Stress Less

Posts to help stress less and relieve overwhelm!! Stay organized and productive! And, keep your sanity when the kids are around!

I totally get it. Right now as I write this my two girls are running around me…placing stickers who knows where, all over the house. Life can get chaotic sometimes. But, we can do this….and keep our sanity while doing so.

Us moms are pretty awesome people.

We raise tiny humans into adults. We shape how they learn, react to different situations, their habits, and what they eat. They mimic us when they’re little, and they keep some of our habits for themselves when they grow up! Let’s stress less so that they can do the same when they’re adults!

new year's resolution

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!

Check out The Ultimate Guide to Keep Your Healthy New Year’s Resolution All Year Long! for help planning out your resolution to be healthy this next year.

You Can Start Fresh Every Day

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!

new year's resolution

new year's resolution

If you need a quick workbook to help you plan out your goals (and eat healthy- because I’m a little bit of a health nut) then you can sign up to get my workbook How to have a Healthy and Productive Day!!

Related Posts:

How to Find and Improve Your Self Discipline

5 Ways to Avoid Common Pitfalls of New Year’s Resolutions

The Ultimate Guide to Keep Your Healthy New Year’s Resolution All Year Long!

Self Discipline

How to Find and Improve Your Self Discipline

So, the New Year is right around the corner and I don’t know about you; but I need a kick in the butt right now to find my self discipline!

At the beginning of last year I had a ton of self discipline, and possibly encouraged it in those around me as well. I was working full time outside the home, in a call center and with horrible hours (3pm to midnight). But, I wanted to get in shape. So, I joined a gym and, with a friend from work, went to that gym as often as we could; after we got out of work. I lived about an hour away from work, so on nights I went to the gym, I wouldn’t get home til around two in the morning.

Now, as a stay at home mom, and a basically structure-less schedule; I feel like I have less time and less self discipline.

My motivation and discipline to try to stay in shape withered away as the months did this year. And, every once in awhile I would try again; working out at home. Trying to do what I can to work out, whether it be giving my daughters piggy back rides or putting on a work out dvd.

But, these last few months have been the hardest. I don’t know if you are feeling this way as well, but I feel the closer it is to the end of the year; the less self discipline I have, maybe even in hopes that it’ll magically appear again at New Year’s.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to leave things up to chance. So, let’s go through a few steps to get our self discipline back now, and not just wait for the New Year.

Step One: What’s Holding You Back?

The first step to gaining our self discipline back is figuring out how or why we lost it in the first place.

For myself, this past year has been pretty chaotic and some pretty big life events occurred that flipped my life upside down. To quickly explain; my family and I moved from one coast of the U.S. to the other and I went from working full time at a call center to being a stay at home mom for my two children.

And, I could spit out about 5 or so other excuses as to why my self discipline has been drained from me this past year; along with why I’ve been lacking motivation. But, that’s simply another thing that has been holding me back; excuses. And, I have a good feeling that you have quite a few excuses holding you back, as well.

We need to dig through those excuses and find our way out of them. I’ve heard that a good way to stop making excuses is to stop saying “I can’t do this because..” and start phrasing it “It’s not important to me”. This little psychological trick is really useful. Let’s try it out.

Now, I try to find the time to workout and exercise, but “I can’t find the time because… I have two very demanding children who don’t give me the time of day to do anything I want”.

Instead of saying that last sentence, I need to find a way through my excuse of feeling like I don’t have enough time; so I should be saying;

Now, I try to find the time to workout and exercise, but “it’s not important to me.”

With wording it this way, I think to myself how untrue that sentence is. Getting in enough exercise is important to me, so I need to start treating it like it is. Instead of trying to find the time, I need to make the time.

Now, you go ahead and try this exercise. See how much of an impact it can really make on you and your habits!

Step Two: Set Goals

The next step in getting a hold of your self discipline is to find out what you actually want to accomplish by using it.

Do you want to eat healthy, get fit, become a better parent, or something else?

It’s important to know what you want to do when you gain your self discipline back, and to actually set goals. Without goals and expectations, we can lose our motivation and self discipline pretty quickly; because, what’s the point. What’s the point of having self discipline if we’re not trying to get somewhere in our life with it. There needs to be an end goal, and then more goals after that; to keep us going, to keep pushing ourselves to be better, and to keep our self discipline strong.

I’m the type of person who thrives on goals and having deadlines; it’s what kept me going through out college. It’s also what kept me motivated my last year of college when I gave birth to my first daughter during the fall semester and stayed strong and kept my grades up the entire year to graduate on time and not even skip a beat. (All while pumping bottles, making homemade baby food, and learning to care for a helpless newborn.)

Unfortunately, what I need my self discipline for now isn’t given a deadline or a specific desired result from a professor, or even another person. The deadline, the goal, and the desired result has to come from me, and your’s has to come from you. We create what we want for ourselves. And, if we don’t, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

So, set your goals. Give yourself deadlines. And, be a little realistic with what can get done by the deadline. We do, after all, have quite a bit of responsibility. But, then again, don’t be too easy on yourself; you have to push yourself to get better.

Remember, a diamond is made under pressure.

Step Three: Schedule It

The third step is to schedule in the activities, or tasks, that need to be completed for you to reach your goal. As silly as it may sound, I’m serious. Go ahead, grab your planner, or the calendar on your phone, and schedule in what needs to get done. Don’t blow this step off, and don’t blow off your schedule.

If you want to become fit; schedule in time to exercise everyday, or at least a couple days a week. If you want to eat healthier; schedule in time to meal plan and meal prep so you can actually stick with it. If you want to start becoming a better parent; schedule in time to spend time with each child individually, or time to come up with ways to handle difficult situations. (That way, when the difficult situation with your child arises, you’ll already know what to do and you won’t simply react to their behavior.)

Depending on what your goal is, will determine how much time your need to dedicate to accomplish it. It could be 2 hours once a week, or 2 hours a day. It’s up to you.

Step Four: Do it

Once you schedule what needs to get done; do it.

There’s no way around this one. This step is what strengthens our self discipline.

The more you stick to your schedule and do what you planned in the last step; the stronger your self discipline will become, and the closer to your goal you will get!!

This is not the step to slack off in. You slack here and you will know it, and you will probably become disappointed in yourself. This is the time to rid yourself of all of those excuses. Excuses can not exist when you get this far. If they try to peek out at you, find a way to not let them.

You have kids and you don’t think that they will leave you alone for enough time to reach your goals; include them.

Include them and help them find their self discipline if they’re old enough. If they aren’t old enough to understand that, then include them by letting them exercise with you, or meal plan/ prep with you. Can’t get to the gym because you have kids; have a dance party with them for half an hour. (Chances are you’ll have twice as much fun and burn almost, if not more, calories. It’s a win-win.)

Step Five: Be patient and don’t lose motivation!

Sometimes goals don’t get accomplished as soon as we would wish, and not from lack of trying or effort, but from something else out of our control. Maybe we wanted to be able to fit into one of our Christmas dresses that we bought a few years ago, and we don’t fit in it by Christmas, or New Years. We shouldn’t lose hope, and we shouldn’t lose our motivation or self discipline because of this. In fact, we should use this set back to strengthen our self discipline and maybe even work harder.

We can’t always control how, or where, our body loses weight or gains muscle. A lot of that is dependent on genetics, completely out of our control. But, if we continue to work hard, be patient, and accept ourselves; then we can finally get to our goals, or get to know our bodies well enough to know what a realistic, and healthy, goal would be for ourselves.

This step is so important for many other goals that require self discipline, as well.

Think of becoming a better parent; if you’re a parent then you already know how patient you might have to be, and not just with your kids, but with yourself, too.

Or, say your goal is to finally keep your home clean. Not only do you have to reign in your self discipline, but you also have to encourage everyone else in your home to have some discipline, as well. This requires you to be on the top of your game when it comes to picking up after yourself, enough grace to go around, and patience for when you have to constantly repeat yourself to get your children to take care of their toys that they brought out of the play room…again, too. (Or, for getting your husband to put his dirty clothes in the hamper…not on the floor next to it.)

Step Six: Reap the rewards

Finally, after losing the excuses, setting goals, scheduling goal smashing activities/ tasks, actually completing those tasks, and being patient with yourself; you can finally start reaping the rewards of your hard work and self discipline. Depending on your goals, this may take days, weeks, months, or even a few years. However long it takes, you should be proud of yourself for actually sticking with it to the end.

Use this motivation of completing your goal to encourage more goals to sprout up and strengthen your self discipline. Don’t let these rewards slip, either. Many things that require your discipline to accomplish can quickly disappear if you stop working at them. If you work at them long enough, though, they will become habits and you won’t even have to think about them anymore. What needs to get done to keep your hard earned results in place will just become a part of your life, your everyday routine.

These steps can work with any goal you have in mind; the overall goal of this step by step guide is to help you find and strengthen your self discipline so you can accomplish whatever goal you decide on!

Self Discipline

Self Discipline

If you need a quick workbook to help you plan out your goals (and eat healthy- because I’m a little bit of a health nut) then you can sign up to get my workbook How to have a Healthy and Productive Day!!

Related Posts:

5 Ways to Avoid Common Pitfalls of New Year’s Resolutions

The Ultimate Guide to Keep Your Healthy New Year’s Resolution All Year Long!

10 Unique Tips for Breaking Bad Habits

10 Tips for Creating Habits You Need in Your Life!

holiday stress

7 Holiday Stress Relief Tips that ACTUALLY Work!

Does this time of the year stress you out?

You know, just before Thanksgiving and all of the Holiday sales…and shopping…and baking…and cooking…and decorating…and so on and so on.

There is a lot to do in these last 6 weeks of the year.

All the parties or dinners to attend. Or, fancy holiday meals to make and shopping to do.

However you spend the last month and a half of the year; I’m sure it’s a bit stressful (or, in other words, completely overwhelming)!

Luckily, you’re not alone!!

Well, not luckily, because it sucks being stressed out during this time of year.

Can’t we all just be like those people we see in movies where they have everything figured out and perfected, or at least make it look that way. (Like the woman in the movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting who had twins at the end. You know, the one wearing high heels through out her entire pregnancy, and was referred to as a magical pregnant unicorn, and delivered her babies by sneezing. Wouldn’t we all have loved to have had that happened!)

I’m right there alongside you; the pressure of the holidays on my shoulders.

Not only do we have to worry about what we have to do and where we have to be; there’s also the added stress of all the money we’re supposed to spend. This is completely overwhelming to those of us living paycheck to paycheck.

Where are we to come up with this extra money for gifts, food, and everything else?

Relax a sec, ok?

Easier said than done, I know, right?

Before your head goes into a spiral of despair; wondering ‘how this’, ‘when that’, ‘what do they want’, and ‘how much’. Take a breath and a few sips of water. How old are you again? You’ve gone through that many holiday seasons and you’re still intact!

So what if you can’t get your kids as many toys or games as they want. In all honesty, how long are they even going to enjoy them?

Let me tell you a little secret; when you’re kids are young like mine are, they don’t really care how many toys they get. And, they don’t have a good understanding of money and prices yet, either. So, you don’t have to get them the best, most expensive toys for their age group just because everyone else is doing it.

Isn’t that a nice thought! Just relax. You’ll be fine. You always are! But, just in case you need some extra help this season when you’re overly stressed; remember to be thankful for the seven things below.

1. The Smell of Your Coffee…

If you’re a coffee drinker then you understand.

It’s like aromatherapy. Just something about the smell of coffee is calming, even though drinking it supposedly has the opposite effect. (I don’t know if I’m strange or not, but I seem to think I need coffee to calm down when I’m stressed.)

But, when you have a nice warm cup of coffee with your favorite creamer added to it; it’s like cuddling up to a super soft and warm blanket that you can drink.

Don’t ever overlook this relaxation tip and the many benefits it has, such as reducing stress, calming nerves, and helping you become mentally prepared for the next task at hand!

2. Know This Time and Stress Will Pass

You know, you’ve been through this year after year; the holiday season comes and goes each of those years.

This can be sad, yes- if you’d rather the whole year be like the holidays because it’s such a wonderful time. But, I for one, am glad it’s only here for about 2 months at the end of the year. It gives us something to look forward to and prepare for.

Plus, who could afford to have the holidays all year round. Not only because of the gifts; but the food.

The food alone can set you back financially if the holidays are all year round. People would probably go into debt because of it; not to mention, our country would become even more obese if we ate all year what we do during the holidays.

So, be thankful that this holiday season does eventually end. And, when it ends, the stress that comes with it ends, as well!

3. The Fact That You’re Surrounded By Others

Sure, life may be a bit stressful this time of year. And, it may be exponentially more stressful based on the number of wonderful people you have let into your life.

The more people you have in your life the more events and holiday parties and get together’s you have. The more presents you need to buy, and the more time shopping, cooking, and baking you may have to do.

But, remember that they are wonderful people; people who are there for you and appreciate what you do (even if they don’t show it- like our kids).

They make the stress of this holiday season worth it. You get to light up their world just as they do for you.

This is the time you get to basically say ‘thank you’ to them for being in your life and making an impact. This is a big deal; to celebrate the holidays and the year you’ve had. That is why you can be so stressed out, but also know that it’s so worth it, at the same time!

4. Knowing That You Get to Be the First One to Eat the Christmas Cookies You Make

You know this is true!! If you make them, then you have to try them to make sure they’re good, right?

It doesn’t matter how many hundreds of times you’ve made them before; they need to be taste tested!

At least for me, they do. But that may be more so because if I don’t get any right then and there, there’s a chance I may not get any at all. Plus, I’m not going to put all that effort and time into making something and not eat them fresh out of the oven.

And, I know, it’s not good to eat as a way to reduce stress (it does help, though). But hey, it’s the holidays and calories don’t count as much this time of year, right? That’s what I was taught growing up, at least for all the cookies and special holiday food.

5. The Smile on Other’s Faces

If you have ever seen a child’s face on Christmas morning when they first see their Christmas stockings and presents; then you’ll know that everything you did to prepare for this day was worth it. It’s completely priceless.

Remember this the next time you feel so overwhelmed and want to just quit, or give up. Motivate yourself by imagining how happy they will be, or how much you’ll enjoy relaxing when you’re at those get together’s you helped put on; or relaxing when this season is over! 

As human beings, or mother’s to be exact, something makes us so happy (and almost relieved) when we see other people smiles. This is especially true when they smile because of something we did for them, even if we did it long ago and it’s finally coming to light. (Like teaching our kids to be appreciative of what they get, or not compare their presents with their siblings and then get upset.)

6. You Have the POWER

So, all I can think of now is the song from the newest Power Rangers Movie. (I’ve got the Power) And, what I mean by this is that you have the power to choose how stressed you get this holiday season.

Sure, things will happen that you have no control over; plans will be made and so will expectations.

If you have too much on your plate and you know it; you have the power (and the option!) to say no.

You have the power to respond to what happens and choose the best route possible. And you should respond to what comes your way; don’t just react to what happens.

If you hate going over to so and so’s home for get together’s because it’s drama filled and uncomfortable; tell them no. Don’t make up an excuse as to why you can’t go; they can always try to accommodate for the excuse you make up. Just say no; that you’re not going this year.

If every year you make everyone you work with cookies for the holidays and this year you have so much to do that you physically cannot make extra cookies, then don’t. Choose to not drive yourself crazy with stress this year.

7. That Funny Video Your Husband Showed You

We all love facebook and youtube, right?

There’s so many funny memes, pictures, and videos. Once in awhile when my husband finds one that’s hilarious, he’ll show me; he just can’t keep them to himself, and I’m glad! Usually the video is about how little kids are, or have you seen the one yet where the husband pretends to act like he’s the kid and the wife is the parent (of course it’d be that way, us mom’s always have to be the responsible ones.)

I’m telling you this because it’s important to have a good laugh every once in awhile. It reduces stress and can even help you clear your mind for a few moments. This is truly important for this time of year; you need to enjoy this holiday season, not just plan and prepare for it.

Everything will be Alright

Like I said above, you have done this holiday thing for enough years, and you always get through it, hopefully in more or less one piece.

This stress that you’re experiencing is only temporary. Hold on to these little things to remind yourself it’s all worth it, and to lighten the mood when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Remember this is a time to celebrate with those you choose to surround yourself with, and you have the power in you to say no to something if you’re already juggling too many things. Other’s will understand; you can’t do everything. In some circumstances stress can be a good thing; something to help you get your butt in gear and get moving. Just don’t do so much you’re overwhelmed or get burned out. There’s no need for that.

Enjoy your holiday season, and make sure you share these holiday stress relief tips with anyone you may know who needs a little reminder to enjoy life a little more instead of planning for it!

holiday stress

Check out these awesome lists on Amazon.

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Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Blossoms

5 Clever Ways to Use Your Stress to Your Advantage

8 Ways to Teach Children Thankfulness

Christmas Planning

The Ultimate Christmas Planning Guide (with Lists!)

The holiday season is right around the corner. And although it brings happiness and the feeling of warmth with getting to be with family and friends; it also brings chaos and stress. Especially for us moms.

We have all of our regular chores, like cooking/baking and cleaning, making sure our children are happy, and keeping our house functional while carrying the mental load that comes with home management. And then, we have all of the extra stuff we need to do this time of year. All in all, we need some pretty good lists to rely on; otherwise we may as well just say forget it.

And, that can’t happen!!!

We have so much to do and so many lists to make to make sure that everything goes right.

We need to find out what our kids want for Christmas, what everyone wants to eat for Christmas.

And then we have to figure out all of the food we’re going to bring to holiday parties.

Find out what everyone else we’re buying for wants.

And those are just a few of the lists we need; just to simply get through this hectic season.

We need to check our lists off.

We need to shop(thank you amazon and online shopping).

To bake and to cook.

And we need to decorate and put up the tree. (We put ours up before Thanksgiving this year.)

And the list goes on and on for what we need to do.

Plan Your Time

We have all of this planning and all of this doing, and the same amount of time in the day as all of the other days of the year.

Actually, no, this is not true. School age kids have a large amount of time off from school during this time, so we have less time. This is my older daughters first year of school, so it’s the first year since she gave up her naps (3-4 years ago) that I get a break during the day. My younger daughter still takes an hour nap…if I’m lucky.

If you need help finding more time in your day, I did write about that here. Or, to learn how to use your stress to your advantage; check that out here.

Make sure to keep your energy up during your planned times to get things done.

And please, please, DO NOT WAIT TIL LAST MINUTE. You will be kicking yourself if you do.

At least don’t wait til last minute for everything; food may be the one exception. Food should be started at least a week before if you’re planning on making a ton of cookies. Christmas cookies tend to freeze well, too. So, keep that in mind.

Learn From Prior Years

Now, ironically, a few years ago may have gone the smoothest. So, I keep trying to take what works and replicate it; with minor tweaks and let you know what I did to make it run smoothly.

That year was different in a few ways for me. Around the holidays I was nine months pregnant and thought I was going to have my baby any day because of all the labor pains and braxton hicks I was having. I had a bit more to prepare for than just the Holidays.

It certainly helped that I was in supermom mode and had a little bit of help from nesting. I was also still working full time up to the day I had my youngest daughter, which was also the same day we ended up moving, but that’s another story; I had to add that little snippet in here though, just in case you didn’t think I had enough on my plate?

The only days I took off from work were days I had doctor appointments. So, let me tell you what helped me that crazy year.

Obsess; if you have to

That year I obsessed over having enough frozen meals and frozen cookies stocked up.

This way I wouldn’t have to do much work when didn’t want to and when I knew I could go into labor at anytime.

I made quite a bit of food ahead of time and froze them. Such as soups, cheese bread (something my mom always makes for Christmas), pizza’s and a few other meals. (I was still only a vegetarian at this time.)

I did this late November, early December, and it saved me so much time and energy later in the month; especially on those days when I had no idea what I wanted to eat, or when I was craving cheese.

I made and froze so many cookies, they never seemed to last though. They lasted for maybe a week in the freezer and then they disappeared and I’d have to make more.

It’s not like they were hard to make, ok, some of them did take quite a bit of time. But my older daughter, who was 3 years old, had so much fun and it was a relaxing time for me to simply bake with her. I was able to spend quality time with my older daughter before her sister was born.

Understand No Two Years Will Be the Same

We didn’t have a house to upkeep that year, just a teeny tiny two bedroom apartment. I felt like I had more time to prepare things.

It was hard to tell if it’s because of having a tiny apartment and now I have a larger home to upkeep, or if it’s because I only had one child that year and now I have two. Hmmm….I think it may be both.

Another thing that my husband and I made simple last year was gifts. We bought toys for our daughter, but we did gift cards for everyone else.

After having two kids and less money and more chores and more coming up with creative ways to do things; the  next year we decided to make gifts, instead of buy them.

The biggest help I have found for getting things done for the holidays are my lists.

If you don’t already know, I am a list person. (I probably inherited this from my mom, I was always watching her make lists when I was younger.)

Are you ready to find out some of the lists you’ll need to start making, or should already have made for this time of year?

My List of Lists for the Holiday Season

  1.  Presents We Want (a list of what everyone in our family wants, so that when we’re asked by others what they should get us, we know what to tell them)
  2.  Present Shopping List (everything we need to buy for everyone we are buying for)
  3.  Food (cookies, special meals, snacks, meals for the regular week before Christmas and/or New Years)
  4.  Recipes that’ll be used
  5.  Food Shopping List
  6.  Schedule (when are all of the holiday get-togethers/ school events)
  7.  Schedule (when can we squeeze in all the shopping, baking, and wrapping)
  8.  Decorating and Tidying up (for when people randomly decide to pop in- my husbands family used to do this all the time without any notice before we moved across the country)

Using the Lists in this Christmas Planning Guide

Now that we have our list of lists and know what needs to get done, lets start filling out our lists to the best of our knowledge.

What do you want for Christmas?

Has your significant other or children given you any ideas for them yet? If not, then ask them. If so, then you’re one step ahead and one list done.

Do you know who you need to shop for?

Do you know what they want? If yes, and you have the money, then go out and shop the first chance you get. Roads are just going to get worse and stores are just going to get busier. And you know how the mail seems to get this time of year; best to buy online early to get presents on time to give them!

If you’re able to food shop in the same outing as present shopping, even better, saves gas and time.

Then you can get a head start on baking and maybe even do what I did in prior years and freeze the cookies and other food.

Just be sure you fill out List #5 before shopping so you know what you need and wont just buy random items you think you may need. (That’s just a waste of money, something that I can’t afford to do.)

List #6 is vital if you want this year to go smoothly. Planning is a must. Obviously you need to know when you have to be somewhere, but it’s also good to know when you have extra time to get things done. Write these items on your list and then again on your calendar and then again in your weekly planner or agenda, or if you keep a daily to do list- put it on there.

Preparing the Food

Having very detailed lists for food and preparing food ahead of time and freezing it, always makes my holiday season so much smoother.

So, go ahead, write down what you need and want to bake or cook.

What do others in your home want?

What do you need or want to make for others?

For the get-togethers, for people who just stop by, for the holiday parties at school, and for anywhere else you need to bring food to?

Gather up your lists, make sure you label what foods are for who or for where (on your list and on the packaging/container for the food when it’s made). This will increase your chances of not having to make it twice due to someone in the house eating it.

The Next Step

Then gather ALL of the recipes for everything you’re making. Once you have the recipes, the fun in list making begins. And, if you like math and fractions, hold tight, this step is for you. If you don’t enjoy math, then I apologize ahead of time and you may want a calculator in a few minutes or skip this and just estimate.

When you have all of your recipes gathered, write down all of the ingredients for the first recipe. One on each line, and only the ingredient. After you have you all the ingredients listed for that one recipe write next to each ingredient in parentheses how much of that ingredient you need. Take into consideration doubling or tripling the ingredients if you need to make more than one batch. Now you have ingredients for one recipe on your list.

Can you guess what you do next? You guessed it, go on to the next recipe. The difference this time is that for any ingredient already have on the list you’ll only need to write down the amount. Keep doing this for all of your recipes, adding new ingredients to the list as needed. I would also recommend to do this for any food you’ll be making for the month to make sure you have enough ingredients for those as well.

Example

For example, if you plan on having pancakes this month, many of the ingredients in your pancakes are probably on your list already. Just add to the list how much you believe you’ll need for the pancakes. And to make things easier on yourself, make the pancakes in a very large batch and freeze them. They freeze well and I usually just pop the frozen pancakes in the toaster as a quick and easy breakfast when I don’t feel like cooking. Just don’t forget the maple syrup and blueberries.

After you have you ingredient list and the amounts for all recipes, you will need to buy the ingredients.

This may, and hopefully will be, the most chaotic step of all. Unless you have little ones who want to help with everything in the kitchen, like my daughters.

And of course, after the shopping comes the baking and cooking. For this, I do recommend to do as much as you can at one time and then freeze. It’ll also save you when having to do dishes only once or ‘as necessary’. And you’ll only have to preheat the oven once and then change temperatures when need be.

A Few Freezing Tips

Before you go off to make your delicious holiday food, I have a few tips for preserving the food you’re about to make.

  1. For any breads or pizzas- fully cool then wrap in foil a few times, then put in a freezer safe bag before freezing
  2. Sugar cookies- for best results, first frost the cookies, then freeze flat on a cookie sheet and then place in freezer bag (these don’t even have to be thawed before eating!)
  3. If you’re a fan of chocolate and peanut butter, you need to make peanut butter balls(or buckeyes or whatever you call them) and freeze on cookie sheets then bag in a freezer bag. That is, if they make it in the bag. For me, only about half of what I make actually makes it into the bag, or at least that’s how it is most years.
  4. Some cookies freeze best when you just freeze the dough(in balls) and then bake them when you need them, you may need to add a few extra minutes to the bake time. These include snicker doodles and peanut butter blossoms.

Good Luck and Stress Less

If you follow my lists AND make food in batches and freeze it, you will have a much better chance of not being as stressed.

Remember to plan and use lists for everything, especially this time of year. If you have a memory like mine, these lists will be lifesavers.

And if you make and freeze food like I did, then you won’t miss a beat when something goes awry or there’s a surprise visitor or event that your child didn’t tell you about.

Do you have any other suggestions or tips to help reduce stress this holiday season? If so, please share for all of us in the comments below.

Christmas Planning

Christmas Planning

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7 Holiday Stress Relief Tips that ACTUALLY Work!

8 Ways to Teach Children Thankfulness

How to Create a Weekly Schedule that Actually Works!

How to Make a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget

Want to eat healthy but don't think it will fit in your families budget? Think again! Use this step by step guide to eat healthy when meal planning weekly, biweekly, or monthly. (This works for whatever size family you have, for 2, for 4, for 6, it doesn't matter.) This guide is easy to implement and allows you to choose kid friendly meals; it starts with finding your grocery budget, to making grocery lists, all the way to meal prepping!

How to Make a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget

When people think of creating a budget, they tend to think about the bills they have and things they enjoy spending money on; not on making a healthy meal plan on a budget.

Many people overlook the amount of money they spend on food. Which could end up being a thousand dollars or more if you’re not careful; whether trying to eat healthy or not!

You may just say ‘well, we have to eat’ and leave it at that.

Not really thinking about how much you spend every month because it’s such a necessity!

Or, maybe you just don’t know how to make a meal plan on a budget, or honestly just don’t want to know how much you are really spending on food!

But, thinking of spending money on food in this way is dangerous…food isn’t as cheap as it used to be!!

I used to be a cashier at a grocery store; I know how much some people spent on food weekly. And that was 5 years ago, prices have only increased since then!!

I knew those with kids spent way more on food than those who lived alone; by a lot!

Yet, it’s us people with kids who may want to eat better or at least feed their kids healthy food anspend less on food. But, how?

Well, there’s some obvious things to do, like stop eating out. But, other than that; MEAL PLAN!


**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.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to spend $500+ on food every month, even with a family of 4.

According to the USDA back in 2013 (which was also around the time I quit my job as a cashier) the average family of 4 spent between ~$150 and ~$300 a week on groceries ₍₁₎. And, that was 5 years ago! Prices have gone up since then, even if you haven’t noticed it. Even in the past year, prices on somethings have gone up. I used to get my 5 year old the individual nutella snacks when we got groceries. They were only a dollar, but about 8 months ago they increased to $1.50! Therefore, I stopped buying them.

So, if you’re concerned with setting a budget, and staying in that budget while food prices continue to sky rocket; keep reading for some ways to save money on food!!

You’ll need them!

I’ll guide you each step of the way and provide helpful tips. What I can’t do, is actually make you do it. (Or, make you follow through with the meal plan, which is a struggle all in itself.)

I do have some helpful printables for meal planning that’ll make it easier on you, though, get them here!

Related Posts:

4 Simple Ideas to Save Money on Groceries and Eat Healthier!

How to Meal Plan (when you have no motivation to do so)

The Benefits of Meal Prepping

Let’s Get Started on Making a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget

Step 1 for Making a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget: Work out your food budget

Yes, I said food budget, not groceries.

Because some people will create a budget for their weekly grocery trip and then completely forget about it when they go out to eat. Like my husband, who will go get fast food on his lunch, or spend $10 on prepared food at the grocery store, after I tell him how much we can spend on food for the month. (If you couldn’t guess, I’m the one who handles finances in our home. If I let my husband do it then we’d be living on the street.)

So, make sure everyone in your home who has access to money understands the budget and that it is for all the food that is bought. Otherwise, you’re going to go way over; a $10 meal for one person, or $20 on food out for the whole family is going to hurt if your budget is $100 or less a week.

But, to set the budget; there’s a couple different ways you can do it, and it’ll depend on the amount of money you have to play around with for your budget.

If you’re like me and are living paycheck to paycheck, then you’ll want to budget like I do.

  • Figure out your average monthly income (estimate low)
  • Subtract all your monthly bills (estimate high)
  • Subtract what you spend on gas each month and other necessities (I’m talking things like toilet paper and toothpaste)
  • The leftover money for the month can be your monthly budget for food (if you feel this number is too high, you can always lower it; save the rest, or pay off some debt so you don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck!)
  • Divide your monthly food budget by 4 to get how much you can spend weekly on food

If you want more in depth instructions on how to budget when living paycheck to paycheck; read How to Budget (When You Have No Money) I even explain how we’re able to afford all the small purchases my husband has to make, when, from the outside looking in, it looks like we’d never be able to afford them!


If you have more money to play around with, there’s a better solution to finding your budget; one that will be a little easier to stick with and more realistic with the rising prices of food!

  • Go through your receipts from grocery stores and from when you eat out (or go through bank statements)
  • Find the average you spend each week, or each month; use this as your base for setting a budget
  • Depending on your goal for your budget, you may need to adjust this amount

(Many people want to lower the amount they spend, because they looked at how much they’re spending and are shocked by the amount they spend! Try lowering it by ~$25 each week until you get to a reasonable budget for you and your family. Since everyone’s budget is going to be a little different, and since we all don’t eat the same food; we can’t all be expected to have the same budget.)

Once you figured out your budget, move on to the next step.

Step 2 for Making a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget: What are your Food Necessities?

What food do you have to have in your home at all times?

For my family, we need coffee creamer, coffee, soy milk, bananas, apples, peanut butter, frozen fruit, and frozen veggies. And, besides the frozen food and coffee, we need to purchase the other items once a week.

(Yes, we go through a whole jar of peanut butter a week; the 40oz jar. Update: We can get a 5 pound jar to last us 3 weeks now and is only $6.50, so much cheaper to buy in bulk!!)

These are the things that we can’t live without and are always on our grocery list, budget or not.

I’m sure your list of absolutes are different than mine.

So, go find out!

Ask others in your home if you need to.

If you know you always have to have bread, pasta, or veggies for salads stocked at all times, write them on the list.

Then, find out how often they need to be bought.

Some items will need to be bought every week, other items may last 2 or 4 weeks, maybe even longer.

If you’re not sure how long they last; write down the date the next time you buy them. This way you can budget in the more expensive items (like the 64oz bag of frozen fruit I get for smoothies), and not go over budget. (Either by saving a few dollars each week for the item, or by planning cheaper meals the week you need to get the more expensive monthly item.)

Figure out what you need and how much they cost before moving onto the next step.

Related Post: How to Stock Healthy Snacks at Home for Kids

Step 3 for Making a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget: Find out what meals you want to eat for the next week or two!

Go on pinterest, look in your cookbooks that are collecting dust, or ask your family for their suggestions.

Check out some new fun, or old and loved, recipes and see which ones have ingredients that you may already have.

Or, if you don’t have any of the ingredients; find out how much they’ll cost.

You’ll need enough meals to fill out your meal planner. If you have a tight budget, this needs to be considered when you’re planning meals. Sometimes having a certain type of food all week is cheaper than doing a different kind of meal each night. Or, eat leftovers from dinner the night before, for lunch the next day!

 

I know other people may tell you to have a taco Tuesday, Italian food on another day, Chinese food on another, and so on.

But, with being on a budget, is that even realistic?

How many of those meals have ingredients in common?

How about you have all Mexican food one week, Italian the next, and so on. That way, if you have extra ingredients, you can use it in another recipe later that week; no waste.

For example, if you chopped up tomatoes for your pizza on Monday, you could use them the next night in your pasta, salad, or veggie lasagna.

If you’ve been able to find a enough recipes that you and your family will enjoy; it’s time to move onto the next step. Which is the best step if you like scheduling!!

Keep this current step in mind, though, when you and your family try new dishes and keep a running list of food you like. If you need a place to write them down; go ahead and print out my meal planning templates!

 

Step 4 for Making a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget: Schedule your Meals (in pencil)

Once you have your meals picked and recipes at hand; fill out your meal plan for the next week or 2 in a way that makes sense and prevents waste. No one likes spending money on food for it to just go waste!

2 week meal plan

You can see above what my meal plan looked like at the beginning of the year.

That’s for a family of four, of course the portions could always be changed to accommodate for more or less! And, at the time, I didn’t know how much soup the minestrone soup recipe was going to make; it was a lot!

That’s why it’s good to choose some meals with ingredients that don’t go bad within a week or two; ingredients that are shelf stable.

On the days I didn’t have the minestrone soup scheduled for dinner, I replaced the pasta for lunch with the soup. Easy enough, now I still have pasta in my cupboard for another week!

If you’re unsure if you and your family will like one of the meals, or if you’re unsure how much the recipe will actually make; give your schedule some wiggle room.

Have back up meals with ingredients that won’t go bad. Or, if you do end up with too many perishables that you can’t get to with meals that week; try freezing them, or making some snacks out of them. Try smoothies or juicing if you have extra fruits and veggies!

Also, don’t forget about snacks and drinks, especially if you have kids!

And, remember, plans don’t always go as they should; don’t be afraid to move meals around when something comes up.

It’s not set in stone, and as moms, it’s sometimes hard to come up with the energy to make an extravagant meal, even when planned. Have some easy meals in the mix for those particularly hard days!

When you’re set with your meal plan and are happy with how it looks, head on to step 5.

Step 5 for Making a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget: Make your grocery list!

Consider what you already have in your cupboards, fridge, and freezer (if you subscribed to get my meal planner above, you’ll also get a cute printable for writing down what you have in each of these places and a place to write down your grocery list for 3 weeks!).

Then estimate how much everything, that you don’t already have at home, that you need for your planned meals and snacks, will cost.

Is it within your budget? If so, great!!

If not; you have a little bit of editing to do with your meal plan.

This is why you wrote your meal plan in pencil! Or, at least I hope you did. If not, then you may have to rewrite it, or not mind things being crossed off and changed!

If you need to edit it; you’ll want to see if you have any obviously expensive meals you can replace with cheaper meals, or even swapping out some of the ingredients; so it’s not so expensive.

Do you have a lot of dishes with beans and veggies planned for the week; use any leftovers to make a soup one night.

Or, even doubling your dinner recipe to provide lunch for the next day; this can be cheaper than making two different meals, or worse, eating out!

When you’re done editing your meal plan to fit within your budget you can move onto the next step.

Step 6 for Making a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget: Go grocery shopping 

If you really want to stay in your budget, you may want to go alone, too!

I know when my family goes with me grocery shopping, we never stay in our budget.

There’s too many people looking at all the food and the ads in the store.

It just doesn’t work!

I’ll have a nice neat grocery list with everything I need, and then my husband will say that he doesn’t like sticking to a list and adds in about $40 worth of food! It’s even worse when I ask him to pick up a few things at the store on his way home from work. I’ll ask for things that cost about $10 altogether, and he’ll come home and had spent $35. It’s a struggle sometimes to stay in budget!

So, my advice is to go alone, on a full stomach, and with a good list, and don’t stray from the list.

When I was the working parent (and worked 3pm to midnight), I’d always get groceries after work by myself and always stay within budget! (It’s so peaceful getting groceries when hardly anyone else is in the store!)

Also, don’t forget to download the Ibotta app on your phone; it’ll give you cash back depending on what you buy! Their offers change, but they range anywhere from bananas to name brand food to diapers! My first month using Ibotta I got $26 cash back, no joke! (Update: I’m up to ~$100 now!)

Step 7 for Making a Healthy Meal Plan on a BudgetMeal prep 

Believe it or not, this can actually be one of the toughest steps of all!

But, don’t worry, it’s totally worth it; you can even recruit your kids, if they’re old enough.

My girls love helping me in the kitchen. They even sometimes get mad at me if I make something without them; and they’re 5 and 2!

And, you know what?

Anyone can plan to do well on a budget. But, to go through with it and make it work; that’s another story!

And with food, part of making your budget work is eating what you actually plan and having it ready for you and your family so you don’t hear the headache inducing question of “what’s for dinner?”

If you skip this step you may be tempted to eat out, grab some fast food, or make another stop at the grocery store for convenience foods; like a frozen pizza. Simply because it’s easier!

This is what we’re trying to avoid here!

So, go through those recipes you have planned and see what you can prep ahead of time. Are you making a soup that needs chopped veggies? Need to cook some dried beans for chili later in the week?

Spend an hour or so when you come home from grocery shopping and prep all the food you can for the week.

This will prevent you from eating out because you don’t feel like cooking, and it’ll make sure the ingredients don’t get used for something they’re not intended for. I know from experience how frustrating it is when you plan a meal, go to make it, and realize someone else in the home used one of the key ingredients for something else.

Plus, if you suffer from the ‘mom, I’m hungry’ syndrome that kids have everyday between lunch and dinner; simply prep some snacks for your kids and show them where they are. I do this for my 5 year old and she loves it. It helps her feel more independent and lessons the stress for me.

Need help meal prepping, go here.

To Sum up all the steps…

  • Step 1: Work out your food budget
  • Step 2: Figure out your Food Necessities

  • Step 3: Find out what meals you want to eat for the next week or two!

  • Step 4: Schedule your Meals (in pencil)

  • Step 5: Make your grocery list!

  • Step 6: Go grocery shopping

  • Step 7: Meal prep 

I know meal planning isn’t easy, and for some people it’s not much fun, either (like for my husband who refuses to meal plan with me).

And, I know at first it can be overwhelming, but after a couple of meal planning sessions, you’ll get better at it and won’t mind it so much.

It may even start to bring you some relief, knowing that you’re done with it and knowing what you and your family will be eating for the week.

I hope you found this step by step guide useful and find that it saves you money each and every week!!

Please share with friends and family!!

And, don’t forget to grab your free 2 week meal plan printable to help you out with meal planning!!

Want to eat healthy but don't think it will fit in your families budget? Think again! Use this step by step guide to eat healthy when meal planning weekly, biweekly, or monthly. (This works for whatever size family you have, for 2, for 4, for 6, it doesn't matter.) This guide is easy to implement and allows you to choose kid friendly meals; it starts with finding your grocery budget, to making grocery lists, all the way to meal prepping!

References:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/01/grocery-costs-for-family/2104165/

Related Posts:

The Benefits of Meal Prepping

How to Conquer Your Healthy New Year’s Resolution in 8 Easy Steps!!

8 Quick and Healthy Vegan Meal Ideas

 


On a budget? Learn how to make an awesome meal plan with little money! meal plan on a budget, healthy meal plan, save money on food, meal plan, eat well, eat healthy, cheap health food
On a budget? Learn how to make an awesome meal plan with little money! meal plan on a budget, healthy meal plan, save money on food, meal plan, eat well, eat healthy, cheap health food
On a budget? Learn how to make an awesome meal plan with little money! meal plan on a budget, healthy meal plan, save money on food, meal plan, eat well, eat healthy, cheap health food

5 Things to do on Sunday to Prepare for the Week

things to do on sunday

Are you stressed?

Are there not enough hours in the day for all the things you seem to need to get done?

Would you rather spend time enjoying life and having quality time with your children than doing normal, daunting, everyday tasks?

I do!!

I have felt like that before, and I feel like that every once in awhile, as well, especially when I get off track. (Such as for these past couple of weeks where I’ve been trying to focus too much on working on this blog.) And, I know, those questions sound like they are from a phony infomercial. But, I didn’t know how else to start off and I want to get right down to it; to help you find some more precious time to enjoy life more during the week!

 

And now, you’re probably wondering if you’re going to be sold some magical piece of equipment that will do all of your chores and house work for you.

Sorry! I don’t have anything of the sort.

What I have is a plan!

And, you will feel much more accomplished at the end of the day knowing that you did everything yourself and you still have some “free” time to do with what you want! Rather than have some machine do everything for you.

Like the saying goes, if it were easy everyone would be doing it.

So, how on earth are you supposed to find time for yourself or making your family happy by spending quality time with them; yet, still have a clean and organized home and healthy homemade food for most of your meals?

You have to plan and prepare for the month, or week ahead! There’s no way around it, unless you have a ton of money to pay someone to do it for you (that’d be awesome, am I right)! But, that way is definitely not as rewarding!

If you are a stay at home mom then you are probably used to spending a lot of time doing everyday tasks, everyday.

If you’re a mom who works outside of the home, you may try to do everyday tasks everyday but may not be able to. You have less time home during the day to get everything done. Either way, why spend time everyday on chores or things that need to get done, when you can batch the items together. And by batch, I’m not only talking about food preparation, but that is part of it!

Related Posts:

How to Find More Time in the Day

The Benefits of Meal Prepping

10 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life

Do It Once a Week (or month)

Believe it or not, you can actually get quite a few everyday tasks done in a single day. Maybe even in a couple of hours. This may be once a week, or even once a month, depending on the task!

And, it’ll do more than just prevent the stress and the headache from having to worry about getting it done every single day; day in and day out. But, it will also provide you with more precious time to spend on the activities you want to do as a mom. Like spend more quality time with your kids!

things to do on sunday

1. FOOD

Meal Planning

This is something that should only be done once a week.

If you work outside the home this will make your life a hundred times easier! It’ll save you tons of money, as well! Especially, if you currently never have time to make and bring your lunch to work.

The first step is to figure out if you, and your family, are fine with eating mostly the same thing all week (which would inevitably save you money), or if you want something different everyday.

For myself, it varies depending on the meal. I usually have a few different options for every meal of the day for myself and my girls. Breakfast is usually muffins, oatmeal, or smoothies. Lunch is either a sandwich or a healthier vegan dish, and same for dinner. I try to make things that I know my girls will eat, and food that isn’t too expensive.

When I worked nights at a call center, a few years ago; dinners for my family consisted of many different easy options for them to choose from. It could be a frozen meal I made or something as simple as a sandwich. I needed to make sure there was something at home easy enough for my husband to make for himself and our girls. If I didn’t, he’d end up having his grandma bring them fast food for dinner. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of giving little kids fast food!

So, it really just depends on your situation! If you need meal planning templates to help you with this task, download and print the ones I created here!

Follow me on Pinterest to gain inspiration for healthy food to put on your meal plan!

Go Grocery Shopping

Once you have your meal plan figured (Sunday Morning) out you can make your grocery list and get everything you will need for the week!

Save money!!

This will save you money in a few different ways!

First of all, you will have a list, and if you stick to your list and don’t go to the store hungry; you’ll be less likely to impulse shop. And, to make things even easier, try to go shopping by yourself. This is one of the best ways to save money and to keep junk out of the cart and house!

When I go grocery shopping with my family, we end up spending at least twice as much on food!

Another way you’ll save money, and time, is by already knowing what you will eat, everyday! So, no fussing over there being nothing to eat and spending time trying to magically combine food together.

And, no more spending money on ordering out!

If you want to save even more money, I would recommend looking at the food you already have before starting to meal plan. This way you may only need to buy a few ingredients for your meals instead of all of the ingredients for all of your meals! That’s how I meal plan!

Or, if you can’t help but buy a lot of groceries each week, take advantage of the Ibotta app. It literally pays you to shop, depending on what you buy. Using the app, I got $1.50 off my non-dairy creamer one time, and it was already on sale for $3. The 5 minutes it takes to find offers I bought and scan my receipt with my phone is totally worth that! I even got $3 cash back on diapers before, twice! I’ve earned over $100 extra this year from using Ibotta!

Meal Prep

Now that you know to meal plan, and you know what food you’re going to make; find out what dishes freeze well for longer storage, and which ones are best when only placed in the fridge. This will determine how often you have to prepare your food.

If you need help with meal prepping, or feel even the slightest bit intimidated by it, but know you would benefit from it (and, let’s face it, everyone benefits from meal prepping); then go here!

And don’t only think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

We all know we need snacks! Whether it be fresh fruit or a baked good. One of the worst downfalls for trying to lose weight or eating healthy is not having enough healthy snacks on hand!

I know everyone has different opinions on what they like to eat or snack on; but, I’ll still give you some of my go-to’s for snacks and easy meals.

Other easy breakfast ideas that freeze well could be pancakes, french toast or waffles. You don’t even need to find extra time to make these; one day when you’re making them just make extra and freeze. I usually eat my breakfast while still making the extra ones to save and freeze. This way it really isn’t taking much more time. Then, you have an easy future breakfast that’s healthy, filling, and all you need to do is pop it in the toaster!

For healthier snack ideas, try smoothies! I use my nutri bullet to make smoothies and my girls love them!! They take a few minutes to put together and you can store all the fruit in the freezer. Sometimes even buying frozen fruit is cheaper than buying fresh and then freezing, especially when you buy in bulk. There are a few exceptions for buying frozen though, such as bananas and avocados. Bananas need to be bought fresh, peeled, sliced and then frozen. Don’t forget to throw in some type of green leafy veggie in your smoothie. I love spinach in mine; this needs to be fresh.

And, have you ever heard of energy bites?!!!?! These are amazing, everyone has a different take on them, so you can customize them to your liking, and they freeze well! I make these once a month, too. Go ahead and try these apple spice energy bites this fall!

As for lunches and dinners, whatever freezes well, double or triple the recipe when you make it. Then simply freeze any leftovers for an easy meal another day. I know, some meals do not freeze well and will have to be eaten in the next couple of days. But, even having leftovers in the fridge will help save you time and money! You won’t have to find something else to make or buy. Anything you can do for yourself now that will make your life easier in the future is worth the little bit of extra effort. But, enough about food for now.

things to do on sunday

2. Laundry

This one should pretty much explain itself. Pick a day to do laundry and stick with it! This can be on Sunday, when you get everything else done in a few hours, or another day.

I know, other people say to do a load of laundry a day. But to me, it’s not always quite clear how a family can wear so many clothes in a single day in order to need to do laundry everyday. Even if you have a couple of loads to do on that one day; it’s still easier to get it all done in a single day. All of your clothes will be washed, folded and put away that same day!

My husband used to do the laundry for our household. But, he would never fold the clothes or put them away. He would use the quick wash cycle and just throw in whatever clothes were dirty (probably following the 1 load of laundry a day rule). This resulted in there being a pile of clean clothes on the couch for me to fold the next day. This happened quite often and I got annoyed pretty quickly! Sometimes, I think he just does a certain chore poorly so he doesn’t have to do it any more!

But anyways, I decided to be proactive about it and started doing the laundry myself. I wash, fold, and put away all the laundry in one day. That part of my to do list has been pretty stress-free ever since!

things to do on sunday

3. Lay Out Your Clothes

This is so important!

How much time do you spend every morning trying to figure out what you’re going to wear that day?

And, how often do you realize you either can’t find what you want to wear, or you see it over there….

…in the basket, waiting to be washed?

This can cause unnecessary stress. To add to it, you probably woke up late or the kids need to eat before heading out the door. Which is a chore all in itself!

You’re the adult. You are supposed to be composed and put together. But, you’re still struggling to find that missing earring or the shirt that would go perfect with the pants you want to wear.

Whatever it may be, it needs to stop! You have a limited amount of time before having to head out the door. Wouldn’t it be much more pleasant for everyone, if you all knew what you were going to wear before getting up in the morning?

My suggestion for you is take twenty to thirty minutes once a week, or once every two weeks, to pick out your clothes and your children’s clothes. That is, if your children aren’t at the stage where they need to pick out their own clothes. Like my five year old, who refuses to wear anything I pick out for her to wear.

Maybe, if they are old enough you can instill this habit in them, as well as yourself. Just hang them up nicely, or lay them out nicely on top of a dresser. We’ll be working on that this school year so she can start doing it all by herself

things to do on sunday

4. Go Over Your Finances

Looking at how much money you bring into the home and how much is going out, can be stressful!

I am 100% on the same page with you there! Especially, when you are a one income family, like my own.

You may worry about finances all the time; whether you are fine and in the clear, trying to make a dent in the debt you have (thanks to those student loans you had to take out), living paycheck to paycheck, or trying to catch up with bills because you somehow fell behind.

You may worry about this every single day!

But, what’s the sense in that?

How often do you get paid?

Once a week?

Once every two weeks?

Those are the only times you should have to deal with finances and your budget. (Unless someone likes to spend money every few days and not tell you about it….)

And please, tell me you have some type of budget. Even if it’s like mine where it only consists of bills that need to be paid and money taken out for gas and some food, because that is all that can be afforded.

Bills are to be paid first. I’ve heard of some people paying themselves first, apparently it’s a way to provide yourself with a savings. If you can do this, good for you!

But, if you’re like me and can barely afford gas by the end of the month, it may not be possible. So write down your bills and other expenses that need to be paid for before anything else. Then divide the bills up depending on when they are due and when your paydays are in the month.


If you need more help with creating a budget, read How to Budget (When You Have No Money)
If you need an awesome workbook to get your budget under control, get the Budget Binder Bundle!!!
Or, if you feel like you need a whole course on learning how to budget, check out Busy on a Budget!!

Now, forget about those bills until you can do something about them…on payday!

things to do on sunday

5. Clean and Organize

Let me start by saying you do not need to dust or organize your movies everyday!

Only do what’s absolutely necessary everyday, and choose one day a week or one day a month to do the rest.

Do not be too hard on yourself if you don’t follow through.

It’s certainly nice to be able to follow through with everything, especially when it comes to having a clean, organized home.

But, really? Would you rather have everything in tip top shape, or spend a little more time each day finding out how your child’s’ day at school was?

There will ALWAYS be something to clean and organize, and you need to use your own judgment on what and when.

But, children grow up, and if you’re not careful they’ll be eighteen and out our door within a few blinks of an eye!

Even though I’m a big believer in doing certain things only once a week or even less often. There are still those chores that need to get done everyday. Such as cleaning up after yourself, and teaching others in your home to do the same. This can take some time and may be a challenge.

(My older daughter has been starting to take after my husband and leave her bath towel and dirty clothes where ever they happen to fall.)

Just let your family know how much you appreciate their help when they do something. Even if it’s just making sure their dishes go in the sink after they eat or toys are picked up after playing.

The older the child, the more they can start to take initiative to clean up after themselves. Maybe they can even help with some of the weekly prep work. I wish the same could be said about adults; they may require some more motivation.

To help you out with simplifying your life, take advantage of these ‘to do’ trackers! Write the task down once and check it off when it’s done; there’s a sheet for daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, along with budget sheets and templates for meal planning! Go grab it here.

To Sum It All Up – 5 Things to do on Sunday

1.) Make a Meal Plan, Get Groceries, Make all Meals and Snacks that you can Ahead of Time

2.) Do all Laundry in the same day

3.) Lay out your Clothes for the week, or for two weeks

4.) Don’t stress over finances everyday

5.) Deep Clean once a week or month

A few more words

I know prepping for the week can take some time, and some getting used to. But if you actually do it and stick with it; it will save you time, and your sanity, in the long run.

You can do all of your meal prepping in one day in just 2 hours or you can wake up an hour early everyday to make a breakfast for everyone; why not make enough for five days and freeze it. Save yourself the time and energy, and from being grumpy in the morning if you’re not a morning person.

Unless, of course, you love waking up early to make breakfast everyday. Then please, by all means, continue doing what you love. I love waking up early, but not to make breakfast!

Please, take from this what you may and use it to your full advantage; I wrote this to help you. If you feel discouraged at all and feel as if you would never have time to prep, believe me, you’re not the only on!

It will take a few tries to find the time and motivation to get things done. But your future self will love you for it!

This advice isn’t just to help save you time by batching everyday tasks together. It’s also here to help you out, if you follow it, for when you just don’t feel like doing something. Like cooking dinner, or trying to find something to wear when you feel like you have nothing to wear.

All of these tasks take time and energy out of our everyday lives and they don’t need to. As my seventh grade history teacher once told the class “work smarter, not harder”!

 

things to do on sunday

Do you have any other suggestions on what can be batched into a single day, a week, or month? If so, please leave a comment below to let myself and others know.

Related Posts to ‘5 Things to do on Sunday to Prepare for the Week’:

9 Simple Tips to Create a Stress Free Morning 

5 Vital Things to Include in your Morning Routine as a Stay at Home Mom

How to Create a Weekly Schedule that Actually Works!

10 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life

Do you dread Monday Mornings? Read this to fix that! weekend hacks, be productive, weekend tasks, good week, start the week good

9 Ways to Reset Your Home and Start the Week Off Right (During the School Year)

start the week off right

9 Ways to Reset Your Home and Start the Week Off Right (During the School Year)

We all know that being able to start the week off right is important.

But, when we have kids in school it’s even more so important. No one likes starting the week and not knowing where anything is, not having clothes to wear, and not knowing if there’s going to be enough food to eat all week long.

These kind of things can turn any week into chaos, with kids possibly even disappointed that you’re not more well put together.

Luckily, there are some things that any mom can do, or delegate, to make sure everyone in their home has the best start to their week; by being prepared!

There’s also free printables you can use to make sure these things get done; grab it here.

Related Post: How to Keep a Clutter Free Home!!

Start the Week Off Right Way #1: Clean Your Home

This should go without saying; a clean home is a happy home.

Start with the basic everyday tasks, like dishes and sweeping.

Then move on and make sure you clean out your fridge. No one likes to see old food in the fridge, or worse; think that they have the ingredients to make something, but didn’t realize that the key ingredient expired a month ago… This will also help when planning out your families meals for the week and writing the grocery list, which is a little further down in this list.

Some other cleaning tasks to consider to do every weekend:

  • wipe down counters in kitchen
  • wipe everything down in the bathroom(s)
  • vacuum
  • wipe down appliances (microwave, fridge, stove, etc.)
  • mop
  • take the garbage out

Depending on the time you have during your weekend, you may be able to get this all done, or you may not; start with what you believe is most important for keeping a clean home, and if you have extra time, great!

I’m not going to claim to be a cleaning expert, in fact, I’m probably the opposite when it comes to cleaning. It’s hard to keep a clean home with little ones around, so don’t feel guilty if you do have a messy home. Just do what you can and simply clean your home enough so it doesn’t continue to get worse.

Related Post: 7 Ways to Get Kids to Clean Up

#2: Laundry

If you’re thinking that this should be included up above with the cleaning section, you may be right. But, having clean laundry is more important to starting the week off than having a clean home, especially with kids who go to school. The older they get, the more important this will be.

Just like what you wear to work is important, and that the clothes you wear are clean and smell good; it’s just as important for your child.

If you have girls, then you probably understand the frustration when they want to wear a certain outfit and it can’t be found, or it’s in the laundry basket waiting to be clean. So, make sure all clothes are washed, dry, and put away before the week starts. Or, better yet, remember to do the next way to start the week off right…

#3: Lay Clothes Out for the Week

You’ll see that during the school year laying clothes out for the week is ahead is extremely important. Especially with kids who are fussy about what they wear each day.

Having clothes laid out for the whole week will prevent before school meltdowns because what they want to wear isn’t clean or can’t be found anywhere!

You can help your child plan out their outfits for the week. Or, if they’re old enough, remind them to do so and then take a look at what they’re going to wear. If they truly don’t care what they wear all week, pick out the clothes for them; this may be the easiest thing to do. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do this with my girls; even my two year old won’t let me pick out her clothes to wear!

Have the clothes for the week laid out on the dresser, in a separate drawer, or do what I do and hang them up on over the door hooks so they’re easier to find!

#4: Meal Plan

Having a plan of what you and your family will eat during the week will reduce quite a bit of stress, for everyone!

You’ll have a plan for what to give everyone for breakfast, as you’re rushing out the door.

You’ll know what to pack in everyone’s lunches, which means no one will go hungry or have to spend money during the week to buy a school lunch or eat out. Therefore, you can ensure your family is eating well, and not junk while they’re away from home.

You’ll have a plan for dinner, so on those rushed nights you won’t have to order out or grab fast food.

And, you won’t have to worry about not having food that you and your family needs to make a meal or a snack! Simply make sure you meal plan before you get groceries for the week.

Related Posts:

How to Meal Plan (when you have no motivation to do so)

How to Make a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget

#5: Meal Prep

After you plan out your meals for the week, and get groceries; make it easier on yourself for the week and meal prep!

If you have a hectic weekly schedule, sports your kids are in and need to be driven to practice a few times a week; you’ll thank yourself for having meals already prepared and basically ready to eat.

If you want to know more about the benefits of meal prepping, find out here.

If you’re completely lost with how to meal prep, check this out and learn how to be a meal prepping pro!

Meal prepping over the weekend will save you hours during the week, help prevent kids from whining because there’s nothing to eat, and having the pressure to eat out when you know you have healthy nourishing food at home.

#6: Organize Your Home

Organizing your home before a new week starts is just as important as anything else on this list. It can also be the difference between staying sane during the week or having to deal with finding lost items all week long.

Who has time during the week to tear the house apart to find something? Not me, not during the school year.

Make it easy on yourself during the week.

If you couldn’t fully prep every meal for the week; pull things forward in your cupboards, make kid snacks easy to find in the fridge, and organize your food so the ones that will expire first, gets used first.

As for not having to look for lost items, make sure you put all items that are out of place back in it’s place before the week starts. We want our homes to be reset each week, how they belong, so it doesn’t continue to get worse, week after week.


#7: Make Sure Your Childs Homework is Done

If your home is organized, then your child should be able to find their homework, if they have any. Children can be children, though, and may not have done it. So, before Sunday night comes along, ask if they have any homework and remind them to complete it.

This will help reduce stress and help them learn. The best time for them to get it done is Friday right after school, or at least before any fun event during the weekend. If you make it a norm in your house to get all work, or homework, done before you start weekend things; then you’ll be setting your child up for success in school and beyond. Teaching them good habits to help with their success in life!

Don’t forget to make sure they put their homework in their to take to school on Monday. It won’t do any good for them to get it done and not hand it in on time. Which brings us to the next thing you should do.

#8: Pack All Bags and Place Near Door

To start any day off right, you need to prepare the day ahead, same thing goes to start the week off right.

Make sure all bags are packed and ready to leave the home next day. Make sure keys are near the door so you don’t have to spend 5 frantic minutes searching for them when you have to leave. And, pack everyone’s lunches as much as you can the night before.

This will obviously reduce stress in the morning, especially on those days where you hit snooze, or can’t seem to get your child out of bed.

Start the week off right and try to never miss this step Sunday night. You need to get back in the habit before the week begins, so you can stick to the habit all week long.

#9: Don’t Forget to Relax and have some fun

Enough with all of the productivity, you can do that all you want to reset your home and get ready for each week. But, has your family had a chance to unwind from the busy week and reset?

This is one of the most important steps to start the week off right!

You, and your family needs to unwind, have some fun, forget about the busyness of the week, and just relax.

Go out, go shopping, go to event, or stay in and chill as a family. Whatever is your families style, maybe it’s a mix of the two, just find a way t relieve the stress of the week to help everyone find some mental clarity before the next week begins!

Reap the Benefits of a Reset Home and Start the Week Off Right!

If this list overwhelms you, don’t let it. Do what you can in the time that you have. Choose the most important tasks for your home and your family, and make sure those get done.

If this doesn’t seem like a lot, add in other things you may have to do. Don’t forget to grab these trackers to make sure you get done what needs to get done every week and simplify your life!

Resetting your home each week to start your week off will reduce so much stress from your hectic life; along with helping you feel like you get a fresh start each week.

It’s something you need to do, to gain mental clarity and keep your sanity through out the week!

It’s truly a sanity saver and a life changer. I know, a little dramatic, right? But, seriously, you’ll save so much time during the week by resetting your home on the weekend. You’ll be able to start enjoying your week more. You’ll avoid the headache and fussing that comes along with finding last minute meals and helping your child pick out their clothes every morning before school. Go ahead, and help yourself by starting this weekend, and share this with others to help them out!

start the week off right

How to Start a Plant Based Diet

How to Start a Plant Based Diet – an easy step by step plan for beginners

Did you just watch a healthy documentary, like What the Health?, Food Choices, or Food Inc.?

If so, then you’re probably wondering how to start a plant based diet, or at least improve your eating habits.

Maybe you’re unsure how to do that; it can be overwhelming at first. And, the first thing you may be tempted to do is to simply throw out all of the things bashed in the documentaries. If you have a very strong will-power and self-discipline and won’t simply go out and buy it again, go right ahead. But, most of us aren’t that strong.

Most of us need baby steps.

We need a plan to get us to where we want to be without being too uncomfortable, and without feeling we’re missing out on the unhealthy food surrounding us.

Some of us need to be told exactly what to do (or to eat), step by step. Some of us will rebel and not eat what we’re supposed to, simply to rebel. We need to strengthen our self discipline and self control. It will help us feel better, look better, and have enough energy to chase after our little ones. (Moms, you know what I’m talking about, especially with toddlers and driving around very busy older kids. No coffee needed, promise!)

I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be super easy and I’m not going to tell you that once you start this journey to health that you won’t slip up once in awhile, it happens.

What I am going to do is provide you with a step by step plan that will get you where you want to be in terms of your eating, if you follow it.

If you don’t follow the steps I provide, I can’t help you and you may have more difficulty than necessary.

p.s. Before we begin, I’m going to let you know some of the steps are baby steps, but you still need to do them.

 Step One for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Decide How Badly You Want it

If you just finished watching a health documentary and are highly motivated; how long do you think that motivation will last?

It likely won’t last for more than a couple of weeks. You could keep watching documentaries for motivation.

Or, if you’re determined to go plant based, you need to show it. You need to feel the need to improve your life.

Basically, you need to determine how badly you want this lifestyle change.

If you kind of want it, but are unsure, you may not last very long; at least not without support.

If you know you want this, the next step is to think about why you want it so badly!

Step Two for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Decide WHY You Want to Change to a Plant Based Diet

There are tons of reasons why to change to a plant based lifestyle or plant based diet. Some examples of why people change are below. Your reason why may be below, or it may not, but, take a look anyways. Maybe it’ll give you more than one reason why you should switch to a plant based diet!

Help reverse existing health issues

If you watched health documentaries, you know a plant based diet can do this. Do you have any health issues you want t reverse? (Psst….if you do, talk with a doctor or nutritionist who knows you and your condition before you change your diet. I am in no way a doctor, and it’s been years since I’ve even taken an advil.)

Prevent Health issues

If you don’t have any health issues or concerns, are there any health concerns that run in your family that you’d like to try to prevent? (I sure do. I feel like every other month I get notified of another health issue that a family member has.)

Improve your overall health and well being

This pretty much speaks for itself.

Have enough energy to be a better mom (and chase after your toddler).

I feel ya on this one, every time we go outside, my toddler darts towards the road, she’s just at that stage. I have to throw off my flip flops and dart right after her before she gets half way up the driveway. Luckily, I eat the same healthy food I feed her, so I can run after her when I need to!

Feel better and have a more clear mind

Have you ever felt ‘uhhhhg….’ or ‘blah’? I used to all the time, you can check out my journey to health if you want to know why.

Eating plants will help you feel good from the inside out!

Lose weight

Ridding your diet of processed foods will help you lose excess weight effortlessly, other than the change in what you eat.

Be a good example for your children and raise a healthier generation for the future.

Children copy what they see; if they see you eat healthy, they’ll start eating healthy. Simple as that.

Leave a lighter footprint on the earth

It takes more resources (land, water, etc.) for someone to eat meat or dairy, than for someone to eat a plant based diet.

Help reduce the number of animals being abused and slaughtered

This is obvious.

Help reduce health concerns of others who live near industrial sized farms and animal waste

If there’s less of a demand for animal products then they’ll be less industrial sized farms and less animal waste that is causing health issues for those living near them.

Help reduce the destruction of rain forest

This goes along leaving a lighter footprint.

Help reduce the amount of sea life that is being affected by target fish consumption

What do you think happens to all of the sea life that is pulled up in nets with the target fish that people eat?

Help save the Earth

I could go on, and on, and on. But, those are the major reasons people choose to switch to a vegan or plant based diet. If the reason you choose isn’t in the list, it doesn’t mean it’s not a great reason; it simply means it wasn’t one of the first things to come to my mind.

So, choose your why and hold on tight; it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

No, seriously, hold onto it; write it down and don’t forget it. There are going to be times when you’re tempted to quit, when others tell you you’re stupid for changing your diet like this and that you’re not going to get enough protein. They’re going to use all the myths against you, and you’ll have to remember and gain strength from your why, to stay on track.

Step Three for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Go Through Your Kitchen and Remove Some Items

You want to do this anyways, so start, just don’t go overboard.

Start with the easiest things to get out of your diet. Maybe the items that you don’t really like but bought because at the time you thought they were good for you.

Then start weaning yourself from all other animal products and processed foods.

This is a lifestyle change, not a diet!

Unless you’re great at changing your life over night, which most of us aren’t; it’s better to go slow than not at all.

Step Four for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Get Prepared

Do some research

Check out some of my other posts on eating healthy. Or, google your questions about going plant based, find a nutritionist if you think you’ll need one. Do the research you need to do to feel comfortable going plant based.

Prepare your answers for all the silly questions you’ll get.

  • Where do you get your protein?
  • What do you eat?
  • Aren’t you missing important vitamins and minerals that you can only get from meat?
  • When are you going to stop depriving yourself of nutrients?
  • How can you afford to eat healthy food?
  • Well, I guess you can’t eat out with us now, right?
  • Don’t you miss eating ‘cheese’? (Insert any non-plant based food into the sentence.)

Yes, some of these questions may sound very silly with what you know. Just be polite and answer honestly, and try not to sound annoyed, as hard as it may be.

But, seriously, go find a notebook or open up a notepad on your phone and write out the answers to these, that way you won’t be caught off guard when asked; you’ll already know what to say, and be able to say it with confidence!

Find recipes

I want you to go download the Pinterest app on your phone, if you don’t already have it. If you haven’t signed up for Pinterest; sign up!

Go ahead, right now! Make sure to follow me and use the search feature to find recipes that you’d like to try.

Create a few boards for recipes. Label one ‘recipes to try’, label another ‘recipes I like’, or anything that makes sense to you. This way you can keep track of the food you want to try, what you like, and you could even create a meal plan using the recipes you find on Pinterest.

If you already have Pinterest, or once you’re signed up, spend 10 or 15 minutes searching or plant based recipes that look good, and save them to try later!

Read some books, or get some cookbooks if you’re a book person.

Check out my influencer page on Amazon to see a few of the cookbooks I started with!


Follow some healthy bloggers- like me! Sign up for my email list here.

Following healthy bloggers will help provide you with the information you’re already looking for give you inspiration to keep moving forward, and give you more people to help support you in your journey towards better health!

Follow my friend, Farin at spiritedvegan.com, too! She’s a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, so you can be sure she knows what she’s talking about!

Step Five for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Start Swapping out Foods

Instead of going straight from whatever you currently eat, to eating an all plant based diet with foods that are foreign to you; try swapping foods.

This is supposed to make the transition easier.

If you love hot dogs, try carrot dogs.

Swap out chicken nuggets for soy nuggets; they may still be processed, but it isn’t meat and you won’t notice the difference.

Do this for any animal products you eat or drink. Swap in soymilk for cows milk, make banana ice cream in place of store bought, and so on.

And, make sure you add in plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, and legumes. Add in so many of these that there is literally no more room fr the animal products.

Honestly, that’s the easiest way to do it. How can you continue to eat animal products when your diet is so full of all the healthy plant based food you eat? There’s no room left!

Step Six for How to Start a Plant Based Diet: Meal Plan and Meal Prep

This last step is the most important step in this how to guide.

It goes hand in hand with the last few steps. And, these are the steps that you’ll need to constantly repeat.

You’ll constantly be searching for more recipes to try, and inspiration for continuing on this healthy eating journey.

But, the one thing that will help you the most is creating a solid meal plan, and meal prepping each week.

These two actions will ensure you stick with your plant based eating goals.

They will also help you lose excess weight, save money, and save time!

Who doesn’t want that?

If you’re new to meal prepping, new to plant based eating, or just need more help than what this simple guide was able to give you; I highly recommend you check out Farin’s Plant-based meal prepping course, Wholly Prep.

Remember her from above?

She’s a Certified Holistic Nutritionist!

Wholly prep was designed to be the very next step after watching a health documentary or becoming inspired to take on a plant based diet.

It was designed to help you meal prep 21 meals in 2 hours (enough for the whole week)!

Meal prepping is the ultimate way to ensure your health, save you time, and save you money.

If you’re still feeling lost on how to start a plant based diet, or simply need more support or guidance; you need this course!

Even if you’ve come a long way in your journey to health, but just haven’t made it to where you want to be; you need this course!

So, go ahead and check it out.

If you’re hesitant about it, or investing in your health; sign up for the free trial.

Honestly though, your health is the one thing you should invest in. You only get one body for your entire life; you need to treat it right, with respect, and feed it the food and nutrients it needs!

This course will guide you, in an easy to understand way:

  • to become an expert in your own kitchen
  • reach your health and wellness goals
  • to feel confident that you’re feeding yourself the nutrients your body needs
  • to spend less money while eating healthier food
  • and a lot more!

(Psst….you’ll even get bonuses, including weekly Q&A sessions with Farin that her clients in real life pay quite a bit of money to receive. It’s like going to a certified holistic nutritionist without actually having to go anywhere.)

 

Don’t hesitate on signing up for Wholly Prep; it WILL change your life and improve it!

This is your health we’re talking about; you’re worth it.

How to Start a Plant Based Diet

messy house

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Have Messy House Guilt

Have you ever had just one of those days; you know, where your patience with your children is truly tested?

When it feels like every time you blink, there’s another mess to clean up or child who needs your undivided attention.

And, don’t you dare turn your back, not even for a second, or your children will start wrestling over a toy. (I have girls, and they do this.)

Forget about even doing the basic chores you attempt to get done everyday, like dishes and laundry, there’s boo-boo’s to kiss and putting the toddler down for a nap to attempt. HAHA…..nope, no nap today.

Yep, this stay at home mom gig isn’t the easiest thing in the world. There’s ‘those’ days. Nothing get’s done, and the house looks like a tornado went through it.

But, guess what?

These days will happen, and because you’re a mom, you’ll get through them. Hopefully they won’t come too often, but we’ve got this. And, here are 5 reasons why I’m thankful for days like these and why you shouldn’t feel guilty about a messy house.

1. Your Children are Fed and Alive

Your kids are alive and fed, well, mostly fed…..

Some of the food is over there on the floor…..

some may be on the wall across the room……

and there might be some peanut butter on the curtains…*cringe*.

But, the kids aren’t acting like they’re hungry, so, good enough.

If you manage to simply get some food into your children on days like these, then you’ve pretty much mastered motherhood.

And, you can’t get the kids fed without having to cook, or at least having some messy dishes in the kitchen. So, don’t mind the mess, be thankful they got to eat!

2. Unconditional Love

Sure, they may not show it, but they do love you. Even when they’re yelling at the top of their lungs that they hate you and want to be alone, or for you to leave them alone; they still love you.

Eventually, the strong feelings they are experiencing will fade and they’ll melt. (That’s what my five year old and I call it when this happens and she comes back to me for hugs, kisses, to apologize to me, and tell me how much she loves me.)

Sometimes, on days like ‘these’ where your patience is being tested; it’s better to value some quality time with your kids, than playing the perfect house keeper.

They need you, and you know it’s good for both your’s and your children’s sanity to just sit in their room and play with them. Even if it means the house stays a disaster for little longer.

So, don’t feel guilty about a messy house.

3. Early Bedtime, Anyone?

Yes, on days like ‘these’, where everything seems to be going wrong, you can’t keep up with your home, and your children are hanging all over you (or fighting behind your back); an early bedtime is a likely (well-deserved) ending.

Your toddler didn’t nap; your older child wouldn’t leave them alone long enough to let them fall asleep. Your older child got up too early and starting to get cranky. You somehow managed to get your kids clean and in pj’s by 6:15pm and by 6:30pm the little one is out and 15 minutes later the older one is being asked to get tucked in to bed.

(Wait a minute, that’s my queue to go tuck her in….)

But, not all of ‘these’ days will end with a well-deserved early bedtime for the kids.

Nope, some of ‘these’ days won’t end til the morning and we’ll be pulling out our hair (if there’s any left after the kids got to it).

And, with our luck, it’ll probably be just one child keeping us up all night, and by the time they finally pass out and the morning comes; the other one will be up and ready to take on the day….

This is when you’ll be hoping Starbucks delivers. (Unfortunately, as far as I know, they don’t.)

4. The TV Stayed Off All Day

On days like ‘these’, where you can’t even hear yourself think and there’s toys everywhere (like those legos you’re just about to step on…watch out); be thankful!

A messy house, with toys sprawled all through out, means that your children didn’t spend the day acting like zombies in front of the tv. No flashing bright colors of kids shows shining in their eyes.

Instead, their eyes are shining with excitement for their next imaginative adventure!

You know all their toys, the ones EVERYWHERE, well, be glad that they’re being played with! So many kids now-a-days have toys that never get played with because they’re too busy with screens in their faces.

(By the way, my daughter apparently opened up a cupcake shop in her room; the ‘cupcakes’ are balls from a ball pit and it’s open 24/7. They’re also vegan for her mommy!)

So, don’t feel guilty about a messy house.

5. You’re Creating Memories and a Better Future

Whether it’s teaching your children to talk, build with blocks, writing their own stories, or teaching them math; you’re helping them form fond memories that they’ll hold onto forever. You’re teaching them a skill that they’ll use for the rest of their lives.

You’re making an impact in their life; not because your kitchen is spotless, but because you’re spending your time with them, instead.

Or, maybe you went back to school to get a better job, so that they can start going to a dance or karate class.

Maybe you’re starting your own business; to earn a little more to pay off the student debt you racked up before your kids were born.

Yes, even us stay at home moms get too busy with our work to keep a house spotless. Being a stay at home mom does not mean our time is unlimited, or that we can’t make money to better our childrens lives. We have a lot on our plates, and on ‘these’ days, having a messy house is perfectly alright.

Did your mom feel guilty about a messy house?

Can you remember back to when you were a child? Did your mom ever feel guilty about a messy home? Should they have?

I know my mom should never have felt guilty about a messy house. She ran a home daycare and at times there were 10 kids there, 3 to 4 toddlers at a time….

She even had a quote hanging on a small plaque in the hallway that said “Apology. Although you’ll find our house a mess. Come in- sit down- converse. It doesn’t always look like this: Some days it’s even worse.

Remember that.

Remember that you have gone through days like ‘these’ and that a messy house is a blessing of being a good mom and having children who love and rely on you.

Never feel guilty about a messy house.

Share with a mom who needs to hear this! And, pin it on Pinterest so you can come back to it when needed.

messy house

Related Posts:

7 Ways to Get Kids to Clean Up

How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry (5 actionable tips)

Why I’m NOT a Bad Mom (even though my 5 year old drank my coffee)

messy house
messy house
messy house

get kids to clean

7 Ways to Get Kids to Clean Up

“Clean your room!!” shouts every mom, everyday. Am I right?!

Are you tired of nagging your children to clean?

You know you are.

You know you already have to nag your husband to do anything; not that you’re meaning to, or even think that you are. But, he may be a lost cause; you didn’t raise him.

Your kids, on the other hand, you are raising. Meaning that you need to instill a good work ethic in them. Teach them to clean up after themselves and possibly even others (gasp).

You know what, though?

Getting your kids to clean isn’t as easy for some, as it is for others. Your child may argue with you about it, get overwhelmed with the huge mess they made, and then guilt you into cleaning up their mess for them.

Please don’t tell me my 5 year old is the only one who does that to their mom!

If you have a hard time convincing your child that they need to clean their room, or other areas of the house to contribute to the household chores, keep reading to find out seven smart ways to get your kids to clean!

For suggested chores, based on children’s ages (age 3 to 12), check out this household chores for kids printable!

First way to get kids to clean up: Simply Ask Them to Clean

Ha! If only, right?

But, if you don’t start by simply asking them, how will they know you want them to?

Simply asking your child to do simple tasks around the home can lead to big result, sometimes without your child even realizing it!

‘Please take care of your dishes.’

‘Please put your shoes where they belong.’

and,

‘Please put your dirty clothes in the hamper.’

Asking your child to do these things daily, without fail, is helping them create a habit, without them even realize it. A habit that will hopefully stick with them through life.

Just remember to ask them in a way that’s polite and respectful to them.

Second way to get kids to clean up: Turn Cleaning into a Game

If simply asking them doesn’t work; try turning it into a game.

‘Who can pick up faster’ and ‘you can’t pick up faster than me’ games will certainly work with some kids! But, it won’t with others.

Turning it into a competition between siblings could potentially work, just be careful about increasing the sibling rivalry; it can get intense.

Another way to turn cleaning into a game is to turn it into an actual game. Give them a squirt gun with soap and warm water or a DIY non-toxic all purpose cleaning detergent) and a rag; have them wash the windows and the floors, or anything else that needs a scrub down.

Be as creative as you like here, invite your kids for ideas!

Third way to get kids to clean up: Entice Them ‘Only ‘big kids’ Get to Clean’

Little kids love being considered ‘big kids, or being given real responsibilities and think that they are older than they really are.

Ever hear of a twonager or a fivenager? It’s when a 2 or a 5 year old act like they’re teenagers. I have both.

If you have some, as well, remind them that if they act like a teenagers; they get to have the responsibilities of being a teenager. It’s just part of growing up. Of course, you get to choose which chores your ‘teenagers’ do.


Fourth way to get kids to clean up: You Do As You Say

You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?

Telling your children to do something or clean up after themselves is one thing. But, having them watch you do the same for yourself and them from the time they start forming memories to right now; that’s how they latently learn to clean.

Plus, monkey see, monkey do, right? Not saying our kids are monkeys, but they sure do love to copy everything we do. The good and the bad.

So, why not be a good example and do what we want them to do?

If you’re able to do this with your first child; it’ll get easier with the more children you have. They tend to copy each other, as well.

Fifth way to get kids to clean up: Teach Your Children How to Clean

Maybe you’ve done all of the above, but your child still will not even pick up their room. They simply refuse to even pick up one toy.

It could be that they get anxious picking up, overwhelmed, or maybe they aren’t quite sure how.

This has certainly been the case with my 5 year old. She makes such a mess and gets overwhelmed by it. She doesn’t know how to pick up such a large mess without me sitting in her room tell her what to pick up and where to put it. This can seem exhausting to do for a child. But, if you don’t teach them how, then they’ll never learn.

So, instead of letting them skip picking up their room today, and you just picking it in 5 minutes or less; take the 20 to 30 minutes teaching them what goes where and how to pick up their room so they can do it on their own in the future.

Be patient and reap the rewards of hard work, and lengthier cleaning sessions to start off with. At some point or another, you’ll simply have to ask them if their room is clean!

Sixth way to get kids to clean up: Clean Side by Side

Maybe your child doesn’t like having to clean when they see you doing something more fun.

Remember, they like to copy you. So, if you’re off playing games or on social media on your phone while telling them to go clean their room; no wonder they aren’t listening to you!

GET OFF YOUR PHONE!! And, go get some household chores done, too. Help them clean their room. Have them help you do dishes, or sweep, or do laundry.

Teach them how to clean, apprentice-style. Let them clean with you, not for you.

Seventh way to get kids to clean up: Turn it into a Business Transaction

If all else fails; make a business transaction.

Ever watch Boss Baby, the Netflix original series?

Well, BB, aka Boss Baby, treats almost everything in the show as a business transaction. His big brother wants him to eat his green beans; his brother is going to owe him for it.

Nothing is free in life. This isn’t saying that you have to give them an allowance or bribe them. But, as Boss Baby would say ‘I do’sy, you do’sy’. Meaning, if your child does something for you, you do something for them. This could be as simple as reading them an extra story at bedtime, or letting them choose a movie to watch before bedtime.

Whatever it is, you need to make it seem like they chose it and wouldn’t be something that they could get or do without doing something for you.

You both need to benefit from the ‘transaction’.

Good Luck!

Even with all of these smart tips for helping you to train your children to clean up after themselves; it can still be a challenge.

But, hey, there were seven tips, and seven is a lucky number. So, I wish you luck in your venture on having your kids clean their rooms, or other areas of the home!

If you’re unsure what your child is capable of cleaning up by themselves; the best way to find out is to experiment.

Give them some space and time and see what they do.

And, don’t forget, they’re human, too. Don’t expect their clean up job to be perfect, or even close to it!

Good Luck!

get kids to clean

get kids to clean
For suggested chores, based on children’s ages (age 3 to 12), check out this household chores for kids printable!

Related Posts:

How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry (5 actionable tips)

7 Tips to Spend More Quality Time with Your Child

10 Tips to actually ENJOY Your Day as a Stay at Home Mom

The Best Action You can Take If You Want an Easier Life as a Parent!

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