Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fun Friday – The lighter side of parenting

Guess who?

“A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth, from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.”
                                                                                                                              -Carolyn Birmingham

I participated in a pageant recently. There were many days of rehearsals and outings with the other ladies. My mom was excited about my journey as a contestant. One day she was talking with an acquaintance about the pageant. She told the woman, “My daughter is in a pageant.”

The woman said, “Oh, how old is your little girl?”

My mom said, “She’s 51.”

The Birthday
A friend recently celebrated her birthday 40 something birthday. On the morning of my friend’s birthday, her twelve year old daughter burst into her bedroom.
“Guess who’s turning 45?” her daughter said.
“Not me,” my friend said. “I’m 44.”
“Mom, I thought you were 45. I guess I messed that one up.”
“Yes, you did. You can run back over to the door and start over.”

The last time I had to renew my drivers’ license at the Secretary of State office. The clerk had me read an eye chart. She could clearly see that I was wearing glasses, so why put me through the torture of squinting and trying to read those little letters? But she did.

I pressed my forehead against the desk top machine and tried to adjust my eyes in the appropriate lenses (glasses on). The letters were fading in an out and looked like they were floating. I read them aloud very slowly, A….E…no, B. She stopped me and said, “thank you.”

She took out her industrial sized stamper and stamped my paper work. When I looked at the paper, the large red words read, CORRECTIVE LENSES. I could have just told her that I need my glasses to drive.

Find something today that makes you grin, chuckle or just burst out in laughter. Remember that a smile increases your face value.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Motivation Monday – Follow your bliss

“Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitations on what you can be, have or do.”
Brian Tracy

Is there something that you have wanted to do, but have been putting it off? The time is now. Follow your bliss, your happiness. My son has always wanted to play college football. He made it happen with commitment, determination, and tenacity.

My son played in his second college football game recently. After a significant loss with the first game, my son was excited about their win. He sent me a text that read, “We won, and I did good! I balled out tonight.” Simply put, hard work pays off.

I too, am learning to follow my bliss. This past weekend was the culminating event for the Ms. Black Fit and Fine Pageant in which I was a contestant. The journey began six months ago when I attended an informational meeting about the pageant.

The pageant organizers were friendly and encouraging. The materials stated that the pageant was more than just a beauty pageant. And it was more. It was about self-improvement and doing your personal best. I had been doing the same fitness routine for the past few years and wondering why the results were not different.

Once I signed on the dotted line to become a contestant, I made other changes. My workout routine changed. I joined a new gym – A-Train Super Fit, Belleville, MI (just a commercial break). The personal trainer encouraged the group to push past any excuses.

In addition to routine exercise, we always hear that nutrition is important. As the story goes, I made a concerted effort to be more aware of the nutritional value of the foods I ate. Change is gradual and I am still a work in progress.

Being a contestant in the Ms. Black Fit and Fine Pageant made me push beyond my personal boundaries. I was rewarded with a second place finish, but the best reward was that I followed my bliss. At the end of the day, I can say that all the ladies who participated in the pageant followed their bliss and exhibited their personal best.

The time is now. Make your life a masterpiece.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Scooby-Doo Day

It's Scooby Doo Day, celebrated September 13th. Do yo remember Saturday morning cartoons, more specifically Scooby Doo?

Here's a flashback for you...

YouTube Video Credit: Garlic730

YouTube Video Credit: NukezNirro

Do you have a favorite Scooby Doo Episode? What would you do for a Scooby Snack?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Muffins with Mom – The lighter side of parenting

It was near the end of my work day when my young adult son sent me a text message. I have learned over the years that my boys tend to exaggerate a situation to their benefit. The text message read, “Ma, I’m hungry and there’s nothing in the fridge except baking soda and Italian dressing.”

I knew my son was way off base because I knew for a fact that there was milk in the fridge too. After I belted out a laugh, I told him so. In reality there was food that my son could have eaten, there just weren’t as many choices as he would have liked. I told my son, “You can always go to the grocery store. No need to wait for me.”

It was all a matter of perception. There was food available. My son didn’t like the choices.

School Supplies
My son who is away at college sent me a text message saying, “I need school supplies.” I asked him about supplies before he went away to school, but he wanted to wait until classes started. He had just a couple of requests, so I trudged off to the local store in search of the items.

Once at the store I noticed the usual aisles and aisles of school supplies were no longer there. I roamed around a while longer in a different section of the store. The choices were slim. I sent a text to my son, “You’re out of luck buddy, the school supplies have been replaced with Halloween stuff.”

I told my son that he would have to check for supplies on his own, my attempt was complete.

…and the moral of the stories, plan ahead.

What funny parenting situations have you experienced lately?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Feel Good Friday - National Grandparents Day

Photo Credit: Dekh News

National Grandparents Day is celebrated on September 10th, what are your plans for this day? My mother has always been excited about spending time with her “grand babies.” Although her youngest grand baby is almost 18 years old, she still welcomes moments of togetherness.

When my children were younger they were always excited about a trip to Granny’s house. They liked going to her house and bouncing on her bed like it was a trampoline. Sometimes they would play card games with Granny or mix up some concoction in her kitchen.

I too, loved going to my grandparent’s house. There was something special and different about doing things with my grandparents. If you are fortunate to still have your grandparents around, National Grandparents Day is a great opportunity do something special for them.

Below are 3 ways you can celebrate National Grandparents Day.

1.      Celebrate with a special dinner – have the kids help prepare a special meal or dessert.
2.      Take a family photo – if the kids are crafty, have them make a special frame for the photo or buy one of those specialty frames that say I love my grandparents.
3.      Visit someone in a nursing home – brighten someone’s day who may not have family near.

4.      Spend time chatting with your grandparents, sharing family stories, and reflecting.

What would you add to the list of ways to celebrate Grandparents Day?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Labor Day with family

Photo Credit: Tooele City

Historically, Labor Day has been recognized as a celebration of working men and women. It has also become known as the beginning of the fall season and back to school. Many families make this a time of relaxation and enjoyment of each other’s company. A time to rest from labor.

This year my uncle offered to host a Pre-Labor Day Barbecue. My youngest son was away at college, so my plan was to pick up my mom and ride together to my uncle’s house. That plan was slightly altered.

The day before our family barbecue mom and I spent time together shopping, visiting the library and more shopping. By the time I drove the 30 minutes back to my house, I fell into bed and was sound asleep. I don’t think I was asleep long enough to reach a state of dreaming. However, I heard a voice say, “Ma.”

The voice said something else to me, I opened one eye and screamed. My son who was supposed to be away at school six hours away, was standing in my bedroom. All I could say was, “What are you doing here?” I continued sleeping.

The next day, my son showed me the video he recorded of my surprise reaction to his visit. Loosely fitted upon my head was a bonnet like the one Grandmother wore in the story of Little Red Riding Hood. I opened one eye and started kicking the covers like I was in a fight or swimming.

Although, I was happy to see my son, I’ve decided I need to take away his house keys.

My son rode with me to my mom’s house and the three of us drove to the barbecue together. But not before he entered my mom’s house and yelled “surprise.”

Wishing you an enjoyable Labor Day filled with family, friends and fun.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

If you give a mom a minute, she’ll want more time – why planning ahead is important

photo credit:The Counselor Mom

Would you agree that parents are busy people? Today's blog post is one that I posted five years ago , about a day in the life of a busy mom...me. As back to school time approaches, I am reminded of this busy time if year. Maybe you can relate.

Have you ever had one of those days where you wish you had just a little more time to get things done? In some cases it may be poor planning that caused a lack of time to get things accomplished. It can strike any one of us…the dreaded lack of time. It happened to me.

I thought I awoke early enough one morning to begin my routine, but the time monster had a different plan. Murphy’s Law took over - whatever could go wrong, did go wrong.

The clothes I planned to wear needed to be ironed. The iron never got hot, so I had to search for a different outfit. Once dressed, I headed to the kitchen to make my lunch. This easy task was compounded when I couldn’t find the lid to the plastic storage container I wanted to take (for my salad).

I only had 15 minutes left before I needed to leave for work. If I only had more time.
I began putting together the rest of my lunch, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My first hurdle was to open the squeezable bottle of jelly. Easy enough? Nope, the cap would not flip open. I finally got it open with the assistance of a butter knife.

In my hurriedness I squeezed the jelly quickly. Splat. Too much jelly that I could not squeeze back into the small neck of the bottle. Perhaps a call was needed to the Welch’s company.
If I only had more time.

Of course I had to stop and jot notes for this blog post. I was going to be late for sure and I still had not had breakfast. The cereal I poured was waiting for me, but I had to stop to pee. No time for breakfast, I just poured the cereal back into the box. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich would suffice as breakfast once I got to work.

Just one more stop and I could make it to work only 10 minutes late. There is a grace period right? I had to stop by the post office and mail a bill payment. After all, I got up early and addressed the envelope.

Once I got in the car, I realized I walked out without my cell phone. I took it off my belt because I stopped to pee. My phone is like American Express, I can’t leave home without it.
More time would have helped.

After retrieving the phone, I was on my way. The post office was only five minutes away, then another five minutes to work. I dropped the envelope in the drive up mailbox and headed to work. Mission accomplished.

My bill was on its’ way. Wait did I put a stamp on the envelope?
If only I had planned ahead.

What has been your experience in not planning ahead?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fitness Friday – 3 signs you’ve had a good workout

A-Train's Super Fit
How do you determine whether you’ve had a good workout? Do measure this by how much you sweat, or how sore your muscles are? I’m guilty of this. The experts say this is not necessarily an accurate measure of your workout.

The amount of sweating you do is subjective.  I may break out in a sweat looking at a 25 lb. weight the trainer said I need to lift 50 times. A beginner may be able to use sore muscles as a sign they’ve worked out hard, because these are muscles they haven’t used frequently. This may not be true for someone who exercises frequently. So let’s hear what the experts say.

Below are 3 signs that psychologists say indicate that you had a good workout

1.      Difficult to hold a conversation – try talking mid-way through your workout, if you answer with short one or two word responses, you’re on target. I was an example of this during a recent fitness class. We were swinging kettle bells and I was singing along with the song blaring throughout the room. The trainer looked and me and said, “You need to grab a heavier bell.” I guess I should not have been able to sing a whole chorus while swinging the bell 15 times. Hmmm.

2.     You could barely finish your last rep – the experts say this is a good sign because it means you have fatigued your muscles.

3.      You slept soundly – you sleep through the night without waking up as much.

Read the entire article on signs of a good workout here.

The next time you hit the gym, go ahead and work up a sweat, but change your routine if you’ve been doing the same thing for a while. What would you add to the list of signs you’ve had a good workout?


Monday, August 14, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Backpack of Blessings

photo credit: Gloria Dei Kids

Notebooks, markers, pencils, crayons and backpacks…all of these items now line the store shelves. There are plenty of school supplies that can fill your child’s backpack. This year why not throw in a few blessings?

Sometimes kids are anxious about the start of a new school year. Slip a little something special in your child’s back each for a week or any time frame you decide. Below are 5 ideas to get you started.

1.     Write a poem – Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I packed a special treat just for you (it’s ok to be corny).
2.     Draw a happy face (or picture of a sun) on a yellow piece of paper and write the words, “You are my sunshine.” Tuck the piece of paper into one of your child’s books.
3.     Pack one of your child’s favorite treats.
4.     Create coupons for your child and put one in her backpack each day (eg. Good for one day with no chores or good for staying up 30 minutes past bedtime).
5.     Give thanks for all the blessings you already have.

Parents what would you pack in your Backpack of Blessings. Here are a few ideas for you.

1.      Thirty minutes of uninterrupted relax time.
2.      An evening of family time (doing something together)
3.      A good book
4.      Being able to help someone in need
5.      Give thanks for your journey and the things you have overcome.

If all the notebooks, markers, pencils and crayons were emptied form the store shelves, what would you stuff in your Backpack of Blessings? 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Muffins with Mom – The teen chef

My son was away at college four days when he sent me a text message that said, “When are you sending the first care package?” He was so excited get away from home and be on his own that he forgot to pack a few items. Among those forgotten items were a skillet and a couple of pots for cooking that I suggested he take.

One item my son remembered to take was the George Foreman grill. Living off campus, my son knew he would have to prepare his own meals.  He purchased groceries after arriving at school. Thus began his cooking journey.

Day One
I received a phone call from my son after his first meal preparation.
“Ma, I grilled some chicken breasts on the George Foreman. I used dry rub, then used Soy Sauce on them too. And I made rice in the rice cooker. My first meal was a success”
He was elated.

Day Two
My son sent a group text to me, his brother and his dad. It was loaded with emojis and a message that said, “I made tacos today and washed all my dishes afterward. It was a good day. Call me Ratatouille."

Day Three
Aah, day three…was different.
The group text we received said, “I tried to make pancakes and bacon, it didn’t go so well. The pancakes were super thin and the bacon almost burned.”

A pancake gone wrong

"Blackened" Bacon

Day Four
The text message on this day said, “I’ve cooked everything that I know how to cook already & I’m hungry.”

By the end of day four, I called my son to remind him of the simple meals he could prepare. “You can make spaghetti, you know how to brown ground beef. Just boil some water and put the spaghetti in the pot.”

“I don’t have a pot to boil stuff or a strainer.”

We have come full circle, back to the items that my son needs in his care package. My teen chef is learning to prepare meals and experiment in the kitchen.

What meal ideas or suggestions do you have for a teen learning to cook?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Words of Wisdom – Encouragement for parents to give their child

Take time to smell the flowers
1.      Act with integrity at all times
2.      Don’t compare yourself to others – you are unique
3.      Take care of your health
4.      Discover your passion-find what you love to do and go after it with all your heart
5.      Love yourself
6.      Learn to forgive
7.      Nurture friendships
8.      Be grateful
9.      Embrace change

10.  Laugh a lot

Monday, July 31, 2017

Muffins with Mom – College Move in Day – Preparing to say goodbye

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something Blue. This is the traditional list of items suggested for a bride to be to have on her wedding day. My teen son seems to have taken on this advice while packing for college.

I looked in my son’s room to see how he was coming along with packing for school. Lying on top of a pile of bags, folded neatly, was something old, borrowed and blue. He had my favorite, queen-sized, snuggle on the couch, fleece blanket. I grabbed the blanket, rushed from his room, and hid it in my closet.

My son eventually discovered the missing blanket and inquired about its whereabouts. I eventually relinquished my rights to the soft, warm family blanket and let him add it to his school bound items. It was time to bid farewell to my son and know that he would be okay.

Preparing for my son to leave for college did not happen over-night. I began to wrap my mind around it during his senior year of high school. Thus began the journey. As you prepare to say goodbye to your college bound child here are a few things to keep in mind.

1.      Let him know your expectations
2.      Let her know that you are proud of her
3.      Remind him that you are only a phone call away
4.      Make a financial plan-establish a budget and decide who will pay for what. Some parents may pay for books and supplies, but expect their student to pay for snacks and other incidentals.
5.      Take comfort in knowing that part of you is going with your child – you have provided a foundation over the years that will travel with her.

It was early Sunday morning when I kissed my son on the cheek and wished his safe travels. He was driving himself on the several hour trip to school. His car was packed with something old, something new, something borrowed and something Blue. He was ready for his new living space at college.

What advice do you have for preparing to say goodbye to a college bound child?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Muffins with Mom – 3 tips for coaching your teen through a first job

photo credit: The Odyssey Online

My son came home after interviewing for his first summer job and said, “Ma, they said I gave a great interview.” His voice dripped with proudness. After passing his preliminary interview, my son received notice that he had been awarded a job with a summer day camp. And this is where the story really begins.

At the end of day one on the job, my son came home and said, “The kids didn’t want to do anything. They just wanted to sit in the shade outside or keep going inside the building, saying they were thirsty.”

My son briefly talked to me about his day, then announced, “I’m taking a nap.”

“You only worked four hours,” I said.

“I need to rest, I worked with every group. And I had to tell my partner what to do.”

I told my son that he was learning what having a job was about-responsibility, team work and being flexible.

After two weeks on the job, my son said, “I haven’t been paid yet. I feel like I’m working for free.”

Here was yet another opportunity to discuss the inter working of a first job. In this era of Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter, there are still some things that are not instantaneous. No matter what I said, my son thought he should be paid sooner. Our discussion branched off in several directions.

Some things I attempted to explain to my son, only for him to say, “I know, BUT…” As a result of our conversation, I came up with the tips below for coaching your teen through a first job.

1.      Be responsible – remind you teen about showing up at work on time and focused on assigned tasks.
2.      Save – “pay yourself first” is a saying I’ve heard often. Demand Encourage your teen to save money rather than spending right away. Have a discussion about impulse spending versus delayed gratification.
3.      Give your best – don’t be afraid to ask questions if there is something you are unsure about.

My son finally received his paycheck and he was very conservative about spending his money. He said to me, “Ma, I need some gas money.”

“Didn’t you just get paid?” I said.

 “Yes, but I need to save my money.”

There you have it, my son’s interpretation of our discussion.

What tips would you share for coaching a teen through a first job?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fun Friday – 3 tips to achieve your fitness goals- The lighter side of fitness and nutrition

So you want to be fit and fabulous…what does it take? Shhh, come a little closer so I can whisper this best kept secret. Are you ready? The biggest thing you will need is a sense of humor.

1.      Use Humor – there will be times along your fitness journey where you will laugh at yourself. In my case, there are endless occurrences of giggles.

I had a conversation with a nutrition coach about my eating habits. I told her I love salads of all kinds.

She asked, “Do you drown them with salad dressing?”

I said, “Is that a problem?” Of course I don’t drown my lettuce, maybe it swims a little, but drown? No way.

You may not think you’re a humorous person, but consider this… Have you ever been in an exercise class and the instructor has everyone performing abdominal crunches? You say out loud (or think to yourself), “I’m not doing those, it hurts my stomach.”

You’re using humor.
2.      Get massages regularly – treat yourself to an occasional massage as a reward for achieving mini goals you set for yourself.

3.      Do anything to get moving, just make sure it’s something you like – if you do something you like, the chances are higher that you will stick with it.

photo credit: Pinterest

4.      Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself – yes I know this relates back to using humor, but it brings things full circle. You can uncover the humor in any situation.

Go ahead, get started on your fitness goals. Stop reading this, get up and get active. Stand up now and stretch your body. Give me some neck rolls and five arm circles….you’re on your way. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Happiness is…

One item after the next slowly slid across the conveyor belt as I waited for the guy in front of me to unload all of the groceries from his cart. While waiting, I browsed magazine covers that were on the end cap of the aisle. The cover of Time read “The Science of Happiness.”

As I began to skim through the article, the final item on the conveyor belt was stuffed into a bag. I didn’t have a chance to read the article, but the title did stir a few thoughts. What does happiness look like? Stop and think about that moment. How would you fill in the blank, Happiness is______________________.

I’ll start with a few ideas. For me Happiness is…
·         Spending time with family & friends
·         Laughter (laughing with friends, laughing at myself)
·         Reading a good book

As you discover your happiness, identify the things that affect your happiness – the good, the bad and the ugly. Here are 3 things you can do to experience happiness.

·         Smile
·         Show gratitude
·         Give – it has been said that giving provides physical and emotional benefits. You connect socially, you feel thankful and this may encourage others to give as well.

Since I seem to be stuck on a list of 3’s, here is a Recipe for Happiness that includes 3 ingredients.
·         1 Scoop of ripe friendships
·         1 Dash of love
·         Sprinkle with joy
Stir ingredients through all circumstances, until well blended.

Back home after my grocery shopping trip, I unloaded my few items. A wave of happiness filled my mind, body and spirit. I was grateful…grateful for the little things that filled the day with joy.
What makes you happy?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Feel Good Friday – Things Work Out

Things Work Out
Poet: Edgar A. Guest

Because it rains when we wish it wouldn't,
Because men do what they often shouldn't,
Because crops fail, and plans go wrong-
Some of us grumble all day long.
But somehow, in spite of the care and doubt,
It seems at last that things work out.

Because we lose where we hoped to gain,
Because we suffer a little pain,
Because we must work when we'd like to play-
Some of us whimper along life's way.
But somehow, as day always follows the night,
Most of our troubles work out all right.

Because we cannot forever smile,
Because we must trudge in the dust awhile,
Because we think that the way is long-
Some of us whimper that life's all wrong.
But somehow we live and our sky grows bright,
And everything seems to work out all right.

So bend to your trouble and meet your care,
For the clouds must break, and the sky grow fair.
Let the rain come down, as it must and will,
But keep on working and hoping still.
For in spite of the grumblers who stand about,
Somehow, it seems, all things work out. 

…wishing you a weekend filled with things that “work out