Mom Life · Society

Why aren’t you using Amazon Smile?

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It is no secret that I have a love affair with Amazon. I think that as a busy mom everyone needs a healthy Amazon wishlist and an active Amazon Prime account. I can’t plan a trip to the store before Amazon orders will arrive at my doorstep. And there is no crying about who gets to come or little girls throwing extra stuff in the cart. There is no sticker shock at the cash register and I can take as much time as I need to go back and forth on products and decisions.

And Another reason to love Amazon is AmazonSmile

If you haven’t heard of this, it’s essentially a way to shop Amazon and give back to charity at the same time. Instead of going to Amazon.com you enter into Amazon at Smile.Amazon.com, then you continue to shop like normal. There is no difference in your orders, but the charity you select will get a percentage of the sales.

According to Amazon, they have given $80,134,317.33 away to charities as of February 2018. Now that is truly amazing. 

If you want to find out more about AmazonSmile click here

I have to admit I knew about AmazonSmile long before I remembered to use it on all my Amazon purchases. But now, I remember every time and it isn’t because I suddenly have a steel-trap mind. Nope, it is because I found an extension for my browsers. Charity Kite offers a Google Chrome extension that redirects you from Amazon to AmazonSmile. So every time I type in Amazon, I get rerouted to AmazonSmile and my charity doesn’t miss out.
Get your Chrome Extension

Now, here is the biggest question: Who are you going to support?

This is a hard one for me to pick one charity. There are so many worthy causes out there, but you can only choose one. Currently, I am supporting Crisis Text Line. I fell in-love with Crisis Text Line from a facebook post that explained that if you are in a crisis you can type 741741 and a trained counselor would talk you down to a cool calm. I didn’t need the service then, but when I was younger I really could have used it. There were plenty of times as a pre-teen and teen that I could have used a stranger to talk to, but I wasn’t about to call a helpline. Texting is easier to reach out for help for many. After admiring what a fantastic service this was, I looked into volunteering. After a very rigorous training course, I began answering these texts and fell in love all over again. I am proud to support them in any way possible and that includes through my Amazon buying obsession.

Are you using AmazonSmile? Who are you supporting?

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Family · Household · Society

Is minimalism good for your soul?

The older our kids get, the more complicated our life seems to be. They are just getting to the ages where they want to get involved in activities and community. They also are not content just playing in one spot, they want to try new things, explore, and create. And we want to let them. What I don’t want is to be so consumed with cleaning, organizing, or finding lost things.

Where We Were

Before we sold our house, we were overrun with stuff. It was a struggle every day to find simple things and probably a good 30% of our house was unusable because of stuff. As we started to pack we got rid of a ton. I seriously threw out 7 tables! And I still have 2 and 4 end tables. We had too much.

We kept a lot of stuff because it would be useful. I wanted to do something with it. That broken pot? I say an awesome fairy garden idea with it that I really want to do for our front door. That box of random bottles? I want to use them to create lotions and soaps. That cord? It’s for a dream catcher I want to make. Everything was a project that I wanted to do. But what I found was that I never did them. My house was so cluttered and full, that I spent so much time cleaning and organizing. I had so many half-started, ideas of projects, that I couldn’t do any of them. I kept them all just in case I had time.

The most dangerous words for me were “Just in case”. We had this stuff, not because we needed it, but just in case we did in the future. I understand now that holding onto stuff came from a place of fear and anxiety. Having a significantly low-income, I knew that if something were to break or stop working that replacing it would put a dent in our finances that wouldn’t easily be returned. So, I kept the stuff because if something broke, we wouldn’t have to spend the money.

Mindset Makeover

What I didn’t realize was keeping stuff out of anxiety meant that the stuff became the anxiety. The amount of time I spent looking for things, or the extra cleaning, or just the sheer mental clutter that came from the physical clutter, was oppressing. And in what might be the worst turn of events, clutter is shown to decrease productivity, focus, and increases stress. The clutter that I was holding onto because I was worried about financial ruin, was actually keeping me from working more and making more money and doing any of the projects that I wanted to do.

So, we set out on a pursuit of a more minimalist lifestyle. It’s a goal I am still working towards, but one that we have made huge strides on.  I realized we need very little to be happy. With less stuff, we have more time to be a family.

Setting up Home

With our new minimalistic mindset, we set out searching for a new house. While many families of 5 say we need a 5 bedroom home with lots of space, we didn’t want that. I didn’t want to have 12 rooms to clean, and more space to accumulate for stuff. I didn’t want to have my kids “somewhere in the house”. I want to know where they are and have them with me. We started looking into smaller homes. Ones with 3, 2 or even 1 bedroom!

We knew that more space didn’t equal more happiness.

What we found was a super cute amazing 1930’s catalog home.

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Minimalism and Money

One of the best parts of the new home is the price. Priced at an amazing rate, we knew this is something we could pay off within 5 years at the most. Minimalism for me isn’t only about stuff. It’s about a mindset. Where you have and use what you need, not more or less. Minimalism is about a simpler life, more streamlined and carefree. And really that is what I want for my kids. I want us to have the freedom to explore, learn, and grow together.

Maximizing our Life

I don’t want to be stuck in a job or work 24/7. Yes, it means that we have to put in significant work to repair and clean. Yes, it took our entire savings to make this happen. But, we won’t be strapped down by overwhelming housing bills.

In the end, this means we can live the life we want. We can raise our kids, we can give back to our community, we can pursue adventures, much more than I ever thought was possible.

Did you know the average person only uses 20% of the items we keep (according to the National Association of Professional Organizers)? Did you know that on average Americans spend one year of their life looking for lost things? What would your life look like if it were simpler and clutter-free?


We still have a way to go!

One of the best things about minimalism is that we have more time to build and help community. So, we are reaching out to our community. Our remodel has just begun. We are removing a significant mold issue and we are in need of a new roof.  If you would like to help with our journey, Check out all the ways you can help

Before Pictures

Raise the Roof

Because we specialize in children’s toys, we are offering a “Raise the Roof” Sale on all of our products! Seriously, no exclusions! We are even offering a discount on our library,  which is full of helpful parenting and kids resources, guides, and fun.

Find out all of the information about our sales here!

Here is a sampling of a few of our products

Goals · Society

Why you need a mastermind right now

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If you have been involved in the business world, you may already be familiar with the idea of a mastermind. If you aren’t let me break it down for you. In its simplest terms, a mastermind is a group of people that are coming together to support, promote growth, and influence each other to achieve their dreams and goals.

While the term and idea initially come from the business world, it has many uses and different types of groups. A mastermind for parents can help support not only work and business goals, but also can help make you a better parent, give you a sounding board when you need advice, help you achieve your perfect routine, and hold you accountable for what you say you are working on. A mastermind group will become a close-knit circle of trusted friends that you can come to for advice and support.

Top 5 reasons I love masterminds

  1. Accountability
  2. Fresh perspectives
  3. A sounding board and feedback
  4. Wisdom and knowledge outside of your own
  5. Connection, community, and friendship

Parents have it rough. More than any other group, I think we take on so much. And too often we are doing it alone. We crave that community, but sometimes it is really hard to find those other individuals. If you are anything like me, you find that many people who aren’t parents don’t understand that there is so much connection between your parenting world, work world, business world, and whatever other worlds you are involved in. There isn’t a time where you are not a parent, and there isn’t a time that your other goals don’t have to align with your parenting goals. This is why I really enjoy masterminds that are made up of parents. Who else is going to understand if you tell them you had to change your goal around for the week because your kid pooped in a potty chair, or because there was a meltdown about cup colors? A good mastermind will be understanding, but will still push you to come up with a plan to get back on track.

Did you know that by February most people have given up on any resolutions they had made at new years? Is this you? If you are tired of waiting to achieve your dreams, but never following through, or if you feel like you want more from your life but don’t know how to do it, a mastermind is perfect for you. If you feel like your life is going pretty good and want to share and support others, a mastermind is for you.


Education · Family · Society

Make a difference in someone’s life today

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A few months ago I decided that I needed to set an example for my kids of the type of person I want them to be. I want them to be the type of person that helps human beings. I want them to be empathetic, compassionate, and kind. I want them to care about human life, even if they don’t know the person. I want to be that person too.

My first step was to register as a donor of Be The Match

Be The Match matches donors and patients with life-threatening blood cancers. Bone marrow of the donor can save that patient’s life.

So, I sent away for my kit (see picture above). The process is easy. Stab your cheek and stick on the car. Then send it back. That is it

This week I received my donor card in the mail. This means I am officially registered. When a patient needs marrow, they will be screened and matched.

For information on the donation process click here

I have no idea if I will ever be matched. But even if I am not, I want to show my children that I am willing to help those that I do not know. If you are able to do something for someone you should. I would hope for the kindness of strangers if I or one of my kids needed it. I don’t want to wait until we need something to get involved. I want to pay it forward. Compassion and understanding create a better community for our children to grow up in.

For more information or to register as a donor yourself head on over to https://bethematch.org

Education · Society

Why we are so deeply shaken from school shootings

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The news of these mass shootings, especially school shootings, make my heart heavy. I can tell by my friends’ social media posts that they feel the same way.  I cannot imagine the pain these families are going through. I cannot imagine the fear my fellow parents have when sending their children to school every day. I cannot just move on and forget. And maybe you cannot either.

It’s an all too familiar occurrence in our society and it weighs heavy on a lot of us.

“This time, the kids who survived the rampage on Wednesday were demanding to know why the adults who run the country had not done more to prevent it” says an article in the Washington Post

(Viebeck, E. 2018, February 15. A loud, new voice after the latest school shooting: Kids wanting to know why adults hadn’t done more. See Article Here)

I think it is time we all should demand more! I’m not talking specifically about gun control either. While I agree that this needs to be addressed. Gun manufacturers, that produce 3 times the amount of guns actually legally sold, know their guns are being distributed illegally and add to the problem. Guns that are automatic and clips and bump stocks that allow this type of rapid fire are unneeded, even in the case of self-defense, sport, or food. If you need a spray of 30 bullets, you are not well trained on a gun and should not be shooting one. Better education and training for guns is a must. And studies show that increased gun ownership actually increases gun violence, especially without the proper training.  There is much that is wrong with how we treat guns in our society, but it isn’t the only thing wrong.

Perhaps, even more important,

  • We need a better health care system. We need services and treatments for mental health that are not stigmatizing but are long-term and caring.
  • We need a better education system. One in which students can thrive and learn without isolation, feelings of failure, and immense amounts of pressure.
  • We need a place where children and young adults feel safe turning to if they have concerns. And we need people who can listen and know what the right course of actions are.
  • We need better support for parents who then, in turn, could spend more time with their children and possibly prevent some of the feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • We need to show the world that we are empathetic and nurturing, that we care about others as human beings and want everyone to survive.

Our reality did this, not one individual, not one mentally unstable person with a gun. Placing all the blame on the shooter is a cop-out and a way for us to avoid the real work that needs to be done in our country (a country that almost exclusively has these mass shootings in such a high proportion)

Us, all of us, are the cause of these mass shootings.

It is time we demand better for ourselves and our children.

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