Wednesday, February 17, 2016

parenting reflection: to yell or not yell

saw this on someone's Facebook page and it speaks so much to me as a mom. I've been trying very hard to be conscious of what I say in reaction to a situation. I'm picking my battles. I take a breath before I speak. That helps me to not yell as much. I said "not yell as much", because I'm a work in progress. It's hard to remember that they're just kids, even if you tell them the same thing five times a day. "Hang up your coat. Put your shoes in your room. Hang up your towel. Wash your hands. Get your clothes on. Why aren't your shoes and socks on yet? Put on your hat and gloves." (If you're a parent you know the drill.) I want to scream it, but what's the point? Personally, if I'm yelled at, the last thing I want to do is accommodate the yeller. Kids are little humans with a ton of pride. They probably feel the same way. 

The first time I reflected on my yelling and nagging, I felt horrible. I don't want Sister Sue and G to remember me this way. One of my principals told a story in a meeting that really hit home. She said she found herself nagging her own children in the mornings to hurry up and get ready. One day she compared it to why a student came to school upset and having a bad day before it even started. This student was yelled at the entire morning by his parent. That's when she decided it's not her children's fault she's running behind. If they need more of her attention while they're getting ready for school, then she needs to get up 10 minutes earlier. When she told this story, I felt like I hit a brick a good way. I started getting up 10 minutes earlier and now I feel like I don't nag my kids as much. They still need lots of reminders and help getting ready, but at least I'm not rushing to get myself ready starting at the same time.

Some of my students live in a homes where they get yelled at constantly. This makes it difficult to focus on schoolwork, play fair and speak kind words. I don't want that to be Sister Sue and G. I want them to remember me in a more positive way and start their day off feeling great. 

What are some of  your tricks to staying calm when you want to scream?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

fonts galore

I have a little confession, I'm addicted to fonts. There are over 1,000 different fonts on my laptop. When I scrapbook, I like to use different fonts on journal entries and title. The only problem with having all of these fonts, is I don't know what I have available in my collection. I spend a lot of time scrolling through the fonts trying to pick the best one. When I think I finally have one, I don't like the way one of the letters looks. Then I find myself scrolling again. This process takes too long, plus it hurts my neck to sit on the computer and scroll over and over again.

One day, I was browsing the internet and stumbled upon a free website called wordmark. This website quickly displays a preview of any text with the fonts installed on your computer. What a dream! I immediately began typing the alphabet, numbers, punctuation and special characters. The next thing I did was load all of my fonts. I repeated the process with capital letters. I was able to save the pages to print later to put in a binder. The website even put it in alphabetical order.

Now, when I want to preview a font, I can just browse through my binder and find the perfect one. The process was so easy and well worth the 15 minutes it took to complete the project. Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

Friday, January 29, 2016

how to outsmart your kuerig 2.0

In December, I purchased my third Keurig in the last seven years. Brian upgraded me to the newest model (Keurig 2.0) and I was super excited. My delivery came with eight k-cups. When I went through those, I decided to use my refillable k-cup. 

refillable k-cup
I filled it up and then coffee! It wouldn't let me use a refillable k-cup. I was shocked!
Oops! This pack wasn't designed for this brewer. Please try one of hundreds of packs with the Keurig logo.
I was chatting with a friend about my new dilemma and she had an idea. The Keurig 2.0 is digital. It reads the QR code on the top of a k-cup. My machine must be rejecting my refillable k-cup because there isn't a QR code. She thought I could try cutting off the foil top of a k-cup and placing it on top of my refillable one.
my new refillable k-cup
I was doubtful, but I was willing to give it a try. Holy worked!!
I placed it in my machine, making sure the foil piece didn't fall off.

I closed the lid and it actually start brewing.

Sometimes, you just have to outsmart technology. Tell me what you think?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Weight Loss Journey

I'm often asked how I've managed to lose weight and keep it off. My answer is always Weight Watchers and a supportive husband. For the first four years of my relationship with Brian, I gradually started packing on the pounds. I went from a size 14 to an 18/20. I couldn't believe how slow it happened. I didn't even notice. Brian noticed, but never said a word. He didn't care how I looked, he only wanted me to be healthy. I didn't know what to do. I tried dieting, but that didn't work. It didn't work, because I didn't know how to eat healthy. The fad diets helped me see a weight loss, but it never stayed off. 

Me before a year before I got pregnant with Sister Sue.

Me four months after I had Sister Sue.
Sister Sue was born in 2008 and I was still gaining weight. I wanted my life to change. I wanted to show my daughter a positive body image when she got older. I didn't want to be overweight. Brian and I discussed my options. He mentioned that someone in his family lost a lot of weight on the Weight Watchers program. I was doubtful, but willing to try. After attending a few Weight Watchers meetings and using the program effectively, I started to see a loss at the scales. I was gaining confidence and becoming a healthy person. It took me two slow years, but I lost a total of 45 pounds. 
Me 9 months before I got pregnant with G.

In 2011, G joined our family and I gained all but 10 pounds back. I now had the task of getting back on track. My mind wasn't focused on loosing the weight, because I wanted it to just be gone. It took me a year of encouragement from Brian and my friend Jen to get back with the program. Every week, Brian inquired about my weigh-in at Weight Watchers. If I gained, he was sympathetic and pumped me up to loose next week. If I lost, he was excited and celebrated even the smallest loss. My friend Jen always had new food suggestions and knew the right thing to say. 
Me 6 months after G was born.
Throughout this journey, Brian has been amazing. He knows exactly how to encourage me and how not to discourage me. When I make a poor food choice, he doesn't say anything about it. He knows if he does, that will only make me feel sorry for myself. Then, the next thing I know, I'm making that poor choice worse. 

Five years after G was born and three and a half years using the Weight Watchers program, I've lost a total of 56 pounds. These last five pounds have taken me six months to loose and I'm not finished yet. I've still got three pounds to go until I reach my goal weight. 
This is me now.
I've learned a lot along the way, but two lesson have stuck me the most. First, how to actually see my new self, instead of the overweight version of me. When I see old photos of me I'm shocked. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I'm surprised it's me. When I go shopping, I still don't expect to fit into a size 10 or 12. It's a great feeling. 

The second lesson I learned was the importance of how to effectively communicate my weight loss to Sister Sue. I don't want her to think it is ever acceptable to say "I'm fat", "I wish I was skinny" or "I need to go on a diet". Brian and I try really hard to not say my Weight Watchers food is "diet food". That's the beauty of Weight Watchers, you can have any food you want as long as you stay within your daily point goal. 

It's been a difficult journey for the whole family, but worth all of the hard work. I'm not finished yet. I never will be, because becoming healthy is a lifestyle change, not a diet. 

If you want to know more about Weight Watchers visit

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Introducing my favorite place to shop...The Walk-In Closet Resale Boutique

On Friday at work, I got a lot of compliments on my outfit. My co-workers and students (3 fifth grade girls) told me I looked comfy and cute. I was definitely comfy.

Since I've lost some weight, I need to buy new clothes about every three months. This is costly, but Brian has been very understanding and supportive. To help save some money, I've been shopping the clearance racks and a resale shop. The resale shop is amazing! My friend (Lauren) introduced me to the Arnold Walk-In Closet. The store is full of today's hottest brands and styles with hundreds of new items arriving weekly. They recently opened their second location, The Walk-In Closet Resale Boutique in Festus, MO. I've been able to purchase lots of new clothes with tags still attached at very low prices (seriously, a ton of their stuff is brand new!!). Some days when I go shopping, I come out with bags of clothes. Other days I don't find anything, but that's the fun of shopping at a resale shop. You never know what you're going to find. 

One of my favorites I found at The Walk-In Closet Resale Boutique was a puffy vest. I've been wanting one for a while, but didn't know which color to buy. My conservative side told me to buy gray or black. I decided to take a risk and buy the red one instead. I brought it home and it hung in my closet for a couple of weeks. 

I've been trying to find ways to wear my puffy vest, besides with just a plain long sleeve t-shirt. Friday, I wore the vest with a striped button down shirt and scarf. It felt like a risk, because my vest and scarf seemed like an odd combo. Evidently it worked. The ensemble was paired with skinny jeans and ankle boots. 

Vest: St. John's Bay $10 (The Walk-In Closet)
Button down shirt: Old Navy $6 (The Walk-In Closet)
Scarf (gift from a friend)
Super Skinny Jeans: American Eagle clearance $18
Ankle Boots: $20 (Factory Connection)
Let me know what you think. 

Thanks to Sister Sue for taking my picture for this post. She's a great sidekick! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

monthly meal planning menu

Making supper at my house, is a team effort. Brian gets the meat out of the freezer while he is home for dinner so I don't have to defrost anything when I get home. (I feel really southern when I call the midday meal "dinner" and evening meal "supper". I was raised with "breakfast", "lunch" and "dinner". Brian was raised with "breakfast", "dinner" and "supper". It was quite confusing for me when we first started dating.)

I like to be organized when it comes to planning meals. I get really aggravated when I have to find something to feed my family at the last minute. It stresses me out and I get cranky.  I need to have a plan. When Sister Sue was about 3 years old, I created a menu binder. I typed and printed all of my recipes. These recipes (recipe sample) were then placed in a protective sleeve and then in a binder. At the front of the binder, is a calendar with all of the month's activities and menu for supper.

At the beginning of the month, I sit down at my computer and start planning. I have the 2016 monthly calendar on Google Sheets. It was a template I found and saved to edit. When it comes to my menus I prefer Google Sheets over Drive, because I like to easily flip through the tabs for each month instead of scrolling down the page.

Every week, I sit down to make a grocery list. I refer back to the weekly menu to create my list. I use a grocery list app called "Grocery IQ". It allows Brian the accessibility to add things to the list from his phone, which is very convenient for us both. I check the weekly menu and make sure I have the ingredients for the week. When it's time to cook a meal, I want to make sure all of the ingredients are in my pantry, fridge or freezer. I hang the weekly menu on my fridge, so Brian knows what is on the menu that evening.

How do you decide what to feed your family? I'm always looking for new ideas.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Organazing scrapbook memories

My favorite crafting is scrapbooking. With two children, I only have time to scrapbook their books. Maybe someday I will create a book for Brian and me. Who am I kidding? I will be creating their books for the rest of my life. Anyway, along with photos I love to add artwork, newspaper clippings, notes and awards to their books. Because I'm always a year or two behind, in the beginning it was a mess trying to decide which piece of artwork or note was from Sister Sue or G. I didn't want to put G's memories on Sister Sue's pages. I had to come up with a plan to organize these special memories. I started an accordion folder for each child and year. I keep it easily accessible right inside my craftroom. Sometimes I'm in a rush and don't take the time to put the memory away, so I have a plan for that too.

When one of the kids brings home a piece of artwork or photo from school, I decide if it will go in their book. If I deem it worthy, I write their name, month and year on the back.

I then file it in the child's accordion file.

If I don't have time to file right away, I put it in a basket on top of my shelf in the craftroom. Later, I can go back and organize the items.

As I finish a scrapbook, I print all of the photos I might use in the new book. I then take the photos and sort them by month, adding the artwork, newspaper clippings, notes and awards to the file.

Now I'm ready to create a new scrapbook. This system has made scrapbooking so much easier. Using this method, I can also plan the entire book, because every photo and item is already sorted.