5 Meaningful & Clutterless Gift Ideas

I have received SOOO many black Friday emails already. It is so crazy! Thanksgiving hasn’t even happened and people are already planning out their weekly shopping. Is your email box full with the deals too?

And while I’m all about being wise and frugal with money, can I challenge you a little bit? Instead of shopping for stuff, can you shop for memory making and adventures? Make a shift in your spending and recognize what you truly want to feel and cultivate this holiday season.

Here are 5 potential things to shop for this weekend without getting caught up in the stuff.

  1. Memberships. Places like the zoo, YMCA, amusement parks (aka Disney!!) & museums
  2. Adventures/Nights Out: gift certificates to things such as kayaking, a getaway, wine tasting, movie tickets, broadway show, mini golf, bowling, or similar (Groupon may be a great option for this)
  3. Self Care: massages, pedicures, hair appointment, health and fitness gift certificates
  4. Restaurants: It’s so fun to go out and have a date night with the expenses already paid for up front!

Additional Tip: Shop with a list. I like to shop with the “something they want, need, wear, and read” mentality but sometimes with all the other people in our lives, it seems that even with just that, our kids receive sooo much. I would much rather give my kids a trip to Disneyland or a weekend away than to buy them tons of toys that lose their thrill the morning after Christmas. So for us this Christmas, I plan to buy each of my kids a few things they NEED and the rest will be fun adventure and memory filled!

And regardless of what comes up this Christmas season, remember…it’s okay to say no sometimes. Sometimes it’s essential to say no to things so that we can make the most amazing memories and totally LOVE the things we are doing!

Remember, the greatest gift you can give your family and the ones you love is the gift of your TIME. Nothing is more valuable than YOU.

P.S.- If you haven’t downloaded my 5 Steps to Break Free from Clutter, you should totally do so! 😉 I want you to fully enjoy this holiday season without having to constantly clean up toys, scramble after the kids, or spend every waking hour scrubbing toilets for arriving guests. Really…that is not what the holidays are for.

 

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Unforgettable Thanksgiving Healthy Swaps

unforgettable thanksgiving (1)I can’t believe it ALREADY Thanksgiving. OR that it’s going to be nearly 90* here in San Diego this week! Eek! So crazy. The holiday season certainly sneaked up on me. You too?

I wanted to share with you some amazing recipes to add to your feast. It’s totally possible to have a delish meal made with amazing food and not feel bloated and blah afterwards.

And on another note….eat your veggies and your turkey first. That way by the time you eat some of the higher calorie foods (like the stuffing!) you’re likely to eat less cause you’ve filled up on nutrient dense foods.

And if you’re wanting more of a reset after Thanksgiving, this is my GO TO Nutrition Jump Start! I can help you with it too! Just message me!

xoxo-

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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 😉

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!