I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of my third full-term pregnancy. Each time I figure out a little bit more of what is practical, what’s worth skipping, and what is worth investing in. It’s worth noting that all of my pregnancies have begun in late spring/early summer and lasted to winter/early spring, so my perspective may be different from the mama who is full term in the heat of August. Also…. I’m not a fashion consultant. These are just some things I’ve figured out by trial an error.
Skip the maternity jeans. Finding the perfect pair of jeans is challenging enough when you’re not pregnant! Add in a a growing belly full of baby and it gets even more complicated. From my experience, finding a cut or length that works for you can be hard — and expensive. On this third go around, I’ve discovered that a simple belly band has been an amazing solution. There is a possibility that you may have to go up a size in your regular jeans as you get well into your third trimester, but I would rather spend money on a pair of jeans that will work well postpartum instead of a pair of maternity jeans that will quickly become too big after having my baby.
Focus on basics. Following a capsule wardrobe can be really helpful when pregnant – focus on staple pieces that mix and match to create dozens of combinations. Tees in solid colors and basic patterns (like stripes), a nice blouse or two, a pair or two of jeans (and/or shorts depending on the season), a good versatile dress, a couple of skirts in varying lengths, a cardigan, blazer, or other outerwear item and you’re well on your way to lots of combinations. The BumpStart line from Motherhood Maternity has some fantastic staples (for instance, the tees have longer lengths and slightly higher necks than the average maternity cuts).
Think beyond maternity pieces. Focus on pieces that you can wear while pregnant, during your postpartum phase, and at your normal size, too. Maxi skirts are some of my favorites in this category! They are stretchy, comfortable, and can be used for just about any season. A lightweight blouse or tank with some cute sandals for summer or a cardigan with a scarf and cute pair of flats for cooler weather. Target and Old Navy both consistently have maxi skirts in both staple solid colors and fun patterns. I think having a solid black and a good striped number are a good start.
Pass on whites and lights. Generally dark colors are more flattering and slimming, while whites and lights aren’t so much. A couple of exceptions to this that you might consider: When you’re in the earlier stages of your pregnancy, you likely won’t be as concerned about finding a slimming cut and if you happen to have a summer pregnancy, you may want to incorporate some lighter colors to keep you cooler during warm months.
Layer, layer, layer. I’ve found layering my pieces to be the best way by far to keep some variety going while pregnant. Simple vests, lightweight jackets, cute cardigans can really change up a look. (This can also help get more life out of your warmer weather clothing once fall and winter set in.)
Don’t stop accessorizing. Many maternity pieces only come in basic colors, so having an array of scarves, necklaces, etc. can really help to spruce it up. I like have a long simple necklace (something like this can go a long way with a simple black tee), a couple statement necklaces (I’ve gotten a ridiculous amount of wear out of my inexpensive bubble necklace that I found on Amazon), and a multicolor patterned scarf or two.
Leave a comment below and tell us YOUR favorite maternity wardrobe tip!
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Recently, my husband and I embarked on the Whole30. As I’ve shared before, finding delicious & wholesome recipes are important to us- because who likes healthy food that tastes like “healthy food” (aka: not delicious). We’ve all seen those ads and movies where someone is on a diet or choosing to eat healthily and pulls out a rice cake. Noooooo. Not in my house! So, it has always been a priority for me to find meals we love to eat that are also good for us.
When we chose to embark on the Whole30, we had been eating clean (i.e., not processed with extra ingredients you don’t know the meaning of included) for awhile. I wrote last year about what led us to that place and how we resulting switched to the 80/20 lifestyle for what we bought and kept in our home. This summer I went through a difficult health season, and as a result my husband & I decided to take the plunge and do the Whole30, due to the extra eliminations to things allowed that we had never done before. Starting out, it was difficult to not eat any grains, added sugar (which is in practically everything!!), legumes, or dairy. However, at the end of our 30 days we both noticed a tremendous difference in the way we felt and saw a drastic difference on the scale. Crazily enough, we had been eating potatoes, (compliant) bacon, and clarified butter (aka ghee) and still saw this difference. Having done fasts and cleanses before that eliminated diary and added sugar, I knew the grains was the big difference maker for me and I needed to continue eating compliantly most of the time.
So, as I started out with, delicious meals are important to me and my husband. Looking for new recipes was something I did at the beginning of the Whole30 and this was a huge part of us not struggling too much over the course of those 30 days. As soon as we ended, I had planned to make Chicken Taco Rice, a recipe I grew up eating, but upon completing the Whole30, I really didn’t want to go back on grains that way. My husband & I made a plan (an adjusted 80/20 that only allows for diary and added sugar in the 20 and only allows any type of grains -including any type of flour- once a week), and I decided to try to remake my childhood recipe, replacing the rice and tortilla chips. This recipe is what resulted, and I must tell you, we’ve eaten it twice this month and enjoyed it just as much as we did when we were including those eliminated ingredients.
If you’re doing the Whole30 or a Paleo diet lifestyle, you might notice the corn in my picture. Yes, this is considered a grain, and can be replaced to make this compliant. Check out this recipe below and note the needed changes for compliance, if desired- and enjoy! We certainly have!
Chicken Taco Soup
A delicious Tex-Mex soup which can be accentuated with a topping of cheddar cheese!
I’m a people watcher. I’m really not trying to be rude… I’m simply intrigued by the personalities various people have and the way they interact with others. So, not surprisingly, I found myself people-watching in the slow-moving check out line at Wal-Mart one day. Directly in front of me was a mother and a couple of her teenage daughters. As they emptied their overflowing carts onto the conveyer belt, the following conversation ensued: “Ugh! Look at all of this crap food. It’s embarrassing!” You could tell they felt that the food they were buying wasn’t the best and regretted the effect on their health, but likely their reasoning would be the belief that it costs much less than healthier options.
Next to the belief that a gigantic bowl of “whole grain” cereal is a healthy breakfast, I think the greatest myth we believe when it comes to food is that eating healthy means added expense. Eating well does not have to cost you any more – and with a little work, will likely cost less. Case in point: Three years ago we made some pretty major eating changes. As I piled my cart with more protein and produce and fewer packages, I really anticipated my grocery bill to be higher. Instead my bill was less on average. What?!
So, what are some easy tips to follow to make eating healthy a possibility on your budget?
Choose your store wisely. Shopping at Aldi has been the single best decision for our grocery budget. On average my grocery shops are about 30% less than I would spend for the same thing at any other grocery store. Obviously, not everyone has one located conveniently, so consider your local options for budget friendly shopping.
Shop in season. It’s not new advice, but it can save a lot of money to enjoy produce that’s currently in season
Shop the ads. Plan your weekly menu around the weekly specials where you shop. Remember: the goal is eating healthy food. Focus on those produce and protein pages of the flyers.
Cut the junk food. Junk food isn’t good for you, doesn’t truly fill you up, and it’s expensive.
Consider shopping at Sam’s or Costco on a regular basis. Prices for meats, fruit, and veggies can be hard to beat at these stores. Let me advise you to make a list before you go and really stick with it! It’s super easy to get sidetracked and overly attached to seasonal gift sets, beautiful (and giant bottles) of shampoo, etc. That kind of shopping won’t save you money.
Take an honest look at your fridge and pantry and determine whether you NEED to go shopping or not. How often have you (or I!) stared into the refrigerator and bemoaned the fact that there was nothing to eat… when really there was. Before you go shopping, look through the food you already have and honestly evaluate what you have to work with. You’ll most likely find that you have plenty of meals waiting for you to put together.
Comment below and tell us your favorite grocery budget-slashing, health-increasing tip!
For years, I had been wanting to create a vision board before I bit the bullet and created mine. I don’t know why I waited so long- it is something I love having in my office every day, reminding me of why I do what I do and inspiring me to keep at it. There were some very helpful things that made my vision a reality (pun intended) and today I want to share those with you.
What is a vision board and why should you make one? A vision board is some sort of board you can hang things on to serve as inspiration and reminders of the “why” behind the “what” you are a part of and working towards! It can sometimes be called a dream board, inspiration board, or mood board, but I most prefer vision board because I found in the project something I could connect my vision with for each area of my life in a visible way. This serves as a tangible reminder each day for the vision behind these activities.
Throughout my long process, I’ve collected a lot of tips and information! Find below some of the best tips and tutorials I’ve discovered and come across!
Just buy a board that works- don’t overthink it. I searched and searched and searched for the “perfect” board for almost a year before going with a black-rimmed cork board. It has worked wonderfully and in retrospect, I think I kept putting off buying the board so as to not feel guilty about not starting it because I was making it too hard.
Don’t make it too hard. Sacrificing on the cutesy factor a bit for the sake of getting it done isn’t a bad thing if you won’t do it otherwise! (Case in point: I put mine off for almost a whole additional year after buying my board(!!!)- and only got it done when I decided to just start with the basics and not try to do something I didn’t have time for.)
Make time to get it done. It’s worth it!
Make sure to include inspiration for all of the things you have your hands to. For me, that was school, work, ministry, personal development, future, and relationships! Now, when I’m in the midst of a busy season across all areas, I have inspiration that serves to remind me of any I’m doing what I’m doing!
Close to My Heart presents a streamlined process for creating the content of your vision board, and ultimately I very much copied the entire look of the vision board presented here! Check it out here to find out how to get started with the plan for your vision board.
Cover a cork board in fabric for a lovely look that adds beauty to any space! Homemaking Rebel provides all of the info on how to do this here.
Go simple and chic with a monogrammed board. Landeelu does a spectacular job of making a beautiful board very simple here.
Get fancy with fine frames. Bachelors Way has a great tutorial on an easy way to upgrade your board here.
Go for another type of frame with this one from the House of Smiths. Find out step by step instructions here.
Get burlapped! Learn how to create this rustic look curtesy of All Things Heart & Home here.
Use printables- Dawn Nicole Designs has some beautiful ones that easily add inspiration to your board! Check those out here.
Set practical content in front of you with this fabulous example from The Fit Switch- find that here.
Take a look at this formula for inspirational success from Studio McGee to take your board to the next level. Find that here.
Go more simplistic and understated with this beautiful example from Nicole at the Odyssey Online here.
Which of these is your favorite? Have you done a vision board before? Tell us in the comments below!
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Should you order through these links, we will receive a referral commission off your purchase from Amazon. Don’t worry- this does not affect the purchase price of the product. Thank you for helping support this blog so that we are able to continue creating fresh content!
The great outdoors. Sleeping under the stars.Hiking.Cooking on an open fire. S’mores. Crisp nighttime air. Two toddlers.
Whoa, Nelly. Hold it right there. Toddlers? Camping? Are you crazy?
Yep. And we’ve been crazy three times. That is, we’ve taken three camping trips with our little brood. Our first trip as a family was just a weekend away at a nearby state park with my husband’s family. Our boys were 6 months old and 2 1/2 years old. The second trip was a weekend away – just the four of us – for my husband’s birthday. Our most recent camping trip was a 9 DAY event – it was an organized retreat of sorts. For perspective, our definition of camping is tent camping at a water/electric site.
We’ve learned a lot from each trip and today I want to share those things with you, so that you can also enjoy successful camping trips with your youngsters.
–Pack extra flexibility. Expect overtired kiddos, early naps, a restless night here and there, and lots of memories. Pull out the flexibility to make them good memories. Your camping trip will be different from your pre-kid trips, but they’ll be fantastic if you come with the right expectations.
–Careful campsite selection. If you have potty trained littles, pick a spot within just a short walk of a bathhouse. I prefer clearer spots away from water and brushy areas…. just for peace of mind. We also try to avoid busier areas if possible. Toddlers are going to wander a little – even under close supervision – and if we can avoid them wandering to busy streets, we can all rest a little bit.
-Which brings me to another point… Take a sharpie and write your camp site location on your toddler’s hand. That way – God forbid – should they wander off, they can easily be returned to their family.
–Dirty kids. This is something we’ve got to improve our game in. Expect your kiddos to get grimy – and enjoy letting them have the opportunity to do so. Just bring along a plan for a way to wash them. Both of my boys are gun-shy around showers – which is about all you’ll find in a bathhouse. My plan of attack next time is to bring a simple plastic bin to prepare some warm (an electric kettle really simplifies the camping life!) soapy water and a big stack of clean wash cloths and towels so we can make sponge baths happen nightly and have clean kids without the unpleasant shower experience. Also, bring SEVERAL changes of clothes. I can’t count how many times our boys have gotten muddy or wet to the point that a change of clothes was mandatory.
-Bring a collapsible high chair or a booster that will securely strap to a picnic table or folding chair. This most recent camping trip, we had some major issues with our youngest (21 months) playing the old popcorn game (up and down, up and down…just sit down and eat already!) during just about every meal. It dawned upon me – too late- that he’s used to being confined in a highchair during meal time and he’s just not ready for the freedom of sitting in a chair without straps during meals. Also, think through a plan for a table of some sort (If your child is in a booster, they’ll have a tray of some kind). My 3 1/2 year old’s lap isn’t big enough to balance a large paper plate. We found it helpful to drag an ice chest over next to his camp chair to make a little table for him.
–Pack snacks. Lots of snacks. Camping usually involves a LOT more physical activity than most of us are used to at home… which means ravenous appetites. Granola bars, yogurt cups, applesauce pouches, and crackers all make quick and easy snacks. I’d also advise packing some juice boxes. My boys are great water drinkers, thankfully, but I still find it helpful to have something extra (and tempting for them!) to encourage them to stay hydrated. If you’re concerned about the extra sugar, the Honest juice boxes can be a good option, as they’re not nearly as sugary.
-We enjoy picking out a special camping chairs and sleeping bags (for those old enough to not sleep in a pack-n-play) for our kiddos. It makes it fun for them and makes them more likely to sit/sleep in their designated spot. We found some cute patterned items at Walmart for great prices and they’ve held up over several trips.
–Pick your season wisely. We’d take a chilly fall camping trip over a warm spring/summer trip any day. It’s darker sooner, which means greater bedtime success and it’s cooler, which means our boys sleep better/later because their warm, snuggly blankets feel so good.
–Camping with little ones isn’t the time to go hardcore and really rough it. Don’t hesitate to pack a small space heater to warm your tent up before bedtime, if you expect cold nights.
–Take a sound machine. It can drown out so much noise – cars driving by, new arrivals setting up camp, or the loud card game going down at the campsite next to you.
–Prepare for the elements and unexpected, like rain or bug bites. Rain boots, Crocs, or flip flops can really help if there are puddles to splash in or mud to run through. A lightweight hoodie is going to be a lot more practical and effective to keep heads dry, rather than trying to keep an umbrella over them. As far as unexpected ouchies and itchies, I make sure to pack my most used, diverse essential oils. Quick, easy, and they don’t take up much room.
-Just like any out-of-town trip, make sure you set your kiddo up for success by packing their favorite (and most critical) routine items… this is not the time to leave the paci, bottle of warm milk, or special lovey behind.
–One thing that we’ve found challenging up until our last camping trip was naptimes! It can be so challenging to young children to halt play and be stuck in a sleeping bag or play pen in broad daylight. I’m not sure I’d sleep very well, either. This last time, I finally found something that works (at least for our kiddos). We buckled our child (only our youngest naps at the moment) into the stroller, laid the seat all the way pack, gave him his nap time usuals (paci, milk, and stuffed puppy), and went on a shaded walk. Each time he was out cold within minutes. You can continue the walk or go back to camp and park in the shade at your campsite for the remainder of the nap. Obviously, this is what worked for one baby…. and the solution for your child might be different, but think about your plan before your ever leave home and set your toddler up for success.
-If you plan to do some light hiking, come prepared with either a good stroller or baby carrier.
-For two of our camping trips, we had a baby who was not yet walking. Having a pack-n-play for the baby to play in helped keep him happy while hanging out at the camp site. Also, bringing along a cushy picnic blanket to put on the grass helps give them a clean and protected area to crawl around on.
-For us big people, sitting around and drinking a cup of coffee might be enough entertainment, but little ones need variety. I pack a variety of outdoor toys when we camp… a ball to kick, trucks to roll around, and something to dig in the dirt with will all be helpful.
–My in-laws are awesome campers. Seriously. They’ve spoiled me forever. One of my favorite things they do is set up a large tent to be the kitchen. It’s a great place to store ice chests, prepare a cup of coffee (again – an electric kettle will be your friend!), contain kiddos while you tackle food prep, etc.
– Danielle C. tells me that when they go camping they have a small tent (2 person size) that is the designated game tent. They clean up the kids, get them ready for bed, and then let them go to town with games, flashlights, coloring books, etc.
-Rachel reminded me of a great tip… Pack a TON of baby wipes. They’ll make clean hands and freshening up before PJs so much easier.
-Holly and Rachel both suggested keeping a toddler potty at your campsite. That sounds like a really great and simple solution if you’d rather not venture out for 2 am potty trips with your kids.
-Ashley suggests the following, “As for bathroom issues, we camped close to the trees and the boys just went and did their business there during the night. I have a woman’s funnel that I bought off Amazon called a P-Easy that [my daughter] and I use. I know! Weird! BUT it works Amazingly well! I would just use an empty water jug with a lid to use the bathroom in and keep a Thieves cleaner bottle close to clean everything. I don’t like getting up during the night so it saved me from having to make a lot of noise leaving the tent .”
-Danielle P. agrees that bringing an abundance of outdoor toys will be helpful. She says her kids especially enjoy having every kind of sports ball available for play time. As a bonus tip, she suggested making sure each child has their own flashlight. (We’ve found some good little ones for $1 each at Walmart.)
-Camarell suggests simplifying your trip by doing as much food preparation ahead of time as possible. Some tips she offers are premixing pancake batter or cracking eggs into a container before you ever leave for your trip.
–But will my children sleep? Yes. They will! Just remember to set them up for success – don’t leave behind their normal bedtime routine, pack a sound machine, bring favorite blankies and lovies to make their sleeping bed or pack-n-play feel as much like home as possible. We’ve had a cumulative two weeks or so of nights spent camping with our sons and have had maybe two rough nights. Your children are going to play SO hard that they will be completely wiped out come bed time.
–What about campfire safety? We teach our boys to not go near the fire pit, even if there is no lit fire. While on our most recent camping trip, however, I saw a family that have built a barrier – a short fence of sorts – out of scrap wood (it wasn’t this sophisticated, but here’s an idea to get you started). Just be sure to do enough to prevent little ones from toppling over and getting hurt. But ultimately, if you’re nervous about this aspect of camping, skip the fire. There is not set-in-stone law that requires a campfire and there’s nothing that says that you won’t have a fun trip without the campfire.
Leave a comment below and tell us YOUR best tips for camping with toddlers!
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Should you order through these links, we will receive a small commission off your purchase from Amazon. Don’t worry- this does not affect the purchase price of the product. Thank you for helping support this blog so that we are able to continue bringing you fresh content!
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been a part of some fun, themed potluck dinners with a ministry we serve with. As the weeks have gone by, coming up with a solid list of dinner theme ideas can serve to stump some, but I have loved it! If you’re looking to hold a themed potluck-style dinner, look no farther for an extensive list of affordable, simple, fast, & fun ideas. We have you covered!
Let this list get the ideas rolling in your head. Pinterest serves as a great way to provide meal ideas to go along with these themes. There’s no limit to how creative you can be and how much fun you can have with friends and family!
Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages has been a huge help to so many, helping us all discover the languages of Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
Here’s a list of five simple ways to communicate in each of these universal languages, and what to be aware of as you do:
Speak life. Let the people in your life know they are loved and appreciated. Take the time to encourage and affirm them. Listen to what they have to say and speak to them based on the words coming from their heart. If this is their top love language…say everything- a LOT. Make sure you are telling them often not just that they mean a lot to you, but why they do. Don’t just tell them you love them, tell them things you love about them. Describe your feelings when saying “thank you”. Use lots of descriptives when talking to something who ranks high in words of affirmation! Practical ways to speak life: Cards, notes, text messages, letters
Be kind. Go out of your way to do nice things for the people in your life. Hold the door open, wash the dishes, give a foot rub, and generally be available to help in the everyday with things that will make the lives easier of the people you love. If this is their top love language…make sure you’re not lacking follow-through. If you say you’re going to help with something, be sure to help, consistently. Give acts of service without being asked- this is very important to the person who receives love this way. Someone who ranks high in acts of service sees helpful, cement acts as love in action- and nothing else says “I love you” to them the way actually doing things with and for them does. Practical ways to be kind: Performing a chore, making a meal, cleaning a car (all without being asked)
Go out of your way to bring joy to someone else’s day. Who doesn’t enjoy getting little gifts now and again? Find little ways to bless the people in your life- whether by bringing coffee or breakfast to the office for your coworkers, flowers to your mom, a gift card for your dad, or a personalized gift for your spouse. If this is their top love language…make gift-giving a top priority. Someone who ranks high in receiving gifts can feel a bit taken for granted when they keep speaking their language (by giving gifts) and don’t see their loved ones acting in kind. Be aware that it isn’t about how big the gift is (although this may not be as true with birthdays and anniversaries), as much as it is about the fact that you know how to buy a gift they will like and you are willing to spend the money & time to get it and give it to them. Practical ways to bring joy to someone else’s day: Gift card, present, coffee, flowers, book, that thing they’ve been wanting
Spend time doing something meaningful. One of the universal ways many people feel loved is by knowing someone else takes the time to do things that interest them. Put away your phone (unless it’s required for the activity) and spend intentional time with your loved ones doing things that mean something to them. This might be as simple as watching a movie or taking a walk and as complex as going to a museum or gun show. If this is their top love language…your attitude will matter more than it already would. If you’re spending time with them and you don’t seem happy, it won’t mean nearly as much as it would otherwise. Be sure that you aren’t spending more quality time with someone else other than your spouse, if this is their love language. Be sure to be “all there” and give them your undivided attention. Practical ways to spend time: Create a “day out” or “day in” itinerary, go on a coffee date, go on a weekend getaway, eat a meal at a quiet table together (all one-on-one)
Share the love. A hug, a high-five, and any kind of physical act of affection mean a lot to most people. As you discover how your loved ones want to be loved on and find the appropriate balance for your relationship, find non-verbal ways to show affection to the people in your life. If this is their top love language…it’s important to recognize that these people usually feel like they need hugs the way they need air. A bear hug, deep kiss, or warm embrace probably means more to them than any of the other above-mentioned actions. Holding hands, spontaneously hugging, and taking any sort of initiative to show affection (and receive affection) physically means a great deal to anyone with this language. Practical ways to share the love: Hugs, kisses, hand-holding, stroking one’s hair
What are some ways you love to be shown love? Comment below!
Not sure which love language you speak? You can find how your love languages rank here.
The American Dream…it’s something that is defined by the essence of the ability to become anything you want to be. Whether or not you are speaking to Americans, the desire to follow one’s dream and be successful is shared across all cultures. But what does it take to actually take the leap from “working for the man” to doing your own thing?
Here are five basic things that are needed at the basis of any entrepreneurial pursuit to set one up for long-lasting success:
Choose something that you would want to do for free. Starting a business that is going to have staying power takes doing something you are passionate about. Imagine being five years down the road, making a moderate amount of money- would you still want to do it? If the answer is no, this isn’t your “forever” thing.
Be prepared for the business to take time to grow. Different business coaches lay out different timelines, but most say you should be prepared to not be profitable for a year to two years’ time. That means your business may operate on the side for you to make it financially. As long as #1 is in place, it’s a doable way to live for a certain amount of time.
Be prepared for some criticism. Your friends & family may not love that you are going into business for yourself- and that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Have the grace and understanding to recognize that not everyone has followed your path, so perhaps there may be a lack of understanding there that results in unwanted advice (including suggestions to try to get a job here or there, where “you could make more money”).
Make a business plan. There are many, many businesses that fail within their first five years in operation. A good chunk of those failures could be contributed to a lack of planning. A business plan provides you with ways to forecast ahead of where you are, so you lessen the chances of making poor decisions with your business.
Recognize that your business will require sacrifice. The phrase, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” is very applicable here. You aren’t going to be able to keep all of the proceeds of your business (and you will likely be pouring a lot of money that isn’t coming from the business into it at first); you are going to have less time available (at least for awhile); you are going to have to allow your beliefs about business-building to be challenged, stretched, and changed. These are all positives that may be very hard at the time, but it is absolutely part of what it takes to begin your own business venture.
These five things are essential foundations to anyone truly desiring to go into business for themselves, whether by starting a company with employees, starting a business venture with skills, or becoming an independent contractor of some sort, even with work-from-home businesses. If you are ready for all five of these, go for it, and enjoy the ability we have in our society to easily begin our own business ventures!
With all the benefits of goal-setting, most people have some appreciation for the value of setting a target in mind to work towards. However, things can get tricky when you start setting goals with other people, especially in the context of a love relationship. Most of the times, people who end up together don’t view the world in the same way or react to things in the same way, despite the common values held that brought them together. After all, opposite attract, right?
My home is a great example of this. I’m the type of person that could literally have a plan and a system for everything, and a course change just means those plans and systems need to be updated! (Yay!) My husband, on the other hand, is more of a free spirit. So, when we got married, we realized we didn’t approach almost any sort of long-term planning in the same manner. That really stumped me (as the one wanting to plan) for awhile, because setting goals and making plans is only truly effective if everyone involved is on board. You know what I mean- have you ever begrudgingly started something, perhaps a diet, to support someone else or to go with the flow? How did that end up? Often, those things we don’t want to do don’t end well.
So, with our planning history and histories in mind, my husband and I decided we needed a system that would work for both of us. What we came up with has been working spectacularly well, and it is due to the way it works for both of our personalities. While quite simple, it has made a huge difference in being able to help us become more deliberate (which satisfies my planning need) while not overwhelming and squashing my husband’s need to plan in small amounts.
These simple steps took us to success! Give these a try and see if you and your special someone can tackle those goals in a way that works for you both:
Set a time aside to deliberately plan. Having a dedicated time set aside for the purpose of creating, evaluating, and reevaluating goals is essential to be successful.
Get the time for planning on the calendar ahead of time. This will give you both time to ponder what you want to talk about so the time is more productive. This is especially important for the spouse or spouses that don’t care for planning.
If planning is distasteful to one or both of you, try to make it different from past planning attempts and add a dose of something fun. I love planning; my husband doesn’t. Because of his poor history with planning, it was especially important for us to do something different than we had before. Besides following these other tips, we also don’t use terminology he didn’t like, such as “meeting”, which made him feel like he was working, and we have coffee and have the option of having a coffee shop date while we are planning.
Make notes, such as a list of bullet points, for what you want to talk about, plus a space for any extra things to talk about, that both spouses can review and prepare with in advance. This might seem like a bit much, but this was absolutely key for our goal setting sessions to go from failures to shining success stories. I prepare the notes, based on what’s going on in our lives, which works great for us, since I’m more given to those kind of tasks. Since we have done this, our planning sessions have been yielding great results and have propelled us toward our goals.
Set a schedule for your planning meetings so both spouses can be on the same page on how far out to plan, as well as to provide time away from planning for those who don’t enjoy planning. I could probably have a planning meeting every other week, but that would be a bit much for my husband. We set aside time for our goal setting together with notes every other month, and this works great to give me a tangible timetable (planner) and my husband time away from planning (free spirit).
Follow this tips and enjoy great success in moving towards your goals alongside your spouse!
A lot of us spend a lot of time focused on getting things done and making sure to check everything off our to-do lists. This is why I love the idea of making leap day a day to do something different! So often there are expectations of us, and the idea of taking leap year’s leap day to stop and do something different just because of those close-to-24-hours we skipped over the past four years is quirky and fun.
You know the story: Every four years, we have 366 days instead of 365 days to make up for the few extra hours a year we don’t recognize. Leap day creates an extra day in February, and in some cultures this is a day for unusual traditions. If you’ve watched the movie Leap Year (so cute, so sweet!), you may already know a bit about one such tradition. Just think- even if you live to be 100, that’s only 25 leap days you will experience, and you’ve probably already lived at least five of those. So, start a new tradition (I love those) this leap year by doing something fun and carefree with your “extra day” of the year.
Have a movie night for your family, or make it a chick flick girls’ night with your friends. Some suggestions- you could watchLeap Year for an ironically funny (and cute) choice, Captain America to get ready for the next movie coming out in just a few months, or Big Hero 6 to have a proper kids’ movie night (which adults will still totally love. We watched this movie in the theater for my husband’s birthday last year. And loved it. True story). Pair with some fun snacks to complete! Pinterest seems to suggest that frog-themed snacks are all the rage for Leap Day, but having an unusual meal you don’t usually take the time to cook or don’t usually have around the house is another fun way to celebrate.
Take the day to complete projects you just never seem to have time for. Some people enjoy celebrating Leap Day by recognizing it as time to “catch up” on that time you’ve “lost” over the past four years. Now, I’m much more prone to recognize something that is going to be a bit of silly fun, but there are definitely some fun projects you could work on for the day, like making that scrapbook, doing that DIY project, or painting that room.
Declare Leap Day a chill day (or chill evening). Don’t plan on anything but not having plans. Relax, read that book you just haven’t had time to read or catch up on some TV shows. Just be sure to rest.
Make a time capsule. If you’re anything like me, scrapbooking and other memory-preserving activities sound awesome, but I struggle to make time to do so. I love the idea of taking the day to look over the past four years by making a time capsule with friends or loved ones, or even as an individual activity, to be opened next Leap Day. It’s doable, it’s fun, it’s unique…what more could you want? (Side note: I made time capsules on the last day of school every year growing up, and I loved it! It is actually a really fun thing to do and look back on.)
Recreate your favorite moments from the last four years with a do-over day. Did you love going to that chocolate factory three years ago? Did you have a blast trying that foreign restaurant for the first time? Loved those photo booth moments from your friend’s wedding? Find some local places where you can do similar things- a gourmet chocolate store, a local foreign restaurant, a photo booth at the mall- and have a fun do-over day, celebrating the fun of the last four years.
Create a Leap Day date itinerary for your significant other, your kids, or your friends. One thing I love about Leap Day is the chance to do something I wouldn’t normally get to do, yet Leap Day is rare enough, it doesn’t feel like overkill or something hard to sustain. Celebrating in style with a “just because it’s Leap Day” date with loved ones puts no boundaries on what you can do, but creates a fun experience you’ll remember for years to come.
Celebrate the last four years at once. If you’re really into fun parties and themes, host a little party of your own, celebrating each of the last four years sequentially. Say it’s a two-hour party? Spend 30 minutes celebrating each year, complete with music, food, and/or memories that remind you of each one.
Go to a trampoline park. Take leaping to a whole new level by bouncing and leaping around- just because it’s Leap Day. This is an especially fun and zany idea for kids- and you can take it the next level by imagining and doing things those ten lords a-leaping would have actually done.
Have you ever celebrated Leap Day or do you have some fun Leap Day ideas to share? Comment below!