How to Encourage Good Hygiene Habits in Children

Encouraging good hygiene habits in children can prove to be somewhat difficult. As you may have experienced, some children are wonderful about brushing their teeth, flossing, and using a mouth rinse while other children can give you a hard time about this whole process. If you are one of the many parents with a child who simply cannot stand brushing their teeth, then these tips should help create fewer headaches and better hygiene habits for your child.

How to Encourage Good Hygiene Habits in Children

Start with Basics

Good hygiene habits for children cover more than just brushing their teeth. Items like hand washing, taking showers or baths on a regular basis and being good about flossing are among some of the good hygiene habits a parent must teach a child to do on a regular basis. If your child is struggling with this area in life, start with the basics. Consider hand washing and brushing teeth as your top two basics to start with. Have your child sing happy birthday as they wash their hands. Get a sand timer for teeth brushing time, have our child place it upside down and brush until the sand runs out.

Be the Example

I am sure some parents may be tired of hearing that one option to get any child to do anything is to lead by example. As much as you hear it over and over again during the journey in parenthood, it’s so true. Your children will learn best and have good hygiene habits if you’re setting the example. Take the lead in teeth brushing and hand washing by doing these important hygiene habits with your kids. This helps them see the length of time and how often one should truly be completely proper hygiene tasks.

Explain the Importance

Children usually want to understand the why behind various tasks and habits they must develop in life. While you may be sick of answering the why question all of the time, it’s actually pretty important to explain things to your child. If your child hesitates to practice good hygiene then it’s time to have a sit down to chat about why they must take good care of their body and health. Discuss how sickness and itchy skin or yellow teeth would ultimately lead to extra doctor visits instead of play time, etc. You’ll know the right way to explain the importance of good hygiene to your children in a way that encourages them to be better about taking good care of themselves.

There you have it a few ways you can encourage good hygiene habits in children. Each of these three tips when combined should help make the teeth brushing, shower time, and hand washing time be stress-free and more fun as time goes on.

How to Stay Strong with Resolutions for New Year

If you made a New Year’s resolution this season, then chances are you may be among the many people who swear to make a change but often end up giving up at some point in the first quarter of the year. New Year’s resolutions come with the right mindset, a person wants to be better, do better and such but they lack the necessary thought process to ensure their resolution sticks. Today, I am sharing some tips on how to stay strong with your resolution this year.

How to Stay Strong with Resolutions for New Year

Small Changes

The first steps to ensure you stay strong with your resolutions this New Year is to commit to small changes. Perhaps your full resolution is larger than life and in turn, you’ve set yourself up for failure. Take that resolution and break it down into smaller changes and you’ll remain strong.

Reward Yourself

As you achieve each small change during the process of staying strong with your resolutions for the New Year, reward yourself. Having some sort of reward system in place for every successful step will ensure your mind stays on the ultimate goal; your full resolution.

Write Resolution

Have a pad of small note paper near your desk or in the kitchen, keep it in a place where you can access it on a regular basis. Write your resolution every day so that your mind is focused on that end goal of whatever you’ve set your mind to for the New Year.

Know the Why

Anyone who remains strong with their resolution in the New Year has a strong why behind their resolution. Think about why you want to achieve this resolution.   Once you have your big why write it down and keep that reason awake in your mind so that you remain strong and committed to this change.

Accountability Partner

Consider gathering a group of people who want to stay strong with resolutions for the New Year too. This group will help you to hold yourself accountable as you travel along the path that is a positive change in your life.

There you have it, a few tips on how you can stay strong with resolutions for the New Year. Each of these tips will surely help you be successful with whatever you’ve set your mind to achieve this year.

Tips to Declutter your Mind

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Tips to Declutter your Mind

Do you feel like your mind is on full? Has life simply become very overwhelming and you have difficulties focusing on daily tasks? This happens to the best of us. With the busy lifestyle so many live these days it’s no wonder we neglect to take care of our own minds. While tidying up your home may feel great and be necessary, there’s another area in life that we must declutter in order to keep our life stress free. Today, I am sharing tips to declutter your mind because once you’ve decluttered the home; it’s time to clear out those thoughts that hold you back from living to your full potential.

Post-it Sticky Notes

Use Sticky Notes

When you’re raising a family often times there is a lot more stress on your shoulders as you try to remember everything for everyone. You aren’t a robot and you don’t have to keep all data in your mind. Use sticky notes to jot down daily to-do lists or events that are coming up until you can transfer them to a calendar. This will help declutter your mind and make room for other thoughts that help you regain inner peace.

Journal

Let go of Worries

Use a journal to write down your worries or things that kept your mind full during the day. Having a journal that you write thoughts into each night will help declutter your mind as you pull them from the brain and place them on that paper. You can use an actual journal (the beautiful one above is only $20 on Amazon) or a pad of paper by your nightstand and get into the practice of writing down worries every night before bed.  The Zebra Sarasa gel pens come in an array of beautiful colors and they make writing so much more fun for me.  If writing your thoughts is difficult to begin with try writing with a fun pen and keep writing and doodling till it comes more naturally.

Multitasking

Focus on One thing at a Time

This is the perfect step to decluttering your mind because you let go of the bigger picture and only focus on one thing at a time. If you have a large to-do list every day, make sure you focus on one task at a time and move onto the next task once the first one is complete. This will easily allow you to let go of multi-tasking to the point that you’re stressing yourself out.  As it turns out, studies now say that multitasking isn’t really good for you anyway.  #Mono-tasking

Declutter Your Mind

Pay Attention to Important Stuff

Only allow thoughts that matter to take up space in your mind. We can get into information overload easily with social media and family but in order to fully declutter your mind, you’ll have to learn to only pay attention to the important stuff. Each day we hear so many things that aren’t important and they consume a large part of our mind, let that nonsense go and only hold important thoughts in your mind.

There you have it, tips to declutter your mind so that you can have less stress, less worry and in turn live a more peaceful life. These tips should help inspire anyone to get a head start to decluttering their mind for happier living.

Instant Pot Applesauce Recipe

Instant Pot Applesauce

I love applesauce and my family eats so much of it!  I used to make small batches of it when I only had one little one but after my son came along I gave in and began buying it.  Now that my family is eating more and more applesauce (the kids eat it daily with their probiotic mixed in) I wanted to find a way to make it in bulk at home.  My friend Jennifer shared her Instant Pot Applesauce Recipe with me and I’m excited to share it with you.

Ingredients:

  • -8 apples, chopped (she used a full 3 lb bag)
  • -1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • -1 teaspoon salt
  • -1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • -Juice of one lemon (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • -1/2 cup water

Directions:

  • -Place chopped apples in the Instant Pot and toss to coat with all ingredients except water.
  • -Secure Instant Pot lid and place on manual pressure for 10 minutes, or up to 20 if you want to really caramelize your applesauce.
  • -Mash up the cooked apples with a potato masher or blend it up in a blender to achieve your desired consistency.
  • -Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

I’m just learning to use my Instant Pot (well, mine is a different brand but same concept) for things other than the few pasta dishes I know.  What are some of your favorite Instant Pot recipes?

Things to do With Leftover Christmas Cards

Now that the holiday season is over, you may find that you have an abundance of Christmas cards laying around the home. Throwing these Christmas cards away may seem like a horrible idea because you want to recycle and reuse them to cherish the memories of this past Christmas season. Today, I am sharing a few things you can do with leftover Christmas cards so you can hang onto those memories forever.  This post contains affiliate links.

Things to do With Leftover Christmas Cards

2 inch blocks

Christmas Card Wooden Blocks

Gather up some 2” wooden blocks and spray paint them in various colors. While the wooden blocks are drying, cut out the letters from Christmas cards that have words like “joy”, “merry” and similar words. Use a tool to cut the square blocks of plain color cardstock and use adhesive to apply the letters one at a time to the cardstock.  Spray adhesive or Mod Podge would work. Then apply the cardstock (or you could skip the cardstock step) with letters and other décor pieces from the Christmas cards onto each wooden block on all sides to have a decorative design that showcases your cards.  A layer of Mod Podge would be good to coat the entire block again…the glitter Mod Podge could look really nice!

Christmas Card Picture

Pick up some frames from a thrift store or find some that are being unused within your home. Cut the best Christmas cards out in a way that will allow them to fit into the frame. Find a background that you like from on hand craft supplies, like cardstock or colored paper. Match it up so that you can apply the cutout from the Christmas card to this colored background. Then place this into the frame with a ribbon on the top to hang from the wall.

Christmas Card Postcards

Take some of the Christmas cards that are empty on the inside of that front cover and cut them down into a postcard size. Keep these on hand to send out throughout the year to make someone’s day special. Receiving snail mail is a great way to brighten someone’s day and this is a fabulous way to reuse your Christmas cards and spread that joy to others throughout the year.  We learned this trick from an old Mister Roger’s episode.  🙂

Christmas Card Placemats

This will be a fun project to do with your kids. Create placemats for your dining room table with the old Christmas cards. This is a great way to create décor for holiday gatherings, birthday parties and other social events you host within your home. The kids will enjoy cutting out old Christmas cards with you and placing them together in a way that creates a new decorative placemat for your family to enjoy.  A laminator would come in handy for this or maybe a healthy dose of Mod Podge.

Christmas Card Bookmarks

My kids love books so bookmarks are always on short supply.  That’s why homemade bookmarks are a favorite craft around our home.  You could cut along a lovely pattern and even hole punch it and add some matching string through the top.  Not only would these be great to keep for yourself but they would make great gifts for others too.

Christmas Card Family/Friend Reminders

This is a great way to remember to write, call, email, and/or pray for your family and friends through the year.  You could hole punch them and put them on a ring to cycle through throughout the year.  This is what our family does and I absolutely love this tradition.

There you have it a few things to do with leftover Christmas cards so that you can use them throughout the year. You can also use these ideas to spread joy to loved ones and friends throughout the year. It’s a great way to spread kindness by sharing the joy you felt when that Christmas card first arrived in your home.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo Review

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The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Like many of you, I read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up four years ago and was pleasantly startled by her fresh perspective of decluttering.  She attacked categories at a time and not locations.

My favorite quote from the book, “People cannot change their habits without first changing their thinking.

It forever changed the way I thought of things.  Now I try to keep and buy only things that spark joy.  I’ve recommended it to friends and readers for years.  Recently, in our Live With Less Facebook group someone mentioned a Netflix original called Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.  What?  Perfect timing!  People are now feeling uncomfortable with the amount of extra stuff from Christmas and are making New Year’s resolutions to live with less.  Well timed, Netflix, well timed!

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

When we turned on Netflix tonight we saw an ad for the show and not having any series that we’re currently binge watching, we decided to give it a try.  Our thoughts: it sparked joy. 🙂  See what we did there?  We only watched the first episode but it really hit home.  It was nearly identical to my family’s situation.  My husband is naturally more organized than me, I can get so overwhelmed with daily activities that decluttering seems challenging at best, I dislike laundry,  and we have two small kids like they did.  It was a good show and I’m glad we watched it.  I’m still not a fan of talking to inanimate objects but looking past that I loved it!

I’m excited to watching the rest of them with my husband. To give you a little background, my husband never, and I mean never, watches decorating or yardsale/purging shows and he enjoyed it enough to want watch another one tomorrow. We both have a desire to live with less and watching someone declutter their home and deal with the emotions of it all was incredibly motivating.

So far, I’m loving the series. It’s inspiring me, it’s challenging me, and it makes me want to pause the TV and go fill a box of my unwanted belongings before watching more.  If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

If you’re looking for more decluttering motivation feel free to join our Live With Less Facebook group and say hi!

January Decluttering Challenge 2019

January Declutter Challenge

It’s easy to collect things through the year.  Things we don’t need.  Things others could use.  Things we can sell.  Things we need to find and just put to use.  At least my family does this.  If you have too much stuff and your house could use a decluttering jump start then this challenge is for you.  This January Decluttering Challenge is a daily checklist for you to easily remove things from your home that you no longer need.  Feel free to donate, gift, recycle, or use up these items before opting to throw them away.

We have an active and encouraging Live With Less Facebook group that I would love to have you join.  You can share before and after photos, ask for advice, and share encouraging photos of things you’re letting go of.  You can join by clicking here.




























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Happy New Year!  I hope you’ll join our Live With Less Facebook group so we can connect and chat!

You might also like our 200 Things to Throw Away post.

Car Related New Year’s Resolutions

Car Related New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s is a great time to evaluate your life and replace your bad habits with new ones.  Keep in better contact with family, live in the moment, prioritize your health, and the list goes on and on.  There are hundreds of ways that you can improve your life but what about the life of your car?  If you would like to see your car live a good long and healthy life read on for some New Year’s Resolution ideas.

This post is brought to you by Thompson Toyota.

Car Related New Year’s Resolutions for Drivers

  • -Get your oil changed regularly (mark it on your calendar)
  • -Research how to be fuel-efficient (click here for a good place to start your research)
  • -Save money on gas by using apps to find the cheapest gas (see my full list of gas apps here)
  • -Use the Waze app to carpool with others (see my full list of map apps here)
  • -Be more patient with other drivers
  • -Practice being a courteous driver more
  • -Check your tire pressure monthly
  • -Change your wiper blades before they’re unusable (this is a good one for me)
  • -Keep your car’s interior clean (you might want to check out our list of 7 ways to remove car odors)
  • -Get a monthly plan for the car wash (we started that this year and love it!)
  • -Stop leaving your vehicle idling
  • -Start locking your car when you leave it
  • -Stop speeding
  • -Take your car in for regular maintenance (see how to winterize your vehicle here)
  • -Start saving for upcoming repairs/service and for your next vehicle!

What car related New Year’s resolution could you add to the list?  Personally, I want to add write down which CDs are in the CD changer.  Yes, we have an old van but I love it dearly.  …but for the life of me I can’t keep which CD is in which spot straight.  It’s always the last one I check.  Always.  Happy New Year’s, everyone!!

Natural Spring Cleaning Mixes

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While it may sound more convenient to head out to your local household retail store to purchase cleaners from the shelf, it’s not necessarily cheaper or better for your family. If you’re looking to be more natural with your spring cleaning efforts this season, then please read on for some natural spring cleaning mixes that will help you save money and refrain from the use of harsh chemicals.  I’ve divided the solutions by what you’ll use them to clean.  I hope you’ll find the list helpful!  If you buy store bought cleaners there are safe ones out there.  Mrs. Meyers is a favorite of mine.

Natural Spring Cleaning Mixes

Clean that Stove Hood or Vent

Using mineral oil on your stove hood or vent will surely make that stove shine. Whether you’re looking to remove dingy dust or fingerprints, mineral oil is your go-to natural spring cleaning option.

I love Amazon’s brand of microfiber cleaning rags.  They have 4.5 stars and over 3,700 reviews!


Polish up Stainless Steel

It’s crazy to think that the ingredients in your kitchen can help you polish up stainless steel. Using a small amount of white vinegar on a cloth will clean up the steel and olive oil after will boost the shine.

Clean the Stove Top

We all know how dirty that stove top can get from cooking meals for our family. The trick to getting those burners and the stove top clean is using vinegar and baking soda, let it soak and then wipe down.

Use Lemons for Everything

You’d be surprised how many things you can clean using the simple fruit lemon. You can use this to clean off faucets, shelves, and counters all by itself without mixing it with anything.

Clean the Oven

Use baking soda with water mixed together to create a pasty texture, wipe down the insides of your oven, let it sit for a half hour to an hour and then wipe the inside of your oven clean.

Clean the Kitchen Pots

If you have pots with caked on grime, you can use salt to help scrub away the grime. Soak the pans with a mixture of 3 tablespoons of salt in a couple inches of water.

Bathroom Cleaning

You can create an all-purpose vinegar mixture that is 1 part white vinegar with 1 part water. This mixture can be placed in a spray bottle and naturally clean any area within your bathroom.

Clean the Microwave

Many families can relate the annoyance of a dirty microwave. Place ½ cup of white distilled vinegar with ½ cup of water, heat in the microwave until boiling and wipe away all of that grime.

Clean Laundry

Using 1 teaspoon of tea oil in your laundry will help rid clothes of that dingy cling-on dirt and stains that often take over your kid’s clothing.

Clean the Home

You may also use tea oil as an all-purpose cleaning. Mix 15 drops of tea oil with 1 quart of warm water and place in a spray bottle to clean the entire home.

There you have it, a few natural spring cleaning mixes that will surely help you get that home looking shiny and new in no time. With spring season here, it’s time to get that home looking it’s best to help boost your spirits after a long winter season.  (I know it’s still technically winter but now that Christmas is behind us I’m looking forward to warm days)

Merry Christmas! 2018

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!!

(I’m sorry for all the watermarks, I just don’t like a lot of unmarked pictures of my kids online)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!