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20 Online Shops to Visit on Small Business Saturday

Does it ever hit Small Business Saturday and you are really unsure of where to shop? It is likely that you have just spent a small fortune on Black Friday and maybe you are excited for Cyber Monday but these are our fellow friends and small shops that need our support for survival! Literally. If you have been or are a business owner you understand the need for others to be a part of your business every day to stay open. To help you out, I have gathered a list of 20 shops you can visit and know that you are helping a small business owner and you may even create lasting friendships! That is the best part about shopping small.

Click the link below to visit the store. Happy shopping!

  1. Non-Toxic Household Items
  2. Personalized Coffee Mugs
  3. Gorgeous Outfits
  4. Yoni Eggs
  5. #ConfidentGirl: Discover Your Most Confident Self
  6. New Website and Business Coaching
  7. Confidence Coaching
  8. Custom Artwork
  9. Crystals, Gemstones and Jewels
  10. Magick Jewelry
  11. Handmade Crochet Blankets
  12. Angelic Healing Meditations
  13. 1:1 Coaching and other Services
  14. Tees for Entrepreneurs
  15. Baby Sleep Manual
  16. Painting Classes
  17. Handmade Signs
  18. Boutique Clothing
  19. Essential Oils and Wellbeing
  20. One Heart Coffee
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I’m Not Sorry I Gave You a Brother

Lately, I’ve read so many posts lamenting another child added to the family. Of course, I know these parents aren’t truly sad. Their love multiplies with each child and they learn what it’s really like to have the second one. It’s those early stages where they feel guilty.

When you reminisce about how you gave your time and all attention to one tiny human being, as opposed to sharing with others. All the fond memories of that extra time to do whatever the two of you wanted, instead of nursing, diapering, holding and caring for another infant while your toddler or child just want a second to show you their latest Lego invention. I totally get that.

However, I’ll never apologize to my son for giving him a brother. 

Personally, my son and I were lucky we did have quite a bit of time with just the two of us. He was four before his brother arrived and honestly very excited. Of course, I was nervous and uncertain, but his excitement did not dissipate upon his brother’s arrival, it only grew.

My fondest memory of my sons was when we came home from the hospital and I had to nurse the baby. I told my oldest we couldn’t do something because I had to nurse his brother and he said “okay, mom. I’ll just read to you while you feed him.” He had no clue how to actually read at this point, but he looked at the pictures and told us what everything was. I’ll never forget that sweet moment and the happy tears rolling down my cheeks.

As my kids get older and the toddler can steal his brother’s toys and hit, push, shove their brotherhood is not always as cohesive. I’m probably yelling at them at least twenty times a day, but I’ve never had a moment of regret for bringing a brother into my son’s world.

In fact, when we discovered our second child’s gender I told my son he was so lucky because he would now have a forever friend. I believe this to be true. He now has someone to be there and support him every day. His little brother is his biggest fan. He cheers for him at every sporting event. He helps him when he’s trying to sneak past mom. And yes, I know what’s going on you two. He will also be there as they get older. As life becomes more difficult and as decisions will have to be made for our lives he won’t have to do it alone.

So no, I’ll never be sorry I gave you a brother. I hope you truly remain best friends for life.

 

 Crazy 8 Sale On Now!

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Ten Tips for Traveling with Kids

Our family has spent much of our summer with our butts parked in our minivan. We’ve driven to Cedar City, Utah; Reno, Nevada; Bridgeport, California, Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Before our travels this summer we had only been a few places with our toddler they included a few camping trips and some trips to San Diego. To say I was nervous is an understatement. Our toddler does not sleep well regularly, so I was not looking forward to the hours spent in the car and trying to make him sleep in new locations. Here are some tips I discovered on our journey.

1. Bring the food, all of it. 

The first leg of our journey was a 7-hour drive to Utah. For some reason (boredom) while sitting in the car my kids want to eat and eat. We started our journey with apple slices and carrots. By the end, we were eating chips, jerky and gas station hot dogs.

2. Bring a barf bag. 

Speaking of that hot dog. Bring the barf bag. Growing up I was the kid who ALWAYS puked in the car. This lovely attribute has been passed to my eldest. He will throw up at least once, every time. Without fail. On our way to Utah, I forgot the barf bag and we tested the durability of a reusable bag. It worked, but I wouldn’t recommend this. We got lucky. A plastic bag is your best bet.

3. Teach your children the beauty of boredom. 

If you have a child who needs constant attention and entertainment, good luck! Sitting in the car is just boring. Sure, you can plan ahead and bring tons of movies. Maybe your car is equipped with them. We have none of this in our 2008 minivan. I brought a ton of coloring and books for the beginning of our trip, by the end my kids were content staring out the window and playing with a string from their pillow. Whatever works, bro.

4. Bring your medicine cabinet.

For some reason, an illness always occurs while traveling. It’s a lot like throw up. Inevitable. So, bring all your meds. Some for you, some for the kids. Just bring them all.

5. Don’t expect any sleep.

Our first evening in Utah I had to sleep with my toddler. The next night he did okay by himself, but we still shared a bed. With each new location, I would sleep with him the first night to ensure his comfort. On the following nights he would usually go to sleep, but often we were sharing the bed anyway. Have ya slept with a toddler? It’s like sleeping with an octopus, I would imagine. They are everywhere. Forget about any dreams you had of sleeping in as well. Once the sun is up, so are your kids.

6. Your kids will be cranky.

Just expect it. There are a few reasons for this. First, they’re exhausted, see above. Second, all of the activities of vacation will run them ragged and naps become optional between all the fun. It’s just a recipe for disaster.

7. TV and junk food are your friends. 

It’s vacation, just embrace this.

8. Nothing will go according to plan. 

As the Lampoon’s discovered with every family vacation, nothing will go according to plan. We went to three different lakes. At each one, a kayak or canoe was promised. It never happened. In the middle of our journey, the minivan needed new brakes. Fortunately, no flat tire this time, but you just never know. There were accidents and roadblocks. We would plan certain times for arrival, sometimes they were accurate, sometimes not. It is great to have an itinerary and I would highly recommend one, but don’t freak out if your plan is thwarted. Go with the flow as much as possible. It is a vacation after all.

9. Vacation with kids is about adventure, not rest. 

Maybe on your vacations before kids, you would arrive at the beach, drink in hand and just relax. This is not how kids operate. Not at all.  They want to run, explore, build, discover and fall head first into the water. Rather than fighting this, just embrace the fun. Instead of trying to relax I build sand castles with my kids and swim. Yes, it’s exhausting, especially after no sleep, but I’m pretty sure this gives them positive memories of family time. At least, I hope so.

10. Bring sunscreen! 

Pack it in your car and every bag. Thanks to Influenster I was gifted with free sunscreen from La Roche-Posay and I’m happy to report with all of our lake time, traveling, hiking and mini golf high in the mountains no one was sunburned! For us, this is a miracle. On our last trip to Colorado, I was burnt to a crisp and I try to avoid this at all costs. It’s so uncomfortable to have a sunburn and especially terrible when your children have them. I applied the sunscreen at all outside times. With the face sunscreen, I have also come home with clearer skin than before. My husband noticed this and was shocked. It made me so happy!

Traveling with family is usually fun and rewarding. I am thankful we have had so many adventures this summer! Fortunately, all our incidents were minor and I’ve obtained hundreds of Instagram-worthy photos. That’s what really matters. Right?!

Disclaimer: I was given a free sample of La Roche-Posay sunscreen via Influenster for my honest opinion. Little Passports is an affiliate link and I may receive a portion of your sales. Read more on out disclosure page.

Travel

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On, Moving. 

I kind of hate and also kind of love moving.

Moving from one home to another did not happen for me until I was 18 years old. I moved the day after I graduated college. About a month after moving I realized I had made a bad choice and my parents lovingly moved me back home. A few weeks later, I ended up moving again, to an entirely different state.

This time I stayed, but life was not simple for me. A lot of kids head to college and have their housing paid for or figured out before arriving. I had none of this.

To make living in a new state and going to college work first, I found a non-paid live in nanny position. This was possible thanks to good ol’ craigslist. At this time I was still working another job at a hotel to make the money gap meet. Even though I had a roof I still had to pay for food, books, gas. All other necessities.

Again, after another month I realized this was not going to work. I just didn’t have time for all of it. Soon, I was back to browsing craigslist and found a room for $200/month. I was sold! I was living with five other girls, but our house was fairly large. I stayed here a few months and once again thought it might be best to move. Did I mention my bed was an air mattress?!

At that time I thought it was best to move because a friend offered a free place. A few weeks in, come to find out, he was getting evicted and has ditched me to deal with the owners. Not cool. Luckily, another friend took me in. We literally shared a bed.

She and I hit it off really well and decided to get a place of our own. Now, I did not know much about this state I’d been living in. Come to find out, there are some neighborhoods better than others. Me being an ignorant 19-year-old who had only lived with her parents, I had no idea.

We ended up moving into one of these neighborhoods and it was CRAWLING with cockroaches. I had to get out. So, I moved again. Anyone keeping track? No idea how many moves we’re at here. I found another place, with another friend, moved a few months later and I believe three more times after that before my boyfriend (now husband) and I decided to move to San Diego!

We lived in San Diego for about three years, moving a total of four times.

After we had our first child I wanted to be back with our family and we returned to the Phoenix area.

We’ve been back here now for about 8 years and have moved only three times! A huge success to me. Now, I could tell you all about packing and moving and how to get it done quickly, because I’ve done it about 15 times in the last ten years now, but that’s not what I want to discuss.

I want to discuss what it means to me to be close to purchasing our own home.

Honestly, I was never sure this would happen. Actually, I’m still not sure because we haven’t officially closed, but it’s being built and it’s supposed to be ours. I also know how it feels to be near homelessness and relying on others for a roof over your head. To those who helped me numerous times, thank you so much! I don’t know what I’d do without you.

Being on the move so much has also taught me many invaluable lessons. To me, home is not a place. It’s the people in our lives. My people are my husband and children. When I am with them, I am home. We could be anywhere, as long as I have them I am truly happy.

To anyone struggling to find a home, buy their own home or make their rental into their own place, do not worry. If we can make it work I can guarantee almost anyone can.

I wanted to purchase a home seven years ago. It’s taken us seven years to get to where we are today. There have been struggles and sacrifices, of course, but in the end it’s all worth it!

Never give up, keep your home dreams alive. Maybe you don’t want to own a home. Maybe you want to travel the world or move each year. Whatever makes you feel at home is all that really matters.

I will admit, I was sad to say goodbye to our latest home. It holds so many wonderful memories. Our youngest was born while we lived there. My husband taught our oldest to ride his bike there and we’ve had a nearly a million family dinners at those tables. There’s been loss in that home as well, but I remember mostly positive moments.

As we move again, I am anxious that our home will provide a new space for us to thrive and grow.

Here’s hoping all goes according to plan! Probably won’t, because that’s life, but I can dream, right?!
P.S. I finally counted. A total of 18 moves thus far. Whoa.

Sun Basket 3 Meals Free

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LYPBB Challenge Day 10: Try a New Exercise

Today’s LYPBB Challenge is to try a new exercise. That is, if you’re ready!

After I had my first son I was thrilled to be able to run again and would wake up early just to get to the gym. He was also a champion sleeper, so I wasn’t completely exhausted. My second still doesn’t always sleep through the night, so it’s been a very different experience. I had absolutely no desire to work out until about a year after his birth.

At that time, I decided to try Yoga. I chose yoga because we had recently lost our grandmother and I wanted more of the mental peace than the physical improvements.

What I gained was new friends, newly found peace and new strength (both mentally and physically) in my same body. I also learned invaluable tools of meditation.

So today, if you are ready for a new exercise I would like you to try one. I’m trying Zumba today, which should be absolutely hilarious. If you aren’t ready to exercise, then don’t! This is all about you and doing whatever makes you happy.

If you’ve been keeping up with me on Instagram, you have heard about my recent gym exploits. I’m sharing them below if you want another laugh.

If you do go to the gym, I hope you enjoy the experience and remember to love yourself!

{Wondering what the LYPBB Challenge is all about? Start here!}

try a new exercisetry a new exercise

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LYPBB Challenge Days 8 & 9: Take a Break and Connect with Your Emotions. 

When I wrote this idea down for yesterday and today, I was planning on bringing positivity and super rays of sunshine, but today I just can’t do it.

As yesterday was Mother’s Day I took a much-needed break and didn’t write anything. I’m sure all you moms can understand. I hope you relaxed as well!

Last year on Mother’s Day I was completely different. I wanted to be left the eff alone. In fact, I told my husband to take the kids and go somewhere so I could just be alone for a while. He didn’t, and I’m glad for that. This year was entirely different. I wanted to spend as much time with my kids as possible.

You see, so much has changed since last Mother’s Day. We have lost our grandmother, grandfather and watched our friends lose children. All of this reminded me of just how much I wanted to spend the day with my kids. So, that’s what I did! We had an awesome day of fun; we went bowling and had dinner at Grandma’s house. I hope you got a break from your kids if needed, and some much-needed alone time.

The day after Mother’s Day is always a bummer for me because it’s back to the same old grind. (I need a mother’s week; maybe that would make me feel better.) However, it lets me connect with my emotions. I’m often sad on the day after Mother’s Day because it reminds me of children we have lost, as well. I always feel like we’re missing these children and that feeling is so much more present on Mother’s Day and the subsequent days are difficult.

When we are learning to love ourselves, I believe it is absolutely vital to view our emotions also. Is there a reason you’re upset, happy, sad? Why? Find out what is going on in your mind; take the time to connect with your emotions. If you need a good cry, or to scream into a pillow, just do it.

Society says that women should be these exuberant, outgoing beings and if we aren’t then something is wrong. Once you have a family, you are also responsible for their feelings. As the famous saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” So now, not only are we responsible for ourselves but our entire family. That’s a lot for one person to handle. This is why we need to recognize our feelings and express them, not sweep them away and feel ashamed for feeling a certain way. Today I want you to honor yourself and your feelings.

It’s okay to feel something other than happy. And, once you realize this, you may find happiness is easier to come by.

{Wondering what the LYPBB Challenge is all about? Start here!}

connect with your emotions

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LYPBB Challenge Day 7: Buy Clothes That Fit

How are you all feeling after cleaning out your closets? Don’t feel bad if this takes you more than one day. I did this again, just as I asked you all to do, and emptied even more from my closet!

I had done this after my second child, but didn’t realize all the crap I was still holding onto. I’m a little bit ashamed to admit that I still had some clothes from college. Here’s my pile of clothes I donated, pictured below.

Buy Clothes that Fit
As you can see the dog and toddler were super helpers. 😉

If you’re unsure of what to do with your clothes after you have decided what to purge, I highly recommend checking out thredup.com (they give you cash for clothes) and donate the rest. I’ve done this more than once and made $80.00; not too shabby!

Okay, today’s task is a lot more fun. Well, at least for me — I definitely love shopping and buying new clothes! It’s a bit harder with a baby, but well worth it.

Today’s challenge is to buy clothes that fit you. Some people lose their weight and are the same size, but maybe your style has changed. Some may be an entirely different size, like me. I went from size 4 to 10. Or, maybe you’ve even lost weight. It used to make me sad I had gained weight, but I’ve learned to love my curves. Also, my husband really does, so that helps as well.

I decided to go shopping at Target today. I grabbed my Starbucks, of course, and went straight to the clothing section. After yesterday’s purge, I approached my shopping with a new attitude. I used to buy things that were on sale, even if I didn’t really love them. This usually resulted in me not wearing those items often. In fact, I think I got rid of most of those yesterday. So today I only purchased items I truly loved. I grabbed my size-10 bottoms, large shirts and tried everything on in the dressing room. Again while trying the clothing on I only kept what I absolutely loved. I only found five things and returned the rest.

Now I know I have a closet with clothes I will actually wear and love and they also fit. That’s just one less thing for me to worry about in the mornings. Whoo-hoo!

On a not so happy note, while trying on clothes, my toddler broke my brand new sunglasses. Hey, it can’t all go perfectly.

Happy shopping, friends!

{Wondering what the LYPBB Challenge is all about? Start here!}