Alternatives to Carving Pumpkins

I love the fall season, and it all starts with the month of October! So much fun stuff to do during the holiday months. Although I love Halloween I really dislike carving pumpkins. It’s messy, never seems to get all the way cleaned up and it smells. Having said that, I do love to decorate with pumpkins and my kids love to decorate period! So I have come up with three ways to have those cutely decorated pumpkins without all the prep time, mess and clean up. The best part? No matter how soon or late you choose to decorate your pumpkins will last longer since your not cutting them.

Painting Pumpkins

I know what your thinking….I am no artist! Neither am I. But it’s all about being creative. Last year I got out the newspaper and paints and let my kids go to town. They loved it. It didn’t have to be perfect and they got to use their own ideas to create a masterpiece. You can paint a few different ways. One; You can paint a Halloween scene, maybe a graveyard or a spooky house scene. 2; You could paint the whole pumpkin as something, such as a ghost or a witch.

Painting pumpkinsPumpkin painting
Using Household Materials 

This seems funny but the cutest pumpkin I ever created was made out of gauze from a first aid kit and some googly eyes. It created the cutest mummy!! If you have any old craft materials lying around you could make a patchwork ghost or possibly a scarecrow with straw glued to the pumpkin and a few accessories. Really like painting, the sky is the limit here.

Mummies out of gauze Mummies out of gauze

Store Bought Pumpkin Decorations

In the Halloween section of any major store ( I found mine at Wal-Mart) They sell faces that stick right into the pumpkin. My kids have always loved these because they could do it themselves. The fun thing is they come in all types. Ones for girls, ones for boys, regular Halloween figures. They add such personalities to the pumpkins and the front porch! There are also cute outs and stickers! I picked up this set at the dollar store and it creates 4 pumpkins!

Pumpkin decorations Alternatives to carving pumpkinsStick in pumpkin decorations
Foam pumpkin stickers
Whether you’re a traditional holiday decorator or a think out of the box decorator make some time to do something together to create those holiday memories. Wanting to think outside the box this year? Check out this link for some other really cool ideas for decorating this Halloween! https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/halloween-pumpkin-decorations

Trying something new this year with your pumpkin decorating? We would love to know what it is. Leave your ideas and pictures in the comments.

 

Pumpkin Chili

Fall has begun and the season for pumpkin everything has arrived! If you have shopped at all in the month of September and October pumpkin spice is everywhere! It can be found it anything from Oreo cookies to Frosted Mini Wheats! With all that sugar you have pumping through your veins from all your pumpkin spice indulgence it’s time to turn to a more savory options for your pumpkin spice addiction!

This chili has been one of my favorite fall meals for sometime. I originally found the recipe in a Taste of Home Halloween Recipe book in 2005. Over the years I have made some changes and have a prize-winning chili on my hands! (Really!! It won third place in a chili tasting competition!!)
This recipe can be made in an hour or it can simmer all day in the crock pot filling your home with a delicious smell. So what are you waiting for? Turn that pumpkin spice addiction into your savory supper tonight!!

PUMPKIN CHILI 

3 pounds of ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 regular sized can of pumpkin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cans (10-3/4 oz) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
2 jars of salsa (around 16 oz)
2 cans (16 oz each) hot chili beans
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili power

(I add more seasoning to taste)

Browning ground turkeyPumpkin chili simmeringReady to eat pumpkin chiliIn a large stockpot brown meat with onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink) drain. Add all the remaining ingredients; stir to mix well. Water can be added, if desired, to reduce thickness (I add about 2 cups). Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour. (makes 10-12 servings)
This recipes also cooks well in a crock pot just follow the directions above, cooking on low 6 hours or high 3 hours.
original recipe found in the Taste of Home Halloween cookbook 2005 submitted by Betty Butler

What is your favorite pumpkin inspired recipe? Leave it in the comments so I can try it out!

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I post a lot about couponing and saving money with coupons. It’s true I save a lot of money using them. But honestly, coupons aren’t for everyone. (In my opinion you haven’t found their awesomeness yet) But, there are tons of other ways to save money besides couponing. Making things from scratch is also a great way to save money. It also gets you eating a little healthier too. Freezing or canning for later is an awesome way to build a stockpile and save some money along the way. I am going to share a little story with you about my favorite homemade item. Spaghetti sauce from scratch.
A few years ago I had a huge garden. I loved finding ways to use my vegetables. My family got tired of eating vegetables the same way so I ventured out and tried some new things. Of course all my tomatoes ripened at once and I had to find a way to use them up before they went bad. I found some great recipes on Food.com that year. My most favorite recipe of all was for a spaghetti/pizza sauce I stumbled upon. The recipe was heaven and I have been using it ever since. I haven’t even bought store-bought sauce since. Although I don’t have my big garden anymore, I am blessed with friends and neighbors that seem to always share enough for me to make at least one or two batches. Today I was able to crank some sauce out and thought I would share the recipe and one of my favorite parts of fall with you. 

Home grown tomatoes

You can find the recipe here:  

Magic Fresh Tomato Spaghetti, Pasta or Pizza Sauce Recipe

The recipe can also be found on my Facebook page Clippingandsavin Facebook page

The recipe is super easy to follow.
First you cut up an onion and get that sautéing in some oil with minced garlic.

Onions and garlic
Once the onion is soft you add chicken or beef broth. I don’t cook with wine so I add extra broth to the pan.
While that is heating up you take your tomatoes and wash them, and cut off the tops. Once the tops are cut you add them to the broth. When your pan is full you bring it to a boil and turn it down to a simmer. This will cook for about an hour. (At this step you can also add other veggies to give more nutrition to the sauce. Your family will never know and it really doesn’t change the taste of the sauce!)

Sauce ready to be blended
When the hour is up you will take your sauce and blend it up in the blender. I do mine is batches and pour the blended sauce into a bowl, without straining out anything from the sauce. I feel like we are getting the best nutrition from eating the whole tomato.

Blended sauce
Once the sauce is all blended it is returned to the pot. This is where you add your seasonings. I usually go traditional and use oregano, basil and thyme, salt and pepper. You can add tomato paste at this point to thicken up the sauce. I don’t add the tomato paste. It is a thinner sauce but I think the flavor is better. This will now cook for 30 minutes.

Completed sauce
Let it cool for about an hour. Once it is cooled it is time for the bags. I use my hands free baggie opener (best thing ever!) and ladle my sauce into the bags. Final step is to label the bags and put them in the freezer.


I truly love this recipe. It can be done with garden fresh tomatoes (which is always better tasting) or store bought tomatoes. Start saving money and give yourself a healthier alternative to store bought sauce.  If you try it, post a picture and let me know what you think in the comments.

5 Steps to Becoming a Coupon Expert!

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure page for more details
I have been couponing for about eight years now and the single most asked question I receive once people learn that I coupon is “can you teach me how to use coupons?” Anyone and everyone can use coupons, it just takes time, organization, and a small learning curve to learn the tricks. Here are my five most important tips to starting out as a coupon expert!

1. Stockpile Solutions
You will need a place to store all your coupon treasures after you had gone shopping. It’s important to plan out those areas ahead of time. Some items can be stored in the garage or attic, some items need to be stored inside in a climate controlled area. You will also need to make sure wherever you decided to store your treasures you have a way to rotate them. Almost all products have an expiration date. You need to have a way to rotate the older ones forward and the newer ones to the back. There are some really cool products out there that rotate can storage and stuff for you. (product link below)

2. Coupon storage 
There are a couple ways to store coupons. One is to cut out all the coupons and place them in a binder using baseball card holders (product link below) to hold the coupons. I use a 5 inch binder. (product link below) It is more time consuming up front because you have to cut all the coupons ahead of time and store them. It is a lot easier to shop with them this ways since they are already separated into categories. When you are shopping the ads, you can flip to the categories and find the coupons that match up. You can also take your binder with you while you shop. Having all your coupons with you in case there is a sale that wasn’t featured or something on clearance you have a coupon for is a win win.

5 inch binderBinder dividers Baseball card inserts

Coupons stored in baseball card holders
The other way to store your coupons is to store them as the whole insert by date in a file box. (product link below) Most coupons will expire at the same time in the insert (but not always). If your using a coupon site to help you catch all the deals ( I suggest The Krazy Coupon Lady) They will often refer to the insert date to help you find the coupon. This method is not a lot of work up front but does take more time when your shopping ads or aps.
I have tried both methods and found that the first one works best for me. I tend to have more time on Sunday to sort and cut out coupons than I do during the week when I am trying to go shopping.

Coupon inserts
3. Download your store cards and coupon apps to your phone
Most stores have a loyalty card and a way to download coupons to your card. If you live in a small place, like I do, you will have access to some coupons that were not in the newspaper. Also, they will have coupons specific to that store that you can download. If your store allows it, you will want to match your manufactures coupon (The ones in the newspaper or online) with the store coupon. That is where you be able to save the Most.

Kroger store app home page

There are also a few apps that allow you to save on products that you buy. These can also be paired with coupons for greater savings. My favorite app is IBOTTA. This app give you money back for shopping. The money can be transferred to PayPal or given as a gift card. Sometimes people feel like these apps never amount to anything. I can honestly say from personal experience that this one does. I was able to purchase a kindle paperwhite after a few months of shopping with this app. It is possible and totally worth it. You can sign up with friends and part of their savings will go toward your ability to earn extra money in the month. If you want to join my coupon tribe sign up for IBOTTA  and use my referral code: vajyklt. You receive $10 just for signing up and using it once, and I will receive $5 when you sign in with my code 

IBOTTA home page
I also use two others as well but have found they haven’t given me as much money. Moby and Checkout 51
. Moby has very low rewards and limited items. The money is transferred right away however, to your PayPal account. Checkout 51 payout is in the form of a check, but they will not send money out till you have reached twenty dollars.

4. Getting Coupons
This is of course the most important step! Where will you get your coupons? First place: The newspaper. Sunday papers have the coupon inserts along with some of the ads like Target, Walmart ect. The rule of thumb I have always followed was one paper for each member of my family. There are four of us so I buy four papers on Sunday. I think that if I had a bigger family I would still follow the four paper rule. Most coupons say you can’t use more than four like coupons at one time. I almost always shop alone so, four is all I can purchase in one shopping trip. There have only been a few times I had wished I had more coupons. Most of the time it is plenty.
I mentioned before that I live in a small town and do not get all the coupon inserts that other parts of the US get. Although, it was frustrating sometimes to see people getting awesome deals that I couldn’t take part in, I never let that discourage me. There are ways to buy inserts but I have never done this. This would be another way to get inserts instead of buying the paper. Keep in mind you might need to wait for those to come in the mail, so make sure to order those early.
Coupons.com also has hundreds of coupons that can be printed and used. You can only print two of those coupons to use at one time. Sometimes stores will not take your printed coupons. Many people have copied these coupons on copy machines (Which is against the law) and has caused stricter laws on these printable coupons.

Newspapers
5. Where and when to Shop
Now your ready to shop! Most major stores will accept coupons. Even Dollar Tree excepts coupons! Make sure that when your shopping your coupon matches the ounces or type exactly or it may not be accepted. Also, shopping Sunday or Monday is best especially if it’s a big sale. If you wait you run the risk of the items being sold out. I have found that shopping first thing in the morning or later in the evening is the best time to shop. There are fewer people and it causes less stress on you, especially if you are first starting out. Sometimes people will become impatient if they have to wait on you, especially if it is a busy shopping time. and you will feel nervous to make them wait. Take your time. You want to make sure you leave with the most money saved.

There you have it! You are on your way to becoming a coupon expert. If your interested in learning how to coupon, be on the lookout for my 30 day coupon challenge! 

Check out The Krazy Coupon Lady website for the inserts I pictured in my binder and for a whole section on starting out with coupons. Use their app, The Krazy Coupon Lady, to never miss an add or sale!

Products from Amazon.com

Products from Amazon.com

Products from Amazon.com

Library Book Sale

I love fall. It is my absolute favorite time of the year. For all the obvious reasons, the weather, the leaves changing, pumpkins and pumpkin flavored everything, but most of all, my favorite activity of the year is the Farmington Public Annual Library Book Sale!! I anxiously await this time of year. I know what your thinking. A book sale? What is so great about that? Well, Farmington goes all out. Not only are the books a collection of books that the library is recycling but people donate their old and used books as well. Each year it gets more and more hype and people from all over the area come to shop at this sale. Last year the library made $16,000 on its annual book sale! If your town doesn’t have an annual library book sale or you haven’t ever attend one you are missing out! Take a walk with me though my morning and see if it doesn’t prompt you to add one of these to your bucket list!

Bag Choice

Before leaving the house I had to choose which bag to take with me. It proved to be harder than I thought it was going to be. I tried out several bags before settling on my scholastic book bag. Sturdy and able to hold a heavy load, but it also had a good strap to keep on my shoulder. In the past I had taken other bags, however, they were hard to carry and I wanted one that would fit easily on my shoulder. With bag choice in hand, I skipped out the door.



Arrival Time

I arrived at 8:45am. There was already a small line, however, my friends had arrived a few minutes before me and were already in line. They even had a coffee truck available for those early anticipated shoppers. While waiting in line we discussed our strategies for shopping and where we wanted to start. While we waited the line grew longer and longer. I was so happy with myself for getting there early. Once the doors opened it was a mad dash inside to begin shopping!

Going IN
There are two areas for shopping; the inside room and the outside lawn. We decided to tackle the inside room first. There were three long tables with rows and rows of books set up on top of each other. It’s sort of funny that there seems to be a shopping etiquette even though it isn’t posted anywhere. You move down the rows of books (and it is impossible to see all there is to offer) looking though and picking out things you might want. If someone in front of you is going to slow, you go around them, or sometimes you say switch and switch places continuing down the line. This is time-consuming and not for the faint of heart. For a book lover though, it feels live heaven. I tackled the inside in about and hour and a half and was ready to take my way outside.

(for all the time it took me to pick out a bag, I ended up not using it and ended up with a box instead. Next year I won’t even bother with a bag.)


Photo credit: Farmington Public Library 

Farmington Public Library
Continue reading “Library Book Sale”

From Curvy to Straightner

It’s the age-old question curly or straight?

If you have curly hair, like I do, you want to have straight hair, and if you have straight hair like my mother does, you want to have curly! There are so many great products out there that can help both sides achieve their dreams, but since I am a curly-haired girl this post is directed toward a great product I just discovered that is helping me do just that! Have great straight hair! A straightener above any other straightener! As a bonus my husband has commented three times now since I received this product that my hair never looked better! Now who doesn’t want to hear that!

(This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links, see my Disclosure  page for more information)

What is this miracle device you might ask? It is the Arino 2 in 1 Hair Straightening Brush Ceramic and Ionic Hair Straightener! $29.99

Arino 2-1 hair straightening brush
Now I have used A LOT of hair straightener products in my day, some were ok, and some didn’t work at all. I have been using the same straightener for about eight years now and never thought I would find another one that was close to it…till now! My old straightener required very small sections to be done and I did use a brush with the sections. Pretty typical of a straightener. This straightener not only had the brush built-in it has a special ionic function that takes the friziness away! Love it I tell you! Love it!

 (This is me before I did anything with my hair. Went to bed with wet hair and woke up)
 Lots of you know I am a busy working mom. The one indulgence I take is straightening my hair. I love to be able to brush it and run my fingers through it. It just makes me happy! I am willing to put in the time it takes to make that happen for myself. This is saying a lot because honestly I am not a morning person, so I have to get up extra early on these days to make it happen. 

Also, I choose to take the pictures for this post on my first day of school. Why, you might ask? Well, I wanted to see if I would have enough time to use it in my regular routine. What is the point of a great product if you can only use it on special occasions? It has to be functional! And I am happy to report it was!

First, I got it out of the box. I have to say this company has great packaging. It came with its own bag and a fancy box. (maybe I am easily impressed but it made me feel special.)


Second, I read the instructions. I almost tried to figure it out on my own but when I saw it had two buttons I had to go back and read what it did. Don’t skip this step. It explains how to use the ionic function.
Next, you’re going to push the ionic function and use the hair straightening brush to brush your hair. It won’t have heated up yet. This is to take the frizz out. At first I wasn’t sure what was happening, and I don’t really understand the science, but I could tell a difference in my hair.

 (After using the ionic function)
Next, you turn on the heat setting. It has several setting choices. I went for a middle function at 380 degrees. It does suggest you section parts of your hair for better results. Normally I would take small sections from the back to the top but I wanted you to see the difference on each side so I did side sections. It worked just like any other straightener but with out the extra brush step. Just slide your hair through the brush at a low-speed. You can repeat a few times if needed. I have A LOT of hair so it does take me about two or three times for a straightness that I like. I had about three sections on each side.  (Sectioning my hair).          (Right side complete, left side undone)

 (Left side being sectioned off)
Overall, the whole process took about 30 minutes. Not to bad I thought. I have used this product a few times now and the best part is I can get about three days worth of straight hair from one use! That is an improvement over any other straightener I have ever used. Usually after one day, maybe two, my hair would turn stringy and oily and need to be washed. After using this my hair looked almost the same as it did on day one as it did on day three. I think that is awesome!
So there you have it! IF you are a girl, always wishing for straight hair this brush hair straightener is for you. It heats up very fast and is easy to use, but most importantly it make your hair soft and silky. The final deal sealer for me was when my husband said “Just throw your old straightener out, you should only ever use this. It makes you hair so much fuller and prettier.” That’s enough for me. I will only be using this straightener from now on! Only $29.99

Actopp
Actopp beauty and personal care 
See my other post for another great product from this same company.

Arino Blackhead Suction Tool

This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links.

From a Good Night to a Good Morning 

School is starting for me tomorrow. I start out so well in the beginning with my morning routine. Getting up, getting ready, eating breakfast. But then as the school years goes on, my routine is less and less of a routine and more of a morning mourning of having to get up and face the day! Does this sound like you? Check out this blog post from the healthy happy blonde. She had some great ideas for establishing and keeping a morning routine. It got me thinking…

http://www.healthyhappyblonde.com/morning-habits-need-life/

MORNING HABITS YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE

I got really fired up after reading her post and decided to come up with my own morning routine. But as I starting establishing what I wanted to put into the morning routine I got to thinking…a good morning routine has to start with some nighttime routines that can make my morning routines successful! So I backed up and thought about what sabotages I am putting on myself at night that’s causing my morning routine to be so nonexistent. Here’s what I came up with.

This post contains affiliate links to amazon.

1. I’m working to late into the night
A teacher’s work is never done. You are either grading papers, getting lessons ready or finding ideas for something creative to get your student’s attention. It just honestly never ends. And you never catch up! For every step you take forward you go back two more. I find that I work at school till 5, come home become a mom for a few hours, and when my kids go to bed, I am back to teacher mode. To many nights of that and any routine is thrown out the door.

2. Electronics
This includes my phone, computer, kindle or TV. It has been proven that screen lights cause your brain to think that it is still light outside and keeps your internal clock from recognizing it’s time to sleep. I find that if I am not working on my computer I am either watching TV or surfing my phone. My brain never gets the message it’s time for bed, and when I am finally ready, I can’t sleep.

3. My Phone as an alarm
Because I use my phone as an alarm it stays next to my bed or under my pillow. This is a problem for a two reasons. One, If someone texts or sends a notification, even if I am drifting off to sleep, I am awoken by the phone light or the sound. Of course my curiosity gets the better of me and I have to check. Second, it’s to tempting to reach over and look at it, especially if I can’t sleep.

4. Eating before Bed
I hate to admit that I do this a lot. I am a nervous/stressful eater. If something is bothering me I tend to want to eat. If I stay up to late I tend to become hungry again and want to eat right before I go to bed. If I had a regular bed time I think I would significantly decrease this if not get rid of it all together.

So…What to do about it. I looked around on Pinterest and combined a few ideas I saw, and this is what I came up with…

1. Set a bedtime and a wake up time
First it suggested you figure out how many hours of sleep you might need. For a person my age is suggested 6-8 so I decided to go right in the middle and settle on 7 hours. So if my desired wakeup time is 5:30am, my desired bedtime is 10:30.

2. No Work after 8pm
Like I said earlier, a teacher’s work is never done. Whether I stop working at 8 or 11 I will still have work to do tomorrow. I need to give my brain a breather. Honestly burnout and exhaustion are all that comes from working to hard and to long.

3. Reading before bed
Reading is something I love to do and it relaxes me. It’s the place I go to be someone else for awhile. It’s nice to schedule time to do something I love. I don’t have to feel guilty For not taking care of all the other things I always need to be doing. It’s the thing I’m suppose to be doing and nothing else.

$119.99

4. No Electronics after 9:00pm
This is the one I believe I will struggle with the most. I love to watch TV almost as much as I love to read. Almost. A lot of times it becomes a noise filler. I am not even really watching it or listening to it. I just like the company. As a compromise I decided to give myself music. Something to relax by.
Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

5. An actual Alarm clock
There is a couple good reasons for a real alarm clock. One, if placed across the room it causes me to get up and out of bed. Two, no more distractions from notifications or text messages. My focus will be on bedtime and restful sleep.

There you have it! I’m four routines away from restful sleep! I’m gonna rock this school year!

Arino Blackhead Removal Tool

This is a Arino sponsored post and contains an affiliate link to Amazon. For more information on sponsored posts and affiliate links see my Disclosure  page. 

As a busy mom I have to say beauty products and skin care are kinda at the low end of my to do lists. I don’t spend a lot of money or time attending to my skin care needs. ( I know I’m a disgrace to all women out there!) so when the opportunity to review this product came up I was pretty excited! A tool that removes blackheads!  Who couldn’t use help in that area?

I ordered the Arino Blackhead  Removal tool from Amazon Prime, hoping it would teach me how to get rid of blackheads on my nose, and it arrived two days later.Out of stock

Pretty fancy for the price, $39.99. Being a person who doesn’t spend much time on their skin care, I won’t lie, I was a little intimidated. But when I got the box open I was relieved to find detailed instructions. 


I found these to be the most help when getting started. Since I don’t have a steam machine I used a hot wash cloth. In the future I think I will take a hot shower and use the tool right when I get out. 

First I sat with the hot washcloth on my face for ten minutes. I did reset the cloth a few times to make sure my my face was staying warm. 

Next I choose the large Round hole beauty head and began at my chin moving upward as the directions had indicated. 

Might I just say here, the Suction on this tool was no joke. It would have no problem removing blackheads. I wasn’t even using it at high power and it really adhered to my face. If there was something to be sucked, it was coming up. The other thing I really liked about this tool was that it changed sounds when it wasn’t placed on the face properly so I knew if I was using it right. For an inexperienced beauty tool person this is a great feature. 

When I had completed my chin, cheeks and forehead, I changed heads, and moved to the oval head for lips, noses, and eyes. I did have some difficulty with the nose, which I was a little disappointed in, because this is the place my face has the most issues. It did work great on my eyes, eyebrows and lips. 

Now, here came my favorite part of the whole product. The microcrystals head.

This was the best part of the tool. It made my face feel so good I didn’t want to stop using it. I probably went over my face three or four times. This head can be used on the whole face. 

Once I had completed all the heads it suggested you use a cold washcloth to close your pores so I did before I applied moisturizer. 

My cheeks are a little red but I didn’t think it was anything to be alarmed of. And after the moisturizer…

I honestly couldn’t get over how smooth my face felt. I keep touching it. I even called my husband at work to tell him I had used the tool and you guessed it, HOW SMOOTH MY FACE WAS! Even the next day I was still touching it and remarking on how great my face felt. 

Check out these links for other great products from this company!

Actopp
Arino Blackhead Removal Tool
Actopp beauty and personal care 

Overall, I thought this tool was great. Again, I couldn’t believe how soft my skin was after only one use. I will definitely continue using this!!

This is a sponsored post and does have affiliate links attached. For more information on sponsored posts and affiliate links visit my Disclosure  page. 

Motivation…4 things that get me moving and one thing that doesn’t

Motivation….What is it? Quite simply it’s what gets us out of bed and moving. It’s the reason we do what we do. I have always wondered why some people have so much motivation and drive while others have little to none. Is it what we eat? How we live or don’t live? In my experience what I eat and drink does effect how much energy I do seem to have but it has to be more than that. I can be eating the same clean eating foods as the next guy but that doesn’t mean I am getting up and training as a crossfire athlete. Which by the way are totally awesome athletes. A lot of research has been put into what motivates others to do a good job in the workplace, bosses really want to know the answer to that million dollar question, but I think that motivation has to come from within first. If you don’t have at least a little motivation to do a good job, accomplish the goal, even if you haven’t actually set it, or finish the project it isn’t going to get done. Simple as that. I have a lot of friends that run daily, eat healthy and live busy lives. Why can’t we all be doing that? Simply because we don’t want to.

Here are 4 things that get me motivated to make a change….

1. Quotes
There is a reason that my Pinterest board with quotes has the most pins to it. Words are powerful. They can jolt your soul even if you don’t know it needs to be jolted! Whether you are getting quotes from reading books (I always pick out a favorite line of all books I read, it’s how I connect with the book and the moral of the story) or browsing Pinterest find something that motivates you. Write it down. Post it on the wall. Read it over and over. There is a reason it spoke to your soul. Embrace it!

“IF you Don’t Have
Big Dream & Goals
You’ll End Up
Working Really Hard
For Someone Who Does”

2. Music
I love music. Wether I’m listening to it or playing it, it makes me feel different. Either energized or calmed it speaks to me. I have different stations for different moods and they do the trick overtime in getting me where I need to be at the moment. Maybe I’m being silly with my kids, or calming my students there is a PANDORA station for that. Here are my top four:
Workout: Dance Cardio Radio
Hanging with my kids: Disney Radio
Calming my students: Native American Flutes
Relaxing or calming down: Benjamin Francis Leftwich Radio (My all time favorite station) I Love indie rock

LOVE THIS GUY!!


3. Other People’s Stories
Testimonials I guess you would call this. It could range from someone trying a cleaning product they loved or a weight loss goal they reached but their stories talk to me! I feel empowered to try it. I feel like hey, I can do that! If they can, and it worked for them, why not me! If there is something on that bucket list you have always wanted to do but think you never could, find someone who has done it. I watched one of my Facebook friends hike Zion National Park this summer, something that has been on my bucket list for so long, and I truly thought if she can do that with her husband why can’t I? It’s one reason I went back to the gym and started my running program. I am going to get there someday. Ask questions, watch videos, get inspired. Everyone has to take a first step!

4. A Cheerleader
Everyone needs a cheerleader. I have a great family with great family support. If I want to do something I tell them. they pump me up and encourage me to try it. Find someone who will cheer you on and support your goals. Find someone who can see the good in you even if you can’t.

And the one true motivation killer…..

NEGATIVITY

No-one has room for negativity in their lives. Whether you are causing yourself to sabotage your goals by negative self talk or the people in your life are, get rid of it and get rid of them. Your life will be better for it. A personal example of this…I was working in a very negative environment and all the coworkers there spoke badly about one another, and the workplace. It was hard to get up and go to that environment everyday. I got tired of feeling that way. I don’t like gossip and I truly don’t like being mean to others. Don’t get me wrong I participated but I usually felt bad afterwards. So I come up with a plan to rid myself of the negativity. We had three dogs at the time, and our yard was being overcome by dog poop. I told myself that if I said a negative thing about someone or something relating to work I would have to spend 5 minutes picking up dog poop. Now, this was self-regulated but I stuck to it. People laughed at me when I told them I couldn’t join in the conversations anymore. The first couple of days I was out there picking up poop for a while. It was hard not to join in. I won’t lie, a few time I felt like it was even with picking up poop for. But slowly over time, I quite doing it contributing. People knew I was going to have to pick up poop if I said anything bad about others and sometimes they would wait to see if I was going to do it. Did others around me stop doing it? Heaven’s no! But they knew I wasn’t going to participate and usually found another place for gossiping. You have the choice of what come into your life and what doesn’t. Choose good. Your life will be so much better for it.

There you have it! Get up! Get moving! Find that motivator. The only one that is stopping you is you.

I’ve got the Back to School Blues

I hate the end of things. I am horribly bad at goodbyes. I hate it when my favorite TV shows end, my favorite book series. I just don’t like saying goodby. So as my summer comes to a close I of course hate saying goodby; to my late nights and late mornings. To my kids endless activities and playdates but most of all I hate saying goodby to another year of my children’s childhood. Another year older toward teenagers and girlfriends. Another year closer to driving a car and moving out…it makes me sad. Don’t get me wrong I know that when something ends a new thing begins. I wanted my kids to stay babies, but then when they got out of diapers I realized that was a happy day. I wanted them to stay toddlers, but realized when they stared going to school that it brought me happiness to watch them learning and discovering. Always asking questions, exploring the world. I have always wanted them to be independent and brave. To feel they can conquer the world. But now I find myself being afraid knowing the hard years are ahead.The world is a mean scary place. What if I’m not doing a good job? What if I didn’t teach them how to stand up for themselves? What if I didn’t teach them how to pick themselves up when someone is cruel to them? What if I didn’t teach them to stay close to the Lord even when people don’t understand what faith is or why people have it?
However, like all things each season of their lives will come to an end and a new one will begin, whether I want it to or not. So I will put on a smile, hug my children close, tell them I love them, tell them I am proud of the tiny humans they have become, cheer them on, be present in their lives and hope that when the day comes that they do leave and move on to the new chapters of their lives, they understand I loved being their mom. I loved being given the opportunity to raise them and love them, and will continue to love them no matter what season of life we are in.