Category Archives: Shooting the Breeze

Why Do I Share Recipes?

I began collecting recipes when I got married. I was determined to become a good cook and to do it on a small budget. Back then it seemed that every recipe required a ton of ingredients, many of which were expensive. The only budget friendly ones I had were those used by my own mother when I was growing up.

Then I discovered Taste of Home magazine. This was a monthly magazine that offered a wide variety of recipes to fit any budget, every skill level and a variety of food options. I was hooked. I began to tweak recipes to what my family liked and didn’t like and discovered that many recipes were better than the original. Today I am known as a good cook, although sometimes I am not sure I deserve that title. I don’t think every meal needs to be fancy, but it is nice to know a few recipes that instantly impress.

For example, Chicken Parmesan is very easy to make but is the perfect date night meal. When I taught my son how to do it his response was “That’s it? That is easy!” I did tell him he can use jarred sauce or homemade, but suggested that he make up a bunch of sauce at once and freeze it so as to always have it on hand. This makes several fast meals possible. Of course he already knew that I have done that for years, but it was a good reminder that he too can plan ahead. That is one thing I really want to show through my recipes, a little planning ahead can make dinner preparation very simple, and dare I say fun?

My kids have grown up learning from me, things which I wish I had known 20+ years ago. My mother was so busy doing what she needed to do in order to raise 4 kids, she didn’t have the time or patience to teach me. While I am still learning, I want to share what I know with others to hopefully be a blessing to you, and so that you can turn around and bless those around you with your skills and knowledge. I hope that I have been able to do that, and if there is something specific you want to learn how to make, please let me know.

For now, enjoy what is here, expect more good things to come and I would love to hear your thoughts on my blog.

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Easter Egg Contest

Easter is coming and so I wanted to do a little contest for everyone. Below is a picture of a Younique Presenter case filled with plastic eggs. I love my makeup case, it keeps everything together and looks so pretty sitting on the shelf in my bathroom. But today it is serving another function, helping Peter Cottentail hold some eggs!

Between now and the day before Easter, everyone can take a guess at how many eggs are in this case. Only one entry per person so choose wisely. Be sure to share with your friends so they can get a chance to enter to. The winner will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card. If multiple people guess correctly, I will do a drawing for the winner. To make your guess click on “comments”. Ready……set…..GO!

How many eggs do you see?
How many eggs do you see?

3 Words that Show Compassion

Picture yourself at the grocery store, you have a list in your hand and need to get out of the store in the next 20 minutes or you will be late picking the kids up from school. You see Sally coming towards you, you haven’t seen her in awhile, but you know things are not good for her right now,. As you pass her you throw a smile and say “Hi, how are you?” And don’t skip a beat as you keep pushing a cart waiting for her to respond, “Good” she says. As you pass by you say “Have a great day” and finish your shopping. You think to yourself how proud you are of Sally, holding her head up high through everything. Now where did they move the peanut butter to?

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Lets look at this from Sally’s point of view. Every day she gets up, knowing what the day will be. One of the things on her to-do list is going to the grocery store, while there she sees several people she knows. All of them ask “How are you” and she responds with a smile and “good”. She knows it is a lie, but she also knows that nobody really wants to hear the truth, because none of them actually stop long enough to hear more than a one word answer. And what if she were to say that if she doesn’t pay her electric bill by Friday it will get turned off? Or that the doctor told her this morning he wants to do another biopsy? That her daughter cries all the time because she is afraid she will lose her mom? She has tried to speak up in the past and the look of panic on the faces of people told her they want to leave the conversation and fast. So she lies.

Every time she lies, a piece of her dies inside. She feels more alone and helpless than ever. Sally is amazed at how easy it is to smile and pretend everything is good, just so someone else doesn’t feel uncomfortable. She tells her kids not to lie, but she does it every single day. She wonders if there is a difference? Sally finishes her shopping and heads to pick up her own kids from school, feeling very much alone.

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A greeting is a word or gesture of salutations. A question is a statement made with an expectation of receiving an answer. How often do you greet someone with “How are you?” And really give the time to listen for an honest answer? I am not saying that you don’t have a schedule to keep, I just wonder if you really ask the question expecting an honest answer? Whether you know the person is going through a hard time or not, are you ready to stop and listen to what they have to say? If not, then stop asking that question when you see people. A simple hello is fine and have a nice day works perfectly. Sally understands you are in a hurry, she just doesn’t want to keep lying.

When you ask someone how they are doing, and can’t or won’t give the time to listen for an honest answer, you are asking that person to lie. We teach our kids to have compassion for others, but do we really, truly exhibit it in our own lives? I honestly believe most people have no clue how this one little thing affects others, or they would stop doing it. We don’t get up in the morning intending to cause someone grief. If we know we have hurt someone we try to make it right. People like Sally, they rarely speak up. It is such a small thing, and how do you tell someone what they are doing is so painful?

What is the solution? Either make the time to really listen to the answer, and make sure Sally knows she can be honest, or don’t ask the question. It is okay to just say “hello”, “hi” or even “you look beautiful today” and keep walking. We don’t have to stop and talk to everyone we see. Just make those times when you see someone you know, that you will have a positive impact. A smile, a hug or well wishes can make someone’s day, and they take only seconds. When you have time, that is when you ask those three little words. And if Sally tells you things that make you uncomfortable, imagine how she feels telling you. Now that is showing compassion.

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Dream Big and Achieve It

Look at  a soccer or football field and the players know exactly where the goal is, and that they need to get the ball there to win the game. Basically a goal is a well defined target. There is no doubt that the soccer goal is at the end of the field with that huge net around it and protected by the goalie. Nor is there anyway you cannot see the end zone and know that football needs to get across that line to score points. They are similar in that they are both for a ball game, but each has specific requirements to be successfully achieved. Goals are best achieved when following the SMART formula. They need to be Specific, Measureable, Realistic and Time specific. Goals and dreams differ greatly.

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A dream is is an image of something you wish to achieve. They are inspirational and can change your life. On their own, that is where they will forever stay, a place of fantasy that you long for. As children we tend to dream every day of things we want or want to be when we grow up. Yet rarely do children have any plan of action to attain those dreams. As time passes by, we forget about dreaming and just deal with the daily grind of life. Want to know the big difference between a goal and a dream? Lets look at the game of football.

Say a team has recruited some great players I will call them Wilson, Sherman and Lynch. The coach has goals for those players to improve their game and make them work hard at practices to achieve those goals. The players work their butts off, but for what reason? Is reaching those goals why they get up in the morning? Or is it the dream those goals are helping them to reach? Their dream is to make it to the Super Bowl and get a very special ring. Every practice, every bump and bruise, every sore muscle is to get to that one big game and prove they deserve to be there. It is a hard season, full of highs and lows, but that dream is one day fulfilled. Does Wilson now sit back and say “I fulfilled my childhood dream I can take it easy!”? Along with Lynch and Sherman he has a new dream, to do it two years in a row. So these guys work with the coaches and set new goals for every week, they practice harder stay determined and focus their eyes on that dream of playing in Arizona on February 1st. Many other players have the same dream of playing in Arizona, but only two will have the opportunity. Teams full of players like Wilson, Sherman and Lynch who set goals for themselves and their teammates and worked on them daily. Men who kept that dream in front of them every day to remind them why they worked so hard to achieve certain goals. Teams who dreamed together and worked on their goals together to do something that millions of fans wish they had the talent to do, play in the Super Bowl.

It's all about that bling!
It’s all about that bling!

What are your dreams? If you cannot list them take some quiet time to dwell on it. The sky is the limit, anything you want, what would it be? Something big, and something small, it is all good. Get the whole family involved. Write the. All down on a list, the longer the better. Now go through and we’d out all those things that would just be nice, keeping only those that you really desire.

Sit at the table with a poster board, markers, pencils, magazines and glue. Every one of those dreams is going to be written, drawn or a cut out of a magazine and represented on your poster board. Once down it will hang in a place where you will see it several times a day. There will be no doubt what your dreams are when you look at it.

Type them out and place them in whatever order you like.
Type them out and place them in whatever order you like.
Make it as artsy with a definite theme or pattern.
Make it as artsy with a definite theme or pattern.
Let the pictures speak for themselves or add text to be very specific.
Let the pictures speak for themselves or add text to be very specific.
Forget the pictures altogether  as me just use words in various fonts and colors.
Forget the pictures altogether as me just use words in various fonts and colors.

There is only one rule, don’t overwhelm yourself by putting on too many things. You can always make another one when you have fulfilled this first grouping.

Way too much!
Way too much!

Of course you cannot stop here, next step is to write Smart Goals that will lead to fulfilling those dreams. But that is another discussion. For now, share some of your dreams you have for this year and maybe some you reached in 2014.

Check out my dream board on Youtube.

New Year Changes

Three kids and time have changed me, not always for the better, I had gained a lot of weight, I topped out at 220 pounds. Although I am told I carried it well, I was not happy about it. Two years ago began an extremely stressful time in my life and I dropped 50 pounds. It wasn’t the result of doing anything consciously, trust me.

A few months ago that same stress led me to eating a lot. It wasn’t necessarily bad foods, I just began eating more than I should. I realized last month I had gained 5 pounds. All the stress in the world is not a good excuse, it needs to stop. I cannot change the stress but I can work in how I react to it. It isn’t just the number but staying healthy. So right here, and right now I am committing to change. My hope is that making it public will keep me on track.

What about you my beauties? Will you commit with me to change your health for the better? Comment below and share your goals.

I am so excited!

Woot woot! I am so darn excited! My company has announced where our annual trip will be this year! For those who do not know, I have my own business and partner with Younique. I sell naturally based cosmetics that are fabulous! Have you see pictures of that amazing Mascara all over facebook? That is me!

Ooo la la lashes!
Ooo la la lashes!

Anyhow, Younqiue loves on it’s employees all the time and this year they are filling a cruise ship to Jamaica! Anyone can earn the trip and I am going to be one of them. Mamma needs a vacation! I have never been and have always wanted to do a cruise. Anyone can earn it, even new Presenters. My business has already been a blessing to me as I have made new friends and it helps pay my bills every month. Jamaica is just the cherry on top of  bro really grat sundae.

Tropical breezes and great food await!
Tropical breezes and great food await!

What are you excited about in 2015?

Words Determine our Viewpoint

When one of my children was little, I heard many words to describe her and most had a negative connotation due to issues she was dealing with. Over time, I began to describe her the same way and realized it was making me view her negatively. I struggled with how to help her with her issues and not allow others to put her down. Now I don’t believe anyone ever did so intentionally, they simply saw her behavior and used words to describe it that came to mind. Finally, I read a book that gave a simple solution which took effort to implement (and I admit I still struggle with) but it made a huge difference in how I personally perceived her.

For example, if I were to say she was a strong willed child, is that a positive or a negative word? Generally I picture a child who refuses to obey and wants everything their way. Yet if I say a determined child, I picture a child who knows what they want and will work to get it. Now isn’t that really the same thing? All I had to do when someone used strong willed to describe her was to come back and say “yes she is a determined child isn’t she?” and I would see a look come across their face. Often their face would soften, a smile would form and they began to find the positives in her behavior. To see this visually, I typed strong willed child and determined child into google and checked out the images that popped up. Overwhelmingly the stong willed child was depicted as pouting with their arms crossed. Yet the determined child was happy and laughing.

Strong willed child
Strong willed child
Determined Child
Determined Child

Examine the word audacity, it is defined as “boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.” The part I want to focus on is arrogant disregard. When someone has audacity it is never seen as a positive, quite the opposite in fact. Yet if we scroll past the definition and read the synonyms, we get a totally different take as the words “nerve, spunk, grit” are seen positive traits. How can a word imply a disregard for others yet easily be replaced by traits we admire such as spunk and grit? It all comes down to point of view.

So what does this mean for me, my family, my job or my business? I would like to challenge you to sit down and write down all the negative words you use to describe yourself in a column. Once you are done, write down the positive version of that word. For example, persnickety might become detailed or obsessive might become focused. Once you have all those words written down read them out loud and say “I am….” We can be so critical of ourselves and others that we need to retrain our minds to focus on our good attributes. You will be amazed at how different you feel just by reading the list out loud.

Now do the same thing for someone else that you struggle with. Maybe it is a coworker who annoys the tar out of you, or the child whose personality is so different from your own you wonder how they can be yours. Once we change how we perceive ourselves and others, we naturally change how we interact. If you have a strong willed child you are constantly in a battle of wills. Yet a determined child is one you can direct to use that determination in a positive way.

So you made up yet another list, what are you going to do with it? How will changing the words you use effect how you parent or run your business? It won’t if the list gets lost somewhere in the pile of papers you are trying to hide on your desk. Keep them where you can see them every day and it will remind you to mentally change those words when you hear them or are tempted to say them. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen. And I would love to hear how this worked for you.