BC Day 13

Day 13: Goals

Goals.  Wow.  I don't know why I am finding this one so hard to write about.  Goals.  What are my goals?  I think that is my problem.  I don't think I really have any goals.  At least not right now.  If I were to set goals, they are almost always short term.  As in, by the end of the day.  As in, my To Do List.  Get it done and cross it off.  Does that count as goals?  I do not do well with unfinished business.  It leaves me feeling very unsettled.  Long term goals are unfinished business. And that is very stressful.  Long term goals are a great idea for people. I am supportive of others' long term goals.  It never occurred to me that I don't set them.  What does that say about me?  Am I a lazy person?  I mean, who doesn't set goals?

I think this is why I have struggled with this daily challenge.  I have avoided this challenge for days.  Who doesn't set goals?  Me.  Looking back I can think of two goals I've set and accomplished. 1.  I lost over 70 pounds and 2. I've kept it off for 6 years.  I set out to achieve significant weight loss, to become healthy, to exercise and more, but I didn't have a magic number in mind.  I didn't think it was possible to lose more than maybe 20 pounds.  To prove my disbelief, I will share that I had already started to lose weight when I went to have my wedding ring sized...bigger.  I honestly didn't think it was possible for me.  Later I had to have it sized again, much smaller.  A wonderful non-scale victory!  Anyway, weight loss and a healthy life were a goal but even that goal was not very concrete.

Mostly, I just try to live in today and get done what I feel needs done for today.  Things around the house, kids run here and there.  Responsibilities at church.  Phone calls, items mailed, dinner made, etc.  these are the things I see as my goals for the day.  I'd like to say that I am going to aim higher and set a more long term goal.  But I know me and at least at this point in my life, I don't feel it is worth the anxiety and stress that will be sure to accompany me until my goal is met.  Day to day, that is my speed.  Each day is packed from morning til night and a good portion of the day is met with focus and "get it done" attitude.  I'm still not sure if that counts as setting goals or not.  It really is just my To Do List.  But when it comes to goals, its really all I've got.


BC Day 12

Day 12: Something you don't leave the house without

This may be the easiest post of this 30 Day Challenge.  At least for me.  I don't even have to think about this one.  Ask my kiddos and they can probably guess this answer.  I DO NOT leave the house without my iPhone.  This is my phone, my calendar, my photo album, my entertainment, my resource for a quick answer, my cookbook, shopping list, and I could go on and on.

The few times I have left the house without my phone, have been very stressful.  I spend the whole time grabbing for it and then panicking when I don't find it.  Then I hope I left it at home.  What if I lost it?  What if its broken? I feel naked.  I feel a little lost.  I feel like something is missing.

I know, its just a phone.  I know, people are thinking "get a grip".  But it is what it is.  If I'm to be honest, then my iPhone is what I do not leave the house without.

This is a simple question for you to answer...what is something that you don't leave the house without?


BC Day 11

Day 11:  A TV show you are addicted to

I don't watch a lot of TV anymore.  I would much rather read a book.   But I have two favorite shows.  Neither is a reality show.   I have never liked a reality show.  I just don't understand the draw of reality tv.  I am much more of a crime show girl.

This show is great!  She is a forensic anthropologist that works with the FBI
 to solve murders.  Of course there is lots of angst between the two main characters that I love.  The rest of the cast is made up of very fun characters that really compliment each other.  I cannot wait until this show comes back on!

I also really enjoy the show Flashpoint

This is another show with an ensemble cast.  They are a special police team.  The Strategic Response Team.  They do some negotiating in a hostage situation but know how to shoot to kill if that is the only solution.  I like how this show has an incident each episode but it also includes a personal story of one of the major characters.  I think its a great show and I look forward to it each week.


Cinnamon-Maple Quinoa

Another yummy breakfast I wanted to share. Quinoa is one of those super foods but many people have no idea what it is. Technically, it's a seed. But you cook it like rice or oatmeal. Quinoa has lots of protein, fiber and minerals. And a box goes a long way.

On to the recipe...
You need:
1 1/4 cups of water
1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon syrup
1/3 cup nonfat milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

In small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Rinse the quinoa in cold water and strain (I buy prewashed bc I find it hard to strain with such tiny seeds). Add quinoa to boiling water. Reduce heat to simmer for about 12 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for about 5 mins.

In separate pot, melt butter. Stir in syrup, milk, cinnamon, and salt. When quinoa is finished cooking, mix all together. Divide into bowls. Drizzle syrup on top and add sliced fruit. Enjoy!

Serves 6.

Simple, healthy, kids loved it and so did I. Let me know what you think if you give it a try. Thanks!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


BC Day 10

Day 10: Something you are afraid of

What am I afraid of?  I do not like to speak into a microphone.  This uncomfortable, stressful, panic-inducing task of speaking into a microphone is something that I am afraid of.  If you know me well, you may be surprised to read this.  It seems odd because I love to sing, and I sing on the Worship Team at my church every week.  When I sing, I sing into a microphone so why is it so hard to speak into a microphone?

It took me years (almost 2 decades) to sing in front of people.  But I love to sing.  So eventually I decided to face my fear and sing on the worship team.  I love this job.  I really do.  After the first few years, I finally stopped being nervous about singing at the front of the church each week.  If I can do this, why can't I speak into a microphone?  I have no idea.  What is the difference?  Not much, just the rhythm the words come out, right?  But to me, there is a huge difference.

Who knows, maybe it goes back to an assignment back in seventh grade.  We were to choose a poem, memorize it and then recite it in front of our class.  And of course, the teacher thought it would be great to video tape everyone while the performed.  I picked out my poem.  I memorized every word.  My name was called.  I went to the front of the room, looked up and began to recite the words.  I got as far as the end of the first line.  Then I saw the blinking red light on the recorder...and it was gone!  I couldn't remember a word.  Not one!  I started over a few times and I couldn't do it.  My best friend ended up whispering line by line to me so I could sit down.  I realize there was no microphone involved in this nightmare, but it seems reasonable to me that this may be where my fear began.

It doesn't really matter why I am afraid of speaking into a microphone.  So far, I have been able to make a fuss and insist that I do not talk into the microphone.  But I'm starting to feel that I need to overcome this fear.  I need to stop letting this fear dictate what I am willing to do (or not willing to do).  I am going to work on this.  It will be extremely uncomfortable for me.  And I will be very anxious when the opportunities arise but I have got to get over this.  Its time.


Kid Gym

My daughter and I drove almost 8 hours to visit my sister recently. We had a great time during our "girl's trip". One of the things we did while staying with my sister is go to a local children's museum.

I was impressed with this museum for many reasons. But one exhibit really caught my attention.

It was a mini gym. Really. It was. I had never seen anything like it before. My little one went right over and got started. Here is a picture collage I made that includes a few pieces of the equipment.

I was impressed with how my little one jumped right on and got to work. My sister and I grabbed a seat and essentially watched my kiddo do a circuit workout.

I thought this was special museum equipment but got curious so I pulled out my ever present iPhone and did a google search. This equipment is available to the public. And I was even more surprised that it was very affordable.

Wow! My mind started spinning. Andy and I are both regular exercisers. We workout in our own ways five days a week. The kids know this. They know what we do. And they love to "play" with some of our equipment. I'm always very cautious because I don't want anyone to get hurt.

So, wouldn't it be great to have some exercise equipment that is safe for them to use? Yeah! Right?

Before I pushed the "quick buy" button on the amazon app, I had a few thoughts. First, I fear people would think that we were exercise fanatics and we would be judged for providing Mini-sized gym equipment for our children. Second, and more importantly, I realized the kids would outgrow this equipment pretty fast so it probably wasn't as good an idea as I wanted it to be.

I like that our kids know their parents exercise. They know how we exercise. And they know we enjoy our exercise. I also like that they like to "play" with our equipment. They are too young to allow on our treadmill or to use the weight bench. But they see their parents using these things as well as much more to stay healthy. I don't know what the appropriate age is to allow the kids to safely use the equipment. I do want to encourage them to stay active and continue to play with my mats, balls, free weights and steps while I am around to supervise.

Exercise is something I hated to do until I was in my late 20s. And I had to work extremely hard to change my lifestyle to get rid of all the extra weight I want them to see exercise as normal and healthy and fun. Something we do most days for ourselves for so many reasons. Being active as kids is a lot easier than when we are adults. But when gymnastics and soccer are over, they need to find other ways to exercise and be active. I doubt we will buy any mini equipment but seeing it got me thinking about what my husband and I are doing to teach our children about exercise. Just another topic that isn't covered in the Parenting Manual we all didn't get.

Here's a question. What do you think about mini exercise equipment? Is it a gimmick or a wise investment into the health of future adults?

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BC Day 9

Day 9: A habit you wish you didn't have

I worry.  A lot.  If I could change my habit of worrying, I would.  I used to worry about safety, health and future of my husband, my pets and myself.  Then I had kids and I have to work VERY hard sometimes not to be overwhelmed with anxiousness over what could or might happen.  And it is such a waste of time and energy to worry.  It is also counterproductive.  

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.  ~Leo Buscaglia

Most days, I do okay.  I can usually tell when I'm starting to cross the line into irrational territory.  I've learned a few ways to help me cope when it gets to that point.  Don't get me wrong, it is good to think things through.  To be prepared.  Its when you get consumed with the "what if's" that is a problem.  And, worry alone, never changes the outcome.  

As a kid, I can remember laying in bed and thinking, "If there was a fire, what would I take?" I thought on this enough that I went so far as to gather a few of my precious belongings and store them under my bed for quick access if I should need to "grab and run".  I've never had a house fire.  

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.  ~Glenn Turner

I don't want to teach my children to worry.  Its important to think ahead and to be able to solve problems.  Some situations take a bit more effort to work through.  This is not the kind of worry that I'd like to be rid of.  Like I said before, I am doing better with this problem of worrying.  But it can be a real struggle some times to just "let it go" and wait and see how things are going to work out.  I am definitely a planner.  And I'm a bit of a control freak.  I am a fixer.  When things are out of my control, I become very stressed.  These things are not all bad.  There are some areas of life where these qualities are a blessing.  Its in the other areas that I am working very hard to be more flexible and trust in the Lord to handle my fears and worry.  I am learning to trust Him.  Some days are easier than others.  One day at a time.  I know I wasn't created to suffer from chronic worry.  This is a hard habit to break.  I'll probably always struggle with this on some level but I'm trying.  Imagine...a life without worry.  

It only seems as if you are doing something when you're worrying.  ~Lucy Maud Montgomery

What are some other bad habits that we should aim to overcome?  You don't need to tell a story, but lets see if we can create a list of habits we wish we didn't have.  Leave a comment below...


BC Day 8

Day 8: Places I've travelled

Hmmm, I guess I am a homebody. I do not travel very far or very often.

My family of four takes a trip to Cape May, NJ every year for vacation. We love this quaint town. There is so much to do and yet it is still pretty quiet, which means not wry commercialized.

Earlier this summer I flew to Tulsa, OK to see my sister graduate from her Residency program. And very recently, last weekend in fact, my youngest and I drove to NC to help my sister settle into her new home.

Andy and I seem to get away once or twice a year without the Mini's. But we've only gotten as far as Philly, Annapolis and New York City.

I would like to travel more. I really would. I look forward to taking big trips with the kids as they get older. At some point I will also be able to go on a big trip without my children. You know, on a cruise ore across the ocean. For right now, that kind of distance between me and them makes me panicky. When I do take such a trip, I want to enjoy it not be consumed with fear and guilt. Some day...

Hopefully when that day comes, I will still be enjoying Java Talk and I'll be able to share those adventures with you then.


Blog Challenge Day 7

Day 7: Favorite Movie

This is a toughy. I like to watch movies. Not as much as I like to read but I do watch a lot of movies. I have a few favorites. I really can't pick an all time favorite.

1. My Fair Lady - a classic. Fun love story, good music. And I adore Audrey Hepburn.
2. A Walk to Remember - this is a terrific love story with a sad twist. A very well written story (this is one of our favorite books too).
3. Ever After - I love this updated version of this Cinderella story.

I guess those are my top choices in movies. I will watch almost anything. I really enjoy psychological thrillers and suspense. I am not afraid of a good action film. Really,as long as I'm entertained for a while, I'm happy. But the movies listed above are my favorites.

What is your favorite movie?


BC Day 6

Day 6: A picture of you as a baby


Again, I must change the daily topic. The problem...I don't have any pictures of me as a baby. My mom has tons of them, but that doesn't help me right now.

So, while hanging with my sister aka Dr. Sis, she discovered a "family heirloom", haha. And I decided to share this with you. I realize, you will not quite get it. But that's ok. It's just fun for me to think of all the quick chuckles we have shared over this small item we have jokingly called an heirloom. Okay, are you ready for the big reveal?

Any guesses? Honestly, I don't know what you call it. We've always called it the Gold Ball. This ball used to sit atop my daybed as I was growing up. My sister and I shared a room. And one night, when I couldn't sleep and I wanted her attention, I took it off of my bedpost and threw it over to her. An impulsive act that some 20 yrs later still brings a smile to my face as I recall it.

This Gold Ball has a story of it's own now. When my parents got rid of our fatness, they kept one more Gold Ball so we could each have our own. It disappears for a while, then resurfaces bringing a smile with it. One time it had been discovered at my parents house so they sent it to my sister when she lived in Oklahoma.

Very simple. Super silly. But this is a special memory shared only by Dr. Sis and I. I'm glad she found the Gold Ball while I was at her place. Just another memory associated with that scratched up, shiny Gold Ball.

Check back tomorrow to see what Day 7 will reveal.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


BC Day 5

Day 5: A song to match your mood today


I'm going to take this topic and add a little twist. Today was a very different day for me. I packed my little girl into the car and took off to visit my sister in North Carolina. I was very excited and more than a little anxious about making this trip on our own. My emotions were all over the board today. So instead of a single song that matches my mood for today, I'm going to name the first 10 songs to play on my iphone. This seems like a natural "twist" since my playlist is extremely varied so all my moods should be covered ;)

1. Before the Morning by Josh Wilson
2. Love Comes Down by Kerrie Roberts
3. Here Tomorrow, Gone Today by Lifehouse
4. Favorite Song by Colbie Caillat
5. Bad Day by Daniel Powter
6. Raise Your Glass by Pink
7. Little Wonders by Rob Thomas
8. Tonight Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae
9. Brighter Than the Sun by Colbie Caillat
10. Waka Waka by Shakira

There you have it. An odd mix of music genres. But these songs and MANY more kept me company (my little one watched movie after movie, was that wrong?) during my 8 hour drive.

Here's your chance to leave a comment...what song are you listening to now (or do you last remember listening to)? ...GO!


BC Day 4

Day 4- Your parents or siblings.

A recent picture of my parents, sister and I.
My mom and dad are still married after almost 35 years. That is a wonderful accomplishment in our culture today. They are very hard workers who have done so much for my sister and I. As well as for my Grammy who lives with them and my family too.

When Andy and I are in a bind, mom and dad are often who we call for backup. Whether ceiling fans need installed, a pergola needs to be built or we need a babysitter. We try very hard not to take advantage of the Grandparent Card but if it works out, they enjoy being able to help us.

I am the oldest of two girls. My sister has recently finished her Residency program and in a few short weeks, she will be practicing medicine on her own. How exciting! She is an experienced world traveller. And has the desire to help an serve people.

Growing up, my sister and I had friends but we also enjoyed spending time with our family. We often went to the movies as a family and as I got older we started to eat out together. It was a nice way to grow up. We certainly had our share of family angst but we always knew that we were loved. Tense moments passed and now that we are all older, we are all friends. Again, I am a very blessed daughter/sister.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


BC Day 3

Day 3: Your first love

My first love was Jordan Knight of the New Kids on the Block. I spent many years learning all I could about this boy then man. I spent countless hours imagining time spent with him. But believe it or not, those dreams were not meant to be. And now, as an adult, I can honestly say I'm glad. I haven't been very impressed with the interviews I have seen over the years since we have all grown up.

But seriously, I didn't have a crazy love life before marriage. Its kind of a boring story. I met my husband the first semester of my freshmen year in college. He was my math tutor :)

I had very few dates before I started seeing Andy. Andy came along and that was 15 yrs. ago. We dated for 4 1/2 yrs. when we got married. We both graduated on the same day in May. June 10th, we got married.

Most of our dating was done long distance. This is probably odd. But it was what we had to do. You see, he was a year ahead of me and then had to go to Pitt Main campus for the next four years. And of course, we lived on opposite sides of the state.

We visited each other every other weekend and that first year apart, we spent TONS of money on phone bills. Lucky for us, after the first year apart, Pitt came up with the idea to allow campus to campus calls for FREE!

Free calls allowed us to talk a few times a day, and sometimes for hours a day. No, it wasn't your typical relationship but it was a good one. Being apart so much meant we had to be good communicators. We also had to trust each other with everything. Both of these qualities are hard work to cultivate but are well worth the effort.

Today, we have been married 11 years and have a beautiful family. Andy is a terrific daddy and a very good husband. I am a very blessed woman.


BC Day 2

Blog Challenge Day 2 - How did you pick the name of your blog?


Java Talk.  I love to drink coffee.  And I love to talk.  Put it together and you get Java Talk.  I drink coffee by myself every day.  But I love having the chance to meet with my friends over coffee.  This is a great time to unwind, and connect with other women like me.  Drinking coffee can be a very social experience.  In fact, my husband hates coffee and as silly as it sounds, I wish he would drink it so we could share these ideal mornings together over a cup of coffee.  Of course, just drinking coffee wont make the moment but it will add to the charm ;)

Java Talk was easy.  The web address was a bit trickier.  Any thing I thought of that had to do with coffee and talking was already taken.  So I had to get creative.  What am I aiming for?  I desire for Java Talk to be a place that is similar to an online cafe.  What?  I know, sounds silly and pointless but follow me.  I love sitting together with my girlfriends, laughing, venting, sharing, etc.  I want this to be a place where I can share those same thoughts and experiences with my readers.  With that said, here is your part...for this to be a blog that has a conversational flow, I need more comments.  There are a few who have been brave enough to share their thoughts on a given topic.  I wish to see this become a place where we can agree and disagree.  We can share similar stories.  Offer tips and suggestions.  THAT is where bringyourownmug.blogspot.com comes from.  Not only does the reader have to "bring their own mug" if they are going to enjoy a cup of coffee at my virtual cafe, but each time you read and respond, you are doing your part to share and and add to the conversation.  A little hokey, but there you have it.  These two pieces together are how Java Talk got its name and web address.


BC Day 1

Day 1: Introduce, recent picture of yourself, 15 interesting facts

My name is Dawn. I am a stay at home mom who seems to be at home very little each day. I enjoy my writing this blog very much.

1. I have the million dollar family...one boy and one girl.
2. Reading is one of my favorite "me time" activities. I enjoy books where I can dog-ear the pages and I love my ereader. Any way I can get lost in someone else's story is fine with me.
3. I'm very good at reading aloud, especially children's stories.
4. I have recently discovered I like to cook. Within the past year I've really begun to enjoy making real breakfast, healthy snacks and a dinner that pleases most of those around the table.
5. I can lose all sense of time looking through cooking magazines as well as cookbooks.
6. I've always wanted a truck. I drive an Acadia an I love it but it is not a real truck.
7. I am an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay.
8. I buy too many pajamas, lipsticks and shampoos. No rhyme or reason here. I just love to buy these things so I often come home with at least one of these items when I go out shopping.
9. Im most likely to lose my temper if my exercise gets interrupted. I get an hour five days a week. Talk to me any other hour in the day. Leave me alone when I'm getting my sweat on!
10. My favorite TV show is Bones.
11. I did not want to get my driver's license. At 18 I told my mom with lots of attitude "you can make me take the test but you can't make me pass!". I got my license when I was 19.
12. I sing all the time. Music is like a soundtrack to my life. I like it on in the background. I'm amazed how hearing a song can take you back to a memory from long ago.
13. I really do no like to blow dry my hair. But my hair looks awful if I don't blow dry it. So flat and lifeless. So I do this job I dislike so much every day. Every four weeks I celebrate and I do not "do" my hair bc I have a hair appointment that day.
14. I love to dance in the kitchen as I listen to the music while I'm cooking :)
15. This was very hard to think of 15 interesting things to share about myself.

Blog Challenge Day 1 complete. Check back tomorrow to learn how I came up with the title, Java Talk.

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30 Day Blog Challenge

Late last night I stumbled on a 30 Day Blog Challenge. I found this interesting idea on a blog called, Life in the Slow Lane. This challenge began on August 1st but I'm going to start on Monday. I am always thinking about ways to improve my blog and I think this process will be both fun and very challenging. Listed below are the topics I will be covering over the next month. Some of these will be much easier to write then others. I'm excited to see how I grow through this writing exercise.

Day 1: Introduce, recent picture of yourself, 15 interesting facts
Day 2: Meaning behind your blog name
Day 3: Your first love
Day 4: Your parents or siblings
Day 5: A song to match your mood today
Day 6: A picture of you as a baby
Day 7: Favorite movie
Day 8: A place you've traveled to
Day 9: A habit you wish you didn't have
Day 10: Something you're afraid of
Day 11: A tv show you're addicted to
Day 12: Something you don't leave the house without
Day 13: Goals
Day 14: A picture of you last year - how have you changed?
Day 15: A moment you've felt satisfied with your life
Day 16: Dream house
Day 17: Something you're looking forward to
Day 18: Favorite Place to Eat
Day 19: Something you miss
Day 20: Nicknames you have
Day 21: Something you could never get tired of doing
Day 22: What's in your purse?
Day 23: Favorite board game
Day 24: Something you've learned
Day 25: Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs
Day 26: Your Dream Wedding
Day 27: The city you live in
Day 28: Something that stresses you out
Day 29: 3 Wishes
Day 30: a picture of yourself this day and 5 good things that happened
since you started the challenge

Check back on Monday to read my first challenge blog post. Over the next month, please feel free to comment and encourage me to continue on with this challenge. I know some topics will be hard and I want to see this through to the end.


Hardy Breakfast To Go

Here is an easy muffin recipe I wanted to pass on. Very hardy, full of lots of yummy stuff. Grab one for the road for breakfast or as a snack to tie you over to the next meal. These are also a great snack to give the kiddos when school starts.

With these ingredients, you can't go wrong (unless you are allergic, sorry). Give them a try. Remember, muffins freeze well and are awesome bc you take a few out at a time. Bake once, enjoy for days or weeks, however long it takes to get through your freezer stash.

Trail Mix Muffins

2 1/4 C flour
1 C granola cereal w/no raisins
3/4 C packed brown sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
1 C milk
3/4 canola oil
1t vanilla extract
1/2 C mini Choc chips
1/2 C chopped dry roasted peanuts
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C chopped dried apricots

In large bowl, combine flour, cereal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chips, peanuts, raisins an apricots.

Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 375 for 15-18 mins.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

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Keep It To Yourself

Time to vent. This is something that makes me so angry I don't think straight. So let me give you some advice as a former fat girl.

DO NOT comment on what someone else is eating. EVER. I do not understand how people feel they are justified in commenting on what you have on your plate. And be warned, do not do it to me. I will not be nice in my response.

Yes, I realize this is a sensitive issue for me. I have food issues. You don't weigh over 200 pounds without food issues. Now, six years later, I weigh a lot less. I'm fit, I'm healthy. And I still I've got some food issues. They look different but I have come to realize they will probably always be there.

I spent many years feeling like everyone watched every bite that I ate. It was awful. I'm not saying people were, I just felt that way.

But, you would not believe how many times people, loved ones as well as strangers, comment on the food on my plate.

Who do these people think they are? What gives them the right to judge what I eat? I worked very hard to get where I am and I do not need someone saying something stupid when I allow myself to indulge. Joke or not. I would never say anything about what you are eating, so leave my plate alone!

Let me suggest you keep your comments to yourself. You may feel you are being funny but you have no idea how it will be perceived. I understand it is my baggage that is a problem and I should relax but the very fact that this has happened more than once with different people has definitely made this a sore spot with me.

Think about it. There is really no reason for you to make such comments, so don't. Let the fat or skinny person who catches your eye. It's none of your business. Just enjoy what you have before you.

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Great Site for Kids

KidZui Browser
Image I copy and pasted from Kidzui.com

As a mom, it is hard to know how much freedom to give the kids on the Internet.  I know there are programs out there to filter and prohibit certain sites on your computer but we haven't invested in any of these yet.  First of all, I have been hesitant to introduce my son to ANOTHER screen which I will have to monitor his time using.

Several months ago my mom suggested a search engine called, Kidzui.  This is a search engine for kids.  It is a free download and then when you start up the computer, the kiddos click on the "K" instead of "E" or the Google Chrome Icon.  This is a completely kid friendly search engine.  They can play games, do Internet searches, watch shows, etc.  It really is a great idea.  It is simple to use.  My children do not understand how to search for things on the Internet yet, but they can click on a show, or play the games. I also really like that this browser is not geared to preschool aged kids.  My children are too old to be interested in that type of entertainment.  The games and shows they can watch are definitely age appropriate for them (don't be put off by the image of Grover in my pic of the browser above).

I think their favorite thing to do is watch the YouTube videos that are available.  I have seen many of these funny videos with my Mini's.  They love them.  They just click from one video to another.  Most of the videos have been about animals.  But they are all cute or funny.  Another reason I love this browser is that it seems to keep the peace between my youngins.  They are at the ages now, (5 and almost 7) where they play nice one minute and things get unsettled quickly.  Playing on this site has been a great activity for them to do happily together.  And THAT makes this mommy happy :)

I know that pretty soon I will have to look further into filtering our Internet and teaching my children how to use the net safely.  But for now, I am thrilled to have this browser on our computer.  I don't know who created it but I am so thankful to that person(s).

How have you introduced the Internet to your children?  I'd love any suggestions.


Happy Birthday Peanut!

One of my favorite pics.

Today is my doggie girl Peanut's birthday.  She is 13 yrs. old.  She is a retired racing greyhound.  Peanut is one of the major joys in my life.  Her racing name was Authentic Free, but her kennel name was Peanut.  Before she came to us, we were going to name her Daisy or Belle, but when we heard her name was Peanut, we thought it was cute, so we kept  it. It is hard to believe she came to us over 8 yrs. ago.

She is such a sweet dog.  So gentle.  She never barks, doesn't beg, and when she was younger, it made my heart smile as she ran around the backyard.  I love to talk about her, and I could go on and on.  But I wont.  I've never made her a cake or done anything much to honor her birth.  Today she is in good health but I realize she wont be with us forever.  So, I decided the other day to find a recipe online for a dog friendly cake.  It was very quick to make.  My daughter and I decided to make cupcakes so that she could enjoy her treat over the next week.  Here are a few pics of Peanut to celebrate her birthday.

Almost ready to go in the oven.

All done and ready to be enjoyed!

Yummy!  All gone!


Feeling sentimental

Tonight I had THAT moment. I've had it with my son several times. But tonight I had this moment with my daughter.

It's the moment when you look at your child and see that they are growing up too fast.

All the sudden, I'm saying these like..."soon you'll be going to school, then driving, going to prom, having boyfriends, college,etc.". I know, she is only five and I was rushing through the lineup of her life. But it was THE moment. I think I'm allowed.

Everyone hears about how fast it goes. And I can say that the first five years have gone by quickly from experience. (almost 7 years for my son) Having this moment tonight has me thinking about how I want our relationship to look 20 years from now. I know my job is to be her parent and I have a feeling over the next decade that is going to be challenging. But I look forward to when she is grown and we can be friends. I'm not in a hurry for this to happen but as her future unfolded in my mind, I was able to see the other side to where we could be friends.

For now I have to do my best to see that she is the best person she can be. That she knows she is loved and supported. I have to teach her how to love the Lord as well as others. And enjoy each day with my little girl.

Have you ever had one of THOSE moments?

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I wonder...

Why is it that a dog will eat any food that falls on the floor except dog food. If its human food, it is stiffed out and gobbled up quick. If it's dog food, it is left there, for me to pick up and put back in the bowl. Hmm...it would be very helpful if my doggie girl would just sniff those pieces up and gobble them down too. After all these years, I don't see that happening. But it's always nice to dream, haha. But seriously, isn't it interesting that a dog will eat what you drop but not what she drops?

If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Town Map

I have a young girl come over to watch my kiddos three days a week while I take my classes at the gym. This is a nice arrangement. I don't have to drag the kids along all five days. I don't have to worry about getting there and finding the Child Watch room is full. And the kiddos have fun at home with a sitter.

Today, my oldest got to work and drew a map on the driveway. Yesterday, I suggested the idea and we talked about what things you would find in a town (a park, houses, bank, etc). The weather didn't cooperate yesterday but today while I was gone, he got busy.

The map didn't fit in one picture, but that's okay. I told him to spread out and make it big. I was proud of his map. This is the first time I've had him do anything like this project. He included houses, a post office, a park, a pond, a lake and the white house (no, we don't live in D.C.).

He is not my overly creative child. Although, he does love maps. This kid will pick up a map to anywhere...a themepark, a state park, a zoo, it doesn't matter. He studies them and keeps them to pull out later.

This was a fun activity for him and a great way for him to spend some time outside using sidewalk chalk. I know when Daddy gets home he will be very excited to show Daddy the map he drew for his made up town. Good job Little Man!

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A Fun Tip

My new treat to myself is iced coffee. While I love to grab a cup from a cafe, it gets too expensive.

My new delight is making my own iced coffee at home and keeping a pitcher of it in the fridge.

However much you brew, be sure your coffee/water ratio is right. That means, if you are making ten cups (5 scoops of coffee), only use enough water for five cups. Don't worry about this yummy brew being too strong. As the ice melts, it dilutes the coffee.

I fill a pitcher halfway with ice and then add the coffee. I store it as black coffee and add creamer and ice to my individual cup as I pour each serving.

It is so easy. I did a little research and it can store in the fridge for at least a week, it's similar to iced tea.

For my first pitcher, I made it decaf, this way I can enjoy it in the afternoon or even before bed. Leaded or unleaded doesn't matter. It's so simple and super yummy! I don't know why it never crossed my mind before.


Sports Can It Be Too Much?

My son is six, soon to be seven years old. He has played t-ball and soccer. This week marks the beginning of football in our house. I'm not crazy about this endeavor for so many reasons.

1. He's my baby and I don't want him to get hurt.
2. Football is my least favorite sport to watch.
3. The time commitment is ridiculous for my child as well as the family.

I told Andy that the practices were 5 days a week. 2 hours a day. He didn't agree and went ahead and signed him up. Last week, he realized that practice is from 6-8pm Monday thru Friday. Guess that makes me right. Once school starts, practice is 3 times a week for 1 1/2 hours...big difference.

I do not think my child needs to be in any activity that requires so much time and energy from him...at the age of 6 or 7. I don't like that he will have no time or energy to do anything else. Our family has to rush through dinner and then go our separate ways every night of the week for the next month or so.

Its not just football. It seems many sports are designed to looking for lifetime commitments from our children. I would rather see my kiddos try different things so when they are older they will know what they want to play seriously.

What happened to kids just playing? What happened to recreational sports? I'm very frustrated with this whole idea of sports being so important. Am I overreacting? Do you agree? What have your experiences been?


Dog Joins Maryland Half-Marathon

This is a really neat story.  On Saturday, May 15, the Maryland Half Marathon was being run to raise money for cancer research.  A half marathon is just over 13 miles.  That's just over 13 miles of running...with no break.  As you can probably tell, I'm  not a runner.  I am super intimidated by anyone who is serious about running.  And I am in awe of anyone who can run 13 or 26 miles.  I'm not sure why you would want to, but if you can, I'm impressed. 

So, as this group of over 2,000 runners was making their way through the race, somewhere around mile 5, they were joined by a new runner.  Meet Dozer, a 3 year old Goldendoodle.
This amazing little guy, got caught up in all the excitement and movement as people passed by, he started to run along with them.  His owner had no idea he was gone.  I cannot imagine her fear when she realized that her four legged baby was no longer in the yard.  Don't worry, he returned home the next day.  

Dozer ran along with the crowd.  While the human runners were running to raise money for a good cause, I imagine to a dog, the commotion just looked like too much fun to let pass him by. So Dozer got in on the action.  He stayed with the runners for about 8 miles, until everyone else stopped running.  Yes, this dog ran for about 8 miles.  Along the way, several people took pictures of this amazing canine as he kept pace with the two legged athletes around him.  Dozer was also taped as he crossed the finish line and the video is now on YouTube.  As you can see in the picture, he received a metal for finishing the race.  I am an animal lover and as I watched this, my heart felt so full!

Running 8 miles for me would be extremely painful.  For a dog, he could have suffered from many injuries.  This fun loving dog was checked over by a Vet and he is doing fine.  I'm sure he was sore but he had no serious problems after making such a trek. 

Dozer has gotten so much attention for his awesome run that he has been able to help to raise money for the cause.  The Maryland Half Marathon is over, but this pups' efforts have already raised over $20,000.00 for cancer research at UM Greenebaum Cancer Center.  I would encourage you to google Dozer the goldendoodle and watch this for yourself.  This is such a happy story.  The news often feels so overwhelmed but the "bad" in this world, take a moment and just enjoy the "happy" of this story.

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