Friday, August 31, 2012

The Towel Rack of Peace

"My sister was a meanie." Not 20 seconds after I said those words on the air this morning did I receive a text from my sister defending herself and reminding me that the cause of most of our fights growing up was my desire to do whatever she was doing. She might be right. As the little sister, I always wanted to be around her and her friends, doing whatever cool activity they were doing or saying the lingo they were using. I guess it had the potential to get annoying. Maybe.

One sisterly fight that is still vivid in my memory is The Great Towel Rack Incident of 1992 (My dates might be slightly off. It's all a blur.). We were having a solid fight. My parents weren't home. There was scratching, hair pulling, screaming. There might have been blood shed. I can't remember.

The chasing led to the bathroom. I was the chase-ee (Again. I'm the victim here!). She was pulling me around my waist & to avoid being dragged to what was sure to be severe corporal punishment for whatever I had allegedly done, I grabbed on to the towel rack. It didn't take much. The stinkin' thing came right off the wall. The screaming immediately stopped and we stared at each other, me with the rack in my hand and dry wall dust on the floor. We both had the nervous laugh/uh oh/mom's gonna kill us moment. After a time of great division, my sister and I were once again an "us."

Nothing will squash a fight between siblings faster than the threat of mom and dad. Two kids might be as different as night and day, but they'll agree that the curfew is unfair or that dad's pants are so lame. My mom was an only child and she always told us how lucky we were to have each other. Now I couldn't agree more.

How do you settle fights between your kids? Here are some suggestions from iMom.
Me and my big sis' with her two who will surely form a united front!
PS, This blog post is of course, dedicated to Sarrah who challenges me to use better grammar, be kind to animals, recycle and eat more veggies, among other things. And often, she is the only person who comments on the blog. LOVE!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's Your Productivity Level?

As women, we are wired to multi-task. We construct a mental to-do list each day. I want to be productive and use my time wisely, so I think, I need to be doing something. Laundry, prepping for tomorrow's morning show, planning or prepping meals for the week, working on my latest DIYWSH project...

We are so inundated with ideas and tips on how to make the most of our time (Cut up all your veggies on Sunday after your grocery trip so you don't have to mess with it on a work night! Sneak in a 15 minute work out!), that we can become obsessed with time management and productivity. If we aren't getting something accomplished then we might as well have been sitting in a ball on the floor staring at the wall.

What is the most productive part of your day? I had a moment of realization the other day that the most productive part of my day is when I'm getting nothing done. I'll explain with a true confession:

Sometimes I'll let Liam play on the floor in his room while I sit in the chair and prep the show for the next day. I'll be on the iPad while he zooms airplanes around his head, leafs through the cardboard pages of a book or licks the Diaper Genie. Or I'll get dinner started while he sits in his highchair and smacks his head with a spatula. Basically, I am guilty of multi-tasking with my soon-to-be one year old. The other day, I knew he wanted my undivided attention. So we stood in the middle of the living room and danced. Then I held him upside down and kissed under his chin as his hair stood up and he giggled until he got the hiccups (Liam's surefire sign of a good laugh). In the midst of all this I actually had the horrible thought, "I'm not getting anything done right now." By the grace of God, (literally) I quickly understood that this moment was the most productive part of my day.

I'm not saying we shouldn't get our to-do lists done or that the other stuff isn't important, but when it comes to using our time wisely, what can be wiser than giving our undivided selves to our children? Who cares if the veggies don't get cut or my window cornices are still not done. I have the opportunity to stare into the eyes that look just like mine and communicate love to this tiny person. What could I possibly do that is more productive than that?

Have you evaluated your productivity level lately?

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's Funny Because It's True

Two things:
1. I love her. She cracks me up.
2. Dads ARE good at tucking in! Must be the big hands.

What part of this hits home for you?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Who is Tops in Your Life?

This morning we chatted about this article from The Christian Post. The Barna Group did a study of 603 Christian women who have attended a regular church service in the last six months. Over half of those surveyed said their family is their top priority while only 16% said it is faith. Similarly, when asked what is their most important role in life, 62% said being a parent and only 13% said it is being a follower of Christ.

What would you have answered?

Have you made your family into an idol and set them above Jesus? What does this look like? Maybe skipping church to get kids to a sports event. Or putting more time into planning a birthday party than into time in prayer (hello, Abby!).

It's tough, right? These little people are right in front of us, calling our name or asking for our attention either verbally or non. But you know as well as I do that Jesus is doing the same thing. He's right in front of us. Wanting our attention. God doesn't want us to neglect our kids or husbands, but it's true that when we put God first, He will give us the grace to be the mothers and wives that we are made to be.

This thought from the article is the take-away for me:
I do think it's both instinctual and a bit of a cultural message to put our kids/family first. So how does the church help us put faith above everything we care most about that sits right in front of us? We have to help women understand there is a great richness in our roles as wives, moms, executives, ministers, etc., when we put our faith first. When that happens, we stop asking our families, friends and jobs to be our everything and start enjoying them as a relationship without the burden of defining us. To do it this way brings a new freedom.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One Down, Lots to Go!

By now, most of our kiddos have had their first day of school. So, how did it go? How did YOU handle it? 

I love scrolling through my Facebook feed & seeing all the pics people have posted of their backpack-clad kids, some with huge smiles and others looking totally miserable. It cracks me up. This morning, Mom Squad Blogger, Danielle brought her daughter Lulu into the studio before she headed to class for the first day of kindergarten. Talk about adorable! I love a kid in a plaid jumper! After she walked her to class Danielle came back and told us she cried - by she, I mean Danielle, not Lulu. I don't blame her one bit. As she recounted the moment when her daughter walked away I teared up too! She mentioned how brave she thinks her little 5-year-old is. She knew she was scared, but when they called her team, she mustered up the guts to let go of mom and join the group. Check out Danielle's blog post. I love Lulu's line of questioning on the way to school, "When will we go on a field trip?”  "Will we have art today?" “Is my PE teacher a boy or a girl?”  “Can I just go to my old school?"

Sometimes kids have a hard time with separation. I speak from experience! My sister used to walk me to class in elementary school and I'd cry when she left my side. Sometimes a little note in the lunchbox is a great way to remind your son or daughter that you're rooting for him or her and that you are sending your love. Here's a really sweet idea for a sandwich wrap and it includes a link to print them yourself.

Tomorrow morning I'll be sharing a Back to School prayer. Eh, it might be a little late since most kids have gone back, but really, is it ever too late for prayer?

Do you have any fun first day stories to share? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Bit of a Mish Mash

I'm back from vacation with so much to share with you!

First, this morning we talked about ways to save $$ on school lunches. A lot of this is common sense, but maybe you're like me and lacking that every once in a while. Here's the article from The biggest take-away: stop buying pre-packaged individual portions. Bag those Cheez-Its yourself & save!

Next up: I'm going to trademark the abbreviation, DIYWSH. You probably know DIY- Do It Yourself. I take on DIY projects every once in a while, but they always turn into "Do It Yourself With Some Help". I get these hair-brained ideas and like Lucy on I Love Lucy drags poor Ethel into her mess, I pull in my husband.

The latest project, WINDOW CORNICES! I've been wanting to do these for a while. They definitely pretty up the joint. I'm doing three windows in my breakfast nook and then a 12 foot long sliding door in my living room. Crazy. If you want to know how to do this, email me. Not that I'm an expert, but I can tell you the basics and keep you from making the mistakes I made. Have you ever tried a DIY and needed a little "WSH"?

Here's a before of the breakfast nook (with my helper!)
And an after. Sorry for the bad lighting.
Have you read Julie's blog lately? She has great words of wisdom about balancing the priorities in your life, specifically family & personal fitness. Julie is in good shape, but she'll tell you, she's not a fitness expert, so I think it's a great perspective from someone who just wants to stay healthy, not necessarily conquer the Iron Woman! I'm going to chat with her about this on the air later this week.

And Jennifer's blog has her experience with 3 Day Potty Training!! Too good to be true? She says it works! She also sounds off on what not to ask an adoptive parent (like "How much did he cost?"). This might keep you from putting your foot in your mouth!

So happy to be back! We had a great vacation at home. It reminded me of how great my husband is and how fun my kiddo is! Sometimes life is so hectic it's hard to take notice of that. So my advice today: don't wait until you have a week of vacation to spend some QT with your family!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday's Weekly Recipe

Alright, this is a quick one because I am on vacation & not cooking. :) Yep, that's the excuse.

Becky, a listener & friend on Facebook posted the recipe for Peanut Butter Popcorn and said, "Stop what you're doing & make this immediately." I'm a girl who follows directions, so I gave it a try. 

My husband is a peanut butter fanatic, so I made this hoping it would be a hit with him. It was! Another neat thing is that when it comes to snacks for the kiddos, this isn't too unhealthy. Don't be intimidated by the homemade popcorn thing. It's so easy & once you try it, you'll never go back to the microwaved kind. Just cover the bottom of a saucepan with oil (I use veg) then a single layer of corn kernels. Put on med/high heat & give it a shake every few seconds until it has popped. Easy peasy!

Large Man says: 9 out of 10 with the suggestion of a chocolate drizzle (and I concur)
Fire Extinguisher Readiness Scale: 2

I don't know why, but my computer won't post a picture of this popcorn! Maybe blogger is on a diet.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday's Weekly Wecipe

If you're like me, you get totally bummed out when a recipe says, "Tastes just like Chinese take-out!" and then tastes NOTHING like Chinese take-out.

This time, I can attest that this Slow Cooker Pepper Steak really does taste as good as the stuff you get from one of the Chinese places.


  • I have tried it over rice and pasta and trust me when I say- GO RICE! The rice soaks up the juices and it is so tasty. 
  • Don't over cook the steak when you brown it. It only needs a little color. Cooking it too long will just make it tough by the time it's done in the slow cooker. 
  • I've lessened the amount of sugar in the sauce and it's just as good. 
  • Here's a time-saver: Buy enough for two batches and as you cut your veggies, cut enough for next time, then freeze it all. I put the sliced onions, tomatoes and peppers into a Ziploc and pop 'em in the freezer along with the portion of raw sliced steak (still in wrap from store). Then when it comes time to do this one again, all you have to do is brown the steak, whip up the sauce and toss it all in the slow cooker. 

Large Man Says: 8 out of 10
Fire Extinguisher Readiness (difficulty level): 3 out of 10

Monday, August 6, 2012

Get In Shape, Girl!

Please, tell me you remember, "Get In Shape, Girl!". I had the ballet bar, the leg warmers, the sweat band, the wrist bands, the weights and who can forget the ribbon?! Yeah, I was a regular rhythmic gymnast. I had a nice round of nostalgia watching these commercials and looking at the print ads for GISG, but now I see why I hated my body. All of these girls are tall and thin! They're in shape. They should've shot a commercial with chunky little Abby doing leg kicks in her ill-fitting tutu with a roll of belly fat hanging over.

Looking back, I wonder if this was my parents' subtle way of telling me I needed to lose weight. I've never been thin. I've always been on the upper side of my healthy weight range or just above it. As we know, kids will tease other kids for having split ends, so being a little heavy was never fun. Now I have another inner battle going on: being fit vs being a good mom. A year ago I would've said, "What do those two things have to do with each other? Why can't you be both?" My head is telling me I CAN be both, but my heart and my guilty conscience say I'm being selfish.

I bought a new workout/meal plan thingy. It's a suggested diet and DVDs for the exercise portion. I would love to just take Liam outside and run with the stroller, and I was doing that, until the temps started reading in the 90s and I was risking heat stroke. I figured a living mommy is the best kind of mommy.  So this plan I'm on is pretty restrictive on the calories and even warns that breastfeeding women should consult a doctor first. So this is what I wrestle with. Do I wait another month when Liam is a year old and I've met my breastfeeding goal and all the while be miserable that I can't fit into 90% of the clothes in my closet & my undies are tight? Or do I say, "Well done good and faithful mommy. You've earned your stripes. Now make yourself a priority and Get in Shape, Girl!"?

Does your own health and fitness get put on the back burner for your kids? How do you balance it?

Update: 4 hours after the posting of this blog I did one of my workout DVDs. It's short, but Liam woke from his nap & started crying about midway through. So I sat him by me for the abs part at the end. I can do this! I got this!  Then I kicked him in the head. Way to go, Mom! 

He's fine, btw.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Warm Welcome to Fiona & Jennifer!

Check out the right side of the blog and you'll see the lovely faces of two more Mom Squad Bloggers, Fiona & Jennifer. Please wish them a warm welcome!

Fiona is a working mother of two witty little ladies and trying to launch her own business. Oh, and she's an Aussie! Her first blog is a disclaimer that her blogs will contain errors in spelling and grammar. She was probably writing specifically to me. Who knows how many errors I've posted so far! She also wrote about being the "perfect" parent. I'm sure you can relate to her thoughts:

I can fail at anything in life: I pick myself right back up, ‘climb back on that horse’ and try again. I have always been a little fearless. But when I think about my girls and how you don’t get a “do-over” with their lives- it really scares me.

Jennifer came into my life several years ago with free coffee in her hands and we've been pals since! I prayed that she would be a part of the Mom Squad Bloggers because one, she's so stinkin' crafty and creative and two, she's got a unique perspective on parenting. God gave Jennifer & her husband their handsome son through the blessings of adoption. I just love her blog title, "Still Miraculously My Own". I didn't get it until I read the following on her blog:

Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own...
—Fleur Conkling Heyliger

What a blessing it is to have Fiona and Jennifer as part of the Mom Squad Bloggers!

If you need a good laugh today, check out Danielle's newest blog post: "Kindergarten or the End Times". You can vent with her about school supply lists.

I love these ladies!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday's Weekly Wecipe

It's a rainy day and I don't know about you, but I love to curl up with a bowl of something warm and delicious when it's dreary outside. Try out this Cheeseburger Casserole from WW.

My husband went a little crazy with the crumbled tortilla chips on top. I wouldn't put quite so many, but it was pretty tasty! The potatoes at the bottom were a surprise treat! This recipe will surely be a hit with the kids and how about this: It calls for Velveeta !! I can hear the angels singing! It's a good way to get the kiddos to eat their veggies as the peppers and onions are mixed in.

Large Man Says: 6 out of 10
Fire Extinguisher Readiness (difficulty level): 4 out of 10

Try it out and tell me how your family likes it!