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Mommy. The worlds best jungle gym!

Dude, what do I look like to you?! Lol! You ever find yourself saying that to your kid? I have. They climb all over you like you’re a standing obstacle course. I’ve been talking to people before and my child fell and I caught him with out interrupting the conversation, and went on as if nothing had happened. Except that the ladies I was talking to started to laugh and made a comment about how I caught him with out even thinking. It happens when you’re about 4 kids and 11 years (at that point)  in to the mommy thing… I didn’t think much of it until I saw another momma with a young boy having a similar, olympic training vs Mommy talking to a grown up, type of endeavor. It made me smile. She never skipped a beat. Though he was climbing on her, playing with his toys all around her, it didn’t distract her. Do we do this because we love them and know that they just want to be near us? Or because we are so desperate for grown up conversation, that we will have said conversation regardless of the frustration? Is it a skill, or a desperate plea for interaction?! I”m not sure, but I am sure that it’s just the way Mommy talk goes.  It’s also funny that it seems so much different to us when it’s someone else than when it’s us. When I saw this young lady I thought she was pretty awesome. But I don’t think I’m awesome when it’s me. When it’s me I usually just wish they’d sit still! Conversely I think some young women might see this and think of how they long to be that momma. But when they become a momma, realize that it can be very overwhelming! So I thought I’d encourage you with three things to remember when you find yourself a human jungle gym in the midst of trying to just be a human.

 

1) You probably missed your workout today. If you did get it in, well that’s ok, you just got a bonus work out!

2) If your kid is all up in your grill, you know where they are. They’re not off making sugar high deals with the other toddlers! (“I’ll give you my sucker for those two pixie stix.” “Nah man, that’ll only keep me up until midnight, I’m going for an all nighter. There’s a Power Rangers marathon tonight!”)

3) If you jump up and down and make it more challenging they are likely to sleep on the way home!

Ok, so I’m kidding. Well, a little serious, but I just wanted to make you laugh! Here are my more serious three things to remember:

1) They do truly do it because they love you and want to be near you. They won’t be small enough to climb on you for long, or interested in those hot wheels for that matter. So take a deep breath and embrace the affection and the desire to be in your presence.

2) It does mean that you know where they are. If they are physically touching you they aren’t wondering off and getting lost or hurt.

3) If it’s too much for you, or its beyond proper behavior, if they are being too loud or disrespectful, there might be a way to deter them. A coloring book would be a good alternative for many kids. (I have one that has never been at all interested in coloring, but most kids are.). You can also play a game with them that involves them being a super spy and being very still, or finding clues around the room, if space allows. If they feel like they have your attention to some extent and are given something exciting or at least interesting to do, they just might do really well while you finally talk to a grown up. (Or at least for five minutes…!)

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

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Find your groove, momma!

The mind is a very interesting thing isn’t it? We are all so different and that’s what makes life interesting. But it also means that we would do good to quit thinking we have to be so much alike. There are so many different ideas about how to better manage your time/day and many of them sound great, although they may be very different. You can read numerous blogs, or magazine articles and think “Oh, that’s it! that’s what I’m going to do!” But when you try it, it doesn’t work out at all. Or as is often my experience, it might work to an extent, but doesn’t end up being the complete solution like you might have hoped. Many people see a significant jump in productivity by getting up even just an hour earlier every day. But… to the momma with an infant that needs fed every hour to two hours through the night, that suggestion probably seems crazy! Some women can stay up for hours after their kids go to sleep and be extremely productive. But the momma that had to get up super early to take kids to school, or go to work, might want to cry at such a suggestion! Some get lots of things done while their kids are at school, while others homeschool. Here’s the thing; there is no right or wrong. What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. It’s just a fact that we all tic differently. I challenge you to think about what time of day is best for you, and plan based off of that, not off of what seems to make sense to the rest of the world.

For each of us, there is a time of day that we feel better and more “with it”. Pay attention and try to learn yourself just a bit better, and know when your best times of day are to do certain things. For example, I am just about useless in the morning. I’m not a morning person AT ALL and I hate even being awake early in the day! For real. Like, the alarm clock beeps, and I get up and I’m literally mad that I’m awake. So, planning to get up early to write my blog posts, or grade papers really isn’t wise for me. That’s why I only do things in the morning that are very routine and take very little thought. Unload the dishwasher. Start a load of laundry. Its a blessing later in the day to have these simple tasks started, but doesn’t take me really thinking or putting forth much effort when I don’t feel like functioning. I’ve also realized that I get a better work out if I wait a few hours. it kinda stinks because I’m more likely to let other things get in the way of me working out if I don’t do it when I wake up. But in the morning I have very little time, so it’s rushed. I also don’t have the energy to put forth the same effort so early. When I work out after I take the kids to school, I have more energy, I don’t modify as many of the moves and I feel great when I’m done. But when I work out in the morning, I barely survive and feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. (Have we established that I’m not a morning person?!).

So the things that are required of us: Patience, creativity, energy, effort, diligence… These things are all things we may need to practice every day. But there are certain times of day that we can probably better offer these things. There are also things we can do to help set ourselves up for a better outcome. You might feel more creative after a walk outside. Or need an hour to veg when you get home from work with absolutely no talky. Whatever your groove is, I suggest you do some trial and error and find it, and then plan the tasks of your day accordingly. That way you stress less, and accomplish more.

Remember, what works for someone else, might be a great suggestion, and give you some great ideas. But it doesn’t mean it’s gonna work for you. It’s time you find what works for YOU and don’t worry about being able to do things the same way as anyone else. (It’s also worth noting that seasons change, and as they do things change for us. So what works for you today might not work as well in 6 months. And that’s ok. Just another go at some trial and error and you can adjust things as needed.) Find your groove, find your time, and structure your day according to what works best for you!

Smile through the Trials,

Tiffany

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Words hurt. They also heal.

Do you ever say something and then wish you could take it back? It’s pretty frustrating when that happens, but I think it’s especially disheartening when what you said was to your child. Ya know, we spend so much time telling them to be kind and think before they speak, but we are still human and we still mess up at times. I felt so bad the other day.  My four year old was sitting next to me on the couch.  Now, my son is not only very trying at times, because he’s excessively hyper; but he also has a tendency to talk 90 to nothin with very little stops for a breath! I was working on something that I really needed to finish and he was crawling all over me and just about pushing me out of my seat.  It was frustrating and I got upset with him.  I said something along the lines of  “Can’t you just sit down and be quiet for a few minutes?!”  He made a sad face and walked away.  I’m not gonna lie, though I’m not proud to say it, at first I was just relieved he had stopped.  I needed to get some stuff done and he needed to understand that sometimes he has to give Mommy a little space.  But then I looked over in the hallway and saw him.  He’s naughty, that’s for sure! But he’s my baby. and he can be so ridiculously sweet.  He was just sitting on his little bench with his head hanging down.  He was sad.  I started wondering what he was thinking.  Because to me I was letting him know that he has to respect the fact that Mommy has to get things done at times.  But to him, to him what was I saying?  Was I saying you’re annoying?  Was I saying I don’t have time for you?  Or, you talk too much?  I don’t want to deal with you?  I don’t know.  I don’t know for sure what he took it to mean, but I know something was going through his little head that made him sad.  I looked up and called his name and he smiled and came running.  We should really appreciate how forgiving kids are.  I told him that I love him and I wanted him to sit next to me, but I needed him to be quiet.  He was so happy.  It really made me think about how much my words mean to him, and to all of my kids.  It’s a blessing to know how healing my words can be to my children.  But also should be reverenced with caution how much power they have to hurt.  I hate it when I realize I’ve been short, or dismissive with my kids.  They need to know I love them and care about what’s important to them.  Words hurt.  And they also heal. I want my words to help my children, rather than hinder them.  

Remember; A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Proverbs 25:11).

Let’s speak life and joy to our children. Not the opposite.

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

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I’m back! And I’m ready to help you to find that smile!

Guys! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve posted! I’m so excited to announce that I’m officially back!! I’m hoping to post with consistency again and get to reconnect with all of you!! So, I’m going to resume posting a family/mommy post every Sunday, late morning. I’ll probably go slow with getting back into the groove and sharing all the exciting things that I have planned, so for at least this third quarter of 2017 that might be all that goes up. But soon there will be a different type of post through out the week. (Still focused on being encouraging and helpful to you…) I’m not sure what day yet, if you have a preferred day feel free to let me know in the comments. The look, menu, colors, etc might all change a few times, as we at “Team Smile” have A LOT of fun things in the works, and it might involve a bit more tweaking. I just couldn’t wait any longer to tell you all that Smilesntrials.com is totally a thing again! And this time with a bit more to offer. 😉 Bare with me if I miss a step here or there, but my goal is to be able to talk with you at least weekly again on here and be here for what I started out to be here for; to encourage you to “Find your smile” in the trials of life!! If your new to my blog feel free to stick around a while and read some of my previous posts! I’ll link a few of the most popular for you down below to get ya acquainted with the site!

Balancing “Mommy Time” with Mommy’s time 

7 things to remember when your child doesn’t want to talk

When you just don’t want to put your productive pants on

I’d love to connect on social media.
I haven’t been real present on periscope but I plan to get back to that as well, and you can find me on there as @smilesntrials
I’m getting my FB page for my blog all set up and it’s also  @smilesntrials
Instagram was my first love (though my Insta is technically fairly new too)  and I never left it! LOL! Find me there @tiffanysmiles_

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Christmas in July wrap up!

So how was your Christmas in July?!  Mine wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, but I did get some things made for gifts, and I’ve started on some plans for making it less costly this year.  My daughter made some of her gifts too!  I might try to continue to do a project here and there until then, but like I said, I don’t want to get burnt out on it.  I love Christmas and wouldn’t want to make it a negative experience in any way.  Being that I’m due with my 5th child in November, and my daughter and my step daughter’s birthdays are also in November… I’m pretty sure my Holiday Season will be a bit of a blur, so I’m going to appreciate any thing that I’ve accomplished in advance!  I hope you were able to use at least a few of my suggestions and that you are able to be at least slightly more prepared for this Christmas!

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

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My 3 best tips for saving money for Christmas!

If you are participating in Christmas in July in any way, I’m sure the Christmas budget has crossed your mind.  We talked a little bit last week about ways you can start shopping early, which could help to offset that a bit.  But today I want to talk to you about saving money for Christmas time.

  1. Start a savings account.  If you search “Christmas savings plan” on Pinterest a number of savings plans will come up.  Some start in January, which would be hard to adjust to today.  But some start in June and it’s not too late to jump in on one of those!  I do recommend opening a separate bank account that’s just for Christmas, because it’s too easy to use the money for something else if it’s not in it’s own place.  I found a plan that I like that starts you on June 6th.  You start your account on that day, with just $26.00.  A week later, on June 13th, you deposit $27.00.  And so on, adding $1.00 to your deposit each week until the 28th of November.  Following this, you will have saved $1,001.00 by Black Friday!  This was obviously not written this year, as Black Friday will be the 25th in 2016, but it’s still close.  The most you deposit in one week is $51.00.  You could maybe combine the last two weeks to get to the desired amount.  We are $203 behind on this plan as of today, so if you want to catch up, deposit $203 and the resume the plan at $33.00 going up one dollar per week from next week on.  If you prefer to save $2,000, you would start at $52.00 and add $2.00 to your deposit each week.  (Of course in that case you would be $406 behind, and after that initial deposit you would pick up at $66.00) If you don’t want to make a large deposit to make up for lost time, you can start at $33.00 and you will still save $798.00 by late November.  Still totally worth the effort in my book!
  2. Get paid to shop.  Join a rewards program.  I like Swagbucks. I just started, but I know some people that have done really well with it.  It’s essentially a search engine that rewards you for using it.  You simply log in to your Swagbucks account first, and then go to whatever site you want to visit from there.  I’ve earned like, 500 points (SB) in a short time just by ordering things that I was going to order anyway!  You can also earn by logging in and taking their surveys, searching through their search bar, watching videos on there, etc.  On occasion you simply redeem your points (Swagbucks/SB) for gift cards.  You can choose lots of common places, such as Amazon, Starbucks. etc.  You can redeem your SB for as little as a $3.00 gift card, if say you just want an occasional free cup of coffee.  But if you save your points until you can get larger amounts you can use those gift cards to help with your shopping, or give the gift cards themselves as gifts.
  3. Share great info with friends.  A great example is Zulily .  I have shopped from Zulily for a long time.  Its very quick and easy to set up an account, and they have great prices on almost anything you can think of.  I buy almost all of my girls’ Dollie and Me outfits there because they are much less expensive there than I’ve found anywhere else.  So yes, I recommend making an account to shop, but, if you invite your friends, you can help yourself a bit more with that Christmas budget!  You can email them an invite, invite on FaceBook, etc.  When you do this, and they sign up, you get a $15.00 credit after they place their first order.  And you can do this as many times as you’d like!  Since Zulily sells such a variety of things, and includes some neat stores you may have never heard of, along with many very common ones, you are sure to be able to use those credits to do some of your shopping!  There are other apps, websites, etc that reward you in some way for sharing.  I don’t think you should just sign up for everything under the sun and push it on people.  But if you use it, and do love it, your friends will appreciate the tip!

I hope you are able to take advantage of something that will help you to save money for Christmas.  What a blessing it will be to lighten that burden a bit!

This post does contain some of my personal referral links.  I genuinely appreciate you trusting me to find info for you. 

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

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5 tips to start your Christmas shopping in July!

In honor of my Christmas in July series, I figured today we would talk a bit about early Christmas shopping.  I know it’s hard to give it much thought 5 months early.  But if you can do a few things now and in the following months, it will make things a bit easier come jingle bell time.  I have a number of ideas, but today I’m going to focus on a few that involve shopping.

  1. Decide where you will put your early purchases.  Do this first! You really don’t wanna get to the beginning of December, and start looking in all the places you might have put things, not even remembering what you’ve bought.  I have a snow man thirtyone tote in my closet that I store gifts in.  That way, even if I forget what I bought, I’ll have it all in one place when I need it.  (There’s also a secret place in my basement that I hide things that won’t fit in said tote.)
  2. Watch for clearance prices on things that you can use for gifts.  I was at JCPenney’s looking for maternity clothes.  (They’ve gone to only online like so many stores have, we can talk about that frustration another time…) They didn’t have what I wanted, but when I was walking out I saw scarves for $3.97 and… $1.97!!  If you have anyone on your list that likes cute scarves, you’ve just scored!  I bought 7, and with the $10 off coupon that comes in the mail, my total purchase was just under $7.00.  I got them for under $1 each!  If you happen upon a great clearance price on something you know would be a great gift, grab it!
  3. Amazon Prime Day!  If you are starting your shopping early, and are an amazon prime member, mark your calendar for July 12th!  They are advertising more deals than Black Friday, so it’ll be something to check out!  If you don’t have a prime membership, make sure to get one before the 12th.  We’ve been prime members for years and for us, it’s totally worth the price and the quick shipping is great!  I feel obligated to tell you that I’ve read that last year this was a bit of a disappointment, but, I’m definitely going to check it out and see what they have to offer this year.
  4. QVC Christmas in July!  I’m pretty sure the term “Christmas in July” is in my head from watching years of QVC having fun Christmas stuff for sale in July!  Not only do they have decor, but toys, and other fun things at sale prices.  I’ve already browsed and will be making an order in the next couple of days.  I recommend checking this one out, as I’ve already looked and I’ve seen some cool stuff!
  5. Buy a gift card every couple of weeks.  This can be done for two reasons.  If there are people on your list that you know you want gift cards for, make a list of those people and the places you will gift them cards to.  Every other week or so, pic up one of the cards off of your list.  You could even grab a few extra to common places like Walmart, Amazon, Starbucks, etc for people that you might forget.  OR you can periodically purchase gift cards to a place that you do a lot of your shopping and put them in a specific, safe place.  Then you can use them to buy gifts when you are ready to shop. That way you spread out some of the expense over a matter of months rather than spending the money all at once.

I hope there’s something on this list that can help you out in making your Christmas a bit less stressful!  We have more Christmas fun to come, make sure you check back and join me!

(If you go to bloglovin.com you can follow my blog on there 🙂 You can even download the app and make it super easy!)

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

 

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Christmas in July!!

Hey guys, Happy Holidays!!  Ok, do I sound crazy?!  I’m sure I do… But, I am doing a little Chrismas in July fun at my house and thought I’d share a bit with y’all!!  Here’s the deal; I love Christmas.  Love like crazy, I’m totally a Christmas freak and it makes me so happy just to think about it, love.  But I also plan all kinds of things I want to do and only accomplish about half of them.  To be honest, that’s probably if I’m lucky.  We still have a special time as a family and there are at least a few things that I make sure to keep consistent through out the years.  That’s kinda the point of it being called a tradition, right?  But I still get a bit sad about the big plans and things I had hoped to accomplish but didn’t.  I also get stressed trying to do it all during the limited time that I work on it.  But on the flip side, if I “Christmas” for too long I get burnt out.  As much as I love Christmas, and I do, I tend to want the tree out of my living room, and the decor all cleaned up, pretty quick after December 25th.  So here’s my thought.  I’m going to do some of the things I want to do for Christmas now, in July.  Then I’m going to put it all up and not think about it any more until I start to get the Christmas spirit.  (Ya know, like, September… lol!)  That way there’s less pressure, and I take a break to avoid burn out.  Now there will be a few things I try to do from here until then, such as use swagbucks, and buy things on clearance, or pick up special items I know someone will want.  But the point is going to be mostly a “set it and forget it” or “make it and forget it” type of thing.  Are you with me?!  I’m not sure how many projects I’ll do, but I have list going that I’m going to attempt to knock out.  I want to include the kids in a few things that they can make for gifts (we love to make gifts) and just enjoy some stress free Christmas crafting.  Which, is another thing I’d suggest because it can be stressful to do all the crafts with the kids in the short time they are off of school for Christmas.  Even if you homeschool, it can be difficult to take off much time for Christmas.  (One year I started almost a month early so that we could take almost the entire month of December off.  I have to say I really loved that!)

I’m still pretty busy, but I’m going to try to accomplish as much as I can.  I’d love it if you want to follow along and I’ll be keeping all of my social media platforms up to date as well.  If you don’t follow me I’m @tiffanysmiles_ on instagram; @smilesntrials on periscope; and smilesntrials on youtube.  I am hoping I can get my youtube issues worked out because I really want to be able to do some videos for you guys!  But I’ll let ya’ll know here when I post videos.  Oh yeah, and I got set up with bloglovin’!  So if you search smilesntrials on bloglovin’ it will make it even easier to follow along!  I hope we can have lots of fun doing a little low pressure Christmas prep!

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

 

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Why I have to get back to meal planning even in the summer

So, I wrote a post about meal planning a little while back.  But now it’s summer.  So you don’t have to meal plan in summer right?  Well, you might think not, but that’s not working out so great for me!  I felt like I wanted to be more relaxed for summer.  I figured I could just leisurely pick some yummy ingredients, and make meals on the fly and enjoy making meals with plenty of time in the day to enjoy it.  Yeah… Ok… What part of me forgot that I still have four busy, demanding children, and a long list of things that need to be done every day?!  Or that I’m pregnant and might just not feel like cooking or ya know, thinking, on any given day?!  Or the “minor” fact that with out a plan I might not have ingredients in my house that go well together to make an actual meal?!  Or… or… or…!  Yeah, so, not the best plan! I think it’s wonderful to allow things to be more laid back in the summer.  I think some leisure helps us to appreciate the structure we need during the rest of the year.  And on the same token I think we need to have a bit of release from structure at times just to be able to relax and maybe feel a bit rebellious!  Unfortunately I tend to be a bit rebellious by nature, so allowing myself to rebel here and there helps me to “adult” better when I really need to!

I do enjoy being able to spend more time on breakfast and lunch.  During the school year I only have so much time in the mornings to feed everyone and pack lunches.  So breakfast prep needs to be minimal or everyone ends up eating cold cereal or packaged granola bars!  The lunches I pack tend to also be pretty typical and not real exciting.  Which is a good reason to be prepared.  Since I can do things that take more time, it’s nice to make sure that I have all the necessary ingredients.  It’s really nice being able to make different things and try them out.  Other issues as far as lunch goes can be many.  If I don’t have a plan I often end up telling them “You know what we have, go grab something.”  Leaving it up to them is ok sometimes, but often leads to poor choices being made.  And, I know, you are going to think I’m a terrible mother, but I actually forget to feed them lunch sometimes!  I think “Oh yeah, I need to make some lunch.”  And then before I decide what to make I’m  distracted or busy, and the whining starts because everyone’s starving!  Yes I eventually feed them, but later than normal, and closer to dinner time than I would prefer.

Speaking of dinner, no plan often means no meat set out to thaw!  So late lunch isn’t the worst thing because we just might have a late dinner too!  And the sides are pretty repetitive and boring if I haven’t made a menu and thought of different options to offer with each meal, and compliment it nicely.

I leave days blank and try to have the ingredients for a few extra slow cooker meals in case I decide to go somewhere and won’t be home in time to cook.  I still try to keep it flexible, but for me it’s best to have a plan!

Oh, yeah, and as a bonus tip:  pre-planning snacks in the summer is a great idea.  One that I highly recommend.  Kids become bottomless pits when they’re home all day and want to snack just about as much as they breath!  I get annoyed when they make a lot of bad decisions, so I try to have some healthy, or at least kindof healthy stuff available.

What about you?  Any tips on Summer meal planning, cooking, or snacking?  I’d love to hear all about them in the comments!  I hope you’re having a great summer!  I’ll talk to you soon!

 

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do enjoy being able to leisurely cook breakfast, and can do things that are more time consuning

LUNCH:

Kids eat junk, or make poor choices

I forget to feed them

We eat later than we should, gets too close to dinner time

Dinner same as always, just easier with a plan.  Might forget to get meat out, not know what I have, etc.

 

 

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Flash Sale! June 3rd, 2016

time bundleInstalife BundleColonial White Shadow Box bundleOk guys, you’ve got until Monday at 3:00 pm (MDT) to order if you’re interested in any of these fun bundles!  Turns out there are more than I thought there would be!  Not a bad thing of course, but I probably won’t be able to list them all…  I cannot believe some of the things they are letting go for such great prices!  Some of the bundles are 25% off, 30% off and even more!  The timagehing I’m definitely not going to miss out on, and maybe the most dramatic deal, is the Colonial White Shadow Box Bundle.  These are 12×12 shadow boxes in the popular Colonial White color.  One of the best gift ideas ever, and especially great for a new baby!  They are imageputting two of them in a bundle for $40.53!!  That’s only around $12 more than you would usually spend on one!!  I’ve bought these for gifts in the past and enjoy making a 12×12 layout to display on the wall.  I’m definitely going to make one for my new baby! (Probably with the Georgie paper.)  Don’t hesitate to check it out because I have imagea feeling many of these bundles will go fast!  We’ve got treat bagscupcake boxes, picture my life cards, embellishments, embossing folders, and lots more! This is so much fun!  Click shop with me, any of the links in this post, or go to www.Tiffanysmiles.ctmh.com to grab what you want before it’s gone!  Now, I’ve got an order to make! Talk to you all soon!

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany