Guest post provided by No nonsense
Being a mother is one of the most meaningful and rewarding roles a person can take on, but it’s also one of the hardest. Between managing the household, taking care of the kids, and other duties, most moms are practically working 24/7. It’s no wonder that maternal burnout is a real and recognized phenomenon. A recent survey by a US-based all-in-one parenting platform revealed that 93 percent of mothers in the U.S. feel burned out at least occasionally, and nearly 45 percent are burned out most of the time.
Perhaps you’ve experienced that feeling of overwhelming exhaustion at one time or another as you try to juggle your numerous responsibilities as a mother. If so, you may need to squeeze in regular breaks in your routine and adopt habits that can help boost your depleted energy and refresh your tired mind and body. Otherwise, there’s a high chance you’ll suffer from burnout and hurt your physical and mental well-being as a result. If you’re looking for ways to recharge your mommy battery, here are several ideas you may want to consider:
Practice a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night is non-negotiable if you want to revitalize your exhausted body and mind. After all, a good night’s sleep is the most powerful body recharger. It helps your body repair itself, it helps boost immunity, and it triggers the release of hormones vital to fighting stress, infection, and inflammation. That’s why you should do everything you can to achieve sufficient and high-quality sleep.
Train your kids to go to bed early and avoid staying up late watching television, using mobile devices, or doing other things that can reduce the time you spend in bed. More importantly, implement a relaxing bedtime routine to help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer. Perhaps you can take a warm bath, change into comfy clothes like an oversized shirt and soft cotton leggings, and listen to relaxing music to wind down and prepare your mind and body for sleep.
Reserve One Day for Yourself
If you want your battery to last for a whole week, you probably need an entire day to yourself so that you can decompress and nourish your body and soul. Perhaps you can ask your partner, in-laws, or your parents to take care of the kids on Saturdays so you have time to get a massage, have coffee with friends, go to the salon for hair treatments, or do anything that makes you happy and relaxed. You can also stay at home, if you want, and do your chosen self-care regimen therein. Whatever you choose, commit and enjoy the experience..
While it may appear to defeat the purpose of resting and recharging, incorporating physical activities into your regular schedule can be a remarkable way to boost your energy. That’s because exercise triggers the release of endorphins, the neurochemicals that improve mood, alleviate stress, and provide an overall sense of well-being.
Instead of making you feel tired after engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity, endorphins provide a natural “high” or a burst of energy needed to carry out your mommy duties afterwards. Moreover, regular exercise can help you sleep better at night, so you’ll feel refreshed and energized the following day.
Can’t squeeze in time to work out? Consider exercising with your kids. You can take a walk in the park, play tag in the yard, swim in the public pool, or follow kid-friendly exercise videos online. You can also do stretches or squats while waiting for the washing machine to finish a cycle or watching your children play.
Engage in Creative Hobbies
Recharging doesn’t only mean resting physically. More often than not, you need to recharge mentally to do your mommy duties properly and joyfully. To avoid being psychologically drained, consider engaging in creative pursuits, like quilting, photography, or watercolor painting during your free time. One study published in the Journal of Public Health found that creative hobbies are a meaningful vehicle for improving well-being. Find a hobby you’re interested in and make time to enjoy it.
Take Regular Mommy Breaks
Taking regular breaks from your busy day is necessary for you to be able to fight fatigue and replenish your energy. Learn to listen to your body. If you feel tired, stressed, and overwhelmed, let your children watch cartoons or play video games a little longer than usual so you can take a few moments to pause and do nothing. Close your eyes, light a scented candle, and relax.
Better yet, give yourself at least 10 minutes a day to pause and recharge instead of waiting to reach your limit before taking a break. Perhaps you can make afternoon nap time for your kids mandatory if you have small children to help you get that much-needed rest. Or maybe you can introduce an engaging activity like doing puzzles or painting to keep your kids preoccupied while you try to refresh yourself.
Hopefully, these tips gave you plenty of ideas on how you can recharge and acquire more energy to care for your kids and loved ones. Whether you adopt them entirely or modify them to suit your situation is up to you. The important thing is you exert effort and make changes to your everyday routine so you could protect your well-being. That way, you can avoid burnout and enjoy motherhood to the fullest.
Family Vacation Guide to Arizona
I put in a LOT of time researching for our spring break Arizona family vacation, and am putting even more time into publishing it so you can save time and quickly copycat for your own family trip! Where to stay, what to see, how to save money here and there, I've got it all, so let's go!!! Watch our super fun highlights videos below and keep reading for links, photos, and more details!
Here's our itinerary for 1 week in Arizona. I wanted to make sure to hit our "must see" spots but leave it very relaxed and flexible. I didn't want to be driving LONG distances daily (especially with 2 kids who get car sick), or changing hotels daily, so this worked out really well for us!!
Flying - we flew all day thanks to the 6 hour layover in Atlanta (which went super fast, we did lots of fun explorations of the airport running through the long terminals with art exhibitions and riding the Plane Train), I think it was a 19 hour travel day, arriving at PHX at 10pm and going straight to the hotel, Hyatt Place Phoenix Tempe Airport. They had free parking, free airport shuttle (check the hours), pool, and a great free hot breakfast. Our room had 2 queens and a pull out sofa, the size we always look for as a family of 5 not wanting to book 2 separate rooms.
With over 50,000 plants on 140 acres, we found Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix to be THE BEST way to kick off our Arizona vacation. I reached out and they were kind enough to provide us tickets in exchange for our review, but full honesty, we were 1,000% blown away and in love with the place!!! We just couldn't get over all the different kinds of cacti, and the volunteers were so helpful!! It got quite hot by midday so I recommend going when they first open in the morning. Also, go to the butterfly exhibit when it first opens - we waited til the end of our visit around 11am and the line was too long and sadly we gave up. They have water fountains allllll over so you don't have to bother lugging water bottles around, just stop for a few sips at each fountain. Also, it's incredibly stroller friendly, great paved paths throughout! A must-visit on your trip to Phoenix!!
Before heading out of Phoenix, we stopped by the super cute Scottsdale nabe for lunch and to walk around for about an hour (couple of photos below), then hit the road to our "long stay" hotel, Verde Ranch RV Resort located 1.5 hours north in Camp Verde. We checked in, unloaded the car, and quickly hit the nearby supermarket and CVS to buy breakfast and barbecue food, and sunblock since we packed so lightly we couldn't bring any.
After researching centrally located hotels to all the hot spots we wanted to visit, I reached out to Verde Ranch RV Resort who was gracious enough to provide us with a Deluxe Cabin for 5 nights in exchange for our review. It was an ABSOLUTELY amazing resort, and very budget-friendly, that I highly recommend!!! We loved our cabin, which had a comfy pull out sofa for Kenzo, a private primary bedroom for Ryoji and myself, and a little loft for the twins! AC, shower, full kitchen (but no oven or dishwasher), picnic table and gas grill, parking spot, it was simply perfection!! Huge bonus is that it comes with linens and towels, so if you're flying like us, no worries there!
They have a great pool with hot tubs, ping pong, corn hole, a beautiful clubhouse with pool table and shuffle board, a play ground, pickle ball, and lots of events going on! There's even a new laundry room if you need. We saved a lot of money by staying here, cooking some meals, and really enjoyed having an actual "house" where we didn't have to be as stressed about kids being loud and running around. And it's pretty conveniently located as a base for endless day trips - 90 minutes to Phoenix, 40 minutes to Sedona, 2.5hrs to Grand Canyon, 10 minutes to Montezuma's Castle! So whether you have an RV to park, or want to level up with a Cabin, a glamping tent (see my tour of one on IG here), or even a super unique Conestoga Wagon (see my tour of one on IG here), definitely check out Verde Ranch RV Resort!
Day trip to Sedona (40min drive). First stop was the visitor center, they were VERY helpful with maps and suggesting the best kid-friendly hiking trails and views. Parking can be tough, go early in the day and consider utilizing their free shuttle to get around. For example, we went to Chapel of the Holy Cross and could only drive by, in heavy traffic, couldn't actually park to get out of the car. Whomp whomp. We also had trouble finding parking but eventually did at beautiful Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, where we had lunch at Oak Creek Brewery & Grill (got 10% off with a card from the visitor center) with a gorgeous view of the red rocks! Sedona is just a breathtaking area with a super cute town - I may shamefully have proclaimed "this looks like Disneyworld" LOL!!
Day trip to Grand Canyon (2.5 hr drive). We went to the south rim, as it was the closest. Parked and started at Mather Point, walked along to the next shuttle spot, took shuttle back to the car. Were there probably 2-3 hours. Some may want more time but for us, it was enough to take it all in. The paths were paved and stroller friendly, set back quite a bit from the edge with trees and what not so it felt pretty safe. Popular view points had nice rails which also helped with me so nervous about the kids falling over LOL! Though there are plenty of riskier spots, so if you have a runner, consider a stroller or leash or just never stop holding hands. It's not for the faint of heart I'll tell you that!!
On the drive home we stopped in Williams for lunch (Route 66 super kitschy town) and historic downtown Flagstaff for dinner, and caught a gorgeous sunset on the mountains!
Local day - Montezuma's Castle, Cliff Castle Casino for lunch (they have $12/hr/kid child care, bowling, Johnny Rockets and more), and hotel pool in afternoon.
This was a flex day we had nothing special planned, so we decided to go to Sedona again - we didn't get enough of it the first time! More specifically hiking at Fay Canyon and seeing the breathtaking view from Sedona Airport Overlook. Then, of course, hotel pool in the afternoon.
Checked out and headed back to Phoenix. Got early check in at Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak so we could use their River Ranch waterpark ALLLLLL DAYYYYYYyyyyyy. With a huge waterslide and lazy river, a couple of bathwater warm pools, it was heaven!! Dinner at on-site Hole in the Wall restaurant which was really delicious!!
Fly home! We had a 6am flight so ouch, it was a 3am wakeup and 17 hour travel day!
Noteworthy TIPS for this trip:
1. Stay on eastern time if going for a week or less, especially in warmer months. It'll help you wake early and get the most out of the cooler morning hours. We woke at 5 or 6am and were out hiking by 8 or 9am, and in bed around 7-8pm LOL! No shame!! Don't fight the jet lag, let it help you!
2. Find a balance of kid-focused and family / parent-focused activities. Our kids couldn't have cared less about hiking and all the spots that made mine and my husband's eyes go gaga over the natural beauty. They just wanted to go to the pool, or be on screens. You need to find a balance so everyone has something to look forward to, throughout the day and the trip.
3. Don't over extend yourself. Plan for down time, have a flex day or two built in in case someone gets sick, and have backups ready. Sure you could have a different national park scheduled for every day of the week, but you're going to be totally exhausted and stressed out. You can't see everything. Pick a couple of must sees and just enjoy your vacation!
4. Have a 4th grader? Print out the Every Kid Outdoors Pass and get free entrance for your whole family at all national parks!! We saved about $85 with free entrance to Grand Canyon and Montezuma's Castle!
5. Book a cabin or hotel that allows you to cook in the kitchen and grill outdoors, you can save a lot of time and money this way, not to mention it's healthier. We ate breakfast in our cabin's kitchen, had lunch out on the go, and had a combo of restaurant and home grilling dinners. Was really nice to have options!
6. Don't try to be frugal skipping a night at a hotel by doing a red eye flight with kids. If going to Asia you can't avoid it, but cross country?? Just. Say. No. Spend a whole day flying if budget doesn't allow for a direct flight, but get a good night sleep in a real bed!! Everyone will be in better moods. Trust me!!
7. Packing is difficult... it's desert which means DRASTIC change in evening and daytime temperatures. And while Phoenix could be warm, Grand Canyon could be snowing. We were there mid April and it was 40's over night and 80's during the day. By 10am we didn't need jackets or cardigans and it was mostly shorts and t-shirt weather. I will go on a limb and say spring is the BEST time of year to go. They had more snow and rain than typical this winter so we are told the flowers were blooming more than usual and they were absolutely spectacular!
8. Utilize these sites and apps to research trips & save money (* denotes affiliate link - I earn commission through purchases made):
Nearby spots we didn't have time for but you may want to consider:
Further away if you have time...
How to Save Money on Flights
If you have tons of miles, or a huge budget, you can just skip over this section. If you are trying to save money on flights, it may take some time and effort but it will pay off (pun intended). I was seeing crazy high prices, over $500 per person. But after playing around with dates extensively, I found this random combination through Frontier that gave us a really good price. I literally had to search every combination of days until it popped up, by chance, so try this yourself, or get a great travel agent!!
We ended up paying about $1300 (including the $99 annual discount club fee and 1 checked bag fee) round trip for our family of 5 from NYC to Phoenix, though we did have 1 stopover with a 6 hour layover, each way, it was worth the money saved!! There are some risks flying with budget airliners like Frontier and Spirit. The biggest concern is they have a limited schedule and no alliance with other carriers, so if you miss a flight or the flight gets canceled, you are just out of luck because it's going to be difficult to get another flight that day, or even the next day, especially if you have a big family like ours. Still, when you look at getting tickets for half the price as other carriers, sometimes it's just worth the risk, and usually it all ends up just fine (our trip was 100% smooth this time with Frontier, as well as last year with Spirit).
To save money with baggage fees, we packed very lightly, paying for 1 checked bag for the family (has to be under 40 pounds) and no "carry ons". We each carried a small backpack "personal item" with just the essentials (kids' Mifold booster seats, water bottles, snacks, tablet, book, change of clothes) - be careful here they are VERY strict with the size of your "personal item" and will charge a HUGE fee if it doesn't fit into the little box to test the size at the gate. We did not pay for assigned seats but got lucky with them assigning us in sets of 2 and 3 so no kids were seated without adults (but we did see flight attendants moving people around to get other families together, so they will try to help you but there's only so much they can do if passengers refuse to move around). If you have young children, you may want to splurge here. For us, we risked it and lucked out. We DID buy Allianz travel insurance, I think about $125 for the whole trip, worth it IMO to cover cancellations, interruptions, lost baggage, etc etc.
MORE TRAVEL IDEAS HERE!!!
Guest post provided by Shop LC.
When most of us think of diamonds, we usually think of the classic round diamond shape. Due to the difference in cut properties, every diamond reflects light differently, giving each one a unique fire and brilliance. Although the round shape is quite famous, it is not the only one. If you want something different, a variety of other shapes are available to suit your individual style and taste.
The cut of a diamond relates to how well it is cut and polished. A well-cut diamond will sparkle and shine, whereas a poorly-cut diamond will be monotonous and lackluster. The finest diamond cut is precisely proportioned, symmetrical, and beautifully polished, allowing the most light to enter and emit more reflections. In this article, we'll discuss some of the best diamond cuts available that you should consider before buying a jewelry piece.
6 Different Diamond Cuts & How to Pick the Right One?
1. Round Cut Diamond
Due to a large number of facets, the round-cut diamond is the most common shape of engagement rings. Due to its timeless appearance and beauty, it tends to develop the highest amount of sparkle. Round cut diamond is perfect for chic looks; the round has been carefully curated to produce the most sparkle among all other types. The brilliance and dispersion of a well-cut round diamond will impress any type of ring out there. Its intense glittering quality will make it appear even bigger, even though this diamond shape doesn't have the largest face-up area. If you're looking for something honest, loyal, and drawn to the culture, then this cut is what you need. It is perfect for someone who is always confident in their choices and wants to look bold.
2. Princess Cut Diamond
The princess-cut diamond is the most popular and fancy used in paper clip jewelry. They are special because of the way they are cut and shaped ( in both square and rectangular shapes). One of the modern diamond shapes, this cut combines the shimmering effect of a round diamond and the pointed edges of a square one. You'll fall in love with the unique color reflected in this type. The princess-cut diamonds show distinct colors in each of the corners, while the color of other diamonds is displayed mainly in the center. The type symbolizes the risk-takers and is best for those who enjoy being in the limelight. If you also choose to behave like leaders and love challenging the norm, then a princess-cut diamond is for you.
3. Emerald Cut Diamond
Emerald cut diamond is the preferred choice for anyone desiring a larger stone with a bit less price tag. It is well known for its length-wise straight cuts, which resemble steps. With the cuts in rectangular facets, the emerald diamond shape becomes something unique to create an elegant finish. The emerald-cut diamond beautifully showcases the diamond's originality. This type of open-style emerald cut symbolizes a big heart and clarity with nothing to hide. The inclusions present in this type make the color more apparent. Wearing a beautiful emerald-cut diamond ring reveals your classic character and taste for elegant behavior.
4. Radiant Cut Diamond
This stone's unique shape adds to its allure. While it is frequently confused as a princess cut, this intricately made cut has seventy facets. This style is considered more useful and is ideal for active people. The radiant diamond shape has the same brilliance as the round diamond shape but is more modern and unique. The ones who wear brilliant-cut diamonds are lively and sociable. This unique cut also reflects the wearer's modern and simplified thinking.
5. Marquise Cut Diamond
The cut is a football-like shape and will make a statement on your engagement band. The elongated shape, like the oval diamond, emphasizes the finger's length and appears bigger than other shapes of comparable carat weight. A marquise cut's form makes the diamond elegant, and your finger appears slimmer! The long, pointed outer shape also reflects the glamorous structure. They are also 10-25% less expensive than round diamonds of the same carat weight and look fantastic once set in modern engagement rings. Women who adore the marquise cut diamond have a rich taste and choose to stand out from the crowd. To avoid chipping and snagging, the tapered points of a marquise-cut diamond must be secured by prongs. Make certain that no prone tips are included.
6. Heart Cut Diamond
Heart-shaped diamonds are the ultimate love sign. These diamonds must be symmetrical to look perfectly on the wearer's hand. Heart-shaped gemstones are ideal for the traditional romantic. This shape is unique and rare, frequently regarded as a more special or personal stone option. This stone is less famous than the current round or princess-cut diamonds. While this stone can be used in various jewelry items to shop personal jewelry, it is most commonly found in engagement rings. It is a literal representation of romance and affection. Heart-shaped diamonds are ideal for individuals who are sentimental and passionate.
How much a diamond sparkles is directly influenced by its cut quality. An excellent-cut diamond is cut with ideal proportions, symmetry, and polish to maximize light refraction. A diamond with poor cutting appears lifeless and dull. For this reason, selecting a better cut quality will help you get a spectacular diamond. For many, selecting the ideal diamond can be challenging. We hope this article has given you a foundational understanding so you can confidently continue your diamond shopping.
My 10 year old is about to graduate from elementary school. As far as graduations go, it's generally not considered a monumental one. There will be no caps and gowns like college, high school and (some) preschools and kindergartens. But that's not to say it isn't kind of a big deal. Moving from elementary school to middle school is basically THE landmark in the transition from child to tween. It's a BIG. FREAKING. DEAL! So let's celebrate it as such!!! Let's celebrate their accomplishments, their development as a human being, and the big and exciting things that lie ahead for them!! With that in mind, here's my roundup of great elementary school graduation gifts!!! I hope you find it helpful!!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links - you don't pay more but I receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking below links to help fund the blog :)
1. A Smart Device for Communication
Getting your kid a smart phone or watch for the very first time signifies a few things. Independence for one. They don't really need one of these things until they're off on their own, navigating to and from school or activities without a trusted grownup by their side. Needing to be able to call you to coordinate pickup time and location after a study session, send a quick high from camp, etc. If you're nervous about them having access to the internet and social media, as I am, there are some great options that provide reliable cell service and GPS tracking without the extras (which can wait til high school, am I right!?? I mean, WE didn't have smart devices til high school or even college, yes, I'm aging myself)...
For our younger kids through tweens, I highly recommend the TickTalk 4 smart watch phone (affiliate link), which was sent to us to review. My son is LOVING IT, as am I, and it couldn't have come at a better time because he will likely be walking to and from middle school with a group of kids from September and I just am NOT ready for him to have a full fledged smart phone yet. There are a number of reasons I think a smart watch is a better option than a smart phone for the under 14 year old crew, and the TickTalk 4 in particular. Watch my full demo video below, and keep reading for my key points:
2. Take a trip to a National Park
I'm all about making memories to celebrate holidays, birthdays, and other occasions, and the National Park Service makes it even easier, providing FREE national park access to 4th graders (and their crew, including all children under 16 and up to 3 adults with them) through their Every Kid Outdoors Program. In our town, kids go to middle school from 5th grade, so this pass is a great way to use a national park trip as great celebration of elementary school graduation (you just print out the pass and can use it September 1 through August 31 of the year they are in or completed 4th grade)!! You can find a list of national parks and their regular admission fees here, most charge $25-35 per vehicle, so you can actually end up saving quite a lot (though parking may not be covered).
3. A new ride (on)
This gift is more geared toward kids who will be getting themselves to and from school and/or activities, but a new ride-on is a great idea!! Upgrading their "little kid" ride to a newer and *COOLER* bicycle, kick scooter, e-scooter, or even skateboard! Do make sure to check with their middle school to see what is allowed, and what the parking situation would be. And don't forget a helmet, reflectors / lights, etc - SAFETY FIRST!!
4. Locker Gear & Decor
For many kids, getting a locker is one of the biggest and most exciting aspects of going from elementary school to middle school, so gifting fun locker gear and decor is a great idea!! Better yet, make a fun day out of giving them a budget and going together to go shopping specifically for locker gear (Five Below is always a fun stop), or easier, order all their locker decor on Amazon (affiliate link) - we're talking mirrors and other magnetic decor, perhaps a deoderizer, etc. You can even get magnetic LED locker lights and mini wireless magnetic chandeliers, how stinkin' cool!?? Note: you should check with the school for any guidelines about what is and isn't allowed.
5. Subscription Box
Subscription boxes are the gifts that keep on giving, and there is one for just about every age, gender, interest, and need you can think of!! Clothing for kids and teens with KidPik (sizes 2T-16, get up to 7.5% cash back with Rakuten extension) or Stitch Fix (sizes 2T-18, and adults; up to $9 cash back with Rakuten), and find just about any subscription box from beauty to gaming to science through CrateJoy (3% cash back with Rakuten).
6. New or upgraded homework zone
Middle school brings our kiddos into the next level of homework, studying, writing papers, etc. While most kids are not excited for this, upgrading their homework zone to make it more cozy, ergonomic, and decorated specifically for them can certainly help!! Consider an ergonomic office chair, gaming chair, or even a saddle chair like this.
For both kids and adults, the feet should be flat on the floor with the knees at 90 degree angle, and screens should be viewable straight forward without having to look up or down. There are lots of adjustable gadgets such as this one that can help prevent neck damage and bad posture by raising a tablet, laptop book, or phone to a better height for your kiddo (or for you too, mom and dad!!). NO ONE should be holding a phone or book at desk level looking down at it for hours on end. NOT. HEALTHY!! Find a way to raise it up and save your neck :)
A gorgeous framed cork board such as this one can help them change up their wall decor often with ease and less damage, or go for a gorgeous canvas print, and don't forget some headphones!
7. First computer, laptop, TV, or gaming system.
Many parents limit the use of screens for toddlers and kids, for good reasons (I am not one of those parents but I applaud those who do)! If you haven't indulged yet, giving your child their first computer, laptop, TV, or gaming system to celebrate their graduation from elementary school can be a fun way to celebrate their growing up and your trust in them. There are many parental controls you can install to monitor or limit screen time, in-game conversations, downloads, etc. Be sure to check out parental programs such as Bark (for iOS products), Kidas and Google Family Link.
8. Personalized walk down memory lane
I love collages and personalized gifts, and what better way to celebrate your kid's jump from the first half to the second half of their "childhood" than to give them a book of memories with highlights from their baby, toddler, and elementary school days, or even a photo collage of their first 10-11 birthday/school photos! Canvaspop has lots of great options!
I hope this roundup gave you lots of great ideas! I'd love to hear what you have gifted your kids and tweens in the past (or are planning to gift) - sharing is caring, leave a comment below!!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!