Author Archives: staff

Struggling For the Right Words Today

I am struggling for the right words to say today…everyone is aware of the school shooting in Florida yesterday.

My thoughts, prayers, and heart goes out to everyone within this community, the victims, the families, friends, school staff, the entire community and the entire country.

I am not sure the solution to ending these tragedies, everyone has opinions and thoughts, but I struggle with what the solution really is. Do we live in a society where this has become the “norm”? I refuse to believe that.

I am sitting here watching the press coverage of the tragedy and the mentions of the previous ones.  A small community about 20 miles from us had their own scare yesterday as well. A student left a note in a school room that there was going to be an active shooter in their school, another student found it and turned it over. The law arrived, locked the school down and eventually took a child away. To some degree I feel as if I have almost become numb to some of this…not that I don’t feel compassion or heartache but that I could do something, anything…and I haven’t. I talk to my children often, daily, about personal responsibility on how they treat others, the things they say and do(no matter how harmless it seems), how to handle uncomfortable situations with their peers, and how they behave and choices they make.  I try every darn day to set the best example for my children. To be honest I also think about the parents of these children who do the shootings and what has lead up to this, was there signs, was there something I as a parent could have done had it been my child? I struggle with all perspectives of this, every point of view.

I haven’t decided where my responsibility lies within this, I do know I have more I can do and should be doing.  As I always say-It Takes A Village To Raise A Child.

My heart continues to ache, my prayers will continue to be with all these people, and my thoughts will bring me to a decision on how I can do my part on being proactive before I have to be reactive.

Love to All-Kim

Juuling-A New Trend

Juuling is something I had never heard of till recently. I follow a lot of pages on social media to keep up on the trends and “sneaky” ways children are getting around things these days(I sound old). I creep my kids and their friends…and anything/anyone that seems out of place or I don’t understand, you can bet your ass that I am searching to find what it is/means.  Yes, I would fall under the “helicopter mom”.

The other day an article scrolled across my feed “Juuling: The Most Widespead Phenomenom You’ve Never Heard Of.” The story is a few months old but after google searching it some more, it’s real and it’s a problem!

I worry about my children, I worry about the one who resides in her own home, goes to college, works and pays her bills, I worry about the impressionable 16 year old who has already had a brush with the law and I worry about my 7 year old and cannot fathom what will be “trendy & cool” as she grows. I worry about other children and their exposure to these things..I cannot begin to imagine the pressure of a child in these years. The “Tide Pod” challenge is beyond my comprehension. I see programs where teenagers are going to be spending life in prison for throwing rocks off an overpass and killing someone-and this isn’t the first time they had done this…rocks, chairs, grocery carts…-they KILLED someone, took away this man from his family, his future!  Sex trafficking, drugs, drinking and driving, teenage pregnancy and so much more.

So- if I am a helicopter mom, then so be it. Do my kids think I am nosy and meddling, yes they do. Do they think I am annoying, yes they do. And honestly, I don’t care. Some day-they will understand.

 

Love to All-Kim

 

 

Time For Yourself-Here We Go AGAIN!

Taking time for yourself…we’ve talked and talked and talked…..about this so many times before. I just don’t know that I can stress how important that is. And feel like it’s something that should be discussed repeatedly until each and everyone is doing so!

I use to read, and read ALOT! I don’t use a tablet(although I tried) and nothing beats the smell and feel of a book. I would go to the library 2-3 times a week and check out 5-6 books at a time.Even with having 3 children! I am a fast reader, and most of what I read I skim read. It takes no time for me to get through an entire book. I have a little rule when I check out books: 1 book for knowledge, and the rest for entertainment purposes.  My book reading was always my “movies”. And when it comes to my knowledge book they can range anywhere from a self help, history,… to a personal memoir.

My point in all this is that I noticed when I started taking my personal inventory a bit back that I had begun to use Netflix and social media as a form of enjoyment and quit reading all together…I am not sure why…I was never much on TV programs and watched movies with my family. Now I was binge watching shows, and constantly checking out what there was for new movies. Instead of reading before bed to wind down I was scrolling my social media accounts. Now-social media is what I do, it’s what help pays my bills, it’s my “bread & butter” so as you can imagine I view social media alllllll day as it is! Social Media is a great tool and a great way to meet up with old friends and new. I work alone in my office most days for 9+ hours a day, and have little to no contact to the “outside world”. I feel like my personal accounts keep me in touch with what is going on in the world, my family and friends afar, etc….I won’t be giving that up but I will be reading more. It’s what I enjoy, it’s always been what I like to do and I am not sure why I stopped reading…at this point it doesn’t matter why I stopped. I enjoy it and it’s for me! Taking care of me! Because, how can I be good for anyone else if I am not good for myself? Don’t give up the things you enjoy because there isn’t enough time in the day…make time…5, 10, 30 minutes. Whatever amount of time have you need to do it for YOU! YOU deserve it.

Do we have any book lovers out there?  I would love to hear any suggestions on titles that you would have 🙂

 

Love to All-

Kim

Organize and Make Room for New

It’s time to organize and make room for something new.

Purging, tossing, sharing, recycling, releasing, donating…all of that…it’s so important to do…. not only for your sanity, sore back, stress-filled energy & heavy-laden shoulders….BUT also so new things can come to you. If your space is full of piles, clutter, chaos, old memories, excess, chachkies, memorabilia, stuff, stuff & more STUFF….there is no room…I’m talking NO ROOM for new opportunities, new ideas, new movement, new concepts.

Why?

Because you’re already full. Full Up. Full Up with everything and anything that may mean something or nothing at all.

So if you haven’t made the time to get it handled.  Now sounds like a good time to start,right?  Move it on, pass it down, throw it out, give it away.  Stuffed drawers, overflowing files, busting-at-the-seams closets, duplicates, triplicates, an abundance of things you don’t use.  Make a list of the different spaces you’d like to clean up.  Make a list of how you’ll feel if things were different.  Then start with one thing.  Just one.  Get it done and cross it off the list.  Smile at your success and see the new is coming your way.

Peace & Blessings,

Tracy

Personal Inventory Can Be Difficult But Must Be Done

Personal inventory

One of the keys to running a successful business is keeping an accurate and updated inventory. If a business doesn’t take regular inventory of their product stock, how much of what is or is not working/selling the business will quickly go bankrupt. The same holds true personally for us as individuals. If we do not take a hard look at ourselves in a fact finding and fact facing way we will be come emotionally, mentally and physically bankrupt. By doing this we can make a list of our strengths, weaknesses, character defects and resentments. By itemizing our selves we can go through and figure out what areas of your inner most self and external self need work.

An easy way to look at this is each and everyone of us is a brand, whether you want to launch your personal brand or not you are uniquely your own brand. A brand is much more than just a label, its everything we are. From how we perceive the world to how we present ourselves; the clothes we wear our personal beliefs, literally everything. Many of us have character defects that hold us back from tapping in to our personal potential, by doing a honest inventory and looking at it in a judgmental fact finding and facing process we are one step closer to no longer sabotaging ourselves.

First start out with listing all of your resentments, all resentments are a re-feeling something negative. Not just anger it can be shame, sadness or any negative feeling. Set it aside

Next list your weaknesses and character defects. Set that aside as well.

Finally list your strengthens

Now with the list of resentments you want to look over how each one affected you, did it affect your pocket book, ambitions,self esteem? What ever it is you need to find a way to move forward and let go, each resentment will hold you back.

Similar with character defects, except with just letting it go what can you do to fix these parts of yourself? Example, one of my character defects is people pleasing how ive worked on this aspect of myself is learning to put my self first and saying no.

Finally your strengths. I am a strong believer that our strengths talents and passions are directly correlated to our purpose here on earth. Zeroing in on these things and building upon them instead of trying to ignore and suppress them is the ultimate way to build a wonderfully purpose driven life

This is a difficult but essential step in developing and improving yourself and your life. Also you cannot do this once and just be done, personal inventory is an on going process, but its worth it.

Take it step by step and remember..

Always be unapologetically true to your self

-Ali

Never Ever Be Ashamed of Doing What It Takes

I was once ashamed. I am no more, not now and not just because of where I am at presently. I am proud of what I have done to get where I am at, I did whatever it took to get here, there were moments of embarrassment. But now I realize I refused to live my life in misery and I refused to bring children in to the world of misery, the world can be pretty miserable on its own. Everyone’s idea of what ashamed means is different and by no means is this blog post trying to portray there is shame in anything one does to make a better life for themselves and their family.

I read an article, The Executive Director of a Non-Profit and a Waitress, on my friend’s Facebook page the other day, I have never lost a child so I cannot even pretend or imagine to know what this mother feels like. I hurt for her, hurt so much for any parent that loses a child. It’s one thing I for sure am uncomfortable with on how to act and react. I have friends who have lost children, and I just never know what the right thing is to say or do. I do the best I can but know that it is probably never even close enough to offer the right amount of comfort. I just hope that in some way it helps.

As I read her article I could relate to the idea of having a job(s) in which I was embarrassed about. In the moment of those jobs, I felt I was better and deserved better. I waited tables, worked overnights at a convenience store, bar maid, fry-cook at a little local drive-in. Whatever it took to pay the bills, most weeks I was working doubles and triples every day. I had to borrow money from my little high school brother to be able to give Christmas to my little girl. I felt judged and ridiculed, ashamed by those who did know me and saw me working these jobs-I don’t know why I felt this way-I was good at what I did! And it PAID the bills. I also knew within myself this was not my permanent. I had dreams, hopes, aspirations and I didn’t just “want to get by”. Maybe that’s why I felt that I was being judged?!? Maybe that’s why I felt that these jobs were beneath me.

I worked 10 years at a very popular fast food chain…I started at the very bottom of the totem pole doing the “teenage” jobs that paid barely $6.00 an hour(Yes, I am old..lol). BUT-there was continual room for advancement…and I did just that. I made bank and received HUGE quarterly incentives, medical/life insurance, paid sick and vacation time, they sent me places for meetings and these places were the first time I had ever been on a plane, I saw Vegas, and Disney World! But with all that and all the “ashamed” jobs, I got something way more than incentives and pay. I learned hard work pays off, established a great work ethic, learned the ins/outs of running a business from advertising to budgets, ran payroll, inventories, and was educated in human resources, how to interview, how to have compassion for others who need their jobs, life long friendships, and how not to be buffaloed 🙂 My customer service skills I like to think are top notch! It was a sad day for me, my employees and my supervisors when I put in my notice. It was time for me to do what I knew I always wanted to do and that was run my own business…and where I am not entirely where I want to be just yet, I will NEVER be ashamed of those jobs ever again, they offered and taught me things I would never have learned in college(although if you can go to college, I insist you do!). Real life experiences, and hard work taught me what I needed to know.

A person does what it takes to get to where they want to be-there is absolutely no shame in striving for an end goal. I take college classes off and on to stay on the up and up of social media and accounting laws but I would never trade in those jobs for anything!

Never be ashamed….

Love to All-Kim

 

 

Simplify Your Life Bit By Bit

I think that we are always and forever looking for ways to simplify our lives. Make things easier so days and nights aren’t quite so hectic and life in general can just slow down a bit.

The reality of it though, is it’s just not reality.  Although,I do love this article on ways to simplify your life, even just picking a few of those things can help tone down the stress of the every day. I do quite a few of these and many we have discussed in blog posts prior…budget, meal planning, groceries… I think by picking just one or two and tackling those immediately you will begin to see the relief that it can bring. Then tackle another one or two and so on.  Do it on your time, but do it! There are so many things we can control to help simplify our lives.

What ways do you simplify your life?

 

Love to All-

Kim

Empower Each Other is Empowering

“Empowered Women, Empower Women.”

One of my favorite lines….for myself, friends, my daughters.

em·pow·er
verb
give (someone) the authority or power to do something
make someone stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights
All too often I see women tearing each other down, their looks, their choices, their jobs, their children,  things they can’t control. I wonder why? If we don’t have each other to look up to, to hold us accountable and to appreciate all our faults and all our positives, who do we have? No one can relate to your individual story but all women can relate to each other in one way or another!
I do believe that we empower each other, I also believe that we can do a better job of empowering each other and ourselves, myself included. It’s just as important if not more important to empower yourself FIRST. I have never once in my life thought I couldn’t do something or be that something. And I choose to tell everyone I have in my life the same thing. I want my daughters to know that with enough work and dedication you can be anything you want, as can anyone, ANYONE! Everyone faces road blocks throughout their lives to certain degrees, but that’s just a “bump” in the road. It’s certainly not an end all.
Empower each other, encourage each other, love each other, respect each other!
Love to All-Kim

Unapologetically Yourself

Unapologetically Yourself

Hello everyone! Let me introduce myself. My name is Ali and I am a single mom of three wonderful boys. We live in Minnesota. I am currently on a journey to improve my life and become the best version of myself. I am writing to share my experiences, strength and hope. I am a firm believer that you can only keep what you have by giving it away, or paying it forward if you will. I have faced many obstacles in my life but I do not let my struggle define me.

I would like to talk about peoples opinions and perception of you. They truly do not matter in your life. This is something that I have struggled with for many years, and now have a newfound freedom knowing that it does not matter. Do you find yourself consistently thinking if I did this what would so and so think? Do you base your decisions off of how others will perceive you or think of you? I’m here to tell you that needs to stop. Its time to re-frame your thinking. People can find themselves living in fear of disappointing someone or not gaining others approval and living a life full of regret.. This just boggles my mind that we as a society are more willing to disappoint ourselves than we are others. When we live a majority of our life in fear of how other perceive us, shaping our lives to fit the opinions and needs of others instead of our own we welcome people into our lives that are there to just use us, and we will be left feeling miserable, hopeless and unfulfilled.  If you are in negative, unfulfilling or abusive relationships and you wonder why you keep attracting these people that do not have good intentions and may use you? I can guarantee you worry too much about others opinions and needs and not enough about your own! No one is going to fight to have your needs met or care about your opinion if you don’t put yourself first. The opinions people hold of you and how you live your life is none of their business.

You may think I really want these people to like me and approve of me, what you should be thinking instead is I need to approve of me and what I’m doing, I need to be happy with myself. The people you really need in your life are people who care and love you. Those trying to control or use you for their own benefit will fall out of your life. If someones opinion isn’t serving you, you need to state/say/inform them that I appreciate your concern but this is what I want, or what I like and I’m going to do for me.

You don’t need to justify, or beg for your wants or needs, its your life and you are the master of it. When you stop giving others the power to shape your life, you will regain the power to shape your life the way you see fit. Others opinions of you will not bother you any longer. Not to say you wont ever worry about what others opinions are, but you can use mindfulness tools to redirect your thinking instead of getting absorbed by what they think. One of my favorite mindfulness tools when I start getting worked up is, I take a deep breath focus on my breathing and count to 5, once I redirect my thinking its easier to get back on track and go well they don’t pay my bills, and I know what I want. I then just move forward. Don’t sit and justify their actions, don’t ruminate, just move forward.

When you allow yourself to be unapologetically yourself, many things will start to happen. First depending on how long you’ve allowed people to control and dictate your life with their opinions people will resist and try to pull you back into that cycle. People will start to fall out of your life, don’t chase these people. Soon after you’re going to start building relationships with people, fulfilling wholesome mutual two way street relationships.

You’ll find these newfound relationships have something your old ones lacked, respect. The people who stick from your past that stay around through the growing pains, will usually not only act like cheerleaders for you in your life but your relationships with them will grow and change for the better too. Not worrying what others think will guide you to the life you not only want but deserve. Once you take this crucial step your life will start evolving; opening doors you didn’t even know were there.

Always Be unapologetically true to yourself!

-Ali

Groceries On A Budget

We have discussed how to stay on a budget for clothing but we haven’t discussed on a budget for a necessity….Groceries!

That’s a tough one, to eat healthy, fresh, easy, fast, family friendly foods without spending a TON! I feed a family of anywhere from 4-6, my daughter and her fiance eat over here approximately once a week, sometimes more, I have a 16 year old son who cannot seem to stop eating and a 7 year old daughter who is CONSTANTLY grazing. I don’t mind her grazing-but I want to ensure she is grazing on things that are good for her. And all this adds up in a big HURRY! My husband and I are serious about our weight loss and everyone knows that is not cheap either. So how do I stay on budget for groceries?

Please keep in mind that my $125-$150 weekly budget works for me, different parts of the country experience different prices, these are just suggestions to help you determine a budget that works for you!

  1. SALES! Check all ads for the store(s) that you frequently shop. I shop 90% at one place for all my groceries-so that’s a fairly easy and fast step for me.
  2. Plan a menu. I sit down and plan out my menu for the week/month based on the ads that I have gone through and along with what I have in my pantry.
  3. I shop for groceries online-Hy-Vee has a really great online shopping option and keeps me from buying impulse items. Their shopping site also pulls any manufacture coupons available and attaches them to your bill-which is one less step you have to do! I LOVE their gas rewards so I try to take those into consideration when making my list. Who doesn’t want to save gas $$?! They also have the option for instructions on each item that you purchase and this is where I explain my expectations for my produce/meat. If you spend over $100 delivery(within a radius)/drive-up is FREE. I have heard that Wal-Mart is experimenting with stores on this option too, but I have yet to try it out…I don’t look for reasons to fix things that aren’t currently broken 🙂
  4. Plant a garden. Yes, I plant a rather large garden and can the heck out of things. Canning is expensive to get started but once you have an inventory of items built up it truly is a money saver. I like to watch for jars, lids, rings to go on clearance after canning season is over and stock up on supplies then. Not to mention you get to control what goes in to your food. We also freeze items as well.
  5. Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk can be expensive up front. When I started switching over to bulk, I bought just a few items at a time and added to that each week/month. Those things bought in bulk can also be frozen, or canned as well. I have done that with strawberries, meat, certain vegetables.
  6. Cook from scratch! and freeze meals ahead. I am sure you have all seen the different ways to cook ahead and freeze those meals to pop out on those days where you just don’t have time! Honestly-it costs A LOT of money to grab drive-thru for a family of 4-6(or any size for that matter)and freezing ahead has saved me a million times! And again, you get to control what goes into your food.
  7. If I have leftover money from my grocery budget, I spend it! I spend it on something that I can forsee needing in the next few weeks…sugar, flour, granola, cereal…things I know we will need and are on sale. It keeps me ahead of the game!

These are just a few things I do to help the grocery budget.

What is your budget for groceries? What are some of the things you do to help save and stay on track?

Love to All-Kim