Thursday, September 11, 2014

Water


Water. We all need it, we've all heard the eight cups a day rule. Some days this is easier to "swallow" than others.

My sister religiously carries a water bottle with her everywhere, she gets her minimum requirement and then some each and every day. My parents, especially my dad, get their water intake through just about anything else besides water! We have been after him for years to drink more water.

A great way to start your morning is with a nice glass as soon as you wake up. It hydrates you and helps you face the day, even before your coffee or breakfast drink of choice. Why not start off with a cup and be ahead of the game?

I recently discovered the magic of a water pitcher with a diffuser through the middle. It allows you to flavor your water with anything you like and change the flavor as often as you want. Brilliant! Today's flavor happens to be blueberry and basil, fresh picked from my pots in the backyard! It's refreshing and keeps tempting me to drink more! I've experimented with many flavor combinations, some we have enjoyed better than others. Cucumber, watermelon, pineapple, peach, lemon, lime, mint, orange, all have been sampled throughout the summer. I'm thinking about trying lavender next. Really there is no right or wrong, just change your ingredients every few days and enjoy!

Sounds silly, but water is so important to keeping us healthy and if you can swap out a glass or two of water in place of a sugary drink or soda, it's a win win! Now I have to get to work to convince my dad of this practice. Maybe I haven't hit upon the right flavor, just gives me motivation to keep trying. Water, who knew it could be so fun?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Another chapter ends

Well it is truly that time of year again, when the days are getting a bit shorter and the kids a bit antsier. 

That's right, the end of summer is just around the corner. Sprinklers will be jumped through just a few more times, Kool-Aid and lemonade stands will be flipping their closed signs over until next season. Soon the days of sleeping in and staying up late will be over, replaced by frantic mornings rushing out to catch buses and race into school. All over the city parents are checking their back-to-school lists and checking them twice. 

It seems that this summer was on super warp speed for some reason. I think it had something to do with the weather, and summer arriving so late after such a rainy spring. Then when it hit, it hit with a force and it continued on at a frantic pace. About a week ago I was lamenting the fact that I would be sending my kids back to school so soon, and I wasn't ready. 

Then another week went by, and the whining seemed to amp up to an almost unbearable level, and suddenly, school cannot start soon enough! I'm sure I'm not the only parent feeling this way! Kids are tired of the same old same old, and I'm ready for some routine to enter back into our lives. Brains need to be challenged and bedtime routines reestablished once more. Now I would feel so much better if those dang school lists were complete. Can anyone tell me where I can find the elusive skinny dry-erase markers? 

Ah summer, you will be sorely missed. Come back soon, and thanks for all of the wonderful memories.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Refreshed in the North

As the summer slowly slipped from July to August, our family closed
the chapter on yet another week-long family tradition.

We spent the week up at a lake cabin near the Hayward area. While no vacation could ever be "perfect" this was a much-needed escape and came close to reaching this title. We spent the week on a glorious lake with fantastic weather nearly every day. 

Some very close friends of ours were just across the bay with their three kids. Our families are close, and our kids get along swimmingly! They played hide and seek in the dark, sat by a campfire, roasted countless s'mores, fished and swam daily and just generally enjoyed each others' company. 

By having their companions to play with, the adults were able to enjoy some conversation and down time. We didn't solve any critical world issues, but we didn't even try! We too enjoyed our companions and the scenery of the great outdoors. Even our dogs romped with abandon and ran to their hearts' content. 

The only down side was the week came to far too abrupt an end. Why don't these moments stretch on a bit longer? Why does a hot dog taste so much better roasted over an open flame? Why is the sound of your kids' laughter like music as they bounce across the water on an inner tube? Like I said, it wasn't perfect. The gnat bites along my leg are evidence of that, but that was so worth it! So we came back a bit lighter, a bit more refreshed, even if we are scratching and itchy for the next few days! 

So until the great north woods beckons again, we have some wonderful new memories to carry us forward.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Seeking balance

As I approach the horizon to middle age, I sit and ponder my life. 

Using the Balance Your 7 website is a nice guide. What areas can I improve on, where do I find I have strengths? I know that overall I am a pretty happy, relatively "balanced" person. My mind could certainly be sharper, and I could foster my sense of community and spirituality a bit more, but I have decided to focus on work for this particular blog. 

As a college student and early twenty-something person I always envisioned myself working in a fast-paced environment, with lots of travel and new experiences. I did get the opportunity to work like this for many years, but then along came baby number one, and my corporate days were over. I never imagined myself as a stay-at-home mom, but now I have a hard time thinking of doing anything else! I consider myself very fortunate to be able to stay home and be with my kids, shuttling them to and fro. Lately though, I'm getting a severe itch to go back to the workforce. The problem is, I'm not sure into what capacity this would be! My skills are all rusty, and buried under so much dust, I'm not sure they exist any longer! So I've decided to write my ultimate job description and see if anyone is "hiring" Here goes:

Enthusiastic, well-seasoned individual seeks challenging new role in life. Job must include travel to wonderful locales, opportunity to sample the cuisine and tons of shopping. Willing to sacrifice some weekends. Will write about my experiences and shop for clients upon request. Can start immediately.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fur baby

I am one of those people, I will confess, who takes their dog to daycare! What, you may say? 

My husband certainly disagrees with this practice! He wonders why we have a dog, and then spend money on having him exercised by someone else! But I counter with all of the positives, he's being socialized with all types, he's getting over eight hours of exercise, and he LOVES it! 

Yes, it is costly, and I generally only bring him in the winter months. I have another confession (shocking, I know) I brought him last week just because he looked sad and a bit depressed. I brought his best friend Bob too, and they had a blast! He came home and slept for the rest of the day and half of the next as well. With all of the rain we have been having he hasn't been getting as much exercise as usual, and I want him to live forever! 

He's my special friend and such a wonderful member of our family, I'll do just about anything to keep him around longer. So while I know there are just as many pet mommies and daddies who spoil their fur babies just as much as I do, there are others shaking their heads. Well, the look on his face was worth it. And this may not tie directly into how I balance my seven facets of health, it does make me happy and bring a huge smile on my face to see my pooch happy and tired. So it lightens my spirits and helps me check one more thing off my to-do list for the day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Time

Time is a strange creature. 

When you are young, you have all the time in the world. Just watch a kid stroll home from after school, not a care in the world, unaware of time. Summers used to feel like they stretched on endlessly, one hot afternoon after another, until, like magic, it was time to go back to school. 

You probably heard the saying a time or two as you got older how "time flies." Maybe it means time moves faster as you age. Well suddenly I'm that person and time seems to be melting away. I felt like I had all the time in the world, my kids would stay young, I would forever be far from "middle aged" and life was just ducky. 

Now I face the prospect that I have a child nearing the end of his time at grade school, and having to wear deodorant! My first babe now has feet the same size as mine and soon will surpass me in height. And if he ever ate veggies that would be sooner rather than later! I'm no longer looking forward to my thirties, they too will soon be a thing of the past. Thank God that 50 is the new 40! Ha. 

And time this summer, where oh where has it gone? June was all but a blur and then we welcomed another Fourth of July and oohed and ahhhed at yet another fireworks show. I'm still in denial that we are past the middle of the summer season. Heck, I just started wearing shorts like, last week! So Time, please oh please slow down just a little bit. 

Let us enjoy the brightness of a fresh-bloomed flower and the chirp of a baby bird. I want to ride on a roller coaster until I'm dizzy with laughter and eat a fresh ear of corn dripping with butter. My kids need to stay young and innocent just a bit longer, because this far from "middle-aged" mom needs them to! I'm not quite ready to talk about the remember whens, and the used to be's just yet. I want to embrace the now and soak up every moment before it too is gone.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A 'novel' summer

Well now that we are officially into the summer season, do you gravitate towards one type of reading material or another? 

Maybe you don't have time for books and can only peruse a magazine article. Is this the only time of year you can sit and devour a good novel, maybe while sitting on a beach or flying somewhere fun? Do you read a certain type of book this time of year, lighter hearted or maybe dark and stormy? 

I am always up for a good read, if I had my way my nose would be buried in a book more often than not. I have recently finished a great book that was perfect for anytime of year, but short enough to read on a quick vacation. It was titled Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. Without giving much away, it tackled some pretty hefty life questions in a rather light hearted and uplifting way. She is a British author and the book has a sprinkling of British humor, truly enjoyable. 

I have also just finished The All-Girls Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flag. She is the same author who wrote Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. This is a fast, enjoyable read and part of it is set in Pulaski, Wisconsin. It's a book filled with large, enjoyable characters who make this a fun novel to page through. 

I am a bit behind the times but I am finally finishing the Divergent trilogy. It's a bit darker but filled with enough action to keep it interesting. I can only read so much about a dystopian society, but it does prove, if nothing else, entertaining. My kids are required to read a minimum of 20 minutes per day, either with us or on their own. So far this is working and with the idea that they can pick a new book at the library and keep it fresh, we are all happily reading our way through summer! If any of you readers out there have any must-read suggestions, please send them in! In the meantime, here are a few summer booklists to get you started.

A Plan for Your Summer Reading
Summer Books of 2014