5 Simple Ways to Wake Up Earlier

Join us February 1st, as we begin the Early Bird Challenge. Do you think you can wake up early every day for 28 days? If you want to get a better start to your day, be more productive and finally get ahead of your to-do list join us for the Early Bird Challenge

Wake earlier and start your day off right! Join our free challenge that begins February 1st.

I’m writing this article for everyone who struggles waking up early. I know not everyone wants or needs to be an early riser. There were many years when my husband worked shifts that I stayed up later because he worked late.

But there are many of you who want to wake up early but struggle, I struggle too.

I don’t consider myself a morning person or an evening person. My best hours are from 9 am to 2 pm.  I am also not one who feels energized when I wake up super early.

I never thought of myself as a morning person, although I found out that when I did wake up earlier I got more done, had more energy and stuck to a routine. Getting up earlier allowed me to fit in time to exercise, which then gave me more energy and I felt better. It didn't happen overnight- it took me a while to get in a routine of waking up earlier and here is how I did it.

To be honest, I feel tired.

But, when I wake up early I am able to accomplish much more in the morning hours than I am ever able to accomplish by staying up until midnight or one in the morning. So even though I am tired later in the day, I’ve already had my most productive hours in the morning, so I don’t have to be “on” at 8pm.

Since I have struggled in this area I figured I would share some of things that have helped me make the change to become an earlier riser. And if we are being honest, when I say early I mean 6 am. I will never be a 4 am person, I have teenagers, and they seem to want to do all their talking after 10 pm.

Quit the Caffeine

I don’t drink it after 1pm, no matter what. If I do I can’t fall asleep even when my body is exhausted. My mind can’t relax enough to fall asleep.

Turn Off Technology

I’m guilty of surfing the web before I go to bed, especially now that I have an iPad. For many months I even read my bible on the computer in the evenings. I have found that computer, television, tablets, and video games do not help you fall asleep.

Not only do they keep you awake, it is easy to turn on the television to catch the end of a show and end up watching another hour or two because we get sucked in! If you need to do something before you fall asleep try reading a book.

Go to Bed Earlier

Sounds simple, but for some reason it is so hard. I often find myself looking at the clock and realizing it is almost midnight! Give yourself a bedtime and set a timer to remind yourself it is time for bed. If I want to fall asleep at 10:30 I try to go to bed at 10pm and give myself a little extra time for reading.

Reader tip: Set your alarm on your phone for an hour before you want to go to bed. That will remind you that you need to start getting ready for bed and winding down so your bedtime doesn’t sneak up on you.

It is hard to fall asleep earlier if you are waking up later. There will be a few days in the beginning where you have to force yourself to get up early even though you were up late. Pretty soon you will be tired enough to fall asleep at the earlier hour.

This year since we had a change in our school schedule, I need to get up before 6am. This was a huge adjustment since we were really enjoying our lazy days of summer. I eased into an earlier schedule by setting my alarm clock 15 minutes earlier every few days. Now I wake up before my alarm several days a week because my body is use to the new schedule.

Get Enough Sleep

You know how much sleep you need to be a productive person the next day, so make sure you get it! Some people only need 6 or 7 hours, and others need at least 8. Figure out how much sleep you need and create a sleeping schedule to accommodate your needs!

Get a Routine

This is the most important thing for me. I need about 7 hours of sleep, so I try to go to bed around 11pm and wake up between 6 and 6:30. It is important to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day.

If you are just starting to change your routine I would recommend going to bed and waking up 15 minutes earlier every day until you reached your desired wake-up time. (see above)

Don’t Get Discouraged!

I recently started adjusting my schedule to wake up a little earlier, after two successful days my family was hit with the crud. I wasn’t going to bed until after midnight most nights and was up with sick kids numerous times throughout the night.

I turned off my alarm and got some extra sleep so I didn’t get the crud too! I was discouraged to be thrown off track so quickly, but I realized that the crud would soon pass and I could get back on schedule.

Don’t let little setbacks discourage you, just pick up where you left off and work on establishing a good routine.

If you want help getting a better start to your day- join us on February 1st, for the free Early Bird Challenge- 28 days to jump start your morning. Sign up now! 

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Get Organized by Living With Less!

get organized by living on less

There are so many wonderful tips and ideas for getting organized. I’m kind of an organizational junkie myself. I like to read books and blogs about organizing and I love to organize my own things (and other people’s if they give me a chance).


The best tip I have for getting organized is not something you can buy at Ikea or The Container Store. The best way to get organized is to get rid of the junk! I once took a time management class and learned that if you don’t take care of something the first time you pick it up, you touch it 40 more times before you actually deal with it. What a total waste of time!

No matter how many bins, baskets, drawers, containers, files, and notebooks you own, managing these tools takes time.

The less you have, the less you have to maintain.

As someone who likes to save money, I have a tendency to hold on to things because I might need them in the future. Better to reuse something you have than buy something new, right? Well… that is sort of right. When you hold on to everything it becomes difficult to manage, things become disorganized, and you end up not being able to find the stuff you were saving.

In my life there are only a handful of things I wish I hadn’t thrown away or dropped off at Goodwill, and those few things are replaceable.

Here are a few ideas for living an organized life with less.

Clothes

Stop holding on to all the these use to fit me in college outfits.

Seriously, if you ever fit into them again they will be so outdated you won’t want to wear them. Keep a basic wardrobe of items that fit you and your lifestyle. Clothes are cheap to replace at yard sales and thrift stores, so only hold on to pieces that fit you well today.

Paperwork

Paperwork clutter can drive a person bonkers! I created a notebook system to help me track all my paperwork. I keep only what’s necessary and shred the rest. Another way I simplify my paperwork is online banking and bill pay. I pay almost all of my bills online and this has greatly reduced the paper clutter in my home.

Toys

I’m plead guilty to toy clutter in the first degree. With seven kids it is almost impossible not to have a toy filled house!

Whenever the mover went into our basement she remarked that it looked like a Toy’s R Us, and that was after I had given several van loads to Goodwill.

I’m preaching to myself here, but kids don’t need every toy ever invented. They don’t even need .0005% of the toys invented.

My kids are happier and play with more of their toys the less they have. Toy clutter overwhelms kids and they end up not wanting to play with anything. Or, toy clutter gives kids the opportunity to make incredible messes with all the toys. Go on a toy de-clutter spree. Your kids will not notice and you will have a better life, I promise.

Kitchen Tools

I’m guilty of kitchen clutter too. I love kitchen tools! They are so much fun and helpful, when I can find them! Have you ever spent 10 minutes searching for that certain kitchen tool in the over-crowded drawer? I have. It isn’t fun, and it is a big time waster.

Go through your kitchen and get rid of things you have never used, then go through it again and get rid of the tools you haven’t used in over a year. You really can do more with less in the kitchen.

Food

A disorganized pantry is a huge time and money waster! How many times have you cleaned out your pantry only to find several of the same item and not because you were stockpiling? Or perhaps you run to the store to buy that needed ingredient at full price, only to find another bottle unopened in the back of the pantry weeks later.

Have you thrown out food because it has expired or gone bad in a disorganized fridge? While it is great to stock up on sales at the grocery store, create a system before you begin. Meal plan so your family eats all the leftovers and nothing goes to waste in the kitchen.

Stuff

Stuff, you know the things that clutter your home, waste your time, and rob you of your joy? The refrigerator magnet that came in an advertisement, the broken frame you know you are going to fix…. one day…, the books you will never read, the magazines you have already read.

Get rid of them. Give it away, throw it away, burn it in the wood stove, but get rid of the stuff you don’t need.

Having less truly is having more.

More time, more space, more joy. This year get organized by getting rid of the things you don’t need so you can spend time on the things that are important.



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Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

By contributing writer Beth

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft. All your kids can join in the fun too.

This is a great project for a rainy day or a lazy Sunday afternoon. We were able to get these two pumpkins decorated in under 30 minutes plus drying time.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft that your kids will enjoy too. It takes under 30 minutes plus drying time.

You can put these out as a welcoming addition on your front porch or as a warm touch on your fireplace mantle.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

Supplies Needed

Ivory & Gold Pumpkin

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

Lay down newspaper to protect your work surface. Apply a light ivory acrylic paint to the first pumpkin. I like ivory better than white for fall because it’s warmer to match fall decor colors.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

Add enough coats of paint to completely cover the entire surface and all surface imperfections.

Allow all coats to dry completely.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

Drip the metallic gold paint over the stem of the pumpkin. Allow the paint to pool around the top of the pumpkin and use a brush to move the paint around the top so it’s not too thick.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

Allow the paint to gently drip down the sides for a wet look. The shimmery paint will still have a glossy, glimmering finish, even when it’s dry.

Paint Splatter Pumpkin

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft - Paint Splatter Pumpkin

Gather all three paints for the next pumpkin. This one is crazy fun for kids to do.

Gather enough paint brushes for everyone and make sure to cover your artists (how adorable is this DIY Art Smock!) and your surface. Any splattered acrylic paint can usually be easily cleaned up with a damp cloth.

You can do a base layer of color for your pumpkin, but I liked the natural color of the paper pumpkins that I picked up, so I just used that as a neutral base for the project.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft - Paint Splatter Pumpkin

Water down the paint in individual bowls so that the paint flows freely. It should be watered down enough to splatter and not clump or drip.

Dip your paintbrush into the first color and splatter away.

Let that first color dry so that it doesn’t blend with the next layer of color. If you do the next color while the first color is wet, the colors could mix together.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft - Paint Splatter Pumpkin

Continue to layer color splatters on top of each other until you’re satisfied with the finished product.

Allow to dry completely and display as desired.

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Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves

By contributing writer Beth

This Shaving Cream Paint craft is fun to do with kids on a lazy afternoon. As they dream of cooler temperatures, they can create fall leaves as sweet reminders of the beautiful colors of autumn.

This Shaving Cream Paint craft is fun to do with kids on a lazy afternoon. As they dream of cooler temperatures, they can create fall leaves as sweet reminders of the beautiful colors of autumn.

You can do this with toddlers and above. The ingredients are non-toxic, but the paint can stain clothes. So make sure that everyone wears their art smocks.

If you do this craft with older kids, have them do research on different trees that lose their leaves in fall. Then let them choose the types of leaves they want to design. Then have them cut out their favorite leaves.

This is a great time to talk with the kids about how the trees are preparing for winter. The leaves change color because it’s time for the tree to seal off those leaves and stop making food. The tree grows new leaves again in spring when there is once again plenty of water and sunshine to begin the food-making process inside the leaves.

Some questions you could ask your kids:

  • Are there trees in your yard that lose their leaves?
  • What types of other trees grow around the area that also shed their leaves in fall?
  • How are the leaf shapes different?
  • How are they similar?

Oak and maple leaves have beautiful and unique shapes. Big leaves and small leaves may fall from trees, and varying sizes work perfectly for little hands.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Supplies

Supplies Needed

  • card stock
  • scissors
  • shaving cream
  • acrylic paint in fall colors
  • popsicle sticks
  • shallow pans such as pie plates (I used foil pie pans)
  • cardboard or newspaper for covering your work surface

Instructions

1. Trace (or draw) and cut leaf shapes from card stock. If you’d like, you can use the shapes my daughter drew. Download here and print directly on your card stock.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 1

2. Put shaving cream in a shallow pan and spread it out to coat the pan.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 2

3. Squeeze lines and spots of paint into the pan. Make sure to use contrasting colors to create dramatic differences and unique looks for each leaf.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 3

4. Use your fingers or popsicle sticks to create swirls. Make sure to explain to the kids that there is a difference between swirling and mixing. We are not trying to blend the colors but to create fun patterns of movement.

If you have enough pans, it would be great fun for each child to create their own swirling paint pattern.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 4

5. Press a leaf cutout into the swirled shaving cream. Press straight down to keep the paint from smearing or mixing too much and distorting the pattern.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 5

6. Pull the cutout straight up out of the paint. Place it on some scrap cardboard or newspaper. Wait 30 seconds.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 6

7. After the paint has had a chance to dry just a little, scrape off the paint from the cutout with a popsicle stick. You can try scraping in different directions for varying effects.

Allow the cutouts to dry completely.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 7

Repeat with all the leaves.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 8

Enjoy your new reminders of autumn and treasure the season you’re in!

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves - finished

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