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Reclaim Your Marriage

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It’s no secret that marriages are failing all over the world. Even those who have lasted decades.

I feel like so, so many marriages fall between the cracks. They are struggling, but don’t even know where to start to change the course they are on. If they continue their habits, divorce is likely. But how to turn it around? With what resources? The internet is helpful, but they need something more – something with exercises they can do together, questions they can ask each other, goals they can set, intimacy ideas they can try, and even date ideas to liven things up.

…where is that, though? My heart is to see marriages thrive. I’m so glad there are others with that same heart.

I recently came across The Reclaim Your Marriage program from the Dating Divas. I have been nothing short of impressed! This program is broken up into 10 week sessions – 1 session per week. Each session hits on a hot-button topic in marriage, like trust, communication, finances, and intimacy.

The best way to Divorce-proof your marriage!

This program is essentially private, at-home couples counseling that you can do all online. Each session includes a therapy video from Tara (founder of The Dating Divas), tons of exercises, activities, thought-provoking questions, and ways to solve those tricky “bumps in the road” that plague marriages today. They have come up with a simple, effective solution that couples can do together, in the privacy of their own home.

The reviews have been pouring in, and they are impressive! This program has saved dozens of marriages already, and that’s only from the beta testing.

If you are truly needing to put an investment into your relationship – try the Reclaim Your Marriage Program!

The first is week is free, so you’ve got nothing to lose! Let me know if you give it a try. Your marriage is worth the attempt.

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What I Can Do?

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This year has been different for me than any I’ve ever experienced. We moved into the Mack Pack Ranch thinking we’d have our little piece of Mayberry. I did expect lots of work as we completed project after project to get our home from it’s dilapidated state to the vision of a little ranch house property we had envisioned from the start. What I didn’t expect was a random break-in at the end of February when I came home from picking up the kids from school to find our front door rammed open. Only my laptop computer was missing, but this event left me wondering if I was being watched as I had only been gone for 20 minutes. I also didn’t expect to be robbed at gunpoint in my driveway only a couple of weeks later as I was taking in our trash containers the day before my oldest son’s 7th birthday. I expected to be displaced from our home for most of the summer while we were having carpet and tile put in. I didn’t expect to get a call from someone I have learned so much from that informed me that a marriage of 43 years was coming to an end. To say it’s been a difficult year would be an understatement.

This year has caused me to really take time to reflect and evaluate what is important to me. When our home was broken into, I became more cautious of my surroundings, but I wasn’t fearful. I remember grabbing my gun from my purse, telling the kids to sit still while I boldly canvased the house just hoping the perpetrator would pop his head out. I’m pretty sure that was mostly just adrenaline and mama bear coming out.

But when I was nearly run over by a yellow corvette and had my phone stolen at gun point while being cursed at by the thief, who I later found out had murdered someone hours before our encounter; something was triggered in me that has left me changed. For a couple of weeks afterwards I was a mess. My heart raced when I was in public with my kids. My faith in humanity was crushed. If something like this could happen in my own front yard, was anywhere safe? Yellow cars of any kind still trigger a startle in my heart. But I have learned that the anxious thoughts disappear when I pray. I can’t change the outcome of the young man who robbed me, but I can pray for his family members who were undoubtedly changed by his actions as well. I pray that they would be comforted and that they would find hope in the everyday and that if they don’t know how much God loves them, that they would discover it somehow. When I pray, the anxiety leaves, peace floods in and I continue on with my day. Anxious thoughts still come occasionally, but I have learned how to thwart them with God’s word.

Another type of anxiety struck with the phone call announcing the end of my model for marriage. I began to wonder if I even know how to be a wife. Do I really know what it takes to have a successful marriage? What does a successful marriage look like? Does the number of years make it successful? Is it how the relationship makes you feel that makes it successful? What is a good marriage? I’m by nature a fixer. Hello, we took on a BIG fixer upper with the Mack Pack Ranch! lol I like to find answers to problems, I like to research and find solutions. I don’t do well when I can’t manipulate a desired outcome. But if I’ve learned anything from parenting my five children, it’s that I can’t control other people, but I can control myself. I can’t make anyone fall back in love.

 

What I can do is nurture my own marriage. I can decide to make sure that my husband knows that I cherish him. That I appreciate him and desire him. I can speak with kindness to my spouse and my children. I can choose to look at the good in people and choose to speak life.

What broke my heart most was learning that this occurrence is more common than I thought. That there are countless marriages that have gone on for decades that lack love and respect for each other and simply go thru the motions, being housemates but not helpmates. I’m nearing 40, and many of my friends who have grown up in the church, in Christian homes have parents who live in loveless marriages. They wouldn’t dare get a divorce, but they go thru the motions day in and day out, being unkind to the very gift they were given 30, 40 or more years ago. From my observation, it doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It is a slow unassuming process. It’s daily neglect that builds up over the years and promises and vows that are forgotten.   We all get married with hopes of that Happily Ever After. But what we don’t realize, is for that fairy tale to be a reality takes work. I remember hearing Martha Tennison speak not long after I was first married. It’s been awhile since I heard the story, but I’ll try to recap as best as I recall. She tells a story of how she had just mopped the floor and her husband or son walked in on her freshly cleaned floor and she yelled at him for soiling the floor with his muddy shoes. Then another day after mopping the floor a guest came over with muddy shoes and her response was nothing but sugar and sweetness. She made the point that we should treat those we are mothers to and married to with the same sweetness as those who we aren’t related to. I don’t want to be so comfortable in my marriage that I forget to do those things that won my husband’s heart in the first place. When Jeremy & I were dating he tried so many times to start arguments with me to see how I would argue. I know the value of picking my battles. He wasn’t very successful about getting me riled up. It still takes quite a bit to ruffle my feathers.  What I’ve learned is that most of the time if I’m really “right” about something we disagree on, it’s much more rewarding to have him admit I’m right than for me to point it out to him. The truth always comes to light eventually. In fact, there are more times that I’m wrong than right and as rewarding as it is to not have to say “I told you so,” it’s equally rewarding to not have to eat crow when I was in the wrong. We recently honored a couple in our church who have been married for 60 years. When asked their advice for what to do to make marriage work, he said, “Stick with it.” And when asked what to do when your marriage is struggling, she said, “Stick with it and do what you know is right. Be loving and kind, that always works.”

So here I am, feeling a little helpless with all the crazy circumstances surrounding me this year. I sit and ponder often, “What can I do?” Just like I couldn’t stop the thieves from breaking into my home or from pulling a gun on me and stealing my phone, and I can’t make anyone choose to have a happy marriage, I can choose differently for myself. I can choose to be kind, to have joy and to live each day giving all I can to make those around me feel loved and cherished.  What can you do today?

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Happy Birthday, NYR Organic

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NYRO-US celebrates our 8th birthday, September 9th!
To help us celebrate on our birthday, all customers who place orders of $50 or more through Independent Consultants or replicated sites on September 9th, will be entered to win one of eight birthday bundles! This includes new Consultant Business Kit orders and Consultant orders. This is a great time to be a part of this young Direct Sales company.

What makes NYR Organic so special? Over the last 2 years of myself being an Independent Consultant, I’ve discovered many wonderful things about this company.

Precautionary Principle: When in doubt, leave it out. If an ingredient is harmful to the environment, animals or people, Neal’s Yard Remedies doesn’t include it in their products. This gives me peace of mind, especially with the multitude of possible carcinogens and neurotoxins our bodies are bombarded with daily. Few companies have the best interest of their consumers at heart so to me, it’s refreshing to find one that does.first-100-percent-ethical-health-and-beauty-jpeg.jpg

I wasn’t a part of the original launch of NYR Organic in 2009, but I’ve been honored to be a consultant since 2015. NYR Organic is well known around the world, having 40 shops, 64 Therapy Rooms and 400 stockists in the UK and organic beauty collections available in Japan, Canada, UAE, Oman, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sweden, Finland, Croatia, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago and Israel. NYR Organic has been offering holistic skincare since 1981. While the US may have been a late adopter of this brand, it’s a great time to jump in and join this growing company, whether you use it just for yourself or decide to share it with others as a business.

I’d love to share more and help you discover NYR Organic for yourself. What most intrigues you about this company?

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Request a Catalog

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I remember as a kid when my mom would get the Sears Catalog and my sister and I would study it for hours on end looking at all the toys and clothes and decor, circling all the things on our wish lists. It was so fun to read the descriptions on each item and dream of all the ways we could accessorize Malibu Barbie.  As I grew older, I moved on to develop an interest in music and as I collected Compact Discs of my favorite bands, I would read the album inserts cover to cover from the lyrics to the thank you’s and bio’s about the artists. I LOVED when there was something quirky or funny included in a bio.  I know I’m a dork. I’m okay with that!

These days, Pinterest is kind of my new Sears Catalog. I pin all the things in hopes of one day crafting all those things I’ve pinned to my “Feeling Crafty” board or having my home one day resemble that rustic ranch house I have pictured in my mind. It’s getting so close, y’all! Stay tuned, I’ll share more about the remodel as soon as I can.

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I love the ease that technology gives us to allow us to browse anything at anytime and even have it on our door step in hours. But there is something about that waiting, the planning, the antithesis of instant gratification that was so much a part of my childhood. I still love getting a paper catalog in hand and reading about the products and making a plan.

I occasionally have someone request a catalog from NYR Organic. They are one of my favorite things to share with people because not only do you get a beautifully organized collection of products and descriptions, but you also get little insights into where we source our products from and how our FairTrade efforts are impacting women around the world.

These days, instead of reading the album inserts of my favorite artists, I find myself browsing my product catalog and following the charts for how to apply facial oil for the most benefit and I read every line about how to find the right product for your skin type.

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What is your go-to? When you want to unwind and window shop, where do you find yourself turning? I’d love to hear from you! And if you’re curious and would like to browse through one of my catalogs, I’d love to send you one! And if you ask nicely, I’ll even throw in a sample or two.  If online browsing is your thing, you can take a look at the most recent one here on my website.

And I seriously want to know how many others read all the album inserts. I can’t be the only one.

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My Favorite Things (3)

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Favorites for Toddlers

Toddlers. Everything is new and exciting for them. Every child comes with their own personality and sense of adventure. Some may be ready to take on the world head on while others are happy to see it all firmly attached to mom’s leg with one eye peeping out. I firmly believe that raising kids is as much about developing the character of the parents as it is about developing the character of the child. Keep in mind, parents, you’ve been at this “life” thing a lot longer than your child has, so be patient with them. You’ll both make lots of mistakes, but being willing to grow from those mistakes is what makes all the difference. I’m a mom of 5 so this isn’t my first rodeo. Here are some of my tried and true resources for getting thru and thriving in those toddler years.

  1. Words are limited when you’re a toddler. We found that Sign Language can help ease the frustration and give your child the tools to effectively communicate their needs. We started at about 6 months of age using the sign for “Milk” when they wanted to nurse. We then incorporated “Eat”, “All Done”, More”, “Please”, and “Thank You”. There are printables all over Pinterest to help you get started. I didn’t find out about the videos from Signing Time until our 4th child, but you can usually find them at your local library. Ours were a hot commodity at our library so we eventually started streaming them from our Amazon account. I’m not sure there are many things more fun than tickling your child and having them sign “more” when you stop.
  2. Teething. You can’t escape it. Depending on your child, you’ll battle this anywhere from 4 months thru 5 years! With my oldest 2, we resorted to Tylenol (I no longer recommend this route.) And eventually found Hyland’s Teething Tablets. While those miracles in a bottle are no longer available, our other favorite has been Amber Teething necklaces. These aren’t for chewing on as some would assume. Amber is a resin from trees that contains Succinic Acid, a natural analgesic that is absorbed into the skin when worn. We noticed a reduction in drool and I my last 3 children were much more mild teethers than my first 2. From what I’ve learned, you want to find a raw amber necklace that has individually knotted beads. Here’s where we’ve gotten ours most often. When my oldest daughter wore braces recently, she wore an amber necklace.  Even after having her braces tightened, she didn’t need any pain relief or numbing cream. 518jr3ntxGL.jpg
  3. Sleep & Food. If your child is cranky these are the 2 most likely culprits. I learned early on that behavior is closely tied to these 2 necessities. So, head off bad behavior by making sure your child has enough rest. Toddlers ages 1-2 years old need between 11-14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Little bodies are growing so fast. When we sleep our bodies grow and mend. I know when I’m tired, I have a hard time controlling my emotions. Keep that in mind when your little one is cranky. With all the new things a child is learning every day, it’s important to give them time to rest to process it all. There have been many times my kids may have missed out on a playdate that fell right around nap time. I know that if I had attended a play date at the usual nap time, everyone would have been miserable. Save yourself, your child and others around you the frustration by hitting the grocery store or running errands when your child is refreshed and not when they are near the melt down zone. Kids need fuel. We keep apples and bananas on the counter so that they can grab a healthy snack whenever they need one. Ever been “hangry”. They say that most arguments in marriages happen when people are hungry. So if you find your child melting down mid-morning or mid-afternoon, it’s quite likely they just need a little snack to help bring out the happy again.
  4. Consistency. Let your “yes” be “yes”, and your “no” be “no”. Do NOT give in to whining and fits. Make a decision and stick with it. If you tell your child they can not have a toy when you go to the store, for goodness sake, DO NOT buy them a toy when they start to beg or whine in the store. I know it’s not pleasant to hear your kid cry for the toy as you walk thru the aisle feeling eyes of all the other customers peering at you. Trust me. If you give in, you will have just taught your child that all they need to do to get their way is to whine. Sure, giving in is easy in the moment, but we’re in a marathon here, people. Parenting is for the long haul. In the same way, when you tell your child yes, be sure to follow thru with those promises. Don’t make empty threats and don’t break your promises. One of my pet peeves is when a child is melting down and a parent tells them “if you don’t quit, or if you do that again,  we are leaving.” The child continues crying or repeats the offending action and the same threat is made 15 more times with no follow thru. Clearly, the parent had no intention of leaving and the child has learned that words mean nothing. It only takes a few times of following thru with your words for your child to know you mean what you say. It’s character building for both of you and will serve you well in the long run.

Thanks for stopping by. How have you found these things to help in your family? I’d love to hear from you.

 

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My Favorite Things (2)

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Favorites for Baby

Yesterday I shared my favorite things for pregnancy. Today, let’s talk about what you need for that first year. Every store with a registry will offer a list of “must haves”. Many seem like great ideas, but when it gets down to it, you really don’t need much. After 5 kids, I can tell you, less is more.

  1. Burp Cloths: These are an absolute MUST HAVE. Please keep in mind that the time you will need one most, is the time you don’t have one. There are lots of custom ones and cutesy prints, but I loved the absorbency of the good ol’ fashioned cloth diapers. Wash them up with some Norwex Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent and you’re all good to go!31m-fN1UJQL.jpg
  2. Onesies: Now I’m sure I won’t win many points with the fashion police here, but with the frequency of blowouts & spit up that happen throughout the day, simple onesies are the best. With the lap-shoulder neckline, you can make emergency wardrobe changes without having to figure out how to get the poop covered outfit over the baby’s head. Trust me. GAME CHANGER! You can doll it up with some fun appliqués or a little skirt, but seriously, who want’s to take off layer after layer multiple times a day?
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  3. A GOOD Diaper Bag: Now here me out here. You can spend money on several mediocre bags that will fall apart after a couple of months of use, or you can invest once in a really high quality bag that will last YEARS. When we had our 3rd baby, my husband bought me my dream bag, it was a brown and turquoise Petunia Pickle Bottom bag. It was roomy enough to hold all the things I needed (change of clothes for mom & baby, wipes, dipes, burp cloths, etc.) and could be carried over-the-shoulder or as a backpack. It was so well constructed that I was able to carry it for Hawk’s first 2 years and then when I had my 4th, it lasted his first 2 years until I no longer needed a diaper bag. We sold it after those 4 years of use and I’m sure that mama got lots of good use out of it as well. We were surprised with a 5th blessing and we went with another Petunia Pickle Bottom. It still has lots of life in it. We don’t plan on having any more kids, but it’s still very useful for trips with a toddler, even after 3 years. 51Xt6U+-AuL.jpg
  4. Baby Carrier: I didn’t learn about this little gem until baby 3, but OH MY WORD! It was a life saver! I had a 5 year old, a 2 1/2 yr old and a newborn. I was outnumbered! My dear friend Alissa introduced me to the Wrapsody Wrap and gave me a lesson on how to wear it. It was amazing! And durability? That same wrap was used for babies 3, 4, & 5 and in between uses for wearing the baby, it works pretty well as a hammock for the toddler under the kitchen table! You can cook, clean, chase a toddler and put the baby down for a nap all at the same time!FullSizeRender 2
  5. Medela Breast pump: I was blessed to be able to nurse my babies for a combined total of 7 years. Now, I don’t have any recommendations on what formula or bottles are best because we really didn’t use them very often. I’m not here to start some mommy-war about what the best way to feed your baby is, but I will say that this pump was great when I needed to have a stash for an occasional sitter or when I needed to be away from the baby for various reasons. Again, I believe you get what you pay for and while ours was a gift from a friend, it lasted thru ALL 5 babies. I have heard that some insurance plans will cover the cost of a pump. But even if they didn’t cover it, the cost of a pump vs. the price of formula over time makes the pump a pretty great deal. Breastfeeding isn’t easy, but considering all the benefits, I determined when I had my first to give it all I could. I read all the books I could and even though the first 2 weeks made me want to almost give up, I persevered and kept at it.

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6. Baby Wash/Lotion: Every mom wants to have a baby that smells amazing. There’s nothing better than sweet baby’s breath. We all look for the iconic lotions like Baby Magic and Johnson’s Baby Wash that our moms used for us. But many people don’t realize that our skin, and especially our baby’s skin absorb the products we put on them in seconds and they make their way into the bloodstream. In fact Johnson & Johnson admitted to using small amounts of Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, in their products. You may be surprised to know that babies don’t need to be bathed everyday. In fact, until they are crawling around and eating messy foods, 3 times a week is plenty!

Congratulations on the new little one coming to your life! I hope these resources help you as much as they did me! May you enjoy the adventure of parenting and be blessed along the way! I don’t promise to have all the answers, but I am happy to share what has worked for us along the way. Thanks for reading!

If you’re just getting started on this parenting journey and would like to know about my pregnancy favorites, you can check them out here.

 

*This post contains affiliate links, allowing the author to receive commissions for purchases made through links on this site. There is no additional charge to you for using said links to purchase anything.

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Mix It Up a Little!

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Anyone else have certain favorite things that just resonate with who you are? Routines that are so common you don’t even have to think about them? I’m sure we all find things that we are more drawn to than others.  Things that when others see them, remind them of us. I wear silver hoop earrings. Not because I don’t have 50 other styles of earrings, but because I can put them on, look like I made some effort to look nice and not have to think too much. I like classic and simple but also nice splashes of bold color.

I’m learning to switch things up a little. Routines can be wonderful, but when we don’t add a little spice every now and then, we can get in a rut and become less productive than we’d like. Needs change, especially for my skin as the seasons change. My dry winter skin that once needed extra moisture, now needs a calming refreshment to soothe and cool it.  When I first started with NYR Organic, I used the first items that came in my kit. But you know what stretched me? Using the Rose Facial Polish in the middle of all my Frankincense products! I started realizing that even though I could use just one line of products, adding in a product from a different line could have great benefits to my skin. Now that I’ve been able to sample more of the various lines, I’m discovering how to use different lines to add even more benefit for my skin. Don’t be afraid to try something new! Think about the needs of your skin and consider what you want your skincare to accomplish for you and go from there.

I’m learning to switch things up in other areas as well. The other day a friend shared a recipe for tuna salad. Now I LOVE tuna salad. But this one incorporated cucumber, red onion & avocado! GAME CHANGER! It was delicious! I’d never thought of adding those foods together, but I’ll definitely be making that again!

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Now don’t get me wrong. Routines are wonderful. Without some sort of plan, my family of 7 plus all the animals on the Mack Pack Ranch would be an absolute disaster. But I think we can get in a rut and in that find ourselves less productive that we’d like to be. So, find something to mix up and give yourself a fresh perspective. Comment and share with us some of the ways you mix up your everyday routine.

 

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A Few of My Favorite Things

1csm_slide1_64ff140afc.jpg Pregnancy Edition

For those of you that know me, you know I have 5 kids and that every couple of years for the past 12 years I’ve been pregnant. Now, don’t go assuming anything from this blog post!  I AM NOT PREGNANT.  I simply got inspired by seeing a lot of things about Christmas in July and that always gets me thinking about The Sound of Music and the My Favorite Things song so I thought, “What a great time to share about all my favorite things?!?” As a mom, I figured the best place to start is where it all starts, PREGNANCY!

When you first discover you’re pregnant you want to find the best nutrition you can. Your doctor will likely prescribe a prenatal vitamin and you’ll likely walk out with a bag full of samples from their office. I tried a few different ones over my pregnancies but discovered some made me more nauseous than others and some just didn’t absorb well into my body. My all time favorite became the Garden of Life Prenatal vitamins. When I faithfully took them, I didn’t have low iron and felt fairly energetic throughout my pregnancies. They worked so well for me, my doctor didn’t even bother prescribing one with my last 4 pregnancies and just said to keep doing what I was doing. One of the things I liked about these over other prenatal vitamins was that they contain Folate instead of Folic Acid. Wellness Mama goes into greater detail about the differences, but in summary, Folic Acid is the synthetic form of Folate. I prefer to go with the natural form over the synthetic.

I will tell you that with each pregnancy my need for comfortable maternity jeans happened earlier and earlier. I tried all the different versions available and these were BY FAR the most comfortable.

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There are things about pregnancy that people don’t tell you. My mom was quick to make sure I knew that the best chance of keeping away stretch marks was to make sure my skin was moisturized properly. I used a few different things over the years, but I love this Mother’s Balm from NYR Organic.

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And last but certainly not least, sleep is a rare commodity in pregnancy so you have to make the most of what you get. A nice wrap around body pillow is amazing I wish I had come across these sooner! The American Pregnancy Association recommends sleeping on your left side to increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby.

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I’m sure there were many other products that made life easier, I’d love to hear what your favorite things are! Comment any of your favorites. I look forward to seeing what other things have been helpful to you. Next time I’ll share my favorite things for the first year. Thanks for stopping by! I hope what you find here is helpful to you or someone you know.

*This post contains affiliate links, allowing the author to receive commissions for purchases made through links on this site. There is no additional charge to you for using said links to purchase anything.

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Babysitter in a Bag

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Do you know the “Date Night Shuffle” all too well?

Me too!

Scrambling to get the kids settled, shoving info into the babysitters brain, the hurried exit out the door…yikes! As much as I love date night, it can be so stressful just getting to the car sometimes!

I’ve been searching for a new system to make things go a little bit more smoothly on date night. I recently found this, from The Dating Divas, and was so impressed!

The Divas have put together a fantastic resource to make kicking off date night a LOT easier. Just hand your babysitter a prepped and handy-dandy binder, and you are good to go!

The Divas have provided tons of great printables to make “the hand off” easy.

This awesome kit includes:

Contact and Emergency Information
House Rules and Guidelines
Mealtimes and Bedtimes
Allergy Alerts
Sleeping and Eating Schedules (Specifically for Baby)
Information about Each Child
Notes for the Babysitter

Isn’t this great? I am so impressed with it!

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DIY Hair Detangler

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A couple of weeks ago, my friend sent me a link to a DIY hair detangler and asked me to help her recreate it for her 7 year old daughter. I love making my own products so I invited her and another friend over for a playdate and after we splashed around in the pool we made it happen.  I don’t know why I didn’t think to try something like this before as I have 3 girls of my own, but we’ve just been fighting thru the tangles and suffering thru the hair battles! We have found a solution, people! I see a future with neatly combed hair and no more arguments about them needing to go brush their hair! I posted a photo of the ingredients on my Instagram with the promise to share the recipe here. So, in keeping with that promise, here you go!

Here’s what you need:

1/2 C water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp coconut oil
10 drops essential oils
We used 7 Drops of Lavender &  3 Drops of Rosemary

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I think it would work best to add the vinegar & oils first and then the water, as water and oil doesn’t mix well. I would also recommend shaking the spray bottle with each use to make sure the ingredients are well incorporated.

The lavender is so relaxing and the rosemary has many beneficial properties to help hair look it’s best so after letting the moms smell all the oils in my arsenal, we settled on those two. The girls LOVED it! The braids and tangles were so easy to brush thru! This will now be a staple in our home.

Let me know if you give it a try!