Monday, August 31, 2015

Living Up To Your Fullest Potential



The other day, my husband was watching a military documentary. This is a common occurrence in our home and often times, I just tune them out. They aren't really my thing.

I happened to be cleaning our house at the time, so I ended up listening to the only noise I could hear. Within seconds, I found myself listening intently. Listening and thinking "boy, there are some serious life-changing lessons this guy is talking about."

Before we knew it, we were rewinding and listening to what this guy was saying again. And again.

As I started to think about how I could apply these lessons to my life, I couldn't help but think about my new role as a mother. One key point he had was that we can't focus on the outcomes in life, but on the performance. Of course this was related to military situations, but the beauty of performance is that we are all uniquely created. We will all perform differently.

We will all live life differently. I am the only "Kristin Sterk." Now take that one step further. If I only focus on the outcomes in life, what standard am I living up to? If I focus on what everyone else is doing, and worrying about them, am I really living up to the fullest potential of what Kristin Sterk can do? (insert your own name)

For example, if I was living up to the outcome/standard of Babywise, would I be seen as failing to succeed then because my child didn't sleep through the night by 12 weeks? But if I focused more on the "performance", which means not worrying about a set standard, but worrying about how I can improve and what I CAN do (which is love Mazy to the fullest capacity), that is success. So loving Mazy and worrying about how I can best love her, meant being okay with her not following the books. And honestly? That has been the BEST thing that has happened to me!

One quote that stuck with me is: Limits begin where vision ends.

Just think about that. I would love to go into detail about what I think this means, but I want you to personally think about that quote. Where have your visions ended because you created limits for yourself? Again, just sit back and think about this:

Limits begin where vision ends.

Who would've thought, a simple documentary could throw out such a big challenge?
Just something to think about...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

This Week In Pictures


Of course our week in pictures consists of Mazy!
Though, I did go back to school this week (school officially starts Monday) and I am glad Dan convinced me last year to stay. I was first thinking I wanted to just stay at home, but back in March, Dan told me that it would be a good idea to go back. I am so glad he told me that because I love it! I honestly love my job, love the kids, the teachers, and love what I do! And Dan is just such an amazing dad, so I couldn't ask for a better set up!

This little ham is just the love of our lives! I mean seriously, just look at her! How can you not fall in love with that smile!
Mazy loves having her picture taken
I made barefoot sandals for her last weekend and she loves to play with them
Mazy sure loves her Violet (thanks Aunt Lori!)
She's just too cute to not take a picture with
It's a hard life...
Mazy loves to grab faces (even eyes)
One of Mazy's favorite things to do is sit on the edge of our couch and watch the world go by (love this picture!)
All smiles from the other side of the screen
Our little track star
 Under Armour buddies! My jacket is from coaching and hers, well, was a steal of a deal at TJ Maxx! I couldn't resist!

Mazy actually slept through the night last night! The night before, she only woke up for her 6:30am feeding (drank a whole bottle). Last night she woke up at 1:30 and I put her paci back in, but then she didn't wake up until 8:30! Talk about one tired girl! Or a girl that is just figuring out sleep. We have been praying that she would be able to sleep through the night soon (don't know if that's a weird prayer), but God gave us an amazing night of rest. Whether it is consistent or not, who knows, but this girl sure is growing and learning!

And, she is basically sitting up on her own. We are still there to support because she will tip over, but she has found a whole new love of playing with toys, sitting up! And who would've thought that CUPS would be her new favorite thing! Who knew...

Friday, August 28, 2015

How YOU Can Simplify Your Cleaning Routine

Since I started blogging, I have had the privilege of being introduced to many practical, useful, time-saving, and unique products. I can be very skeptical of multi-level marketing companies, as I feel they are always trying to get me to buy what I don't need. I am too Dutch to spend my money on something that is way overpriced, not worth my time, and something I quite frankly don't need. I have become even MORE obsessed about not having more than what I need, but having quality versus quantity, and finding the fastest and most efficient way to do something. I write often about cleaning, maintaining the home, and "going green" in the sense of using environmentally safe ingredients and foods. I was then introduced to the website Environmental Working Group, that grades cleaners for example, by how environmentally friendly they are. I was appalled. 

I knew there had to be a better way of cleaning and maintaining our home, that didn't use these harmful chemicals that we then inhaled, ingested, and touched. Insert NORWEX. I was introduced to this company when we moved to Minnesota. I went to a Norwex party, received and started using a few of their products. I was hooked. I mean "got rid of my other cleaning supplies" hooked. Norwex was what I was looking for

Why? Because the majority of my cleaning is done with ONE CLOTH (Enviro Cloth) and WATER. I know, too good to be true? Nope! How? For example, the microfiber clothes are made up of fibers that are 1/200 the size of that of human hair. Those little fibers lift and collect dust/dirt, instead of pushing it. Plus, they self-purify within 24 hours, preventing that nasty "wet cloth" smell. You may like the "clean" smell, but realize that "clean" often means harmful chemicals in order to "make" it smell clean. Norwex products are as environmentally safe as you can get, while getting the job done.

I am cheap. Are the products overpriced? This Dutch girl says NO because they are worth every penny of what they do. It is an investment as you will soon realize, as you won't be buying multiples of every kind of cleaner! Norwex products do what they say they do. 

Here are a few examples of how Norwex transformed our home: 

I could not get that lime/rust/calcium buildup off of our tub. I tried what seemed like every cleaner from the store. 

Then I tried the Descaler and Cleaning Paste combined...
The stains are almost completely GONE!

Same with our kitchen sink...
Just used the Descaler and Cleaning Paste!

Our oven sure needed some help, so I tried their Oven and Grill Cleaner:
Our oven has never looked better! (Though I do need to stop spilling food!)
This is our toilet paper holder - all I used was the Enviro Cloth and water!


I am not a crazy go-in-the-home seller of Norwex. With having a baby, I find that leaving the house isn't as easy as it used to be and honestly, I am okay with that! I know many other moms are in the same boat. That is why I have found that having online Facebook parties, is the way to spread the word about an idea or product. I have done several facebook parties and all of them have been successful, in meaning that the "host" received HUNDREDS of dollars worth of free products! 

The way facebook parties work: all you would do is let me know you would like to host one. I would set up the facebook page and then I would let you know when it is ready to go. All you would do then, is invite your friends. That is IT. I take care of the rest. We decide on a date and I do live postings on the date and time set, that include videos and pictures of what Norwex products can do. It is the easiest way to get free products without having to prep your home because everything is done online!

If this is something you are at all interested in, send me an email at kristin.sterk@gmail.com. Also, if you have ANY questions, do not hesitate to ask! It doesn't matter where you live and where you invite people from because all the products ordered, are ordered online (unless the person lives close to the host), and are sent directly TO the customer! So again, it really is a no-hassle way to earn free products!

Meanwhile, if you are interested in buying any products, take some time to look through the website and order anything from an individual cloth to a package! I highly recommend trying out the Enviro Clothwindow clothdish cloth, dust mittcleaning paste, and mop. I mentioned above, that all these products can be found on my website.

If you have ANY questions, do not hesitate to ask! I hope you find just as much excitement and practical use for these products as I do! I am excited to continue to show you how I have transformed our home into a Norwex CLEAN home!

Kristin Sterk
kristin.sterk@gmail.com
Norwex Independent Sales Consultant
www.KristinSterk.norwex.biz

Just thought you might find this interesting...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Stress-Free Back To School Prep: Lunches

Finally, one of the last "preps" that you can do to ensure a smooth transition into the school season, is being prepared when it comes to lunches. Think about how much money you spend on hot lunch for your child. Is it possible to save money and make their lunches at home? You are probably thinking that it is way easier to just pay the price of lunch. Well, what if you had a lunch station in your home, had creative food ideas, had a wide variety of options, and realized it would only take minutes to pack each day? Would it be worth the savings?

I want to share with you some school lunch ideas that other bloggers have cleverly come up with. Even though we do not have children in school, I still have to pack my lunch every day as I do work at a school. Reading about these different ideas only inspired me to make lunch-creating fun, instead of a chore!

Hopefully you find these ideas just as inspiring!

Leave it to Jen at iheartorganizing.blogspot.com to offer some simple and practical tips on how to create a lunch making station!

Thanks to Good Housekeeping, your kitchen can and WILL be school-ready and school-lunch ready in no time!

Amy from Very Culinary offers simple ideas of what to include in your child's lunchbox - choose a set and run with it. The most clever ideas, you will find; a guarantee!

Finally, if your kids are complaining about the 50th sandwich they have eaten in the past how many days or if your kids have some food sensitivities, check out Keeley McGuire's 20 Non-Sandwich Lunch Box Ideas!

I hope you have found these back to school prep ideas to be helpful and even more so, make this back to school season much less stressful! Hope you have a wonderful school year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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Stress-Free Back To School Prep: Run-Throughs


Imagine waking up on the first day of school with no panic, no hurry, and no wondering if the kids are going to miss the bus or get to school on time. Just imagine.

Does that seem like a far-fetched dream? Well, it doesn't have to be!

It all starts 1-2 weeks before!

Yes, 1-2 weeks before, you are going to start to prepare. It may seem like you are cutting your summer short, but in reality, you are only making the transition easier in the long run!

1. Figure out what time you want your kids to go to bed during the school year. Whatever that time may be, start 1 or 2 weeks before, putting them to bed 15 minutes earlier. It may not sound like a big time difference (ooo...15 minutes!) but if they currently go to bed at 9:00 and you want them to go to bed at 7:30, making them go to bed at 7:30 the night before school starts, will probably not go so well. It's almost a guarantee that you will have crabby kids in the morning or the next night. Start putting them to bed earlier so that they get used to their new bedtime.



2. Create a bedtime routine. In the summer, this routine may become a little lax as summertime is supposed to be, right? Make a bedtime to-do chart if needed. For example, put on a sheet of paper all the things you want your child to do before they go to bed. As they accomplish them, have them put a clothespin on the word. That way you know what they still have to do (as long as they aren't lying, right?) Kids need routine and can thrive off structure, so don't be afraid to get into a routine. As much as they may complain about it, they really do appreciate it!

3. Lay out what your child should wear the night before. You could even help them decide on the weekends, what they will wear for the week (if you really plan ahead). Making this decision the night before, eliminates the argument 5 minutes before the bus comes, about what your child should/wants to wear.

4. Practice your morning routine. Yes, that means create a mock "school morning" for a few days the week before; just to give your children idea of what school days look like. This lessens the shock and allows for kinks to be worked out before it really matters.


5. Prepare yourself. This means packing lunches the night before, getting backpacks ready, and setting everything needed the night before. This way you can wake up each morning and spend the first few moments on YOU, before the kids wake up. The more stressed you are, the more your kids will be too.

Relax! You will have how many "first days of school" for the next how many years? Cherish moments that you want to remember, knowing your kids are only young once. Don't let stress and frustration overtake what joy you should have on the first day of school. You may even shed a tear as you see your preschooler getting on the bus for the first time, but don't let those tears be because you rushed them out the door and forgot to give them a kiss before they headed off!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Stress-Free Back To School Prep: Schedules



What is one of the most stressful part of the back to school process?

SCHEDULES.

Summers allow for those late night family fun nights. Conversations around the fire. Time spent TOGETHER.

Then BAM. All of a sudden school hits and those late summer nights become rushed early evenings, trying to get the kids to bed on time, to prevent those crabby mornings. When school starts, often all good intentions of having an organized school year get thrown out the window.

So how do you prevent a constantly stressed out school year? How do you enjoy the next 9 months and not wish for next summer to be here tomorrow?

It begins with having organized schedules.

1. Get a planner or create one. As much as I would love to say that you can do without one, if you have kids in school, I feel this is the best way to ensure your child doesn't miss his/her first game of the year or their first concert. If you have a smartphone, keep your schedule on there if that is easier. Planners allow everything to be in ONE place, instead of having to look through 50 different papers each time you think there might be something scheduled that day. You can even use just a regular calendar or print one off the computer (many programs offer templates). Whatever is the easiest way for you to organize your schedules, purchase or create it.

2. Gather ALL of the schedules you will need for the school year. This may mean printing off sports schedules, talking to the piano teacher, checking the school website, looking at the church bulletin, etc. It may seem overwhelming to see all of these schedules sitting in a pile, but in the end, it will be worth it.

3. Color code and write down the various activities. For example, use a purple pen for all sporting events. Use a green pen for all concerts. Use an orange pen for practices. You probably get the idea. By writing down all of the activities and using different colors, you can prepare your mind for what is ahead. If you see a lot of purple and you try to attend most of your children's games, you will probably have a busy week. You could also color code by family member, if that is easier!

4. Meal plan. When you see that you will be gone often in a week and have zero prep time for meals, but don't want to eat out every time, this is when meal planning strikes gold! Imagine coming home after a hectic day and knowing exactly what's for supper and possibly even having it already made? Planning ahead will save you oodles of time in the end. It may take 15 minutes at the beginning of the week to plan ahead, but it will make the week go much smoother and keep your family healthier!

These are just a few ideas on how to organize your schedule.

What is your secret to making sure you do not miss a single event?