Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy

Max Ehrmann.


Quote of the Day

And I learned what is obvious to a child. That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered. But most of all, I learned that life is about sitting on benches next to ancient creeks with my hand on her knee and sometimes, on good days, for falling in love
Nicholas Sparks

I Forgot to Take Something Out to Thaw. . .AGAIN!!!

If you’re anything like me you experience occasional bouts of forgetfulness. If there is one area I excel at in the forgetfulness category it is when it comes to remembering to take out something to thaw for dinner. Since this can become a problem, (especially if you are a repeat offender), I’m going to share with you how I deal with this problem. First and foremost I always have a few items around for back up! Most of my back up meals can be added to your grocery list for just a few dollars or you might already have the ingredients and just need help putting them together.

Back up Option #1: Breakfast for dinner can be a great back up plan as most people have a few eggs lying about and even the ingredients to make pancakes or waffles (even if you don’t have any pre-bought mix a little flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, eggs, milk and butter and now you do have mix.) Bacon or sausage or fruit/veggies on the side and just like magic you have a meal.

Back up Option #2: A quiche or frittata in a pie dish (if you don’t keep around a frozen pie crust or are scared to make one from scratch). The main ingredients are eggs, milk, cheese, maybe flour and whatever veggies (or meat) you have and want to add to the mix.  This option takes a little longer in cook time, but it will still get you a hot and healthy meal that doesn’t require a trip to the grocery store.

Back up Option #3: Bean and Cheese Quesadillas.  I always keep tortilla’s around, add a can of refried beans, some cheese and any veggies you might have on hand (if you have any left over meat from a previous meal you can chop it up and make this a non-vegetarian meal), and you have a meal. This one is great if you’re in a pinch for time or if you have a toddler that goes from fine to starving in 2.2 seconds.

Back up Option #4: Pesto Pasta/Spaghetti Aglio Olio.  Who doesn’t have some dried pasta laying about in the pantry?  Cook your pasta and add some pesto sauce. (This is a great item to keep in the fridge or freezer) OR if you don’t have Pesto you can add Olive Oil, Garlic, Pepper, Salt and Red Pepper Flakes and magically you have Spaghetti Aglio Olio (which is just fun to say). With both of these you can eat just pasta or spice it up with some veggies.

Back up Option #5: Fish Sticks. (We don’t do frozen chicken fingers at my house but you could do them instead of Fish Sticks). Maybe not the healthiest of options but the babe adores fish sticks and getting to have a little tiny bowl of sauce to dip in. It’s also super quick, easy, and low stress.  Pair off with some steamed veggies and a quick meal is made.

Back up Option #6: If you have some sides at home and just forgot to take the meat out to thaw, you can always pick up just the meat on your way home and subtract the money from next week’s budget since you have it on hand for later.  This should take at most 10 extra minutes to your commute, which isn’t much to sacrifice to avoid fast food take out.

Now, that being said while you’re making dinner tonight, take out tomorrow’s meat to thaw.  If you do that you will have to refer to this page one less time.

Cheers and Happy Eating!

Forget Who You Think You Should be and Focus on Who You Are

On my 30th birthday one of my oldest and dearest friends gave me a leather journal and said something along the lines of “For your writing if you still are and if you’re not, you should be.” It never ceases to amaze me what sticks with you over time.  This friends voice and these words have come back to haunt me numerous times since this event took place, until I finally really listened to the words, and followed her advice.

I used to write incessantly. I wrote letters to this friend when she moved away in seventh grade, until she returned to the states our sophomore year of high school. I had an uncanny ability to befriend people in some strange way, exchange addresses and then would write to them from across states and continents. I scribbled poetry in the margins of my notebooks in high school and college and on order taking tickets when I worked in restaurants. In college I could whip out a ten page paper the night before it was due (and still get an A.) Sometimes in my “real jobs” I would still find myself scribbling poetry in the margins of my work notes. . .

I don’t know where it all went wrong and I put down the pen and paper but somewhere along the lines I got caught up in other “stuff” and took a long hiatus from my writing (too long).  During this hiatus I wasn’t as happy as I had been in the past.  I didn’t feel quite whole and I found myself questioning too often who the person in the mirror was.

I think all too often we get caught up with what we think we should be in life and lose sight of who we truly are.  I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that I function better when I write so I need to somehow incorporate writing into that equations.  I have been so much happier since I’ve been back to putting my thoughts to paper (er, um, computer screen).  So, my challenge to all of you out there is: to not lose sight of your dreams, however large or small.  Dreams should not be filed away for later, dreams should be pulled out constantly even if you are only able to chip away at them a tiny bit at a time.  Don’t lose who you are for who you think you should be or even worse who other people think you should be.

I’ll end with a quote by Dave Buchanan  “ I don’t need to be rich or have a fancy home. I just want to go to sleep at night knowing my labor had heart, I’ve loved fiercely and lived close enough to the edge that I can see the waves kiss the rocks.”  Live your life for you and your loved ones.  Not everyone else.  Incorporate your dreams into your life, find a way to do what you love (even if it’s only as a hobby)!

Cheers and Namaste!

Children’s Parties

The babe is fast approaching the two year old mark and the internal debate of to throw or not to throw a party for him rages within me. I’ve hosted a few parties in my day and I never find them to be “fun”. I am usually so busy running around to make sure all my guests are entertained that I rarely find time to enjoy myself.

In this case the party would not be about me, rather it would be about the babe. So I ask myself, how would the babe feel about a party? Honestly, I don’t think the babe would care either way. My husband and myself are still his main world, with his teachers and Grammy following in at a close second.

I have received upcoming birthday invitations from two children at his school plus two more invitations from friends with children ranging 2-5. (Yes, my son has a better social life than his parents do.) When I received the invitations from the school children I thought to myself… “These parents are insane! There are 12 kids in his class plus whatever family friend kids they would invite… I can’t imagine 20, two year old’s running around my yard” (and we live on almost a ½ acre.) After attending one of the parties over the weekend I quickly became convinced that a small party for the babe with just family will suffice quite nicely… and this is how I came to this conclusion…

1. Throwing children’s parties, even at your home, can be costly!Most people feel obligated to provide some sort of entertainment be it a petting zoo, bouncy house, or other rent for the day something or other. Tables and chair rental (if you don’t own enough), cakes, food, decorations, party bags… all of these things add up quickly, even if you do everything yourself.

2. We are currently working on paying off our debt, not accumulating more. A rough estimate is that a “simple” child’s party can costs $200+. (And what I’ve seen some parents spend is far beyond that, especially if they host the party at a place designed to entertain children or buy a bouncy house.)

3. We have a pretty large family. If just my immediate family were to come (this isn’t even my husbands) there would be 10 people. So I don’t think the babe would miss out on having people around to celebrate him.  (I’ve also heard you should have as many children as your child’s age, which really would make a party a lot more manageable).

4. I am not convinced the babe will remember his 2nd birthday… in which case I’d rather wait and spend exorbitant amounts of money when he is older and might actually remember.

5. I should have already sent out invitations if I want to have a party…apparently I am not as organized as other mothers because my child’s birthday is 4 weeks away and I didn’t decide until last week we weren’t having a huge party. If we were having a party, I’d already be behind in sending out the invitations because like a wedding you should have them sent out 6 weeks in advance…

I decided that in lieu of a “children’s” party the babe, the hubs and I will play hooky on his birthday and take a trip to the zoo. Then the babe will have lunch and cake surrounded by family on the weekend before or after his birthday (we still haven’t even figured that part out). I want to keep it simple and enjoyable for all involved.


There is a tiny bit of Good Baby Advice

When you are pregnant, and after you have your little bundle of joy, you get bombarded from all directions with unsolicited advice. Friends, family, your doctors and even strangers feel the need to tell you: what you will need, what you will want, what you should and what you shouldn’t do with your baby.  A few words of caution: most of the advice you will receive will be utterly worthless.  Did you read that, utterly worthless! But…a few randomly tossed pieces of advice will stick to you like glue and you will rack your post pregnancy brain to no end trying to remember what saint of a person delivered you such advice so you can send them a Thank You note with a gift card for their genius.

1. Have a diaper party and buy diapers once every paycheck while you are pregnant.  If you aren’t part of the cloth diaper revolution I suggest you start stocking up on diapers!  This technique lets your wallet feel the pain in advance and then if you get in a pinch with money a little later on your baby’s butt can still be covered.  Buy all different sizes newborn-6.  Yes, it will take up some of your precious storage, but let me tell you how awesome it is to NOT have to buy diapers all the time during the first year of baby’s life, you just open the door to the closet and, wham, take your pick.  (On a side note your husband will thank you for not having to make a run to the store in the middle of the night because you thought you had enough diapers to make it through until morning.  He got his fill of that when you sent him for hummus and watermelon at midnight while you were pregnant.)

2. Sleep when baby sleeps.  I think a lot of us have heard this one and don’t think much of it, until we actually do it!  I cannot tell you how much you should heed this advice!  I still do this and my baby is almost two!  Most mothers are sleep deprived and can use every extra wink of sleep they can get.  If you put your baby down for a nap and try to accomplish anything, that little sucker will wake right up, babies have a sixth sense that kicks in anytime you try to get something done and they will immediately put a stop to progress of any kind.  If you sleep while they are sleeping, you feel better and I swear they sleep for longer because they can sense they aren’t missing anything.  (For hands free cleaning try wearing baby in a sling/carrier of sorts.)

3. Get a good baby monitor.  You will appreciate this for the few nights the baby actually sleeps in their own bed. You can spy on your spouse while they are in with the baby, so you know if you need to come flying in to fix something they are doing wrong.  And if you need to go outside for a minute to scream and release a little tension of your own, you can watch your little angel on the monitor to make sure your own screaming doesn’t in turn cause their screaming.

4. Find a good online mommy group and join!  Because, let’s face it, the only other people that are awake at 2:30 in the morning who willimmediately respond to a question you post (because they are also up) is another mom.  If you have a good mommy group you can post all sorts of questions you are too embarrassed to ask your friends or family and you will get NO JUDGEMENT because they know exactly what you are talking about and want to help you through it the best they can!

All the advice on what items you need for baby are opinions.  Different things work for different babies and parents. Take all this advice with a grain of salt (even mine). It’s all trial and error when it comes to yourbaby.  You will hear people say you can’t live without “blah, blah, blah”… but the truth is, if you didn’t know it existed, you might just be able to.