Monday Mindset – The Power of Reframing.

Reframing is the ability to change your life without actually changing your circumstances. It is a powerful shift that costs us nothing but can make a huge impact on our daily lives. This is not to say that you have to pretend sh*tty things are actually rainbows and blessings – that is toxic positivity. But instead considering things that we come across in our daily lives that we tell ourselves are problems or burdens. What mountains have we made out of molehills? What story are we perpetually telling ourselves? In theory reframing is great but IRL it can be harder to implement, especially if all you’ve known is to reflexively look at situations through a lens of criticism, blame or negativity. Below are some tips to actually make reframing something you can put into action versus just a far off concept that you’re never able to wrap your hands around!

Start finding the good – The harder you look for it the more you will find. The easiest and most effective way to start finding the good is something I’ve talked about before, gratitude. Simple gratitude lists will shift the way you see your day to day life and the more you do it the more powerful this practice becomes. It doesn’t have to be fancy or in-depth, keep it simple. Keep a gratitude list pinned to the top of the notes section in your phone. Next time you’re standing in a line instead of mindlessly scrolling see how many things you can find that you’re grateful for.

The power of pause – when you find yourself doing dishes and telling yourself “this sucks, there’s always dishes, I can never keep up, my kids make such a mess” pause! Try to create some space and reframe. Often times we can’t control what happens to us in life, the dishes will inevitably be there day after day, the unexpected work project, the cancelled babysitter, so much is out of our hands. But the control we have lies in how we choose to react and respond to our lives. There is immense power in seizing that control versus simply relying on old habits or built in reactions. Pausing and reframing takes practice like all of these – often times you won’t pause until well after you’ve complained about xyz, but even catching yourself later that day is progress. As you continue to reframe and look for the good it will get easier to catch yourself in real time. The first huge step is even just realizing you were building a negative narrative in your mind whether you notice a minute after or a day after, progress is progress!

Write. It. Out. Journaling is talking things out with yourself, a diy therapy session… How are you supposed to know what you want, or what’s bothering you, or how you actually feel, if you never give yourself a moment to be with your thoughts. In today’s world we are bombarded by stimulus through our phones. We so rarely turn inward to assess our inner dialogue. At the end of the day all this stimulus can leave us feeling some sort of way that can be difficult to pinpoint. Was it that rude interaction at the store or in traffic, was it the triggering tiktok that you stumbled upon, was it an off handed comment a friend made, was it a narrative your subconsciously told yourself? Writing can give us clarity. It can help us find the good.

Ultimately reframing, like most mindset changes doesn’t happen immediately. It takes practice, and each day present new circumstances and challenges. With mindfulness and mindset improvement it’s so important to remember the journey is not linear. On my own personal journey I’ve often felt the idea of two steps forward, one step back. I’ve thought “I’m writing gratitude, I’m meditating, why is this so hard, why am I still losing my cool and yelling at my kids?” And the reality is it’s because life, and motherhood is freaking hard and I’m human! Over the years I’ve learned how important it is to hold grace for myself the same way I give it to others. We are human and life is hard. But that is what makes it beautiful, and choosing to lean into our emotions and become more aware of our thoughts is powerful. It allows us to feel and live life more deeply, even if it feels like we move backwards from time to time.

Monday Mindset: Affirmations For Every Situation

Consider this: “We think in words, and these words have the power to limit us or to set us free; they can frighten us or evoke our courage. Similarly, the stories we tell ourselves about our own lives eventually becomes our lives.”

Dan Baker, What Happy People Know

Try This: Affirmations. I used to roll my eyes at the idea of affirmations, but science has shown us that affirmations are in fact a way to help alter our internal dialogue, that will otherwise gladly tell us: we aren’t good enough, smart enough, we’ll fail etc. For many of us if we let our subconsciouses run wild they will chatter at us in negative and anxiety ridden tones. It takes work to change our narratives but one of the most powerful ways we can do that is through affirmations.

Below you’ll find affirmations for most situations! It can sound so silly when you first start saying them. But other ways I like to incorporate affirmations are:

  • Write it on a sticky note and put it on a mirror you look at daily
  • Pick one or two to say daily at a specific time (ie: waking up / going to bed / rocking your kid etc.)
  • Save an affirmation as the background on your phone, when you’re going into a tough situation or experience. It’s the perfect easy reminder to see some words that should bring you calmness or courage!
  • Save my PDF version with these affirmations!

Monday Mindset: How to harness your hardships & why it matters!

We think it’s the happy experiences, the birthdays, the week long vacations, the promotions, that make us happy in life, but it’s not. Ultimately what allows us to find happiness and joy even for the smallest moments is in fact, hardships. How can you appreciate the warm sun on your face, if you’ve never known what it feels to be cold. The same is true in life. Glennon Doyle reminds us “The truest, most beautiful life never promises to be an easy one. We need to let go of the lie that it’s supposed to be”

All of our lives are shaped by a mix of circumstances, choices and luck or lack thereof. And “being happy” is deeply connected to our ability to find joy and optimism regardless of our circumstances.

Consider This: “Your worst memories don’t go away and they don’t get better. But you can get better. You are more than the sum of your suffering.”

Dan Baker, What Happy People Know

Your struggles ultimately leave you with this choice of allowing them to shape you for better or for worse. Choosing to do so isn’t as simple as a flick of a switch. It takes acknowledgment and reflection. For me personally, writing about my experiences has been key to allowing myself to learn and grow from that experience. I wrote a post about Chris’ encephalitis and how I really struggled to process that experience. A textbook trauma response to a situation I had yet to really come to terms with. I so desperately wanted to step around it, vehemently resisting reliving it or talking about it. I simply wanted to “move on”. The funny thing about trauma is, it doesn’t work that way. The harder you slam the door shut on it & the stronger it will boomerang back bursting open. Ignoring hardships or choosing not to engage is not processing. And you certainly can get better by ignoring it.

No matter what your struggles are, big or small they play a key role in your mindset. If you’ve allowed every struggle, every misstep to accumulate, if you’re holding on to blame, and grief, and anger it is undoubtedly weighing you down. Dan Baker puts it simply “other people can hurt your, but only you can victimize yourself”.

If you play this life game long enough you realize that bad ish happens to everyone. Even the happiest person you know has not had a life free from suffering. The magic happens in your response when life is throwing obstacles in your way. We get the opportunity to write our narrative. The story we tell ourselves becomes our life.

Try This: Harness your own hardships

Write! This is my biggest tip for transforming hardship. Write. Write about what it was like. The way it made you feel, give actual names to emotions that come up: helpless, disappointed, lonely, anxious, jealous etc. Whether it was a job you didn’t get, a string of bad luck, whether it was something life altering or something on a smaller scale, these are all opportunities for us to grow. You know how you feel better after a good cry, writing is very similar. You’re able to empty out your mind and your emotions and often will feel a weight lifted.

Reflect on the story you’re telling yourself – is it one of blame, insecurity, anger? Or is it a story that is hopeful, perseverant, joyful, energetic? The words we tell ourselves our incredibly powerful.

Give yourself time – Not every hardship is created equal. Some may effect us for longer or just take more time to sort through. And that is okay, after Chris was in the ICU I so badly just wanted to snap my fingers and for life go back to normal. When in reality it would take over a year before he felt like himself again & it would take me a whole other year to process from that experience.

Ask yourself “what can I learn from this experience”… Once you start writing a page or two a funny thing happens it all pours out!

Back to (pre)School Favorites

1. Simply Modern Water bottles 2. Toddler Size Backpack. 3. Fun Back to School PJ’s
4. Non-Toxic Hand Sanitizer 5. Bento Box Lunchboxes 6. Waterproof Name Labels

I’m not entirely sure how it’s already back to school season, but here we are! I wanted to share some of the items I discovered and loved last year for my preschooler & a lot of these I repurchased now that Johnathan is also headed to preschool this year!

  1. Simply Modern Water bottles – These water bottles are leak proof & are a staple in our house, plus they’re a little cheaper than the hydroflask guys!
  2. Toddler Size Backpack – an appropriate toddler sized backpack can be hard to find. Last year I definitely sent will to school with a backpack that was wayyy to big. So this year both the boys are going with these!
  3. Fun Back to School PJ’s – get your toddlers excited the night before with fun ABC pajamas!
  4. Non-Toxic Hand Sanitizer – this is the only hand sanitizer Will will tolerate on his hands. It doesn’t dry your hands out and it smells like christmas, without all the harsh chemicals!!
  5. Bento Box Lunchboxes – love these reusable bento lunch boxes. These drastically cut down on single use plastics! Plus this year I’ll be packing lunches in bulk!
  6. Waterproof Name Labels – Probably my favorite item! These name labels either for clothing or supplies are dishwasher and washing machine safe. After a full year of preschool of the stickers I used are still intact, after many loads through the wash! This year I got some with the boys last name large and their names smaller because I know they’ll be interchanging waterbottles / lunchboxes. Plus they are totally customizable and come in so many designs / colors!!

If you have a favorite back to school item I’d love to hear what it is!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

1. Cooler 2. Waterproof Hat 3. Battery Pack. 4. Wallet.
5. Breakfast Sandwich Maker. 6. Car Vacuum 7. Handprints

Father’s Day is right around the corner so I thought I’d share some ideas for anyone still looking for a gift for that Dad in their life! Plus all of these items are still in stock and will get shipped in time for Father’s Day!

  1. RTIC Cooler – If you follow me on instagram, you might remember I polled asking for peoples opinions on the Yeti coolers and if they were worth the serious $$ they cost. Most people responded that, yes they were as good as they claim, however the brand RTIC was just as good with a smaller price tag! This 52 qt RTIC cooler is what I opted to get Chris this year, I liked it because it came with a removable divider and a basket! Compared to a similar yeti cooler it’s $175 less expensive!
  2. Waterproof Hat – From the photo this might look like just another hat, but these are the perfect summer hat, they are water friendly, lightweight, and floatable! This was actually on my list for last Father’s Day and the color I had wanted sold out!
  3. Battery Pack – This was a gift I got for my dad! Something he wouldn’t go out and purchase for himself but that he gets TONS of use out of! These will recharge an iphone about 3 times!
  4. Wallet – This nonbulky wallet has a pull tab so you can easily access cards. I got this for Chris two years ago and it’s still in great shape & he loves it! Comes it lots of colors!
  5. Breakfast Sandwich Maker – Make your own McMuffin at home! We own one of these and it’s so good! My dad actually gave this gift to Chris his first fathers day!! It makes for a fun easy weekend breakfast! Just fyi the metal tabs get blazing hot so use an oven mitt!
  6. Car Vacuum – For the dad who hates crumbs in his car…
  7. Last but NOT least, keeping it simple makes for the best gifts. I made these handprints with the boys last year for Father’s Day. Put them in a simple white frame and now they live in Chris’ office. Took 10 minutes and cost less than $10!

5 Fool Proof Cake Tips – From one mom to the next!

Since becoming a mom I have loved making the boys their own special birthday cakes and enjoy decorating them. I’m by no means a professional or have any kind of training – but I have learned a few things along the way as the evolution of photos at the end of this post shows! I thought I would share some of the simple tips that have made a big difference in my cake game, from amateur mom baker to another.

Make it easy on yourself – I don’t make the entire cake from scratch… I’m all about jazzing up a box cake mix (using milk instead of water, butter instead of oil). If you want to try to do a fun decoration don’t feel like you have to DO IT ALL. Make things easier where you can!

Invest in a cake kit. The first few years I didn’t spend the $17 for a cake kit and I kinda wish I had. A turntable, a scraper and a couple decent spatulas can really make a big difference. This is the one I bought this year. They sell ones with dozens of more pieces but I opted for something simple.

Freeze your rounds – this was a tip I discovered last year. Freezing or chilling your cake rounds makes frosting SO much easier!! There’s none of that crumbling you normally experience and it doesn’t take away from the taste or texture. Just make sure to wrap them in plastic wrap tightly if you plan on chilling or freezing for longer than 30 min.

Start small and pick a design or style that you’re excited about – I get most of my ideas off pinterest & I try to pick cakes that feel doable. Over the years I have slowly expanded what I felt like was “doable” 3 years ago I would have never even tried this Cars cake. The idea of doing a fondant checkerboard bottom alone would have been too much. Even this year, I was fully prepared to scrap that detail if it wasn’t working out!

Stop by your local bakery! – did you know most grocery stores will sell you their cake frosting?? This year I went to Safeway and bought a bunch of white frosting directly from the bakery & then dyed it red! I’ll definitely be doing this going forward. Again, make things easier where you can! Maybe someday I’ll have time to perfect my own cake frosting but for now this is a short cut I’ll be taking!

BONUS: Have fun with it! Even if your cake flops it won’t be the end of the world. I have store-bought cupcakes as a back up & I focus on the fun aspect! Also don’t underestimate the power of crumbled graham cracker or Oreo cookie as a way to add texture and make the cake look more detailed!

Cars cake for Will’s 4th Birthday (2022)
Dino Cake for Will’s 3rd birthday (2021)
2021 “Wild One” for J’s 1st Birthday

“Two the Moon” Will’s 2nd Birthday (2020)
Smash cake for Will’s 1st Birthday… to show we all start somewhere!