Seven Simple Ways To Increase Your Water Intake

While everyone knows that it’s important to drink an adequate amount of water each day, doing so can actually be quite difficult.

But water is necessary for good health. According to the Mayo Clinic, our bodies are comprised of mostly water.  Water plays many important roles in your body function, including maintaining electrolyte balance, regulating blood pressure, helping your body maintain a normal temperature, lubricating joints, and flushing out waste.

Since my husband and I have made the decision to try and improve our health, that includes making sure that we consume an adequate amount of water each day. Well, that’s a lot easier said than done.

Most days it’s near bedtime when I realize I have only had two, maybe three glasses of water for the day.

So how have I increased my water intake? I incorporate these simple tips to make sure that I get a sufficient amount of water each day.

Black Woman Drinking Glass Of Water

 

How To Drink More Water


Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.


I start my morning with water. I drink a full glass of water every morning before I have my coffee.

Try drinking a glass of water after waking each morning.  If you prefer tea over coffee, have a cup of tea with lemon as your morning beverage. 


Carry a water bottle.


I keep a couple of water bottles in the fridge and one on my desk. As I finish one, I simply go to the fridge and grab another. If I have to go out for the day, I make sure that I take a water bottle along with me.


Add flavor with fruit.


Sometimes plain water can be a bit boring. I like to infuse my water with fresh fruit to give it a splash of flavor.

 

Consume foods high in water content.


Drinking water isn’t the only way to increase water intake. Add foods that are high in water content to your daily diet. Some examples of fruits and veggies with a high water content are: watermelon, cucumbers, spinach, green peppers, celery, and tomatoes.

 

Track your water intake with a Hydration App.


A great way to remember to drink water is by utilizing an app like Water Minder or Aqua Alert. Simply set a reminder in the app and you’ll receive an alert when it’s time to drink more water.

 

Order water instead of soda when eating out.


When you eat out, opt for water as your beverage instead of tea or soda. It’s actually much better for you. 


Dilute your juices.


I have always practiced this with my son (I’m sure most mom’s have), and now I add a half cup of water to my fruit juice to help increase my water intake.

 

Twelve Fun Activities To Enjoy With Your Family During Quarantine

Having to quarantine and socially distance ourselves during this coronavirus pandemic is by no means fun for any of us – kids and parents alike.

While we’re normally able to come and go as we please, we are now having to steer clear of groups and outdoor activities such as going to parks, shopping malls and any other extracurricular activities.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or you’re working from home now, there are plenty of ways to keep the entire family from going stir-crazy while having to remain indoors.

Here are twelve activities that are sure to help keep your kids entertained, and your sanity intact while in quarantine, and socially distancing yourselves. 

 

Let The Fun Begin

 

1. Fly Paper Airplanes

It’s super easy to make paper aircrafts. Learn how to make the perfect airplane with this tutorial. Have some friendly competition and see who can fly their plane the farthest. You can also create a cool landing strip for your airplanes. 

 

2. Scavenger Hunts

This is a game that can be done either indoors or outdoors in the backyard. If you have younger kids, keep it simple, and have them search for items that are based on color, or basic shapes.

For the older kids, items can be collected based on letters of the alphabet, animals or insects and even riddles. 

 

3. Host A Family Movie Night

This is a great time for you to enjoy some of your favorite films as a family. So that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy their favorite movie, allow one family member to choose a movie each evening, until everyone has had a turn. 

 

4. Give Each Other Makeovers

Take turns giving each other makeovers. Pull out all of your old makeup, nail polishes, and wigs, and see who can come up with the most creative style. Don’t forget to snap a few photos to have as a keepsake! 

 

5. Have An Indoor Picnic

Push back the couch, spread out a comfy blanket and enjoy lunch from the comfort of your living room. Allow the kids to choose the menu and invite them to help with meal prep. 

 

6. Read Out Loud

This is a favorite in my household. My son loves story time. As a matter of fact, I think most kids enjoy being read to. Gather up some of your kiddos favorite books, snuggle up on the couch together, and take turns reading a page. 

 

Fun Family Activities Pinterest Pin

 

7. Build A Fort

Get creative when helping your child build a fort. You can keep it simple with just a few pillows and blankets or make it a little more extravagant by adding different fabrics and some lights. Don’t forget to stock the fort with several books, toys and lots of snacks. 

 

8. Enjoy Outdoors

Social distancing away from groups is important but you and your family can still spend time playing in the backyard. We can all benefit from some daily fresh air. Going for a walk has been one of my family’s favorite activities.

You can also roller blade or go biking around the neighborhood  as a way to help break up the monotony of time spent indoors. 

 

9. Create Your Own Masterpiece

Pull out all of your craft supplies – markers, glue, construction paper, paints, feathers, buttons and whatever other odds and ends you have lying around, and let the kids go to town. When their masterpieces have dried, be sure to display them in a prominent place around the house. 

 

10. Dance

This is a super fun way for kids to burn off excess energy, and parents to burn some excess calories. Crank up your kids’ favorite songs and everybody bust a move. 

 

11. Break Out The Board Games

Board games are a great way to bring the whole family together – young and old. Whether classics like Chutes and Ladders, Monopoly, Scrabble or Clue, a great time is sure to be had by all.

You could even add a few puzzles to the mix. Puzzles are a great way for the family to problem solve, and work together, all while creating lasting memories. 

 

12. Bake Together

Who doesn’t enjoy a sweet treat? Round up the kids, and whip up some of your favorite baked goods. How about turning it into a dessert bar. Just set out the toppings – frosting, sprinkles, M&Ms, gummy bears, nuts, you name it, and let the kids (and parents) pile on their favorites.

 

Beautiful Black Family At Home

 

 

Perhaps the most important thing of all is to actually enjoy this time at home with your family. Our everyday lives can be filled with numerous distractions, so take some time to simply relax and enjoy time spent with those you love most. And don’t forget to wash your hands! 

How are you and your family spending your days while quarantined?

 

TV Store Online $60 Gift Card Giveaway

 

 

Sponsored By: TV Store Online

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Winner will receive:

Any item of their choosing up to a $60 RV at TVStoreOnline.com!

 



Read Love, Mrs. Mommy’s TV Store Online Review!
TV Store Online “started with a dream to provide everyone near or far with access to cult classic memorabilia with the click of a button. The love of pop culture and all of its genres (TV, Movies, Comics, Music) helped sprout this dream. TV Store Online developed from an idea to a reality starting in 2004 out of our basement.”And 15 years later, they have grown into a 42,000 sq ft warehouse with hundreds of thousands of retail products! There’s truly something for everyone here. Read More…

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
Previous TV Store Online winners are excluded from winning another giveaway. 
Please do not enter if you have already won a TVSO Giveaway.
Open To US entries and must be 18+ to enter

Giveaway Dates ~ 10/24 9:00 AM EST through 11/24 11:59PM EST

 
 
 
 
 
 
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. Previous TV Store Online winners are excluded from winning another giveaway. Please do not enter if you have already won a TVSO Giveaway. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Feed Your Child’s Creativity With A Monthly Subscription Box

As a child, I loved getting surprises in the mail. I’m sure your child would too. Why not surprise them with something that’s both fun and educational. Gift them their very own subscription box from Kiwi Co.

Kiwi makes STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning for your child accessible, engaging, and fun.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission if you order using my link.  Read my full disclosure here.


What Is Kiwi Co

Kiwi Co is a monthly subscription service that offers educational projects, crafts, and activities for kids using different themes.

KiwiCo is all about celebrating a child’s natural creativity and curiosity.

Each of their boxes includes all of the materials needed to make a fun hands-on project with your child.

Kiwi Co Doodle Crate

 

About Kiwi Co Boxes

Suggested Age Range: 0 to 16+

Cost: Starts at $19.95 per month, with free shipping. If necessary, you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Order: Click here to order NOW.

 Kiwi Crate – Inspiring Kids to Become Scientist, Artists, Creators, and Makers

A Kiwi Co subscription box allows kids to create all while having fun. Each box comes filled with the supplies and directions to help kids create on their own. You’ll love the learning resources and activities that are available in each crate!

There are different packages available for each age group:

Panda Crate – Explore and Discover (Ages 0 – 2)
Koala Crate – Play and Learn (Ages 2 – 4)
Kiwi Crate – Art, Science & More (Ages 5 – 8)
Atlas Crate – Geography & Culture (Ages 6 – 11)
Doodle Crate – Art & Design (Ages 9 – 16+)
Tinker Crate – Science & Engineering (Ages 9 – 16+)
Eureka Crate – Engineering & Design (Ages 14 – 104)

All of the boxes from Kiwi Co are designed by experts, and tested by kids. Subscriptions are available monthly, or in three months, six months and twelve months increments.

Have you tried Kiwi Co?  What is your child’s favorite crate?

An Affordable Alternative To Cable TV

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of people cutting the cable TV cord. I mean why pay for all of those channels that you don’t actually watch? My husband and I have been cable free for a little over 7 years now, and we haven’t regretted cutting the cord one bit.


The average family spends about $96 each month for cable TV (source). That can really take a toll on an already tight budget.

* This post contains affiliate links which means that I may make a small commission if you choose to make a purchase using my link.  Read my full disclosure here


There are a number of options available that can help you save money by getting rid of cable TV, yet still allowing you to enjoy many of your favorite movies and shows. Our #1 choice by far is Hulu.


What is Hulu, you might ask. Hulu is a premium internet based streaming service that offers you some of the latest and greatest in TV shows, movies and more. If you have a newer smart TV, the Hulu app is usually pre-installed, so you should be able to connect to the service without any issue.


If you do not have a smart TV, you will need a streaming device such as a Roku player, FireTV Stick, or Chromecast to connect to Hulu. Make sure you read up on the product before purchasing, to ensure that you have the right equipment.


 

 

Why I Love Hulu

 
Though there are several options available as far as streaming services go, Hulu is definitely my family’s favorite.
Not only do they offer original content, but you can also view shows from local channels and some cable networks soon after they air. That means I get to keep up with my favorite shows even though I no longer have cable.


Hulu also gives you the option to choose commercial-free viewing for an additional charge. So if you are one who likes to enjoy TV without ads or commercials, you can pay a few bucks more to watch TV free of ads. Sweet!
Recently Hulu also added a live TV plan. That means you can catch the game in real time!


Lastly, the monthly cost is affordable (can’t really say the same for cable). You can choose from several options:

Hulu                                    $ 5.99 Month
Hulu (No-Ads)                    $ 11.99 Month
Hulu + Live TV                  $ 44.99 Month
Hulu + Live TV (No Ads) $ 50.99 Month

Hulu Premium Channels

In addition to add-on channel packages, Hulu + Live TV also offers premium subscription services. You can customize your Hulu service with additional add ons like HBO Max, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, and Disney + for an additional fee.

You also have the option to add services like DVR and unlimited screens.

For example, you can choose an HBO Max subscription at $15 per month as a part of your monthly Hulu + Live TV bill. That content would be available to stream on your Hulu app alongside the content from your base subscription.

Here’s a sampling of the premium channels or services that are available through Hulu + Live TV:

HBO Max
Showtime
Cinemax
STARZ
Disney+


If you are a fan of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel, you may want to consider getting more bang for your buck by choosing the Disney+ bundle.


We have saved so much money by cutting the cable cord and switching to Hulu. And if I can be honest, I don’t miss having cable at all. Why, you might ask. Because all of the shows I love are available on Hulu.

Favorite Shows

 
An Affordable Alternative To Cable TV
 

Right now, you can give Hulu a try FREE for seven days. Once your 7 day trial has ended, you will pay only $5.99 per month. Here are a few of the current shows and movies that they offer:
 
Little Fires Everywhere
Modern Family
This Is Us
The Masked Singer
Blackish
Grey’s Anatomy
Homeland
Law and Order
Killing Eve
The Good Doctor
The Handmaid’s Tale
Chicago PD

False Positive
The United States vs Billie Holiday
Bad Boys For Life
Jumanji : The Next Level
The Upside
Grownish
Brooklyn Nine Nine
Manifest
The Snow Fall
And so many more.

Head on over to Hulu now, and get registered for your own free 7 day trial offer!
 

Best Car Travel Items For Kids Giveaway – 12 Prizes!

Sponsored By: 

Kids Bright Toys, The Pencil Grip, Zulay Kitchen, WhiskwareSugar Mountain PR, and Lori T’s Gifts and More

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Be sure to read Love, Mrs. Mommy’s article that this giveaway is based on: 

“Best Car Travel Items For Kids!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Winner will receive a HUGE Prize Pack of *12* goodies! Some are winner’s choice options!

Included items:

Kids Bright Toys Travel Tray – Winner’s Choice of either purple or blue tray! ($30) Kwik Stix – Set of 12 Classic Colors ($12) Zulay Kitchen Kids Bento Box ($20) Whiskware DC Comic Stackable Snack Packs – Winner’s Choice of TWO snack packs! ($26) Sugar Mountain PR CDs – Suzi Shelton, Kira Willey, and Katherine Dines ($37.50) Lori T’s Gifts and More – FOUR Sticker Puzzle Books ($21)

Kids Travel Tray:
With this Kids Bright Toys travel tray your kids won’t have to balance toys, coloring books, food, crayons, or anything else on their lap in the car anymore! This tray has pockets for crayons, markers, tablet, toys, and much more! Comes in two colors: Purple and Blue!
Kwik Stix:
Kwik Stix are made of solid tempera paint that dries super quick! They come in a variety of bright, beautiful colors that can be overlapped, masked and mixed to create any color your child wants!

Zulay Kitchen Kids Bento Box:
This handy lunch box comes with 5 perfectly proportioned kid-size compartments, sealed with a leak-proof lid, and secured with kid-friendly latches. It’s sturdy and has silicon edges for non-slip grip. 
Whiskware DC Comic Stackable Snack Packs:
These snack packs feature officially licensed DC Comics; Batman, Superman, The Flash, and Wonder Woman! Their interlocking system keeps everything together, or you can easily separate a container when your little one is hungry. BPA and phthalate-free!

Suzi Shelton:
Suzi’s 5th album “Hand in Hand”is an upbeat, eclectic pop family album with a modern edge.
Kira Willey:
Kira’s fifth album, “Every Voice”, has catchy tunes with sing-along choruses to inspire and empower kids to be their strong and capable selves. 
Katherine Dines:
Katherine is a Grammy-nominated independent family music artist. She just released a new album of 13 songs with interesting stories and facts about how people around the world celebrate holidays.
Lori T’s Gifts and More – Ultimate Puzzle Sticker Book Bundle:
These 32 fun puzzle pages with 840 stickers (!!!) will keep your kids entertained for hours! They will unscramble the stickers to create surprise pictures of their favorite characters! 
Open To US entries and must be 18+ to enter
Giveaway Dates ~ 10/2 9:00 AM EST through 11/6 11:59PM EST
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Honey Soy Chicken Thighs Recipe

This recipe for baked honey soy chicken thighs is super easy and has quickly become one of my family’s favorites. The deliciously sticky sauce is perfect for spooning over rice and vegetables.


Recipe Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
½ cup of honey
4 cloves of minced garlic
½ tsp onion powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
8 – 10 chicken thighs (or your preferred cut of chicken) 

Garnish

Red pepper flakes
Parsley

 

Cooking Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Wash chicken and pat dry with a paper towel.

3. In a large Ziploc bag, mix together all of your ingredients.

4. Add the chicken to the plastic bag. Make sure the bag is sealed securely, then gently toss to coat each piece. Then, place the bag in your refrigerator to marinate for 2 – 4 hours.

5. Add chicken and marinade to a cast iron skillet (my preferred method of cooking) or baking dish in a single layer.

6. Bake chicken in a 425 degree oven for about 35 minutes skin side up.
Turn on broil and let chicken broil until the skin is crispy (for about 5 – 7 minutes).

7. Lastly, garnish with red pepper flakes and parsley. Serve honey soy chicken thighs over vegetables, rice, or pasta. 

Enjoy!

Honey Soy Chicken Thighs Pinterest Pin

50 Fun Fall Activities For You And Your Family To Enjoy

Fall is my favorite time of year. I say that because there are an endless amount of cozy fall activities that my family and I get to enjoy doing.


Whether you choose to snuggle up on the couch with your favorite hot drink, while binge-watching television shows or spending an evening outside cheering for your favorite team at a local football game, there are plenty of things that you all can enjoy together.

To give you some ideas, I’ve created this list of fall activities. How many of these fun-filled fall activities will you and your loved ones cross off before winter hits?

50 FUN FALL ACTIVITIES FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TO ENJOY
Blue Ridge Mountains

 

Fun Fall Activities

Go camping.
Visit an apple orchard, and pick apples.
Have an apple cider “tea” party.
Make peanut butter Rice Krispies treats.
Host a neighborhood chili cook-off.
Tell ghost stories.
Jump in a pile of leaves.
Make donuts.
Visit a national park.
Go to a football game.
Go on a color walk, and gather outside “treasures” in the colors of fall.
Visit a sunflower farm.
Make fall decorations.
Take family photos in the backyard.
Go on a hayride.
Carve pumpkins.
Take a knitting class.
Try geocaching.
Go canoeing or kayaking.
Make crockpot applesauce.

Apple Orchard

Plant your favorite bulbs for the spring.
Attend a fall festival.
Make your favorite soups.
Make your own Halloween costumes.
Bake your favorite fall treats.
Go roaming through a pumpkin patch.
Take a family bike ride.
Play hide-and-seek with glow sticks.
Navigate a corn maze.
Host a bonfire, and invite all the neighbors.
Collect pine cones and create a beautiful fall centerpiece.
Go on a scenic drive and enjoy the beautiful fall colors.

Autumn In The Mountains

Make Halloween cards.
Go horseback riding.
Make caramel apples.
Run in a 5K race.
Play your favorite family board games.
Visit a local farm.
Enjoy a picnic in the park.
Make pinecone bird feeders.
Rake up leaves in the yard.
Make hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Spend the day watching classic fall movies.
Make s’mores outside by the firepit.
Visit the zoo.
Collect and identify leaves.
Rearrange your closet with your fall wardrobe.
Create a family thankfulness tree.
Spend the day antiquing.
Bake pumpkin bread.
Lay a blanket in your backyard and gaze at the stars.

What are some of your family’s favorite fall activities?

Review: Once Again Organic Amore Almond Spread With Milk Chocolate

Sweet treats are a favorite in our household. I especially love any treat that involves chocolate. When Moms Meet gifted me this Once Again Organic Amore Almond Spread With Milk Chocolate, I was really excited.


I have to be honest and say that I can be a tad bit finicky when it comes to trying new foods. But I was not disappointed with this almond spread. It really satisfies my sweet tooth.

After trying it, I started trying to come up with different foods that I could drizzle it over. It turned out to be a big hit with my husband and son as well. I mean, this spread actually makes any dessert into a gourmet treat!

Once Again Organic Amore Almond Spread With Milk Chocolate

“I received this product for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.”

What is Once Again Nut Butter?

Once Again Nut Butter is an employee-owned company that has been manufacturing nut butters, seed butters, and honey.

Their nut and seed butters are all Certified Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Verified, Certified Organic, and vegan. Once Again Nut Butter follows Fair Trade and Sustainability standards for their farm partners, suppliers, and prices.

Fun Fact:
The Once Again logo features a raccoon because four baby raccoons, also known as kits, grew up on the factory grounds. The Once Again Family adopted them and even named one Rocky.

They were eventually returned to the forest where they belonged, but to honor their little friends they used an image of a raccoon in their company logo.

Once Again Organic Amore Almond Spread With Milk Chocolate

 

My Opinion

Once Again Organic Amore Almond Spread is an organic, non-gmo, and gluten-free treat that my family really enjoys. It is sustainably made and sourced, which makes it healthier than other dessert butters.


Being that I am a chocolate fiend, I couldn’t wait to try it. It has a nice chocolatey flavor that is not overly sweet. It adds an extra oomph to your favorite fruits.

My son and I dip our apples in this almond spread and my husband loves it on frozen bananas. It’s also great on toast for a nice midday snack or for dipping your strawberries in. I think my favorite though is having it drizzled over my ice cream. Yum!

Since receiving this product, I have found myself reaching for it almost every night (hey, don’t judge me). I try to incorporate healthier options into my family’s diet as often as possible so the fact that this spread is organic and gluten-free makes me happy.

Almond Amore Topped Ice Cream

Are you interested in purchasing your very own jar of Amore Almond Spread? You can find it in a store near you, or by visiting their website. It typically retails for $9.95 a jar. It’s a treat that my family and I will look forward to indulging in every now and then.

Once Again Nut Butters

In addition to this delicious spread, Once Again has several nut butters that are available in a variety of flavors. We love peanut butter in our household, so along with the almond spread, those have become our top two favorites.

Which flavor are you interested in trying?

Ten Clever Mom Hacks To Help Simplify Your Back-to-School Routine

The start of a new school year is often stressful for both parents and kids. But there are ways that you can alleviate some of those stresses.

Now that you’ve completed all of the back-to-school shopping, how about implementing a few mom hacks to help make your mornings a little less chaotic.

Trust me, getting​ ​your back to school routine in order ​is​ ​by no means easy, but I believe these clever hacks can certainly help to smooth the transition.


Wake up before everyone else does

I know it can be hard to crawl out of bed in the mornings, but taking a few moments to enjoy some quiet time before everyone else wakes up will do wonders for your day.

Go ahead and enjoy your coffee in peace, look over your calendar, or maybe get a quick shower. Just remember that those few minutes belong to you.

 

Simplify your breakfast routine

Choose breakfast items that are quick and easy. Keep a bowl of fruit handy. Cereal is also a good choice. Try whipping up a batch of pancakes or even a breakfast casserole on the weekend and freeze it to have later in the week.

And by choosing a meal that is quick, doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy.  Try one of these healthy breakfast recipes. 

 

Prepare your kids wardrobe for the week

I try to iron my son’s clothes for the week on Saturday nights (or Sunday’s). I typically will iron a week’s worth of clothes and hang them on the back of his closet door. That way he can help choose what he wants to wear each day.

Allow your kid’s to help pick out their clothes for the week. Iron each piece and either hang them or fold them neatly and place in a drawer so that they are easily accessible.

 

Wash a load of clothes daily

Am I the only one who hates doing laundry? To avoid massive loads of laundry at the end of the week, toss in a load every day. That way you can wash, fold and put away a basket each day.

Menu plan

Planning our meals for the week is one of the biggest time savers for me. I mean, who wants to spend time every day trying to decide what’s for dinner? I typically take a little time on Thursday’s to write out my menu for the next week as well as my shopping list. You could also menu plan for the entire month if that works better for you.

I love quick and easy meals. I typically opt for casseroles or crockpot meals because they are simple to prepare, and I can just toss the ingredients into a crockpot or baking dish and relax while it cooks.

Create a backpack zone

Give your kids a defined space to hang up their backpacks, coats and other items when they walk through the door. This way no one is complaining that they can’t find their backpack when it’s time to head out the door in the morning.

Add a family command station

We have a centralized area in our home where we keep a family calendar, home notebook, bills, and important papers.

This area helps to keep everyone organized. We are able to keep up with keys, Dr.’s appointments, important school dates, homework and even charge our phones.

Need ideas for a command station? Read this post by The Turquoise Home.

 

Keep after-school snacks readily available

If your kiddo is anything like mine, they are hungry as soon as they walk through the door from school.

I keep a variety of snack choices ready in a basket in the pantry. There is also a snack tub in the fridge with fruit cups and apple slices (his favorites). You can add yogurt cups or any other type of fruit that your kids may like.

Prepare lunches the night before

If you send your child’s lunch to school like I do, you’ll save so much time by assembling everything the night before. Prepare sandwiches, fruit or veggies and snacks along with a drink choice and you’re all set.

The next morning, your child can just grab their lunchbox and they are ready to go.

Tidy up daily

Take a few minutes each day to put items back where they belong. Clean the kitchen as you cook. Wipe the bathroom sink and toilet with disinfectant wipes daily, and do a major clean twice a week.

At one point in time, I spent my entire weekend cleaning.  Not anymore!  I learned that by tidying up daily, I lighten my load for the weekend. That leaves me with more time to spend with my family.

Share some of your favorite hacks for a simplified back-to-school routine.

 

Five Ways You Can Teach Your Special Needs Child To Be Independent

Raising a child that has special needs can be, and often is a lot of work. Children with special needs learn differently from typical children. And because of this, we as parents tend to be a bit overprotective in an effort to help ease our child’s burden.

Often times, it will seem easier for us to perform everyday tasks for our children simply because it takes less time (such as when you’re preparing for school in the mornings). But by doing everything for them, we wind up doing more harm than good to our kids.

As a special needs parent, you have to learn to let your child take over the reins so that they can learn to be more self-sufficient. It’s extremely important to start building independence when they are younger so that they will be equipped for adulthood.

Just because a child has a disability does not mean that they can’t learn to do things on their own. You can help your child gain the confidence that he or she needs by trying the following tips.


Young Black Boy Putting Away Laundry

 

Allow them to make their own choices

One easy way to start building independence is by giving your child choices. You can apply this to different scenarios throughout the day. Start by offering them choices at mealtimes. I may offer my son a choice between pizza or chicken for dinner.  And pancakes or oatmeal for breakfast.


You can also have them help pick out their own clothes.  Ask what color shirt or pants they would like to wear to school. Or even what program they would like to watch on television or what game they’d like to play on the Ipad.

My son has a tendency to choose the same things over and over (whether food, TV shows or games), so I will sometimes take his favorite from the list of choices just to add a little variety here and there.

Allow your child the opportunity to make their own choices as much as possible.

 

 

Avoid the urge to do things for them

Trust me, I know that this can be difficult. But if your child is capable of doing certain things themselves such as showering on their own, brushing their teeth, or getting dressed by themselves, then, by all means, let them do it.

You may have to get up a little earlier in the mornings so that you’re not late for work or school – which is what I do, but it is so worth it.


It may seem easier for you to do things for them, but it really doesn’t help them in the long run. They may not master a task in the beginning, but continue to work with them until they’ve perfected it.

 

Challenge your child

Resist the urge to make everything easy for your child. Give them activities that will provide a challenge for them every now and then. That way they will learn that by working hard and putting forth some effort, they can achieve a goal.

If they struggle with a task, in the beginning, make some minor adjustments so that it fits their skill level. Continue making adjustments as needed in order to help build their independence.

It is so worth it to see the pride in their eyes (and yours)  when they master a task.

 

Young Black Boy On Playground Equipment

 

Work with your child’s instructors

Schedule an IEP meeting with your child’s teacher or sit down with their therapist so that you can talk about ways the two of you can work together to help foster your child’s independence.

I like to incorporate a lot of the things that are covered at school into my son’s activities at home.  It helps him to master new skills a lot quicker when he’s putting them into practice both at home and at school.

When you communicate learning strategies openly and freely, it helps to ensure that all parties involved are on the same page.

 

Learn to let go

The road to independence for children with special needs is often more challenging than it is for their peers. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We just have to be willing to let go and allow our children to make mistakes so that they can learn from them.

It took me a while to master this one. My son can do so much more than what I often allow him to do. As they say – old habits die hard. I am learning more and more each day to let go and allow him to spread his wings and soar. I know that it can be hard watching your child stumble, but how will they know what they can accomplish if we don’t allow them the opportunity?

The earlier we start to foster independence, the easier it will be for our kids to learn to stand on their own two feet.

How do you encourage independence in your child?

Ten Books You Will Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

Summer isn’t over just yet! I have rounded up a few good books to read while you are lounging by the pool, kicked back on the patio, or maybe snuggled up in your favorite chair. 

 

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

In Karin Slaughter’s latest suspense novel, Detective Will Trent must discover who is behind the kidnapping of a scientist for the Center of Disease Control, and figure out if it’s the same person who’s responsible for a bombing in the neighborhood that houses the CDC, two hospitals, and a major university. When the woman he loves -medical examiner Sara Linton goes missing, the investigation takes a personal turn. 

 

Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

On a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer’s twin sister, Summer, walks to the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again. The door to the roof is locked, and the snow holds only one set of footprints. Faced with authorities indifferent to another missing Black woman, Autumn must pursue the search for her sister all on her own. 

 

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

This is an oldie, but goodie that is worth revisiting if you’ve read it in the past.

Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife.

A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing. 

 

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

The Right Swipe

Alisha Rai returns with the first book in her sizzling new Modern Love series, in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom. 

 

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

American Spy

American Spy knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance, all while tackling the issues of politics, race, and gender. 

 

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative of two boys whose lives were forever changed after being sentenced to a hellish reform school during the Jim Crow era.

 

The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

To Leila Abid’s traditional Indian parents, finding a husband is as easy as match, meet, marry.

But for Leila, a marriage of arrangement clashes with her lifelong dreams of a Bollywood romance, where real love happens before marriage, not the other way around. So she decides it’s time to stop dreaming and start dating.

 

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Ten Books You’ll Want To Add To Your End Of Summer Reading List

We go back to the 1950s, following the lives of two sisters, both then and now. They attempt to navigate the ever-changing world around them, and like Weiner’s other novels, this one is simply a page-turner. 

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every Door

When Jules Larsen takes a new job as an apartment sitter, she has no clue that she’ll eventually try to solve the disappearance of her coworker.
This heart-pounding thriller from New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager follows a young woman whose new job apartment sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous buildings may cost her more than it pays.

 

Searching For Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

Sylvie Lee

In Jean Kwok’s latest novel, a Chinese immigrant family comes to terms with its darkest secrets after the eldest daughter, Sylvie, goes missing. Her younger, more fearful sister Amy attempts to find her, traveling to the Netherlands, where Sylvie was last seen. But Amy quickly finds more questions surrounding Sylvie’s disappearance than she does answers. 

Share with us some good reads you’ve enjoyed this summer.

 

My Night Time Self-Care Routine

Do you have a night time self-care routine in place? I bet for a lot of you the answer is NO. For some people, winding down each night can be a challenge.

I think it’s safe to say that at the end of the day, we typically crawl into bed exhausted and then wake up the next morning with brain fog to start our daily routines all over again. That was the case for me anyway. After suffering many restless nights, I knew that some things in my life had to change.

What I realized was that I was trying to tackle too many things in the evenings and often well into the late-night hours. I would then fall into bed at night exhausted, but unable to get a full night’s rest.

I decided to take a good hard look at my schedule and afterward, realized I needed to rearrange my priorities, and also make sure that I penciled in some time for me.

Adding self-care habits to our nightly routine is one way to improve our health, both mentally and physically. When we take care of ourselves, we have more to give to those we love.

I have discovered that by consistently following a nightly routine, my evenings, flow so much smoother. Not only do my evenings flow smoothly, but I fall asleep faster and I am able to rest peacefully.

When incorporating a self-care routine you need to decide what type of activities will benefit YOU the most (such as reading, journaling, doing a brain dump, or spending some quiet time with your spouse or significant other).

Self Care Reminder

Here is an example of my typical nighttime routine:

 

Play Some Relaxing Tunes

I LOVE music. As I prepare to wind down each evening, I always start off by playing some type of relaxing music. I like listening to instrumental jazz or nature sounds – particularly the sound of rain.

 

 

Enjoy A Soothing Shower Or Bath

 
I love a hot, steamy shower. I light up some scented candles to add a little bit of aromatherapy.  When time permits, I like to enjoy a long soak in the tub.
 

Pamper My Skin

 
After showering, I pamper my skin from head to toe. I’m a huge fan of body butters. I typically use either cocoa butter or shea butter. 

I really love the scent of cocoa butter and it does an excellent job of hydrating my skin. Of course you can use the moisturizer of your choice.

Next, I take care of my face. I apply toner to my face and afterward, I apply my favorite moisturizer or facial oil (I fully cleanse my face prior to getting into the shower).

I also apply an under-eye cream as needed to help with the dark circles I sometimes get under my eyes. I discuss the basics of skincare in-depth in this post.
 

Stretch

 
I like to do a few stretching exercises at night to help me sleep better. I have found that stretching helps to loosen me up, and makes me feel more relaxed.

According to Inspyiyr.com, nighttime stretching improves your quality of sleep and helps to lower stress levels.
 

Shut Off The Electronics

 
This one has always been a struggle for me. I tend to want to catch up on social media in the evenings, but I have found that by putting my phone (and computer) away an hour or two before bedtime helps my brain to shut off so that I can prepare for a good night’s rest.
 

Plan My Day

I like to go over my planner in the evenings so that I have an idea of what all I need to get done the next day.  I also take this time to write down anything that’s floating through my head so that I’m not up all night thinking about my to-do list.
 

Read A Book 

 Reading is one of my favorite past times. Most nights I sip on a cup of tea and read a few chapters of a good book before I go to sleep.  

Because I enjoy reading so much, I can read for hours on end.  I now set the timer on my phone so that I am not up reading until the wee hours of the morning. 

Cup Of Tea And Book On Bed

Create Your Own Self-Care Routine

A nighttime routine sends a signal to your brain that it is time to wind down for the day. Of course your ideal night routine will be uniquely tailored to you, but here are a few ideas that you can incorporate into your evening:

Write in your journal
Enjoy the relaxing scent of essential oils
Drink a cup of your favorite herbal tea
Take a warm bath or shower
Spend a few minutes stretching
Read a good book
Listen to relaxing music
Cool down your bedroom
Do a brain dump
Cleanse your skin
Unplug your devices
Make an evening gratitude list

 

Final Thoughts

As a wife and mom, I know that there can be days when a self-care routine is not feasible.I mean life happens to all of us. Just know that taking care of YOU is an important part of your well-being and enables you to properly care for your family.

A nightly routine can help you relax, de-stress and prepare for a good night’s sleep. It has made a world of difference in my life, and I am pretty sure a little nightly self-care will make a world of difference for you as well.
 

How do you wind down each night? I’d love to hear about your nighttime routine in the comments.

Self Care Routine Pinterest Pin

 

Sincerely Silver Co Custom Initial Jewelry

I love all things beauty and fashion, and jewelry is no exception. The Initial Necklace that I received from Sincerely Silver is absolutely gorgeous. I chose the sterling silver option and because of its simplicity, I think it looks great with pretty much anything that I wear.

You can wear it individually or layer it with other initials. It makes a perfect addition to your outfit.


Sincerely Silver necklaces are available in sterling silver, gold and rose gold on an 18-inch chain. I absolutely love having customized jewelry for myself, but I also love that they have so many pieces that you can give as gifts. You can even have jewelry customized with your very own handwriting.

I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Sincerely Silver Co Custom Initial Jewelry
Sincerely Silver Co Custom Initial Jewelry

 

 
 

 

Sincerely Silver offers a wide variety of styles, along with customization.


Here are just a few of the styles that they offer:


Signature Collection – Which includes a variety of unique pieces from lariat necklaces to beautiful soundwave jewelry.
Handwriting Jewelry – They can use your message in their own handwritten font or your actual handwriting can be used for a distinctive piece of jewelry.
Soundwave Jewelry – Sincerely Silver can transform the words you say, hear, or hold close to your heart into a meaningful piece of jewelry.
Quote Jewelry – Allows you to hold a meaningful quote close to your heart.


I highly recommend Sincerely Silver for their gorgeous designs, and high quality, budget-friendly prices!


You can have your own customized piece of jewelry from Sincerely Silver. Use the code SINCERELY15 to receive 15% off of your order at www.sincerelysilver.co.
 

Which necklace will you be adding to your jewelry collection?

Five Small Ways You Can Improve Your Marriage


The “honeymoon” phase in any marriage isn’t going to last a lifetime. Things between you and your spouse may suddenly seem “different” but let’s face it, relationships change. Relationships change because as individuals, we are constantly changing.

While marriage is a wonderful part of life, it’s not always an easy one. Factor in differences in personalities, those little annoying habits that you once thought were so cute, caring for your children, paying the mortgage, health issues, (the list could go on) and you start wondering “what did I get myself into?”

Just know that it’s normal for any relationship to evolve over time. As I stated earlier, our relationships change because we as individuals change. Your marriage doesn’t have to suffer as a result of that process though.

Let me tell you something, relationships can and do work. You just have to be willing to put forth the time and effort that it takes to make it work.

If you’ve noticed that things are a bit off with you and your sweetie lately, or if you seem to be having arguments over the smallest of things, reconnect and improve your marriage by incorporating these strategies into your daily lives.


Extend Forgiveness

If you have been harboring unforgiveness for something that happened last year, or last week for that matter, let it go! It becomes hard to move forward in your relationship when one (or both) people are stuck in the past.

Identify those things that you need to let go of. After that make sure that you don’t bring them up again. Oooooh, chile, trust me – It! Is! Hard! I know because I was the queen of bringing up past hurt and throwing it back in my husband’s face.

But if you truly want things to progress in your marriage, you’ve got to be willing to completely forgive so that you can move forward. I mean, we all make mistakes.

Communicate Effectively

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Did I mention communicate?

When it comes to having a good marriage, effective communication is a must. Not only do you have to learn how to communicate your expectations and desires so that your spouse will have a chance at fulfilling them, but you have to learn how to communicate in a way that doesn’t lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Learn to be a good listener as well. Oftentimes we aren’t listening to understand what our partner is trying to communicate to us, we are simply listening so that we can give a response. Be an active listener so that you can actually hear their heart and understand what it is they are trying to get across to you.

This is something that may take a little time, especially if the two of you are not good at communicating with one another. But as you intentionally practice it, things will get better over time.

Be Affectionate

Get into the habit of showing your mate affection every day. And I am not just talking about affection inside of the bedroom. Do simple things like greeting one another with a kiss. Give each other a hug and kiss before leaving for work each day. Hold hands or cuddle while you are watching television.

But don’t let your affection become robot-like. Instead of hurried kisses, take the time to relish the moment and look into each other’s eyes when being affectionate. According to research recently published by Kory Floyd, author and associate professor of Arizona State University’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, affection can lower blood sugar levels, and lower the risk of depression and stress.

Enjoy Activities Together

Do something regularly that bonds the two of you. For instance, try waking up early so that you can enjoy your morning coffee together, spend 15 minutes chatting before going to sleep at night, or how about setting aside your Fridays nights for each other.

I like to make it a point to enjoy some of the things that my husband loves. For instance, I am not particularly fond of watching boring sci-fi movies – yes, I said boring. But sci-fi is something that he loves, and so I indulge him. I’ll fix us a huge bowl of popcorn along with some drinks and we’ll enjoy an evening of sci-fi.

By having a “couples ritual”, you are making an active decision to create space in your life just for your spouse. After all, your relationship with your spouse is one of the most important you’ll ever have.

Show Your Appreciation

Go out of your way to show your spouse how much you appreciate them. Instead of focusing on all of the things your spouse does wrong, be intentional about acknowledging the things he or she does right. A simple “honey, thank you for taking out the trash this morning” or midday phone call saying “I was just thinking of you” can go a long way in making a person feel loved.

We as human beings need to feel validated or appreciated. When that validation doesn’t occur, people tend to look for it elsewhere. Do your part in making sure to acknowledge and appreciate them every time you have the chance.

I am not a relationship expert, but my husband and I make it a point to practice these tips daily. Are there times when we mess up – yes! But we start all over again, and our marriage has been so much better because of it.