Weekend Thoughts

Have you guys checked out the Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell “I bless the rains down in Africa” video yet? I love this for so many reasons, but perhaps most because it affirms my truest belief – Silliness for silliness sake is a bright shiny light in this world.

The purpose of January. In a recent meeting, the conversation turned to January’s role in the calendar year. It can feel so long and brutal, but someone pointed out that she loves it because it’s like a long period of peaceful normalcy. It made me think… maybe I’ve been giving January (and it’s cousin February) too hard of a time. Maybe I just need to give these two months a different purpose.

Do you keep a paper to do list? My daughter has an assignment notebook that she was given by her teacher at the beginning of the year. It’s been collecting dust. We had a big talk about keeping track of things on paper rather than trying to remember them all (and then PANICKING!). So I’m trying to do it in my own planner (which had also been collecting dust) along with her. I’m decently organized but I get a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of ways to keep lists (electronic, paper planners, sheet of paper, sticky notes). Now it’s back to the method of my youth. Wish us luck.


Happy Weekend to You!


Organize this: School lunches


I’m a little ashamed to admit it took me 2.5 years of school lunches to figure out this little tiny trick — a trick that everyone is probably already doing. But here goes…

Back story: When we moved out of our house in November, I was frantically trying to get the kids move day items (tooth brushes, clean clothes, back packs, etc.) organized. I was standing in the grocery store when I ran into my friend Jennie who graciously(!) told me that she would handle school lunches. As in, she would make them, bring them to school for my kids, etc. Done.

It was hard to hold back my tears of joy, but I did it. Clearly, I AM THE HERO here.

Jennie (our hero true) dropped off lunches that night with a note explaining that since she usually makes them at night, she thought she’d just bring the lunches to us the day before.

The girl makes lunches the night before?

When we opened the lunches we found all these neat little plastic containers, it was like digging through a treasure chest of goodies (fruits, veggies, granola bars, a sandwich). Side note: I’d like Jennie to be my mom.

Now you would think it would have dawned on me that I should immediately start doing school lunch things ahead of time, but we were moving and I’m not that bright and so I didn’t. But it did stick with me… I need a better lunch process… someday.

Finally, about two weeks ago, I actually carried through with my intentions to make our mornings less chaotic and tempermental and decided to start with lunches. This was actually phase two in my DECREASE MORNING STRESS plan. [Phase one had to do with dramatically decreasing my yelling – even if it means we are going to be late.]

Perhaps early preparation (over the weekend, in my case) would help alleviate some of the stress each morning.

I made up small containers of fruits and veggies, plastic bags of pretzels, and even broke down cheese sticks and lunch meat into individual servings on a Sunday afternoon. I grabbed a couple of extra small plastic containers at Target just for this purpose. Also, there’s nothing cuter than a little plastic container with a green lid. Just saying…

The result:

Um… why did it take me 2 years to figure out this simple, simple, simple process? I’m completely scratching my head over why this took me so long, particularly because I consider myself to be a relatively organized person. It’s surprising just how much smoother things go when I’m not dragging the entire refrigerator out and putting it back again within a span of 10 harried minutes before school.

Gretchen Rubin, a writer I love, who researches the power of good habits and personal tendencies, gives out happiness gold stars on her podcast each week and I feel as though I’ve earned a gold star here. This is a habit that immediately decreased my stress level in the morning. I’ve gained so much insight from listening to her Happier podcast and I highly recommend it. There’s such a connection between establishing better habits and increasing our happiness.

So what tips or tricks do you use in the mornings? Any strategies that have alleviated stress and tension in your mornings?

Organize this: School lunches



Weekend Thoughts:

  • What’s your spiritual gift(s)? I know people who have used their spiritual gifts in amazing and unexpected ways. Cake baking, reading and caring for children, photography, we don’t necessarily think of these things as spiritual gifts, but any talent or gift can be used for a higher purpose… let that settle in because it’s pretty amazing when the two collide.

Not sure what your spiritual gifts are? Find an online assessment or strengths finder tool. But I bet you know in your heart what your gifts are (wink)

  • Do you need a change of scenery? January is such a looong month. This week I sat myself down at a new coffee shop to write. It took a lot longer to drive there, but I just needed a change of scenery. Frustration can settle in so quickly. Perhaps a change of scenery is a tool we can all use to help us break up the cold winter months?
  • Use it up. Recently, I discovered some old (and still cool) notecards with my name on them. What was I saving these for? Who knows… but in the advent of email, I had to place them right out in front. I’m gaining some traction on my 2016 goals – I’m using them up rather than letting them collect dust.

Happy Weekend!




How to use a chia seed…

There’s a lot of talk these days of “super” foods. The term gets thrown around in health blogs and books regularly (chia seeds, spirulina, sprouting), although most of us don’t know where to begin with this stuff. It can feel overwhelming, right?

I am working to find that intersection between incorporating these wonderful foods, and yet owning up to the fact that we have a fairly typical western diet that also includes meat, dairy and sweets. We will not be going vegan.

I’ve written about smoothies here before. It’s where we incorporate stronger vitamins and chia seeds and protein into our breakfast.


Recently, we read through (okay, mostly me) the PlantPower Way by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt. Roll has achieved quite a bit of recognition for his athletic feats (multiple iron mans, etc) and for doing it all on a vegan diet. The book gives a great overview in the first few pages of how to utilize these super foods and explains what they actually do for your health.

What I appreciate most about this book is how the authors discuss their lifestyle approach as a family effort. How many of us have made a nutritious kale-based something or other – only to see our families turn up their noses? It’s not easy.

As I stumble across interesting books, I like to share them. This one is available at our public library and might be worth checking out if you’re starting to dip your toes into the waters here. There are so many interesting resources out there right now, right? But finding something that speaks to you is a very personal thing.

Are there other books or blogs you’ve found helpful? Do tell, friends! Tips and tricks are always welcome.

How to use a chia seed…

A cold day = waffles

Yesterday’s high was 7 degrees. I’m no weather professional, but if I had to characterize the day, it would be: miserably, painfully, spitefully cold. Did you know weather can be mean? It can. It can be really mean.

So to help brighten our morning, I decided we needed waffles. Trader Joe’s makes a great gluten free buttermilk pancake and waffle mix. Cooking (and preparation) is a skill the kids are working on and they are definitely open to taking on more responsibilities, provided I remember to slow down and include them.


Luckily, waffles are just the kind of thing my staff, er, children are working on making by themselves. They really want to use the waffle iron, but I get nervous about the kids burning themselves, so that part was more of an assist than a do it yourself situation.

However, I provided the box of mix, the eggs, measuring cup, and a whisk and came back to a batter ready pour without much involvement. My thought was to make the entire box and then freeze waffles for breakfast. Batch cooking/make ahead cooking isn’t my strength, so I love it when it actually occurs to me.


For the first time, I added two scoops of vanilla pea protein to the batter and crossed my fingers that the mix wouldn’t be too dry or off tasting. Yet one more effort to incorporate more protein in our mornings.

Happily, the batter worked great and the waffles were a delicious success. I’ve got two plastic bags in the freezer now, which I can pull out for the ultimate I-am-the-greatest-breakfast-provider-in-the-world moment.

Are my expectations too high? Apologies. It’s the cold getting to my brain.


A cold day = waffles



End of the Week Thoughts:

This week we had some snow, nothing major, just enough to be pretty. As I was getting into my car I saw the big fat snowflakes falling individually on my black paint. You could see each crystalline structure with all its delicate details. I’m not sure I’ve seen that up close before, just in photographs. Or is it that I just never bothered to take notice? It made me pause. What else have I not noticed over the last 40 years?

While listening to my six-year-old and his buddy playing a game on the iPad, I heard them both agree that Friends are way better than Money. I do not know what prompted this because I swear to you the preceding conversation was about next year’s Halloween costumes (ideas included minions, Indiana Jones, and a piece of cheese). However, it made me smile… They hear us.  Our words and examples sink into their little minds and then find their way out at random times.

Thursday morning we received the gift of a 35 degree day. A friend and I took a walk at our local arboretum, catching up and breathing in the gorgeous morning air. We both agreed what a difference in perspective we have right now. To some this temperature may feel freezing cold, but after highs of five degrees earlier in the week, it was practically tropical. I felt so lucky to have the morning free to just soak in the outside world. Made me realize I need to block out time when the weather is nice to just get outside. I need to schedule it like an appointment.

Have a good weekend!





Hard boiled

IMGP6682.JPGDespite the fact that I try not to keep too much extra stuff in my kitchen, I’m kinda obsessed with my latest gadget.

A hard boiled egg cooker.

Yeah, I bought into all the hype, but before you protest the absurdity of the purchase, let me make my case. First, I don’t think I’ve EVER successfully hard boiled an egg. I always end up losing half the egg white when I pull off the shell. And it has a very loud built in timer. This would be another reason I can’t seem to cook an egg – I never get the timing correct.

I can make eggs so easily with this contraption that we’ve already started eating more each week.

Now I know that there are a million tutorials for how to correctly hard boil an egg, but I know when I’ve been beat. Eggs – 42, Maggie – 0.

BUT NO MORE! I’ve consumed so many more eggs in the past couple of weeks (which is good for us because my kids will eat them and it’s an easy way to add protein to their breakfast) that I’m now a convert.

Until the thing breaks.

Do you think I’m insane? Do you have something else you love, but know others may find it ridiculous? Do tell…

Hard boiled