My Favorite Stress Buster

Sometimes life can feel HEAVY. There are days I feel like a balloon that with each stress throughout the day I inflate a little more.  Can you relate?  I hope you can’t, but if you can…

 What if I told you that I found something that will decompress that stress within thirty seconds?

And the great news is it’s free and so fun.

Let me introduce you to a little thing called dancing. Hurray for dancing!!

Such a simple thing, but I am telling you it has the power to deflate stress, soften a hard countenance, mend a rift, lighten the mood, and make you feel great. Children absolutely love it. They were born to wiggle and bop to music, and they love doing it with their parents.

My two-year old is a dancer at heart. Which is not surprising to me at all because before we got pregnant with her, I prayed that we would have a girl, that she would look like me, and have my personality. I wasn’t even thinking about dance when I asked God for her to be like me, but He’s always into the details. I grew up dancing off and on, and to this day, I absolutely love to dance. I tell God that I will be the one dancing before His throne in Heaven.  I’ll have boundless energy, and I just may never stop!

My man also likes to dance. He’s a mean swing dancer and can toss me around the kitchen floor like a rag doll. He’s also not afraid to jump around in silly ways to make the kids laugh. So if Dad is home, we are all dancing.

We break out in dance parties almost every day at our house. Usually when we are making meals in the kitchen or doing dishes. I always have music playing in the house, but when we are congregating in the kitchen, it’s natural for someone to say to the Echo, “hey Alexa, play…”. Even our two-year old knows how to boss Alexa around.

The tunes start playing, someone turns it up, and we all start shaking our tail feathers.

It’s an AMAZING stress buster! All the things that were pressing on my mind…gone. Any tensions between me and another child…gone. The to-do list…gone. I’m telling you, it’s like medicine to our souls.  Yeah, some of those stresses come back, but at least I got a much needed break from them!

The most magical part is even conflicts between children begin to float away, like we’ve hit the reset button.

“But I don’t like to dance”, you say (gasp!). Well, I would encourage you to break out of your mold a bit. Try something new. It doesn’t matter how you dance, just move to the beat a little. Your kids may raise an eyebrow at you when you first start, but as you get going, they will probably jump in…maybe not some of the teenagers, but that’s okay. At least they are seeing you have fun.

Which leads me to another point…never underestimate the importance of your kids seeing you having fun.

No matter what age they are, they need to see Mom having fun. Bonus would be if they get to see Mom and Dad jumping around laughing together. Those memories leave deep impressions in their minds.

All you have to do is Google stats on how dancing effects health and you will see a long line of benefits including reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, while boosting body image, self-esteem, and overall confidence. Wahoo!

My heart behind this post is to encourage you to lighten the mood in your home.  Make your house a fun place to grow up in.

Dancing is a really easy way to make this happen.  You’ll not only bust some stress, you’ll burn some calories, and get a really good laugh while doing it too (and don’t even get me started on the benefits of laughter)!

If you are all alone at the house or live alone, well, there is no reason not to dance your heart out.  Making dinner and doing dishes is so much more fun with a little hip swaying.

I hope I’ve nudged you enough to begin bringing dance into your daily life.  To get you started, here are some of our favorite songs to dance to…

The soundtrack to “The Greatest Showman”. We are listening to this everyday right now. So good!

“Bulletproof” by Citizenway.  The lead singer/songwriter, Ben Calhoun and his wife introduced Kevin and I. Our kids would not exist without Ben and Alison!

“Happy Dance” by Mercy Me. Alison, my friend who married Ben is the lead dancer in the video, so another shout out to the Calhouns!

“Love With Your Life” by Hollyn

“Feel It” by Toby Mac. The music video has fun dancing in it too. My 12-year-old son loves all of Toby Mac’s music. He’s great in concert too!

“Backseat Driver” by Toby Mac & Hollyn  This has been my two-year olds favorite dance song for a year now!

“I Feel So Alive” by Capital Kings.  Honestly, any music by Capital Kings. My 12-year-old son plays their music whenever he’s on dish duty. It helps him move a lot faster, and have fun while he’s working!

“Count Your Rainbows” by 1 Girl Nation.  My 10-year-old daughter likes this band. They are a great example of female artists.

“The Cha-Cha Slide” by DJ Casper.  I’m sure you’ve danced to this at weddings. All my kids like to follow along to this one. He takes you through different dance instructions that are easy to follow, like “left foot stomp, right foot stomp”.

“Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. Pull up the music video if you want some dance inspiration!

Here’s some oldie but goodies that will be sure to get you moving.  Toddlers seems to love oldies music:

“Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley & The Comets

“Great Balls Of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis

“All Shook Up” by Elvis Presley

“The Twist” by Chubby Checker

“Respect” by Aretha Franklin

“Chantilly Lace” by Big Bopper

“Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison

“Sherry” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  Our two-year old tells Alexa to play this multiple times a day. Even though it has a slower beat, she loves to dance to it.

And what about disco, 80’s, or show tunes? There are so many songs to choose from! Whatever gets you moving!

If you don’t own an Amazon Echo, I would highly recommend it. That is all we use for music in the house anymore. I can just say, “Alexa, play me “Bulletproof” by Citizenway”, and it starts playing! I can play radio stations, as well as ask her lots of different questions like “give me the news briefing”, “what’s the weather like outside?” or Kevin can ask “how long is my traffic commute today?”

But for music, it’s our go-to. If you don’t have one, you can buy one here…

So, what are you waiting for? Bring on the stress buster! Your kids will love it, and I guarantee, after 30 seconds of moving to some beats, you will too.

Let’s Play Today!

Todays post is all about having fun with your kids! It is cold and snowy here, so I am always looking for fun things to do inside. Here is just one of many to come…Homemade play dough!!! Why homemade, you ask? Because it is far superior to the store-bought in cost and texture, and it doesn’t stick onto clothes and furniture, or stain like the store bought stuff. I also love that it gets the kids in the kitchen doing good ol’ hands on learning. In addition, if my kids eat some, no biggie! I know exactly what’s in it! There is no baking, and you can whip this up in five minutes for something quick if the kids are getting stir crazy in the house. So here is my favorite homemade recipe for you to try. I found it at theimaginationtree.com. It’s so easy that now big sister makes it, and it’s so fun that everyone plays with it!

Here’s what you need:

2 cups white all-purpose flour
2 Tbs oil (I usually use olive oil, but today I used avocado. Any vegetable oil would be fine, just NOT coconut)
½ cup salt
2 Tbs cream of tartar
1 ½ cups boiling water
Food coloring (we do not eat food dyes, but I keep it on hand for stuff like this)

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Easy To Make Instructions:
1) Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil together in large bowl. Little hands can help pour all these in after you’ve measured. Bigger kids can be the ones measuring it all out. Math lesson!
2) Boil your water on the stove, and then add the dye to the water. Let the kids pick what color they want and talk about what colors you need to combine to make that color. Art lesson!
3) Add the hot colored water into the bowl with dry ingredients. Make sure little hands stay away from the bowl as you pour. Lesson in not touching hot water! Seriously, my two-year old learned it today. She’s okay, but now she knows to lean back while hot water is being poured.
4) Stir it all together until it is combined. The dough will be a bit sticky at this point. Again, if you are having little hands help mix, make sure it is cool enough before they help.
5) Allow it to cool. Then you will want to knead it on the counter until all the stickiness is gone. Do this until it is the perfect consistency.
6) Get out your play dough toys or cookie cutters and let them play! Even my twelve-year-old likes to sit with the youngsters and play!
7) When they are all finished, put it in a container and store it in the refrigerator. This should last you several more play times.

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There is so much learning going on in their little brains when they play with play dough, so I always offer this as one of the first things to let my two-year old do every morning after breakfast. She is very, very hands on, so this saves my house from being destroyed and Mommy from going crazy. I also will give her a small ball of it to play with in her hands while we read books, if I’m trying to do some school with the other kids, or I just need her to sit down and chill for a little while. Tell me I’m not the only one with a child like this! Haha!!
I hope you and your children enjoy making this…and hey, why don’t you take a break, Mama, and sit down and play with them. I promise you that ten years from now you will not wish you had cleaned more dishes or done more laundry. Nope, do what matters most today and play!

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