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Date: Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 03:33

Recently, I embarked on a journey across the ocean, into the not-so-deep Mexico.  I call it a Brandcation, but you’d probably know it better as a cruise.  More specifically, it was a Royal Caribbean cruise on the Liberty of the Seas ship.  Thanks to the fabulous sponsor, Royal Caribbean, I had the opportunity to sail away on a 5 day/4 night cruise, along with 39 other bloggers.

Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas

Imagine my fear of being with 39 other bloggers, that I didn’t know.  Just a handful I knew online but that’s about it and as an introvert at heart, I was terrified of being ‘that girl’.   And in the end, the women were absolutely fantastic, but it was ultimately the activities on the ship that made all the difference at getting me out of my oh-so-comfy box.

1. Cupcake Decorating at The Cupcake Cupboard

When the class is given, there will be several of you decorating at once.  You’re sitting there with people you know, some you don’t, sizing up each others capabilities. You know, figuring out who’s gonna make the best darn cupcake ever, right?  But if you’re the shy girl, you’re just praying that yours won’t be considered a new trend in modern art.  You’re probably hoping that nobody is looking at yours , especially all the people that are walking by staring at everyone taking the class. Within 5 minutes, you realize that most everyone is no master at cupcake decorating and their cupcake looks as though it belongs in the same art gallery as yours.  You’re laughing & surprised at how well you’re doing, and even making friends with all the folks passing by, who happen to be telling you how awesome you’re doing.   Totally fly y’all!

cupcakecupboard

2. Vitality Spa

When we arrived at Cozumel, I got off for just a bit of shopping but actually ended up going back on the ship.  It seemed like the perfect time to browse the ship since so many get off at the ports.  Since this was a work related trip, we had several to-do’s that kept us busy so when I found myself at the Vitality spa, I decided to step outside of my comfy box and get ‘the works’.  They were having a special where I could get 5 different things for $99 bucks and since my hair was becoming a close resemblance of someone who had just been electrocuted, I decided to splurge on a haircut as well!  I know, I know…you’re thinking that had to be crazy expensive huh?  Well, it was more than what it cost here, $79 to be exact, but I have to say, they did an amazing job and TOOK THEIR TIME!! The problem with salons these days, is they seem to always be in such a hurry to get you outta there that they forget that for some of us, this is a luxury.   As far as the spa treatments go, they were incredible.  Andi tended to me and she made me feel very comfortable, knowing darn well that it really wasn’t my thing.  I had a mini facial, massage, foot & leg massage, and then sun glow applied to my face.  Considering I didn’t have any makeup on, I think the bronzer made a big difference in how I looked!  I absolutely believe that the spa treatments and haircut & style, totally made me fly!  And with that, here’s my before and after……

beforeafterhair

3.  Catacombs Night Club

If there is anything that can turn a shy girl into a fly girl, it’s dancing, YO!  Catacombs was a fun little night club that had us ladies whoopin’ it up for hours!   They played everything from the 70′s to the current hits of today.  It was a blast!  Not only was it fun to dance, it was hilarious to watch others dance, because you know, not everyone has skillzzzz.  Even so, props to everyone who gets out there and ‘kicks it’. I wish more had the guts to dance!!!!   Most of the night, there was a big group of us girls dancing in the center but there was once where they all ditched me!  Actually, they were just faster than me at getting off the dance floor and within seconds, this guy started dancing with me. EEEEEK!!  I’m not even sure what kind of dancing it was and even though there were plenty of awkward dancing moments, I just went with the flow.  I don’t think his boyfriend was too thrilled though….Thanks girls, for leaving me out there!!!

dancing

4.  On Air, Karaoke Style!

As someone who loves to sing but stinks at it, I’m sure it’s obvious that Karaoke would NOT be my thing.  In fact, it never will be and I’ll probably never do it.  When we got there, the waiting list was already filled up. We were bummed, until we turned around and saw the Karaoke booth! Oh yeah, a sound proof booth y’all!!  That was pretty stinkin’ awesome.  Even more awesome, is listening to a bunch of girls sing ‘Girls Just a Wanna Have Fun’ at the top of their lungs.  And even though I hid in the corner and laughed more than I sang, I still feel pretty darn fly for trying to participate.   And because I don’t want you to miss out on the amazing voices of these bloggers, Jessica was happy to share the recording!  Enjoy y’all!

karaoke

5.  Casino

How could I not try my hand at the casino slots?  You can’t win if you don’t play right?  Two of the 4 nights, I mosey’d on in to see just how lucky I was.  Considering that I won $100 bucks, I guess you could say I was pretty darn lucky!  Since I won, I tried the next evening. I put in $20 and and ended up cashing out at $300!!  I played the same game, Alice in Wonderland, and it was great! There’s all kinds of bonuses and it makes all sorts of sounds that are just fun.  Having been to several casinos, I was impressed with the various styles of machines. They had plenty for everyone and there was always some sort of slot tournaments or bingo games happening while you were in there.  I never played any of the poker but I heard all sorts of winning going on around me.  Since I ended up winning $400 on my Royal Caribbean cruise, it totally makes me fly.  I met some cool old ladies too that had me talking to my machine, you know, to help me win and all.  Guess it worked!

casinocruise

While I’m not obligated to write any more posts about Royal Caribbean, I plan to since I have much more to share.  Simply put, my Royal Caribbean cruise on the Liberty of the Seas was absolutely fantastic and I can’t recommend it enough y’all!

 

 

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "Travel, cruise, liberty of the seas, roy..."
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Date: Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 15:10

Here’s an easy and fun way to dress those plain ol’ marshmallow peeps you see everywhere!  Chocolate dipped with sprinkles y’all. Doesn’t get any easier than that and what a great treat for the kiddos school party or church Easter egg hunt!

Chocolate Dipped Bunny Marshmallow Peeps

Push a stick through the bunny, dip in melted chocolate, and sprinkle with all the colorful sprinkles! It makes you look like you’re super food crafty but it seriously can’t get much simpler than that. Oh wait, actually it can because I have some cookies coming soon that are even easier.  It just adds a fun touch to the same ol’ thing put out every season.   Come on now, you know you want to be #thatmom, the one bringing all the cool treats.  You don’t have to pretend with me. You want the recognition without all the work….uh huh.  Enjoy y’all!

Chocolate Dipped Bunny Peeps

 

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "Food DIY Gifts & Crafts, Sweet Treats, c..."
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Date: Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 00:27

While being a Walmart Mom has brought me a flood of opportunities, in many ways, it has also prevented them.  Being so exclusive with Walmart meant that I couldn’t work with Sears, Best Buy, Kohl’s, H.E.B, etc.  Not necessarily because Walmart didn’t allow it, but because it was a clear conflict of interest on both sides.  I totally understood that and it was a sacrifice I chose to make to continue my Walmart relationship.

openarms

After several years as a Walmart Mom, we’ve decided to part ways. I’ve greatly enjoyed my time with them, but I’m so stinkin’ excited at the prospect of being able to work with other companies and brands that I previously had to turn down!  I believe in the whole “when one door closes, another opens” saying, and I do see new opportunities in my future…….God has a purpose for me and I welcome it with open arms.

 

 

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "Daily Dose"
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Date: Monday, 17 Mar 2014 13:17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day y’all!  Here’s a super fast St. Patrick’s Day treat for you that takes just 5 minutes to put together; Marshmallow ‘POPS‘.

Marshmallow Pops

Just place a large marshmallow on a stick, melt your Wilton candies, and drizzle!

DSC_0004

Be sure and also check out the Oreo truffles too. They are delicious and a simple, fun treat to make.

St Pattys Day Oreo Truffles

May you be blessed with luck this year!

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "Daily Dose, Holiday, holiday treats, par..."
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Date: Friday, 28 Feb 2014 10:00

St. Patrick’s Day has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole bunch of green y’all!  Today I’m sharing some fun & easy-to-make oreo truffles for St Patty’s Day.

St Pattys Day Oreo Truffles

We devoured our Pecan Truffles using Oreos during Christmas so I knew a St Patrick’s Day version was in order!  These Oreo truffles are so good too and a little easier to make than my other ones.

Honestly, when I think I St. Patrick’s Day, I think of pinching and clovers.  I’ll admit though, I’m hoping that these little things we celebrate together, just make them more family oriented as they grow up and have families of their own.   Last year, we made a fun Shamrock Wreath and Truett just loved that. He ended up giving it to his teacher. That little suck up! Just kidding!! He’s always been a giver.  We also made a simple Lime Sherbert Cooler since our Texas weather was really warm already.

I am loving all the Wilton Candy Melts!  Do y’all use them?  Our Walmart has a whole selection of colored candy melts to use, along with some other great Wilton goodies! Y’all know I’m a fan of Wilton!

Hope you guys enjoy these Oreo Truffles and have lucky St Patrick’s Day!

St Patricks Day Oreo Truffles

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "Desserts, Holiday Cooking, Holidays, st...."
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Date: Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 10:00

How does one celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss?  Well by reading of course!  March 2nd, kids will be reading across America to celebrate the special day, and Truett is no exception. He’s already started with a new Dr. Seuss book we got in the mail.  He already has several other books but the fact that this one was a little more advanced, was perfect for his reading level.

Dr. Seuss Happy Birthday to You

You can build your Dr. Seuss library for a bargain by shopping at Walmart! To celebrate, the regular priced Dr. Seuss beginner books will be on sale for $5 bucks (reg price of $8.99) and the Dr. Seuss board books will be $3.50 (reg price of $4.99). I encourage you head to your store and buy one and get to reading with your kids, or maybe your nieces and nephews!  There are so many Dr. Seuss books you can choose from. There might even be one or two you’re not familiar with!  How fun would it be to discover a Dr. Seuss book with your child?!  For example, I’ve never even seen Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book!  Where have I been? Seriously, this is a classic and I’ve never read it.  When Truett was in Kindergarten, the school was decorated in a Dr. Seuss theme. Down the halls you’d see his quotes and vibrant, huge posters of the characters. It was awesome!  The kids loved all the props and were totally pumped about reading.  I think that should be a regular thing at schools!

Dr Seuss Thing 1 Nutter Butter Treats

How else can you celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday?  By whipping up some fun, super cute treats for those kiddos reading across America!  This would be such a great idea for a reading party at school!  Thing 1 and Thing 2 are popular characters in the Dr. Seuss collection and are pretty darn easy to make really.   Enjoy the recipe and the reading!!

ThingSteps

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Nutter Butter-10

Disclosure: I am an official Walmart Mom. Walmart has provided me with compensation and gift card in return for my time & efforts to create this post. Opinions are my own, always.

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "Desserts, Dr. Seuss, kids, reading, reci..."
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Date: Saturday, 22 Feb 2014 15:37

Sounds pretty amazing huh?  One of the reasons I quit going to several of the blogging conferences, was the fact that they are becoming so huge and impersonal. It got to where everyone was avoiding the conference itself and just networking on the side, because we all know what kind of connections can be made through those small, intimate meetups.  Brandcation is nothing like those blogging conferences and everything about intimate networking.

Liberty of the Seas - Royal Caribbean

On April 3rd, I’ll be sailing off on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas cruise ship.  It’s an impressive ship that I just have to tell you, has an ice skating rink!!! Holy moly is that cool! I have never tried to ice skate but I am sooo gonna on this trip!  While I’m excited to share more about the ship with you, I’ll wait until I’ve actually experienced it so that you can get a more personal review through my eyes.   I can’t imagine the cruise being anything less than spectacular so I can’t wait to share more about each part of the ship and what it has to offer!

Brandcation is hosted by Momdot and Brandfluential.  If you only knew the amount of work these ladies put in to organize such an event.  The tiniest details receive so much focus, even when they’re picking your roommate.   It says a lot about who they are and the kind of event they want you to experience.  Even more, in my opinion, what makes this event (in its 6th year) amazing, is the size.  Because it’s a smaller group of attendees, it allows for more in-depth conversation that leads to creative thinking, fresh perspectives, and brand experiences.   As a 7 year blogging vet, things can get old real quick and sometimes, it takes a more of an out-of-the-box event to refresh the mind and renew the fire under my hiney to create new, fresh content and make this blog better for me, and YOU.  Oh, and another neat thing they do……each attendee gets dedicated time to speak to the group about their sponsor.  That’s pretty awesome – undivided attention about our sponsor.  That’s what I’m talking about y’all. And we don’t have to rent a booth or pay extra to do it!

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If you want to follow me during my blogging cruise, watch for the hashtag–>  #SeasTheDay and if you’re interested in the ship Liberty of the Seas, click here to see all the ship’s details.

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "Daily Dose, blogging cruise, blogging ve..."
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Date: Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 20:38

Prepping has gotten kind of a bad rep lately. Thanks to reality TV shows and wackadoodle websites, people have started seeing “prepping” as something that only really out-there crazy people do because they are convinced that the end of the world or the zombie apocalypse is just a couple of months away. The truth is that there is more to prepping than that and, as anybody who lives a rural lifestyle can tell you, it’s not about zombies. It’s about being able to keep yourself and your family alive if there is a disaster or an emergency, or if you simply find yourself unable to get into town for a while.

If there is one good thing that has come out of these recent weird cold snaps (snow in Texas? What?), it is teaching people not to take their urban lifestyles for granted. Sometimes you really won’t be able to get to the store. Or, even if you can get there, it will likely be sold out of whatever brand of chips you like best because the supply trucks couldn’t get through. People who live in cities like Houston and Dallas got to see firsthand how important it is to have some sort of stock on hand, “just in case.”

That, my dears, is what “prepping” really is. So how do you do it?storage

Where to Put All That Stuff

Most preppers aim to have at least a year’s worth of supplies on hand for emergencies. You might not be able to do that yet, especially if you live in an urban setting so, while you’re learning and getting started, aim for a six-month store.

The first thing that you’re going to have to do is carve out some space. When you live in the middle of nowhere, that’s not the biggest deal. We can simply build a shed and padlock it (zoning codes are a little more relaxed out here). When you live in the city, though, you might have to find a safe place outside of your home. You might even need to rent a storage unit. Houston and other cities usually have tons of these spaces available. A quick search should turn up the Storage.com monthly units available in Houston Texas (or Dallas or Austin or wherever you are). There might even be some really close by.

If you do find yourself having to use a unit for self storage, Houston residents and other urban dwellers should follow the 5:1 rule. Basically you keep five months of stuff in your storage unit and one month of stuff on hand in a closet or something. This way you’ll have something on hand, giving yourself some “wiggle room” to transport your supplies home if something truly bad happens.

What Should You Store?

Most people, when they think of “prepping” think of creating a vast pantry full of dried goods and bottled water. That’s a good start, sure, but there is more to it than that. Here are the things you need to focus on:

Sustenance

The best thing you can do is figure out how to preserve and store the foods you’re already used to eating. So many newbies think that they’ll simply adapt to whatever they’ve stored because that’s what’s there. It’s better, though, to work with foods you already know and like. As you’re putting together your food stores, remember that you need to be able to provide at least a couple thousand calories of food per person per day so work off of that, making sure that your nutritional requirements are met. Use one of the many checklists you can find all over the web as a great place to start getting ideas.

Equipment

As much as the experts might discourage you from thinking this way, prepping is kind of like long term camping. So you are going to want to have everything on hand that you would need for a yearlong camping trip. This includes:

  • First aid and basic medical equipment
  • Hunting and trapping equipment
  • Cooking and food prep equipment
  • Durable clothing and footwear
  • Soap and other personal hygiene supplies
  • Portable water filters
  • Fire building supplies
  • Solar powered chargers (reduces your need for an excessive amount of batteries)
  • Batteries (you won’t need as many if you have solar powered chargers but you’ll want them as backup power supplies anyway).

This is just the beginning. The same sites that give you checklists for food will have lists of equipment and types of clothing to have on hand.

It might seem extreme to prep for an emergency you’re pretty sure won’t ever happen. But if snow in Houston and Dallas teaches us anything, it’s that we can’t always predict when we’ll actually need to be stocked up.

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "Daily Dose"
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Date: Monday, 10 Feb 2014 05:47

There’s still plenty of cold days, here in Texas, to enjoy some good ol’ chili.   Thanks to my Toby, we have been eating a lot more fruits & vegetables and I gotta admit, I’m the first one to open a can, so it’s been a challenge using fresh produce for recipes.  Even so, I wanted to make some fresh veggie chili, using just that, fresh vegetables.

Fresh Veggie Chili Beans

This particular recipe is great when you you’re grocery budget starts dwindling  ’cause you could easily omit the beef and still have great chili.   Beans are affordable and the fresh produce used in this recipe, are very affordable, at least at our Walmart they are.   Our Walmart’s produce selection has been pretty great lately; fresh carrots, celery, taters, cabbage, etc.  We’ve been eating a lot of carrots and taters lately so I switched things up and went with tomatoes, peppers, and onions!  I’m starting to become obsessed with the produce section!  I owe that to Toby, my 17yr old. He’s so focused on eating healthier, that we’ve both learned a few new recipes using fresh produce, where I’d normally open a can.

chili (6)

So pretty huh!!!  I’ve always bought the roma tomatoes or the ones that come 3 in a plastic container, but I’ve been buying the Village Farms (from Marfa, Texas)  Tomatoes on the Vine and man, they are so good! And hello, Marfa is local.  We use to live really close to Marfa (at Van Horn) a few years ago.  It’s great to see Walmart bring in local produce like that.

chili  (7)

We’ve been incorporating more beans lately just to keep our bodies filled with fiber.  I used canned beans for this but you could absolutely use dried beans. I just drained the juices from all the cans and rinsed.

chili(8)

Hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Fresh Veggie Chili

 

Disclosure: I am an official Walmart Mom. Walmart has provided me with compensation and gift card in return for my time & efforts to create this post. Opinions are my own, always.

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "Lunch Specials, Main Dish, beef, chili, ..."
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Date: Saturday, 08 Feb 2014 11:00

Raise your hand if you’re in favor of supporting American jobs?  Duh right?  Well if you haven’t heard the buzz yet, I’m here to share with you, Walmart’s commitment to invest $250 Billion dollars in products that support American jobs.

american_jobs

A quick little bit from Walmart:

We plan on doing this by increasing what we already buy and by helping to onshore U.S. production in areas such as textiles, household goods, and toys.  Learn more at www.walmart.com/AmericanJobs.
We will grow U.S. manufacturing on two fronts. First, by increasing what we already buy here in categories like sporting goods, apparel basics, storage products, games, and paper products. Second, by helping to create U.S. production in high key areas like textiles, furniture, pet supplies, some outdoor categories, and higher end appliances. These are just a few examples; we are looking at many more.

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If you pay any attention at all, you’ve probably seen something in your store that is local, whether it’s fresh produce or honey from the local bee farmer.  Walmart is going further and bringing jobs back to America.  It could be from buying candles from a local supplier, like Hannah’s or maybe factory parts, Made by Mike…

I’m just thrilled to see the commitment that Walmart is making. And who wouldn’t want more “Made in the USA” products on stores shelves?  Learn more about Walmart’s “Made By” commitment across their social channels at www.walmart.com/madeby.

Disclosure: I am an official Walmart Mom. Walmart has provided me with compensation and gift card in return for my time & efforts to create this post. Opinions are my own, always.

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "Daily Dose, american jobs, made by, made..."
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Date: Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 17:21

This Valentine’s Day Dum Dums Candy Bouquet would make a great teacher gift or youth pastor gift!  It’s so easy to make and is sure to bring a smile to all.
Pin this!
Valentines Day Dum Dums Candy Bouquet

I’ve seen similar bouquets over the years but never made one.  What I love about this craft, is that little hands can help!  I mean seriously, you’re just pushing in Dum Dums into styrofoam. Easy as pie y’all!   If you don’t already have a planter’s pot, and can’t find one in red, just buy any color and paint it. That’s what I did.  Walmart has everything you need to make this candy bouquet. They have a HUGE bag of 300 Dum Dums for less than $5 down the candy/cookie aisle and you can find the styrofoam ball & paint in the craft section.  candy bouquet steps

dum dums bouquet

Valentine’s Day Dum Dums Candy Bouquet

Supplies Needed:

  • Big Bag of Dum Dums (Mine was 300 count)
  • Planter’s Pot
  • Styrofoam Ball (bigger than pot)
  • Strong Glue
  • Paint & brush if you can’t find preferred color planter’s pot  (I used the $.88 cent paints & foam brush)

Instructions:

  1. If needed, paint your pot.  Allow to dry completely. It took 3 coats for mine to be completely covered.
  2. Glue your ball onto the pot. Just take your glue and go all around the top of the pot.
  3. Place ball on pot and press firmly for a minute or so.  Allow to dry completely!
  4. Stick Dum Dums into styrofoam. I recommend starting from the top middle and working your way out.  Do this until entire ball is covered.  I actually used my entire bag of 300 Dum Dums!!

Dum Dums Candy Bouquet

 

Disclosure: I am an official Walmart Mom. Walmart has provided me with compensation and gift card in return for my time & efforts to create this post. Opinions are my own, always.

Author: "A Cowboy's Wife" Tags: "DIY & Crafts"
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Date: Tuesday, 04 Feb 2014 11:00

Hey y’all! I’m sharing some tips for a great start with Team Kellogg’s again and my final tip is below! The brand is regular in our home and I’m proud to be part of their family! I’m sad that this campaign is about over! I hope you’ve enjoyed the tips I’ve shared. Relax and recharge, what’s that?  As a mom of three boys, wife of 21+ years, and woman of many other duties, I can get completely exhausted and overwhelmed.  And like most of us moms, we tend to forget about ourselves and focus on everyone else.  Well, I want you to stop that!!  My dad always said, “You’ve got to take care of #1 so you can take care of 2, 3, and 4″.  It’s true you know.  If we’re not healthy, physically and mentally, how can we take care of others?  My goal today, is to share with you, ways to relax and recharge.  They are simple, effective, and fun.

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The most obvious way to recharge, is to start your day off with a great breakfast.  My go-to breakfast cereals are Kellogg’s Raisin Bran and Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats.  Ask any of my fellas here.  I never run out of these two and if it gets low, they know they better back off because it’s MINE!   I love to add sliced bananas to my raisin bran and I guess it’s rubbed off on Truett too, because he has to have them in his cereal.

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Some other ways to help you recharge are:

  • Exercise your body – Exercising…I know right? Who would have thought that?   Try taking a brisk walk , ride a bike, or maybe even some dancing in this house!  Just get moving!
  • Exercise your mind – I don’t know about you but as a stay-at-home mom, my brain doesn’t get worked as much as it could be.  Puzzles y’all!
  • Connect with others – There’s nothing like having your friends give you a happy boost for the day!  Get together with friends or family and have lunch, get your nails done, shop!

 

      There are also moments where we just need to decompress.  Relaxing is the hardest thing for us to do, I think.   In fact, I don’t think my brain every stops and my body finally gets some rest when I fall fast asleep.  It’s funny though, our bodies need that resting period.  It’s how they heal themselves and regenerate.  It’s essential to our well-being. My most favorite way to relax, is to watch a movie that will make me cry.  I know that’s silly but it’s relaxing and releasing for me.  If that’s not your thing, here are a few more ways to relax:

  • Nap!  Yep, I find that 20 minutes is perfect. I get just enough sleep but not so much that I feel groggy when I wake up.  It totally relaxes me, and rejuvenates me.
  • Reading – I have always loved to read but never had the time.  One day, I just up and decided that I wanted to read more, so I do now. It’s relaxing and educational.
  • Find a hobby – Hobbies are a great way to relax; crochet, quilting, photography, crafting, etc.  I LOVE to crochet in the Winter!
  • Spa day – TOTALLY relaxing and will, most likely, recharge you as well!   Don’t like full body massages?  Try getting just a facial.  It’s crazy how many muscles we have in our face that are constantly working.  You’ll feel amazing!

      Do you have any favorite ways to relax and/or recharge??  SHARE Y’ALL!  If you need even more ideas, check out the Kellogg’s Great Starts Tips website. It’s jam-packed full of tips & ideas!