New Year, New Home Update?

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This article is in partnership Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen

As a homeowner, there comes a time when you notice certain rooms in your home are looking a little, well, outdated. If visions of a new year remodel are dancing in your head this holiday season, I hope this post gives you some design inspiration as you plan your new years home resolutions.

The first areas to show signs of aging are usually the kitchen and bath, where outdated materials can tell the tale of days gone by. Home improvements like new cabinets, fixtures and countertops can make a dramatic difference and bring you back to the current day.

Keeping your home updated can also be a smart investment, and the kitchen and bath deemed are wise choices when prioritizing. A minor bathroom remodel came in #1 with a minor kitchen remodel following at #3 in this HGTV article on the top 15 home updates that add value to your home.

kitchen bath remodel

Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen

San Diego-based Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen specializes in bath and kitchen renovation. This family-owned and operated business has been creating beautiful living spaces for more than 33 years.

Offering their clients unique services such a dedicated project manager, day-to-day schedule with exact start and completion dates and a 5-year workmanship warranty, Remodel Works helps take the anxiety out of remodeling so you can focus on the exciting aspect of your stunning end result.

Here are some before and after photos of recent Remodel Works projects I loved when checking out their gallery online.  You won’t believe the dramatic differences! Let’s start with two of their kitchens.

A Transitional Kitchen Design

Here’s the first before photo. A rather uninspiring kitchen, right?

before

before2

And afters!

after

after2

Transitional design is one of the fastest growing choices when doing a kitchen remodel.  A transitional design marries the warmth of traditional design with the clean, simple lines of contemporary style.  Transitional spaces project balance and harmony.

And gray is the new white when it comes to kitchens and I love the contrast of the charcoal countertops with the white cabinets and subway tile. Un-cluttered, striking and beautiful.

A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Design 

Here is another example of a kitchen before Remodel Works came in. Kitchen design has sure come a long way since then…

before4

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And the afters!

This beautiful kitchen embodies many of the current trends in kitchen design: transitional and farmhouse.

RemodelWorks4

Once again, it is transitional, blending traditional warmth with contemporary elements.

In combination, the shaker style cabinets, retention of the cozy hardwood floors, farmhouse sink, wooden barstools and dining table make this this a modern farmhouse style kitchen.

One I wish were mine. Sigh…

after6

New Year, New Home

My husband is going to be really bummed I worked on this post because I am typing this in our outdated kitchen and have a lot of new ideas with what kind of updates we could do! Time to start planning ahead, and budgeting. Will you all help me with choices if he gives us the green light to proceed? Wish me luck!

In the meantime, for more information on Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen visit www.remodelworks.com.

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Marriage Advice Better Than “Don’t Go To Bed Mad”

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My husband and I celebrate 15 years of marriage today, and while that makes me feel giddy and proud, there is also something about the fact we have been marriage for that long, that is making me feel really…old. Like, really? Has it really be 15 years? Wow.

We have been through a lot in those 15 years.

The first 14 pretty much fell in the “for better” category.  When life is sailing along crisis-free, it’s easy to take life for granted. This year, with the tragic loss of my mom, we have been undoubtedly been through “for worse”. Yet, he has stood by my side every step. God bless him.

For all the awful things I am going through grieving the loss of my mom, I think how awful it must be for him, to always being the strong one while watching your wife grieve. But we made it through, and we are still making it through. Witnessing his commitment to us has strengthened us. It might be one of the silver linings, we are stronger as a result of this “for worse” year. Nothing tests a relationship like crisis.

Marriage Advice

Photo cred: Melissa Wilson

 

My mom and I had the time of our life planning our wedding back in 2001. We were two peas-in-a-pod with our love for parties, celebrations and “cute details”.  The wedding was the party to end all parties for both of us and we had SO much fun together.

After the wedding, she gave me as a gift, a secret journal she kept starting with the day we got engaged. In it, she documented all the details of the engagement, planning and wedding and all the things we did together.

At the end of the journal, my parents both shared their tips and advice on marriage. My parents were married 46 years and were one of those couples that had something special. They were genuinely, truly happy together.

Here they are on August 16th, 1969…

parents collage

I pulled out the Journal today to read her words again.

Here are some my mom said…

“The promise and commitment of marriage is the most incredible gift.”

Treat your husband as your best friend every day of your life.”

“There will be ups & downs, highs & lows, but always be there for each other.”

Listen to each other and compromise if needed.”

“….and kiss him every night when you or he walks in!”

“Always” and “nevers” advice from my dad…

“Always listen to your partner twice as much as you talk. After all, God gave us two ears and one mouth.”

Never use sarcasm with each other, it’s often times an insult in disguise.”

“Always remember what is easy or difficult for you might not be easy or difficult for your partner. Embrace your differences, for they are what makes your marriage unique.”

“Always make your partner look good in front of others.

Never keep secrets from one another. Share feelings and try not to keep things inside and you’ll both grow.”

Never make major decisions when you are acutely emotional. Wait a day, take 100 deep breaths.  Most of the stupid decisions I have made in my life have been during times of high emotion.”

“Always treat your partner even better than you would your best friend.

“Never set your partner up to fail, rather set your partner up to succeed.

And then my moms ends with…

“And now you can even better understand why I love your father so much! He is an incredible person, I am so lucky to have him as my partner in life!”

Someone hand me the tissues.

This past weekend we celebrated our anniversary in Laguna Beach and had dinner at The Deck, which used to be a wedding venue called Pacific Edge, where we got married.

When we walked in I felt immediately nostalgic, thinking of that day, my mom and how special that place was to her as well. At that exact moment,  a guy walks right towards me with this amazing monarch butterfly on his finger and I tell him I believe it is for me. He hands it to me. I just know it was a sign from her, letting me know she is still right here with us.  Hug your loved ones today friends. Give your husband or wife an extra kiss. Appreciate each other.  Life is fleeting.

thebutterfly

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Sleep Help for Kids

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Sleep Meditations for Kids 

sleep meditations for kids

The end of the day is an exhausting time for everyone, especially moms, so there are few things more frustrating than bedtime struggles with kids. If I am being honest, there have been more times than I can even count when I have screamed to myself in my head, “Just go the BLANK to SLEEP!!!!” when bedtime shenanigans have prolonged the process more than I can tolerate.

The past year, in addition to the typical “do anything possible to prolong the bedtime routine”, my oldest daughter was also having a lot of problems going to sleep.

She told me she couldn’t fall asleep because she couldn’t stop her mind from worrying.  Oh, how we all can relate to that.

My sister was having the same issues with her son, and ended up researching sleep meditations for kids and sent me this sleep mediation she found.

We downloaded the app to an old phone and although resistant at first because she thought it was kind of silly, she listened to it and went to sleep without issue the first time trying it.

She then asked for it again the next night, and she now listens to it every night to go to sleep.  It has been amazing for our family, which is why I wanted to share it with you.

It’s called Sleep Meditations for Kids by Christiane Kerr.

It would be my dream that it might help you too.

Sweet dreams mamas.

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Must-Read Information on Bullying

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This article sponsored by CHOC Children’s Hospital

In light of October as National Bullying Prevention Month, I had the opportunity to engage in an extremely eye-opening conversation with Dr. Christopher Min, PhD, a licensed pediatric psychologist at CHOC Children’s  about bullying and the mental health effects on children. This is a must-read for all parents! He shares bullying warning signs to watch for, how to talk to your children about bullying, and how seeking professional help can also be life-changing for the entire family.

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Bullying Warning Signs

The number one warning signs Dr. Min said to look for are “avoidance behaviors” or when a child expresses not wanting to go to school, activities or other situations they haven’t had a problem with in the past.

The child may start having more stomach-aches or headaches, or you might be alerted to frequent trips to the nurse, often at times like recess or lunch when bullying may be happening.

How to Talk to Your Children About Bullying

I asked Dr. Min for tips on how to talk to your children about bullying and find out what is going on and this was a huge “aha moment” for me.

First, let’s talk about what NOT to do!

The topic of bullying can make parents emotional, and their reactions emotional, driving them to jump immediate “protective, problem-solving mode.” But Dr. Min said reacting in this way is not the best way to get the information and get your child to share more about what is happening.

The #1 important thing parents can do is LISTEN.

Listen, listen, listen and be calm, supportive and thoughtful while gathering information. It is also important to communicate it is not their fault and careful not to place blame or tell them, “You need to stick up for yourself!”

Really listening is the best way to get kids to share more and feel safe sharing with you, especially if they feel they will not be criticized for what they did or didn’t do.

Parents cannot control what the bully does at school or outside the home, but they CAN control a supportive, healing atmosphere at home.

What to Do If Your Child is Being Bullied

Depending on the severity of the situation, and especially if physical bullying is going on, the school should be notified immediately. If the bullying is lesser in severity, like teasing, parents can work with their children to come up with a practical plan on how to deal with the bully.

Dr. Min shared bullies tend to pick on children when they are alone. Making a plan to have your child avoid being alone or seek out a peer group (or position themselves near a teacher or adult) when the bully is present will make it harder for the bully to act out their behaviors.

The more situations or chances the bully gets to exhibit the behaviors, the more they are reinforced and likely to continue.

Having your child remove themselves as much from those situations as possible can help.

When to Seek Professional Help for Bullying

If the bullying persists, and the plan is not working, wonderful therapists are available to help children and families struggling with bullying.

Professional help is recommended if you notice the following in your child:

– Persistent irritable mood
– Anxiety and worry about school
– Trouble concentrating on school work
– Interference with daily functioning, school and/or activities

How a Child Therapist Can Help

A licensed therapist can be a tremendous help for children and families. Today’s mental health treatments for bullying are solution-focused and help give the child tools, skills and coaching on how to deal with the bully.  In addition, a therapist can provide additional support and stress management tools to help with the strong emotional ramifications that come with being bullied.

Mental Health Ramifications from Bullying

If left untreated, children that are persistently bullied can struggle with depression or anxiety, act out in unfavorable ways, and in severe cases, bullying can lead to suicide attempts. Bullying is not something that should be ignored or assumed will go away on its own.

A Word About Girls and Bullying

Many people think bullying only happens with boys, but for parents of girls, I was alerted to an eye-opening fact. Dr. Min shared girls at times can be even more aggressive than boys with bullying.

Using exclusion tactics and social humiliation to bully, the emotional abuse can be just as hurtful as physical abuse, especially now days with social media (which is another conversation in itself).

Let’s Talk About Pediatric Mental Health

lets-talk This generation of parents has a unique opportunity to start the conversation about mental health with our children. No sweeping issues under the rug, or pretending they don’t exist.

Mental health and happiness is just as important as physical health.

As human beings, no one is immune to struggling with mental health issues at times. But when the issues persist and quality of life is affected, there is no reason for a child, or anyone for that matter, to suffer.

Help is available to us  to navigate mental health issues with children – the most vulnerable population.

Let’s teach our kids, it’s OKAY to get help. In fact, it is often the right thing to do. I believe in turn we will be raising a happier, healthier future generation.

Click here to learn more about CHOC Children’s mental health programs and services.

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Rising Strong Questions are UP!

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link in this post is an affiliate link

Hello to all my lovely ladies joining me in my first Tiny Oranges Book Club discussion on Brené Brown’s Rising Strong!

Originally I said we would cover Chapters One – Four this week but when coming up with Rising Strong questions for the four chapters I realized there is just SO MUCH to discuss that it was wayyyyyyyy too overwhelming to cover four chapters at once.

I asked my cousin Kristin what she thought we should do, and she thought one chapter at a time, and I totally agree. So, let’s dive into chapter one and discuss.

How to join the Tiny Oranges Book Club! 

1. Join the ——–>>>>>> Tiny Oranges Book Club on Good Reads

2. Look on home page under “Discussions”and click on “Chapter One Questions”

3. I posted questions of mine that came to mind when reading it.  Feel free to respond to all or one or however many spoke to you.

4. Please also post your own questions/topics or things you might want to discuss as a result of things that came up for you in Chapter One.

LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME!!!!!!

Now let’s start chatting about RISING STRONG!

xoxoxo

Jen

 

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