How to relax

How to relax, doesn’t sound like something you would need to read about, but in all actuality the average human has a hard time getting into a relaxed state. I am one of those people, I have always been a high stressed, highly anxious person. Tense is my name and worrying is my game. I realized how much I sucked at relaxing after getting a massage when I started getting horrible neck pain. The massage took me to a state that I had no idea my body could get to. I wasn’t tense and I felt at ease. I then realized as time went on that while resting in bed, I had to force my body to feel relaxed and it took a lot of concentration. It couldn’t be normal to be that tense, there was no way it’s healthy to walk around all day, even laying in bed, with a tensed up body. To my surprise though, it’s an issue a lot of people deal with- and most of them like me had no idea. So I began to think of ways to truly relax and began trying them out. Check out these tips and try them for yourself, see if you notice any changes in your body- for the better!

1.) YOGA- My #1 go to. Nothing relaxes me quite like Yoga does. I could do it every hour on the hour if I had my way. The good thing about Yoga is that you don’t already have to be in some sort of excellent shape. Anyone can do yoga, no matter how much you weigh, no matter how flexible you are, no matter how many times a week you work out. There is a level for every person and yoga is very customizable. There are ways to modify each pose to fit your level and needs and you can go as slow as you’d like. I sat out the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy and my body started to get stiff, my blood pressure was rising because of how sensitive my hormones have made me, and I wasn’t sleeping well anymore. And of course, my neck pain was back. Now when I get stressed, I kind of crave yoga in a way. And as soon as I finish my routine, I feel 99% less stressed that I was when I started out. You can look up poses online and find out what works for you OR you can look up routines online. I have really come to love Yoga with AdrieneI suggest trying her 30 day’s of Yoga. I am going to try and find some more of her workouts that are pregnancy friendly for me! 🙂

2.) Music: Sometimes switching it on in the back ground can do the trick but try really focusing on it, “getting lost in it.” Did you know listening to music releases Dopamine? The feel good chemical. Turn on your favorite music or some nice soothing sounds, you can google soothing sounds on Youtube and get a great selection. This is probably my husband’s favorite way to relax. He pops on his headphones and lays in the dark forever just listening and relaxing. I like to walk around when I listen to music, so do whatever makes you comfortable when listening to music and get into it.

3.) Watching TV: Funny how I went from Yoga to watching TV but getting lost in your favorite TV show distracts you from your everyday stressors, which is good even if it’s for a bit. While you should probably learn to deal with your stressors head on- it does help to get away from it all for a bit. If TV isn’t your thing try a good book! 🙂

4.) Treat yourself: To a massage, to a coffee, milkshake, a little day trip. Do what won’t stress you out financially later but they don’t call them pick me up’s without reason. Sometimes introducing a small amount of happiness can make an ever bigger difference. Especially getting all the little stress knots out of your body with a massage (yes, they are a real thing). I get them easily and wish I could get a massage weekly.

5.) Focus on the moment: Enjoy the moment instead of looking forward for a change, don’t think about tomorrow, think of the small win you are having in the moment. This morning I woke up dreading my husband having to go to work for 10 hours, then I took a breath and cuddled up next to him telling myself to focus on the joy that I am getting from him being there in that moment. Why should we always allow the future to distract us from our present?

These are small things and some of them may work for you and you may struggle with others. The point is to be aware of your body and the state it’s in and the drive to change it if it’s not where you want it to be. We live in a high paced, high stressed society that relaxation is taken from us most of the time without notice, we can go on being tense for years and then one day realize the impact it has had on your health and our bodies. Take charge of your relaxation and make a change! You’ll thank yourself later! 🙂

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3 everyday things

My hubby and I have a pretty basic routine when it comes to our Monday-Friday and most people do. I have worked out our routine to where we fit important things in our day that I think all couples should try and make room for. They seem to be pretty basic things but not everyone gets to fit in these things. On paper they don’t seem major and are probably the first things you cut out if you are having a hurried day. We are on a second shift schedule but these are things no matter what shift you are on, you can typically fit them in somewhere. Everyone is different so some of you may not be able to, but I suggest trying them when you can. They are small things but make a big difference.

1.) Pray together: The couple that prays together, stays together. It’s an intimate moment between you and your spouse and God. You become one when it comes to your needs and it gives you a moment to express thankfulness together as one. also, two people praying for one thing is always better than one. You should pray for your marriage, pray for your family, and common goals. Check out this post focused on marriage specific prayers if you need guidance. You can do this when you wake up (a great way to start the day) but only if you won’t rush it, you want to be able to take your time with this and get into the moment so if mornings are rushed, try it before bed, the middle of the day, before a meal, whenever you can squeeze it in!

2.) Share a meal together: I don’t know about you, but me and my husband have a common love of food and really bond over it. Our favorite thing to do is go out to eat together, we don’t do this daily but we do have a meal of some sort together each day. It’s a good time to enjoy something together in the day. Even if you plop down in front of the TV and eat, it’s a shared relaxed moment which is important to enjoy each day.

3.) Talk about your day: This is the most important one. My husband and I always check in through out the day with each other and make sure we are having a good day but when my husband comes home we talk about our day in detail. Talking about your day not only helps you personally- to get things off your chest, but it keeps each other in the loop. Imagine going through each day not knowing what your spouse is doing and experiencing and going through, that part of the world would be dark to you, and as much time as those who work spend at work, it’s a big part of their life. So it’s amazing to connect and feel part of that piece of their life. It’s so important to feel connected on all levels in marriage.

I spend the day looking forward to these moments with my husband. We both do our own things through out the day, as he works and I do my things at home, so it’s amazing to sit and connect with him a few moment’s out of the day. I try to have as many of these moment’s as possible but life does require certain things from us, like work schedules. But if you put your foot forward and do these things, even on the most quick and busy schedule, you can stay connected which I cannot express enough of the importance of.

What do you and your husband do daily? Sometimes routine’s aren’t a bad thing! They help keep the important things in check.

The 52 Week Money Challenge

What if you had $1,378? You would probably be pretty happy. I feel like we live in a day and time when savings isn’t something many of us take seriously. When we have an extra $10 when we finish paying our bills, we think, woohoo let me buy this big $10 steak this week. And it happens paycheck after paycheck. We live in the here and now and then one day we find ourselves wishing we could go on vacation or our car needs a major fix and there is no funding and so we scramble or scumb to credit cards or loans to pay for the fix. I have learned these things the hard way and it’s never fun so I have put a bigger importance on savings.

Next year my husband and I plan to go to Destin a little after baby gets here! Woohoo. I am so excited! 🙂 It’s been a few years since we’ve been to the beach and we are dying to go. Now, we have a plan to pay for the hotel, but that’s not all we have to pay for. We have to pay for food, gas, any fun things we plan to do, and be prepped for any emergencies along the way (one time when I went to the beach, I hit a curb and ruined my tire. My mom had to wire me $90 to get a new one when in reality I should have had a plan to take care of it sooner so I didn’t have to replace the whole thing, anyways…)! With a baby on the way, I would be lying if it never crossed my mind how we could save for baby and save for the beach. But then I came across this pretty little savings plan that almost perfectly aligns with when we are going to the beach. 52 weeks money challenge It’s called the 52 week money challenge and at the end of 52 weeks, you end up with $1,378. The perfect amount for food and fun in the sun. What I really love about this challenge is that it’s easy and you are never having to pay out like half your paycheck (unrealistic) at some point. Let’s face it, who can spare half of their pay check (or more for some people) for savings when you have bills to pay for? The highest you ever contribute is $52, as the amount increases by $1 each week. It will take some dedication, especially since a year seems so long from now, but keep your eye on the prize and you will thank yourself a year later when you have the money in your pocket and can do something fun or something that will help better yourself financially. Take a look at this quick list of things you could do with $1,378, and take into consideration what you would do with that money and if maybe the 52 week money challenge is something you should do! I think I will do it backwards and get the hard part out of the way now so later, it will be easier!

1.) Vacation- take a trip to Florida or the nearest beach near you. Depending on how long you stay and where you stay, this could cover the majority or your trip or the hotel. Make it work for you. Think of yourself, a year from now on the beach. Wouldn’t some savings be worth it? Yesss.

2.) Savings Account- This one is obvious. And probably the smartest financially. having $1,300 in your savings could cover a big car repair if you run into one day or you can put it towards retirement!

3.) Paying off debt’s- Sure it may not seem the most fun thing you could do with the money but paying off debt eliminates payments, which can open up more money for savings, or vacation, or whatever you need. It will eliminate stress if anything.

4.) Charity- Donating to charity really feels good and you can pick your own. Donate to your favorite cause. I really don’t have to explain this one much to you because 🙂 well you already know donating to charity is an awesome thing.

5.) A mix of them all!- You can always divide the money up and do a little of everything.

No matter what you spend it on, I challenge you to try it for a year! See how good you feel this time next year. And when a year comes and you see how awesome it feels, start over. Do something else with it the year after or use it for the same thing. I think once you get a year down and enjoy the “hard” work it’ll get easier and easier to do each year. Just think of it as another bill you HAVE to pay. If it were a bill you would have to figure out how to work around it anyways right?

Have you ever participated in this money challenge or some other kind of challenge? How did it go? Did you enjoy the pay out if you completed it? Share in the comments! 🙂 Looking forward to hearing from you as always!

From Expectation to Appreciation

from expectations to appreciation

Ever since I found out I was pregnant and began to experience the fun that is nausea, food aversions, and a crazy strong sense of smell, I have been very appreciative of my husband. As a stay at home wife, I cook, clean, and do those kinds of things. But since food makes me want to run for the hills (I know, a very sad thing for me), the kitchen has pretty much become a torture chamber for me, so I rarely visit it. And when I do have to, it is not pretty as the smells of the food attack me and turn my stomach. So my husband has picked up my daily tasks also, when it comes to the kitchen anyways. He cooks his own food- well pops it in the oven. They preach eating healthy and cooking all of these grain and protein filled foods but never ever do they mention how difficult it is in your first trimester. I am being real enough to admit to you that frozen and ready to eat foods have taken over my home the last few weeks. The doctor says eat what you can hold down, for me that’s mini chocolate donuts and popsicles. Thank goodness for prenatal vitamins.

As I wait for this mean first trimester to pass me, I am learning the ropes of leaning on my husband when I am weak. We have usually had our own roles in our marriage. He earns money, I take care of our home. Now he is earning money, grabbing me water, toasting poptarts at midnight for me, and baking his own food before work- as well as packing his lunch. At first, I felt bad. I felt bad that I had to abandon what I felt is my assigned tasks. But my husband comforted me over it, and still does. Letting me know that he is happy to do it, and that I’m growing his child inside of me- which is a big job in itself. It is true, that in our marriage vows we talk about in sickness and in health, the highs and lows, richer or poorer. And what I have thought about in my many days in bed is that I am very thankful that I have a husband who upholds his vows with a smile on his face, but that I shouldn’t chalk this all up to him keeping his vows. He is doing these things for me out of love, and if he were to just go get me a glass of water on any other day without the sickness and growing a life form inside of me, would I be as grateful as I am when I am sickened by the very thought of doing such a simple task on my own? I would say thank you and mean it, but I wouldn’t look into it so much to see just how the little things in life do speak volumes.

I think as a married couple it’s so easy to take things for granted, to just expect certain things. I think when you sit and think about the reasons for actions, what’s behind them, a small gesture will bring much more appreciation to our significant others than before. We may do this already at times, but it’s easy to get caught up in life and associate nice gestures with expectations. I am showering my husband with thank you’s as he helps me with everything. A husband should contribute to his home and help, so I’m not just thanking him for feeding himself or loving me, but I am thanking him for contributing and letting him know it’s appreciated and not just expected of him. My husband has always helped me, even before baby, and I know he will continue to without complaint and will out of love. I just want to turn things that may be expected as the duty of a spouse, into things to appreciate and love also, not just take it as part of the package. And this goes from husband to wife as well. We should all learn not to JUST expect anything but to love and appreciate everything as well.

Easy to go Peach Iced Tea

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Peaches, oh that sweet sweet smell. Being someone who is allergic to everything, including all acidic fruit, it makes me appreciate the things I’m not allergic to even more- like peaches. Now, if I get too messy with them I still break out but nothing like I do with lemons or pineapples or tomatoes or…you get it. But, peaches are my saving grace. They taste PHENOMENAL and like I said, I can enjoy them without fear. So any time I can incorporate them, I want to.

Lately my husband has given up soda (yayyyy!) and as a treat from time to time he enjoys tea. He also shares a love of peaches so it came to no surprise that when they went on sale (I got 8 of them for $1.87!) and I brought some home, he requested some peach tea. I was all over it. I am no stranger to flavored drinks, especially teas, so this came pretty easy. But when I saw my husband’s mason jars that I use for his Easy to go Iced Coffee, and thought heyyyy, we can make the peach teas even better, put them in mason jars so they are easy to grab on the go! Picking him up from work last night all I had to do is grab one out of the fridge and get on my merry way.

If you don’t dabble too much in the kitchen, homemade peach iced tea may sound complicated. But it’s really not. I promise, any of you with some peaches and a pantry can pull this off easily. Take a look and see for yourself…

What you need:

  • 3 Peaches- sliced
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 2 Lipton Iced Tea Bags
  • Mason Jars- optional.

Throwing it all together:

See this prettyPeach Syrup pink stuff? That’s what’s going to put the peach in your peach tea. Isn’t it beautiful? You kind of hate to spoil it by adding some boring brown tea, but once you taste it- you’ll be like, who cares what it looks like when it tastes like this?!

and as I promised, it’s really easy to make. All you have to do is take your water and bring it to a boil. After that stir in your sugar, let it bubble for a minute. Then take it off the heat, add in your peaches, and let it sit for a couple of hours to come to room temp. Once it is, you can store it in a jar like this until your ready to use! Or, if you are ready for that tea, we can go ahead and start mixing it all up!

The next part, you’ve probably already done. Brew some Tea. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil, and then steep 2 LLipton bagsipton Iced Tea Bags for 5 minutes. One your done steeping, take out the bags and set aside.

Take 3 mason jars and fill to the first line with peach syrup. My jars it was to the 4 line.

Nowwww, add tea to the last line at the top.

 

tea all together

And lastly, seal on the lid, give it a shake, and then let it come to room temp before refrigerating.

See? I keep my promises! 🙂

 

 

 

 

To make it even better, add in some ice, and take it outside to enjoy the summer weather. Enjoy it for me too because where I live, it’s been raining for 2 weeks now :/

Feel free to send pics of your sunshine filled day as you enjoy your Peach Iced Tea! Hope to hear from you. 🙂

#BreakYouMake My deserving mother

As I sit here, drinking my fruit smoothie, eating my granola, listening to some soft music I feel at such peace. Life has been good to me lately, I have been blessed beyond measure. I am so happy to have these kinds of moments to sit and relax and reflect on my life. I understand that this is a blessing in itself. There are so many people out there in today’s world that lack these type of blissful moments in time. They are busy running from one place to another, distracted with phone calls and emails, without a second to lose. I was just reading a questionnaire that Chobani Flip had conducted and they said nearly half of the people they asked don’t take a break and most of them only got one if they scheduled it. It was then that I realized just how blessed I actually was for my breaks. I don’t have to skip a break, I don’t have to find time to relax for a second, and I then realized that there are so many people out there living lives without something I have easily taken for granted.

My mother is one of those people. She has been one of these people for as long as I can remember. Which is why I am nominating her for Chobani Flip’s #BreakYouMake movement. When I read about what Chobani Flip was doing and the facts they had found, I thought of my mother the entire time as I read along. And if you knew my mother, you would too. But since you don’t, let me tell you a little bit about her.

Looking at my mother, you see beauty, happiness, and an immense amount of joy. Which are only three things my mother is filled with. There is much more than meets the eyes with her. YIMG_2100ou would never imagine this joyful and bright person who lights up the room, had experienced a lot of loss in her life or that she has been through tough times in her life. Times that not all of us are forced to dealt with. She has and will always be the strongest person I know. If I were to lose my mother, my sibling, and my child like she had in just a few years time, I think I would break. Well, I know I would. I couldn’t imagine that a smile so beautiful would ever cross my face. But with her, I’ve known it the entire 23 years I have been in this world. During the hard times when she was raising me as a single mother, during those times she was so exhausted she couldn’t imagine walking another step, let alone go into her 12th hour of work, even during the times when I was being a bratty teenager and all I wanted to do is push her buttons, she smiled. Through everything her smile remains, but…she is still going, and I would love more than anything for her to get a break that she deserves more than anything, a break she would never ask for, because she is also completely selfless.

Speaking of her selflessness, here my mother is volunteering her only day off that week to help the needy in our community. She got up at the crack of dawn, instead of sleeping in- IMG_2098something she never experiences-, and went out on the very cold and rainy day that it was, and helped pick up families that had no transportation to make it to this event to receive the help they desperately needed, and then she stayed and worked. She spent her day handing out free food and clothes to those who were struggling instead of staying in bed like most of us would. Oh, and there’s that smile again! 🙂

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and smiling again! Even without a camera pointed at her.

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So why does she only get one day off here and there? Well, you may not be able to tell, but in this picture she is working her second job. That she clocks in at, at 5pm right after she clocks out at her other job at 4:30. She barely has enough time to make it there, let alone enjoy a nice break. But, she spends the rest of her night, on her tired feet and helping customers with that famous smile on her face that spreads warmth wherever she goes. And as you can see, she doesn’t let her aching feet get her down- she’s too busy making silly faces, because she loves life despite what falls on her. She needs that second job because being a single mom in this world is tough, and without complaint, she makes the very best of it.

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As you probably guessed by now, but just in case you didn’t, she is also full of LOVE. Love for everyone she meets. Just last month, a customer had sent in her granddaughter to pay her bill at my mother’s first job, and she shared with my mom her bike had been stolen. So what did my mom do? Because of her loving heart, she found that little girl a bike and took it to her, just 2 days later. The little girl in the picture, she is the beautiful Abby.Our baby cousin, who my mom would easily lay her life down for. Regardless of her not being her own child, which you would never know because my mom treats her and everyone else in this world, as if the were her own. She doesn’t meet a stranger and she makes sure to spread her love to not just her cousin, or the little girl without a bike, but to every person she will ever come across, no matter who they are.

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How is this woman, that has dealt with so much, so happy? Look in this picture. You will see her at the very front of the church, lifting her hands up to the Lord, and praising her for all of the blessings he has given her. She doesn’t see darkness, she doesn’t see negativity, she doesn’t see anything bad in this world. All she sees is good, despite what she has faced because her faith is unshakable.

My mother is my hero, she has shown me what strength, love, compassion, and joy are without even explaining those words to me. All I had to do is grow up by her side, and I am so glad God allowed me to. My mother works, 14 hour days every week, sees the inside of her home very rarely, serves the community on her very little downtime, and always makes time to thank God for her blessings. She goes and goes, and she does not stop, unless it comes to helping someone and sharing a smile. So Chobani Flip, if there is anyone in this world that deserves a break, it’s this incredible woman I have featured here. If there’s anything in this world I hope to never do, it’s to take her heart for granted.

Please visit breakyoumake.com and http://www.chobani.com/products/flip#strawberry-summer-crisp to find out more about Chobani Flip and how they are helping people across the world, like my mom, realize the importance of a break, and just how to make the most of it.

Let’s hear it for hard working people like my mother and for Chobani Flip for helping people enjoy their breaks a little lot more.

Chobani pic

Easiest Budget Plan in the world

So, I am apparently known for my budgeting. I have to admit, I don’t just have a budget for my own money gain or to keep track of my finances, I do it to keep me sane and focused on my goals- which is currently to purchase a house in September. It was July, but…I have to be honest, we didn’t stick to our budget like we should have. If we would have, we would probably be looking at houses next month. So if you are reading this, take it from me- stick to your budget! Whatever reason you are keeping a budget, make sure you stick to it and make it realistic.

Realistic being the most important part of a budget. When you go down the unrealistic path, you are very likely to blow your budget and thus, being let down. When I first began budgeting I pretty much made a dream budget using my husband’s highest pay (instead of his base pay) and underestimating my grocery store spending, which blew my budget out of the water and I found myself getting more and more stressed over finances, which, the point of a budget- is meant to help you avoid. It may take you a few months to get everything sorted out and on track, but you will get there.

A budget is also created to help you stay on track though, so while it is important to be realistic, you may need to make adjustments in some of your spending. If you are blowing your budget by $40 each week, don’t tell yourself “Well, i’m being realistic. This is how much I spend on eating out each week.” When this happens, it’s time to make cuts and realize where you are over spending. Budget’s require patience, honesty (harder than you think), and sometimes when you are going over budget and wondering where in the world all your money is going- sacrifices. But it’s all in the name of financial stability. Financial stability is something very important in this world. Not only does everything demand payment, but think of how often you’re stressed…now think of how often it’s tied to money. I don’t know about you but with us, pretty much all of our stress comes from money. Which is why I began budgeting. Winging finances just wasn’t working for us.

Budget’s take away many financial confusions. It shows you what comes in and it makes you realize where you may be spending a little too much money. When you blindly spend money it’s so easy to over spend, you can forget oh the water bill is due this week and instead go out with friends and when it comes time for the water bill to be due and you remember, you realize you spent your last $30 on dinner and drinks. Having a budget and knowing what money needs to go out before you get paid, prevents surprises like this. It also helps you build savings, even if it’s just a little. Which can help you later on when something happens that doesn’t fit in your budget- like a car repair. So let’s take a look at this super simple laid out budget plan, that will work for all of you!

So first off, here is the simple lay out. Here you only see 3 weeks, but the whole budget plan will stretch from 4- 5 weeks depending on the month.

Budget lay out

Nothing fancy, just plain and laid out for ease!

As you see here, in the left column you have three things to fill out. Pay, Bills, and Savings.

highlighted left column

Fill them out like this (it’s pretty self explanatory):

Pay: What you bring home weekly. If you get paid bi-weekly feel free to divide your check in half and put it in week 1. If your checks differ drastically each week, use your best, best, best, guess. Don’t include overtime or any incentive. Stick with your most base pay incase overtime isn’t available or you don’t make incentive. This is where being honest comes in to play, as much as you would love to count on overtime to make your budget prettier- don’t do it.

Bills: After you fill out your bills, add up the total and put it here.

Savings: How much in savings you will be putting into the bank this week. This is easy as you just move it from your savings column in the bill section.

Now, to the fun section :p THE BILLS!

Bill highlightedLike the last part, it’s self explanatory. What you do though, is instead of “Bill 1” you would write in the name of your bill. Such as, Mortgage/Rent. And then the same for Bill 2, 3, 4, etc, etc. I suggest, highly suggest, listing each bill in order of importance. Shelter, Water, Utilities, etc. In the bill section, write everything you spend money on. Not just paper bills, include your groceries (everything you buy at a store- not just food, like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, shampoo, etc.), gas, fast food, makeup, anything and everything. This helps you see all of your expenses and you keep everything on track.

Now, the last column. an important column, something I don’t find optional but as a need.

savings highlighted

A lot of people only put back savings if they can. Having a savings, big or small, is important incase you get into a jam later on. You don’t have to put back a big amount, do what you can. Even if it’s only $5. Take it from your grocery budget. Get 1 bag of dorito’s instead of 2, skip mcdonald’s for everyone and just get a $5 pizza, whatever you have to to make some room for savings, do it. And always put what you can. Don’t settle for the least amount and blow the rest. If you can put in $20, do it. You will thank yourself later. What I do to calculate savings, I add up all my bills, take it from my base pay, subtract $15 (I like to have a little cushion in the account during the week), and then put what’s left straight into savings. If my husband works overtime, straight into savings. I make sure we can live off his base pay and anything extra is for later. This is important to ease financial stress that may pop up later.

And this is your basic budget plan! It’s simple, no frills. It’s straight forward and easy to create. You can write it down on paper, you can type it out on paper, you can set up a table on your phone. You can customize it by adding more columns and rows, extra weeks or fewer weeks, customize it to fit your life. Just be sure to be honest and realistic.

Just for an example, I filled out this basic week for you to see!

budget exampleSee, super simple!

Happy budgeting! Do you keep a budget? If so, does it help you?

Hoping to hear from you! 🙂