As with most of the East Coast this past weekend, we got snow. Not as much as parts of Latrobe which got around 24 inches, or North Huntington which recorded around 14 inches. But enough to make snow angels in, to frolic and play and to be "snowed in" for the day (totally needed!!). The snow wasn't hard packing snow so we could not make snowmen, but we were able to cross off a few to-do's from our winter bucket list. After our afternoon of playing outside and shoveling walks, K's friend Kai came and spent most of the day into evening. The girls rented movies, we made popcorn and I had hot cocoa and then I set to cleaning the kitchen. A totally satisfying day.
Sunday, we woke to a lovely sunny morning and no butter and no eggs. Not having the car back from the garage (radiator needs replaced) means a walk to the store which is about, oh, maybe six city blocks. I dressed Elliot warm, put on two sweaters (I knew I'd be carry him on and off) and grabbed a back pack. The walk was fun as Elliot made snow angels along the way and tried to walk through the larger drifts. There was no wind which made out outing so much more enjoyable. Back home, we cooked up a meal. Apparently, the walk and fresh air wore the little guy out as he took to "Gigi's room" (mine) and fell asleep. What a wonderful idea! I climbed in beside him and we napped the afternoon away. In the evening, we had french toast for dinner, bathed, read, played and watched a little t.v. Kayla visited with Kai at Kai's house most of the day.
Seriously, I could use a few more weekends like this one.
post is pretty much a summary of my last three REFRESH posts which you can read
here, hereand here. Next month, we get
a good night’s sleep. Wake up
your face, brush your teeth, comb your hair.
Three. Move. If you have 7 minutes, download the app 7 Minute Workout. If you have 16 mins. and
access to YouTube, you can walk one mile in the comfort of your own home with Leslie
Sansone’s One Mile Express. Run around the dining room table a few times
(yes, we do this, but usually because I am trying to catch Elliot). Just remember this: energy makes energy.
something healthy, maybe yogurt with fruit or a soft-boiled egg with a piece of
toast, a glass or orange juice.Something.It’s a great way to
start your day.
into a clean routine. Dust a room. Or clean out a drawer. Or start the laundry. Or sweep the floor. Routine becomes habit and habit breeds
Six. Start your day with a to do list and end your
day crossing it off. Seven. Don't stress. Enjoy your journey! Warmly!
I am so into podcasts lately. I mostly listen to podcasts while at the office while I am working on projects (other than dictation). TED (Ideas Worth Spreading) has over 2,000 talks covering everything from A-Z, such as activism, design, education, health, happiness, jazz, play, youth and so, so many more. I try to listen to at least three to five a day. The Talks are inspirational and enlightening. My current 5 fave for January are:
... the National Weather Service is predicting 2 - 4 inches of snow for this weekend. Not a whole lot but enough for us to cross off a few items from our Winter Bucket List. Besides, Elliot got new snow boots last week (thanks, Grandma Patti) that need broken in. We'll be wrapping him up in his leggings, winter coat, hat, mittens, boots and, if the wind isn't too harsh, treating him to an afternoon of mural painting (spray bottles filled with water and a few dashes of food coloring), sled riding, and making snow angels. Our last mini-snow fall a week or two ago, Kayla was able to cross of build a snow man and catching snowflakes with your tongue
... mugs of hot cocoa after our winter play
... cooking up a big pots of soup and chili
... baking bread and maybe even a batch of snickerdoodles
... snuggling under homemade crocheted afghans (thanks, Janet) and cuddling, watching, maybe the Minions for the 400th time, reading The Little Blue Truck and a few of Elliot's other favorites
... enjoying being snowed in for a day
This is what I am looking forward to this weekend (oooh, pick up milk!).
When January, the
first month of the new year rings in so shiny and new, I get giddy with the
excitement and promise of so many good things to come, for the chance to “start
over,” to make new changes, make new habits, toss out the old. I devour articles on reinventing yourself,
jazzying up your décor, trying new foods, changing up your exercise routine,
making new habits, breaking old or bad habits.
Change doesn’t have to be too drastic, you don’t need to reinvent
yourself or redecorate your whole house to the tune of mucho dinero. Start off this month by re-freshening the
routines that have worked, add a few new or get rid of the routines that just
are not working. You’ll be setting the
stage for the months to follow and have more time to enjoy this new year.
Make your bed every morning. It takes just a few minutes to make your bed
once you are up. Your whole room will
look instantly tidier and I can tell you there is nothing like crawling back into
a made bed after a long day at the office.
Refreshen your sheets with a spritz of linen spray such as Crabtree& Evelyn Lavender Linen Spray. Or
make your own. One Good Thing by Jillee
has a very easy recipe for Homemade Lavender Linen Spray. You can find it here.
Move. I downloaded the 7 Minute Workout App to my
iphone. I like it, it’s quick and it
gets me moving first thing in the morning.
And if you need further proof of its potential or just want to read a good review, Sarah Klein, Senior
Editor of Huffpost Healthy Living wrote an excellent article on the 7 Minute Workout here.
a room. Assign a room to each day of the
week. Make a list of what needs done in
each on a weekly basis or visit the FlyLady and download detailed cleaning
lists. Then do it. Your house will stay tidier and you won’t be
spending hours cleaning on the weekend. Save
the heavy duty stuff for your annual spring and fall cleanings.
Make a weekly menu
plan. This is something that I attempt every
shopping trip and by Thursday, I’m ready to just buy pizza or order Jimmy John’s. Not good when you are trying to save $$. I’m getting better and it helps so much that
my granddaughter Kayla will make dinner if we have a plan. I search the internet and look to my
cookbooks for menu planning ideas. It
really does save money, time and sanity to have an idea of what you’ll be
serving each day. A site I’ve been
enjoying lately is Kraft’s 1 Bag, 5 Dinners.
Browse through the many “bags” they have listed, download the
accompanying menu plan, shopping list and recipes for that bag, shop, add a
veggie and salad, and wahla 5 healthy and manageable meals. I look at it as a challenge and am totally
Schedule time for YOU. We all need some downtime, so pencil it
in. DO IT. Even if it’s just an hour or two on a Sunday
evening. You deserve it and it will do
wonders for you. Kayla and I will
declare a spa night and then give ourselves a facial, pedicure and manicure. We
talk and laugh and just have a good time.
It’s good for the soul and you feel amazing afterwards.
There you have
it. These are the ideas I am using to
freshen up my routines. Are you making
any changes to your routines?
"but the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."
After a very slow start, I am be attempting Project Life again this year. I think I made it until week 33 in 2015. This year, the glass on my iphone had come loose and needed replaced. In the process I “lost” a few apps and contacts. It took me awhile to figure out how to get the Project Life App re-loaded (I kept getting an Error message). A little frustrating as I had purchased quite a few kits. Luckily, the app would download to Elliot’s ipad with everything intact. After syncing through the PC, I now have PL back and am ready to document 2016. The quote above is one I’ve used before as being the number one reason I scrapbook. I only wish I took more photos of my own children growing up, but truth be told, I would not have been able to afford having rolls of film developed, let alone purchasing a good camera. I think my scrapbook journey began in 2004 and I learned about Facebook, on-line scrapbook sites and blogging while attending a weekend crop around 2006. It changed my life. Blogging and scrapbooking are like having a time machine – as long as you “write it down,” you can revisit any time period. My 17 year old granddaughter has taken to reading through the blog. She is my first grandchild and lived with me her first 9 years, so her whole life has been pretty much documented. I hope she enjoys her trek down memory lane and realizes how truly loved she is. I also hope she will join me in capturing her son’s life through words and pictures, so he too will remember (they are currently living with me – the reason for so many Elliot photos).
I just downloaded A Color Story and am eager to use it. Alas, I’m working and picture taking will have to wait.
On a colder note, it was 7 degrees when I left for the bus this morning. BRRRRR!
Hope you are keeping warm (or cool if you live where it’s HOT)!
There are many times in our office when
you will hear someone refer to our workload(s) as being either feast or famine,
meaning we have too much of something or too little. This happens all too often in our home lives,
too. There are those [too] rare days
when you’ve crossed off every task on your to-do list and can just sit back,
indulge a little and relax. And then
there are those days where you will have piles of laundry, dishes in the sink,
company coming for dinner, children needing driven to after school activities,
shopping to be done, you are invited to coffee, or cocktails, the in-laws want
to drop by, a friend or family needs a favor…it’s endless. If you are finding it hard to say no
effectively, you may find the following strategies for politely saying no,
1. do not offer excuses that may lead to negotiations or you might
find yourself talked back into it.
Instead, keep your reply simple, yet direct, say, “I would love to come,
but I have another engagement,” and leave it at that.
2. be tactful. “I would love to help, however, I am so
overextended that I simply do not have time.”
3.be busy, you can always change your mind. “I need to check the family calendar. Can I get back to you?”
you use a calendar/planner app on your phone, you will most likely have it with
you. Do not use number 3!
is a wonderful word as it encompasses so many meanings, such as produce,
generate, bring into being, make, fabricate, fashion, build, construct.
is my OLW for 2016. My first “hands on
project” is going to be a scrapbook for Kayla’s best friend of 16 ½ years. Kai’s 17th birthday is February 2nd
and she has been asking forever for a
scrapbook. This year, we shall
deliver! I will be spending January
helping Kayla create a lovely book and once that is done I can move on to the
On my list for 2016, is to
create a cozy and totally welcoming
home environment (starting with my bedroom); create a “tropical paradise” in our backyard for Elliot’s 3rd
summer, create a few wearable pieces
and create an emergency fund.
google search of the word create
brought up: create a character, your own superhero, a graph, a game, an open
office, a list, an app, even create a neopet.
The possibilities are endless.
Again, this word was so heavy on my mind towards the end of 2015, I knew
it was the word. This year, I am going
to make that word work for me.
How are YOU making your word work for you? Warmly!
In an effort to
be more mindful of my health this year (I currently have a humongous fever
blister and a head cold), I have resolved to do the following:
1. Drink water
and lots of it. I struggle with
this. Drinking water is like a dreaded
chore. There are honestly days, if it were
not for tea, coffee and a soda, I would have no liquid at all. I know
water is so good for the body. I’ve
tried flavoring powders, which I like, but it gives me heartburn. Anyway.
This year, I am making a huge effort (using a water tracker) to get the
water in. How much to drink? POPSUGARand WebMDboth suggest drinking half your body’s weight in ounces. Ex: 150 lbs = 75 ozs
water. Hmmm, I’ll be drowning by the end
of the day, but a promise is a promise. Pass the water pitcher, please.
preferably in the morning. I have
re-downloaded the 7 minute app and already have one workout under my belt
(short, I know, but it’s a start). Also,
for me, our office is on one floor, our file room, kitchen and mail room are
one floor below. My “new” exercise
routine consists of taking a walk down one set of stairs, cross a long hall,
and come up the stairs on the other side of the building every 60-90 minutes
(depends on the work load how often I can “take a walk”).
3. Make an
energy drink. Now, I like to chew my
food. Call me strange. I really don’t find much satisfying by
drinking your meal. However, my middle son and his wife gave me a Nutri-Bullet for
Christmas, which K totally loved, and which we have great plans for, like, actually
using it. A co-worker gave me a free (free!) bag of Tropical Strawberry
Shakeology which we are now going to put to use.
about you? How have you resolved to take care of yourself this year? Warmly!
Again, I hope your
holiday was happy! I’ve been filling my
2016 planner up with important dates, updating contact information, penciling
in workouts, making time for creative work, cleaning my bedroom and packing
away any holiday decorations that were missed during the first sweep last
week. We’ve been very lucky here in
Pittsburgh, no snow accumulation, but it appears the cold air is settling in,
so I am revamping my closets, putting together a capsule of winter clothes and
packing the lighter items away, donating what has not been worn (or can’t be
worn at this time #atetoomuch), dressing the bed with clean sheets and changing
the bedspread to a heavier weight.
Keeping only what I truly love, cleaning out the clutter, laundering the
curtains, adding new Yankee Candles (Christmas presents!) to the bedside table
and making the room as cozy and inviting as possible. I love my room, its my favorite room in the
house and I enjoy spending time there.
What about YOU? How
was your weekend? What’s your favorite room in your house?
1.CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN AND FORGET WHAT YOU CANNOT. Forget about the stuff you have no power over, it’s a waste of time and energy. I am forever telling my eldest son this. Focus on what you can control, the here and now. Life is never going to be easy, but you do not dwell on it. Take control of what you have and make the best of it.
2.KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Set realistic goals and learn to say NO. In layman’s terms, do not bite off more than you can chew. Do not take on a project because you are afraid to say no or you do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So many times, I have done this just to be frustrated at myself and resentful towards the person for whom I am doing the favor (dumb, I know). Politely say no.
3.DON’T COMPLAIN, INSTEAD FIND A SOLUTION. Rather than whining and complaining about a particular task, be it an assignment at the office or even something as little as piles of laundry needing washed, take a deep breath, then think about the steps needed to get the job done. Break the task down into manageable steps. Do not allow yourself to get lost in the anger – that’s time consuming and time is precious.
4.LIVE WITH YOUR CHOICES. Choose your path wisely and remember that everything you do is a choice. Do not make excuses and yes, there may be a few poor choices made along the way, a few you may even regret (that may be the story for most of us), but do not dwell on them. They will become a part of the past. Remember every choice you have made so far has got you where you are today.
Living a happy life is a choice. That is what I tell my children often. You can wake up and say, I am going to have a great, happy day today. Or you can choose to not have a great, happy day today and fly solo. The choice is yours.
Yesterday, it snowed. Rather late for Pittsburgh, PA. Snow usually appears way before winter actually begins. However, it's here. The cold is here. Elliot runs to the window and shouts 'NO' (SNOW).
Time to get out his new leggings and heavy coat, gloves and hat.
Time to schedule some winter fun.
1. Build a snowman.
2. Paint a snow mural (with a spray bottles filled with water and food coloring).
3. Go sled riding.
4. Make snow angels.
5. Catch snowflakes on your tongue.
6. Drink hot cocoa
7. Make soup
8. Host an afternoon matinee complete with popcorn, oversize boxes of candy (matinee size found at Giant Eagle) and sodas.
9. Camp out in the living room. When my kiddies were little, I'd spread out a sheet on the living room floor, then add blankets and pillows. We'd make smore's (in the microwave), have hot dogs and watch scary and funny movies. Now we have child-size indoor tents for the little ones to 'sleep' in.
10. My favorite on a cold, blistery afternoon - curl up with a soft blanket, a good book and hot tea.
beginning of a New Year. Time to sweep
out the old and bring in the new. Time
to refresh our homes, our wardrobes, our meal plans.
It doesn’t take
too much time, effort or money to refresh rooms in your home. Probably the biggest expense would be if you
were to buy a new bedspread, unless you store and rotate extra bedspreads. My Mom has one (or two) for each season. Making the bed up with clean sheets and a
“new” comforter does wonder for the bedroom.
Add a new plant and your favorite scented candle and you’ve made magic.
bathroom, how about a new a bathmat, fluffy towels, and decorative bath soaps,
all in a new color.
kitchen, add a new throw rug, hang new dishtowels, clean out the fridge. Put fresh flowers in a vase. Add more green plants.
In the dining
room, change out the table linens and centerpiece.
wonderfully easy to liven up a room just by adding a new pillow, or changing
the curtains or couch covers. These are easy "fixes". Believe me, I have a huge master list of major projects that need tending to, but for now, refreshening a room will help keep the winter doldrums away.
This week, I
will be working on freshening up the bedroom (my favorite go to place). Do you have plans for freshening up your home?
This year, I am going to write out three major monthly goals – stuff
to be done during that month.
I’m forgoing the big list of yearly goals in favor of three totally
doable and needs-to-be-done goals each month.
Oh, I’ll still be writing out to do lists for the daily and weekly
tasks; I’ve got a lot that I truly want to accomplish this year. So, this month my three goals are (1) pay the
taxes due January 31; (2) get the car inspected (its up January 31); and (3)
declutter, rearrange and reorganize my bedroom.
I’ve been reading much on minimization and I am totally ready for
Do you have a goal list for
2016? Did you make any resolutions for
the coming year?
My Goodness, I am so excited for this new year.
Not because I will eventually be a year older (not til the very last
month), but because of all the wonderful memories to be made, goals to be set
and accomplished, projects to be made, new friendships and maintaining old
friendships, and best of all, at least for me, Elliot. Right now we are in the homestretch toward
his third birthday. He is a wonder, and
a joy, and a reminder every day to learn something new, to stay calm, to enjoy
the little things in life. Can you sense
my excitement for this new year??
onto my little word for 2016. The word
CREATE was practically nagging me all through December. It’s been on my mind so much. So, that’s my word
and I plan on embracing the word to the fullest and CREATE my best year
(something) into existence.
produce, generate, bring into being, make, fabricate, fashion, build construct. What a great word! What word did YOU choose, or what word CHOSE you for 2016??