New Goals

Welcome January.

This is the time of year when we all make those handy-dandy New Year’s resolutions, work really hard for a couple weeks, and go back to the norm because we were super gung ho and burned ourselves out in a few weeks.  I did 30 seconds of Google research on this one guys…. only 8% of New Year’s resolutions happen.

January is a time for self imposed failure rituals.  How fun.

(I realize it is essentially a week in, and I’m just now talking to you about resolutions, diets, getting organized, and the rest of that self improvement bullshit.  I am willing to move past that.)

At this point we are a week into our resolutions and a lot of us have already screwed up.  We already feel like failures.  We already gave up.  I might be included in that list… I’m not for sure.

Anywhoo….. I have a few goals for 2015 that I’m going to share here publicly.  I’m picking super easy goals because I’m still pumped about those Mini-Habits I told you about a month or so ago.

  1. Tell people I know in real life that I have a blog.
  2. Make my blog more me.  I do occasionally like pink… but in general I’m just not a pink person.  I need to turn this into something more me.
  3. Read 25 books (kid’s books don’t count, young adult books do)
  4. Do something active every day.  It doesn’t matter what it is… doing a couple crunches, walking on the treadmill, going to a yoga class… as long as I’m doing it for the purpose of being active.  (Things that have to get done anyway don’t count)
  5. Commit to one blog a week.  The content doesn’t matter, it just has to be a published post.
  6. Find one item every day that I don’t want, don’t need, or will never use and get rid of it.  It can be thrown out, given away, donated, sacrificed to the gods, repurposed, whatever.

If you yourself made some sort of resolution or attempt at self improvement at the start of the new year… don’t give up.  Maybe you picked something that was not reasonable for you.  Maybe you went into it without a plan.  Maybe it isn’t that important to you.  It doesn’t really matter.  If you find that you are struggling, take a moment to reassess what your goal is, come up with a gameplan, and move forward.  Maybe this new plan will be better for you.  Maybe you will need to re-assess again and again until you find a goal that is attainable and a plan to make it happen.

photo credit: “after the rain viii” by Dayna Bateman licensed under CC BY 4.0

December

December is finally almost over.  It is time to celebrate because December has sucked giant donkey balls.

Seriously it’s been terrible.

 

It started out with sick kids…. the eldest had pink eye.  This is not really that bad in the grand scheme of things but it requires eye drops.  If you have never had to give a kid eye drops you cannot understand how terrible that is.  It’s really a 3 person job.  On person has to sit on the kid and hold his/her arms down, the second person has to hold the head still and pry their little eyes open, the third kid has to act fast and deposit a single drop into the child’s eye in the half millisecond person two is able to get the eyelids apart.

Here is the problem with that…. I don’t have three adults who can help me do this 2x a day for 10 days.  I have one other adult and a toddler.  This translates to one person having to give my kid eye drops.  Usually me.  How does that shit work?  I have to straddle my child with her head between my knees and her arms trapped under my calves attempting to pry open her eye with one hand and give her a drop with the other.  The entire time you are worried that your neighbor without kids is going to hear and call the cops on you.

I estimate about a 60% success rating with this method.  Which is probably why she got pink eye again.

 

The next super fun thing was me getting into a car accident the morning that I was supposed to go get some testing in order to get my promotion.  I rear ended someone… He then rear ended the car in front of him… She then rear ended the car in front of her.  (That makes 4 cars total).  The accident wasn’t all that bad, and everyone commented on how lucky we were that no one was hurt.  Two days later I noticed one of my shoulders was about 2″ lower than the other one and I was doing this weird lean-y thing to compensate.  Two weeks later I got notified by my insurance company that two of the other parties involved had retained lawyers and were complaining of severe back and neck pain.  Fuck my life.

Still it wasn’t terrible.  I saw a chiro a couple times, got evened out, and reminded myself why we carry so much insurance.

 

Then I got the ‘feels just like the flu but isn’t actually the flu’ virus.  I don’t know how it isn’t the flu… I was running a 103 fever for 4 days, everything hurt, I could barely move or think or sleep or do much of anything.  It was pretty terrible.  The doctor gave me a flu test, which thankfully came back negative.  Something like that.  Having a flu like virus means you still hate life and wish for death, but none of the good drugs work to make you feel like a human.

I did get the flu shot this year just in case you were wondering.  First time in years… a lot of years.

 

Then the toddler got sick.  For Christmas… yeah!  It wasn’t anything terrible, just a cold and an ear infection.  A super awesome ear infection that left her screaming and crying and angry at the world because everything hurts and her balance is totally thrown off.  It only took 24 hours on antibiotics for her to get back to normal but when you kid gets sick on Christmas the only available option for you to get those handy dandy antibiotics is to go to the ER or other Urgent Care Center.  This is also the only available option for every other sick and injured person… so yeah… the wait time at the places we called were ridiculous.  We opted to wait until the day after we knew she had an ear infection in order to get her into our Pediatrician’s After Hours clinic.  Ear drops, Ibuprofen, a pacifier we have been working so hard to get her to stop using, and lots of love got us through those few days.

 

The good news is that today is the last day of December.  This hellish month is over.  I’m at 90% with my illness and only have a lingering cough that I’m only slightly afraid might be pneumonia but I’m also pretty sure I’m fine.

January… you HAVE got to be better for me.  You have to.  I’ll give you one million internet dollars.

 

photo credit: “Calender” by i_Yudai licensed under CC BY 4.0

Mini Habits

With the New Year’s fast approaching many people are thinking about their new Resolutions… many people are hoping to make some major changes in their lives.

Here is a little non-scientific poll for you to take:

 

Why?  Why do we make these New Year’s resolutions?  Well…. we want to make ourselves better, we strive for improving ourselves.  We want to be the best people we can be….  We want to look good, be healthy, have money, help others, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  It is also tradition and tradition matters.

If you selected anything but “Ain’t nobody got time for that”  in the poll above I want you to answer a new poll:

 

If this works the way I think it will (because it is the way my life works) those of us who make resolutions tend not to keep resolutions.  At least not consistently.

 

So… confession time again… I have been known to pick up the occasional self-help book.  I’m kinda fucked up, I want to be better.  Judge me.  Actually I do enjoy these books because I do get something out of them.  There are a LOT of self help books that are a bunch of BS, but the vast majority contain some little bit of information, some little tip, that I can use in my life.  One of the books I recently picked up was “Mini Habits”  by Stephen Guise.

The concept of this book is pretty simple…. We make big goals, we fail, we start to doubt our abilities, we stop trying, we feel bad about ourselves.  If we swap out those big goals for little tiny goals that are next to impossible to fail we can get out of this neverending spiral down.  We can start making real improvements.

This resonates with me.

I try to make resolutions, I try to get healthy, I try to save more money, I try to do a lot of things and I fail.  I stop trying… Why try if I know deep down it isn’t going to happen.

In the book the example provided over, and over, and over (really… it get brought up a lot) is the Author’s first mini-habit.  He sets the goal of doing one push up every day.  He can choose to do more, but he can never choose to do less.  Well, how frigging easy is it to do one push up every day?  (Or to put on your workout clothes, or to drink one cup of water, or to save $1 a week)  The point is that these are stupid small goals that are almost impossible not to do.  Every day you do this tiny little thing, and every day your confidence builds and builds.  Eventually these mini-habits become full blown habits.

Let’s take my Green Smoothie challenge that I just wrapped up… I ended up failing it because life got in the way and that extra 5-10 minutes really was just too much for me to commit to every day.  Well, making the commitment to purchase spinach or kale or some other green leafy thing once a week is not a big stretch for me.  I am going to the grocery store anyway, if I have all my supplies I am going to end up doing something with them,  I like green smoothies more than I like spinach and kale on their own… there is a pretty simple progression from purchasing greens to having green smoothies.  All of the steps in between are small, totally do-able most days, and if life ends up getting in the way again I have still met my goal by just purchasing some green shit.  Success!

One of the biggest problems I see… Feeling life a failure when you aren’t an overachiever.  I know with my green smoothies I really want to actually drink those things… buying supplies isn’t going to feel like success.  That is a problem, that is part of the reason my resolutions and goals fail.  I’m focused on the endpoint and not all the little steps in between.  Even if I do a stellar job at every little step from the first to the second to last I feel like a failure because that last step didn’t go the way I wanted it to go.  How much sense does that make?

 

**Affiliate links – If you click on a product link it may be an affiliate link. I use these links to offset my cost for making this blog awesome.

photo credit: “The Monument” by THTStudio licensed under CC BY 4.0

Cyber Monday

Today is Cyber Monday.  Today is one of my favorite days of the entire year.  I realize that the pricing for items on this day aren’t really that much better than any normal sale… but I don’t care.  I fell for the hype.  I own it.

Amazon is one of my favorite places… and today I’m going to help you Christmas shop.  Because it is fun.  I’ll be updating throughout the day because I do have other things to do but we will start with a few favorites.

  1. Kindle Paperwhite – Yes it is a dedicated e-reader.  No you really can’t do anything other than read on it.  Still… if you really like reading some of the small touches they gave this little device make it worth it.  The textured screen, the backlight, the Whispernet that connects everywhere I have ever attempted to connect…. all things that I love.  Some of you are thinking about how you like the feel of a real book, the smell of the paper;  I understand and appreciate that.  I don’t like the space that books take up.  I don’t like having to carry a giant book (or books) with me on vacation.  These things are super convenient.  Plus most of the time you can get free and lower cost books.  So there is that.
    1. If you are getting the Kindle invest in a cover… it makes it slightly more bookish in feel and has a neat little auto on/off feature when you open or close the case.  It also helps protect your kindle when you drop it.  (I drop things a lot).
    2. Like to read in the bath?  Yeah me too.  The problem is that electronics don’t love water (I drop things a lot).  Invest in some of these handy dandy freezer bags and you don’t have to worry about it.  The kindle and cover fit without adding a ton of extra bulk.
  2. This is a tricky gift depending on who you are purchasing for, but Cards Against Humanity is a hilariously fun game.  The point is to be a terrible person… really… it works better that way.  This game is NOT PC, and you probably shouldn’t play with your parents (no one needs that mental image).  If you already have the game there are tons of expansion packs (here, here, here, and here… also maybe more but links are hard.)  If you want to go all in you can also pick up everything in one handy dandy pack.
    1. Apples to Apples is similar to CAH, but more family friendly and generally appropriate for all.  There are a few different versions that I don’t totally understand.  We went with CAH because our kids aren’t old enough to understand board games yet and my husband and I accept we are terrible.
  3. Have family that lives far away?  Want to share pictures?  How about a digital photo frame that remotely updates with pictures and doesn’t take IT support to set up?  Yes please.  Check out this one or this other one.
  4. If by chance you or your loved ones live in places that are cold… a lovely Pashmina or Knit Scarf is a great accessory you can never have too many of.  These can be a great budget gift or you can go with a Cashmere if you want something more lux.
  5. For the Mom (or Dad) to be I highly recommend the Boba Wrap.   Babywearing has been A-maze-ing for my kids and I… and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without it.  The Boba Wrap is great up until around 15 lbs, and you can follow that up with a woven wrap, Mai Tai, or Soft Structured Carrier.  I haven’t really opened up on my love affair with babywearing on here… but it is real and it is somewhat obsessive.

 

Then again… here is a link to the Cyber Monday deals that are constantly changing.  You never know what you will find that you just have to have…

 

 

**Affiliate links – If you click on a product link it may be an affiliate link. I use these links to offset my cost for making this blog awesome.

photo credit: “Paying attention to detail” by Nic McPhee licensed under CC BY 4.0

Green Smoothie – Oops… I didn’t finish

So… It has been a while since posting about my green smoothie challenge. I really enjoyed it, and had fun trying new things. However, we ended up not finishing the challenge. My bad.

Part of the reason was because of my 3 week funk I found myself in. Part of the reason was because our real lives got absolutely insane. So insane that right now I’m wondering if I didn’t already write this post. Let me go check and I’ll be right back….

Ok, see, right there… I accidentally published my partial draft when I went to check. I can’t quite get my head on straight. Until I do I’m going to pretend I haven’t posted this and am going to continue with my thoughts.

First things first… A green smoothie every day is a lot. It is doable, it gets a little expensive and gets a little time consuming. Part of the expense is that we started with none of the required ingredients and double (and triple) purchased a few frozen fruits. Nothing crazy but 3 big bags of organic strawberries adds up. If your budget is tight you need to pay more attention than we did and it still might be a lot. Time is a bigger factor in our lives, and the extra trips to the store and extra 5-10 minutes every adds more effort to our day (really my day) than I was prepared to put forth. I’m confident that if I didn’t get into my funk this wouldn’t have been an issue, but I did and it was.

That said, green smoothies are good (most of them anyway). They are an excellent way to get a daily boost of nutrients without resorting to multivitamins or suppliments.

While we were doing this challenge I really felt better. I had more energy, my skin wasn’t doing weird things, I didn’t have tons of cravings. It was surprisingly awesome. I miss it.

I don’t plan on continuing a daily green smoothie because that is a lot of pressure on myself right now. I do plan on incorporating green smoothies into our regular diet however. I think we can easily do three a week. We might even be able to do more some weeks (by might I mean definitely can).

Don’t let me dissuade you from trying something like this yourself. It is definitely worth trying. Just don’t be quite as hard on yourself as I was. Relax, enjoy, and bottoms up!

 

photo credit: “Fail” by z Q licensed under CC BY 4.0  

3 Week Case of the Mondays

You may have been wondering where I was.  Or you might not have given a shit and gone about your business as usual.  I’m going to pretend that you missed me, so let’s roll with that.

I’ve been super busy with work and life and I have had a really bad case of the “fuck off I hate everyones” (It’s new, I made it up).  Essentially I just haven’t been in much of a mood to do anything other than sleep and read books and eat all the candy.  Books without pictures.  Books with big words that don’t (necessarily) rhyme or have witty child appropriate banter.  You know… books for grown ups.

Dr. Google thinks I have brain cancer or some other fancy rare disease that is super scary and could totally fit if I tilted my head just so and squinted my eyes.  The lesson here is that Dr. Google is a terrible, terrible thing that enjoys watching mass hysteria and panic attacks.

I am starting to shake it off… and hope to have some more fun and interesting things to talk about soon.  Until then… it isn’t you, it is me.

Mostly I just want to punch people.

 

photo credit: “Hangover” by Mislav Marohnic licensed under CC BY 4.0  

Green Smoothies – Week 4

A month ago +/- I started a 30 day green smoothie challenge (see Simple Green Smoothies for more info).  I had a week long break because of a vacation… and missed a few days here and there because life happened.  However I’m happy to say that we are continuing this challenge.

This week introduced medjool dates.  These are something I had never heard of until I got my shopping list for the week, but are something that I think we can incorporate into our regular diet now that I have tried them.  They are very sweet, and have a slightly caramel-y taste.  One thing that you should pay attention to is that these have pits… don’t just toss one in your mouth and comp away.  That kinda hurts.

4 weeks in and I have to say I’m really enjoying this challenge, but I’m also ready for it to be over in some ways.  I have definitely enjoyed the challenge, and have definitely come across some smoothies I really enjoyed.  There are just times when it really is a lot to ask to make a smoothie every day.  When you are a busy family with two kids, a dog, demanding jobs, random power failures that cause your electronics to go crazy, holidays, vacations, and so many other day to day tasks… that extra 5-10 minutes to decompress is a necessity.

So moving on from this challenge… I am going to commit to 3 smoothies a week.  More if I can, no less.  That is do-able.


This week was very Autumn-y IMO.  Which was perfect because it is actually starting to feel like Autumn around here.

  • JUST PLUMMY – ?  I kept forgetting to buy plums and didn’t do this one… we replaced with Strawberry Mango instead.
  • APPLE ALMOND BUTTER & JELLY – We had a nut butter smoothie during a previous week and I substituted walnut butter for almond butter.  As I wasn’t a fan, I went out and actually got Almond butter for this one.  The flavor was good, but the consistency was still kind of pasty.
  • COCO-MINT MOCHA – Chocolate + Mint?  MMmmmm…. But not really… This one needed something a little sweeter to bring it into the yummy category.  I might try this again with a few edits.
  • PEAR-BERRY NUTMEG – I like Nutmeg and was excited to try this one.  I liked it OK, but it didn’t have that nutmeg pop I was hoping for.  My husband hated it and refused to drink his.  To be fair, he isn’t much a blueberry fan and this one has a lot of blueberries in it.  I drank his so it didn’t go to waste.  No worries.
  • CARAMEL APPLE – This one was pretty good, but the dates needed to be added to the initial leaf blend.  They didn’t quite smoothify all the way.

Bonus Recipe that doesn’t fit the theme at all.

  •  STRAWBERRY MANGO – We didn’t have all the ingredients for the recipe we were supposed to make one night so I improvised.  First… I learned something – you can put too many frozen things in a smoothie.  It was a bit too solid and I had to water it down to make it blendable and drinkable.  Second, improvisation is sometimes very good.  This was a good combo.

For Part 1 of this adventure, please check out my post here.

For Part 2 of this adventure, please check out my post here.

For Part 3 of this adventure, please check out my post here.

**Affiliate links – If you click on a product link it may be an affiliate link. I use these links to offset my cost for making this blog awesome.

photo credit: “Avocado, Mango & Spinach Smoothie” by Liz Mochrie licensed under CC BY 4.0

Green Smoothies – Week 3

Since we were on vacation last week, we are running even further behind.  We are still doing it though, and for the most part it is going really well and we aren’t missing any days.  So… for more info check out Simple Green Smoothies and keep reading.

This week we introduced another green… Swiss Chard.  Technically we got “Red Chard” but I don’t know if that would make a difference.  This was our first foray into the world of chard, and so far Dr. Google hasn’t told me if those things taste any different.  So far… I don’t think I’m a huge fan.  This was the first week where it tasted like we were drinking a plant… and there is some tart metallic taste that I don’t particularly care for.

So… if I were you and you were trying this week’s recipes…

  1. Get the right chard.  Not sure how much this will change… but if you are going to do it, do it right.
  2. Try drinking from a straw.  This helps… but I don’t always have straws at hand.
  3. Try half chard/half something else.  Maybe kale.  Kale was good.
  4. Substitute the chard all together.

I’m not writing off chard and neither should you… I’m just not going to enjoy it in smoothie form from this point forward.

Another lesson learned this week… Peel the apples.  Much like carrots they don’t ever become real smoothie consistency and you end up with chunks of apple skin.  They aren’t nearly as bad as the carrot chunks, and maybe a super high powered blender would help, but you know that there is apple peel in your smoothie.  Now… this is one of those time consuming steps that makes this challenge sort of a pain in the ass… but this is totally optional and personal preference.

The last issue with the challenge this week…. maybe we are just over-buying frozen fruits, but my freezer is FULL of partially used bags of frozen fruit.  I appreciate the variety, but I have strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, mixed berries, etc.  I even have multiple bags of some of these fruits because we are terrible at checking before we go to the grocery store and I’d rather have too much than too little.

Let’s focus on a few fruits and go from there, K?  Maybe some fruits that are in season so we don’t have to get bags of frozen peaches and pass up the eleventy-billion apple varieties that have invaded my grocery stores.


This week I wasn’t sure about the theme… it seemed apple-y.

  • BANANA RAZZMATAZZ – This is the first green smoothie that made me feel like I was drinking green leafy things.  I don’t think I’m a fan of chard… it is too strong of a green-y flavor and has a metallic tang to it.
  • SOUTHERN SWISS – I was afraid to try another chard based recipe but it wasn’t the chard in this one I didn’t like, it was the coconut oil.  If you aren’t used to having a lot of coconut oil in your diet… use less.  This left an oily feeling in my mouth that I didn’t love.
  • APPLE BERRY PUNCH – Hey!  An apple smoothie in apple season.  Score!  It was really good… chard and all.
  • GREEN GRANNY – This was pretty tasty, but the apple peels didn’t fully… um… smoothify?   New word.  Also… this gave us a much needed break from chard.  I vote yes!
  • PUMPKIN DRAM PIE – I was a little fearful of this one to be honest… a pumpkin smoothie?  I mean I love pumpkin spice and pumpkin pie… but drinking a pumpkin in smoothie form seemed crazy to me.  It wasn’t scary, but it wasn’t my favorite either.  I would drink a pumpkin based smoothie again, maybe not this one, but something with pumpkin in it.

For Part 1 of this adventure, please check out my post here.

For Part 2 of this adventure, please check out my post here.

**Affiliate links – If you click on a product link it may be an affiliate link. I use these links to offset my cost for making this blog awesome.

photo credit: “Rainbow Chard” by looseends licensed under CC BY 4.0

Traveling with Kids

Let’s start this post off by coming right out and saying it.  Traveling with kids is a fucking nightmare.  Those little things require so much crap, and they suck at carrying things.  They also suck at walking quickly, and walking long distances.  This means I have to carry them, their crap, AND my crap.

Mommy needs a drink after thinking about it.

First you need sippy cups, snacks, backup snacks in case the suddenly decide they don’t like their favorite food, pacifiers, quiet toys that are big enough to find on the floor with the 3″ of additional legroom but not so big you can’t fit a variety of options in their carry on, aspirin for yourself and for them, and more snacks that you can shove at them to keep them happy on a 3 hour flight.

Then is getting on the flight itself. We fly with a car seat because it is safer and better for baby containment. You may or may not have noticed, but those things are hard to install under normal conditions… Add a line of people that are pissed off at you for bringing young children on a plane and it gets even funner.

By funner I mean it makes me want to stab myself in the eye.

Remember back in the day when they used to allow people who needed extra time to board the plane first?  Yeah, not anymore… and get prepared for nasty comments from the gate agents if you try.  We have to wait until group 3…. with what seems like 85% of the rest of the plane.

Now that that part is out of the way… Let’s talk about the other thing that sucks? Watching every person who gets on the plane realize they are on a plane with small kids.  You can almost see their thoughts… “Sigh… I have to get on this plane but I’m going to read/nap… aww, cute kid!  Wait… kid… kid on plane.  Mother fucker.”

Yep.  We parents, we can see you.  And for the most part we wish they weren’t here either.  You can’t logic a kid.  You can’t convince a kid that they do need to stay still and quiet for however long the flight is.  Best you can do is pray that all of the things you packed will keep them entertained enough to stay happy but not so entertained that they get excited.  Squeals of happiness are still loud and obnoxious noises to your neighbors.

I’ll make a deal with you though…. I’ll try my damndest to keep my kids well behaved, you try not to make that job any harder for me.

  • Reclining seats are somewhat controversial, but here is something to think about… My kid’s feet cannot reach your seat if you leave it upright.  If you recline it not only can my child’s feet reach your seat, they don’t really have anywhere else to go.  If you are going to recline your seat in front of a child you might get kicked and bumped the entire flight and I can only do so much about it.
  • I know you were looking forward to that giant bag of candy whatever… can you please maybe try not to eat it in front of my three year old who would like to think random strangers are OK with sharing.  I wish my family could have sat on one row just as much as you do…. talk to the airline about only having middle and window seats available.
  • Please remember that these seats are only 20″ apart.  I can hear you talking shit about having a headache because my kid cried for less than 30 seconds during takeoff and that I need to “make that thing happy.”  I might be bitchy and vindictive and probably won’t try so hard the next time she starts kicking the crap out of your seat and throwing cheerios in your general direction.  Just saying.

 

 photo credit: “Paper Planes” by pristyles licensed under CC BY 4.0

Green Smoothies – Late

With last week’s vacation and this week being a normal week with kids and jobs and stuff I’m running a little late on my challenge.

OK…. so I was already late… and now I’m a little more late.  Whatever, we are still working on it.

I’ll have a real post for you tomorrow, and my week 3 smoothie post on Monday.

OK… what I meant by Monday was Tuesday… I’m not so good at this scheduling thing.