Stop trying to find yourself. Create the woman you want to be.

2013- Happy Family from Taking Action

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

They Don't Make Them Like They Use To

A century ago couples married for life. The word divorce was rarely an option. That has transformed into the current state of at least half of all married couple getting divorced. What happened? Simply put; they don't make them like they use to. I'm not anti-divorce, anything but. Been there, done that. It does sadden me that there are many couples that concentrate solely on the wedding and not on addressing their future together. Some even have the thought process that "oh let's do it and if it doesn't work then we'll just get divorced". What?!?

As someone who lasted a mere year the first time and just passed her 14th wedding anniversary this time I have one thing to say. You have to work at it. Not only does it take adjusting to living with someone else, it takes learning to adjust as you both change and grow over the years. Love and marriage are not about the butterfly feelings. Those come and go like the rise and fall of the tides. Love in marriage is a decision. It's about learning to grow and change together. It's about deciding to stick with him/her through it all.

I'm not saying be a doormat. Simply learn the art of compromise and communication. Learn that if something isn't working you can't change your spouse but you can change yourself. On the same note, feel free to express love for them and tell them what they can do for you to make you feel loved.  Never feel ashamed to convey your feelings. If communication has fallen to the wayside then consider starting things up with daily 10 minute talks or a scheduled date night.

If you are truly disconnected then I recommend the books The Love Dare (from the movie Fireproof) and The 5 Love Languages. These are biblical based but have some very important life lessons in changing your heart and influencing change over your loved one. I loved The 5 Love Languages. It taught me about what actions or words people perceive as love. I am currently reading The Love Dare and it is teaching me a great deal about myself as well as what it means to truly love someone.

What do you do to make your other half feel loved?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu/Money Monday

Yes this is menu planning Monday but this week I'm adding in the money part. Why? Because planning out your menu saves you money so that you don't order pizza 3 times a week and stops you from wasting food. You aren't waiting until 4 or 5pm wondering what to fix for dinner. You aren't allowing vegetables to die because you "ran out of time" to create the meal you wanted to use them for. If you're trying to save money I believe it is essential to create at least a basic menu plan.

That being said I must confess that I didn't make my roast last week because we ended up getting takeout. So don't think that we are eating roast two weeks in a row.

bagels, fruit
grits and bacon
eggs and bacon
toaster strudels/toast
homemade chicken biscuits
english muffins-plain or with bacon,egg and cheese

Lunch: leftovers or sandwiches

Roast with carrots, potatoes, green beans and homemade bread
pork chops, steamed vegetables, jasmine rice
corn dogs with homemade french fries
chili and cornbread
homemade potato soup and homemade bread
theme movie night: viewing the newest TRON movie
leftover buffet

Because I was a slacker and forgot to list my movie night menu I am going to list it now.
Last week the movie was THOR and I made:

  • Mini Hammers: mini hamburgers with toothpicks inserted 
  • Lightening Bolt Brownies: I just drew lightening bolts on with icing but if you found a lightening shape cookie cutter that would be awesome
  • Frost Giant Slushies: the easiest way to do this is 2 cups of water, 1 koolaid package(I used blue colored), 4 cups of ice and 3/4 cups of sugar blended in a blender until the consistency of a Slush Puppy
  • Portal Traveling Staff: crispy bread sticks with hummus for dipping 
Now on to this week's movie night foods: TRON
  • Throwing Discs: giant pizza bagels 
  • Tron Cycle: vegetable tray arranged to mimic the shape of the TRON cycle(pics on Friday)
  • Game Portal Punch: Koolaid or Juice mixed with half seltzer water
  • Good vs. Evil Cookies: a batch of homemade sugar cookies, divide dough into two groups, use blue food coloring on one and red on the other before rolling into a "log" and refrigerating (the dough should be made at least 24 hours in advance)

I hope you enjoy!
OH if you are ready to start baking for the Fall then you need to check out Menu Planning Central's 90% off sale. YES, $100 worth of planning and baking ebooks for only $10. 
Special Fall Bundle (yes it's an affiliate link)

What are you planning for dinner?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Time Management Tuesday-How to Find 25 Hours in Your Day?

Before we get started I need to ask if you've created your 100 Days Life Challenge goals.If you haven't then get moving. Time doesn't stand still for you to get things done. This goes for grabbing the button (on the right over there) and putting it on your blog. Now back to work.

How to Find 25 Hours in Your Day?
The key to making the most out of your day involves numerous factors: determining what's important to you, creating focus, staying on task. All of these things work together to create more time in your day, not less.

  1. Determine what's important to you.
  •  If you are working on saving money or on creating healthy eating habits you come to a crossroads at least 3 times a day. Taking the time to pack your lunch for work will help you accomplish both of these goals. Don't tell yourself you don't have time. Sacrifice the sleep and get up and pack your lunch. Better yet, do it the night before. I am having to do this for my husband and my kids. I prefer the night before so that I'm not rushed and can make sure they have adequate meals. This is the same for the trip home every night. Stopping at the local fast food restaurant kills your body and your wallet. Use your crockpot or take a couple of hours on the weekend to cook several meals so that you can just reheat on those busy nights. This is crucial for me because my kids have martial arts and dance class during what used to be my dinner prep time. So now, if I'm not using my crockpot then I make dinner before the kids even get out of school. If I am having a particular busy work week then I will marathon cook on the weekend.
  • Which is more important to you: sleep or being able to get up a flight of stairs without breathing heavy? If your health is important to you then you will find at least 30 minutes a day to exercise. This means walking, running, aerobics, weight-lifting, or whatever else gets you motivated. If 30 minutes seems too hard then break it up into 3-10minute intervals. Get up earlier or go to bed a little later.
    2. Create focus. Write down a weekly goal list and break it down into a daily list. Make sure to write out time chunks for work and previous commitments. Once that is done write in your steps that need to be accomplished to meet your goals. For example: my list contains taking the kids back and forth to school and other activities. It also includes things such as:laundry, making meals, 1 hour daily exercise, weekly renovation project with daily steps and my top 6 to-do priorities for my writing business. 

    3. Staying on Task.
  • Don't multitask. Do NOT multitask. I'm not talking about paying bills or reading while waiting for the kids to get out of school. I'm talking about trying to talk on the phone to your mother and use your computer for work related correspondence. Have you noticed that food turns out much better when you had your entire focus on cooking? As a busy mom or dad this isn't always possible but if you start prepping meals when you have 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there then you can focus solely on your job during that time. Your mind is calmer, you are more relaxed and more things get done.
  • Having the list keeps you from being scattered. Knowing your primary goals helps you focus.Whenever an episode of NCIS or rerun of Charmed calls my name I look at my list and keep moving with it. That's what a DVR is for. The amazing thing is that one of two things happens: I either am too tired to watch television or I find that I accomplished everything on my list and I have extra time to pursue my own interests. Be sure to take time for yourself to meditate or pray at the beginning or end of your day. If you are too tired at the end then I recommend you doing it first thing in the morning.

As long as you tackle one step of your goal on a daily basis you will not only make amazing progress you will find that your spare time just magically appears. I've always thought of it as the universe/God rewarding you for doing what needs to be done. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Menu Monday-What Are You Eating this Week?

Here I am on our first day of the 100 Day Life Challenge and in order to save time during the week I am menu planning. As my days are not always predictable I am not planning specific meals on specific days. The idea is to write down a list of meals and plan the night before. Keep in mind that my kids eat lunch at school so lunches during the week are predominantly what I pack for hubby and what I grab at home.

-muffins(from box muffin mix)
-toaster strudel/toast
-bagels and cream cheese
-eggs and bacon
-homemade biscuits with sausage or bacon
-grits and fresh fruit
-homemade cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit

sandwiches and chips or fruit
corn dogs and sweet potato fries
homemade hamburgers, fries

-roast, potatoes, carrots, green beans, homemade rolls
-meatloaf, steamed veggies, baked potato, homemade bread
-spinach lasagna rolls, garlic cheese bread
-enchiladas, mexican rice, seasoned black beans
-thai pork stir fry with veggies and rice
-leftover buffet
-family movie night themed dinner (stay tuned for specifics)

While some of this stuff is homemade, the vegetables are normally canned or frozen and take no more action than to heat them up. If you have never made homemade bread I highly recommend it. Just follow the recipe and plan on making it in the morning for dinner that night. The hands-on part is not what takes so much time, it is the in-between allowing it to rise that takes a while.
I'm linking up to:

Desiring Virtue If you're interested in recipes, subscribe to our feed so that you can get updated as soon as they are posted.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

100 Days to Change Your life- Are You Up for the Challenge?

I realize that it is the end of the year and people normally try to make changes in their life at the start of a new year. Guess it's like a diet, "I'll start over on Monday.". Do you really want to wait around til "Monday" to change the things that make you unhappy now? I don't. We're going to officially start on Monday but these next few days are time for you to complete your prep work.

Prep Work for 100 Day Change Your Life Challenge
Decide what you want to change. You may be able to list a million things off the top of your head but for this challenge you are going to pick 5. Spend time thinking about what five habits or five specific parts of your life would make the most immediate impact on your life. Do not be general, determine a specific amount of money to save or a certain number of pounds to lose. Whatever it is must be measurable.

Write it down. Make a list of the fab five ideas that you are going to change. Now write down HOW you are going to change them.

Here's mine:

1. To lose 30 pounds. This will be accomplished by daily exercise of 1 hour and slowly eliminating junk food from my diet. I've already got a step up because I quit drinking sodas.

2. Creating/implementing morning, afternoon and evening routines in order to get the kids to help around the house more and eliminate constant chaos.

3. Renovating our basement so that our two oldest kids can move downstairs by the first of the year. **New for 2013** To finish the "living area" of the basement now that the kids rooms are 80% completed.

4. Creating a larger emergency fund.Goal of putting a minimum of $50 a week into the money market account. I plan on cutting back on eating out and making more meals from scratch. We will be doing a lot of free stuff for the holidays and I will keep an eye out on craigslist and freecycle for stuff I can repurpose.

5. Exploding my writing business by approaching local businesses with my copywriting services and devoting a solid 40 hours a week to promoting and working the business.**New for 2013** My writing business now involves less about local business and more about writing fiction and helping others publish their own works through being a editor and writing coach.

There you go. What are your five? Are you ready for a life change? Accountability offered here with weekly check in. Want some daily accountability help? I'm offering to do a daily check in via Instant Message. Drop me an email with your AIM, Yahoo, or Gtalk addy and I will connect with you. Send it to

I'll have a button posted on Monday for you to show your participation in the 100 Day Change Your Life Challenge. Til then, stay awesome!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's That Time of the Month . . .I Mean Year

Yeah it seems that it's about this time every year that I realize I have done nothing to plan for the holidays. It is also the time that I begin to panic and go into permanent PMS mode. Yes everything turns into crying or intense hissy fit. Come on, you don't have a royal melt down when you start getting notices about stuff to buy or send to school, buying Halloween costumes, making Thanksgiving dinner and getting ready for Christmas? Because I adore dragging four children under the age of 12 from one house to another and getting them loaded up on sugar just in time for the hour long car ride home. If that isn't something you've experienced then think of pulling four children out of their warm bed at 7 or 8 in the morning to eat breakfast and pack up the car with gifts for other people. The youngest are actually easier than the 12 year old, that is until it's time to brush their hair and teeth. You are then spending hours opening up one present after another (our families go all out) having them eat "just one piece" of dessert which turns into "just one piece" of EVERY dessert. Then you load all of the presents into the back of the car and cram the kids into the car hot and sweaty because they've been running around Grandma's house in the stifling heat. You then drive an hour home listening to "I'm hungry" because they spent less time eating and more time playing. And that's just Christmas, we won't discuss Halloween and Thanksgiving.

NO MORE! I'm calling a halt to it this year.

This year is a new house, new schools and new traditions. Real traditions. Guess what? I'm going to share them all with you right here. The next 100 days are about remodeling/decorating our new home, creating holiday memories with my family(instead of running around from one event to another) and making homemade Christmas presents. I may throw in a few furniture redos and creations just to mix it up. 

What are your favorite holiday horror stories memories?

Help out the local animal shelter by donating money through our donate money link on the right. My goal is to vaccinate 100 animals by the end of the year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Update and New Exciting Things

I wanted to give you an update about our sickly puppy. He now has kennel cough which he is taking an additional antibiotic for. We are finishing up the Parvo meds and he is eating and drinking and chewing on the bone we bought him. He's still in the crate and we have to decontaminate everything for another 2 weeks to keep from spreading the virus to other dogs. But he pulled through!!!!

I keep thinking that if we hadn't adopted him when we did then not only would he have almost certainly be put down but that numerous other dogs would have been contaminated as well. I want to save another family from picking out a family pet and finding out that it's either shell out a ton of money or have your new dog put down. It has weighed on me so heavily that I am placing a donation link on this website to help vaccinate animals that find their way to shelters and help them find homes. A mobile vet travels to nearby shelters here in Georgia and gives reasonable rates. She estimated $50 per dog to give them complete vaccines and heartworm treatments. What do you say? Are you up for adding a couple dollars to help make animals healthier and for them to find a home? Tell you what, for the first 100 people that donate $10 or more I will send them a copy of my paranormal novel Gateways. The perfect gift for someone in time for Halloween.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Are You a Builder or a Destroyer? Girl Drama at its Best

Yesterday my 7 year old, P, wanted help with her homework. No problem. Scratch that, problem. She wanted help right NOW and I still had two more articles to finish for my freelance client. So as she is throwing her little, Mommy you're not helping me!, fit I am trying to remain calm and work at the same time. After the inevitable flopping on the floor and claiming that I hate her because I won't stop what I'm doing to help her, I sent her to her room. What followed was of course the stomping down the hall and screaming, See I knew you hated me.

While her behavior was completely unacceptable and she knew that I began to wonder what it looks like from her prospective. Now keep in mind that I try my best NOT to be working when the kids get home, but sick puppy and Mt. Everest of laundry because of sick puppy has put me a bit behind. However, I started thinking about ways that I could have handled a bit better or perhaps prepared to meet her needs and still accomplished my deadline.

How does this equate to being a builder or a destroyer? Do you spend more time saying positive things or negative things to your kids? Think about it. How often do you praise your kids for simply doing their chores without being told? I know that I always tried to do what I was told when I was little and then was crushed when my younger brother was praised for his one day of not getting in trouble.

Building kids up is a 24/7 job. Start with your morning routine. Do you wake them up with a cheerful attitude or are you a sourpuss because you overslept? Take it from someone who is definitely not a morning person and has done both of these things, the kids respond much better to cheerful. I tell my kids to have an awesome day and I love them before they leave everyday. When I first started this they gave me funny looks. You know, the Mom you've lost it, sort of look. But now they just say love you and head off to school.

Do you make their homecoming in the afternoon a pleasant one or are you rushed like I was yesterday? If you are preoccupied EVERY day when the kids get home they may get the idea that they aren't really important to you or that they're a nuisance. I've noticed that with all of my kids in school for the first time this year how truly little time I spend with my kids during the week. So now the first hour after school is Spongebob and snack time with Mommy. Regardless of what time of the day you do it, take at least 10 minutes to speak to each of your kids everyday.

If you are just existing from day-to-day take a moment to look at how you are acting and reacting to your kids. Where is your focus when you're with them? Are you worried about dinner being finished or getting a million other things accomplished instead of listening to your little ones newest adventure? Or maybe your pre-teen has something to say and you're only half listening. It's time to organize your day so that you can focus on them when they need it and create special time so they know they will have time to talk to you everyday.

Oh and the girl drama? She threw herself on her bed, cried until she was tired then proceeded to demand I help right NOW. Needless to say it took quite a while to finish her homework. Sigh. But better 7 year old drama than teen drama. That's a whole other subject.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

All Things to All People

My son wanted a puppy for his birthday so we took a trip to the local animal shelter. What better thing to do than rescue a little furry dude? Right away T was drawn to this cute black lab puppy. We made him look at all of the dogs in the shelter and even offered to drive him to several different ones just so he was sure that THIS was the one he wanted. He refused to go anywhere else and said that the black one was what he wanted.

We did the whole trip to PetSmart to pick up puppy supplies and brought him home to meet our 4 year old Papillion. They ran around the back yard chasing each other and the three youngest kids. Then came the time to teach T (now 10 years old) to be responsible in crate training his puppy. It was trial and error for both him and the puppy. The whole first day it was nothing but playtime and cleanup. The puppy even made it most of the night before having an accident.

The next day the puppy, Shiloh, had a bout of diarhhea, then throwing up. We chalked it up to nerves and the change in environment. By Monday, Shiloh had lost his bounce and was throwing up every time he drank or ate. So come first thing Tuesday morning we were off to the vet.

I received the news by myself in the tiny exam room at the veterinarian's office. The doctor came in with operating scrubs and gloves on. He then began to rattle off that he believed our puppy had Parvovirus. Well I had no idea what that was but I agreed to the test. Moments later I am standing in front of two men I had only just met, with tears streaming down my face, telling me that our little Shiloh had Parvo and that without hospitalization or intense home care he should be put to sleep because no treatment and he wouldn't live to see the end of the week. So as I'm picturing my poor son's face in my head I am trying to focus on the $200-$400 a day in hospitalization and the rate of living even with care.

I relay as much as I can to my husband over the phone and pray for guidance on how this will work. Then I suck it up, listen to the instructions about giving an IV and the medications that he will need. I'm then told he must be quarantined from our other dog and bleach everything he has touched. In order to not spread the disease I must scrub my hands and change clothes after having dealt with Shiloh. These are only a few of the things I must do in order to make sure he gets the right treatment. I take mental notes and try to think positive.

I didn't tell the kids all of the details, just that Shiloh was sick and they had to wash their hands if they touched him. T's response was "so if he takes all his medicine then he'll get better?" I told him that that was the idea and he seemed to accept it.

As of right now we are just over 24 hours on antibiotics and he seems to be improving. This morning he popped his head up and wagged his tail. I thanked God for that moment. And for every moment after that. I am so grateful that he is showing improvement.

I was reminded of when T was 3 months old (about the same as Shiloh is) and he was so sick with RSV that he was dehydrated and had to be admitted to the children's wing of the hospital. He was so small and so weak. They had to stick him so many times to get an IV and he barely moved. I prayed so hard.  And now looking at Shiloh I think maybe God fated to put the two of them together.

The day we adopted him was the first day he was eligible for adoption. Had we passed him over and went somewhere else then the shelter would have most likely put him down or simply waited the virus out by himself in a cold, sterile room.

So if you have a moment, say a brief prayer for our puppy. And as I am bleaching and scrubbing I'll keep believing in miracles, fate and prayer.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Are You Lost in a Snow Storm?

You've vowed to change things around your home. To make things happen because you are tired of the way things are. Only it's a week later, or worse, a month or even a YEAR later and everything is the same. Okay, maybe not everything, but in reality, YOU are still the same. Let's face it. You can't change anyone except yourself.

What does that mean?

It means get off your butt and get moving. Take 20-30 minutes and remember what you want to change. This could mean your weight, your marriage, your relationship with your kids, or even your career. Create realistic goals and a workable plan as to how to make them happen. Don't overload yourself with tons and tons of things to do everyday when you have kids to take care of and a household to run. But if changing or launching a new career requires going to college or taking some sort of training then find out what steps you need to take in order to make that happen.

Embrace the changes and push overwhelming emotions to the side. You can't live in the future or the past. You must live in the present. Quit fighting the part of life that you are in. Too soon it will be over and you'll wonder why you wasted so much of your time waiting and even crying to make it to the next stage in your life. Accept where you are and say thank you for the blessings in your life.

No more feeling sorry for yourself. No more going through the day in a haze or stumbling from one thing to another just counting the hours until you can go to sleep. Make a decision that you will take babysteps to changing you and therefore changing your life.