Investing In Me

Last week I authored two posts that gave our readers a general idea of what we’re up to this year. To recap we’re working on bettering our finances, improving our health and making memories. One thing that resounded in my mind is investments. No, not money investments I’m not on that step yet, I’m talking about investing in yourself. When was the last time you truly poured into you? Are you a mom and constantly tending to your family but never to yourself? Are you giving all you’ve got to your spouse and nothing to you? Are you giving more to your job than you are to yourself? If you’ve answered any of these questions with a “yes”, you’ll want to keep reading.

Lack Of Care

“…they have made me the keeper of vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.”

Song of Solomon 1:6

When I became a mom every one warned me. They said “you’ll have no time for yourself”. They were right. I didn’t have time for myself. When I had my second child at just nineteen years old, again they said “you’ll never be yourself again”. They were right, I was never that same person again. I had my third daughter just three years later and they said “you’re crazy, you’ll never have any money for yourself”. These common sayings infiltrated my mind, they resounded in my head throughout the next couple of years. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the things that were said, it was worse when I was alone. So, I stopped caring about me. I put myself last and I made my kids first.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Your kids should absolutely come first but, consider this. How are you supposed to pour into your children the best of you, when there is nothing left of YOU? How are you to instill the best features of you, when you’ve hidden those features to serve everyone else? How are you to excel at a career if you are not putting your whole self forward? How are you to lean into your relationship if your only serving your partner?

It is not okay to commend lack of care. It is not okay to put ourselves at the end of the line, continuously skipping ourselves for the sake of others. It is not okay to give our children our unkept selves. It is not okay to pour into a career that does not serve us. We must choose to change or remain the same.

Invest In You

If you want to invest in something with minimal risk and a guaranteed big return, invest in yourself.

Read that line, are you finished? Good! Go back and read it again! Make this line your daily mantra. You are an investment. Heck, you are the longest investment you’ll have. There is no amount of time or money that could deter you from investing in yourself.

Investing in yourself looks different for each person. I invest in myself in several ways. When I first realized that I was pouring from an empty cup, pouring into my children the features I didn’t want them to have, I had to take a long hard look at myself. What did I need to do to pour into me? What did it entail? Was it nutritionally, physically, emotionally? For me, it was all of the above. Nutritionally, I was either not eating or eating like crap. Physically, I quit working out because I had “no time” to work out. Emotionally, I was unavailable to everyone, I shut myself in to avoid issues. The truth is I had no time to be this way. I have kids who depend on me to be the best version of me every single day. So, I started investing in me again. I found a workout program that worked for me. I found meal prepping that wasn’t difficult. I found the same 24 hours in a day that the rest of you have and I made time to invest in me. I made myself be vocal about my emotions and started looking for journaling, devotionals and other self-care aspects to ensure I was mentally well.

I’m going to repeat this…

Every one has the same 24 hours in the day. Make the time to invest in you.

You have to invest in yourself to pour into everything else. Stop emptying your cup to fill every one else’s. Fill your cup first.

Xo, Sabrina.

How To Jump-Start Your Monday!

Monday’s, we all hate them right? I used to be the same way, I hated Monday’s. I had no logical reason to hate Monday’s. I only work two Monday’s out of the month, I generally don’t know what day it is. When I found myself hating Monday’s, I was upset. This is what I did to change it.

Find The Issue.

What is it about Monday that you dislike? Is it the rush out of the door to make it to work on time? Is it lack of preparedness? Are you missing out on precious sleep? Some where in you routine or your chaos, there is an issue. You’ve got to find the source of the issue in order to change the result. After all, repeating the same thing over and over again is considered insanity.

My issue wasn’t easy to find. I thought it was this, then that, then this again. In reality, I found that my issue was purely with myself. I would roll out of bed, exhausted, defeated, grumbly because I wasn’t happy with my routine. I wasn’t happy not working out, I wasn’t happy being unprepared and I certainly wasn’t eating/sleeping/drinking enough.

So, I have my issue..How do I fix it?

Develop A Fix.

I really want to stress something here… Fixing any issue is not as simple as saying, “Well, I won’t do that again”. That is considered a band-aid fix. Just like a band-aid loses it’s stickiness over time, so will your fix.

To develop a fix, look at your issue from multiple angles. To help, you can create a mind map if you choose. A mind map is a simple layout of steps or processes that can keep you on track. I am notorious for wanting to race through the steps, so sub-outlets are also included. Place your issue in the center, and create your steps on the outside. How many steps do you need, what can you do to be detailed? This is all of importance.

Implement Your Fix.

Again, this is not a band-aid. Let’s not rip it off too fast! Implementing your fix can take days, weeks, even months. It all depends on you. Start with your mind map, your first step. You’ll want to successfully do your first step for at least five days. If you miss a day, go back and try again. It’s not a race, it’s about making yourself better. Once you consecutively complete your first step for five days, add in your second step. You’ll keep adding steps as you go until eventually your fix will be fully implemented. This is where you’re jump-start comes in.

Jump-Starting!

You’ve found your issue, you’ve identified a fix, you’ve implemented that fix. It’s now time to jump start! You’re in a routine now, you’ve shown yourself you are capable. You can do hard things. It’s your time to roll out of bed on Monday morning smiling! Share your newfound routine, enjoy friends, family and coworkers noticing your happiness. You have jump-started your Monday! And, I’ll let you in on a little known secret… The key to a good week is a great Monday!

Xo, Sabrina.

All About Food!

Hello all! I’m here to explain myself. I have another relationship. Yes, it’s true! I have a second relationship and it’s with food! I know you’re laughing!

I’m not gonna lie to you, food is a big deal to me. I need convenience, I need healthy, I need kid friendly and I need cheap. Yet, to find all of these in one recipe is no easy task. I am here to share the recipes that are tried and true in my household. Before we begin, please note that I also have a love affair with the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot gets almost daily use, especially on the days I work. I know many people also love air fryers, I do not have an air fryer but, gosh darn-it I want one! Let’s get started!

Breakfast

On any given school day, the girls typically run out the door with cereal in bellies or in hand. It never ceases to amaze me the love kids have for cereal. They would have cereal for morning, noon and night if they could. Alas, I do not let them do this..every day. Typically breakfast is cooked on Saturday and Sunday mornings. More so Sundays as I have extra hands to help with babies. Here are three recipes we’ve given a shot and actually love! PS – I use Pinterest for all my food recipes.

One family favorite, easy for me and great for the kids is Dutch Babies! A Dutch Baby is a take on German pancakes. It takes minimal effort and maximum YUM effect. For the best results, I do recommend cast iron, a whole lot of butter and a working oven..which we currently do not have. We use this recipe! You can top the Dutch Baby with different things such as syrup, fruit or powdered sugar. It’s a light and airy take on the typical thick pancakes.

The second family favorite is Kodiak Cakes. If you are anything like me, I try to pay attention to what I eat. It’s not easy when we stock snacks and what not for the kids. However, Kodiak Cakes is simple enough to be the right macros for me while still being delicious for my kiddos. With three flavors, all being able to be made into pancakes or waffle they’re sure to be a hit in your home too! I typically pair these with a breakfast meat, Mm-mm bacon! *

Gordon Ramsey Eggs are the final recommendation for breakfast. I’m going to need you to listen closely, I don’t care for eggs (unless we’re talking about cheesy eggs from Waffle House). I tolerate them, I force myself to eat them. My kids on the other hand, eggs are ALWAYS a hit. Whether their topped with ketchup or hot sauce, they adore eggs. I came across a video last year on Facebook of Gordon Ramsey making eggs. No, I am not a chef but it looked so easy. Ya’ll… these eggs are to die for. Soft, fluffy, often cheesy goodness in a matter of minutes. Slap these eggs on a toast and you have a complete breakfast. You can watch that same video here.

Dinner

Ah dinner, this is wear recipes often get elaborate. Instead, I like to get down to the nitty gritty. I work till 7 PM so the nights I work, Zoram is on his own with the kids. I’m not gonna lie, they eat a lot of Mac’n’Cheese and Hamburger Helper. I typically eat at work on the days I work so I can be ready to work out and hit the hay when I get home. On the days I don’t work, I still look for easy recipes. I try to have dinner on the table when Zoram walks in the door that way we have time to spend as a family before kids have to go to bed. This is why the Instant Pot is my friend and why an air fryer would be amazing! Feel free to donate to my air fryer cause, HA! Here are a few tried and true recipes my family could eat over and over again.

Want your kids coming back for seconds? Look no further than this Chili Mac. Chili Mac is one of the easiest and cheapest things to make! All you need is elbow macaroni, hamburger or in our case ground elk, a can of tomato sauce and a can of Rotel, you can even add in a “chili” packet if you don’t have the spices at home. This requires almost no true “cooking”. All you do is brown the meat, dump the rest of the ingredients in and a mere four minutes later (after pressurizing) you have a complete meal.

The next hit is a double whammy. In our family, we’ve always had stuffed peppers. This meal required boiling the peppers, cooking the rice and then baking the final product. While it was delicious it was truly time consuming. In comes the Instant Pot to save the day! We found two recipes that are hits in our household regarding stuffed peppers. The first is a traditional Stuffed Pepper, while the second is a Stuffed Pepper Soup. Only the actual stuffed pepper requires cooked rice. If you don’t already have a rice cooker, may I suggest a Micro Cooker from Pampered Chef.** The link for the Stuffed Peppers is here, and the link to the Stuffed Pepper Soup is here.

The final recipe that is a huge hit in our household is Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll Ups. Now, this recipe as is. However, I do a few tweaks to make it our own. The first thing I do when I know I’m going to be making this is buy a rotisserie chicken. Yeah, yeah I know it’s “lazy”. Again, most of the things I cook are in regards to convenience not perfection. Using rotisserie chicken is simple, you shred the already cooked chicken and add it to the recipe. Additionally, we do not use plain alfredo sauce.instead we use a Creamy Basil Alfredo from Bertolli. It is so good! Otherwise this recipe is delicious and filling! The link to the recipe is here.

If you couldn’t tell, in our household we really love food. Making food is half the task but enjoying it with family is always rewarding. I cannot wait to have my traditions passed down to my kids in regards of our kitchen table. Additionally, you can view all of these recipes and many more by following our Pinterest page here.

What’s your favorite recipe? What’s your dinner routine? Give us a shout below!

Xo, Sabrina.

*I am not affiliated with Kodiak Cakes, I simply love the product and enjoy sharing it with my readers.

**This link goes to my cousin’s Pampered Chef page, any purchases made will benefit her.

FAQ Regarding Dax.

Recently, we’ve gotten an influx of questions regarding Baby Dax. I can understand the curiosity, so we’re going to have a quick FAQ to address our most common questions.

Was Dax born not hearing?

Yes, Dax was born hard of hearing. We do not know what caused his hearing loss yet. We may learn more when imaging occurs around six months old.

Will Dax ever gain any hearing?

No, at this time we don’t believe Dax will ever gain any hearing back. His left ear is his “good” ear and even then it has deteriorated since his last ABR.

Is Dax’s hearing permanent loss?

From the information we have gathered so far, Dax’s hearing is permanent loss. There is no underlying cause for the lack of hearing such as fluid in the tubes, etc.

How do you determine hearing loss?

Dax initially had a hearing screening in the NICU. When he failed the initial screening he did a second prior to leaving NICU. Since he also failed the second hearing screening he was referred to a more in depth hearing test called an ABR. An ABR or Auditory Brainstem Response. This test registers brain waves to sounds, pitches and clicks. It takes almost two hours and Dax must be sleeping for it. We haven’t been able to complete two ears in two hours, only one ear per session.

How do you feel about his hearing loss?

To be frank, initially I was extremely upset about the hearing loss. It was a huge shock to us. How could something so right, go so wrong? What would our future look like? How could this happen to my baby? This is just some of my initial reactions. Perhaps some day I’ll do an in-depth post. However, I reached out to a good friend, Beth, who also went through hearing loss with her baby boy. What a wealth of knowledge she was! I was so happy to know someone I know had already been in my shoes. She is so helpful and I’ll continue to use her as a shoulder to lean on throughout our own journey. Thank you Beth Price!

What prompted you to check for hearing loss?

All babies are routinely screened for hearing before leaving the hospital. That’s how we knew!

Are you able to get that implant thing (Cochlears)?

The implants many of you are referring to are called Cochlear’s. We are currently not a candidate for Cochlear’s. This is neither here, nor there. However, we are extremely grateful for strides being made in the auditory world.

How do you know the aids will work?

Dax can hear certain pitches, tones, clicks etc. The hearing aids are meant to amplify that sound. While growing Dax will need to get his hearing aids adjusted frequently and have new molds for the aids made routinely.

Will the girls learn sign?

Yes, all of the family will learn to sign. Even cousins will learn to sign, willingly! It is an amazing thing when a family comes together to “speak” the language.

How do you teach a baby sign?

I sign the alphabet to Dax daily. The idea is that his brain makes so many connections daily that the repetitiveness will help him identify letters early on in life. Additionally, it is suggested to sign “baby” sign language to both boys starting now, or even at four months. “Baby” sign language are simple signs such as milk, more, please, thank you , mom, dad and so much more.

Will Emrick have hearing loss?

We do not believe Dax’s hearing loss is hereditary as neither side of the family has been genetically disposed to hearing loss. Emrick clearly hears as he turns his heads to sounds, etc. We will monitor as a “just in case”.

Will Emrick learn sign?

Yes! We will teach Emrick just as we teach Dax so the boys are able to communicate clearly.

How much are hearing aids?

I have explained this many times. Unfortunately, despite stellar benefits from my job. Hearing aids are one item that are not “covered”. Hearing aids range greatly in cost therefore we’re planning for approximately $3,000 per ear. There is a loaner program in which Dax will be getting his initial aid through to start. This program will give us three months to push the insurance to cover the aids as durable medical equipment. This also gives us time to apply for grants, save money and overall pray. Dax deserves the best out there, so we’ll do whatever it takes to get him that.

Have any more questions? Give us a shout, we’d be happy to answer them for you!

Xo, Sabrina.

New Year, Same Me.

I used to be one of “those people”. The people who set resolutions with no real game plan, no will power and ultimately no success. I quit that three years ago.

New year, same me.

I don’t need the start of a new year for a clean slate or changes I want to make in myself. All I need is a mindset reset! Is a new year a good time to start making changes? Sure! So long as you’re committed to it. Without commitment you’ll find yourself disappointed come February when you’ve already broken your resolution.

I like to focus on three things every “year”. My family, my health and my finances. However, I am not afraid to admit that majority of the time I have to recalculate, reformulate and change my mindset when it comes to these three items.

Family – This years focus is more adventure, less stuff. Instead of gifts such as toys this year, we want to shift our focus to adventuring. More museums. More road trips. Less tablet time. More 4H shows and participation, more gymnastics! With that, I’m sure we’ll have a broken bone (fingers crossed for no!), a heavy heart for our animals and expanding minds! But, we’re not going to be disappointed when we have to shift and put our adventures on pause.

Health – Like most people, health is a big factor in the new year. For most, it’s about losing weight. That’s true for me too, I’d of course love to lose weight. Instead I’m focused on making myself healthy. Fixing my nutrition and building stamina by working out every day are jsut two items. But, I’d also like to visit the doctor. I’d like to get my acne under control.

Finances – As it is every year, we’ve taken a look into how much we’ve earned and gasped at how much we’ve spent. Where does all the money go?! I’m sure you’ve said that a few times. Our financial focus this year is to be more conscious when spending money, paying down some of our debt and trying to get ahead of our bills. It’s no easy process, I’ll tell you that! But, it will be worth it.

So, what if you fail?

I get asked this a lot. So, what if you fail? Then I fail, then I reset and try again. So what if I fail! I will forever pick myself up again and continue trying. Perhaps that’s what new years are for, continuous effort, willpower and try.

Xo, Sabrina.