Because you know we need the coffee! And, you know us moms need some strong coffee to get through the day with a toddler! (Trying to keep up with the messes they leave behind, dealing with their strong will to be independent, and fighting them to get them buckled into their carseat- that requires some real strength sometimes!!)
p.s. This mug is microwavable, too! Just sayin’, that’s where my coffee usually ends up for most the day.
…and someone to go pick up the food so she can relax while she eats. Taking kids to a restaurant will just make her too stressed, and leaving the kids with a sitter costs money. Let her enjoy not having to make dinner for once!
Every mom deserves a back and neck rub every once in awhile. Unfortunately, even if our kids are sweet enough to try to give us one; they honestly, probably aren’t very good at it. So, get the stressed mom in your life one of these. Or, add it to your cart on Amazon and tell your husband your ideas for mother’s day gifts can be found in your Amazon cart!
If you’re looking for something cute, inexpensive, and DIY for the kids to get mom for mother’s day, an at home spa day would be perfect for stressed moms. As long as she doesn’t have to clean up afterwards! My oldest got this book (totally worth the couple of dollars it costs) when she wasn’t even a year old…no spa day for me yet, though…6 years later.
I hope you were able to find the perfect gift for the stressed mom in your life, or for yourself (to discreetly tell your husband that you want), for Mother’s Day.
It’s the only day of the year that we get all to ourselves, that we get to feel special. And, to be honest, it probably won’t go how we planned; they’ll be messes we still have to clean up, diapers to change, and whining children to attend to. Cherish those moments, though, they won’t last forever!
In a couple blinks of the eye, your children will be older and you won’t be a stressed mom anymore. So, try not to stress, but still enjoy the gifts for stressed moms that you might get, to help you in your motherhood journey!
Gifts to Make Healthy Living in the Kitchen Easier
Have you ever heard that 70-80% of being healthy, or getting in shape, is done in the kitchen?
Well, it’s completely true!
You may not be able to get toned in the kitchen, but what you eat is quite a bit more important than exercising.
Because, again, there’s another saying that tells us that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Meaning if you want to be healthy; it all starts in the kitchen, and you can’t be healthy if you eat junk. Not even if you’re at the gym 24/7.
The gifts below are items that a health nut mom needs in her kitchen, either out of necessity to make healthy things she wants to eat, or to make life easier in the kitchen!
A food processor is one thing I went without for so many years. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without it! Did you know you can make your own bars with it?!? Like Larabars, Nakd bar, and more! I even use it to make the chickpea cookies my girls and I love, and vegan mac and ‘cheese’. There’s just so many things it can do to make cooking and baking, as a health nut of a mom, so much easier.
If a mom into healthy living does not have a peeler yet, do her a favor and grab her one! They’re not expensive, and they make life a whole lot easier in the kitchen. I can’t believe I went so long without one!
I went so long using the pathetic knives that came in the cheap knife sets, because I hate spending money on myself. But, if you’re a health nut, or know a mom who is; please, get her a nice chefs knife. Have you ever tried to cut up a melon or pineapple with a flimsy knife? It’s almost impossible! Make life easy for the health nut in your life and get them a quality chefs knife!
These may be more for the kids, but silicone baking cups are much easier to clean, and more earth friendly, than a regular muffin tin. Plus, they take up less space, can be used to make home made healthy reese’s, fudge, and a ton more! I love them, the heart set pictured above was the first set I got, I have regular round ones, too. Having 24 makes it possible to batch make and freeze your favorite baked good, or any other recipe that needs to be baked in the oven or frozen in the freezer in small portions!!
As a mom, it can be difficult to get in all the fruits and veggies we’d love to have in a day. Drinking it in the form of a smoothie or nutri-blast makes it ten times easier! Plus, this little machine can do much more, from grinding flax seeds and oats into flour, to even making baby food. It’s a health nut moms best friend!
Every mom who is trying to eat healthy, and is into healthy living, should have a salad spinner. With the amount of salads we should be eating, it’s not practical (or cheap) to always get the prewashed and chopped salads. Buy in bulk and wash and chop your own. It’s probably what she’s already doing, and a salad spinner will help keep her greens good longer!
Let’s face it, whether we work out or not, us moms love our yoga pants. They’re super comfy for when we’re home. Stretchy for when we need to squat down to our kids level, or pick up after our little ones. In fact, moms who do exercise should have many pairs of yoga pants; some for lounging around and housework, and some specifically for exercising. So, go grab her another pair, in which ever brand she prefers!
Water is vital to our health, any health nut mom can tell you that. So, why not surprise her with a brand new super large water bottle that she can take with her anywhere! I’m personally a fan of bubba water bottles, but to each their own.
The Best Easter Basket Ideas for Little Kids (That Isn’t Candy!)
Trying to raise healthy kids around Holidays can be super frustrating! There’s candy everywhere! This year, let’s focus on Easter Basket ideas that aren’t huge chocolate bunnies, or peeps, or other candy.
Don’t worry, the Easter basket ideas below aren’t expensive (they certainly won’t add up to $150), and they are in no way related to food.
Having non-food ideas to put in a child’s Easter basket is so important, especially if you don’t want your child eating it all in one day (that may have been me as a child). Plus, if your child happens to have food allergies or can’t have food dyes; you won’t have to worry about checking the label of everything you add to their basket!
Check out the list below for 22+ Ideas of what to put in your childs Easter Basket this year!
It was always a tradition growing up that we would get movies on Easter to watch as a family. I’ve continued to do this for my own girls, and this is probably the most expensive gift my girls get in their Easter baskets each year.
Luckily, there are some ways to not spend a fortune on these. If you haven’t signed up for the Disney Movie Club yet, they usually have a promotion going on for new members; get 4 movies for $1! This has got to be the best deal ever for getting Disney Movies!
Disney owns A LOT of different titles. For example, you could grab your kids the best classic, or newly released, movies, and grab yourself a Marvel movie, with this deal! You can check it out more here!
If it’s your childs first Easter, make sure to buy them a ‘My First Easter’ stuffed animal, you can get these super cheap, like $2-$3 at places like Walmart or the dollar store.
Or, go with TY beanies, which will always be a favorite in my home. They keep making them cuter, with bigger eyes, too!
Filled Plastic Easter Eggs
Fill little plastic Easter eggs with something age appropriate! Your options are almost limitless, the only things you need to consider are the size of the object and whether or not your child might like it.
Here are some ideas:
string and beads to make their own jewelry
pacifier (for infants)
a secret message on a post it note
a small chapstick
small nail polish
You don’t have to spend a lot, and you don’t have to buy junk to put in the Easter eggs, either!
Just think of what types of things your child likes and see if there is something small enough to put in it.
Do they like arts and crafts? Add in some gem stones, beads, or other small items for them to decorate something with.
Do they like playing with something they can shape with their hands? Add in play doh or silly putty.
If you have a bigger item inside their basket, like a coloring book; put some small crayons in the eggs, or something that relates to the bigger item!
My girls actually got these a year or two ago and still use them to this day!
They’re not expensive and makes for a great Easter Basket filler.
These help challenge our little ones brains!
Puzzles are another inexpensive toy. And, with puzzles, you can get them at so many different levels; you could get one for their Easter Basket every year and they won’t get too easy for them, or childish.
Flashcards may seem like something to simply help your kids for school, or prep for school, but many little ones love them!
All children love to learn when they’re young, it’s not until they start going through school where they ‘decide’ if they like it or not. And, if they don’t like school or learning; it could be something else at school going on or that what they are learning is too hard or too easy.
The Brainquest products are also great! My 6 year loves the workbooks, but there are cards, as well. Have them do these during spring break, or any spare time they have when they are ‘bored’!
When kids get to a certain age, or when they have older siblings; they start to love card games!
There are classic card games like uno, or games you can play with a regular deck of cars; there are also plenty of new card games to choose from, too. My 6 year old got uno for Christmas, I’m pretty sure it was one of her favorite gifts!
This little gift in their Easter basket won’t be expensive, and may even teach your children their numbers, math, or to at least try to get along with their siblings to play together!
Stacking Cups or Tupperware
Stacking cups would be great in a childs first Easter Basket when they are infants.
Or, if they’re older, getting them their own set of tupperware, or plates and cups, with their favorite characters on it, may be a hit! They could even bring their lunch to school in their own tupperware containers; or use it to prep their lunch in the morning when summer comes along so they can just go in the fridge when they’re hungry and know which food is theirs.
Every once in awhile water bottles will need to be replaced, especially if you get the cheap ones for your kids where the picture fades away after being washed too many times.
Easter is the perfect time to grab them a new one, as the warm weather will soon be here and they’ll probably start drinking more water as they’re able to go outside and run around more!
Easter or Spring Themed Cookie Cutters
This is something I’ll probably be putting in my girls Easter basket this year. Cookie cutters of bunnies, flowers, and other spring things!
Don’t think that these can only be used for cookies; I’m planning on using them for sliced melons, pineapple, and other fruit, to make fun shapes with fruit to put in their lunches.
Young kids have such fun characters on their toothbrushes now a days. Plus, toothbrushes need to be replaced every three months, anyways. Might as well add it to their basket to make it something fun!
Fun Character Bandaids
Older kids may not care so much about character bandaids, but boy do little kids care! And, they love them!
In fact, the only problem with character bandaids is that kids will want to use them on the tiniest of boo-boos, or even non-existent ones. They disappear pretty quickly.
New Hairbrush and Accessories
For girls, sometimes it’s nice to get a new hairbrush once in awhile. This is the one I just bought and myself and 6 year old are loving it!
Also, hair accessories are always a great thing to add to a little, or older, girls Easter Basket. Hairbands and little hair accessories seem to go missing and need to be replaced every so often, why not make it special and add it to their basket!?!
You could even add cute little headbands for infants, or age appropriate headbands for older girls.
And, not that I have teenagers, but teenage girls may appreciate some new make up, too.
Bath toys are relatively inexpensive, and tend to take up some space. So, this would be great for infants and little kids’ baskets. Whether it’s small foam letters, animals that squirt out water, or bath crayons! They’ll be sure to love it.
Magnetic Letters or Other Magnets
Magnetic letters or magnets in general are great for kids! Either to learn their letters, while they are learning to spell, or for us or them to leave a note on the fridge!
As for other magnets, there are plenty of cute ones available, and kids love to see their drawings or homework/tests displayed proudly on the fridge for the rest of the family to see.
As long as you’re not buying for teenagers with expensive taste; sunglasses are relatively cheap and a great to to add to an Easter basket.
Plus, children tend to outgrow things, even their sunglasses; and with summer coming up, now is a great time to make sure they have a pair that fit!
Cute Easter Socks
I remember getting Easter colored socks in my Easter Basket, even as a teenager. Socks tend to get holes in them and need to be replaced; why not make them festive and add them into a basket.
If you’re unsure about this item for younger kids, maybe get some with the Easter bunny on it, or something else. My 3 year old would be super excited for socks if they had butterflies on them; she loves butterflies!
There is never a time where a book as a gift is a bad idea!
There are so many books available; you could get books about Easter, springtime, or a book your child has been asking for lately. You don’t even have to stick with a regular book, such as the ones below!
Spring or Easter themed books
Soft or small infant books
Learning to Read books
Don’t forget bookmarks, too!
If your child is into crafts; this opens up so many possibilities for what to put in their Easter basket!
What you put in may also depend on the type of crafts they like doing, but for starters you could add in:
Fancy edged Scissors
Printable Easter Coloring/Activity pages
Play Doh Sets or Another Sensory Toy
Sensory toys are great for kids of any age!
Kids love to feel different things and try to form objects out of them, like with play doh or slime. My 6 year old is currently obsessed with getting the slime that is Jojo Siwa branded, because she currently loves everything about Jojo Siwa.
But, there are other toys that can be used for sensory play, such as:
A lot of the items above may seem a little girly, I do have all girls after all. But, these are one thing that both little girls and boys can enjoy. You could buy name brand cars, like hot wheels, or generic ones. Depending on your childs age and how much they know about these small cars, they probably won’t know the difference!
Depending on where you live, Easter could be at the time of year when it’s starting to get nice and warm outside, or maybe it’s already that way for you!
This is the perfect time to start getting small outdoor items for your child. To either replace broken ones or introduce them to new ones!
Some suggestions for outdoor toys:
balloons for water balloons
seeds to plant flowers or food for your child to grow
You Don’t Need to Put Candy in Your Childs Easter Baskets!
There are plenty of inexpensive things you can place in your childs Easter Basket, rather than chocolate and sugary candies.
Start avoiding sweets on Holidays for your children as young as possible, and they won’t even question not getting candy for Holidays when they are older! Plus, you won’t have to deal with sugar induced craziness, or the sugar high that kids get after eating too much candy.
You don’t have to spend a ton or money either.
Simply choose a few items from above, put smaller items that relate to the bigger ones, inside of plastic Easter eggs, to make it look festive, and be sure to add the fake grass at the bottom; and you’re all set!
Don’t forget to share this post on Facebook to help out your other mom friends, and save on Pinterest so you can refer back when needed!
You don’t have to go crazy and get all the things, a few items from this list of Easter Basket Ideas will certainly be enough, especially for younger kids!
47 Adorable and Easy Spring and Easter Crafts for Kids
Are your kids constantly asking you to come up with crafts for them to do? Maybe it’s just my kids; either way, it’s Springtime and with Easter coming up, you’ll want Easter Crafts and ideas easy enough for little kids to do, with a little help from you!
My girls are always asking me to do crafts with them, or asking for more paper and other craft supplies. It beats them sitting in front of the T.V. like screen zombies!
But, it can be hard sometimes to come up with enough crafts to satisfy their arts and crafts cravings. That’s why I compiled all the crafts below in one spot for you.
No more having to think up tons for crafts for them to do in the springtime. With these 47 crafts, you’ll have plenty for the whole season, as long as they don’t try to do more than one on the same day!
As you can see, there are plenty of easy crafts for kids to do in the springtime and for Easter.
You should never run out of arts and crafts ideas for your kids to do?
Some of the crafts above can be modified in ways to make them do-able for younger children; let older children do the whole craft themselves should make them just challenging enough for them to do without getting bored.
I hope your children enjoy these crafts as much as I know my girls will!
Which craft will you and your kids try first? Leave a comment below with the spring or Easter Craft, to let me know!
Don’t forget to pin this post for later, and next spring!
Some traditions you may have kept for your own kids, some maybe not.
And, some may not be so good for your waistline or your teeth (like, chocolate Easter egg hunts at home, competing with your siblings to see who can find the most candy; I always used to win those)! At the time though, when you were a child, you may have enjoyed the traditions, like I did! (Who doesn’t love chocolate! I once at all 60 little chocolate Easter eggs I found in one day; not my proudest moment.)
If you have a small, or growing family and don’t have your traditions set in stone yet, then read on!
I’m going to tell you the 4 must-have traditions for Easter; some even taken from my very own childhood!
They aren’t only the best for your children, but also for yourself. You’ll see why as you read further into this!
The sugary cereal tradition was not one I kept for my children. I try to avoid any extra sugar in their diet whenever possible; no jellybeans or marshmallow chicks, either. But, that’s more so because they’re sticky and horrible for their teeth.
My parents didn’t skimp on the Easter egg hunt, they used chocolate Easter eggs. And, not only regular chocolate eggs, some of the eggs were extra creamy, or butter finger, or even reese’s eggs.
They were hidden everywhere; in sight and out of sight! They were even hidden in candle holders that were up on the wall and hidden behind my moms Precious Moments. Finding these was always so much fun; I was actually really good at finding them!
Although, I never had issues with finding chocolate when I was younger. I remember one year in particular for Easter, where I had won the Easter egg hunt (again…) and pretty much only ate those little chocolate eggs all day long, and the sugary cereal, of course. I had about 60 of them, I don’t think my mom knew until after it happened. But, I’m also pretty sure I was a teenager, and at that time could eat anything I wanted and not gain an ounce. If I were to do that today, I’d probably gain a few pounds and not even fit into my pants after!
But, enough about chocolate, ok, maybe not, we all love chocolate and there could probably never be enough!
We also had chocolate in our Easter basket, which was always full; so much stuff crammed into these little baskets that some of the stuff was just laying out on the kitchen table, along with the cereal and new movies.
You don’t even have to put anything in them for younger children. Or, if you do want to fill them for younger children; just fill them up with small fruit (like grapes or cutie slices) or cheerios to make a fun noise. For older children, fill them with coins for their piggy banks, or small toys! Make it something worth finding!
Even though Easter has been commercialized for companies to make a profit off of it; this holiday tradition is still a must, at least with children.
It’s kind of like setting out a stocking for Christmas; it helps keep the wonder in holidays for children and make them feel special!
And, as much as stores want you to spend, you really don’t have to spend a lot on these baskets. There’s often pre-made ones at stores if you’re short on time (I’ve seen them as cheap as $5; you may not be able to get away with these if you have older children, but you can with little ones!)
Or, you could buy small toys, a few Easter eggs, and maybe a movie to put in them.
One item that always ends up in the basket is some type of stuffed animal. I’m not saying that this a bad thing, it is always my childrens favorite gift (which is why it always has a place in their baskets). For older children, $10 or $15 dollar gift cards may work, as well!
3.) Decorating Easter Eggs
Coloring Easter eggs is one of the most fun, and messiest traditions there is, for Easter that is.
(Tied with carving pumpkins for Halloween.)
This is also a very cheap craft; all you need is eggs, vinegar, and an egg dyeing kit, which is only $1, or so.
Or, if you don’t want to use real eggs, you could always dye or decorate wooden or styrofoam eggs.
Make sure you lay something down on your table before dyeing the eggs, like newspaper. This can get very messy; if you’ve ever tried this with children before, you understand.
If this is your childs first time dyeing eggs, don’t let them wear nice clothes while doing this; they will become a colorful mess. Maybe have them wear a cheap white shirt and let them tie-dye it afterwards!
And now, having children of my own, I understand a little more of why we did this every year. It gives us parents some peace and quiet while the kids are calm; either to watch and the enjoy the movie with them, or clean up from the morning holiday mess. Whatever you choose to do during the movie time on Easter, it is nice to have some quiet time during the day!
Even if you don’t do anything else on Easter day, if you can manage to include these 4 Easter traditions, you can guarantee that your children will have a blast and have some great Easter memories. Some people may go all out for Easter, and that’s alright too. But for little ones, these are all you really need.
Let me know if you have these same Easter traditions, or what your families must-have traditions are for Easter. Share them in the comments below!
How to Keep Your Healthy New Year’s Resolution in 8 Easy Steps!!
We all make at least one of our Healthy New Year’s Resolutions about eating better, right? Well, at least for those of us who actually make resolutions. And, if it’s not about eating healthier, it’s about losing weight, getting fit, or being happier in some way!
And, let’s face it; accomplishing any of those resolutions will only come from eating well, staying active, and feeling successful. So, let me at least help you out with one of those: eating well!
**Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietitian or a professional nutritionist. I simply believe in eating well for people of all ages, and I believe that a whole foods plant based diet is eating well, whereas processed foods are not.
Cause’ you know what they say; 70-80% of your health or fitness comes from what you eat, only 20-30% comes from exercise. Plus, I’m a bit of a health nut, so I know a thing or two about eating well!
That’s not the only reason I want to show you how to eat better; eating better, and the right foods, can help you on so many levels. Eating well can:
help you find your natural body shape
fight fatigue and help you feel less groggy
give you more energy
prevent chronic disorders (and even help cure some)
reduce the number of cravings you get (after eating well for a period of time)
help with so much more!!
So, now you’re thinking; how do I eat well to get some of the benefits above!?!
And, that’s exactly what you’ll learn in the steps below.
I so, soooo, hope that you can fly by the first step or two (or three) because you’re already doing these on a regular basis.
But, if not, that’s alright, it’s not too late to start!
And, if you love pinterest and are on it everyday like I am; you may want to pin this post and come back to it once in awhile simply to refer to. (Especially if you find yourself losing momentum through out the year to keep your healthy eating resolution going strong.)
Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for fresh ideas everyday; to help you with your healthy lifestyle journey (and mom life)!
Step One: Get Inspired
One of the best things you can do to start eating healthy, or eating slightly better than you’re used to, is to inspire yourself to eat better.
(This first step is important, the New Year feeling won’t last forever; you may have to come back to this step every once in awhile.)
Now, depending on your goal, or resolution, you may get inspired to eat better from something different than I do. If you want to eat better so you can lose weight, then that may be inspiration enough. Same with being healthy.
But, if you’re unsure of your why behind your resolution of eating better; then this step is vital to sticking with your resolution.
Maybe you know you should be eating better but you don’t really want to; you don’t have a strong enough why, yet. I’m going to share with you a little trick to help you get inspired!! One that even worked with my husband.
I’m serious, go ahead and watch one (or two, or ten). Netflix has them, Amazon has them: they’re not that hard to find. And it’s way better than doing all of the research yourself!! (You get to sit on your couch, eating whatever you want and watch Netflix- that is, until they tell you about what actually goes into that ice cream you’re enjoying…)
And, you don’t even really need to do too much research yourself to find the most inspiring documentaries to watch! If you have Netflix, you could start with What the Health! And then look at similar films, to find out which documentaries you should watch to be inspired and motivated to eat better!
This is the second most important step, and one you can start right now. I soo hope that you are already drinking water, and hopefully enough water, too!
I know, you’ve been told 8 eight ounce glasses a day.
Have you been drinking that much? Because that is a great start!
Different sources will tell you different amounts. But, whatever the recommended amount, know that it’s for all of your fluid intake during the day; including the fluid from your food, like from fruits and veggies, too!
So, if you’re eating plenty of fruits and veggies and drinking 8 eight oz glasses of water a day; you’re golden! Keep it up!
How much water you require will also depend on if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, men need more water than women, and children need less (except for teenagers, who need just as much as adults).
In general, if you’re pregnant you need more water than if you’re not, but not too much more (thank goodness, we’re running to the bathroom enough during pregnancy). I hope this makes sense to you; you’re providing water to two human beings, you have a ton of extra blood in your body and your body is working harder than usual.
And then, when you’re breastfeeding, you need even more water. When I was breastfeeding my first daughter I was actually taking a nutrition course in college. The professor had us buy expensive nutrition software (that expired after 6 months *sad face*), and according to that I had to drink at least a gallon of water a day! Other sources will tell you differently. But, if you can aim for about a gallon a day when breastfeeding, it’s only going to benefit you and your baby…or toddler.
(Something else I remember clearly about water from that course was that we should be sipping water all day long, not just drinking a few glasses with each meal.)
A few benefits of drinking enough water:
helps prevent constipation
helps you lose weight, or stay full longer
keeps your skin stay healthy and looking hydrated (young)
helps reduce headaches (and helps get rid of headaches)
helps keep your kidneys functioning normally
To be honest, I didn’t get serious about drinking enough water until I was in college; I didn’t know any better.
But, when I did know better, I was that person carrying around a huge water bottle everywhere I went. And, I still do. If you want a water bottle that you don’t have to fill up every couple of hours, this one holds 52 ounces of water!!
I highly recommend investing in a good water bottle to keep by your side at all times!
Step Three: Eat More Fruits and Veggies
I hope this step is obvious.
I know you know this one; so, why aren’t you doing it?
Fruits and veggies add extra liquid, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and even protein to your diet. This is where you could get most of your variety of what you eat from, not different flavors of ice cream or juice.
Have you ever heard that you should be eating all of the colors of the rainbow? (I’m not talking about skittles here!)
Different colored fruits and veggies have different vitamins and minerals.
You probably already know that many warm colored fruit, like oranges and strawberries, are famous for vitamin C. And that warm colored veggies, like carrots and sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene (a precursor for vitamin A). But, there are a ton of other vitamins and minerals than just those, just think of all the B vitamins and all of the minerals I didn’t mention. (Like potassium; bananas probably come to mind when you think of this mineral.)
To be completely honest, the way I was able to get in enough fruits and veggies daily was by making it a challenge for myself!! I wrote down on my habit tracker to eat 6-10 fruits or veggies a day for the first month. And, after that, I wrote down to eat 8-10. I follow through almost everyday!
Now, I don’t want to sound pushy or anything in this step (vegans get a bad rap for this), so I’m just going to recommend some healthy proteins below that anyone could enjoy (vegan or not). And since eating meat and dairy doesn’t have too many benefits, these would not really be considered healthy. They raise your cholesterol, are high in saturated fat, contributes to diabetes, heart conditions, and more. Plus, if you’re trying to lose weight; consuming meat and dairy will prove counter productive (yes, even skim milk).
So, what are you supposed to eat if you want to reduce the unhealthy protein (animal protein) from your diet?
Tofu (add silken to smoothies or extra firm and cubed- cook and serve with brown rice, sweet potatoes, and broccoli!)
Veggies (yes, veggies have protein!)
Nuts and Seeds (my daughters favorite is peanut butter)
Lentils (I’ve been loving split pea sweet potato soup lately!)
Non-dairy milk (I drink unsweetened soy milk)
It’s really not that difficult to add different, healthier, proteins into your diet. This will help you reduce the other protein in your diet that may not be as good for you. (If you want more details for why animal protein isn’t the best kind of protein for you, please watch some health documentaries- they will change the way you think!!)
Step Five: Know What You’re Eating
In this step you will find out what you are actually putting into your body!
Do you know what you’re eating?
Have you ever looked at the nutrition label on the back of the package?
I sure hope so, and not just for the calories!
In this step, I don’t want you to worry about the calories, protein, carbs, or fat in a product.
Focus on the ingredients.
Read them out loud (maybe wait til you get home).
Can you pronounce all the ingredients on the list?
Should you be able to?
Yes, at least for the most part!
If there’s an ingredient in your food that you can’t even pronounce, chances are that it’s not very good for you.
Now, if you’re thinking my food doesn’t have a nutrition label; then you’re probably eating something from a bulk food bin from the health section at the store or it’s produce. And in that case, go ahead and buy all of these you want. It’s probably just that one food that would be on the ingredient list. (Like an apple, or dates.)
Be careful of some of the items in bulk food bins though, read the ingredient list on the bin before dumping them into a bag!
Watch out for added sugars and MSG; these have a ton of different names that they go by on the ingredient list, to either make them undetectable to the average shopper, or to appear like there’s not as much.
If you’re trying to lose weight, then you will want to avoid MSG as much as possible.
Did you know, the way scientists study obesity with rats is by giving lab rats MSG to make them obese? (Because they won’t naturally become obese.)
It’s true! (Unfortunately, in my psych lab in college I didn’t get to experiment this way with the rats. We did teach rats how to dispense their own food, though.)
Here’s a few different names that MSG goes by (so you can watch out for them):
Make sure you are aware of what you are putting into your body. And, if you don’t know what an ingredient in your food is; look it up. Isn’t that what our smartphones are for?
Step Six: Know What You Love to Eat
If you’re concerned with more than just your own eating habits, or cook for more than just yourself, like us moms do on a daily basis; this step may take a little bit more time and a lot more thought, and not just from ourselves.
In this step you’ll need to figure out what meals and snacks you actually enjoy, and which ones are actually good for you to eat. Tell your kids sorry and let them know that cake and ice cream don’t belong on the list (unless it’s home made ice cream, in that case- go for it).
I would recommend you sign up to receive my meal planning templates; there’s one page for you to write down all of your (or your families) favorite foods. Use pencil; these can sometimes change, plus after you write them down you’ll have to figure out which ones actually benefit your health, rather than sabotage it.
Which meals are based around veggies? These are the ones you’ll want to put at the top of your list.
Do you have any without a lot of nutritional value; like white pasta with white bread and butter? Erase those.
Anything with a ton of sugar? Erase those too, or try to reduce the sugar or find an alternative to use instead, like maple syrup.
Don’t skimp on this step; it’s a stepping stone to the next step in this how to guide.
Use what you learned about your (or your families) tastes, and preferred snacks and meals, from the last step to create a meal plan. You could plan for one week, 2 weeks, or even a whole month.
I recommend planning for two weeks at a time, which is why my meal planning template has enough space for two weeks on it. With two weeks, you’ll know what ingredients you’ll need for half of the month, without being overwhelmed.
Trying to find meals, or snacks, with similar ingredients for two weeks worth of food, and not feeling like you’re eating the same thing everyday; it’s a lot easier than you’d think than just planning for one week. Plus, the only thing you may have to buy every other week when you go to the store is produce, or things you run out of in a week, like soy milk.
For this step I recommend prepping for only one week at a time; unless you want to buy all of your food for two weeks at a time and freeze the meals for the second week. And, you may be thinking that you don’t have enough time to plan out your meals, let alone make them ahead of time.
But, if you think like this; then you don’t have time to not take this step! It will save you a ton of time in the long run; time thinking about what you want to eat, going to the store to buy last minute ingredients, and making the meal on the spot.
Making all of your food for the week ahead will actually save you quite a bit of time through out the week. And it may not take as long as you think!
When I was working full time outside my home, running my older daughter to preschool and then back home; meal prepping was a life saver.
Every single day of the week I was busy. I didn’t have a break; I had an infant, a preschooler, a husband, and a 40 hour a week job. If I didn’t prepare all of my food during my weekend, then I didn’t eat. (Well, I did eat, but the food wasn’t as healthy, and at times may have been questionable.)
It really won’t take as long as you might think, either. Even on weeks where I made meals that required the stove and the oven; it only ever took me a few hours.
Plus, I only had to do dishes once for all of the baking and cooking for the week. (Alright, so this is a major bonus for me, as I have to wash dishes by hand.)
Meal planning and prepping will help you save money and avoid waste; who doesn’t want that!
Step Eight: Don’t Lose Focus!!
This step is what’s going to help you keep your resolution for eating better through out the whole year!
Stay focused on your goal.
Stay focused on what goes into your body, and why you care.
If you start to lose focus, then go back to step one. It’s alright if you need to go through this process multiple times through out the year.
No one’s perfect and we all get off track sometimes. Situations change, and we may get distracted by life for a few weeks and rely on packaged foods to keep our hunger down.
Start focusing on drinking more water than coffee again, and eating more fruits and veggies.
You’ll want to figure out some new delicious meals with healthier proteins in them and start reading the ingredient list on the back of the food that you’ve been eating lately.
Write down any new favorite meals you have or find, and get back into the habit of meal planning and meal prepping if you’ve been too relaxed about it lately (it happens)! And, that’s why we need to stay focused!
Sure, there can be a lot to do, or know, about sticking to a healthy lifestyle and eating well all the time.
But, it’s totally worth it!
No one’s asking you to be perfect, and no one will pick on you if you slip up and eat a whole bag of Reese’s in one sitting because you caved just one time.
We’re human, we can’t expect ourselves to have perfection when it comes to eating. Just do your best to stay focused and eat well!!
(Let me fill you in on a few New Year’s Resolution Tips that I’ve learned over the years; as a goal setter, someone who graduated with a psychology degree, and as a mom.)
The New Year motivates pretty much everyone to create resolutions; whether it be to eat better, finally lose the baby weight, or simply to be a better person.
This is a time when you, and I, can dream a little and make ridiculous resolutions that everyone, except us, believe we will fail at within a month or so.
And guess what, they may not be wrong.
What happened to the New Year’s resolutions that you made last year?
Have you ever stayed with your resolutions for an entire year?
Even just once?
I don’t think I have.
I honestly can’t remember a single year where I made a resolution and then was proud of myself at the end of the year for keeping it up. Though, I never tend to write them down in a place I’ll see them in a year.
We have to face the facts; most people fail at their New Year’s resolutions.
Not on purpose, but it happens; we forget, life gets in the way, we get too busy. There are so many excuses we use when we keep failing our resolutions, year after year!
But, not this year!
I’m going to shed the light on some of the reasons we fail at keeping our New Year’s resolutions; so that maybe you can get a better understanding of why we seem to always fail!
And maybe, if you understand the reasoning behind giving up on resolutions, you’ll be less likely to give them up and more likely to succeed and accomplish your goals for the year!!
5 Powerful New Year’s Resolution Tips
1. Write Them Down
The worst thing you could do to sabotage your New Year’s resolutions, or any goal for that matter, is not writing them down!
Writing down your goals can benefit you in many ways; one of which is actually remembering what they are!
When I was little I daydreamed about what I wanted to accomplish every year at the new year; you probably did, too. But, I never wrote them down. I can’t really remember what any of them are now; I never wrote them down.
Take my advice: write down your goals and daydreams before you forget them forever.
Both you and your child will be amazed at how their goals and dreams mature over the years. It might even be fun for them!
When you have some time, or when you’re done writing down your goals; grab them a special notebook to write down their goals, wishes for life, and daydreams. Help them succeed; start them off at a young age!
Though, it’s never too late to start making a difference in your life with New Year’s resolutions or goals, so go grab one for yourself, as well!!
Don’t sabotage your New Year by not writing out your resolutions!!
I know, it can be hard sometimes to share your resolutions, or goals, with others.
You may not want them to know that you wish you could lose some weight this year, or cut out sugar, or whatever resolution you may have.
But, if you let someone else in your life know what you want to accomplish this year; it could do wonders for you actually achieving it!
Sure, when you keep your goals to yourself then you won’t feel all that embarrassed if you don’t accomplish them.
But, what if you actually succeed?
You don’t want to keep that all to yourself now, do you?
Probably not, right?
And, with telling others in your life about your goal, like your friends and family, then they may even help you succeed. Or, at the very least, won’t make your goals harder to achieve by tempting you to break them because they don’t know any better.
You’ll have a support system to go to if you’re feeling unmotivated; people to talk to, to help you stick with it. And, when you finally succeed, they get to be even more happy for you because they were right there with you; they knew how hard it was for you.
They knew the ups and downs you had when trying to keep your resolutions, or accomplish your goals!
So, if you really want to succeed this year, then gain some accountability and get a support system in place!
Tell others so they can help you stay on track all year long! If you set your goals, or resolutions, high enough then you will certainly need some help getting there.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a little help and you’re much less likely to give up if you actually have that little bit of extra help or encouragement along the way!
3. Do Everything You Can to Keep Them in Mind
When you don’t tell others, and you don’t write down your resolutions, it can be really easy to just forget about them.
If you don’t tell anyone else then you won’t really feel accountable for accomplishing them; you’re the only one who knows, so if you don’t accomplish them then no one will be nagging you about trying harder. And, if you don’t write them down, then you’ll probably forget about them anyways, especially if you have a memory like mine!
To overcome this obstacle you must have some self discipline, a plan to succeed, and then actually follow through to succeed!
I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, especially if you’re lacking in the self discipline area. It’s hard, and I get that, like the saying goes “if it were easy, then everyone would be doing it”.
If your resolution is to eat healthy all year long; I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy.
You need to meal plan, meal prep, and then actually eat what you planned for and prepped. It is far too easy to just forget about it and order out.
Same thing goes with saving money, or practically any other resolution you can come up with! And, sure, you can cut corners and cheat on your New Year’s Resolution without others knowing; you’re an adult and I can’t tell you what to do. But, it’s not going to help you get any closer to your goal; it may even derail you or take you longer to accomplish.
And sure, it is far too easy to simply forget about your resolutions and do the complete opposite of them.
Sometimes your body may even feel like it’s craving to do so, especially in the beginning; like it’s working against you in some way. That’s just because change is hard; that is why accomplishing goals and sticking with resolutions is so much of a challenge.
Now, you could fall in line with everyone else and fail your resolutions, or you can work hard and accomplish your goals and know how it feels to actually stick with a resolution all year long.
Now, you know it’s not going to be easy, but like the saying goes, it will be worth it!
Use a habit tracker, sticky notes or a white board on the fridge, write it in your planner. Do what you have to, to stand out and accomplish your goals!
4. Stop Trying to Blend In!
I get it, sometimes you don’t want to be the one to stand out in a crowd; you want to fit in and be like everyone else. It’s natural to want others to like you, and one way to do that tends to be to act like everyone else, even when it means giving up on your resolutions.
Who do you know who has actually stuck with their resolutions all year long?
Probably no one…
…maybe one or two people.
It’s not the norm to stick with resolutions, or succeed.
It’s hard and most people aren’t willing to put in the extra effort and do what needs to be done to accomplish their goals. You may think that no one likes that person who actually succeeds on what they set out to accomplish.
But, reality is that they are just jealous. Jealous that they don’t have the self discipline to follow through on their own goals and do what they know they should be doing. So, they are really just mad at themselves for not being able to do what you’re doing!
Don’t give up on your goals or resolutions to try to fit in.
The only thing you’re doing is hurting yourself and your dreams when you give up; you’re not making people like you less. Others may even admire the hard work you’re putting in to accomplish your goals. Who knows, you may even be inspiring others.
If they don’t like you for succeeding, then ask yourself if you really want to fit in with them.
Another reason you may be failing at sticking with your resolutions is that you don’t have the self discipline you need to actually stick with them!
Maybe you’re relying on the newness of the New Year, or other outside sources for your motivation; when really, it needs to come from within you.
I totally understand that it’s easier to wait til the New Year, or Monday, to start working towards a goal; it’s a fresh start, a new beginning.
But, what do you think happens when it’s not new anymore? Your motivation probably starts to fade and you don’t have the discipline you need to stick with your resolution.
And then, there goes that dream, or goal!
That’s why you can’t always just rely on motivation; you need to strengthen your self discipline!
Generally speaking, a resolution isn’t going to be easy; at times you may find it too difficult and just want to give up on it. You’re not going to feel motivated all the time.
It’s like being an adult sometimes; it’s not always easy to do what needs to be done, but at the end of the day it still needs to get done, so you do it. That is what self discipline is all about! Doing what needs to get done even if you don’t want to! Most people just won’t do it; be different, stand out, and succeed this year!
Stick With Your Resolutions All Year Long
Now, there are more reasons why people don’t stick with their resolutions all year long.
But, if you can use these 5 tips to your advantage, then you’ll be much more likely to succeed.
Give yourself a fighting chance at accomplishing your goals this year and take my advice!
Use this as a little bit of motivation, learn from all the mistakes you’ve made in the past when failing your resolutions year after year.
Be stronger, starting now, and strengthen your self discipline; do what needs to get done!
Tell others your plans and let them hold you accountable for following through, but hold yourself accountable as well. Many times it can be an internal struggle to accomplish your goals.
Don’t let anything stand in your way, this isn’t a time for excuses.
You’ve got this!!
Pin this on Pinterest or save it for when you need a little bit of motivation to keep you going or for when you feel weak.
And, don’t forget to grab this printable and hang it somewhere to avoid these New Year Resolution pitfalls!
Why You Need to Start Your New Year’s Resolution Early
Are you one of those people who signs up for a gym membership at the beginning of a new year?
Or, someone who will plan on starting to eat healthy, goes to the grocery stores and buys all of the beautiful produce; just to let it go to waste because your cravings kick in?
You may plan on getting in shape or eating well this new year. But, if the ‘New Year’ is the only motivation you have to become and stay healthy; then you’re not going to have an easy time sticking with it.
Our country’s weight is growing; and it’s not from a lack of new gym memberships at the beginning of every New Year. It could be from the lack of actually using those memberships all year round, though.
If you need the New Year to help keep you motivated to stay healthy, then go ahead and enjoy the extra motivation; but, that shouldn’t be your only motivation.
You need more than just motivation to keep healthy and fit; you also need self discipline, for when you lack motivation. Go here if you need help with finding or strengthening your self discipline. If you’re self discipline is not the problem and you’re just looking for some better reasons to start your healthy lifestyle New Year’s Resolution NOW, then keep reading.
To Feel Ahead of the Game Before it Even Begins
Even if you can just get all of the planning done and prepare for your New Year’s Resolutions now; you’ll be ahead of everyone else. And, yes, you’re not supposed to compare yourself to others. But, wouldn’t it make you feel good if you know you have a plan and know how you can succeed this next year before this next year even starts?
It would feel awesome!
So, get out a pretty notebook and start a plan of action for everything you want to accomplish this next year. And, once you’re done with that; start.
Don’t wait for the New Year, start when you have the momentum and your plan. Do what you can before the next year starts. Get ahead, and then stay ahead as long as you can; it’ll help keep you moving forward simply to know how far you have come. Plus, if you slip up for a few days, or even a month, you’ll be much more likely to get right back to it, knowing you had some built in buffer time from starting early!
If new beginnings and fresh starts are what motivates you at the New Year; think of how each and every day can be a fresh start for you.
Start working towards a goal, and if you have a bad day and feel like you can’t get back into the groove of things; remember, it’s just one day. Simply go to bed and then wake up the next morning knowing that it’s a new day; start fresh and get back into the groove of things.
There’s no mistake so big that you have to wait a whole year for a fresh start. Take everything day by day. Or, hour by hour or moment by moment; depending on what you want accomplished. (Moment by moment may work well with a goal of becoming a better parent or person.)
This is also your reminder to not let one bad day ruin a streak of good days. Life can get rough sometimes; remembering that everyday is a fresh start can help ease the rough times. There’s always a better, brighter future ahead!
You’re More Likely to Keep on Track
If you start working towards your New Year’s resolutions now instead of waiting for the new year; you’ll be more likely to actually stick with it and stay on track. Starting before hand usually means that you’re not making up excuses or waiting for motivation to come to you.
You have more self discipline, and you strengthen your discipline by not using a motivator, like the New Year, to start working on your goals. This is why you will be one of the very few people to keep on track all year round, instead of giving in and quitting when the new-ness of the New Year wears out.
Plus, if you’re able to start now, that really shows some self discipline. It can be tough to start working towards new goals this time of year with the holidays; especially if those goals pertain to becoming healthy.
Set Realistic Goals
Many people set unrealistic goals and resolutions for the new year; thinking that anything and everything is possible because of this new start.
Unfortunately, not everything is possible to do in a single year. And, using the fresh start of a New Year as the motivator to accomplish these unrealistic goals; you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
Starting now can help you set goals without the pressure of having to share your goals, or New Year’s resolutions with anyone else. There’s no pressure setting goals now; if you try them out for this week and decide you want to change your goals, then go ahead. No one is going to be nagging you about keeping your New Year’s resolution at this time of year.
Feeling extra motivated? Check out The 12 Week Year and get more done in 3 months than most people do in a whole year!
Think of How much closer you will be to your goal
On the same note about setting realistic goals before the New Year; you will also be that much closer to your goal even by the time the New Year rolls around!
If you want to become fit this next year, an extra week can make a huge difference in your progress.
Or, if your goal is eat healthier, even if you don’t start eating healthier til the New Year; you can still find healthy meals, recipes, and snacks to make. You can start meal planning and prepping so that the transition to eating healthier goes a lot smoother.
Or, if you want to start being a better person this next year; there is no better time to start than Right Now!! There is so much good that can be done during the Holiday Season.
Just imagine how much you can accomplish between now and the New Year if you get to work on your resolutions NOW!! You may even impress yourself!
And, Adjust the Goals when the New Year comes (if need be)
If you start now and realize that your goal, or resolution, is a lot harder to do than you thought; adjust your goals so that they’re more realistic. That way when people ask you what your New Year’s resolution is and you tell them, you’ll feel more confident that you’ll actually accomplish it.
And, that’s pretty impressive; to actually stay strong and hold onto your New Year’s resolution.
It will show other’s just how disciplined you are and that you actually do what you say you will. It’s a win-win.
Or, on the other side of things; if you try out your resolution now and it’s too easy then go ahead and adjust your goal to challenge yourself. You need to make a resolution that’s challenging enough to change you and motivate you to change, but not too challenging that you simply won’t stick with it.
This balance is hard to find, and the sooner you start, the easier it will be to find the balance and adjust your goals accordingly. Maybe make smaller goals that lead up to a large one and reward yourself along the way. Use some positive reinforcements as motivation!
If NOW isn’t the Best Time, what Makes the New Year the Best Time?
One of the biggest reasons to start now instead of waiting is because there will never be the ‘right time’ or ‘best time’ to start. If you can’t motivate yourself to start now, or even prepare to start now; what’s going to make it so you start at the New Year and actually stick with it the whole year?
If you don’t have the self discipline to start now; will you have the self discipline to start the first day of the year?
Sure, it may seem like it would be easier to start working towards your resolutions at the New Year, when everyone else does. But remember, everyone else does not stick with their resolutions for the year and do not accomplish their goals.
Only the people who have enough self discipline will actually stay with their New Year’s resolutions. And, those people with enough self discipline are probably still working on their resolutions from last year and adjusting their goals for this next year; and getting a head start on them right now!
Don’t you want to be one of those people, who actually gets things done and accomplished? Don’t you want to be where they are now, next year at this time; and not feeling like you failed last year’s resolutions? Start now, and show yourself who’s boss and in charge of your life!
Being a stay at home mom, you don’t get to think much about what you want.
You’re too busy worry about the wants and needs of everyone else in your family; your kids, pets, husband, parents. Basically, anyone you’re related to or see often enough to care for.
Oh, you’re on the list somewhere, way at the bottom. That’s why it’s so difficult for you to come up with what you want whenever anyone asks you.
I get it.
It’s hard to think about your own wants or needs when you’re so preoccupied thinking about others.
That’s why I’ve created the list below with some things us stay at home moms could really appreciate in our non-self-centered lives. From items that we need, things that you could certainly use but may not have thought of, to things that you actually want and will enjoy!
Just in case you do need some ideas for you kids, as well:
You know that there are things you need that you just can’t think of when asked, like new socks because all of yours have holes in them. But, the ideas below are a little more unique than just socks!
(But, in all honesty, if all your socks have holes in them, just get them for yourself already. This is your sign if you needed one. I know I’m due for some new socks!)
Ok, so you don’t have to ask for these unicorn slippers. But, slippers are very useful as a stay at home mom. We’re on our feet more often than others think we are; with hard wood floors, it can be rough on our feet and slippers are advised.
A Nice Coffee Mug
I love this coffee mug! If only it were true; my toddler is quite strong, my coffee can’t even begin to compete. I still love the coffee mug my mom got for me right after I had my first daughter. It said “Mommy’s Sippy Cup”. I haven’t been able to find it online anywhere, but it was one of the taller travel mugs; perfect for moms who like to enjoy their coffee.
I just have one suggestion, especially for any new stay at home moms out there, make sure the coffee mug you ask for is microwave safe. This is vital, as half the life of your mug, it’ll be sitting in the microwave waiting to be heated up…again. (The one above is microwave safe, I already checked!)
Things Use Could Use and Appreciate: Gifts for Stay at Home Moms
One step up from asking for what you need, is asking for things that you can appreciate more and could use for yourself! Not just new slippers because yours got worn out.
An ‘I will watch the kids for a few hours’ Gift Card
What a great idea! Just have whoever wants to get you a gift make you a ‘gift card’ that gives you a number of free hours that they will watch your kids. This gift doesn’t cost any money for the person giving it, simply time. And, I can’t think of a single woman I know, who’s a mom, who will deny the chance to get a break, or time to themselves for a few hours, or even a single hour!
Living Well Planner
Maybe it’s just me, but I need a planner; a nice one, too. Ever since I got my first one in middle school, I was addicted to staying organized with a planner. Finding the right planner can be difficult, if you haven’t already found one you’re in love with. The Living Well Planner is perfect. It has a place to plan each day (by the hour), a place to meal plan, and a place to set goals for yourself. It also has a section for you to budget, but I use my own budget sheets, which are a bit simpler and more customizable to use.
Things YOU Actually Want: Gifts for Stay at Home Moms
Then, there’s the things that you actually want, not ‘want’ because you ‘need’ them. Unless, you haven’t gone shopping since before you had your first child, or you’ve gone shopping, but it’s never for you. If that’s the case, then you really need the gifts below, don’t be afraid to ask for them!
Ask for a gift card for a store where YOU can buy YOURSELF something, whether it be clothes or something else you enjoy. Just make sure you don’t ask for a generic gift card, like for Walmart, where you’ll be tempted to buy groceries or stuff for your kids with.
This is supposed to be a gift for you, not your fridge or your kids. Don’t worry, your kids will get enough presents over the Holidays, and if they’re anything like my girls, they really don’t need any more toys, anyways.
Alright, maybe this is just me again, but I like wearing yoga pants; they’re better than sweat pants because it’s completely acceptable to go pick your kids up from school in them. Plus, they’re comfy, and no one can tell that you didn’t just come from working out! The pair above even has a hidden pocket, perfect for holding keys while carrying a tantrum throwing 2 year old while picking up your older child. Oh, wait, maybe that’s just me…
Something for a favorite hobby
Whatever you favorite hobby is, I’m sure there’s something that you’d love to have for it, but maybe haven’t thought of yet. Whether you like to read and just want a few new books, like to cook and need something new or unique for the kitchen, or maybe you’re like me and blog and would prefer something for that, like this for taking photos.
Whatever you ask for this year, just make sure it’s actually for YOU and something YOU would enjoy.
As moms, we tend to ask for things that our children want or to make our children or family happy. Which isn’t bad, it’s just we deserve to get something just for us. Not for us to make our family food, unless of course baking or cooking is a passion of yours.
And, of course, this Holiday season and gift ideas above are not all about being selfish and only worrying about yourself; you’re a mom, you can’t even if you wanted to. But, you deserve to feel special, just like everyone else that you buy gifts for. Simply think like a kid and think of what you would want for Christmas; ask for it, and believe in the magic of Christmas this year!
7 Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family This Year!!
This Holiday season is upon us!
Thanksgiving was a few days ago and Christmas music is on the radio.
Decorations for Christmas started to plague all the stores a few weeks ago. And, although a lot of things we do for Christmas costs money, there are still some family traditions that are basically free (or, at the very least, affordable).
The traditions I’m talking about aren’t abnormal or even really different from ones that you probably have.
But, they are the essence of Christmas for your kids!
Some of the traditions I had when I was younger, other’s I started myself for my own little girls. Either way, they are important enough for me to write about, so they’re pretty important!!
My family and I did this when I was a kid. And, even after having kids of my own, there hasn’t been a year in my life where this tradition was skipped.
As soon as your child reaches the toddler stage; they can start helping with the decorating, even if it means hanging up the non-breakable ornaments at the bottom of the tree. You may have to spend more time evening out the ornaments after your little one goes to bed. But, it’s completely worth it letting them join in on this holiday tradition!
A few things to decorate:
Fire place (if you have one)
Your Kitchen (you’re going to be spending quite a bit of time in here with all the holiday baking- might as well look like the holidays, too!!)
Railings for indoor stairs
Anything else you can imagine- you could even create a Holiday Display on a table!! (My mom always did this with a mini Christmas village.)
2. Make Christmas Presents
This is a great tradition, especially if your budget is real tight this year. My 2 girls, who were both under 5 two years ago, made the mugs below for their grandparents for Christmas!
Well, my older daughter and myself made them. My younger daughter was less than a year old so she didn’t help much.
However, we also made non-toxic clay-like ornaments and painted them, my 11 month old at the time, had a blast with that!! We had so much fun last year, that I’m hoping we can do this every year as a tradition. Not the same presents over and over again, but the DIY presents, even if my girls are just making presents for each other or myself and husband.
There’s a ton of other presents you or your children could make as well this year. Such as:
Ever since I could remember I have been doing this, whether it’s been watching Christmas movies before Christmas (like Rudolph or How the Grinch Stole Christmas), or on Christmas day with the new movies that Santa brought myself or siblings.
I still love watching Christmas movies before Christmas and make it a point to do so with my husband and 2 girls, now.
This is the best tradition to have, especially with little kids. It gives them a chance to wind down, and calm down, for an hour or so, if we’re lucky. It also gets them in the holiday mood and excited for the magical time of year that most of us call Christmas!!
It also has us adults remembering the simpler times of when we were kids and starts to bring back a little bit of that magical Christmas feeling. Along with giving us some peace and quiet from our childrens non-stop talking. Here are some essential movies to watch before Christmas:
I have always loved baking Christmas Cookies, ever since I can remember. I even remember one year, probably when I was a teenager or almost a teenager, I made most of the Christmas cookies myself. Or, at least it felt like I made most of them myself. Either way, I made quite a few dozen cookies!
It was a tradition to always make what felt like an obscene amount of Christmas cookies every year. We’d take them to Christmas Parties at my grandparent’s houses on both sides of the family, every year. We would also eat quite a few of them before they made it out the door. And, I also remember my mom staying up late almost every year on Christmas Eve making even more cookies; we could never have enough!
Even after having my own kids; I continue to make a ton of Christmas cookies every year. My older daughter has been helping me with this since she was two. My younger daughter joined in on this tradition last year, right before she turned two!
I may have created some of my own cookie recipes; taking my favorite Christmas cookie and making it healthier and vegan!!
Here are some must have Christmas Cookies to make this year:
Sugar Cookies (this is the only time of year I allow white sugar to be in my home, all other times it is practically banned)
Chocolate-Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
Ginger Bread Cookies
5. Stay Home on Christmas Day
Staying home on Christmas Day is another one of the best traditions you can have, especially with kids.
Do this for as long as you can; one day your kids may move out and then you may not have them home for Christmas anymore. Most kids probably won’t mind this tradition either; they get to stay in their pj’s all day long and play with their new toys and watch their new movies.
What more can a kid possibly ask for?
Even teenagers can enjoy this; playing with their new electronics. Plus, with all the social media out there for our consumption, it’s not like teenagers will really be missing much anyways. When I was a teenager, MP3 players were a big thing. One year I spent most of Christmas day filling my new device up with a ton of songs; transferring them from CD to my MP3 player. (Do they even make MP3 players anymore?)
Staying home also reduces the stress of having to get kids ready to go places, even if it is to a relatives.
It makes the whole day just that much better. Also, there’s not many places even open on Christmas, so you can’t exchange that one present your child doesn’t like anyways.
No going anywhere, no stress, just a relaxing day with your immediate family!
6. Leave Out Cookies for Santa
If your children still believe in Santa, then help them leave out some cookies and milk (or soymilk) for Santa. Even if you have younger kids who do believe in Santa and older kids who don’t; don’t let your older ones spoil the magic of Christmas for the younger ones. And, if all your kids are old enough and don’t believe in Santa; make them leave milk and cookies out for Santa.
This is where part of the magic of Christmas comes from, and a necessity on the list of Christmas traditions families need in their lives.
You’r child leaves out milk and cookies for Santa, and in the morning they’re half gone; you’re child believes that Santa actually came to leave them presents and toys in their stockings, and you get some extra Christmas cookies. It’s a win-win, if you ask me!!
7. Write a Letter to Santa (if your child is old enough, but not too old)
Actually, having your child write out a list of things they want would even be a great tradition to teach, on a few different levels.
My older daughter is just starting to write, so this year is going to be the first year I have her try to write out a Christmas list for us. Who knows, she may even want to write a letter to Santa when I bring it up. (I’ll just need to tell her how to spell every single word she writes.)
One reason this is a great tradition is because year after year they are going to be asked what they want for Christmas; might as well get them in the habit when they’re young.
Writing a Letter to Santa also helps them with their writing skills; whether it be spelling, grammar, or learning to write in the style of an actual letter, and not just scribbles.
This little holiday exercise even helps with the skill of decision making. That is a huge skill to learn, and an important one. Honing in on it with a simple list of what they want for Christmas is an easy and fun way to start building up that skill for little ones!!
Why Holiday Traditions?
Holiday traditions have been around forever and they are what make the holidays The Holidays.
They bring the holiday feeling to life, help us enjoy and appreciate family more (and cookies). They bring hope and joy into our lives. And, they end with a New Year; a chance to start again. To start the New Year right, and surrounded by those who are most important to us.
For Christmas, it’s not the presents that matter, or even the food.
What matters is being with our children and strengthening the bond we have with them. One of the best ways we can do this is by creating, or instilling, Holiday traditions in our homes that are meaningful and that everyone will enjoy and participate in.
This Holiday season start some of your own with your children. Share this post if you found it useful, or leave a comment to let us know some of your holiday traditions!!