Moms of Hope

Trades of Hope sign on exclusive: lena bracelet

Days of Hope

Hi, moms!

I want to share with you something that has blessed my life. Last year, I became a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope because I was looking for a way to make money without having to leave my toddler for long periods of time. I love that as a mom, I can help people around the world (many of them also moms) while earning an income for my family.

Another blessing has been the relationships I have gained—other women who are passionate about making a difference in the world.

Days of Hope is happening right now. Everybody who signs up this month receives a special bracelet (pictured below). August is the perfect time to join because September, October, and November are the best months for sales. If you try it and decide that TOH is not for you, at least you’ll have some Christmas money.

Let me know if you would like to learn more about this business opportunity.

Ashley Danielson

Trades of Hope sign on exclusive: Lena bracelet

 

Nine ways to support single moms

We can help single mothers moms by supporting them emotionally through friendship and financially through sharing resources.  Being a single mom is lonely and exhausting.  I so appreciate the people in my life that have made things easier for me and have shown me that they care about me during this time in my life.  When you show support to a single mom, it not only affects her but her children. For some, it might change their lives.

Nine Ways to Support Single Moms

1. Offer to watch her children
Even if she has family near by, with appointments, work, and other obligations, there will be times that she needs somebody to watch her child. I know that I am always looking for somebody to watch my son.

2. Offer rides
If you know a single mom that doesn’t have a car or reliable transportation, giving them a ride is a practical way you can help them get to work or go to appointments.

3. Take her out on a “date”
Extend friendship and treat this mom to coffee or a meal. Many single moms can’t afford to treat themselves even though they work pretty hard.

4. Start an Embrace Grace or Embrace Life group at your church
These groups are a life saver for women with unplanned pregnancies and young single moms.  I have involved with both of these groups. The love that these ladies showed to us moms was one of the greatest things ever. These women are still in my life and show me support and help me out when I need it.

5. Throw a baby shower  Or organize a supply drive to donate to a local mom or non-profit that works with single moms. One of the things that I love about Embrace Grace is that they throw baby showers for the women who attend their group.

6. Send a note of encouragement
All moms need encouragement but when you are doing it on your own, we need all the encouragement we can get. I will be distributing notes to single moms. You can help me out with this project by emailing me a note that you would like passed on to a single mom. If you know a mom that you would like to receive a note, let me know.

7. Volunteer at a maternity home or home for teen moms
In Spokane, we have GraceSon for teen moms (where I work) and Life Services’ maternity home. There’s also Hearth Homes which provides a home for single mothers over the age of 18.

8. Support their business
Visit my shop page to see a list of businesses that support moms including some single moms.

9. Share your resources and skills
Use your talents to help a mom who might not be able to afford professional services. When I moved into my apartment, so many people helped by giving us shelves, kitchen supplies, and even a bed for my son. Somebody has also helped me with my car when I needed repairs.

What would you add to this list?

Three simple ways to get organized this year

3 simple ways to get organized this year

As a mom of a toddler, getting and staying organized is always a chore especially during the month after Christmas due to the influx of games and toys. Here are some tips for easy ways to get organized this year.

3 simple ways to get organized this year

 

Three simple ways to get organized this year

Use a planner

The first thing you need to get organized in the new year is a planner. In the past, I used the reminder app on my iPhone but that wasn’t an effective system for me. Last year, I used these pages in a notebook. They had everything that I needed. It was a pain to print these out at the library, though. At the end of last year, I received this planner. This planner works better for me because it fits into my purse. I love that it has a lot of space to write notes. Since this planner does not have all the sections the other one did, I color code using colored pens. For example gold for blogging, light blue for mom/ social stuff, red for meals, dark blue/ black for work, green for workouts, and orange for personal stuff such as appointments.

I wrote a whole post about managing time, read it here.

Purge

Donate clothes that you and your children do not wear or have outgrown. Store away clothes that your children have outgrown if keeping for future children. If the clothing is not in perfect condition or my child never wore, I donate because I do not want to use up space storing these clothes.

Do you have shoe boxes that you are not using? Recycle or use to organize.

Go through your toys and donate or throw away toys that are not used, broken or have been outgrown. My son had lots of cars and plastic car tracks but he received newer more age appropriate cars for Christmas and wood tracks.

Rotating toys is another way to keep your child’s toy selection fresh without buying more toys.

Often times, bathrooms collect lots of unused items. I’ve received a lot of bath products that I have no intention of using. Or we empty out a bottle and forget to throw it away. Check to see if your sunscreen is expired. I threw out one of my hand towels that had a rip in it and replaced it with a nicer one from Target.

In the kitchen, my plastic container drawer was filling up. I save plastic containers from yogurt and sour cream. I recycled all of the containers without lids and lids without containers.

Contain

Toys, puzzles, books, and games can cause a lot of clutter. Our games were stacked on a shelf. I wanted to make Hezekiah’s books more accessible to him so I bought some zippered envelopes (similar to these) from the Dollar Tree. Each game and puzzle has its own envelope that he is able to open and close by himself. I also bought a large basket from Value Village to hold all of his games and his reusable stickers and sticker pad. This basket fits perfectly under his table.

I used a basket from Target to hold my games and a wood crate to hold extra books (both of these are shown in the photo above).

As you are purging and organizing look for containers that can be used for another purpose. I used a spice bottle as a paint brush holder on my son’s table. These little bottles have so many uses.

children's table

How are you getting organized this year?

This post contains affliate links.

Be, don’t do

Do you judge yourself or overwhelm yourself with the amount of things you expect yourself to do each week?

I’m realizing lately, that I judge myself more than anybody else does. I let labels stick to me and define me. I compare myself to others which is silly because I don’t know anybody who is going through what I am going through.

I’m trying a new thing where I don’t put pressure on myself to do certain things like getting up early. We’ll see if this works better than trying to go to bed by 10:00 pm and trying to get up at a certain time (early= 6:00 am), failing then feeling guilty.

Just be yourself

 

Yes, I am a Compassionate Entrepreneur, business owner, blogger, and work at home mom (not to mention all of my other responsibilities) but I am a mom first. I need to let that sink in. Being a mom is not the easiest but it is rewarding. Putting motherhood first does not make me lazy. My son is only two and I am so blessed to get to spend so much time with him. I know that not everybody gets that and I shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

I want to excel at everything I do… being a mom is the most important.

Be a mom to your child. Love him. Take care of her. Relax. Have fun.

But also, take care of yourself. Sleep when you can. Make time for yourself. Spend time with friends. And reach out for help when you need it.

My blog is full of practical tips but my heart is for women (moms) to connect to my words not just learn something.

The Motherhood Journey: 2016

The Motherhood Journey 2016

It’s a new year and I am looking forward to a new year of blogging consistently and growing as a mom. I can’t believe my son turns three this year.

This last year was not an easy year for me but there some good things that happened. this past year I started several new jobs including working at a home for teen moms. This last year I found community through church and through mom groups. This year I started a business with Trades of Hope. Through all the hard times I’ve held onto hope.

This is what the year looked like in my motherhood journey.

The Motherhood Journey 2016

The Motherhood Journey 2016

Babywearing: My son is getting older so I haven’t worn him much lately but babywearing (or toddler wearing) was necessary in so many situations. For example, stores that don’t have carts, long hikes, the zoo, and when he wanted to be held but I was cooking.Check out our photos from the photo shoot fundraiser for the local babywearing library. I encourage you to join your local babywearing group for help with carriers and to try the different types.

Bravery: As a mom going through big life changes and uncertain times, God helped me be brave. Read about how I went from fear to pursuing my dreams.

Flourish: I learned how to flourish and what things are important and necessary for feeding the soul. I love that this is an area where we can continually grow. As moms, it is so important that we take care of ourselves as we take care of our little ones.

Fun: As a mom including fun times for your children is so important, especially if you work from home. I have greatly improved with my time management but also need to make sure my son is having a good time. One of the ways I did this was by creating a quiet time basket to keep him occupied while I did work or had my own “quiet time”.

Top 4 posts on the blog this year

  1. Why I chose The Tiny Potty Training Book to Potty Train My 18 Month Old

It has been almost a year since I potty trained Hezekiah and to be honest he still has accidents occasionally. I don’t regret potty training him “early” though. We saved a lot of diapers and my son gained a lot of independence. Potty training is not easy and I don’t know how I would have done it without this book and the support I had.

2. Tips for helping your child adjust to a sibling

I still only have one child but most of my friends have at least two kids so I had lots of sources. In the future, these tips will be very helpful.

3. How to have dates after baby

Going on a date when you have a new baby can seem impossible for some couples. In this post I give some ideas to make it happen.

4. The truth about postpartum depression, anxiety and baby blues

This was a guest post but I am glad that it was so popular since this is an important topic.

What four words described your year as a mom?

Mom and son photos in the snow

I finally got some professional photos of my son and I. The last time we had photos of the two of us was the babywearing fundraiser and Hezekiah has grown so much since then. My son was grumpy and it was freezing out but the photos turned out pretty good. Photographer Laurin Crosby set up this cute hot cocoa stand at a park near our home in Spokane Valley, Washington.

Managing my time as a busy mom

This week I am writing about my life as a work at home mom and my recent journey to make time to do the things I need to do as well the things I want to do each week. As a mom, I am getting busier and busier (I have started working several jobs within a month’s time). When I started this blog I was feeling stretched thin and like I needed to budget my time more wisely so not only do I do a lot of writing but I have been busy making sure the blog looks good and functions properly. I work part time, have recently started volunteering and go to two moms groups . I cut some things out and took the steps detailed in this post. If you are feeling overwhelmed, I hope some of these tips help you.

How I manage my time as a busy mom

managing my time as a busy mom

I recently started doing direct sales with Trades of Hope. I never thought I would do this but I love that Trades of Hope is empowering women out of poverty all over the world by selling their beautiful products. I love being able to work from home and get a chance to get out of the house for home parties. I love not having to worry about full time childcare for my son. I love having a flexible schedule which allows me to do things that I love (like meeting up with friends or doing ministry).

I also work as a weekend house parent at a home for teen moms. This is a dream job for me and with my flexible schedule this is perfect for me right now. I’ve mentioned before how I want to become a postpartum doula to help teen moms.

Tips for managing your time as a busy mom

For the longest time, I fought against making a schedule for myself. I was afraid that it would stifle my creativity but I wasn’t getting anything done. It is hard to have a schedule with a child who can be very unpredictable. He likes routines but a strict schedule does not work with him. Toddlers are unpredictable– as I was writing this I had to pause to change his poopy diaper (now that he is not in diapers he still needs help with going potty).

Routine

Creating a routine is a good start to managing your time. The routine below was created several months ago and our life has chnaged quite a bit since then. After reading Creating Family Rhythm on The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking, I created a routine for my son and I. This was based on our natural rhythm. I used three note cards to write out my routine, one for morning, and one for evening. Think of all of the things you want to do each day and write them on the appropriate note card or section of paper.

Routines are perfect for stay at home moms who don’t need a very strict schedule.

For example, morning is when I wake up until lunch (usually around noon). I put a star next the things that are top priorities.

  • Hezekiah potty
  • Eat breakfast and take vitamins
  • shower and stretch
  • Bible/ prayer/ journaling*
  • look at to-do list
  • exercise

I wrote this order based on what felt natural but later I changed another order made more sense. Showering right after breakfast made sense because Hezekiah would be messy after breakfast but now that I am starting to workout more, showering later makes more sense.

image

Afternoon for me is lunchtime until dinner time

  • lunch- dishes- check email
  • nap* (H potty)
  • play outside
  • blog (create/ write)
  • chores (organize)– dinner

I originally wrote this routine several months ago and so much has changed but it is helpful to see the process.

Afternoon routine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My evening routine begins routine begins with dinner and mostly consists of getting my son ready for bed.

  • dinner
  • H bath– brush teeth
  • turn on fan
  • puta away toys
  • read toddler Bible
  • bed
  • chores (me)– make breakfast

Evening routine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schedule: weekly time map

Several months ago, Cindy Vanhoff from Reclaimed Spaces talked to my MOPs group about organization. We took a quiz to help us figure out what we needed to organize the most. For me, it was my schedule. As I mentioned above, I wasn’t get much done but I felt so busy.

My goal with managing my time is to have things done on time and for my days to flow smoothly and be well planned, to get more done in less time, to actually have time to do the things I want to do (not just take care of my son). My biggest desire is to use my time more efficiently and it has happened. I have found time that I didn’t know existed.

Creating and using a time map has given me more time each day. She had us start out by adding our weekly commitments. Right away, I discovered that I was not giving myself enough time to get ready in the morning.

The most important part of creating a time map was figuring out which areas I was not giving myself enough time to complete.

Shortly before creating my time map, I decided to have a scheduled day to do laundry and diaper laundry. Before I started doing this, I wouldn’t wash the diapers until I was almost out (sometimes i would be completely out of clean diapers before I realized). Now we are done with diapers but still have plenty of laundry.

Click here to download an editable time map.

time map

Plan your week

Each week, I use this weekly planner to plan out the week ahead. Every Sunday, so that day I go grocery shopping so I plan my meals for the week and figure out what I need to buy for those meals. As I’m planning my week, I plan a day to run errands (bank, appointments, non grocery shopping, etc). Other weekly things to plan are date night (if you are married), family time, personal time (this is so important to me), one on one time for each child (since I only have one child this doesn’t really need to be scheduled), a day of rest (for me this means no chores or errands, I try having my rest day on Saturdays).

Scheduling my time and planning my week help me work at home, take care of my son and have a life. Life with a toddler is not easy and sometimes things don’t go as planned. If you have anybody to help you, I encourage you to take advantage of that.

I encourage you to pursue your dreams even if you are a mom, even if you are a single mom solely responsible for providing for your family. There are opportunities out there to provide for your family and make a difference (for me that is Trades of Hope and being a weekend house parent).

Simple mom style #Spring30for30

#Spring30for30 challenge

 

I’m a woman and mother who is hardly ever satisfied with her body. I feel like my body is constantly changing (partially due to motherhood) and I feel like nothing looks good on me. I want to only have clothes in my closet that help me feel good in my body. I want to be confident about the clothes that I wear and the way they look on me.

Simple Mom Style: #Spring30for30 Challenge

#Spring30for30 challenge

I am so excited for the month of April. I am choosing to only wear 30 items of clothing for the whole month (not including workout clothes, shoes, and accessories). This challenge is called Spring 30for30 and is hosted by Shawna from Simple On Purpose (I discovered her blog through this challenge and I love it) and Raj from Pink Chai. Several mom bloggers are taking part in this challenge.

The challenge begins April 1st and goes through the whole month.

Why I am doing this?

I am doing the #Spring30for30 challenge for several reasons.

The first and most important reason is the reason listed above. I want to fine tune my wardrobe to only clothes that help me feel confident about my body. I don’t want to spend time feeling conscious about my clothing not being flattering.

Second, I’m trying to be minimalistic but I have so many clothes and I only wear a small portion of them. I wear the same outfits a lot (I actually don’t mind this) and I am looking forward to being challenged to wear a different combo for a whole month. This will show me how well (or not well) my clothes actually go together.

Third, I need to make more room in my closet. I have very little space and I am currently sharing it with my toddler. Going through my clothes to choose 30 things to wear for a month gave me the opportunity to get rid of clothes that I haven’t worn in awhile and have no desire to wear again. I ended up with a garbage bag full of clothes to donate!

What do I hope to get out of this?

Besides gaining confidence and having less stress about clothes, I’m hoping this challenge will help me be more creative with my accessories. Especially since I recently became a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope, I want to be a pro at accessorizing to best showcase the beautiful fair trade items I am selling.

What are the 30 items I have chosen?

I recently went out and bought a couple pairs of jeans from Value Village (a thrift store) along with a gold t shirt and a black t shirt. Having 3 of my 30 items be jeans is kinda crazy for me since I have been more into skirts and dresses the last few years. I feel like my style is always changing but I have gotten more into fashion in the past year, so maybe my style is changing for the better.

I have chosen lots of t shirts. These are not boring t shirts but flattering (not tight in the tummy) with interesting cuts. Other shirts include some dressy shirts that I wear on a regular basis. I usually wear nice clothes even though I don’t leave the house most of the time but I also have those days of wearing workout clothes all day.

My other choices include:

  • 2 dresses– one striped and one black and a shirt dress.
  • 3 cardigans– a simple black cardigan, an ivory cardigan and my favorite: a long mustard yellow and gold cardigan with pockets, I wear this with almost everything
  • Four skirts– two pencil skirts and two maxi skirts (one solid black and the other patterned)
  • Two pairs of leggings (both patterned… to go with some of my longer shirts)
  • One pair of leather legging pants

Each day I am going to post a photo to Instagram using the hashtag #spring30for30 (see feed below)

Here’s a list of all the bloggers taking part in this challenge:

Kayla at The Accidental Nomad Life
Shawna at Simple On Purpose
Louise at Talk Nerdy to Me
Jenny at Ruminating Mommy
Hanna at Honey and Huckleberries
Shannon at Adventurous Mama
Roya at Bitsy Ideas
Emily at From Designer to Diapers
Krystal Leigh at The Valley Mom
Raj at Pink Chai

You can join us by using the hashtag #Spring30for30 on Instagram.

Tell me, what is your mom style?

Bravery: From Fear to Mother Pursuing Her Dreams

Bravery: from fear to mother pursuing her dreams

Our lives are filled with opportunities to be brave and to be the person God created us to be. To be honest, I have lived so much of my life in fear. It is so tempting to hold back and to barely live in a world that is full of negativity and discouragement.

I have done many brave things in my life but the bravest thing I have done is become a mom. Motherhood has challenged and grown me more than anything else. I have learned how to love in a way that I didn’t even know was possible. I have more love for my son than I thought could fit in my heart.

This week I wrote a guest post for Whatsoever is Lovely Living. Read the rest here.

Bravery: from fear to mother pursuing her dreams

Babywearing photos for lending library

babywearing photo by Courtney Pegram

Babywearing has been an important part of my parenting and since I don’t have a car it has been a necessity. My son has always loved to be held and when he was a newborn the only way I could eat lunch was by having him in the Ergo.

I was so excited for this opportunity to get some photos wearing Hezekiah before he gets too big to wear (he turns two in 3 months). The babywearing group in Spokane is starting a lending library and Courtney Pegram, a birth doula and photograhper at Small Beginnings Photography and Birth Services, volunteered to take photos as a fundraiser.

The lending library will give moms and dads the opportunity to try different kinds of carriers. The cost of a year’s membership is a lot less than most baby carriers. This lending library will give parents the opportunity to borrow wraps and carriers that they would not be able to afford and find the carrier that works best for them. I am looking forward to becoming a member of this

babywearing photo by Courtney Pegram

My little boy can be so serious sometimes (like during this photoshoot) but at home he is crazy silly. I love him so much. In the photo below, I was bouncing Hezekiah trying to get him to smile. It wasn’t a success and he looks grumpy like he does in so many other photos.

Ashley_02

Babywearing meetings are a great way to make friends and get help with babywearing. In these photos, I am wearing an Indajani handwoven wrap that I got for my birthday last summer. I haven’t had much luck getting Hezekiah on my back on my own so just a few minutes before this photo was taken, one of the volunteer leaders of the group helped him get him on my back. I was so grateful for the help.

babywearing photo by Courtney Pegram

I’m so thankful for the babywearing groups that I have been a part of and am looking forward to helping new moms learn how to wear their babies when I help moms as a postpartum doula.