How to Practice Minimalism with Kids!

How to Practice Minimalism with Kids!

Minimalism and kids. Those two things might sound like total oxymorons,but it's a lot easier than you might think! Just because you have children doesn't mean you have to live drowning in kid-clutter.
Here are a few tips to help you incorporate minimalism into your family life.


Be Intentional About Your Purchases

In my own life, I've been known to purchase a cheap, little toy to keep my child happy in the store. Those little purchases can add up to a lot of clutter! I've been trying to be more intentional with these trinkets. I ask myself if my child really needs another toy, what toy would actually benefit him, and if this is something that he is going to value. All of those questions do a pretty good job of weeding out those impulse purchases!


Evaluate What You Already Have

I like to make a habit of going through my little one's toys and clothes once a season, at least. When I go through the kid toys, I pitch any toys that aren't played with on a regular basis. I also think about whether this is something that provides value to my child's life. I tend to be a little ruthless! I also have a rule that says once we fill a certain bin, there are to be NO MORE TOY PURCHASES! This means that if something new comes in, something old comes out.


Practice "Sparking Joy"

Marie Kondo's books speak about a concept called sparking joy. This means that you hold each item and if it doesn't give you a positive feeling, it goes. When you put this concept into play, you're automatically going to wind up with a lot less stuff. Plus, you'll only have those things that you truly adore. You can practice sparking joy with your children by having them hold an item and ask themselves, "Does this make me happy?".


Give, Give, Give!

There are so many charities that will accept your old clothes and toys. Goodwill, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity all are great organizations. If your little one starts to pitch a fit over getting rid of some old things, let him know that the toy is going to go to someone who could use it! I also like to go through my things from time to time and give them to a needy family along with a meal. It puts things into perspective.

How do you practice minimalism?
June 10, 2016 by Irina Hubbard
How to Avoid Comparison and Be the Mom You Always Wanted to Be!

How to Avoid Comparison and Be the Mom You Always Wanted to Be!

Comparison is everywhere, whether you want it to be or not. The luxury of social media makes it easier than ever to see what other Moms are up to. We look at the lives they live, the children they have, and the homes they've bought and soon..we start feeling less than. I wanted to share a few simple truths with you that will help you stop the comparison game and help you start living YOUR best life.


Embrace Your Positives

Every Mom is equipped with a set of positive traits. For some Moms, this might mean they're known as the "fun" Mom. Other Moms are a little better than some at organization. Think about the things that you're good at and focus on those things. Make those skills stand out, hone them until you've mastered them and center your parenting around the things that you do well.


Don't Shake Your Negatives

Even the things that you consider negatives make your parenting style uniquely you and they shouldn't be thrown aside! Many times, negative things can actually be blessings in disguise. Maybe you're a little more laid back than you'd like. That go with the flow mentality might be just what your child needs to thrive! Everything about you was perfectly designed for YOUR child specifically. You are the only one who can parent them like you! It can be easy to see the negative things about ourselves without looking at the silver lining.


Unplug or Unfollow

I like looking at gorgeous pictures on Instagram as much as the next girl, but when I go from admiring to's time to unplug. Taking intentional time away from social media not only clears your head, but it allows you to see the impact that comparison has on your attitude, thoughts and life. If you can't fully give up social media, try unfollowing those accounts that you stalk. :)


Practice Gratitude

Practice being thankful for the things that you already have. You might not have a picture perfect home, but you have a place to lay your head at night. Thinking of the things we have as gifts gives us a sense of perspective and it also helps us to realize that there are many people who have it way worse than we do!

Have you ever compared yourself to another Mama? How do you overcome comparison?
June 03, 2016 by Irina Hubbard
3 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong After Kids

3 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong After Kids

After you have children, your focus is primarily them. While that's not a bad thing in itself, it's important to not neglect other areas of your life. One area that gets ignored after kids is your marriage. I wanted to share some tips with you that will help you keep your marriage strong..even when you go from being just Husband and Wife to Mom and Dad!


Remember Your Original Title

Before you were Mama and Daddy, you were a couple. Husband and Wife. Taking time to embrace both titles keeps balance in your life. When you focus on being a Wife, you're showing your Husband that you still care about him and that he's still a priority. For some of us, this will look like taking extra time to ask about your spouse's day, while others of us might need a whole relationship overhaul! Remember the joy of simply being a spouse.


Quality is Key

It's no secret that your free time is next to nil when you have kids. This is where it comes in handy to focus on quality over quantity. I remember the days before I was a Mom. I could go on overnight stays, head out on dates anytime I wanted, and staying up all night talking was common. In those days, that was quality time. These days, the quantity isn't all there. Quality time is fit in those small moments, such as a pat on the back, an encouraging word through a difficult day or a special snack shared after bedtime. I'm happy to say that my relationship hasn't suffered! Focus on the small moments and try to make them as meaningful as possible.


Random Acts of Kindness

Find simple ways to show your spouse that you're thinking about them, even in the midst of raising babies! A small note left in his lunch, a flower left in her car, breakfast in bed or even making his favorite meal are all simple ways to show that you still place your spouse's happiness high on your priority list! Those small things that are done often mean more than the biggest gifts given on rare holidays!

Though society will scream otherwise, your marriage can actually get stronger after you become parents. It just takes a little bit of effort and determination. How do you keep your marriage strong?
May 27, 2016 by Irina Hubbard
How to Teach Children Good Manners

How to Teach Children Good Manners

Good manners are something that many older generations would say this generation lacks. While it's true that we lack a lot of face to face communication, we don't have to accept generations to come as completely rude. It's important to teach our children good manners. Good manners will take them far in life! Here are some of my favorite ways to teach the importance of manners:

Make Believe

I like to set up scenarios for my little one to practice being polite. This is so much fun! We practice how to behave around older folks, what to say when someone gives you something and how to treat those serving you at the supermarket or a restaurant. I like to customize this based on situations that we're in often. I have also reversed the role, making my child play the part of someone who wasn't treated very nice. It really hits home and helps kids to remember to always treat others with respect!


Gentle Reminders

When I was growing up, my Mother always used to give me gentle reminders to be polite. I find myself doing the same thing. When someone gives my child something, you can often find me prompting them to say "Thank you!" I also give reminders to hold doors, to smile at others and to give up their seat to someone who needs it.


Lead By Example

Little ones are parrots. They imitate everything they see, good or bad. When you treat other people politely, they'll learn that manners are expected of them too. Remember who's watching you, even in those difficult moments!


Extended Learning

There are so many awesome books, videos, TV shows and more about manners. Nearly every children's show on PBS has a whole episode devoted to treating others well. My family loves PBS's Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Nearly every episode has a great character quality and the cast mates always treat other characters well. On the flip side, take note of the shows your child is watching. A lot of shows these days feature cartoon characters that aren't so respectful!

Teaching your child good manners will help them to build better relationships, have a greater sense of compassion and will help them grow into adults who truly treat others the best that they can.
While it takes a little more effort, it's worth it in the long run!

How do you teach your child manners?
May 20, 2016 by Irina Hubbard
4 Ways to Fit Fitness Into Your Child's Day

4 Ways to Fit Fitness Into Your Child's Day

During the summer, kid's get in total chill mode. This is great for their sanity but horrible for their energy. While vegging out in front of the TV might keep your kids quiet, it doesn't do much for their healthy. Here are some fun ways to make fitness a priority this summer.

Lead By Example

If your kids see Mom and Dad having fun and getting fit, they'll want to do it too. Make fitness a family activity. Go on bike rides together. Take long walks in scenic areas and play an organized ball game. I like to let my little one do my exercise videos with me. Some families prefer to get a family gym membership, so if you're super serious about getting fit, this might be a good investment for you!


Be Tricky

Add fitness to your child's day in sneaky ways like purchasing active video games (We love Wii games!) or by playing games like Red Rover, Tag and Duck Duck Goose. One of my favorite ways to sneak fitness in is to have a dance party. We blare loud music and get crazy!


Cut Screen Time

If your child is having a hard time pulling away from the video games and Netflix, it might be time to set screen time boundaries. A popular idea is to create a chart that says, "No screen time until.." and fill it with activities like read x pages in a book, play outside for a few minutes, etc.  You can make your own chart that's more fitness friendly by including physical activities like chores, exercises, bike rides, etc.


Think Outside the Box

The main complaint that parents hear from little ones who don't want to go outside is that "it's booooring!". This is when it's time to start thinking outside the box. Many adults won't incorporate fitness into their lives if it's boring, so why should kids? Take your kids to a new park or pool to give them a change of scenery. One of my favorite ways to switch things up is to find a new trail to walk in. Get creative. Ask your kid's what they'd find fun or check out Pinterest for some ideas.

Fitting physical activity in your child's day will not only help their fitness levels, but it will also teach them healthy habits.

How do you find fitness?
May 13, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner

5 Fun Outdoor Games to Play This Summer

Warmer temperatures are almost here and little ones aren't going to want to stay inside much longer! Make this summer fun for them with these unique outdoor activities!

Water Fun!

Playing in the water is a timeless way to cool down. I'm sure you remember playing in a sprinkler or a Slip-N-Slide when you were younger. I know I was entertained for hours! There are so many different water toys you can purchase now, but I prefer to make my own water fun. One of my favorite things to do is to create a "pouring station". I'll take a few old measuring cups, bowls, utensils and place them in a large Rubbermaid container. I fill the container with some water and sometimes a little bit of bubble bath and let my child go crazy! You can add some little things to the bottom of the container for sensory play if you'd like.



Nothing is more special to a child than having an outdoor picnic. We take an old blanket and some finger foods outside. Picnics don't have to be a whole meal and if you have toddlers, it might be best if it wasn't! I like to make a special, yet still healthy treat. Fresh fruit, veggies, crackers, cheese and maybe even a smoothie are our favorite picnic foods.


Scavenger Hunts!

A scavenger hunt is fun because it can be easily customized for a child of any age. For little ones, you can keep it simple by looking for a leaf or flower. For older children, it can be more of a learning experience. Learn about a certain type of leaf, animal or flower and go on a hunt to find that exact one. You can even have a prize for the person who finds it first! 



Out of the Ordinary Adventures!

This takes a little more planning than the other activities, but it can create some fun memories! Plan a small trip to somewhere that your children don't usually go, like an out of town park, pool, or zoo. We like to stay within a couple of hours from home. It's a fun surprise and a great way to welcome warmer temperatures!

Getting outdoors this summer creates fun memories, gives you a chance to bond with your family and it prevents summer break boredom.

What do you like to do outside?



May 06, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner

What's Your Child's Love Language?

Everyone has a unique love language. Your love language determines the things that make you feel loved! As a parent, it's important to know your child's love language so you can communicate love in the most effective way.

Here's a list of the 5 love languages and how to show love with each one!



If your child lights up when you give them a thoughtful gift, this might just be their love language. Gifts don't have to be elaborate or expensive to make a difference. One thoughtful gift every so often is more than enough to fill a love tank!



If your child's love language is touch, they'll appreciate hugs, high-fives and even a simple hand on the shoulder. This is the type of child that's going to love cuddle sessions (bonus for you!). Touch is a simple love language to fill and it doesn't take much effort at all.


Quality Time

Quality time is spending intentional moments with your child. These moments are where the most bonding happens if you have a child with this love language. While a bit more time consuming than other languages, it really is simple to give love in this way. Going for a walk, having a heart to heart talk, or even a special trip to get ice cream shows this child that you're heart is invested in them.


Words of Affirmation

If this is your child's love language, they'll require a bit more motivation. They'll like to have constant affirmation that they're doing a great job, that they're good enough and that you love them. A pep talk would probably make this child feel adored!


Acts of Service

Acts of Service is just what it sounds like: Doing nice things for your child. This could be as simple as cooking their favorite dinner or doing their least favorite chore. These acts of service show your child that you care. While it requires some effort, it's worth it to see your child's confidence grow knowing they're loved!

You can tell your child's love language by paying attention to what things make them happiest. You can also think about the things that they do for others. For example, if they make you breakfast in bed, their love language might be acts of service.

What's your child's love language?
April 29, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner

4 Easy Ways for Moms to Boost Their Energy

Moms need energy to be able to do their jobs well. It can be hard to find energy when you're sleep-deprived or can't even find time to brush your hair! There are some simple things that Moms can do to boost their energy. Here are my favorite tips!


Drink Water

You probably already know this tip, but are you following it? :) Drinking water instantly boosts your energy, helps you feel better and makes you look amazing! Your body is made up of about 60% water, so it's important to keep replenishing your liquids. Not a water fan? Try adding some fruit or use water flavor enhancers!


Work it Out

I know. It's hard to find time to work out. But you don't have to go to a gym or even leave your house to get your fitness on! YouTube has videos for all types of workouts like Pilates, Yoga, Strength Training, Tae Bo and Cardio! It's like having your own personal trainer in your living room. If you have little ones, get them involved. My little one loves to work out with Mommy and will even try to imitate the instructor.

You can also get creative with your workouts and do extra housework, go for a walk or spend the day at the beach. The possibilities are endless!


Eat Smart

It's so easy to choose unhealthy meals and snacks, especially when they're more convenient. Taking the few extra minutes to create a healthy, satisfying meal is worth the benefit! You don't have to be Chef Emeril, you can keep it simple. One of my favorite simple meal or snacks is a smoothie. Fresh fruit, yogurt and maybe a little honey will give you energy and nutrients.

The cleaner you eat, the more energy you'll have. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. Stay away from processed foods or foods with ingredients you can't pronounce!


Get Rest

Taking time when you can to rest is important. Unplug from the electronics, draw a hot bath and just simply be. Try to forgo the to-do list and go to bed early when you need extra sleep and take the occasional nap!

By following the above tips, you won't have to be drained! You'll have the energy to be your best self. You don't need fancy pills or shakes to gain energy, use these no-fuss tips and save yourself some money!

How do you boost your energy?
April 22, 2016 by Irina Hubbard

How to Give Your Child a Positive Outlook

A positive outlook on life will take a person far. No one likes someone who always looks at the negative side of things. Thinking positive makes someone more determined, happy and more fun to be around. These people can't help but attract more positive things! It's important to give our kids a positive outlook on life. Read on for my tips on creating a positive attitude in your child!


Use Positive Language

Parrots and children are more similar than you think. How are you speaking to your child? Are you using positive language, giving them grace for their mistakes and teaching them to not be so hard on themselves? If your little ones hear positive things, they will start speaking positive things themselves.


Look on the Bright Side

Bad things are bound to happen in life. There's no person who has all sunshine, all the time! When we look for something good in a situation, we show our kids how to be in control of their emotions. Positive thinkers don't let their circumstances control them, but rather, they choose how to behave. The next time something goes wrong in life, try to find one positive thing about the situation and make sure your child hears you! You can even have your child come up with his own positive.

Gently Correct Negativity

When your child gets an overly negative attitude, show them that there's a better response! Everyone has the right to feel negative emotions, but we can choose to express them in a positive way. Gently show your child how to express his emotions in a way that doesn't bring negativity into the situation. A great example would be to vent about the situation without saying his whole life is horrible.


Place Positive Things Around Them

You can give your child a positive outlook on life by placing positive things around them. Signs in their rooms with uplifting quotes, little notes left in their lunchbox, encouraging phrases spoken to them and music with a good message are all great ways to create an atmosphere of positivity.

The best thing you can do to create a positive mindset in your child is to have one yourself. These tips can be used to help you grow your positive outlook as well. It is possible to have a good attitude regardless of what's going on in the world! How do you stay positive?
April 15, 2016 by Catlyn Hoepner

How You Can Stop the Mommy Wars

Have you heard of the phrase, "Mommy Wars?" To keep a long story short, Mommy Wars happen when Mothers of different views decide to come against each other. Instead of giving each other the support we deserve, these wars isolate Moms and create an us versus them mentality. We don't have to play into the Mommy Wars! Here are some simple ways that you can stop Mommy Wars from invading your personal circle.


Embrace Uniqueness

Every Mom is different in the way that she parents. Some might use a grace-filled approach to discipline while another might be more strict. Some might be "crunchy" while others have an easy does it approach. None of these approaches to parenting are totally correct and none of these things makes someone a good Mom. When we think about what truly matters, like the love we have for our children and the desire to give them the best life possible, we can start embracing uniqueness. Even if you don't agree with a particular view on parenting, there is a small something to get from another Moms example. Embrace the uniqueness of others without trying to change them!


Step Outside of Your Circle

Moms of a feather flock together, but when we step out of our social circle and befriend a Mama who has a different approach to parenting, we break down walls. It's kind of like a snooty high-school clique, where the only way to demolish it is to believe there's a place for everyone in the same circle. You might not feed your family the same way, but I guarantee the love you have for your little ones is the exact same!


Stop Mom-Shaming

The biggest way to start a Mommy war is to shame another Mom. It can be easy to judge someone else, especially when we don't understand their way of doing things. But when we make an effort to only speak positively about other Moms, we lift them up and show our support. Moms have enough on their plate without being judged by someone who is supposed to have their back!

Women are a powerful force and we have the strength to band together and banish Mommy Wars completely. Let's bring a movement of support, love and respect to motherhood instead.
April 08, 2016 by Irina Hubbard