Toddler/Child Affirmations

I am a huge believer in the power of the mind and the ability it has over our life and overall happiness. The past couple of years I have made it a goal to really be intentional with my mindset, internal dialogue, and perspective. My daily routine of prayer, written gratitude, and affirmations have been powerful actions in my personal life that do not take up much time, but create a big impact.

I recently started having my toddler recite his own daily affirmations, and it is the sweetest thing I have ever heard! I believe the more times you say something, the more you believe it, and the more you feel it. I wanted to share the five that he currently repeats. I will adjust and change them as he develops and gets older. He has listened to me pray and speak affirmations many times in the car, so he was very excited to have his own!

I would love to know anything that has helped you with your mindset or a daily routine you currently have in place!

Two Year Old Affirmations

  • I am created in God’s imagine
  • I am loved SO much
  • I am able to do AMAZING things
  • I have a heart like Christ
  • Today will be the BEST day

 

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Blessings,

Jac

5 Easy At Home Dates

I don’t know about you, but once children are in the mix finding time to go on dates with your significant other can be a challenge. Even though getting out of the house together is much needed, sometimes that isn’t always the case (or an option). I think there are still many ways to connect and date at home if you can think outside of the box and be a little creative.  Today I wanted to share five easy dates in the comfort of your home.

I will say that having a good routine in place with your children helps tremendously in allocating time together. Our son starts his bedtime routine around 6:20pm and is asleep around 7:00pm each night. This gives my husband and I a few hours to take advantage of before we generally go to sleep. You can check out my thoughts on routines here: Why I Value Routines  and our toddler night time routine here: Toddler PM Routine.

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1.Puzzles

We are obsessed with puzzles. It is something we can do together while talking and enjoying each other’s company. It is also a way to work together while completing a simple task.

2. Show Series

We love watching a series that we both enjoy! We look forward to each episode and get to make it a cozy night in. We recently watched all of Game of Thrones together.

3. Cooking

We both enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. It can be so fun to make something together and is easy to do alone if your children have an earlier bedtime!

4. House Project

It is so exciting to work on house projects together whether it is painting a room, making a piece of furniture, or decorating a space. We both enjoy having a project and brainstorming/working together on it.

5.Exercise

Working out together benefits everyone! We have completed different programs together at home, and it is fun to have an accountability partner and someone to share each workout with. We really enjoy yoga in the evenings to clear our minds before bed.

 

I would love to know what at home dates you enjoy!

Blessings,

Jac

Why I Value Routines

The past couple of weeks have been busy for our family as we prepare to move to another city. My husband started his new job last month so I have been holding down the fort with little man while he travels back and forth on weekends. Being solo with a toddler has given me so much empathy and respect for any parent raising children alone either permanently or for an extended period of time.

As we were going about our day, I started thinking about how grateful I was to have routines in place for our family and how important they are to my husband and I as parents. I wanted to share my perspective on why I value routines as a mom and former classroom teacher. I have experienced first hand how they positively impact children and have recognized the value for a long time. Here are my top three reasons why I love routines!

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1.Creates Stability 

I think it is so important for a child to know what to expect. It eliminates anxiety about when things will happen and creates some type of order/structure throughout the day. It also helps with travel keeping specific routines in place (to the best of your ability). Children are familiar with them in the midst of many unknowns which can be comforting. We like to keep morning, nap, bedtime, and meals structured!

2.Encourages Independence/Responsibility

Having routines in place help children learn what is expected of them. It helps eliminate “power struggles” or arguments about doing certain things. Children are able to practice follow through with expectations and establish independence and responsibility for certain tasks. For example, our son knows it is his job to clean up his toys before we start our bed time routine and is responsible to do so. Other expectations or “jobs” include putting clothes in the hamper, throwing trash away, choosing books, filling up water cup, brushing teeth, etc. Routines and expectations can be built by modeling…

I do: You show your child how to complete tasks and what that looks like

We do: You encourage your child to help you complete the task together

You do: You give control to your child and allow them to practice independently

3.Provides Special “Rituals”

When you create routines you are creating things that are specific to you and your family and children (or classroom). This can help foster relationships by allowing those special moments to take place on a daily basis. It can be as simple as a good morning song, night time prayer, dedicated family time, etc. It also encourages children to look forward to certain things!

I would love to know any routines your family has!

Blessings,

Jac

 

Find Your Fit Series: Beachbody

With the new year upon us, I know many of us are starting health and wellness resolutions or goals. I have been passionate about health/fitness since I was a sophomore in college. You can read more of my story/background here: About. I thought it would be fun to create a series where I review different programs or fitness trends and give my overall thoughts and considerations. I would love to know what you are currently interested in within fitness so I can add it to my list!

I wanted to start with giving my thoughts on beachbody since I am extremely familiar with it. I will break down each trend with a general overview, pros, cons, and cost.

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Overview

Beachbody offers at home workout programs that you can purchase individually or through on demand (access to all programs through site or app). Programs are very diverse in style and length. Some require equipment such as dumbbells, resistance bands, sliders, while others are primarily body weight. An overview and description is given for each program along with a calendar to follow. All beachbody customers create an account to purchase products or programs. Your account will be directly linked to a coach (given specific link by someone or automatically assigned).

Pros

  • Convenient
  • Diversity and options
  • Easy access
  • New programs continuously being released
  • Can download workouts for travel (no WiFi needed)

Cons

  • Purchasing any equipment needed or wanted
  • Lack of group/gym setting
  • Limited with any loved “gym items”
  • Technology can be unreliable at times (streaming)
  • Purchase each new release if you want early access

Cost

Individual programs differ in cost (can bundle additional items). Beachbody on demand (streaming) is $99 annually.

 

I have loved having on demand throughout my pregnancy and becoming a mom. It has been the most convenient way for my to continue an exercise routine and helps me personally eliminate excuses. Although I do enjoy the programs and ease of access, I do miss going to a gym or experiencing a group atmosphere. I am excited to try new things this year and challenge myself in different ways!

 

Blessings,

Jac

Toddler Travel Tips: Car

My son and I recently joined my husband for work for a few days. I shared how I stay on track with my health here: Traveling & Staying On Track. As we were driving home I was thinking of things I do to make our trip as smooth as possible, especially when traveling solo for an extended time. He just turned two, so these are things that are working for us at this stage. I would love to know what works with your children when traveling by car, or any top tips!

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1. Chunk Up Time 

I like to chunk up car time to give our son things to look forward to. I try to plan the start of our trips around his nap time (11am) so he can rest in the beginning. He normally sleeps an hour in the car so we will start with that. Once he wakes up I give him a snack and then we stop a few hours in to eat, stretch, potty, etc. After a break he will play and read for an hour (ish). I like to save the last hour or so for IPAD. We have downloaded shows/movies that are on deck for travel.

2. Have Snacks Available 

I always pack a lunch box for travel to keep everyone happy. I like to keep our sons favorite snacks on hand that are easy to eat. I will have his bowls already filled with crackers, veggie straws, etc so it is one less thing to do. I keep it in the passenger seat so I can easily get what I need to give to him. He also has his water in his seat.

3. Have A Bag Of Toys/Books

I have a designated bag that I use for toys and books on trips. I try to bring easy toys for the car and have them in big zip lock bags ( if applicable). I keep the bag where I can easily reach in since our son is unable to sort through it himself.

4. Take Advantage Of Songs/Audio Books

Our son loves songs and nursery rhymes. If he is getting antsy I will play his favorite CD of all the songs he likes. Most times I repeat the same song for 30 minutes, but it keeps him happy and is an easy go-to!

5.Download Movies/Shows

Taking advantage of technology can be a life saver! I save it for the end of the trip so is not the main source of entertainment. We like to download movies and shows from Netflix so they are ready to go!

 

 

Blessings,

Jac

Traveling & Staying On Track

As I was packing and preparing for a week of travel, I started thinking about things I naturally do that help set me stay on track with my health and wellness when I am out of my “routine”. I try to plan as much as I can, however I also recognize I have to be extremely flexible with my expectations and mindset. I thought I would share what has worked best for me. I would love to know anything that works well for you with traveling!

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1.Pack your favorite go to snacks that are easy!

I like to pack as many snacks as I can for our family. It keeps everyone happy and is an easy way to eat something healthier when you are in a bind or need a pick me up. My favorites are fruit (bananas, oranges, apples), bars, trail-mix, protein powder/greens powder, veggie straws/crackers/squeeze packs (little man).

2. Water, water, water!

We like to bring our hydro-flasks with us everywhere to keep us on track with our water intake. Even if our eating is off track, drinking the same amount of water helps SO much! We feel such a difference when we are lacking on water, so that is a huge priority for us when we are out of our normal routine.

3.Stock Fridge (if applicable)

If we are able to stock up on fresh items we always take advantage of having a fridge accessible. We will make a quick trip to the store for items like veggies (pre-cut), salads (pre-made or bags), fruits (berries), string cheese, turkey, yogurt, etc. It helps having items on hand and not feeling like you have to eat out for every meal.

4.Look At The Menu

If eating out is our only choice, I always look at the menu and decide what I want beforehand. This truly helps me not only stay on track but also give my body nutrients and feel good. I try to consume as many vegetables as possible while still enjoying the foods I want to eat.

5.Find Ways To Move

I try to stay consistent with my exercise routine (as much as I can) while we travel because it helps me feel good throughout the trip. If there is a hotel gym accessible I will take advantage of that, however if not I will make sure to have at home workouts downloaded and ready. This helps me eliminate excuses and hold myself accountable.

BONUS: Be Kind To Yourself

If you have health and wellness goals and fall off track during travel, it is OKAY and totally normal. Give yourself grace and do the best you can. Also, enjoy yourself! It is all about finding a balance that works for YOU!

What are some things that you have found work best when you travel or are out of your normal routine? 

Blessings,

Jac

 

 

 

 

 

Online Teaching & Taking Time Off

I recently took 2.5 weeks off from teaching to enjoy the holiday season and adjust to my husband’s travel schedule. It is the longest I have taken off since starting my online journey, however was exactly what I needed! I wanted to share things to consider when taking time off since teaching online differs from standard jobs. I am extremely grateful to have a job where I completely dictate my schedule and do not need approval to have the time I need. If you are ever interested in pursing online teaching, I would be more than happy to help or answer any questions. You can also check out my teaching videos on my YouTube channel: Jaclyn Bridwell

Things To Consider With Time Off 

1. Update Your Availability

I think it is important to show you are taking time off on your schedule, so parents are aware that you are “off” and not slowly fading out or dropping your normal time slots. When you update your calendar you can note the reason if you want parents to be aware or mark as personal.

2.Give Parents Advance Notice

If you teach primarily regulars, let parents know you will be taking time off. For example, if a parent priority requests you during your leave you can decline and add a comment saying “I will be traveling until…I look forward to resuming my regular schedule…” You can also make a note of your time off in your student feedback!

3. Open Up Future Slots In Advance

Whenever you are start back up, open up those times as soon as you can. Parents book 2 weeks out so they will be looking for appropriate weeks.

4. Keep Times Consistent

Once you build a base of regular students they will be looking for their same days and times. If your schedule stays consistent, it is easy to schedule them back in!

5. Time Off Is Unpaid

Remember you are an independent contractor, so if you are not teaching you are not earning an income (aside from referrals).

Blessings,

Jac