Lessons From A 5 Yr Old

My Girl Mini has been frustrated with a classmate who has been "copying her". Not the cheating kind of copying, the "I do what you do, I say what you say" type. Since this has come up several times, I suggested she ask this friend to stop copying her. I explained this little girl probably really likes my Mini(of course, haha) and she wants to do like you. So my little one says, "ok, I'll talk to her on the bus ride home from school".

That afternoon I ask if she had this "talk" and to my amazement, she said yes. She told her friend what I had suggested she say. I was so impressed with my Girl Mini. As a 35 yr old woman, I would have a very difficult time having such a conversation. And if I got to the point where this conversation HAD to take place, I never would have made it to the end of the day. I would have been so anxious over what to say and worried over the reaction I would have been a wreck!

But not my girl. I was so proud of her. I have told her how proud I am of her choice to speak up. This ability to handle uncomfortable situations will be very useful as she gets older. I pray that she doesn't lose this ability to do what needs done without all the anxiety that I fight. My Girl Mini set a terrific example for her Mommy who is working on finding her voice and using it to make things better.


Finding Your Happy Place

Having a "Happy Place" almost sounds childish but I think we all need to have one. It may be a real place. Somewhere to go and telex and let go. Or it may be an activity that helps you to feel good and when you finish you walk away feeling rejuvenated and in a better place mentally.

I have one of each. Geographically, I look forward to walks along the river. The water is always changing. The breeze is peaceful. Looking in one direction I see the water, the island in the water and all the activity on the island. If I look to the other side, I see the beautiful buildings of the city. I am amazed how I see something new each time I walk up and down along the river.

My other "happy place" is an activity. Exercise. Primarily boxing but the same can be said of most of my workouts. This is my time. I work hard without interruption. I feel strong. And I feel good. Most days it doesn't matter how I feel walking into my workout, in this "happy place" I hit a moment when it is all gone. It's just me, what I am doing and what I can do over the next hour. I leave feeling much happier having been there.

We all have bad days, bad moments and it is so easy to get stuck there. Overwhelmed with those negative feelings. I believe it is very important to find your "happy place" and then make sure that you get there. Where is your "happy place"?


Hunger Games

At the bottom of the steps, I look up and see a baby and toy crossbow watching over me. My first thought was, "Girl Mini has been here". My next thought was, "a baby and a crossbow = Hunger Games".

There's my funny thought for today!

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Something To Think About

I think I've mentioned before that although I have lost and maintained considerable weightloss, I still struggle with food. I am a binge eater. It comes and goes but the tendency is always there.

When I am in the binge cycle, it is almost all consuming. I eat with abandon, then I feel guilt and shame followed by more eating. I start eating in secret and hiding the evidence. Not good at all.

I read something yesterday that has sparked a new plan for me when I hit this cycle again. Instead of eating the "bad" foods which then make me feel like a "bad" person, I want to focus on how I will feel after I eat the food in question. Sounds simple. I know it won't be. With this new way to think of the food I will be struggling with, I hope to see what has led me to this moment. My pattern is usually driven by emotions. And hopefully it will help me stop looking to food to "fix" those emotions. The relief is temporary and causes more problems for me later. It's always good to have a plan and this is my new plan.

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Plan B

A friend gave me a coffee mug recently and it says...Life is about how you handle Plan B.  As a Mommy, this is so true.  I cannot count the times that I have had plans in my head for the day, for the morning, for the hour and the kiddos or hubby were on a different page than me.

I like structure and for a long time, these changes in my plan didn't go over so well.  I'd be flustered, frustrated and feel the weight of what wasn't being done.  This led to a bad attitude and sharp words and got me nowhere except feeling bad for my behavior.

So, I've learned to be more flexible.  A plan is just a plan.  It isn't set in stone.  Change is okay.  Forcing everyone into the plan isn't worth it.  There are times when sticking to the plan is a must but for the other times, we need to work as a family to be more open to spur of the moment moments.  Everything will get done.  A little rearranging is sometimes necessary to fit in what needs to be done with what we want to get done.

How do you handle Plan B?


Picture Magnets

Tired of a cluttered refrigerator? All those pictures and magnets fighting for space. A few years ago I read a cute idea and I'm going to pass it along.

I found pictures I wanted to post on the fridge. And I cut them out in the shape of my magnets. Whatever the shape of the magnet becomes the shape of your picture. One of my magnets is in the shape of a Nittany Lion paw. I just turned it on its side and was able to fit both of my kiddos on it. I used 2 sided tape to stick the pic to the magnet. That's it...very simple yet clever way to clean up the front of the fridge.

These pics are a few years old now. Thinking its time to replace them with more current photos.

All you need are magnets, pictures, and 2 sided tape. Can't beat that.

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Book Review of Hunger Games


It seems that lately there is much to be read about the book Hunger Games.  The movie is being released this week.  So it seems like a good time to offer my review.  Hunger Games was the selection for this month for my Book Club.  I will be honest, I had no real interest in reading this book.  But in the spirit of Book Club, I read it and I am so glad that I did.

This follows a group of kids ages 12-18 who have been selected by lottery to play in the game of their life.  Or more accurately, they are chosen to play in a game where the winner is the only one who survives.  That's right, these kids are forced to kill or be killed and it all takes place on in front of an audience via television.  It is Reality TV gone too far.

This is book is very well written.  It was a very quick read.  It is upsetting to think of these children having to fight for their survival while the rest of the country watches.  But despite the story line, this is not a horror story filled with gore.

My only real complaint as the reader was that it ended so abruptly.  Although I felt like I was left hanging, I really couldn't expect anything else since Hunger Games is the first book of a trilogy.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has been wondering what all the buzz is about.


Be The Change

Pretty BIG words. Turning 35 has been a big deal to me. Not in an "I don't want to be old" way but in a self-awareness way.

It seems over the past 6 months or so, I have been mentally wrestling with so many things. While it has been exhausting at times, I've also learned a lot about myself.

It seems I've spent a large part of my life just letting things happen to me. Good and bad. That worked for a long time, but now I want more. I need to take ownership of the good and bad. And when I don't like something, I need to Be The Change. I can't just sit back and resent what I don't like. I have to decide if it's worth the personal risk to make it different or I need to get "over it".

Life is messy and life is complicated. But as I dig deeper into my journey, I am learning that despite the possible discomfort, it is worth the effort needed to see the situation through to the end. I may not always make the right choices but learning to forgive myself is another area I am working on. Sometimes I can't see through my disappointment and I need a reminder to refocus and do what I can do...Be The Change.

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Pizza Fun

It's not delivery, it's Dawngornio ;)

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No School Today

The kiddos have no school today. So we are making the most of our day together. Keep them busy, that's what I say.

First I made a pancake breakfast for my hungry Minis. If there is something my kiddos love, it's pancakes.

Then we were off to gymnastics for the Girl Mini.

In a little while, we are going to meet a friend for lunch at Isaacs. We love this restaurant. We get to eat out and still feel like we are making healthy choices...until the kiddos free sundaes come out ;)

After lunch, I'm taking the kids to a local animal shelter. This place has odd hours so we haven't been all year. My daughter asks me weekly if we can go play with the animals. I have to tell her no. So today, we will go and love on the cats and dogs that are looking for a home. We already have a dog, two cats and two fish, so we won't bring anyone home. But its always fun to cuddle with these animals who haven't found their Forever Homes yet.

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A Day In the Sun

The other day, I took my Girl Mini and we took off for a little adventure.  Here are a few things we saw while we enjoyed the beautiful day as well as each other's company.

We are just getting started on our walk.

This tree fascinated me.  I know you can't tell, but there were sections of this tree that were wrinkled and reminded me of elephant skin.

Local swimmers.

A very pretty bridge.

There are a LOT of steps here.  And I thought this was a fun angle to take a pic of my Girl.

We made it to the bridge.  This is a fun bridge to walk across.

Disclaimer:  The train was not running.  No child was harmed during the taking of these photos ;)

Almost back to the car.  My Girl Mini wanted a turn with the camera.  Even told me to tilt my head, silly girl!

We had such a wonderful day together.  It was so nice doing something different.  Something impulsive.  And enjoying the beautiful day while making memories together.


"Not My Kid"

Famous last words, right? This time I'm referring to how at the beginning of the school year, my child was NOT going to eat a school lunch. I used to work in the schools. You can throw any spin you want to a menu but those are NOT healthy lunches.

Andy thought I was ridiculous. He loved sharing memories of school lunches and how much he enjoyed them.

I'm sorry, breadsticks with dipping sauce is not healthy. Neither is Nacho Fun lunch.

So, the year began with me packing every day for my son. This was one way I felt I was showing him how much I love him. Of course, I don't expect him to understand this until he is much older. But he REALLY wanted to buy. So for a long time, he was allowed to buy once a week.

Then we got connected to the Online prepay for lunch which means I never have to scrounge around for money on the days he is going to buy. This convenience was the beginning of the end.

Somewhere along the way, I started wishing in my mind that he would be happy with one of the four choices for the day so I didn't have to pack a lunch. (I hang my head in shame)

The way that I have begun to deal with these moments of Mommy Guilt is to prepare a super healthy breakfast to send him off to school with.

So tonight, I am trying a new recipe of Baked Apple Oatmeal and I just popped it in the oven. Tomorrow, I just need to heat it up and serve to the Mini's. A few minutes tonight and now I don't feel so bad that my Boy Mini will be buying lunch at school tomorrow...again.

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Random Thoughts on Spring

Children playing outside...
Birds singing to one another...
The sight of bulbs pushing through the ground to meet the sun...
Windows open...
Seeing neighbors again...
Laundry loads getting a little lighter...
Outdoor sports begin...

Spring is in the air...


Peanut Butter Waffles


Yep!  I said Peanut Butter Waffles...YUMMY!  I got a waffle maker (which I really wanted) for Christmas.  And so a few days a month, I like to try new waffle recipes.  I made these for lunch and everyone loved them.  The kiddos were raving and the plates were empty in speedy fashion.  I had to make a substitute for the milk (see below) and I kept that info to myself until after the meal.  The Hubby would never had tried them otherwise.  As we were cleaning up, he added the compliment that it was the "perfect amount of peanut butter flavor".  Not bad for a throw together family meal.

Here is what you need:
2C all-purpose flour
2 T baking powder
1 T firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4t salt
2 eggs
3T unsalted butter or margarine, melted
2/3C creamy peanut butter (I used my homemade PB)
1 3/4C milk (I used vanilla flavored almond milk because we were out of regular milk...I did have to keep adding more almond milk to get the desired consistency for the batter.  I just poured and mixed after the initial 1 3/4C until I was satisfied.)

Preheat waffle iron and spray with non-stick spray (both sides).  In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt.  In separate bowl, using a whisk, beat eggs, butter, peanut butter and milk until foamy.  Pour PB mix into dry ingredients until smooth.

Pour mix onto waffle iron and close.  Cook about 2-3 mins. until waffles are done.  And enjoy!  Another easy and tasty meal :)


Another Winner For Dinner!

Yesterday I was feeling uninspired as to what to make for dinner. As the day went by, my choices were getting limited (no slow cooker). So I decided to adjust a recipe I made last week and see what happened. It was a hit!

Last week, I made the Brown Sugar and Basalmic Glazed Pork Loin. Last night, I used chicken, switched an ingredient or two and made it in the oven (not the slow cooker). Wow! Dinner was eaten with gusto!

Preheat oven to 400. Place thawed chicken breast in baking dish. In a saucepan, heat 1/2 c brown sugar, 1T cornstarch, 1/4 c Basalmic vinegar, 1/2 c water and 2 T teriyaki sauce.

Once sauce thickens, pour over chicken. My chicken is sliced thinly so it only took about 22 mins to cook. I flipped the chicken once. Pour extra sauce over chicken once placed on your plate. Enjoy!

It still amazes me how much fun I have when I stray from a recipe. For years, I followed a recipe to the final period. Now, I tend to use a recipe as a starting point and often make changes along the way.

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Makes Sense to Her...


The Tooth Fairy lives in Central Pennsylvania.  Really, there is a local woman (maybe more than one) who travels to different schools and preschools to visit the children and talk about tooth health.  When both of my kiddos were in preschool, they had visits from the Tooth Fairy.  

This morning, my Girl Mini and I stopped at church and while we were there, the Tooth Fairy was there to speak with the Preschool kiddos.  The teacher was very nice and offered for my Girlie to pop in and say hello. My little girl has already lost 8 teeth so they are pretty well acquainted these days. 

My shy girl did go in and say hello.  Then we had to leave so there was time for lunch before I send her off to school for the afternoon.  Anyway...on the way to the car, she was really thinking about this Tooth Fairy.  She was thinking there must be more than one Tooth Fairy because the one she met last year had a white dress and this one had a pink dress.  Personally, I never thought about how many Tooth Fairies there are but my daughter was really mulling this over.  I suggested maybe she just changed her dress like we change our clothes every day.  Made sense to me.

We were almost home when she pipes up from the backseat with, "Maybe there are two Tooth Fairies because there are so many children in the world".  Okay...maybe that is why there are two Tooth Fairies.  Same Tooth Fairy, different dresses made sense to me.  But two Tooth Fairies sharing the duty are the explanation that made sense to my 5 yr. old.  

I just thought this was a cute story of a moment when I was able to witness her work out a serious thought (well, serious to her).  This was an insightful moment in the working mind of my complex Girl Mini.


Week 6 Is Here!

Yesterday marked the 6 weeks since my hip surgery. This is an important milestone or me because on Friday I go back to see the surgeon. Most days I feel great. The crutches are collecting dust in the basement. And if you didn't know I had hip surgery, you wouldn't be able to tell just from seeing me. I'm ready to get back to my life without restrictions. That is what I'm hoping the doctor will do on Friday, remove my limitations. I have been much more patient with myself and the healing process then I expected but I'm ready to move on. I dreaded this surgery and recovery so much and now it is all behind me. This is so exciting! The end is almost here! I can't wait to push myself and what I am capable of without the constant pain I've had for years. I still have physical therapy and there is the occasional discomfort but I'm learning to really listen to my body. At this point in my recovery, I think I know better than the doctor what I'm capable of. I'm still cautious but its getting harder to hold myself back. And I'm okay with that ;)


How Fear Limits Us

I was reading the other day that the need for safety in our lives is really just a way of letting fear control us. That's not to say that feeling safe is wrong or bad but I do believe that the need to control the world around you stems from fear.

This is just something to think about as I am looking ahead to this year of personal growth. Its so easy to do the things we KNOW we can do. It's not so easy to try new things. After all, we might fail and no one wants to be a failure.

Trying new things is risky. I am not one who does this lightly. As I've begun to prepare for my Boxing Certification I have faced moments of, "I can't do this!" and "What was I thinking?". But then I take a deep breath and think on how I can do this and I am choosing to do this. Once the moment of panic goes away, I get refocused and excited all over again.

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An Honest Moment...

So this is going to be a big year for me.  I have said this countless times already.  I truly believe this.  One way that I am going to see this happen is by getting certified to teach Kickboxing.  Whew!  I did it.  I put it in writing. That was a lot harder than you might think.

I've wanted to do this for a while.  I let one opportunity pass because I was too insecure to take that step.  But timing is everything, right?  Don't get me wrong, I'm really nervous about all of this.  But I'm also excited. By completing this certification process, I know I will feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.  If you know me or have been following Java Talk for any length of time, you know I love to box.  This is a natural road for me to take.  So in the words of a dear friend, I decided to "take a breath, and do it"...register for the course, that is.  I did it.

Just committing to this workshop felt pretty good.  And then my materials showed up in the mail.  GULP!  I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't this.  This particular certification through this organization, (AFAA) seems to be very book focused.  Learning things like, biomechanics and...okay, I just freaked at the word biomechanics.

After a few moments of panic and feeling sick at the thought of what I have gotten myself into, I took a breath and gave myself a pep talk.  I have until May to learn this information.  It has been more than a decade since I've had to "do school stuff" but I can do it again.  I am still intimidated by what lies ahead. But if the worst that can happen is that I DON'T pass the certification, then I am going to be okay.  I don't think it will come to the worst case, I will be prepared.  I can live with the worst case scenario so I have nothing to lose and so much to gain from this experience.  So here I go, my first big step towards my Big Year...



Dinner Tonight...Bacon-Wrapped Apple Chicken

A long time ago, I stumbled across a cookbook that I use often.  The $5 Breakfast and Lunch Mom Cookbook.  The other night, I found the $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook, so I quickly added it to my pile of cookbooks ;)

Tonight we are trying a new chicken recipe from this cookbook.  Bacon-Wrapped Apple Chicken. Doesn't that sound awesome?  This is a Crockpot meal (love that!) and it was super easy to prepare (gotta love that too!).

Here it is...

Place chicken breast in crockpot.  Mix 1/2 C of bbq sauce with one peeled and grated apple and 1 T lemon juice.  Pour bbq mix over chicken.  Wrap bacon over each sauced chicken breast.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  That's it!  So easy.  And I can only imagine how good this is going to taste.  With these ingredients, I don't think you can go wrong.  I'm looking forward to my house smelling good as the day progresses.

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