Archive for the ‘Home & Organization’ Category

How To Use A Home Management Binder

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

How To Use a Home Management Binder

Have you been using our free home management binder printables yet? I thought it would be good during this m challenge month of Loving Your Home to revisit the home binder that I lovingly call our family “Bible” for the way that it has become indispensable for keeping us organized (and me sane!). It’s hard to love where you’re at if nothing seems to be working right and I’ve found that keeping a list of to-dos (both what we have to do and wish to do) can help you feel like you’re moving in the right direction – creating a place that truly feels like ‘home’ for your family.

A well-designed binder helps you manage everything in your household in one place. After a number of years using a home management binder, here’s the way that I’ve found it works best:

How to Use a Home Management Binder

~ Keep the binder in a central location in your home where everyone can access it

~ Include your family calendar and keep it up-to-date

~ Add important contact information that you want to have at a moment’s notice (particularly for someone who might babysit)

~ Use it as a meal-planner with weekly meal plans, grocery lists and a price sheet, as well as a list of family favorites (when the family’s raving about the meal, easily jot it down in the binder and you’ll have your family’s favorite dishes at your fingertips to make future meal planning easier!)

~ Add sheets that you need to run your family’s finances smoothly, like budgeting and planning for large purchases.

~ Use it as a central To-Do list for your home, both routine maintenance and any plans for updates. I’ve loved being able to see how far we’ve come and all the improvements we’ve made to help make our house into a home we love!

 

How to Set Up a Home Management Binder

~ I recommend this binder, both for it’s size and the view pockets for the outside.

~ Then purchase a set of pocketed dividers where you can tuck important information that you might need to easily find. When school starts, in particular, you will find your mailbox filled with fliers for events, important forms that need to be filled out, appointment reminders, and invitations. Instead of piling them on a desk or tacking them on the fridge, use the pockets so you always know where to find these items when you need them.

~ Keep an extra pocket or two in the back for the randomness in life- consider it another junk drawer, if you will.

~ I have also found that a good spot in the home for daily reference is in your family’s command center.

~ Print out any header pages for sections on heavy-duty cardstock so that they can hold up to the abuse of being referenced daily.

Family-Management-Binder-Collage

Of course, you can use any printables you want, but we are pretty attached to ours! Our set of binder printables is free to all who subscribe to our weekly newsletter simply by entering your email below or in the sidebar. We will then send you the link to your packet as our thank you for being a subscriber (look for it in the final welcome email). The binder set includes the following pages:

  • Family Budget Pages
  • Grocery Price Sheet
  • Grocery List Sheet
  • Menu Planner Sheet
  • Family Calendar
  • To-Do List
  • Contact Sheet
  • Header Pages for Each Section

Wondering about our newsletter? The Mom Advice newsletters are a recap of all the happenings for the week and will make sure you never miss a post. It’s also where our subscribers can access the free printables and any additional freebies that we may offer ONLY TO NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS.  It is beautiful, simple, mobile-friendly, and fast to scroll through.  I promise, I will never send you junk. I know your time is valuable and so is mine- I am committed to a very useful newsletter!

Note: If you can’t seem to get the form below to work with your browser, just look over to your right in the sidebar. You will see a handy form there too that works with all browsers! We appreciate you so much! Thank you! 

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 This post contains affiliate links.

 

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The DIY Laundry: Detergent & Fabric Softener Sheets

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

The DIY Laundry-Detergent and Softener Sheets

Have you ever thought about making your own laundry detergent and dryer sheets? While it’s not specifically around our M Challenge of Loving Your Home, thinking about our home made me think about the DIY projects that have helped to create a better environment for my family – one of which is our DIY Laundry! I love the control and confidence I have in making our own laundry essentials – it’s better for the environment and results in major savings with minimal time invested.

Ready to make your own? Here’s a little more on each project with a link to the original full article where you’ll find complete tutorials with photos and recipes:

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

I have been making my own DIY fabric softener sheets for years – it’s an easy process that will stretch your softener further with nothing to throw away! Plus, they actually perform better than putting fabric softener in your washer compartment and you don’t have to worry about any staining on your fabrics.

They are also reusable – you can use each sheet about 20 times before they lose their effectiveness. But then it’s an easy step to repeat the process!

Go here for the steps to make your own fabric softener sheets – plus tips on other options if you don’t want to use commercial fabric softener:

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Making homemade detergent is easier than you might think and the cost comparison makes it worth the small amount of effort required. It’s naturally low-sudsing, making it perfect for using with HE washing machines and because it contains zero phosphates or fillers, it’s septic-friendly as well.

This homemade detergent is made up of three ingredients: Fels-Naptha (or Ivory Soap), Washing Soda, and Borax, which can be bought for around $8.00 total. Dividing the total materials required to make one batch of soap (the soap bar and 1 c. each of the remaining ingredients) equals a cost of $1.80-$1.90 for a batch. At one to two tablespoons per load, it comes in at around $.05, compared to $0.17-.0.21 per load of name brand detergents.

It also takes less time than you may think: I was able to make a triple batch of this soap in about fifteen minutes (and that is along with taking pictures for this tutorial). The real time-consuming process of it is grating the soap, but if you have a food processor, that can be accomplished in no time at all!

Go here for a picture tutorial of how to make your own laundry detergent, including photos of all the ingredients (and where to find them):

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Do you make any laundry items for your home? Have you made either of these after the original postings?

 

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DIY Lampshade Ideas

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

DIY Lampshade Ideas from MomAdvice.com

One of the quickest ways to update a room is to spruce up a lamp in your home and today I wanted to show you some easy and affordable ways to transform a lampshade from Goodwill. I love these ideas so much, in fact, that I have plans to add a new lamp or two to our space now for Spring! I hope you will be as inspired as I am by these bloggers and their incredible lampshade makeovers. This post fits so perfectly with our Love Your Home m challenge because it is one small way you can really personalize a room with your own DIY touch.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to see these fast & stylish DIY Lampshade ideas!

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DIY Reusable Floor Pads

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

DIY Reusable Floor Pads from MomAdvice.com

DIY Reusable Floor Pads from MomAdvice.com

DIY Reusable Floor Pads from MomAdvice.com

Are you as in love with your quickie mop as I am? I have been feeling guilty about the amount of disposable pads we were going through to tidy our hardwood floors and I was super unhappy with the streaky finish we were getting on our flooring. In an effort to have streak-free floors AND be a little more loving towards our environment, I have the quickest and easiest tutorial to DIY both the wet and the dry pads for your floors!

Head on over to the Kenmore Blog today to get this quick recipe and tutorial for all of your cleaning needs. As a bonus, these also work brilliantly for wiping up messes on your countertops or bathrooms!

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7 Fresh Furniture Painting Ideas

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

7 Fresh Furniture Painting Ideas from MomAdvice.com

I am a big fan of painting furniture and when the Spring temperature arrive, I start dreaming of all the pieces I can redo.

Does anyone else refer to Spring as spray paint season?

Maybe that’s just me.

Today I wanted to share some ways that you can add a fresh new look on a furniture piece from Goodwill. Often when we see pieces, we can’t see the true potential in them if they are dated, mismatched, or distressed. It can be challenging to look at each piece as something full of possibilities.

Here are some great ways to bring tired furniture to life, to create the optical illusion of sets of furniture, and some really great new ways I have found to experiment with new painting techniques.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to discover 7 Fresh Furniture Painting Ideas!

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Our Bathroom Makeover Reveal

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

This post is sponsored on behalf of BHG at Walmart.

Spring is in the air and with it comes my urge to continue creating a beautiful space in our home that we will love for many years. Today I wanted to show off a space that we recently renovated and how we brought our ideas to life  in this space.  As part of the BHG Live Better Network, I am partnering with them this month to showcase how you can add a new color into your home utilizing the products from BHG that are available at Walmart.  For me, the color that we are working to add into our home happens to be gray and so this month’s feature is all about that beautiful hue and how I was able to accessorize my new space with their help. Before we accessorize though, let’s take a look at some before and after pictures of our space.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Here are a few before pictures of our basement bathroom that we planned to renovate. This was actually the first room that we did ourselves when we moved into our home eleven years ago. When we purchased the home the original room actually had about four layers of wallpaper on it that we attempted to remove and then discovered mildew had been residing between the layers making all of that drywall unusable. The previous owners had used it as a laundry room,  but it lacked the ventilation needed to keep mildew at bay. We had one of my husband’s uncles and his father help us rip all of the walls and put in new ones which was a really big job for these newbie homeowners. We were on a tight budget so we added sticky tile flooring and my husband added this wainscoting detail on the wall with a ledge. With a coat of paint, we were satisfied with this space.

As our kids get older (and the sticky tiles began to shift beneath our feet), I started dreaming about how we could transform this half bath into a full bath so that we could have two showers in our home instead of one. I have never had two showers in one space in my entire existence so entertaining this idea was, seriously, exciting for me. I began to put together my vision boards for this space. After all, if we can turn our old storage shed into the bonus room of my dreams, why couldn’t we do the same in this little space? If there is one thing I have learned about renovating our tri-level home, it is that every corner must be looked at with potential. Why shouldn’t this empty bathroom corner become a fully functional shower for our family?

My inspiration came from this photo on Houzz. After putting together a million idea for my husband, we sat down one night and both agreed that this is the style of the bathroom we wanted. The best part was that the Hilton Head Island Architects & Building Designers took the time to answer everyone’s questions about the materials that were used in this room. I jotted down some notes and took these ideas to All Pro Renovations to see if we could make something like this happen in our space.
Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

 

Here were the original ideas that I wanted for this space. You will see that I rethought some of this (even frantic texts as close to midnight on the paint color). The initial ideas though of a ceiling with a 1×8 v-groove pine with fresh trim were painted in Benjamin Moore White Dove, the standard (3×6) subway tile on the walls, additional lighting was added, and the standard hex tile with a gray grout all ended up being implemented in our space.

To save on cost, we ended up just using a shower purchased from our local hardware store, ditched the sconce lighting (since we added additional lighting in our fan), and gave up the idea of raising the ceiling since it was going to be another $1,500 or so just to reroute some of the heating & ventilation that were all funneling through this room.

In an effort to interject a little color, I ended up painting the walls in Benjamin Moore Gray Owl which kept things fresh and modern, without looking unfinished or the fear of a dirty white walls and white flooring/tile.

 

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Can you believe this corner was just sitting there unused and now houses a pretty generous stand-up shower? Although we had talked about making this a custom unit, I am so happy with this unit we purchased that was all ready to go from our hardware store.

 

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

How gorgeous is this new space? Would you ever guess that this is in the lower level of our home? Although the ceiling is slightly lower with the addition of the pine planks, you really don’t feel closed in due to the lines of the boards and the fresh white paint. We left our existing fixtures and lighting in, but did add a light that looked almost identical to our original that added a fan in the space. We had a medicine cabinet installed that helped add additional storage and also provided extra mirrors for getting ready in the morning.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

To add more pops of gray and to organize our space, I headed to Walmart to snag some new additions to the space. These included some beautiful plush towels in gray flannel,  some modern chevron print towels for our hand towels,  new jars to organize the odds & ends in our storage unit, and the perfect cushy chevron bath mat for our feet. This brought more of the gray in and added those modern touches that I wanted for our space.

Bathroom Makeover Reveal from MomAdvice.com.

I’m so proud of our new space and love the fresh new colors that we are bringing in to our home! Thank you to All Pro Renovations for the beautiful workmanship they did in this space!

 

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from BHG at Walmart for my time and participation in the BHG Live Better Network. Although we have material connection to BHG, any publicly stated opinions of BHG and their products remain my own.

 

The Power of Living Small

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The Power of Living Small from MomAdvice.com

Small space living comes with many challenges, but the rewards for a family on a budget are great. For a long time I considered our smaller home a temporary means to get us by until we could afford more.  As the years have gone by though, I have truly discovered the power of living in a smaller house and making the most of what we have been given. I can fully admit though, that it is all about our approach towards making our space our own, more than it is about the amount of square footage in our house.

Small space is all relative, of course, isn’t it? In full discretion, our home is 1,500 square feet for our family of four. While that may sound like a lot or a little, the space is made smaller and more challenging with a tri-level floor plan. If it was spread on one or two levels, I am sure it would feel much larger. I think it has been the floor plan that is more of a challenge than the square footage of our home. Regardless, spatial challenges have existed and we have learned a lot from working through them.

One thing that people remark on though is how our home doesn’t feel small at all and I recently had a visitor who said she was so impressed with how efficient our home was (world’s best compliment- by the way!). I attribute it to one part renovation, one part smarter selections for our home, and one part major clutter-busting. The investments that we have made have given us a new appreciation for our space and have helped us fall in love with this house.

Now if we moved, I know I would never be as happy as I am right here.

That’s a good feeling to have.

Regardless of your square footage though, I wanted to share with you a few ideas for learning to embrace the power of living in the space you are in right now. There is so much that I have learned over the years about making our home the best that we can and I wanted to share with you some ideas on how to make the most of the space you are in right now.

Transforming-Corners-In-Your-Home-15

Reconsider Your Furniture

Furniture can truly make a room feel larger or smaller depending on the size of it and the purpose it serves in your home. Our larger furniture that we purchased for our previous home was not well-suited for the home we had now, but replacing it was not a cost that we could really afford.

Instead, consider scaling back on the amount of furniture you have in your rooms. Do you truly use the side tables in your home? Is the coffee table really needed or would your space benefit from an ottoman that could serve as dual storage? Try removing pieces of furniture from the room and see if they make the flow of the space feel bigger.

The Power of Living Small from MomAdvice.com

When you do replace furniture, try buying items that could serve as a dual purpose or could maximize your smaller rooms. Our ottoman in our family room is the perfect place to tuck our record collection in our home, for example. One piece, but two functions to everything helps to make the most of the corners in our home.  The furniture, as we have begun to replace it, serves multipurposes like beds with bookcase and drawer storage.

Basement Before 2

Cut the Clutter in Half

The best part about living in a smaller space is that it has forced me to edit the belongings I have and has kept me from buying as much as I would in a larger space. If your home closets that are small, if you don’t have a basement, if there is no garage…than these situations can truly work for you as a way to keep your clutter naturally under control. Here is my spot where I like to throw things I don’t know what to do with- we all have ‘em. I am a work in progress just like the next person, but I am proud to say that I have reduced our clutter by 50% this year thanks to a few new decluttering & minimizing challenges I have embraced.

Lately I have been trying to live my life by the infamous quote from William Morris, “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful.” If it is not bringing beauty or usefulness to my space, then I can feel good about passing those items on to someone else in need.  Suddenly, my kitchen counters feel spacious, the basement really does have a spot for everything in storage, and the house really does have enough space for us all. It’s all about perspective and investing in the things you really do want in life.

Consider making a weekly date with yourself to devote an hour towards improving one spot in your home that you struggle with. If it is a drawer that never opens, an office that is filled with useless papers, a basement that has become an avalanche of misplaced items, spend your hour making those spots in your home better. Make it a goal to cut the clutter in half in these spots to make them more livable and enjoyable.

The Power of Living Small from MomAdvice.com

Make Wise Renovation Investments

Once you cut the clutter in your home, you can begin dreaming of new ways to use that freed up space. Renovating your home can be costly, but it is not as costly as it is to buy a brand new home. The best part is that you can take your time with it and tackle one corner at a time, personalizing it to your own personal style. If there is a particular area in your home you want to improve, consider getting an estimate to make your space more livable. Many homes have unused corners and smaller spaces that could be improved upon to make the home more livable.

Our little house got a much needed renovation to make our space work for us for many years to come that has been one of the wisest investments we have ever made.  With one wall knocked out and putting unused basement storage to work, our home was renovated into a spacious family room and a quiet home office in the basement. Each year we tackle one project (at least) to make our home look and feel spacious and loved. We have updated our backyard shed into a useable bonus space, we did a beautiful stamped patio & firepit that could act as an extension to our indoor space outdoors, and we added little things like a fireplace in the office that cozy up the home, and knocked out walls to let the sunshine in through big open windows. As we speak, we are adding a shower to our little guest bathroom so that we can make this home a two bath house.

With a ’60’s home, there will always be projects, but I actually love the dreaming and scheming of making these spaces in our house uniquely us.

As my husband’s grandmother says when she visits us, “I love coming here because there is just always something new to look at!” That is probably a very true statement since we are always working on our little fixer-upper.

Begin really thinking about the space you are in and how you could make it work for your family. Look for guidance in home magazines or consider spending the money on having an architect coming to evaluate your home to draw up a plan for making more out of the space you are currently in. You may be surprised to discover how much more square footage you might have right where you already are.

Family-2014-1

Make Your Space Feel Permanent

If you look at your home as a temporary place until you find something better, you might be overlooking the chance to really make the space you are in work for your family. I found that when I finally told myself that this was my home (whether I liked it or not) and put the elbow grease into it, it transformed not only the space…but my attitude towards it.  As with all things in life, it is what you make it and I am choosing to make it the best that I truly can!

If you are living in a smaller home or apartment, just remember to consider your blessings. Not only do you have a mortgage or monthly payment that you can afford, but you have less of a home to clean, a natural way to edit the excess from your life, and more importantly….cozier quarters that force your family to always be together. What could be better for a family than that?

We have a sign hanging in our home that reads, “Small homes grow tight families.” It is truly my belief that  our little house fosters just the kinds of relationships that I want with the best people in my life.  I can continue to maximize the square footage on the existing space, but I love the togetherness that our smaller space brings.

How have you learned to embrace the space you are in right now?

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Declutter Your Space & Rid Your Life of Clutter Forever

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

How to Declutter Your Home from MomAdvice.com

This year I went on a journey towards being truly serious about decluttering our home of unnecessary items. I would conservatively say that we have reduced our belongings easily by 50% and I still feel that there is more that we can do this year. Is your dream to declutter your space this year and rid yourself of clutter forever? It is a common resolution and I am living proof that this is achievable, although I will always be a work in progress. Please avert your eyes from my basement storage area & garage for a bit (ahem!).

Today I want to share with you a few resources that have helped our family on the journey towards reclaiming our home- the transformation is so worth it! These are the resources I used to start the journey towards a clutter free space and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Join me on the Goodwill Tips blog today to learn how to declutter your space & rid your life of clutter forever!

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Healthy Fridge Makeover {& No-Bake Energy Bites}

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Healthy Fridge Makeover_1

As I shared with you, when I attended college I lived on junk & convenience food and I had the inevitable “Freshman 15,” to prove it from my bad eating habits throughout the year. I only wish I knew how great I would have felt and how much better I would have performed if I had stocked my fridge with healthy options.

Now I know that there are healthy ideas for stocking your refrigerator – whether it’s a dorm sized mini-fridge, your first apartment fridge, or the huge family-sized fridge many of us graduate to – and I’m making sure that my kids do know that the foods that are good for your body are easy to keep on hand, too. In this healthy fridge makeover, I’m sharing easy ways to keep good-for-you foods within reach along with a recipe for a quick to make no-bake energy bite that you can mix up in a bowl for easy snacks on-the-go that both kids and adults love.

Healthy Fridge Makeover_2 Eggs- Eggs are the perfect food for starting your day out right or for a healthy late night snack. Did you know that you can prepare an egg easily in the microwave with no special equipment at all? Simply spray or grease a bowl to prepare it and crack two eggs in it with a tablespoon of milk and whisk well with a fork. Place your bowl of eggs in the microwave and cook for one minute. Give it another little scramble with your fork and then cook for thirty second intervals, until your eggs reach the desired consistency. That’s it! Don’t forget that you can add your own fun add-ins to this versatile food like chopped up veggies, cheeses, or meats.

Berries- Berries are a great item to keep on hand to eat as a side, to grab by the handful for a quick snack, mixed in with a cup of Greek yogurt, or as a topper to a bowl of instant oatmeal in the morning. Cut berries can also be added to a water bottle and then allowed to steep overnight to create a healthy & inexpensive infused water.

Veggies- Cut veggies are the perfect item to have on hand for a quick and healthy snack. Some of my favorites for snacking are peppers (in every color), carrot sticks, celery sticks, & cauliflower. Pair these veggies with your favorite dips like a nut butter with celery or dip them in hummus for an easy snack.

Nut Butters & Nuts- Nothing is quicker or easier than keeping a package of nuts on hand for snacking. Did you know that you can even freeze nuts? Grab an extra package and store it in your freezer, up to six months, to make sure they don’t go rancid. Try a new variety like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, or cashews for a little variety. These can also be added to bowls of instant oatmeal in the morning or mixed into a salad for a crunch topping.

Nut butters are great for an accompaniment to celery or cut apples. My own favorite nighttime snack is peanut butter on a slice of whole grain toast with a glass of almond milk before I go to bed. It’s a satisfying and inexpensive snack!

Hummus- There are many different flavors and varities now of hummus and it is the perfect snack or spread to add to pitas or even smeared as a topping for your favorite sandwich. My favorite variety is the Red Pepper Hummus with sliced cucumbers or pita for an effortless snack.

String Cheese- String cheese is one of those grab-and-go snacks that I love to keep on hand in our fridge. Chop these up to add to your eggs to add a little cheesiness to your egg dishes without investing in bags of shredded cheese or wrap cheese with whole grain bread and a little deli meat into a “sushi” roll for a quick sandwich that can make lunches special.

No_Bake_Energy_Bites Energy Bites- No-bake energy bites are a fun snack to have on hand when you are craving a treat with a little sweetness. We all adore these at my house! The best part is that they don’t require an oven or mixer, making these an easy treat to make…and to eat! Did I mention it tastes an awful like cookie dough too? Yum!

No_Bake_Energy_Bites_3

No-Bake Energy Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16 bites
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.
  2. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Once chilled, simply roll into balls.
  4. Store these in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.

No_Bake_Energy_Bites_2

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Guest Post: How to Incorporate Healthy Living Back in Your Life

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Note: This is a repost of Ashley’s post from January of 2014 that I thought we needed to see again as we journey through our m challenge of focusing on our health because not only is Ashley inspiring, she gives some wonderful, concrete tips to make healthy living a real part of our daily lives!

I am Ashley Johns, a Personal Trainer, Writer, Creator of Fierce Forward and Fierce Forward Intention Bracelets.  Ever since losing over forty pounds and taking back my life, my mission is to empower others to move forward, fiercely and healthfully, towards the life they want.

I met Amy at a local blogger’s get-together where I learned how retro-chic and creative she is!  We chatted about me guest posting on Momadvice and decided something very valuable I could share with you are my tips on how to make you and your family’s health a priority.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Does this chick have kids?”   Let me answer that.  I am a fierce chick and I do not yet have children, but I sure do know how to manage healthy living and make it work for anyone!

Oh, and I am a master empathizer.

Last September, I married my love, Marcus, and with kids in our foresight, I have made it a priority to position myself in a healthy, balanced lifestyle before all the madness begins, or so that’s what my friends are bracing me for!

Although I’m not yet a mother, I can tell you that I have the utmost respect for all mothers out there and am so grateful to have my mother as my best friend, along side my husband.  Having a full time job, cooking, working out, grocery shopping, friend time, date night, bubble baths, doing your hair on a good day, prepping your healthy food, drinking your gallon of water each day;  I mean, how would all this be doable with a little person(s) in your life?

Well, I know that one day I will figure it out and take it from Amy that it can be done.  After all, I believe nothing is impossible and if you want something bad enough, you find a way and make it work!  Because us women do hard things.

Here are my tips on how to incorporate healthy living back in your life!  

Stock your car.

Stock your car with water bottles and bring healthy, kid friendly snacks with you when you are on the go.  My favorite snacks to pack that are fast and easy are nuts, protein bars, Larabars, cheese sticks and my amazingly delicious baked oatmeal.  This way you leave your house prepared and you won’t be inclined to get fast food in a pinch.

Know your fast food alternatives & set a healthy precedent for your children.

It is so easy to be on the road, feel hungry and pull through McDonalds in 2 minutes; boom, the kids are happy.  Don’t fall prey to this behavior because you and your children deserve more.  There are so many healthy fast food alternatives available to you, such as Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal or Greek yogurt, Panera Bread’s Secret Low Calorie Menu, Subway with mostly fresh ingredients and so many more.  Be mindful of where you take yourself and your kids when you’re out by browsing the online food menus available at most restaurants.  You and your family deserve to eat healthfully and it is possible when you set the intention to do so.

Pack your gym bag the night before.

After a long day’s work, it is easy to put off going to the gym, but if you have your gym bag packed and with you in the front seat, coupled with a quick snack from your snack pack, you will be much more likely to hit the gym.  If you have your kids with you, there are plenty of gyms that have child care.  I look forward to my future “me time” at the gym when I have kids.  Use it as your time to decompress, breathe and regroup so that your children get to vibe off of your calm nature as you go on with your day together.

Breathe.

A lot of people underestimate the power of breathing. When you’re going from place to place, dropping one child off at day care and entertaining another child in the car while on your way to get groceries and feeling the stress on your shoulders, take three deep breaths, exhaling slowly to release the stress, anger and frustration you’re feeling in the moment; then smile.  My motto is, ‘Just breathe through it.’

Be kind to you.

This is a hard one for us women!  Put a spot for you on your to-do list or make a date with yourself.  As women, we spend so much time and energy on others, it’s also important to make time for yourself.  Make sure you’re at the top of your to-do list!  Don’t for a second, forget that you are just as important as everyone else that gets your love and energy.  You deserve that love and energy and need it.   Be kind to yourself, allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes, laugh it all off, smile, make time for you and know that whatever you need, you have it now.  You are enough and you are perfect.

Be intentional.

I have heard children are like sponges.  I truly look forward to the time I can be a source of influence and inspiration to my children.  I wholeheartedly believe in the power of intention and that what you think becomes your reality.  By allotting more time to focus on your intentions as a family, you are creating a more solid foundation in which you are grounded in.  When you know where you are going, it is easier to get there.  I created Fierce Forward Intention Bracelets to empower myself and others to live with intention each day.  Having a visual reminder of your Purpose, Commitment, Courage & Strength, you begin to embody these intentions the more you focus on them.  I even make them child sized upon request!

Fierce Forward Bracelet

You are so lucky to have a family, a foundation, to build upon and work towards something bigger, together!  Be intentional as an individual-remember that girl in the picture- and as a whole and you surely will have a healthy family and a healthy you.

My final tip I will leave you with is to find a picture of yourself that radiates who you are.  This can be a picture from childhood, a picture of you caught off guard five years ago or a more recent picture.  Take your time in choosing and make sure this picture speaks to you and truly nails the definition of you.  Put it up on your DIY Chalkboard (that link will take you right to my tutorial!) or your bathroom mirror, look at that picture every day and remember to take care of her.

DIY Chalkboard Project

Thank you so much for reading my words and thank you amy for the opportunity to reach your Community of Fierce Mothers, whom I look up to!

Fierce Forward Bracelet Ashley from Fierce Forward

To Find Out More About Ashley:

Fierce Forward Intention Bracelets
Website:  Fierce Forward
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How do you make healthy living and “me time” a priority for yourself? Feel free to leave your ideas in our comments below!

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