Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Yay!!! It's one of my favorite days of the holiday season... Giving Tuesday! I am not 100% behind having to make a special day to be a giving soul... but, hey, whatever it takes.

I love spending today reminding anyone within the sound of my voice how easy it is to give and how many ways there are to give. I feel like people get so caught up in the concept that being philanthropic requires money. But there are unlimited ways to be charitable that cost nothing at all! You can lead so much change with your time and resources, especially if large amounts of people could band together for the greater good.

Need ideas??? Well, you are in luck!

Start with simple acts of kindness for your kids (or yourself):

Make sure you are an organ donor, what an easy way to potentially save up to 8 lives. (It takes less than 5 minutes to sign up online here in NH.)

If you choose to give monetary donation, please check Charity Navigator to ensure your money is going to a worthy cause.

If you are a big online shopper (like moi), please use Amazon Smile to make your amazon purchases. You shop exactly the same way, but a small portion of your sale goes to the charity of your choice (mine is my daughters' PTA.)

Give your time and encouragement. You can offer to babysit for a new parent. Call a business when you receive great service to praise an employee. Pick up trash in your community. Really, the ideas are endless, but just make a point to do something.

I would love to hear other ideas. Feel free to share, and go out today and give. Something. Anything.

Friday, November 11, 2016

5 Things Friday- Countdown to Christmas!

I know, I know... you're not ready. But do you realize there are only 6 weekends left until Christmas?? And most people have an abundance of those weekends already filled with holidays parties and cookie swaps.

Make the holidays a bit less stressful and start prepping now.

1. I have spent hours scouring ideas for our annual Christmas card photos.
2. Speaking of photo cards, I have used Groupon to get the best deal on photo cards from Staples for three years now, and I have not been disappointed by price, quality or choices.
3. There are such an abundance of ways to have an advent calendar... what to do???
4. Start being charitable now and as often as possible for your family. Check Charity Navigator to see if your chosen charity is trustworthy.
5. And, selfishly, I'd love for you to check out my own non-profit charity: Hearts 4 Kindness- Our purpose is to promote community and hope. First through acts of kindness that bring people together within the community.

Make sure you thank a Veteran and their family today.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I would be remiss to not address the insanity that has been the past 24 hours. Yesterday our world changed with the election of Donald Trump as our 45th President of the United States.

Never in my life have I encountered such a divide, such negativity and such discourse between all of my family, friends and acquaintances. It's disheartening, overwhelming and makes me want to lock myself in my basement for the foreseeable future.

For what it is worth, here is my two cents:

If your friend states "I am so sad about this." That is not a time to get on your soapbox and attack. Let us mourn. Let us have a few days to figure out this new world we were not expecting, how to impact change with the issues we fear will be of concern to us (and there are quite a few.)

Conversely, when we hear someone say they are excited for the win, we can not attack them since our democracy chose this man. Clearly nearly half of people who chose to vote chose him for a reason, and those people have children just like us and are not purposely trying to destroy their children's world. Just as when politicians I have voted for have won, I would not want to be berated for that, I think the pendulum swings both ways.

A very wise friend of mine said today that I am my children's Commander in Chief, not Trump... and I could not agree more.  I am setting the immediate tone for them. I need to continue on our path of kindness and inclusion. I can not be spewing hatred or lack of compassion for others. I need to teach my own children manners, love, tolerance... not that if things do not go my way that I shall riot and hurt and be disrespectful and condemn half of the people in the country I live in.

I know this too shall pass but, man, what a rocky few hours it has been.

Here are some ideas:

The charities that will need our support now more than ever.
Coming together.
A primer on understanding and compassion.
In a hurting world, why our self compassion needs a check.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, November 4, 2016

5 Things Friday

Getting back into the swing of all things blogging, I will be restarting my 5Things Friday. And this weeks theme will also be getting back into the swing of things.

1. I am making this banner for at least one of the girls so that I can get back into some sewing.

2. This weekend, I will be doing a cook and freeze. I have not for awhile and it helps sooo much on busy school nights.

3. Ultimate Guide to the Best Fall Ever.

4. LOVE these gratitude conversation starters for November dinner times.

5. It's that time of year again... everything pumpkin!!! YUM! Time to get backing into the swing of cooking some amazingly delicious food.

Happy November all!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"Most people are as happy as they make their minds up to be." -Abraham Lincoln

It took me a few decades to figure out how to be happy. Truly happy. There were points in my life where it was frequent to cry myself to sleep. And not due to some sort of clinical issue... only due to my own self imposed circumstances and perceptions of my reality.

I started changing my reality about 4 years ago. I realized that everything that was happening in my life; the good, the bad and the ugly, were all under my control. You know you have that one friend on social media who always seems to have something going wrong in their life? The even exclaim, "If it is not one thing, it's another!!" And I always wonder how the world can always be crashing down on one person over and over, seemingly daily.

I have come to realize, a lot of the ugly in your world is either self perpetuated or a self- fulfilling prophecy.

There are so many insurmountable issues to some that seem so easy to fix to me... money problems? Spend less and/or earn more. Relationship problems? Choose your partners more wisely. I know if a person was in the midst of one of these crisis', they would find my advice condescending and patronizing. But, really, if you removed yourself from yet another bad relationship where you were, yet again, being treated like less than the queen you deserve and looked back over your choices, is there a reason you have had 10 boyfriends over the past decade and every one of them has been an absolute jerk? Is there possibly any way you could avoid that scenario for your future self?

Here are a few from my list to get you started:

1. You do not NEED a partner. I see sooo many women who simply can not fathom being "lonely". I have never shared that mentality, so this one is hard for me to comprehend. But there are literally a million other things in life to entertain you besides a man. Concentrate on your kids, your hobbies, your job, a new hobby, your community, volunteering, your pet... there are so very many ways you can find happiness that do not include settling for a partner that will actually derail your happiness.

2. Be grateful. It sounds so trite these days (especially on November first where people will start with their 30 days of grateful posts) but it is true. Take the power away from the negative thoughts by filling your head with positive thoughts. Do you have healthy kids? Attentive friends? Food in your fridge? Did your boss give you extra kudos today? There must be reason you have that you can be grateful every single day. Concentrate on those.

3. Set goals and achieve them. I don't even mean goals like getting your Masters Degree or buying a house. I mean achievable small goals that you can check off a list every day to give yourself some sense of accomplishment. I have 2 apps that help me achieve this. The first is a household cleaning app called Tody. I use it to track all of my household chores and LOVE when I have a free couple of hours to check a bunch of stuff off my list. Right now... it's all in the red:
But you better believe when I get a day to move it all to green, I will be all smiles. Today, I am just grateful to have a beautiful home to even worry about cleaning.

The next app is called Three Things. Again, this is not life changing goal setting here... I put three on the app at the start of the day that I would like to accomplish. Previous entries are: Buy cat food, pay phone bill, mail mom birthday card, random act of kindness....

Again, I get a sense of relief and accomplishment to complete a goal and feel freed up to set a new goal. Of course I support setting loftier goals as well, but as a mother of three very active children who also works outside the home, if I have not forgotten kid at soccer and they have all been fed, I feel like a superhero that day. Bigger goals in my life will come post-children years.

4. Exercise. Move, Get outside. I have never felt happier than I have in the past year or two where I have decided to get my ass outside and move. It might just be a 45 minutes walk in the morning after I get the kids on the bus or it may be a trip to the gym to sweat on the elliptical.  I do not have enough ways to exclaim how important this one is for every momma!!! There are a ridiculous amount of studies and articles expanding on the benefits of moving, so I will not belabor the point.

Please... when you feel like life is one constant battle for you, just stop and take a breath. Is it truly the world against you or are you bringing it on to yourself? Can you make even a few minor changes that may sway the current of your life in a positive manner? I honestly believe that you can.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fit Mom: Be the Person You Want Your Children to Be.

I am in a current Healthy Habits Challenge with 3 friends. We were sitting around a table of nacho chips, cheese platters, beers and other various treats one night complaining how we could not fit into our jeans for the upcoming cooler weather. One of us suggested a reboot of our Healthy Habits Challenge that we had initially done at the beginning of the year to combat poor winter eating habits and the holiday weight gain.

We had all lost focus and inevitably life took over and waistlines expanded with summer trips to the ice cream stand and BBQ's filled with deliciously unhealthy food choices.

For me, my health takes on more meaning than not fitting into my jeans. I need to be healthy as the mother to three little girls. Not only do I need to be healthy to be here for them, I need to be a mentor so that they learn to be healthy as a way of life.

We are in an epidemic. Children are obese. Children are unhealthy. And they are learning from their parents.

I had a sad revelation when I asked one of my friends from the challenge to go for a walk. "I really can't, my house is a disaster."

That is just the tip of the iceberg. Mothers are overwhelmed with mom guilt all the time... and taking time be healthy and to stay fit is no exception. As a mother, you do whatever your children need first: feed them, laundry to clothe them, help them with homework... whatever million things your child needs each day. Next on our priority list is care of the significant other or household: take your dog to the vet, return library books, clean the house... and the million other things it takes to maintain your family.

This leaves time for mommy last, and most often neglected.

And that is ass backwards. My daughters need to know that taking care of yourself, mind, body and spirit IS important. It is VERY important. And a mommy staying active, fit and healthy does not need to exclude taking care of your children. I can include my children in my activities. They can talk a walk, go for a hike, hula hoop in the yard, visit a trampoline park... Staying active IS taking care of your children's needs.

My middle daughter pointed to the woods at my younger daughters soccer game, "Mom, there are trails back there, you can go in there and walk."

"That is great sweetie, but I am going to watch your sister play."

That was a proud moment for me. My little girl watched me getting outside and moving so often, that she tries to help me find adventures.

My daughters see me eating healthy and staying active every day. I can only hope that this stays with them and that they appreciate every hike we took, every time I chased them through a playground, every cartwheel I taught them to perfect.

I saw a great motivational quote recently, "Having children should not mean you don't have time to exercise. It means you should make time to exercise. Be a healthy role model."

I want to be a healthy role model.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pinterest Recipes... Pass or Fail?

I have recently tried a few different recipes I found on Pinterest that could utilize some of the bounty from this years garden.

Two were absolute standouts that I would love to share because they were not only hits with me, but with everyone I shared them with.

First was a corn and basil salad. The recipe calls for shrimp and I tried it with and without the shrimp. Both ways were delicious.

The next recipe was a chicken pesto with asparagus dish that was simply AMAZING! (Yes, as in all-caps-amazing.)

I highly recommend both recipes and am adding them to my own recipe book. Please share if you have any great recipes that are great for New England garden veggies (as in A LOT of tomatoes!)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Last week, I was in NYC. As I was wondering around Times Square, I was brought back to my blogging conference I attended there years ago and I began to reminisce about my long lost blog. I generally am reminded about it once a year when I pay my hosting bill or sporadically when a friend will tell me they miss my blogging. And I miss it too. I certainly miss the point in my life where I had so much more time for writing, for creating, for crafting... for the simpler things in life.

I have since gone back to work full time (plus!). My middle daughter has turned into some bizarre super-athlete who plays at least one sport 365 days per year. (Who knew that being a sports mom would eat up such a huge part of my life.) My oldest daughter is in high school which brings more challenges as we run her to math meets and National Honor Society meetings and student council events (Fingers crossed she gets a license very soon!). And the little one just wants lots of cuddle time... which I am more than happy to oblige since she is my baby, after all.

So, yes, life has taken over. BUT... these days, I am slowly feeling more room to breathe. Feeling like, "I got this." I am figuring life out. It has only taken 40 years, but I am getting there.

It takes prioritizing. I have spent years trying to figure this out. Trying to do everything for everyone, be everything. But, now I know I can't. Nor do I need to. I don't need to be a great friend to people that are not great friends to me. I do not need to volunteer for organizations that are not truly fulfilling my expectations of what they should be doing for our community. I do not need to work in a job just to get a paycheck, yet come home feeling drained and disgruntled.

And, in letting these counteractive forces go, I have freed up some time. I have devoted more time to me. And not that "me" is always a single endeavor. "Me" might mean investing time in friendships with people who are wonderful and amazing. "Me" could mean creating a childhood full of cherished memories for my children. "Me" could mean striving to grow into the most fantastic girlfriend who ever existed.

"Me" is what I am doing to make my life spectacular. Of course, that could also mean sipping a coffee on my sun porch while the suns rays pour in on me.

And, maybe, just possibly, "me" time will be keeping up on my more creative side via some random blog posts. Or showcasing my adorable new home... or luscious veggie garden...
But don't hold your breath.