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, December 30, 2016

Fun Friday – 3 Proven ways to de-stress during the Holidays - Family Holiday stories

If you were to assign a tag line to your family what would it be? My family tag line would be Invite a little silly into your life.  A couple of episodes led me to this conclusion.

The Family Money
My brother called me to let me know he’d received the photo Christmas card I sent to him. “Hey sis, I got the card you sent me, but when I opened it, nothing fell from the envelope. You know, like a check of a gift card.”

“SURPRISE,” I said. There was nothing of monetary value within the card, just the smiling faces of me and my boys. My brother was hoping I would follow the tradition of our grandmother who would provide us with cash at Holiday time. Nope, Nada, no Ben Franklins here. Silly guy.

Then there is my teen son, who thinks that I should just hand him money whenever he asks. “Ma, I need $20 for gas. I want to go to the school to work out.”

“I want the trash taken out. Ride your bike, it’s only about five miles. It can be a warm-up to your work out.” He didn’t find that amusing. 

Home for the Holidays
My niece is home from college for the Holidays, so her mom and I wanted to get her kids and mine together for an outing. We chose the movies. Our plan was to catch the final matinee time. However, when we arrived, the movie was sold out.

We purchased tickets for the later show time, 8:30pm. This meant that the movie would not actually begin until close to 9pm after the previews. I was distraught (not really, but…), that was too close to my bedtime. I was afraid I would fall asleep during the movie.

We had three hours to fill before the start of the next movie. We decided to grab something to eat in the area. After dinner, I told my boys, “Let’s run in the furniture store. Do you think they will let me take a nap on one of the mattresses?”

I did test a few mattresses for comfort, but I made sure not to close my eyes for too long.

A pet for mom
It wasn’t until recently that I learned that my mom REALLY doesn’t like dogs.  “But, you let us have a dog growing up,” I said.

“Yes, but I wasn’t fond of the idea.”

I didn’t let go of the idea that mom didn’t like dogs. “How about I get you a small puppy to keep you company? One that doesn’t get too big.”

“No, no, no, no no,” was her response.

When mom came to visit for Christmas dinner, I had a surprise waiting for her…a pet pillow. It was a throw pillow with a 3-D face of a dog. The look on my mom’s face when the pulled the pillow from the gift bag was priceless.

All of the above stories have elements of ways you can de-stress during the Holiday season. Here are 3 ways I have had success with de-stressing…

1.      Read something funny
2.      Laugh often
3.      Embrace your journey – don’t rush/wish the days away; find something to be thankful for along your journey, even through difficulties. 

    How do you de-stress during the Holiday season? Do your family members cause you to laugh at their antics?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Words of Wisdom - Inspiring Quotes

"It is your decisions not your conditions that truly shape the quality of your life."  Anthony Robbins

"Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass...it's about learning to dance in the rain."
B.J. Gallagher

"Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is."  Mary Anne Roadacher

"Happiness is not having what you want. It's appreciating what you have.    Unknown

Friday, December 23, 2016

Fun Friday – 6 Things you should know about hot flashes

photo credit

This post is for the mature woman only, the one who understands what it feels like to be dripping with sweat one minute and feel chilled the next. She knows the experience of a true hot flash.

Maybe you have experienced a hot flash or maybe you’re not quite sure if you have. Below are six things you should know about hot flashes.

What a hot flash is not…                                                                 
…a dash into a heated room
…flashing heated lights
…a puff of hot steam

A hot flash is…
…trying to sleep while completing a round of blanket on, blanket off; leg out of the blanket, leg back inside
…sitting at your desk at work with a space heater and a fan next to each other
…You’re sweating inside your coat, but it’s only 15 degrees outside; feeling like you should have on a tank top in the middle of winter

Rest assured that you are not alone when it comes to feeling you are having your own personal summer, in the midst of a cool environment. A few friends shared their experiences in this area.

One friend who is a teacher said she had a fan on in her classroom and students complained that it was cold. At the same time she had sweat rolling rom her forehead. Another friend said she has been sleepless for months, waking up with night sweats, feeling she’s on fire from the inside out.

So what’s a mature woman to do about those moments of intense heat, warm skin and sweating? When you find out, please let me know and I’ll share it with friends.

Wishing you a cool and relaxing day

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Muffins with Mom – Count down to Christmas

photo credit
The end is near. We are near the end of the year, a time for reflecting and projecting. As we count down the days until Christmas, think about what you are grateful for and what you are looking forward to in the New Year.  What are your plans for the last few days leading up to Christmas?

At our house there has been a lot of dashing through the snow to various events. We drove my teen son to an out of state college visit the other day. I was impressed by the message delivered by the football coaches. In fact, I nudged my son or glared at the side of his head every time the coach said something that I had told him previously.

One coach encouraged the boys to always sit at the front of the room in their classes and be alert. He told them to remember the acronym S.L.A.N.T.

Sit up
Lean forward
Act interested
Tract the teacher (follow them him/her with your eyes)

The wise coach also said, “Invest your time, don’t spend your time.” It was a good visit.
A few days after the college visit, it was time for me to dash off in search of goodies for our Christmas program at church. It has become tradition that my friend and I shop for the program and fill the bags. Seventy five filled bags and two rehearsals under our belt, it was time for the Christmas production. I was another event closer to Christmas.

As I near the finish line with Christmas Day in sight, I make time to reflect on the things that have been important in my life. It has been faith, family and friends that have brought joy throughout the year. I am grateful for my journey and I look forward to new experiences in the upcoming year.

As you count down the days to Christmas, how will you spend your time?
Wishing you a Holiday filled with many blessings.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Fitness Friday – What are you weighting for? 3 ways to enhance your workout routine

A-Train's Super Fit

In the Bible there are scriptures about how the earth trembled, quaked and foundations shook. And that’s how the earth felt when I changed my workout routine. My son said, “Ma, that’s how it should be when you push yourself.”

A friend invited me to workout at a place where she’s a member. “You can participate FREE the first time.”

On my free visit day is it was someone’s birthday. The birthday girl turned 67 years young. We celebrated by executing 67 repetitions of every exercise that we did. She pumped weights, we pumped weights. We couldn’t let her down…if birthday girl could do it, we’d better put forth an effort. At least that’s what I told myself.

I think I scared my body by changing my routine. Sweat was pouring down my face like a running faucet. We performed movements that were different for me – we used weighted balls, kettle bell weights and did squats with stretch bands around our ankles. Like Elvis, I was all shook up at the end of my workout, but in a good way.
At the end of the workout hour ever
yone chanted, “fat, fat go away, don’t come back another day.” It felt good to me done and I felt energized. I went back the following day and began the free week offer for first time members. It was a good group of women all focused on improving their health.

Have you changed your workout routine lately or thought about beginning a routine? Here are 3 ways you can enhance your workout.

1.      Do something differently – shake up your workout. If you always walk on the treadmill, step off and try a different cardio routine. What’s the definition of insanity?...doing things the same way and expecting different results.
2.      Challenge yourself – add one new element to your routine workout; workout with a friend who will challenge you. Raise the stakes – set goals and reward yourself along the way. If you have added three new exercises in a month, treat yourself to a movie night or some other small incentive.
3.      Change our eating habits – eating healthy will help enhance the results of your workout.

What are you weighting for? Whether you want to lose weight, tone your body or just have a healthier heart, review your fitness routine. Is it time to make a change?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Muffins with Mom – Snow Day – 3 tips for a fun snow day

It was the night before school and all through the yard,
Teens were jumping, bumping and playing quite hard.

Tossing the football and running through snow,
Laughing and playing with nowhere to go.

“School is cancelled,” one teen yells.
“No teachers, no homework, no ringing bells.”

Dash away one, dash away all,
The school will be empty, no one in the hall.

Teens were happy, they could stay up late
Mom said, “No, no you must wait.”

“Hold your enthusiasm, there’s much to be done,
There’s, sweeping and mopping and other chores my son.”

The teen’s spirits temporarily deflated,
Mom said, “Let’s play a game,” they were elated.

Snow day was fun for one and all,
No need to fret, just have a ball.

How do your kids enjoy a snow day? My teens were assigned a mission…shovel our snow and clear the neighbors sidewalk too. My seventeen year old layered up with two hats, gloves and a bulky coat. Then he grabbed a football.

“You don’t need a football to clear the snow,” I said.
“Yes, you’re right.”

He sat the football aside as he searched for a thicker pair of gloves. I moved on to another task. About fifteen minutes later I heard sounds in our front yard. It was not the sound of the snow blower, nor the sound of a shovel. I peeked through my room blinds to see my teens playing football. I did what I do best, captured the moment.

Once my teens discovered I was recording their antics, they put on a show.
“Ma, make sure you get this move.”

I captured a minute or so of their non-shoveling escapade. What I found out later was that the looser of my son’s football game had to shovel the snow by himself. The teens had created their own method for completing a chore that they did not want to do. They made it fun, for one of them.

After the snow was shoveled and everyone relaxed awhile, we decided it would be family night. We opened a new pack of Old Maid cards I’d picked up from the dollar bin at the store the other day. We laughed as the little old lady moved from person to person. And that’s how we spent our pre-snow day. I still had to work the next day.

Here are 3 tips for enjoying a snow day:

1.      Make it a family night – play a card game, board game, even a video game together
2.      Play in the snow
3.      Watch a Holiday movie

What tips do you have for enjoying a snow day?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fun Friday - 4 Tips to make your holiday memorable

The Holiday season is in full swing. Commercials encourage last minute shoppers to hurry to stores for deals, Secret Santa’s are revealed, and the kids anticipate items from their wish lists. What really makes a Holiday memorable?

A good place to begin is by creating meaningful family experiences. One tradition in our family is to gather the kids together for a photo during our Christmas dinner. The best part for them is selecting a small gift from under the tree. Of course we want the holidays to mean more than just receiving gifts. Below are 4 ideas for making your holiday memorable.

Add a few of these ideas to your usual traditions during the holiday:

Capture your memories – record this year’s holiday highlights through scrapbooking, create a photo album, video recording or a journal.

Something old, something new – “look back into your past and find a tradition your family can carry on, such as lighting a candle in each window or decorating wreaths with old family ornaments.” Also identify a practice that brings joy to your family throughout the season and make this a new tradition.

Rich experiences – “the experiences you share with family and friends create memories for years to come.” These activities could include baking cookies together, caroling as a family or just watching holiday movies together. Make this experience something you can repeat each year.

Gifts and sharing – downplay the importance of gifts and place more emphasis on togetherness. “Let creating holiday memories your family will treasure be the greatest gift of all.

Create holiday memories while the kids are on school break. Museums, arcades and skating rinks are all open during their break. Playing cards and board games are still a favorite at my house.

A house filled with laughter and family is always a memorable experience for me. Although we laugh at each other we are also laughing with each other.

What makes a holiday memorable for you?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

National Brownie Day

Applebee's Brownie

Do you need a reason to indulge in a decadent treat? It’s National Brownie Day – celebrated December 8th. In honor of this special occasion you could host a party at home or bring delight to those at work place. Offer trivia on the history of brownies.

Did you know that there are three beliefs about how brownies came into existence?
-a cook forgot to add flour to the batter
-a chef accidentally added melted chocolate to biscuit dough
-a housewife didn’t have baking powder so she improvised with the recipe.

Now that you have a bit of history you are almost ready to celebrate. Get out your favorite brownie recipe or try one of the recipes below. 

Cheesecake Brownie recipe

Mint Brownie recipe

Grab a glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream to accompany your brownie and enjoy.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Muffins with Mom – 3 Reasons to create a vision board

Do you have a vision of where you want to be five years from now? One year from now? Perhaps you are seeking financial freedom, improved health or some other project you have always wanted to accomplish. What does your roadmap toward success look like? A vision board is one way plot your goals.

What is a vision board? It can take on whatever for you want. Grab a poster board, cut words pictures, quotes from magazines and use them to create a visual map of what you want to achieve.
My teen son said, “Ma, I need to apply to some more colleges. Time is starting to wind down.”

My response was simple, “Yep.” His senior year in high school is coming to a close. I have been emphasizing for quite a while to my son, the need to prepare for the next stage of his life. He had to come to the realization on his own. So here we are.

“Let’s work on a new vision board,” I said. My words fell on deaf ears for about a month. While my son has been applying to colleges, he didn’t really have a plan. His approach was random, he knows he wants to go away to school, but I felt he should be checking more details. Have a plan A and B. He began his vision board.

Why create a vision board? Here are three reasons (you may come up with even more):

1.      Provides direction for your life
2.      Makes you accountable to yourself
3.      Creates positive self-awareness

The key to effectively using your vision board is to place it in a spot where you will look at it every day. If your vision board is based on one year, after six months access where you are with the goals you’ve set. Do you need to do something differently to get to achieve the result(s) you want?

Have you ever created a vision board? Let your creative juices flow, have fun, and plot out your goals.