Top Ten Most Read Posts for 2016

,

I get a kick looking at the past year. I like those little videos Facebook makes to capture your year. I enjoy seeing the most liked posts of my friends on Instagram. Even though, if I think about it too much, it’s a little creepy, I still like to reminisce about the past year.

And for my Only a Season Mamas, I love seeing what you guys kept coming back for on our site to get your mom tip fix. I love being surprised too! Sometimes I see a post pop up as most read for the week and I’m like “Whoa! That’s from last year!”

So reminiscing is fun for me and I hope it gives you an opportunity to look around the site a little more to see if there’s a tip or some advice you can use right now, in your mom life today.

Let’s take a look at what you’ve been reading at Only a Season this year!

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are always my own. Full disclosure here.

Most Read Posts by Moms looking for mom tips! Most read posts by moms in 2016.

 

10. Can I Just Take a Minute and Talk about Some Awesome Mom Bloggers?
I love that this post made it to the top ten list! I have made some amazing online friendships and I am so glad that many of you mamas out there stopped by to read about these amazing ladies to help support you in your mom journey!

9. Why I Don’t Shop at Gap Anymore
This post has been one of my most popular throughout the year. As I talk about my transition to being a SAHM, many of you mamas out there, whether you work away from home or at home or both! you felt like you could connect with my sort of identity crisis during that transition and The Gap.

8. What It’s Like to Grieve without God
This is one of my faith-based posts where I talk about the loss of my mother this past year. I had originally published it on Only a Season but eventually started another blog and moved it over to there. Nonetheless, it seems that grief unites many of us in many ways, no matter the journey we’re on with it. If you’ve lost someone you love and you struggle with God and grief, then this post may be for you.

7. Five Freezable Baby-led Weaning Breakfast Ideas
Apparently many of us mamas are looking for quick breakfast ideas that we can pull out of the freezer in the mornings! My son is well beyond the weaning process but we absolutely LOVE these recipes and the handiness they bring to our early, busy mornings!

6. Which Wonder Week Was the Worst for You?
So yah, you are NOT ALONE in wondering what the heck is wrong with your baby and then find out that there’s a Wonder Week for that! I remember times when Bubby would be crying or waking for what seemed like no reason and then BAM, it was a Wonder Week. Check out the survey from other moms and see what was their worst Wonder Week!

5. Four Healthy Snack Alternatives for Your Toddler
I’m thinking that food may be a common theme for many of us moms as we are searching for tips to help us thrive as we parent our little ones! From Universal Meltdown Hour to the screaming baby in the grocery store, these handy snacks will make you feel good about what you’re giving your little to snack on during the day.


4. Five Items Under $20 Your Kitchen Needs
And here we are, another food related post that we all seem to want tips on. ALL of these items are in my kitchen and I absolutely love being able to grab them when I’m whipping us up something to eat. These are great deals and they will last in your kitchen for a good amount of time too! Check them out here!

3. 20+ Tips from Real Moms for When You Have a Toddler and a Newborn
There’s strength in numbers. And that means when you have more than one kid, they outnumber you when you’re home with them all day. But it also means when you receive tips from other moms who have been where you are, then you find strength in their advice, knowing you WILL survive. This post came out only a couple of months ago and it is the third most read post on the site this year. That tells you something, Mamas.

2. 45 Daily Activities to with Your Toddler (12-18 months old)
I remember being inspired to write this post when I found myself constantly scrambling during playtime with Bubby. I finally decided to make a list and then it dawned on me that other moms could use this list too! Apparently many of you feel the same way, making this the second most read post on Only a Season. This post is also one of my higher pinned posts too. For someone who still has a young blog, that’s pretty exciting! 🙂

1. How to Transition Baby from a Rock n’ Play to the Crib
It was late in the night and I started Googling “how to transition from the rock n play to the crib” and the results were pitiful, like there was hardly anything out there to help me figure out how to get Bubby to sleep in his crib. I scoured Pinterest but came up empty handed. So I used some of the principles for nap transitions and viola! I got Bubby to transition sleeping in the Rock n’ Play to the crib. And many of you mamas out there faced the same dilemma, making this the most read, most searched post on Only a Season. And what’s better yet about this post, is if you have a friend who may be going through a similar battle, you can refer them to the post! Whoot!

JOIN THE TRIBE!
There you have it, ladies! I would love to hear any thoughts you might have on other posts we’ve had here that encouraged you! Tell us below! If you’re interested in getting posts like this sent directly to your inbox, check out our Mom Tribe so you never miss a post!

I look so forward to 2017 and what it will bring to us Only a Season Mamas!
Cheers!
Glo

Mistakes to Avoid This Thanksgiving

,

Ladies, as the holidays approach, I can’t help but have the biggest bag of mixed emotions stirring around. I absolutely love this time of year and will admit that I struggle to keep the Christmas decorations put away until after Thanksgiving! Ah!

In fact, sometimes I get so excited thinking about Christmas and the family traditions that I let Thanksgiving creep up on me. I find that I let myself get easily stressed or overworked and feel just plain exhausted when I hit the mattress after a day full of turkey and family.

This year I plan to be proactive and self-aware of what stresses me out or what might bring conflict about this time of year. Here are my quick, some serious and some fun tips for you to avoid.

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and end up buying something, I get a small small commission to keep up my coffee and writing addiction. Thanks Mama!

 

mistakesthanksgivingpin

Keep Talk about Politics at Bay (if it’s going to cause strife, for sure!)
I have had several friends mention to me that they are worried about Thanksgiving this year because they know political beliefs are at what seem to be an all time clash this election. If you know that one mention of the election will send your Uncle Bob into a frenzy and possibly ruin the day, then leave the strife stirrer at the door and focus on connecting with your family on a deeper level. Is it really worth it?

Don’t Turn Into a Martha Too Much
I can’t help but think of Martha this time of year. If you’re unfamiliar with who she was, then take a quick look in the Bible in the book of Luke, chapter 10. Martha was so worried about cooking, keeping things in order and running that she overlooked the powerful affect of just relaxing as the hostess and connecting with her guests (particularly Jesus!). It’s a powerful story about not letting the stress of hostess take away the joy that can be found this time of year and by fellowshipping with your guests.

If Grief is knocking, don’t be afraid to let it flow and have grace with others.
This will be our first series of holidays without our mother this year. I am part of a big family with six kids total and my mother had 14 grandchildren. It will be impossible not to think of Mama and all the memories around this time of year. Shoot, I’ve been thinking about it already. One thing I’ve learned with my family through our grieving process is that we all grieve in different ways and at a different pace. Remember to stay sensitive to each other’s needs and don’t be afraid to remember together either, no matter the loss you’ve experienced. Sometimes remembering brings healing.

When Hosting, Devise a Plan for Leftovers
I think more often than not, we overcook for Thanksgiving and then have an abundance of leftovers. If this seems to be the case for you, take a quick minute and do a Pinterest search on how to make more meals out of Thanksgiving leftovers. Or better yet, buy some easy aluminum foil pans and send home food with your family and friends. OR EVEN BETTER, if ya’ll hang around the rest of day, have it for more eating later in the day! Whatever the case, don’t forget about this part of the day and take a few minutes to plan it out so you can have one less thing to worry about as the day settles down.

Better yet, when hosting, don’t be afraid to let go of some control…eeeek!
This might mean using paper plates! Or maybe delegating who brings what. With my big family we delegate who makes what dish and then everyone chips in. Or maybe you have family who love to help in the kitchen. If you’re like me and you like to control everything (Yes, Hello, I’m Gloryanna and I’m a Controller) then use this as an opportunity to let go of that control and let others help and participate in the day with you. It might not look like how you would’ve have done it, but you also may find you’re less exhausted and tired and stressed during the day! Tap into other strengths in your family and friends and let them operate in those as they help with the day!

Last but not least–Tight Pants
This may seem like a no brainer and silly to mention but SERIOUSLY, more times than I not, I have this cute pair of pants that would look great with this festive top I have and I talk myself into wearing those cute pants that aren’t the most comfortable. You don’t have to leave fashion at the door to be comfortable. Just think twice before you pack your bags or travel to see family. I’m going with the big, chunky sweater and leggings (after all, this is the pregnant mom’s staple fashion trend 😉 ) If you’re comfortable, then you can spend less time thinking about how uncomfortable you are and be present with those around you.

Alrighty, what do you think? What would you add to our list? I know there are so many things we could have also covered here.

Let us know below in the comments! And don’t forget to pass the word along if you want to remind others too!
Peace,
Glo

Four Healthy Snack Alternatives for Your Toddler

, ,

Bubby is screaming at the store because he’s hungry. My errands ran later than I planned and here we are: a starving toddler on the brink of total meltdown. I am a parent who will give him a snack to hold him over until our late dinner. My problem is that I need a healthy snack that I can whip out of my purse in the middle of the grocery store. While I personally love vanilla flavored puffs and Cheez Its, I know I can’t feed my toddler these kinds of snacks every day, all day. Do you feel me?

(This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through then I may get a small commission to aid in my coffee and writing addiction. Thanks 🙂

fourhealthysnackalternativesfortoddler

I needed a mom hack. I needed some tips to handle the hungry toddler at the doctor’s office. I needed to keep my sanity  to avoid universal-toddler-meldown-hour at 5:30 PM.  I decided to take matters into my hands and figure out a way to make some healthy snack alternatives for my toddler. Ladies, I give you FIVE HEALTHY SNACK ALTERNATIVES FOR YOUR TODDLER. You’re welcome 🙂

 

Frozen Sweet Potatoes

You might be thinking, huh? but yes, these healthy, frozen sweet potatoes will quiet your toddler in no time during universal-meltdown-hour, while you’re trying to get dinner on the table. What I like about these is that I would serve these as a side dish anyways with dinner and they are healthier than mashed potatoes! So how does this work?

Buy your sweet potatoes in bulk. Wash them and cut them up in cubes like so.
img_0026

Leave the skin on them and boil them in water as if you were cooking mashed potatoes. Depending on the size of your batch, this will take about 3o minutes. You don’t want them to get toooooo mushy, so keep an eye on them. Once they are done boiling and softish, I gently, and I mean gently, toss them in a little butter and cinnamon.

Then I lay them on some cookies sheets (using my silicone baking sheets which I LOVE and easily keeps them from sticking to the pan!) and put them in the freezer until they are hard.
img_0032Once they’re frozen, put them in a freezer safe bag. When it’s time for snack time, zap in the microwave, covered by a napkin for about 1min-1min30sec. The skin peels right off! Voila!

Homemade Nutrient Packed Bites (Puffs but for toddlers!)

These bites are awesome because they have a sneaky super veggie in them and your toddler wont even notice. Plus, I get tired of seeing rice and corn as an ingredient in our snacks, so I like the oatmeal alternative. Perfect to keep on hand in your purse or pull out of the freezer to keep in your bag as you run errands.
INGREDIENTS:
1 c baby oatmeal (yes, I know toddlers are pass this, but it helps with consistency)
1 T oil (I prefer coconut for healthier reasons)
2-3 Tablespoons of applesauce
1/2 cup of spinach
1 Tablespoon of milled Flaxseed
2 egg whites
1 t baking powder
2-3 Tablespoons of water if you need it for consistency

INSTRUCTIONS: Get your oven preheated to 350 degrees. I recommend blending the spinach, applesauce, and flaxseed first. In mixing bowl, combine the oatmeal and baking powder with the egg whites. Then add your blended ingredients to the mixing bowl. Feel free to add cinnamon too!

TO BAKE: I would put your mixture into a Ziploc bag, twist the top of the bag so you can squish it to one corner, then cut off one of the corners so you can squirt your portions on to your baking sheet. Make them a good size for a toddler! You don’t have to do this, but it takes FOREVER if you just pick up portions with your fingers. (If you’re unsure about how to do this, check out Tips from a Typical Mom. She shows you how.)

I have found that they do best when cooked for about 10 minutes, then turn your heat off and leave them in the oven until they feel like the right crispiness to you! (This made about 100-150 quarter sized bites.)

TIP: You can freeze them too and put them in the microwave or let them thaw in your diaper bag through the day or just eat them frozen with a nice crunch!  If you don’t freeze, they’ll keep for about a week.

White Cheddar Cheese & Whole Wheat Crackers

If you haven’t noticed in the toddler snack world, crackers are like a must. Show me a toddler who doesn’t like some sort of cracker and you’ll see my jaw drop. But remember, not all crackers are created equal. While I love Goldfish as much as the next toddler, if we’re going to eat crackers, shoot for crackers that are made with whole wheat (not enriched flour.) Triscuits can be a great, inexpensive, and easy choice. Shoot, you can find them in the off-brand at Aldi and they still have a great simple ingredient list. If you’re a little more particular, many like these are what you should keep an eye out for.

Cheese. Who doesn’t love crackers and cheese? I used to give Asher the simple cheese sticks and then one day I read the ingredients and wondered if I could find a better alternative. I try to go with as little ingredients as possible when I shop. The best cheese choice I found? Good o’l white block cheddar cheese from Aldi for $2.49 a block. Yep. It’s been a life saver and I feel good about no food coloring or extra additives being added to it. Cheese is not yellow folks. Why do we need to buy it colored if we can avoid it? If I can make one little different choice to reduce the amount of processed foods in our diet, then sign me up!

Smoothie Ice Popsicles

I don’t know about you, but I have a little spot in our cabinet where I like to keep those incredible smoothie fruit pouches for my toddler. They are perfect for that quick, on-the-go snack or side when you’re out and about. But that isn’t the norm and Bubby loves smoothies and I am certainly not making them fresh all the time.

The thing I love about smoothies is 1) it can be a good trick to make them think they’re eating something like ice cream, and 2) you can jam pack them with sneaky healthy food and they can be oblivious. Some of my favorite sneaky foods I like to throw in there? Kale, Spinach, Flax Seed, Broccoli (yes, put this in with yogurt, apples and pears and you’d never know!) and of course I like to throw in some exotic fruit to add a flare to our nutrition (like mangos, pineapple, blackberries, etc.).

An easy alternative to the on-the-go puches is to make your toddler a smoothie batch ahead of time. And to make that even easier, use these AWESOME Silicone Ice Pop Tubes. I absolutely LOVE them and their ease of use. Before I had these I just used good o’l ice cube trays and we got by fine. If you’d prefer to stick with the pouch feel of things for ease of use, then these amazing reusable pouches are for you. I used these a ton when Bubby was younger and they freeze just fine.

The easiest way to defrost these is to put them out in the fridge in the morning during breakfast for an easy afternoon snack. OR you could put them in your diaper bag while you’re doing errands and they are nearly perfect when it’s snack time. If you use ice cube trays, then just pop out a few cubes and put them in a bowl in the fridge. Easy peasy for that yogurt based smoothie.

I have always wanted to try some homemade graham crackers but haven’t found a recipe I like enough to share just yet. Of course fruits and veggies are always good to have for snacks, but why not add more tools to our bag?

What about you? What are some of your favorite snack alternatives for your toddler? Let us know below in the comments!

Peace,
Glo

 

 

 

Five 80s Movies You Need to Watch for Back to School

80movies

When I am starting to get that itch for fall, I have a few movies in my stash that I pull out just for this time of year. When peppermint candles burn in my house and garland adorns our mantel, I pull out my favorite Christmas movies. Spring in the air? I’ve got a movie for that. It’s sort of a tradition really. I do this with music too. And food. Can’t forget food. Hot dogs. All the hot dogs for the 4th of July. Hot dogs and The Sandlot. Who doesn’t love the Sandlot? If you don’t like The Sandlot, then you might as well move on buddy. You clearly are not a true patron of all things pre-teen that is Patrick Renna and duh, baseball of course.


via GIPHY

When Labor Day weekend approaches, there are two things happening.
1) Summer as we know it has ended. Kids are pretty much back into the full swing of school. Parents are usually singing Hallelujah. Kids are typically in denial about how much they missed their friends and put up a fight about going back.

2) Starbucks brings the annual street crack Pumpkin Spice back and all is right in the world. Last year it came back as early as September 8th, so we’ll see what’s in store for us this year.

As you transition to this awkward time of year that is not quite fall but not so much summer anymore, and if you’re lucky to have a pumpkin spice in hand, you need to have these five movies on your watch list. I couldn’t imaging this time of year without the mass movie production that came from the 80s. I don’t know where I would be in life if I didn’t know “Hey, you guys!” existed.

Watching them all on Labor Day weekend is not a requirement, but if you’re looking to kick off the change in the weather and get through your the whining of your kids, then pop these movies in and I promise, everyone will be a little bit happier.

If there was only one movie I could pick for this time of  year it would The Goonies. The movie is totally geared for the end of summer with hilarious one-liners you’ll be muttering to your kids when they complain about chores or what’s for dinner.

via GIPHY

Just remind them that there are three things they need to know in this life:
1) “Goonies never say die!”
2) “Hey, you guys!”
3) “The marijuana goes in the top drawer. The cocaine and speed go in the second drawer. And the heroin goes in the bottom drawer. Always separate the drugs.”

If all else fails and they are begging you to chauffeur them around, use this opportunity to teach them that they can’t always get what they want, unless the learn the value of the truffle shuffle. Oh and if you can’t get them to quit obssessing about the movie, use this as an opportunity to do a little history research to see what the cast is up to these days.


via GIPHY

There’s all this great advice going around on social media about teaching your children to be open to new friendships and to “unwrap” that special gift that is a new student. Yah yah, that’s great but all kids need to know what life is like when you become the little ripass in class and that Saturday Detention is real. At least, it used to be. Enter The Breakfast Club. I am not sure how you get through life without watching this movie and learning that Simple Minds pretty much sparked a teenage rebellion. Plus, you can still teach them about that special gift you might find in a student they never would have considered giving the time of day to.


via GIPHY

If anything, you could use this opportunity to reflect on how amazing 80’s music is and that Judd Nelson had great hair. Plus, who can forget Molly Ringwald applying that lipstick?

I have decided that I might lose some of you here with this one but I feel the need to remind us that John Travolta was a dancing/singing machine who also had amazing hair. And I just can’t help but think of Grease when I think about the end of summer and everyone going back to school. Not to mention that I have a soft spot for musicals  movies that have fun music.

via GIPHY

(For you movie buffs out there, I know, I know. Grease came out in 1978, but to redeem the value of the 80’s, feel free to pull out Urban Cowboy or Staying Alive. Talk about steamy Travolta.)

Wanna remind yourself of some sweet nothings to whisper in your loved one’s ears? Need a refresher on Summer Lovin’? I’m pretty sure any husband looking for a good time from his wife would like to be called “stud” and taken down to the beach to get frisky in the sand. Just don’t take off your pants. Gotta watch out for that sand. Ah, teenage summer romance.


via GIPHY

Everyone once in a while I find myself quoting Back to the Future. “Great Scott!”

“Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” I used tell that to my students during the first week of school. Good way to find out who my movie buffs were and if you’re a good parent, you’ll teach them to your kids. When I’m looking for some serious emphasis on what’s about to happen…

And who can forget the power of advertising in movies during the 80s? Back to the Future pretty much sparked the revolution that is using name brand products on screen. Pepsi and Nike are still sending Spielberg thank you letters to this day.

I don’t think you can begin the school year without reminding your kids how lucky they are to go to a school where they are free to express themselves and enjoy the luxuries of extra curricular activities that kids used to have to fight for. And if they don’t get what you mean, you show them Footloose. And then you play the soundtrack for them. Small town kids oppressed by crazy parents who forbade dancing sounds like an uprising all teens should be made aware of. If anything, it might teach them some better dance moves than twerking.

via GIPHY

Oh, and don’t forget that Pumpkin Spice. It’s the best crack gift you can give to yourself this time of year.

What about you? Do you have any movies that you like to watch during a particular time of year? Do any of these movies make you think about going back to school?

Peace,
Glo

 

img_0006

78 Songs That Should Be on Your Summer Playlist

,

summerplaylist

My back is damp as I lean forward in my seat. My shirt pulls away from the leather and I hang my arm out the window. There’s something freeing when you are driving 55mph on a country highway and the windows are down and you brave the wind with your torpedo hair flapping out the window.

If you would have been out in the middle of nowhere-Iowa this weekend, you probably would have seen my little family and I driving, bringing this summer driving scene to life. Asher was getting fussy, I was getting tired of the curvy roads, Mike was tired of driving, so we rolled the windows down and cranked out my Summer Music Playlist.

I am a lover of music and I am a lover of lists of all sorts. But when it comes to music, I am particularly a lover of music playlists that connect with a season or a mood. If you were to scroll through my iPod you would see quite the variety of playlists. I have traditional playlists, like Christmas or Classical Music. Then I got my “Dancing-In-The Kitchen” list. Or “Spring Break.” If I am feeling lovey-dovey, I play my list titled “LURVE.” I even have a list I like to call “Purple.” I love to have playlists that tie in with the change of the seasons. I tend to associate certain songs with certain times of the year. And as we were making our way up to Iowa, I knew I would need my summer playlist. After all, Memorial Day is an official season setter for some of us!

So, for fun, I am giving you my list of 78 songs you should have on your summer playlist. And if you don’t have one, then don’t be afraid to start! They are fun to make and an easy tradition to start! My husband has even gotten into the habit of asking about different playlists as we are traveling or hosting a party or as Christmas time approaches. (And if I’m being honest, I even have sub-Christmas playlists!! Eeeeek!) I couldn’t bring myself to put these in any particular order besides alphabetical, so enjoy them as they roll!

(I did exclude Christian songs because I have those as a separate list for the summer! Maybe another post?? 🙂 And I can’t guarantee clean language or videos in all of these either.

I know, some of these might seem cheesy, but when I hear them, I think of summer and I just can’t help myself!!!

By the way, some of these videos are pretty fun to watch–The Cranberries with the eclectic wave on the screen?!?! Or Billy Idol’s hair!

What about you?? Do you have any staple summer songs? Share in the comments for the rest of us to check out!!

  1. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough — Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
  2. All These Things I’ve Done — The Killers
  3. America the Beautiful (cuz of 4th of July 🙂 — Ray Charles
  4. Any Man of Mine — Shania Twain
  5. Anything Could Happen — Elli Goulding
  6. Are You Gonna Be My Girl — Jet
  7. Below My Feet — Mumford & Sons (by the way,  if you seen them live, they sound just as good!)
  8. Black Dog — Led Zeppelin
  9. Blood — The Middle East
  10. Born In The USA — Bruce Springsteen
  11. Boot Scottin’ Boogie — Brooks & Dunn
  12. Can’t Hold Us — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  13. Dead Sea — The Lumineers
  14. Difference Maker — NEEDTOBREATHE
  15. Dirty Paws — Of Monsters and Men
  16. Don’t Stop Believin’ — Journey
  17. Don’t Worry Baby — The Beach Boys
  18. Dreams — The Cranberries
  19. Elephant Love Medley — Moulin Rouge Soundtrack (Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor)
  20. New York (Empire State of Mind) — Jay-Z & Alicia Keys (struggled to find a good one here)
  21. Express Yourself — Charles Wright
  22. Fall In Love With The 80’s — Reliant K
  23. Feel Again — One Republic
  24. Fishin’ in The Dark — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  25. Footloose — Kenny Loggins
  26. Friends in Low Places — Garth Brooks
  27. Get Lucky — Daft Punk
  28. Gloria — Them ( This is from the movie The Outsiders and has part of my name, so I’m biased 🙂
  29. Go Do — Jonsi
  30. Good Life — One Republic
  31. Hangin’ Tough — New Kids on The Block
  32. Have You Ever Seen The Rain — Creedence Clearwater Revival
  33. The Heart — NEEDTOBREATHE
  34. Her Man — Gary Allan
  35. Ho Hey — The Lumineers
  36. Hotel California — The Eagles
  37. How Far We’ve Come — Matchbox Twenty
  38. I Believe in a Thing Called Love — The Darkness
  39. I Get Around — The Beach Boys
  40. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For — U2
  41. I Want It That Way — Backstreet Boys
  42. I Will Wait — Mumford and Sons
  43. If I Ever Leave This World Alive — Flogging Molly
  44. It’s Tricky — Run DMC
  45. Keep Your Hands to Yourself — The Georgia Satellites
  46. Kokomo — The Beach Boys
  47. Learn Me Right — Birdy & Mumford and Sons
  48. The Man — Aloe Blacc
  49. Me & My Friends — Tim Myers & El May
  50. Mony Mony — Billy Idol
  51. Moves Like Jagger — Maroon 5
  52. My House — Flo Rida
  53. Old Pine — Ben Howard
  54. Oye Como Va — Santana
  55. Party in The USA — Miley Cyrus
  56. Pour Some Sugar On Me — Def Leppard
  57. Praan — Garry Schyman
  58. S.O.B — Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
  59. Say Hey (I Love You) — Michael Franti & Spearhead
  60. Shake It Off — Taylor Swift
  61. Shake It Out — Florence + The Machine
  62. Shower — Becky G  ( I know, I know…)
  63. Slow Ride — Foghat
  64. Spirit In The Sky — Norman Greenbaum
  65. Suit & Tie — Justin Timberlake (feat. Jay-Z)
  66. Summer of 69 — Bryan Adams
  67. Summertime — Kenny Chesney
  68. Sweet Home Alabama — Lynyrd Skynyrd
  69. Team — Lorde
  70. This Magic Moment — The Drifters
  71. Thunderstruck — AC/DC
  72. Ticks — Brad Paisley
  73. Til Kingdom Come — Coldplay
  74. Uptown Funk — Mark Ronson (feat. Bruno Mars)
  75. Wanna Be With You — Hootie and the Blowfish
  76. Wink — Neal McCoy
  77. Winter Winds — Mumford & Sons
  78. Young Blood — The Naked and Famous

Don’t forget to share you favorites for Summer in the comments below!!!

 

78 Songs summerplayist PIN

Word for the Year 2016: Focus…and Cultivate

, ,
I couldn’t decide on one word for this year. I had a few goals and thoughts that I was mulling over for a couple of weeks and I just kept coming back to these two words. Focus was the dominant word. Each time I would delve deeper, the word cultivate kept swimming around my thoughts. So there you have it. My two words for the year are FOCUS and CULTIVATE.

Every year I tend to fill the need to change something in my life. One year I allowed myself to watch TV/Movies for a total of three hours in a one week period. Another year I wanted to run everyday. Ha! That was the year I got bronchitis AND laryngitis. (If you’re wondering, no, I didn’t end up running everyday that year.) Another year Mike and I pledged to eat at one new restaurant a month. One year I decided to read a new book each week. (I was close. I ended up with 50 on my reading list that year.) You get the idea. I have never picked a word to focus on. This will be a new endeavor.

I got the idea from Frank Viola. He posted a great article about getting ready for 2016 and I decided to run with it. If you’ve never heard of or read any of his stuff, you should head over to his site and check it out. Once I decided to pick a word for the year, I started to pray about it. I plan to take this seriously, so it seemed natural to ask God for help.

I knew I wanted to be on social media less, run more, eat healthy, read more, write more, be angry less, spend time with people I care about more and be purposeful in my relationship with Mike. I wanted to focus on them, but not just that, I wanted to grow these things. Improve upon them somehow. Enter cultivate. So here’s my list of focus and cultivation for the year 2016 and how I plan to “implement” them.word2016

1) Facebook less. I plan to turn off all my push notification on all my social media apps (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest). I have found that I have great excuses to be on these all the time (while I’m nursing, while Asher is napping, when I’m going for a walk…you get the idea). I keep missing the present because I’m so focused on someone else’s “present.” Who wants to spend life on Facebook. I don’t even want to know how much of my time is spent either surfing social media or the Internet in general. So, I’ve decided to allow myself two times in a day to check these things. I get up early and like to do emails, etc. so morning seems natural. I’m not sure when the other time will be, but it will be minimum.

2) Run More. I like to run. I feel healthier, stronger, and usually mentally stronger when I’m running. Especially if I have a plan for my running. I plan to run a half marathon this spring. That’s as far as I’m taking it right now. The fall gets pretty busy for me with coaching, so we’ll see what it brings. I already try to run a few times a week, so this isn’t new, but I am cultivating this habit. See what I did there.

3) Cook More Wholesome Foods. I believe I’ve mentioned before how I love Lisa over at www.100daysofrealfood.com. I use her site as my go to when I want to make wholesome, less processed foods. I’ve decided to use my blog to help me with this goal. I’ve got some ideas turning but I’m thinking of a “Supper Sundays” post. I’ll post what I cooked, how it went over, the recipe I used and any other resources. I don’t know if anyone will read it, but it will help keep me accountable to cook at least a wholesome, non processed, possibly all organic meal, once a week. I’ll most likely cook this on Sundays, hence “Supper Sundays.”

4) Read More. If you check out my side bar, you can see that I’ve signed up at Goodreads.com for the reading challenge this year. I plan to read 40 books this year. If you are a struggling reader or like to read, this is fun to do. You can join others and check out who’s reading what. It’s an easy way to find some accountability for your year of reading. I love it!

5) Write More. I’ve thought about using my blog to help me accomplish this. Obviously it’s two-fold with the Supper Sundays idea. I’ve thought about other “day themed” writings. I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers do this and it seems like a good idea. I wouldn’t have to keep it up every week, but when I get an idea, I could tie it to one of those themes. I also have realized that I want to schedule more time in for writing. This can be tricky. I have two prime times in a day to do this, but I use that time for a lot of other things too, so I’ll have to decide maybe what days to do what. Book ideas keep floating around my head. Right now, their just floating. I’m trying to get the sail up still.

6) Relationships. I would definitely consider myself and my husband an introvert by definition. We have friends we see every now and then but nothing consistently. I tend to easily run in my head that “I’m introvert. I don’t need to see people to get energy.” This might be true, but that doesn’t mean it’s the way God intended things for all introverted people. I plan to invest in some of my relationships more this year and spend time with people I care about. I’m pretty sure Mike will go along with this 🙂 I also have a big family, and we can go a long time without talking to each other. This bothers me when I think about it. So, I’ve decided to plan a phone call/text to my family members more often throughout the week.

7) My marriage. I can easily see how married couples lose their intimacy and friendship when they have a child(ren). I can see this slowly happening to Mike and me. He works fairly long days and it’s easy to fall into the roommate mode and give all  your energy to your kids. I’m thinking we need to implement two date nights a month or something. I haven’t worked out all the details of this because I need to talk with Mike about it. but I plan to be proactive in this. We’ve got a great babysitter that we trust and Asher doesn’t have any issues going to bed at night, so we just need to plan to go out together!

That’s my list to help me FOCUS this year and CULTIVATE some things that are important to me. Have you thought about your year? I really like Frank Viola’s idea of making a list of your “Dream Year.” How inspiring! I would like to sit down with Mike and do that. I think it would be a cool idea to see how those dreams pan out for the year. What would  your word for the year be? Why?
Thanks for reading!

Crying in the car and being a control nut: What is your top ten list for 2015?

, ,

I know many are focusing on New Year’s resolutions, but before I jump in to looking ahead, I like to sit back and look at the year and all the things I experienced. I like to make a list, (shocking, I know) and reflect on what had an impact on me as a person. I like to try and narrow down these experiences to ones that seemed most impactful to me. These “experiences” could include a book or music or even a movie. So before you jump into the new year, I would encourage you to reflect on your year in 2015.

WHY make a list?
It’s good for the soul to remember things that have helped mold you into the person you are. As a society, I feel like we’re always looking forward to the next date we have marked on our calendar that we forget to reflect on important things that have happened to us.

HOW to make your list?
I tend to be a “free writer” myself. I don’t start out with a number one and then try to perfect my list right away. I generally sit down and just start writing about the year in total free form. Sometimes I go through all the pictures on my phone to bring up reminders of special events. Sometimes I go through my music play lists to refresh on my favorite songs. I also keep a journal. I like to go through it and reflect. You might even want to talk with someone you spent a lot of time with throughout the year. They might have some interesting perspectives on how the year went.

WHAT to put on your list?
Of course this is very general and can vary greatly depending on the person and what they experienced during the year. Some might find this reflective process liberating and motivating as they move into the next year. We can’t forget the struggles that the year brought. There are many who may have had a tough year who wish to leave it behind and never look back. Think about how your experiences could or may have made you a stronger or more considerate person than before. Your list may include a relationship that ended, a lost loved one, a new loved one, a book, a song, a trip, a concert, a restaurant your family was addicted to, maybe a TV show.

This list is wide open. Be serious. Be funny. Be thoughtful. Be gritty. Be honest.

MY LIST FOR 2015

1) Having my first child.
Of course, this seems like an obvious one, but I must say that it seems almost all my experiences this year revolve around this little guy. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if Mike and I would have kids. God opened my heart and now I don’t even know how I used to think that! I could live without the labor part, and really skip the nine months pregnant part. A stork delivery would be nice. But I would do it all over. Words can’t express all this, really.

2) Becoming a stay at home mom.
If you would’ve asked me a few years ago what I thought I’d be doing the rest of my life, I would have said teaching in a school somewhere. I never would have thought that I’d be a SAHM. Now, I can’t imagine working away from my little guy. The transition had its and still does have its emotional moments, but I am so grateful that I get to be with Asher for all of his “firsts.” Wearing leggings everyday does have its perks.

source

 

3) Love and War by John Eldredge.
This book has brought a new foundational meaning to my marriage. If you are struggling in your marriage and are interested in faith-based insight, you really should check this out. I feel like this book gave me a huge reminder that we are all under attack by the Evil One and prayer is a powerful thing for your marriage, for any relationship, really. Marriage is hard and having a child and being parents is icing on the cake! This book saved us! I really should write a review for this book.

4) Since I’m on the topic of marriage, the song Broken Together by Casting Crowns rang true for me this year, especially after having a baby! There were many car rides, with a lot of tears upon hearing this song. Pregnancy hormones didn’t help either! (Come to think of it, there was lots of crying in the car this year…) There’s nothing more humbling than you and your spouse caring for this new little life (or lives) you’ve been given and realizing how utterly flawed you both are as you walk your parenting journey together.

source


5) Organic and less processed.
This year I have tried to cut out processed foods and create a more “whole foods” shopping list. I am addicted to Lisa’s site www.100daysofrealfood.com I first decided to really pay attention to ingredient lists of foods I buy and I try to buy organic when it’s feasible. I really try to go by the dirty dozen. We certainly don’t always eat healthy, but I feel healthier knowing I’m making more educated purchases at the grocery store.

6) Being a control nut.
I have realized this year that I like control. I like to control as much as I can and when I can’t, I feel like a failure or I feel unstable. Again, having a kid can do wonders! I always knew I liked to plan and organize, but I feel I really saw my controlling flaws within my marriage and my relationships and the unhealthy side of control. I think control can be a good, healthy characteristic, but like anything, too much can become a problem. I certainly haven’t mastered dealing with being too controlling but I feel that being more self aware has already helped tremendously.

7) Learning to laugh more.
Laughter instead of anger. This practice has helped me a lot in my marriage. It could help in any relationship. There are several occasions when Mike and I could easily get snippy or rude with one another, but we’re finding out that sometimes. things can be pretty funny and laughing instead of getting angry can calm a storm very easily.

I could probably add Taco Bell, KLOVE Radio, and the public library to this list, but those are long enough for a post of their own! By the way, I realize I only have a list of SEVEN! I’m working on my controlling deficits.

The new year is almost here. Take some time to reflect before diving in with new resolutions or before planning away all your time. Remember those closest to you and how they have impacted you. Most of all, enjoy the season of life you’re in. We all know things can change so quickly.

16 “Must-Dos” That Should Be on Your Holiday Tradition List

,
source

I love traditions. Now that my husband and I have a little guy, I am gushing with excitement about traditions to start as he grows up and as we add to our family! The more people I talk to about traditions they have for the holidays, the more I realized that traditions are what make the holidays fun for me! Some of these traditions I still do even though a holiday isn’t attached, but I would dare say they don’t quite have the flare and excitement as they do when it’s holiday time! Whether these are your guilty pleasures or typical family fun, you really should add some of these to your holiday tradition list.
I know my list is 16. I can’t help it. I tried to make it 15 so it was more balanced but I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of one.

Here are some fun ideas to add to your tradition list for the holidays!

1. Eat Little Debbie Christmas Cakes. Yes, they’re the Devil, but evil has never tasted so good.

2. Wear your pajamas all day. I would probably still wear underwear…well, then again, maybe not.

3. Have a big freaking breakfast with your family or close friends. I’m talking create your own version of the IHOP gigantic breakfast platter. I feel like gluttony is allowed here. Wait, let me think about that…

4. Better yet, have those family members or friends bring a bag full of food. Take the food and pile it in your vehicle and head down to your local Food Pantry and give someone else a breakfast they may be in dire need of.

5.Take a big nap in the middle of the day. If you have kids and this is impossible, you could always dream about it…

6. Binge watch something (OK, this might be more for me, but do it. You know you want to…)

7. Read something new and different than what you would normally read. Try a different blog or nonfiction instead of fiction. You never know, you might realize that fishing in Wyoming might be pretty cool to add to your Bucket List.

8. Watch a Christmas classic. There’s nothing that gets the Christmas juices going than a movie like It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s OK if you need the Kleenex. I find holiday movies can put your significant other in the mood. You might even get a little lucky…

9. Listen to some Classic Christmas music. I love Bing. Bing Crosby. Or Bubble’. He’s classic enough, right?

10. Stay up late with your family or close friends playing board games. Try not to kill each other. Apparently, Catan can cause uprisings.

11. Stay up late watching all the Star Wars movies…AGAIN.

12. Cook or Bake something new. You know you’ve always wanted to try your snicker doodle cookies with actual Snickers chunks. Would someone please make these already!

13. “Check” your phone less. The world will still go on without us glued to our phones. Unless that means you quit reading my blog.

14. Teach your kids how to shovel snow out off the driveway, the sidewalk, the porch. Better yet, show them how to do it for their neighbors too.

15. Buy yummy scented holiday candles. Olfactory can create a huge “sense” of holiday buzz!

16. My favorite one: Create a “Family Top Ten List.” Take a look back over the year and reminisce with your loved ones about the highlights of the year that everyone experienced. Maybe it was a trip, a movie, a song or a show or a book or a restaurant you’ve discovered you guys can’t live without.

Have fun with it and feel free to eat Little Debbies while you’re at it.