Valentine’s Day Ideas for Every Budget!

Looking for the not-so-obvious Valentine’s gifts? Try including your kiddos in on the fun to create a sweet statement for your loved one in the next couple of days!

Looking for a different way to express your love this Valentine’s day? Maybe the chocolate, dinner, flowers, thing is too much of a “been there” done that? OR maybe you want to break away from tradition and celebrate your love JUST BECAUSE on February 15th! Whatever your reason, if you’re searching for something new, different, and, otherwise, UNEXPECTED, for you and the number one love in your life…we have some awesome ideas below:

We’ve sectioned out these ideas into categories and spending brackets…just in case the holidays are STILL wreaking havoc on your budget!  We included a price-indicator sheet just in case you weren’t certain what our symbols meant!

$-Least Expensive…or in some cases, FREE! (we will scream it out—FREE—if that’s what it ends up being)
$$-Mid-Range Cost—usually under $60.00
$$$-Most Expensive—looking at $100.00 or more in cost

Hello, Valentines? Party of 6? Getting the Kiddos Involved:

Think it’s too late to get original? No Sitter? NO problem! Check out these sure-fire ways to show the L-O-V-E and have fun with the kids in the process…win-win!

Get Crafty This Valentine’s Day!

$

Here’s two ideas we’ve done in the past when time and money weren’t necessarily on our side:

1.Make art pictures in the snow! Last year, we made art in the snow using food coloring (also works with washable paint in plastic ketchup and mustard bottles), then we took pictures of our designs to frame and give!

2.Handprints on Cardstock to look like flowers (adorable).

 

CREATE YOUR OWN POTTERY PLATE OR MUG

$$ *time sensitive–we have an idea on how to make it work!

Have your kiddos create their own plate or mug at a pottery studio. *NOTE—many of these places have timeframes which could include up to a week’s turnaround time to fire up the creation. Here’s how to get around that tricky little detail:

  1. Take kids to create pottery at pottery studio.
  2. Take pics of kids creating their works of art!
  3. Print up pics at local shop and have kiddos place them in a box or bag for your special someone!

IF you can get the items in time for the big day OR even if it’s after Wednesday….here’s what you can do:

On Valentine’s morning, afternoon or evening, make breakfast, lunch or dinner for your loved one with the kiddos…and serve it in their newly designed plate or mug. An adorable, unique way to say “WE LOVE YOU!”

RECREATE THAT SPECIAL PLACE!

$$$ *time sensitive–but COULD BE DONE IN THE NEXT TWO DAYS!

You and the kiddos could recreate a favorite place, moment for your loved one. Does your wife, hubby or partner love the beach but it’s all of 20 degrees outside? Bring the beach home. Here’s the beach theme idea:
1. Two or more plastic kiddo pools (find them here)
2. Blow up palm trees (find them here)
3. Blue cellophane to cover your floor for the look of the “ocean” Find it here:
4. Buy or create moon sand (recipe here—kids LOVE making this)
5. Use shells from last summer’s favorite beach trip OR purchase some extras here:
6. Download ocean waves sounds on your wireless speaker or phone(we have a wireless speaker and it’s AMAZING-check it out here)
7. Beach chairs by the pool filled with sand (if you need new ones-grab a couple here)

You and the kiddos could create tropical drinks and a tropical menu for dinner!  Certainly, to be a Valentine’s your lovey won’t forget!

 

Advertisements

Valentines for ALL!

Valentines Messages

Valentines for All! Secret Decoder Messages in February!

 

Here is a “combo” Valentines pin idea from Pinterest that we L-O-V-E!  I started this easy-peasy idea just two nights ago and everyone LOVED it so much, I thought I would share!

Here’s what you need (you have it all I’m sure!)

1. White Crayon
2. Cardstock or plain white paper (although I think the wax crayon sticks better to cardstock)
3. Markers for the kiddos! (Lighter colors are best!)

 

1.You can create these whenever it works, but we prefer to do it after our loves are in bed. Create your secret Valentine’s hearts and messages using the white crayon. We’re focusing on all of the reasons why we love each of our kids. The image below is the first one we wrote for our daughter which said : “We love how much you always make certain that everyone is happy”.

2. Hang them up on your little loves doors in the morning for them to take down and decode. I decided to get creative and complete one for my husband along with kids hearts everyday as well.

Valentines Messages

Valentines for All! Decoding the messages is so much fun!

**Side note there** I MUST admit, it really helps me to focus on those little reasons why I love my hubby so much. Let’s face it, in a busy day, it’s sometimes hard to think about how you love it when your partner simply looks at you and smiles.

This adorable Valentines activity turned into a discussion about how wax is resistant to the water color in markers. Such a great time!

Valentines for All! On our daughter’s door. Secret messages stating why we love her.

Our daughter loved this Valentines activity so much that she made one for my husband and I. It reads: Mommy and Daddy, let’s make a craft together”.

Valentines Messages

Valentines for All! Our daughter making her own for us…adorable.

We were going to do this Valentines Craft activity as a countdown to Valentine’s Day but our kiddos love it so much…they have requested to keep it going through the whole month! Yay!

Letter Learning FUN Name Game!

Learning thise letters

Inspired by our littlest guy, this letter learning name game is fun to make and play! Here’s a little background history on this game: Our daughter knew her letters before the age of two.I mean–not even just knew the “big” letters (capitals), she knew how to distinguish between “big A” and “little a”. She is our little “sponge”, soaking everything up and loving learning since she was born!  Science, Math, Language Arts–you name it, she can’t get enough! We used sign language early on and graduated to lettered blocks, flash cards, tracing and independent writing as she was deciphering letters and letter sounds. She was definitely happy with any teaching method we presented-traditional or non.

Moving forward, we knew with our littlest guy,who also loves learning-(what child doesn’t?!), that we needed to take a little bit of a different approach to teaching and learning. Honestly, I was psyched about investigating other ways of presenting ideas to him (like letters/letter sounds), because I love discovering new ways to teach!  In my search for something that would connect well with his interests,I stumbled upon an idea and turned it into our very own fun letter learning name game! Here it is:

 

Fun. easy DIY letter game

Letter Learning Name Game!

Letter Learning Name Game!

Learning Goals:

  • Practice letter recognition
  • Letter sounds
  • Letters associated with their name
  • Practice fine motor grasping skills

Age range: This game IS fun for all ages with supervision! However, it may be a bit redundant for children over the age of 5 or if the child already knows how to spell their name and knows their letters.

Supplies you will need OR can easily purchase below:

To create the close pin letter game pieces:

      1. Close pins (larger ones not the mini ones)–enough for the letters in your child’s name or the whole alphabet
      2. Acrylic Paint or washable water color (unless the close pins are already painted–see option below).
      3. Marker or pre-printed letters to adhere to the close pins
      4. Modge Podge–a crafters favorite!

     

Supplies for the “game board”

Please remember these are just ideas! If you think of something else, we would love to hear from you so we can post it and add on!

  • Pre-printed letters OR a marker to simply write the letters down.

Ideas for material to use as the base for your game board:

  • Construction paper-(to add letters)
  • Paper Plate (also a base for the letters)
  • Stock paper

Additionally ADORABLE IDEA:

Ask your kiddos to get involved in the creation of their board game: Have kiddos cut/create the board game using one or more of the materials above into a shape of something they love-shape of a truck, animal, a basketball or baseball…you name it!

Steps for Creating these Easy Letter Learning Name Game Pieces: 

Painted Close Pins Ready for Mod Podge!

***There are affiliate ads present below!***

Step 1: Painting

If painting: paint all of the closepins with two separate coats. Let dry.

Step 2: Mod Podge


  • Add one coat of Mod Podge to seal the paint.
    • Tip: Paint on Mod Podge thinly, careful not to over paint it as it will dry in clumps.

Step 3: Letters 

  • After the Mod Podge is dry, add letters with Sharpie Marker OR pre-printed letters.
  • Allow Marker to dry or letters to stick onto close pins.

Step 4: MORE Mod!

  • Add one-two more coats of Mod Podge, allowing each coat to fully dry before adding another.

Game Time!

First: we played with the close pins, opening and closing them. We also reviewed the letters we were using by calling each one out on both the close pins and the game board!

  1. Simply calling out the letters to see who can find them and attach them to the right spaces.
  2. A timed/see whose faster game where each person (adult and kiddo or kiddo versus kiddo) takes their game boards and yells out each letter the find as they quickly scramble to see who can “build” their name first! ***

**For the second game option–we did this one after much practice with our little guy. He needed to learn the letters and feel secure before the fun of timing it took place! Let me tell you, though, once we timed it, he wanted to play over and over again!

 

Yummy Eggs!

 

Our daughter, typically, WILL NOT touch anything green. Don’t get me wrong, she’s an awesome eater in most other colors of the rainbow…all EXCEPT green. She didn’t start off with a distaste for the color green. From the time she started investigating solid foods through age 2, she wouldn’t hesitate to gobble things up like plain avocado or even avocado and peanut butter sandwiches! After reading an article on the benefit of using the rainbow to do a nutrition check on the types of foods your kids get in a day, it quickly dawned on me that we weren’t great at offering things like salads, peas or, anything green for that matter to our little girl. After quite a few failed attempts, I decided that I needed to get creative and fast. So, I started with breakfast. Our daughter already loved eggs, now it was time to improvise: “Scrambly” Egg, meet, Mr. Spinach.

Green Eggs…Minus the Ham

(Affiliate Ads are BELOW!)

Have kiddos that love eggs? This easy, yummy scrambled egg concoction is now a hit with all the kiddos…even our littlest eater! Aside from being absolutely awesome, spinach is a GREAT super food!  Here are some super health benefits according to the Mayo Clinc spinach is:

  • High in vitamins A and C
  • High in folate
  • Antioxidant compounds
  • Great source of magnesium
  • Carotenoids found in spinach like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are protective against some vision diseases.
  • Protective against heart disease and certain cancers.

Win-Win! The last reason why these eggs are EGG-ceptional? These eggs are so quick and easy, our kiddos LOVE to make them.

Here’s the SUPER simple way we cook up some “scrambly” eggs in our house:

Heads UP:….we use our own measurements for taste–meaning our kids use their own measurements…NOTHING is exact here!

Second HEADS UP:  MOST of our ingredients are organic but you don’t HAVE to use those!

  • 2-3 Organic or Free-Range Eggs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese–(if your kiddos like it cheesy…add more!)
  • 4-5 spinach leafs….AGAIN–no EXACT amount here!
  • 1/4 cup Organic Milk….dependent on egg amount and if you want to add or not!
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper…or more! Some like it hot!
  • 1/2 teaspoon of butter or olive oil–we use butter!

Heat pan gradually on low-medium heat. Crack eggs, scramble and add the rest of the ingredients! Put butter or oil in pan after all ingredients are stirred.

SIDE SUGGESTION: We also cook up some toast or a bagel and fruit! Pure YUMMY!



A few of our ingredients….

Breaking up those spinach leafs!

Shake that pepper!

Stir it up!

That’s all we do! Of course, we have our kiddos wash those hands after preparing this tasty breakfast dish, but one of the best parts is that they made it all on their own!

Organize- Don’t Fear the New Year!

Organizing, organizing, organizing…eeek. Tis’ the time of year where some of us might begin to analyze certain areas of life that could use well…let’s say…some revamping.

Today, being New Years Day, (and being that my three year old is yet again enjoying his nap across my lap), I began to seek out some fun, easy ways to organize and de-clutter certain unrecognizable areas of our home (my crafting/Pinterest obsession has begun to oooze its way around the furniture like some alien infestation).

Taking action is something I’m a bit slow at…but, wait, let me clarify. I’m SPECIFICALLY slow in areas that seem so encompassing/overwhelming.  Knowing this about myself, I devised an action plan to help organize some deliberately ignored space in our home. ALSO realizing that I’m probably not alone in this organizing expedition, I decided to share this brave adventure of mine.

Part One: Search and Seizure:

So, as I began earlier, I started this plan while planted on my couch today with our three year old completely cozy and loving his “lap nap”. As I was “forced” to sit, (I secretly –or not so secretly if you know me–LOVE this cozy time with him), I began to ponder what it was that I wanted to “take on” in this New Year. Yes, I’m “one of those” who gets  immediately  ramped up to start some KIND of SOMETHING upon the dropping of the ball with Ryan Seacrest. There’s just this indescribable drive I feel with the start of a new, ANYTHING. New Year, new season, new dress…you name it. I just get an insatiable “spark” of energy and the ball gets rolling. In this case, it rolled myself into the dark realization that I needed to organize. LIKE, BIG TIME- check out exhibit A below). All I know is that this invisible energy seems to propel me into each New Year like a bull after a red cloth. I’m pretty much ready to take on the world. Right now, though, I’m starting with my home. My space. Well, one space in particular.

Step 1: Space it out: Pick one and ORGANIZE IT!

Simply put: identify one area of your home, office or wherever that you feel the clutter has truly gotten out of control. For us: it was our bedroom for certain.

Here’s a little glimpse at ONE corner I’m focusing on. (Oh there’s more…so much more):

 

I Spy….EVERYTHING— EVERYWHERE!

Step 2: ” I Spy with my Little Eye…”

As you look at the chosen one in terms of space, ask yourself “what’s really going on here?” What’s making this space unusable? What do you “spy” that doesn’t really belong? Firetrucks and Legos in the way? How about remains from last years awesomely Pinterest’ed birthday party extravaganza? Mementos from that great Hilton Head vaca? You really want to identify the “stuff” so you can move it where it belongs..whether it’s back to the play room or into the trash bin!

Step 3: Take Action… (aka..Amazon it)

Affiliate Site associate with this at the bottom!

Now that you know you actually have a science experiment growing in your mudroom…search out some great, cheap fixes that  might help with the declutter.

Below are a few Amazon picks I found quickly today. Be on the look out for Part 2…which will have oh-so-more!

 

Don’t know but there’s just something about cubbies….Even if you have

Loved this! Comes in different colors…can TOTALLY picture this at the end of our bed….perfect for when I have NO clue on where I want to put some things but need somewhere to place them– and fast!

Are the toys the culprit? Here’s an awesome toy storage box with great reviews, won’t take up much space AND it’s $22.00! Win, Win, Win!

Have little guys that like to see what’s out there to play with? Here’s another toy storage option with a little more accessibility for your little ones! Colorful, not a huge space eater, receives great reviews AND it’s eleven bucks more than the option above. FAN-TASTIC!

If your budget line is “anything under $100.00”, look no further. This next option is made of wood, comes with 12 plastic cubbies, and has multiple color combinations!


Swing into the Christmas Season with EASY DIY Decor Fun for you and the kiddos!

DSCN8459

DIY holiday home decor that EVERYONE can make!

Create your Own Wreaths!

If you’re like us, you might have already supported your local farm or Boy Scout Troop this past weekend by purchasing some awesome wreaths (love our boy scout troop- they always stop by for a wreath order sometime in October which always reminds me that Christmas is certainly coming!) Plus, their wreaths are AMAZING! (Pic coming soon!)

However for those of us who would rather put that money to some other charitable cause or even to your own gift giving budget, I quite accidentally, discovered one awesome way to trim some cost all while trimming the tree this Christmas!

It was Small Business Saturday last weekend and what better way to support local than grabbing a tree at your local tree farm? We have the best farm not too far from our home and the kids just love zig-zagging through all of their amazing trees! After some fun running around at the tree farm, we got home with our newly picked treasure of a tree, (it’s by far the “furriest” and softest Christmas tree we’ve ever cut down-see below!) and our kiddos could not WAIT to get it inside-(can’t blame them–it’s so exciting!).

2017 Furry Christmas Tree!

Our “furry” Christmas Tree!

As our kids were anxiously watching their daddy cut the branches, (I could feel their excitement bubbling as they were patiently waiting for the tree to move it’s way into our home), their “Oma” was over, (that’s what our kiddos call my husband’s mom-adorable), to partake in some of the afternoon fun. She was also there to play with the kiddos so that mommy and daddy could extend our family fun day into a date night just for us (oh what fun!). As she was collecting branches she asked to take some home to use in creating her own wreath. How MUCH FUN! She then shared with us the most wonderfully simple idea that our “littles” could enjoy too….

DIY Wreath Instructions!

Now, I don’t know what it is but I’m slightly intimidated by wreath making..all those wires, adding the right decor etc. However, this wreath is absolutely awesome as it was SUPER inexpensive (made from EVERYTHING  from our very own yard…aka-free, free, FREE) and the kids got super excited to make it! WIN, WIN, WIN!

Materials:

(contains an affiliate site)

Here’s all you need to create your own beautiful wreath with items right from your yard!

  • Any type of evergreen branches. If you have a Christmas tree–use the trimmings from that!
  • A foam or fake wreath (check out some examples listed above or click here!

  • Pine cones if you have them! Have some extra fun and go pine-cone hunting outside with your kids! Grab a bag and get moving or go for a hike searching for them! (RUN MAMA!)
  • If you have a “bird berry bush”, (a very unofficial name for this plant–think it might be called a “Spravy”…not a plant expert by any means!), or maybe a Holly plant outside sprouting those beautiful red berries, grab a few branches after your pine cone scavenger hunt!
  • Have ribbon lying around? Gather some or any type of crafting materials you would like to add to the wreath to decorate it! It’s really up to you! Get creative and go, go, GO!
  • Glue gun* only necessary if your items don’t have any long branches or other ways of attaching into the artificial wreath. I have a glue gun similar to this one and I love it (contains an affiliate site). Check it out on Amazon here.
  • Simple DIY Steps:

    Step One:Take the branches of greens and insert them around the wreath. Depending on how full your branches are you may need more or less to cover the artificial wreath.

    Step Two:Using pine cones, berries or other decorative items around your home, insert the items around the wreath. You may or may not need a hot gun to hold certain items into place.

    Wrap it up!

    You can honestly add anything you want (or your kids want) to your wreath! The one shown is what my kids made with their “Oma”-it was adorable, simple, and they pulled it all together right from our yard! Most of all, just have fun with this no pressure DIY decor!

    Artificial wreath acts as a canvas for your real greens! (so great)

     

    DIY Wreath for all

    So fun adding the berries from our yard into this wreath! Our little guy enjoyed taking them off and throwing them on-lol.

    DIY Wreath

    Completed! DIY AWESOMENESS!

Ways to Teach Gratitude this Thanksgiving!

55BF7F28-8512-43F2-B279-DEAFE38F3C78

Gratitude Pumpkin!

I just love this time of year!  Maybe it’s the different energy that seems to abound in the air, my children’s contagious excitement, the onset of new and old traditions, the changing of the seasons or, perhaps, all of the above! I’m just one of those people that absolutely loves this season and all of the energy that comes with each holiday. With all of this positive energy, I got to thinking more and more
about Thanksgiving and how we emphasize the meaning of true gratitude with our own children.

My deeper thoughts surrounding Thanksgiving were inspired one late  evening  as I was prepping for the story time I lead within our church. I started thinking, wait, how can I make this a much more meaningful lesson? How can I teach more about truly having a grateful heart?  That’s when I thought…let’s set up different ways we can bring a genuine “thanks” back into Thanksgiving!

Below are some quick ways I’ve scooped from Pinterest to help your kids focus on more than just talking  turkey  during this week’s holiday celebrations!
50851AC6-EDB2-445E-99FE-9C960A3A0EE7.jpeg

  • Create a Gratitude Pumpkin-ONLY four supplies needed!

The image above in this post is one of my favorite new crafts we created last week! Of course I found it on Pinterest (my not-so-secret obsession)

Here’s the Pin: https://pin.it/3i4mhyzennqvof

Here’s the direct link to the website it was posted on:

http://themoffattgirls.com/november-fun-fill-learning-resources/

Here are the simple directions!

Materials Needed:
*orange and green construction paper
*staples or brads
*scissors

Directions:
Step #1
Cut out 8 pieces of orange contraction paper into 1 inch strips.  You will also need to cut out 2 leaves and 2 skinny strips of green contraction paper for the vines.

Step #2
Have your kiddos write something they are thankful for on each strip of orange construction paper.  Be sure to leave about a 1 inch space on the sides of the strip so the writing isn’t covered up when stapled together.

https://i2.wp.com/themoffattgirls.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/IMG_2294-1.jpg?w=940

Step #3
Use a stapler or tape to attach the orange strips at the top and then at the bottom to form a pumpkin.

Step #4
Add your leaves and green vines.  You can roll up the green construction in a paper to help curl the vines.

 

Painting Thankful Rocks!

*This post contains affiliate links*

This is an awesome activity inspired by my local library!

Materials Needed:

    • Any size rock–although selecting ones that are the flattest possible make it easy for writing!
    • Orange or Yellow paint–could be acrylic or even simple water-based paints your kids have
  • Permanent Sharpie Marker–any color but black works best.
  • Mod Podge–easy to find at your local craft store or if time allows, order it from Amazon here!
    Step One:

    • Set up a “safe” painting space ( we used our hard wood floor and newspaper).
    • Paint the rock on one or both sides

    Step Two:

    • Let the rock dry for as long as possible. You will need it to be completely dry before applying the Mod Podge.
    • While waiting for the rock to dry–brainstorm a list of different things/people/places you’re thankful for with your kids. Ask them why they are so thankful for these things.
    • You can also play a great game called the “gratitude” game  based off of the classic “pick up sticks” game while you wait! Here’s the information: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/252975704049236823/
    With Thanksgiving heading our way, I love to do things to remind my kids of the many blessings we have. There is so much in our lives to be thankful for. I created this little Gratitude Game to play with them, and we have been having loads of fun with it! What is The Gratitude …

    Gratitude Game!

    Step Three:

    • Apply Mod Podge with a paint brush in thin layers. The Mod Podge will look white but will dry clear.
    • NOTE! Mod Podge can take several hours to a full day to dry depending. No worries! Just have the kiddos add what they are thankful for at the Thanksgiving Day Table or at anytime you gather together!

    Step Four:

    Take the Sharpie marker and recap what you spoke about with your kids! Depending on the size of the rock, have your kids choose those people or things that they are most thankful for and begin writing! My “littles” had so many things –we had to create several thankful rocks to fit everything!        Have a fun and a very blessed Thanksgiving!

     

     

Run Mama Run!

 

I haven’t run since June. J-U-N-E. It’s November. Almost two full seasons have passed. Five months. Whoa. As this very real piece of my reality waved over me,I stood in the shower this morning and recalled another another significant number. The number of days it’s been since I’ve taken a shower. THREE. Yikes. Those poor parents at story time. Whoa. Time to run, mama, R-U-N.

Perhaps you’ve seen it. I know I’ve lived it. The mom who enters the grocery store, cell phone in one hand, baby in another, purse wildly dangling from her shoulder. Her hair in a lopsided ponytail (perhaps some reminisce from playing “hairdresser” with her toddler), and she smiles all the same while pulling a shopping with her right foot, balancing her precious cargo with her left. Ah…the great balancing act. Many of us live it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and by the grace of God, we attempt to manage it all. However, without fail, we also manage to forgo one key factor in this crazy balancing act: OURSELVES. Yes…Y.O.U. ME, I, the forgotten, the abandoned, the wounded without the advance of chicken noodle soup to calm our souls. The one left lying in bed at night making lists and figuring the schedule out for the holidays months in advance. YES…Y.O.U. You remember her, right?

To Run or Not to Run….

I love running but I don’t consider myself a runner.  Let me clarify by saying  I’m not the get up at five a.m., strap on sneakers in twenty-degree weather, (although those runners are my heroes), get up and go kind of runner. I’ve never run a marathon or even a half marathon. Honestly, 5k’s are usually my BFF’s and, honestly,  I haven’t been a great best friend to those either… not since five months ago.  I’m the runner who loves to run but puts everything else above it. Honestly, I get caught up balancing everything else that I even forgo showering at times. Somewhat commendable but, as time wears on, so does my ability to balance everything and feel good about it. Essentially, I needed to return to those things that make me…well, ME.

The Ah-Ha Moment

Self reflection is not necessarily my forte. OK, there were times when I would pause to make a mental note whilst whipping by a mirror that low lights were great if your hairdresser purposely puts them in. But these “pauses” were simply not enough. Eventually, after weeks of going and going, I would inevitably become irritable and after a month, I finally realized, why I was slowly losing my gumption, my ability to be more positive. I actually hadn’t been out alone to go running, shopping, reading, or even to simply sing out loud in the car without the occasional “mama can you please NOT sing” requests in over FOUR WEEKS. Ah-ha.

So this is WHAT Self Reflection Looks Like…

After some serious contemplation, I went upstairs to do something, anything that might trigger a starting point. So, I started with the most obvious (and easiest), the mirror. My hairdresser hadn’t seen my face (or sparklers that were starting to sprout), in about a year. Hmph.  In the midst of some rather vain self reflection and excitement by my revelation of possibilities ( do I goto the gym, grab a pedi, or a wax of any kind),  it dawned on me. There it was. Staring at me-stubble and all, (yes, I needed to shave my legs too), all I needed to do was to take care of ME.  I needed to be my best in order to be everyone’s best. That could mean an array of things.

Treasures NOT Chores

I wanted it all. The most perfect balance between wife, mommy, friend, and myself  (or as close as I could find it for myself). I wanted to feel great about teaching my kids day in and out, all while knowing I could leave and go for a solid run and maybe, just maybe, pick up on that book I put down in 2010 (true story…I’m staring at it lodged under some crafting materials as we speak). I recently stumbled upon an article about self-care in parenting in the Washington Post where writer Lindsey Roberts really resonated with what I was discovering that night. She simply states that being on and ready for your children at all times can cause burnout and make things that could be everyday treasures feel like everyday chores. Wow. A chore? EEK. I certainly didn’t want to get to the point where spending time with my “littles” felt like a chore. I loved it. I mean genuinely. every. second. That’s when it dawned on me that this could very well effect my family as well. That’s when I felt the good ol’ kick in the tush to change-and quick.

Take care, YOU

Remember that line in Pretty Woman where  “Vivienne” (Julia Roberts) tells her best friend “Kit” to “take care, you”? Well, as ridiculously corny as it may seem, for some reason, that line continually popped into my head as I continued to think about how I really needed to take care of ME. That it wasn’t a selfish act to take care of myself and, that in fact, it was a necessity.

Self-Care is NOT Selfish

In that same Washington Post article, Roberts offers a salient reminder to erase the guilt and remember that self-care is NOT selfish.  When was the last time you grabbed a sitter so you could do something because you liked it? How about asked your spouse or partner for alone time? Below are some quick tips which combine some things I’ve tried and LOVED as well as some ideas from Roberts to help you get back to being YOU:

  • Find A Day…any day

As soon as I discovered that all I really need was some “me time” I spoke with my husband to try to work out one day a week where I could get some “daylight” hours alone. Prior to this, I was getting out a little here and there…but at 9:00 at night.I felt like some strange nocturnal mommy who never sees daylight alone. We were able to work out Tuesdays as my day to get out (in fact this week, I got a haircut and highlights! YAY!)

  • Get a Sitter:

If the weekly day out doesn’t work for your schedules right away, start slow and choose a day every other week or on the weekend where you can snag a sitter or family member.

  • Make a List About YOU:

So, what do you do when you finally DO get that moment to yourself again? Grab a coffee? Go for a run? Call a friend? If you’re like me, it’s been way too long since I ventured out alone and even longer since I even entertained a thought of what it is I like to do when I am alone. I made a list that answered these questions:

  • What are things  I really enjoy? (Think-outside or inside? Crafting or Biking?)
  • A place I love to go? FOR ME.
  • Do I need alone time or a space that has many people?

Right at the top of my list–the gym. Not because I thought I needed to lose a few pounds, but rather because, for me, that was where I knew I could start to revive my running and a little piece of me.  So, without hesitation,(or much money in my pocket), I opened up a membership at a nearby YMCA to jump start running again (I run treadmills in the winter..I know, I know–I haven’t broken into the cold yet).

  • Go Out or Stay In

Some of us find pure bliss in the idea of getting outside to fulfill our much needed alone time. Others need time alone, simply at home. Figure out what will help you to feel more refreshed as an individual–then ask for it!

Run if you wanna Run….

Is this a perfect system-NOPE! I balance my new found weekly “three hours for me” figuring out which road I would enjoy most (a quiet gaze at the magazines at Barnes and Nobles or go for a run at the gym). However, I DO know that if I want to run, I’ve got the time and, by golly, I’m gonna run.