Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?

One of the hardest things for me to do in the morning is to wake up…just to wake myself up…to wake up and function before having my normal two pots of coffee…

But now that the “resident five year old” is going to “real” school, I am expected to not only wake up myself…but wake “the resident five year old” up, get him dressed, feed him breakfast, and get him to school in time.

I have only been doing this for a week…and I have to do this for how many years before I can have the empty nest that most couples my age already have…

Oh well, being the Army wife that I am, I must do what I have pretty much always have done…what my husband and his Army buddies said they they had to do when they were deployed…

 

“Shut up and color”

So instead of complaining about the fact that I have to feed the numchkin before sending him out the door, let’s develop a strategy that will make feeding him breakfast every single morning for eternity not such a big deal…and not him having to dread the same old boring bowl of Corn Flakes every single morning like I did when I was growing up.

When it comes to breakfast, there are a few categories that we can use to create out game plan…types of food that are served om the typical breakfast buffet.

These include…

  1. Assorted baked breakfast breads…croissants, muffins, toasts
  2. Assorted cereals and dried fruits 
  3. Beverages
  4. Breakfast Meats
  5. Eggs
  6. Potatoes
  7. Seasonal fruit

 

So let’s look at a few recipes under each of these categories that we can put into our arsenal to shoot out the door ready to send our troops off to battle the day ahead.

 

Dropping the Kids Off

How to Help Your Children Experience Christmas All Year Long

Never thought that I would be nearly fifty chasing a three year old 24/7…but life happens…

And so many of us are raising, or even adopting, our own grandchildren these days…(so not getting on my soapbox about different generations right now)…
But there are several advantages of spending lots and lots of time with your grandchildren.

1. Assurance–-Knowing that your child is safe and well taken care of while your kids, aka their parents, are at work or school is so important…do you really want to entrust the maintenance and upkeep of your most precious investments with just anybody who puts up a sign and calls themselves a daycare center…

2. Example—You have a unique position to serve as a role model for your grandkids that they might not otherwise get. they watch how you go through the day and how you interact with other people. You set the precedent for how they will treat their own kids…and they will treat their own kids…and they will treat their own kids…hopefully producing generation after generation of people who make a positive difference in the lives ariund them.

3. Relationship–Having the privilege of getting to spend both quantity time and quality time with your grandchildren is a privilege that many grandparents never get. my husband was active duty military when my kids were little…and we never lived closer than eight hours from our own parents.

4. Trust—Develop a relationship that allows you to be that You are that one person, or often one of the very few people that a child can tell or count on if there is a challenge that she is at first unwilling to approach with a parent. spending quality time and quantity time with your grandchildren teaches intimacy, trust, and commitment.

5. Success...Finally, active grandarenting gives you unstructured time to build the foundation for academics and real life that lie ahead. These early years can create a love of learning in your child and give him the confidence to try new things.
Instilling a love of reading in your kids at a young age doesn’t always have to mean cracking a book. If you can find a children’s magazine that is the right fit for your child, it can be the ticket that turns your child into an enthusiastic reader.

 

 

Anyway, enough of my rambling on about being a full-time grandmother-“mother”…

Let’s look at some ideas as far as what to get them for Christmas, without encouraging their screen time any more than it already is…

 

Surrounding your kids with a variety of reading material and exposing them to different types of writing—fiction and nonfiction, poems and recipes—can make reading so much more exciting.

Book experts and bloggers from around the world agree that magazines can inspire a love of art, crafts, nature, reading, writing, comics, puzzles, cooking, and hands-on experiments.

If you too remember the thrill of your very own magazine arriving in the mail with your name on it,here are a few options to spurn a whole new generation of readers.

 
1.  Babybug Magazine..

  • Cost…9 Issues: $33.95
  • Contents…brightly illustrated action rhymes, Mother Goose and other traditional nursery rhymes, basic concepts, and simple stories that are perfect for parents and grandparents to read aloud…featuring a variety of art styles and media, including paint, watercolors, woodblock prints, tapestry, collages, and pastels.
  • Geared towards…children ages 6 months to 3 years
  • Published…9 times a year, every month except for combined May/June, July/August, and November/December issues
  • Publisher…The Cricket Magazine Group
  • Started…1995

 
2.  Chirp Magazine..

  • Cost…$34.95
  • Contents…colorful pages, stories, puzzles, silly jokes, engaging stories, crafts, recipes,  and early-learning activities
  • Geared towards...3- to 6-year-olds
  • Published…10 issues per year
  • Publisher…Owl Media, Canada
  • Started…1997

3.  Click

  • Cost…$36.95
  • Content…takes children on a journey of discovery about the world around them…science, art, nature, and environmental issues…one intriguing topic at at time
  • Geared towards...3-6 years
  • Published…9 issues per year
  • Publisher…Cricket Media


4.  Clubhouse Jr.

  • Cost...$23.99
  • Content…faith-filled fun and biblical values for young children
  • Geared towards...3-7 years
  • Published…12 issues per year
  • Publisher…Focus on the Family

5.  Disney Junior

  • Cost…$18.00
  • Content…magical storytelling and playful activities, featuring the best-loved Disney characters. From the delights of Mickey Mouse, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and the swashbuckling adventures of Jake
  • Geared toward…ages 2 – 7
  • Published…six times per year
  • Publisher…Disney Magazines

6.  Family Fun Magazine.

  • Cost…$10.99
  • Content…ideas for family cooking, vacations, creativity, traveling, parties, holidays, crafts, fun, and much more to get the whole family interacting
  • Geared toward…parents with kids from the ages of 3 to 12
  • Published…monthly
  • Publisher…Meredith Corporation
  • Started…1991

7.  Fun To Learn Friends

  • Cost…$19.97
  • Content…join characters such as Curious George, PAW Patrol, Clifford, and Peppa Pig in activities designed to make learning fun, while helping to develop key skills in math, reading and creativity…each issue includes a 12 page workbook to encourage and develop early learning skills
  • Geared toward…age 2 – 7yrs
  • Published…six times per year
  • Publisher…Redan Publishing


8.  Highlights High Five

  • Cost…$39.96
  • Content…free online audio stories, matching games and other puzzles, easy recipes and crafts, action rhymes, stories from other lands and cultures to expand children’s empathy
  • Geared toward…ages 2 to 6
  • Publisher…Highlights for Children, Inc.
  • Started…2007

CRAFTS

Art should also play a role in the development of your kids. There are many benefits For children being given the opportumity to do arts and crafts during their formative years. these include self-confidence and problem solving ability,

Taking time to be creative at an early age will help them during their actual school years and later in their careers.

In the business world, these children will be be valuable employees who are able to embrace diversity, envision  innovative and valuable ideas and solutions to a problem, take risks and feel comfortable with the outcome and any mistakes, see other points of view, and think outside of the box.

Most importantly, these kids will never losing touch with the creative child inside of them.

Here are some of the best blogs that I have found that we, as parents and teachers, can use to gather ideas and inspiration to encourage creativity in our children.

1.  Art Bar Blog… This blog is written by a former graphic designer who now teaches art from her home in Connecticut.

She believes that providing a space, time, a table, a willing parent, and art materials for children to create, explore, invent, and tinker develops their ability to flourish into a lifelong creative thinker.

Her art projects have been featured in publications, such as Real Simple.


2.  Art for Kids and Robots…Jeanette Nyberg, author of Tangle Art & Drawing Games for Kids, finds both art and kids to be creative, interesting, and fun. She also believes that art is not fostered nearly enough in American public schools and offers art projects for kids on her blog to hopefully fill in that gap.


3.  Elise Gets Crafty…Elise Blaha Cripe, author of the Get to Work Book, started a blog in 2005 and began sharing craft projects and tutorials. In 2008, she opened her first online shop, where she has made and sold everything from letterpress prints to wooden plant stands.
Fun at Home with Kids…Asia Citro, Author of 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids, The Curious Kid’s Science Book, A Little Bit of Dirt, and the Zoey and Sassafras seri

4.  Hands Free Mama…Rachel Macy Stafford, author of Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life, and Only Love Today…started this blog in 2010 and now has 98,000 followers on her Hands Free Revolution facebook page.

Her goal is to provide strategies that will allow for parents to be less distracted and more fully present in the moments spent with family.

5.  Hands On As We Grow...Jamie Reimer, uses the blog “Hands On As We Grow” to post simple “hands on” activities…such as crafts, art projects, gross motor activities, and fine motor activities…that are simple to put together for your kids.


6.  hello, Wonderful…Agnes Hsuan, author of My Color is Rainbowoffers the best ideas to create, celebrate, and enjoy those magical everyday moments and create memories  with your kids, saving you hours of sorting through endless websites and inspiration boards.

7.  Meri Cherry…Meri Cherry is a reggio inspired atelierista and private art teacher in Los Angeles with nearly twenty years experience. she believes that creativity is not only fun, but also a great source of self-confidence. Her mission is to inspire both the  young and the old to be creative, think outside the box, and go for their dreams.


8.  Picklebums…This blog was started in 2005 by a former early childhood teacher from Victoria, Australia.

9.  Pink Stripey Socks…Leslie Manlapig, co-author of STEAM Kids- 50+ Science, Tech, Engineering, Art, and Math Activities for kidsSTEAM Kids Christmas- 25 Activities for kids, and Happy Handmade, is a minimalist who believes that crafts can encourage others.

10.  Red Ted Art…Maggy Woodley, author of Red Ted Art: Cute and Easy Crafts for Kids..is a blogger who loves all things crafty  and desires to share easy, do-able, and fun craft ideas and how-tos for all ages.

11. Simple as That Blog…Rebecca, a professional photographer and mother of four, from Alberta, Canada, has been sharing easy-to-follow crafts and recipes, organization tips, mom-hacks that will help your home and your life run a little more smoothly, photography tutorials, and ways to save your family’s story since founding this site in 2005

She enjoys putting together simple DIY projects using easy-to-find materials and a few basic supplies, and believes that…

Fewer elaborate projects means easier-to-organize supplies.
Fewer distractions means more focused attention for my kids.
Fewer to-do’s and less stress means more joy in the everyday.


12.  The Art Pantry…The Art Pantry is a design studio specializing in children’s creative play spaces, founded by Megan Schiller. Her mission is to design organized and functional spaces dedicated to creativity and quality art supplies in order to foster children’s independence, investigation, and creative play.

Beginning with Breakfast, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Production Foods

So as our family makes this transition from setting up a household that is “greener” and more “politically correct”…and learning to live with type 2 diabetes, I have decided to actually plan and prepare breakfasts, instead of passing out the Pop-Tarts or granola bars.

This last year I have totally realized just how much diet and physical activity affect my own health, as well as the health of our entire family.

Using the Raw Foods Pyramid discussed earlier in this post, Now What?!…Raw Foods Diet, we can easily see which low-calorie, nutrient dense foods are at the base of the pyramid, those foods that we should probably all eat more of in the first place…and which high-calorie, nutrient poor foods are at the top of the pyramid, those foods that we should eat very little of, if any at all.

As a wife, mother, grandmother, and simply as my own individual, planning a diet that is based only on pure, water-based food is important. Such a diet provides more of the nutrients that we all need, prevents a myriad of health issues, helps us to love or maintain weight, improves skin condition, helps us to have more energy (which is VERY important when you are fifty years old chasing a four year old all day long).

So in planning our breakfast menus, I have started by mainly including foods from the three bottom tiers of the Raw Foods pyramid, which are grouped together in the one category “Production Foods.”

As a quick review of the raw foods “diet”, the cardinal rule is to…

Avoid foods that have been refined, pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

Now, let’s start taking this pyramid apart by looking at the bottom three tiers—“production foods”…and ask ourselves the following questions…

water.

Water

  • How important is drinking enough water?
  • How can I get the best quality water possible, water worth actually drinking?
  • What other options exist that make water something I look forward to?

Leafy Greens

  • Why are leafy green vegetables so important?
  • What are the different varieties of leafy greens, other than lettuce?

Fruits and Vegetables

  1. What snacks actually contain real fruits and vegetables instead of flavoring and so forth?
  2. How can I incorporate fruits and vegetables into my breakfast menu?
  3. Which fruits and vegetables offer the best nutritional value?
  4. Why is eating vegetables and fruits so important?
  5. How can I make sure that I am getting the best quality fruits and vegetables possible?
  6. Why should I buy local, seasonal fruits and vegetables?
Starting the Day Off Right

Encourage One Another

  

In this society far too many of us spend far too much of our time criticizing and complaining….and as a result, so many people and relationships are suffering from alienation, indifference, and even hostility.

And at the heart of this suffering is a lack of affirmation, appreciation, or even acknowledgement.

Many of us have been taught that affirmation is a humanistic, self-esteem, ego-boosting tool for manipulating others.

Yet appropriate affirmation motivates the other person, without fueling pride…and encourages with words that are thoughtful, intentional, and respectful.

Appropriate affirmation recognize Christ-like characteristics in others, as well as the work that God has done and is doing in the lives of the people around us.

We must always make sure to keep God at the center of our affirmations by following the biblical pattern of saying, “I thank God for you…” 

Affirming the work that God has done and is doing in others honors God so that the person is encouraged and God gets the glory.  

    Scriptures that demonstrate the purpose of building each other up include…..

    1.  Hebrews 10:24…
      

     2.  Romans 15:2 
      
    3.  1 Peter 3:9

    3.   
     
    Forty percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only about eight percent actually reach their goals. 
    You can spend way too much time analyzing everything, thinking about getting started online, reading every article and book in sight, and never getting anything done…but with all the available resources out there, you will probably still be trying to figure out where to start….and simply writing that New Hear’s resolution on a new list of resolutions in December…

    • “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” — Stephen King

    Even though you don’t have the perfect plan and are not sure exactly how it’s going to work out, the best way to learn is by doing….

    Regardless of the goal that you have set, there are many who, what, when, where, how, and why questions that you might ask yourself including…


    1.  WHO…Next talk to other people about your goals. This will make you feel both more excited and more committed.

    • Who benefits the most from me achieving this goal?
    • Who can help me achieve it? Who else is or should be involved?
    • Who else believes in me and my ability to reach this goal?
    • Who will support me? Who probably won’t support me? 

       
    2.  WHAT…First of all, write down specific goals that you want to achieve. Keep your list of goals in front of you. Frame them if you want.

    • What is my biggest passion and dream in life? What one wildly bold goal would I like to accomplish that would truly inspire me to get up each morning?
    • What do I want to accomplish? What will success look like?
    • What is the probability of ever reaching this goal?
    • What is the biggest obstacle hindering me from achieving my goals? 
    • What skills, tools, and resources do I need to acquire or master?
    • What is my next step? 

    Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” — Malala Yousafzai

    3.  WHEN…Focus on immediate tasks…only your tasks for today and the week ahead of you…so that you do not get discouraged or overwhelmed. Now, perhaps the most important task—get organized. Break larger goals into smaller tasks. Set up a plan or schedule. Break down the year into months, and then create specific action steps for each week. 

    • When can I find the time to do whatever it takes to reach this goal?
    • When would be a realistic time for me to have reached this goal?
    • When will there be enough information to know if and when I should set new goals?
    • When will I start working toward this goal?

      

    4.  WHERE

    • Where do I want to be this time next year?
    • Where will I acquire the necessary knowledge?
    • Where will my goal be accomplished? 
    • Where have I written my “chosen frozen” goals down so that they can become something tangible to focus on, evaluate, and refine on a regular basis?

    . “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” — Golda Meir

    5.  HOW…Choose appropriate milestones and benchmarks for your particular goal. Reward yourself whenever you reach a milestone or benchmark.

    • How will I benefit from reaching this goal? 
    • How will I stay focused during the process? 
    • How will the business be different one year from now?
    • How will this goal be achieved?
    • How does this deadline influence your daily activities?
    • How should I best spend my time, instead wasting time on unrelated, unimportant, non-strategic activities?

      

     “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill



    6.  WHY… Schedule a weekly check in with yourself. Evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Remind yourself why you set these goals in the first place. 

    • Why am I going to do this in the first place?
    • Why am I willing to invest time, energy, and money in doing this? 
    • Why is achieving this goal so important to me? 
    • Why is reaching this goal important? 

      

    My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”— Maya Angelou