Sunday, September 30, 2012

Easy White Chicken & Spinach Pizza

Easy White Chicken & Spinach Pizza
This will be a quick recipe. I'm not sure about you, but dinner's lately, have been no fun. I'm on recipe burn out. 

But, I do have a few tried and true quick recipes that I LOVE! They are kid friendly. I've found the more I include my two picky eaters in preparing a meal, they will more than likely eat it!

Easy White Chicken & Spinach Pizza

You Need:
1 Ready Pizza Crust
1 Jar Alfredo Sauce (Any Flavor)
Cooked and Sliced Chicken Breast (2 is plenty)
1 Bunch of Fresh Spinach, chopped
2 Roma Tomatoes (Sliced)
Italian Cheese Mix

1.) Preheat your oven as directed on pizza crust instructions.

2.) Spread out pizza crust on pan.

3.) Pour Alfredo sauce on crust to desired sauciness.* (We like a nice base, but not a heavy coating.)

4.) Place spinach all over pizza. (I feel you can't put too much on.)

5.) Spread out chicken breast on pizza.

6.) Place sliced tomatoes on pizza.

7.) Light coating of Italian Cheese Mix on top of pizza (or coat to desired cheesiness).

8.) Bake according to crust instructions.

9.) Eat and Enjoy!

*I usually add a little garlic salt and pepper to the Alfredo sauce to give it more flavor! Spice it up to taste, or leave it plain. Just a tip!

Let me know on Facebook how yours turned out! Happy eating!

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Coffee Dates

"My kids are the most well behaved, one and two year old ever, especially during coffee dates, at a coffee shop." Probably not a phrase you'll ever hear me say.

In fact, I feel sorry for the people that were around and today I even made my son apologize to a few of the coffee shop patrons for yelling. He was quite embarrassed, but he stopped yelling.

They also like to TOUCH EVERYTHING! All the time. Always touching.

My coffee dates with other women/mom's usually starts like this, "Hi! How are you? The kids? Great! Oh-just a second," get up chase down a child, and place a drink order. Come back, "So, I heard about so and so. Did you? What about the weather? Anything fun coming up? Just a second..." go get drinks and chase down children again.

These dates tend to take a good one to two hours (if I'm lucky!), because what could be said in about 30 minutes of good, deep conversation, gets interrupted by bathroom breaks, fighting, touching, crying, feeding snacks, separating kids, and well, just day to day life stuff with kids. Except we're trying to be contained in public, while sitting.  Toddlers don't do sitting.

Today, I totally thought I had out smarted myself. I tried to plan ahead. I brought colors, coloring books, snacks, cups, clothes, a whole goodie bag. Then, they both got a hot apple cider. (This was their first experience with apple cider and it was a huge hit!)

But, they are kids, and I do have high mommy ambitions about how one day, one of my outings with them, will be perfect. I dream that I'll have a full un-interrupted conversation and leave feeling refreshed and confident from all the good friend vibes and chat.

Instead, it usually ends like this, (Crying by one or both kids) "Well, I'm so sorry to have to cut this short, but these guys need to get home. Call you later? Let's do this again soon!?"

Sometimes, after meetings like this, I'm still surprised I have friends. They must like my witty repartee I bring to the table. (I know I enjoy a good repartee, especially witty ones.)

Today, I also wanted to leave a little love. In honor of all those days when I forgot to bring stuff, and wish there was something around that sweet coffee shop, other than glass and working people, for my kids to touch and play. We left a coloring book with a bag of crayons for someone else. I put a little note on there that said, "My kids love to color, maybe yours too! I'm leaving this here, and I hope it helps you!"

It's a small gesture, but hopefully, it will make someones day. Maybe some older kids can sit for 15 minutes, while mom enjoys a quiet moment. Maybe they can build a quiet, fun memory of the time they went to get coffee and stayed to talk about the drawing the kid had just done. 

One day, when I win the lottery, I'll create my Mom & Kids Coffee House. This place will of course, have the cool, awesome features of a coffee house, but with a ball pit like they have at McDonald's. 

Then, while we all sit on plush, trendy modern couch's with a coffee table between us, we can always look over and see our children. Bouncing and playing. Not bored to death at our need for adult human interaction, and sophisticated coffee mugs. Nope, they will BEG to go back. *Sigh* Coming to a town near you...when I win.

Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Romans 12:13

Here are some more posts on giving!

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Your What is Glistening in the Sun?

When I was younger, and by younger, I mean my teenage years, I loved summer! Running around in a bikini or sports bra and shorts always showing my abs off. I was a runner. My friends were runners. That's what we did. We looked AWESOME!

I would glisten in the sun from the sweat, or my shiny blond hair. I would tan. I seriously thought I was awesome. I would wear lip gloss to make my lips sparkle and glisten as well. For some reason, to be really desirable, your lips have to be shiny.

Fast forward 12 years to now. 

As I was walking into my bathroom today, I started to take off my shirt. Time to put real clothes on and get about my day. 

Our bathroom has one side (oddly enough right where the shower/tub is) that is half frosted window. There is so much light in there, that it is often times, blinding. Also, it gets so hot in the bathroom during the summer, I can't stand to be in there. In the winter it is like my own personal sauna, and I don't mind then.

As I was taking off my shirt, the sun was glistening on me, and then I saw some glistening around my stomach-my stretch marks were glistening! 

That weird hue of bluish, purply silver caught my eye in the mirror. A lot of times I completely forget they are there. My pregnancy battle scars. I'm pretty sure if being pregnant was a track meet, I would definitely have medaled with a purple heart/ribbon.

I never got them with my son on my stomach, nope, saved those babies for my breasts. I went from an A cup to a D cup when my milk came in. I was so proud of them, that when I dried up and saw what that milk had cost, I frowned. A lot like how my breasts did. They just looked sad.

My daughter inflicted the stomach scars. Just carried her different. I even gained less weight with her (both were about 30-35 lbs). She just sat in a weird position for the whole pregnancy. 

I've made my peace with them. Most of us have them. I'm not ashamed of them either. I still wear a bikini. I am a mom. I am real.

So, today, I decided to celebrate that I shine. I should see about adding some glitter to those bad boys! 

Ever have a weird moment like this? Share with me on facebook, or in the comments below!

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.                                                                                         1 Peter 3:3-4
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Library Fine

Today, we went to the library. My kids enjoy this so much, because usually during the week, there are lots of other little kids for them to see and interact with.

There are story times, toys, colors and coloring. A few times a week our library does crafts and shows movies too! There is always something to do at the library.

The library has books too! (And movies.) For a long time I forgot about how wonderful the library is. I can't encourage the use of the library enough. Every town that has a library is blessed, in my opinion.

Giving a little extra, to help someone else.
When we got there today, to return some books, I was embarrassed to learn I had a $0.10 fine.  Yep, I owed the library a dime! This seemed so silly, but it was my fault. I wasn't paying attention to the dates. This isn't the library's fault. 

I felt my face turn red when the lady behind the desk told me this. I pulled open my purse, and then I paused for a moment. I could use this time, to turn something negative, into a positive for someone else!

I handed the lady a $1 bill. I told her to use the remainder on someone else's fines. I know this may not seem like much, but for me it is. But, I turned a negative into a positive for myself, for $0.90. Remember, it's the little things. 

Maybe it was used for a little kid who really wanted to check out a few books, but wouldn't have been able to, due to his fines. Maybe it went to someone in school who uses the library regularly. Maybe someone else saw my little act of kindness and did something for someone else that day. Maybe it was just a nice surprise for someone else that day. I'll never know. But, I'll enjoy the Maybes.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an act of kindness?

Give, and it will be given unto you.
Luke 6:38

Here are some more posts on giving! Enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Marriage: Our House Fire

The past few years have been difficult for me and my husband.  Moving, meeting new people, lots of changes-good and bad.  Creating a family. This is all tough. So tough, no one likes to talk about it.

When you get married, you dream about your life together and how wonderful it will be to have your best friend with you through it all.  You have arguments and little tiffs here and there, but you think that's about as bad as it'll get.  You think, and probably say often, no matter what, we'll have each other.  

As I write this, I'm smirking.  I wish little 'tiffs' were the worst of it. Wouldn't we all be so lucky?

I've noticed little patterns in life.  Perhaps you have too.  It usually all starts around college or early twenties.  People start to pair up.  Engagements get announced slowly in your circle of friends and family.  Then it's followed by wedding, after wedding after wedding.  

Then, the other big announcements start.  "We're expecting!"  Again, the same pattern starts to emerge. One after one, friends and family start having children.  Some couples have one, some two, some three, and some are hoping for a basketball team. (These people are amazing to me!)

It seems that right around this time, we start to hear the other big, surprise announcements.  "We're separating......," and then sometimes, more often then not, "We're getting a divorce."

When I was younger (because this pattern isn't new, it's been around for decades), I used to think these people fell out of love with each other, or they weren't sole mates.  Perfect couples (always on the outward appearances only) separating because they fell out of love. This breaks my heart. 

I've never been divorced, but I can easily see how it can happen.  My husband and I feel victim to THE ROUTINE.

When you have a newborn for the first time, or the fifth, routine is strongly encouraged.  We had one with both our kids and still do today. Studies show that routines make infants/babies and children feel safe.  They know what to expect, this calms them and puts them at ease.  I know it makes me feel the same way.  Every night, at bath time, I feel a sense of relief.  I have made it through another day, everyone has, and we're all still alive. 

But, in our marriage, we fell victim to it.

During my pregnancies, we became so focused on kids.  After the first two, we were focused on the, "Are we going to have more and when?"  This seemed like a 100-pound weight we'd carry around.  A lot of times, grudgingly. 

We stopped talking about "us," we stopped dating, stopping doing things together, stopped talking almost all together. Our world centered around our kids. We fought, A LOT!  Mostly about not spending time with each other and how neither one of us could understand what the other was going through.  

I would get angry and hang on to everything until I finally couldn't take it anymore, and I would Anger Vomit (Spew all the negative things from my mouth) all over him. He would hold everything in and just never talk about it. He, more often than not, would just leave.  Arguing isn't really his style-he hates yelling.  Our communication skills had dropped to below zero.

So there we were.  Three years of a life of this.  We co-existed in our routine.  We never really wanted to address the big issues, the issues that drew us into fighting.  The issues of us.  As long as the boat wasn't really rocking, we both just seemed comfortable being, well, roommates with children.

Get up in the morning, breakfast, kids, snack, work, lunch time, naps, play time, make dinner, come home from work, work out (maybe), bath time, and finally bed time for everyone.  Weekends were a nightmare.  But this was our life, for three years.

I don't have the personality or belief, to get a divorce. Plus, I still loved my husband. Dearly. Honestly, it's because I am so stubborn about not getting divorced, that I decided to reach out. I reached out to friends. Quietly. I went in search of dear friends who knew, or had seen things between us, that wanted to help.

I mean, when you've gone this long and this far, WHERE DO YOU START?  How do you break free of the ROUTINE? 

We started with a book.  What a magical, wonderful book it was! This should be given to everyone around their third or fourth year of marriage. It's called The Love Dare. If you know ANYONE struggling, get them this book! I have loaned it out a couple of times now. We loved it. It was our first step.  We also bought the movie, Fireproof. It's based on The Love Dare book.  If you can get through the cheesiness of it, the point of the whole thing is amazing. It is honest. It is good.

Forty Days of Dares. Most of these are so easy, that it is hard to believe that you didn't think of them yourself. There are also some that are challenging, but worth doing. Marriage is a marathon. It's these little workouts, over the course of a few weeks, that help re-trained us into being a couple again.

We started to talk to one another. We started to ask questions. We started learning. We started dating. Starting setting alone time just for us. We fell in love all over again, and this time it was an even deeper love. The last year and half have been a lot of work to gain back what we've lost.  But this has been so rewarding. 

We love our family, no question, but when our children are all grown and gone, we want to be able to still be together.  I've heard statistics that the fastest growing age of people getting divorced are people in their late 40's and 50's. Couples who raise their children together, and then go their separate ways.

We are starting to really have fun together. This is so important, not just for our marriage, but our children. We want to show them what a good, strong marriage can look like. How to love their spouses. How to make marriage work. Marriage may not be easy, but what in life is supposed to?

I look back now and I am so thankful for where we are.  I am thankful that I can fully appreciate my husband for who he is and what he does for us. I am thankful for my marriage. I am thankful for my family. 

Everyone has a fire at their home, but depending on how they react to it, determines if it means a total loss, or just a little singe.

Our little singe has reminded us of what is truly important in our short lives. Love. More importantly, OUR LOVE.

Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:8

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Teaching Smell

A Lesson in The Scents of Making Memories

As I was walking with my kids, on the first morning of Autumn, I took it all in.  The brisk feeling, that reminds me of all those early morning walks to school when I was little. The colors on the trees.  The calm.  The smells.

Mornings are my favorite.  They never used to be, but now I cherish them.  I worked for a decade in those early morning shifts.  The times when you are up before the sun, before 90% of the rest of the world.  I've seen some of the most beautiful sunrises from the end of a runway, and experienced a peace that comes with being the only person up and around to enjoy it. Unless you've been there and been in a full presence of mind to enjoy it, I don't think that I can fully describe it.

Back to the smells. The fresh brewed coffee. Pencils. The smells of wood burning. Bailed hay. Baking. Apples. The smell of a fresh sweater, fresh from the dryer, you put on to ward off the chill during the walk. Smell is powerful. Even the slightest scent can have huge reactions not just on memories, but feelings too.

Every time I walk into my in-laws house, I'm 14 again. There is something about the warm smell of their house, and it's only theirs, that brings me back. I have so many wonderful memories there. My first kiss. My first dates. My first love.

Certain smells trigger so many powerful memories and emotions.  Kind of like songs.  Every time I hear Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton I almost always cry.  Every time I hear an N'Sync song, I'm reminded of one of my first jobs I had in high school as a Sandwich Artist at Subway. The list goes on. Everyone has these songs and scents.  What treasures!

I've noticed with my children, teaching smell, is hard.  I had fake flowers I would stick up to my nose, and sniff really loud and hard to get the point across with my son.  "That is how you smell," I would say.  But reminding children to explore using smell, is something I tend to forget a lot of time.  We focus so much on sight and touch, that I don't want them to forget about other senses like smell and hearing.

Now that he's older and able to talk and do things, I think it's time to create a smell-lab.  I've thought about what I could use to get him to notice smell.  Flowers and perfume are obvious, but I don't want to over load them.  

I'm thinking of simple things, kid things-a box of crayons has a certain smell, play doh has another.  Different smells of childhood.  I don't think he's OK with a blind fold to do a real enhanced version of smelling.

I pulled out three food items that have distinct smells.
Peanut Butter
Hot Sauce (I'm out of Tabasco, so I used the next best thing)

I also used three children's craft items.
Finger Paint
Play Doh

I opened each item and I smelt it first, to demonstrate.  Then he smelt them.  Visually, he recognizes all of these items, but now he can recognize each one for the unique smell it has too!

He called the peanut butter, "Peanut Butter and Jelly." The hot sauce was just "sauce." Ketchup was, well, "ketchup."

He didn't really say much when it came to the craft stuff.  I think the excitement of just seeing it out kind of took away from the idea, but he still smelt everything.

Sometimes we forget how powerful our other senses can be.  When he's older, and when my daughter is too, we'll probably do this again, except blind folded.

I know I've always been more a visual hands on learning, but there is nothing quite like smell.

Speaking of, I can smell my coffee is ready.  Fresh, brewed, dark coffee.

Have you smelt anything wonderful lately?  Any certain smells trigger your memories?

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Little Red Truck

I LOVE giving people gifts.  I do.  This brings me so much joy.  To learn and discover things about new and old friends and family-then applying that to a birthday gift, Christmas gift or friendship present-is such a blessing!

We are fortunate to have a lot of family members who have children around the same ages as our own. I grew up with almost all of my cousins.  There were about 14 of us that lived just down the street from each other.  I love them just like siblings.  Most of the really fun memories of my childhood include them.  I hope to be able to share this with my children.

The Truck Stops Here print by falldowntree
One of my nephews just recently had a birthday.  I found out he loves the book, Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle.  We checked it out at the library, because we don't have this book, and found it to be such a delight!  This book really is quite adorable.  My son really enjoyed it.

While I was scrolling around Etsy, I came upon this print. The Truck Stops Here, by falldowntree.   (If you stop by their website, you'll find a free printable coloring book as well!!)  This whole shop is amazing and darling!  I really, really want the family photo print they do!  How cute is this?  How can you not look at this and smile?  How cool would this be for your grandchildren to stumble upon someday??  I always like to think about my future.
Custom Portrait Print by falldowntree
This was obviously a print he had to have!  After it arrived, I was even more in love with it.  I only wish I would have ordered it bigger, because it was that cute!

I went to Michael's and looked through all their mattes and frames. I really wanted to make this little red truck pop out, so I spent a lot of time working on colors. We went with a double matte of sand and red, with a red frame to boot.  

I think it turned out absolutely amazing, don't you?  The lady in the framing department at Michael's, and I, just sat and starred at it for awhile (OK, it was really brief, maybe 15 seconds, but we were both smitten with it!).  

I was so glad to give him this, instead of a toy.  Hopefully, even after he outgrows it, something else can still come of it.  Maybe, 30 years from now, he'll find it in a keepsake box and want to use it for his own kids.  This maybe far reaching, but you never know! 

What other creative gifts have you given or been given?
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Peacock Princess: A Homemade Halloween Costume Story

I am NOT Martha Stewart.  I'm not Bobby Flay.  I am just me. I think a lot of times, because I am a stay at home mom, I am supposed to have a go to trade.  Like, I'm supposed to be the domesticated queen of all crafts.  Don't get me wrong, I  can cook, and I enjoy it.  But, I don't spend hours upon hours coming up with new recipes.  This just isn't possible for me.

Also, I'm not super crafty.  I can't just look at the mess at my desk and say, "You know what?  All I need are some toilet paper rolls, double sided tape, and some spray paint and this will look fantastic!" Probably NEVER going to say those things.

I see a lot of other awesome women that can do these things and I'm thankful for them!  And Target.  And Michael's, and Hobby Lobby and Jo Ann Fabrics and the Dollar Store.  These places all make my life easier.  (THANK YOU!) 

This year, I wanted to try and make a costume for my kids.  We bought a costume for my son last year, which was a total waste of money.  We put it on him and he cried.  Cried is the calm word for what happened.  Hysterical, theatrical melt down.  Even at the age of two (by days) he knew he wanted nothing to do with his costume.  When he finally thought no one was looking, he stripped it off and threw it in the garbage can.  (My husband and I laughed and laughed.)

This year, I wanted it to be easy. My son has a t-shirt he'll be wearing. He is Charlie Brown. He loves Charlie Brown. He also has a Snoopy. He's all set. I didn't make this, but it is homemade.  We ordered it off of Etsy from SweetPeaAlaMode. (I love Etsy!)  

Go to her shop and check it out! She has all kinds of super cool t-shirts! She even custom designed my shirt to have the chevron stripe on the back! She made it super fast, and it was shipped and received within a week! AWESOME! My son LOVES it! The nice thing with his costume, is, it's a shirt.  He wears it all the time. Win-Win in my book!

My daughter's costumer I found when I was on pinterest (I may be an you follow me? You should!).  The Train to Crazy featured this how to peacock costume tutorial!  PERFECT!

I'm not sure why I tend to make things harder on myself, but I do.  Does anyone else do this?  I took what should have been an easy project and totally turned it into a two week ordeal.  Hopefully this is my lesson learned....

Step #1.  Use felt and cut out the feather eyes.  I have lots of felt.  I "eyeballed" what I thought everything should look like and just went to town.  Nothing is the same. By the way, felt is a must have if you have kids and stay home with them. (They should give you a mommy kit at the hospital that includes this stuff. Like my pun?)

Step #2.  After I cut them all out, I pieced them together and pinned them on the ribbon how I wanted them to hang.  (So far, so good right? Stay with me.)

Step #3.  Hot glue the "eyes" together.  

Step #4.  Now, here is where it gets tricky.  My intention was to dye a white tutu skirt I scored at Salvation Army for $0.99.  After getting it home and googling this, I discovered you have to be a Chemist, with a lab, to dye polyester.  Bummer!  

My next step in salvaging the white tutu, was to sew fabric and tulle onto it.  This turned out to be a horrible idea, because after all the pinning and arranging, nothing looked right.  My daughter would have been a half bred albino/Asian peacock monster.  Not the look I was going for.  I threw away the re-using tutu idea, and decided to make it from scratch.  

Went to Michael's five times and Jo Ann Fabric about the same (with my coupons, of course!), and bought the elastic, tulle, gold thread and polyester fabric to make the tutu.

I measured out 8 1/2 inches for my daughter's waist in elastic, and I didn't measure, but just cut a ton of fabric so that it would bunch together and would stretch with the elastic.  There are tons of video's on YouTube on how to sew.  I watched about six of them.  

This is actually the 2nd tutu, my first was an utter failure!  Straight sewing and remembering to turn the fabric inside out was key in that learning lesson.  Well played tutu, well played.

Step #27.  I skipped a lot of the in between stuff, like scratching the first tutu band because of how I sewed ONTO the elastic by accident, and then how I forgot to turn the fabric inside out, and so on and so forth. Just know that a lot of man hours went into these past 23 steps that you don't see!  (Also, a lot of swearing.....and perhaps a cocktail, to take the edge off of almost being defeated by a Halloween Costume for a 1 1/2 year old).

I cut the tulle strips into about 14 inches length wise and again just eyeballed strips.  I tried to tie them into a knot around the tutu waist band, but I didn't like how it sat.  So, I sewed them on.
 This is my finished product.  You can't really tell, but I have glitter tulle mixed in with regular tulle.  And the "feather eyes" have gold thread on them to give them some more sparkle.

This tutu is my pride and joy! It is also a glitter bomb. But, every girl deserves a little sparkle, so I don't mind. (Sorry honey!!)

I have a teal shirt that she'll wear with it and brown little boots. Just need a head band and she's all set.  Oye!  Do I make that one myself too?!?!?!  I think I need help!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Encouragement in a Balloon

I've laid out the ground work-the who, what, where, when and why covered. What I haven't done is shared the action part.  After all your waiting and wondering, here it is...

I have dear friends.  I'm fiercely loyal and will do whatever I can for these people.  I am not a person that trusts easily.  When I find that I can fully trust someone, this is a life long bond I feel with them.  I don't take the term friend quite as cavalier as some do.  In fact, I think the word acquaintance doesn't get the appropriate usage it should. (If you haven't found great friends, check out my Friendship Dating post! Great tips!)

Amy, my friend, had just moved away.  I miss her.  I love her.  From the moment we met, I found out we were so much alike.  She's been a gift to me.  She and her husband have saved me. They saved my family.

Amy has had her struggles too.  We all have.  The past two years have been extremely difficult for all of us.  It has been test after test-each our own different tests, but difficult the same.  I hope that I've been able to be some comfort to her, like she has been to me.  She's amazing and sweet in every way.  You could never find a better woman.  To know her, makes you a better person. Kind and stylish!  (I learn about all the cool iPhone apps from her!)  She is poised, graceful, loving, passionate, determined, loyal, dedicated and strong. Most of the time, I don't think she even knows how wonderful she is.   (Totally sounds like a girl crush, doesn't it?)  

But why shouldn't we have this?!  Why are we brought up to hate other women?  This is a different time.  

I had, had a pretty crap week.  I had been, what felt like, slapped in the face by a good friend.  Not just once, but repeatedly. 

Sometimes, you just sit there dazed.  Sometimes I wish I had a full time job to have the distraction of a deadline, and work to keep my mind off stuff.  But I don't.  I do what I do best-have conversations with myself.  During low stages, these pretty much become bitch-fests.  

But I don't want to do that anymore.  I had made the decision I wasn't going to let this get the best of me (something that I SWEAR I tell myself way too often), but I needed to do something about it.  Words like this can come pretty easily, but I've found unless you DO something about it, they're just empty words.  Empty words, full of feelings.  

I knew Amy was entering some running competitions.  I wanted to help her with this, but I also wanted to do something that would encourage her spirits.

I wanted something different, something that, maybe if I received in the mail, would mean so much to me.

The kids, of course, were sick this week too.  I didn't have much time to put it together, and I didn't know how it would ship. 

I was so worried, and usually, it's this type of thinking that stops me from doing these types of things all together.  

Do you ever do that?  Have great ideas to do some good, but you stop yourself because of how it might be received, or how embarrassed it might make you feel to step out of YOUR comfort zone?

I saw two different ideas on pinterest and decided to put them together.  One was the Box of Sunshine the other was a Box of Balloons for someone to open.  I combined the two.

I bought yellow balloons and filled them with gifts.  Each balloon had a gift like Yellow Power Bars, AirHeads, iTunes Gift Card, and Starbucks Gift Card.  But also, each one of these balloons had something written about Amy in them.  Something special about her or quotes that suit her.

For example, I used her name.  Amy's name means beloved, loved, or to love.  This is Amy.  I was amazed when I looked it up.  Especially after just having two children and scouring name books, I had never really given thought to the meaning of my friends names.

I also gave her quotes. 
"An excellent wife, who can find?  She is far more precious that jewels."
Proverbs 31:10

"She opens her mouth with wisdom.  And on her tongue is the law of kindness."                          
Proverbs 31:26

I had a few other inspirational quotes from other places as well, but as I hand wrote these out, I also included why these suited her.  Anyone can write down a quote, but when they explain why they mean it for you, it means even more.

I put the balloons into a large box, put a card on top, and sent it with love.  

I heard it was very well received.  I heard it was special and wonderful. I heard thanks and appreciation.  I heard that it made a difference.  

I had helped someone, and I had helped myself.  My "project" was just what I needed remind myself of someone else with needs.  I felt like I had struck gold!  I didn't have to wrestle with my crappy feelings, because I had put them aside.  I made a decision to counteract the feelings.  I made a decision to do something that would focus on someone else, rather than myself for once.  And my decision, worked!

Imagine, if we all started this, what an awesome chain reaction we could start?  Will you help me 'Counteract the Poison?' 

Here are some more posts on giving!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What's in a Name?

You'd think naming a blog would be easy, right?  After all, if you've been thinking about starting one, you've probably read others, and found a few that would be perfect for you.

You've probably even had experience naming something else in life as well, like say, a child!  This HAS to be easier than that, right?

You'd think.  However, when you hear the name Jack, and thought, "What a beautiful name for a little boy.  I'd love to have a son named Jack some day," you didn't have to deal with the whole world.

See, there can be duplicate, triplicate and infinite number of people named Jack, but when it comes to the web, there can be only one blog named, "Jack."

This naming process has been the hardest one I've ever experienced....every GREAT name I had thought of had already been taken. (Hats of to you!)

Hopefully, you're not here to look for real medical treatment!  Please call either 9-1-1, or another medical website.

Antidote means two things (I know this because I looked it up in the dictionary)-a treatment for poison, or something that counteracts.

This fits this blog perfectly!  I struggle, daily!  

Let me back track a little and give you the brief story of who I am.  I'm a college educated, stay at home mother of two children, under two.  I married my "high school sweetheart," I guess you could say and we've been together for almost 16 years.  I've got a large family-both immediate and extended.

When I found out I was pregnant the first time, we were in a rush, trying to settle down in a place we'd just moved to. (We had moved a lot.) Starting over again-new, no friends, and what I would hardly classify as having any family near by.  We spent our savings on our house and then we found out at 13 weeks, we'd lost our baby.

Struggling with the crashing job market, house market, and not to mention I was still in the middle of now where, with no friends, it was a trying time in my life.  That was 4 1/2 years ago.  Those were dark times.  Depression, anger, anxiety, jealousy, probably even hate---I felt them all.  

Fast forward to today--I still struggle.  But, let's be honest, who doesn't?  Who doesn't find themselves, at one point and time, struggling with thoughts?  The war within the mind?

A month ago, I had, had some upsetting news- but this time, I decided to do something about it.  I wanted to change how I had reacted to it....I wanted to "counteract the poison."  

I wanted to do something good to help someone else out, rather than sit in my self pity.  It's that feeling, that has inspired me to do this---to hopefully inspire the change in you, that we need to see in the world.  I hope you'll come along on this journey with me, and I promise, there will be a lot of fun times too!  Even crafts (and no, I'm NOT that MOM who can beat down MacGyver in a craft bomb making contest), ideas, a little of this and that!

I hope you'll enjoy a little dose of Antidote every day.

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