General

I’m Hungry!

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There are times and seasons in our lives that make eating easier or more difficult right? Like, when you’re a kid and your mom or your grandma are diligent about providing food for you, it’s easy to eat well.  But there are other times, maybe when your family structure changes or when there is illness or maybe when you are just getting your start and you’re living alone, that cooking and eating can become a pretty challenging tasks!

How to make those more intense seasons easier?

First of all, whether you are cooking for one or for ten, the “worthiness” is the same.  You are worth cooking for if you are alone, one child is worth cooking for if you are a single mother, and certainly, a house full of all ages means it’s all the more important to figure out strategies for cooking that can make life a little easier.

Declare it!

“I love providing healthy food for my family!”

“I do what it takes to feed myself well and give my body the nutrition it needs and deserves.”

“I love food and there are so many fun, healthy recipes I want to try!”

“I am committed to treating myself well.”

How do you make cooking as enjoyable as possible at your house?

Here are a few thoughts I’ve had:

When I know what I’m going to cook ahead of time, my stress level goes way, way down. Planning is a big deal.

Making more than I need for one meal is crucial for my mental health. Leftovers feel like manna from heaven, because doing a lot of cooking one day and then having a break the next day really helps me to keep wanting to cook. Even better, is making a good sized batch of something and then dividing it into single servings and freezing them. It makes for real, healthy food that only requires putting it in a saucepan with a lid, on low heat. And there is a meal!

Wash and break up a variety of greens and store in an airtight container.  Then when it’s time for dinner prep, pull out enough to fill up a serving bowl and add the rest of your salad ingredients, just enough for one meal.  Then tomorrow, you can make a different kind of salad using the same greens, with the prep time cut in half.  Better yet, grate carrots and slice celery and peel cucumbers and prepare other vegetables so that they will be easy to add when you need them.

Make some healthy desserts and keep them in the freezer in small portions!!!  And along with that, don’t buy and store anything in your house that doesn’t support your health goals. (Oreos don’t belong in your pantry. T-R-A-N-S-F-A-T-S. They just don’t.)

Cook with a friend one day a week!  You can grocery shop, cook large batches of soups and main dishes and share the results.  It is much more fun to have company, so find someone that wants to be healthy too and support each other and make planning and cooking fun!

Juice your own veggies and fruit and mix them together and freeze them.  Then take them out of the freezer in the morning and put them in the fridge for the next day’s breakfast smoothie or snack.  And hey, smoothies make really good snacks!  Just don’t add sugar to them!  But do add a lot of veggies…

I hope that you will add your ideas in the comments to this post!  What have you done that has made life in the kitchen easier for you?

Take good care!

Love,

Jacque

 

To Save Sanity: Tidy-Up!

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Isn’t it amazing how quickly the string with no knot at the end can loose all it’s beads? I’m referring to the proverbial string that we are beading every day by doing household chores.  It has no knot because this kind of work doesn’t stay done for long!

I imagine we all go through stages of being very vigilant in maintaining order, and then sometimes we get buried and need to regroup.  One thing to bear in mind is that our domestic engineering has much to do with the environment that we are creating, that leads to the feeling that exists in our home.

It never ceases to amaze me how comforting and peaceful general order can be.  I don’t mean immaculate, all day, every day, no-finger-prints-ever kind of order.  I’m just referring to the movement of light and air and a sense that someone has the reigns!

If you are practicing time-blocking, then you have a pretty good sense that things are getting attention in their turn.  But what about the overall messiness factor of every day?

Tidy, has become a popular word because of some good books that have been in circulation the last few years.  I think that there isn’t anything simpler to do to change your stress level and to enliven family members than a quick renewal of order.

When you want to involve everyone, and that is only right since clutter and messes usually are made by everyone, I’d suggest setting a timer and playing music!  Especially when you are engaging small children, music can be the way they understand that a time limit is being set.  And music makes everything more fun I’d say.  (We used to play a Veggie Tales CD we owned…I think my kids know those songs pretty well and we had fun singing along and being goofy.)

Tidying doesn’t mean deep cleaning, so no one needs to feel overwhelmed.  It’s just like taking wings and gently hovering around putting pillows back in place, returning toys to their proper storage spots, opening blinds, righting a stack of books, etc.

While you’re in hovering fairy mode, you can keep the mood light and simple and have a small reward at the end!  A picture book in the rocking chair, a cup of milk and a cookie, a sticker on a chart or whatever you can think of.

For teens, it may just be time to visit with Mom, or a time to think or a time to put on their earphones and go into auto-pilot.

A note on toys: if your whole house is overrun with toys and children’s books or clothes or stuffed animals, I think it is safe to say you have too many.  

It is important for the different areas of your house to function as they are meant to function.  When you can’t walk through your laundry room because you trip over excess toys and clutter, it isn’t going to serve you very well.  If your bedroom is always covered in children’s items, it may not make the best sanctuary for your marriage.

If you find that keeping order is next to impossible, go for the goal of getting rid of half of everything you own.

Half of the books.  Half of the toys.  Half of the clothes. (Laundry doesn’t need to take over every surface!)  Half of the kitchen do-gadgets.  Maybe even half of the furniture!

Letting in light and air can do so much for our mental health!

I wish you well in creating the spaces you desire, where your family will have room to learn and play and to just…… breathe.

All my best to you! You’re doing great!

Jacque

 

 

On Problems

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I love this quote, but I’ll tell you, to think like this for the first time in the middle of a heavy challenge is almost overwhelming.

I would add to Mr. Peale’s thoughts that it takes practice during times of relative ease to be able to have this kind of mental fortitude when the rain is falling!

Along with practicing this kind of thinking, set up your environment, when you are feeling happy and encouraged, so that when you are struggling, your surroundings will support you in keeping to the positives you want to hold onto.

Where are your declarations?  (Visible I hope!) Where is your vision board?  Who is aware of your goals? (For social support, share them with someone you trust!) Do you reserve any of your physical or mental strength or do you spend every dime?  Do you have rhythms of self-care that are part of your daily habits? These are all examples of environmental supports that can help us get through a challenging stretch.

Now the quote.

“It all lies in how you think about your problems…I attack a problem and shake it to pieces with my mind.  I put all the mental power I have upon it.  Second, I pray about it most sincerely.  Third, I paint a mental picture of success.  Fourth, I always ask myself, “What is the right thing to do?” for, nothing will be right if it is wrong.  Nothing that is wrong will ever come out right.  Fifth, I give it all I’ve got.  But let me emphasize again, if you’re thinking defeat, change your thoughts at once.  Get new and positive thoughts.  That is primary and basic in overcoming difficulties and in achieving.”

The Power of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent Peale

Food for thought huh?

Happy Sunday to you.  I wish you peace and strength.

Jacque

Words We Cannot Speak

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Oh, the irony of opposites!

I had a single friend tell me the other day how she had been to a meeting and she was sure the men in the room were speaking a different language. How true that is!

All of us are getting a lot of experience learning to communicate with those guys from Mars, aren’t we? (Maybe you have read, Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus?  If you haven’t, I’d encourage you to find the audio version and listen to it with your spouse! We heard it about 20 years ago and it was enjoyable and very instructive!)

Come to think of it, we have had quite a few opportunities to learn communication skills and have had some relationship coaching through the years.  For which we have been very grateful.

But if you’re like me, sometimes, we don’t even know ourselves what it is we want to say, let alone figure out how to say it so that our spouse will hear and understand.  We may pull out every skill we know, and try in a hundred ways to get a need across and still feel that we aren’t communicating well enough to ensure understanding.

Add to that, the fact that oftentimes I don’t understand myself or a situation I am facing, and it can feel as if there is no win in sight!

So, when I come to the end of what I know, I ask God to say the words I cannot say. And the double blessing is that I don’t even have to understand all of the complexities that are in play, I just have to ask and have faith and be open to seeing His hand in our family’s dynamics.

And He does work miracles.

I think He is so willing to help because we are His children, and His whole heart is involved in loving us and wanting us to be happy.  And because we are striving for success, we love each other and we are committed to our marriage and to our family.

Is there something you long to express, but don’t quite know how?  Is there some part of your marriage relationship or family life that could use a helping, heavenly hand?

I pray that you will keep your hope alive and continue to walk on in all of the efforts you are making to help your spouse and children to live a happy life.  But I’m also hoping that you will invite God to step in to orchestrate and choreograph the situations, conversations and experiences you need that will say what your heart really wants and needs to say.

I pray for your success and happiness!

Love,

Jacque

Summer Feet

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Do you wear sandals a lot in the summer?  Or do you go barefooted?  I’m not much into shoes myself, and wear sandals every chance I get, or better yet have bare feet during the summer months.

But it seems like the less I wear shoes, the more the skin on my feet gets dried out.

Something I stumbled onto is a simple foot soak that really softens cracked or calloused skin.

All you need is warm water and Epsom salts.  Get some kind of shallow pan and fill it with water as warm or as hot as you like it, then add 1/4 – 1/2 of the salt.  Aaaah, soak your feet and enjoy being pampered a bit.

When the water has cooled, or you’ve soaked your feet for at least 10 minutes, dry them off and be amazed at how hydrated your skin will look and feel!

Super simple and inexpensive self-care. Add clay facials and essential oil steaming and it could be fun to invite your daughters or friends to join you to have a fun home spa afternoon!

I hope you have a great summer on the horizon!

Love,

Jacque

P.S. For steaming: Put very hot water in a metal bowl, scatter a few drops of your favorite essential oils or blends on top. Then,, quickly tent your head with a towel and with your face in the rising steam, take deep calming breaths.  Aaaaah.