Self Care For Busy Moms

For week 3 of my wellness series, I wanted to talk about something that I feel is so important for all moms – that we don’t focus on enough! While we are always busy taking care of everyone else, we often let our own self care go by the wayside. But just like we are told on an airplane – in order to help anyone else you really need to put your own oxygen mask on first. Today I wanted to discuss some tips for making sure you are prioritizing your own well being and giving yourself the care you need.

Make time for exercise

When I had my first son, I quickly realized that finding time to work out was a challenge. If I waited for my husband to get home from work, I was often too tired to go to the gym that late, and early morning workouts after being up with a baby felt impossible. I realized that finding exercise that I could incorporate into my schedule and include my baby made things a whole lot easier! I bought a jogging stroller and began going for runs during his nap time (he slept while I ran), and I also started doing mommy and me swim classes and yoga classes. Now that my kids are a bit older, we can do family bike rides, kick a soccer ball around together, or take a family walk or hike. With a little flexibility it is possible to find a way to make regular exercise happen.

Touch base regularly with friends

One thing that isn’t talked about enough, is how isolating motherhood can be. We can all easily get trapped in our own little bubble of family life, but it is really important to reach out for support and adult conversation. It can be hard to find time to talk on the phone, so mom friends and I will often connect by text and just share funny things or vent when needed. It makes it easier to keep in touch over text when you are juggling kids. And try to get out once in awhile too! Even a weekly coffee date/play date with the kids really can be that little break we all need.

Prioritize sleep

When my kids go to bed, I often feel really tired and ready to go to bed myself. But I love this little bit of time to myself so I often stay up way too late – and then of course pay for it the next day. (I think so many moms can relate to this struggle!) Getting adequate sleep is so crucial, and I think it’s important to set a structured bedtime for yourself and make it a priority to get the sleep you need.

Treat yourself to something new

I think it is so easy for moms to stop doing things for themselves and everything becomes about the kids. I know moms who say they haven’t bought themselves anything new in years! Motherhood is often a thankless job, and it’s important to reward yourself from time to time for a job well done. If you find it hard to go shopping for yourself, consider joining a subscription service for something you love (I personally love my Fab Fit Fun subscription!) so that you are forced to get a little treat every now and then. Even just buying yourself a pretty bouquet at the market or treating yourself to that latte at the coffee shop, can really brighten your day! And you deserve it!

Nourish your body

You know how you get busy preparing meals for the kids, and then you end up eating their leftover Mac and cheese when you realize hours later you haven’t fed yourself?! Yep. We’ve all been there. Make sure you are finding time to sit and eat meals (standing in the pantry shoving a few goldfish in your mouth doesn’t count) that are healthy. Have some easy staples on hand – things like overnight oats, egg/veggie casseroles, soups, whole grain bread with lunch meat, Greek yogurts – are all nutritious and can be whipped up into a quick meal in minutes.

Pamper yourself

It can be really easy to stop going to the hair salon or getting your nails done, but having this bit of time for yourself is so important! Even if you feel you absolutely can’t get away to the salon for a few hours, make it a habit to spend 20 minutes a day taking a relaxing bath or developing a nightly skincare routine.

Learn something new

I didn’t realize how much I would feel a loss of my personal identity after I had my first son. Overnight I became a stay at home mom and all of my career ambitions and personal goals really took a backseat. I really started to feel that I needed something for me…and so I took up a few hobbies that I still do to this day! One was running, and while I don’t do as many races as I once did, I still enjoy regularly running 3-4 days a week. And I always had an interest in photography, and finally bought a camera and took some classes. Photography is something I absolutely love and is a huge creative outlet for me.

Ask for help

Nobody, I repeat nobody, can do it all. We all need help from time to time and it truly takes a village. While I have never had a nanny or had any help with the kids from family, I did come to realize that I needed some help. Years ago we hired a housekeeper who comes once a week to help out and I can’t tell you how helpful this is for me. While it’s just a few hours of help for me each week, it really helps me stay on top of the housework the rest of the week and frees up hours of cleaning time so we can enjoy time as a family instead. Whether you hire some help or simply ask your partner, friends, or family for some help from time to time – make sure you get the help you need.

Avoid the comparison trap

With the rise of social media, I feel that this one has become even tricker. Also there is so much societal pressure on women to be able to do it all, and it can be so hard to be constantly seeing images of perfect appearing women appearing to be perfect mothers, wives, employees, etc. The truth is – we are only seeing the highlight reel of anyone else’s life. Even if you feel that everyone else seems to have it all figured out, I can promise you that everyone is struggling with something. I have a very difficult relationship with my family and have now been estranged from them for several years, and it is hard to constantly see women sharing their supportive relationships with their mothers and the grandparent relationships their kids have with their parents. I even admit to feeling envious of my own friends sometimes when their mothers are so involved and jumping to babysit and doting on their grandkids. I have found a few things that help me when I’m really struggling with this and really hurting. One is to practice gratitude. I know that I have SO much to be grateful for and while I may not have been blessed with loving and supportive parents, I am incredibly blessed to have built my own loving and supportive family. And the other thing that really helps – is to unplug when I have to. If I’m seeing something on social media that is a sensitive spot for me – it’s easy to unfollow. I especially avoid social media a lot around Mother’s Day as it’s a very bittersweet day for me. If something (or someone) is making you feel bad – it’s okay to disconnect.

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Healthy Habits To Start The New Year For The Whole Family

For week two of my wellness series, I wanted to talk about some wellness goals that are great for the whole family to take part in, many of which are personal goals I have with my own family this year! It’s never too early to start teaching healthy habits to the kids, plus you have some built in accountability partners when you are all doing these things together.

Drink more water

I am probably the worst offender in my entire family with not drinking enough water. Drinking sparkling water really helps me increase my intake, and I also want to get a good water bottle to take on the go with me.

Practice better sleep hygiene (and get plenty of sleep)

We often watch TV right up until the time we go to bed, and I’m guilty of reading on my phone once I get to bed. I know these things absolutely affect my sleep, and I think it also makes it a bit harder for the kids to fall asleep after watching TV. I would really love to get in the habit of turning off the TV and reading as a family for awhile before tucking in for the night! I tend to be a bit of a night owl as well and really savor my alone time when everyone else goes to bed, but it’s not the best habit as it drastically cuts down my sleep time. I want to start setting a firm 11:00 pm bedtime for myself to make sure I’m getting enough sleep.

Stick with a clean diet during the week

I’ve found that eating clean is easy…as long as I prepare with having plenty of healthy options on hand. And the even bigger key for me is not allowing myself to get hungry. I often get busy and forget to eat, and find myself reaching for junk around 2:00 in the afternoon because I’m starving at that point. Having a structured plan and regular mealtimes makes sticking with healthy choices so much easier. I also really limit the kid’s sugar consumption during the week.

Get active

Winter can be a bit of a struggle for me to find motivation to run when it’s cold out, and I admittedly haven’t been consistent the last few months. Our winter hasn’t even been too brutal so I really don’t have much of an excuse! But even if I don’t feel like running, taking the kids sledding or skiing is great exercise and something the whole family can do together.

Read more

This ties back in to my sleep goals above, but I also want to start reading more in my (limited) free time. I used to read constantly before having kids, and it can be hard to find the time. But even if I can just find a little time after the kids go to bed, or waiting at their Taekwondo classes, I want to make this more of a priority for myself.

Practice and teach gratitude

“It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” This is one of my absolute favorite quotes and a mantra I try to live my life by. Every day when I pick my kids up from school, I ask them about the good things that happened at school that day. And when they have a bad day, we talk about the lessons we can learn from it to make us better people in the long run. Every day there is something to be grateful for (even if it is just getting through an awful day!), and trying to focus on the good things in our lives makes for a whole lot more happiness.

Try new things

I grew up in an extremely small town and was quite sheltered growing up, so it is really important to me to expose my kids to lots of different things. I really try to be pretty open minded to trying new things and having new experiences. Even something as simple as trying a new restaurant, community event, or taking a trip somewhere – there is always something new to be learned and experienced.

Eat dinner together

I think this is such an important habit to have, and something I really want to be better about. We have extra curricular activities almost nightly, so I often feed the kids right after school, and then my husband and I eat later. I would like to try to get in the habit of all sitting down together on nights that it’s feasible to do so.

Have device free time

We do have a rule that the kids aren’t allowed devices Monday – Thursday, and I’m thinking this would be a really great rule for myself as well. Every weeknight after the kids get home, I want to start putting my phone away and just be fully present and focused on the family. It’s so easy to get caught up with texting friends, checking notifications and email, and scrolling social media. But I think it would also be a good example to set for my kids to follow the same rule I have for them, and also important to be more focused when I’m with them.

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Make 2020 Your Most Organized Year Yet

Happy 2020!!! The very best thing about the new year is that feeling of starting fresh and setting new goals. And to get off on the right track I thought I would do a weekly wellness series for the month of January! Today I’m kicking off the series with talking about my personal organization tips that have been hugely helpful for me, as well as improvements I would like to make myself this year.

MEAL PLAN

Meal planning is probably the number area where I would like to make improvements this year. I tend not to plan meals beyond a few days at a time, so I’m constantly running back to the grocery store for more ingredients every few days. One thing I did invest in a few years ago was an instant pot, and if you don’t have one – get one. If you are like me and have a hard time planning meals ahead of time (and starting a meal at 8 am in the crockpot seems impossible) the instant pot is life changing. I want to keep my meal planning goal attainable for myself – so my goal for 2020 is to at least meal plan for Monday-Thursday each week. Just having those 4 days planned on Sunday would make for a much smoother running week!

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CALENDAR (SYSTEM FOR REMINDERS/LISTS)

I do keep my personal digital calendar up to date, but one thing I keep talking about doing (and still haven’t) is having a central monthly calendar hung up somewhere where everyone in the family can write on it and add activities. I also want to have an area next to the calendar where I can make notes and task reminders as things pop in my head. As any mom knows, when you have a million things to keep track of, you end up forgetting if you don’t write it down right that minute.

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DECLUTTER AND GIVE EVERYTHING A SPACE

When we moved last year we got rid of a ton of stuff. I did a full closet purge for the boys and myself and we donated tons of clothing and toys. I also set a goal for myself last year to overhaul my pantry and closets and make them organized spaces (you can see my pantry here). I’ve been planning on organizing my bathroom cupboards and closets for several months and still haven’t gotten around to it – so that’s at the top of my list this month. I also want to better organize my refrigerator with storage bins as well. Giving every single item in your home a space where it belongs, makes for a super organized and tidy home.

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PRACTICE MINIMALISM

Once you’ve purged, the key is not to refill your spaces with stuff! I’ve heard some people have a rule of one thing in, one thing out to keep a handle on items not getting out of control. I think being more mindful of what you buy is also hugely important. I am someone who is so easily tempted by a good deal, that sometimes I don’t take time to stop and ask myself if I really have a need or space for that item. Being more mindful and asking myself how practical and useful an item will really be for me, is great for keeping a clutter free home.

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STASH BACKUP ITEMS (NECESSITIES + GIFTS/SCHOOL SUPPLIES/CRAFTS)

Any parent knows that when you have kids – there are ALWAYS last minute things that come up. I can’t tell you how many last minute birthday party invites we’ve received, or times the teacher asks for something random for a craft or school project (last year a teacher needed a disposable tablecloth the next day!). I have a bin that I keep stored in a closet for just these emergencies. I keep leftover birthday party decorating supplies, wrapping paper/gift bags, birthday cards, a child’s gift or two (I’ve shared my boy and girl go-to’s below!), and craft supplies all stored in this bin. Also I have learned to keep a few necessities for the house tucked away (like paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, medications) for those times when you run out unexpectedly.

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STICK WITH A ROUTINE

This is something our family is pretty strict with during the week, and I can’t tell you how helpful it is for us. We have a very consistent after school and before school routine each day and it truly keeps us on track and helps us be prepared and on time every day. When the kids get home, backpacks and lunch boxes are immediately emptied. Shoes taken off and coats are hung up by the door so they are ready to go the next day. I clean out lunch boxes and start prepping them for the next day and Cole usually completes any home work right away, and then it goes back in his bag. We typically have a very early dinner (which means I need to be prepared & cook early!), and then we head out to extracurriculars. After extracurriculars we typically have baths and then the kids have free time until bedtime (which is consistently 8-8:30 pm). I always lay clothes out the night before, so our morning routine is super quick. We also use Amazon Alexa to set daily timers to keep us on schedule which is super helpful!

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HAVE THE KIDS CHIP IN

It is so important for kids to carry their own weight and help be responsible for their own things. My kids are old enough for simple tasks which they are responsible for, like putting their own laundry in the hamper and putting their own dishes in the dishwasher. They also need to clean up after themselves as they play, and for my older 9 year old – he helps out with cleaning up after the cat and needs to be responsible for putting his gizmo watch at the charging station after school, do his homework, and make sure it’s put back in his bag. Even if everyone just chips in a little and helps with their own items – it makes the whole household much more organized.

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STAY ON TOP OF HOUSEHOLD TASKS

This is one of my number one tip for keeping a tidy, organized home. Did you know that making your bed everyday is linked to general happiness?! I always start my day with making the beds and it really starts my day off on a positive note. And as the day goes on, it is ultimately so much easier to stay on top of small chores rather than trying to play catch up. It can be tempting to procrastinate and say you’ll do the laundry or the dishes tomorrow – but what typically happens is you just get behind and the mess piles up, and eventually it is overwhelming and takes forever to tidy everything. I make sure my sink is empty and dishes washed every night before I go to bed. I also try to do laundry almost every day, so I only have one small daily load to wash and fold and put away. (I really kick myself when I let the clean laundry pile up for days and it takes me hours to fold and put away!).  I also almost always tidy up every single night if there is anything left lying out. There is nothing better than the feeling of going to bed at night with everything done and starting each day fresh with a tidy home.

I hope you find some of these tips and tools helpful! Here’s to an organized 2020!

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Taking Care of Yourself During the Winter

Taking Care of Yourself During the Winter

Sweater // Jeans // Boots // Coat // Sunglasses

One thing I love about Idaho is experiencing the four seasons, including winter. I’m always so excited for the first snow and the start of ski season, and I do genuinely enjoy the cold…for a few months that is. It’s at about this time every year, where I really just start to feel “over” winter and am so ready for spring. We’ve had an onslaught of snow and colder than normal temperatures over the past week, which is starting to get to me a bit. Today I’m sharing some ways to help feel your best to help get through these (hopefully) last weeks of winter!

HYDRATE

I do find its harder to drink enough water when its cold outside, and I prefer hot drinks like coffee (which is super dehydrating). I love sparkling water which helps me increase the amount of water I drink, and an infuser to flavor water can also help encourage fluid intake.

MOISTURIZE

My skin really struggles in the winter, so I really try to take the time to give it a little extra TLC. Hyaluronic acid helps the skin by working as a magnet for moisture and helps your cells retain as much as possible. I apply hyaluronic acid nightly, along with a moisturizer, and often include an extra hydrating step like a sheet or sleep mask. And even though it is winter, don’t forget to wear your sunscreen! I also make sure to moisturize my whole body with a quality moisturizer, and for my feet an extra rich moisturizer. My hair also tends to get very dry, so I add moroccan argan oil daily, and use a deep conditioning treatment 1-2 times per week.

EXERCISE

I love running, but it’s very hard for me to continue to run regularly in the coldest part of winter. Of course warm clothes help, but sometimes I just find it too miserable to run. When I lose motivation to run due to the weather, I try to ski as often as I can and even just increase my walking as much as possible. An indoor fitness program can be a great option, or even just taking time for yoga or stretching.

EAT WELL

Rich, heavy comfort foods are really tempting during the winter, and it is super easy to pack on the pounds. Finding the balance of having warm foods that are still light and healthy (like broth based soups with vegetables), will help you feel your best! I also try to make kale smoothies several times a week. A vitamin D supplement is also very important during the winter!

TREAT YOURSELF

Treating myself some warm and cozy loungewear helps cheer me up a bit when I feel trapped indoors. My feet are constantly cold as well, so warm slippers and aloe infused socks are a nice treat.

SHOP THE POST

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Water Bottle Infuser // Hyaluronic Cloud Cream // La Mer Moisturizer // Water Sleeping Mask // Kiehl’s Moisturizer // L’Occitane Foot Cream // Moroccanoil // Hair Mask // Running Jacket // Vitamin D Supplement // Sweatsuit Top and Bottoms

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Weekend Notes 10.11

Weekend Notes 10.11

At grandma’s house in Malibu in March 2011

This weekend has been a bit a somber around our home. My husbands parents home in Malibu where they lived many years until their passing a few years back, was lost in the Woolsey Fire over the weekend. Although the home was sold several years back, the home held many special memories for us. Jon’s mom was in poor health when Cole was born, and we only got to have her be a part of Cole’s life for a short time. Almost all the memories we have of Cole and his grandma happened in that home. Cole doesn’t remember her, but we always show him pictures and share stories. We had always planned on taking him back to see the house one day, and it is sad to know that we will now never have that opportunity and that place where so many special memories were made is now forever gone. And Calamigos Ranch in Malibu where Jon and I were married was also sadly lost to the fire as well.

While I am sad these special places are gone, I can’t imagine the heartbreak of those losing their homes to this devastating fire. Lives have been lost, and people’s homes and possessions have been destroyed in an instant. I have so much admiration for the incredible first responders putting their life on the line and I’m hoping that no more lives will be lost. I’ve been looking for ways to help and I’ve found a list of organizations who are taking donations and contributions:

American Red Cross workers have set up temporary shelters and food sites across the state. Donate to the efforts by visiting redcross.org or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donors can even specifically request their monies go towards California relief efforts by writing the specific disaster name in the memo line of a check made out to the organization.

The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation supports the first responders fighting on the frontlines of the wildfires. They are currently requesting donations to put towards hydration backpacks for the firefighters.

The CCF Wildfire Relief Fund supports immediate recovery efforts for major California wildfires, as well as long-term preparedness efforts.

The United Way of Greater Los Angeles is partnering with United Way of Ventura County to collect donations for its its Disaster Relief Fund.

The Humane Society of Ventura County is accepting animals evacuating from the Hill and Woolsey fires. You can also donate directly to the organization or purchase items like food and toys through their Amazon wish list.

Baby2Baby is working to get high-need items to children affected by the ongoing Camp, Hill, and Woolsey fires in California. Help them supply diapers, wipes, blankets, and other basic baby essentials to families in need by purchasing from their registry.

The Firefighters Charitable Foundation accepts donations to support volunteer fire stations and helps wildfire victims.

California Volunteers, a state office that manages volunteer programs in California, has created a list of services and donation options to help victims affected by the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill fires. Use this list to find information about making donations and volunteering.

Airbnb’s Open Home Program facilitates connecting those displaced by natural disaster with people who can open up their homes in the area. The accommodations are free. So far, over 700 homes have been opened to evacuees in Ventura County.

California Fire Foundation is a statewide nonprofit organization that is working to get fast funds to everyone effected through its SAVE program, where frontline firefighters are given prepaid Mastercards to distribute to victims who often didn’t have time to pack everything they needed before they were forced to evacuate. With it, they can get necessities like food, a change of clothes, or pay for somewhere to stay.

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Weekend Notes 10.27

Weekend Notes 10.27

Halloween festivities have been in full swing at our house over the past week, and we are trying to soak up as much of the Halloween spirit as we can. Halloween movie nights, costume making, and a Starbucks run for their holiday “Witch’s Brew” Frappuccinos (the kids loved them!) have been some of our highlights. We want to get in as much Halloween fun as we can this last weekend before the holiday, so we are planning on making a return to the pumpkin patch, carving our pumpkins, and making some Halloween treats.

This week Cole and I also had a mommy/son date and went to see the Broadway performance of The Lion King. They are on tour and as soon as I heard they were coming to Boise I grabbed tickets. I expected it to be good…I didn’t expect it to be as incredible as it was. Cole and I were just completely blown away at the costumes and the sets…it really was such a memorable night and I hope we get the opportunity to go again one day when Evan is a little older so he can experience it too!

Work out The findings of a study about the importance of cardiovascular exercise have been making the rounds online this week. Of course we all know that exercise is important for health, but the results of this study were quite frankly shocking. Researchers found that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health and life expectancy than SMOKING. Pretty surprising right?!

Last minute costumes The spookiest night of the year is just four days away! If you haven’t gotten your costume yet, here are some great last minute costume ideas.

Dupe jacket I’ve been eyeing this I.Am.Gia Pixie jacket that has been all over insta, and I was super excited to find an identical dupe that is literally 1/4 the price! I’m definitely going to be snagging this!

Boot bargain My absolute favorite and splurge worthy Stuart Weitzman boots are currently on sale for 45-50% off (which never happens!). Grab yourself a pair of Lowlands, Highlands, or this gorgeous knee high pair. While there are a lot of dupes for Stuart Weitzman boots, there is nothing quite like the real deal in terms of comfort and quality. They are well worth the splurge! (See all available styles on sale here)

Sales, sales, sales Some of the best sales this weekend:

Macy’s: 20% off lowest prices of the season sale with code DEALS

Saks Fifth Avenue: Up to 30% off select bedding, bath, and decorative home items

Lord & Taylor: Receive up to 50% off select styles with code LTDAYS

The Outnet: Take up to 50% off select styles

Old Navy: Receive up to 40% off select pants, jeans, outerwear, and tees

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Weekend Notes 10.20

Weekend Notes 10.20

Thursday night Cole’s school held their annual Boo Bash – which is essentially a fall carnival/Halloween party. Our family Halloween costumes aren’t quite ready yet as we are insane making the majority of our costumes this year, so we had to scramble and come up with something quick. Evan ended up in an old astronaut costume of Cole’s, and I grabbed a simple bandit costume for Cole.

Of course no carnival is complete without a cake walk, and my boys were determined to come home with dessert. After walking at least 20 rounds, and it wasn’t looking promising with the carnival down to the last few desserts, Evan finally got his number called and got to come home with some chocolate cupcakes. You would have thought the kids won the lottery with how excited they were! Coming home and eating chocolate cupcakes and getting to stay up late watching Halloween movies was pretty much the highlight of their week.

Costume inspo I am planning on buckling down this weekend and working on getting our Halloween costumes finished. Do you have your Halloween costumes yet?! Here’s some fun family costume ideas!

New running kicks I just bought some much needed new running shoes and after a few test runs I have to say these Brooks are amazing!

Skincare favorites A few skincare products I have really been loving! First up this Foreo Luna. My skin has been clearer and brighter since I started using this a few months ago. I am also obsessed with this Vit C, E and Ferulic Acid serum which is a dupe of the nearly identical and much more expensive Skinceuticals serum. I’ve been using it for 3 months now and my skin tone has visibly improved!

Recipe refresh A friend sent me a photo of the most amazing looking skillet cookie she had baked a few weeks back and I was all…Need. Recipe. Now. It is in Chrissy Tiegen’s new cookbook which I just purchased and I can’t wait to try so many of the recipes. They all look amazing and perfect comfort food for the cooler weather!

Get out and vote November 6th is fast approaching, and it is so important to get out & exercise your right to vote! Go here to check your registration status and find your polling place.

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