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What I’ve Learned Using Social Media App Timers

What I’ve Learned Using Social Media App Timers

Intentionally Well: Striving for Present Intentionality Every Day

I have been using social media app timers on my phone for about four months. And let me tell you, I have learned some things about myself. Let me first start off admitting that everything that was 2020 had a negative impact on my relationship with my phone. I will be transparent and tell you that scrolling and zoning out on social media became a coping mechanism for all the hard things. This became my escape because I had cultivated my social media to be an uplifting space. In theory, this was a good thing. We all needed some sort of way to deal with the stress we were all experiencing. The problem was when I was ready to scale my consumption back, I struggled.

When Scrolling Became a Problem

I can’t say there was a singular moment when I realized I was relying too much on my phone. It was a slow build up. But one day I had this awareness that I was missing it. My real life, my days, were passing me by. Honestly, friend, I think we all have those realizations from time to time. It is so easy to become engrossed in what is happening on our phone, and we get these little gut checks that tell us we need to scale back. I had the gut check, but I had a really difficult time breaking the muscle memory habits I formed. It was hard for my brain to just be. I felt all squirmy when I tried to let my mind be still and quiet. I realized my brain was constantly craving some sort of stimulation from my phone. That was when I realized my phone was a problem. Was I actually addicted to my phone? The definition of addiction is as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness. Here is an article published by CNN about phone addiction.

Implementing Social Media App Timers

No. Based off the clinical definition of addiction, I was not addicted to my phone. However, I wanted to break the habits I had formed around it. Enter app timers! Did you know this was a feature on your iPhone? I honestly didn’t until I started researching them. However, there they are. To find the app timers on your iPhone go to Settings>Screen Time>App Limits>Add Limit. From there, you can choose which apps you would like to limit your time on, for how long, and what days you’d like to have the limits. I decided to use these timers on my social media and news apps. I am sure other phone companies have this feature, so feel free to let google tell you how to access them if you do not have an iPhone.

What I learned

Every day I get the pop ups saying I reached my limit. And let me tell you, there are still days where I override my app timers. I do this for different reasons. Sometimes, especially with Instagram, my time is spent promoting this space or engaging with my community there. I don’t feel like that needs to be lumped together with the unhealthy scrolling habit I am trying to break. Sometimes I override the limit at the end of the day when I just want a little extra time to laugh at funny Tik Toks. However, many days I do stick to my goals. Regardless if I override the app timers or not, having them in place brings so much more awareness to my phone consumption. Do I need to check the news 4 times a day? No, I don’t, and I am better for it. Is it easier for me to leave my phone in another room? Yes, it is. That is something I am really proud of because that used to be a struggle. I am still a work in progress, but I am making progress. And that is something to celebrate.

What do you think? Do you have a healthy relationship with your phone? Let’s chat about it in the comments below. As always, if you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Road Trip with Kids: Surviving to Thriving

Road Trip with Kids: Surviving to Thriving

Intentionally Well: Striving for present intentionality every day.

Going on a road trip with kids isn’t something that conjures feelings of rainbows and sunshine. I get it. Having your whole family crammed in the car for an extended amount of time feels overwhelming. As you probably know (or maybe not), we live in Indianapolis. Our entire family lives in Alabama. So, over the last three years, we have become accustomed to long road trips with our kids. I am here to share with you all the things we do to make these trips not only bearable but also fun.

Prep Expectations in Advance

If you are familiar with Intentionally Well, it shouldn’t surprise you to see preparation at the top of the list. Ha! I like to plan. Here is what I do. First, I talk often about the trip with my kids. I mark the dates of the vacation on my children’s monthly calendar which is always posted on our refrigerator. They really love counting down the days until we leave. I remind them the travel days will be spent in the car. I tell them over and over again that we will be driving all day. This helps manage their expectations. It takes about eight hours to our house to my parents house according to Maps without stopping. However, we know that stopping often is a given when traveling with kids. Last time, it took us about eleven hours to make that drive. Eleven.

Snacks

We usually keep pretty basic snacks in our house. Fruit, Larabars, raisins, etc.. But when we go on a road trip with kids, we go all out with the snacks. Gummies…you got it. Chips…you got it. Literally, whatever the kids want, I will pack it. I promise having favorite snacks on a long car ride is worth it. I mean, I love the strawberry sour straws like there is no tomorrow on a road trip. Treat yourself and your kids, mama.

Activities

I did a pole in Instagram, and it was about 60/40 as to families preferring activity books to screens for road trips. We utilize both. My three year old also plays with his favorite toys really well in the car, so those always get packed. As far as what my children do to occupy themselves in the car, I let them choose. I don’t limit the screens or a toy or a book. They can to do whatever they like as long as they are being respectful of others (use headphones, share, etc). I am also a fan of listening to audiobooks during long car trips. I’ve included some links to a few of our favorite car activities below.

Potty Breaks

It’s inevitable that you will have to stop multiple times during your trip. We usually end up stopping for one reason or another about every one and a half to two hours. If your kids are younger, you might be stopping every hour. It is what it is. However, I have found some tricks to get the most out of each stop. First, stop at the big truck stops if you can (Love’s, Pilot…). I find that the bathrooms at these establishments are bigger and cleaner than most of the regular gas stations. They offer more snack choices, and they are usually situated at exits with several food options. Next on the list is rest stops. These are great if you don’t need food. Rest stops almost always have some sort of green space. Kids are able to run around and really get those wiggles out. Lastly, we enjoy stopping at the restaurant Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel has the little store you can explore and you can also order a drink to go from the register. The facilities are clean, and it’s just something a little different and unexpected for the kids.

I hope these tips and tricks help you thrive on your next road trip with your kids. Have any other tips to share with others? Post them in the comments below. As always, please share this post with your friends if you enjoyed it!

Entertain kids wherever you go with On-The-Go Craft Kits from Kid Made Modern.

Homeschool Room Tour

Homeschool Room Tour

Intentionally Well: Living on Purpose with Purpose Every Day

We are very lucky to have a dedicated homeschool room in our house. We converted a downstairs office to a space strictly for learning. Today, I wanted to give you a little tour of this room. Here’s the thing, I don’t live my life for social media. You’re not going to see the perfect Pinterest or Instagram space. However you will see a space that is practical and perfectly functional for our family.

I love having a separate space for our homeschool room. My children do their school work all over the house, often working on math in the living room for example. But, it’s nice to compartmentalize a little bit. I like walking out of the homeschool room at the end of the school day and closing the door to my teacher self.

Let Me Show You Around

I love our big table that has room for all of us. My kids sit here to do art or listen to me teach if I am using our white board. I love these wall filing shelves. I like to keep lots of colorful paper here for easy creative access. There is also a little turn table storage container to store our crayons, markers, and glue. Then, of course, we have a. bulletin board to hang up their creations.

I recently bought this cube storage shelf for my girls to store their textbooks. Last year, we used plastic storage boxes stacked under the table, but we moved a toy box upstairs to make room for this shelf. I really think it is going to work beautifully. Each school aged child gets a cubby. The baskets on the bottom will store our read-a-loud books, headphones, charging cords, and other miscellaneous things we use often.

My favorite thing that I have added is this little fidget station on top of the shelf. My children love to have something little to play with throughout the day, and I have already caught them playing at this station throughout the day.

On the opposite side of the room is this comfy chair that I love. I sit here often and read while my children are working independently. I love how it is positioned next to the windows. This rug is another favorite of mine. It provides a lot of texture and warmth to the space without being scratchy. The little wooden rocking chair is a favorite of my middle child. It actually belonged to my dad when he was a little boy, so it is extra special.

A you see, I don’t have rows of bookshelves. Honestly, I don’t have the room. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because I have to really consider space when deciding how many books to buy. Bad because I have to consider space when deciding what books to buy. Ha! It is so easy to fall into the “give me all the books!” mindset when homeschooling. There are so many good ones! But in our homeschool room, I really only have these two long shelves for extra storage. They came with our house when we purchased it three years ago. Here is where I keep all my teacher manuals, flash cards, inflatable globe (seriously, don’t spend money on a real globe that takes up lots of space), and manipulatives for my preschooler. I also keep the spines for our social studies curriculum on these shelves.

There You Go

I hope you enjoyed this homeschool room tour. I hope this encourages you to use your space intentionally without feeling the pressure to make it look perfectly Pinterest approved. You do you, bestie. Create a space that is functional for your family and real life.

You Are Loved

You Are Loved

Sweet friend, you are loved. I am so glad you are here – reading this. This post came as an outpouring of my heart on a day when the world felt like it was screaming and being filled with hate. I hope the words written below fill you with hope and encouragement today.

To the mother, to the daughter, to the childless, you are loved.
 
To the Christian, to the Jew, to the Muslim, to the deconstructing, you are loved.
 
To the LGBTQ+ person, you are loved.
 
To the hurting, to the addict, to the depressed and anxious, to the lonely you are loved.
 
To the immigrant, you are loved.
 
To the BIPOC, you are loved.
 
To the Republican, to the Democrat, you are loved.
 

I love you. I love you because you are an image bearer of the Creator of love itself. A love that is beyond understanding. I love you because He commands me to love first, always. Because He lives in me, it is the easiest command to follow. When you truly know the One who orchestrated love, it is easy to love those whom He loves. It is easy to love you.

I know this is not my typical post. But it needs to be said more. It needs to be shouted from the rooftops. I am honored to use my little space here to hopefully allow others to feel seen. I hope you feel seen by a Christian woman, especially when the Church is currently at such a crossroads. I see the talk all over social media about the hurt and the trauma people have suffered in the name of the Church. And while those traumas are deeply personal and complex, at the very least, I want you to know – you are loved. And if you are reading this and you want to show love to the people God has placed in you path, you might like this post.

 



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First Year Homeschooler Reflections

First Year Homeschooler Reflections

I am no longer a first year homeschooler! Our first year is in the books. I have the attendance records to prove it, and it feels like such an accomplishment. My school aged children completed second grade and kindergarten at home. You can read more about our decision to become a homeschool family here, but our decision was not related to the pandemic like so many others. The pandemic just confirmed to us that we made the right choice for our family. We are at the end, and I have thoughts.

What We Liked About Homeschooling

I think my favorite thing about homeschooling was the freedom we experienced in our daily schedule and routine. If something came up, or if we were just bored with what we were doing, we just changed it. I even switched our language arts curriculum mid-year. You just don’t have that flexibility with traditional public school. My favorite part of our day was cuddling up on the couch and reading to my girls. We entered and explored so many wonderful stories and worlds together this year. I watched their love for books and reading blossom from the front row. We traveled the world together through our social studies curriculum and learned how not every one lives, looks, speaks, or believes the way we do, and that is what makes every one unique and special.

In addition, I loved how our days look on a leisure quality. We were not rushed nor over scheduled. One of the things I disliked the most about my children’s time in traditional school was the long day. They were gone so much of the day. My oldest came home exhausted around four o’clock each day. She came home so late in the day and so tired, that we often had to complete homework in the mornings before the bus came. I did not like feeling like I got the leftovers of my children. I felt I was missing too much. They missed each other as well. This past year my children had so much time together, and it grew their sibling relationships in the best ways. I often say to my children that their siblings are their forever best friends, and I saw that come to pass this year.

What We Did Not Like About Homeschooling

Don’t get me wrong, being a first year homeschooler was not sunshine and roses all the time. However, I think the things we found to be the most challenging were things that were amplified by the pandemic. When we made the decision to become a homeschool family, we knew our children would have to make new friends. ~Sigh~ new friends, again. I say again because, remember, our family moved across the country in 2018. Our kids had already been through the difficult process of meeting and making friends after our move, and they had to do it again.

Our community has a strong homeschool presence. However, everything was closed for so long because of the pandemic. I had a really difficult time connecting with other homeschooling families. This was our biggest struggle by far. My oldest told me she loved doing school at home, but she missed the kids from her old school. We tried play dates when we could, but a world wide pandemic really puts a damper things. Every family has different comfort levels with precautions to COVID, including us. It was difficult for them to establish meaningful connections. One of our biggest changes we will be implementing next year is enrolling them into a co-op. They will do classes with other kids one day a week. Everyone is excited about this!

Another thing I found challenging was adjusting to having my kids around me all day long, every single day. I love my children with every part of my being, but my introverted self needs time alone to decompress and recharge. COVID amplified this because my long haul symptoms from having the virus were so pervasive. I spent much of the year in recovery. I often had to take naps in the middle of our schooling, because the fatigue was so intense. Many of our days were spent doing only the essential subjects. I am really excited about adding more extracurriculars next year, now that much of my energy has returned.

Final First Year Homeschooler Thoughts

I don’t believe homeschooling is the right decision for every family, and that is okay. Homeschooling is not one size fits all, and you absolutely need to feel called to do it. It’s a hard work, but it is definitely a worthy work. I am so glad we finally made the leap, after we considered it for so many years. As of now, our plan is to continue homeschooling through at least elementary school, and everyone is excited about this. I looked at this year as a learning year, and I experienced so many lessons as a first year homeschooler that stretched and grew me. Lessons I am forever grateful for. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us next year!


Social Media: Cultivating a Positive Experience

Social Media: Cultivating a Positive Experience

Social media has infiltrated every aspect of human life. There’s no denying it. It’s everywhere, and every single person and entity has some sort of social media presence. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy social media (let’s connect on my social channels listed on the sidebar!), but it’s something you have to use with such focused intentionality. Otherwise, it can quickly get out of hand. On the flip side, if you steward your social media content and consumption well, it can be a wonderful experience.

Real Life Comes First

I know how easy it is to develop a habit of checking social media whenever you have a free moment during the day. What often happens, though, is we get sucked into the scrolling game, and we miss out on little moments that are happening in real life. I know I am guilty of logging on to Instagram just because I can, then I tell my kids to wait while I finish watching stories. This isn’t how it should be. My real life needs to come before my social media life always.

Utilize Timers

Timers are a great way to keep our priorities with social media versus real life in proper order. If I am logging on to social media, I started seting a ten minute timer. This has been a game changer. Furthermore, I will only do purposeful things during this time, like engaging with my community or creating a post. I will only allow myself the treat of mindless scrolling when my kids are asleep.

Consider Your Follow List

Doing regular audits of who you follow is imperative. Do these accounts uplift and encourage you? Do they make you feel hopeful for our world, when the news cycle is so often doom and gloom? Do the lifestyles of the influencers you follow make you feel discontent with your personal life? Are these accounts your following worthy of precious mental space and energy in your mind? These are important things to consider. I typically do a big audit of people and brands I follow a couple of times a year, and it always feels like a weight has been lifted afterwards.

Pause Before Entering the Comment Section

I, personally, don’t think there are very many positives from entering the comment sections on most things. So, before expanding the comments on that account, I would encourage you to really know your motivation. The comment sections, especially on large social media platforms, tend to have a least some sort of trolling. How will reading these things effect you? This applies even more so if you are wanting to actually post a comment. Will commenting add value to this particular community? Did this account ask for your advice or opinion?

Just Keep Scrolling

And that leads me to my last tip. More often than not, just keep scrolling past that thing that irked you. Social media did not exist until I was in college. I’m part of that Oregon Trail generation. I went through my entire adolescence and early adulthood without expressing my opinions on a public platform. Commenting was not even a thing in the early days of social media. So, I say this with love, not everyone needs to know your thoughts and opinions about every single thing. No debates are ever won through social media, but divisiveness is easily fueled. As a Christian, I believe I am called to love first, and sometimes that means keeping my mouth closed on that crazy thing I read or saw on Facebook.

Cultivating a pleasant social media experience takes some intentional effort and self discipline. There’s no denying that. I hope this post encourages you to take a look at not only what you’re consuming on social media, but also what you are producing. If you enjoyed this post, check out this post on having intentional days.

Summer Activities Your Kids Will Love

Summer Activities Your Kids Will Love

I am so excited to share my favorite summer activities my kids absolutely love. Summer is so close, and I am here for it! As the lazy days of summer drag on, we all start looking for new and fun things to keep our kids entertained. Here are some things that my family loves. Click on each picture link to check it out.

Bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles. All of my kids still love bubbles, but we all cry when they spill. So, here are some non-spillage options that we use.

Another low key (aka low mess) water activity my kids love is painting the sidewalk, back porch, house, fence…you get the idea…with just plain water. We have a variety pack of paint brushes like these, and the kids love to explore the different shapes and lines each paint brush makes.

I know these magnetic blocks have been quite popular over the last several years, so I know you know about them. A great summer activity twist is to take them outside and stick them to your garage door. My youngest likes so sort them by shapes, and my older ones like to build 3D sculptures suspended off the metal door.

Last year, I discovered the best alternative of those plastic kiddie pools that are heavy and kill your grass. It’s this outdoor splash pad. You connect your hose and let the good times roll…or splash, ha. But seriously, clean up and storage of this thing is so much better than anything else we’ve tired.

Picnics are always a favorite. This is my new favorite picnic basket. Not only is it insulated and waterproof, it also comes with its own blanket. My kids really want to hit as many parks as possible this summer, so I know we will get a lot of use out of this.

Do your kids like popsicles? Mine do. We like to try out different recipes to make our own. Our favorite is banana and cantelope. I have this popsicle mold. I really like that the molds are not connected to each other.

Summer Activities in Your Area

I know everyone lives in different areas with different opportunities, but I encourage you to check your city’s website for summer resources. We have lived in our current city for three summers, and I am still learning about all my town has to offer. Here are some ideas to look into:

  • Berry Picking
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Day Hiking
  • Outdoor Symphony
  • Explore Parks in Neighboring Cities
  • Creek Stomping
  • Fishing
  • Volunteer for an Animal Sanctuary
  • Drive In Movie
  • Frisbee Golf Course
  • Summer Day Camps
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Goat Yoga
  • Splash Pads and Water Parks
  • Tour a Local Farm (dairy farms are fun and usually end with ice cream)
  • Food Truck Tour
  • Music Festivals
  • 4H Events
  • Horse Back Riding

I hope you found this compilation of summer activities helpful. Share some of your favorite things to do in the summer in the comments below. As always, if you liked this post, please share with your friends. You can also subscribe to my email list to get posts sent straight to your inbox.

Simple Self Care Tips for Busy Moms

Simple Self Care Tips for Busy Moms

Hey there, mama. I am so glad you’re here. Today, I am excited to share with you some really easy and simple self care tips for you to incorporate into your daily life. I have been a stay at home mom for nearly eight and a half years now. With three kids under my care, I can tell you that there are seasons of thriving and seasons of surviving. You can read here on why I am passionate about self care, as well as why I feel so strongly about having appropriate and realistic expectations of ourselves. But now I want to give you some simple tips on how to implement self care into your daily routine. And no, I’m not going to tell you to wake up an hour early every day. Sleep wins in my house, always and forever.

Drink Your Coffee Hot

I know you’re rolling your eyes right now. I know how hard it is to finish a cup of coffee with littles running around, especially while it’s still hot. Reheat that cup, mama. Reheat it as many times as you need to. Make a fresh pot even. Drink your coffee hot. There is something comforting about a hot cup of coffee. Drinking lukewarm coffee makes you feel blah, and no one wants to start the day off felling blah. To level up, drink that morning happy bean juice from a special mug. I really like this one with a verse from the book of Proverbs. Whatever mug you use, let it be one that inspires you and motivates you.

Get Dressed

I know. Pandemic life made daily pajamas socially acceptable. But think about how you feel when you put on real clothes versus your sweats. I know for me, I always have a little more pep in my step if I’ve gotten dressed for the day. I’m not saying get glammed up when you’re spending your day at home with a baby and toddler. My point is to make an effort. Sometimes I prefer a hoodie to a sweater. I really enjoy make up, so I wear it just about every day. You might be more of a moisturizer and mascara only girl, and that is okay. But spending ten minutes in the morning tending to yourself can really help you feel refreshed for your day.

A Special Afternoon Snack

The house is finally quiet, and the babies are napping. I know you have a never ending list of chores to get done before they wake up. But hear me on this, that never ending chore list will actually never end. There will always be something else to do. Take 30 minutes. Fix a favorite snack, you know, the snack you keep hidden from the kids in the back of the pantry or that random cabinet. Then, put on a show that doesn’t have J.J. or Mickey Mouse as a main character, and just relax. I promise the day will not fall apart while you take these 30 minutes for yourself. My favorite afternoon snack when my middle child was a baby was a glass of Prosecco and chocolate chips. Yep, it sure was. And while, of course, I’m not advocating for being irresponsible, and I really don’t like this wine mom culture that has become prevalent over the last couple of years – that glass of bubbly and chocolate made me feel fancy and fun when my days felt pretty mundane. My go to afternoon snack these days is a cup of black tea and (again) some sort of chocolate.

Move Your Body

I will confess that exercise was not something I was very good at maintaining during the years when my kids were babies. However, having a fulfilling exercise routine now, it makes me wish that I had made my physical fitness more of a priority sooner. It’s one of my regrets of those early years. Mama, you are worth it. Even if you are taking five minutes at the end of the day to just stretch, it will help you to unwind and recharge. Now that the weather is turning, I really encourage you to get outside and move your body. Maybe that means going for a walk or playing with your kids in the backyard. What ever it is, work up a sweat every now and then. I promise you will be glad you did. And if you’re looking for great at home workouts, I really like Blogilates.

Write It Down

Journaling has so many benefits. For me, I find journaling really helpful for processing life. It’s not something I consistently do, but whenever I am in a season of survival mode, journaling is what gets me through. Writing out all the things gets them out of your head and on to the paper instead. It helps you think and process those challenging times in a more objective manner. Journaling is also a wonderful way to keep track of your prayers and/or meditations. If you want to explore journaling from a Christian perspective, I love these Write the Word journals. I am currently working through the one on worship.

End Your Day With a Hot Bath

I am convinced that people who say they are not “bath people” haven’t actually given daily baths a chance. If you know me in real life, you know that I deem my nightly bath essential to my mental health. I say that with all sincerity. Soaking in that magnificent hot water relaxes my body and allows the daily stressors to melt away. Sometimes I make it a fancy bath with bubbles and a candle. But most of the time it’s not. My husband and children know not to come near the bathroom door while I’m taking my bath. A quiet bath centers my introverted and often touched out self. Give it a chance. I even turn my husband into a bath person.

Often when we think of self care, we think of these grand excursions like spa day or girls’ trip. However, I have found self care to be more effective when you can do little things for yourself throughout the day. It’s also important to communicate with your person about what your needs are. Having a self care routine reminds yourself that you are worthy, lovely, and called to the season you’re in. That season might feel like thriving or it might feel like you’re barely surviving. Either way, I hope these self care tips help you feel loved, because you are!

If you’re looking for some extra pampering, check out these products.

Menu Planning Made Simple

Menu Planning Made Simple

Menu planning is one of those things you know you should be doing. It’s good for your health, finances, and family bonding around the kitchen table. But it can also be overwhelming and feel complicated. Here are my steps for straight forward menu planning that will make things simple, effective, and easy to stick to.

Pick a Day to Menu Plan

If you haven’t pick up on my style yet, or if you’re new around Intentionally Well (welcome!), know that I like a good routine. Therefore, my first tip is to pick a day of the week to plan meals for the following week. I prefer weekly meal planning, but you can also tailor these tips towards menu planning once a month. The day you choose should be the day before you would typically grocery shop. This allows you to take advantage of any sales going on at your store (full disclosure – I’m not a coupon clipping person). Weekly menu planning also allows you to incorporate lots of fresh produce into your meals, which has a shorter shelf life.

Check Your Weekly Schedule

Knowing your weekly schedule is so important. If your kids have sports or other activities two afternoons a week, then you might not want to plan a full made from scratch meal that night (our go to quick meal is breakfast for dinner). This is why having a planner where you can keep everything in one place is so essential to keeping things intentional in your life. I use this one. Flying by the seat of your pants is overrated, am I right?

Shop Your Pantry

This was a tip a friend shared with me years ago, and it is a game changer when trying to stick to a budget. Look at what’s in your pantry and refrigerator first. Can you make any meals with what you already have? Likely, the answer is yes. Shopping your pantry first will enable you to cycle through pantry staples on a consistent basis as well as cut down on food waste.

Check the Weather

I know. This step is kind of out of left field for you. Checking the weather for the week is a great way to bring just a touch more intentionality to your meals. For example, if it’s chilly outside, then it might be more appropriate to have a cozy soup for dinner instead of salads. You also don’t want to plan to grill hamburgers outside, only to be caught in a down pour.

Make It Themed

Assigning each day of the week a meal theme can make choosing recipes less overwhelming. For example, Monday: vegetarian, Tuesday: tacos, Wednesday: Pasta, and so on. I find using this loose schedule makes menu more streamlined and less mentally taxing. I know, in theory, menu planning shouldn’t be mentally taxing. But, you know it can be. Sometimes it’s just plain annoying to be in charge of what all your people are going to eat.

Developing a menu planning habit can be a game changer for you and your family. I hope these tips and tricks help you to start and keep at it. What are some of your favorite family meals? Let me know in the comments below. As always, share this post with your friends if you enjoyed it!

The Best Advice for Raising Well-Adjusted Children

The Best Advice for Raising Well-Adjusted Children

This post is by guest contributor Kristin Louis from Parenting with Kris

Parenting advice is everywhere these days, and shaping children into happy, well-adjusted members of society is a tough job. It’s easy to get caught up on particular facets of parenting, such as discipline, and lose sight of all the other ways you can raise children who thrive in school, work, and life. Whether your kids are toddlers, teens, or any age in between, check out the following resources for help raising children who are well-behaved, emotionally stable, and equipped with the skills they need for success.

Advice on The Importance of Routines

Routines help children feel grounded and in control. Set a schedule for your mornings, mealtimes, and bedtimes so your kids know what to expect.

12 Tips to Master Your Kids’ Morning Routine and Eliminate Stress by Nicole Spector

Best Ways to Help Children Fall Asleep at Nap Time

Creating a Night Routine for Your Family

Advice on Setting Boundaries

Establishing firm rules and boundaries—without sacrificing respect—can help your children learn to self-regulate their behavior.

How to Set Limits for Kids Without Harshness, Fear or Shame by Sarah MacLaughlin, LSW

Using Praise to Encourage Good Behaviors by Amy Morin, LCSW

Rules For Kids That Parents Should Follow by Sherry Parnell

Advice on How to Support Learning

As a parent, your actions have a significant influence on your children’s academic progress. There are plenty of ways to support learning at home!

Strategic Ways to Use YouTube in Your Homeschooling by Emily Sewell

7 Educational and Entertaining Activities for Young Kids

101 Reasons That Video Games Can Be Educational

Upgrade Your Internet for the Best Game-Playing Experience

Advice for Building Problem-Solving Skills

Raise confident, problem-solving kids by giving them the tools they need to figure things out on their own.

5 Reasons to Let Children Make Their Own Decisions by Ken Myers

Why You Should Let Your Child Fail: The Benefits of Natural Consequences by James Lehman, MSW

It’s common for parents to worry about whether they’re doing everything right. Just remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect parent! The most important thing is to be there for your children through every age and stage of development, offering gentle guidance and allowing your kids to take the reins once in a while. Do what you can to provide a happy and supportive home environment, and your kids are sure to thrive.

I hope you found this parenting advice round up helpful. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given since becoming a parent? What’s the worst? Let me know in the comments below. If you found this post helpful, share it with your friends!