DIY, Mom Life, Uncategorized

CLEANING MY CLOSET!

Ok, so I have been waiting for months to clean out my closet and share this post. These type of posts and videos are some of my absolute favorites because I love to clean and to organize! Back in August, my MOPS group planned a Mom’s Night Out for January and we decided to do a clothing swap. We have done a few of these before and always have a good turnout so we try to do a few of them a year. I knew this would be the perfect opportunity for me to go through my closet and purge as much as I could. And along with the clothing swap being a motivator, I have also lost a substantial amount of weight recently (22 pounds) and because of this I have been even more excited to get started on cleaning out my closet. I was finally ready to try on all of my pre-pregnancy clothes and get rid of things that didn’t fit or weren’t my style anymore.

So my cleaning style is just that…all mine. I take bits and pieces of things I have read or heard and make it work for me. I like to clear everything out of my closet and lay it on my bed (ok, more like throw it on my bed). This includes handbags, scarves, shoes, and hats. Just seeing that huge pile of chaos was motivation to do a serious purge. After everything was cleared out of my closet, I went through and deep cleaned it and vacuumed it. Next was the fun part, I got to try everything on. There are TONS of clothes that I haven’t tried on recently because I was scared they wouldn’t fit and then I would feel bad about myself. Well let me tell you, that was not the case! Everything fit and it was a TOTAL boost to my confidence. It also allowed me to purge those items that I was waiting to “fit into” because even though they fit, they just weren’t “me” anymore. I could finally let go of those items that were holding me back every time I saw them hanging in my closet. So one by one, I tried on every item and really tried to note how I felt in each piece. I sort of took Marie Kondo’s advice, and if the item brought me joy, then I hung it back up in my closet. And if it didn’t, then it went into the clothing swap pile. I was able to get rid of an entire trash bag that was packed! This process was simple for me to follow and like I said, I kind of just used my own way of cleaning and purging. The whole process took about 4 1/2 hours. It definitely was a time commitment but the way I feel when I walk into my closet now is totally worth it!

I decided to keep all of my maternity clothes up in the top of my closet, organized nicely into some bins because Drew and I aren’t sure that we are done having kids. At least now they are out of the way and sorted neatly in case they are needed again.

After I finished with the clothing part, I moved on to jewelry. I love jewelry and I am a hoarder of it. In my younger days, I worked at Icing/Claire’s so I have a huge collection of inexpensive jewelry. As I get older though, I am starting to realize that I really value quality over quantity and so I’d rather have a few really nice pieces of jewelry than the hoard of stuff I needed to go through. Also, I had a lot of bigger, flashier items and now I seem to gravitate towards more minimal looking jewlery. I was able to get rid of about 4 or 5 necklaces, basically a whole earring tree, and several bracelets. Cleaning out my jewelry was definitely a success!

I also went through my scarves, shoes, hats, and purses. I do live in Colorado so scarves are practical but I certainly didn’t need 30 of them. I was able to get rid of a dozen of them and I bet if I made a second sweep through them, I could get rid of a few more. My shoes collection got cleaned out a year or so ago so I didn’t have too much work there because I just don’t own a ton of shoes. But I did realize this fall/winter that I had a couple pairs of boots that I just didn’t wear anymore. After having kids, my feet got wider so shoes that I used to love and wear a lot just don’t work for me anymore. I wound up giving 2 pairs of boots to my best friend while she was home for Christmas and I know she will get a lot of use from them and love them just like I did:). The other pair I am going to take to a local shoe store and see if they can stretch and widen them. If not, those will be going to my friend as well. I have 1 bin full of beanies and hats and after going through said bin, I was only willing to part with one item.  I also asked Drew to clean out his hats because he had 2 FULL bins of hats and they were starting to get so packed they were falling-out everywhere.I didn’t purge any purses this year. I own 6 purses and all of them are quality purses that I rotate frequently so I didn’t feel like I had a huge excess of them or like I absolutely needed to clean them out. With that being said, I am in the market for a new purse and as soon as I find one, then I might consider getting rid of a few of my current ones.

It’s funny that cleaning out a closet seems like such a clear cut task but for me it was a very emotional but positive chore. With my personality, I have a VERY hard time getting rid of things. I am not quite sure what the REAL underlying issue is but it truly is something that I have to work through regularly. It affects me when I clean out my kids’ closets, their toys, my garage, etc. so if you experience those feelings too, you’re not alone. I love the feeling of living in a decluttered and minimalistic home but I also love things, so it’s a constant struggle to find a balance. That’s why I think finding your own system is important. You can’t clean out your house how someone else does if you are passionate about your “things” like I am. But I also think you have to push yourself and so I really tried to focus on each item and how it made me feel when deciding whether to keep it or not.

The big reveal! So here is what my closet looked like before and after my purge. I know the physical difference is noticeable, but it doesn’t even come close to the emotional difference that I feel when I walk in there. I feel like a whole new me has emerged over the last 8 months and cleaning out my closet and getting rid of those (now oversized) clothes was so therapeutic and somewhat spiritual. I challenge you to clean out an area of your home and see how it makes you feel!

Before

 

After

(And yes I moved stuff around in between pictures…lol)

I hope this gave you some inspiration and maybe some tips on how to tackle cleaning a closet in your home. What is your biggest challenge when it comes to decluttering and cleaning?

xo,

~Samantha

Faith, Finances, Health, Mom Life, Uncategorized

New Years Resolutions-2019

Happy Friday everyone!! I know I have been MIA for a while but I wanted to share my New Years Resolutions with you guys. I plan on being more present on this blog in the new year and I also have some other really awesome goals for the year that I thought it would be fun to share, so let’s go!

Every year I choose a word to live by for those 365 days. Last year it was present. I wanted to be present and live more in each moment. I didn’t take as many pictures of life’s big events last year because I tried to not have my phone in hand all of the time. At first I was sad that I missed photo ops but then I realized that instead of focusing on those pictures and living through them, I was present in the moment and enjoying the experience right then and there. So with that being said, this year I decided to choose the word: Intentional.

By definition, intentional means “done with intention, or on purpose; intended.” I really want to focus on my goals and dreams this coming year and I think the best was to do that is to be intentional. When I being purposeful with my time and energy, I allow myself to succeed in the areas that are most important to me.

Here are the key areas I want to focus on in 2019 and some of the steps I need to take to make these goals and dreams a reality. I have a more step by step and in-depth guide for myself but I just wanted to share the basics with you today:)

Health and Wellness

  • Hit goal weight of 120 lbs
    • Drink half my weight in water
    • Follow the 85/15 rule
    • Supplements-vitamins, Energize, Shakeology, collagen, Greens Boost etc.
  • Get thyroid levels normal
    • See an endocrinologist
    • Take meds EVERY day
  • Exercise 5 times a week
    • Plan my workouts each Sunday so I can be prepared for the week
    • Set up garage to be functional for working out
    • Join or run challenge groups to help hold me accountable
  • Bedtime at 9:00pm
    • Stick to a day time schedule and limit screen time
    • Create a bedtime routine so my body recognizes that it is getting close to bedtime-see attached routine
  • Wakeup 5:00am and have a morning routine
    • Move phone across the room to help get me out of bed
    • Have workout clothes ready and weights set out and ready
    • See attached morning routine
  • Meal planning and grocery shopping on Saturdays
    • Sign up for the e-meals subscription to help me plan healthy and nutritious meals

Financial

  • Pay off camper
    • Create payment schedule and stick to it
  • Don’t touch savings account (except for emergencies)
  • Take the family on a vacation (this year or next year?)
    • Disneyland!!!!!
  • Budget monthly
    • Use Quicken to help estimate monthly expenses and see where we can trim spending
  • Keep track of expenses in Quicken ALL YEAR so we can see our spending habits and better plan next year
  • Set up savings account for Christmas
    • This is always were we rack up debt at the end of the year so by setting a little money aside monthly, we will have enough at Christmas and won’t have to use a credit card or savings
  • Host craft/sign parties to bring in extra income
  • Work my Beachbody business for extra income

Family Life

  • Create a daily routine for the kiddos and stick with it
    • See attached daily routine
  • Less screen time for EVERYONE
    • If kids are up, phones need to be put away
  • Outside play daily (if weather permits)
  • Monthly date nights with Drew
    • Schedule at the beginning of the month
  • More one on one dates with the kiddos (maybe rotate every month)

Faith

  • Daily worship with the kiddos
    • Bible stories
    • Music
    • Service
  • Bible in a year on Bible App
    • Invite a few friends to do it with me to hold us all accountable
  • Bible study/First 5 every morning
  • Daily prayer time
  • Start attending church every Sunday
  • Get baptized!

Professional 

  • Regular blog posts 3 times a week
    • Write them and schedule them in advance so I’m always ahead and never behind
  • Develop better photography skills for blog
    • Make setting aside time to learn this a priority!!!!
  • Start my Beachbody business and bring in an income!!!
    • Hustle hard
    • Don’t let fear guide me: “Fear, he is a liar.
      He will take your breath
      Stop you in your steps
      Fear he is a liar
      He will rob your rest
      Steal your happiness
      Cast your fear in the fire
      ‘Cause fear he is a liar” – Zach Williams
    • Create a greater presence on social media

ME

  • Read daily
  • Focus on self confidence through my physical appearance, my faith, and in going outside of my comfort zone….that’s how you grow!
  • Take classes or learn a new skill that I’ve always wanted to learn
  • Strengthen those friendships that I would like to grow
  • Host more events at our house
    • Game nights
    • Movie nights

 

So there it is! That’s a lot to do in a year but I am ready for the challenge! I’d love to hear some of your New Year’s resolutions, so comment below!

xo

~Samantha

Mom Life, Uncategorized

Moms Encouraging Moms

This years’ theme for MOPS is “Find your Fire” and what a strong and powerful theme it has been so far! At the beginning of the MOPS year, my leadership team and I watched this video on MOPS.org that introduced the new theme so that we could get an idea of what “Find Your Fire” was all about. This way, we could plan our speakers, presentations, and crafts accordingly. The video was so powerful that we decided to take a piece of it and make it our own.

As one of our outreach projects we decided to get together as a leadership team and create signs for our MOPS moms. We thought that we would hold them up outside of the church so when moms pulled up and walked to our meeting room they could read all of the signs and feel empowered and encouraged. I think it was an awesome pick me up and I know the moms really felt the love behind the signs. I wish we would have gotten pictures! We also incorporated this idea into the craft for that day. We had everyone make their own sign with an uplifting phrase and then decorate the sign so that it was bright and cheerful. Then we asked those moms to nominate a friend who was struggling and could benefit from some kind words. We took nominations for a couple of weeks and then compiled a list of those moms along with their addresses. Now all that was left was to have a moms night out where we split into groups and delivered the signs and “picketed” them in the appropriate yards.

Our leadership team was a little discouraged because only 1 mom (out of about 75) showed up to help picket the signs but about 7 leadership members showed up so with 8 people total we each had about 9 houses to visit….and we all had so much fun! We decided we felt like teenagers again running around in the dark, trying not to get caught. Before every house we would stop and hold out all of the signs and pray that the sign that we were going to pick was the perfect sign for that mom and that it displayed exactly what she needed to hear. Then, we’d sneak up to the front door and find the perfect place to put the sign so that it would be seen first thing in the morning. We also typed up a little letter telling them who left the sign and why we left it and we made sure to tape those to the front door. It took a few hours to deliver all of the signs and I was glad for the time with friends but didn’t realize how big of an impact it would really make.

Dear Wonderful Mama,We see you doing an amazing job raising your littles. You are inspiring those around you. Although this parenting gig might be the hardest thing you will ever take on, you are doing your best. Tha.png
Here is the letter we taped to their doors explaining why we left the signs

 

Oh. My. Gosh. The next day was AMAZING! Our leadership team was getting texts left and right from the mom’s who had been picketed and they were beside themselves after finding their signs.  The ladies said that their signs were EXACTLY what they needed to hear that day. A few of them said they cried, all of them smiled, and all of them felt uplifted. After about the 3-4th text I was starting to see the impact that one little act of kindness had on each mom and so did the rest of leadership. We decided then and there that this would be an annual thing and that we needed to recruit more people to help spread the kindness and even more nominations of moms (or women in general) in need. What started out as just watching a video, turned into a beautiful display of kindness that touched the hearts of a handful of moms in my community.

I encourage your MOPS group to do something similar or if you don’t have a group then I encourage you to make your own little sign or project to anonymously give to someone that needs some encouragement. Let me know how it made you feel to brighten someones day. I know it felt amazing to me!!!

xo

~Samantha

Mom Life, Uncategorized

Text from an Old Friend

Today I got a text from an old friend that I used to go to middle school with. We were very close friends as teenagers but then her and her family moved away and we kind of lost touch. We are friends on Facebook so it’s nice to see updates about her and her family but it’s definitely hard to be close to someone that’s thousands of miles away. Anyway, I was surprised when she contacted me on Facebook and asked for my phone number so she could text me. I sent her a text right away and asked what was going on and if everything was ok and I was so surprised with what she wrote to me. This is what she wrote:

“Hey!! I love reading your blog and my question is how do you have so much energy to do it all? I am asking because I am always exhausted and only have my daughter at home and I do go to the boys’ sporting events, but I have absolutely no energy to do anything. You are such an inspiration to me!!! I have been doing this mom thing for almost 13 years and can’t seem to get it figured out.”

Now don’t get me wrong, making it sound like I have my life together is the highest compliment to a person like me. I’m a perfectionist and I am always trying to perfect procedures and systems within my life. But I didn’t hesitate in telling her that I am no where near perfect and that I struggle daily with being a mother too. I feel like my children don’t get the attention they need or want from me all the time, I feel guilty when I don’t get on their level and play with them as often as they’d like, I feel guilty and unsure about every decision I make from choosing their school to what they’re eating to the activities that we do or don’t do. Heck, they are sitting right next to me watching Halloween cartoons so I can write this and I feel guilty about that! I wanted to emphasize to her that what she was feeling were completely normal feelings and that every mom feels like that at some point, if not daily. Oh, and I told her “I AM exhausted”! How can you raise little humans without feeling exhausted!?! Seriously though, any tips?

I also shared with her some planning tools that I use to help me and my family stay organized and have a smoother week. I make sure to do weekly meal planning, wake up before my children, I have a weekly cleaning schedule, I have a planner that I use religiously to help me sort out school, activities, birthday parties, etc. But I also know that as a mom of 3 under 5 I need to give myself and my family grace and know that along with trying to plan everything out, you also need to be flexible. Let’s be honest. Life happens. A lot. And that’s ok! Most of the time life’s unplanned events are the biggest and best events! So slow down, give yourself grace, and look at all the positives that you do for your kiddos instead of focusing on all of the things you didn’t do for your kiddos or the things that you felt guilty for that day.

She also mentioned that even when she does things for her family that she feels like it’s never enough. Her meal times never go as smooth as she’d like, she doesn’t have time in the mornings to accomplish what she wants, and she is exhausted and feels like she doesn’t get enough sleep. Not to diminish how she feels at all but I told her I think that’s just what being a mom is. It’s being frazzled and overwhelmed. It’s been overworked and sometimes under appreciated. It’s worrying and anxiety. But it’s also filled with an abundance of love and every time I am having a bad day, a little peak of this love shines through and reminds me why I try so hard. It’s that hug and “You’re a good mommy” that your child says to you.

Getting that text from my friend not only reminded me of how hard being a mom is but it also reminded me that I’m not alone. The feelings I have are the same exact feelings my friend had! And we both love our children with our whole heart. I think if you are a mom and you are struggling and feeling worried that you aren’t everything you think you should be, you need to take a step back. Good moms worry if they’re being good moms!

All of this to say keep on keepin’ on momma! Love your kids hard and try to make the best of every day. Trying is all you can do and it IS enough. I hope this can be a pick me up to any of you needing one today. We are all doing the best we can and as long as you love your child and try your hardest, well I think that makes YOU a GREAT mom.

xo

~Samantha

 

 

 

Mom Life, Uncategorized

Find Your Fire/Learn a Skill Day

So this week at MOPS we put together a Find Your Fire/Learn a Skill Day. It took a lot of planning and work but it was so worth it! All of the moms loved it and I definitely got something out of it so I thought I’d share a little bit about it.

We decided that in order to Find Your Fire, sometimes you need to experience new things or become proficient in those things you have always wanted to do! So my MOPS group went ahead and created a Facebook poll on our MOPS page that asked moms to vote for their favorite hobbies that they’d like to learn more about or do more often. Our top activities were:

  • DIY/Home Decor
  • Gardening
  • Cake Decorating
  • Photography
  • Calligraphy

With those activities in mind, we went out in the community to find the perfect instructor for each class. We coordinated what the instructor would need and what would be the best topics to cover in a 35 minute lesson. Then we set out a sign-up sheet 2 weeks in advance so the moms could sign up for their top 2 classes that they wanted to attend. We were then able to divvy up the classes so they were all even and not over crowded. With final numbers in place, we were able to buy supplies that were needed for a few of the activities. I personally chose Photography and Cake Decorating and holy moly I learned A LOT! I think this gave our moms a lot of knowledge to be able to go out and pursue those hobbies with more confidence and maybe it helped some of the moms find a new hobby.

From the cake decorating class, I was able to learn how to frost a cupcake with a rose which is actually a lot easier than it looks. Hopefully I can do some for an upcoming event so I can take pictures to share:) I also got to play around with numerous different frosting tips and I got the recipe for homemade buttercream frosting which I can’t wait to try. After doing Kellan’s birthday cupcakes and cake, I knew that I needed to learn the proper way to load a pastry bag and pipe the frosting out of it cause I had lime green frosting everywhere! I can’t wait to put these new skills to the test!

The photography class was SUPER informative and included more knowledge than I could have hoped for. I’ve had a Canon Rebel T3i for a few years now and have slowly been learning how to use (I wish I had more free time!) but having an instructor work with you hands on was awesome. She showed us tips for focusing, tips for how to use props, tips for lighting, tips for working with your children, you name it. I was amazed she covered as much as she did in just 35 minutes and only wish I would have had longer with her. I think the only thing I need to do now is just practice!

There was lots of positive feedback about the other classes and I wish I could have attended all of them. The gardening class got to make a cute little indoor herb garden as well as learn about the soil in our area and what types of plants do the best in our climate, the calligraphy class got to make place cards for their Thanksgiving table scape, and the DIY/Home Decor class got to watch demos on how to use Plaster of Paris and chalk paint for all sorts of projects around the house. I am looking forward to next year and the classes we come up with!

If you are in a MOPS group, let me know if you have done anything like this and how did it go? If not, what are your hobbies? Aside from the topics above, I love to scrapbook, crochet, sew, and use my Cricut:)

xo

~Samantha

Mom Life, Uncategorized

Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS)

Good morning everyone!!!! If you follow me on instagram then you know that I mentioned writing a post about MOPS and what it has been to me. MOPS has definitely helped me on this stay-at-home mothering journey and I hope this post inspires you to seek out a group if you are feeling like I felt before I found my local MOPS group.

If you don’t know, MOPS stands for Mother’s of PreSchoolers. MOPS is a global organization that aims at introducing moms who are in the same walk of life in hopes of giving them an opportunity to build a community, a tribe. The basic idea is that moms can get together and fellowship, meet friends, and be able to have a support system during this very hard season of life: raising young children. It is a Christian ministry but all faiths are welcome and at least in my group, the religion isn’t the center of our MOPS group-encouragement and building friendships is.

I attend 2 different MOPS groups in my area. The first one meets every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month from 9-11 and the other one meets every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month also from 9-11. Free childcare is provided by volunteers of the churches we have the meetings at. This is one of the most precious parts of MOPS. Often times moms do not have babysitters or family members that can help out with childcare and allow them to step away and take a break when needed. This leaves moms feeling trapped, overwhelmed, and alone. This is how I felt when I first started staying at home with Cason. All of my friends were co-workers from previous employers so when I wanted or needed someone to talk to during the day, all of them were busy at work! Not to mention, a lot of them were not in the same season of life that I was in and others were quite a bit older than me and couldn’t relate to how I was feeling. I joined both MOPS groups because it allows me a 2-hour, once a week break from parenting and gives me a chance to connect with other moms who have the same fears, anxieties, and concerns that I do.

MOPS also allows us to be able to eat a delicious breakfast while it’s still hot! We split our MOPS group into two sections and rotate whose turn it is to provide breakfast each meeting. We pray over our meal together and get to eat while we fellowship. We also have presentations at each meeting that cover topics from car seat safety to nutrition to budgeting and even marriage so moms get to take away something that is helpful in each area of their lives. And if all of that doesn’t sound fun enough, we also get to do crafts:) I am the Craft Coordinator at one of my MOPS groups so I get to be in charge of coordinating a craft for each meeting for all of our moms. The craft usually correlates with the specific message from that day. We have done conversation starter sticks for the dinner table, home decor projects, food crafts, and jewelry making.

Have you heard the quote: “It takes a village to raise a child”? They weren’t kidding about that! It DOES take a whole village! I am fortunate enough to have both sets of grandparents nearby to help with my children but MOPS has given me friendships. Tons and tons of friendships. I go to a “Mom’s Night Out” night almost every month, I have joined a bunco group, our leadership team always has fun activities going on, and we have frequent play dates with our kiddos. I can’t imagine where I would be if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone and joined MOPS. I encourage anyone out there who is thinking about to do it! You won’t regret it! You can also go to http://www.MOPS.org to find a group near you and read more about their mission.

I plan to share my thoughts about my weekly meetings with you guys and what my take aways were. Please let me know in the comments if you are in a MOPS group and how MOPS has impacted you and your mothering journey.

xo

~Samantha

Mom Life, Uncategorized

Pinterest WIN or FAIL Series

I LOVE Pinterest. It’s my go to for inspiration when it comes to DIY/home decor, cooking, cleaning and organization, beauty, health and wellness, and so much more! Since I love Pinterest so much, I thought it would be fun if I regularly featured a “Pinterest WIN or FAIL” post on here! I will find something that inspires me, recreate it (or attempt to anyway) and you can decide if it was a win or fail! Ready for my first “Win or Fail”?!

This week I wanted to feature some recipes that I found on Pinterest while I was doing my weekly meal plan. I’ve been trying to get better about feeding my kiddos healthier snacks ( I was starting to feel guilty about the 5lb box of goldfish in the pantry) so when I saw these recipes for Peanut Butter Energy Bites and Banana Oat Energy Bites I definitely wanted to try them out. Both recipes are quick and easy to make and I had all of the ingredients on hand so I didn’t need to make any special errands to the grocery store which I appreciate.

I thought I would test out the Peanut Butter Energy Bites first because they used less ingredients and seemed a little easier to make. I loved the fact that they took less than 10 minutes to make and that they were ready to eat right away. I considered this recipe a win the moment my kids finished their first one and asked for seconds! That being said, I tried one and I think next time I make them I will use a different peanut butter. While this one was convenient because it already has the ground flaxseed in it, I found it to be very dry and thick, so you couldn’t eat one of the bites without a glass of milk or water to wash it down. I think using a creamier peanut butter would work better for this recipe. If you are wanting to make them slightly healthier you can always substitute the milk chocolate chips for dark chocolate chips.

IMG_3146

Since both energy bites were easy to make and had very similar ingredients, I decided to make both of them on the same day so that we could test them out side by side. These were just as easy to make as the peanut butter ones except these needed to be refrigerated so we didn’t get to eat them right away. After they had been refrigerated, I gave myself and each of the kiddos one and it was a group consensus that we did NOT like these. The banana had a slimy texture which in turn gave the oats a mushy texture. A few days later I gave the kids another one to see if their opinion would change but the verdict came back the same so I went ahead and tossed the remaining energy bites.

IMG_3160

All in all I thought these recipes were fun to test out. I loved that I was able to get the kids involved in cooking and that they got to learn about making healthier choices. I would definitely recommend the Peanut Butter Energy Bites because they were a quick and easy on-the-go snack. Let me know if you try either one of these recipes out and if your kiddos liked them! I’ll have another Pinterest WIN or FAIL next week so make sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss it!

xo

~Samantha