Shake Your Love; I Just Can’t Shake Your Love…

Well, wouldn’t you know that things are a changing again in my household?  My oldest have moved out, my husband has been working back at shore duty, and my youngest and I have developed somewhat of a routine in our day.  So I feel I have a bit more peace, and am also heading on a road to better health.

Speaking of health, and lets bring wellness into it, I have discovered a training course for something that I had not given much thought to before; becoming a Wellness Coach!  If you have been a reader of my blog since the beginning, you might remember that I had been studying to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner for a while.  It is still something I am interested in, however the program I wanted to do ended up doubling its tuition by the time I had the time to do it.  No matter at the time though, I had enough on my plate anyway, and was starting to enjoy being a stay at home mom, which has been a lifelong dream of mine!  I decided I would just focus on being a mom and wife for a while, and bask in the glory and chaos of it all.

In the meantime, I had come across another training program several days ago that caught my interest.  It was for becoming a Wellness Coach.  What the heck is a Wellness Coach?  Is it like a Health Coach?  I was curious, so I started to check it out by doing what I love to do, research!  Turns out, it is something I have been dreaming about doing for a while, and I didn’t even realize it.  It combines what I love to do, which is to help people, with what I love to study, which is nutrition, health, and overall wellness!  So it goes beyond just nutrition, but involves lifestyle and even spiritual health as well!  Oh my goodness, I am so excited!

It turns out the tuition for this program is less than the former program I was looking at, and involves so much more!  I feel really confident since I have already studied a lot of the material for the Nutritional Therapy Program, and I know I will continue to learn more in that area, so it makes so much sense to get all the additional training to really help people change their lives for the better.  I have even started my business plan!

So what about being a stay at home mama?  Well, the great thing about being a wellness coach is that with a good foundation, I will be able to work from home on my terms.  I am aware that it will take time to build a business, and will be getting training on that as well, but it is okay! You remember my posts on money?  My husband and I are in a pretty good place financially, and have a good financial plan in practice, so we are able to maintain a great lifestyle whether or not I am making an extra income.  It may take a while anyway to save up the tuition, but I am hopeful that we will be able to so in a timely manner.

So there you have it folks, the next step in my journey has begun.  I am so excited to see what God has in store for me in this season of my life!

Thanks for reading!

Jenn

Road Tripping With a Toddler: What Works and What Doesn’t

I had written previously about how we were planning a big, fat road trip a few months ago, and I am going to share with you what things worked well and did not work so well for us so you can use this info yourself.  I am going to provide you with links to some of the items I like, but I am in no way affiliated with any of the companies, and don’t receive anything from them for sharing the products with you.  I may share a link to a friend’s affiliate link, but do so only with permission.  So here we go y’all.

First thing’s first.  The best and most recommended item to have, if you don’t already, is a minivan. We own a small SUV and a compact car, so for the trip we decided to rent a minivan for a few reasons: space, space, and space.  There is nothing like the freedom to not have to worry about packing too much, not having to worry about where to put the cooler (more on that in a bit,) and the ease of getting a toddler in and out of a car seat quickly.  My daughter is still rear facing, because it’s safer (and you should still be rear facing your little one too) so it was nice to not have to climb in and out of the car to get her… Especially with our frequent stops.

Next, Packing Cubes!!!  What the heck is a packing cube you ask?  Well, it’s a tool to help you organize your packing so you don’t have to pull out every stinking thing from your suitcase to find that one tank top you swore you packed.  They may look silly to you, and that’s okay.  Just ask my husband, they are amazing!  In addition to using packing cubes, we also used Ziploc bags for our toddler’s clothes.  The advantage?  We were going to be in 3 different climates, so it made it simpler to separate the three different clothing types.  Another awesome thing about packing cubes is you can put them in your hotel drawers and put your suitcase in the closet so you have more space in your room.  I’m tellin ya, these things are cool, and you should probably buy them.

Coolers.  How many of you loooove traveling with those big, bulky coolers that take up so much stinkin space and are hard to get to because you can’t just turn around and reach into on without jeopardizing your safely and flexibility as the car is moving?  Check out the slim cooler!!!  I was skeptical of this for sure.  Would anything fit inside?  Would it be difficult to maneuver while the vehicle was moving?  Let me tell you, this thing not only fit between seats like a glove, but it was super convenient as well.  It is more compact, so it may not hold the whole fridge, but I highly recommend getting one, even if you’re not leaving on a roadtrip.

Next on the list is a dvd player.  More specifically, one with a remote control and swivel so it can be mounted on the headrest of the seat in front of your child.  This way, when the movie is over, you can just hit play again (because what toddler doesn’t like watching the same movie over and over?). Oh this was a really good addition indeed!  Now, some of you may want to invest in headphones, but for us, it didn’t need to be very loud for our little one to enjoy it.  We had also purchased a few dvds to bring along, though she watched one in particular about a fish looking for its family for most of the trip.

Now besides the obvious snacks, drinks, toilet paper, portable oil diffuser, scissors, paper towels, wipes, and umbrella (ella, ellla, ella, eh, eh, eh… anyone?), the last thing I highly recommend is a grabber.  What is that?  Well, when was the last time you were in the front seat, and your toddler accidentally drops their stuffed toy for the 7th time and needs it right away?  Of course you are not going to risk your safety and that of those around you by unbuckling your seat belt to reach said stuffed toy.  So what can you do?  If you have a grabber, most of your reaching stuff while traveling 65 miles per hour problems are solved!  Of course, we forgot to pack ours, but thankfully, on our last visiting stop of the trip, my loving father happened to have an extra one and let us have it.  And it came in very handy!

So what about what didn’t work?  Well, we had bought a travel desk type thing, but it didn’t stay put for very long.  Maybe when she’s older.  Also, adding dryer sheets to our packing cubes didn’t really do much.  Probably because we use the kind with all natural ingredients, so they weren’t super smelly. Also, I think we could have packed her activities better.  I think we may have relied a bit too much on the DVD player.  This “organizer” fell apart before we could use it.  Oh yes, and when you make a packing list, be sure to review it before you leave so you don’t leave behind anything major, like birthday presents for your nieces.

A few honorable mentions; mess free coloring/ painting books, Zora bars, and extra sunglasses.

All and all, we had a successful trip.  I felt we were well prepared for most things which made dealing with a couple major disappointments a little easier.  We saw a lot of family and friends, and if I could ever convince my husband, we will do it all over again!

What about you?  What types of things are a must have for your road trips?

Thanks for reading!

***UPDATE***

I can’t believe I forgot to mention one of my favorite things that we brought, which is still handy to this day!  A trashcan.  Just line with a grocery bag, and start stuffing away!  What I love most about this, besides the fact that it keeps trash contained, is that it also keeps smells contained (uneaten food anyone?)!  So we packed a few extra grocery bags so when the ‘can’ got full, we could just swap it out and start fillin again.

Another thing that I didn’t mention was the oils I used in the diffuser.  I get carsick.  So I diffused a few drops of peppermint and ginger, and tickle me mad I didn’t get carsick. Not one bit.  Even while doing my word searches, which was amazing because typically I start feeling even more sick when I’m not looking out the window.  I also diffused lavender in our hotel rooms to help us relax and help take out some of the hotel ‘smell’.

Alrighty then.  I’m sure I’ll think of some more things after this next trip!

 

Jenn

 

Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey…

Ahhh, a month of no drama…  Can you imagine?  It has been wonderful!

If any of you followed me personally, or on my JJTL page on Facebook, you might have noticed that I have been absent for a while.  It’s been a little over a month actually.  There are a few reasons why a break was much needed, which I will share in a moment, but what I will also share is something that surprised me:  I have had little to no drama in my life.

Facebook has its very own culture.  I had never really thought of it that way, but it does.  A lot of it is made up of fakeness (is that even a word?).  This brings me to why I needed a break.  Here are some of the top reasons:

  1.  I was getting too emotional about the posts I was reading.  I’m sure some of you can relate.  You are scrolling through pictures of your friends adorable kids, hilarious memes, and delicious meal videos when something catches your eye… someone posts an editorial news story that presents itself as fact.  UGH.  If you have read many of my other posts, you know that I love to research things.  Mostly health and food related, but just about anything is fun for me to gather facts and information on so I can understand it more.  I used to think that journalism was similar.  Nowadays, almost any news/media I see is made up of people’s opinions passed off as fact.  So annoying.  And articles were getting shared left and right about topics that didn’t make any sense.  It made me upset because I expect people to be like me, and want to know the facts about something, and not let other people form my opinions for me.  To me it is just plain common sense.
  2. I was spending way too much time online.  I know a lot of you can relate to this one.  Constantly checking to see if I had any notifications, no matter what they were from.  Scrolling over and over every few minutes looking for something new to (waste my time) look at.  Checking over the ‘people you may know’ to see if anyone interesting pops up that I most definitely won’t be sending a friend request to, but might accept if they send me one.  Oh, and of course Facebook stalking.  You know you do it too. 😉
  3. It had become an addiction.  Ouch.  This one really made me take a step back.  Not only was I spending a lot of time on Facebook, it was one of the first things I checked when I woke up, one of the last things I looked at before going to bed, and it was taking precious time and attention away from my loved ones.  Not cool.

What has changed since taking my break, and what can I do differently to prevent those negative things from happening to me again?  I have found that I have a lower level of stress, and more joy since taking this break.  The first thing for me to do to make a change was realize I actually had a problem.  Sound familiar?  The second was to take a break, and not make a big deal about it in a Facebook post… ahem.  Yes, I’m talking to you.  Next is to decide some guidelines for myself such as setting time limits, or even certain times of the day to “check in”.  And lastly, to delete some “friends” that I don’t really need to have anyway, and they most likely don’t really need me on their list either.

So, there you have it folks; another blip on this journey of mine.  Thank you for reading!

 

Jenn

 

 

On The Road Again…

Image from one of our last road trips... Can you guess where it is?

Image from one of our last road trips… Can you guess where it is?

I just can’t wait!  In a couple of months, my husband, youngest daughter and I will be taking a road trip to see some family.  I’ve been traveling a lot lately, only it has been by plane.  While that way is easier (for me) with a toddler, it can get fairly expensive if you’re not willing to travel super early or late.  Been there, done that, and not only lost more precious sleep, but also the toll of a weeks worth of trying to get back into a routine is just not worth it.  So this time, we are driving.

I am not a stranger to driving on or taking long road trips.  With a family of eight growing up, it was the norm for us.  I never really knew different.  There were a few plane trips here and there with a couple family members, though for the most part, we drove.  Whether it was a few hours, or a couple of days, we would drive drive drive.

I have pretty much driven most of the time since.  When my youngest was born, it became less convenient to stop and nurse every couple of hours, so we started flying more often.  Again, I don’t mind flying, and it was more cost effective with a free baby, but now shes over two so we have to pay for her again.

We have a little more vacation time coming up and my sister is having her next baby, so we have decided that it is most cost efficient for us to drive.   Say it with me… “Road Trip”!   I am getting so excited for it!  I do have a few things that I’ve been researching though, like how to keep a toddler entertained, but even the planning part has been entertaining for me!  I hope that my youngest daughter can get used to road trips like my oldest, and they are something that she can treasure like I do.

This whole planning part has been surprisingly enjoyable.  I have made a list of stuff to pack and things we might consider purchasing, and have been scouring the internet and Pinterest for ideas.  I’ve planned a route, ordered a few visitor guides, booked some hotel rooms, and I’m deciding on which road atlas will be the best to purchase.  The most random thing I have done is create a spreadsheet, which is not like me at all!  I really don’t like the particular program use to create spreadsheets, but thanks to my former job, I know some basics.  My husband thinks it’s hilarious.

So tell me, do you like to take road trips?  What are some things you love or hate about them?

Thank you for reading!

Jenn

Here’s a Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares.

There have been a few things on my mind lately, and while thinking about them tonight I realize they are somewhat related.  So what better way to sort through everything than to write about it?  Okay, maybe it’s not the best way, but I’m writing this post anyway.  It’s a bit of me getting some things off my chest, but you may learn something as well.

Let’s talk about the weather.  I love to talk about the weather!  I love to watch the Weather Channel, check different weather apps and compare them, and look up NOAA and see what’s up on their site.   I can do this multiple times per day.  If there is any activity on the radar, then I will pull up multiple radars and compare those.  I love storms as well!  Of course, growing up in Nebraska, one will learn to at least appreciate a good storm.  I love them!  

While thinking about some recent big weather events, I’m remembering some common complaints I’ve come across on social media: some complaining about weather that happened, others complaining about weather that didn’t happen, but BOTH parties complaining about how the weathermen were all wrong.  I may not be a meteorologist, (though I wanted to be one growing up… Oh and a storm chaser!!!), but I feel a bit on the defensive side when it comes to the comments I’ve read.  I don’t know of a single meteorologist who has been 100% accurate on their forecasts.  Ever.  Period.  The weather is for the most part unpredictable, but with the study of it and modern technology, meteorologists can get a pretty good idea of what it might do.  Even what it most likely will do. However, it is unlikely that the forecast will be 100% accurate.  Did you know that if a weatherman calls for a forecast of a 100% chance of rain, there is still a chance that you may not see a drop when it is forecasted? Huh? Ah yes, this is one of those things that really makes me want to shake some sense into people.  When a weatherman predicts a 100% chance for rain, it means there is a 100% chance it will rain somewhere in the area.  What?  Really? Yes folks, it’s true.  That may seem confusing to some, but that’s ok.  Roll with me here.  What about these big weather events that happened and how their outcomes were somewhat different in some areas than that of which was predicted?  Please go back to how I’ve said before that weather cannot be predicted with 100% accuracy.  What about when something happens that wasn’t predicted?  Think about this for a moment. Go ahead, I’ll wait…  If during certain months out of the year certain types of storms happen more frequently in certain areas, shouldn’t I take measures to be prepared for one of those storms just in case one comes my way at some point?  There can be two different outcomes to be thankful for here: to be thankful the storm hit and I was prepared, or to be thankful that it didn’t hit. The third outcome, to need to blame someone for not predicting something with 100% accuracy that is impossible to predict with 100% accuracy, is just ridiculous if you ask me.  If a weather event that doesn’t happen often in your area was predicted to be more of an event than it was, please be thankful that it missed you. 

Now I realize that some of you like to take my posts personally, and I’m okay with that, but I am not writing this about any one person.  There were several people posting about how weatherman were wrong recently. Please stop and think about what you’re doing when you start to complain about the weathermen lying. They are not God, please stop giving them such unrealistic expectations.  Use the forecasts as a guide and planning tool, but keep in mind that ultimately, the weather may not be exactly what is expected. 

Thanks for reading this folks. Until next time!

Jenn

Momma, ooooooooooooooooooh

Hopefully, you sang that correctly. I thought I would do something different this time and write a post about someone in my life who is very special to me; my mother. 

I just left from visiting for a week, and I’m already missing her. It seems like the older I get, the more I want to spend time with my family. Especially my parents.

During this last visit, I really realized how much I’m like my mom. Not too long ago, the thought of being like my mom ruffled my feathers a bit. I would find myself talking to a television show or a movie, even though I know they can’t hear me. Or while driving, I would talk to other cars, calling them by the make usually, and making up a gender for them. I would utter words to my oldest daughter, and hear my momma’s voice saying the same thing in my head. And I worry. Too much. About my kids. There are other things too, but these are the main things I’ve noticed that I do that would bother me some when she would do them. And you know what? Now I am so grateful!

I am grateful that I have a mom who thinks about what she’s watching while she watches it. Who pays attention to her immediate surroundings while she’s driving. Who would tell me things to look out for, and does to this day, because she cares about me. And who loves me so much that she can’t help but worry about me. 

I am hopeful to be even half the mother she is! So now, I am thankful to say that in some ways, I am just like my momma.

How are you like your momma? 

Thanks for reading today!

Jenn

Mary Mary, Quite Contrary…

Well folks, we’ve finally done it: we’ve started a garden! It’s been a couple of months, so I thought I would share a few things we’ve learned so far.

We started this garden to save money for the most part. We like to eat pesticide/crappy additive free which can be expensive, and with our recent reduction of income, we continue to find ways to be most efficient with our money.

The garden started with my husband building a planter box in our backyard. It’s about 7 feet by 2ish feet, and about a foot deep. Then we lined the bottom to prevent burrowing animals from popping up in it and filled it with organic potting soil, organic compost, and organic vegetable plant food. Next it was time to choose what to plant.

I knew we should grow tomatoes for sure, but I didn’t know anything about what other veggies would grow well in our climate and in full sun. So I asked around to some local gardeners, and we decided to attempt cucumbers, peppers, and a couple of herbs.

Right away our tomatoes and cucumbers sprang up! In just a few weeks, we had some tiny little cukes starting to grow, and little green tomatoes. In just a few more weeks, our cucumber and tomato plants pretty much took over the planter box. Now a lady at one of the shops I bought some of the supplies at suggested square foot gardening, which is where you devide the box into square feet and put one plant per square. The would be great for plants that don’t try to take over the world. This being our first time, we had no idea. So the green peppers we tried to grow aren’t doing so well. We did plant some banana peppers, and those seem ok. Our chives are ok too, but our parsley is being chomped away by caterpillars. So we will be looking up natural ways to repel those guys tonight.

One of the things that surprised me was how many stinkin cucumbers we would have. Our first harvest we picked 12! And they were gigantic! We were able to harvest several more a few days later, and we get about 3 or 4 now about every 3 days. We ended up having to give some away because I’m not the biggest fan and my husband and youngest daughter can only eat so many each day.

Another not so pleasant surprise for me was that the tomatoes were grape tomatoes. Not a huge fan, but my husband and daughter can stay on top of those because we only get about 1 ripe a day. Not counting the ones animals eat. 🙂

We’ve used some of the parsley a few times and will hopefully use some again. I plan on using some chives very soon. My husband cannot wait for the banana peppers to be ready. All in all we are pleased with how everything has been turning out. We’re already starting to plan next year’s garden and my husband is planning on building a few more planter boxes, maybe even a greenhouse! So exciting.

So what kinds of things do you grow in your garden?

Thanks for reading today folks!

Jenn