DIY Paper Bag Hardwood Floors

I love DIY projects and before kids, my hubs and I remodeled our first house. Like down to the studs sort of a remodel. But after kids….Let’s be real! Time is just not there. So we’ve been living for the last 6-7 years with half completed projects. But this last month we got all amped up to get some of these projects done. And while I’m being honest, the daily tasks of the household really went by the wayside BUT we made some major progress.

So here’s my most recent project. I had a carpeted front porch that I scraped clean of all the carpet a few years ago and it’s been plain concrete since. But we got a new door and I couldn’t leave it!

 

So….I did a DIY project and am so happy with the way it turned out.

Want to try it out?

Ingredients Needed:

  1. To start, I painted the lighter color on the strips of craft paper and let it dry.
  2. Paint the second color over and follow the instructions on your faux grain tool to make the wood grain. (I had to experiment with this a little bit so give yourself some extra strips to play with.IMG_1352IMG_1357IMG_1359
  3. Once they are dry, mix together 1 cup glue and 3 cups water. Dip all your painted strips into the glue mixture till completely wet.
  4. Mix 1 cup water and 1 cup glue together and paint mixture onto your floor surface. (PS-make sure your floor is really clean before you start this process)
  5. Lay down the strips of paper on the glue and use a squeegy tool to smooth out all bubbles.IMG_1348IMG_1350IMG_1349
  6. Continue process till floor surface is covered and let dry.
  7. Paint a layer of polyurethane over the floor following can directions.
  8. Continue with 8-10 layers (per can instructions).
    1. Tips! Clean each time you do a layer. I had to sand out some bugs and hairs and such. I even got a dirty foot print that I didn’t notice till it was already under polyurethane.
  9. Step back and admire your beautiful floor.

What do you think? Have you tried it? Would you try it?

5 Ways to Teach Children Gratitude

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There’s nothing more powerful in changing our lives than having an attitude of gratitude. But in today’s society, it is SOOOO easy to overwhelmed with wants, efficiency, and discontent. I love November because of Thanksgiving, but if you are like me, I don’t want November to be the only month my kids show thankfulness. You too?

So here are 5 simple ways you can teach your children how to have a heart of thankfulness. I mean after all, those who are more thankful and content have an overall more satisfied and happier life (there’s tons of research out regarding how it effects so many areas of life like self-esteem, optimism, etc. Go check it out!)… And isn’t that what we want most for our children?

Daily Gratitude

This one is SO simple and something I try to practice myself. Each day as I tuck my ids away to bed (or even periodically throughout the day), I’ll ask them to name something they are thankful for. Some of the answers are TO DIE FOR cute. Seriously! I think my son is thankful for garbage trucks nearly every day ūüėČ

Encourage Generosity

This past year we’ve been attempting to make major changes in our clutter around the house.¬† As a part of that, we’ve all given away a TON of stuff (Checkout my 5 Steps To Break Free From Clutter if you want to ditch clutter). We encouraged the kids to choose one thing to give away each day. I was actually amazed at how little resistance we experienced from them.¬† They were actually very excited to give to others.

Turn around the No

It’s sometimes so hard to go into a store with my kids because I feel like I get bombarded with the “I need this” or “will you buy me this” questions.¬† I hate using the word no and try to use it sparingly but geesh….shopping can be downright exhausting.¬† A huge focus for us this year is to eliminate ‘stuff’ so that we have more time and space to focus on our relationships.¬† So now, instead of just saying no I remind them of why we are saying no…. so that we have more time and money to spend on things we all enjoy like vacation, trips to the zoo, or Disneyland.¬† The no to the impulse buy becomes now something they are excited about and willingly put the item back on the shelf.¬† Kids crave relationship. And while they would love the latest and greatest toy, they more desire YOU.

Encourage them to Serve Others

I grew up serving people who were homeless or living on the streets and I cannot say enough about how it shaped my view of the world, gratitude, politics, and so much more.¬† Last year our family took coffee and breakfast to people who were homeless the day after Christmas.¬† It was an AMAZING experience for them. But in this stage of life, I just don’t feel it’s practical for us to do on a regular and ongoing basis.¬† So we’ve found other ways to serve.¬† We’ve connected with an amazing organization called Safe Families.¬† It’s given us the opportunity to bring children into our home, love them, and serve them.¬† My kids then have hands on real life, tangible exposure to serving those in need.¬† There are so many ways for families to serve together, whether it be as simple as picking up trash, serving food in a homeless shelter, giving gifts for Operation Christmas Child and others.

Please and Thank You’s

There is some thing so fundamental in manners that can have profound impacts on gratitude.¬† But rather than forcing your kids to say them just out of formality, make them meaningful (this is similar to why I never force my kids to say sorry).¬† When saying something is forced, it loses its value and meaning.¬† A gentle reminder such as “did you say thank you when Maya gave you a flower” reminds kids that even simple actions are something to be grateful for.¬† Just the same, encouraging them to write thank you notes reminds them of how many things in our lives we have to be thankful for.

 

Do you have any fun ways you teach gratefulness? I’m going to share some of my favorites in the next month and would love to highlight yours! Drop them below or email me renae@renaefieck.com

GIVEAWAY! Mama, you deserve to feel like a million bucks

Have you ever sat down at the end of the day and notice you haven’t painted your nails in oh…probably a couple months? And you notice a few gray hairs cause you haven’t been to the salon in….a few years!? EEKs! You have a beautiful mix of baby poop and dog pee (where is that smell coming from??) drafting you and you have both boogers and left over food smeared on your shirt. Am I right?

Being a mom is one of the most sacrificial things I have ever ever done! Do I love it all the time, nope? Would I trade it, not in this world. But from time to time, I like to kick off my shoes, pull out the polish, or better yet….head to the salon. But it’s not something we get the often chance to do right?

So I want to make you feel special today. Even if you have to hide away in your bathroom for 30 minutes after you put the kids down, or maybe you set the laundry aside while the kids are napping and just take a moment for you.

I’d like to give you a Golden Haven Spa Facial Kit and a lovely Winter Frost Scented Holiday Candle…but more than that…I just want you to feel beautiful and cherished, even for just 30 minutes!

So hop on over to my instagram account at @renaefieck and follow the directions for a chance to enter! And comment below when you did it!

xoxo-Renae

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Secret to Saving Kids Artwork without Clutter

What the heck do we do with all the pictures, drawings, school projects, and little gifts from our kids? I mean, I love them all but my daughter’s love language is gifts. ¬†So we are ALWAYS getting special pictures, drawings, or crafts from her because that’s her way of showing how she loves us. ¬†But I’m on a journey to eliminating clutter from my life. ¬†I want more space. ¬†I want a chance to breathe and not feel like I’m CONSTANTLY cleaning. ¬†Is it wrong to want a clean house AND be able to enjoy time with my kids?

I saw somewhere a picture of a triangle that showed mom’s sanity, a clean house, and happy kids on each of the points. ¬†The meme stated, you can only choose 2, which 2 are you going to choose. ¬†For a long time, hands down, I wanted happy kids and happy mom to be my choice. ¬†But you know what I realized….a clean house was a HUGE contributor to my sanity. ¬†I don’t think you have to choose between the 3. I think you CAN have a balance of all 3.

So in my quest to eliminate stuff without losing the memories (or breaking my dear daughter’s heart), I found an app called Keepy. It’s been amazing. ¬†It has both a free and a paid version (with the amount of drawings we get, I totally bought the paid version).

You can take snapshots of your children’s drawings, crafts, projects, whatever and store¬†them. You can have multiple kids all stored in the same account. You can store voice recordings of your child telling you about the picture or take a picture of your child holding the drawing so you can document age too. And best! You can add “Fans” so grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends can see all the magical drawings and leave messages too.

 

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It’s definitely a timeless way to preserve and capture memories without all the clutter. ¬†And if you did want to print all of it in a book, they make it pretty seamless too with having photobook¬† and other photo gift options (although I haven’t tried that part yet).

If you haven’t snagged a copy of my FREE 5 Steps to Breaking Free From Clutter, you should totally do that! Breaking free from clutter has changed my life. I finally feel like I can enjoy time with my kids because I’m not spending day in and day out picking stuff up.

6 Steps to End Picky Eating

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Picky eating is SO hard for parents! It’s the struggle between feeding your child what they’ll eat just to make sure they eat, even if it’s NOT healthy or nutritious versus holding your ground and them not eating anything. It’s a really really hard spot for you to be in. ¬†When I work with some of my clients, families are often struggling with a kiddo who will eat only a handful of items (commonly goldfish crackers and chicken nuggets). And while not all picky eating is that extreme, you may benefit from some of my tips with your own kids.

Here are my top 6 tips to turn around the struggle with picky eating and the endless mealtime battles. They can be exhausting, I know!

  1. Make meal times enjoyable. Meals should be a social experience. Eat together. Talk about your day or what you’re thankful for. Engage. Meals should be a family experience, not with kids eating individually.
  2. You are responsible for providing a meal, and your child is responsible for what they eat. No pressure, no force feeding, no bargaining, no polite bites. It’s hard sometimes to resist the urges, I know!
  3. Keep meals and snacks consistent throughout the day. Both you and your kiddos should have regularly schedule times to eat every 2-3 hours. It’s good for your metabolism, your satiation, energy, sugar levels and so much more.
  4. Always have at least 75% of your child’s plate be preferred foods with 25% being non preferred foods. And try to create family meals that are composed of both preferred and non-preferred foods so you are all eating the same foods. No more short order cooking!
  5. Learn to play with your food. It doesn’t have to necessarily be at meal times but creating spaceships, boats, mustaches or the like with non-preferred foods can desensitize aversions and increase the likelihood that your kiddo will try one those non-preferred foods. I encourage families to play with food in lots of different environments.
  6. Even if your kiddo refuses a food once, feel free to continue to expose them to that food. It can take between 7-10 exposures to determine whether or not they actually like a food or just opposing it because it’s new!

Was any of this new to you? Comment below with what you plan to implement.

P.S.- If you’re looking for an awesome kids nutritional shake, my kids LOVE this one!

[Recipe Alert!] Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

I tried out a pumpkin spice latte the other day. It was sorely a disappointment. I used to LOVE them. I drank them for as long as they were out and same with the peppermint mocha. They were my staple go-to’s, the obligatory holiday drink. But this year, it was a true testament to the changes I’ve made in the last few years. It was like drinking a box of candy followed by a headache and sugar crash. Man my taste buds have sure changed! So from now on, I think I’ll be making my pumpkin spice coffee from home!

And I love using coconut oil in my coffee. There are SO many benefits to coconut oil, but adding to your coffee and drinking first thing in the morning can be very advantageous to your metabolism and keep you feeling full longer.

  • 8-12 ounces of coffee
  • 1 TB of real maple syrup, honey or few drops of stevia (or maybe try this¬†pumpkin pie spiced stevia. I haven’t tried it yet but think I may order some!)
  • 1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1 TB coconut oil

Add all ingredients to a blendtec and blend! Enjoy! Feel free to adjust the maple syrup to your taste.  For me, I tend to use a little less than a 1 TB.

HAPPY FALL Y’ALL!coffee

Balsamic Drizzled Beets

Beets are definitely a loved vegetable in our household. ¬†They can certainly be messy, oozing their pink colored juice all over my fingers, the cutting board and more. ¬†But there’s something beautiful in pink stained hands.

While beets are high in natural sugars and people can actually use beet sugar to make desserts, the sweetness makes it an easy vegetable for kids to enjoy. ¬†But they don’t even know that loaded within the vegetable is many health benefits.

  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium

Many tout it’s benefits against cancer, heart disease, improving immune system functioning, respiratory benefits, decreasing macular degeneration, and supporting liver function.

There are many ways to prepare beets. They can be served as an addition to a salad, as a salad themselves, juiced, roasted, grilled, and so many other ways.

This recipe is one of our favorites because of it’s simplicity (and I’m all about simple!).

Sometimes I’ll add some spinach at the very end too. The spinach will wilt from the heat of the beets and doesn’t need to be added till the beets are done cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 beets depending on size
  • 2-3 tbs of balsamic
  • 1-2 tbs of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of feta or goat cheese
  • Salt and Pepper as desired
  • 1 cup of spinach (optional)

Toss chopped and peeled beets with balsamic and olive oil.  Roast at 350* for approximately 30 minutes or until desired softness.  Once removed from the oven, stir in feta and spinach.

Share with me a favorite way you make beets in the comments! I’d love to try new recipes and feature yours on the blog.august (2 of 2).jpg

How to lose weight for good…Ditch the diet myth

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Experts say that 90 percent of people who go on ‚Äúa diet‚ÄĚ will gain back all of the weight they lost. But even more than that, they often gain back more weight than before they started. Yikes! With the pace of our society, fast food around every corner, and so much confusion regarding the next “fad diet,” it’s no wonder that losing weight and keep the weight off can be such a struggle.

But what if it wasn’t about the weight? What if you could transform the way you thought about food and weight into how you want to FEEL? You know, that feeling you get when you live long enough to walk your daughter down the aisle or hold your grandkids for the first time. That feeling when you can go play baseball with your kids without feeling wiped out or just feeling sexy and confident in your swim suit and skinny jeans. And let’s not even talk about exhaustion…do you know that roughly 2 out every 5 people would say they are tired each day? Is that you? Would you want to wake up each day feeling like you had a restful night of sleep, and don’t hit that 3pm wall where you’re grabbing a cup of coffee or candy bar?

Trade in your “diet” mentality and replace it with a LIFESTYLE. I want you to succeed for LIFE!

What’s your end goal? Where are you headed? Is it getting back into a pair of jeans you’ve been dying to wear again? Or is it wanting to feel confident in who you are? Trade out your diet myths. There’s no trick. There’s no perfect way. Healthy nutrition, exercise, and believing in yourself…consistently…day in and day out are the only proven methods to get you to your goals.

So let’s replace some of these myths with truths and get you to GOAL ACHIEVED! Shall we?

– Snacking leads to weight gain

– Eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day can help keep your metabolism going and blood sugars stabilized. And, because you won’t be ravishing for food at the next meal, you’re less likely to gorge out on more food than you needed.

– Losing weight slower is healthier

– The key isn’t how fast or slow you lose weight, but using tools you can sustain to KEEP the weight off. If it’s something you feel like you could do forever, then go for it. But if you feel like you’re torturing yourself and in total deprivation mode….it’s not going to sustain.

– Eating more fruits and veggies helps you lose weight

– This is a tricky one. Because YES fruits and veggies are so great for you, but if you’re still eating crap foods at other times, you’re still not giving your body the nutrition and fuel it needs. Your body NEEDS good nutrition to run at it’s optimum. Most of what we eat is FAR lacking. For me, drinking Shakeology each day is one way I’ve been able to ensure I’m getting nutrition that my body needs.

– Genetics determine my body type

– While genetics do play a huge role into our body’s shape and sizes, with consistency and the proper tools, you can make vast changes you never thought possible before despite what your genetics may tell you.

– Eating less calories will make me lose weight

– At a quick glance, yes. Eating less calories will help you lose weight. But what you choose those calories to be comprised of is the TRUE determining factor as to whether you lose weight. For example, eating a handful of potato chips is roughly 150 calories but a little over a handful of carrots is only 25 calories. When you are eating nutrient rich but calorie low foods, your body gets the nutrition it needs, you feel full, and you have consumed less calories than a crappy bag of chips.

– Drinking more water will make me lose weight

– Again, yes! Water is ESSENTIAL for your body. You need water and lots of it. And drinking enough water can help your satiation. So many people misinterpret thirst signals for hunger signals. But if you aren’t fueling your body with healthy, and nutritious foods, no matter how much water you drink, you won’t lose weight in a sustainable way.

Did you sense a theme? If not, let me give it to you simply….

Ditch the diet.

Eat for life. Eat RICH, nutritious foods that fuel your body from the inside out. Giving it the energy it needs so you aren’t exhausted. Be consistent. Exercise. And watch your life transform!