Category: Family


When I was first approached by a friend asking if I was interested in hearing about Green Cleaners, I had two (negative) thoughts:
1. I don’t care about cleaning, I hate cleaning, and I buy the good stuff from Target…
2. It seems complicated…

I politely (I hope) said that I was not interested. It wasn’t until another year went by when I changed my tune. The good news is, my friend asking me the question, made me pay attention to the topic. After that, it seemed like everything I read was about household cleaners, home environment, all the toxins we absorb, etc.

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I ended up not only switching cleaners to a non toxic brand, I started selling them! I love them so much it is my goal to get them in every home that I can!

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If you’re still on the fence about modern toxins and chemicals, it is time to get off the fence. Doesn’t your butt hurt? Here are my candid thoughts. This is a 3 min video I made today explaining my viewpoint.

Also, I have a lovely business partner that wrote a lovely blog on the topic already. No point in re-writing it… Check it out here.

So is it complicated? Yes and no. The switching of products couldn’t be easier. We sell a kit that has everything you need to clean (including the accessories). And it’s inexpensive and will last you ages!

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The hardest part is disposing of the old, toxic ones.

BUT- I have a solution for that as well! Technically, two solutions.

1. For local peeps, friends, fam- I am hosting a Get Clean Party on May 22 at 1pm at my house. Come hear about why you should switch, get a quick tutorial of Shaklee cleaners, AND I will take ALL your old cleaners for disposal! That’s right, I will do the dirty work.
2. If you’re not local, and/or can’t come that day, you likely have a local resource. Google hazardous waste material and your location or check out the EPA’s website for info. Here is a link that might help.

Many of the cleaning products American’s use daily are lung irritants and some of the most common causes of household accidents. Does it make sense to clean a toilet with gloves on, and then let your child sit on that seat 5 mins. later? You shouldn’t need a hazmat suit to clean your home. Switch to organic, green cleaners that actually work!

Also check out our Get Clean Water Pitcher!

*** I am not a doctor and I don’t even play one on television. I am a concerned mama sharing what I personally use and believe in. I sell Shaklee products as an independent distributor.

I have discussed previously my love affair with Summer. It is by far my favorite season and I treasure it. But what about Winter? Well, let’s just say it’s complicated.
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In years past, I suffered through winter. I barely tolerated winter. I complained incessantly about winter. But, I had an epiphany this year. Bottom line, I live in Northern Illinois (practically Wisconsin) and I’m not going anywhere, anytime soon. So, what do I get out of suffering through the season? Nothing! In fact, the more you resist time, the longer that time feels.

I read an article about how people who live in Norway celebrate winter for brining them opportunities to do things they love but don’t do during other seasons. They celebrate things like skiing and being ‘cozy’ and reading by the fire. I decided that there are things I DO truly love that I get to do during Winter.

1. Reading- what better excuse is there to curl up with a book when the weather outside is frightful?
2. Fires- I LOVE having a fire going in the fireplace! Just ask my husband.. I would have one going 24/7 if it wasn’t too expensive. The fire is so delightful.
3. Hot Toddys- not sure how to spell that but I do love myself a warm drink. Whether it’s simply some tea or if it’s an adult beverage, a nice warm drink can warm your soul. And since we’ve no place to go…
4. Snow- I love the beauty of a fresh fallen snow! Nothing compares to it. The pure joy and amazement on my kids faces when they see that it finally snowed is enough to make you cry. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
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I plan to be as cozy as possible for the next 3 months and embracing what this time of year brings. Until March; then all bets are off! In March I’m sick of this bullsh*t.

With Earth Day being just around the corner I wanted to (felt compelled to really) tell you about the best cleaners in the entire world!* I really do believe that. I have never been a person who cared too much about their cleaning products, nor did I really consider the effect they have on the planet and my home environment. That is, until I found out about Shaklee. I have always tried to live as ‘green’ as possible, and I was super obsessed with my family’s health, but I never closed the loop with regards to the air that we breathe in our home 90% of our time. DUH! Does it make sense to ‘clean’ our homes with products that you are not supposed to get on your skin, or breathe in? I think our common sense tells us no.
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Shaklee is an amazing company that truly puts the planet and people’s safety above anything else. In fact they were the first company to be certified Climate Neutral! That means, if you factor in every single part of Shaklee’s operations, they leave no carbon footprint! Back in the 1960’s, Shaklee came out with Basic H, one of the first all natural, organic, and bio-degradable cleaners ever. Fastforward to 2015 and there are even more amazing products to join Basic H.

Basic H2 is a super concentrated cleaner that has no fumes and is safe for everyone in the family (kids, pets). It has over 1,000 uses and hasn’t let me down yet!
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When I switched to Shaklee, I got rid of ALL of my other chemical cleaners and now this is what under my sink looks like. I WISH I would have taken a before picture, because it was completely filled with every cleaner you could think of!
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And, because it is super concentrated, it will last you FOREVER. Okay, not forever, but I am going on 1 year and I am not even half way thru my bottle of Basic H2.
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Shaklee also has something called a “Get Clean Kit” and it is really your 1-stop-shop for cleaners. It comes with everything you need: Basic H2, spray bottles, Laundry supplies, Dish Soap and Dishwasher detergent, all the accessories you need, cleaning cloths and scrubbers, etc. Everything in the kit is safe, non-toxic, no fumes, bio-degradable, etc. It is an amazing deal and most of the products will last you for months or longer. We have a family of four and I order most of these things only a couple times a year (except the basic h2 which lasts much, much longer). When you compare these products to the conventional store bought cleaners, there is really no contest.
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And, because it is Earth Month (it really should have it’s own month!), I am offering a special. Anyone who orders a Get Clean Kit by the end of the month, is going to get a FREE Scour Off and receive a FREE membership! Memberships get you a discount on all Shaklee products and never need to be renewed and there are no minimum order rules.

The Scour Off is a scrubbing paste (made from Raspberries!) that is also non-toxic but works better than any chemical-filled cleaner I have ever used. Think tough stains, ovens, showers, etc. Here are the Before and After pictures of my shower floor. Brief history- we had this stain on our shower floor forever. I bleached it, I used scrubbing bubbles, I used some ammonia stuff, and nothing! It wouldn’t come off and so I had given up. I figured we would just need to replace our shower and ignore it until then. Well, I am happy to report, 2 mins. with gentle scrubbing with Scour Off and it was GONE! This stuff is like magic.
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So, like I said, I am throwing in a Scour Off and Free Membership for anyone that joins with a Get Clean Kit in April. And, as always, Shaklee has a 100% Money Back guarantee! If you don’t like your kit, they would be happy to refund your money.
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Comment below with any questions you may have.

If you would like to work with me, email me at creimholz@gmail.com . We have fun!

***I am an independent distributor for Shaklee. I make money on sales from these products and links. I am speaking of my personal experience with these products and how -I- think they are the best. This is my opinion of course.

This post was inspired by a friend on Facebook was venting about being fed up with trying to figure out what is best for her family. For many people it feels impossible to sift thru all of the information out there and even if you did, you’d probably do something wrong any way. Well, if you are one of those frustrated people, this post is for you. I have been trying to read everything I can for the last three years on food, diet, clean living, immune building, and stress/sleep. Here are my OPINIONS*. Now, since I already established that these are my opinions, you are not allowed to get mad at me. 🙂 This is simply the conclusions I have come up with for me and my family. Take what you like, leave what you don’t. Hopefully something in this post will resonate with you.

First things first: Relax, this doesn’t happen over night and it doesn’t need to for most people. If you tried to over haul your household in one swoop you would spend way too much money and be overwhelmed. Take baby steps. Every time you run out of something ‘unhealthy’ just replace it with the better option. It took me 3 years to transform our lives and household and we still aren’t perfect.

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Real Food: Don’t over think food too much. It is not really as confusing as we all make it seem. I know that it seems like every time you turn around, they are changing their recommendations on what you should or should not be eating. This is true, but it is also mostly non-sense. If you are eating real food, food that grows out of the ground, food that comes from healthy animals, and eating to nourish your body, you are safe. If you eat these foods, you don’t need to worry about salt, sugar, and fat. If you eat these foods, you will never need to count calories again. These foods are vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, healthy fats, and nuts. You can’t go wrong.

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Fat: Don’t obsess over fat! If you follow the ‘real food’ guideline above, fat should not be a concern to you. Healthy fats are olive oil, coconut oil, avocado (fruit and oil), Omega 3 fatty acid, and butter from grass fed cows (Kerry Gold is a great brand). Avoid vegetable oils, transfat, and fake products like margarine. I actually started feeling better and losing weight when I added fat to my diet- true story.

Dairy: Okay, this is where it gets really tricky. People have a lot of opinions on dairy and we have a serious addiction to it here in the states. IF you can find raw milk to drink, that would be my first recommendation. Pasteurizing milk cooks out all of the good stuff. Raw milk is quite a bit healthier and totally safe from a reputable farmer. It is expensive and hard to source however. If you cannot drink raw milk, my next recommendation would be to avoid milk. We really don’t need it. Regular milk really doesn’t do anything for you. And, the whole ‘we need milk for calcium’ thing is not accurate. IF you are unwilling to give up milk, get organic and full fat milk. Skim milk is silly. It doesn’t help you lose weight, it is highly processed, and doesn’t fill you up. It is added calories for nothing in return. Unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk are alternatives, but they have their issues too. Best bet is find the version that works for you, but limit it. If you like a little milk in your coffee, fine. If a few times a week you make a smoothie, great. If your kids love milk, limit them to 1 glass a day. When you limit the amount of milk your family drinks, it makes it easier to afford the higher quality options.

Processed foods: This term is thrown around so much lately that no one actually knows what it means anymore. In my mind, this is anything that doesn’t grow that way. There is not a Ketchup plant, there is a not a bread tree, there is not a cereal bush. Anything that comes out of a box on the shelf at the store is a processed food. Limit these to 1-2 times per week. I am not saying you can never have a potato chip, but it should not be something you have often. One time a week I let myself have what ever I want. Sometimes it is pizza, sometimes it is a giant sandwich, but I plan for it. I go out for it instead of having it in my house.

Kids food vs. grown-up food: We are the only place in the world that has this concept of ‘kid’s food’. There should be very little difference in the food that you eat and the food you feed your children. Don’t feed down to them. If you are having fish, give them fish. If you are having vegetables, feed them vegetables. Is this hard? YES. Do they hate it? YES. But, with all do respect, who cares? It is better for them in every possible way to eat real food. And, in the long run, easier for the parents. Repeat after me: “I’m done making 2 dinners”.

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Organic: Do the best you can. I absolutely cannot afford to buy everything organic. It is just not in our budget. You can google the clean 15 or the dirty dozen (something like that). It gives you the best and worst produce with regards to pesticides. The way I see it, even a non-organic apple is still better than a bag of pretzels. Don’t beat yourself up, but do what you can.

Sugar: Sugar is one area where I would say- worry a little. It is a big problem for our kids. There is sugar in everything and it is every where we go. We can’t control everything, and that is okay. But, you can control what is in your house and what your kids eat majority of the time. I’m sorry, but sugary cereal for breakfast is about the worst choice. Kids (and the grownups) should start their day with protein, fiber, and fat. Finish the cereal you have and then stop buying it. Cold turkey. Actually, ‘cold turkey’ would be a much healthier breakfast then cereal. No more juice, flavored oatmeal, and flavored yogurt. They are loaded with sugar! If your kids are dunkers, try to limit the ketchup and BBQ sauce- loaded with sugar. I know it’s a little scary and a little depressing, but sugar does crazy things to our brains- especially kids’ brains.

Chemicals: Chemicals are everywhere, they are in your homes, your food, calling from inside the house! Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife… Okay, I got carried away but you get what I am talking about. Between red #50 and pesticides and toxic cleaners, etc. it is a little over whelming. I switched out all of my household cleaners (sprays, floors, dish washer, laundry, etc.) to a green and clean brand last year and I’m so glad I did. They are so safe, my kids can use them without my concern. You spend a huge amount of time in your home, it is the air you breathe most of the time, and the only environment that you can control.
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Supplements: Even with a perfect diet, you will have holes in your nutrition. For kids I recommend Incredivites. For grown ups I recommend Vitalizer or at least Vitalea. For everybody in the whole entire world- I recommend a high quality probiotic like Optiflora. Probiotics are magical and can literally transform your health (immune system, digestion, even mental health).

Keep it simple stupid: Don’t stress too much and don’t over complicate. You don’t need to start searching for special recipes or start making home made granola bars (although you can and they are delicious). In the beginning, just stick to the basics. When you are shopping, ask your self these questions:
1. Did this grow out of the ground or does it have a mother?
2. Does this make me healthier or less healthy?
3. Is this going to temp me (mom or dad) if I buy it? (think ice cream, bread, snacks, etc.)
4. If Candy saw this is my pantry would she yell at me? Hahaha, don’t make me come over and start throwing stuff away. 🙂
5. Trust your gut. YOU are the mom or dad. YOU are the only one that truly can make these decisions for your family. Do the best you can, and remember that nobody has all the answers.

If you have any questions on this, please don’t hesitate to ask. This is what I love to do and talk about. Either comment below or email me at creimholz@gmail.com.

*I am an independent distributor for Shaklee. I make money off sales from these links. I am not a doctor, nor am I trying to treat any medical conditions. This is from my personal experience.

***Work with me. Do you have a passion for clean living too? Email me at creimholz@gmail.com to see if this would be a good fit for you.

IMG_1835Okay ladies, let’s talk. Just a quick little chat. I think it’s time to cool it with the posing in the pictures. Not every pic on your smart phone needs to be a red-carpet moment. You know what I mean: hand on hip, arms away from the body for slimming, chin down, sexy eyes, shot from above, etc. This pose is the new duck face in my opinion. Is it more flattering? Yes! Is it slimming? Yes! Do you need to pose like that for the picture with your 2 year old? No. Do you need to be ‘hot’ in a picture with your kids (or grandma or fish tank)? There is a time and a place for posing: date night, girls night out, weddings, etc. First day of school at the bus stop? Please god no.

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My favorite pictures of me have always been spontaneous. I love pictures where I am laughing- mouth wide open- and looking away. I love pictures where I might not being wearing makeup but I am having fun with my kids. I love pics that are great memories, even if I don’t look skinny. You know why? Because there is not a secret Hot Mom contest. And, if there was, I am sure I would not win. If there was, I would not participate. If there was, shame on anyone who would judge it. I take pride in my appearance, and I take care of my health, but not so I can be photogenic for strangers on the internet. Because I like to feel confident. Because I like when my body can do what I ask of it (like sub for a volley ball game or run a couple miles or dance the night away).

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I am not perfect. I am guilty of the ‘let me see it’ as soon as the flash fades. I am guilty of ‘put a filter on that so I look younger’. I am guilty of the ‘do it again, I don’t like my face’. But, I am going to work on that. I would really hate for my daughter to look at a picture I took of her perfect little self and say that she doesn’t like her face. That is about the saddest thing I can think of. Let’s just go back to having fun and capturing moments. That’s what pictures are for.

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Ever since starting with Shaklee vitamins, I feel like I need to shout it from the rooftops! I have talked to anyone that will listen to me simply because I feel like the world NEEDS to know what healthy can feel like. But, today I am coming down from the roof top, stepping off my soap box, and putting down the mega phone. I am only going to talk about the everyday products that you are all already purchasing, and showing you the Shaklee alternative.

Why would you want to switch? Well, there are lots of reasons but the big ones are:

1. Shaklee is always safe: We are proud to be non-toxic! The products don’t give off harmful fumes, they are safe to be used around children and pets. I WISH I knew about this stuff when I was wiping down high chairs and had babies crawling on the floor and putting everything in their mouths!

2. Shaklee is always green: Shaklee was the first in the world (!) to become climate neutral. That means, if you factor in everything- corporate headquarters, shipping, packaging, etc.- they leave no carbon footprint. The cleaners are biodegrable, recyclable, concentrated to save on packaging, etc. They are no joke!

3. Shaklee will save you money: This one might surprise people. Some of you have looked at the prices and there might have been a little sticker shock. But, what you need to factor in is how long this stuff will last. A bottle of basic H2 costs $12 for non-members and will last the average person a year. It completely replaces all purpose cleaner, floor cleaner, and window cleaner (and more) for a whole year! For $12 bucks!

4. Shaklee always works: Some of you might be thinking- I don’t care how good it is for the planet if it doesn’t work as well as my…. tide or windex or whatever you are using. The crazy thing is that it does work as well. I actually prefer these cleaners and other beauty products to everything I have ever used.

All Purpose Cleaner and Window Cleaner:
I already mentioned the basic H2 cleaner. It is magical and it does everything. It saves you a ton of money. It’s a no brainer. It is so concentrated that 2 drops is all it takes to make a 16oz bottle of window cleaner.
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Laundry Products:
This was the one that I was most skeptical of. I loved my old stuff. I loved getting lavender scented dryer sheets and the fabric softener with the cute bear. But, the more I read about how bad those are for your home environment, the more willing I was to give the Shaklee stuff a shot. They have a liquid or powder detergent, a fabric softener, a stain booster, and dryer sheets (that can be recycled after you use them (!). I now use these products exclusively. They last forever and my clothes are truly clean and fresh smelling.
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Dish and Hand:
The dishwasher detergent was the first time I thought- they have got to be kidding me! It not only cleaned my dishes, it cleaned my dishwasher! I wish I would have gotten a before/after pic but I never thought in a million years it would clean my old skuzzy dishwasher. This stuff lasts forever too! I opened this bag on 11/13/14 and it is still going strong today 2/13/15. We have a family of 4 and run our dishwasher every.single.day. They also make an amazing dish soap for the sink and a great regular hand wash soap.

Shower:
I use the Prosante Shampoo and Conditioner for my hair and the Enfuselle body wash and face wash for my skin. Again, it’s just another way to get the excess chemicals and harmful ingredients out of our lives. And the teeniest bit goes a long way, you only need a dab.
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Skin care:
I also use the Enfuselle moisturizers and Shaklee antiperspirant cream. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and probably the organ we abuse the most (besides our livers). The C and E repair cream in the picture makes your skin feel like silk. It’s insane.
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I spent months slowly replacing all of my old products. Whenever I would run out of something, I would just replace it with the Shaklee version. So this didn’t happen over night. And now, to save money, I just do a quick inventory at the end of the month. I see what I am going to need and order it all at once to save money on shipping.

FREEBIE ANNOUNCEMENT!!!! Because it is Friday, my favorite day of the week because I am free to do whatever I want with my day, I decided to do a sample give-a-way. Here is how you can get a free sample:
1. Comment on this blog post (either below or on Facebook) with 1 product you want to try. It could be from any one of our lines- cleaning, nutrition, weight loss, or beauty.
2. Share this blog post on your wall and tag me or Candysbrain blog

I will pick up to 5 winners to get free samples. Good luck!
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***I am an independent distributor for Shaklee products. I receive payment for sales from the links provided.***

FullSizeRender (9)This morning I was reading a blog post about a mom who got fed up with snacking and it sparked an old feeling inside me. I have talked about snacking before, I have ranted and raved about snacking before, I will talk to anyone who will listen to me about snacking before, but I need to bring it up again.

Our snacking is out of control! Grown-ups and children but this post is going to focus on our kids.

I’ll never forget the time I had to run into Kohl’s really quick to grab something. Maybe a 10 min. trip. I had my daughter with me and the second we crossed the threshold with her stroller she asked for a snack. She not only asked for the snack, she just assumed there was one coming. Like I have a magical snack dispenser in my purse that shoots out pretzels and yogurt covered raisins. When I told her I didn’t have anything, she made my trip to the store much less pleasant. But, it’s not her fault- it was mine. You see, it’s easier to give kids snacks. If they are busy with cheerios, they aren’t whining. They aren’t crying in the car if they have Teddy Grahams. But what is that teaching them? Instead of looking out the window for 15 minutes and observing the world, they are digging for more cheap carbohydrates in a plastic bag. At the store, instead of having polite conversation with mommy and smiling at strangers, they are looking down into cardboard-like ‘gold fishys’. Instead of learning that sometimes they have to behave, even though they are bored, they are self soothing with junk food.

And, even if you are pretty strict with snacks, you have to be like a mom-ninja to avoid all the sugar crap that is being offered to them around every turn. Bank- here, take a hard candy. Hair cut- here take a lolli pop for acting like a human child should act. Grandma’s house- I only gave them 3 donuts with their chocolate milk this morning. Here take a 100 calorie pack of cookies for the 20 min drive home. (Sorry Mom- but you know I am right.) Birthday party- I know we just ate cake with electric blue frosting, but here is a goody bag with more candy for later. Sports activities- The kids stood out in a field being yelled at to pay attention every 3 minutes for a half hour. Let’s replace all those electrolytes and carb load! It’s madness!

Take a look at Pinterest and do a search for Fun Snacks for Kids. Ugh, not only do we not need a snack every hour, we certainly don’t need homemade ‘sushi’ made from a tortilla, chocolate spread, and a banana. (seriously, I just searched it to see what would come up and it was my worst nightmare). I get it, once in a while that is cute… But, your kid should be able to just eat a frickin apple once in a while. Besides, if they only eat sandwiches that look like Teddy Bears, how are you going to sustain that.

All that said, there is a time and place for snacking. Of course there is. I am not depriving my children. But, let’s be careful about what message we are sending. You don’t get a cookie because you didn’t throw a tantrum in toys r us. I expect you not to throw a tantrum in toys r us. You don’t get graham crackers to get you thru the 1/2 mile walk around the block. Your young, healthy body can more than handle that level of exertion. You don’t get crackers because you are bored at the store with mom. Use your imagination. Children that eat when they are bored, turn into grown ups that eat when they are bored.

It is not healthy for kids to maintain a high level of sugar in their little bodies all day long. Cereal, yogurt, dried fruit, cookies, graham crackers, gold fish, juice boxes are all FILLED with sugar (and if they don’t have a lot of sugar they turn into sugar in their blood stream immediately). I don’t want to get heavy into the science, but it becomes very hard for kids to control their mood and their behavior when there is a constant up and down in blood sugar or if it is always high.

So, let’s put an end to this. Take a stand against sugar with me! Go cold turkey. Your kids will be fine. In fact, they’ll actually be hungry at dinner time.

Me, this year

thumbs upThis is like part my new year’s resolutions, part a diary entry, part a declaration of what I want in life. There is something magical about a new beginning and reassessing where you are and where you want to be. But, be careful, don’t linger in the past. It is exactly that, past. You can’t change it so don’t dwell on it. Reflect, but do it with the utmost love and forgiveness for yourself.

FEAR: I am done with fear. I am tired of worrying about what people think of me. I am tired of being scared to follow my gut. I am tired of following the unwritten rules because I am afraid to live by my own set. Look out world, I’m coming for you.

FITNESS: I am going to get to the point that I can do anything physical without thinking twice. Tennis? Sure! Go for a hike? Of course! 5K tomorrow? Yep! Anything that comes along I will be capable of doing.
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WEIGHT: I seriously don’t care about how much I weigh any more. Am I comfortable in what I wear? If yes, than I am good. I love my body. Why should I worry about whether other people do?

BRAIN: I am going to feed my brain daily. I am going to cherish and protect it like the magical creation that it is. I am going to read books that overwhelm me, that inspire me, that teach me, that challenge me, that fill me up.

SLEEP: I am going to make sleep my bitch!

LOVE: I am going to be fair with my love. I am going to love more and ‘mad’ less. I will try to praise before I criticize. I will end fights at that moment when you realize that you are actually just frustrated about something else.
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KIDS: I am just going to keep loving them with all of my capabilities. I will not worry that they don’t have something, or that they can’t be in everything, or that they were ‘bored’ yesterday. I will not compare myself to other moms. All they need is my love and my time.
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BUSY: I am going to keep on saying NO. I simply don’t like being busy. I am not going to feel guilty about that anymore.
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HAPPY: I am going to make this the hap hap happiest year since Bing Crosby danced with Danny f’ing Kay… But, seriously, life is amazing and I have so much to be grateful for. I love my life and I am going to focus on my special brand of happy.

CHEERS!

FullSizeRender (8)Somehow, over the last decade or so, we have lost our way when it comes to the holidays. It has become a stressful time that we have to ‘get through’, where we trying an jam all of our shopping into as little time as possible to ‘get it all done’, all while spending as little money as possible on as much crap as you can find on sale at as few stores as possible. Then we complain about the crowds and the parking lots and how rude everyone is and how that clerk had the nerve to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Well, I have to say, we have done this to ourselves. What do we expect to happen when our intentions go from ‘truly putting thought and care into giving while focusing on time with loved ones’ to ‘sacrificing time with family so we can fill our houses with cheap crap from giant corporations who underpay their workers’. That’s the bad news. But the good news is, we can turn this thing around! Here are some tips to keep your money in your communities and support your neighborhood families this holiday season:

1. Buy from local business: Instead of going to Wal-mart or Amazon, try to buy at least half of your xmas presents from local shops. Does your city have a small book store, music store, or hobby shop, or toy store, or boutique, or pet store? I don’t know about you, but Target has enough of my money!

2. Buy from local vendors: examples of local vendors are someone who sells Shaklee products (me), or Avon, or Origami Owl, or Thirty One bags, or Arbonne, or Pampered Chef, etc. These companies are great opportunities for people (mostly women) to create a business for themselves. When we support women and mother’s that live in our neighborhoods, we are supporting children and families.

3. Support small, non-chain restaurants, bars, wine shops: Not saying that places like Olive Garden are somehow not worthy of our time, they are staffed by local people who rely on steady business too. My point here is that, they usually have a steady stream of people coming in regardless. They are already busy. Instead, lets support the new restaurant that just opened. Or that neighborhood wine shop where you might pay a dollar or two more, but they are staffed with people passionate about wine who are getting paid appropriately. Or, buy gift certificates to that cute little restaurant that is always offering farm to table menu options. By doing that, you are supporting a local business owner, the servers who are working their butts off (tip them!), and the farmers that are supplying the food. Win-win-win-win. And, very often, the food is better anyway. #firkin #shanty #adlibgeocafe #nirvanawineandgrillerie #stevenssteakhouse

4. Hire local, independent contractors, artists: Instead of going to JC Penny for family photos, hire a local photographer. You will support a local family and (likely) get way better quality photos. Instead of buying a picture from Pier 1, buy an original from a local artist. #katebogot #lifeographyphoto #youfail.com #basementtshirts

5. Give: Last, but certainly not least, give stuff to people! Buy less stuff for your family, and buy more for those in need. Think about the family that can’t afford a Christmas while you are watching your kids open their 16th present. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy presents and spoiling your kids, but there is a fine line. Make a point to talk to your kids about helping those in need, about donating things that they don’t use anymore. Have them pick out a present for a kid in need. #toysfortots #northernillinoisfoodbank #caringforkidsclothingdrive

If you are looking for a vendor event, there is going to be a great one on Dec. 8th at the Savana House in Wadsworth IL. Here is the info:

2014 Holiday Sip and Shop
Savana House
38905 Route 41
Wadsworth IL
Monday Dec. 8th, 2014
6pm-9pm
Shaklee, Jamberry Nails, Norwex, Jewelry in candles, Beach Body, Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Origami Owl, Thirty One, and Younique Makeup

Not to mention PRIZES and WINE and MARTINIS and BEER and…. 🙂

My Idea of Summer

adirondack chairThank you baby Jesus, summer is finally upon us. I literally dream of summer all year long. In those desperate quite moments of February when you feel like you can’t take it for one more GD second, I close my eyes and think about June. I think about the sun on my bronze face and working in my garden and sidewalk chalk and happiness. And, it’s here! It’s finally here!

When I think about what I want to do with my summer… wait let me stop there for a second. Notice how I said MY summer? Notice I didn’t say my KIDS’ summer? That’s right. The kids are going to be fine no matter what kind of summer we have. Me, on the other hand, not so much. You see, my sister is the queen of summer. Not a weekend goes by where she doesn’t know about some awesome free summer event somewhere. Last year she brought us to a hot air balloon launching thing in Grayslake. It was very cool. And, bless her for not getting more irritated with me, but she sends me at least one email per week saying, ‘did you hear about the free summer concert series this weekend….want to go?’ And my response is usually something like, ‘maybe, we’ll see how the week goes.’ But, it’s all good. She likes to do that stuff. You know what I like to do? Sit in my yard listening to Bob Marley and drinking vodka (she likes to do that too…). I’d like to say that I’m joking, but I’m 100% serious. If I got to pick what I got to do on Saturdays all summer long, that would be #1.

I also love the kids running around the yard, playing on the swing set, exploring nature, and not bugging mom. It’s summer for crying out loud. They need Mom to protect them, to feed them, to love them, but they don’t need me to be their super-companion. That what’s your brother/sister, cousins, and neighbors are for. That is what your imagination is for. I’m like all of our parents were, I lose my shit when my kids say they are bored. Any one who says they are bored can go inside and take a nap! This doesn’t mean we won’t also have a blast. We got a new and improved blow up pool- cooler than anything I ever had. We got pool passes. I like to do camp fires and backyard camp-outs. I love going for long walks. We go to the park. And, we are signed up for t-ball. There is going to be plenty of fun for the kids of course. That’s the best thing about summer- it is fun without trying. Bubbles, hopscotch, hula-hoops, and hoses. That’s all it takes.

I just don’t want to jam in so much, that next thing I know it’s September and I feel like I didn’t sit down. Some people like to pack in as much fun into every day as they can muster. I like relaxing outside. To me, that is fun. (It makes me sound so lazy!). I like reading my book in the sun. I like grilling out. I like sitting around fires. I like talking with my neighbors until you say, ‘Holy crap, is that what time it is?’ I like playing bags and drinking shandy. I like waking up in the morning and blogging on my porch while my kids watch cartoons. I like going to the farmers market and touching and smelling and tasting. I like when my husband asks, ‘what’s the plan for the day?’ and I get to say ‘nothing, no plan.’

That is, until we get a boat. And then that is what I want to do everyday. But, with the Marley and the vodka….