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.

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. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - National Parks & Recreation Month

The entire month of July is celebrated as National Parks & Recreation Month. It's a great reason to "Get your play on."

Picnic at a local park

Play Pickleball - if you've never played, you have to give it a try

YouTube Video Credit: Pickleball Wisconsin

Pick an activity you haven't done in awhile and "Get your play on"

Monday, July 3, 2017

Muffins with Mom – 3 Tips for preparing your child to leave home

photo credit: Home and Family Life
When a child leaves home for the first time it can be a daunting task. After a visit to the college my son will attend, I relate the experience to the game show $100,000 Pyramid. You know, the show where one person gives their teammate clues to the word they want him to say.

While apartment hunting for my son, we discovered a location that was impressive. A rental agent walked us through one of the models. The d├ęcor throughout the apartment had a definite theme; the place setting on the kitchen counter had the color scheme of the faux leather sofa and throw pillows.

I checked drawers, open doors, and discovered a treasure. In the dark corner of a closet, lurking in a small space, was a broom. I snatched it from its resting place and displayed it for my son. Of course I had to ask him, “Do you know what this is and how to use it?”

My son rolled his eyes and said, “It’s a mop” sarcasm evident on his face, but I didn’t let him off that easy. I began to throw clues at him.

“It’s something used to clean dirt/dust from a floor, people use it in place of a vacuum cleaner. It’s used for one of those chores you rarely do.” This was my version of the $100,000 Pyramid.

“Your sarcasm is wasted on me. I will keep the apartment clean.”

My son understood what I was indicating to him. Yay.

Whether you’re sending your child off to camp for the summer or getting her ready for college, preparation is required. If you asked me my top three tips for preparing your child to leave home, here’s what I would say:

1.      Teach them to be respectful – be mindful of those she has to share a space with; keep her area clean.

2.      Have a cooperative spirit – be willing to help where needed (without the excessive moaning, groaning and grumbling).

3.      Teach him to be resourceful – problem solving skills can come in handy when a child is away from home. Whether it is conflict resolution or knowing how to stretch a dollar, awareness in this area can go a long way.

What tips would you add for a parent preparing child to leave home?