or a Wannabe Minimalist in your life, you can find my top suggestions in my most popular posts:

Let’s Connect!

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Best Books to Change Your Life: 7 Must Read Books

Hey Y’all! It is that time of year when people are going crazy shopping for everyone on their list and trying to come up with the perfect gift for each of them.  Well, if you have someone you just can’t figure out what to buy, I’m going to suggest books.  I have put together a list of books that can change your life!

Just a note: I personally own these books plus I’m going to throw in a few on my wish list as well, just in case Santa reads my blogs!  I have not been given any of these book in exchange for this post, these are just my thoughts, 100%!

Books for the New You
Must Read Books

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them I might make a small commission, at no charge to you! Thanks for your support!

Awesome Gift Guides

Now, before we go any further, if you are thinking, “Man, you know, they just really aren’t a book person”, no worries! I have you covered! Check out my two other awesome gift idea posts:

Mom’s Must Have’s

The Wannabe Minimalist Mom’s Wish List



Books That Have Changed My Life

So, my first recommendations are books that I have read within the last year and I highly recommend.  To give this a little more weight, let me quickly catch you up on the last year of my life.

I was in my sixth year of teaching H.S. Ag., raising two little girls of our own, hours away from any family to help out, and I was completely and utterly burnt out.  Yes, burnt!  I felt like I was being called to do more in my life and several things happened (including reading these books) that helped me make the decision to leave teaching at the end of the year and pursue some business ambitions I have always had.  If you are interested in continuing to read more about my story, just check out: Perfection is in the Progress and Live out Your Faith to read more.

7 Books to awaken and inspire your greatness
Mom’s Must Read Books

Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence was given to us by my husband’s mother at a past Christmas, but I found myself reading it quite a bit this year.  It is a daily devotional.  The devotionals are short and seem to always be exactly what I need to read that day.  It has been a trying year and I have definitely grown in my faith this year, partly because of this book. This book would be an excellent choice for anyone on your list, but especially someone that needs some support in their lives.  It’s like a spiritual pick me up every day!  I actually think that every one of my other books that I am going to recommend is more powerful if you read this one first!

You are a Badass

I love this book so much that I have an entire post (Reading This Book Changed My Life) dedicated to how it changed my life this year.  It was the catalyst that put everything else into motion.  I bought two copies  of You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life last New Year’s: one for me and one for my husband. I quickly read mine, highlighting every page, taking notes, and decided that it was time for a change in our lives.  It made me feel empowered, like I could make anything happen!  I gained a whole new mindset.

Business Boutique

Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves is the natural next step for someone who is inspired to do something different but doesn’t really know what to do next.  Once I told one of my absolute best friends about my idea to stop teaching and start a business, she said “You’ve got to check out Christy Wright!”

So, I started listening to her podcasts that day, ordered the book, and attended a one-day event in San Antonio (where I totally geeked out when Christy signed my book!).  She is so inspiring and she brings in other women that have these amazing stories about how they were inspired, just like I was, to do something more.  The book gives you step-by-step actions to take your business idea and turn it into a reality!  It is totally mom and women-centered, which is an added bonus!

You Are a Badass at Making Money

You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth is my next recommendation for someone who is ready to change their life.  It is the sequel to the first book, You are a Badass.  The author again works to change your mindset about yourself and your life, this time targeting your mindset about money.

When we took this leap of faith, my husband took a pay cut and I chose not to work, so our bank accounts are taking a bit hit.  We finally bought our house up here, and we haven’t been able to sell our old house yet, on top of everything else.  Reading this book changes my mindset on our situation, though. It helps me to stay positive about money and the manifestation of it.  I’m like a scrappy money ninja! And, I know that one day it will all come back around.


My Wish List

So, the next three books are books that I have had my eye on since they came out and I would really like to read.  They totally fit in this theme of self-improvement or empowerment!  You will notice a theme with these three: they all have the same author, Simon Sinek.  I have loved his message since I very first saw his Ted Talk on the Golden Circle about six years ago.  It has stuck with me all this time and I was really excited to see him coming out with books on the topic!

7 Total Boss Babe Books
Boss Babe Books

Start with Why

The title says it all!  How great leaders inspire everyone to take action.  When I was teaching, I would always take time to talk to my kids about their “Why”.  If you start with your Why, everything else you do makes sense.  It’s a ripple effect! I love this concept so much and I can’t wait to read this book!  C’mon Santa!

Find Your Why

Before I read Start with Why, I am going to read this book.  I still feel like I am still searching for my calling or need some help clarifying my Why.  Even though I’m not in the business world with a team or anything like that, I still think this book is super applicable.  We could all benefit from a little soul searching and possible redirecting, or refocusing, of our lives.  Actually, it’s really important for stay at home mom’s to keep their Why in their mind at all times. If we don’t,  we might go a little crazy!

Leaders Eat Last

My final book on my wish list is Leaders Eat Last.  Again, I think anyone can benefit from reading books like these. I don’t think you have to be in any certain area of work to be inspired to be a better leader.  I want to be a better mom and leader to my girls every day.

Thanks for Reading!

I hope these books find someone who needs them, like I did!  Happy reading!

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How Cute is this Whale Diffuser? Totally what my kids are getting for Christmas!

Y’all! How cute is this Whale Diffuser from DoTerra?! This is totally what I am getting my kids for Christmas! It’s not important that we have three other diffusers in the house! What is important is how CUTE this one is!  Check out all of its adorable details below!

 

Diffuser for essential oils
DoTerra Whale Diffuser

If you didn’t catch my first post on essential oils and need to catch up a bit, check out my post Essential Oils for the Family.

*Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I may receive a commission at no charge to you! Thank you!

Essential Oil Diffusers

If you’ve never heard of an essential oil diffuser, that’s ok! I’m going to break it down for you really quickly! All of this info can be found on the DoTerra website.  I just put it here for quick reference!

*Note: I am a wellness advocate for DoTerra, but they have not paid me to write this, or any other post.  All of the opinions are my own!  I did include links to my personal website where you can sign up and place your orders! Thank you!

 

Description of the Whale Diffuser:

The Whale diffuser creates a calm atmosphere by merging unique light projection, peaceful music, and a kid-friendly design. This diffuser offers a unique feature that when tipped over will automatically turn off.

Product Features

  • LED light projection with 5 options including blue, green, red, and warm white light
  • Feature can be set to cycle through all 4 colors, a single color, or off
  • Features music or ambient noise with 4 options
  • Sounds include; 3 nature variations + 1 lovely lullaby
  • Ultra-fine mist fills a room up to 270 sq. feet in size
  • Up to 6 hour run time
  • USB cord included

FAQ’s:

1. What is the length of the cord?

156cm USB cable.

2. What are the 4 colors the lights make?

Blue, green, red, and white.

3. What are the 3 nature sounds?

Ocean sounds, rain forest sounds, and creek sounds.

Now hurry because it’s a limited edition!



What are the benefits of using essential oil diffusers?

Scent

The first benefit to me is the way it makes the room smell! Essential oils are so aromatic and diffusers are the perfect way to enjoy them in that way.  They are great for two things in my girls’ room: getting rid of the dirty diaper smell and relaxing them to sleep! I use lavender oil in theirs pretty constantly.

Safe

The second benefit is that is considered the safest way to experience the power of the oils.  Some people are wary of using the oils on their skin, or internally, but just smelling them through a diffuser mist is considered safe and beneficial!

“Some essential oils induce uplifting or invigorating effects, while others are more calming. Diffusion is one of the simplest methods for using essential oils aromatically. Diffusers that use cold air or water are ideal.” – DoTerra website

Feelings

The third is the way the diffuser blends make you feel.  You can add one oil or mix oils to create your favorite blends. Of course, Lavender and Serenity are great for relaxation, but Peppermint is super invigorating!  Some of my favorites to use in the classroom when I was teaching were Passion and Focus (used separately).

“The sense of smell is a tool that can elicit powerful physiologic, mental, and emotional responses. Essential oils are quickly absorbed by the smell receptors, which have a direct link to the limbic system by way of the olfactory nerve. The limbic system is part of the brain that supports a variety of functions including smell, emotions, behavior, and memory. For this reason, essential oils have an especially powerful effect via aromatic application.” – DoTerra Website

Versatility

The fourth benefit is that it is so versatile! You can use diffusers with any of the essential oils! You aren’t limited by possible skin reactions or anything else.  People aren’t typically allergic to essential oils, even if they are allergic to the plant that it comes from, which means that you aren’t constrained by allergies, either!

User Friendly

Diffusers are also so easy to use! With most of them, you will add water to the fill line then add in 3-4 drops of your chosen oil(s).  Some are a little different, so just make sure you follow the directions.  Tip: if you have very hard water, or water with a lot of minerals in it, consider using bottled water to prolong the life of your diffuser! I learned that one the hard way. 🙁

The cutest essential oil diffuser ever
The Whale Diffuser

Other diffusers

If you are interested in diffusing oils now and would like to see what other diffusers DoTerra has to offer, just click here.

Need more info?

If you need more information, please just head over to my DoTerra website and check it all out for yourself!

A few key things to remember:

I am NOT a medical doctor

Essential oils are powerful tools and you should educate yourself about them before using them! (I recommend this book for that.)

I am only referencing/recommending the use of high quality oils, like DoTerra brand essential oils and tools for your personal use.

Want more?!

Be sure to check out our most popular posts: Mom’s Must Haves and The Wannabe Minimalist Mom’s Wish List.

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Finding the Joy: How to Choose Joy

Hey Y’all! Today has been pretty good around here so far! The girls have been sweet to each other, we played outside for a long time (thank you nice cool weather), and I’ve done a few loads of laundry! On days when everything seems to be falling into place, it’s easy to feel joy, but what about when things aren’t going as we planned or hoped they would?  How do we get back to finding the joy?  How do we choose joy when we don’t really aren’t feeling it?

Finding the Joy in Life: How to Choose Joy
PRAY your way to Joy

Note: This post does contain affiliate links which means that if you click on them, I may receive a small commission at no charge to you! Thank you!



Stress

We are entering the crazy, busy Holiday time of year.  People are shopping, traveling, spending money right and left, trying to organize meals with family, and mostly getting stressed, right?!

If finding the perfect gift for mom is stressing you out, then check out my most popular posts and let the stress melt away! Practical Gifts for Mom and The Top Five Gifts All Mom’s Need will get you all fixed up!

The most wonderful time of year is the most stressful time of year.  We all have these perfect Holiday meals envisioned in our minds and work so hard to develop traditions that our kids will remember and love.  And, we build it up so much in our heads and if it doesn’t go as planned (because it won’t), we feel like we’ve failed.

Honestly, we get so stressed because we lose focus of what is truly important and the reasons behind these celebrations in the first place.

Finding the Joy in Life: How to Choose Joy
Find Your Joy

P.R.A.Y. for Joy

Yes, pray.  Of course, we all pray for joy in our lives.  But here’s the hard part: you have to CHOOSE joy.  The joy in life is always there, you have to choose to find it and see it.  Sometimes it is extremely hard to see, I’ve been there.  You have to search it out sometimes.  Sometimes it’s like looking for a needle in a hay stack.  But it is there.

I’ve been thinking and praying about this and I’ve come up with a quick and easy acronym to help in those most stressful times of life when it is hardest to see that joy.  I think this is super-applicable during the Holidays, but you can apply this at ALL times throughout the year!  I know I needed help finding joy when I was teaching and I need it now that I’m a stay at home mom, too.  Life is crazy and stressful and if you’re not careful it can consume you.  Stay focused and you will find it again.

P. – Peace

P. – Peace.  Find a peaceful place to quiet yourself for a minute (or more if you have it).  Quiet your thoughts, quiet your heart and just be, for as long as you can.  Yes, life can quickly take you out of the quiet moment, but at least you got a moment.  In that peaceful moment, let yourself be open to the joy.  We all know those people that just choose to be negative, right?  Don’t be one of those people, allow the joy to come in and choose to see it and embrace it.

R. – Reflect and Remember

R. – Reflect and remember.  Once you have found a moment of peace, take time to reflect and look for the joy.  If you are in a stressful moment, remember that it won’t last forever.  Remember the purpose of what you are in the middle of.  Just for example, if a Thanksgiving dinner with family is what is stressing you out, just remember the purpose behind it: getting family together to share thanks and give thanks for everything in our lives. Just reflecting on everything God has given us and remembering what he promises for us will give you joy.

Another great “R” is to REALIZE all that you have! I know when I’m feeling kind of bummed out and I stop and think about it, I realize how much I HAVE: how much God has blessed my life.  When you realize all that you have, you can’t help but feel joy.

A. – Ask for Help

A. – Ask.  Pray and ask for help from God through prayer.  Ask God to help you find the joy in the moment.  And, if you physically need help in that moment, ask someone to help.  So many times we put so much stress on  ourselves to do it all, and be perfect at it all.  It’s not possible, y’all.  So, let it go! Do what you can do and ask for help on the rest of it. If it doesn’t turn out exactly like you had envisioned in your head, let it go!  Your joy is much more important than having the perfect color napkins to match your home decor, or worrying about what comment Uncle Bill is going to have about the turkey this year! (I’m totally making these up! My family is great! And I don’t even have an Uncle Bill! Wink Wink! )

Y – Yield

Y. – Yield.  Yield to joy.  Let the joy in and let it take over.  Don’t drown it in your stress and worry.  Stay focused on it.  Staying focused on what your thankful for and what God has given you in your life will help you keep it all in perspective.  Don’t succumb to the stress of life.  Succumb to the joy, the reason for the season!

I think that having that joy in our lives and being close to God are really closely connected.  If you work on having a close relationship with God, you are at the same time working on adding joy to your life.

I pray that this finds anyone that struggles to see the joy in their life and I pray that it helps you today!

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,  for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:8-9
Finding the Joy: How to Choose Joy
Finding the Joy in Life

Connect with Us!

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Check out other related posts: Live out Your Faith and Perfection is in the Progress.

This Wannabe Minimalist Mom’s Wish List: Practical Gifts for Mom

Ok, Y’all! Here is Part 2! If you missed Part 1 and don’t know what I’m talking about, just click HERE! In Part 2, I am going to let you in on a little secret: a mom’s gift wish list!  Now, I am going to classify this as a wannabe-minimalist wish list.  Or, a slightly more practical wish list for this year!

Mom's Holiday Wish List
Mom’s Christmas Wish List



Why so practical?

If you guys aren’t following me yet, #1 – you gotta start following me and #2- the holidays are going to be a pretty slim time for us financially this year.  If you want to get all caught up and learn more about me, check out more of our story HERE.

So, to catch you up really quickly, we have been in the process of trying to sell a house in our old town and buy a new house where we are currently living for about 6 months now! There have been many issues that I am going to lay out in a blog post coming soon.  But, basically, it looks like we are going to the holidays on one income and two mortgages and two little girls.

Sorry, my heart just stopped for a second, I’m back now though! So, the holidays are not going to be over the top this year.  And, honestly, as far as the gift-giving and over the top grandeur of everything that the holidays can be for some people, I would prefer our small, family-centered celebration.

What Momma Wants

However, there are a few things that this momma would love to have under her tree this year.  To give you just a little more perspective of who I am right quick: I am a stay at home mom of two little girls, that is striving to be more of a minimalist.  In the past year to year and a half, I have been trying to get on the minimalist band wagon.  I do not buy the girls toys hardly ever and most of my purchases for the house are for fixing up purposes.  We have a long way to go but I like the direction we’re going!

Please don’t get me wrong, I LIKE nice things and I WANT a nice house but I am also very appreciative of what we have and realize how expensive and wasteful our lifestyles can be. The amount of STUFF and JUNK that we have is ridiculous.

 

So, if I could get anything for Christmas, I would choose to do some fixer upper things to our old house.  I want hardwood floors and the bathrooms updated and the whole house repainted, to start! It needs a lot of love.  But this is definitely out of the budget right now.

I would also like to take a trip, or trips.  I want to take our girls to see snow.  We live in Texas and we don’t get to see snow (you know, not the real kind).  Our four year old has been asking for a year now to go see snow.  I would love to make that happen for her.  I would also love to get away with my husband, just the two of us.  Anywhere.  Again, those are most likely out of the budget for this year.

So, with our tight budget this year, and our wannabe minimalist approach to life, what in the world could I possibly want or get?  I put together a little list, just in case Santa reads my blog.  But, for all of you others reading it (all two of you) I bet you know someone who would love these as well!

*Note: This page does contain affiliate links, which means if you click on them I might earn a small commission, at no charge to you.  None of the products in this post have paid me.  All opinions are my own! Thank you for your support!

Minimalist Christmas Wish List
My Wannabe Minimalist Holiday Wish List

Wish List

Apple Watch

Alright, I’m going to start with the biggie! I know I am behind the curve on this one.  What can I say, I am a late adapter or laggard.  But, I would love an Apple Watch! I was shopping with my friend the other day and she had one and it was so cool.  She was reading texts on it and she didn’t have to be fumbling with her phone.  I know a stay at home mom probably doesn’t NEED one, but hey, this is my WISH list!  They are so pretty too! And I figure by now they’ve had plenty of time to work out the kinks and they are probably perfect!  I would use it mostly for staying organized.  I feel like we are still so busy, even with me staying home now! I’m always saying “How did we get everything done with both of us working?!”

 

 

Cookware

So, when we moved into our house it did now have a microwave and I haven’t bought one yet.  I know you are probably asking yourself why I haven’t bought one yet and my answer is, I don’t know.  And your next question is why isn’t a microwave on your list?  Well, honestly, I haven’t minded cooking all of our meals for us.  I think we eat a little healthier now and since I’m not working I usually have plenty of time to whip something up.  I still have an oven and a stove.  I’m not living in the Stone Age over here! But, all of that cooking has done a toll on our already old and cheap pots and pans that we moved with.  We’ve never purchased one of those big nice sets and I feel like I’ve earned it now!

The next item(s) on my list are some really nice pots and pans.  If I’m cooking all of our meals, I think I deserve it! Right, hunny?! (He probably won’t read this, it’s ok).  There are lots of options out there for pots and pans but my picks are the The Pioneer Woman Classic Belly 10-Piece Cookware Set, OCEAN TEAL or the The Pioneer Woman Vintage Speckle 10-piece Non-stick Pre-seasoned Cookware Set, Linen Dishwasher Safe …

All of her stuff is really cute!  I’m not a super fan or anything and we don’t have cable so I can’t watch her show, but I like the style and colors of her products!

Calender

Next, if you have been following me, you know what book made me take this leap of faith in our life right now.  If you don’t know what book I’m referring to, you must check THIS out!  In my copy of my book, I have numerous pages dog-eared and dozens of paragraphs highlighted, but I don’t get the chance to go back to it very often.  Which is why I need this next item:

How awesome would it be to be reminded of my awesomeness everyday in this little calendar I can keep on my counter?! I can read it over and over while I’m cooking every meal in my new cookware! Oh ya, I can see me now! 2018 is going to be AWESOME! Who’s with me?! I feel like you’re all cheering!

iPhone Camera Lens

I am a new blogger and am learning more everyday and one of the things I think I really need to up my game is high quality photos.  Since we don’t have the budget to go buy a fancy new camera and I use my iPhone for everything, I think a lens that fits on my phone would be a great option for me! I am not very tech savvy, but I think I could figure this one out!

One of my goals is to start posting my Down Home Decor and More products online too but I don’t have great pictures of them. I really think something like this could take my blogging and online sales to the next level. And, I imagine my everyday picture taking too! I have thousands of pictures of the girls on my phone, it would be great to take some really good ones that I could actually get printed and hang on the wall!

Picture Frames

Speaking of hanging things on walls…this mom would love some new ways to display all of the beautiful pictures of her kiddos! Personally, I love the rustic or farmhouse style.  As you might have noticed from what I sell in my DHD&M booth!

I love both of these, but the options are endless when it comes to picture frames! And my style is always changing so our picture frames at home are mixed and matched but I love it!

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What Mom Wants and Needs
Practical Gifts for Mom

For the Mom’s who have everything

Now, I know I can’t speak for every mom out there, but this Mom would love for someone to renew her Prime membership this year! Y’all, I live in a teeny, tiny town in Texas and we turn to our Prime for everything from ordering diapers and snacks to playing shows for the girls to watch to photo storage and so much more! You can give the gift of Prime by clicking below! If you are shopping for yourself right now and want to check it out for FREE  click this link:Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial


 

 

Of course, if you are in Texas, you better check out my Facebook to see when I might be bringing DHD&M near you!  Be sure to connect with me on Pinterest, too!

Thanks for Reading!

If you want more, be sure to check out our most popular blogs!

And like us and share us with your friends! Come back soon!

Mom’s Must Have’s! Top Five Things All Moms Need

Here it is! This is the post I have been waiting to write since I started this blogging journey! I am going to split it into two posts actually.  The first one, this one, is going to be about my top 5 things I have been so thankful to have since becoming a mom a little over four years ago.

For those of you who haven’t been following me, #1- you need to start following me and #2- I have two beautiful, crazy little girls.  I became a stay at home mom this summer when my husband and I made a crazy leap of faith that you can read more about HERE.  If you are in the middle of a not-so-middle-life crisis (like I was), then I highly recommend this post HERE.

This one’s for the Momma’s!

So, this post is going to be dedicated to the things that I highly, highly recommend if you are a mom, about to be a mom, know someone who is a mom or is about to be a mom! These products and services have helped me so much in different ways throughout this crazy journey of motherhood.

* Note: This post does contain affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them, I might earn a small commission.  All opinions are my own.  None of the products mentioned have paid me to talk about them! Thanks!

Shout out!

Before I start on my products, I have to mention Amazon Prime.  We have had Amazon Prime since  shortly after our first was born and I have not regretted it once! Just the Free 2 Day Shipping is what sold me (and it has paid for itself)! But, we stream shows and movies for the girls ALL the time, I have my camera and iPhone pictures all saved on Prime, it gives you access to Amazon Family and so much more!  If you know of a mom that could use Amazon Prime in her life, click the banner below.  If you aren’t quite sure yet and want to test it out first, here are 30 FREE days of Prime!


 

Roomba

Ok, first up, we actually bought this little guy before becoming parents, but it has reached a whole new level of respect in my eyes since becoming a mom.  Item #1 is a Roomba Vacuum Cleaner.

Remember, iRobot did not pay me to write this.  I just own the thing and love it, so I am just sharing my experiences!  This thing is a flood survivor, too! Well, kinda.  The night before the flood, when I was prepping the house as much as I could for the impending waters rolling down the river towards us, I move this little guy as high as I could.

Boy oh boy was I a happy camper to see him sitting high and dry when we got back into the house, post flood. (By the way if you don’t know what I’m talking about check THIS out.)  The charger and the imaginary wall thingy that go with it however, were gone.  But no worries, I hoped online (thank you internet) and ordered a new charger. Bingo, bango, this guy is still kicking after all this time (about 5 years).


Perks

Now, they make all kinds of different versions.  Some of them even mop for you, too.  But, this is the one we have had, so I’ll talk about it quickly. This vacuum has auto-cleaned 5 different houses for me! Yes, that’s how many times we’ve moved since we have had it! It can clean your whole house, or just one spot.  I will say that it has worked best on our tile or wood floor houses.  It runs out of battery charge more quickly when it is cleaning carpets.  It used to clean our tile and wood floor house and dock itself to re-charge in the time it would take us to run errands.

For a busy mom, it is so great.  You can put it in one room, shut the door, go play with the kids, and when you hear it finish, just switch it to the next room.  It’s easy to clean and doesn’t require much (if any) maintenance or extra parts.

Bottle Sterilizer

Number 2 life saver. Get yourself a bottle sterilizer that goes in your microwave! We used Dr. Brown’s bottles with both of our girls, so that’s the picture I put here but honestly it doesn’t matter as long as your bottles fit in the thing! We used small then big bottles and I would really try to cram those things in there, so just make sure it’s big enough, like this one.

With our first, I will admit I was the paranoid new mom (aren’t we all?) that had to hand wash and boil all the bottles and all of the accessories. I never washed our baby bottles in the dish washer, two of the houses we lived in with our little’s didn’t have dish washers so…ya.

Mom's Must Have Gifts
Top Gift Ideas for Mom, by a Mom
Top five gift ideas for Mom, by a Mom
Top Gift Ideas for Mom

Anyways, once I went back to work after having my first, I was still trying to breastfeed and send bottled breast milk to the sitter for her during the day. Well, by the time I worked all day, ate enough to feed an army, nursed her, pumped 2-3 times, I was getting way too exhausted to continue my current practices. Enter the microwave sterilizer.  I can remember, I had a huge bowl next to the sink where I soaked the dirty bottles in soapy water, gave them a quick scrub, then popped them in the sterilizer and in the microwave and they were ready in 3 minutes.

I established the same habit with the second kiddo very quickly.  They are also life savers when there are no clean bottles (yep, I was that mom) and you had to rush in, rinse one out really quick and pop it in the microwave.  Again, I was not paid by Dr. Brown’s for these statements, just real life.

Essential Oils and Diffusers

Lifesaver #3! I have a whole blog post dedicated to how to use essential oils everyday because of how much I love them and use them! But I will quickly say a couple things here again.  Make sure you buy good, high quality essential oils (not at your grocery store) so you are getting your money’s worth.  Plus, make sure you purchase a diffuser that is made for diffusing essential oils, if not, you are wasting them and your money!  My favorite is the Lotus by DoTerra.  I have been using DoTerra for about 4 years now and have been a wellness advocate for about 2 years.

Some of my go-to oils for the girls are Lavender, Melaleuca (Tea Tree), and Frankincense.  My favorites are Balance and Clary Sage.  My husband’s favorite is Deep Blue.  They took a little getting used to and some research, but they are safe and effective when used properly.  Plus, they smell SO good!

Again, check out my full post for more info!

Combo Pack N Play

Keep in mind, I am not being paid to say any of this, it is all my own opinion! This thing made life so much easier and not just when they were babies! We still have at least one in case we ever need it.  I think we have purchased (or had given to us) four of these over the years.  (Keep in mind we lost everything in a flood between babies.)

Since it has been several years since we’ve had our babies, the exact versions don’t appear to be available anymore but if I were to do it all over again, I would go with this one: Graco Pack ‘N Play with Newborn Napper Elite, Vance. We had the super version that had the newborn napper on one side and the little changing table on the other, and could be converted into a bassinet, too.

The newborn napper had this awesome vibration, too! I can still remember hearing our first baby start to grunt and wake up in the middle of the night. I would reach over and turn that vibration back on and she was back asleep in seconds!  She slept in that thing right next to our bed every night until she was about 5 months old! After that, she was a little big for the napper, so we moved her to the bassinet.  That wasn’t her favorite, but we tried it for a while until we moved her to her crib.  And I can remember it being easier to do the middle of the night changes because of that little table.

Second kids and travel

We tried to do everything exactly the same with our second kid, but she was a much different baby.  She was (and still is) very sensitive and not a great sleeper.  In fact she didn’t sleep through one night of her life until she was almost one year old.  However, we still used it!

Pack and Play’s are a must for traveling.  I swear they slept better in those things traveling than they did in their cribs at home! Even if they are still little and you’re using the napper, or the bassinet, we just hauled that whole thing with us everywhere we went!  It just takes a little getting used to then it’s not bad to take down or put up.  And I would say both girls still slept in them traveling until they were close to 2 years old! So worth the money!

Clutter Organizers!

Ok, y’all, when those little ones start crawling and walking around, stuff gets REAL, real quick! All of a sudden there are diapers and wipes, books and toys, spoons and socks (those go together, right?) EVERYWHERE! You’ve got to have a place to put it all! But, you’ve got to able to get to it easily and you would prefer that it look at least a little nice, right? Enter ORGANIZERS! Lots of them! I’ve put pictures of my favorite kinds below.  My favorite about these is once your kids get a little older you can teach them what goes where and that way at clean up they can really help and it’s easy for them to help! My girls already know what goes where.

I love the cubes because you can get those cute box inserts in different colors and patterns to match just about any kind of decor you have!  We have a white shelf in the girls room.  We have three pink boxes that they keep their shoes in and I put leftover toys in the other.  In our living room, we have black and white boxes in our TV stand filled with books.  We have two more black boxes with the girls nap mats and blankets in them.  The girls know where things are and they don’t have to bother (oops, I mean ask) me!

Another option…

We also have a set like this in the play room. Again, they are great because they help with quick, easy pick up.  We have a two spots for puzzles, two for books, one for poms poms, one for purses and can’t you tell I have girls?  The different boxes help teach them to put stuff back where it goes so they can find it again when they want it.

Service, service, service

Since we have had our girls, we have moved around to several different little towns.  Some of them were way out in the country, so I place a very high value on Amazon Family.  Y’all I would have our diapers delivered! Not just diapers, though: cleaning products, diaper rash cream, healthy snacks for me and the hubs, razor blades, and so much more! I just had it all scheduled and it would show up when I needed it to! At a discount!  Now I know most of you can probably get to a huge chain store in less than 10 minutes, but this has not been the case for me since before we’ve had kids. So, I relied on these services! If it sounds like something you, or someone you know, would like to try, just click the banner below!


 

 

Part 2 is HERE!

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps someone out there!

Want more?

Check out Part 2: The Wannabe Minimalist Wish List

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