Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Little Sunday Encouragement

Words...they have the power to uplift and to well, down-lift.  (Is that a word?  I guess I should say "depress", but that word gets way too much playing time as far as I'm concerned.) 

I found this great article on Pinterest today, and thought it would be a perfect Sunday post.  The scriptures used aren't necessarily just for the hard days, but for any day you just need a little cheerleading to get you on your way.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Simply Healthy Meals!

A couple weeks ago I started a "Healthy Living Challenge" with some friends on Facebook.  It is the first time I have ever really started looking at calorie's, and how many I eat each day.  I really thought I was doing good--honest!  And then I started calculating how many calories I was eating each day, and well, let's just say I have started to re-think some of the meals around here!

I also have started reading a book called The Food Mood Solution  that talks about the relationship between the foods we eat and how we feel.  (I'll post a review on that sometime later this week.)

The combination of trying to not only eat better, but to eat smarter as well was the inspiration for this week's Menu.  (Be sure to check out the links in the menu that will lead you directly to the recipes you will need!)

Menu and Grocery List Download

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Don't Blame The Dishes!

A friend recently asked me how I gage when I am doing to much, and how to know when to back off.  {Insert hysterical laughter here.}  She was so asking the wrong person.  I have always struggled with trying to do too  much.  I like to think I can do it all.  And after having children, I wanted to not only do it all, but be the perfect mother as well.  For a while things would hum along well.  But after a while, the load would get heavier and heavier until something as simple as dishes in the sink would become the straw that broke the camel's back.  For me this meant a headlong plunge into the dark abyss.

Because of that I have worked really, really, hard to avoid that particular scenario.  No I didn't stop doing the dishes, (I wish!) but I did start looking at some of the things that were weighing me down physically, mentally, and emotionally.

When considering what I can and cannot manage, I have realized that I often dance dangerously close to the edge of the "cliff."  Do you ever do that?  Where you take on a little bit more, then a little bit more, and don't realize until too late that you're teetering on the brink?

A few strategies that have worked for me when trying to keep my life balanced are:

1. Avoid DIY blogs and Pinterest unless looking for a specific item or solution.  Information overload can easily become a series of thing's I feel like I "should" do.  

2.  Just Say No.  There will always be things that need doing, and people who need help doing them!  Say yes once in a while, but say no just as much.  "I can't this time, but could you please let me know next time you need help."  See, that was easy!

3.  Make a list of the most important things you want to do each day and why.  Print it out and post it on the fridge to remind yourself of what is most important to you.  I have a list on my fridge called "At The End of The Day All That Matters…" followed by a few things that matter most to me and my family.

4.  Schedule breaks into the day.  I actually put them in my planner.  If you can't find time for at least 3 10 minute breaks in your day, then it's time to look at and possibly re-evaluate your schedule.

5. Set limits on technology--how much to use it each day, and how accessible it can be.  My cell phone has a permanent home in a box in my kitchen. Keeping it there helps me to not feel the need to constantly check and answer e-mail, text messages, and Facebook posts.  I know if someone really needs me they will actually call the phone, and I will hear it ring.  If not, I have a scheduled time of day to sit down and do computer type stuff.  Except pay bills.  I always seem to forget that one!

These are just a few things that I have been trying, and that have been helping me to tame the chaos of life and stay far, (far!) away from the edge.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Meal Time Blues

What's for dinner? Mom? MOM? We're starving!


Have you ever really thought about how much time and effort feeding our families takes?

1. Make meal plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
2. Make grocery list
3.  Purchase groceries
4.  Put away groceries
5.  Make all those meals from your meal plan
6.  Repeat weekly

I'm not complaining.  This is something I actually enjoy sometimes.  When I feel down or stressed is NOT one of those times.  Like, at all.

I was thinking it would be nice to have a "go to" weekly list of pre-planned meals, grocery lists and recipes for simple dinners that can be made.

And if I'm going to create it, I might as well share it!  Enjoy!

Click Here For Simple Meals Week 1   Includes:  Menu; Grocery List; and Dinner Recipes

*Meals are based on a family of 2 adults and 3 children.  I deliberately did not include amounts on many items, because these will be vary by family.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thou Shalt Not Should On Thyself Today: Grandpa Lecture #72

Growing up, my grandpa Roger would give me "lecture's."  Whenever he wanted to teach me something he alway's prefaced it with, get ready for "lecture #…"

There was a point when I felt like I was failing at everything because of all the things I thought I "should" do, and wasn't doing.   You know the feeling- when you're sure everyone else's houses, kids, jobs, etc. are perfect, and that you are the sole person who is falling short.  I was feeling the weight of trying to do things perfectly, then getting angry at myself when (big shock!) things didn't always go as planned.

When I told my grandpa how I was feeling, he had the appalling gall to laugh at me!  This man was a psychologist who graduated from Princeton! Laughing at me-where was the empathy?!  And then proceeded lecture #72…Thou Shalt Not Should on Thyself Today!

Actually, that's pretty much the lecture.  They were pretty short, sweet, and to the point.

But I have thought about it often.  When my to-do list has to-do lists, I have to pow-wow with myself and be reminded of this short lesson.  I can do many things, but I cannot do all things.  Sometime's I get so busy I forget that it is just as important to "be" as it is to "do", and that finding the balance between those two things is important to my happiness (and sanity!)

So right now, when the house is quiet, I'm going to ignore what I maybe "should" do.  Instead, I'm going to grab the book I've been waiting to read and curl up in front of the fireplace for a bit.

The dishes can wait.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Favorite Activities to Create A Quiet Moment

Do you ever have those times that you just need a few minutes of peace?  Say, maybe after your 3 year old dumps out the Costco sized bag of goldfish, then proceeds to stomp on them while you're trying to remain calm and clean them up?  Hypothetical of course.  That would never happen at my house :)

Finding quiet time in a house full of 3 active little boys is tricky, because it is NEVER quiet.  I decided that if there was any hope to regain some calm in our days, I was going to have to create it.

Here is a list of some of the resources and activities I have found that engage both myself and my boys, and allow us to re-charge and have some down time.

1) Go Exploring

Going on an easy walk or hike either by yourself, or with the little's, can be a great way to relieve stress, breathe some fresh air, and get out some energy.  Every Trail is an easy to website that allows you to type in any destination, and pulls up trails in that area, as well as reviews and information about the trail.

2) Listen To Music

The CD Deep Calm is one of my absolute favorites!  Listening to a few songs in the afternoon can give me the break I need to get through the rest of the day.  It is also great if you are having a hard time sleeping--I have never actually heard the end of the CD!

3)  Book Time

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is a wonderful and easy to read guide of activities that can help increase your happiness.  While you sit down with this awesome book, let your little one's read through the book "How Full Is Your Bucket For Kids."  You can even look it up on YouTube and the book can be read to your cutie while you read your book.  Win-win!

4)  Yoga!

Downward Dog, Child's Pose, and everything in between.  The best part about Yoga For Stress Relief is that you can choose from several different time lengths.  This relaxing program is easy enough for even young children to do with you.  My 3 year old does a great Downward Dog…then immediately turns into a puppy for the rest of the day.

5)  Quick Finish Projects

 I love to play with my kids.  There are also times when they are playing independently, but want me near them-and thus not doing anything else.  I've realized lately that this is actually a great time for me to get a little downtime and enjoy the company of my kids.  I picked up a Knitting Board loom and some yarn at the craft store and was able to sit down and (easily!) make a scarf and a few other things.  It's easy and repetitive and results in something pretty.  What could be better?

6) Coloring- Not Just For 4 Year Old's Anymore!

Mandala's can have a calming effect, and even help reduce anxiety.  Who knew coloring as an adult could be such a beneficial activity?  And bonus, I even found some printable Mandala's for the little's.  Yea!

7)  Meditation

Got 5 minutes?  This app, called 5 Minute Relaxation, from the iTunes store offers a quick meditation to give you the deep breath you need before diving into the rest of your day.

What happened yesterday, last week, last month?  What is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month?  These thoughts often run through our heads…sometimes to the detriment of the present.  Mindfulness teaches the importance of being present in the moment.  "Sitting Like A Frog"  is written for adults, but has a 60 minute CD of mindfulness activities geared toward children, and still enjoyed by adults.

"Get ready, let's go! Right now!"  Do you say those words?  Like a lot?  We live in a fast paced world, and it can be a challenge to slow down.  The CD Still Quiet Place offers simple guided meditations to help yourself and your kiddo's relax and re-charge.  The tracks are between 3-12 minutes and are geared to kids, (but I enjoy them as

The Last Word

Finding quiet time can feel a lot like finding a needle in a haystack (or the keys in the diaper bag!)  It can be easy to get stuck in the "doing" mode of life-checking off lists, doing chores, and running from one activity to the next.  This can often leave us feeling burned out and frustrated with ourselves, not to mention those around us.  Stopping and creating time in our day to mindfully enjoy a few quiet moments can actually help us to recharge and become more focused on the tasks we hope to accomplish.