Category Archives: Homemaking

Is Your Family Ready for an Emergency? Help is Here! Meet City Girl Prepper

I’m a little bit intimidated by emergency preparedness people. There. I said it.

Now hear me out … it’s not that I don’t want to be ready for a crisis, it’s that I’ve never had a good idea how to start getting ready. The supplies overwhelm me. How much water do we need to have on hand? How much food? How many batteries—and do I really need duct tape? I have it but it’s plaid and green and my kids use it for crafts-n-stuff.

The events of the past several months have caused me and my husband to shift our focus to what kinds of things we would need to have on hand if there was a disruption in everyday life. I know many of you are feeling the same way. There is a lot going on in our world. But what if you could find a way to have a little bit of peace-of-mind and know that if something does happen, you have resources to tackle the disruption or disaster at hand?

My blood pressure dropped just thinking about how much calmer your kids would be if they knew that mom had it handled. Can you relate? If so—I have good news for you. I met a mom in California recently who has started a business that helps moms like me make sure their family is ready for any kind of emergency situation. Jennifer Stewart-Tai has put together backpacks with literally everything you would need in case of an emergency.

Emergency PreparednessMade for MomsBy a Mom

Why should we be concerned? Because we need to be able to take care of our families in the event of an emergency. It can take a while to get help if first responders are overwhelmed. For example, did you know that there are only 15 first responders for every 25,000 citizens?

With just 80% of American families prepared, resources will quickly be tapped out if there is a natural disaster or disruption in services and goods.  So it’s up to you to have supplies for you and your family.

“As a busy mom it’s difficult to find the time to research and assemble a backpack and the supplies you need in case of an emergency,” says City Girl Prepper founder Jennifer Stewart-Tai. “That’s why I started City Girl Prepper. CGP focuses on making emergency backpacks for families, with a special emphasis on women.

All the backpacks are already assembled and take the guesswork out of the equation.”

If you already have a backpack, consider this: City Girl Prepper backpacks are different because they were designed by a mom for moms. In addition to the basics, like a 3-days’ supply of food and water, it’s filled with all the extras you really want to have in case of an emergency; women’s fit work gloves, quality feminine products, fun band-aids, and of course—chocolate.
You’ll gain comfort knowing that you are doing what you do best—taking care of your family.

And *newsflash!* We all know that a calm mom= calm kids.

But—here’s what makes City Girl Prepper even more exciting…you can get prepared and help other families do the same thing!

busymomprep

Save 10% on your City Girl Prepper purchase!
Use code busymomprep

Become a Preparedness Coach today!
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Have you ever attended a party for jewelry or candles? What about a Readiness party? Isn’t it time for a party with a purpose? City Girl Prepper is actually a direct selling company who is recruiting founding consultants. So you can get your family ready and help others too. City Girl Prepper is on a mission to inspire and create self-reliant women who are ready for anything that comes their way. It’s a big mission, and they need as many people as possible to join in and make a difference in their community. “The more prepared our community is, the stronger we all are!” says Stewart-Tai.

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Favorite Uses for Essential Oils

Favorite Uses for Essential Oils

 

Have you heard about essential oils but aren’t sure how to use them–or even why you might want to use them? I started using them a few years ago with my family and in my home, and I would love to tell you a few of my favorite ways to use them and to encourage you to give them a try!

To freshen the air and bed sheets:

I have a little dog who sleeps in the bedroom with my husband and me. We keep her bathed and trimmed, but let’s face it, she still causes our bedroom to smell not-so-fresh sometimes. To help keep the room smelling fresh and to kill germs, I use essential oils in a diffuser each morning. As soon as my husband and I are up and out of bed, I add water along with a couple of drops each of 2 or 3 essential oils, and I let the diffuser run for at least 30 minutes while the bed is still unmade. Once the diffuser has had time to freshen the air and my sheets, I make the bed.

  • A few of my favorite essential oils for this purpose:
    • lavender
    • peppermint
    • lemongrass
  • You may also choose to use:
    • rosemary
    • eucalyptus
    • tea tree (melaleuca)
    • cinnamon bark

To help my children and me settle down and get ready for sleep:

Some evenings, especially after a really busy day, my children and I have trouble settling down and getting ready to go to sleep. It seems that we get stuck in “high gear” and can’t slow down! I’ve found that using essential oils in a diffuser in the living room or in each bedroom helps us a lot. About 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime, I put fresh water and a few drops of 2 or 3 essential oils into the diffuser in the living room or the diffusers in the bedrooms. Then we read or do something else quiet while the essential oils help us start to quiet down and relax.

My teenage daughter in particular benefits from having a few drops of essential oil massaged into the bottoms of her feet about 30 minutes before bedtime. Lavender and cedarwood work very well for her. Both of these oils can be used neat (which just means they can be applied directly to the skin without being diluted), so I massage a drop of cedarwood onto the bottom of each foot followed by massaging a drop of lavender onto the bottom of each foot. Cedarwood doesn’t smell very good, so we always use that one first. Using lavender second helps get rid of the cedarwood smell. But cedarwood truly helps so much that it’s worth the not-so-wonderful smell!

  • A few of my favorite essential oils for this purpose:
    • lavender
    • cedarwood
  • You may also choose to use:
    • orange
    • ylang ylang
    • chamomile

To freshen my laundry:

Not long after I began using essential oils, I read about using them to help freshen laundry. I don’t like to use fabric softeners in my washing machine or dryer because of the chemicals they contain, but I do like for my laundry to smell fresh and clean. I also want to be sure it really is as clean and germ-free as I can get it. For these reasons, I began using eucalyptus essential oil along with my detergent to help get rid of dust mites on sheets and towels. It can also help kill germs. (Then I put vinegar into the cup meant for fabric softener. The vinegar helps get rid of all traces of detergent and washes away the eucalyptus smell so that my clothes smell fresh but don’t have a medicinal smell.)

I usually put a drop or two of eucalyptus into the laundry detergent cup right after I put in the detergent. (You can do this with liquid or powder and with store-bought or homemade detergent.) I also often put a couple of drops of orange or lemon essential oils onto a wash cloth and toss it into the dryer with my clothes when I want them to smell extra good!

One final way I use essential oils with my laundry is when I make a spray that I spritz onto my clothes as they hang on the clothesline during the summer. I love this linen spray! I know commercials often show clothes hanging on the clothesline and mention how fresh and clean they smell, but the truth is that clothing from the clothesline really doesn’t have a very pleasant smell, so I use this linen spray to make them smell good! When my kids were younger, they loved to spray the clothes on the line! It made them happy to help hang out and bring in the laundry–and that’s always a good thing!

To make my linen spray, I mix 10 to 20 drops of lavender (or other essential oil) into 2 tablespoons of witch hazel or vodka. (Essential oils won’t mix well with water, so the witch hazel or vodka is necessary.) Then add 3 ounces of water. Mix well. (I like to shake mine up in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.) Then pour into your spray bottle. This recipe makes about 4 ounces of linen spray. I usually make about 12 ounces at a time in a larger spray bottle so I don’t have to make it as often. Each time I use it, I simply shake the spray bottle to make sure everything is mixed well.

  • A few of my favorite essential oils for this purpose:
    • lavender.
    • eucalyptus
  • You may also choose to use:
    • orange
    • lemon
    • peppermint

To help my students stay attentive:

Another way I like to use essential oils is to help my children pay attention while they do their school work. I simply put a few drops of peppermint essential oil in my diffuser and let it run in whatever room my children are doing their school work. If I forget, my children will ask for me to turn on the diffuser because they feel like it helps them so much!

  • A few of my favorite essential oils for this purpose:
    • peppermint
  • You may also choose to use:
    • vetiver
    • lavender
    • frankincense

These are a few of my favorite every day ways to use essential oils. If you’d like to find out more about using essential oils, getting a good guide book is a very helpful way to learn more. The following are a few of the guide books I use:

ONE OF HEIDI’S FAVORITE BRANDS IS SPARK NATURALS, AND YOU CAN USE THE COUPON CODE THEBUSYMOM FOR 10% OFF ALL THE TIME!

Do you use essential oils? If so, please share your favorite use in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

How to Clean a Child’s Bedroom Without Losing Your Mind

The never ending chore of keeping the bedrooms clean can cause a fair amount of tension if we choose to let it.  I’m not a mother who requires that bedrooms get picked up every day, because imaginary play often goes on from one day to the next, and I hate to squelch it.  That said, there are plenty of things that can be handled consistently to help keep a bedroom under control.  But eventually, it all needs to get cleaned up so we can vacuum or sweep… at least once or twice a year!  :blushing:  This task can be overwhelming for a child, and we need to be understanding about that.  Considering the number of decisions required to put away 9,743 objects in an hour, we should have some compassion.  Here are a few tips to help it be a manageable – and hopefully successful – task!

clean-childs-bedroom

  1. Make it clean-able.  Sometimes there’s just too much stuff to even be able to have it put away.  Maybe it’s a small bedroom or there aren’t enough places to put things.  Fix that!  Declutter, pass on some toys, buy storage solutions, etc.  A room full of things with no place to belong will be a constant frustration for you and your child.
  2. Have one container for “all the little things that feel like they should get thrown away but your child sees value in them.”  Yeah. Those things that you want to pitch while they’re not watching?  Chances are good that they’ll notice. (Ask me how I know.)  We use an under-bed container for these things: random flashlight, receipt, Chick Fil A toy, etc.  Anything that isn’t a group deserving of its own storage goes in this miscellaneous container, and it’s so appropriate to tuck it under the bed! Most of this stuff lives on the floor, so it’s really easy to put it away here.  :)
  3. Pick up everything and put it in one pile.  This is hands down, my best tip.  Pick up everything – EveRYthInG – and put it into one pile. On the bed, center of the floor, or wherever you choose. (We choose center of the floor because we can sweep it there easily!)  It automatically eliminates the visual clutter that can be overwhelming to children, especially younger ones.
  4. After everything is in one pile, we pull stuff from that pile in categories.  (Make a list of the order in which you suggest they do things if you are teaching them to do this independently.) Shoes are easy to start with because they usually all go in the same place, so it’s easy and quick success.  Clothes next because they are a big part of the pile.  Then the pile is usually manageable after those two categories. After that, just take one item at a time.
  5. Don’t rant while they’re cleaning or you’re cleaning with them.  (How would I know this is a temptation?)  It will make only serve to make the experience miserable for you both and make them feel like a failure.  Turn on some music to keep the mood light if you need some help. :)
  6. Be willing to help while they clean.  This may look like picking up and putting away while they work alongside you.  Maybe it’s in the form of company and reading aloud while they work.  Maybe it’s frequent checking in and encouraging.  There are a lot of ways to help, and the younger the child is, the more involved you will likely need to be.  But regardless of the age of the child, encouragement will go a long way!

You can do this, Busy Mom!

Do you have tips to share that simplify this task at your house?

Essential Oils: Where Do I Start?

Almost 2 years ago, I was home with a 5 year old, a 2.5 year old, and a 2 week old.  As luck would have it with a December baby, my 2.5 year old was coming down with a nasty cold, and I was looking for anything that could help keep my 2 week old son from catching her bug.  My sister was here to visit and well, let’s be honest, keep us all alive!  I had heard of essential oils, but didn’t know anything about them.  A few hours later, I was the proud owner of peppermint oil, a First Response oil, and some frankincense.  So started my journey into learning how essential oils can be a helpful tool for my family’s health.  I’m not against medications, but any time I can find a natural alternative for myself and my kids I’m so much happier to use that!

intro_essential_oils

Essential oils have been so useful for us!  I’ll be honest, it’s a really overwhelming world to get into. Even after 2 years there is still so much I don’t know.  But, I have learned a few things, and I’d love to share them with you.  I have no certifications in this area, I’m no expert for sure, just a mama trying to help her family in as natural a way as is possible.  Here are my 5 favorite oils and how they have helped us in case any of you are beginning to look into them and are as confused as I was.

  1. Lavender – What can I NOT do with lavender?  Love this one.  So gentle and versatile, it is a great one for using with kiddos* around.  A swipe of lavender can change the mood around here for my fussy toddler, emotional preschooler, or hyper 6 year old.  The first few months I felt so silly trying it and thinking it couldn’t possibly be working – but I can’t deny the mood change that occurs almost every time I use it!  We use lavender on bee stings, bug bites, and burns for quick relief for little ones, and add it to lotion for dry itchy skin.
  2. Frankincense – Am I the only mama who too frequently finds herself with a spinning brain full of thoughts and plans, but can’t quite process what to do next?  Well, maybe I am, but somehow I think not.  Using frankincense in a diffusing necklace, a room diffuser, or just a few deep breaths over the empty bottle really helps to clear my thoughts and balance my brain on these kinds of days.  It has also been really helpful for my headaches, used together with peppermint and lavender.  (Frankincense is one of the more expensive oils, but remember, you only use a drop or two at one time so it really stretches out.)
  3. Tea Tree (Melaleuca)- This is another incredibly versatile oil, and is used in our house on a daily basis.  A drop in my face lotion helps keep my skin clear.  3-5 drops in my laundry loads, especially those loads that have been washed multiple days in a row because the next step keeps getting missed.  Oh wait, does that happen in your house too?
  4. Peppermint – This oil is one to be cautious in using on little ones, but has been very helpful for me.  I used it for morning sickness to help survive my first trimester, use it on the back of my neck with lavender and frankincense for headaches, and it helps clear out stuffy sinuses quickly.  I’ve used it in lotion on for my back muscles that aren’t thrilled about the second trimester baby growth spurts.
  5. Lemon – I love lemon oil.  Honestly, I just love the smell!  I love mixing it with frankincense to freshen up the smell, as I don’t love the smell of frankincense.  It’s great for adding to laundry to freshen it up.  You know that lovely sticker goo you find folding a load of laundry that’s already gone through the washer and dryer?  A few drops of lemon oil and it will wipe right off. Amazing right?  I thought so.  Gum stuck in the little girl’s hair because her brother told her he would make it pretty?  Yup, takes that out too.  Mixed with peppermint, it makes a great morning blend to help wake up after a sleepless night.

One of Heidi’s favorite brands is Spark Naturals, and you can use the coupon code THEBUSYMOM for 10% off all the time!

While it can certainly be an overwhelming world to get into, I have so enjoyed finding all the different ways that these oils can help our family.  What a gift that God has created plants with properties that can help our bodies function more healthily and naturally!  What is your favorite use for essential oils in your home?

*Note: Not all essential oils are advised around children and babies!  Please research your oils, dilute and use kid safe oils around your little ones!

Keeping Up with Housework – 7 Practical Tips to Apply Today

We are constantly being asked around The Busy Mom how we get “it” all done.  Well first, we don’t, no matter how you define “it.”  I am in a season where I have little margin and I have to choose to use every minute wisely.  When I don’t, my house is what pays the price.  Now I’m not setting expectations of having a spotless or sterile environment – believe me, I’m not shooting for the stars!  I’m talking about a healthy, clean living environment, stewarding well what I have to manage.  I wish I could say this busy-bess would end soon, but it likely won’t, so I have to apply a few tips to keep my sanity and manage my home well.  I have given up on getting it all done, but there are a few things I do at my house to keep it livable!

keeping-_up_housework

Own less stuff.

Truly, go through and relentlessly purge your belongings (or schedule or responsibilities). This is the best first step. The less you have, the less there is to manage.  And if you are frustrated that you can’t keep a reasonably clean house, that just may mean that you have too much to manage in your current set of circumstances.  Right?  If you could manage it, you wouldn’t be reading this!

You may have too much stuff to manage, or just too much stuff to manage with 3 small kids and a part time job, or just too much stuff to manage with a traveling soccer schedule, or just too much stuff to manage with a husband who works 65 hours a week, or too much stuff to manage with a chronic health problem, etc.  If you truly can’t get it done, there’s too much “stuff” of some sort. I’m not criticizing any of those things, just pointing out that your set of circumstances is the reality in which you need to function well. I homeschool two kids, work part time and have a husband who has long work hours and chronic health problems, meaning he has little left to offer in the cooking and cleaning department. That is my reality, and I have determined what I needed to do to live well in it. But I can assure you, if you just have more belongings than your space will allow, it’s time to pack stuff up and move it out.

Make a list and post it.

Waking up with an expectation of what is to be done will set your mind in that direction first thing as opposed to waiting until you think about it.  If you’re like me, I don’t think about it until I’m dragging already and that never works out well!  Or worse, busy days go by and I don’t think about it at all. But if I have a list and stick to it, then when something comes up one day that prevents me from accomplishing whatever is on the list for that day, it doesn’t matter because I’m generally on track and can miss a day here and there.

When I’m successful, it’s because I make a list of what needs to be done weekly (like bathrooms, floors, etc.) and divide the list into chores assigned to certain days, adjusting for seasonal sports, Bible study and homeschool coop schedules. Then I purpose to obey my schedule because I’m a nerd and things like that work for me. I have no need to waste my limited brain power reinventing the list every day and no need to spend money on a beautiful notebook in which to write the same things over and over.  Type it up, print it off and tape it to the frig. or put it on your bulletin board.

Use your non homeschooling or non working days to catch up.

If I spend some chunks on Saturdays or Sunday afternoons cleaning, I can rest during the week when I’m trying to work around schooling the kids. Using those weekend “rest” days to manage my house actually allows me to better handle the busier weekdays, so my general level of rest is much more consistent as it is spread a bit over each day.  Since Jesus isn’t legalistic, I think this is okay with Him. If I use 60 minutes on Sunday cleaning, then I have ten minutes 6 other days to spend in the word, so my day of rest is spent “resting” with Him in the season in which He has placed me using my time to manage my home well.

Streamline your system.

It takes time to get cleaning supplies out and put them away.  Wrapping up the vacuum cord and kicking stuff out of the way to get it in the hall closet takes a few minutes each time.  Eliminate chore transitions to save time. Clean all the bathrooms on the same day while you have the supplies out, vacuum everything on the same day to eliminate that take-out and put-away time, round up all the sheets to wash and grab your hubby or child to help you put them all back on at the same time.

Work yourself out of a job.

Most children are much more capable than we give them credit for.  Look at your chore list and turn chores over to them.  Kids should be doing all that they are capable of doing! They don’t learn anything responsible by creating the tornado with no obligation to help clean it up.

Just do it.

Don’t spend ten minutes every hour killing time on your phone or computer.  (Yes, I’m talking to myself!) That can add up to 2 entire hours of lost productivity over the course of a day! When you’re tempted to sit down and veg, make the choice to keep moving.  You can sit now or you can sit once the kids go to bed, but if you are a homeschooling mom and want to stay on top of your house, chances are good you can’t sit both times.

Know the difference between clean and picked up, and set your expectations wisely.

“Clean” means I’ve vacuumed, wiped, scrubbed or sprayed something.  “Picked up” means all things are put in their place.  I have children.  I don’t strive for “picked up” constantly, or maybe ever.  I don’t believe it’s realistic in a homeschooling home.
I regularly push toys out of the way with the running vacuum cleaner, because legos or hot wheels look a whole lot nicer on my floor when they’re not mixed with dust bunnies!  A pile of mail doesn’t seem nearly as offensive when the counter on which it sits isn’t scattered with bread crumbs. Socks, shoes, flashlights and all manner of random child paraphernalia on the side of my staircase are much less bothersome when the stairs are freshly vacuumed.  That’s the difference between clean and picked up.  My goal is clean. I gave up on picked up as soon as my second tornado child could move.  I’ll raise my bar when she moves out.

 

If keeping up with your house is a struggle for you, I’d encourage you to pick just one of these and start today.  I need to get my list updated for this new season and get it on the frig.  Which of these is the most applicable for you today? Let’s start together!

Simplify Your Dinner Prep Today!

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Am I the only mom who has come to dread the 430-6pm hours of the day?  Man, these people, they want food every single night!!  There has got to be an easier way to do this.  It seems like freezer meals and once-a-month cooking posts are all over the place these days!  For a long time I couldn’t see why this would be necessary.  Well, I’m about to start my second year homeschooling, and am almost through my first trimester with our fourth baby, and it’s become pretty clear that cooking dinner is no longer my strength!  Over the past few months I’ve been looking for a few ways to simplify the process.  Thus far, I haven’t done a lot of fully cooked and frozen meals, but have focused on the most time consuming part of the process – MEAT!  For me, just having this step completed has made it SO much easier when 5 o’clock rolls around.  Here are a few ways I try to batch cook meat so it is ready ahead of time.

Ground beef ~ I’ve found that on a day when I am making something that requires ground beef, it is almost no additional effort at all to do it in a large batch.  I buy the family size packages at Costco or Wegmans (sometimes 2 if I’m feeling brave!), brown the meat (sometimes with garlic or onions depending on what I am cooking), use enough for dinner for a night or two, and freeze the rest.  I’ve done this with spaghetti sauce, chili, lasagna or tacos.  It can be done with meatloaf too, although it is more time consuming to do ahead of time in bulk.

Rotisserie chicken ~ What would I do without Costco’s rotisserie chicken?  This has saved me on so many evenings!  Aside from the last minute dinner though, it has become an ingredient for many other recipes.  Casseroles, soups, salads, there are so many options!  On a day or evening that isn’t overly full, I’ll buy 5 or 6 chickens, pick them all and cut up the meat, then freeze in 2 cup portions to use in any of these recipes later on.

zayconwithTBMlogoChicken breasts ~ I’ve started buying my chicken from Zaycon Foods.  Farm fresh chicken, $1.89/lb.  You can’t beat that!  When you buy from them, the chicken comes in a 40 lb. box and has to be trimmed, separated into bags
and frozen at one time.  Definitely more time consuming than cutting up a cooked chicken, but worth it!  Last time I ordered 2 boxes.  My husband and I worked together, and in one evening we had 80 pounds of chicken prepped and ready for different meals.  Sometimes I have gone the most simple route and just trimmed, frozen and bagged the chicken.  Sometimes I make up a few marinades to add to bags or simple recipes and freeze a few portions of it that way to have a few ready to bake servings too.

 

There’s nothing amazing here, and I’ve also just learned to simplify our meals in this season for us.  As much as I love fancy recipes (I’m a bit of a foodie), I’m just not in a season of my life where it serves my family well to cook involved recipes.  But  maybe there are some others who are looking to save time in simple ways like I am!  What are ways you have been able to simplify cooking processes in your home?

Finding the Ever-Elusive “Down Time”

family down time busy season For the first time that I am aware of, our Summer season has been chock full of things to do and people to see. I don’t just mean a little busy, I mean “Christmas busy.” Since the moment school let out, we have had a never ending stream of get togethers and events, friends and family to visit, and an ongoing “To Do” list. What gives?!  Most of these things are really good things, and our schedule has been full but it’s been full of good stuff. But a too full schedule wears on a person; it wears on the whole family. God, in his infinite wisdom, has given us a pattern–a mandate–for rest, because He knew that His way is The Best Way. God knows that if we work continuously, there will be consequences. In other words: Take a break, girl!!  But is it that easy? Why does finding time to relax as a family sometimes seem as difficult as a college calculus problem? Perhaps it’s because “finding time” is nearly impossible. Making time is what we are going to have to do to make sure that our family gets a break. It seems I have been living by this motto a lot lately:

“If it doesn’t go on the calendar, it isn’t going to happen!”

It’s true. We can talk about getting together with a friend some day but it we don’t pick a day it’s not going to happen. The same is true for our family day off. If it doesn’t go on the calendar – it’s not going to happen. Instead, things will continue to fill the little spaces on the calendar left and right like little breeding calendar rabbits. Even if what is filling up your weekends are fun things like holiday gatherings and time with friends, your family is going to eventually need a day without any plans to go anywhere at all. Your family needs a day to just be together, a day with no particular commitments. And ironically, you are going to make a commitment free Saturday by making that commitment on the calendar. It’s easy enough once you realize what you need to do. 

Step One: Pull out the calendar.

Step Two: Find the closest open Saturday (or one that you can clear.)

Step Three: Circle the whole thing. Label it “FAMILY DAY OFF,” or as we call it “STAY HOME DAY,” or maybe even “PLAN SOMETHING HERE AND YOU WILL REGRET IT.”

Step Four (the only difficult step): Protect that Day Off like a Mama Bear protecting her cubs!

I know,. . . this isn’t rocket science. I’m not the first person to tell you to plan breaks into your schedule. But I am here to remind you they don’t often happen by themselves. In a busy season, you will have to make it happen. You will need to choose a day in advance and then guard it against all the great and wonderful and fun things that will come along and try to embed themselves on that calendar day. You’ll have to be ninja mom, blocking and deflecting every invitation and favor request. You make it happen. And when that day arrives? You spend it with your family, with no obligations and no commitments. No time constraints. Shucks, you might even unplug from the phones and tablets! Watch movies together, play games together, play outside together, or cook together. Or if you feel like it, chill out in your pj’s together and have a pj day. We need these breaks together. It’s not that seeing other family members, or attending a baby shower, or going to the lake with friends is bad — it’s not! But it’s busy. And while we are advised to rest from work every week, I think we also need to take periodic breaks from “busy.” And that only happens, when we make it happen. Are you adrift in a sea of busy? Pull out your calendar, find the closest suitable day, and circle it, or draw a big X through it so you can’t plan anything there, or fill the entire square with the words “FAMILY TIME.” You can do it! Image Credit: Public Domain, Alex Grichenko