Trick or Treat Safety Tips

Trick or treat safety tips to help you and your family enjoy Halloween.

Halloween is here!  It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas are only a few weeks away and soon enough it will be the beginning of a new year.  I didn’t understand what my mom meant when I was younger about time passing more quickly the older you get, but it certainly feels true now!

If your neighborhood is anything like mine, there are tons of families with young children.  This means that there will be lots of little people running around and knocking on doors asking for candy or treats tonight.  I remember one year my mom told some kids she wanted them to do a trick before she gave them a treat.  Haha!  They looked a little confused, but after a silly trick they got their treat.  *wink*

I have a few suggestions to (hopefully) make the night more enjoyable for everyone:

Communicate with your neighborhood about start and stop times
Our neighborhood actually has a Facebook group where we can post questions, ask for help and even make people aware of suspicious activity.  It’s been a really great way to keep everyone informed and bring our neighborhood/community together.  Every year around Halloween, someone will pose the question about when families are going to start trick or treating and after having people chime in, a basic time frame is established.  By doing this, everyone is on the same page and people aren’t surprised by trick or treaters coming earlier than they are ready for them.  If you don’t have a community page, you can also simply talk to your neighbors about start/stop times.

Give your kids a glowing or reflective item to wear
This time of year, it starts getting dark quickly by about 7pm.  But many trick or treaters are still out and their costumes might make them hard to see.  If you’ve got kids, you know that they aren’t always careful when it comes to crossing the street.  To help them be more visible, add something to their costume that glows or is reflective.  We are giving out glow sticks this year that kids can put around their wrist while they are out.  It’s a little late or order some online, but I’ve seen reflective tape at Walmart that you could stick on their trick or treat buckets.

*Also, check out these other great non-candy alternatives to give out this Halloween!

Use your porch light to show you are/are not receiving trick or treaters
Most people probably do this, but when we ready to start receiving trick or treaters, we will turn on our porch light, even if it’s still light outside.  If we’re not ready, we just don’t answer the door.  At the end of the night, we will turn off our porch light to indicate that trick or treaters shouldn’t knock.

Leave a sign letting kids know the candy is gone
Without fail, we still have kids knock on our door after we’re turned off our light.  As an added deterrent, we tape a sign to our door that says something like, “No more candy.”  Most of the kids coming later at night are older and know how to read.  If you are worried that turning off your light and putting up a sign won’t be enough, see if there is a way to disconnect your doorbell for the night.

Also, if trick or treating isn’t something that you like to do or don’t allow your kids to do, you can always spend the night inside doing fun activities together with family or friends.  Check out the following posts for ideas and activities you can do at home:

Preschool Halloween Party On A Budget
Preschool Halloween Party On A Budget  |  Sunshine & Munchkins (collaboration with Ford-Ology)
150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
39 Kid-Friendly Halloween Movies  |  Working Moms Against Guilt
 Halloween Science Experiments  |  Science Bob

This post contains affiliate links, which if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
I hope you found these tips helpful as you and your kids go out tonight!  Happy Halloween!

Fab 5: Falon and Emily

Hello and happy Friday!  I don’t know about you, but I am really glad it’s the weekend.  I’ve been dealing with sick kids for the last week and a half and now it seems I’ve developed a sore throat.  I swear, moms should not be allowed to get sick!

However, I do have another amazing post as part of my Fab 5 series and I’m pretty excited about it!  As I’ve done this series over the last four months, I have loved getting to know each one of these ladies.  They are all so talented and just straight up awesome.

Today, I have Falon from Falon Loves Life and Emily from The Crafty Carlson.  I have a lot in common with both of these ladies, but I think you’ll find you probably do too!

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Falon  |  Falon Loves Life 

Background:

I grew up in Valencia, CA, which is a suburb of Los Angeles best known as the home of Magic Mountain. I moved to LA proper about six years ago where we lived with the “hipsters”. Now that I have a kiddo we are in a more suburban part of the LA area, but still close enough to the city to enjoy all its perks. I have been married to my amazing husband Matt for a little over five years. We share the same sense of humor (though I am definitely funnier than he is) and have a great time together. Our son Canon is two and we are having a blast watching him grow up and develop his (strong) personality. I have been blogging since 2010. I started out as a wedding blogger since I was planning my own wedding at the time, and that has slowly evolved into my now “lifestyle” blog.  

Describe your blog:
Falon Loves Life is a blog about a little bit of everything, really. I write a lot about Disneyland and Disney themed stuff since I have been a lifelong Disney fan and annual passholder for fifteen years. I love to write about books since I am an avid reader. I also write about crafts and DIY projects, travel tips, and different things to do around Southern California. Basically, if it’s on my mind or I experience it, I write about it!  

Share an embarrassing moment
I don’t embarrass easily (at least not anymore) but I did have a pretty bad moment back when I was teaching. I was 25 and was teaching a class of high school seniors, so kids that were not that much younger than me. We were doing Grammar Mad Libs and for some reason I let them use my name as one of the proper nouns.  When I read the whole thing out loud, it turned out that the story described me as super hot and in a room full of 18 year old boys, it was uncomfortable to say the least (I was also way hotter back then!).  

What are your favorite things to do/eat/see at Disneyland?
It’s so hard to pick my favorite things at Disneyland! When it’s just me and my little one there, we like to ride Monsters Inc and Jungle Cruise. If I am doing a date day at Disneyland with my husband we love Star Tours and we have some pretty fierce competitions on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (I won the last one, for the record). My favorite place to eat at the parks is definitely Carthay Circle, but I also love Trader Sam’s, which is a tiki bar at the Disneyland Hotel. But really one of my favorite things to do at Disneyland is find a comfy place to sit and people watch! It’s always a fascinating mix of people to observe.  

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. It’s the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series and I am loving it so far. I am really into young adult literature so that’s what I read most of the time. Next on my list is Scarlet from the Lunar Chronicles and then Girl on the Train.

Where would you go if money were no object?
If money were no object, I would 100% be on a plane to Italy right this minute! In addition to the beautiful architecture and scenery, you’ve got pasta, pizza, and wine, three of my favorite things! Venice, Rome, Florence, and Lake Como are all very high on my travel wish list. Honestly, I am dying to explore all of Europe, and would be happy just living there for a few months and soaking it all in.  

Bonus: Tell us about your wedding coordinator business
Being a wedding coordinator is seriously the best job in the world. I love so many things about it, but the overarching theme is that I get to work with amazing couples on the happiest day of their lives. I don’t know if it’s being in the LA area or if I’m just lucky, but I rarely have “bridezillas” on my hands. All of my couples are sweet and appreciative and just good people and I love that I get to make their wedding day more enjoyable for them. I also really love the creativity involved in wedding planning, and the fact that every day brings something new and different. And as a work at home mom, it has provided me with a lot of flexibility in scheduling so I am able to be home with my son, which has been amazing.

Social Media Links
Facebook: Falon Loves Life
Instagram: @falonloveslife
Pinterest: @falonballard
Twitter: @falonloveslife
Wedding Coordinator Website: Falon B Weddings

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Emily  |  The Crafty Carlson

Background:
I was born and raised in the small town of Delta, Utah (Go Rabbits!). After graduating high school, I moved to Orem Utah to do some schooling at Utah Valley University.  That’s where I met my husband, but I’ll get to that in a bit!  I currently live in Springville Utah with my dream guy, squishy little baby boy, and the cutest little fur baby around. We love it here!  I actually just started blogging this year! It’s been a fun project to grow and work on in my spare time.  

Describe your blog: 
My blog is mostly crafting and DIY.  I actually grew up with an extremely crafty mother and took after her in my passion for crafting. She was always working on something (and still enjoys it today!).  I remember she was mostly into card making and scrapbooking. She had every craft supply you could think of. You needed it? She had it.  In fact, I distinctly remember a bottle of some kind of liquid product that made paper look aged for card making.  She had it in a spray bottle in the fridge marked “POISON!! Do NOT drink!!”, and that was totally normal to me and my younger sisters. Ha!! Other people would probably think that was so strange…. I also can’t get used to the idea of a house without a craft room. My mom has had a ‘scrapbook room’ every since I can remember.  My blog reminds me a lot of my mom and brings back so many memories of working and learning with her about creativity.  I really want to provide a childhood like that for my kids and look forward to the day when we can do some of those things together and with grandma.  So with those thoughts and desires in mind, I decided to step way out of my comfort zone to start The Crafty Carlson.  

What are you favorite family traditions?
Oh my goodness, I am a sucker for good family traditions. I love um!  Specifically ones we had when I was a kid.  Every winter we would go tubing at Soldier Hollow, ice skating at The Gallivant Center, and all kinds of other fun winter activities.  We also had a really fun time going to a Hampton Inn in Orem that we always called “our hotel”.  It was a simple get-away, but always a blast.  So as kids we would always ask mom and dad if we were going to “our hotel” anytime soon!  Man, lots of fun memories at that place!!  I am trying to always work in family traditions of our own for my little family of 3 (plus the fur baby of course).  We always go to a pumpkin patch in the fall and our little guy loves that.  I’ll have to try to incorporate more traditions that we can keep going throughout our kids childhoods!

What is your dream vacation?
This is a fun question because I am currently writing this from my hotel room in Kauai Hawaii!!  That’s always been a dream vacation of mine and it’s actually my second time here.  It’s extra special this time around however because I got to bring along my baby boy and husbands, who are both here for their first time!!  But I love traveling.  I would honestly enjoy going almost anywhere.  My husbands mother was born and raised in Bermuda, so I’m really looking forward to visiting there someday!

Where does your crafting inspiration come from?
I talked a lot about my mom being a huge inspiration for me above, but I also have a lot of inspiration from my friends.  I have a really good friend who is currently living over in New York for her husbands job.  We miss them like crazy!  Our husbands were best friends in high school, and we met through them.  We LOVE crafting together.  I actually got out of crafting for awhile after moving out.  So when we met and started getting together a lot, we were able to start crafting again as well!  It started out as little wooden kits we would buy from local stores and paint, ending up with a new home decor piece.  We eventually wanted to branch out from that and started sewing, making signs, and all kinds of other fun stuff.  It’s also just fun to create something yourself that you love to have and that you’re proud of.   

What is your favorite food?
This is always a hard question for me!! I love a lot of different kinds of food.  One thing my husband and I love to get is sushi.  I will admit though, I’m kind of a lame sushi eater.  I only like the simple California rolls and anything with deep fried shrimp in it.  Ha… We also love Pesto Chicken Pasta around my house. I’ve been making it for a few years now and it’s a favorite for sure!  I also loooove root beer… I know.  Kinda random.  But I’ve always loved it.   

Bonus: How did you meet your husband?
This is one of my favorite stories to tell because it’s super random!! We actually lived in the same apartment building in Orem for about 3 months without even realizing it.  We were in the same ward and I’m sure we crossed paths several times before meeting.  One night the ward was having a talent show.  I don’t really have any talents that I could display in a show, and didn’t really have an interest in going, but got talked into it by my roommates.  So off to the talent show I went.  It turned out that Joe had some plans fall through, a few guys from the ward ended up knocking on his door inviting him to the activity, and off to the talent show he went.  He told me that he walked in a little late and looked for the prettiest girl he could find to go sit by… he ended up sitting by me.  Two sits over actually!!  But I guess I caught his eye.  I leaned over to my roommate and said “oh my gosh, look how cute the guy is who sat next to me”. She said back “you should talk to him after!”.  I was super shy and the thought of talking to him scared me about to death.  But I did anyway.  And we hit it off right away!  He asked me out, got my number, and we became best friends.  Eventually after almost 2 years of dating we were married and sealed in the Salt Lake City temple.  It was the best day of my life.  We are so happy together and enjoy life!! I am SO glad I went to that show!!

Social Media Links
Instagram: @thecraftycarlson
Pinterest: @craftycarlson

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What did I tell you?  They are pretty awesome, right?  I hope you’ll take some time to hop on over and check out their blogs and social media.  I have no doubt you’ll find some fun ideas, tips and inspiration.
Have a lovely weekend!

Crock Pot Pork Roast

Throw this pork roast in the crock pot on low for 8 hours and you've got dinner!

Sunday dinner in my house means enjoying time with family.  Sometimes it’s just dinner with my husband and two kids.  Other times we eat with my siblings and parents or my in-laws.  When it comes to Sunday dinner, I try to make it as easy on myself as possible so I have more time to spend with my family and less time in the kitchen.

When I was in college, I was introduced to the slow cooker, or crock pot, method of cooking.  Don’t ask me how I was unaware of this amazing appliance before then but I was.  After seeing how awesome they were, I asked for one for Christmas so I could use it on days when I was going to be gone at school and work and didn’t want to worry about food.  When I was single and in college, my roommates and I often had friends over for Sunday dinner (or any night really) and a crock pot could feed a lot of people.  It was perfect!

Now that I’m in charge of Sunday dinner most weeks, I usually turn to my crock pot.  It’s so easy to throw everything in before church and come home to some mouthwatering smells.  One of my most often cooked Sunday dinners is pork roast.  I always try to keep my eye out for when they are on sale and stock up on two or three.  They are cheaper than beef roasts and by using a crock pot, I can maintain the juiciness and add flavor.

So let’s get started!

To make a crock pot pork roast, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Throw this pork roast in the crock pot on low for 8 hours and you've got dinner!

Begin by prepping the veggies.  Wash and cut the potatoes into cubes.  I don’t generally peel them but you definitely can if you don’t like them on.  If you use baby carrots, then there isn’t any prep required but you could also use whole carrots chopped down to size.

Measure 4 cups of water into a microwavable bowl or measuring cup and add 4 beef bouillon cubes.  Microwave on high for a couple of minutes and stir to get the cubes dissolved.  They don’t have to be completely dissolved but most of the way is best.  If you want to use beef broth from a can or box, then just measure out 4 cups.  Same thing goes for a beef base.  Just use enough to make 4 cups of broth.

Place the pork roast into the crock pot.  You can put it in frozen or thawed depending on whether or not you remembered to pull it out of the freezer. *wink*  Put the potatoes and carrots into the crock pot.

Throw this pork roast in the crock pot on low for 8 hours and you've got dinner!

Pour in the beef broth.

Throw this pork roast in the crock pot on low for 8 hours and you've got dinner!

Add the Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, rosemary, basil, black pepper and salt.

Throw this pork roast in the crock pot on low for 8 hours and you've got dinner!

Put the lid on top and cook for 7-8 hours on LOW or 3-4 hours on HIGH.  (Although I really recommend cooking it on LOW, especially if it is frozen when you started.)

Throw this pork roast in the crock pot on low for 8 hours and you've got dinner!

Crock Pot Pork Roast
serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 3-4 lb pork roast
  • 2 c. baby carrots
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 4 c. water 
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Begin by prepping the veggies.  Wash and cut the potatoes into cubes.  I don’t generally peel them but you definitely can if you don’t like them on.  If you use baby carrots, then there isn’t any prep required but you could also use whole carrots chopped down to size.
  2. Measure 4 cups of water into a microwavable bowl or measuring cup and add 4 beef bouillon cubes.  Microwave on high for a couple of minutes and stir to get the cubes dissolved.  They don’t have to be completely dissolved but most of the way is best.  If you want to use beef broth from a can or box, then just measure out 4 cups.  Same thing goes for a beef base.  Just use enough to make 4 cups of broth.
  3. Place the pork roast into the crock pot.  You can put it in frozen or thawed.  Put the potatoes and carrots into the crock pot.  Pour in the beef broth.
  4. Add the Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, rosemary, basil, black pepper and salt.
  5. Put the lid on top and cook for 7-8 hours on LOW or 3-4 hours on HIGH.  (Although I really recommend cooking it on LOW, especially if it is frozen when you started.) 
This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

    Time Saving Hairstyles for Girls

    Super simple time-saving tips for fixing hairstyles that stay in so you don't have to keep redo-ing it.

    When I got pregnant with my first child, I knew it was going to be a girl.  The same thing happened with my second child, except I knew it was a boy.  Isn’t it funny how we can feel these things sometimes?  When I got the confirmation from the radiologist that she was indeed a girl, my mind started going wild imagining all the cute clothes I would put her in, fixing her hair, painting her fingernails and toenails, mommy/daughter dates…  I was pretty darn excited!

    Fast forward to mid-January 2012 when I went in for a scheduled c-section.  (The little stinker turned breach at 37 weeks.)  They pulled her out and the first thing the doctor said was: “She’s beautiful!”  The second thing he said was: “Look at all that hair!”  And it was true.  She was born with a full head of beautiful, soft, dark hair.  For the first few months I just styled her hair in a sweet little baby faux-hawk.

    Super simple time-saving tips for fixing hairstyles that stay in so you don't have to keep redo-ing it.

    But within about 4 months, her hair had grown long enough that I had to keep it back with headbands or small flower clips (nothing she could swallow, of course).  Let me tell you what, that girl had some awesome bedhead!

    Super simple time-saving tips for fixing hairstyles that stay in so you don't have to keep redo-ing it.
    11 months

    My daughter is now 4.5 years old and getting her hair fixed is just part of the routine.  But being 4.5 years old also means that she is a busy, active girl who loves to run outside, wrestle with her brother on the ground and put blankets on her head as she pretends to be a hatching baby chick.  The hair that she had as a baby has continued to grow and she now has as much hair as I do!  We even use the same hair elastics because nothing else can stand up to her thick hair and active lifestyle.

    Super simple time-saving tips for fixing hairstyles that stay in so you don't have to keep redo-ing it.
    Look at this cute little sassy pants!

    In order to keep her hair tamed, I’ve come up with a few simple, time-saving tips for keeping your girl’s hair out of her face and ready to keep up with her.  To learn more about these great tips, go visit my first official post as a contributor on Time Saving Mom.  Head on over to TSM to read the full post and be sure to leave some comments!  (Feel free to leave comments here or there.)

    And if you missed my interview on TSM about how I save time and balance life, you can read that HERE.

    Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

    **UPDATE 12/17/16**

    Amanda has decided she is no longer going to be running the Time Saving Mom blog so that she can focus her efforts in other areas.  She offered to let me move my content from there to here so that nothing would be lost.  Below is the post that originally appeared on Time Saving Mom on October 24, 2016.

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    This post contains affiliate links which if you click on and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

    As a little girl growing up, I was always asking to fix my mom’s hair.  Of course, it looked fabulous with all the ponytails and headbands and bows.  *wink*  But I actually got fairly good at it.  My mom went to beauty school at the same time she was in high school so she learned all the necessary skills to do almost anything with hair.  This is why I never went to a salon for anything until I was a senior in high school and wanted my hair done for Prom.  This is also why my mom never when to a salon–she just had me do her hair.  I can’t count the number of times I gave my mom a perm or highlighted her hair.  When she wanted a braid, she asked me to do it.

    Fast forward to the 20 week ultrasound of my first child five years ago.  It was a GIRL!  I immediately started dreaming of putting her in cute outfits and fixing her hair.  When she was born, she come out with a full head of dark hair.  I had to start pulling it back with clips when she was 5 months old because it grew so fast!  Because she has so much hair, I’ve had to fix it for a long time, otherwise she’d just end up with a mop.  Talk about bedhead!

    My daughter is now 4.5 years old and she has as much hair as I do.  We even use the same elastics because her hair is so thick.  It’s crazy!  But because she is still a little girl, she is always running around outside or rolling around on the ground with her brother and her hair can get a little…wild…to say the least.  So I’ve had to be creative in the way that I keep her hair tamed.

    Here are a few tips:

    • Shampoo and Conditioner:  Gone are the days of using baby shampoo to wash my daughter’s hair.  To keep the tangles to a minimum, we use both shampoo and conditioner on her hair.  The combination shampoo/conditioner doesn’t do much for her so we have a bottle of each for her, plus some spray-in conditioner for any remaining tangles.
    • Wet Brush:  I learned about these about a year ago and they have changed my life!  And by default, my daughter’s life.  I always brush my daughter’s hair out withing about 10 minutes of her getting out of the bath because it hasn’t started to dry yet.  Using the wet brush get tangles out easier and that means less tear for her and less frustration for me.  You can find them at beauty supply stores or online.
    • Fixing Hair While It’s Still Wet:  When hair is try, or even half-dry, it starts getting hard to manage.  Think about when your hands are slightly damp and you run them down a dry surface.  They stick or catch, right?  Same goes for hair.  It’s easier to manipulate when it’s wet.  My daughter has a couple of annoying awesome cowlicks and I don’t have to fight with them as much when her hair is wet.
    • Use the Right Elastics: I know many little girls who don’t have a lot of hair or their hair is super fine.  Other girls are like my daughter with thick hair.  And then of course there’s the whole spectrum in between.  For my daughter, I have two different kinds of elastics that I use: plastic and rubber.
      • The plastic are thinner and stretch out more easily so they can generally only be used once or twice at most.  I use these for smaller ponytails, but will often double them up.
      • The rubber are thicker and can be used more than once.  They also hold the hair more securely.  I use these for larger sections of hair and have never needed to double them up.

    The final tip I have which makes our lives easier is that I generally fix her hair at night right after her bath.  My daughter is in preschool this year and the mornings she goes are busy.  I’m sure you can relate if you have school-age kids.  The last thing you want to worry about is doing hair.

    Today I’m sharing 7 different hairstyles you can do for your little girl (or big girl) that will stay in even with and active lifestyle.  When it comes to doing little girls hair, it’s really just a combination of braids, ponytails and twists.  If you know how to braid, that is just another tool to add to your skill set.  If you don’t, you can always learn by having something teach you or watching a YouTube video.  As you get more comfortable, you can try more complicated hairstyles.  (I really like the ones from Cute Girls Hairstyles.)

    Ponytails
    Ponytails are the most basic way to fix hair.  But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.  By using multiple smaller ponytails, the hair will stay in better because it’s held in more than one place.  I’ve included an example of how I use multiple ponytails to create a fun look that stays in.

    Braids
    Braids can feel intimidating if you’ve never done them, but there are so many great YouTube videos that you can watch to learn how to do different kids of braids.  I generally stick to French braids and Inverted/Dutch braids.  In my daughter’s case, the Dutch braids stay in better overnight because they are easier to pull tight, but I love using French braids as well.  Below are a few examples of hairstyles I do on my daughter regularly.

    Twists
    Twists.  Topsy-turvys.  Flips.  Whatever you call these, they are awesome because they help keep the hair in place, plus they add a little visual interest.  These are perfect for most hair types because the elastic stays close to the head and they are easy to tighten up.  To do a twist, you make a ponytail but don’t tighten it up to the scalp.  Use a rat tail comb to separate the hair above the elastic/ponytail into two, creating a space.  Then flip the ponytail up and through the hole.  Pull the elastic tight by splitting the ponytail into two and pulling outward.  Below are a couple of my favorite ways to style twists.

    Combinations
    Most of the hairstyles I do on my daughter are a combination of at least two of the styles above.  For example, today she has a twist and a braid.  You can often make a hairstyle last a couple of days by leaving the hair partially down one day and then pulling it all up the next day.

    And there you have it!  I hope you learned some new tips that will save you some time!  Thanks for stopping by and please comment with any questions you have.  I’d also love to hear if you want more posts like this one.

    3 Ways To Feel Good About Yourself

    We are our own worst critics and focusing on our flaws isn't going to promote a healthy self image.  These are 3 things you can do to feel good about yourself.

    When I was going through my awkward pre-teen and teenage years, I received a lot of comments about my size and weight.  I’ve always been tall and thin.  I have a high metabolism as well as being active.  Some of the comments I got were positive: “Wow, you look great!”  (Thank you.)  Others were stereotypical: “Are you trying out for cheerleading?”  (No, I’m not.)  And others implied that I had an eating disorder: “What do you eat everyday?  An apple?”  (I actually ate more than some grown men.)

    Thankfully, I’d been raised by a mother who had dealt with many of the same things growing up so I wasn’t affected by their comments as much as I could have been.  (I’d be lying if I said I was completely immune from their words.)  Despite having a difficult time finding pants long enough for my tall frame or shirts that weren’t too short, I had a positive body image, which I’m grateful for.

    Now that I’m older and have had a couple of kids, my body has changed a bit.  I’m still tall and thin.  My metabolism is still high and I try to be active.  But there are parts of my body that I’m not nearly as happy with as I used to be.  I’ve nursed both my kids and that part of my body never recovered from that.  I’ve got more wrinkles than I used to have.  And the clothes that I could have worn five years ago just don’t fit the same way they used to.

    Becoming used to these changes hasn’t come overnight.  I’ve had moments where I’ve been unhappy with what I’ve seen in the mirror and wished for my own fairy godmother to give me a little boost or tuck in a few select areas.  (Am I right, ladies?)  But for the most part, I’ve come to love and accept and appreciate this body I’ve been given.

    As women, as mothers, as wives, we want to feel beautiful and attractive and desired.  Granted, we are all our own worst critics and it can be difficult to train ourselves to look beyond the imperfections (real or perceived).  But it’s important that we do this because, as I mentioned above, everyone wants to feel good about themselves (and they should!).  So how do we do that?  I’ve got a few ideas.

    Trust the opinions of those you trust
    There are a handful of people that I really trust.  They are the people I can go to when I need an honest opinion or a little pick me up.  People who have my best interest at heart and want to see me happy and succeed in life.  Think about who these people are in your own life and trust them when they say you are beautiful, or kind, or funny, or creative, or whatever makes you YOU.  Lock those compliments away or maybe even write them down.  And when you’re feeling down, think about those words, lift up your chin and keep moving forward.

    We are our own worst critics and focusing on our flaws isn't going to promote a healthy self image.  These are 3 things you can do to feel good about yourself.

    Take time for yourself
    Regardless of where you are in your life, you need to take time to take care of yourself.  I had a conversation with someone once about the importance of doing this and they asked, in all honesty, “But isn’t that selfish?”   My answer to them was “No!  It’s called self-care and everyone has to do it if they want to stay healthy: mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.”  What you do to take time for yourself is going to be different for everyone, because everyone has something different that makes them feel happy, uplifted and rejuvenated.  For some of you, it might be a bubble bath and a book.  For others, it’s taking the time to put on a little make up and fixing your hair.  Getting your nails done, a treat from the bakery, lunch with a friend, exercising.  Think about what makes you feel good about yourself when you do it, and then do it.

    Create opportunities to dress up
    Being a stay-at-home mom, the opportunity to dress up doesn’t come very often.  I have church on Sunday where I put on a dress or skirt, but it has to be practical and easy to move in since I have young children.  Around the holidays, my husband has a work party.  We have a few date nights scattered here and there, but they’re not as often as we’d like and even then, they might be something as simple as grabbing a treat and coming home and watching a movie.  Not really something to dress up for.  So what’s a girl to do?  See if you can create opportunities to dress up.  For me, this means taking a little extra time on Sunday mornings to shower and (gasp!) actually blow dry my hair.  Or maybe I curl it.  Maybe I put on some eye shadow or experiment with a new hairstyle.  Put on some high heels instead of flats (even though they’ll come off in a couple hours).  What makes you feel like you are dressing up?

    This last Sunday, I did just what I mentioned above: I showered, blow dried my hair, put on some eye shadow and wore heels.  I felt awesome!  (But I was definitely done with the heels after three hours…)  I wore this darling swing dress that I received from Cents of Style along with a bracelet from their tribe jewelry line that simply says “uplift”.

    We are our own worst critics and focusing on our flaws isn't going to promote a healthy self image.  These are 3 things you can do to feel good about yourself.

    To be totally honest, I wasn’t sure how I’d like the dress on me.  I generally go for dresses that have more of a shape and the Remi Swing Dress doesn’t.  But when I put it on, I felt both comfortable and beautiful.  I could have worn it all day.  The color is perfect for fall.  Plus it is long enough for my tall frame both in the length and in the arms.  (I am 5’9″ and I got a medium.)  Definitely a win in my book!

    We are our own worst critics and focusing on our flaws isn't going to promote a healthy self image.  These are 3 things you can do to feel good about yourself.

    If you’ve been looking for a new dress, I recommend looking into this one.  They have 17 colors and sizes ranging from small to 3XL.  The are running a Fashion Friday sale on this dress from 10/21/16 to 10/23/16 for $21.95 with code DRESS2016.  Another bonus is that they offer FREE shipping!  How often do you find that from a clothing store anymore?

    We are our own worst critics and focusing on our flaws isn't going to promote a healthy self image.  These are 3 things you can do to feel good about yourself.

    This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.
    I received the dress and bracelet for free as part of this promotion.  All opinions expressed are my own.
    I’d love to hear what you do to help yourself feel good!

    One Year Blogiversary! {Plus 5 Lessons I’ve Learned}

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  This is just one of the 5 lessons I've learned over the last year.  Click through to see the other 4!

    Wow!  I cannot believe it’s been an entire year since I started my blogging journey!  When I first had the idea to start my own blog, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Many nights have been spent at my computer writing up posts or editing pictures.  It’s been exciting and crazy and frustrating and rewarding–sometimes all in the same day!  I’ve learned a lot about myself and met some amazing people.

    When I re-launched my blog a couple of weeks ago, I received so much love and support and encouragement.  I was overwhelmed!  And so, my friends, this post is dedicated to you.

    Today I want to share what I’ve learned (and am still learning) when it comes to this whole blogging adventure.

    My family is my greatest support system
    My kids and my husband have been so wonderful throughout this entire process.  My kids have been patient as I’ve taken pictures of activities or of them.  They’ve helped me make meals and desserts.  My husband has watched the kids countless weekday evenings and Saturday mornings so that I can get my projects and posts done.  He supported me when I told him I wanted to get my entire blog redone and gave me suggestions and opinions because he wants to see me succeed.  There is no way I’d be able to do any of this without my family by my side.

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  This is just one of the 5 lessons I've learned over the last year.  Click through to see the other 4!

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart
    Holy crap.  No one can explain how much WORK it takes to run a blog.  I could easily work on blogging stuff all. day. long. and still not get everything done that I want to.  There have been many times when I’ve just stared at my computer, willing my brain to work and think of a post to write.  Never mind that I’ve got a family to take care of on top of all my blogging.  There are days when I feel like I seriously have two full time jobs.  Unless you’ve actually done a blog consistently, it’s hard to describe how much time and energy it takes to upkeep and improve.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love blogging.  But it is WORK.

    I have an awesome network of blogging friends
    About six months ago, I asked a blogging friend of mine for advice about how to get more involved in the blogging world.  One of the suggestions she gave me was to join some Facebook groups dedicated to blogging so that I could network with them.  This piece of advice has been invaluable to me because as a result, I’ve “met” some amazing people!  I’ve even met some of them in real life and we are friends who have more in common than just blogging.  There are so many wonderful people out there and I’ve been truly blessed to run in the same circle as them (even if it is mostly a virtual circle).

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  This is just one of the 5 lessons I've learned over the last year.  Click through to see the other 4!

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  This is just one of the 5 lessons I've learned over the last year.  Click through to see the other 4!

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  This is just one of the 5 lessons I've learned over the last year.  Click through to see the other 4!

    Numbers don’t matter
    I didn’t really take this lesson to heart until this last summer when I attended a local blogging workshop.  Over the course of the evening, I was able to talk with many different people and get to know them.  Not just about their blog or their strategies, but who they were as people.  Up until that point, all of my interactions with other bloggers had been online.  After meeting them, my whole perspective changed and I was able to think about each person who visited my blog as a person and not just a number.  Would I like to reach thousands of people a day?  Sure I would!  But not if it means that I forget that each person visiting my blog has a life, a family, a career, dreams and hopes.  So please know that I appreciate each and every one of you who takes the time to click on my links or read my posts.

    It’s hard to be vulnerable
    One of the very hardest things about blogging is letting people into your world.  Letting them see you.  Maybe even letting them see your family.  Taking a peek into your personal challenges and trials.  Acknowledging that you’re human and your life isn’t perfect and you make mistakes (a lot of them).  Being vulnerable is scary.  But you know what?  It’s also super rewarding in a lot of cases because when you’re vulnerable, you have the opportunity to connect in a way that isn’t possible otherwise.

    **************

    Also, I want to thank the Sweet Tooth Fairy for donating some cupcakes to help me celebrate my blogiversary!  They even wished me Happy Blogiversary on my box.  If you are in Utah, you’ve probably heard of them (although they do have a location in AZ and FL).  They even won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars!  So they are pretty darn good.  Just look at these pictures and tell me you don’t want one.

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  This is just one of the 5 lessons I've learned over the last year.  Click through to see the other 4!

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  This is just one of the 5 lessons I've learned over the last year.  Click through to see the other 4!

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  This is just one of the 5 lessons I've learned over the last year.  Click through to see the other 4!

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  This is just one of the 5 lessons I've learned over the last year.  Click through to see the other 4!

    My kids thought the cupcakes were really good too. *wink*

    Blogging is not for the faint of heart!  This is just one of the 5 lessons I've learned over the last year.  Click through to see the other 4!

    Thank you again everyone and here’s to another amazing year!

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages

    One of my kids’ favorite activities is coloring.  I swear we pull out the bin of crayons, markers and colored pencils at least once a day.  As much fun as they have with our regular coloring books, it’s good to mix it up a little and print out some holiday/seasonal coloring pages.  I’ve collected over 150 Halloween coloring and activity pages for you to choose from.

    To access the coloring pages, click on the link below the picture to be taken to the original source.  Happy coloring!

    Coloring Pages

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
    8 Halloween Coloring Pages  |  Holiday Crafts & Creations

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
    24 Halloween Coloring Pages  |  Honey & Lime 
    *These are the coloring pages I used for the Preschool/Toddler Halloween Party.

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
    Monsters Coloring Page  |  Dabbles & Babbles

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
    Halloween Color By Number  |  Itsy Bitsy Fun

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages

    Activities and Crafts

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
    Halloween BINGO  |  The Crafting Chicks

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
    Halloween BINGO  |  Artsy Fartsy Mama

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
    Halloween Countdown Bucket List  |  The Happier Homemaker

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
    35 Pumpkin Crafts  |  Hands On As We Grow

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
    Halloween Charades  |  The Joys of Boys

    150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
    *This is the treasure hunt I used for the Preschool/Toddler Halloween Party.

    I hope you found some fun coloring pages, activities or crafts for your kids!  I know I did!