I am excited to be participating with Money Saving Mom’s challenge, 4 Weeks to A More Organized Home Challenge. Money Saving Mom is offering up a free ebook for this series to help in getting your home more organized. So far, I am really enjoying this challenge and it was certainly something I was in need of. I hope you will participate as well. The challenge started yesterday, so I wanted to give an update on how I did yesterday with the Day 1 Challenge. I’ll do my best to update each day. If you decide to participate, please comment below with your progress as well.

Here lately, my home just seems to be getting out from under me. I feel like I’m working all day long to see my home look exactly the same at the end of the day. This challenge came at just the right time for me. I love the way it breaks down the steps in getting more organized by listing specific challenges each day.

 

Day 1:

Sit down and make a list of 5-10 goals for the week: I really thought hard on this and came up with things (whether big or small) that I am constantly avoiding. On the first day, I accomplished 2 of my 5 goals.

 

Clean out my purse: Honestly, I didn’t get to it, but I made sure to get it done first thing this morning. Better late than never. I have to say that I think my purse just stays disorganized. It is amazing the amount of literal trash that I found in my purse.  I think it’s the place where everyone in the family places stuff while we are out and about and then it just stays there.

Complete Your Morning Routine: I sat down and made a written list of my morning routine. I am a very scheduled person, so I already had a routine. However, I had never really written it down. Something about writing it down seems to be making me more accountable (at least so far)

Set your time for 15 minutes and clean up the main living area of your home: This is already part of my morning routine just to pick up the house, but I like that it focuses on one area each day. It has helped me to take care of the finer details in each room.

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So I was having a discussion the other day with another Stay at Home Mom who was talking about her need for adult interaction and conversation throughout the day. I was totally in agreement with her and felt relieved to know that I wasn’t alone.

While I wouldn’t trade my job for anything in the world, there are times where I long for other adult conversation.

So I got to thinking about all the little things that I do throughout the day that have almost warped my mind back to childlike behavior, thinking, and communication. So for a little comical relief this Friday morning I thought I would share them with you. I hope there are other mothers out there who can relate to me and that I’m not the only one who has these somewhat embarrassing moments.

  1. My new favorite television shows are on Disney channel. While they may not truly be my favorite, I do find myself still watching them when my son has left the room. Awkward moment!
  2. I find myself singing songs from his toddler learning toys. Definitely guilty!
  3. While out with other adults, I found myself saying my son’s toddle phrases. For example, “Was dat” instead of “What’s that.” I very quickly realized what I had done and had to laugh it off.
  4. Instead of my son imitating me, I sometimes find myself imitating him. He does a cute little dance when songs come on. I’ll find myself in there imitating him with the same dance. For some reason, I’m thinking it’s not as cute when I do it.
  5. I go into hiding when I’m eating a snack in order to avoid the temper tantrum that is sure to follow otherwise.

While there are many others, I’ll save myself the embarrassment and keep some of them to myself. I hope this helps other moms realize you’re not alone in the need for some adult interaction and communication.

I would love to hear some of your embarrassing moments where your mind has been warped back to toddler years in the comments below.

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It never fails, when the holidays come…so does stress. While I have picked up a few tips, learning to avoid this stress is a continuing issue. Therefore, this article is just as much a reminder for myself as it is for anyone else.

 

1. Avoiding the Financial Stress: I have found some ways to avoid the financial stress by budgeting, finding great deals, and buying throughout the year. I start shopping mid year to be sure I’m done in time and to find the best deals throughout the year. Not to mention, we make our Christmas budget early and stick to it. I’ve also found creative ways of saving up Christmas money by using sites like Ebates, ExpoTv, SavingStar, and more. Remember, you don’t have to go into debt to have an awesome Christmas.

 

2. Learning to Say “No”: While the holidays can be a blast with family activities, holiday parties, and so much more, these same “fun” activities can also lead to stress. Here is where my biggest struggle comes in, learning to say “NO”. I mean the holidays are supposed to be about getting together with others, right? To some degree, yes, but when you have so many activities that you have no time to enjoy being at home and making family memories, then I think over-planning has taken place. This is definitely a work in progress for me.

 

3. Take time to enjoy the season. Be sure to plan out fun activities to do with your family and kids. For example, we made a gingerbread house and had more fun during that 2 hours than we did at all the other holiday “events” combined. Family time is so important especially during this busy season.

 

Have a great, stress-free Christmas everyone!

 

What are some tips you have for avoiding the holiday chaos?

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This recipe was submitted by a Thriving on Thrifty reader for an Easy Ice Cream Cake:

 

Ingredients:

Favorite box of cake mix (Dark Chocolate Fudge used in photo above)

1 box of Ice Cream Sandwiches (Cookies N’ Cream variety used in photo above)

Large container of Cool Whip

Chocolate chips (if desired)

 

Instructions:

1. Make your favorite box of cake mix in a 9×13 pan per the instructions on the cake box. (Two handfuls of chocolate chips were added in above photo.)

2. Allow the cake to cool completely

3. Spread a thin layer of cool whip over cake mix

4. Next, Place a layer of Ice cream sandwiches (back to back to make a complete layer)

5. Spread a final layer of cool whip on top and garnish with chocolate shavings if desired.

6. Store in freezer. 

 

Thanks, Annette!

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A special thanks to Laura from The Beautiful Unknown for this great guest post on managing motherhood, home, and life in general. Check out her blog, The Beautiful Unknown, for more inspiring posts on motherhood and everything that goes with it.

 

“Mommy, you’re my hero,” my oldest son says when he is running around playing superhero and saving the world from imaginary bad guys because thank God he does not see the real ones at his age.

The first thing that comes to mind when he speaks this affectionate phrase is not a picture of me in a cape blowing in the wind, a mask hiding my identity, and me standing on top of a tall building with my chest puffed out. Instead I think about the term “Super mom” and if I was really super this house would have been cleaned two hours ago, a five course meal on the menu for dinner and me still working my full time job and going to school. We all know that term, “Super mom.” And we have all most likely cowered under the qualifications, thinking there is no way we could do it. And yet we try and we keep adding things to our list until we feel less like “Super mom” and more like “Super failure.”

But that is not the point of motherhood. It is not to deter us, to tear us down, or for us to compare. It is for us to love our children, raise them the best way we know how to make the best people they can be. We are always looking, comparing, thinking, I wish I was that mom, she has it all together.

The truth is, we don’t know what other people are going through. Most likely behind closed doors those mothers are just as exhausted and feeling just as inferior.

One of the beautiful things about motherhood is that instead of comparing and doing it alone there are so many women working together, sharing their stories and giving tips (whether solicited or not!) and just being supportive.
So I look at myself, a young mother at the age of 26 with 3 kids aged 4 and under and I think, What do I have to give to other mothers?

The beauty of motherhood is that age makes no difference, how far down the path you are doesn’t matter either, but what you can share that may help another mother out matters. My dear friend, that is my goal for this post, to share a bit of my life on this path of motherhood- what I call the beautiful unknown- and hopefully it will help someone else make a little sense of their own path and have a smoother morning or two.

Structure. I cannot say this enough. There are many people that are easy-going and laid back and that may work for them. For me, when something goes off-schedule I get stressed. I know you have heard that children need structure and that they like it too; I have found this to be incredibly true. I do not schedule every minute of every day-kids need room to be creative- but certain things are scheduled, such as nap time, snack times, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime. My children also know what to expect as far as what is and is not acceptable behavior/response.

Consistency. It takes 21 days to form a habit. Be consistent. Do not give up on yourselves or your children and how you want the house to run. Just like a child that is potty training needs to be reminded to go to the bathroom so does a child require reminders of other rules, such as bedtime, cleaning their room, etc.

Read more »

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itworkssaleHaving you tried that Crazy Wrap thing yet? It is almost school time, to ease the blow I am having a Back to School sale until August 31.  Are you ready to tighten, tone, and firm? I’m having a hard time keeping skinny wraps in stock so order quickly! Now is the time! Contact me if you have any questions!

 

Esther Horner,  It Works Independent Distributor

Cell : 804-539-6165

Email : estherEmay@gmail.com

Website : estherhorner.myitworks.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/449271488492002/

 

**This is a guest post from Esther Horner. Please contact her with your questions at EstherEmay@gmail.com.

This post/page may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy.

One of my friends has started working for the company, It Works, and she has done a guest post to describe her business and products. Whether you are interested in the products or using It Works to supplement your income, she is a great person to ask. While I have not personally used these products, she has provided some personal pictures of her amazing results with the products. She has provided pricing to fit within various budgets. Read her post below and email her to find out more about the products and how you could supplement your income through this business. She will also try to keep Thriving on Thrifty readers up to date on sales and promotions as she gets them.

 

Have you heard of that Crazy Wrap Thing?

 

I hadn’t either until I saw a good friend of mine posting amazing before and after pictures of her tummy after having two precious babies. Her mommy pooch was gone!! I had to try and I had amazing results too!!! It was the perfect jumpstart to start losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

So what is this crazy wrap thing? The Ultimate Body Applicator is a 100% natural, organic, non-GMO botanical blend that tones, tightens, and firms the skin in as little as 45 minutes. It works to pull toxins out of the fat cells. You can use it anywhere from the neck down. I have wrapped my tummy and my thighs!! Amazing!! 

How can you get one?? There are 4 ways:

  • Order a sample wrap directly from me for $25
  • Order a box of 4 wraps for $99 retail
  • Order a box of 4 for $59 as a loyal customer
  • Become an It Works Distributor, use the amazing products and make money!

 

 What do you have lose, except fat??

 esther1

esther2

 

 (My personal pictures: before wraps, 4 wraps, 6 wraps)

 

Esther Horner, It Works Independent Distributor

804-539-6165

estherEmay@gmail.com

estherhorner.myitworks.com

Check out my It Works facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/449271488492002/

 

**Please be sure to contact Esther with any questions.

 

This post/page may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy.

After having my baby, I realized I needed to get into shape. While the baby “weight” dropped pretty quickly, the toning and fitness aspect just wasn’t there. I knew living in a rural area, I didn’t have the time to drive a half hour plus workout as a new mom. Plus, I didn’t want to spend the money on a gym membership. I tried running on my elliptical daily, which helped but I still didn’t see the toning I was hoping for. Therefore, I bought weights and with no routine, I saw very little results.

One day on Facebook, I ran across Bikini Body Mommy. I decided to give it a try, and boy am I happy I did. I have lost a few extra pounds, which put me lower than my pre-pregnancy weight plus I’m much more toned. It offers a 90- day challenge that features a laid-out exercise plan. The workouts generally take me less than 30 minutes and I can do them in the comfort of my own home with NO gym fees.  I have found with searching through various workout programs that if you find something that works with your schedule, you are much more likely to stick with it and see results. Since I wasn’t exactly a gym guru, I knew even an hour workout would be difficult for me to stick with on a daily basis. Even with my crazy days with a toddler, I am able to almost always fit this workout into my schedule.

As far as my diet, I am not one to be able to do extreme dieting. I like food way too much to cut meals. I have found that food is similar to exercise. If you find something that is more of a lifestyle change versus a diet, it is much easier to stick to. I have found that my lifestyle change is to cut “deserts” and soft drinks. With the exception of special occasions I don’t eat deserts throughout the week until Friday when I reward myself with 1 small desert. This reward helps me have something to look forward to during the week and gives me a little break from the grind of no sugar.

Another “lifestyle” diet change for me was to really pay attention to what I put in food. For example, I used to eat a lot of oatmeal for breakfast with butter and sugar. When I started paying more attention to what I ate, I replaced the butter and sugar with banana slices. In other words, I try to take out as much “bad” stuff in my food as possible while still being able to eat what I enjoy.  The MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter App is great for tracking what you eat plus its FREE.

My fitness and diet routine has cost me NOTHING, and I feel in much better shape than I have in a long time. My advice through my experience is to find something that works for you and that you can stick with versus yo-yo dieting and fitness that will only be short lived. Each person is different, so find something that works for you and don’t get discouraged.

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When I first had my son, my house was always neat, clean, and orderly, but the older my son gets the more that is slowly becoming a fading memory. Living at home with a toddler is a full time job whether you work or are a stay at home mom. Once my son learned to walk, my house looked like it blew up. He was getting into everything. I couldn’t get one thing picked up before he was ready to pull out the next. My “free” time has dwindled more and more the older he gets. So I’m having to learn how to keep my house organized and clean without spending all of my time doing that. As I’ve mentioned, my son is only 15 months old, so I’m still learning. However, I wanted to share a few things I’m learning along the way.

 

1. Teach your kid what he/she can and cannot touch.

At first, I just taught my son what he could and could not touch based on safety concerns. I am slowly learning that he just shouldn’t get into stuff for the pure fact that he shouldn’t get into it. In order to manage my life, I have learned that he can’t have full reign over everything and I have to set limits based on the fact that my life can’t revolve around picking up his messes.

2. Set times to pick up your house.

As I said before, my life revolved around picking up after my son when he first learned to walk. I’m pretty sure I could spend 12 hours a day picking up after him if I let myself, but I would get nothing else done. Therefore, unless I have company coming, I am learning to set 2-3 times per day to pick up after him. I tried once a day and that seemed to be a bad idea because it took me too long to clean up. The 2-3 times per day seems to be the perfect amount to keep the house sane while not working myself to death.

3. Teach your kids to do age appropriate chores.

It’s amazing to me how quickly kids pick up on things. My son is only 15 months old and has already learned to put his clothes in the hamper and occasionally helps put some of his toys away. Obviously, he is still learning so I can’t expect perfection, but I don’t think it’s too early for him to pick up on some good habits. I’m having to learn to let go of the reigns sometimes and let him clean up after himself. Sometimes it just seems easier if I just do it (you know so the clean clothes don’t end up in the hamper too), but I do think it’s important for him to learn to do chores that are suitable for his age.

4. Plan out your week to allow for cleaning time.

As far as actual cleaning (i.e. dusting, vacuuming, etc.), I’ve learned that planning is the key. I usually set one morning to get all my basic cleaning done and then get my deeper cleaning done at various times throughout the month. I’ve found that if I don’t allot time for cleaning, it just doesn’t get done. I encourage you to sit down and write out a schedule for yourself so time doesn’t get away from you.

5. Don’t expect Perfection.

I am a perfectionist at heart, so this was a hard pill to swallow. I have learned that sometimes good is good enough. It doesn’t have to always be perfect.

 

I would love to hear some more tips and time savers in keeping a clean home, so please share in the comments section below or submit in the Submissions area.

 

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presents

Are you a creative person?  Do you have talents that could help other people? Do you like to coupon and find deals? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be able to use your gifts or talents to save money.

I don’t know about you, but I know gift giving can be a big expense in my household budget between birthdays, Christmas, weddings, baby showers, and the list goes on. So instead of paying for these presents, consider using your creative talents to make an one-of-a-kind, unique present for these occasions.

At the baby shower for my son, I received several handmade blankets and quilts which my son loved.  These individuals used their sewing skills to make my son a present. What a great idea! Or maybe you are good at photography? Consider taking a family or child’s portraits as a gift giving option. Or maybe you are handy around the house or outside? Consider giving your time to helping someone clean, organize, or decorate areas around their house. The list of skills and talents goes on and on. Find what you are good at and think about the gifts that you could give.

Maybe you read through this article and thought to yourself, “I’m not really creative at anything” (which you probably are but just can pinpoint your unique specialty). Or maybe you thought, “I don’t have time to use my skills as a gift option.” Instead, use your deal finding or couponing skills to get relatively inexpensive gifts. When you spot freebies or cheap items that you may not need, hold onto them and stock up on gifts that you could use for various occasions. I have actually received big baskets of useful household items as Christmas presents before, which turned out to be some of the best presents I had ever received. So when you get these items, really think through how you could put them together to make some really great presents.

Do you have a way that you have saved on gift giving? Have you received a really thoughtful, unique present someone made for you? Please share in a comment below or in my Submissions area.

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