The first thing that has helped me take care of myself is...Make time each day to do an activity with my kids! Surprised? This is something I have been wanting to do but until now haven't been very consistent with.
Oreo Spiders: Use what you have and like. Rather than buying black licorice whips, we cut chocolate licorice into strips. This idea came from my Pinterest.
Cardboard Airplanes: You can make so much with cardboard! We made an airport to go with these. We have also made cars to "drive".
Cereal necklaces: We made these with things we had around the house. It's a fun way to practice patterns too.
Forts: These were a favorite of mine growing up. Having the kids help with clean-up is important. Mine enjoy learning how to fold blankets as a team.
Homemade donuts: These are super easy! Cut holes out of biscuits from the store (the ones in the tube), deep fry them, place them on paper towels, and coat them with powdered sugar.
What I do: After lunch each day we clean up together. Then, we do an activity together. Above are some of the ones I've taken photos of. Others we have done are: having a snowball fight & building a snowman, making mini pizzas, making cars out of apples & grapes (from my Pinterest), and the current favorite is making maps to find "treasure" around the house. Here are some more I want to try.
Results: I feel less guilty when I take time for my myself because I know I have time set aside for the kids too. Also, the kids aren't always nagging me to let them watch t.v. (they aren't as bored). Another benefit is FUN and learning together.
One challenge I sometimes have is keeping the activities simple and within the given timeframe (so they don't eat up the whole day). I keep reminding myself that it doesn't have to be fancy or elaborate. Some of our favorite activities were impromptu ideas that use things we already had.
I think it's my 5-year-old's favorite time of day. Everyday he asks, "What activity are we doing today, Mom?"