Monday, January 23, 2012

A Bit of Tea

The Write on Wednesday Spark: Agent Chin- Wag
Pay attention to the conversations around you: at the dinner table, in the supermarket, while DVD Returning, wherever. You are looking for one line, one tiny sentence of dialogue. You may find your words lurking in a D&M or perhaps you will choose a phrase from everyday chatter. Write down your line. Use it to inspire your Write on Wednesday post.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

She tried to peer over the menu without being noticed.  Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, she focused intently on the large, plastic banana wearing a hat on display near the counter.  Or rather, she appeared to be intently focused on the banana.  She was looking earnestly at it, or so it would seem.  She was not seeing the ridiculous fruit at all.  She was scanning the room with her ears, listening for the conversation on which she was determined to eavesdrop. 

"...doing backflips in 8 inch stilleto heels and landing in a perfect split..."
"... Doc said it's a virus ...
"... knocked into the bucket, yes, that bucket..."

She was pretty sure it was none of those.  This was the most interesting part of her job, almost.  She really enjoyed overhearing the odd things people talk about in public.  You would be amazed what people will discuss when they think no one is listening, she often told her husband.  Then she heard it, the conversation for which she had been waiting. 

"...lovely, lovely day.  Now to prepare for an important day tomorrow."

Sure that was the one, she readjusted her gaze, turning to admire the desserts in the glass enclosed display case.  From her vantage point, the display case offered her more than an eye full of delicious sweetness.  It offered her a reflective view of the two women sipping hot tea, engrossed in their conversation. 

The speaker wore a large hat and sunglasses.  Odd. Sunglasses inside were usually a sign the wearer was hiding something. 

The smaller, younger woman sat listening intently as the over dressed older woman continued her description of the day ahead of her.  She left no detail out.  Unashamed, she openly declared to this obviously less worldly companion the intriguing, slightly disturbing details of her "important day" to come. 

Our eavesdropping friend took no notes, recorded no voices.  Instead, she soaked in the details, allowing her nearly perfect memory to record the information in her brain, etching the details in her memory banks until she was able to return home and sit in front of her computer and upload all the details. 

Yes, this was definitely the one.  These were surely the women she came to monitor.  This very conversation would, in fact, become her next best selling novel.  Those few words began to turn in her head, to take shape, to come to life.  As the ladies sat, eating their pastries, Mrs. Johnson began to  unleash her creative monster, creating and destroying lives over tea. 

I'm linking this up with Write on Wednesday.  Check out other submissions here

Monday, January 16, 2012

Now that's one cute baby. This is a test to see how well the blogging from my phone. If you read this before I get it removed enjoy the cute picture. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Can I do it THIS time?

Many people start a new year off attempting to make some type of health and wellness improvement.  Often we fail to achieve these goals, or fail to realize if we achieved them or not.  Sometimes we even fail to remember we made them.  I am writing this as an attempt to encourage you and myself to work smarter to achieve our goals.  There are some easy ways to help yourself achieve your goals. 

a) Make reasonable goals.  This is one reason I fail regularly.  I set huge goals like "I will get up at 4:30 am and have the entire house clean by 8 am."  If I would set more reasonable goal of "Get up at 6:30 and have the kitchen cleaned up by 8" I would stand a good chance of succeeding.

This especially applies to weight loss goals.  I know so many people who decide they are losing 20 pounds in a month or 50 pounds between Halloween and Christmas.  Experts say that reasonable weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week.  Each person is different, of course.  Post-partum weight loss may go more quickly, for example.  But following 1-2 pounds a week makes 4-8 pounds a month much more reasonable. That still results in around 50 pounds a year, not bad if you are looking for a lifestyle change.

b) Find a way to make your goals measurable.  Deciding you want to "be healthier" is a recipe for failure.  How will you know if you succeed?  You have no way to motivate yourself because you have no idea what success looks like.  Goals such as "I want to eat 3 servings of vegetables a day" makes it easy to determine if you are succeeding and still help with your goal to be healthier.

c) Write your goals down.  If you are like me, you tend to make a "mental list" of what you should do.  Then it gets lost in the other mental clutter.  Write down your goal.  Post it in places that make sense.  You can post on the front of the fridge that you want to eat three servings of vegetables.  This helps focus your thoughts when you go to the fridge.

d) Set smaller chunks of time within your larger timeframe.  This is very helpful if you are setting a goal to accomplish a task in a certain amount of time.  For example "I want to lose 50 pounds in 2012".  Set some smaller goals for such as "I want to lose 5 pounds in January."  Then you can monitor your progress as you go and not get to December and realize you have only lost 20 pounds.

e) This last one is one of the hardest for me.  Don't get discouraged by your setbacks.  We are human and will backslide or hit roadblocks.  If you notice in February that you only lost 2 pounds, then in March just get back at your plan.  Don't quit.  If you get to the end of the year having lost 45 pounds instead of 50, you still made a great life change.  Keep your eye on the big picture and work toward the end goal, allowing your small goals to guide you, not stop you.

When we talk about getting healthier, I think it is important to keep our mental health in mind.  Making and writing down reasonable, measurable goals, keeping track in small chunks of time and allowing room for forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes will help us be mentally successful in our healthier lifestyle goals.  It does us no good to achieve some lofty goal if we are miserable the whole time and miserable with the results.  A healthier life is supposed to add joy and delight to our years, so attack your goals in a manner that will keep you mentally on track and leave you feeling good rather than beat down.

I am linking this up with Sidetracked Sarah's Get Motivated Mondays.  Check out other suggestions for a healthier you this year.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Decluttering the Nursery

As a homeschooling family with six kids, most rooms have to serve dual purposes.  The dining room also houses the shelf of "small piece" games that get destroyed in the toy room.  The hallway has a bookshelf of school materials and a dry erase board.  The family closet has the printer and the kids' school computer.

Perhaps the biggest dual purpose room, however, is in fact one of the smallest.  It is the nursery.  When we had no babies, I decided to move my library to the nursery so that we could create a family closet in the much larger room.  Then along came baby number 6.  So we had to figure out how to squeeze a baby and all his stuff into an already small room filled with bookshelves of school materials, craft supplies, scrapbooking materials and a guest bed.

We had it all fitting and nicely organized.  But that was before the little man was actually born.  Then reality hit and the chaos and havoc of the constant influx and outgrowing of clothes and toys hit.  Add to that 5 other kids getting books and craft supplies out and "putting them away".  Nine months later, the room was a disaster.  I regret that I did not take "before" and "after" pictures, but I will post a picture for fun. 

Helping Mommy clean my room
 

I spent the day reorganizing the baby section.  I put the infant swings in the (buried behind a large mirror) closet and got the crawler/toddler toys out.  I got all the blankets returned to their tub.  I went through the 5 baskets of baby clothes that I could never find anything in because most were too large or too small.

I set up 5 drawers, 2 laundry baskets and 2 bags to properly sort the clothes.  I used 4 of the drawers to sort his currently fitting clothes.  One drawer I devoted to a sampling of the next size up clothes, allowing me to easily access some larger things easily should he grow without me noticing.  (That may sound silly, but this has been crucial to me in the past.)

I sorted the rest of the next size up clothes into one of the two bags.  In the other bag I put the few larger items that I love enough to hold on to long enough for him to grow into.

The two laundry baskets were used to sort items that are too small.  One is the "give away" basket and the other is the "I just can't part with these yet" basket.

I placed his toys in a plastic basket and have another for diapers and a third for board books.

I sorted bags of clothes that had been given to him and never gone through, as well as a few bags that had accumulated for my other children.  I was able to stash away several items for future use as well as, and perhaps more importantly, get rid of many items.

I tidied up and put all the craft stuff away, straightened up the overflowing bookcase and cleaned off the guest bed.  Well, I tidied the guest bed, stacking the plastic tubs of craft supplies on top.  Once the cradle is out and the crib is in, the craft materials can be stored under the crib.  The baby doesn't actually get to play in his room.

I must admit that I did not finish organizing the school stuff in the room.   That is a decluttering project for another day. 

I am linking this up at A Slob Comes Clean.  Check out other decluttering posts for ideas and suggestions. 

Holiday World 2011!

Holiday World 2011!

Baby # 6

Baby # 6
Welcome to the world and welcome to our crazy family!

Fort Benning

Fort Benning
We finally made it to Georgia!!!

Just a day at the park!

Just a day at the park!

My Hero!

My Hero!
I don't do dead things. Fortunately for me, God gave me boys!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!
Daddy and Grandma make Jammies every year for the kids, They love it!

Christmas in PJs

Christmas in PJs
Don't I just have the cutest kids?

2010 Jammies

2010 Jammies
Once again Daddy pulled it off. They look cute!

Round 2 birthday parties

Round 2 birthday parties
Cake number 1 of 3 done. I am so not an artist, but I think it came out pretty well!

My Girls

My Girls
Borrowed dance clothes, my girls sure look cute.

Couped up

Couped up
More images below showing the children feeling a bit "couped up" from the long winter!

Chickens: Take 2

Chickens: Take 2
Cute chicks!

The robot cake. I am glad my kids' standards aren't as high as mine!

Tree Climbers

Tree Climbers

Summer Fun!

Summer Fun!
Hi Daddy! Hope you are having fun at work!

This one is so bad, I had to label the cake so you would know it's not a cow!

Dressed for Church!

Dressed for Church!
Come as your favorite Bible character night!

Too cute for words!

If the boy wasn't so tall, I could get a picture of his face!

Establishing the pecking order!

Babies!