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3 Secrets to Successful Goal Setting as a Couple | Guest Post

3 secrets to successful goal setting as a couple. Goal setting with your significant other can strengthen your marriage.

Amberly has been a friend for years now. She runs a very successful blog that focuses on marriage, which is of the utmost importance to her–it’s what she got her degree in! Her blog has been inspiring to me to improve my own marriage and I love how she is able to come up with so many different topics on marriage for her blog. Today, she has gracefully agreed to take over the blog for me to talk about goal setting as a couple.


It’s a new year and with that comes goal setting and self improvement. Every year, I set goals to help me become the best me and the best wife that I can be. Some of my favorite goals to set however, are the ones that I set with my husband! Setting goals as a couple is just as important as setting goals for yourself and the goals that you set together will help you become a more solid couple. Goals help you work on the areas of your relationship that may not be as strong as some of the others. Whether you set goals together for the new year or as part of your anniversary traditions, these three tips will help set yourselves up for success when you do.

Communicate Openly

When you sit down to set goals together, you both have to be willing to share what is on your mind and be open to the things that your spouse has to say as well. Chances are, you will both have different ideas about what areas of your relationship are lacking and need improvement, but this is not the time to disagree. Discuss and write down all of the potential goals that you can set together and don’t say no to any of them too early on in the game.

Start Small

After you’ve got your list of potential goals put together, break the big goals down into smaller ones so that you’re not taking on too much at once. For example, if you decide together that you want to improve your finances and one of the things that you’ve decided to do is pay off all of your debt, focusing on the big picture can be a little overwhelming, but setting a goal to pay off a small, amount of that debt each month is achievable. If a goal seems too big, find a way to make it happen, one step at a time.

Reevaluate Often

Every month, I look at the goals that I set the month before and use my successes and failures with that goal to help me set the next month’s goal. You can do the same with the goals that you’ve set as a couple. You can sit down and look at your goals yearly, quarterly or monthly. Decide what’s working and what isn’t and use that to adjust the goals you have been working on and set new ones. Don’t give up on your goals if they aren’t working, find a way to make them work!

Have you set goals as a couple this year? What sort of goals did you set?
Amberly
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Mandarin Orange Pie | Guest Post

Desserts. When do I NOT think about desserts? I’m a sugar-aholic! Not, just a chocoholic! Sometimes though, it’s just as fun to look at decadent desserts as it is to eat them! 

So, today, while I am wishing for desserts and instead eating healthy while I nurse little Evie, my new friend Rebekah is going to share with you one of her favorite tried and true dessert recipes!


Hello! I’m so happy for the opportunity to guest post for Tayler. 🙂 Something I love to share on my blog is tried and true recipes, so today I thought I’d share one of my favorites with you: Mandarin Orange Pie.

Now, I’m a big sucker for baked goods – and chocolate – so I normally tend to gravitate toward desserts like cookies and brownies. However, it’s nice to switch things up every once-in-awhile and this pie is perfect when I want something different (but still with a little chocolate!) 😉

Don’t be thrown off by the name – Mandarin Orange Pie does sound a bit odd I’ll admit – but I promise you’ll love it! My mom found the recipe in a cooking magazine years ago and it’s been a family favorite ever since.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • food coloring (optional): 2 drops yellow, 1 drop red
  • 1 carton (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 chocolate crumb crust
  • 1 can (15 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 square (1 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon shortening/margarine

Instructions:

    1. Beat the softened cream cheese in a large bowl until fluffy.
    2. Add the milk, orange juice concentrate, sour cream and food coloring to the cream cheese and beat until smooth; fold in the whipped topping.
    3. Spoon half of the mixture into the pie crust. Set aside eight mandarin oranges segments (to decorate the top later) and arrange the rest of the oranges on the pie. Top with the remaining filling.
    4. Place the reserved orange slices on top of the pie. Melt the chocolate and shortening together and drizzle over the top.
    5. Chill pie in the fridge for at least four hours before serving.


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Rebekah is a stay at home mom living in the great state of Texas. She is married to a wonderful husband of four years and is mom to two precious kiddos. Blogging is her hobby and she loves to share easy recipes, book reviews, and thoughts about life as a mom.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Best Toys for Toddlers | Guest Post

Hello, hello! I’m so grateful to be here, posting for Tayler today, while she’s snuggling baby Evie. Tayler is such a wonderful person, and I’m so excited for her to experience life with two kids. A little introduction, I’m Britt! I blog over at My Little Sunshines, which is a lifestyle blog where I write about all the things that bring sunshine into my life! Motherhood, my kids, my marriage, my favorite beauty products, books, and more! I’ve been married almost 7 years to Kyle, and we have two little ones, Abe (2.5) and Eliza (14 months). We live in Idaho, where I’m blessed to stay at home while my husband (a professional counselor) runs a parenting program for the state. Life is good, even if it is cold these days! 😉

Best Toys For Toddlers

Play Kitchen | Shopping Cart | Train Set | Car Mat | Baby Doll | Books

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about when I first signed up to post for Tayler during her maternity leave. I just knew I wanted to help her out. But now that Christmas has come and gone, I still have toys on the brain, so I thought I’d share with you the best toys for toddlers, as tested and approved at my house 🙂 My husband and I are definitely minimalists and far as toys go. We don’t like to bring many into our home, but do like to buy quality toys that will last a long time and stimulate my kids’ imagination. (This is not to say we’re “perfect” parents at all! My kids watch just as much (or more!) TV as yours do! Ha.)

Play Kitchen and Accessories.

We just got Abe and Eliza a play kitchen for Christmas, along with some food, pots and pans, and tableware/cutlery. It has a been a huge hit for both of them, but especially Abe (my two year old). He has always loved to pretend to cook, and loves to help in the kitchen, so we knew he’d love it. Play kitchens can be kind of expensive, so my advice is to either watch for sales, or better yet, grab one at garage sale! Ours we were actually given by my sister-in-law since her kids have outgrown it. Win-win for everyone involved!

Play Shopping Cart and/or Stroller.

Abe got a shopping cart Christmas 2015 and it’s still played with daily. He just loads it full of stuff and pushes it around! And now Eliza is starting to push it around too. She also just got a stroller for Christmas and they both love pushing that around, too. Basically, a push toy an awesome gift, no matter what type it is.

Train Set.

Abe just got the basic train set from Melissa and Doug from his grandparents for Christmas, and that thing has already provided hours of entertainment. I love that it’s a quality toy, and Abe? Well, Abe just loves that it’s a train.

Car Mat and Cars/Trucks.

We were recently gifted the Ikea Car Mat, and with the cars and trucks Abe got for Christmas, it’s been well loved already. It came at just the right time, when our TV died, and this made the transition to no TV time a little easier. 😉

Baby Dolls.

Both Abe and Eliza love playing with our baby doll. They can push her in the cart or stroller, they can dress her, they can give her a binky, they can pretend she’s sleeping or eating. They can snuggle her and love her, and it’s just the cutest thing.

Books.

I am a huge lover of reading, and a huge proponent of reading with your kids, too! We have books upon books at our house, and we especially enjoy interactive type books, or ones that have fun rhymes. There are so many great kids books out there, so you’re sure to find at least one your child will like!


So there you have it! Some of the best toys for toddlers. It is so fun to watch toddlers learn and grow, and stretch their imagination, and I could really watch Abe and Eliza play and discover all day long. Thanks for reading along today, friends! Have fun playing! 🙂

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Britt is a stay-at-home momma by day, and a blogger by naptime. She’s been married to Kyle since 2010 and has two children – Abe (3 in March) and Eliza (14 months). As an introverted extrovert, she loves to read, write, and spend time with her family and friends. She has a degree in Human Development, her favorite colors are green, blue and gray, and she loves carbs. She’s a loyal friend, a follower of Christ, and a lover of learning.
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ditching the Mom Guilt for the Sake of My Daughter | Guest Post

Mom guilt is self-consuming. But, it also sets a negative example for our daughters. See how one mom changed her perspective for her daughter's sake.

Motherhood is very important to me–it’s my life. I can’t wait for this little girl to come into my world. I’ve always wanted a daughter. I love being a boy mom and Rhys is the best bud I could ever ask for, but I’m so excited to share my life with a little girl as well. My friend, Sharlee, has a daughter around Rhys’s age. She is a great example to me as a mother (especially a work-at-home-mom). Today, she shares how she decided to stop the mom guilt for the sake of her daughter.


I didn’t want a daughter. Or more accurately I should say, I didn’t think I wanted a daughter. Many people are surprised when they hear that. I think that most people assume that because I’m a woman, I would want to raise a mini-me. The truth is, though, that I was not very confident in my ability to raise a confident woman–I didn’t think I had what it takes. 


We didn’t find out the gender of our baby until she was born and the minute she was placed in my arms, it all fit. All of it. Especially her being a girl, a daughter. My husband and I often describe that feeling as being an “Of course we have a girl!” Like we somehow knew all along, but forgot. In her birth story, I describe the feelings I had about being an inadequate mother being swallowed up in the realization that I wasn’t just a mother, I was her mother–I was exactly what she needed. 

That realization changed my life and I have since then made great strides to be the mother she needs. I think every mother changes dramatically with the birth of every child. I think, though, some of my changes were changes that I’ve seen specifically (for me personally) as the mother of a girl. I started living my life as the woman I hoped she would someday be. I worked on becoming more confident, on becoming a better wife, on becoming kinder to those around me as well as to myself. I worked on my relationship with exercise and health. I worked on taking care of my house. And, of course, I made time to play and enjoy her every single day. 


It was a lot. Many days I found myself falling short in one or all of those categories. Living up to the ideal example for my daughter was impossible. If something slipped or if I was not being the best I could in one of the areas I was hoping to work on, I would feel guilty. I would feel as though I was not being the best version of her mom I could be and I started to feel the much discussed “mom guilt.” 


But then one day I looked at her and thought of all the hopes I have for her in her lifetime. One of the hopes I have for her is that she become a mom someday as I hope she can find the joy that has surpassed all others that I have found in motherhood. My daughter is so good. She has such a good heart and so much going for her–she’s smart, funny, sassy, assertive, tender, and much more. I know she’s not perfect and her shortcomings will showcase themselves more as she grows, but I know she has the potential to be a fantastic mother. And with that: I don’t ever want her to feel like this. She shouldn’t ever feel like this.


Knowing that I never want my daughter to feel guilty for falling short in areas that she’s striving hard to improve, allowed me to give myself more grace. I want her to know it’s okay to make time for herself throughout the day. I want her to know that it’s okay to ask for help. I want her to know that it’s okay to let something go from time to time if you need to. I want her to learn to trust herself and do her best and not beat herself up about the rest. 


If I want those things for her, I have to emulate them. I have to be that woman instead. I have to be the woman without guilt–or at least the woman who doesn’t swim in it. I have to be the woman who knows she’s trying her best, but also knows she’s imperfect and is okay with that. If I really want to be the mom I need to be for her–I need to ditch the guilt. 


What events in your life have changed you and in what ways?

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Sharlee lives in Idaho with her husband and 3-year old daughter. She is overwhelmed with describing herself in 2-3 sentences. She loves being a wife and mother, is opinionated as all get out, loves to talk, and is passionate about the world of education.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

How to Get Through the Holidays Personally & Professionally | Guest Post

I am officially going on “maternity leave.” My induction date is December 29th, but the holidays are upon us and I still have to get my butt in gear with finishing up nesting and preparing my Etsy shop. But, I’m not going to leave you high and dry. I have a few end-of-year type posts lined up already and I have quite a few friends willing to fill in for me!

Today, one of the most inspiring creative women I know is taking over. Meet Kendra…


The Holidays are upon us which means as a small business owner a mountain of tasks & to-do lists piling up. There might be a million deadlines you are trying to meet and at the same time your phone keeps alerting you about all the things you are forgetting to do.

You might feel like you are drowning in questions of what to do and where to start, but don’t worry we have all been there. At least I know I have & I want to tell you something,  there’s a better way!

MY STORY…

THE BEGINNING

When I started to get serious about my blog & business I felt like there were times when I felt like I was running around in circles not knowing which way was up. I was questioning constantly if that choice was a good choice or if I was simply wasting hours upon hours doing something that wasn’t going to benefit me in the long run. I felt like I was always distracted. I was on my phone way more than I wanted to be and I felt like my business was controlling me, not me running my business.

I remember it clearly, the moment where I knew I couldn’t keep it up. I knew there had to be a better way, a way that brought joy and peace to my personal and professional life.

THE MIDDLE

It started slowly but those minor changes in my daily routine created space to do the things I wanted to. To spend time with my friends and family without looking at my phone 100 times. It allowed me to go on vacation and stay connected with my community & completing business tasks without touching my computer.

I began implementing a few specific habits into my daily routine. I started introducing automated scheduling systems to allow me to run my business from a distance while spending quality time with my friends and family. I started to say no to things (man was this hard at first), which gave me perspective and allowed me to prioritize what needed my attention and allowed me to let small distracting tasks wait for another time.

THE END

Going into this holiday season I knew one thing.  I was going  wasn’t to survive, but to thrive. I knew I had my systems in place and I also knew that I needed to share these things with you!

You are my people, my little family and  If you are feeling even a little bit like I have felt in the past then I know the Simple Tools linked below will help you to have more peace and joy this holiday season and really who can ask for more than that.

I created a little Holiday Guide that shares a few of my Simple Tools that help me stay sane & successful during the holidays! 

SNAG YOUR FREE HOLIDAY GUIDE HERE

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I’m Kendra, an artist, blogger & designer. You can usually find me with paint on my hands and a coffee near by. I love helping people find there passion and make it a reality. I never thought that I would be a small business owner, but I have learned that dreams can become reality. Thanks for letting me share a bit of my story.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.