In between overdoing it

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Organizing Month 11:Clearing out Holiday Stress

Organizing Month 11: Holiday stressWith the end of November comes my second to last installment of my walk through the book “One Year to an Organized Life,” by Regina Leeds. So far in this series we have tackled emotional and physical clutter and it has made all of the holiday activities so much easier. Here are links to the spaces we have organized so far; Kitchen, Garage, Bathroom, Bedroom, Paper Organization, Memorabilia, Travel, Kids Rooms, Living/Dining Room.

The author said it but I didn’t really believe it until Thanksgiving came upon us. She stated after creating organizational habits throughout the house this year your home will now support you during the holidays instead of sabotage you. She was totally right!

The freak-out begins

Every year about two weeks before Thanksgiving, I start to get anxious. I start to freak out imagining all that has to get done before Thanksgiving. Creating lists upon lists or what needs to be cleaned, purchased and cooked.  Tending to take on way to much this time of year, the process of prepping for the holiday’s makes me over complicate all of these things.

I worry will there be enough food? I envision how messy my house will be for guests.  Not to mention the time it will take to shop, prep, cook and clean the house, while still having to work a full-time job. Add to that the anxiety of seeing Christmas ads all over the place by early November. Are they kidding I haven’t even gotten through Thanksgiving yet and I’m already feeling the pressures of Christmas shopping?

Turkey, family and flooring oh my!

Well, to my surprise this year that didn’t happen when by all reason it should have been worse. See, about two weeks before Thanksgiving we were scheduled to get new flooring installed through almost all of our home. This renovation was scheduled for October but had to be postponed due to Hurricane Matthew.working-mother-clip-art-multitasking_mom1

Not only did I have my entire house in shambles, I had no floor for about a week and a half before the big day. Almost the whole house of furniture was packed into three bedrooms and we were still living in it! So roughly about four days before Thanksgiving, I had to put my entire house back together.

Still we could not move all the furniture back completely until the baseboard’s were done THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING. What? When I should be prepping, cleaning and cooking I had to move furniture.

The weird thing was, this year I was not stressed. I truly believe all of the work of de-cluttering had played a large roll in this lack of the anxiety I have come to associate with Thanksgiving.

In fact, once the floor was installed we realized how much nicer our home felt with less stuff. As we moved in some furniture, we uncluttered more and decided to get rid of pieces to make our small home feel more open.

During the renovation my kids and I were stuck in the bedroom and front yard for much of the time. I took this opportunity to further pare down my children’s belongings and tackled the scrapbook cabinet I had mentioned in a prior post. Getting rid of toys, cloths, and video games I missed on the first go around. Once that was done we moved on to Thanksgiving.

What was Thanksgiving like as a kid?

The first section of this chapter, in my view, is the most important. Surprisingly it has nothing to do with organizing your physical space. Instead it deals with confronting where your holiday stress comes from and setting your intention for this years celebration’s. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is huge.

It starts with several journal questions that dive into what your holiday was like as a child. They seem like simple questions at first but help you to discover some thought patterns that may be trapping you into a certain way of thinking about Thanksgiving.

Growing up my parents hosted Thanksgiving. My mom and Dad where really good cooks and dinner was always delicious. However my cousins, who would come over, had a beautifully decorated and immaculately clean home. My family… not so much. I remember being the only one to clean the house before Thanksgiving because I was embarrassed. To me our house was always a mess, our furniture was old and out dated. It was nothing like the clean, well-kept home my cousins had.

Looking back I realized my parents were more concerned about the food they prepared and the family time we had.  They were never much for appearances. Not having a ton of money or time, they felt these resources were better spent on providing a great meal, not on the appearance of the house.

However, after answering these questions I discovered the majority of my Thanksgiving stress was generating from this memory. It was not in the food preparation so much as the house cleaning I worried over. It was so difficult to keep the house clean to the way I wanted with two dogs and two children.

Mom, we really didn’t need a 20 lb Turkey

The other thing I realized is I completely over spent and over-cooked for Thanksgiving dinner. Every year I would watch my parents prepare Thanksgiving enough for 30 people when we where only 10. One year my mother even bought a 20 lb turkey! So growing up I always thought this was the way Thanksgiving was done.

This discovery was made when I was making my Thanksgiving menu, something that the author advises in the third section of the chapter. Going down my list, noting all of ingredients to shop for there was a nagging feeling to make this list longer. Eventually my husband asked why I was trying to make Thanksgiving stressful for myself by adding more to do? He was totally right. I didn’t have the time or the energy to add more and why did I feel like I needed too?

This Thanksgiving we had a wonderful time and I actually got to spend it with my family instead of in the kitchen. I allowed myself to take some shortcuts and help by purchasing cake and pie instead of making it myself and let my husband do the clean up.

Thanksgiving isn’t suppose to be about stressing out, or having an immaculate home filled to too much stuff. It is about family and making memories. So this year I am setting my intention on that.

[ctt title=”‘The holidays are about families celebrating together-the holiday is not supposed to be perfect,’ ” tweet=”‘The holidays are about families celebrating together-the holiday is not supposed to be perfect,’ ” coverup=”bla8Z”]from One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds.

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Let’s close out the Summer Stronger

summer strong

 

You still have time to join ****NEW Start Date September 1****

End Summer a Healthier You

I know I don’t post much about Shakeology and Beachbody related info on the blog but part of my search for balance as a working mom has been to try and get myself healthy. Beachbody has been a big part of that. This summer I have slacked off a bit and have failed to stay consistent in my workouts.

I don’t know about you but this summer has gone by in a blur. It has been fun, frustrating, emotional but I have learned so much about myself and where I want to go in the future. Also what I want to return to. As the school year approaches I need to get myself back on track,  to re-establish why I started writing this blog.  To get back in touch with why I needed to find moderation in the first place. I, as well as all us mom’s, need to take better care of ourselves. Let’s moving forward with idea and establish healthier routines.

I know I have not talked about it much but this is the reason I return to Beachbody. I know I can find the support of friends that I have grown up with and the guidance of what has worked for me in the past.john maxwell

So *September 1, I will being again towards my search for moderation and balance in health. Taking what I have learned about myself this summer I will enter the Fall with a goal. Not just a physical goal but a mental and emotional one as well. To conquer fears, to challenge myself and to emerge a stronger, healthier me.

If you would like to join leave a note in the comments below or email me at inbetweenmoderation@gmail.com. You do not have to purchase any Beachbody products to participate (although they are helpful!) This contest will be in the style of the Biggest Loser. It’s a cost of $5 to join which goes into the “pot” to be won at the end.

Over a 21 day timeframe, the group will work together to guide, motivate and incentivize you to work out and make clean eating choices. August 1st will be the first weigh in. Privately, you will send your “group coach” a private message of your weight on your scale, with the date written on a paper beside it. We will have weekly weigh ins, and on September 22, 2016, we will have the final weigh-in, where at that point, the person who has lost the largest percentage of body weight, will win the entire pot of money!

Keeping Your Kids’ Brains Active Out Of School

keeping kids brains active over the summerKeeping Your Kids’ Brains Active Once School is Out

Guest post by Susie Almaneih

Susie is no stranger to the art of balancing multiple things at one time. Climbing the corporate ladder is a challenge for anyone, but that can especially be true when you are trying to do it in heels. 
Susie Almaneih, entrepreneur and business executive, has learned over the course of her 20+ year career that as a female, being able to lead a juggling act in the professional world circus can sometimes be the biggest asset you’ve got. Currently, she is the SVP of Products and Program Marketing in Discovery Bay, California. visit her blog at: http://susiealmaneih.org/

 Keeping Your Kids’ Brains Active Once School is Out

What student isn’t excited about summer break? Sleeping in, sunshine, swimming, sports, activities, friends – who can beat it. The downside to summer break is possible ‘brain drain.’ According to recent studies, experts say students can lose three months of education during their summer breaks, and in the new school year ahead, a lot of time is lost relearning what they forgot. At usually two or three months away from school, summer break can just become a loss of knowledge gained in the prior year.

 As a parent, this is a concerning realization – but rest assured, there are things you can do to ensure your children’s previous learning hasn’t gone down the drain by August. Experts cite that the involvement of parents makes the difference in children retaining what they have already learned, and being prepared for all that’s to come.

 To combat brain drain, parents can strike a balance between learning and fun, infusing summer lessons with informality and grabbing opportunities to teach where they can find them. Most have learned through trial and error that sitting kids down at set times of day with work to do in the summer backfires. The more it feels like schoolwork, the faster you lose them. So here are some ways that will actually work to keep kids’ minds active when they’re out of school:

 Summer reading

Summer reading programs have been around for a century, providing age-appropriate options for kids of every grade and helping those who aren’t naturally great readers to find the material that will make them want to pick up a book.

 Foster creative pursuits

Whether it’s art, music, or acting, using the creative side of the brain is always a good idea in continued learning. Take advantage of your children’s interests. For example, if they’re into paintings, encourage them to learn about a particular artist, or even have them take part in a summer art course.

Travel

Experiencing new parts of the country and world, along with different cultures, is an invaluable learning experience that you can’t even get in a classroom. Have your kids do some homework in advance of the trip. Have them learn about what they’ll be seeing, the history behind it, etc. They can also participate in researching what sites the family should visit.

Games

You might think that hours spent at the game console always equal mindless wasted time, but some games actually get kids moving, and may improve their ability to focus and learn new skills. Games like Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero engage the body, while encouraging mental concentration that not only helps kids learn, but also prepares younger students to sit still for lessons later.

Cooking

To enjoy the fruits of culinary labors, children must first master reading, measuring, and following directions. Summer lessons that are much easier to swallow when the outcome is something tasty. Cooking also requires patience, accurate time-telling, and clean-up skills.

Family Activity Day

Work with your children as you put them in charge of planning a family activity day. This incorporates budgeting, research, and time management skills. The result is a fun day everyone can enjoy and remember, long after summer has ended.

These fun ways to include learning into summer vacation will be instrumental as your children tackle a new, productive school year next fall. They’ll not only be well-rested, but will benefit from brain power that hasn’t taken a break for three months.

5 Ways To Keep Your Kids Learning All Summer

5 ways to keep your kids learning all summer long

5 Ways To Keep Your Kids Learning This Summer

Here is South Florida this Thursday marks the last day of school. Most teachers will advise that students lose some of the skills they had worked hard on all year over the summer break. My kindergarten ages son is a budding reader and my daughter is finally started to like math. I for one do not want to break the momentum of learning that has started with the fantastic teachers they have had this year. [ctt title=”So, how do you keep the learning going over the summer? He are some great ideas found around the internet.” tweet=”So, how do you keep the learning going over the summer? He are some great ideas found around the internet.” coverup=”Bfv5P”]

  1. Explore local museums – Not only does this help you beat the heat of summer it gives you kids an opportunity to learn something in a new setting. It doesn’t have to be an art museum . There are various types of museums such as those gear towards younger children that are more sensory, museums that explore science and others that teach history. Spots like this are tucked in towns all over the country and are a great source of summer learning.

You can find art museums by country, city or state here.

Looking for a science center? You can also search by country or state here.

You can also go to the American Alliance of Museums to find site specific to the US.

  1. Cook with your kids – If you haven’t already read my post about how my kids are learning measurements and cooperation thru Mug cakes you can read it here. Cooking with your kids is not only a great way for them to learn life skills. You can work a little math lesson in as well.

  2. Have your kids do a summer journal – This is something I am trying out this year. A journal jut for them to write down their thoughts and observations, save souvenirs from their summer trips and really document their summer however they feel.wpid-2015-07-31-21.58.18.jpg.jpeg

  3. Visit the library… often! – Last summer we visited the library every weeks and my kids got into the habit of reading all summer long. My son wasn’t reading yet but spending time at the library got him use to choosing books and got him excited for reading.

  4. Visit the famers market or local farm –  This was another Saturday activity we did each week last summer. My kids had so many great experiences learning about farm animals and the importance of farm fresh foods. They feed chickens and cows, picked peppers and tried new fruits. Plus you can save a bundle of money at the famers market and can bring your farm goodies home to cook with your kids.

How do you plan on keeping your kids learning all summer? Would love to here some other ideas to try with my kids. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below.


Crazy 8 Sale On Now!

How My Help Was Hurting My Family

familyIt was one of those days when I felt like the worse mom ever, the worse wife ever. You know those days. When you come home from work, you have a splitting headache, the day was absolute crap and all you want to do is get home and cuddle your babies.

Then it happens. You enter the house, step over the toys, clothes and shoes strun about, head into the kitchen and stare at the pile of dishes in the sink. You proceed into the bedroom to change out of your work clothes and glimpse the two heaping mountains of laundry awaiting your arrival. Then your partner asks, ” What’s for dinner?” It’s an innocent enough question. Not one that should put you over the edge in their view. Not one that should send you into hysterics. But right then and there you lose your ?&%$.

The pressure from having all this stuff piling up on top you is to much. The overwhelming responsibility of feeling like everything is just sitting waiting for you to get it done. Sometimes, some days it is too much. However, if I am honest with myself. I know this literally was a house of my own making. Somewhere along the way in my journey through motherhood. I got the mistaken impression that only I can cook food, only I can do the laundry and only I can touch the floor to pick up things.  Why would my family every venture to do any of these things? I had always done them.

This my friends is called enabling! Yes, I am an enabler. I have enabled my husband to play video games while I cooked dinner. I have enabled my children to think throwing clothing on the floor is ok. I picked it up, I made the food. I have driven myself bat guano crazy trying to keep up this enabling façade.

Maybe I felt more superior, more important, more needed by allowing this to go on. But that’s the thing about overdoing it. There comes a point when you can not do anymore and you are crushed by the weight you have loaded upon yourself. So there I stood in my closet feeling crushed by a simple question of what is for dinner and all the expectation, false disappointment and self-pity I feel welling up inside me.

I tell you this story as a cautionary tale. I made a desion to stop the madness. The next morning I didn’t make breakfast, or lunch. I let the laundry sit in the basket. I left the dishes in the sink. Yes, my house is a wreck but that’s just it. This  is not only my house. It is our home. How dare I think that I am alone in caring for it, or cleaning it or living in it. So I made a decision to let it go. Yes, it is hard…really hard to walk past that lone sock in the hall or leave the half eaten cereal bowl right where it is. But I’m learning. I’m learning that it is not all on me. I’m learning that the only real pressure in my house is what I create for myself. I am learning not to be an enabler… and whether they like it or not, my family is learning too.

What happens before the grocery store?

 

wgeaThat box of sugary cereal sitting high on the grocery store shelf. Those bananas in the produce section, The gallon low-fat milk in the dairy case. As a family we hastily run thorough the supermarket grabbing these items, but do we ever think of how they got there? More importantly, do our children understand that these items don’t magically appear on grocery store shelves? They are grown, cultivated and raised to become our food.

Our children are now generations removed from the agrarian system and really might not have a grasp of how our food is produced. This thought occurred to me as I was attempting to overhaul our household diet a few years back. When every item in your pantry is surrounded by cardboard, how will our children ever learn what real food is?grocery store

It became an important endeavor for my children to learn what real food was. Not packaged Goldfish crackers, but real fish. Not Oreo cookies, but oranges. Not Eggo waffles but real eggs. So I embarked on a journey to educate myself and them. This entailed learned about not only how things grow but also about the circle of life.

They are still young and I didn’t want to get to graphic about it, but I felt it was important to have an appreciation for the idea that meat doesn’t come from the meat counter. Some animal gave its life to nourish us.  Like Mustafa from the Lion King says, one day we will become the grass the animal eats and we will nourish it. We depend on each other.

To teach them some of these pretty heavy concepts, I looked to my local community for help. First I became part of a Community Supported Agriculture program. For a fee these programs give you a portion of what the farm produces. Sometimes it’s a little, sometimes the box is over flowing. It is all based on the harvest. So every other week, my children traveled with me to the farm to pick up the box and see what vegetables it contained. They also were able to tour the farm and speak with the farmers. You can see if your community has a CSA program at LocalHarvet.org

In the summer, I also try to take the kids to a local “U-Pick.” A U-pick is a farming area where you can pick as many items that will fits into a box or bucket for one price. I will have them pick cherry tomatoes and green peppers then they help me cook them for that night’s dinner. This way they not only had the fun of picking the vegetables they also got to see first-hand how they become a meal.

The toughest concept, but one I feel was the most important, is to have respect for our environment and the animals in it. Eating meat is not a bad thing, it is what is something natural. However, it is important to have an appreciation for the animal that gave its life for our food. So whenever possible, I try to buy grass fed and humanly raised meats and fish. Yes, it is more expensive and not always in the budget. However, if my children can learn to be good stewards of our planet, that we are all connect, and to respect other creatures. That lesson is priceless.

 

 

5 yummy ways to use up bananas

bananas-1326987

Seeing as bananas are pretty much the only fruit my son will eat it is something I always have on hand. I almost always have 2 or 3 bananas that have survived the week and reached the over ripe stage. Here are a few interesting recipes that use over ripe bananas.

  1. Banana ice cream – This is something I make pretty regularly and it is my preferred way to use up over ripe bananas. I find I can shove these few bananas in a freezer bag quickly and once they are frozen solid they are all set for ice cream.
  2. Banana Bread -This is a recipe I posted about a year ago. It is amazingly moist and delicious and easy to bring together. Plus it is low calorie and low fat. They only problem is sticking to just one slice!
  3. Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie – I like to use some of my frozen bananas to thicken up a smoothie. I use shakeology but you can use them in really any smoothie recipe to bump up the creamy texture and sweetness.
  4. Banana Muffins – Plan on trying this recipe today since I have some Nutella to use up. Sounds yummy!
  5. Banana Cookies – Did you know you could substituting bananas for eggs! Did not know you could do this with bananas until I found this recipes. I think it is genius. Can’t wait to try it.
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In between overdoing it

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