Monthly Archives: January 2017

Everyday I watch my two daughters play and see the pure joy in their eyes – playing all day without a care in the world.  I love to listen to them giggle as they play together.  It just warms the cockles of my heart.

Sometimes I wish I could live my life without worry.  I want to live in the moment instead of thinking about my growing to-do list.  It’s easy to be in the moment during the eventful days – birthdays, vacations, zoo trips, etc.  It’s far harder to be truly present during uneventful days.  And there are far more uneventful days in the year.

So, what am I going to do about it? I’m going to make life more fun.  I’m going to start celebrating the nothing days.  (I guess it’s because Mary Tyler Moore just recently passed away, but I’ve got the theme song of her show stuck in my head and I think it’s fitting for this post.)
“Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it”                 – Sonny Curtis

I’m going to start taking nothing days and making them seem worthwhile. How am I going to do that you ask? I’m going to not only celebrate traditional holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I’m going to start celebrating the silly holidays like Talk like a Pirate Day on September 19th.

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A quick Google search generated approximately 18,400,000 results in 0.59 seconds. It is unreasonable to think that I can celebrate one of these obscure holidays everyday, but I do want to try to celebrate at least one a month.

Depending on the holiday, my family might go all out with our celebration – decorations, crafts, etc – or we may just go to Sonic to eat a corn dog on Corn Dog Day.

I’m hoping that these little celebrations of the everyday will help me be more engaged with my children during the humdrum days.  I like to think that they will add a little spice to our life!

This past week I saw this post by Sandra Boynton, (I follow her because I love to see her random cartoons pop up on my Facebook feed) and I decided that this would be our first silly holiday to celebrate.

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So how should we celebrate National Peanut Butter Day? With a toast to peanut butter, of course!  I mean, with peanut butter toast, of course! Kora and I made toast and slathered it with peanut butter.  I have to say that I had never eaten peanut butter toast before, but I will be eating it again.  Delicious!

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And messy! I should have known to fix Kora’s hair before eating our toast! She had peanut butter everywhere! Shirt? Check! Hair? Check! But it was a fun way to start our day!

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I fully intend to celebrate many more of these silly holidays with my family and then report back to you here. And I suggest you do the same thing.  Make life more fun by celebrating some silly holidays!

 


As I’m sure you are aware (if you’re not, you must have been hiding under a rock), this past Friday we got a new president – Donald Trump took the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States of America.    I’m not telling you if I voted for him or for Hillary.  I’m not telling you if I am excited or terrified for what’s in store for our country.  That’s not what this post is about.  This post is about the need for respect in our country.

My two year old daughter and I watched the inauguration together.  We didn’t watch it because I voted for Trump.  We didn’t refuse to watch it because I voted for Hillary.  We watched it because our President was being sworn in to office.  Not to rip off lyrics from the Lee Greenwood song, but I am proud to be an American and as an American, I will respect my elected official. And I want to make sure that I am teaching my children to be respectful as well.

Until Friday, Kora had only had 1 president her whole life and she only knew him by name (she called him Broccoli Mama!).  Because she’s only two, I didn’t talk to her about any of the candidates during the campaign, and I’m pretty sure she had never seen Trump on television until inauguration day.  On Friday, as we were watching the day’s coverage, I explained to Kora that we were getting a new president today.  She doesn’t understand what a president is, but when I pointed out Donald Trump on TV and told her that he was our new president, she got very excited.  She was jumping around shouting, “My president, Donald Trump! With the red tie.”

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As I watched the protesters and listened to the news coverage discuss the number of politicians and entertainers who are boycotting the inauguration, I started thinking a lot about the example I want to set for my children.  There’s that old quote from Bambi, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”  I think its perfectly acceptable to have different beliefs and views than other people, I just think there are acceptable ways to express your views.

The protesters during the parade were causing damage to buildings and were throwing rocks and bricks at police officers.  What good does that do? What did the police officers do to the protesters?  Do the protesters think that Trump is going to resign as President because some people are unhappy? The damage the protesters caused doesn’t hurt the president – it hurts the people who own those businesses and those that have to clean it up.  It hurts the police officers who risk their lives everyday to keep everyone else safe.

You don’t have to agree or like everything (or anything) that Donald Trump says, but I do think it is important for our country that we respect the office of the President.  I see people post “He’s not my president” on social media and I laugh because I think, “Yes he is.”  The people of the United States elected him and he will be our president for the next four years.  Like or not, its true.

I worry about the example that adults are setting for their children.  Is it okay for students to say nasty things to their teachers because they don’t like them? “Not my teacher.”

There are too many people in this country for me to expect you to get along with every one of them.  I know there are people out there that I am not going to like, but I hope that I can still be respectful.   I want my children to witness me being kind to others.  I want them to grow up with a heart full of love instead of hate.

Growing up, anytime my brothers and I weren’t getting along my mother would say, “Can’t we all just get along?”.  That’s how I feel now.  Can’t we all just get along.  We don’t necessarily have to like each other, but I think we need to get along.  Agree to disagree; work together to find a compromise; Be respectful.

Let’s all get along.  I’m afraid of what will happen if we don’t.

 

 


My husband recently read me some startling statistics that he saw posted on Facebook:

  • One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book after college.
  • 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year

 

Even though I know Facebook is a completely reliable source and everything I read on it is true, I went ahead and did a quick Google search. All I could find was a couple of websites quoting the same statistics, but I could’t find the original source.  The statistics are said to be from a 2003 survey from the Jenkins Group.  I decided I could either spend my limited (and precious) time while my young girls are napping to research further or I could just accept the statistics as the truth.  As I’m using these stats for a blog post and not for a graduate thesis, I’m just accepting it as truth.

 

But I really, really hope it’s not true. It’s can’t be true.  It just can’t! I mean, how can people not EVER read a book again after high school or college?  If these statistics are true, I pray that it’s not taking children’s books into consideration and that people are still reading books to the children.

PLEASE BE READING BOOKS TO YOUR CHILDREN!

By no means am I one of those people that read 52 books a year or more (well, I can easily read that in a month if we’re talking about books I read to my girls!), but I do try to read at least one book a month.  It’s not always easy with two small children, but I try my best.

Even though I prefer to read physical books over e-books, I don’t buy books for a couple of reasons.  For starters, there is only a small chance that I will reread a book and secondly, I don’t like storing books.  They take up so much space on my shelves.  Instead of buying books, I use the public library.

I am fortunate that I have an awesome library system! I can go online and make a request for a book.  Once the book is available, it is pulled from the shelf and reserved for me.  All I have to do is walk straight to the checkout desk and pick up my book. It makes my life easier!

The second floor of our library is pretty much dedicated to little kids – all the children’s books are up there along with a play area.  Being away from the main library, the kids can play and I don’t have to worry about them being too loud and bothering other people.

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I had some books to pick up today so I took the girls to play for a little bit.  As the girls are playing, I started browsing through the aisles of chapter books.  There are so many books that catch my eye! These are books for children and yet I want to read them! It is then that I make a decision – I want to start a book club that reads children’s books.

I’ve never started a book club or even been in a book club for that matter.  I don’t know if anyone I know will be interested, but I’m going to start asking around.  I’m hoping to find at least a couple of people who also enjoy children’s literature. We can read classics like Charlotte’s Web and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or silly books like Junie B Jones.   There are so many books to choose from.

I am posting this here as a way to hold myself accountable:  I am going to start a children’s literature book club this year.  There I said it.  It’s out there for all the world to see, so now I have to do it.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Wish me luck!

 


Meal planning can be a daunting task at times.  It requires coming up with a list of meals to feed your family for the week and then making your shopping list for your necessary ingredients.  In the past I would go to the grocery store without a plan – I would just buy a lot of food in hopes that I would be able to put together dinner.  This shopping technique usually ended up with too may canned goods (at one point I had like 8 cans of chickpeas in my pantry!) and left me every night wondering “What’s for dinner?”.

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Shopping without a plan was exhausting and I had to change my ways.  I found an amazing app called MealBoard that makes my meal planning a breeze. I add my favorite recipes, including its ingredients to the apps database.  This initial step can be a little time consuming, but its so worth it. I love that I can add a picture to each recipe too.

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Before I go grocery shopping, I open MealBoard and plan out my meals for the week.  I always check my calendar for any dates that might affect my meal plan (weekends out of town, evening events, etc.),  and I add those to my MealBoard.  Once any mealtime conflicts are added, I start plugging in meals.

The first couple days of the week are the meals that I really want to cook or eat.  I then throw in a day of ‘Leftovers’.  When I first started meal planning, I would forget to take leftovers into consideration.  I would plan a new meal for everyday which resulted in way too much food!  Now I make sure to plan for leftovers to be dinner at least one or two nights a week.

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As I add meals to my MealBoard meal plan, I indicate whether the meal is for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack.  There is also a ‘none’ indicator.  I use this for times that I won’t be cooking.  Each category is color coded which makes my meal plan visually appealing.

Once I have my weekly meals planned, I can use the shopping tab to see my shopping list.  All of the ingredients from my recipes are consolidated into a checklist I can use at the store.  It’s super awesome!

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One of my favorite features of MealBoard is the notification feature.  Any recipe that requires advanced preparation, such as thawing or soaking, can have a reminder notification added to it.  As the scheduled date of a meal approaches, I get a reminder to do the necessary prep work.

MealBoard is a fantastic app that has simplified my life.  I love how easy it is to use and that I can quickly make changes to my meal plan if necessary.  It not only helps me get my shopping list organized resulting in buying fewer groceries, but it helps me answer the age old question, “What’s for dinner?”!

 

 


Happy New Year!

It’s a new year and I’m excited! I love the idea of looking at the new year as a fresh start and a time to think about personal growth. 

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, there seems like there are two different camps. There are the people who know their resolutions are going to wind up broken by February, so they think “Why make them?”

Then there are the people who are so optimistic that it doesn’t matter how many resolutions they have broken in the past, they make a list and truly believe that this is the year. This is my camp. I love love love resolutions. 

I enjoy making lists so making resolutions is another chance for me to do something I love. I start casually thinking about the upcoming year around Thanksgiving. Some years I reread Gretchen Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project” for inspiration. This year, however, I’ve just been thinking about what’s going good in my life and what improvements I’d like to work on. 


I’m using a little notebook to keep track of my goals. I made a simple checklist for the things that only need to be completed once a month. For example, I want to make sure that each month I take a picture of my husband and me with our two girls. 

Each month I will make a checklist for the goals that need to happen more frequently, whether daily, weekly, or somewhere in between. One daily goal is to do a cartwheel everyday. I don’t want to wake up one day and find that I’m too old to do a cartwheel. I feel that if I do a daily cartwheel, I will always have the muscle memory to do a cartwheel. 


I made resolutions to grow in all aspects of my life – I want to improve my physical health as well as challenge myself mentally. I want to improve relationships with friends, family, my spouse and my children. I have career goals and blogging goals. 

My list of resolutions is most likely impossible. But I’m optimistic and I’m going to give it a shot. You’ve heard the quote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” That’s what I’m doing – aiming high! I am confident that I will start off strong and that a few weeks in, life will get in the way. That’s why I’ve set a monthly alarm on my phone to remind me to review and reassess my resolutions. I’m hoping this will help keep me on track. 

Whether I keep or break my resolutions, I believe that 2017 is going to be an amazing year. I hope you have an amazing year too! Here’s to 2017!