4 Ways to Find Peace

4 Ways to Find Peace

I've been thinking a lot about solitude and peace lately. I know many of you Mama's are enjoying the peace and quiet that comes from little ones going back to school, but there are quite a few of us who either homeschool or have tinies that aren't school aged yet. When you're a stay at home Mama, it's hard to find peace and quiet. I've learned that it's about quality over quantity and you need to find ways to maximize the time that you do have.

Here are a few ways to maximize those moments of peace and quiet:


Do Something You Adore

Not something you like. Not even something you sort of love..but something you adore. Taking those few moments out of your day to draw, read a few verses of poetry or even journal can refresh you quickly. It gives you that deep form of refreshment that stays with you all day, instead of a shallow fix that disappears.


Listen to Something Motivating

If you have a few spare moments, nourish your soul by listening to something motivating. Whether it's a sermon, uplifting music or even a motivational podcast, these things can boost your mood and bring peace. If you need an extra dose of peace, try listening to a guided meditation tape.


Get By Yourself

The best way to find peace is to get alone. My own Mother used to take drastic measures to find solitude, including driving to get the mail by herself (we had a long lane!) and even locking herself in the bathroom for a few minutes. While you might not need that drastic of measures, there is a huge benefit to getting alone, even for just a few seconds. There's a certain level of peace that comes from being able to gather your thoughts.


Make it a Habit

Set a goal to make time for peace for just 5 minutes a day every day. Making this a habit ensures that you have a lifestyle of peace and you're more likely to be able to find even more inspiring moments in your day. If possible, set a certain time every day for this. Make sure you let your children know that this is "your" time.

How do you find peace in your day? What's your favorite thing to do? Have you ever meditated?
August 19, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner
How to Get Kids to School Without Getting Overwhelmed!

How to Get Kids to School Without Getting Overwhelmed!

It's that time of year. Back to school for the kiddos! While this can be a relaxing time of year for many stay at home parents, the morning rush can overwhelm the best of us. Here are some tips for making your mornings go a lot smoother.

Plan Your Outfits in Advance

One of the biggest struggles with kids is figuring out what to wear. Having little ones lay out their clothes the night before eliminates a lot of those outfit mishaps and messes from flying clothes! A tip: If you have a picky little one who likes to be independent, have two outfit choices prepped. Simplified, yet diverse! :)


Make Lunches the Night Before

Prepping lunches the night before saves valuable time in the morning, especially if you tend to run behind like I do! Everyone's lunch can usually be prepared the night before by using simple planning techniques. I like to have a simple rotation of lunches: Homemade Lunchables one day, PB and J the next. I also like to have pre-cut fruits and veggies on hand for easy wash and go lunchbox additions. Another great tip: Prep your coffee pot the night before too. Bonus points for those of us with timers!


Do Chores the Night Before

I don't clean my entire house, but I do make sure to have a moderately clean home before going to bed. This means the dishwasher is loaded or the dishes are done, the clutter is picked up and any spills are wiped. It's so much easier to get through a busy morning when the house looks mostly clean.


Create a Launch Pad

Create a place where you have all of your devices, keys, coats, shoes, etc. Basically, everything you need to get out the door without missing anything! Prep this launch pad the night before you head out to make sure you are equipped to handle whatever comes your way.


Give Everyone a Job

Create a simple morning routine and make sure everyone knows what their role is. Mine looks something like this: Husband gets child number 1 and himself ready, Mom gets child number 2 and herself ready, child number 1 brings bags to the car, child number 2 cleans up after breakfast. By giving everyone a part, things run a lot smoother.

What's your biggest struggle in getting out the door in the mornings? Have you adopted a routine to help with this problem?
August 12, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner
How to Decorate a House With Little Ones

How to Decorate a House With Little Ones

You scroll through Pinterest, taking in all of the gorgeously decorated homes. Then you sigh. You think, "There's no way my house could be that cute! I have little ones!" Think again! You can still have the house of your dreams, you just have to adjust your vision a little. Here's how to do it.

Loosen Your Standards

This might seem like a downer, but if you give up the idea of a perfectly decorated home that isn't possible, you'll be able to have a nicely decorated home right now. When you have kids, you can't always have the white interior, glass coffee table, and delicate china. That doesn't mean that you can't take a few elements of your style and incorporate them into your home! Consider the things that you adore and compromise. A good example would be to have a few white throw pillows and maybe a display of good china instead of the white couch and delicate dishes.


Pay Less

If you're going to decorate in the midst of children who like to break things..don't pay full price. In fact, make thrifting and antiquing your new best friend. You can find so many great deals on attractive home decor items for less. This also sparks your creativity and gives you a new sense of style. Hint: Farmhouse and shabby chic styles are made for thrifting!


Strategic Placing

The best thing I have ever done is to place all my pretty decorating items out of reach. Whether it's a vase of flowers on a bookshelf, or a centerpiece on a kitchen island, little hands can't break anything and I can still enjoy it. Walls are a great thing to use for strategic placing, so stock up on pretty paintings and shelves for your knick-knacks.


Work With the Kids

A home should be comfortable for everyone who lives there. This means that any decor we choose should accommodate our kids as well. You might have to completely change your style to make everyone comfortable, but it is well worth it to have a put together home. I used to be a huge fan of modern decor but realized that it is much easier to enjoy farmhouse decor with little ones. The rustic look tends to work with any scratches or spills that happen and you don't have to worry about accidents ruining your whole look!

What's your favorite decorating style? How do you decorate with little ones?
August 05, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner
5 Easy Ways to Save on Healthy Eating

5 Easy Ways to Save on Healthy Eating

The cost of groceries keep rising and if you choose to eat healthier foods, you're definitely feeling it! Here are some simple tips to help you save money on healthy food items.


Not all coupons are for junk or processed food. You can find a lot of coupons for soy/nut milk, cheese, meat and more! I like Coupons.com for a simplified way to filter savings. If you have a favorite brand or product, you can also check out their website to see if they offer coupons or if you're feeling adventurous, I've had a lot of luck emailing brands and asking for them!


Reduced Bins

Reduced bins have a bad name, but they can carry great savings! Look for produce, reduced meat and even rice and pasta. The trick to taking advantage of reduced bins is to freeze most produce and meat. This makes it last much longer and helps you have a great stockpile.


Shop the Ads

Base your menu around what's on sale that week. For example, if chicken breasts are on sale that week, plan to have chicken a few nights. Stores generally have a rotation or plan their sales seasonally, so after a few months of meal planning this way, you'll learn what to expect.



When you find those sale items, create a stockpile to use in the future. This saves you money because you don't have to buy these items twice. A good rule of thumb is to stockpile enough of the on sale item to last you until the next sale.


Menu Plan and Shop Once

The more often I go to the store, the more money I spend. I curb this habit by making a menu plan, creating a list of exactly what I need and resolving to only go to the store once a week. There are a lot of die-hard penny pinchers who swear by monthly shopping. If you can handle shopping every other week or even once a month, go for it! Just make sure your list has every single item you'll be eating that month. The less time you spend in the store, the more time you have for other things!

How do you save money on healthy foods? Do you have a Meatless Monday, or is your style to cut back on portions? Let me know in the comments below!
July 29, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner
6 Things to Add to Your Fall Bucket List

6 Things to Add to Your Fall Bucket List

Summer is almost over which means one thing: Fall is nearly here. I've been motivated to create a Fall bucket list full of fun things to do with my little family. Here are a few things on my list. Feel free to add them to yours!

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin patches are everywhere and are a great outing for families. Not only do you get to pick your own pumpkin to decorate, but many patches have fun things like corn mazes and hayrides!


Fall Baking

I love baking Fall-themed treats with my little ones. Our favorite thing to bake is sugar cookies that are cut in the shapes of leaves and acorns. We'll ice them with an orange or green sugar glaze. Another great option is anything pumpkin spice flavored!


Leaf Collages

This is a simple craft that's fun for all ages. It's as easy as going on a hunt for pretty leaves that have fallen off trees and gluing them onto a sheet of paper. Little ones love using a glue stick by themselves, while older kids adore making masterpieces. They also make great decorations for the house!


Blessing Tree

This is a great craft to do around Thanksgiving time. Make a tree trunk out of construction paper. Go online and search for "Leaf templates". Print the templates and trace around them on a sheet of Fall-colored construction paper. Cut out the leaves and write something you're grateful for on them. It's fun to see how the blessing tree changes each year, so be sure to get your kids involved! This is a fun keepsake and it gets everyone's minds in a grateful state.


Fall Party

This is something that I can't wait to do! I'm planning on making caramel apples and apple cider, playing fun games, and possibly having a bonfire after. Plan your own Fall party, or better yet, let your kids plan it for you! Invite your friends and family and create memories. Don't forget the Fall themed photo props!


Chili Cook-Off

Here's another fun thing to do with your family and friends. Host a chili cook-off where everyone makes their favorite chili recipe. Award prizes for different things like most unique, best tasting, hottest, etc. Make sure to take advantage of all the side goodies like cornbread!

What's on your Fall bucket list?
July 22, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner
5 Natural Cleaners for Beginners

5 Natural Cleaners for Beginners

Lately, I've been nothing short of obsessed with natural cleaners! They smell better, are fun to use and best of all, my little guys can help clean without inhaling toxins! To save money, I've been making my own and it is so easy. Here are a few of my favorite recipes and a couple that I can't wait to try. They can be made with ingredients you have lying around!

Orange Vinegar

This is an all purpose cleaner. Vinegar works well as a disinfectant and while vinegar on its own doesn't smell the best, it is easy to cover up the scent. I love this option because it uses what we would normally just throw out!

Chemical Free Laundry Detergent

This is on my list of things to make! I heard that you use less detergent when you make your own, plus if you have sensitive skin like my little one, this is supposed to help. I like that you can customize which essential oils you use. I'm thinking lavender might help calm my family!


Homemade Screen Cleaner

Screen cleaner is so expensive! It's also a total must-have with tiny fingers. This cleaner looks super easy to make. Once I use up my bottle that I have on hand, this is making its appearance in my cleaning cupboard!


Homemade Dryer Sheets

These work extremely well! I scent mine with a little lavender and vanilla. I get 2-3 uses out of each sheet. I've noticed that my laundry is still soft even without the commercial dryer sheets I used to use.


Magic Carpet Cleaner

This really is magic. I've gotten grape juice stains out many times using this trick. About once a month, I'll go through my house and do this simple treatment. If there's a really tough stain, I'll take my iron and hold it over the rag covering the stain for about 20 seconds.

Natural cleaning doesn't have to take a lot of money time or effort. You also don't have to replace every single cleaner at once. When I run out of a store-bought commercial cleaner, my goal is to replace it with a healthier, more natural alternative. Baby steps are key! Start out my stocking your cupboard with the basics: A couple essential oils, baking soda, and vinegar.

What natural cleaners do you use?
July 15, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner
4 Simple Ways to Maxmize Self-Care

4 Simple Ways to Maxmize Self-Care

You've heard me mention many times how important self-care is for a Mama's well-being. When I first heard about self-care, I was instantly overwhelmed because I didn't know how I would find the extra time to include self-care into my daily routine. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that have allowed me to focus a little more on myself. Here's what I've been doing:

Making it a Priority

We find time for the things that matter to us. If you start placing self-care higher on your list of things to do, you'll start making more of an effort to do it! If you can't seem to make it a priority, start by thinking of the reasons why you should be doing it. More energy, a better attitude, inner peace, and a sense of purpose are all motivating factors for me! Remember that you're not being selfish, but you are making sure that you have something to pour into the lives of those around you.


Sneaking in Small Moments

Self-care looks more like reading a few pages of a good book or savoring a good drink than a trip to the spa on most days and that's okay! Find those small pockets of time, like when your child is coloring or napping, and fit what you can into them. If you're at a rough stage, don't be afraid to pop in a DVD or bring out some special toys so that you can refresh yourself.


Focusing on Quality Over Quantity

Think about the things that really refresh your mind, body, and soul. Chances are, you don't have to do those things for a long period of time before you start to feel the positive effects! When you focus on the quality of self-care, it helps you maximize the time that you do have. Life gets busy and it's so much more worthwhile to do something that will completely refresh you than to waste time on something that only moderately interests you.


Embracing My Unique Style

The way that you nourish yourself is going to be uniquely you. I used to feel "nerdy" because the way that I kick back is through watching British shows and creating new recipes. I thought that because my self-care didn't look like everyone else's that it was wrong. Only when I focused on the things that make me feel refreshed, no matter how strange they are, was I able to see the benefits that self-care brings.

What things refresh your spirit?
July 08, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner
8 Healthy Popsicles You Just HAVE to Try!

8 Healthy Popsicles You Just HAVE to Try!

Popsicles are one of my little guy's favorite snacks! He goes crazy for those cold treats! My main focus lately has been to reduce the amount of sugar I'm feeding my sons, so obviously popsicles are an area of improvement! I found a few healthy alternatives that I can't wait to try. Not only are they pretty clean as far as ingredients go, but they contain no added sugar. Win-win!

3 Ingredient Strawberry Banana Popsicles

This is a super simple recipe that contains only fruit! None of the ingredients are off-putting to a little one either. I've found that any recipe that has a banana in it is bound to be sweet! Plus, bananas give off a soft, ice-cream like texture.

3 Ingredient Blueberry Yogurt Swirl Popsicles
The greek yogurt base provides plenty of protein, which gives energy without the usual sugar crash.

Coconut milk is a great alternative for kid's who are allergic to dairy. It gives a creamy texture and adds a tropical flavor to any recipe.

Chocolate Banana Split Popsicles
This looks like a pretty unique popsicle! This is a treat for Mom's as well. ;)

Lime and Mint Popsicles
These look so refreshing. If you have a little one who is a foodie like mine, they'd probably love trying this!

Peanut Butter Popsicles
I haven't ever tried a peanut butter popsicle before, but I'm guessing it would be a huge hit with any little one!

Kiwi Popsicles
These popsicles are raw and vegan, so if your family follows this way of eating, these will be on the top of your list. Maple syrup is full of antioxidants and it doesn't raise your blood sugar like other sugar alternatives.

Mock Jello Pudding Popsicles
These contain more ingredients than the other options, but these get such rave reviews that I had to add them. They remind me of the fudge pops that I used to get on an ice cream truck!

Choosing to go sugar-free with your child's cold treats will not only give them nutritional benefits, it will also help with their energy levels. By going homemade with these simple recipes, you're eliminating artificial chemicals, dyes and so much more. What does your child like to eat during the summer? Which treat are you going to try first?



July 01, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner
3 Things to Do Before You Blow Up

3 Things to Do Before You Blow Up

A day in the life of a Mama. There are ups, like hearing that little voice say, "I love you!". There are also downs, like when your toddler gets into your pantry and dumps baking soda everywhere (not that I know anyone who has had that happen recently!). With the rollercoaster of events, it's easy for our emotions to run raw and completely explode. Here's your action plan for the next time you have a topsy-turvy day. It's a simple list of things to do before you blow up!

Put It in Perspective

In the moment, the drawing on the wall seems like a huge crisis. But, in the grand scheme of life, it's really just a blip on the map. Making an effort to see things as they really are will help prevent unnecessary blowups. I try to ask myself, "Is the damage done really worth the damage that my anger would do to a little spirit?" The answer to that is always a big NO!


Take a Few Deep Breaths

Or "belly breathe!" as my toddler says. Take a few deep breaths before you react. Even if you take a 10-second delay, it gives you a chance to get your head on straight. Deep breathing on its own is powerful, bringing an extra dose of oxygen to the brain, but if you use it in those tough situations it becomes a total game changer. It instantly calms you and clears the fog from your Mama brain. If you want to go deeper into this practice, start  learning yoga! I love watching YouTube videos and have learned so much!


Practice Fair Discipline

Choosing to keep a level head at all times definitely doesn't mean that you let everything go. If there's a situation that requires discipline, by all means, discipline. But, discipline fairly. By not overreacting, you're able to win your child's heart, which is more important than releasing your crazy emotions anyways! One of the ways my family practices fair discipline is to make sure there's a certain level of consistency. For every infraction, there is a specific consequence, whether that's taking a toy away or time out. This way the child knows what to expect and there's already a set punishment in place, so acting on raw emotions isn't an option.

Keep Yourself Filled

It's important to keep yourself in a good state mentally, physically and emotionally. This makes it easier to positively pour into the lives of others. It also means that one little thing isn't going to send you over the edge. Get enough sleep, find a fitness routine you love, eat well, and maybe even include some homeopathic calming things into your life. I personally love calming essential oils like lavender!

The more that our children see us making wise choices where our emotions are concerned the more they will do the same. How do you keep your emotions in check when disciplining?

June 24, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner
How to Treat Yourself for $10 or Less!

How to Treat Yourself for $10 or Less!

Self-care is something that is often overlooked by parents, though it shouldn't be. Moms pour into the lives of their families nonstop. This is a wonderful thing, but it's easy to run on empty. Here are a few ways you can treat yourself that don't cost a fortune. Actually, they all cost around $10! Your challenge is to do at least one of these things in the next week. 


A Nice, Long Bath

This is one of my favorite ways to indulge. You can purchase new bubbles, bath bombs, or oil to make this a special soak. I like to bring my favorite book and some soothing music along. If you already have a stash of bath goodies, spend that money on a nice bottle of wine!



You can purchase a whole month of Netflix for about $10. That's a lot of days spent relaxing in front of your favorite show. I get nostalgic over old shows, exercise my mind through documentaries and laugh at the funny comedies. Plus, you can also buy yourself some time if you share the account with your kids.


Coffee Shop Date for One

There's nothing more relaxing than going to the coffee shop by yourself. While this isn't overly expensive, it does feel completely luxurious. Choose your favorite coffee and treat and relax with a good book. Sometimes, I will savor my coffee while people watching. It's nice to get out into the real world every so often.



This is great if you find yourself in a "Mom-Slump". Go to your favorite store and choose something to perk up your looks. Maybe it's a new lipstick, blush or mascara. You might use this as an excuse to purchase hair dye or a hot tool. The point is to buy something little that will give you a boost.

Another spin on this treat is to go thrift shopping and use your $10 budget to find some cute new duds! I've been able to score some awesome things!


Simple Meditation

Taking the time to simply sit in the quiet is mind-renewing. Find a quiet place and think positive thoughts. You can focus on a mantra or Scripture if you'd like. Sometimes, I just sit and focus on my breathing. This is one of the most beneficial things I do!

Taking care of you is one of the most important parts of parenting. How do you take time for yourself?
June 17, 2016 by Irina Hubbard