Top 5 Things That The C in All Things E and C Loves

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This week and next C and E will share a little more insight into the simple things in life that bring us joy. There are the staple obvious sources of joy, family, friends….food. In the past 6 months between social media posts, pins and blog posts I may have mentioned mine. These are the fun kind of blog posts where we get to explore a little bit more about ourselves and get to share ourselves with you! Without further adieu here are my top 5 simple little things that bring a smile to my face, and I can never have enough.

Fuzzy Blankets

Never mind that I live in the desert, and it’s typically over 100 degrees from May to October. My house, RV and even RZR have blankets floating around. I love the soft simple comfort that a silky Velvet or shaggy Sherpa can provide. Anytime I’m sitting blogging or watching a movie I will get a little chill and this little fluff of heaven brings me warmth. I love that there are so many types of materials to choose from. This is one of my favorites from Amazon. For an even more decadent blanket, I love a good fuzzy heated throw like this one.

Tea

A nice warm mug of fragrant tea is always good to have with a fuzzy blanket! I am a sucker for tea shops like Teavana. It’s always a fun adventure to smell and taste flavors from around the world. If time allows, a lose leaf is a great way to experience a great variety of tea types. Red, Herbal, Green, Black, Oolong even Flowering tea can be fun. When in a rush, the Keurig is a great time saver. Many of the traditional bag companies also offer K-Cup flavors. My favorite K-Cup flavor is this Chai Latte from Amazon. I didn’t forget about the traditional bag tea. This is a great all around option from lounging, to rushing, to having a sip of something at the office. There are a ton of health benefits from the various styles of tea, and blended teas that promote better digestion and even better skin.

Starbucks Cups

Next to all the fun flavors of tea in my pantry, are the even more fun and cute cups to enjoy them. I am addicted to Starbucks cups, everything from travel tumblers, to mugs, to cold cups. This is a little guilty pleasure I like to splurge on and are always on my Christmas list from Santa. You may have noticed my slight obsession with the cups and teas from our social media posts and even the pins I upload to Pinterst. The best part, if you are on the Starbucks rewards program, you earn stars on cup purchases online and in store.

Manicures and Pedicures

Earlier this month I shared thoughts on the different types of manicures. These same techniques can equally be applied to a pedicure. If you want to check it out, here is the post. Mani/pedis are my vice. This is time I can take for myself to relax and enjoy a fun way to express my style or celebrate a holiday. The best part of this guilty pleasure, you can go to a swanky salon or spa, or set up that same fun vibe at home!

Harry Potter
Ok, I’m sure you are all suuuuuuper excited to see me posting even more pictures and blog posts about Harry Potter!!! I love all things from this fandom and pop culture. The books, plays, merchandise, movies, tattoo inspiration and theories about the characters. I love all of it. As a dedicated fan, it is so awesome to know the wizarding world will be kept alive with continuing stories such as Fantastic beasts and where to find them, and one off collections such as the Tales of Beedle the Bard. The ability to be totally immersed in the living world is just icing on the cake. I was fortunate to visit one of the many parks around the world. It is my goal in life to visit as many as possible, maybe even catch the play… maybe.

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When You Need to Label All Things…Everything!

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When we have kids, we try multiple products throughout the different stages they go through. One of the best products I bought during the bottle and sippy cup stage were these Avery Self-Laminating Labels for Kids’ Gear. 

When my son was diagnosed with Dysphagia, I had to send bottles of formula and cereal premeasured to add into his bottles and sippy cups.  I used the labels throughout his one-and-a-half-year treatment cycle.  They worked beyond my expectations.  I was expecting to have to buy a new set of labels every couple of months.  Almost 2 years later the labels are still on most of his cups.  The labels that didn’t make it are because my son took them off. 

I simply wrote his name on the long labels and wrote milk or water on the round labels.  I was a skeptic about these labels because I knew I would be putting them through the dishwasher multiple times a week.  I used a ballpoint pen to ensure there wouldn’t be any bleeding of the ink if any liquid got into the label. 

The best thing about these labels is they have unlimited uses.  You can use them on lunch kits for yourself or your kids, bins for toys, travel bottles, thermos or travel cup, and sports bottles. Really the options are limitless as long as you have a surface the labels can adhere to.

I know when my son is old enough to start playing sports I will be buying these labels again.  They are well worth the money spent.  And for about $7 for 48 labels I definitely got my money’s worth out of them.  I would only recommend products that I use and will only recommend products I believe in.  These are the best labels I have tried, and I had to try a few different types before I finally found these.

I hope you are as happy with these as I have been.  Happy labeling…All Things…Everything!

 

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What Manicure Type is Right for You?

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This month Erika and I will be blogging about the little things that make us happy. What better month than February to chat about the silly little things that we love. This week I’m sharing my love of nails! This is small simple pampering that brings me joy and a fun way to express myself. These days there are so many styles, types and materials to choose from. Here are a few styles that I have tried and my personal thoughts on the process and results.

UV Cured Gel

The colors are as endless as traditional polish. Many salons have the traditional polish in the same color as the gel, if like me, you prefer the gel on the manicure and the traditional on the pedicure. The gel manicure it a bonding prep solutions, base coat two coats of color and a top coat. Between each application, you place your nails under a UV lamp to cure the gel polish. Typically, the gel is a high shine that lasts two weeks. There are solutions that can mattify the polish for another set of color and style options. The gel can be applied directly to the natural nail or on a set of acrylic nails. This is my go to style. I love the variety and the longevity this option provides.

Dip Gel

Similar to the UV Cured gel, the dip gel can stand up to about two weeks of use. Usually the nail growth is what prompts a return visit. I have not personally seen a wide range of colors and styles with the dip option, but the classics in a solid color are easy enough to come by. The process sounds just like the style. After the bonding solution and base coat are applied, the nail is dipped into a pot of color. After two dips, the powder is buffed and a top coat is applied. The polish has a nice sheen and dries after 3-4 minutes.

Acrylic

This is a standard option when looking to add length to the natural nail. Tips are traditionally glued to the end of the natural nail. A combination of a powder and solution make a putty that is molded to the nail and shaped with a dermal. Gel or traditional polish is usually applied to add style. Every two to three weeks a backfill is required to keep the length.

Silk

Similar to the acrylic this can be coupled with a plastic tip to add length. Where the acrylic is a powder, the silk is fibers and resin to build the shape and length. Along the same lines, gel or traditional polish can be applied for added style. I personally have not tried this option, but I do see friends who do. It’s simply a personal preference.

At Home Gel Kits

There are kits that make having salon quality an at home option. There are tons of options from several companies including salon brands such a OPI that will work with the at home UV lamps. Expect to need the same amount of time to fuss with removing any existing gel and will be required to complete the salon steps as well. There are some products that make life a little easier such as clamps that clip onto each finger to hold cotton and polish remover in place.

These are only a few suggestions and types available to you. Each of these options can range in price based on the location and the policies of the salon. It’s standard that a salon will tack on a charge for a French Manicure or some extra sparkle or design. If you have the talent and patience to apply polish or have folks in the house who can apply polish for you the at home kit may prove to be worth the investment. If you prefer having time outside of the house to relax and get away a salon experience might just be the ticket. Either direction you go, this is a fun way to celebrate events and holidays with all kinds of designs and styles. Social media makes it easy to find inspiration for any event or day to day occasion you need ideas for. Be sure to visit our Pinterst and Facebook pages to see some ideas Erika and I have uploaded from at home applications and salon application.

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Eating Healthy with My 5 Favorite Whole 30 Recipes

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A few years ago when my company started requiring all employees to get their cholesterol checked as part of our annual wellness activities I was surprised that I had high cholesterol. I did not want to go on medications for high cholesterol because everything I have heard about statins is negative.  I wanted to find a solution with a healthier lifestyle and through my diet.

As I mentioned in a previous post I completed a couple Whole30 rounds last year. My mom and I have our go to favorite recipes when we are doing the Whole30 program, and I wanted to share these with you in this week’s post.  Check out our previous post for more information on the Whole30 program.

The following recipes are our favorites and go to foods/meals while eating compliant on the program.

Go to Breakfast meals

Eggs and Sweet Potatoes

2-3 eggs scrambled, fried, poached

1 sweet potato chopped

½ white onion

Combine sweet potatoes and onion in medium pan and cook until desired softness. Cook eggs to your liking.  Serve eggs and potatoes with a side of guacamole and hot sauce.  My favorite hot sauce is Cholula.

Breakfast Casserole

To make a 9×12 pan sized casserole I use the following recipe:

9 whole eggs

1 can Whole Fat Coconut Milk

1 package of shredded potatoes

3-4 hot Italian sausages sliced and cut in 1/2 or 1/4

1 Roma tomato diced

Garlic powder to taste

Pepper to taste

Onion powder to taste

½ – 1 Bell Pepper (color of choice)

Button Mushrooms

½ white onion

Combine eggs, a dash of pepper to taste, and the coconut milk in a medium bowl. Put shredded potatoes in large bowl and season with Garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper to taste. Add chopped veggies and sausage, and mix well.  Pour potato mixture into 9×12 pan, and pour egg mixture. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

TIP:  Use a silicone baking mat to line the pan before adding your ingredients to make cleanup a cinch!

Go to Lunch/Dinner Meals

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 Chicken breasts – boiled, baked, or crock pot

4 Bell peppers – color of choice

Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce

1 onion – white or yellow

Ghee, Coconut oil, or Avocado oil

Pour oil or ghee into medium pan and add onion. Cook until translucent.  After chicken is cooked let cool enough to shred.  Add onion, chicken, and wing sauce to medium bowl.  Cut tops off bell peppers and clean out seeds.  Fill with chicken mixture and place in pan to bake.  Bake for 40-45 minutes until bell pepper is soft enough to your liking.

 

Taco Salad

1 pound ground beef

1 head of lettuce Chopped

½ onion chopped

½ bell pepper chopped

Cilantro chopped

Salsa

Taco Seasoning

Cook ground beef and add taco seasoning according to directions. Create your taco salad and enjoy.

 

Go to Condiment

Mayo

1 egg

½ tsp mustard powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ lemon juice

1 ¼ cup avocado oil or light olive oil

Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature. Put egg, mustard powder, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of oil in food processor.  Blend for 30 seconds then slowly add the remaining oil.  The slower you add the oil the creamier the mayo will be.  The expiration on this mayo will be 10 days past the sell by/use by date on your egg carton.

These are our top recipes for easy meals and snacks. You can use the mayo to add to canned chicken or tuna for an easy protein meal or snack.  Use the chicken or tuna to create a protein salad for a filling meal.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post and try some of the recipes. Leave your feedback and comments below.

 

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Side Hustle Via Rewards

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‘Tis the season to get your credit card statement with all your holiday shopping, dining, entertaining and travel on it! Are you getting cash or rewards back along with your statement? Credit cards are not the only way to cash in rewards, even if it is one of the most popular. Here are just five simple ways I am cashing in while not changing my spending habits. Except for getting stuff for free, that always helps. Maybe few of these work for you, or try something similar. I am not a financial adviser, just someone trying to get the most out of every dollar to make it go further.

Cash Back on Credit

There is an endless list of companies that offer points or cash back if you make a purchase with their card. Take a look at what you buy the most, or where you shop the most and find a way to get rewarded for shopping there. Everything from 5% back from big box stores like Target and Amazon, to dynamic variables of cash back on a single card based on purchase types, even gas stations offer cards that can save you at the pump. It might make sense to have a fuel card if you drive a lot and cash up while you gas up. Also, have a card from a company like Discover or Bank of America that offers diversity and also up to 5% on anything from groceries to online shopping stores. You don’t need to risk racking up debt trying to get something for free. Treat this like a debit card, or even opt for a debit card is that company (like Target) offers that option.

Sip for Sip

I have said it before, but I don’t like coffee, and somehow I visit a Starbucks almost daily! They offer a fantastic rewards program, and a variety of ways to earn points. Not only on beverage purchases, but on every dollar you spend, be it on food, gifts, online orders and even surveys. They are always sending me fun ways to earn a few more points or stars to try a new food, and often send me coupon codes for a few bucks off an item too. Getting free food is one of my favorite ways I like to get rewarded. Ask even mom and pop locations if they offer punch cards or rewards programs. Franchise locations of companies like Dutch Brothers do the old-school punch cards. One time the guy just kept adding stamps and said next time it’s on us, just because they can! Chipotle, Fired Pie and like companies offer rewards programs too!

Nailed It

I get maybe a little too excited when I can double dip on my rewards. Similar to good eats, I found a nail salon that offers a punch card. While they are adding the punches, they offer a $5 gift card her and there. While I’m working my way to a free visit, I’m earning cash back on my entire purchase including gratuity! Makes the glitter on my mani shine that much more!

Gifts Cards can reduce Fuel Cost?

Yup… purchases of gift cards can get you money off at the pump. Many large chain grocers such a Fry’s/Kroger and Safeway/Vons will do up to 4xs points on the purchase of gift cards. On your way out to dinner and a movie, or before you hit up Starbucks, purchase a gift card to the location you plan to visit and earn points. When doing normal shopping, you are earning a minimum of 1x points. These all add up quickly. Keep an eye out for the weekly add to see what weeks to maximize your gift card purchases.

There is an App For That

Find ways to double or triple dip on your points. I might need to make an infographic but I found one flow that works for me with the help of the Ibotta app. Here is one way I leverage phone apps to my advantage. On the Ibotta app, select items at Walmart where I do my primary grocery shopping. Use the Walmart Saving Cather app to catch and items I missed with add match. Earn 2% back on my groceries by using a cash back credit card. Use the Ibotta earnings and cash them in on Amazon gift cards to buy items from fun websites like Snag Shout or Vipon!

These are just a few fun ways I like to keep my finances working for me in real time. These are the phone apps and rewards programs that work for me. I’m all for trying new ways to save! I would love to know what works for you. Please share how you reward yourself in the comments.

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5 Tips for Motivating Your Toddler

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Have you ever struggled with getting your toddler to do something, accomplish a new task, or tried everything you can to avoid a meltdown? I definitely have, and these are some of the things I have tried and succeeded at with my toddler

1. Potty Training Motivators

I tried using a Potty Chart rather than a typical behavior chart when I was potty training my son. He is in love with Lightening McQueen and Mater from the Cars movie so I created my own little chart. I cut out some of the characters to place on the chart as he peed, pooped, washed his hands, sat on the potty, and told me he had to go potty.  My son is pretty stubborn, and wasn’t quite ready for the whole potty training experience when I used this chart so I was not able to fully execute on the chart, but in the beginning he was really excited to earn his treats, then he decided he just wasn’t ready to continue the potty training process and regressed so we stopped for a few months.  While we didn’t continue to use this method, it was working while we were using it.  I feel like it was a great motivational tool for my son while he was interested in potty training.

Fast forward about 4 months (2 weeks before his 3rd birthday) he decided he was ready, but I took a different approach as daycare was a big help.  Not necessarily the teachers themselves, but he had a friend who was also potty training and was doing really well with it.  The teachers would send the two boys to the bathroom together so my son could learn from his friend.  After a few days, my son decided he wanted to be just like his friend.  I only wish I could have taken his friend home with me as he would not go potty without his friend.  He held it all evening, night, and morning until his friend got to daycare.  This happened for about 7 days, and then it started to click and within 3 weeks of going potty with his friend at school he was fully potty trained.  He had been staying dry at night since he was about a year and a half so the hard part was already done naturally.  Who would have thought daytime training would be the tough part, but it was?

The best motivators for him were:

  1. Being really ready
  2. Having a friend to learn from even though he is in the bathroom EVERY time I go and learns from me too. Sometimes they just need that peer level connection to make things happen.

Sometimes motivators come in all forms and are not the expected concept we would think of so think outside the box to help your toddlers learn a new task or developmental milestone.

 

2. Special Food Treats

Above I talked about my son earning special treats when he was potty training. I don’t typically give him candy and if I do it is for a birthday party or a special occasion.  He was so excited to earn 1 piece of Reese’s Pieces for going pee, 2 for going poop, and 3 if he went both pee and poop.  He was so excited and would jump up and down when he earned one.  When the potty chart stopped working for me we went the food rout straight away rather than earning 5 cars on the chart to get the candy.  This helped, but as I said above he regressed and we stopped.  The best motivator for him was

 

3. Give Transitional Warnings

I have found that giving my son a warning on when we will be going somewhere, cleaning up, getting into the bath, or going to bed sets a level of expectation that motivates him to complete what he is working on. If he is playing and I tell him “Okay 5 more minutes until we have to get in the bath.”  He is a lot more receptive to changing activities when he is given a warning.  Sometimes he will ask me to set the timer so he knows when time is up.  Setting the timer and giving transitional warnings has helped with meltdowns and tantrums a lot.  He knows what is going to happen and when.  I usually will set the timer for 5 mins.  When it goes off he asks for 2 more minutes so we set it for another 2 minutes, and then another minute.  I can hear some people saying, “Oh My Gosh! You are totally letting him run the show.” Not at all.  I know he likes to do this as it makes him feel empowered and important and grown up.  I deliberately set the 5 minute timer 10 minutes before we need to move on to the next task/ or activity.  This gives us that extra time to set the timer for the additional minutes.

 

4. Change location to get a task completed

So one of my biggest struggles with this strong willed child is teeth brushing. You would think I was causing real harm to him while attempting to brush his teeth the way he would cry or scream or try to get away from me. Every time we would brush his teeth he would have the biggest fit.  I would have him stand on his step stool and almost every night he would fall off while fighting me.  I didn’t feel safe having him stand on the step stool any more so I had to find another location to safely brush his teeth.  It finally dawned on me the alternate location was in our bed.  I always brush my teeth, get my hair dried, etc. while he plays with his cars in our bed so he is already laying there.  I thought one night why don’t I just have him lay back on the pillows while I brush his teeth.  This was a magical moment!  He was watching the tablet on this particular night, and I was able to brush his teeth 3 or 4 times without a fight, a tear shed, or him falling off the step stool.  We had a break through!  I now brush his teeth in the bed every night without much argument.  Don’t get me wrong he still pushes my hand away, but this is a big improvement from doing it on the step stool in the bathroom.

 

5. Lead by Example

If you want your child to be motivated to do something, then by all means lead by example. If you mention you need to get something completed then do not procrastinate, do not complain about getting it done, just do it and do it with a smile.  Do it with enjoyment so that they can see house cleaning is not “all that bad” even though we as adults dread it every time we have to do it…or maybe that is just me. If you are doing dishes ask them if they want to help, or outside sweeping off the patio ask them to help.  Toddlers can do “chores” too.  We can encourage them by letting the help.  This gives them a feeling of being a big kid and that they are helping mommy or daddy.

 

What toddler motivators do you use? Let us know your tips and tricks for motivating you toddlers, tweens, or teens in the comments. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest too for more tips.

 

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Why I Do Yoga

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This post contains Affiliate Marketing Links – YAY Amazon!

 

It’s January (whhhaaat already?!) that means a refocus on my physical and mental health and overall wellbeing. Every person has what works well for them be it running, dance party in the living room with their kids, going to a gym or a home gym. For me it’s the dynamic and widely available practice of yoga. There are so many types of yoga and it’s no surprise since this is a practice that is over 5000 years old.

 

My Fav Practices

Here are a few high level details on some of the more common practices to help understand what kind of vibe to expect. I have personally tried each of these and hope my impressions aid in finding the right style for you to try. Not all practices are listed in this post, there are easily an additional ten styles. There is sure to be a right one for you!

Bikram famous for sweating it out in a room set to 105 degrees with extreme (well extreme to me) humidity of around 40%. The use of the heat helps to limber up and sweat – whoops I mean shimmer! Expect the same sequence of poses in each class, as this practice is based on the same set of movements for about an hour. This type is typically in a standalone studio due to the temperature needs.

Hatha is the type of poses and movements you can expect at a standard gym class and includes most of the common (warrior, tree, crow, dancer…) asanas (or yoga poses). This can include the practices associated Ashtanga, that has a more specific focus, versus just movements. It is not uncommon to see a yoga studio specializing in Ashtanga practice.

Iyengar focuses on the use of props, to help with ensuring perfect alignment. This practice could be a great option for someone with physical constrictions or a brand new yogi.

Kundalini is a great way to start a day, with its energy boosting effects from continuous movement and fun poses.

Restorative or as I refer to it as literally a legitimate way to nap in a room with other people. In one hour you can move into as many as 4 poses. This is not to be confused with Sivananda that has a few more poses, at a faster pace than Restorative, but still relaxing while focusing on breathing and positivity none the less.

 

My Fav Threads

Now that you know what kind to do, what do you need to do it? Basically, all you need is a spot on the floor and comfortable clothing. The clothing can be anything that you are comfortable in and allows for a full range of motion with modesty. I have to make a caveat to the modesty especially with Bikram. Think European beach vacation…I personally wore a thin sweat wicking tank and 70s style running shorts such as these. T-shirts and pants heavy with cotton might feel suffocating in 105 degrees. When at a gym class setting, think about this, you are putting your head by your feet and your elbows by your knees with a wall of glass behind you. I tend to wear layers, this way if my baggy shirt flips over, I’m covered and not fighting with my shirt while standing on one foot. The other thing, is the thickness of your pants. You may be squatting in front of a bunch of people, make sure your pants stay up, and don’t get thread bare when stretched to the max. Do a few test squats and folds forward and backward when trying on clothing in the store. If you are practicing at home, with a cat or dog and a video as your only audience you can wear whatever you want!

 

My Fav Gear

If you are going to a class, most places supply mats, blankets, straps, blocks and Clorox wipes. If you are in the mood to express your personal style with a mat check this fun mat  from Amazon. Otherwise they are sold pretty much at all the big box stores especially this time of year and range in price from $10 to $50. If you want to maximize on your purchase, snag a mat that also includes a strap. This works in two ways, making toting your mat around easy, plus you can use the strap as part of our practice. Here is a nice option, also from Amazon. Yoga Blocks are a great way to ensure you are holding a pose with more accuracy as you build on your flexibility. There are all kinds of items to get to keep you motivated and healthy. Bags to store you mat and strap with a water bottle holder. Even  No Slip Yoga Socks might be a great option is you sweat a lot to reduce the risk of slipping.

 

I don’t do yoga daily, though I know I would benefit immensely if I did. I do this, when I can and when I’m able. I do this to be the best possible version me. What do you do to be the best possible you?

 

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Time Management for the New Year

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With the New Year upon us there is no better time than now to start a new routine to try out some time management techniques to be more organized. The key to figuring this out is with some time management techniques that work best for you and your family.  In this post I will share what works best for me and my family, and hopefully you can use some of the same techniques.

Plan Your Week

The most important thing I do is prepare for the week on Sundays. One thing I like to do is get my sons clothes all together and bring them into my room since he sleeps with me and his clothes are nearby in morning. I hang them next to my bed. Each night when I change his clothes, I let him choose from the shirts I have picked for the week so I can avoid any meltdowns and he feels like he has a decision in what he is wearing and gets to show his independence.  (Yes he sleeps in his shirt he will wear the next day ha ha.)  I have recently had to bring in a few extra shirts to choose from because he would get to the last shirt for the week and if he isn’t happy with that choice all heck breaks loose.  So I have learned to bring in some extras.  I really need to be better at picking out my clothes for the week ahead of time because all heck breaks out in the morning if I don’t like any of my choices either, but this is something I plan to work on in the New Year.

I also plan out the week as far as what we will be eating for lunch and dinner each day (Monday – Sunday) and do my meal planning and meal prep. This is probably the biggest help to keep the week running smoothly. When I am doing a Whole30 this is the key to my success.  I also feel more organized and a sense of relief, because I don’t have to think about what we will eat once I have it written down and prepped.  If you want to learn more about The Whole30 program and my experience please check out my previous post HERE.

Do you plan out your week, or do you work it out each and every day as life brings it?

Schedule Your Priorities

I recently came across a saying that I completely agree with and try to follow in my daily adventures.

The key is not to prioritize your schedule,

But to schedule your priorities.

By writing down your To Do List and prioritizing the tasks, you can then put them on your calendar and schedule them so you can be sure to complete the most important tasks first. If I didn’t do this I would be a wreck and life would be very messy. (I am a list maker and a big planner.) I have 3 calendars right now that I use daily. I use the calendar in my cell phone for personal tasks and priorities, my electronic calendar for work with all of my meetings and things I need to get done for projects I am working on, and then I have a paper calendar on my cubicle wall where I write down really important reminders (like my vacation days LOL) so I can see them at a quick glance while I am on a call or just need to glance super-fast and see what I am looking for. You may be saying “WOW! 3 calendars! How do you keep up with them?” This is a system that works best for me.  You will want to find a system that works best for you.

Do you schedule priorities, or do you prioritize your schedule?

Cleaning Schedule and De-Cluttering

In a previous post I discussed how I created a cleaning schedule for myself so I could spend more time with my son and family on the weekends. This helps to knock out those mundane chores we all need to complete throughout the week, yet I don’t feel like a slave to my house by spending a chunk of time doing it all at one time.  If you want to take a peek at my Free Printable check out the post HERE.

We have also talked about how we de-clutter our spaces. This is a huge help with time management. Once you have de-cluttered your entire home you will feel such a sense of accomplishment and calm.  I know I always feel so much better after I de-clutter a room and especially the entire house (which typically I don’t ever get to do these days with a three-year old running around and wanting my full attention).  If you want to check out Christine’s previous post on De-Cluttering Your Home click HERE.

Do you have any tips or techniques to help with cleaning and de-cluttering your space?

Batching

I just found out about batching a couple weeks ago, and I have already been doing it but I never knew there was an actual term for what I was doing. When you create your To Do List and start to prioritize your tasks, batch similar tasks together so you can do these tasks at the same time.  One thing I know I can work on in this category is when I am working on pictures for my blog posts.  I should schedule time to work on pictures for my next 2-4 blog posts.  This will allow me to do all of my picture taking and editing all at one time.  I am also going to do the same thing when it comes to writing my blog posts.  If I write 2-3 at one time I feel like I will be able to produce a better product, for you our readers, since I will be in the mind frame of writing and won’t have to get started 2-4 times and get into that writing groove each time.  I know for me once I get started on something it is much easier to just keep going.  So I will be following this practice in 2017.

What some things you do often that can be batched into one task or timeframe?

Morning and Evening Routines

As I said above I am a planner. Each evening, I try to get as prepared for the next day as possible.  The most important thing for me is preparing and packing up my lunch the night before.  I work in a downtown area, and places to eat out at are pretty pricey if you need to eat out every day or most days.  I try to bring my lunch every day and then I have the occasional day where I want…ummm I mean…NEEEEED Chipotle for lunch. I try to limit my eating out for lunch to 3 times or less per month.  By getting my lunch together the night before I probably save myself 10-15 minutes (and a lot of money) in the morning.  I already have everything out while picking up my dinner so I pack some up for lunch as I get my dinner plated.

In the morning, I typically get up and get myself ready and get my water and coffee made and all my bags gathered into one place, or put them into the car before I wake up my son. I usually already have him in his shirt that he will wear for the day so I finish getting him dressed while he is asleep (so much easier this way LOL).  Then I get him on the potty and make him a quick snack (a frozen waffle or a pancake I made ahead of time and freeze. I make batches of each and freeze them so I always have them on hand.)  I pop them into the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm up, butter them, and cut with a pizza cutter and wa-la he has a breakfast snack.  They don’t eat breakfast at daycare until about 7:30am and he wakes up at 5:45 am so I like to give him something on the way to school.  I do all of this in a matter of 30-40 minutes.  I very rarely feel rushed unless the threenager feel like he needs to derail our routine.

Everyone’s evening and morning routines will be different so I am not going to go into great detail about everything I do. I wanted to hit on the key things that help me and work best for us.

What are you Evening and Morning routines?

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please leave your comments with your time management techniques, tips, and tricks.

 

Everyone have a great New Year! Let’s make it a great one!

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Happy Holidays from E and C

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Thank you for all the support and blessing you have bestowed upon us in 2016. We look forward to bringing you all new content and sharing in this fun journey as we head into 2017.

Take this time to be with loved ones and cherish the moment.

Wishing you and yours a safe and bright holiday.

Cheers –

Erika and Christine

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5 Fun Winter Holiday Traditions

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This post contains Affiliate Marketing Links – YAY Amazon!

Each family has a special way of celebrating December and all the joys that come with this festive month, and each family is set up completely differently. Things change from year to year with an addition of a little one, or even a furry little one. Or a not so little one goes off to college. A family might up and move from a climate of feet of snow to triple digit summers. Here are 5 fun options to check out if you are looking for a new tradition. These 5 could possibly be ways to modify a tradition based on changes in your family or location. Hopefully these fun and simple ways work for you to bring your group of loved ones together and make memories.

Season of Giving

There are a ton of options to do a bit of good in your area. Some of them cost money while some of them only cost time, some options might even cost a little bit of both. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, traveling and working extra hours to afford everything for everyone on your gift list. Giving is a great opportunity to teach lessons to little ones and bond as a family or group. While you are at the mall, visit the Angel Tree and pick out a little something for someone who has little to nothing. Adopt a family, and share in this season of joy and love by helping provide basic essentials to those who need it. Food banks are often in need of supplies and volunteer hours. Everything from organizing incoming donations, assembling and distributing food for groups or individuals. These are just a few ideas in a world of many.

All the Pretty Lights

Speaking of options – The list of types of lights to see is endless. Do you live by the water? Maybe you catch a boat parade. Do you live in a large city where they decorate electric cars and do an electric light parade? Check out the local zoo or botanical garden. They may get involved to do walkways of luminaries or make shapes of animals out of strings of lights. As mentioned in the past E and I live in a warm climate, but our city embraces the fun activities this time of year celebrates. A few shopping centers offer a pop up ice skating rink, and decorate the area with all kinds of lights. This makes for a romantic date night, hilarious girls night out (after a few drinks) or a fun family activity. A good ‘ol classic is making thermos of hot cocoa, piling everyone in a car and driving around to see the neighborhood lights. Many communities participate in decorating contests. See if those nearby neighborhoods offer a Facebook page and plan a route to visit some incredible houses.

Matching Pajamas

This is such a fun trend, to the point they even make a matching outfit for the fur baby too. They are available at most large box retailers such as Target and even Amazon. Click here to see my favorite set from Amazon. These footy pajamas are just darling, and of course had the matching outfit for the pup. You could even ship a matching item to a family member that might be away at school, and Skype or Face Time when opening presents. I started wearing mine when I made my first batch of cookies. Want to get all the use out of it that I can Ha.

Binge Watch the Classics

As a group in your (above matching) pajamas watch some holiday movies. As soon as Friday after Thanksgiving starts, channels and streaming programs are bubbling with holiday specials. This is a fun way to relax and enjoy time together, or play movies in the background while baking cookies (or wrapping presents… after everyone goes to bed). It’s fun to see all the new movies and shows they come up with. Sometimes they turn into a new favorite. There is something for everyone when even Grumpy Cat has her own holiday movie.

Fun Eats

Count your Blessings not your Calories is a motto to live by this month. Eating is another awesome motivator to get the bunch together and encourage a tradition of cooking and passing down recipes from one generation to the next. Try hosting a cookie baking party or a cookie exchange. In the southwest tamales are always a hit, and take a long time to make even with the group helping. Look to Pinterest and cook up some homemade gifts. Or just have a potluck of everyone’s favorite dishes and share those recipes with family, neighbors or friends. If the party is at your house no one can judge you for wearing those footy pajamas.

 

Thank you for reading! What fun traditions do you and the family do now, or have done in the past to celebrate this time of year? What is your all-time favorite tradition, please share in the comments.

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