name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day


10.13.2017

Healthy Halloween Snacks - Cheesy Ghosts




If you ever see anything crafty on the blog, you know it will be easy-peasy! And, even better? There will be NO MESS to clean up. There are so many fun Halloween crafts out there on Pinterest, but with a busy toddler and a lack of creativity, I need something quick and easy.

Enter our FAVORITE snack - Mini Babybel Cheese, a wholesome, nutrient-rich, all natural snacking option for their whole family. I cannot keep these in stock at our casa. The kids even love these for breakfast on-the-go, too. Pair it with a granola bar for those mornings when you're late or just can't get it together.

And now for that easy and no-mess crafty fun - check out these Cheesy Ghosts!



What you need:

Mini Babybel Cheese (regular or light)
White tissue paper
Black marker
Orange or black ribbon


What you do:

Grab your Mini Babybel (we are loving the fun Halloween ones - a fun bonus when you open up your ghosts) and wrap in tissue paper. I just took a full sheet of tissue paper, wrapped it around the rich and creamy cheese, and tied it with the festive ribbon.

Once they are all in place, take the black marker and draw on two large ghostly eyes! For the final step, cut the bottom of the tissue paper to your desired size. I fluffed (is that a word?) the bottoms to give a floating effect.

Pack up some of your cheesy ghosts for lunches or bring to your neighborhood Halloween party. Easy. Quick. Healthy. Fun. The kids love the fun of opening these mini treats; the moms will love how perfect they fit in a lunchbox.


There are deals on Mini Babybel all month long at your local Target. Only a big cheese like Mini Babybel can rescue your family from snack boredom. Snack time, lunch time or anytime, this 100% real cheese is always a hit! Enjoy all six varieties!



Are you getting creative this Halloween? I'd love to hear your ideas to spice up the lunchbox or to take to your kids' next school shindig!


And if it's easy for this crafty amateur - even better!

Click HERE to learn more about Mini Babybel Cheese - then hit Target to grab some for your Halloween fun!

Happy ALMOST Halloween, friends!

10.09.2017

Saying NO Without Guilt - For The Anxious Mama

Forgive me if this post is nothing but rambling and such, but oh the words are stuck and need out! This past week has been crazy - planning events, raising crazy cute kids, and living life. When you're anxious, even little things on your calendar can turn your world upside down.

And all the planning in my head just spins and spins. I am ready for a week without spinning.

My sweet friend, Kristy, just wrote a post on recharging, and I desperately need a week to do just that. And I am starting by saying no.


I want to say no to anything that takes up too much time - time away from my family or even time away from the self-care I desperately need as an anxious mama.

I want to say no to things that take up too much space in my mind - the silly things that cause my anxiety to swirl and take small events to catastrophic in no time flat.

I want to say no to social media comparisons and just do ME.

I want to say no to plans. All the plans. I want to please too many people too many times, so I am running in a thousand different directions. No plans means time to just be.

I want to say no to things that take me away from the blog. My little outlet and therapy for me. The place where I can throw up all the words that fill my head and ache to get out. I want to write, y'all. The reason I started my little space.

I want to say no to people who don't get me and never will. My time needs to be with those who love me despite my grief roller coaster; they love me despite my faults. They take my apologies when days are dark, and I am definitely not my best self.

I want to say no to this anger stage of grief. The stage that I have been stuck in and can't get out of even though I try. The anger AT my brother, FOR my brother, and WITH everyone who isn't in the muck with me. I hate this place. And, I want to say YES to my blessings more than my frustration.

I want to say no more than ever. We are only one person and can only do so much. If you've been reading since the beginning, you know I have a passion for mental health. A passion for MOMS who need to care for and nurture their hearts and their minds.

I encourage us to catch up this week and say no. Let's touch base soon and see how we do. I hope in a few weeks, I can say my mind has slowed down, my anger has lessened, and my heart feels full again.

Thank you for being on this journey with me. What will you say NO to this week?

9.27.2017

The Best Small Shops. For Moms. By Moms.

Oh, mamas! Do I have a post for you! I am so excited to share some of my favorite small shops - created by passionate mamas who have YOU in mind. Whether you want to get some beautiful shots of your family, grab a shirt or two for you, help your kids in school, or snag some goodies for your kids AND your home - look no further.
These hardworking mamas helped me by writing their stories themselves. Go take a look - then go visit them and maybe help out a small biz or two!

Jennifer Spencer Photography

InstagramFacebook

My name is Jennifer Spencer, and my love of photography has turned into the most rewarding and fulfilling job.  My three kids have been the perfect subjects through the years and because of them, my love for photography grew.  Now, my hobby has become my passion.   I am a self-taught, studio and natural light, portrait photographer for almost 10 years, but my passion is newborn photography.  I started the newborn side of my business about two years ago, and now it is my specialty.  I provide families with the best memories you can have during the most hectic and exhausting time of their life.  I always remind my *tired* parents during their newborn sessions that once they get their newborn images hung and decorated in their home, their baby will have already changed and won’t look quite like the newborn they brought home.  Posing newborns is a challenging and physical job.  At the start of each session, I have to take the time to get to know each newborn and recognize what soothes them (some babies like patting while others prefer rocking), what keeps them happy (a pacifier, shushing, head rubs) and what positions they are most comfortable with (not all babies will do every pose!).  In a typical session, I can spend upwards of 20 minutes perfecting a pose while keeping your newborn sleepy and comfortable at the same time.  My studio space is kept very warm, so I am a sweaty mess by the time my 3 hour sessions are done! 


I didn’t start out with newborns, my journey started with families and children.  I learned how to use natural light by trial and (lots) of errors, learned how to shoot full manual and how to use my camera to make the best images.  After every family session I would take a moment to figure out what I didn’t like about the session, figure out how to make it better, and use that at my next session.  I never stop learning and trying new techniques.  The most important rule I learned the hard way was to get your images correct in camera!  It takes so much practice but it’s worth it.  Luckily, I have great friends and family who don't mind me taking their pictures (all the time) so I could perfect manual mode. I wouldn’t trade my busy photography life for anything!  I love it!

Chicks Picks Boutique

Instagram / Facebook

My name is Christina, and I am the owner of Chicks Picks Boutique. I have over 15 years of retail experience from being a department manager at Neiman Marcus to opening up my first brick and mortar boutique in the early 2000s. I sold my boutique shortly after I got married, and we decided to move to the suburbs to start a family! I was a stay-at-home mom of two school-aged boys and found myself needing something more to do with my time while the boys were in school. I am very blessed with a hardworking husband who encouraged me to live out my dream by starting Chicks Picks Boutique out of my home in early 2015.

It grew from there and next thing I knew, I had a website! Today, I am running my website, social media sites, and hosting shows where I am able to meet my amazing customers! I LOVE what I do, and I couldn't have done any of this without trusting myself and trusting God!

Make It Mine By Gretchen

Make It Mine by Gretchen is a custom appliqué and embroidery shop.  I do everything from personalized birthday and holiday shirts to baby gifts, monograms on backpacks, school spirit shirts and custom hooded bath towels.  I started making fun t-shirts for our two daughters, our family and friends.  I have several albums on my Facebook page with examples.  I am always updating the page with new creations!


Rooted Woods Signs

Rooted Wood Signs is a small business that specializes in custom made painted wood signs. It started just a short year ago when my husband encouraged me to get back into painting - but painting on those wooden signs has become my passion! Plus, it allowed him to work on those carpentry skills he was dying to activate. So off we went and we haven't stopped!


We offer a range of sizes and styles - the sign is ALWAYS handcrafted just for you! We also offer DIY classes or parties where you and a group of friends can come to make your own custom sign together. Visit my Facebook page and contact me if you'd love to come take a class or order a sign. I love it when friends or new clients contact me and say "can you do this?" Most of the time, the answer is YES! As a gift or for yourself, you'll always be glad you purchased one. It's my personal mission that everyone is always 100% happy. 

Maddie & Mae Designs

My name is Holli Lynn Vongphakdy, formerly Gifford. I am from Waller, Texas, a small country town about 40 miles NW of Downtown Houston. I grew up learning how to craft with my great grandmother, Mama Dee, as we spent many hours and days of my childhood creating things together. My passion for making things roots back to those days spent with her and all of the things she taught me along the way. I originally opened my business in 2015 under a different name, Burlap & Bling, creating handmade wreaths, crosses, and signs.

I never thought in a million years I’d be able to turn a hobby that I loved so much into a business, but my beloved grandma Barbie gave me a good shove in the right direction, and so it began. I reopened my store in 2017 under the new name Maddie & Mae Designs, for two reasons. One - I was adding new things to the store and the name just didn’t seem to fit anymore. Two - in 2015, I had two life changing events happen - my son Maddox was born (Maddie), and my beloved Grandmother passed away (Mae).


Prior to having a baby, I was a Certified Paralegal working a 7-6 job that allowed little to no creativity, which drove me crazy.. My dream was to be able to have my creative outlet and be able to stay at home with my son to watch him learn and grow everyday. I have such a passion for creating things, which is why I love what I do. I get to stay at home with my sweet boy, while doing something I love so much and still contributing to my family’s financial future. Saying that I am blessed is truly an understatement - how many people do you know that get to truly live out their dreams? I am living mine every day, and I couldn’t be more thankful to my wonderful friends, family, and customers for all of their support in making this big dream of mine into such a huge reality! 

Little Ladybug Shop

Online shop / Instagram / Facebook

Hi! I'm Jacqueline Ortiz - an area #TeacherMom with a passion for creating curriculum, sharing teacher inspiration, and decorating it along the way. I began my digital online store “The Little Ladybug Shop, LLC” for teachers to shop for classroom needs making their life a little less stressful! You can find lessons and ideas for upper elementary ranging from ELA, Science, Social Studies and so much more!

Jill Allison Designs

Instagram / Facebook

Jill Allison Designs offers antique, vintage, reclaimed, repurposed, salvaged finds! Hunting or "junking" for treasures that can be used as is, restored, or repurposed is a slight obsession for me, and I am excited to bring many of my unique finds here to you! I want you to have something in your home that nobody else has! In addition to furniture and home decor, I also offer jewelry and cowhide handbags.


I do not have a brick and mortar store but travel to numerous pop-up markets around the country. I love being on the road and meeting all of the wonderful customers along the way. Hope to see you out on the road!

...........

Thank you to all these amazing ladies for sharing their passions. If you have any shops you love or want me to feature YOU, send me an email. This post was a favorite to do - these moms are so inspiring. They remind each of us we can do HARD THINGS even behind that #MomLife!

9.22.2017

25 MORE Blog Post Ideas

I'm feeling the blogging excitement all over again. After a rough start to our fall, I had to really take a minute to take it all in - the good and the ugly. Now that we are on a routine again, I can get back to my outlet - this little baby blog of mine.

Pinterest has been my go-to for blogging resources and has led readers to Always A New Day. One of my most popular pins is the post I did on 25 Blog Post Ideas - for ANY type of blogger. I really shouldn't even say just bloggers but anyone who loves words! In my writing journey, I have made so many new friends who share their stories and help get their words out into the universe. It is these amazing women who give me the courage to share and who show me the power behind your story.

In my quest to get back at it, I made a list of topics that fit my niche and my heart. Here are 25 MORE blog post (or writing) ideas.


  1. Your favorite way to deal with stress/anxiety.
  2. A story of grief - of the journey, the stages, and the recovery.
  3. A day in the life - in my case, a day in the life of an anxious mama.
  4. Expand on an old post. Hey, see how I did that?? 
  5. Your favorite small shops - best way to love on some hardworking mamas!
  6. Birthday party ideas - for your kids or why not for you, too?
  7. A recent proud moment or small victory you've had.
  8. Write a microblog - just a small snippet of your day or your feelings/thoughts.
  9. A bucket list - for the fall or one you have for yourself.
  10. A children's chore list - what things do your children do to assist at home?
  11. Share what your dream job is.
  12. Share about any mom struggles - open your heart or make us laugh!
  13. Tell a story just using your Instagram pictures.
  14. Write about your journey with social media - favorite apps or blogging/writing tools. 
  15. Write about some must-haves for your everyday wardrobe.
  16. Share your favorite make-up or skin care items.
  17. Share a favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas recipe - stay tuned for mine!
  18. Take us on a home tour and give details on your favorite home goods/stores.
  19. Write about marriage - the joys, the hardships, and your wisdom.
  20. Write a letter to yourself pre-kids.
  21. Share your favorite blogs/writers.
  22. Share your current reading list.
  23. Write about the importance of unplugging.
  24. Share something you've been quiet about - and need to get the words out!
  25. Make and share a favorite music playlist
I hope these new 25 ideas give you a push to write more of your story. And if there's anything you'd like to see here, let me know. Writing will forever be my outlet, and I want to write anything for the busy mom - where she sees herself, where she can laugh for a bit, and where she can remember just how beautiful her story is.

9.19.2017

An Open Forum: Sharing Your Story After Hurricane Harvey

After Hurricane Harvey did his dirty work on my hometown, all the world fell away a bit. Dear friends had flooded homes; school was closed until further notice. Life came to a screeching halt. My family was blessed to walk away unscathed - we had our homes - so I feel guilt in even talking about my anxiety after the storm. In fact, I tried for weeks to put my feelings into words, and I couldn't get the picture to come out. My words were jumbled and jumped from one idea to the next. When I felt the energy to write it out, they came out quickly so forgive me if they sound a mess.

Photo by Olia Gozha on Unsplash

A week ago, I wrote a piece called "After The Hurricane." I even applied to have the piece appear on a writers' website. I learned today that it was not accepted. Oh, hey there, anxiety. Here you come again just when I was feeling a breeze of relief. And when I think about it, I'm betting that ebb and flow of relief to "what the hell do I do next?" is only one small part of what hurricane Harvey did to so many. I have anxiety over the storm? Pfft. Get over yourself, lady. You have a home. You aren't battling FEMA. And, your house has four walls. GET OVER IT.

This is where I wish I could handpick all the perfect words to make others understand what living with anxiety is like. My kids and I huddled into a closet after multiple tornado warnings. Pure anxiety. I see pictures of friends' parents who flooded. I feel guilty and now have anxiety for having anxiety. My youngest no longer wants to sleep in her room because there are too many windows - what if another tornado comes? Anxiety for wronging my child in some way. My friend's youngest is devastated and misses her home. You guessed it. Guilt. Anxiety. Repeat.

Words have been swirling. Guilt has been settling in. Fatigue has taken over. And I am not talking about myself - these words describe half of Houston. Anxiety has made me tired but imagine those who spend hours finding a new place to live or on the phone trying to find monetary relief. Think of those who struggle after a life-changing event and try every single day to keep going. They are back to square one after Harvey, I can promise you that.

I know this post is jumbled. I know I don't have the eloquence to make others understand what Harvey did to Texas. I also know that hanging onto worried thoughts makes you physically tired. For me, this post is a small part of release. Writing is how I release anxiety. But, I am small in the midst of this aftermath. I can only share my story.

If you were a victim of Harvey and want the world to understand what your life is like now, I'd love to hear from you. We are not done hurting - the sadness and anxiety remain. I'd love to open my small little corner to you.

To share your story or those of your loved ones, please email me at alwaysanewdayblog@gmail.com. Release your thoughts and handpick your own words.

Know your story makes sense. I hope by sharing it, you can feel lighter, too.

8.01.2017

Easy Chocolate Twinkie Trifle




We have been enjoying some yummy desserts during our many summer backyard barbeques, and this dessert is just perfection. Easy perfection. I brought it to a friend's potluck and made it last school year for a teacher appreciation luncheon. A hit both times!

And, did you know Hostess makes CHOCOLATE CAKE Twinkies? They add some decadence to this easy trifle that will wow everyone at your next backyard get-together. Short on time? Love all things chocolate? Make this sweet, chocolate-y trifle soon!

Ingredients

Hostess Chocolate Cake Twinkies
3.9 ounce box of instant chocolate pudding (plus 2 cups of milk for mixing)
12 ounces of whipped cream (store-bought or homemade)
8 ounce bag of toffee bits

Instructions

1. Cut Hostess Chocolate Cake Twinkies into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

2. Make the pudding according to the instructions and let set.

3. Begin your layers in a trifle bowl -  start with Hostess Chocolate Cake Twinkies, and follow with pudding, whipped cream, toffee bits, and repeat until your left with a top layer of that delish whipped cream.

4. Top with more toffee bits and chill until served.



I definitely vote for a glass bowl so you can see the layers, and people will ooh and aah over your creation. You can act so tired as though you've been baking all day. No one needs to know :)

And you thought Hostess Twinkies were for snacking. Think of all the possibilities - the Hostess Fudge Covered Twinkies could work, too! Thank you, Hostess, for making this chocolate fan's dreams come true.



What's your favorite Hostess product? These Chocolate Cake Twinkies and Fudge-Covered Twinkies are climbing to the top for me - head to your nearest grocery store and grab some, too!


Click HERE to learn more about Twinkies
and other Hostess snacks. 

This Easy Chocolate Twinkie Trifle is waiting for you!

7.30.2017

The Ultimate Gift Giver's Guide

This post is sponsored by  UncommonGoods. As always, all opinions are my own.

How has summer gone so fast, you guys? We are less than a month away from school starting, football season, and big events like 40th birthdays, anniversaries, and babies (not me - no way - but, some sweet friends have bundles a'coming). I'm trying to be more organized and diligent in remembering all the milestones.

If you need a gift for any occasion, I've got just the place for your gift-giving needs - this ultimate give giver's guide.  UncommonGoods has you covered!


 UncommonGoods is the best place for all your shopping needs. They work to change the way 
business is done by making sustainability a part of every decision. They also believe in the environment and make it a great place to work - working hard to take care of each individual inside and outside of the workplace.

My favorite part is all the creativity and design that goes into each product - including working with each artist to preserve their goods.  UncommonGoods also features products that contain recycled components and have not sold products containing leather, feathers or fur - a beautiful commitment to selling products that do no harm to people or animals.

Besides the amazing gift ideas,   UncommonGoods also created the Better to Give Program in 2001, which allows you to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from us at checkout. They have donated over $1,000,000!


Now to the goodies! I got lost in all the unique and special gifts. All of my friends are turning 40 (this girl already did) so  this gift collection would be great for those headed "over the hill." I know a few friends who would love  these wooden wine glasses. I accept late birthday gifts, too - just FYI :)

Can't forget  the new homeowners in the bunch, too. So many cute,  personalized goodies here that double as housewarming gifts. Like these pillows - can someone get me the  Texas one? So much fun to add to your new casa.

Now for the babes - and even a few things for your big kids! No matter if you have a baby shower to attend or a kid's birthday to celebrate,  this sweet collection has you covered. The baby keepsakes are too cute as is this  wooden banner that would complete a nursery. Or, if your toddlers are picky eaters like mine, keep their food apart with this  mini happy mat

I think my favorite find is  this thumbprint guestbook for my daughter's upcoming birthday. Our guests can leave her birthday wishes that she can keep for years to come!

 UncommonGoods should be your one-stop shop for any gift you need to give. Check them out - this ultimate gift guide has you covered. And if you see a little something you like, I don't think you need a reason to just treat yourself. Mom life is always an occasion for giving yourself the ultimate gift!

What gift catches your eye? Trust me, there's something for everyone!

Happy shopping! Until next time, my friends...
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