Why I've Sucked at Blogging

If you blog to make money, you're going to suck at it.

If you blog to help people, educate, connect, and built trust, then you're going to excel!

Mom-to-Mom Monday

Welcome to my first "Mom-to-Mom Monday!"  This is YOUR time!  This is when I answer questions from all of you, discussing the fun, the fearless, the intimidating, and the causes for celebrating!

We moms need a place to come together and connect.  After three kids, I've realized that one of the most important things I can do is take care of myself.  It's not selfish to go out with friends every once in a while, treat myself to a mani/pedi, or simply lock myself in the bathroom for a long, relaxing shower.  In fact, it's unselfish!  When a parent gets stuck in the daily routines of their children they will, over time, start to lose themselves...and that won't do any of you any good!




At first, we chalk it up to loving our kids and simply wanting to put their needs first because we want to give them everything, every moment, every ounce of energy, that we can...because we love them, SO much.  But between the carpools to soccer practice and piano lessons, endless rounds of Row Row Row Your Boat, and constant shouts of "Look at me, Mom!", our love for our children becomes overpowered by the sense that you no longer have a life that's your own.  You've given up your personal identity in lieu of mom jeans, baby wipes, and "Messy Hair, Don't Care" trucker hats.  And though you love your family to the moon and back again, you've begun to harbor resentment, and perhaps, depression has even set in.

We are going to reclaim your light!

There IS hope!

YOU are beautiful.  YOU are inspiring.  YOU have a capacity for greatness that you don't fully realize.  YOU are WORTH IT!

As I've struggled to feel inspired to create content on my blog over the past couple years, I've realized that I've been desperately seeking a way to connect with my readers.  I want to give back, even in this small way, and create a safe, trustworthy environment where women can go to receive encouragement, inspiration, and find kindred souls to give them strength!

Meet here every Monday morning for some encouragement, tips, and life hacks to help make your life easier!  I'll be sharing suggested topics from moms like you via blog and Instagram comments (Facebook to come soon!), so don't forget to leave a comment with a topic you've been struggling with, a link to an uplifting article or quote, or an experience you've had lately that I can share!

Until then...YOU'VE GOT THIS!

Hugs and High Fives,

Holly

Pre-Holiday Purge - Why You Shouldn't Wait for Spring to Clean

Do you think that spring is the best time of year to declutter your house?  Think again!  After years of following the trends, and dealing with enough stuff for three families, I'm here to share one of my favorite new holiday traditions!




Ah, spring.  That magical time of year when you purge, sort, and organize all the stuff creating cute little dust bunnies during chilly winter months.

Also popular is the great January purge.  Overwhelmed by an excess of stuff after the holidays, along with the desire to start fresh in the new year, you'll see a huge influx of social media posts about decluttering and organizing your stuff after the big winter holidays.

But!  After years of dealing with pack rat syndrome, and three young kiddos with waaaay more toys and clothes than necessary, I've realized that RIGHT NOW is the best time to declutter!

Don't wait until after Christmas to pare down on kids' toys and clothes!

This is the PERFECT time to sit down with your kiddos and let them know it's time to let go of some of their toys to make room for all the awesome new stuff they'll receive in the coming month.  This is also the perfect time to teach your babes about the importance of giving and providing for others who are in need.


A TIME TO GIVE BACK

The year my husband was laid off, we were the recipients of a couple gifts for our daughter (our only child at that time) from our church's giving tree.  It was also that year that I purchased her Christmas gifts at the local thrift store.  It was one of the single most humbling experiences of my life, and I've never been more grateful, and full of joy, to watch her open her sweet little presents.

Did she notice her toys and clothes weren't perfectly pre-packaged with tags from a store?  Not at all.  Did she care that the pink doll castle that I literally prayed I'd find for her was pre-loved and a bit worn in a few places?  Nope.  Did she care that nothing we bought for her cost more than $5?  No way.  She loved everything, and I loved experiencing a Christmas where it truly wasn't about the presents.

Now, I'm not going to go on about the true meaning of Christmas.  But though we are in a stable situation now, I want all of my children to know what it is to give back, to show gratitude, to remember that we all struggle at some point and are in need of a little cheer.


TOYS & CLOTHES

So!  Around Thanksgiving, when thoughts are on family and gratitude, we have started the tradition of going through all of our things and finding ways to donate.  This is great for everyone!  Purging BEFORE the new year, before December, even, gives kids the chance to rid themselves of things they don't play with any more, while also giving them a better idea of the new things they might actually want or need.  Having clean, decluttered kids rooms is, like, the best Christmas present I could ask for!  Haha!

Decluttering before Christmas is good for the home, and the soul!

Purging toys and clothing before December also gives you the opportunity to donate during a time when many shelters are full of families in great need of a coat, a blanket, a pair of gloves, even a simple toy for their child.  Thrift stores are heavily shopped this time of year as well.  Not only for warm winter items, but for children's toys and discounted holiday decor.


HOLIDAY DECOR

This is also an awesome time to take a hard look at your holiday decor and decide what you don't want anymore.  Certainly, there were Halloween and Thanksgiving items that you didn't use this year, and probably won't use next year, either.  Go ahead and let it go!  This goes for your winter decor, too!

(I was personally staring down 10+ bins of holiday decor, I began to think to myself that maybe...just MAYBE...I didn't really want all of it.)

Don't get me wrong, I like to switch up my throw pillows and color scheme as much as the next gal, but if you're looking at a box of holiday decor, wondering where to put things, or feeling fairly uninspired to put out a decor item, then go ahead and donate it it.  Give it to a friend or neighbor.  Offer it up to a family member who's admired that item in the past.  They'll love you for it!

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We all love to give (and receive!) special presents during the holidays.  I promise one of the best "gifts" you can give to you and your family this season is the gift of a clean home, ready to receive all the bounty and blessings that you deserve!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Quick Tip Tuesday | How to Clean Your House in Two Minutes

In a desperate attempt to maintain a home that doesn't look like an episode of Hoarders, I've implemented a daily ritual called the "Two Minute Tidy Up."

So many times I've gone to bed with socks, blocks, and Barbie's laying all over our great room floor.  Too many mornings I've lamented at the condition of my kitchen counters, certainly not eager to make breakfast in a cluttered space.

Enter our little Tidy Up Routine.



QUICK TIP *

Play a song, gather the kiddos, and make a game of who can tidy up the fastest!


The concept is simple: Turn on a fun, upbeat song, clean up quickly for the duration of the music, call it good.

I like things to sound snazzy, and I figure the average pop song or Disney musical number is roughly two minutes long.  I needed a simple, fun way to get the kiddos on board with picking up at the end of the day without the moans and groans that typically involve me doing most of the work. :P

How To Save Your Sanity (aka. "Two Minute Tidy Up")
  1. Set a timer for two minutes or find an upbeat song to play.
  2. Tell the kids it's time for the Two Minute Tidy Up, and that they need to be super fast (get competitive, it's okay!)
  3. Let the kids run around picking up toys and putting them in a bin or basket to take to their room
  4. Parents take the time to pick up their own things, clean up kitchen counters, dining table, or whatever will make you feel most accomplished
  5. When the timer or song is over, stop.  You're done!  Don't keep going.  The kids can take their things to their room to be put away, and you can wrap up anything else you want to finish after they've gone to bed.

The point of the Tidy Up is to get the family to work together, for a short amount of time, and reinforce the importance of being responsible for their own things.  Sure, I still straighten and wipe up all sorts of things (eww) all day long (double eww), always reminding my kids to take care of their own dishes, put their shoes away, clean up the Play-Doh, etc.  But working together at the end of the day, and having it be a few minutes of productive fun (yes, they like it!), has been incredibly rewarding!

P.S. If two minutes isn't quite enough time, go ahead and play another song!  Make it a game and I guarantee that your kids will be into it!  Then once everything is picked up, your kids are happily panting from cleaning while having fun, then feel free to kick your feet up and enjoy an iced beverage, you Mary Poppins, you. ;)