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, November 29, 2013

Gone Shopping – And other holiday traditions

Photo credit: fox2now.com

As you read this post I am either gone shopping or putting up the Christmas tree with my boys. Today is Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days in the United States. When our kids were younger, my friend and I would do a little early morning shopping, then it was off to breakfast for us.

Door buster sales aside, the best part of shopping is time spent with a friend. Last year was the first time my friend and I decided to change the tradition. Since my son wanted to experience the thrill of Black Friday shopping, I took him. Then we to breakfast, and the tradition continues.

Shopping is not our only holiday tradition, it’s the kickoff of many things to follow. Here’s a short list of things my family likes to do to celebrate the holiday season.

1.      Put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.

2.      Watch holiday movies

3.      Play family games

4.      Unwind with a good book (this one is my favorite pastime, not necessarily that of my boys)

5.      Have family and friends visit

What are some of the traditions you are looking forward to this holiday season?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How do you express gratitude?

A tree of gratitude
November is the month for giving thanks and expressing gratitude. During this month we also hear a lot about shopping and great sales. Have you ever stopped to think about the power of Thanksgiving?
A recent article I read talked about the power in the concept of Thanksgiving. This is a time we should give appreciation for our blessings. Beginning today, why not go on a rampage of appreciation? Challenge yourself for the rest of this week, to find ways to express gratitude.

Below are five ways to express gratitude to get your creative juices flowing.

1.      Give away something – it’s a feel good moment when you can away something you know the receiver will appreciate.

2.      Create a gratitude journal – write down things you are grateful for each day for one week.

3.      Use positive affirmations – create a list of your favorite quotes and read one each morning to begin your day.

4.      Make a gratitude board – make a collage’ of things you are grateful for.

5.      Remind yourself to be grateful – frame a favorite quote.
If you would like additional ideas for expressing gratitude check out 20 Ways to givethanks.

How will you express gratitude today?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

National Cashew Day - Fun facts and recipes

Chicken Cashew Curry
Photo credit: ifood.tv

“Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” This is the old jingle from an Almond Joy candy commercial. This jingle popped in my head when I read about National Cashew Day (November 23rd). Whether you like them roasted, toasted, salted or unsalted, cashews can be a delicious treat.
National Cashew Day was first celebrated by a group of Brazilian women in the 16th century. The women prepared cashew-based foods such as sweet dishes, meat recipes and even drinks, then celebrated with a small party.

Restaurants soon began to follow the celebration of National Cashew Day with their version of delicacies. They used nuts in powdered form, chopped or just as a paste. The nuts were even used as a garnish over foods. Check out recipes that use cashews by clicking here.
Did you know that cashews are native to Brazil? Even though they are popular in Indian, Chinese and Thai foods, cashews originate from Brazil. Here are some other facts about cashews that you may find interesting.

·         The cashew tree can be used for medicinal and manufacturing purposes – “acid from the cashew nutshell helps in healing tooth abscesses.”

·         The cashew tree’s “seeds can be ground into a powder and used as an antivenom for snake bites.”

·         The oil from the nutshells is used in brake linings as well as in rubber and plastic materials.

All fun facts were obtained from punchbowl.com
You can celebrate National Cashew Day by trying a cashew-based recipe or sharing a few fun facts with a friend.

What will you do with your next bag of cashews?


Monday, November 18, 2013

Muffins with Mom – A child experiences an epiphany

Photo credit: www.browneybaker.com

Every Monday at my job we have what I call Muffin Monday. During our weekly community meeting we have the delectable delights of donuts and muffins. There is always one chocolate muffin waiting for me.
Sitting down with a satisfying treat can be comforting and relaxing, just like reading a good story. Today I would like to figuratively share a muffin with you as I tell a tale of my teen boys’ latest episode.

While visiting a friend of a friend, my teen boys and I drove through a “nice” neighborhood. As we pulled into the driveway of the person we were visiting, my younger son said, “are they rich?”
Once inside the house, my son was still in awe of the things he saw – a screened in porch, a winding staircase and a full basement that was set up like a man cave.

“Wow, they have a lot of stuff. Everything looks good.”
I proceeded to explain my theory. “They’ve worked hard over the years, budgeted their money and here they are.”

My older son chimed in, “everything looks good because their house is clean and YOU never clean up at home.”
I didn’t need to say another word. Finally someone else understood my pain. My son experienced an epiphany. He had a sudden realization. He realized that sometimes the things I ask him to do have a reason behind them.

Sit down, enjoy a muffin and tell me, what realizations have you or your child experienced lately?


Friday, November 15, 2013

Fun Friday – A celebration with friends

A birthday celebration for Heidi (right)
Every now and then a Girls Night out is refreshing (or time in your man cave for guys). Recently a friend had a birthday, so several of us went to dinner with her as celebration. There was food involved and music so it was destined to be a joyous occasion as far as I was concerned.
As celebrations go, we talked, laughed and enjoyed good company. As we were finishing our meals, the dance music began. We sat in our seats and bobbed our heads to the beat of the music.
Then it happened, an old song came on that I loved to dance to. I shoved the last French fry in my mouth and rushed off to the dance floor. Shaking my shoulders and moving my feet to the rhythm of the beat was exhilarating. But then something else happened...

The DJ switched the music to a different era. All of a sudden my rhythm was off. I didn’t know whether to move faster or slower. “This is not from my generation,” I told my younger friend. I’m gonna have to get off the dance floor.”

I felt like Elaine from the Seinfeld sitcom. Have you ever seen the episode where Elaine is dancing? She has no rhythm and all of her limbs are flailing. Kind of like a fish out of water flapping all around.
Take a look at the video (warning- Elaine uses the “h” word).

Youtube video courtesy: Roncagliolo

A celebration with friends is meant to be fun and uninhibited. So love, laugh and live life to the fullest.
How do you celebrate a special occasion with a friend?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Flowers Deliver Happiness

Improve your emotional health with flowers. Did you know that flowers could deliver happiness? A research study showed the link between flowers and life satisfaction. The results were positive.

1.      Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness.

2.      Flowers have long term positive effects on mood.

3.      Flowers make intimate connections.
Find more details about the link between flowers and happiness by clicking here.

Add a little happiness to your day through the video below and share it with a friend.
Youtube video credit: ghitamoldovan

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thinking out loud – 7 things an experienced parent might say to a novice

Photo credit: www.vicester.net

Have you ever been talking with someone and you just said a random thought out loud? And the person said, “What are you talking about?”
“Oh I was just thinking out loud,” you say.

I do this to my kids all of the time. My oldest son will say, “Can you not talk to yourself?
As a writer, blogger, and mom in search of college scholarships for her son, I am always thinking out loud. For instance I may say, “What will be the topic of my next blog post? Or “What other resources can I check for scholarships?”

Today, I want you to think out loud. Just for fun, think back to your days as a new parent, a time when everything was bliss. Now, as an experienced parent what things would you say to your novice self?

Using phrases from movies here’s my list…

·         “It’s a whole new world…” – Disney’s Aladin

·         “May the force be with you” – Star Wars

·         “Rut Ro” – Scooby Doo

·         “Lean on me when you’re not strong…” – song by Bill Withers

·         “Hakuna Matata” (no worries) – The Lion King

·         “I’ll pray for you, you pray for me, and watch God change things” – Be Blessed (song) by Paul S. Morton

·         “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family…” – Barney (the purple dinosaur)

What happens when you think out loud? Are there usually people around, does it help you to think things through? What does your list of think out loud things look like?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cook Something Bold

Photo credit and recipe: www.bristolbaysockeye.org/recipes  

Are you tired of eating the same meal day after day? Cook something bold…especially since it’s National Cook Something Bold Day. November 8th is the day designed to encourage us to let our house capture the aroma of a bold and daring recipe.
Now that the weather is getting cooler and your house has been sealed tight, excite your senses. Stray from the norm of what you usually cook. Try one of the recipes below or jazz up a favorite by experimenting with different spices.

Photo credit and recipe: www.farmflavor.com/easy-stovetop-chili/
Jerk Turkey Rice Bake

Add a little zing and zest to your meal today. Do you have a bold recipe to share?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday – Giving Thanks

Photo credit: www.eslpod.com

Youtube Video courtesy of National Geographic

Finish the statement, “I am thankful for….”

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Wrinkle in Time – a writer’s experience

Photo credit: www.healthyyounow.com

It was a calm morning, my kids were nestled under their blankets. Darkness still blanketed the entire house. I tiptoed through the house to my writing spot and turned on a single light. After falling asleep early the night before, I was ready to rise and get a jump on my writing.
My version of a wrinkle in time experience came as I sat staring at a blank computer screen. According to my bedroom clock, it was 4:30 am when I attempted to start my project. After about an hour I had only typed a paragraph and written a few outline notes.

I decided to take a break from writing and do a little reading. After a short while, I looked at the small clock in corner of my computer screen. The numbers showed 4:30am; time had stood still. No. It was day light savings time and I had forgotten to set my clock back before I went to bed.

Surely with time on my side now, I would get lot accomplished. Hmmm. I had good intensions, but decided to crawl back under the covers and wait for daybreak. The wrinkles in my covers had a stronger call than the wrinkle in time I had been given.

The project I was working on was eventually started, after I got up for the second time. Although I did not write the entire time of the extra hour I had, I was satisfied to have a jump start on my project.

What encounters have you experienced when given extra time to get something done?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fun Friday – Funny signs

It’s Friday, time to have a little fun. As I was surfing the internet this week, I came across a few signs that may bring a smile to your face. Enjoy.


Photo credit: www.freeloljokes.com
photo credit: www.sharenater.com

photo credit:  www.photobucket.com

photo credit: www.funnysigns.net

photo credit: www.dribbleglass.com

What are you plans for the weekend?