San Diego On A Budget

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Our kids had several days out of school for President’s Day.  It seems like the opportunities to take family vacations are few and far between without having to miss school, so we felt like it would be a shame to not do something fun over this break.  However; this was not in our plan and we hadn’t budgeted to do a large vacation.  We have spring break coming up and didn’t want to break the bank, but also wanted to get away for a few days.  One of the benefits of living in Las Vegas is that the beach is only a few short hours away.  So we loaded up our vehicle and we were on our way!

Here are a few tips and tricks that allowed us to save money and enjoy San Diego on a budget.

  1. Plan Ahead
  2. Hotel with Free Breakfast
  3. Enjoy the Beach
  4. Season Passes at Sea World
  5. Dining Passes at Sea World

Plan Ahead

I knew that in order to make this trip economical, that a little planning ahead would go a long way.  I made a trip to Walmart ahead of time and stocked up on all of the snacks and drinks that we normally grab at the gas stations when we travel.  I also got bags of chips and the bulk candy at Sam’s club.  I bought peanut butter and jelly and fruit.  I also grabbed some beach toys for $10 and one of those cute velcro catch games for $3.88.  I snagged bubbles for $.97.  We purchased Boogie Boards at Sam’s Club for $25.  They were good quality and much better than the cheap ones they sell by the beach.  I spent a few hundred dollars but I felt like we saved so much by being prepared and thinking ahead.  It eliminated all purchases on our drive and saved us quite a bit once we arrived in San Diego.

Get a Hotel with a Free Breakfast

We are big proponents of The Holiday Inn Express.  We have the IHG Credit Card and are always happy with the service that we get at their hotel line.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Chula Vista.  It was right off I-5 and convenient to lots of things.  The front desk staff was extremely friendly and the pool and hot tub were not crowded and provided a nice start and end to our day.   We have stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Sea World Area in the past and we would probably stay there the next time we go because it is SO convenient to the beach we like and to Sea World.  Either way; not having to buy breakfast for our family of 5 saved us a good chunk of change!  That is a win for me!

 Enjoy the Beach

With this not being a planned vacation; we didn’t have a huge agenda.  It was really nice not having a set schedule and not feeling like we to had to cram 50 things into each day.  We got up in the morning and enjoyed the pool, then headed to Mission Beach for the day.  My friend who grew up in San Diego recommended this beach and it has become one of our favorite spots.  There is free parking close by.  I packed a little tote filled with all of our beach toys, towels, and snacks.  It was a quick walk to the beach.  The waves are perfect for boogie boarding and there are local shops and food places close by if you decide you need something.  One local place called Hamel’s has rentals of just about anything you need and they have all kinds of things for purchase as well.  Abigail rented a surf board for $20 for the day to give surfing a shot.  I checked on Amazon for a cute game called Smash Ball.  It was $13.99 so I expected to pay twice that at this shop.  They had it for $10!  I was so surprised!  If you are looking for a new fun game, you should totally check it out!  You can get it on Amazon for $13.99 or drive to San Diego and you can get if for the bargain price of $10!

The kids had a blast just playing in the waves, making sand castles, playing catch, and playing Smash Ball.   We enjoyed having our beach blanket to lay on and soaked up the sun as much as we could! It was so relaxing and such an affordable way to spend the day!  We had our PB&J sandwiches and Capri suns for lunch and everyone was happy! I may or may not have spent $5 on a box of Samoa Girlscout Cookies that some little girl drug dealer forced on me!

 Season Passes at Sea World

I always search online to see what deals I can find.  I am also getting great at finding Groupon’s when we travel and even in our own city.  I try and find the best deal and my hubby has a love hate relationship with it.  He likes the saving money part, but I also think it drives him crazy sometimes!  I noticed that Sea World San Diego was having a sale on their 2018 Fun Card.  Essentially you pay the price of a single day admission and you can go unlimited time for the rest of 2018.  If you buy their Sea World Annual Pass for $20 more you get all of these great benefits!

Get unlimited admission to SeaWorld San Diego during the initial 12 month commitment and any renewal period, with no blockout dates plus free parking, discounts and more.

  • FREE general parking (save $20 per visit).
  • 2 FREE guest tickets during specified event dates only.
  • Discounts on in-park food & merchandise and select park upgrades including tours, interactions and more.
  • Exclusive Member events and rewards.
  • Your visit helps support SeaWorld’s animal rescue and conservation efforts.

We purchased two of the annual passes to take advantage of the dining discounts, free tickets, and the free parking!   We got the Fun Cards for the kiddos since we are planning another trip here with the grandparents over Spring Break.

Having the season pass was so nice because we went for a few hours each day we were in San Diego.  That way no one was super tired and cranky, we avoided the crazy busy hours, and we were able to enjoy the beach each day as well.

I also think that we will take advantage of only being 5 hours away when the Las Vegas heat hits us this summer.  We may have a few more trips coming up if we can figure out this San Diego On a Budget thing!!

 Dining Pass at Sea World

One of the best ways that we saved money on this trip was taking advantage of the Sea World All Day Dining Pass.  Here are the deets!

Eat all you want at SeaWorld San Diego all day long for one low price. Pass Members save 10%.

  • Get 1 entrée, 1 side or dessert, and 1 non-alcohol beverage as often as once every hour during 1 day’s visit.
  • Participating restaurants include Shipwreck Reef Café®, Calypso Bay Smokehouse, Mama Stella’s® Pizza Kitchen, Explorer’s Café, Pineapple Pete’s Island Eats and Flatbreads & Fry Cones. Restrictions may apply.

We decided to just purchase one dining pass for the whole crew.  San Diego on a budget was the goal! Cory would take the kids and go and get in line for the next ride or attraction.  I would go and grab food and then bring in to the group.  You can get one drink, entree, and dessert or side once every hour, so this kept us quite full and allowed us to just snack throughout the day.  I priced things out as I went and it was over $100 worth of food that we got for the bargain price of $32.  Since we had eaten breakfast at the hotel and had some snacks at the beach that we had brought with us; we essentially fed our entire family for one full day of vacation for $32.  Not bad!!

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Overall, this was a fantastic spur of the moment trip.  We got some sun, enjoyed family time, relaxed, got in a few thrills, and we all still love each other.  Our kiddos are at THE BEST ages for travel.  Everyone can dress themselves, no one is in diapers, we don’t have to have a stroller, and they get along quite well.  You can check out some of my tips for packing with kiddos here.

I got a little over confident in my children’t ability to pack for themselves.  We travel enough that I kind of felt like they could do it themselves with no problem.  This was such a spur of the moment trip; we literally grabbed stuff the night before and we loaded into the car the next morning.  I rattled off a list to the kids and asked them each about 3 times if they had a jacket.  Other than that; I just ASSUMED they were good to go.  Word to the wise…….7 YEAR OLDS SHOULD NOT PACK 100% ON THEIR OWN.  Brady didn’t bring underwear, socks, a toothbrush, or jacket!  He essentially got a swimming suit and a few pairs of shorts and a few shirts.  In his mind; that is really all he needed.  We survived!!  We learned a few lessons and overall I think we nailed visiting San Diego on a Budget!  Until next time So Cal…….

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3 ways to take your life back..

Do you ever feel like you need a page 1 rewrite?  Sometimes it is a day that you just want to start over, maybe you were sick and the week has been going wrong since Monday, maybe you have been in a slump since Christmas, or maybe you said goodbye to 2017 and wanted to give it a swift kick on the way out the door.  The latter was me!  I don’t want to be one that doesn’t recognize how blessed I am, but 2017 was a HARD year.  Trials hit our family that I never could have imagined and I needed a clean slate.  We needed a page one rewrite!

I felt like my priorities had gotten knocked off course.   I had been working tirelessly on my real estate career for two plus years and somehow I lost sight of what was truly important.  I wasn’t enjoying my family and wasn’t enjoying real estate anymore either!  I remember thinking to myself and confiding in a friend, “I feel like I’m failing at everything and not truly succeeding in any aspect of my life!”  I felt like I was mediocrely doing everything.  I wasn’t being an excellent wife.  We would still go on date nights and we weren’t fighting or anything, but we had become complacent.  I wasn’t being a good mom.  My kids were getting fed, sometimes it was takeout and sometimes it was a thrown together semi healthy meal, but they weren’t starving.  Their clothes were clean, but not always folded.  The house was clean some of the time and I was home for morning prayers and we did our best at Family Night, but I wasn’t THERE all the time.  I wasn’t PRESENT.  I had my phone with 500 text messages and 40 phones calls to return; and my stress level was through the roof.  I wasn’t being an amazing Realtor.  While trying to still be a wife and a mother and being pulled in 50 different directions, I wasn’t nailing the business side of things either!  There was always one more facebook post to do, one more client to call back, one more search to do, or one more open house to schedule.  IT WAS TOO MUCH!!

I can’t even tell you how many people have said to me “I don’t know how you do it!”  I feel like the only speed I know is FAST.  Cory and I have always taken on a lot at one time and we seemed to thrive by taking on new projects and always having a new and exciting venture.  I know how to work well in high stress environments and I felt like our kids were learning valuable lessons of hard work and entrepreneurial skills.  While I still feel like this may be true….something had to give.  Something needed to change.  I was running faster than my short little legs could handle and I was about at the end of my rope.

Henry Ford failure

Henry Ford said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”.  I felt like I was at a point where I had failed.   I wanted to a new beginning, a fresh start.  Here are a few of the steps I took to get a fresh outlook and to begin again more intelligently.

1.) Don’t Look Back

I feel like it to SO easy to look back at things that didn’t go as planned and to want to change how things happened.  You want a do over.  You want to be able to CHANGE decisions you made or a reaction you had.  I know as 2017 closed; I looked back and didn’t have any idea how it was ending the way it was.  It was almost surreal to me.  I did not get to this point in a day….or a week….or really even in a month.  However; I finally made the decision to NOT LOOK BACK.  You can’t change the choices that you made, but you can learn from your mistakes and take one small baby step at a time and MOVE FORWARD.  The first step is the hardest.  I promise.

2.) Don’t be afraid to say NO

I feel like you have to be FIERCE with what we say YES to.  When we are saying YES to something; we are saying NO to something else.  It reminds me of a talk by Elder Dallin H Oaks titled Good, Better, Best.  Here we are counseled and warned that there are SO many GOOD things in this world.  It is good to volunteer at your child’s school.  It is good to go out to lunch with your friend, it is good to help with the bake sale, it is good to allow your children to have extra curricular activities.  But we must remember that every time we say YES to something good, we may be saying No to something better or even best.  I don’t know what the answer is for YOU.  I actually am slowly realizing that my social life is one of the GOOD things that I need to take a step back from.  I LOVE to entertain.  I am a very social person and I enjoy throwing parties, having people over for dinner, playing games, and filling our schedule with good things.  However; I am learning that our little family gets stronger and relationships are cultivated when we spend quiet evenings hot tubbing together and talking about our day.  We are creating memories as just the 5 of us snuggle on our king size bed and watch football.  This one has been hard for me.  I also came to realize a few years ago that more than likely my children weren’t going to become olympic athletes or prodigy pianists.  I want them to be well rounded kiddos that are allowed to cultivate talents and learn and grow into amazing adults, but they also don’t have to be in 50 different activities and have every minute of every day planned.  When you have three kiddos, or more….(bless all of your souls) even one activity each week can leave you running ragged.  It is ok to tell your children NO when they want to sign up for ONE MORE THING!  It is also ok to say NO when you are asked to volunteer for one more thing or FILL IN THE BLANK.  Be FIERCE with your time.  Know your limits and remember that you are only one person.

3.) Find what makes YOU happy

You cannot take care of your family and help fill their cups when your cup is empty.  I was  running on empty and didn’t think I had the time to refill my cup.  I know that I was not giving my best self to my husband, my friends, or my children when I was beyond stressed, not eating right, not sleeping well, and running full steam ahead at all times.  I felt like I had to be available to my real estate clients 24/7 and felt like they would go and find someone else if I didn’t answer the random text at midnight or didn’t stop in the middle of dinner to answer that phone call.  I wasn’t taking time for myself to refuel in order to be better for everyone!  Read a book, go get a drink at Starbucks and surf on Pinterest alone, take a warm bath, invite a friend to lunch to catch up, get your nails done, or go try a new yoga class.  Whatever floats your boat….find what makes you happy and MAKE TIME for it.  The time will NEVER just magically show up.  You have to make yourself a priority.  For me; I love to be able to play volleyball one night a week.  I told my hubby that this was important to me.  It was time for JUST me.  It was without kiddos and it helped relieve stress and it was fun!  Find what that is for you, and are it happen!

I am only one month into 2018, but I feel like there are good things to come!  I read an article the other day about the power of a positive attitude.   It was excellent and made some very good points.  Take the next step forward, get out of your slump, turn to the next page in your story.  Life is a beautiful journey.  Our trials, scars, mistakes, challenges, and worries make us beautiful and unique.  Don’t let one bad day, week, or year define you and your journey.  Here’s to a fresh start!

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Açaí bowls are all the rage!

This cute girl has been wanting to try açaí bowls for months. She says they are all over Instagram and has been begging me to take her to Bowlology. We finally got to go and it did not disappoint. It was delicious!

If you are like me and have no idea what an açaí bowl is, have no fear! It is a sensually a smoothie parfait with granola and any type of toppings that you like. This little bit of goodness was $10. Being the frugal person that I am, I figured that I could easily make these at home!

I found açaí packet with fruit to make smoothies in the freezer section at Walmart. I loaded my cart with my favorite granola and some fresh fruit. I went home and decided to give it a shot. The result was fantastic!

Once we had the smoothie made, I topped it with sweetened coconut, raspberries, bananas, strawberries, Chia seeds, and cinnamon. I then drizzled a small amount of sugar free maple syrup on top. YUM! 😋

My new favorite recipe is a mango smoothie made with a green juice that I get at Sam’s Club. I then put fresh raspberries and strawberries on top with toasted coconut and granola. It is divine!!

Have you jumped on the açai bowl bandwagon yet? What is your favorite recipe? I would love to hear.

XCaret Park Playa del Carmen

Are you looking for activities to keep you busy while visiting Cancun or Playa del Carmen? XCaret Park is the thing to do! It is amazing for families, but I think just about anyone would enjoy their time there.

We purchased a vacation package that had unlimited access to the park. It was with our hotel stay at Occidental at XCaret. This hotel is adjacent to the park and you can find my review of the hotel here.  There are other hotels in the area and some of them offer the same options.  A great site to visit for more hotel info can be found here.

I think that in order to adequately visit everything the park has to offer, that you would be well served to take two days to visit. It is a large park and you will walk miles in order to see everything.  If you would like more info regarding XCaret park and things to do in the area you should check out Travel Yucatan.  This is a great source filled with info about the surrounding area.  They have a page specifically about XCaret as well!

Here is my list of 10 must see activities and tips and tricks for making the most of your adventure.

The price is admission is roughly $90 per person. They also have dining packages that include unlimited drinks. Our hotel was right next door with our all inclusive benefits so we didn’t eat at the park. You can get tickets and check other info HERE.

1.) Get the map and plan your trip!

This will allow you to see all of the attractions with the least amount of walking. Stop at the observation tower at the beginning and enjoy the scenic overlook of the entire area.

2.) Enjoy the animal attraction and aquarium while you are dry.

This park is almost like a zoo. There are so many fun things to see. Some of our favorites were the sea turtles and the dolphins. A lot of the attraction require you to get wet; so enjoy these attraction while you are not soaking wet.

3.) Enjoy the underground rivers.

We liked the Manatee River the best. It was less crowded and had really neat features. They provide flippers and life jackets for everyone to use. Our kids brought their own snorkel gear and they liked having that for the rivers.

4.) Check out the natural pools

The natural pools that are right on the ocean are a must see. Our kids lived on the edge and jumped off the ledges while the life guard wasn’t looking! 😜

5.) Use the free snorkeling gear.

There is a neat area that is perfect for snorkeling. They provide life jackets and snorkeling gear. It is a great way to snorkel without paying for a big excursion.

6.) Buy a waterproof case on Amazon before you come.

The park has the Disney concept of pushing you through gift shops at the end of every attraction. They have really cool waterproof cases for the bargain price of $35 😩. You will want one and your children will beg and beg for one! They do help with fun underwater pictures and allows you to take your phone on the rivers and such. You can find one here!

I would also suggest getting a floating handle if you have a Go Pro. Or grab a Go Pro if you would like to capture some awesome pics of your trip.

7.) Let the kids try the obstacle course and water slides at kids world

There is a great kid world that has a great shaded area for the adults to relax. There is a waterfall, an obstacle course and water slides. It keeps the kiddos occupied and allows he adults to rest for a bit. They also have free WiFi so you can utilize that while you relax.

8.)Save time for the beach

There is a beautiful beach that is great for everyone. There are nice chairs to sit and relax in the shade and activities for the little people. There are little tubes hat allow you to float and relax. There is also a tight rope that the kids spent hours enjoying.

9.) The Mexico Spectacular in the evening is a must see!

The evening show was fantastic. It was a tad long for the little ones but it was very entertaining. From fireball hockey to beautiful dancing, and horses and fighting scenes; it was a wonderful show!

10.) Document your trip! There is a neat feature that allows you to snap pictures in various locations throughout the park. It is linked to your wristband and allows you to get awesome action shots of your adventures. You can check out prices Here ! You don’t purchase this feature; make sure to take lots of your own pics!!

I hope these tips and tricks help you if you decide to venture to Cancun or Playa del Carmen for your next vacation. I highly recommend making XCaret one of the destinations for your trip! Let me know if you have anything else you want to add to the list!!

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Occidental at XCaret Review for Families

We have just spent 10 days at the Hotel Occidental at XCaret. We came over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was nice to not have to have the kids miss so much school, but I will admit that I missed our traditional Thanksgiving traditions. The weather was perfect. It was in the high 70’s and low 80’s every day with no rain! It was heavenly!

It seems that there are always pros and cons of every place we visit. We travel with our three children, my parents, and my husbands mom. 8 total traveling with ages ranging from 7 to mid 70’s.

What we loved 💕

1. Right next door to XCaret The package that we booked included unlimited access to XCaret. This park is truly incredible. I will be going over this attraction in detail on another post. There was an aquarium, wildlife, entertainment, a great beach, and amazing underground rivers!

2. Unlimited food and drink and friendly staff! We LOVE to stay in a resort that is all inclusive. This is such a great thing when traveling with large groups and kiddos. I love not having to say no one million times and not having to carry my purse with my everywhere we go. There is something different mentally about paying one price up front and feeling like everything is “free” once you are there! Even though I know there isn’t the case! 😉😂. The staff was very friendly and always willing to help in any way. There seemed to be ample employees and most spoke English. One of our morning servers even did a little dance for us and one of our evening servers helped us with our TERRIBLE Spanish skills.

3. Free Snorkeling each day The hotel provided snorkeling equipment each day for one hour per guest. There was great snorkeling right off of the shore and it was a fun activity to do with the kiddos each day.

4. Fun activities planned each day The hotel had a great activities staff. They helped facilitate bocce ball, volleyball tournaments, ping pong tournaments, a foam party, guacamole lessons, and water aerobics. It was wonderful and helped keep the kids entertained. Each evening they had a fun show for everyone to enjoy. The outfits were sometimes slightly risqué, but overall it was a good show for the whole family.

5.) Abundant Wild Life There was so much wildlife right at the resort. The trails were filled with monkeys jumping overhead, iguanas at ever turn, and macaws in the lobby. It was an adventure every time you walked to a new part of the hotel.

What was lacking

1.) The food needed improvement Overall we all; ate well and the food was good. I just felt like there was room for improvement. You could only eat at the buffets for breakfast and lunch and I was not impressed with the seafood quality. The dinner restaurants were very good food but you had to be there right st 6:00 when they opened in order to get a table for our large group.

2.) No HotTub Need I say more? Not really, but I am going to anyway. There is something about being on vacation and hanging out in the hot tub in the evenings when the sun goes down and the kids are asleep. I truly missed this during this vacation. There was a hot tub in the First Club area which was a private area that you had to pay to be a member of. I checked these hot tubs twice during our stay and they were ice cold! I would have been pretty ticked if I had payed for this service and the hot tubs were cold.

3.) SO MUCH WALKING The hotel is very spread out and requires a lot of planning to avoid a ton of walking. With members of our group being in their 70’s this turned out to be a challenge. It was also very easy to get lost for the directionally challenged like me! 😜

4.) Small annoyances The men were required to wear pants and closed toed shoes for dinner. I understand a collared shirt but the only reason my husband had pants with him was because it was snowing when we left Montana! Having to wear closed toed shoes was also kind of a pain. My husband typically wears a nice button up shirt, linen shirts, and flip flops for dinner on vacation. We didn’t loved being told what to do on vacation. Maybe we are just stubborn! 😜

No designated smoking area. We do not smoke and being from the states and being used to no smoking areas; this was a bit of a shock. We didn’t like having to move tables and such due to people smoking in the common areas.

No free WiFi! 😩 We had unlimited data on our cell plan but it showed down after certain usage. You had to pay for WiFi at the resort and the cell service was poor in our hotel room so using Facebook and Instagram in the room was nearly impossible.

These were all small things, but were frustrating enough to warrant mentioning. 😬

Would we go again?

I think the jury is still out on this one. My mom LOVED everything about this trip. She says it was one of her favorite vacations and thought everything was top notch. I know the kids have had an excellent time. I really enjoyed the trip and am so glad we came. XCaret is a must see and think it was an amazing place. I feel like it is somewhat like Disney world or Disney land. Something everyone should do but probably not something you do on an annual basis. I think we will be visiting other locations for the next few years but we would probably come back several years from now.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about visiting the Cancun area or visiting XCaret!🌞🏝
 

5 Packing Tips When Flying


We just went on a 7 day trip to Vegas with our whole family.  We LOVE the inexpensive flights that Allegiant Air offers, but their baggage prices are rather ridiculous.  My husband would call me cheap, but I will use the word frugal.  Because I am “frugal”, we only paid for one bag for our whole family.  I thought I would share my top 5 tips for packing when traveling by air. 

  1. Roll your clothes – this takes up less space so you can maximize the space of your precious checked bag.
  2. Use a Ziploc Freezer Bag, Gallon Size for each outfit – this is a life saver for me.  I have each of the kids set out their outfits for each day of the trip, underwear and socks included.  I use gallon ziploc bags and write their name with a Sharpie.  Then when the whirlwind of unpacking and rifling through suitcases ensues, everything doesn’t get unfolded and heaped into a pile.  This eliminates fighting about what to wear and ending the trip with outfits that don’t match and whining kids.  You can also squeeze out all of the air to create a vacuum effect that helps maximize space as well.  I also use ziplocs for all of my toiletries to make sure I don’t have shampoo on all of my clothes when we arrive at our destination.
  3. Individual Backpack for Each Child – Once your kids are about 5 years old; have them pul their own weight!  Backpacks are the way to go.  Rolling suitcases that are unique and easy to spot in the luggage are like this are perfect and preferred for your large checked luggage.  However, having each person have their own backpack does a couple of things.  When you get to the hotel; you don’t have to divide 5 peoples clothes and figure out what clothes go where.  You can have each child put their own devices and travel essentials in their own backpack so you aren’t trying to divvy out snacks and books and crayons when you get on the plane.
  4. Pack your own snacks – Once again; my husband might love paying $4 for chex mix that we don’t even like, but I on the other hand don’t love forking out $30 before we even get on the plane.  Use the cute little Snack Size Ziploc Bags for your kiddos favorite snacks.  Grab fruit snacks, candy, granola bars to get you through the flight with ease.  The powdered drink mixes are also perfect for getting past airport security without a hitch.  If you bring an empty water bottle for each person; you can fill them up at the water fountain once you get past security and then use the flavor packets to spice things up a bit!
  5. Utilize your shoe space – Use your shoe space to pack underwear, socks, and small items like jewelry.  Also, here is a quick tip for jewelry!  Lay out all of your jewelry on Press’n Seal and then put another piece on top and you won’t have a jumbled mess to deal with when you get to your destination.  You’re welcome!

Here is a little video I shot while getting ready for this trip! ​​

​I hope these help when you are ready to hit the road on your next adventure.  Happy Traveling!

Work with me

I love sharing my family’s experiences with my growing tribe. I am just a normal wife and mother and I share my struggles, my victories,…

The Laundry Monster

IMG_2179Holy Hannah!  Isn’t laundry pretty much the worst thing EVER. It NEVER ends. I swear my kids are walking tornados and have no concern or care for the fact that they make me want to die inside every time I walk into their rooms or the bathroom.

The moment I have it all done; the vicious cycle starts again.   When Cory and I first got married I STRUGGLED keeping the laundry under control; and we didn’t even have kids! We would have company over and we would throw everything onto the floor of our master bedroom closet and shut the door and hope no one wandered astray into our closet.  Then the clean would mix with the dirty and I would start the process all over again because I didn’t know what was clean and what was dirty.  It was ridiculous.

As kids joined our family I gradually learned some processes that really helped me along.  One AHA moment for me was when I was introduced to Fly Lady!  I read her book and it changed my life.  I highly recommend it.  I still think of her every time I shine my sink.

The other book that helped me SO much when it came to laundry is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It has an awesome method of folding our clothes that helps you keep things orderly and also allows you to see what you have.  It is very helpful for little people.

 

I also recently found Capsule Wardrobes on Pinterest.  The essential idea is that you can pair down your wardrobe and have versatile items that allow you to create several outfits from the same items of clothing.  I DRASTICALLY reduced the amount of clothing my kids had and it was done wonders for the amount of laundry in our household.

What tricks and tips do you have?  What laundry system do you use?  Do you do it all on one day, does each kid have their own basket and do their own, and what age do you make your kids help out?  I would love to hear your feedback!

Are you a mess?

The last few months have been pretty rough in the Smith household.  We have been dealing with some pretty crappy stuff and it has been a trial of my faith.  There have been days when I was at the end of my rope.  I think when you are dealing with loss and you feel like your world is falling down around you, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.
I am by nature, NOT a patient person.  This seems to get magnified when life isn’t going exactly as planned.  I was losing my temper with my kiddos, I was beyond stressed at work, and I wasn’t enjoying the time I was spending with my husband.  Not to mention my horrible diet and lack of exercise. I was a MESS!!!

Have you ever felt that way?  Like no matter what you did, life wasn’t going the way you had planned and you kind of want to give up and crawl in a hole and hide?  Where do you turn when you feel that way?  I know that I have been talking God’s ear off and for some reason I don’t think I have been in the right place to be getting much inspiration and direction.   My husband is probably sick of talking to me!  One place I found comfort and peace is with my bestie Janelle!  She is amazing.  She loves me for who I am.  She doesn’t expect me to pretend that life is all roses and a Facebook Highlight Reel.  I can cry on her shoulder, ask her for advice, or go out for a lunch date to get my mind off of things.  I am truly grateful for her friendship.

I think I have often taken my friendships for granted. I just read the book Of Mess and Moxie and it made me realize how important friendships are! It is the most AMAZING book!  Jen Hatmaker from www.jenhatmaker.com is seriously hilarious.  I fell in love with her years ago when her Worst End of School Year Mom blog post went VIRAL.  I loved her voice and her sense of humor was real and refreshing.  Somehow the magic facebook wizards or pinterest gurus out there put her newest book in my newsfeed because I swear THEY KNOW US BETTER THAN WE KNOW OURSEVLES!  It’s creepy!  Anyhow, you can get it on Amazon but I HIGHLY recommend listening to it on Audible.

The way she tells the story is SO much better than it would have been reading it.  I listened to it in a matter of days and I am tempted to start it over again because I feel like we became friends.  I miss my friend!  This book made me grateful for my tribe.  It is a rather small tribe and I wish that there weren’t so many miles between me and some of my close friends, but at the end of the day I know they are there.  I know that I have someone to lean on when chatting with your hubby doesn’t feel like the answer.  If you are dealing with tough stuff, if you want to laugh and cry, or are just looking for some good entertainment, I highly recommend you check out Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker.