Category Archives: How To

8 Minute Makeup Routine – The Perfect Mom Makeup Look

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that when you click links and purchase items on this most, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Thank you!

8 minute makeup routine, makeup routine, easy makeup routine, quick makeup routine, mom makeup, easy makeup look, quick makeup look, makeup in under 10 minutes, meredith rines, merelynne

As Moms we have very limited time to get ready in the morning.  Between getting dressed, making breakfast, starting laundry and chasing a toddler it leaves little time to actually look presentable.  

As a working mom I have places to me and need to look decent for client appointments.  I have started mastering my morning routine so that I can not only take care of my family, but also look like a confident professional.  In today’s post I’m showing you how I put together my full face in under 8 minutes.  Of course because I love a good deal, I try to buy affordable makeup products and I love to pass on what I use with you.  I’ve linked the products or a similar one I use down below.

You can watch the video online or down below:

 

8 minute full face makeup, quick makeup routine, everyday makeup look, makeup for mom, easy mom look, get ready with me

Here’s what I use on a daily basis, some of the links and products may not be available any longer.  But I have put together a similar list for you. 

e.l.f. Poreless Face Primer
Morphe Eyeshadow Palette – 35R
Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
Mac Eyeshadow – The Holiday Palette from a few years ago
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation (in 112 and 120)
wet n wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick – When The Nude Strikes
wet n wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick – Call Me Maple
wet n wild Brow Pencil – Brunettes Do It Better
LA Colors Lipgloss
Covergirl LashBlast Volume Mascara

Here are the brushes and tools I use:

Morphe Foundation Brush – M439
Morphe Eyeshadow Brush – M428
Wal-Mart Blush Brush
Wal-Mart Eyeliner Brush
Mac Foundation Brush – 130
Eyelash Curler

8 minute full face makeup, quick makeup routine, everyday makeup look, makeup for mom, easy mom look, get ready with me, makeup routine

How To Save Extra Tomato Sauce

Save Extra Tomato Sauce, how to Save Extra Tomato Sauce, tomato sauce, freeze food, how to freeze tomato sauce, how to freeze tomato, meredith rines, meredithrines, merelynne

Friends,

I have a confession to make. I posted this dinner tip to my youtube channel awhile back and I totally forgot to share it on my blog (shame on me!). So I figured today was a good day to do that.

Do you ever create a dinner to look over and discover extra tomato sauce, pasta sauce, tomato paste leftover? Well we do and it happens way too often. I just hate throwing good food away (which is why we have a weekly leftover night). It just bothers me.

I discovered something amazing after doing an experiment one night. You can freeze all that leftover sauce and tomato paste. Yep! It’s amazing.

All you do is distribute the leftovers into an ice cube tray or a muffin tray then place directly in the freezer. By next morning you’ll be able to pop them out of the tray and place in a freezer bag. Just label and you’re good to go.

Perfect.

Now if you really want to help with dinnertime you can even season the sauce before freezing. If you typically use the sauce with the same spices then go for it.

You can watch my quick video online or below:

 

Easy Hair Ideas for Moms

Affiliate Disclosure: please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. 

easy hair ideas for mom, hair for mom, easy hair styles, meredith rines, merelynne

How do you wear your hair most days?  I have a few tried-and-true methods that I rotate through.  I like changing up my look for work.  I think it’s a little something extra I can do when it comes to my appearance for client appointments.  To me, hair is an extension of the day’s outfit so I like to make sure it looks somewhat presentable. Plus, I was never one to shy away from a bold hair look.  Even though I probably should have had a professional’s opinion on some of my looks back in high school, but that’s for another post!  

For me, I’m all about ease and speed.  I don’t want to spend too long in the bathroom getting ready in the morning.  I only have so much time before our little one wakes up and then it’s time for a quick breakfast before running out the door.  Here are my go to hair ideas for moms:

Messy Bun

easy mom hair, easy hairstyles, hair for busy moms

Most days, my hair is in a messy bun like so.  I found this great video tutorial on how to do the perfect messy bun.  I’m lucky that my hair is long enough that I only require two hair ties and about two bobby pins.

Down and natural

easy mom hair, easy hairstyles, hair for busy moms

Before my son was born I had perfectly straight hair.  No need to ever straighten it!  Like ever.  Then with all the pregnancy hormones running through my body, my hair decided to revolt. Now it’s wavy in the front and curly (like whoa!) in the back.  If my hair is down this is how I wear it 9 times out of 10.  It’s very little maintenance, which is perfect for busy mornings.

Down and straight

easy mom hair, easy hairstyles, hair for busy moms

On days my son sleeps in then that usually gives me just enough time to straighten my hair.  I have so much stinking hair that it takes a lot of arm strength, time and patience to get this hair straight.  I would say it takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to dry my hair and then straighten it.  A lot of days my hair is straight are the days I washed my hair the night before so I just have to spend about 20 minutes or so straightening it.  Here is a similar straightener to the one I use.  I love it because I can adjust the temperature on it.  It really comes in handy with all this hair!

Half-Up

easy mom hair, easy hairstyles, hair for busy moms

Once I straighten my hair, I don’t typically wash it for at least 2 or 3 days.  It sounds gross, but my hair doesn’t get greasy.  I think it’s because it’s so thick and I have so much of it.  Washing it every day actually dries it out and makes it frizzy, so I try to avoid that.  But usually on day three I like to wear it half back since I tend to touch the hair around my face a lot more and then it starts to look a little oily.

Styled

 

braid hair tutorial

Before my son was born I created this twisty braided half-up look.  I really loved it and I have even started doing it a lot of mornings before work.  It doesn’t take too long and it doesn’t have to be perfect.  

What are some of your quick and easy ways to wear your hair?  I am always looking for something new to try, especially if it doesn’t have to be perfect!

How To Streamline Your Life

how to streamline your life, streamline everything, how to setup auto pay, how to use google drive, how to use google calendar, meredith rines, merelynne, budgeting help, streamlining your life

What does streamline your life actually mean?  

Moms, we are busy all the time.  The only down time we get is when we finally go to bed for the night, but it can easily be interrupted with a teething toddler.  Us Moms get no breaks.  So for me I feel like we have to get our stuff together so we can make it easier on ourselves, and our families.  For me that would be streamlining every piece of my life.  

We’re laying in bed and trying to fall asleep, but our mind is going a mile a minute.  We’re replaying everything that happened that day – conversations, errands, tasks, feelings, and more.  We start thinking about the next day and things we need to get done, but somehow we now realize we forgot to do something.  So we tell ourselves to move it up our mental to-do list for the next day.  Hoping that we remember, but knowing tomorrow is going to be crazier than today was.

Mom life is hard.  Really hard.  

As a mom we put way too much pressure on ourselves and hardly ever ask for help.  Then when we’ve reached our limit we have a breakdown.  For me, I know I’ve reached my limit when I feel like my house is suffocating me.  I’m not sure what it is about it, but maybe it’s because I can immediately control my house.  When I feel like every other aspect of my life is out of control, the house is something I can get in charge of.

Moms wear too many hats – mom, boo-boo kisser, chef, cleaner, manager, logistics, accounting, pet wrangler, gift buyer, personal shopper, errand girl, career woman, friend, wife, sister, daughter, volunteer…

Seriously, I could keep going, but you get the gist.

One thing that has helped me take back control of the hectic areas of my life is by streamlining my life.  Now I will say I am not perfect at this.  Some days are better than others.  Some days are bad.  Some days I feel like I’m drowning at work and come home to too many tasks to get done before bed.  

But I wanted to share with you the few things you can do in less than an hour to really help you streamline your life.

Auto Pay

Setup your monthly bills to automatically come out of your checking account.  Doing this doesn’t take too long.  All you have to do is sign in online to your accounts, click the auto-pay or link your checking button.  Go through the steps, tell them which date you want it to run (most of the time it’ll be the deadline, a day before or you can pick the date), and then setup the amount (minimum payment, full balance, full bill, or specific amount).

The auto pay feature is amazing! You no longer have to worry about sending in your bill on time, you don’t have to worry about finding a postage stamp or running to the store to buy some.  If you have 6 bills a month that need to be mailed, you are spending close to $3 a month on stamps ($0.46 x 6 bills = $2.76).  Don’t have to worry about buying checks or envelopes so in the end it will save you.  

Auto Order

This goes along with the post I wrote about why Moms love Amazon Subscribe & Save feature.  You can order almost anything you consume on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.  We have ordered or do order diapers, wipes, dog food, dog treats, toilet paper, protein powder, ready to drink breakfast shakes, and more.  All you have to do is go to Amazon’s website, find the items you use on a regular basis and then setup it for the Subscribe & Save feature.  Amazon will give you a discount for ordering something automatically.  Plus, if you order 5 or more items (separate items) in a month then they will give you an even bigger discount.  

Once you figure out how often you go through diapers, laundry detergent, or dog food (or whatever you use then you can just let Amazon know.  I like ordering larger and heavier items from Amazon because that means I don’t have to lug it into a grocery cart or into my car while wrangling my toddler.

Setup Reminders in Your Calendar

I am a huge fan of Google.  I use Google for just about every aspect of our lives.  It hosts our check register, to do-lists, and our calendar.  What’s great about Google is you can share it with everyone in your family.  So you know when you husband’s appointments are and he knows when yours or the kids’ appointments are.  You can keep organized for dinners at home or nights you have plans out.  

But what I love the best about Google is the reminder feature.  You can setup a reminder for just about anything – dogs’ heart worm pills, changing the air filter in your house, doctor appointments, and paying a bill (if you aren’t able to do auto pay).  You can even use the reminders for every day tasks – empty the dishwasher, start laundry (or switch laundry, which is something I tend to forget a lot), your kid’s medicine, finish a blog post, and anything else you can think of.

You can read how I setup Google calendar to work for us, but you can really turn it into anything you want.  

Google To Track Your Spending

Going along with how Google is used in almost every aspect of our lives, we use it to track our spending.  Actually, we use it as our check register.  It’s on Google Drive so no matter where I am or how little time I have in between errands or a toddler throwing a tantrum because he can carry around the grocery store’s broom (yep!), I can quickly log into our check register, add in the expense and update our total.  Now I know how much I have in our checking account after all of our bills are accounted for.

E-Mail Over Paper

One of the biggest sources of clutter and just a feeling of overwhelm is all of the paper we get in our mail.  By simply switching to online statements, you no longer are inundated with financial stress on a regular basis.  We schedule time in our Google calendar to go through bills, make sure auto-pays are setup (in case we need to change the amount), update our monthly budget and so on.  It doesn’t take long and by having statements online then I can simply do our weekly money date from anywhere.  

Plus, some companies even charge $1 for sending paper statements.  You could be saving yourself some money just by switching to online statements.  You’ll get a monthly e-mail as a reminder letting you know your statement is ready to be viewed.  Then you can schedule time to look at all of your bills at one time.  You can create a plan to tackle each payment because you’ll be able to see the whole picture instead of just one payment at a time.  

Use a Budget

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of budgets.  I talk about them all. the. time.  Once you find a template you like (you can check out the one I created) then it makes it so easy to keep up with.  All you have to do is spend a few minutes each week updating and then you will know exactly how you’re doing.  I know for us, not knowing our money situation is a huge stress point.  I can feel the weeks that I don’t keep up with it because I start to feel like I am suffocating and every task is just too much.  

You’ll worry every time you buy groceries or go out to eat because you just don’t know how you’re doing.  So you tend to spend less, then run out and end up having to make a second trip to the store – so in the end you spend more.  If you would just take a few minutes to create a budget and then consistently update it you’ll have a more relaxed mentality around money.

What are some tools you use to streamline your life? Leave a comment below letting us know!

20 Ways To Make $100 Fast

20 ways to make $100 fast, make $100 fast, make money fast, how to sell items online, how to host a yard sale, how to become a ghost writer

Are you looking for quick ways to make a buck?  Well you’re in luck!  I have put together a great list of 20 ways to make $100 fast.  

Now most of these on the list are things I have personally done and can share with you my opinion.  But before you take on any job or sell anything, please do your research.  Make sure it’s from a reputable company or from someone you personally know.  There are too many times people are taken advantage of and you should protect yourself.

Alright, now that my little disclaimer is out of the way let’s dive in.  Here are my 20 ways to make $100 fast:

Sell old phones, laptops and tablets

You can find different online companies, like gazelle.com that offer to buy old electronics (I have never used gazelle before, so please do your research).  You can also sell old phones, computers and such online through craigslist and Facebook swap shops.  A lot of times people are looking for parts and are willing to pay for an older phone.  

Sell old clothes

This is one of my favorite ways to make extra money!  All you have to do is clean out your closet, your husband’s closet and your kids’ closets.  You can sell on Facebook Swap Shops or create an Ebay account to sell.  I have sold older coats that I no longer wear on Ebay before and it’s super easy.  Plus Ebay will give you a few credits each month so you can list quite a few items at no cost.  Now you will pay a processing fee for selling, but it was minimal in my experience.  

Have a Yard Sale

I’ll admit I have a love/hate relationship with Yard Sales.  Here’s why – you can put so much work into them and then end having a dud.  Plus during the summer when it’s so hot, the last thing I want to do is sit outside most of the day.  However, with that being said I still love yard sales.  It forces us to clean out closets, get rid of items we no longer use and then we try to make some money off of them.  You can even come together with another family or with your neighborhood to hose a giant yard sale.  When you offer a multi-family yard sale then you typically end up with more buyers, which means increased number of eyes looking at your items.  If you’re looking for some great tips on how to host a successful yard sale then check out this post from Money Crashers.  

Sell Items You Don’t Use

This goes right along with selling old clothes and having a yard sale.  If you aren’t using something and haven’t used it in a long time then get rid of it.  You could easily make some cash and make more room in your house.  For instance, our old bassinet we had just sitting in our little guy’s room.  We hadn’t used it in months (I’m pretty sure we stopped using it before he was even three months old) and our little guy was over a year old.  We decided it was finally time to sell it.  We made back over half of what we paid for it, which was awesome.  Now we cleared a corner in his nursery for the growing pile of toys.

Volunteer for Overtime

If you work in a service industry type field then you may be able to volunteer for a few hours.  I know in the tax and accounting field a lot of overtime is earned during tax season, which is a great way to make some extra cash.  So just keep you eyes and ears open to see if any extra help is needed.  You can score some brownie points with the boss and make some money too!

Take Part in Your Company’s Customer Referral Program

A lot of workplaces offer a referral program – either refer a new client or a new employee.  This is a great way for you to earn money on the side, just by promoting what you do for a living. 

Offer Baby Sitting

I know a lot of parents are afraid of leaving their children with people they don’t know.  So offer babysitting to people you trust and who trust you.  You can put up flyers around your church or work to offer babysitting a few times each month.  You could make some serious cash!

Start Pet Sitting

Not that I want to compare a child to a pet, but people will do some crazy things to keep their pets comfortable.  Offer to some friends who are planning a vacation to take care of their dogs while they’re away.  More than likely it will be a lot more cost effective then a kennel for your friends and you could earn some money while doing it.

Sell Your Photography Skills

Are you an avid photographer?  Well you could be making money.  If you’re willing to upload your pictures to a site like shutterstock then you could turn your hobby into a side job.  Online photography sites typically offer a way for you to sell good, quality images without much of a startup cost.  

Apply for extra work 

There are so many websites and job boards online that are looking for someone to edit images, grammar check posts, and even ghost write a few posts.  By joining a place like Upwork, you can put together an online resume and then bid on different jobs.  I actually use to write on Upwork quite a bit.  I would put together articles for other finance sites and even created a handout for a gym owner in Australia once.  

Clean Houses

Put together flyers to put around town, at your church or online to offer some cleaning skills.  Cleaning houses could turn into a regular side job that makes some pretty consistent money for you.

Detail Cars

How many people do you know that actually enjoy cleaning their car?  And it’s so hard to find a decent person who can detail a car without overcharging.  Put together a weekend job where you detail cars.  The startup cost is minimal and you can earn some serious money for the time you put 

Create on Fiverr

Can you quickly proofread a short document or have a simple way to create an image?  Well then you could be making some money over at Fiverr.  It’s a cool site that you can sell your services or products for $5.00.  Now you can offer an upcharge for any special add-ons, which is great.  I have personally used Fiverr on several different occassions and always end up with great service.  

Offer Tutoring

If you are profecient in a subject at the local high school or college then you can turn it into a weekend gig.  Offer tutoring to local students on the weekends or one evening a week.

Ghost Writer on a Blog

If you have some writing skills then you can easily turn that into a gig.  A lot of sites that publish articles multiples times a day are always looking for ghost writers.

Offer your Editing Skills

Along with becoming a ghost writer, you can offer your editing skills as an on-going job to websites and bloggers.

Become a Social Media Manager

If you know you’re way around the major social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest then you can easily offer yourself to bloggers and smaller companies.  They are always looking for a strong social media presence, but may not have the budget to hire some in-house full-time.  So offer your services on a small hourly or flat rate fee.

Donate Plasma

If you don’t mind donating blood then you can try your hand at plasma.  There are quite a few places that will actually pay you to donate.  

Give Up Cable

I know this one might be a bit harder to do because you probably have a show (or two) that you love, plus you may be a sports fanactic like my husband.  But if you’re willing to go with out your cable then that could potentially save you MORE than a $100 a month.  There are other services available to help with cutting the cord.  You can get the Amazon Fire Stick (affiliate link), you can try Hulu and Netflix to make sure that you still have some entertainment for the little ones.  We love our Fire Stick and have discovered a ton of great shows – for us and for our little guy for free.

Stop Eating Out for a few weeks

If you find yourself eating out way too often then try taking my No Eating Out Challenge.  You will be surprised by how much you save just by eating at home and taking your lunch with you for a week.

Which ones are you going to try to make $100 fast?  I know we love selling old items online and through yard sales as a quick way to get rid of junk while making money.  

DIY Sharpie Mugs

DIY sharpie mug, sharpie mug, easy birthday gift, personalized mug

What do you do when you have a ridiculous early flight out and need a ride?  You bribe your sister and brother-in-law to take you to the airport.  Well technically I didn’t need to bribe them, but I still wanted to say thanks for getting up super early, driving us to the airport and still making it to work on time.  

Of course, I was trying to stick within our budget especially with our Florida vacation that we were flying out to.  I opted for a simple homemade gift.  I love homemade gifts.  I have made quite a few over the past few months.  Usually I save them for Christmas, but I’ve been known to break out my crafting skills when the occasion calls for it. 

Seriously – I have an addiction to homemade gifts.  

Here are just a few of the others I’ve made over the years.

DIY Front Door Wreath

DIY Ribbon Wreath

DIY Mother’s Day Picture Frame with handprints gift

DIY Father’s Day with Handprints gift

DIY Christmas Picture Ornaments

Let’s get back to this DIY project – making Sharpie mugs that are super easy. 

DIY sharpie mug, sharpie mug, easy birthday gift, personalized mug

All you need is a plain mug and a few sharpies.  The best sharpies are the oil-based Sharpies, but when you don’t have them then you make it work.  You can be as creative or be as basic as you want.  I wanted to keep the message simple – best aunt ever and best uncle ever.  

Once you have the design on your mug, just let it dry for a few hours.  I let mine dry overnight before baking.  After a few hours then you can bake it at 350 for 30 minutes.  

TIP: Put the mug in the cold oven before turning it on.  Once the oven hits 350 degrees then let it bake for 30 minutes.

These mugs should be hand washed (even if using the oil-based Sharpies) to help preserve your design.

DIY sharpie mug, sharpie mug, easy birthday gift, personalized mug

These mugs turned out so cute!  Totally makes up for the early flight, right?  That’s what I was thinking! What thank you gifts are your go-tos?

My Top Productivity Tips

top productivity tips, how to get more done in the day, working mom tips, how to do more, how to be more efficient

Mom’s let’s face it the house would fall apart without us managing it.  Right?  I love my husband and he does an amazing job when I work late or have to study or just need a break.  He can cook a great dinner, he does dishes and will even do laundry (although he’s usually too afraid since I’m super picky about my clothes).  He’s awesome.  …. But….

When it comes to knowing what we need to buy at the store, remembering the dogs’ heart worm medicine, pediatrician appointments, when to buy diapers, paying bills, and just overall management that falls to us.  Now, I’m not saying J couldn’t handle managing the house, just like you’re probably thinking your husband could do just find managing your house.  But it’s just easier if we do it.  We don’t have to explain where anything is or how we know when to pay which bill, we just do it.  

With working full-time, branding my own business, studying for the Certified Financial Planner exam, being a full-time Mom, wife and dog mom has taken some serious efficiency.  

And a few times I forget to grab the bottle of milk before heading to the daycare in the morning… oops!

Here are my top productivity tips to stay on top of every detail in your life while making it look effortless. 

Google Calendar

You need a place to organize all of those appointments, reminders and events.  My secret weapon to remembering the dogs’ heart worm pills, changing the water filter for our house, and scheduling appointments is by making an event in our Google Calendar.  You can setup your Google Calendar any way you want, I even created a whole post sharing how our family manages our calendar.  But keep it simple.  Have one calendar for you, one for your husband and one for the family.  Honestly, J probably doesn’t even use his own calendar, but it makes me feel better knowing he has one.  

The personal calendar is just for you.  What reminders do you have each week or month or even each quarter?  Go ahead and write those in and setup an automatic reminder.  In Google you can have an alert emailed to you at your specified time to remind you to do something – that’s how I remember all three dogs’ monthly medicine.  

The family calendar is for everything family or what you need your husband to know.  You can use it for out of town trips with the girls or work conferences, so your family knows you’ll be out of town.  Use it for family doctor appointments and events you need everyone to be aware of.  It’s great when your husband is trying to plan a weekend camping trip with the guys he can quickly look at his phone to see when there is a free weekend.  

No more having to re-plan or move something that’s been on the calendar for weeks. Your communication is now clear.

Google Drive

Google Drive can keep all of your important information.  You can keep your budget and check register in Drive, like my family does.  Which is great on the road because you always have access to your check register so you know exactly how much money you have in your bank account.  

The possibilities are endless with Google Drive.  Here’s how it helps my productivity:

House Projects – we keep a running list of projects we want to work on around the house.  That way if we have a free weekend or a day off work there’s no guessing of what needs to be done.  You can pull up the list and get to work.

Budgeting – I mentioned this above, but it’s my favorite reason to use Google Drive.

Blog Post Ideas – I have a folder where I keep a list of blog ideas that pop in my head.  There is nothing worse than laying in bed dreaming of the perfect new post and convincing yourself you’ll remember it in the morning … and then of course you don’t.  

Meal Planning – we keep a few meal planning recipes in our Google Drive that way when we sit down to create our newest Meal Plan for the next two weeks, we know which meals are winners and worked well for us.

Addresses – I keep an updated address book in our Google Drive for when we need to mail invitations or thank yous to family and friends. 

To-Do List

This one is more of a paper and pen idea, instead of on the computer.  But it really helps to have a giant to-do list you keep with you.  That way when something new pops into your head, you can jot it down and then stay focused on your project at  hand.  I’ve written a post on how I stay on top of it all by having a notebook with me at all times.  It works great!

Wait To Check Emails

The first thing I do in the morning is NOT check my phone.  It’s so easy to get sucked into checking emails, responding, and then heading to Facebook to scroll through everyone else’s lives.  One of the best things you can do in the morning is not check your phone first thing.  Spend some time waking up (without a screen), take a shower, drink coffee and just enjoy the morning silence.  Because we all know the quiet moment each morning doesn’t last very long when you have little ones running around.  Wait until you get the kids off to school or even when you’re at the office, which is what I do.  I always think clearer when I’m more awake and can process things faster.  Keep your productivity up by not getting pulled into the endless email pool – just wait and get ready for the day so you can be on your A game.

Here are my top productivity tips for you.  Simple, right?  But somehow we all need to be reminded of them from time-to-time.  Just keep your day focused by using your energy where you want it most.  For me that’s family, work, and my online business.  I don’t worry myself with too much of the other stuff that doesn’t mean as much.  By setting reminders, having your information at your fingertips and setting boundaries you can be productive with your time and more efficient in your day.

DIY Grandparents’ Day Gift {Personalized Oven Mitts}

diy gift ideas, diy oven mitts gift, diy christmas gift, diy birthday gift, diy mothers day gift, diy grandparents day gift

Do you know what is not easy?  Getting a toddler to hold still long enough to put paint on their hands and then take that painted hand to press on an oven mitt.  It’s just not easy!  Don’t get me wrong he loved the part of smearing his hand in the paint, but then he wanted to play with it and not cooperate.  I’m pretty sure I got more paint on me then on the oven mitt or even the plate filled with paint.  

We wanted to create a sweet Mother’s Day gift for my Mom and my Mother-in-law this year.  We were getting ready to leave on our Florida vacation the next day so I wanted something that we could easily create and something that would be easily packed in our already filled car.  

I had been scouring Pinterest for a few ideas and I just love the ones using our little guys hand and feet prints, but I have to admit it was so much easier to get a perfect stamp of his hand or foot when he was just a newborn.  Now at a year old, it’s like wrestling a really strong monkey who makes noises at you and somehow overpowers you.  

DIY birthday present, DIY gift, easy birthday gift, cheap birthday gift for mom, mother's day gift, grandparents gift idea

To find these oven mitts I went to the local Big Lots to see what they had.  I had planned to go to Wal-Mart, but Big Lots is so close to our house and I like keeping things simple!  I paid $6.00 for each set, so it was a little over $12.00 with tax.  Next, I dug in my craft bin (which is actually a old tool box) for some green paint and some fabric paint to finish them up.  

These DIY oven mitts were so simple and so easy (minus the toddler making messes).  I made them for Mother’s Day, but you could even make them for Grandparents’ Day or even as a sweet Christmas gift. I just love making homemade gifts – nothing says I love you like taking some time out of your busy schedule to make something.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not super crafty and I am not a perfectionist, which means a lot of my gifts don’t turn out the cutest.  Once our little guy is a bit older I can pawn off the workmanship on him so there will be a good reason as to why the paint is smeared or the something is misspelled.  

Here’s some of my other easy and budget friendly DIY projects:

DIY Sharpie Mugs

DIY Front Door Vine Wreath

DIY Ribbon Wreath

DIY Christmas Photo Ornaments

DIY Father’s Day Gift with Handprints

DIY Mother’s Day or Birthday Gift with Pictures and Handprints

DIY birthday present, DIY gift, easy birthday gift, cheap birthday gift for mom, mother's day gift, grandparents gift idea

Funny story – this past Christmas I made a super sweet wall hanging for my Mother In Law.  I took our little guy’s footprints around this nice poem I had typed.  I then framed everything together in this beautiful frame.  After we gave the gift, they were passing it around reading the poem and looking at it.  Someone in the family noticed the poem was about Grandchild’s Hand and the hope for the future…. But I had stamped our son’s FOOTPRINTS on the paper.  What?!?! I don’t even know what I was thinking!  

I remember trying to get his handprint while J held him and he just kept fighting me.  Each attempt was worse than the one before.  The print was smeared or I didn’t get a whole print.  So after what felt like a thousand attempts, I just did his feet.  But it never occurred to me I needed to change the poem!  UGH!

Oh well.  Now I just had to change the poem (which I still haven’t done yet) and the gift will be just fine.  

How To Keep Track of Your Baby’s Milestones On Your Phone

how to track baby milestones, how to keep track of your kids growth, how to track your baby's growth, how to track your baby's milestones, baby milestones

As a first time mom I wanted to make sure I kept track of all the firsts for our little guy. The first time he rolled over, sat up and stood. I even wanted to get the not-so-fun moments since our little guy was in the NICU I wanted to make sure I tracked his weight and growth. I’ve talked about a newborn baby app I loved. It helped us track when he ate, how much he ate, when he pooped and more. It even had a nifty growth chart so I could track his weight and other measurements.

As a Mom you probably want to be able to keep track of and remember all of those firsts.  First time they roll over, sit up on their own, stand, and their first steps.  However, you don’t want to miss any of those moments.  You take pictures and videos to share with family and friends, but you want to know the date.  The specific date and sometimes time your little one conquered something new.  At least I did.  

If you’re like me then you’re a slacker when it comes to craft projects. You probably dreamed of creating a beautiful baby book filled with pictures, milestones and memories to pass down. But then life happened. You got busy with work, raising your child and managing your home. The pictures and keepsakes are collecting dust in the dresser drawer and you were worried about forgetting those precious memories.

how to track your baby's milestones on your phone, track baby milestones for free, keep track of baby's milestone

I bet you don’t want to miss any of those firsts though.  You need something that is at the tip of your fingers, something easy to jot down so you can get right back to being in the moment.  

Here’s what us moms want:

Something quick and easy to use
Something we (more than likely) won’t misplace
Something we can backup for safekeeping

As a first time mom, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing a great new app (which I’m sure exists) or some sort of journal idea, but I couldn’t find anything.  After some trial and error, I figured what works best.  Today, I am going to share with you how to keep track of your baby’s milestones for free on your phone.  

Use Your Memo Feature in Your Phone

That’s it.  Using your memo feature to keep track of baby milestones is the easiest way to remember those important dates.  It’s super simple to use and more than likely you already have your phone with you either taking pictures or video of your baby learning something new.  

 I created a memo called “Milestones” then I pinned it to my home screen on my phone (I have an android so I don’t know if you can pin a memo to your home screen in the iPhone).  That way I can click the memo on my screen and it automatically opens to update.  I keep the listings super simple and to the point.  

Here’s what my listings look like:

Smiled at Mommy 5.16 (meaning May 16, 2016)
Outgrew Preemie clothes 5.1
Rolled from tummy to back 7.11
Sat up on own 9.15
First step without holding on 3.3

how to track baby milestones, how to keep track of your kids growth, how to track your baby's growth, how to track your baby's milestones, baby milestones

You can even use this memo to keep track of your child’s growth from their wellness visits.  I know some day I will finish (or actually start) his baby book so I want to keep track of his milestones between.  I would be so upset with myself if I forgot when he took his first steps or when he said “Momma” for the first time.  I don’t want to forget any of it, but I know life is crazy and hectic right now.  So even if I tell myself I’ll remember this day, the chances are it will start running together.

Every few weeks or so just email the memo to yourself.  I use google and gmail for just about everything (the calendar feature and as a check register) so by emailing the list to my gmail account I know I will never lose it.  I can search for it by his name and it will pop right up.  I just keep updating myself with the new list every few weeks.

You don’t want to forget these special moments and there is no need to over complicate how to keep track of baby milestones.  What do you use to keep up with all of your little one’s firsts?  Leave me a comment, I love to know!

 

How To Do It All As A Mom

how to do it all as a mom

Ever since I was a little girl I would always fill my plate too full (figuratively, of course – unless we’re talking about cake!). I would take on too much, not sleep, get grumpy and end up sick. This was a pretty regular circle I would put myself through. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better about what I take on. I try not to do too much or over-commitment myself. These days I don’t have time to get sick. I no longer just have to worry about myself. I have a family who needs me. Mommy doesn’t have time to lay in bed for a day to sleep.

I’ve shared how I stay on top of everything before using a handy notebook. My process is still pretty similar, but I have made a few tweaks and my productivity has skyrocketed. Even with being a wife, mom, running a household, working full time and going to school. I get so much done in a day – it’s crazy! My 20 year old self would be jealous.

how to do it all as a mom

Here’s what I do in my notebook:

MASTER TO-DO LIST

I create a master to-do list. Usually it’s just a brain dump. I keep 2-3 (or more) pages blank for my master list. I write down everything – no matter how small or how big, or how expensive it’s going to be. As new projects come into my brain, I write them down. This helps a lot when trying to focus my attention to something specific.

For example, I was trying to study for my Certified Financial Planner exam that is coming up. This always seems to be the time my brain starts thinking of thousands of things to do. I keep my notebook near turned to my master list page and jot down what pops into my mind. I get it out of my brain and then I can stay focused on my task at hand – studying.

RUNNING GROCERY LIST

I have a running grocery list in my notebook. This way if I’m doing my makeup and run out of makeup remover, then I can write it down. Or if I’m out and J texts me he’s going to need more lunch meat for next week – I write it down. I tend to keep my notebook with me wherever I am. If I’m in the kitchen, it’s on the counter. If I’m running errands, it’s in my purse. If I’m at work, it’s on my desk.

I tend to go grocery shopping every two weeks. So I pull out my notebook to see what random items need then I prepare my meal plan and create the big grocery list. I also am a little compulsive and make my grocery list in order of the store, but this is so I can save money and not get distracted.

DAILY TO-DO LIST

The biggest change I’ve made in using a notebook is taking my master-list and breaking it down to a daily list. Having something for each individual day has really helped me get more done. I highly recommend to everyone I talk with to use a daily to-do list. It will help keep you focused and on the right path to reach your big goals.

Each morning once I get to work, the first thing I do is grab my notebook. I add my number one goal to the first line. For me, it’s to workout. I have been trying hard to bump up my workouts and to make it a habit. So that’s what goes down first. Then I look at my work calendar to see what meetings or client tasks I need to get done. Those are listed next. Finally, I look at my master to-do list to see what tasks I can break down.

For example, on my master to-do list I have to create a blog post three times a week for the rest of the month. After all of my work tasks are written I will add one or two personal tasks to my list. My goal of creating new content for the blog is easy to break down. I work on creating the post one day, edit and create images the next, then post. So in two days I can create a new post. Some days it may take more or less time to finish one blog post, but you get the idea.

USE IT EVERY DAY

I get out my notebook every single day. Even on the weekends. This helps keep me focused on my bigger projects. For instance, we’re wanting to replace the baseboards and repaint our entire home. It’s going to be expensive and a big undertaking. But by breaking it down into smaller steps then it’s no so overwhelming.

I don’t plan on painting every room the same color, so one day I may decide which rooms to start in. Then I will pick out the colors and measure the room to determine how much of investment new paint will be.

The next weekend may be pulling off the old baseboards and prepping for paint.

Then we paint the rooms and buy new baseboards.

Next weekend will be painting the baseboards.

The final weekend will be cutting and installing the baseboards.

See how I took a big project and broke it into smaller steps? Seems super simple, but a lot of people get stuck on the big goal and it paralyzes them. They may see paint and install new baseboards and get very overwhelmed. Then it just sits on their to-do list for months. By breaking it down your cost is lowered and the commitment each weekend isn’t too time consuming. It may take 5 weekends to do it all, but that’s okay if it relieves the stress.

My notebook has really helped me get more done without making myself sick or crazy. If I don’t have time to get it all done, no big deal. I turn to the next day’s page and jot down what’s left. I’ve given myself permission to not be perfect, to not get it all done in one day. And that feeling has been amazing and a total game changer.