Veggie "Fried" Rice

Happy Evolution! I love to cook and feed my children healthy meals, but I don't have all day to spend in the kitchen. I always have Brown Basmati Rice in my pantry. It so easy to cook up and easy to use in so many dishes. 

One of my go-to recipes for a quick and easy lunch or dinner is my Veggie "Fried" Rice. I love making this because its a great way to get some veggies into the bellies of your picky eaters, yet tasty, filling and satisfying for everyone else! 

 

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This recipe is easy to make and you can add whatever vegetables you have on hand. Here's how I make it:

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of uncooked Brown Basmati Rice  

2 cups of Frozen peas 

1 head of broccoli (cut into small florets)

3 carrots (sliced lengthwise and cut short) 

1 inch of Ginger (diced very small) 

5 scallions sliced (white and green parts) 

2 eggs (optional) 

Seasonings and Oils:

Turmeric

2 tsp. Chopped Garlic

3 TB Liquid Aminos (adjust to taste) 

4 TB Sesame Oil (adjust to taste)

Coconut oil

Cook the rice.

Heat 2TB coconut oil in a large sauce pan. Rinse rice and let it drain. Then add it to the pan, stirring frequently for about a minute. Then add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and cook covered about 20 - 25 minutes, (Cooking times vary according to your stove and the rice). Once cooked, remove from heat and let it cool.

Eggs (Optional)

Crack 2 eggs into a hot saute pan and scramble. Cook through and add it to the cooled rice. Sprinkle in the Turmeric until you get the color and flavor you want. 

Add eggs to cooked rice.

Add eggs to cooked rice.

The Veggies:

Chop, slice and dice all of the vegetables. Heat 1 Tsp of Coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Once pan is hot, add the veggies and saute 2-3 minutes, until the peas and broccoli turn a bright green color. Reduce the heat and add in the chopped garlic. Stir to blend all together, then add in 1 TB of Sesame oil. Stir and cook for another minute.  Check for taste and add up to 2 TB of  Liquid Aminos, 1 TB at a time- taste before you add more. You want to be able to still taste the veggies and sesame oil. 

Saute the veggies until crisp. Do not overcook.

Saute the veggies until crisp. Do not overcook.

Once the veggies are cooked through (but still crisp), add them to the rice and egg mixture. Stir to combine and add 1 TB of Coconut Aminos and Sesame oil at a time. Add more or less to taste depending on the flavor profile you are looking for.  Once mixed together, top with leftover scallions and Enjoy!

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7 Ways to Spring Clean Your Life

Spring is coming! Time for warm weather- Sunshine- the Refreshing Rain- the beautiful sounds of the chirping birds- and the pretty blossoms of flowers and colorful Tulips we've grown to admire. There's something special about feeling the warmth of the sun, when you've had to brave those cold, dreary winter months! It breathes new life into us and makes us want to make everything new and clean.. Makes you want to Spring Clean! 

Now, Spring Cleaning isn't a new concept. Of course you want to eliminate the dust pile that has accumulated on top of the ceiling fans, and let's not forget the "catch all" storage closet or space on your kitchen counters... but when you limit your "cleaning" to only the eye sores in your home begging to be relieved,  you may be leaving much more undone. Why not Spring Clean your entire life?! 

Odd concept? Maybe... but viewing your entire life as something you can "spring clean" may be a new, yet great idea for you. Using this season as one to reevaluate the old and breathe in the new just feels so natural and satisfying. If you’re wondering what you can do to spring clean your life, keep reading for a few suggestions!

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Clean and Clear

We're going to start this off with the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Spring Cleaning- your home. You home is your sacred space and starting with the basics of your living environment can change the entire feel of your space.  De-cluttering that storage closet, moving around some furniture and giving your home a good deep clean renews your energy and can rejuvenate you in many ways, bringing a lighter, happy feeling as the sunshine rolls in with Spring. 

Remove Negativity

Whether that be negative people in your life or simply bad habits that you have been determined to get rid of, use this time as an opportunity to get rid of anything that has been blocking you and getting in the way of the life you want to live. What comes to mind immediately when you read this? Whatever that is, chances are, it's precisely what you need to work on releasing. As you are doing this important work of "releasing negativity", make sure to replace negatives in your life with something positive, whether it's affirmations, new routines or renewed relationships. 

Disconnect to Connect More

When you aren't at work, take time off from technology as much as possible. Use that time to connect with your family over a meal or simply having a conversation and being present with your children. It is also a great way to connect with other people face-to-face -- meet your friends for lunch, read a book, explore a new area... anything that keeps you from continually being glued to a screen. Even if you start with a set amount of screen-free hours per day, you'll be making a huge difference in your relationships by giving them your time and attention. 

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Refresh your Fitness

Have you been doing the same old fitness routine all Winter or maybe you haven't worked out at all?  Spring is a wonderful time to revive that area of your life. It can get monotonous, not just for you but for your muscles as well. Shake things up by taking a new class, doing a new workout video you’ve never tried, or jogging down a new trail. I'm confident you have the itch to spend more time outdoors in the warmer weather, so this change will do you good!

Makeover Your Eating

It's the perfect time to give your eating habits a makeover, too. Take notice of how you feel on a daily basis, are you feeling energized? Sluggish? Exhausted and crashing by 2 pm? What you're eating is a tremendous piece of the answer, whatever you may be feeling. If sluggish is more normal than energized for you -- start by incorporating more whole foods, greens and water into your daily routine. Phase out the processed foods one by one, replacing them with healthier options.

Budget for the win

Organizing and managing your current income, can seem challenging, or like a daunting task. Whether it’s because of changes to your income or feeling like you need more. Even in these situations, we can always make some adjustments to improve our financial situation. That's what this spring renewal is all about, so take this chance to take a good look at your finances and notice what changes can be made. See what extra, non-essential expenses can be cut, ways you can increase your income, how you can begin saving more for a rainy day or big expenses, and what areas you can use your financial resources to give back to those in need.

Try Something New

Now is the perfect time to try something new! It is so invigorating to fuel our quest for creativity and to treat yourself!  So take that online class you've been eyeing. Try a painting or cooking class. Learn a new language or discover something else you’ve always wanted to try. Find things that make you come alive and feel creative.

Spring cleaning your life with these 7 tips will help you revive and refresh your whole life -not just your home. For even more ways to "spruce up" your life, make sure you are finding ways to practice self-care daily and set goals for this season that are sustainable and achievable. This is all a part of your evolution- becoming the best version of yourself - and in turn, a better mama, so enjoy as you organize your life and make small manageable changes that help you live, laugh and grow in this season!

What areas of your life are you looking to “spruce up” with tasks to spring clean your life? 

 

Mothering and Self-Care: An interview with The Emergent Experience

Happy Evolution! Mothering and Self-Care go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly.. (had to throw in a kid friendly snack/lunch idea for reference). It is so important to making sure we are able to live a happier, more fulfilled life. More importantly, practicing self-care as a mother allows us the freedom to take care of ourselves first, while we care for our little ones, spouses and fulfill all of our other responsibilities.

On this podcast interview, we have a candid conversation about the realities of self-care and how it fits (or should fit) into the #Mom Life paradigm, how to know when you are overwhelmed and in need of self-care and some simple ideas you can incorporate today.

<<Click here to listen to the podcast conversation, where I talk with two of my mom friends about self-care, #MomLife and everything in between. >>

Don’t forget to download your FREE copy of the Daily #MomLife Planner so that you are able to manage your busiest days and get the most important things done!

6 Steps to Personalize Self-Care for Busy Moms

As busy moms, we spend a lot of our time and energy showing love and being attentive to others, especially our family. While this can be a wonderful thing, often times we tend to lose ourselves in the midst of our full schedules and with life simply demanding our attention a thousand different ways. However, instead of putting yourself on the back burner (yet again) I challenge you to take care of yourself and show yourself some love- in a way that works for you!

Self-care is simply the act of caring for yourself- mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. It doesn’t have to cost money or even take a lot of planning. It really is a way you can show yourself some love and how that love looks is totally up to you.

Most times when we think of self care, we think of taking a long vacation, or going on a shopping spree, or a day at the spa and other seemingly lavish indulgences. Although, those activities definitely fall into the self-care category, those are only a few of the many ways to practice self-care.

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The key is accepting the fact that Self-care looks different for everybody! There is no one size fits all! Just because all the moms from the neighborhood are doing something or there’s a new trend promoted on social media does not mean you have to… It may not even work for you. Why? Because your experience in motherhood, life, career, relationships, health, spirituality, and an array of other factors - are unique to YOU.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get some great ideas and even find something you clearly enjoy from other sources.  However, the focus should always be on what works for you, your lifestyle, your time and your resources.

When creating a personalized approach to self-care, there are 6 key steps to consider and get started.

1. First, consider the many facets of your life. Seriously take the time the think about what makes you feel happy. What tasks or activities bring you peace? What could you do that would make you feel fulfilled on this #MomLife journey? What have you done in the past that left you feeling energized?

Make a list of those things first to see what you come up with.

2. Think of something you want to try. Finding a new hobby or finally checking something off your bucket list is another way to include self care and personalize it to fit your needs. It’s also a great way to have consistent set aside time where you are focusing completely on you. It could be as simple as taking up a knitting class, joining a local book club or as big as zip lining in Columbia.

3. Then consider your time. Planning is a great way to make sure you include time to show yourself some TLC without feeling guilty. I’ve often heard the sentiment “I don’t have enough time for self-care.” or “I can’t add another thing on my to-do list.” Trust me, I’ve been there and have actually said those things myself. However, once I looked over my planner, I found pockets of time where I could have some self-care. Sometimes, it may only be 10 minutes in the morning or before you go to bed. It may be your lunch break during the work week or a rest day on the weekend. Keeping the lists in mind that you made earlier, categorize the things you can do daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly and put them in your calendar.

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4. Have a look at your budget. Organizing your finances is a self-care task in itself. Knowing your budget and what funds you have available to do things for yourself, can give you peace of mind. This will also help you plan in advance for these expenses, so you don’t feel guilty while you’re getting takeout or relaxing with a manicure. Keeping in mind, your self-care does not have to cost anything at all!

5. Know what resources you already have available. This will make starting and maintaining your journey less intimidating once you realize you already have much of what you need to make it happen. Whether this is cash, a friend or family member that can babysit for you, a space in your home you can make your own, local mom groups, free events, etc.  It’s great when you can look at what you already have around you.

6. Do what you can.  While many suggestions and ideas look and sound great, don’t feel pressured to do everything that you read or see another mom doing. Really take the time to find what fuels you and makes you feel good. Plan your self-care activities based on your schedule, your goals, and ultimately how you want to feel each day.

Self-care is a great practice to include in your everyday life and one of the easiest ways to practice expressing love To You, For you and By You. It’s great because you don’t need permission from anyone else nor do you have to wait for someone else to fill up your “love mug.” The key is to personalize it and make it simple and easy, so that it fits your lifestyle and #MomLife goals.

How will your personalized self-care plan look? What tasks will you include? Join a group of busy moms just like you who are also personalizing their self-care. It would be great to share and support each other as we are all on this journey to taking care of ourselves, while talking care of our families.





6 Steps to Setting Goals for Busy Moms

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Goal setting is great way to create the life you want. As moms, we often can get caught up in the day to day tasks - appointments, laundry, homework, nursing, shopping, cleaning, pickups drops offs- etc. etc. etc.  How often can you say that those tasks help you create or life you want? That you are fulfilled and pursuing your personal life goals? That you are setting goals that resonate with the most important areas of your life? Furthermore, that you are reaching those goals?

If you can answer a resounding “Yes” then that is awesome and amazing and wonderful and all of those things. Keep doing what you’re doing, but if you’re anything like me and many other moms in this community, I was confused and disconnected from those questions because I used to think that “Mom Life” did not include me. Too often, I would set goals that did not align with the life I wanted to have based on what society says my goals “should be” or the unwarranted feedback of well meaning family members, friend and that family at the park.

Once I started digging deep to find what I really wanted out of life, I was able to create goals that resonated fully with what mattered the most to me- and focus on those things. I began to find ways to make time in my daily life for my goals it has made a huge difference.

I’m more motivated. I have momentum to my day. I find that I am less stressed and overwhelmed, because I know that my day to day tasks now include my vision for my life. I’m no longer focusing solely on what works for everyone else.

So I want to share the process I use to set and reach goals. I find this process to be very refreshing and introspective, however it does take some time. So, before you start, set aside time and space for the goal setting task. Get your journal, a candle, some snacks, a glass of water and a glass of wine.. .and let’s set some Mom Life Goals!

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Step 1: REFLECTION

Take time to think about the previous year.  What are the highlights and most memorable times? What are some things you have accomplished? What lessons have you learned? What do you want more of? What do you want to change?

Step 2: PRIORITIES

Think about what is most important in your life. As a mom, I find that the answers to this question usually fall into these 7 main areas, which I have termed - “The #Mom Life Zone”:

  • Spiritual

  • Family

  • Home

  • Finances

  • Health & Wellness

  • Relationships

  • Self-Care & Leisure

Each of these can be broken down even further of course, but “The Mom Life Zone” will serve as your guideline to determine what your priorities are - your “non-negotiables.”

What are your priorities? Why are these things important to you?

Knowing your “Whys” is one of the most important part of this process. I remember seeing this quote “Reasons Reap Results” and as a mom, I interpreted this as -your “Whys” are your reasons and help you achieve your goals and create the life you want.

Step 3: JUST IMAGINE

Imagine yourself at the end of this year. Based on your “whys” and your priorities, what does your life look like? How do you feel? What do you look like? What have you accomplished in the year?

This will be the foundation for setting your goals.

Step 4: GOALS. GOALS. GOALS.

Now is the time to create your goals! Using the “Mom Life Zones,” your vision for your year and your priorities- set a goal in each of the areas.
These will be your BIG goals and will serve as your main focus and guide you through the rest of this process. It’s what you want most Spiritually, Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Financially (the main Mom life areas all fall into these categories).

Once you have your BIG goals, it’s time to refine them into smaller “focuses.” This is the time to be realistic as you break down your BIG goals into refined, very specific goals that are based on what matters the most.

Step 5: THE SET UP

Set yourself up for success. What do your days and weeks need to look like in order for you to reach your goals?  What routines need to be in place? (self-care, mornings, nighttime, family schedule) What support do you need? What will you do when you face some challenges or obstacles to reaching your goals?

Step 6: PLAN & TAKE ACTION

Put your plans into action. This is where the magic happens. Where you actually do the work to reach your goals.

Start by creating an action plan by choosing 3 - 4 “focuses” or tasks for the month, then use those to guide your weekly and daily to-dos and tasks.These tasks and focuses should be based on your overall goals and the break down.

Putting your plans into action will ensure that you are making time for your dreams and goals, which will help you avoid overwhelm, decrease your stress, and most importantly help you create the life you want.

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BONUS: Celebrate your wins! Each time you complete a step that gets you closer to your BIG goal- CELEBRATE YOU!!

As you can see, it is possible and using this 6 step goal setting method will help you achieve the Mom Life you really want!  





4 New Year’s Resolutions for Busy Moms

The new year is in full swing with resolutions, reflections and goal setting galore. The beginning of a new calendar year marks a time when we set out to achieve all of our goals, create some new ones and correct everything we thought we got wrong the year before.

Many times we mamas commit to huge New Year’s resolutions and set goals that are difficult to achieve and even unrealistic with our current lifestyle. Some of us vow to lose all the weight we've gained since middle school, while the rest of us plan to organize and decorate our homes to rival the likes of  any HGTV design star... Okay, maybe those are some lofty and extreme examples, but seriously, as the year changes so does our resolve and perspective. It's like we gain laser focus and look at things we want to change or add to our lives.

One suggestion I have for you is to make your New Year’s intentions ACHIEVABLE this year with a focus on self-care. What better time than now to make self-care a priority in your daily life? As a busy mama, it is so important that we fill up our own tanks. In other words, we have to take care of ourselves FIRST, so that we can take care of our family, and feel good doing it.

Here are four perfect intentions that are simple and totally achievable:

1. Hydrate with more water

Did you notice when you drink more water you feel better? Water helps your body to function better and can even help you to shed some of the excess weight from the holidays. Drinking more water can give you a beautiful, youthful glow and how many of us couldn’t use that?! Make sure that you don’t just chug it all at once. Instead, grab a water bottle and keep it with you throughout the day. This will make it so much easier to achieve your goal, and it will be beneficial for your entire body.

2. Crowd out unhealthy foods

Unhealthy foods that are filled with sugar and toxins do our bodies no good. Instead of just eating because you have a sweet tooth craving or because something looks delicious, eat because you want to nourish your body. If you eat foods that will give you energy and help you to feel better, you’ll be on track for a healthier year. So start by eating more whole foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes and seasonal vegetables, which nourish and benefit your body.

3. Move more

Most people think of a New Year’s resolution as heading to the gym every morning. Although this is a great goal, as a mom, it just doesn’t work with your schedule. You do not need to head to the gym to move more. Take a walk, turn on your favorite tunes and dance like nobody's watching, or try a home workout. Make moving fun in 2019. You will feel so much better!

4. Let go of negative thinking

We all have thoughts that creep into our head. Sometimes we can become more judgmental and critical of others, and even worse, ourselves! This year, make it a goal of yours to stop the negative thinking. This will improve your mood tremendously and increase your overall happiness. Happy Mama, Happy family. Happy Life!

These four suggestions are just a start to get your mind going as you think of goals to set for your new year. I challenge you to take a moment and think about how you want to feel everyday. Imagine doing something daily that you would enjoy and would help you through your day or even the week.

Personally, my goals are to drink more water consistently and to wake up 45 minutes earlier to adjust my morning "ME" time. This is crucial for my self-care!  I like to take this time to meditate, drink a nice warm cup of tea, plan my day and complete some tasks BEFORE my kiddos wake up.

What is one thing you can do today to get you closer to your self-care goals? Take that one thing and start there. Then break down that goal into small, easy wins for yourself. Come up with things you can do everyday that are self satisfying, enjoyable and easy to maintain, because as you achieve your goals, you will be so much healthier, happier, and ready to take on whatever life (or your little ones) may throw your way!

Let's resolve to do something everyday that makes us feel good, gives us more energy and helps our confidence skyrocket, even if we have to step over a few toys in the process!

Holiday Gift Guide for Busy Moms

The holidays offer a special time to stop and show the moms in your life that they are appreciated. Whether she's a working mom, a stay at home mom, a homeschooling mom or everything in between, nowadays moms are busier than ever!  As a busy mom myself, I can attest that motherhood is filled with many layers and sometimes the busyness of daily life can leave us moms feeling overshadowed and overwhelmed at times. 

So here's a tip that is guaranteed to warm the heart of the busy mama in your life...when it comes to gifts, give gifts that are simple, thoughtful, and most of all, helpful. Flowers and cards are nice, but if you are looking for something more personal and resourceful, that will go beyond the day, this gift guide is for you!  Gifts that keep giving and go beyond the commercialized holiday will give the busy mom in your life permission to slow down and take care of herself. 

1. Prepared Meal Subscription
For a busy mom, getting a healthy, home cooked meal on the table can be challenge sometimes, especially after a long day. So why not gift her some prepared meals that she can prepare with ease? Not the ones from the deli counter (even though they may be tasty), but a few meals from a meal order service. These companies send everything needed for a tasty meal, with recipe cards, pictures, and all the groceries needed. You can customize the order to the type of food, lifestyle and serving to fit her lifestyle. 

A friend of mine gifted me some meals from a meal subscription service last year and I loved it! I It saved me time, money and created a space for me to prepare a new meal for my children, without all of the extra work that can go into that task. I was able to pick the type of meals, the amount of servings and once I got the delivery, everything was so easy and tasty! My children and I loved it and this was a gift that was definitely helpful, thoughtful and useful beyond the one day.

2. A planner and planner accessories.

Planning is a great way to help busy moms keep everything in order for their day, their week, and monthly, so gifting a great planner and pretty accessories can help her do just that! With the planner and the accessories, she can manage her time in a way that works for her so she can get the important things done and also create more time to do the things she loves. She can create a block schedule for her work hours, doctors appointments, plan meals, and my favorite- Plan her self-care tasks!

3. Cleaning Services 

I don't know any busy mom that wouldn't want this! Gifting this service can help alleviate stress and provide more free time for her to do more of what she wants to do with her time. This gift can be given in various forms, whether a one time deep cleaning service or a package deal, where these services are provided weekly, bi weekly or a fixed number of visits. Whatever you choose, I'm sure the busy mom in your life would appreciate a helping hand. 

4. A Day of rest.

Imagine the gratefulness the busy mama in your life will feel when she is given a day to just rest and be... She can choose to catch up on all her self-care activities, get some sleep, get her favorite latte at the local coffee shop or do absolutely nothing! When you gift a day of rest for the mama in your life, have the plans for the kiddos already in order. You can take clues from her about what her ideal day would look like, but taking a hands on approach and planning whatever else she needs to relax will allow her to enjoy that time -to revive herself.

5. Gift Cards.

This is a great gift idea because it gives moms the freedom to purchase something for themselves - without guilt! When thinking about gift cards, make sure the ones you give are Mama-friendly and Mama-Specific- giving more focus to her hobbies or pampering, like a massage, manicure, cosmetics stores or even electronics… in other words, give her a gift card to use in a place where she will only be able to buy for herself.

I know that may seem a little challenging but think about it, most moms are “busy” doing things for other people. I know when I used to get cash gifts, I somehow found myself in the toy aisle or at a children’s clothing store on a shopping spree - buying everything that I may have had my eye on already or simply “finding” things that were so cute I couldn’t resist! The thing is, it was for the kiddos, and not me. THE TEMPTATION WAS REAL!

So to ensure that the mama in your life will focus on herself, give gift cards that allow her the freedom, but help her to take time to focus on the things she likes.

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This guide is simple but full of gifts that keep on giving! Time, help around the home, and self-care are things that all the moms in your life can definitely benefit from… and the great thing is, these gifts are not just limited to the holiday season. You can choose to give any one of these gifts, at any time throughout the year, to show the busy mom in your life that she is appreciated, loved and acknowledged and most of all- she is a gift!







 

 

 

5 Ways to Host the Holidays and Keep Your Sanity

It's that time of year again! The air is crisp with notes of cinnamon and peppermint that fill your nostrils, and as you walk hurriedly to beat the cold, you can’t help but notice the festive holiday lights are already up and there are sales everywhere! Oh yes, holiday time is here!

Now... panic and stress may be setting in with this realization, as you think of all the things you must do in order to be ready for  the holiday season. You may be hosting the holiday festivities this year or simply attending a ton of pot luck dinners and other events, plastering a smile to cover up the amount of time and stress it took just getting there with all your children in tow.

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Well, take a deep breath and relax. It is still possible to have a stress-free holiday gathering for your family and friends.

Here are 5 ways to host the holidays and keep your sanity:

1. Plan ahead. That's right. Go into this with a plan to make the most of your time and energy.

Plan your menu.  A week or two before, write down the dishes you plan to serve and the ingredients needed for each recipe. Get your shopping done ahead of time by designating a shopping day or two and getting the items you need. This allows you to prepare everything at a relaxed pace and avoid the trap of buying unnecessary items at the last minute.

Plan how you want the day to go. This doesn't have to be a rigid, minute by minute schedule, but have an idea about what you want to happen and when. For instance, when will everyone eat, what games and music you will play (if any), how to wind down the festivities, and any other particulars specific to that day.

Plan what you will spend. Yes… set a holiday hosting budget to cover the food, décor, gifts, cards, etc. Now I know what you’re thinking, the word “budget” can seem like a four letter word around the holidays, but trust me on this. Having a set amount will help you avoid the “Host’s remorseful question syndrome” (yes, I gave it a name), where you are overtaken with mumblings of “what did I buy again?” and “I spent how much on one day just to have a mountain of dishes to clean?!! It gets real when your wallet is feeling lighter than normal. A planned budget will help you keep some extra cash in your pretty wallet or festive tea cup- whatever you prefer.  

2. Keep it simple mama. This has been the key to keeping down the stress and pressure of hosting the holidays. You can have a memorable time without a complicated, marathon like 18 course spread and over the top decor resembling a Macy's holiday window- unless you want to of course.

Have a simple menu.  Try serving one main dish with two sides. Pick recipes that are "guest friendly" meaning they can appease everyone, even your mother-in-law :) Consider recipes that are easy to prepare, can be made in advance, and also take advantage of the seasonal sales during this time of year.

Snack them happy!  Since your menu will be shorter and more simplified, offer plenty of snacks for your guests to munch on. Think self-serve snacks like Curried popcorn (so good!), Blue corn chips with spinach dip and sliced cherry tomatoes (red and green for the season!)  There are a variety of gourmet assorted crackers or mini toasts that pair well with flavored hummus dips, and flat bread to dip in olive oil seasoned with herbs. Your guests won't leave hungry and will have some great options to keep their mouths chewing and stomachs happy!

3. You don't have to do it all mama.  That’s right. You can have some help and still have a slamming party!  Designate some jobs to your children or others who are willing to help you prepare for the event. They can bring side dishes or help with clean up. Shop your local market’s deli or catering section for some or all of your meal, and go ahead… let Cousin Kim bring her bread pudding. That’s one less dish you’ll have to make - who couldn’t use that?!

4. Be YOU and do your own thing. Sometimes we feel pressured to do things exactly the way our grandmothers or mother or family members have done them in the past. There is nothing wrong with honoring tradition, however when it becomes too stressful and focused only on perfection, it may be time to do your own thing! Find a way to incorporate pieces of your family tradition, while also creating your own and bringing YOU to the celebration. Whether it's through decor, the menu, music and games; find a happy medium and enjoy yourself in the process.

5. Give yourself a gift. In all of the prep, hosting and clean up, don't forget about yourself mama! Schedule a few hours or even a whole day to do something that is just for YOU. This can be done before you host, after the festivities or both!

Schedule a massage. Get a pedicure. Curl up with your favorite book. Take a day to sleep. Order take out. Whatever works for you! (Click here for more self-care ideas)

By incorporating these tips, you can host your family and friends for the holidays, keep your hair in tact, and most of all, truly enjoy the ones you love during such a special time. Happy Evolution!

Which of these tips will you be using this year for your Holiday Festivities? Comment below or share your own tips!

A Million Ways to be a Good Mom

Have you ever looked at that perfectly put together mom, with her photo shoot ready make-up and the latest, most fashionable outfit on? It’s totally color coordinated with all the patterns to match, and not a stain or wrinkle in sight. Then you get a glimpse of her smiling, happy children who say “Please” and “Thank You” with not a tantrum or juice spill in sight… You start wishing you could do this and do that and begin to question if you are a good mom or not! Trust me! I’ve been there way too many times than I’d like to admit. Skimming through Pinterest, talking to the mom at the park,

Self Love Starts with Self-Care

When I searched through many sources to find a concrete definition for self-love and how it can pertain to us busy moms, I came up with this: "Self-love is when you prioritize your own personal happiness and well being." This “definition” may get the side eye, however, I’m not defining self-love in the manner of arrogance, selfishness or like having a superior complex, where you look down on others to boost your own ego... I'm not defining it as a means or platform to neglect or ignore the other important people in your life... No! That is not it at all!

5 Easy Ways to Start Self-Care Today

When starting on your daily self-care journey, you must remember that self-care looks different for everybody and there is no one size fits all! Just because all the moms from the local FB group are doing something, does not mean you have to… It may not even work for you. Why? Because