10 ideas for Better Sleep

My first year out of my house, on my own, in college, was quite an adventure. I found I was unable to manage my stress levels, and started having panic attacks as a result. When the panic attacks started coming twice a day I sought help from a therapist. This is what she asked me in this order What kind of sleep are you getting? Are you eating and what are you eating? What is stressing you out and how can we help you cope with that? I learned so much about being healthy that year physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I learned how so much about myself as an individual and myself in relationships. I think I will write posts about all of these in the future but today I am going to focus on SLEEP.

Your body, mind, and emotions can fall apart so fast when you are not getting good sleep

1. No Electronics 1 hour before bed - I put this one first because it is something most people do and is  an easy fix. Basically the light from the screens (TV, iPad, Phone, Computer) will make it hard for you to fall asleep

2. Relaxing activities 30 min before bed - relaxing will look different for anyone but here are a few ideas... doing a puzzle (a real one not one on a device), reading a book, taking a bath, folding laundry, journaling, yoga/stretching, watching the sunset... give yourself time to wind down

3. Clear your Mind- if my mind is in a million places at once I grab a piece of paper, (or junk mail no need to be fancy or say you don't have anything to write on) and I write everything I'm thinking, it may be a list of things I need to do, something I don't want to forget, things that are stressing me out, feeling I have and then I let it go. I allow myself to stop thinking, stop feeling, and fall asleep. I can return to these things in the morning when I've had good rest. Sometimes PRAYER also helps me clear my mind, handing my problems over to God and asking for help, and peace.

4. Relax Body- Now that the mind is ready to sleep put the body to sleep, start at you feet and let go of all tension, relax your feet until you can hardly feel them any more, then move up your body, I am always surprised when I get to my face my jaw is usually clenched and releasing that feels so good, I also find I was unaware of my hands being balled into fists, and releasing that tension all the way to my finger tips is so soothing.

5. Go to a Safe Place- Now I usually don't make it to this phase, I usually fall asleep before this point. but if you are still awake go to a safe soothing place in your mind. This may sound a little hippyish, but my therapist sent me to this sleep workshop that was amazing. At the workshop they hooked me up to a machine that could read stress levels in my body, then they had me listen to this tape that had me envision different things, when it was done they showed me the results they showed me all my triggers the one that I found the most fascinating is for me I shouldn't think of people at night or bring them into my "safe place" my safe place is usually riding on a train by myself looking out the window, for others it may be painting a landscape, or decorating a house, or counting sheep jumping over a fence, whatever is relaxing and doesn't require a lot of concentration. It sounds weird but try it.

6. No Food or Water 1 hour before bed- don't go to bed hungry but make sure you have eaten and are well hydrated before bed time rolls around. Give your digestive system a break and let it wind down

7. Bed is only for sleeping- don't spend all day in bed while you are awake, make your brain associate bed with sleep. Take the TV out of your room, not only is it breaking tip number 2 but your bedroom isn't a place to be entertained its a place to sleep. Also tip number 2, I try not to do my relaxing activity in bed, I will read in a comfy chair and then move to my bed to sleep. I am conditioning my brain when I lay in my bed it means time to sleep, this takes time but with consistency and routine, your body will instantly relax, your brain instantly turn off when you start your routine and it sees your bed.

8. Enviornment- LIGHT-make sure you are sleeping in a dark room, I'd even suggest having a clock that doesn't give off light or covering the light when you sleep. NOISE- if there is alot of noise, get a sound machine. COMFORT- make sure you warm/cool enough not hot or cold. make sure your bed and pillow are offering your body enough support, and so on... just make sure your comfortable and if your not think of a solution

9. Work Hard- This has two meanings. First, if you are having trouble sleep think about adding exercise to your daily routine, a tired body sleeps better. Second, make sure you are feeling your days with things that make you feel accomplished, it is always harder to go to bed after a lazy day because our souls crave progression

10. Rise and Fall with the Sun- not a popular idea, but have found truth in this statement I don't know why, maybe it's just how we are made but I know sleep from 9:00PM-5:00AM feels like a lot more sleep then sleep from 12:00MIDNIGHT-8:00AM. Even thought they are both 8 hours of sleep, the one that alines closer to the sun feels more refreshing, again I'm going to invite you to try it.

THIS APPLYS TO KIDS TO!!! Parents out there that need help putting their kids, or teenagers to bed. This applies to them, make sure they have full belly's, that they had opportunities to get their energy out, that they have a solid routine that doesn't include electronics, that they have time to wind down and they are comfortable while sleeping. KIDS AREN'T BORN GOOD SLEEPERS none of us are. I truly believe we have to teach ourselves to sleep and I think one of the best things you can do for your children to help them in the future, cope with stress, live on their own, and be successful, is teach them how to have good sleep.

This advice sounds simple and you might have been looking for something grand, but I promise the answer is usually in the simple things we do. I would encourage you to TRY all of these ideas, if you have tried all of these ideas and have executed them perfectly for 6 weeks, developing a solid routine, and are still struggling, get some help.

How do you get better sleep? Share ideas that could help someone in the comments

*also I wanted to add that I am not perfect in following these rules, but when I am struggling I know exactly how to fix it.

Quotes : on Joy & Control and Truth

Recently I have gone on Facebook Fast days, where I don't look at Facebook for a day or a few days.

It has really given me more time to think and contemplate, and this week this is what I thought about.

I was thinking about what brings people Joy and what robs people of Joy. While there are many find Joy this was the one way I thought of and three points that came to mind

1. Think about when someone is forcing you to do something, and how even if it is a good choice that you might have chosen for yourself, the fact that someone is making you do it robs you of Joy.

2. When I think of a lot of my frustration I have, I realize I am trying to control someone in a situation and it just isn't working my way. That is because we can't control others, and even if we could make a person do something, it still wouldn't bring us or that person the full amount of Joy we seek. I find when I let go of my need to control people or situations, my frustration depressed and leaves more space in my life to experience Joy. I am not burdened by others decisions.

3. When it comes to control, Joy can best be found when focusing on oneself, making decisions, working towards goals, learning new things, accomplishing desires, and developing self mastery

This isn't a new idea, it is a pretty simple universal truth, but truth can grow when you ponder.

5 Ways to Save on Groceries

Plan your Menu's
This will save you in 2 ways
1- If you stick to the list you won't buy other things that can quickly add up
2- Think how much food we throw away... spoiled food/food that has gone bad, every time you throw food away, you are also throwing away your money. With planned meals, your produce won't spoil because you will have a plan for every item you buy

Shop the Sales
When I sit down to plan my menu out I pull the add of the store I am going to (or all grocery ads if I am going to price match at Walmart)

I see what is on sale and try to plan meals around food that is cheap for that week

When there is a super good deal stock up! Some things to consider when stockpiling
1. How much can I use before it expires/ goes bad?
2. How much storage room do I have? How much can I store

Here is my EXAMPLE - I found Beef Roasts for $1.80/lb on Manager special, it would keep in the freezer for 6 months if I do two roasts a month, I would want 12 but my freezer can only hold 8 right now. Sadly though the store only had 6 left and I took all 6 and considered myself lucky!


Stretch your Meat
I would never be able to convince my husband to be a vegitatian and my boys are the same, so this family is eating meat.... but meat is so expensive! I try to cut down the costs by stretching my meat, making meat a smaller part of the meal and adding other things to keep our belly's full

1. Vegtables- have side dishes of salad, potatoes, roasted veggies, and I dish a LARGE serving of sides to go with a smaller portion of meat. Vegetable that are super cheap and filling (potatoes, carrots, and celery (I chop this up fine and add it to everything)
2. Noodles- cutting my meat up and serving it with a ton of noodles
3. Rice, Put your meat on a bed of rice, add rice to your soup, you can even add rice to hamburger paddies, sneak it in where you can to stretch your food
4. Beans-Wash them before (to keep gas at bay, yes I just said gas) beans are hearty and go great with meat
5. Bread- a slice of bread can curb hunger, and make it easier to have that smaller portion of meat and still stay full
6. I have 1 day a week that we would have a vegetarian meal, usually soup for us, but there are many creative meals that are vegetarian

* sometimes dairy can get expensive too and I stretch our dairy
1- Drink Water instead of Milk
2- Eliminate (or use less) cheese and sour cream from certain dishes
3- have apple sauce that month instead of Yogurt
* but I never elminate all of dairy, I just use the cheaper source for that week, because dairy is such an excellent source of calcium, and we LOVE our dairy

Eat Less
I am not suggesting starve, don't do that! but as American we are used to a lot of food we don't need, I decided how many calories I needed to maintain a healthy weight and tried my best to stick to it. Not only was it good for my overall health but it was nice for the pocket book as well

Bonus Tip

I don't take my husband shopping, he sneaks stuff into the cart. We all have our strengths, my husband is amazing at many things, but he realizes I am better at groceries and meal planning so he lets me do it, and tries to stay out of the grocery store :)

Monster Valentines

My kids love monsters inc and monsters university so we made monster valentines

I just cut out paper hearts and strips and we added pipe cleaner, pom poms, and goggly eyes!

Napoleon Dynamite Party 2!

We had so much fun with our first Napoleon Dynamite Party we wanted to do it again! But not the same exact party, this party has fun NEW IDEAS!

First, "Tina, you fat lard, come eat your dinner" for Dinner we had a QUESADILLA BAR. "Make yourself a dang quesadilla" with lots of tortillas and cheese, and other toppings. You can find some brown paper at any DOLLAR TREE store and draw all over it. Isn't my husbands llama drawing freakin awesome!

Then for dessert we did a PEDRO LOVES SUMMER CAKE. (Which my amazing husband made, yum yum!)

We also came up with some freakin' fun things to do

1) CHICKEN WAGES-Remember when Napoleon works in the chickens, "do the chickens have large talons?" and he is paid in change. Well we left out a clear bank with change in it, and had everyone guess how much change was in the bank

2) ANIMAL DRAWINGS- Our animals were inspired by Napoleons favorite animal the LIGER! "it's pretty much my favorite animal. it's like a lion and a tiger mixed... bred for its skills in magic." We had a jar full of animals and had each person draw an animal. Then, we took a piece of paper and folded it in half, had everyone find a partner and one person drew the top half and the other person drew the bottom half. When they were done they unfolded the paper, named their creation, and gave it a superpower. CLICK HERE for the PRINTABLE

3) PAPER FOOTBALLS- Uncle Rico inspired us with his quote "I bet I could throw a football over those mountains." We made paper footballs and took turns flicking them over our cardboard mountain.

4)A SUMMER PINATA- Pedro gets in trouble for making a piñata that looks like Summer, but everyone at our party loved the piñata and the prizes inside

and then we did some of the old favorites like DEBS PORTRAITS & BOONDOGGLE,

and the Napoleon Dynamite cartoon... which you can find on my other napoleon dynamite party post

and we sent our guests home with this party favor CHAPSTICK "but my lips hurt real bad" You can print off your own and wrap them around a standard chapstick, PRINT HERE

Toy Story Halloween Costumes

If you follow us you already know that we love Cars and Toy Story and have had Birthday Parties for both.

Well this Halloween we went as a Toy Story Family, since that was a bit easier than cars ;)

I love doing themed halloween costumes but I got to always make sure the costume is simple and easy  for my husband. This year all he had to do was slip this over whatever he was wearing. The year before I gave him a black turtle neck, some levi's and told him to wear his glasses and boom he was Steve Jobs


We bought the Buzz Lightyear wings and and hat at a garage sell but we made everything else. The front of Buzz Lightyear was a printable from my sons Toy Story Photo Booth Props. You can get the Free Printable Here

Woody already had levis and a yellow church shirt so we found him a hat and a vest at then dollar store, and I cut a piece of red fabric out for him. 

Jessie, I bought two of the woody vests and cut one up to hot glue to her pants, then I hot glued some yellow felt and red string to a white stained white shirt. I made her wig from yarn by crocheting a beanie hat and then tying the yarn to that base, it was fun to see my bald baby with hair ;)

Potato Heads, I took some tan fabric folded it in half glue most of the sides together, leaving just enough room up top to put our arms through. Then I cut a hole for our heads and glued felt faces on.

My favorite part was the SLINKY Trick or Treat Baskets. I covered took two oatmeal boxes and covered them in brown paper bags. I then took a slinky and poked each end into one of the boxes and hot glued it on. I then hot glued Ribbon for handles (which surprisingly held up) and I hot fluid felt for a face and ears and a little tail on the other box.

This Trick or Treat Box was great for keeping the family together, and moving in the same direction!

We attended our churches annual Trunk-r-Treat. I love Trunk-r-Treats because they are safer and supervised. We decorated our trunk as ANDY'S ROOM using a tablecloth and more of the FREE PRINTABLES from my sons Toy Story Birthday Party. And we had a toy chest that is decorated as Andy's toy chest and we handed our candy out in that, and played songs from the movie!

We had fun with these costumes all year, they were added to the dress up box and brought fun into our house all year long. I call Him Wood Year or Buzz Lighty!

Have fun this halloween!

Toy Story Birthday Party

So my oldest just turned 3 and we celebrated with a toy story party. This is the boys new favorite show. (We finally graduated from CARS)

First was the invite, the famous etch-a-sketch was used in our design. Free Printable Here

Next the DECOR got a roll of sky blue paper from the dollar store, unrolled it , cut it in half and then hung it on the wall for a backdrop, I then cut out white clouds and taped them onto the backdrop. For the table we put a white table cloth down, cut out black spots to go on top and the used a red table cloth, folded for a table runner down the center.

For food we had PIZZA PLANET PIZZA

And for the cake we had the three eyed alien cupcakes! I like cupcakes cause they are smaller then a slice of cake usually is.

Last of all we used our backdrop as a toy story photo booth. My son loved the props and would name which prop belonged to which character. Here is a Free Printable of the TOY STORY Props