It’s Time to Stop Looking at Your Pics Only on Your Phone and Print Them Out

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Moms, we have a problem. We have started to rely solely on our phones to collect and store all of our precious photos. I’m guilty of this, and I bet you are, too. I take tons of pictures on my phone every day, but for what purpose? It’s not like I am printing them out or viewing them regularly. They are just taking up memory space on my phone.

I’m not telling you to stop taking pictures. No way! I think the ability to snap pics anytime we want is one of the best things about modern technology. What I am talking about is the fact that we don’t ever print them out. Why take all these pics if you aren’t ever going to see them? If you have countless photos stored on your phone but not on your walls, this one is for you.

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Technology will fail.

We have all experienced a technology fail. As much as we would like to believe our photos are safe on our phones or our computers, these things crash, and our photos crash right alongside them. Plus, even if you have wisely uploaded all your photos to a cloud storage system, it doesn’t mean you will always have the technology to access and view them.

You will actually look at them.

If you are anything like me, you do look through photos on your phone. However, with the huge number of photos, you likely don’t go all the way back and look at photos from years ago. Who does that? Many moms rely solely on social media flashbacks to see their old pics. But, if you have them printed out, you will actually look at the pics from years past.

They make great gifts.

Few things make grandparents happier than receiving a printed photo of their grandkids. Just go ahead and make your life easier at the holidays by printing off a few of your best pics and purchasing a variety of frames.

They are the best ways to personalize your décor.

We all want our house to feel like a home. One way to achieve this is to personalize your décor using photos of your family. Now this will vary according to your style tastes. I don’t like a lot of clutter on my walls, but I still think you can very tastefully decorate with personal photos.

Your kids will thank you.

Let’s face it. Someday we will no longer be here, and our kids will want to have something physical to remember us by. Our photo albums and prints will be precious to them, just like we treasure our parent’s scrapbooks.

Here are some fun things to do with your prints:

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  • Old-fashioned photo album – There is nothing wrong with using an old-fashioned photo album to store your prints. The fact is it is a book you and your kids can look through from time to time – no need to be fancy unless you want to.

  • Printed scrapbooks – There are so many companies, such as Shutterfly, that allow you to create customized scrapbooks online using your digital photos. For the moms who are the busiest, there is also Chatbooks, which regularly prints out your Instagram photos and send them to you in a book.

  • Make stickers or postcards – In addition to the more traditional ways to print out photos, there are online companies which make it easy to turn your Instagram pics into stickers or postcards. These are perfect for school-aged kids!

  • Create a gallery wall – As shown above, I recently used Storyboards to create a gallery wall in the breakfast nook of my home of some of my favorite pics. I am over the moon with how well it turned out! It was super easy and looks awesome.

How NYC Families Can Save Money This Summer

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During summer, there is nothing worse than hearing your kids whine that they are “sooo bored!” But, if you spend money trying to keep them entertained each day of summer break, your wallet will start to hurt. And, if you are like me, I would rather spend my hard-earned money on a fabulous vacation than spending it doing a bunch of little things around the city. Fortunately, it is easier than ever to save money and have fun in NYC.

Free Library Fun

If you don’t already have a library card, now is the time to get one. Today’s libraries aren’t the stuffy old places you might remember from childhood. They offer tons of free materials you can borrow – including DVDs. Plus, the New York Public Library Summer Reading offers some pretty great kids programs that go beyond the standard story times, such as a DJ Dance Party.

Free Outdoor Movies

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During the summer, families can take their pick of free outdoor movies once the sun goes down. The most popular outdoor movies are hosted by NYC parks, are all PG-13 and under, and feature movies such as The Incredibles 2 and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Check out Time Out New York’s guide to what is showing where and when here.  

Free Outdoor Concerts

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Families can also take their pick of free outdoor summer concerts taking place all around New York City. For instance, there are the New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Park series (with all performances beginning at 8 pm) and Make Music New York on June 21st from 10 am – 10 pm.

Free Public Pools and Splash Pads

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There are several options for cooling off during the hot summer in the city. Families can visit one of the free outdoor swimming pools in NYC (opening on June 27, 2019). A bonus for pool visitors is that NYC parks offer free swimming classes and free sunscreen. If taking the kids to the pool seems like too much, then head to one of the many local splash parks. Mommy Poppins has a list of the Best Water Playgrounds and Sprinklers for Kids in NYC.

Free Museum Days

Photo:  NYCGo

Photo: NYCGo

Visiting the fantastic museums can add up – unless you are smart enough to take advantage of the free museum days offered this summer. For example, Brooklyn Children’s Museum offers “pay as you wish on Thursdays from 2–6 pm and Sundays from 4–7 pm” and the Staten Island Zoo offers “free Tuesdays after 2 pm.”

Free Festivals

Another great way to keep the whole family entertained is to head to an outdoor festival. Many outdoor festivals are free to enter and explore – but you may wind up spending money to enjoy food, purchase arts and crafts, or participate in activities. One popular outdoor festival taking place in June is the Museum Mile Festival happening June 11, 2019, from 6 pm – 9 pm.

Now you have plenty of ways to save money and keep the kids busy and entertained this summer, leaving you money to take the vacation of your dreams.

Surviving the End of the School Year Freefall

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Dear Mom,

Hang tight. The last few weeks of school is the second toughest time of the year (after December). Between the dance recitals, end of the year banquets, end of course testing, teacher gifts, and warm weather excitement, our kids are going crazy. They are not following the rules. They are more hyper than usual. They are done.

And, you are likely done too. The good mom you were in September is long gone. The mom improvement goal you made in January lasted until Valentine’s Day. The mom who volunteered to bring fancy treats for school parties is now rushing to be the first one to sign up for paper plates. We are over it. We have used up all of our fun and shiny goodness, and now we are done.

But, school is not over yet! We have a few more weeks to get the kids out the door on time with homework done and lunches packed. We may not do it perfectly, but we can do it. We can make it to the finish line without losing our minds.

Here’s how we can get it done.

Stick to the Routine

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The routine has gotten you this far – don’t throw it out now. Keep doing what works. For example, the sun is up a little later, but school starts at the same time in the morning. So, keep bedtime as close to the same time as you have all year.

But Expect a Little Less

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If you feel done, just imagine how your little people feel! When you are tired, it is hard to do everything with the same energy as usual. So, yes, stick to your routine, but extend the kids some grace when they don’t act exactly the way you wish they would. Show a little more patience.

Write Every Important Date Down

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Like December, the end of the school year calendar is jam-packed. In order to stay on top of everything and not forget when your kids need to take this test or be at this banquet, you need to write everything down as soon as you receive a notification.

Purchase the Teachers the End of the Year Gift They Deserve

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With all the busyness of this time of year, don’t forget to purchase a gift for your child’s teacher. These men and women go above and beyond (and aren’t paid nearly enough). Give them something that shows you’ve seen all the hard work they’ve done this year and how much you appreciate them. Go ahead and buy it now before you end up rushing out the night before the last day of school.

Have a Family Countdown

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If your kids are clearly ready for school to end and summer to begin, make a family countdown. Count down the days left while encouraging them to stay strong to the finish. Make it a whole family affair and then celebrate when summer officially begins.

Take Time to Breathe

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Finally, take time to breathe. Look for little pockets of time where you can rest and relax. Remind yourself that this busyness is just for a season. Summer is coming soon.

This Mother’s Day Celebrate Your Mom Friends

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I’m sure this Mother’s Day you will be surrounded by your kids and told how much they love you. Which they totally should because this is your special day! But, this year, I’d like to make a Mother’s Day suggestion. After you have celebrated your own mother and been celebrated for being a mother, take time to celebrate the other mothers in your life – your mom friends.

We All Want to Hear We are Doing a Good Job

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Of course we love receiving cards and gifts from our little ones that tell us we are “the best mom in the whole wide world.” But, it is something entirely different to receive compliments about your parenting from other moms. For whatever reason, we easily compliment our mom friends on their purses, shoes, and decorating skills, but we seldom compliment them on their parenting. I know I always feel great when another mom tells me I am doing a good job.

Motherhood is Lonely

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Mother’s Day is wonderful, but for many moms, it is a difficult day. For women who have lost their moms or struggled to have children, Mother’s Day can be lonely. In addition, being a mom, itself, is lonely. For instance, found that 90 percent of mothers feel lonely since having children and 54 percent felt “friendless” after giving birth. Yikes! This is another reason why we should make every effort to reach out to the other moms in our lives this Mother’s Day.

Moms Need a Village

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It takes a village to raise a child. This Mother’s Day honor the women in your village. Who is helping you raise your child? Who is helping you become a better mother and woman? Not only will you be acknowledging their importance in your life, but you will also be strengthening the bonds of your little village.

We All Want to Feel Appreciated

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I don’t know about you, but I really (really) appreciate a sincere thank you. It just feels good to feel appreciated. When my family acknowledges all that I do, I feel like my heart grows three sizes. Since much of what moms do day in and day out goes unnoticed, Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show some appreciation for the other moms in your life. Today’s the day to thank your mom friend for treating your kids like her own.

A Smile, A Hug, and a Thank You Goes a Long Way

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The best thing you can do for another mom this Mother’s Day is make her feel seen and loved. We are all working so very hard, and a smile, a hug, and a thank you can go a long day. Who knows? The mom you encounter may be at the end of her rope. Her family may not have made her feel like an excellent mother on this special day. But, if she can tell you are in her corner, supporting her, it can make all the difference.

I wish you all a very Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you for walking alongside me during this season of motherhood.

Why Moms Love Netflix

From   TrishTech

Okay, moms, time to get real. Where would we be without Netflix? Moms everywhere have come to rely on Netflix for both their kids and themselves. When used the right way, Netflix is a mom’s best friend. Seriously – moms really love Netflix – in a 2018 poll, Netflix outranked all other brands (including Band-Aid) in the mom category.

If you have not yet jumped on the Netflix train or you are on board but have considered dropping Netflix, I’m here today to remind you why Netflix is worth every penny.

1. Amazing kid-friendly programming

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Netflix has countless options when it comes to kid-friendly programming. In addition to great kids films, there is also a ton of television shows that kids love. For example, my girls are crazy for Spirit Riding Free and the fantastic Trolls animated show. Kids can watch their favorite shows and characters over and over again.

2. Tons of entertainment options for adults

Plus, there endless amounts of programming for adults to binge watch. Are you a fan of reality television? They have it. Are you a fan of stand-up comedy? They have it. Are you a sitcom-lover? They have plenty. Are you a fan of dramas? Take your pick.

3. Set up multiple profiles

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Since no mom wants their list to be a mix of grown-up stuff and kids shows, Netflix allows users to create multiple profiles. Everyone in my family has their own profile making it easy to curate personalized lists and find your most recently watched programs. Plus, the kids profiles make it safe for kids to navigate without parents worrying about them stumbling on to something inappropriate. You can also use Netflix’s Parental Controls.

4. Download shows and films for when you need them

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Moms know that there are sometimes when you need a way to control or quiet your child – and one of the most effective ways is by letting them watch Netflix on a mobile device. With the ability to download certain shows and films, it is easy to save your kid’s favorites on your device to play in your moment of need without using valuable data. For instance, Spirit Riding Free is one of the titles available to download.

5. A sanity saver

After a busy day at work and coming home to take care of my girls, there is something very rewarding about sitting on the couch at the end of the day to binge watch a few episodes of my favorite Netflix show. Whether I am using it as a way to relax at the end of the day or using it to help me kid’s make it through a long appointment, Netflix is a sanity saver.

6. Easy to watch anytime and anywhere

Most of all, Netflix’s app makes it easy to watch shows anytime and anywhere. While you are breastfeeding, while you are doing laundry, while you are riding the subway, moms have discovered the joy in watching Netflix while they get stuff done.

Business Insider reports, “The streaming giant surveyed 1,000 moms in the US to find out how they find time to stream their favorite shows, or "sneak" them, during the day. And their answers revealed some interesting viewing habits. 48% of the moms said they sneak-binge while making dinner, 9% while walking the dog, 40% while taking a bathroom break, and 57% while doing the laundry. 17% watch while in their driveway.”

What is your favorite thing about Netflix? What do you binge watch? What shows on Netflix do your kids love? Let me know in the comments.

Why Kids Should Travel the World

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It’s no secret that we love to travel, but what you may not realize is that we are deliberate about traveling the world with our girls. I believe wholeheartedly that traveling is important. My travels have taught me so much about the world and myself. I want my girls to have those same kinds of eye-opening experiences.

Someone asked me why I think it is important for kids to travel the world rather than just taking vacations nearby. I hadn’t been asked my reasons before, but once I thought about it, I came to realize I have good reasons for choosing to expose my girls to places beyond the USA.

Traveling is fun.

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First of all, traveling is fun! As a family, traveling is a great way to have fun and bond. Nothing says family bonding like having to patiently wait to board a long flight and successfully making it to your destination with everyone still loving each other. Ha! But, seriously, when we travel, we get to do fun things we don’t get to do at home.

Travel teaches kids about languages, history, and geography.

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My girls are lucky enough to receive a great education at the hands of their teachers in their classrooms. However, I believe learning extends far beyond the classroom walls. If you want hands-on learning, traveling the world is a great way to do it. Without even meaning to, your kids will learn about new languages, history, and geography.

Travel allows kids to experience other cultures.

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All children need to learn about cultures other than their own. While we can attend cultural festivals in NYC, it is something entirely different to expose your children to another culture by being immersed in that culture.

Travel helps kids put down the toys and gadgets.

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I am not anti-toys or anti-electronics – they are lifesavers for most days! But, there is something pretty magical about your kids having fun simply by experiencing a new world. When we visited other countries, my girls get to do activities that are so much more enjoyable than playing on a device. They are having real-world fun in real-time.

Travel breeds compassion and understanding.

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When we travel, I try my hardest to teach my daughters to respect the people and the culture. Traveling is a great opportunity for kids to learn about differences, but it is more important for kids to learn the similarities they have with the kids they encounter in other places. By exposing them to a world that is bigger than our NYC home, my daughters are learning to think about others more. They learn that the world is a big place and that we need to respect one another.

Travel inspires curiosity.

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Watching my daughter’s eyes open wide in amazement as we tour new places fills me with joy. Each new place gets stored away in their little brains and inspires their curiosity. As they grow older, I hope their curiosity about other countries inspires them to travel the whole world.

10 Family-Friendly NYC Events This April

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Can you believe the first week of April is already over? Where has the time gone? As the season changes, there are more and more fun things to do in NYC – especially outdoors. With an abundance of outdoor fun, I have identified ten of my favorite family-friendly things to do in NYC this April.

Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival

On Easter Sunday (April 21st) beginning at 10 am, the annual Easter Parade takes place along Fifth Avenue (and St. Patrick’s Cathedral) with participants wearing their finest Easter attire and outrageously silly bonnets.

Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival NYC

The cherry blossoms bloom in April in NYC and families have multiple opportunities to see them and snap the perfect Insta-worthy photo. Sakura Matsuri is held April 27th -28th at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. You can also sign your family up for a Cherry Blossom Tour of Central Park in the month of April.

EarthFest

With Earth Day taking place each April, it is the perfect time to teach your kids to respect the earth. One family-friendly event to help you is EarthFest taking place April 13th at the American Museum of Natural History.

Paw Patrol Live

Photo:  TimeOut  (Courtesy of PAW Patrol Live and Madison Square Garden)

Photo: TimeOut (Courtesy of PAW Patrol Live and Madison Square Garden)

If your kids are fans of Paw Patrol, then make plans to see PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue. This live-action show will take place April 13th and 14th at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Midtown West.

Apple Blossom Children’s Carnival

Nothing screams “SPRING!” more than an outdoor children’s carnival. Take the whole family to the Apple Blossom Children’s Carnival at Queens County Farm the first two weekends of April.

Dinosaur Safari

Dinosaur Safari heads to the Bronx Zoo beginning April 19th. Your family can see these giant animatronic roaring dinosaurs up close.

Outdoor Roller Skating at Pier 2

After ice skating season ends, it is time for roller skating! Families will love the Pier 2 Roller Rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The roller skating season officially begins April 12th.

FAD Market

The FAD Market is a pop-up market celebrating Fashion, Art, and Design – all things I love! The Brooklyn MADE Market is April 13th and 14th at City Point. In addition to all the handcrafted goods for sale, there are also food vendors on site.

NYC Food Truck Fest

Foodies families must make plans to visit the NYC Food Truck Fest on April 13th. This is the largest food truck festival in NYC with gourmet food trucks and unique food vendors. Make sure you go with an empty belly!

Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s

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Last but certainly not least is Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s. My family loves ice cream, so we are all about visiting Ben and Jerry’s on April 9th (from 12 pm – 8 pm) to enjoy a free scoop.

I hope you and your family have a blast enjoying all the spring fun. If you know of an event my family would love, let me know in the comments!

Here’s Why We’ve Made the Crest Kids’ Toothpaste Switch

This content is sponsored by Crest. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As a mom, I am always looking for tools and products to make my job as a mom easier. My primary goal is to keep my girls healthy and safe, so that means I shop for products that will help me keep them this way.

Staying healthy means more than eating the right foods and taking the right vitamins; it also means teaching my girls the importance of oral health. Did you know that cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention? YIKES!

Since brushing your teeth can prevent cavities, I take it very seriously in our home. I’m sure you feel the same way. Unfortunately, getting my girls to brush their teeth hasn’t always been easy, but I have found the solution! Crest Kids’ Toothpaste has released new flavors that my girls got to try, and I am thrilled to tell you the experiment was a great success!

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The Ongoing Tooth Brushing Battle is Over

I have heard several other parents complain about the daily tooth brushing battles they have in their home. Let’s be honest. Lots of kids do not like brushing their teeth. But, since tooth brushing is so important, parents battle their kids to get their teeth cleaned daily.

Thank goodness Crest Kids has discovered a magically way to end the tooth brushing battle – invent kid-friendly flavors that make the experience fun and enjoyable for kids. When my girls tried Crest Kids’ new flavors, they rushed to the bathroom at tooth brushing time!

Who Knew Getting Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth Would Be So Much Fun?

Forget a battle getting kids to brush their teeth – my girls were fighting TO brush their teeth! They loved sample both new flavors to see if they were #TeamStrawberry or #TeamBubbleGum. Since it was such a tough decision, the girls insisted on trying the different flavors more than once making the experiment last throughout the week.

And The Winner Is…

In the end, my girls were both in agreement - #TeamStrawberry! According to my girls, “It is delicious and doesn’t taste yucky!” We’ve tried other toothpaste brands for kids, and my girls are always disappointed that the flavor does not actually taste as it should. So, they were very happy to report that Crest Kids’ Strawberry-flavored toothpaste really does taste like strawberries.

Which flavor do your children like best? Are they #TeamStrawberry like my girls or are they #TeamBubbleGum?

It’s More Than Just Fun and Games

Okay okay. There is something more important than the flavor of toothpaste. As we talked about earlier, brushing your teeth is a way to prevent cavities. Combine the practice of brushing teeth with Crest Kids’ toothpaste, which offers the best in cavity protection, and you have a winning combination. As a mom, I can rest assured knowing my girls are receiving the best cavity protection from a toothpaste they love.

Thinking about making the switch to Crest Kids’ Toothpaste? Good thinking, mom. You find Crest Kid’s toothpaste at a Walmart near you!

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No More Feeling Guilty for No Reason

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Have you ever lost sleep because of something seemingly small that you did or did not do? Every woman I know has second-guessed herself at some time because she is afraid she has hurt someone’s feelings or let someone down. When you are a working mom, you feel guilty for not doing enough with your kids at home. When you are a stay at home mom, you feel guilty for not doing enough to provide financially.

If you feel guilty more often than you would like, you are not alone. 96% of women feel ashamed at least once a day. That’s crazy! It’s no wonder this generation of women feels stressed out all the time. We are carrying around tons of guilt baggage for things we shouldn’t even feel guilty about doing or saying.

Women, It’s Time to Trash the Guilt Once and For All

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After seeing how guilt does nothing but inhibit me at home, in relationships and the workplace, I am done. I want to get rid of feeling guilty over things that I shouldn’t. I’m sick of saying “I’m sorry” all the time for things I don’t even actually need to apologize for.

I caught myself recently feeling guilty and apologizing to someone recently, and after gaining some perspective realized I had not done anything wrong. They should have been the ones apologizing to me! Why do we do that?

Now that I am more aware of my personal issue, I have done my homework so I can tackle it when it strikes at unnecessary moments.

Here is My No-Guilt Game Plan

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Look for Reasons - First, I am going to look for the reasons. IS there any actual reason for me to feel guilty? If there is, then I need to do what needs to be done to make it right. If not, then I need to accept that this is not my burden.

Identify the Feelings Behind the Guilt – Next, I will question where the feelings of guilt are coming from. Often, we feel guilty because we are really feeling overwhelmed or angry. What are my true feelings about the situation?

Shake It Off – If it was not my fault or was just something minor, I will choose to SHAKE IT OFF. Carrying around guilt baggage will only make life harder. If you can quickly move on, you will be much better for it.

Be Clear with Your Expectations and Limits – Next, I plan to be upfront about my expectations and limitations. This way people cannot expect me to do more and I will not be made to feel guilty because I have been clear about what I can and cannot do.

Accept Imperfection – Finally, I will stop being so hard on myself. There is no perfect woman – myself included. Rather than placing unrealistic expectations on myself, I am going to strive to do the best I can each day and be proud of what I achieved in my 24 hours instead of focusing on what I didn’t do.

Who else is tired of feeling guilty all the time? What is your game plan for tackling guilt?

A Mom’s Tips for Avoiding the Winter Plague

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This winter has been rough for illnesses. If you are in a close working environment or have young children at home, you have no doubt spent a significant amount of time Lysol-ing everything around you. If you are like me, you hear the smallest cough and run in the opposite direction.

Plus, if you have kids, when they get sick, your whole life stops. According to John Hopkins Medicine, “elementary school children get six to eight colds each school year.” That’s a lot of times I have to take off work to stay home and take care of my kids.

During the winter, colds, the flu, and other viruses seem to spread even faster. This is because we spend more time indoors close to others, have drier nose passages, and there is low humidity where cold viruses thrive.

So, how do you survive the rest of the cold season without getting sick? Try following these tips for staying happy and healthy all winter long.

1. Stay Home When Sick

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Please, please, please leave the sickness at home. Do not come to work sick and do not send your sick kids to school. Yes, it is inconvenient, but it is the right thing to do for everyone.

2. Avoid Others Who are Sick

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If someone does show up to work sick, avoid this person as best you can. For example, do not hug or shake hands with the individual.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

Getting enough sleep is one of the healthiest things you can do. Not only does it help you recuperate when you are sick, but it is also a way to prevent getting sick.

4. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is another way to stay healthy all year long. Our bodies need their daily dose of exercise to stay fit.

5. Keep a Healthy Diet

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If you are filling up on junk, you will not have the reserves you need to fight off colds and viruses. Instead, eat healthy.

6. Wash Hands Often

Quite possibly the most effective tip is to wash your hands with soap and water often. The rule of thumb is to wash your hands for the amount of time it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday.”

7. Always Have Antibacterial with You

Just because you cannot always run off to the bathroom to wash your hands, you should always have antibacterial on you. I have bottles of antibacterial lotion everywhere – my desk, my car, my purse – and I even attach the keychain ones to my daughter’s backpacks.

8. Use Your Own Water Bottle

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Did you know water fountains are one of the worst places for germs? It’s true. So, instead of going to the water fountain, take your own reusable water bottle with you and send one to school with your kids.

9. Take Your Vitamins

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Protect yourself in advance by taking your vitamins. My whole family takes our vitamins, and I know it makes a big difference in our overall health.

What are your best tips for avoiding winter sickness?