Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Miracle Mornings - September Challenge

Wow!  Have I ever been busy and there is so much to provide updates on.  But I'll start with what book has been rocking my world and that's the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.  I've also been doing a 30 Day Challenge with the support of a private Facebook group of an amazing group of women.  I will continue doing daily Miracle Mornings through the remainder of the year as I've been learning so much about myself.

The concept is relatively simple.  In order to be successful, you need to put yourself in the right frame of mind for the day and ensure you are spending time improving yourself daily.  Hal put together for himself and others several practices in a plan of daily Life S.A.V.E.R.S., which stands for Silence (meditation), Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading (personal development books) and Scribing (journaling).  Don't think that this synopsis will let you not read this book.  I strongly recommend it.  Recommendations on how to wake up and increase your WUML (waking up motivation level) are outlined, each of the practices is thoroughly explained and there are bonus materials on his website for additional help.

I would not say I've been 100% perfect this month, but it's been a learning process.  Here are the things I've learned:

1.  I need to exercise first with the schedule I have with getting kids ready for school in the morning.  We have two shifts in our house - the early high school bus and the bus an hour later for our elementary school boys.  I really like to have at least 30 minutes for exercise and if I don't do that before I our daughter wakes up for school around 5:45, I'm not going to be able to exercise in the morning.  It took me all month to figure this out.  I will start working out

2.  I'm still working on affirmations.  The bonus materials from Hal's website are helping me greatly.  I think my brain is still fighting it thinking it's a bit hokey to be saying these things out loud and I'm trying to really believe what I'm telling myself.

3.  I love reading personal development books and writing in my bullet journal while I'm drinking my morning coffee.  Right now, I'm reading I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones.

4.  I've been bullet journalling for the last two months and I'm sooooo in love!  It's the perfect way for me to organize my thoughts and keep myself organized.  I've been trying to organize myself digitally for ages and I've finally decided pen and paper is where it's at.  I'll have more posts on that topic, but I'm still learning all the things I can do with bullet journalling, so I'm still a novice.

Here's how my morning routine will look starting tomorrow with the new order:

  • Exercise - 30 minutes
  • While making coffee (French press) 
    • Silence - Meditation
    • Affirmations
    • Visualization
  • Wake up the high schooler - drink coffee
    • Reading
    • Scribing (bullet journal)

I'll have a lot more updates on other items soon.  Our daughter is doing well in school and is still loving being a field hockey goalie.  The boys are in 2nd grade and in their second year of Cub Scouts.  I'm their Den Leader and will be taking over as the Cubmaster for our Pack at the end of the year.  I do lots of research on activities, skits and games to keep these boys excited to come to meetings.  Hope all is well with you all!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It's Been Awhile

I'm still out here.  I'm currently working on getting my morning setup from "The Miracle Morning".  One of the items is journaling.  I was starting to put it in a notebook, but then realized why should I do that when I have my long neglected blog.

Things at my corporate job are going well.  I've put a lot of time and energy into it and people are seeming to be noticing.  Just yesterday, my manager got some great feedback from someone before I even got off the phone with them.  Glad to see my hard work is paying off on that front.

I really want to spend more time on my Beachbody business though.  I'm in a Dash to Diamond group and I haven't done much with it the past few days as by the end of the work day I'm exhausted and work seems to consume all my day hours.  I need to work on that balance.

I think I'm also tired at the end of the day as I'm trying to get back into working out and being a better runner.  I'm running a 5K in mid-May and I want to be ready for that!  I did get to the elliptical machine this morning and that was awesome!

Next is the kids.  I've been working with the boys on their areas they need:  Tommy on his reading and Liam on his freak out tendencies that seem to happen at school.  Both seem to be going well.  Tommy's reading skills are improving and I think he'll be on target by the end of the school year in June.  Liam had a really good day at school yesterday and let's hope that continues.  I met with his teacher and guidance counselor last week to talk about his perfectionist tendencies that are even more intense than his sister's.  We talked about strategies for helping remind him how to handle situations and reinforcement at home.  Let's hope this helps, as he was starting to say he hated school!  On his sister, that one is tough.  We are in the throws of full teenager-hood.  The need for independence, the tears around difficulties, the anger and silent treatment to the parents.  I really can't wait to have the mood-wheel stay stable when she gets older. In the meantime, I exercise patience and wish our kids understood they didn't come with an owner's manual.  We're all just winging it!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tommy's Portfolio Breakfast - The End of Kindergarten

Wow!  The boys are officially done Kindergarten and moving onto 1st grade next year.  I really can't believe it!  With Liam being sick this week, things have been crazy.  Tommy had his Portfolio Breakfast this past Tuesday, but only one of us could go, as one had to stay at home with Liam.  Tommy said I should go when we asked him in the morning, but then when he got home from school, he said his dad should have gone.  LOL - little guy, we wish we were both there!

 He has such a different personality from Liam, whereas Liam wanted to hang with us and show us what he had done at school and point out one or two friends, Tommy introduced me to a bunch of his friends.

Liam on his day, was interested in all the treats and choosing the sweet ones he wanted. Tommy couldn't be bothered with going to get a snack.  I chose some treats for him while he kept building  things at the tables in the classroom and he snacked while he kept building. In particular, he loved this rocket he built.

I really enjoyed having the one-on-one time with Tommy and enjoying what he loves and not what us as a group do together.

I hope both boys have a great summer and can't wait to see the great things they do when they move up to 1st grade.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mercury in Retrograde Can Go Suck Eggs!

Let me just say, if you can't tell from this post title, how much I hate Mercury in retrograde.  According to the Farmer's Almanack, today is the last day.

During this retrograde Mercury cycle, we've had:  two separate issues with Tom's car, lots of work frustration, feeling overwhelmed at both work and home, planning going awry, and to top it all off, Liam has missed the last week of school with high fevers and vomiting.  We're currently on the fourth day of fevers that only both Tylenol and ibuprofen can get down.  Both need to be taken an hour apart from each other and every six hours.  Otherwise, complete chaos ensues.  Poor kid.  When his fever is down, he wants to play and is completely bored with me trying to work from home and pushing fluids and bland food on him.  He currently loves goldfish crackers and Honest Kids juice boxes.  Normally when it comes to juice boxes, I have a rule that we need to finish a box of the same flavor, before moving onto the next box.  Right now, I don't give a sh(t if that is what will keep him interested in drinking down more fluids. We have three different boxes all open, and I'll be opening the fourth (Lemonade! Woo hoo!  Please drink more!) in a few minutes.

We're calling the doctor again this morning.  He was seen Monday evening and they concluded it is a virus.  I called back Tuesday late afternoon with the new vomiting that happened after we left the doctor and they told me this is a virus going around and taking a few days to clear.  We agreed that if he still had a fever Thursday, I'd call back.  So I'll be calling today, as when his fever medicine wore off around 4AM this morning, he had a fever over 103F again.  I still think it's a virus as his ears are clear, throat looks fine and his lymph nodes in his neck that swell when he has an infection are perfectly fine.  He's angry at being sick and I'm feeling bad for him and wishing I knew what would make it go away.  I've never had a child have a fever for four days in a row.  But then again, I don't think I've had a child with a fever on the tail end of mercury in retrograde.

Stay tuned for September 17 - October 9th when all things will go crazy again!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Kindergarten Portfolio Breakfast - Liam's Class

Not sure how other twin parents have their children in school, but our school recommends twins be in separate classrooms.  In our case, I think that's been working out fabulously!  Liam used to be so quiet, shy and let his brother talk for him.  Since November being in separate classrooms, Liam is much more able to talk for himself and complain if he doesn't get his turn to talk!

At the end of our elementary school year, there is a Portfolio Picnic at lunchtime, but Kindergarten is still half day, so they have Portfolio Breakfasts.  Both are an event for parents and siblings to come in and see what the students have been working on all year.  Today was Liam's class, so we got to spend one-on-one time with him reviewing some of his work over the school year, hence the term "portfolio".  It was a lot of fun to have him walk us through his writing and he read some of his papers to us.  We also got to start by seeing how they start their day, with the Pledge of Allegiance and going through the days of the week, today's date and some songs on shapes and numbers.

One thing I've noticed that is much different than 9 years ago when our daughter was in Kindergarten.  There are a lot more dads coming with the moms to these daytime school events.  I think it's fabulous!  It's great for kids seeing their dads present at these functions and to feel the support from them, as much as the moms.  It looked like a lot of the dads and moms were in work clothes, so it would be great to think employers are being more flexible for parents to be able to attend these types of events for their kids.

Next Tuesday is Tommy's class Portfolio Breakfast.  I can't wait!

Monday, June 01, 2015

June Goals

I'm getting totally psyched for the month of June!  I'm understanding more about the Beachbody business and have lots to do this month for family, work, fitness and making our house a home!

  • End of school year on June 11!  Ensure I know of all the school events that parents are requested to be at!
  • Boys start sports camps at the YMCA the week after school.  Do they need any special equipment (cleats, where are their shin guards, etc.)? Get used to the schedule with where to drop off and pick up.
  • Plan what we want to do in August for vacation - one or two weeks?  What would our itinerary be if we go to Massachusetts and Maine?
  • Continue reading with the boys and working on math skills (come up with some good games)
  • Date nights with Tom  - this is a habit now, but I'm afraid to drop it from the goals list.

  • Build my Beachbody Coach business - Now I have a month and two challenge pack sales under my belt.  Goal is to get to Emerald by the end of the month.  I need to sign my husband up as a coach and sign up someone else as a coach.  Build a calendar and know who is interested in what:  June 8-12 Coach Sneak Peak, June 15 - 28 Free Butts, Guts and Guns challenge group (I'm doing two exercise videos and two recipes for our team) and a 21-Day Fix Challenge Group (need to have the program and Shakeology) June 28 - July 18.  
  • Blog post 5x a week
  • Get up to date on blog reading on Feedly
  • Get to the office earlier - 8:30 is the target to meet.  I will track this heavily this month.  I have a lot of work at the office going on.

Health and Fitness
  • Finish getting to my goal weight
  • Elliptical 5x per week
  • Daily strength training and stretching
  • Weekly yoga class
  • Menu planning
  • Meal prep on weekends and/or after grocery shopping - make hummus, salad dressing, prep salads, chop veggies

  • Keep the garden and herbs on deck alive!
  • Paint guest room for Phoebe
  • Declutter the garage
  • Clean out the basement - find out what I can sell to the children's consignment vs. donations
  • Clean carpets in house
  • Do our assigned follow ups for the Landscape Designer - our next appointment is 6/24
Do you do work on monthly goals?  How is it going?  I've found it's part of my secret for getting things done and doing more than I ever thought possible!

May Goals - Recap

Where did this month go!!!  It flew by so fast!  I accomplished a lot, but still left a lot more to do and missed my blog friends for the last two weeks of the month!  However, the boys had a great birthday and I'm learning a lot!!!

  • Plan for the boys' birthday on May 29th.  We're not going to have a big party this year, just small with family, but will need to do something for both of their Kindergarten classes and then their YMCA class in the afternoon.

The above picture we went to Whole Foods to find their birthday cake.  We got a pina colada cake, perfect to kick off the summer!

  • Phoebe's Field Hockey schedule - they have a big field hockey tournament on May 30th
  • Register boys for CYFF classes in the fall (these are Catholic Youth Faith classes)
  • Register boys for summer camps at the YMCA for June and one week in August
  • Plan what we want to do in August for vacation - one or two weeks?  where do we want to go and do? Still working on this.  Definitely looking to go north to Massachusetts and Maine
  • Work with boys on sight words and numbers/math skills 
  • Date nights with Tom - we're on a roll with this one!

  • Build my Beachbody Coach business - I'm still trying to decide what my exact goals should be.  I'd like to sign two coaches to become Emerald. I am building my business.  I did not make Emerald this month.  I need to sign up my husband as a coach as he's drinking Shakeology daily now and I'm running out before the next shipment comes in.  Then I need one other coach.  I did get two new customers and signed them up for my first two Challenge Pack sales.  One did Body Beast and the other PiYo.  I'm going to work up a monthly calendar system and continue with the sales, but sign coaches!
  • Blog post 5x a week - I'm getting much better at posting more often.  Now let's get more updates from me other than goals and what we are eating for dinner!  This did not happen, LOL. After mid-May, I got so busy with life!
  • Get up to date on blog reading on Feedly Definitely not!  I miss reading up on all my blog friends!!!
  • Get to the office earlier - 8:30 is the target to meet.  I'm going to start tracking the number of days I meet this goal this month!  June is the month I'm going to make this stick!

Health and Fitness
  • Drop the remaining 6 lbs from last month's goal. Getting there. I'm still at end-of-month stable with the beginning of the month.  However, for two days, I did achieve my best weight ever in the last two years.  I'm going to work this hard in June, as I want muscle, but less of me to have to pull up, around and over obstacles at the Spartan Sprint this July!
  • Elliptical 5x per week I got in 14 days of cardio in May.  Needs some work.  One was a Body Combat class at the YMCA, so that was fun!
  • Stretch or do yoga daily I did stretch most days and made it to one yoga class at the YMCA this month.
  • Meal prep on weekends and/or after grocery shopping - make hummus, salad dressing, prep salads, chop veggies I need to make this a habit

  • Meal planning weekly I will be picking this habit back up in June
  • Take a state of our finances and decide any plans to make changes to budget This needs some work

  • Setup the outside garden with veggies and herbs
  • Paint guest room for Phoebe
  • Declutter the garage
  • Clean out the basement - find out what I can sell to the children's consignment vs. donations
  • Now that the carpet cleaner is fixed and our bedroom carpet is done, I can clean all the carpets in the house  No to this and the two above!!!  I need to get moving on this stuff!
  • Plan/build out where the hot tub is going by contacting/setting up an appointment with a landscape designer.  I have a message into them from their website, but need to follow up as I haven't heard back.  Had the meeting with the landscape designer and have another meeting on June 24th.  Very excited about this

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Greek Salad Cravings

Before two years ago, I was never a big fan of Greek salad.  I had tried it several times at restaurants, but something always seemed off.  Either there was too much dressing, the feta or dressing was too salty, or something else was off.  Nothing ever impressed me to be like, "Oh my God, I have to have that again!"  But then two years ago, I went to South Africa and let me tell you, they know how to do Greek salad right!  And it was everywhere I went, I swear I had it twice a day!

When this time of year rolls around, I actually start to crave the deliciousness of that Greek salad, but am still very nervous to order it at restaurants.  I had to learn to recreate this goodness at home, and I quite believe I have now.  I made it on Monday night to go with the salmon and I was so happy with the results.  I had to take some creative license though, as we were out of feta, but had gorgonzola cheese  It was still pure awesomeness!

Salad fixings:
Chopped romaine lettuce
Halved cherry tomatoes
Diced red onion (I only had about a 1/4 onion and I was making a lot of salad)
A leftover scallion already chopped up (to make up for the missing red onion)
1 cucumber cut into quarters lengthwise and then sliced into pieces
Two handfuls of pitted black kalamata olives chopped (this was a big salad!)

Feta cheese (on the side to put on at the table) - or in our case we used the gorgonzola we had

Salad dressing:
3 cloves garlic put through a garlic press
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (I used balsamic)
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup olive oil

I mixed the salad dressing up first and let it sit while I chopped and constructed the rest of the salad.  At the table, we served the salad on our plates, added the cheese per the person's taste or omit if they don't like it and drizzled the dressing over the top.  This salad dressing reminded me so much of what I had in South Africa, I was so happy!!!!

I prefer not putting salad dressing on the salad in the bowl as my husband really hates any kind of vinaigrette salad dressing.  He's more of a ranch or honey mustard kind of guy.  It also makes leftovers easy to put away, as salad with dressing on it, doesn't keep as leftovers very well.  When you make a salad this big, it leaves a lot of leftovers, but that encourages people to have salad if they get hungry. There's no excuse as it's already made.  It also makes me packing a salad for lunch that much easier.  I love anything that promotes easy, healthy eating!

Relaxed Menu Plan This Week

This week, we've had a pretty relaxed menu plan, in that I didn't really plan too much.  Below are the dinners we've had so far this week and considering Phoebe wasn't feeling well Tuesday and Tom came down with a stomach bug Wednesday, I'm glad I didn't have grand plans for dinners this week!  Here's what we've had for dinner so far this week.  I have no idea what we're going to do tonight and tomorrow.  I still need to see how Phoebe and Tom are feeling.  Hopefully no one else comes down with it.

Sunday - Mother's Day - DH made me dinner
Grilled marinated flank steak, wedge salad with chipotle ranch dressing, grilled green onions, marinated cherry tomatoes, red onions and olives in a vinaigrette dressing

Sweet teriyaki salmon, roasted asparagus, black forbidden rice, greek salad

Leftover tomato sauce and sausage over rigatoni

Wednesday -  Phoebe was supposed to have field hockey practice but it was canceled.
Sandwich night - if it ain't broke don't fix it!

I've also been spending more time in the garden in the evenings, as it was a mess of weeds that needed to be cleaned out before I could start planting.  Last night I finished the weeding and I'll begin planting tonight.  Then I need to get the herbs on the deck cleaned up and plant a few new ones.  I should have some good pics of everything in the next few days.  Down in the garden, the strawberries are taking over and I don't mind.  I'm going to stop them from spreading beyond where they are right now, by cutting back any future runners.  I hear that will make the plants that are left produce more fruit.  If so, we may be in for some good strawberries this year! And my cilantro in the garden grew back beautifully.  On the deck, it looks like the thyme and oregano are coming back and we planted some pumpkin seeds in two containers on the deck and they are doing great.  I'll be transferring them to the garden below sometime in the next few weeks.