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I have to admit–earlier this week, I was seriously thinking about quitting the blog thing. I’m just not happy with my numbers–no non-spam comments, small number of views, etc. The problem with that is that I’m not in the habit of quitting things easily. I never have been. Well some things. Some things I quit pretty easily–like dieting. Exercising. Okay scratch that, maybe I quit about half of the things in my life, but that’s not the point.
Getting something started is even more difficult than keeping it going, though. There are always those excuses running through my head: “I can’t, because I don’t have time. I don’t have the money. I don’t have the energy. I’m not smart enough, beautiful enough…” The list could go on forever. You get the gist.
I can’t tell you how many times I thought I should just give up Thirty-One, because I don’t have the sales I want. Heck sometimes I want to quit parenting. (Who doesn’t?)
At the end of the day, the best laid plans don’t always work out. For instance, I lay out my schedule all nice and neat at the beginning of the week, but here I am on Thursday evening, and I haven’t put much work into my blog, I haven’t booked nearly enough parties or talked enough about recruiting. I haven’t done enough work for the church, and I haven’t done my filing. Or the ironing. Or finishing the laundry in general.
But that’s because I have two kids with ear infections. And one got bitten by the dog yesterday when she shut him in our teeny tiny bathroom (who wouldn’t be claustrophobic in there with the door closed???)…so one thing leads to another, and I’ve lost countless hours of time that I could have been doing “more important things”.
Instead, I was a parent. I sat with my little girl in the Emergency Room, stroked her hair, cleaned her wounds, gave her medicine, researched earache remedies (again), took temperatures, and got up in the middle of the night to snuggle.
So I suppose at the end of the day, it’s okay that I missed out on my business opportunities, my clean house, etc. Because I got to spend some much-needed time with my kids. There are so many more children out there who need that.
A few weeks ago, I received an email from our church conference about upcoming summer church camps. I was so excited, and I couldn’t wait to plan! More recently, we have been receiving snippets from the school and hearing about other camps in the area.
Believe it or not, it’s time to plan for summer camps. Camps book quickly, so in order to ensure
you’re spot, you need to sign up early. Not to mention early-bird discounts.
Rapunzel and I are planning on attending Mommy & Me camp again this year; Cinderella and Wendy have a certain camp in mind that they would like to attend as well. Tinkerbell is still too young. That’s great and all, but Mommy & Me camp is only a weekend-getaway. That means I still have three months to plan out. Thankfully I am partially at home now, so I don’t have to worry about childcare. But it creates the problem that I need to find things for these kids to do. I just can’t stand the thought of them Facebooking and watching TV and playing on the computer for three months. Talk about frying your brain.
One thing I know we are definitely going to do this summer is participate in our local library’s reading and outdoor program. Last year, Tinkerbell won a camping set for completing the outdoor program, and two of our other daughters won items as well for their reading. Plus it kept them busy and active for most of the summer and provided some quality time for us.
I do have some printables set out in a binder for the times that I’m in the office with all four kids. Here are some of the resources I use for my printables:
- Spoonful (part of Family Fun magazine)
- Disney, Jr.
- PBS Kids
- Nick, Jr.
- Sesame Street
- Veggie Tales
- Clubhouse, Jr.
- Tommy Nelson
I also keep up with Money Saving Mom, who is always posting links to free or discounted printables and activities.
I’m also considering signing the young ones up for a one-week theatre camp if we can afford a scholarship and finding a cheap swimming class in the area for Rapunzel. She is six, and I’d really feel much more comfortable if she learned how to swim. I was around her age when I had swimming lessons.
Outside of that, I’m a little stuck. I came up with a few activities, but I doubt they’ll keep us entertained all summer. Here’s what I have:
- Learn about the family history
- Do a craft, crochet, knit (this isn’t much trouble for Cinderella)
- Make a collage
- Play with Play Dough
- Play with Chalk
- Put together puzzles
- Word and number puzzles (Sudoku, word finds, crosswords)
- Play a board game
- Play cards
- Do a scavenger hunt
- Volunteer at a local agency/home
- Work for extra money
- Come up with a charity idea or an event, plan it, and carry it out
What do you do with your kids for the summer? What is the best activity you’ve ever done?
I skipped my goals for last week, so we’re going to try again this week. Here are my goals for this week. Wish me luck!
- Devotions each day
- Devotions with Prince Charming each day
- Help kids memorize their verse for Wednesday
- Daily prayers
- Call Grandpa
- Call Grammie
- Spend time with the kids
- Schoolwork with Rapunzel each day
- Remember Spring pictures on Thursday for Rapunzel
- Send invites for 3/24 party
- Follow-up with invitees for recruiting party
- Training video
- Complete at least one additional hour of training
- Book two more parties for March
- Close party
- Follow up with previous customers
- Process return
- Move inventory
- Meeting on Thursday
- Balance checkbook
- Taxes (YUCK)
- Scan pictures
- Exercise 3 times
- Drink 8 glasses of water per day
- Downstairs bathroom
- Upstairs bathroom
- Ironing (my favorite)
All this month, because it is black history month, I have been thinking about how might be the best way to talk to my children about race. My half-brother is bi-racial, and it’s important to me that my children be aware that God made all of us the same inside no matter how we look on the outside. I’ve constantly been at work with this whenever we see somebody who is in a wheelchair or who has a visible deformity.
For instance, last week at the post office, we saw a man who had a severe limp.
“Why does that man walk funny?” Rapunzel asked me, a little too loud for comfort.
I’m not sure if the man heard her, but if he did, I hope he heard my response as well. I decided to tell her that sometimes people are born that way. Sometimes, something happens to people–either they get sick or they are in an accident–that changes the way they look, move, or talk. And that whatever the case, God made us all special and He loves us all the same.
The opportunity came to me on Monday to speak of race, when Rapunzel came home from
school having learned about the penny. The worksheet she had asked who the president was on the front of the penny.
“Do you know who President Lincoln is?” I asked (knowing she didn’t know, of course).
From there, I gave a brief synopsis of slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation, emphasizing
the fact that our ancestors enslaved other people just because they looked different.
“Do you think God loves us any different because our skin is a different color?” I asked.
“No,” Rapunzel replied.
“Did you know that Mommy’s brother has different colored skin?”
Rapunzel gasped. “Really?”
“Yes,” I replied, “And actually, today is his birthday! He is twenty-three.”
I proceeded to show her a picture. “Isn’t he handsome?” I asked.
“Yes, he is very handsome,” she replied, “Can I make him a birthday card?”
So I spent much time and effort looking for fun, cute printables on black history month just so I could teach my daughter about diversity, when really…all I needed was a penny.
Here’s another recipe that we had recently. I found this one at Parents magazine.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (we used half of a large one, because that’s what we had)
- 1/2 small green pepper, seeded and chopped (we only had a large one, so I just used half of that)
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and lightly mashed
- 1/2 cup lower sodium salsa
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 package (10-count) fajita-size flour or whole-wheat tortillas (I made two quesadillas with whole wheat tortillas and one with flour tortillas)
- 8 ounces reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese, shredded (we didn’t have any, so I used 4 ounces of Mexican blend cheese that we had lying around and 4 ounces of cheddar to minimize spiciness)
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves (we skipped on this, because I’m not a huge fan of cilantro in large amounts)
- Extra salsa for serving (optional)
1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans, salsa, and chili powder. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium-high heat. Place one tortilla in the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Spread 1/3 cup of the bean mixture and 1/3 cup of the cheese evenly over the tortilla. Sprinkle some of the cilantro over the top. Place another tortilla on top, and cook for 1 minute. Press gently with a spatula and turn. Cook for 1 minute or until browned.
3. Place quesadilla on a baking sheet and keep warm at 250 degrees in the oven. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make additional quesadillas. Allow skillet to cool slightly if it becomes too hot.
4. To serve, cut each quesadilla into quarters. Serve 3 quarters to each person.
Servings Per Recipe: 6; Amount Per Serving: cal.(kcal): 312, Fat, total(g): 13, chol.(mg): 23, carb.(g): 34, fiber(g): 5, pro.(g): 16, sodium(mg): 786, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Tinkerbell and Rapunzel weren’t a big fan of this one, but Prince Charming and I enjoyed it. Rapunzel insisted it was too spicy; however, I’m pretty sensitive to spicy, and this didn’t bother me at all. I’d probably make it again, and I think Wendy and Cinderella might like it too.
This week, Rapunzel brought home a new book from the school library called Sleep, Big Bear Sleep by Maureen Wright. I have to say this is probably the best book she’s brought home from school.
What’s even better is that, right now, the kindergarten class is discussing what animals do in the winter. In this book, the wind tries and tries and tries to tell Big Bear to go to sleep for the winter, but Big bear just doesn’t get it.
This book was not only well written, but it was a fun, imaginative story with fantastic illustrations by Will Hillenbrand. This is one book that I would purchase to read over and over again.
Let me just start out by saying this is most definitely one of my most favorite dishes…ever! Oh my goodness I loved it. And so did Prince Charming and Rapunzel. I would definitely make it again.
This recipe was adapted from Cook Lisa Cook’s Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole. Since our kids are so picky about their spicy food, I essentially just removed the “buffalo” part. Here’s the recipe:
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 8-10 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I leave the skin on)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 TBS. freshly ground pepper
- 2 TBS. garlic powder
- 4 TBS. butter, melted
- 2 c. Cheddar Cheese
- 1 c. crumbled bacon (we just used one full pack of thawed Oscar Meyer bacon and cut it up into small pieces.
- 1 c diced green onion (opt.)
- Preheat oven to 500F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, & butter. Add the cubed potatoes and stir to coat.
- Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Carefully scoop the potatoes into a the dish, leaving behind as much of the olive oil/butter mix as possible. Bake the potatoes for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until cooked through and crispy & browned on the outside.
- While the potatoes are cooking, add the cubed chicken to the bowl with the leftover olive oil/butter and stir to coat. Let sit in order to marinate.
- In a bowl,` mix together the cheese, bacon, & green onion (if desired), and top the raw chicken with the cheese mix.
- Once the potatoes are fully cooked, remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 400F. Top the cooked potatoes with the raw marinated chicken. Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the topping is bubbly (we baked for 20 minutes because the bacon was not pre-cooked).
I’m scrambling to write these down, as I spent so much time working with the kids on Valentines and going through my email that now I’m chomping at the bit to get some other things done.
Anyway, I haven’t posted goals since I closed my last blog, but seeing as I just posted yesterday on goals…I should start sharing them. So here goes the goals for this week:
- Complete personal devotions every day
- Complete devotions with Prince Charming every day
- Spend 3 hours this week with each child (this is a lot for me, sadly enough)
- Do something nice for Prince Charming
- Call Mom
- Remember to help Rapunzel with homework every day this week (yes, sometimes I forget)
- Parent-Teacher Conferences on Wednesday (woohoo)
- Maybe shopping with Christmas gift cards on Saturday with the girls? (yes, we are behind on this…)
- Finish Valentines with Tinkerbell and Rapunzel
- Drink 8 glasses of water each day
- Exercise 3 times this week
- Eat healthy 6 days this week
- Read 1 chapter of Bringing Up Girls
- Read 1 chapter of The Smart Stepmom
- Balance Checkbook
- Blog every day
- Book 2 more parties for the month of February (any takers?)
- Complete 1.5 hours of training
Now before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, some of these chores I will outsource (a.k.a. put the kids to work). Some really don’t take that long but should be done on a regular basis so I don’t have to spend a large chunk of time on them later (i.e. checkbook, ironing, filing). And with some of them I can multitask–like drinking water or eating healthy. I mean, I’d eat dinner anyway, right?
So bring it on, first week of February. I’m ready for you.
In the last year I’ve heard, read, and seen over and over again how important it is to set goals to reach your dreams.
Did you know that…
- People who regularly write down their goals earn 9 times more over their lifetimes than those who don’t
- 80% of Americans down’t write down their goals (are you part of that 80%?)
- 16% do have goals, but they don’t write them down
- Less than 4% do write down their goals
- Fewer than 1% actually review them on an ongoing basis. Guess which 1%?
I did some training last year that was very motivational for me, and it was based on the book Where Will You Be Five Years from Today? by Dan Zadra. Wonderful book. I would 100% recommend it.
Since then, I try (keyword: try) to continue to write down my goals and review them often. Now, I’m nowhere near perfect, but I get a lot more done when I do follow a plan. And what works for me even more is posting them where someone else can see them–then I’m forced to be accountable.
I’m sure many of you already have heard of SMART goals, but I think it bears repeating. When you set your goals, make sure they follow these guidelines:
- Specific – Being specific makes it more likely for you
to reach your goals. For instance, let’s say I want to run a race. I can’t train properly if I don’t know: how far I’m running (there’s a big difference between running a 5K and a marathon), and am I actually running or walking (I can’t train appropriately if I don’t know the intensity). These are just a few examples.
- Measurable – If you can’t measure your goal, you can’t accurately track how you’re doing? There are probably steps to get where you want to be. How do you know you are going to reach your goal if you can’t track it? This also helps you to adjust your method if what you’re currently doing isn’t working.
- Attainable – My dad always asked, “How do eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Why set a goal for yourself that is unattainable? You can set a goal for yourself to lose 10 pounds in one month, but then if you don’t you’re more likely to give up. Start small.
- Realistic – Let’s face it. I may want to win the lottery, but wanting it and planning for it really isn’t going to get me anywhere.
- Timely – Back to the race analogy…when I’m running the race, I need to know: am I running it tomorrow, next month, or next year? If you don’t know when you want to accomplish this goal, then you’ll continue putting it off. Set a time frame so you can accurately plan to accomplish this goal.
Right now I am using two goal sheets weekly to help me accomplish my short term goals (which will hopefully help me accomplish my long term goals. The first is the weekly goal planner by Jana Laurene. I use this to set my monthly goals (i.e. Lose 4 pounds) and weekly goals (i.e. Lose 1 pound, call 4 hostesses). This way I can better set my daily goals.
The other one I use is the daily schedule by Buttoned Up. I make one up for every day except Sunday (because that’s the day of rest). First I write down whatever is on the menu for that week, followed by appointments that are already set in stone (i.e. work, church, soccer). Then I can plan my time accordingly. By using this method, I spend less time wasting my time and energy and actually accomplish something during the week. If I plan too much time for one activity, I allow myself to waste some time or to get something else finished if I’m not sure I’ll be able to otherwise (like doing the dishes–YUCK!). If I have a chunk of open space, I don’t schedule it. Sometimes it’s good to be spontaneous or to just relax. I’ll use that time to read, spend time with the kids, go somewhere.
And believe it or not, I also schedule time to be with my kids and to spend time with Prince Charming. I’m the kind of person who will put off those kinds of things because they are “fun” to accomplish something that must be done, like cleaning the bathroom. Now I know my family gets the attention they need.
What goals will you set this year?