Thursday, November 29, 2012

Anger Session #2

In preparation for this session, I started reading Barbara Coloroso's book, KIDS ARE WORTH IT. I was also able to find out a lot more about my childhood during our family reunion. I found out that there was anger in my family. My grandfather had a quick temper, my father did, and my mother said she raised her voice to get us to listen. I suppose being in a family with 8 children there was anger in how we dealt with each other, but I sure don't remember. My mother wondered how I grew up to be so independant, strong and must be because of my lack of memory.
I will shared these things with Sarah (my counsellor), and got her feeback. It was nice to pinpoint where my anger comes from and be able to discuss what I could do to change it.
Also, my husband had a few things to the fact that I want instant obedience, and often that will lead to my anger when I ask my kids to do something, and they don't, a signal goes off, and I blow up...or one of them gets a time out, but refuses to go up the stairs to his out!
The most wonderful thing is that now I am aware that my actions are inappropriate, and I will do all I can to change them. The last time I sent someone for a time out, I was about to grab him and take him to his room, but I stopped. I did not have to grab him, or raise my voice to have him obey. I was not sure what else to do..since I have not finished reading the book yet...but I knew I could not keep doing the same bad things to get control.
Sarah explained that there is a space of time between stimulus and response. My response time is very short. Once there is a stimulus, there is an immediate response..not time in between for thought of what to do or not to do. This is most likely why I suffer from Foot in the Mouth disease, and too often say things or do things that I regret.
Also, like a farmer ploughing the brain has been trained to keep ploughing the same line over and over again....anger has been my response when I cannot get control every time, so the new technique I am going to try is: Thought Stop. When there is a situation that makes me angry, I stop the thought and allow some time before my response...hopefully so that I can regain control of myself and respond in a more positive way.
Her advice is very helpful, and it feels good to talk to someone about the person I am..and the person I want to be. She is not trying to fix my problem, but allowing me to find my own that will work for me for the rest of my life.
I am also going to do some research through the scriptures on anger, and pray that it will help me change. I know that God wants me to be a better person, and he is right beside me, I just have to stop and ask for help when I need it most.
I am very glad for a supportive, patient, husband who loves me. It is much easier to change when I have him to help me figure things out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From Crib to Bed..Making the transition

Our little boy is two (not even two and a half yet!), and he is ready to leave the crib. I am not ready...I always thought the crib could hold him for a little while longer. He proved me wrong and has been getting in and out by himself regularly. We decided to take down the crib, but just keep the crib mattress on the floor, so he can adjust to the freedom, and also the strangeness of being somewhere new to sleep. Our little guy even helped me to take down the crib and put it away.

Tonight was the first night, and things went smoothly.

I have to say though, it is all about routine. For the past few months (since we knew this transition was coming), we would bath him, brush teeth, read books, say prayers and then put him into the crib. Then we sing him a song, and say good night. Like every other kid, he asked for water...or begged us not to leave. We just stood firm, said good night and closed the door.
Okay..Scott closes the door (that works for him), but with me..the one way I knew he would stay on his pillow was the leave the door open a crack. I feel it is okay that Mom and Dad are different, as long as we each find something that works, and we agree what the time limit is in the bedroom. Routines don't work when one person stays in and holds their hand until they go to sleep, while the other wants to say good night and leave. Scott and I agree that the best thing is to be loving and firm. We both know that the child has to leave to go to sleep on their own, and we both agreed to the routine long ago when he was still breastfeeding.
Anyway...since the routine is in place, a bed on the floor is kind of exciting. He is a big boy now. No more crib. We practiced what it would feel like going to sleep. This afternoon, I tucked him in, and said good night..left for 30 secs..then came back in and said, "Good morning, time to get up!" He jumps out and gives me a hug.
One trick..he had no nap today. He hasn't been napping for a few weeks actually. He had lots of exercise, and good food so by 7pm, he was ready for bed.
As I was leaving, he asked me for the crib. I told him the crib is put away. He said he was a baby. I replied that he is Mommy's big boy and gave him a hug. I made sure he had all the things he usually has in his crib (his blanket, and two dogs), so things were familiar. I also told him that I would come back in the morning and wake him up (just like we practiced), and then left. He wanted the door open a bit, and I was fine with that (since that is what I usually do.). 10 minutes later, he was fast asleep.
We already know that one good night does not mean everything is going to be perfect...we know that it is going to take a few weeks before things are settled.
Everything in the room stayed the same (even the same crib mattress)..only the crib was gone.
He helped to take apart the crib.
We practiced what it would be like to sleep and wake up.
Kept the same bedtime routine.
He had lots of exercise and no nap
One thing at a time...take small will help minimize the possible transition trama.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Anger Session #1

I promised that I would write about my experience dealing with one of my personal here goes.  I am calling this an Anger Session, but it is really a counselling session. These sessions were done in the summer of 2012.
Before I began, I called the office and asked if I would be wasting the time of the counsellor, since I was just a regular housewife who had angry outbursts once in a while. (I always thought counselling was for people who had bigger problems to deal with).
She answered that most of the individuals they see are just like me, and I would be welcome to come for as little or as long as I felt I needed. I liked that, since there was no set amount of sessions, or no commitment to continue for continuous weeks. I made the first appointment and have been so happy that I had the courage to do so.

I wrote each one like a journal entry.

Anger Session #1

Arriving early, I got to spend a few minutes in the van to gather my thoughts and calmly walk through the door. I was met by the secretary who asked me to fill out some information forms and a self evaluation. I was totally honest in my answers...because I do get irritated, I do argue and I do generally have a very happy life.
The last one was a fill in the blank, basically saying...what would you like to get out of counselling?
I stated: I no longer want to react with anger towards my family.
So, the counsellor greeted me and I followed her a big room. It was much bigger than I thought it would be, but I guess is she counsels families, they all need a comfortable place to sit.
She looked at my scores, and smiled. She was happy that the scores were so low. And she celebrated this with me. Life is good most of the time.
We talked about my past, and she tried to root out any history, what my parents were like (I wish I could have told her more..but my memory is terrible and I hardly remember what I ate today, let alone my childhood), any traumatic events I had (only one that I could report...getting hit by a semitruck)..and then when I most often get angry, at who, and what am I like.
It was a very natural conversation. Like I would chat with a really good friend that I trust would not to talk to anyone else afterwards. Then she would give suggestions of things I could try, books I could read, and generally gave examples of others, and techniques they used that worked.
An hour passed quickly, and I feel good with the power that was given to me. I am in control. This is something I can handle, and I don't need to be angry when my kid won't listen.
I think I missed a crucial part, and should have asked Scott to add his two cents, because his memory is far superior to mine, and he is the one who can see as an outsider what I can really be like. He hit it right on the head when he said, "You expect everyone to do what you say immediately, and if they don't, you get angry."
If I ask Scott for a favor (especially if I am in a bad mood already), I want it done now!
If I ask one of the boys to help, or put on shoes, or put something away, I want it done now!
It is terrible to realize how controlling and awful you can be to others...but the most wonderful thing is I have taken the step to admit I am wrong, and now am working on the solution.
Knowing Christ through this helps tremendously. I understand His atonement a little more now, and feel that working on being a better person helps me to stay closer to Him.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cut above the rest

Teacher gift for November.  I also put a more personal note on the back to thank them for certain things that happened this month. As with all of us, our kids are learning things everyday. My son is grade 1 is learning about social boundaries...and to learn when it is appropriate to be silly and when it is not. HAHAHAHA! My son in grade 3 is learning how to act when you don't feel well...when you are not sick enough to stay home. He is learning how to still do homework, even when he is not feeling great. Teachers deserve an extra thank you for the little things they teach our kids!

Teacher appreciation:You're a cut above the rest!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

If I had my life to live over again...

While preparing a lesson on Time Management today, I found this and thought I would share:

Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything.  My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.  

If I had my life to live over again, I would have waxed less and listened more.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

I would never have insisted the car windows he rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten popcorn in the "good" living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have burnt the pink candle sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television....and more while watching real life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.

I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day.

There would have been more I love you's........more I'm sorry's.....more listening........ but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it....exhaust it......and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it....

Friday, November 16, 2012


During the summer, I recognized that I am more of an angry mother than I want to be.

I tried different things to help me and I will blog them in the next few weeks. I have been waiting, because I was not sure if I wanted to write it down so that all the world can see. Then, I realized if I can't talk about it, and share how I have changed, and what has made my life happier, how can I help others? Is that not the purpose of this blog anyway? Yes. So before this year is over, I will blog my experiences.

As I deal with my outbursts, and try to keep my anger under control, there have been many words of good advice from friends and family. It is so wonderful to know that when I share with people my weakness, no one has made fun of me, and better yet, no one has judged me. We all have weaknesses, but a large part in changing them to a strength is admitting that you are weak.
One of the tips from a good friend was to start drinking Peter Gillham's Natural CALM, which is a magnesium Citrate Powder. She used it for her son who was dealing with anxiety. I put 1 tsp. in a cup of hot water until it dissolves, then drink it (or put it in a shake, or add my favorite juice). I began using it on Monday, Sept 24th and just like to drink it warm by itself. It has a raspberry lemon flavour. I think it is good for my overall health, and if it can help me remain CALM, even better!
This is not an advertisement. It is simply something I have tried that helps me.
Altogether, I find when I am well rested, have eaten well, and drink enough water, I feel better, I get irritated less often and I can deal with the challenges of raising kids in a calm and patient manner.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Best Days for Holiday Gift Discounts

This is for all you shoppers who are always looking for a good deal.
You may be surprised what you see in this article, especially with Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fortune Cookie

Sometimes you actually get a fortune cookie that makes sense, and gives you encouragement to keep living life the way you already are.

Here was the fortune I found in my cookie yesterday:
  Simplicity in your lifestyle 
will ensure you a happy life.

There you go...if you want a happy life...simplify it. 
In fact, when I started this blog that was the reason. We are working together to build an organized and happy home, and I wanted to share some of the things we do to make that happen. 
Creating simplicity is not always easy, but I know it is the right thing to do. When life is more simple, you can actually enjoy the time you have to live it. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wrap It Smart

Wrap It Smart

Saves Time and Money
No Garbage
Simple to use
Unbelievably Hassle Free

This is the poem I hand out for those who purchase the bags. My kids give these to their teachers each year, and I attach this to the bags, so they know what they are for! 

Wrap It Smart
No scissors, no tape, no garbage, no mess
Wrapping your gifts will take no time at all
Just put the gift in, tie it up with a string
Reuse them each year and just have a ball

Wrap It Smart
Cloth Bags
The smart way to wrap gifts…

This is what the set up for the craft fair looked like! 
Simple and Easy...just like the product.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

100 Healthy Snacks

Found this list of Healthy Snacks at Six Sisters Stuff
Pintrest is so great for sharing ideas!

1. Frozen Grapes (I used to eat these in college all the time- they are amazing)
2. String Cheese
3. Banana
4. Frozen Banana (peel it first, stick in the freezer overnight- it's like a yummy popsicle)
5. Low-fat Yogurt
6. Sugar-free or fat-free pudding
7. Apple dipped in Peanut Butter (or spread peanut butter on top of apple slice and top with pecans . . . so good!)
8. 100-calorie bag of popcorn
9. Applesauce
10. Raw veggies with hummus (my new favorite!)
11. Almonds
12. Apple
13. Skinny S'more (two graham crackers with one roasted marshmallow and one small square dark chocolate)
14. Smoked Beef Jerky (about 1 oz- look for low-sodium!)
15. Chocolate Milk
16. Hard Boiled Egg
17. Sunflower Seeds
18. Cottage Cheese
19. Sliced Cantelope
20. Raisins
21. Pita Bread and Hummus
22. Rice Cakes
23. Sugar-free Jello
24. Dried Fruits
25. Frozen Yoplait Whips Yogurt (these seriously taste like ice cream when they are frozen!)
26. Air-Popped Popcorn
27. Pistachios
28. Clementines (we call them Cuties or Clemmies)
29. Fruit Smoothie (or Kristen's Green Smoothie- it's actually delicious!)
30. Handful of olives
31. Pickles
32. Handful of blueberries with 2 tablespoons fat-free Cool-Whip
33. Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins)
34. 1 cup mixed berry salad (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries) tossed with one tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice.
35. Peanut Butter and Bananas on whole wheat bread
36. Trail Mix (make your own! Throw in dried fruit, sunflower seeds, nuts, low-sugar cereals, and even the occasional piece of candy for something sweet.)
37. Orange Slices
38. Cherry Tomatoes
39. Graham Crackers
40. Small Green Salad with light dressing
41. Mango smoothie (frozen mango, mango Greek Yogurt, and a small amount of orange juice)
42. Kabobs (thread low-fat meat, low-fat cheese, pineapple and cherry tomatoes onto a stick- my kids love anything on a stick!)
43. Half of a  Cinnamon-Raisin topped with peanut butter and banana slices
44. Grilled Pineapple (throw them on the grill or a skillet on med. heat for two minutes or until golden)
45. Baked Apples (one tennis ball-sized apple, cored, filled with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and cinnamon, and baked until tender)
46. Animal Crackers
47. Strawberries dipped in fat-free Cool Whip
48. Low-fat tortilla topped with egg salad, shredded carrots and cucumber slices
49. Parfait (build your own with Greek yogurt or plain yogurt, fruit, and granola) 
50. Bowl of bran flakes with 1/2 cup skim milk and berries
51. Guacamole with veggies
52. Triscuit's Thin Crisps dipped in cottage cheese or hummus
53. Cashews
54. Pretzels
55. Sun Chips (portion control! Read the serving amount on the side!)
56. Cheesy Breaded Tomatoes: Two roasted plum tomatoes sliced and topped with 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
57. Sugar Snap Peas
58. Steamed Veggies (steam non-starchy vegetables in a microwave safe bag and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup pasta sauce)
59. Apricots
60. Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges
61. Any 100 calorie pack
62. Snack/Granola bar (around 150 calories or less, like Kellogg's All-Bran, Kashi TLC Trail Mix, or Fiber one Bar)
63. Baked chips (about 7-10) with salsa
64. Soy Chips
65. Protein Bar
66. Sweet Potato Fries (one light-bulb sized sweet potato sliced, tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and baked at 400° for 10 minutes)
67. Wrap (I like a slice of turkey, swiss cheese, baby spinach leaves, and cranberry relish wrapped up in a tortilla)
68. Pumpkin Seeds (2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, sprayed with oil (just a spritz!) and baked at for 400° for 15 minutes or until brown. Sprinkle a tiny amount of salt on top)
69. Bean Salad
70. Broccoli Florets
71. Peaches and Cottage Cheese
72. Chopped Red Peppers (dipped in fat free ranch)
73. V8 Vegetable Juice
74. Tuna with Triscuit crackers
75. Cooked and Cubed Chicken Breast
76. Homemade Popsicles (puree watermelon, strawberries, mango, banana, etc and freeze in popsicle molds)
77. Dates with almond butter or rolled in coconut
78. Quesadilla (whole wheat (or corn) tortillas w/cheese (or not) melted in microwave - adding on tomatoes, beans, corn, olives, avocado or guacamole or whatever sounds good)
79. Watermelon
80. Cubed Apples and Cubed Cheese (this was my husband's favorite after-school snack when he was little)
81. Craisins (I love to eat these with almonds- it's a good combo)
82. Goldfish Crackers
83. Edamame
84. Cheesy Roasted Asparagus (four spears (spritzed with olive-oil spray) and topped with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, baked for 10 minutes at 400°)
85. Turkey Roll-Ups (Four slices smoked turkey rolled up and dipped in 2 teaspoons honey mustard)
86. Strawberry Salad (1 cup raw spinach with ½ cup sliced strawberries and 1 tablespoon balsamic)
87. Oatmeal
88. Banana Smoothie (½ cup sliced banana, ¼ cup nonfat vanilla yogurt, and a handful of ice blended until smooth)
89. Lime Sherbet (1/2 cup serving) with sliced kiwi
90. Apple Chips (dehydrated apples- they are so good!)
91. Black Beans (mix 1/4 cup black beans with 1 tablespoon salsa and 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt for an added twist!)
92. Lettuce wrap (try two slices honey-baked ham with 2 teaspoons honey mustard rolled in a lettuce leaf)
93. Pecans (try five pecans roasted with 2 teaspoons maple syrup and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
94. Chocolate Covered Strawberries (dip 5 strawberries in 2 squares of dark chocolate- that is still good for you, right?!)
95. Honeyed Yogurt (½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt with a dash of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon honey)
96. Blackberries (so good mixed with plain yogurt)
97. Frozen Mangos
98. Tropical Juice Smoothie (¼ cup pineapple juice, orange juice, and apple juice, blended with ice)
99. Healthier Banana Bread
100. Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip with fresh fruit 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Green Smoothie

I have heard people talk about these..but until I decided to take the No No November challenge, I did not really have a need for a green smoothie. Now, I am looking for ways to eat more veggies, and this one is a winner.

Green Monster Smoothie

Here is the recipe I tried today, and I actually liked it, and so did my kids (correction...Luke and Tyler liked it..Zach would not even give it a chance, because it is green and I said I put pineapple in it).

Green Monster Smoothies
Yield: 2-3 servings
1 banana (frozen or not), cut into chunks
1 cup chopped frozen pineapple
1 pear, coarsely chopped
1½ cups orange juice
2½ cups baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
1-2 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth.  Taste and adjust sweetness with additional honey, if desired.  Serve immediately.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Craft Fairs

I love the idea of reusable cloth bags for wrapping all my gifts at Christmas. Check out my post: Cloth Christmas Bags
I was interested in seeing what the world of craft fairs is all about, so I registered to see if this was a product that others would be interested in.
In truth, I really want to encourage others to be more earth friendly, and to find ways to simplify their lives (especially at Christmas time, when there can be so much stress). These bags are just one way to make things hassle free in our lives, and it feels so good to wrap the gifts all up in minutes, and then have no garbage on Christmas morning.

Scott and I worked together to come up with prices, display and a business plan. Well, actually, he did an entire spreadsheet, working out the square inch of each size, how much it cost for each bag, what my expenses were, and what I should charge. He is so number savvy. He even had the great idea to put the pricing and information in picture frames. What a smart man I married.

The craft fair was a bit disappointing. It was in a poor location, not well advertised, and only about 50 people came through the entire day. I was hoping for a better trial run.
But, I still had a great day.

I found out there is some really valuable information about craft fairs online. If you want to try it yourself, there are list of what to bring, what to say, and suggestions on how to display.
I was lucky that I did not have to pay for my table at this one, but most others you are looking at around $25.00 to rent the space for the day. Most of the craft fairs want you to donate a door prize, which can also take away from your profit..and it is really tough not to spend money when you see so many other neat crafty things. I was also lucky to have a good friend right next to me, so I had someone to chat with, otherwise, I would have been very bored. And I hope that people know when they go to a craft fair that some of these people spend hours making their home made products. My friend made cranberry steamed puddings which take two hours each just to bake. There is a reason they charge what they do! I am lucky that I can make mine in advance, and at a low cost. I keep them very simple, because again...I want to encourage simplicity!

I will try again on November 17th at the Alex Hope Elementary School in Walnut Grove, Langley. Come on by and see them for yourself!