Mrs. Field’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mrs. Field’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t know if these are actual Mrs. Field’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or not. My guess is they were probably some kind of dupe from the nineties. But my family has been making this cookies for as long as I can remember, and we always call them Mrs. Fields cookies. So, thank you Mrs. Fields for giving me my most favorite cookies that I now get to share with my family. We enjoy eating these cookies during our homeschool tea time.

Freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Mrs. Fields Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 12oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4oz milk chocolate chips

First, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Next, combine remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until ingredients are fully combined. Finally add as many chocolate chips as your heart desires. Spoon golf ball size cookies onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.

This recipe makes a lot. I like to flash freeze golf ball sized servings of cookie dough to keep in the freezer. To do this, spoon cookie dough on to a cookie sheet,. Next, place cookie sheet in the freezer for 1 hour. Store cookie dough balls in a gallon zip-loc bag, and bake whenever you feel the desire for fresh Mrs. Field’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Always Be Prepared for an Easy Last Minute Dinner

Always Be Prepared for an Easy Last Minute Dinner

It is inevitable that at some point we will need an easy last minute dinner. Even if you have mastered the art of menu planning, life happens. When I became a stay at home mom, almost a decade ago, I had aspirations of preparing a beautiful dinner from scratch every night. Ha! Friend, that is not real life. We get tired, forget something at the grocery store, we lose track of time playing with the kids. Sometimes we simply don’t want to cook. All of these are valid reasons for needing a plan B for an easy last minute dinner.

Pantry Staples

Having a stocked pantry makes throwing dinner together really pretty easy. For the record, I view a successful meal as one that includes the main macronutrients of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Also, my picky children have to actually eat the meal for it to be successful. Here is a list of things I always have on hand:

  • brown rice
  • lentil or chickpea pasta
  • instant macaroni and cheese
  • cereal
  • oatmeal
  • jarred marinara sauce
  • eggs
  • cheese
  • ranch dressing
  • hummus
  • frozen chicken nuggets
  • frozen fish sticks
  • frozen salmon filets
  • frozen vegetables (broccoli, peas, whatever you like)

As you can see, cooking with these pantry staples would create a an easy dinner without much forethought. There is nothing wrong with the occasional cereal night with a side of fruit. Or instant mac and cheese with chicken nuggets. I mean, those are probably already your kids’ favorite meals!

Freezer Meals

Another way to be prepared for last minute dinners is to utilize freezer meals. This take more forethought and planning, but that effort has a big return. If your time and budget allows, I would really encourage you to take a Saturday and prepare several meals to immediately freeze. Here is a great list of 51 freezer meals from Imperfectly Happy Home. If stocking the freezer all at once doesn’t work for your family, that’s ok! You can still double recipes and freeze left overs. I tend to keep spaghetti sauce, shepherd’s pie, left over soups, and things like that ready to go in my freezer. I really like using these disposable containers to freeze meals in. They are individual serving size, which prompts me to save even just a lunch portion.

Snack Dinners

Finally, I have saved the best for last. Yes, the art of snack dinners. This is probably my favorite easy last minute dinner idea because it involves zero cooking. And let’s face it, we all have nights when we loathe the idea of cooking. Go to your kids’ snack shelf and start unwrapping. There is no shame, mama. I fully believe you have the snacks available to make a well rounded dinner for your child. A snack dinner for my kids usually looks like this: a Larabar, whatever fruit we have, carrots with hummus, and some sort of chip or cracker. Boom. Done. Additionally, if you use paper plates, then you actually have zero clean up. It’s literally the best on nights when you just can’t.

Having the expectation that we will always be able to cook from scratch is unrealistic and sets us up for failure. Some days we are extra tired, sick, or maybe we are busy with extracurricular activities. Whatever it is, we don’t have to be caught off guard. Being prepared for the unexpected saves our sanity as well as our budget (take out is expensive!). What are some methods you have used to throw together dinner? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to subscribe and share with your friends!

Developing a Cleaning Routine You’ll Actually Stick To

Developing a Cleaning Routine You’ll Actually Stick To

Developing a cleaning routine is one of those things that homemakers are supposed innately know how to do. Am I right? But what if you hate cleaning? I think people either get the cleaning gene or the cooking gene, but it’s never both. One is always so much harder than the other. If you’re like me, then that’s cleaning. So, here are my best and most practical tips on developing a cleaning routine that works.

Clarify Your Expectations

First, you need to set appropriate expectations. What does a clean home mean to you? Tidiness is different from person to person and from parenting season to parenting season. I have more of an expectation of myself and my children now that everyone is out of the baby and toddler stages. However, my expectations are not equal to a family who has teenagers. My children are very much in the toy years. There are toys actively being played with all over my house at all times. There is currently a pretend golf course in our playroom.

I don’t expect my floors to be perfectly picked up every single day. If I did, then I would be correcting and scolding my children constantly. No one wants that! Instead, I have my kids do a big clean up of all their toys once a week. Otherwise, I just ask them to clean up toys in the common rooms. The toy years is a season of childhood, and that is where we are at right now. I do, however, have a schedule that focuses on deep cleaning one room per day that I try to stick to. But, I give myself grace when I inevitably don’t get to it all every day.

How Much Time Do You Want to Devote to Cleaning?

The second thing you need to consider when developing a cleaning routine is how much time you can reasonably and sanely devote to cleaning. Reasonably and sanely are key words here. Years and years ago when I was home with a new baby and a toddler, we had to have a plumber come to the house because we had a leaking pipe. I would *always* tidy up before anyone would come over. He unexpectedly had to go into my closet to access the shower. I hadn’t tidied my room, much less my closet. I was mortified, and I apologized several times. He turned to me and said, “It’s okay. I use my house too.” Friend! Let me tell you. That plumber set me free.

I love the idea of a perfectly clean home, but that is not practical when I am home all day with my children. We use our home. And what a blessing that is! What works for us is doing a pick up after breakfast before starting school. We do another pick up before rest time, as the school day is coming to a close. Lastly, I do a pick up of the living room (usually it’s just the kid’s cups and maybe a random dinosaur or two) at the end of the day after the children have gone to bed. Additionally, as I mentioned above, I try to do a deeper clean of one room each day. This works for us in the season we are in.

Get the Kids Involved

Finally, developing a cleaning routine became a lot easier when my kids were able to effectively participate. My seven and nine year olds have chores they must complete before we start school. These include things like unloading the dishwasher, giving food and water to the pets, getting themselves ready for the day, clearing breakfast dishes, and so on. Because my four year old falls under the neurodivergent umbrella, he is working on other skills during morning chore time. However, when it is appropriate, he will have his own checklist each day as well. He is my little laundry helper, though. Here is a good post sharing ideas for kid chores based on ages. You can find chore ideas for kids all over the internet. Don’t feel overwhelmed by these (beware the comparison game!). These are all just ideas. Pick and choose what works for you and your family.

I want to know! Do you have a cleaning routine? Share in the comments below to give others ideas and inspiration. If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and sign up for my email list on the side bar so you don’t miss anything going on with Intentionally Well.

Guest Post: Raising a Toddler by Chrissy Lyons

Guest Post: Raising a Toddler by Chrissy Lyons

Hi there. I’m Chrissy from www.lyonessandcub.com. Today, I’ll tell you about how I am raising a toddler. My Lyons Cub. He’ll be four in two months, so toddlerdom lies behind us now, and I congratulate myself on my preschooler.

All of you who have toddlers will know them—the terrible 2’s and even 3’s. I once had the faintest hope it would get better at the age of three, but no such luck… I had the chillest baby you could possibly imagine: Leander was so laid back; he hardly ever cried (maybe he didn’t have the strength, because he was born a preemie with IUGR, weighing only 3 lbs and spending the first three weeks of his life in the NICU). He didn’t suffer from colic or reflux, slept through the night most of the time, was friendly towards strangers, and smiled and giggled a lot. My friends told me back then that the sweetest babies make the wildest toddlers. They would be right…

Picky Eaters: Baking with Your Toddler to Stimulate Their Appetite

My son needed fortified breast milk to gain extra calories. So, I became an exclusive pumper, feeding him every three hours, including at night, for the first year of his life. This was tough, but we made it (and I rewarded myself with beautiful breast milk jewelry). I even used a pumping app to keep track of my daily output and his daily input. When my son turned five months old, we started with baby food. From the mom forums and blogs I was on, I heard about baby-led weaning and wanted to try it. However, my son mostly just smashed his food and played with it on his high chair. He seemed to enjoy the sensory play, but he also gagged and spat out a lot. So, I often wondered how much really went into his tummy. He gained a little weight, though, and reached the normal growth when he was nine months old.

Eventually, he developed into a picky eater, still loving his milk (we used Holle goat milk after he was one year of age). He preferred fruit and rice puffs to meat and veggies. I soon noticed when he was allowed to help prepare the food, he seemed hungrier and more eager to eat. Specifically, he liked to bake brownies, cookies, and cake. Although it was quite messy, I baked with my toddler whenever I got a chance. We used the floor to have a large space where he couldn’t fall or drop anything (no worries, I cleaned thoroughly before and after!). I remember the fun he had when he baked a Very Hungry Caterpillar cake with a mold I had found at ALDI’s. For Christmas, we build a gingerbread house every year, which is my German family’s tradition. He can hardly wait to pluck the candy off it!

Montessori Education: Child-Centered with Freedom of Choice

Although it was quite expensive, I chose Montessori education for my son. When he was 18 months old, he joined Amare Montessori. The children had “directresses” (you don’t call them “teachers” in Montessori language) who helped him help himself. That means he dressed himself proudly (and sometimes came home wearing his pants back to the front and his shoes on the wrong feet), harvested his own tomatoes, and prepared his own salad. The children flourish in a prepared environment with child-sized shelves full of beautiful Montessori materials they could choose from freely to satisfy their inner teacher. They also had a big garden to grow flowers and vegetables, with outdoor musical instruments hanging on a wooden fence, sticks for building tents, and mud kitchens.

Being outside in nature is emphasized strongly in Montessori education. Some kindergartens even have animals, so the children learn to care for them and cherish them (my son got to experience and to feed his aunt’s chickens). His little tasks were called “work.: Every day I received a short, written report with successes like, “he did the banana cutting work today,” or “he did the orange peeling work.” One day, I read, chuckling, “Leander painted a lot today, including himself.” That was true! I had a “Blue Boy” like the one from Picasso when I went to pick him up. He became very self-efficient as a consequence of this educational philosophy. However, the downside turned out to be that he doesn’t like my explaining and showing things to him; he wants to explore them by himself and doesn’t listen. We are still working on “following directions.”  

Since I had become widowed unexpectedly during the year I was pregnant after our IVF journey, I needed a nanny to have support with my baby while I was working full time. Luckily, I found a great nanny through care.com, who was on board with me to raise Leander the Montessori Way. Her husband helped me build a Montessori house bed for my son, and I got a Pikler triangle, arch, and ramp from Etsy. Initially behind with gross and fine motor skills and needing Early Intervention, my son developed into a fast, sportive, strong boy who loves hiking through the forest and going swimming.

Outdoor Activities for Extremely Active Toddlers

This leads me to the next point—what to do with overactive, never tired toddlers, who seem to have everlasting energy? This is one tired mommy!! (Well, I have as excuse that I am “AMA,” or “advanced maternal age” or a “geriatric mom,” meaning a mommy over 35.) My son is now high maintenance, as he needs constant entertainment. When we are inside, we often play the piano, as I educate my son with classical music (his late daddy was a professional pianist and composer). He also loves to build with LEGOs and Duplos and to create elaborate race tracks for his battery-powered cars.

As nice as it is to play indoors with playdough, clay, marble runs, etc., he cannot stay cooped up for long. He gets cabin fever. I am a little hyperactive myself. The best thing for us is to get out of our four walls, breathe fresh air, run around on a green meadow, and play in the park. We are lucky to have great parks in our neighborhood. One has awesome climbing animals to explore with children, as well as a training parcours (developed for seniors, but enjoyed by the kids of the area) with lots of exercisers like a huge outdoor gym. We spent many summer afternoons there with grandma.  

One of the highlights for my son is the animal park, where he gets to pet and feed alpacas, deer, goats, sheep, and watch otters, porcupines, seagulls, owls, and plenty of other animals. There are vending machines for pelleted animal food, because the visitors are not allowed to bring their own food. My son has lots of fun letting the goats and sheep eat the pellets of his hand. There are educational boards everywhere that talk about the animals, what they eat, how they live, what sounds they make, and other curiosities. When it gets too much for my son, he enjoys the big playground with the tire swings and the climbing tower.  

We also have a zoo close by, where Leander got to admire pelicans, deer pigs, elephants, a brown bear, macaws, penguins, seals, etc. At home, we read up on those animals and answer his questions. We also watch them on YouTube, so he can learn more about them.

Bilingual Education

My son was born in Clarksville, TN. We moved to Germany in 2020 due to the pandemic, to be close to my relatives. If you are a mixed family like ours, use this wonderful opportunity to raise your child bilingually. It will be beneficial to him/her in school and later in the job market. My son speaks German and English, and for an almost four-year-old, he has a great vocabulary and sentence structure. I spoke German to him from the beginning, and his nanny and the directresses and kids in kindergarten spoke English, of course.

Additionally, we read a lot of books together. Reading to your child is so important! Every evening, he goes to bed with one German and one English book. His favorite books at the moment are those that deal with hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, or the solar system, and he also likes The Pout-Pout Fish series, Der Grüffelo (The Gruffalo), Wo die wilden Kerle wohnen (Where the Wild Things Are), Der Tag, an dem Louis gefressen wurde (The Day Louis Got Eaten), and Peter und der Wolf (Peter and the Wolf). Grandma speaks only German. We Skyped with her almost daily, so he got used to talking to her in German even before he met her in person. He grows up with songs and games in both languages. If you feel inclined to learn German from a toddler, check Leander out saying, “Stoffel stolpert über einen Stein.” That’s a tongue twister. Good luck!!!

The Best Gifts for Your ADHD Child

The Best Gifts for Your ADHD Child

Below is a list of what I believe will be wonderful gifts for an ADHD child. As a mom of two ADHD children, I know shopping for holiday presents can be overwhelming. I hope you find this gift guide helpful in narrowing down your search. This post contains affiliate links, which helps support my time and effort. Happy shopping!

This fidget set is great if your child likes variety, or you’re more sure what kind of fidget would be helpful for them. We have these set up as a fidget station in our homeschool room.

This vibrating cushion is wonderful for proprioception and sensory input. My kids really enjoyed it when they were feeling unregulated. I like this one because it is a little bit bigger than some of the others, and it is easy to clean.

Hoverboards are just plain fun. They are also helpful in developing coordination and balance. This particular hoverboard connects to bluetooth, so your child can enjoy music or audiobooks while they cruise around. It also comes in a variety of colors.

My kids LOVE soft blankets. This might be the coziest weighted blanket I could find, and I am definitely adding it to my cart. The stitching ensures equal weight distribution, which I appreciate. As a general rule, you want your weighted blanket to be about 10% of the users total weight.

My kids love figuring out how things work. I feel like a set of gears is a great way to do just that. I like this set because there are plenty of pieces for multiple children to play with at the same time, and it comes with its own storage container.

My kids found this ball in a Sunday school room at our church, and they are obsessed! This ball has some weight to it, but it is also soft and squishy. I plan to order 3, so each of my children has their own. 

An oldie but a goodie. Jump ropes are going into stockings at our house this year. 

Hues and Cues is a favorite board game in our house. It is designed to be played by the whole family, regardless of age. My favorite aspect is the game encourages the players to root for each other’s success. 

This book is actually part of our homeschool materials, but it is WONDERFUL. It has helped my four year old learn to take deep breaths when upset, which you know is an extremely helpful skill.

Legos. All the Legos. This is a great little starter set and includes an instruction booklet to make a variety of things. Plus you can use the container as storage.

This is a beginning chapter book series that my girls love. The illustrations are bright and colorful, which really helps keep their attention.

For your aspiring artist. This light up tracing pad is perfect for kids who are learning how to draw or who need some extra fine motor skills practice.

I loved this thing as a kid. This is a great gift for an ADHD child, because it gives some vestibular stimulation.

Tools AND dinosaurs? What more could a kid need? This is definitely on my four year old’s list.

Here are some other great websites to check out:

Kid Made Modern

Green Craft Kids

Montessorri Services

Epic!

You can also check out my gift guide from last year here.

There you have it! Great gifts for your ADHD child this holiday season. What toys and activities have your ADHD children loved? Tell us about them in the comments below. Happy Holidays!

Soup Recipe Round Up

Soup Recipe Round Up

Cozy weather is quickly upon us, and I have your soup recipe round up right here for you. There is no need for you to sort through hundreds of pins or links, because I’ve already done it for you. Whether it’s miso, minestrone, or chicken tortilla, I’ve got you covered. I am also including a family favorite of ours – Santa Fe Soup. So put that crusty bread in the oven and let’s get cooking! Below you will find the top 20 soup recipes for all those chilly days.

  1. Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
  2. Lentil Soup with Sausage
  3. Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup with Roasted Mushrooms
  4. Autumn Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup
  5. Classic Minestone Soup
  6. Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
  7. Slow Cooker Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup
  8. Instant Pot Acorn Squash Soup
  9. Thai Hot and Spicy Broth
  10. Miso Soup
  11. Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
  12. Slow Cooker Chili
  13. Simple Seafood Bisque
  14. Classic French Onion Soup with Red Wine
  15. Potato Leek Soup
  16. Butternut Squash Soup
  17. Cabbage Soup
  18. Taco Soup
  19. Brie and Cheddar Apple Beer Soup
  20. Santa Fe Soup (see my own recipe below)

The following soup recipe is our go to comfort food on a chilly night. It’s so easy. You basically just dump all the ingredients together. You cannot mess this soup up. Also, I’m not sure why it’s called Santa Fe Soup. I’ve never been to Santa Fe, but I hope the people there would enjoy my take on their soup. I hope you enjoy it too!

Santa Fe Soup

3 cans any beans you like. I use 2 cans on pinto and 1 black bean

1 can diced tomatoes

1 large can crushed tomatoes

1 onion

1 bag frozen corn

1lb. ground turkey

1 packet of dry ranch seasoning

Chili powder, salt, and pepper. Let your heart tell you how much.

Sauté onion in olive oil and then brown the meat. Combine the remainder of ingredients. Do not drain beans. Simmer for at least 30 min. Enjoy topped with your favorite shredded cheese and sour cream.

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.

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!

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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!