Alternative Halloween Activities

Alternative Halloween activities | neveralonemom.com

Hey there mamas!

So it’s October, and for most families, that means getting excited about Halloween. But not all families celebrate Halloween or at least are not as into it as others.  In light of this, I will be sharing with you some awesome alternative Halloween activities that will leave you and your kinds just as happy and sugar induced as any ‘traditional” Halloween activity.

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My family and I have never really celebrated Halloween.  It’s something we feel as Christians is not appropriate.  Halloween has become way too commercialized and way too scary in very real ways.  People don’t seem to realize that dressing up as a gruesome monster or a devil, is not cute or innocent.  I have never been comfortable with the idea of Halloween, there’s just something wrong about the whole thing and I have never understood why people are so into it and act like it’s such a fun thing. I do not see the appeal of putting up ugly, scary looking decorations, having blood on things, chopped up body parts, and ghosts etc. These things are all too real in our world and the influences are just too much.  But since it is such a huge holiday and we can’t keep our little ones from being exposed to the ideas of it, finding other ways to celebrate the season and have some fun with snacks and costumes or other exciting things is a great way to go. Here is my list of the best alternative activities to do instead of a traditional Halloween.

  • Harvest Party. – This is my personal favorite, as you can invite your friends and family, have some good food, delicious desserts and decorate with pretty fall flowers and enjoy the crisp weather together. You can always do costumes too if you want! Make them more fun, and less spooky and gruesome.  When I was growing up, our community had a Hoe Down at a friends family ranch, we had warm apple cider, a bonfire, and great food and fellowship. It was a great way to spend an October evening. Some of the little kids would come in costume, usually Bible characters or simple things like a cowgirl, or a fireman. We had music and sometimes games like bobbing for apples, or pumpkin bowling.  You can get super creative and have lots of fun with something like a Harvest party. If you’re not up to hosting, take a look in your community and see if there is one you can attend!
  • Pumpkin Carving Contest –  This is a fun idea if your kids love carving pumpkins! Last year was our first year ever carving a pumpkin and it didn’t turn out very well, but hey, we tried! Turn it into an event by inviting your favorite people, having some coffee, cider, and pie having everyone carve their own pumpkins and holding a contest! It’s sure to be a blast!
  • Corn Maze & Hay Rides – One of the best things about fall are the simple things that bring joy to both us moms and kids. Going on a nice hayride or getting lost in a corn maze are classic fall activities that you can enjoy anytime in October or November. Places like pumpkin patches offer such adventures or you could really go all out and create ones yourself in your own backyard! That’s bound to impress your peeps!
  • Church Events – most churches usually offer some type of alternative Halloween event for local families.  Whether it be Trunk or Treats, or a harvest dinner, there is usually something fun to go do at your local church. Check it out and see what they will be up to this year!
  • DIY Escape Room – Have you ever heard of or been to an escape room? Do you or your kids enjoy thrills, puzzles and being tested on the clock? Then this might be the perfect activity for you! It may take some time and materials to put together, but with a little hard work and creativity you will end up with a really fun original way to get scared on Halloween that doesn’t involve anything creepy or dead! My friends and I are actually putting one together for the youth group! So exciting! If you don’t know what you need or know where to begin when tackling a project like this, Pinterest becomes your new bff! There are kits you can buy and put together, or you can start from scratch with a few sheets, maybe a wood board or two, props, lights and your own imagination.
  • Just For The Kids – If you’re a tired mama and not really feeling like getting too involved then just keeping things simply might be best. Letting your kids have a small sleepover where you let them eat lots of sugar, letting their imaginations go wild by having them build their own candy pizza, watch a fun movie and do fall-related arts and crafts! Take a walk outside and collect pinecones, leaves, twigs and whatever else they fancy and just let them have fun.  Make a wreath for the front door or let them come up with some ideas. Just have a simple fun night at home with some friends having some good old-fashioned fall fun.

If you are on the lookout for costumes because your little ones just can’t do this time of year without them, then you have got to check out this site! Click here

Inspired yet? I hope so! Now go have yourself a fun and fabulous fall!

Oh, and before you go, if you scroll through my blog you will see I have been awarded one of the top 50 mom blog spots from http://www.feedspot.com! I’m so honored and excited! Check out the site and support us mama bloggers!

Love, Jess XO

Beauty Hacks For Moms

beauty hacks for moms | neveralonemom.com

Hey there mamas!

Today I will be doing a quick post featuring my top 5 picks for the best beauty hacks for us busy moms. I don’t think I need to add much more than that, so if you’re ready to begin, then lets’ jump right in!

beauty hacks for moms | neveralonemom.com

  1. Winged Liner Tricks: Do you love the look of winged liner or shadow but hate how much time and effort it takes to create the look? Well, I just learned some tricks that will save the day and our fabulous eyes! Using a bobby pin, place the pin right on the corner of your eye where you want your wing to be, then just draw your wing inside the bobby pin making an almost perfect base for a dramatic wing! Then just fill it in and bam! You can also use a clear piece of tape to create flawless winged eyeshadow! Just place the piece of tape right under your eye and create the look you want, then gently remove the tape for a perfect line!

2. Egg Whites For Your Eyes: Here is a perfect little hack for those crazy mornings where you look like the busy stressed out tired mom you are.  For a quick all natural fix you can do during breakfast, just whip up some egg whites and place them under your eyes for a few minutes to get rid of those under eye bags! So next time you’re making breakfast for the kids, remember to save some eggs for yourself for a fresh looking face!

  1. Rubber Band Manicure: Love the look of a french manicure but don’t have the time to go to the nail salon or have the money to pay for one?  Well, here is an easy way to get a perfect salon look at home! Using a rubber band, place it around your finger near the top of your nail and paint the tip of your nail and then remove the rubber band! Boom!

4. Overnight Hair & Body Mask: As moms, we don’t always have time for self-care, so this overnight trick is perfect for giving silky soft hair and skin with almost zero time! Simply slather on some coconut oil all over your body, right after a bath or shower would be best, and don’t forget to slather your hair in the stuff as well. Then go to bed as usual and wake up to the softest hair and smoothest arms and legs! Good deal right?

5. Set Your Hair: My last pick is a hairstyle hack that I do allllll the time! Straight after washing your hair, whether it be AM or PM, just twist your hair up all around your head and pin with bobby pins. You can also use a headband and just twist your hair and tuck it under the headband. Leave for an hour or two while you finish getting ready, or you can blast it with the blow dryer to speed things along if you have less time. Or sleep on it overnight.  When you let your hair down, you will be left with perfect waves or bouncy curls, depending on your hair type and how tight you twisted your locks.  Run your fingers through it and set with a styling hairspray and there you go! Easy peasy way to style your hair without damaging your hair or taking, even more, time to dry and use a styling device.  Thank me later you gorgeous thing. 😉

And that’s all she wrote! I hope you enjoyed my quick fix beauty hacks and that you have found a new way to keep yourself looking amazing even when you feel like crying on the inside.  Admit it, all of us moms feel this way….no lie.

Much Love,

Jess XO

The Perfect Morning Routine

the perfect morning routine | neveralonemom.com

The perfect morning routine

 

So I need to confess something, I am not a morning person. Nope, not in the slightest. I avoid them at all costs. But life has a way of forcing me to get out of bed and face the world far before I am ready. So when this happens, which it happens fairly often, having a perfect morning routine is very helpful.  I find that having a set routine in the mornings, especially as a mom and entrepreneur, it is key to starting the day right. Whether you are an energetic morning person, or more of a bed bug like myself, I think you can make all of these elements work for you. So here is what the perfect morning routine consists of:

 

 

  • Wake up to delight. What do I mean by that? Well to really start the day off with positivity, have your coffee already set to auto brew around the time you wake up, so the first thing you smell is hot, delicious, brewing coffee. Also, use a clock radio as an alarm if you need one, so when it’s time to get up your favorite radio station comes on instead of a loud annoying alarm. You can start your morning with music, the smell of coffee and looking out of the window to see what the day looks like and let the light into your room. Sounds perfect already! Here’s a really neat clock radio if you don’t already have one: Clock Radio

 

 

 

  • Breakfast. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it matters what you eat. Something healthy, filling, and delicious should be top choice. I personally make either homemade pancakes and top them with berries and whipped cream, or if I’m more crunched for time I whip up a quick superfood smoothie. Fueling up with delicious goodness is the perfect start to the day, I say. For a great pancake recipe click here.

 

 

 

  • Do you like to read? I find that reading something encouraging, like a daily devotional, or inspirational book of some kind while eating breakfast and having coffee is the perfect way to put some positive notes into your mind for the day. Or maybe if reading isn’t exactly your thing, just pick up your phone and scroll through some inspiration quotes on Pinterest or even just find some awesome recipes, DIY’s, whatever you like! It’s sure to start you off with a smile and a creative pep in your step! Here are links to some awesome daily reads! Book 1  Book 2

 

 

 

  •   Next up is getting started on the morning to-dos. Make the bed, feed the pets, brush your teeth and all that jazz. Sometimes putting on an entertaining morning tv talk show, podcast or music helps the morning chores feel less…chore like, more enjoyable and it seems to make everything go faster. Get r’ done! 😉 For a list of the 30 best podcasts streaming right now, check this out.

 

 

 

  • Exercise is great for the mornings because it gives you energy for the day at hand. It can be hard to find time to fit in a workout or some type of exercise, the struggle is real! So this is why throwing in a quick exercise routine before you start on the day’s work is so important. Even just 10 minutes is great. Be strong, be fierce and be well. If you need a quick workout to do each morning I highly recommend this one right here! 10 Minute Workout

 

perfect morning as a single mom | neveralonemom.com

 

 

Now it is time for the day to begin, and you feel ready to tackle anything this day throws at you because you now have the perfect morning routine! I wish you all wellness, happiness and the perfect morning.

Love, Jess XO

 

Kids Birthday Party For Less.

                                  Kids Birthday Party For Less.

                                                                 Got A Birthday Party Coming Up?

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So my son’s birthday is right around the corner, and every year we have a small get together at our house to celebrate his birthday. Also, every year I try out new ideas to save money since birthday parties can be quite expensive to pull off no matter where you have them. Even though only a few of our closest family and friends come over, it still ends up being a financial stressor.  Being a single mom on a low income I try my best to find ways to save money on everything, and now that it’s birthday time again and I am planning his next year of fun, I have decided to share with you some of the small ways I have learned how to save big when it comes to home birthday parties for your kids.  They will love their party, and you will love the price tag that comes with it, guaranteed. 😉

 

 

Games & Entertainment:

So when it comes to planning games and entertainment for your kid’s party, it’s good to have a theme for their party to go off of. Every year my son picks his birthday theme, we’ve done Yo Gabba Gabba, Pirates, Dinosaurs, Star Wars and Spiderman. So, whatever your kid is into right now will be the perfect theme. You can create games and entertainment that coincide with the themes. For instance,  when we did my son’s pirate party, I made up a simple little treasure hunt with clues hidden all over the yard that led him to the treasure which was buried under a bush and was filled with chocolate coins. I put the whole thing together the night before in just  a matter of minutes and the cost was only about $12. I found a cardboard treasure chest at a toy store and bought a pack of chocolate coins there too.  Made the clues with just pieces of paper. Super simple and he totally loved it! So whatever theme your child is going with, you can come up with a game or activity to go along with it. You can also do regular party games too for almost nothing. A ring toss game, for example, you could do with just a piece of cardboard  cut into circles for the rings and anything that they can catch on. A decorated broom even, or whatever your creative mind can come up with. I found that a coat rack or a blow-up pool toy with arms or a neck (like an animal) works perfectly. Musical chairs? That costs nothing, and to make it even more fun, play a really fun song that the kids like and have them all wearing party masks that may obstruct their vision a little. The giggles will be endless! Ideas for entertainment that would not cost much would be to put in a movie that everyone could enjoy, maybe one that works with your theme somehow and put all the pillows and cushions in the floor. What about a costume party? You could ask all your guests, but more particularly the kids to come dressed in a costume that correlates to the theme! How fun would that be? Another idea would be to spend a small amount of money on a lifesize cut out of the main character of  your’s child theme! For my son’s pirate birthday I just happened to have a life size cut out of Captain Jack Sparrow out in storage from my Pirates of the Caribbean obsessed teen years ( Ok I admit…adult years too…) and I put him up right in the middle of the living room and organized a photo booth so everyone could come and stand next to Jack and have their picture taken! The image of my 90-year-old grandmother next to Captain Jack Sparrow is one I will never erase from my mind. That picture is priceless! And what about a build your own cupcake table? We are doing one this year and I’m so excited! Just bake as many plain cupcakes as you want, then lay out all the fixin’s! (I let my inner okie out a little…sorry.) Line up some different choices of icing, sprinkles, nuts, crushed candy pieces, gummy worms, whipped creme etc and have everyone build their own custom cupcake! Yum Yum! For more DIY game ideas, check this out: http://bit.ly/1PX08KT

Decorations:

One of the best parts of throwing a birthday party is putting up all the decorations, right? (Sarcasm) Not only can it be a pain in the booty but decorations can also be expensive. Especially if you’re really going all out. Now I have learned the hard way about when, and where to buy the decorations. So here’s your best bet moms: If you’re going to be looking for more than just a banner and a few balloons I advise not to go to the party supply store. Their prices are ok, but if you’re wanting to decorate the whole house you will regret shopping there once you get to checkout. So where do you go then? Your pal Amazon. That’s right! You can find almost anything on Amazon for your kiddos big day. Any character, any theme, and the prices are pretty nice too. Less than you’d pay at the party supply store. Also, for plain balloons and other more generic decor, paper plates, cups etc just head to the Dollar Store! You’ll find everything you need there and for just $1 each! Score! You’re saving money all over the place. 😉 And as for when, the earlier you start picking up things the better and it will save you money in the long run.

Now if only I could help put it all up and take it down…..sorry, you’re on your own for the one! Love you, though…..

Party Favors:

So basically the same thing goes for the party favors as for the decorations. You can find some awesome party favors in the $1 and under section at the party supply store. This works great if you’re having less than 5-6 kids. So you can just get however many you need and not have a ton of extra. But if your child has invited a ton of friends then I recommend going back to Amazon. You can get great party favor packs for 8 or more kids for a really good price! The Dollar Store also has good choices for small cheap toys than can be thrown into bags as favors. To check out an awesome option from Amazon go here: http://amzn.to/2dYBnjK

Food:

Ok, now that we’ve got the games, decorations and favors covered, what about the food? If your guests will be expecting to eat while partying hard at your casa, you’ll want to have something prepared. We’ve done it all at my house. We grilled burgers and hot dogs one year, we went all fancy and got veggie kabobs and steak kabobs another year. We had pizzas last year. But all of those just cost way too much money. So this year we are having his party later in the afternoon and just having snacks, appetizers, cupcakes and a small cake. I’ve calculated the costs and it’s SO.MUCH.LESS than having tons of meal food for a dozen people. I will be putting together my own veggie tray, chips and dip, home made spinach dip and maybe home made Chex Mix or something like that. It’s so much easier and cheaper to throw snacks together than meal food. I’m sure your guests won’t mind as long as there is cake lol. Now as for the cake…that’s generally where the money gets blown for these things. The prices that most bakeries charge are insane! I have a friend who is a cake decorator and I feel like a horrible friend for not having her do my son’s cakes. But she simply charges too much. If I could afford it, then that would be another story. But I just can’t. So, the grocery store bakery works just fine! And their cakes are actually really delicious and you can have them decorate them for you however you want or just do it yourself! At most grocery stores with in-store bakeries, the cost for an average sized birthday cake is under $25, so it’s not bad at all and if your family uses EBT, the cake is covered! So don’t stress over the cost of a cake.  But if you still are having struggles getting a bakery cake, then baking one yourself from scratch or a mix works just as well and costs even less! No one will object to a home baked cake!

So there you have it. Simple ways to save money on your kid’s next birthday party! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Relax and enjoy your child turning another year older….how did that happen anyway?

Love & too many balloons…

Jess XO