Seven FREE Apps to help you become stress free

Ok..so my title may be a little misleading..since becoming stress free is likely impossible. But I needed to get your attention and it sounded catchier than seven free ways to reduce stress. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

You guys..it’s 2019 and we KNOW that we are all living with a more demanding schedule causing a more stressful life AND it has been proven to have an impact on our health. Some studies say that as many as 80% of people are feeling both physical and psychological effects of stress, such as fatigue, headache, stomachache, muscle tension, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and sleep disturbances, just to name a few. Do you currently feel stressed?

I keep talking about minimizing the demands on your time and that as a society we need to stop glorifying “being busy” as a status symbol of success, but are you listening?! We also need to start ditching unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drugs, cigarettes, over or under eating, alcohol and my personal favorite..the art of ignoring your stressors until you have a nervous breakdown.

You guys..can we please try to be proactive instead of reactive already?! I’m not begging you, but pretty damn close, because this is that important!! I’m even going to make it easy and convenient and FREE for you, so that takes away all of your excuses. Here are seven tools and/or apps to keep in your back pocket, and you should be at minimum doing 2-3 of these things in your day to day, and holding on to the rest for those extra stressful days.

1. Headspace-this app reminds me of Notorious BIG and the song Hypnotize. ๐ŸŽถ sometimes your words just hypnotize me ๐ŸŽถ This app has helped to hypnotize me both to get to sleep at bedtime, and then back to sleep middle of the night when my brain was ready to party. ๐Ÿง 

2. YouTube yoga videos-there are SO many videos that it’s likely you could watch a new video each day for the rest of your life. Depending on you and your unique coping, you may need either a restorative gentle video or an intense vinyasa flow. Or maybe you fall in the middle..but just don’t fall in the group that doesn’t take advantage of the free yoga available and go get you some zen! ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™€๏ธ

3. Journaling-Daylio, Jour and Reflectly seem like good journaling apps, or if you’re like me, you can always just grab one of those random notebooks around your house and write it out (don’t act like you don’t have a hundred of them).

4. Music-ok so my AppleMusic isn’t free, but the radio is, or YouTube music videos, or Spotify or Pandora. Make yourself a few playlists..one for high stress and needing some good vibes and high energy, and another for relaxing music to calm your soul.

5. Walking/Running-no app required..just the outdoors or a treadmill. But if you’re looking for coaching, the C25K app or the Nike Run Club are both apps I love and use!! Bonus points for grabbing a dog to take with you, they get stressed to you know.

6. Daily affirmations-I have an app called affirmations, and it’s one of the first things I look at on my phone after I’m up and moving in the morning. I get a new one everyday, and it’s just that daily reminder that you are a bad ass and can handle any of life’s stresses today, so bring it.

7. Reading-I use the Libby app., which syncs with my library card and gets me free ebooks and audiobooks. Nothing like feeling stressed and taking a moment to forget it all and get lost in a good book.

These are all ways to ditch stress and get back to being awesome.

How do you manage stress?

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Carnival Season

Itโ€™s carnival season around here..one of my favorites for watching my kids just be kids and enjoy some screen free fun time, itโ€™s also my favorite for people watching, and donโ€™t forget the funnel cake.๐Ÿ˜‹ ๐ŸŽก

The one thing I donโ€™t like is how much it all adds up in price..parking, vendors, a ride here, a ride there, games and then of course the drinks and food. ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿฅค

This year..we just picked one of the three carnivals we usually go to. I also avoided the $10 parking by finding a spot on the street for free. We ate before we left the house and brought our own water.

My best move was convincing my kids the games werenโ€™t as much fun as the rides. Since they only care about the prizes anyway, I told them we would go to Dollar Tree after, and they could pick out any item in the store. They didnโ€™t even ask to play any games, and we even saw another kid asking his parents to play and Caleb told him that โ€œthe games were a rip off because they were just trying to take his money to get richโ€ ๐Ÿ˜‚

We did splurge on the $20 all you can ride wristbands for each kid, and a $5 funnel cake to share, so with my Dollar Tree promise, I was all in for $47. I was proud of this, because we usually spend at least double, if not triple this during carnival season, and we end up with meltdowns about โ€œone more gameโ€, and end up with a bunch of crap toys or stuffed animals we donโ€™t need also. ๐Ÿงธ

To be honest, the spending less part was great, but we had more fun this year with one carnival and without all the extras. Getting used to a more simple minimalist lifestyle gives us a chance to really enjoy the best things in life that have always been free..the memories. ๐Ÿ’•

8 ways to eat out for less

Chipotle is my weakness and I love everything about it..except that it would cost my family around $750 a month if we ate it for dinner every night. ๐Ÿค‘

So we try to limit it to be a once a month treat, and try to find ways to make it even more affordable than it already is. Today, we got 6 servings of food for $16.72!! I also got enough napkins for both of our car glove boxes for the next few months..lol.

But while I was ordering today, I thought about some different ways that you can save money while eating out, no matter what you’re craving.

1. Don’t eat out at all..and if you’re like me and know that not eating out at all is a recipe for disaster, then limit it to once or twice a month and budget for it. (if I don’t eat out at all, then I will fall HARD off the wagon and go on a wildly expensive and unhealthy eating out binge)

2. Eat before hand. Yes you read that right..grab a snack first so you aren’t ordering more than you need or super sizing because you’re starving. Or if you’re eating out for dinner, make sure you had a good lunch that day.

3. Does everyone really need a meal or at minimum..their OWN meal? Likely not, so do like we do and make quesadillas at home for the kids and let them eat a little guacamole and chips as a side or you can share an order of food also.

4. Much like the previous tip, the portion sizes are ridiculous these days and WAY more than one person needs in one sitting. I ask for extra rice because it’s free, and I can make 3 meals out of one bowl.

5. Find some add ins or sides from home. We usually do chips from home and add some carrots and grapes for sides. Or if you’re ordering a pizza, skip the breadsticks and make a salad at home with it instead.

6. Look for promotions! Chipotle was doing BOGO for wearing a youth soccer jersey this weekend, so I dressed my soccer star in his and got a free bowl for it. I know Chick-Fil-A does similar dress like a cow promotions. This makes it fun also, because you can dress ridiculous and get some crazy second looks from people.

7. Join the rewards program. Don’t get me wrong..don’t use the rewards program as an excuse to eat out all the time, but if you can earn a free entree down the road for when you do plan to order, then take full advantage of that. If you’re like me and get excited and forget, Chipotle has a way to upload receipts afterwards. (as long as you do it within 30 days of ordering)

8. Do carry out. If you dine in, you are more likely to get pressured into adding on drinks, appetizers, and desserts that you don’t need. Also, you will need to add a minimum of a 20% tip, and tipping is also something you have to do for delivery. So avoid it and go grab your food and take it to the park or take it home to eat. Save the fancy sit down meals for extra special occasions, like an anniversary or birthday.

Those are some of my secrets to saving money while still getting your favorite fast food fix. What are some ways you save when eating out?!

Final Food Prep Post

Last one guys..I swear. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with a bazillion in one long post, so this will be my third and final on my food prep containers.

The kids tested these warming bad boys out and said their macaroni stayed warm for the four hours until lunch..once again Karen..move along if you don’t like what we’re eating over here. They even have an adorable built in spoon that we will enjoy exactly one more time before it gets lost. ๐Ÿ˜œ

Link:

https://amzn.to/2zGCccZ

And my fave is this little personal salad buffet. I mean..you can put ALL THE TOPPINGS..and the DRESSING even. Refer back to my previous post about how all the food shouldn’t be touching until I’m ready for it to touch. It’s also a step further than my weird quirks, since it helps stuff stay fresh. I asked my husband for his review..a man of many words said “I liked it”. And there you have it folks. The best review he’s ever given. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿฅ—

Link:

https://amzn.to/2zxitw8

Last but not least..the full lineup that is setting me up for years to come, including my reusable snack bags and salad dressing/dip containers-with links below. Let me know if you have any personal favorites for meal prep!!

Reusable snack bags: (not my exact ones because they no longer sell, but similar)

https://amzn.to/2UhmvlR

Salad dressing cups:

https://amzn.to/2Uh0pQA

Whereโ€™s me lucky charms ๐Ÿ€

Another of my go to food prep containers and I have a few more to bring your way in the next few weeks. This is another amazingly easy container for making breakfast for breakfast or breakfast for lunch. I know I know..cereal has sugar..and also I don’t care. Look Karen..If you don’t like what we’re eating over here, then don’t sit by us at the lunch table. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

I’m not telling anyone to eat cereal every day for a meal..so lighten up a little and think of it as a treat once in a while. This container would also be great for oatmeal/granola or yogurt/berries, or rice/beans, or soup/crackers..the possibilities are endless honestly. It even has built in ice pack and is microwave safe. Basically great for anything you want to be separated at one point in time, but then mixed together at a later time to form a delicious meal. ๐Ÿฅฃ

If you want to be like me and not be like Karen..then follow the link below..and go get you some cereal and milk in bulk at Costco. ๐Ÿ˜‰

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07T25LR79/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=543704-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07T25LR79&linkId=97a9d31835223782fb495a5185b20dda

The Best Meal Prep Items

With back to school upon us, along with another year of back to work (after a weekend off..lol), I thought I would share some of the containers that I absolutely love!! If you are trying to stop eating out as much, whether it’s to save money, eat healthier, to simplify your life, or whatever your reason, the right containers can set you up for success! It took me under thirty minutes to prep lunches for myself and my five and ten year old for the upcoming week. With the amount of time it takes to run out and grab lunch, along with the cost, I expect to save over $2,600 dollars for me, $1,000 for kids and 7,000 hours of my time. (15 mins each way to grab a $10 lunch x 5 days a week and kids school lunch at $2.50 a lunch x two kids)

The first and absolute favorite is what I refer to as the “food tackle bait” containers. These bad boys are perfect for bento box snacky type lunches, since they have containers perfect for people like me who get weirded out by their food touching. ๐Ÿ˜‚. Also for non-food touching weirdos..it’s still nice to keep things separated and fresh so you can prep in advance. You see modeled here in the back containers with hummus/crackers, guacamole/chips and strawberries, carrots and almonds. Perfectly balanced. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ The front container is another awesome one for those of you who like sandwiches of any variety. ๐Ÿฅช Seen modeled below in the front with an English muffin, peanut butter, celery, apple slices, and pretzel twists, all of which I’m fully prepared to dip in peanut butter. ๐Ÿ˜‹

You guys..I’ve tried a LOT of meal prep containers, and these are hands down the best bang for your buck.  My old ones were cheaper, but they also were cheaper quality and cracked and broke in under two years.  These are heavy duty and also have more space for food.  I’m so excited and I don’t get excited over much, so if you are just as excited and ready to set yourself up for meal prep success, links below to each item.  Follow me for more upcoming posts on ways to simplify your life and save money and your health in the process!

Let me know what you think of these containers and what you plan to do with all that saved time and money!!

Food tackle box container:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FMQL1TN/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=543704-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07FMQL1TN&linkId=431257d1f1e0c1fc4eeda7c3198f420e

Sandwich container:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RP46XC3/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=543704-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07RP46XC3&linkId=d3bb07523bc590f78723b8554b82f17b

Garage Sale Season

With end of summer upon us, I start thinking about all of the garages full of stuff that is no longer used, too small or has been upgraded. I have memories of being a kid and getting up early every weekend to go to garage sales. (bribed with donuts and the hopes of a new toy of course) ๐Ÿฉ ๐Ÿงธ

Nobody asked me about my opinion on garage sales, but I’ve decided to tell you anyway. I can say that I had one several years back and made around $800 when I was on maternity leave. I also did one for a work fundraiser and made around $500 for our Big Brothers Big Sisters bowling team. For mine, I sold a bunch of maternity stuff and baby stuff we weren’t using and all of Kylie’s clothes we had saved from NB-4T, after picking out the gender neutral stuff for Caleb of course. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Looking back..I definitely think people with babies up to 4 years have the best luck. Also, people in a high traffic area or neighborhood having a lot of sales the same day can also be successful. But I also think we can avoid the need for a garage sale by sticking to the bare minimums and borrowing stuff that we will only need for a short period of time. Babies seem to be a reason to buy everything, and baby registry’s make it easy to add a bazillion things you will likely be too exhausted to figure out how to use once parenting shows you it’s true colors. Then it will end up in your pile for the sale, likely priced at half what it costs, just to have someone ask you if you’d take five dollars for it. (I know because I’m a garage sale hardcore negotiator) ๐Ÿ˜‚

If your sale includes clothes, shoes, and household items, and you still have a closet full after outing for the sale, then it might be time to just stop and reflect on your stuff strategy. Not only did that clutter used to be money, but that money used to be your time.

I will say if I’ve finally persuaded you to join my minimalist lifestyle and you are simplifying your life and need a fresh start, one big sale may be a good idea. But only if it ends there, and you don’t just go out and accumulate more stuff to replace what you sold. Also, think about the time and energy that goes into one. If setting up, pricing, getting nasty warm lemonade for the kids to sell and dealing with them badgering your customers for 5 hours on your Saturday morning with extreme temperature variations like smoldering heat or pouring rain and going back and forth with hardcore negotiators like me sounds like a good time to you..well start borrowing those tables my friends. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

If that sounds comparable to a root canal, then selling things in “lots” on Facebook Marketplace is a great alternative. Or let’s be honest, we all know that person that’s selling clothes that are so loved they should be donated. Just saying..don’t be that friend..also don’t be the friend that sells hand me downs you got from a friend. (Totally did that on accident and still getting shit for it two years later) ๐Ÿ˜‚

When it comes to shopping at garage sales, this can be a double edged sword. I remember finding a rocking chair with foot rest at a garage sale for $15 that I used with both kids. I negotiated it from the $30 it was marked at and was so proud. But I’ve also lost all common sense and self control at a sale and just bought the whole damn table of baby clothes I didn’t need. So be careful when you shop..they can be sneaky and fill your trunk up before you realize you only needed a few things. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Now you know my thoughts..what are yours and please share your garage sale fails and success stories. ๐Ÿ˜Š