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When You’re Having Fun
You know you have Daily Responsibilities, right? Of course you do. Everyone does. Do you get everything on your list done every day? Really? What keeps you from getting those things done?
Life. It just happens. And then it just keeps on happening. The things that were once major priorities in our lives somehow become less important, and other things take precedence. But did those priorities and responsibilities/obligations go away? If not, who does them when YOU don’t?
Yeah. That’s how the ‘overwhelmed’ feeling we feel attacks us when we revisit those projects we left hanging in the wind; The Blog Site, the business venture, the family reunion idea, the home school plan, the garden you were going to plant with the kids, the budget and savings plan, … hmmm.
The good intentions of ideas born are left to die when we don’t put action to the plan. It is most unfortunate when you invest money in that project and then get distracted by life … and you end up paying for something you have never gotten off the ground.
Here are some sure fire ways to stay focused on a project and see it to fruition even when life hits:
- Keep a Journal = if you keep track of what you are doing, you will know where you left off and where to pick back up again when you revisit the idea. Plus, when you get used to journal-ing – you will begin to look at it DAILY and your ‘To Do’ List will stay fresh in your mind.
- Don’t Start Another Project Until the First One is Complete = I know it’s SOOOO hard for us visionaries, but complete your first idea before starting on the next one! Too many irons in the fire can burn ANYbody, I don’t care how talented at multi-tasking you are!
- Make a Work Schedule = set work hours and STICK TO THEM! Give yourself (and your family) a break. Being a work-a-holic isn’t healthy for anyone.
- Plan Family Time/Vacations = schedule time to disconnect your mind from all projects/work/etc. and just enjoy quality family time. After all, the whole point of working so hard is to put away that money for your family … so … use it for them and ENJOY!!!
- Don’t Â Be So Hard On YourselfÂ = when you don’t accomplish what you set out to, shake it off, look in the mirror, give yourself a good talking to, and move on. Wallowing in self-pity never got anyone anywhere but stuck right where they are. Sometimes things get put off because we had to learn something before it could be accomplished. Reflect, revamp and refocus.
We are all guilty of letting time get away from Â us; of letting priorities get mixed up; of procrastinating and becoming unproductive. The good thing is … as long as we get an opportunity to wake up in the morning – there is a chance to redeem ourselves and try again. Now … GO!
Is it the newest trend for Moms to stay at home with their children instead of send them to daycare? Is it the norm for there to be one-income-households now a days?
Well … Â What about this new idea of stay-at-home Dads? Â Â
With the job market being so … iffy these days, it’s hard to tell who is going to have a job and who isn’t. The only stable jobs seem to be in the service industry, and even those aren’t really what I would call ‘stable’. The wages aren’t exactly ideal, either. So, service industry (unless highly trained, skilled, professional service careers i.e. Physicians/Nurses/Attorneys) positions don’t really foot the bill in the provision, high quality of life arena if you must shell out $150 per child per week for childcare. What’s the point of working?
That’s the question I asked myself when I found out I was with child almost 10 years ago … and then again 15 months later. There was no way my husband – a blue collar worker, who works VERY hard for his wages – and I would EVER afford to work and send our two children to daycare. So … we decided I would stay home with them. The $ I would bring home in my paycheck after taxes every week would exactly pay for someone else to raise my babies; nurture them, see their smiles, hear their first words, see their first steps, their giggles, witness all their milestones in life. It just wasn’t worth it to me.
I bit the bullet and let go of ‘Corporate America’, where I wasn’t going to advance to be Vice President of anything anyway and became the best manager of all things small, detailed and organized that ran this well-oiled machine I call my corner of the world. My husband certainly slept easier knowing our children were looked after by someone who knew them and loved them beyond measure. Don’t get me wrong … being at home ALL DAY with a toddler and an infant was no easy task. I cried, I slept, I drug through the house, I barely kept my eyes open some days … but I always had the love and support of my husband who was so pleased with my decision to stay home that he helped as soon as he walked in the door, even though he was dog tired from working all day. I managed to have a hot meal (even if it was just chili dogs and french fries) waiting for him, and he took over baby duty so I could have a rest for a few hours before I picked up at bed time so he could have un-interrupted sleep to prepare for work in the morning.
It worked for us. I IMMEDIATELY got them both on a schedule. They both slept through the night by 4-6 months old and after that, it was almost smooth sailing. If only the little one would take afternoon naps! She wouldn’t! But … she got used to ‘rest time’ and it worked. I had (and still have) our home running like a well-oiled machine. Everyone has their part to play, but if it wasn’t for our decision – it never would have happened.
Financially, we had to do some MAJOR adjusting. As a family, we had to scale down quite a bit. We went from havingÂ lot of stuff (andÂ loan payments and credit cards), to paying off all debt (twice). We now live with just monthly utilities and cell phone payments. We have two old cars, but they are paid off; and we don’t have cable. We live without certain ‘luxuries'(by other people’s standards.)Â Watching my children grow, spending time with them, teaching them about life, developing their personalities and character … I call these things the TRUE luxuries of life.
We aren’t able to take fancy vacations, but we manage to splurge every now and then on trips that mean something to us; and we have very generous parents who take us on great family vacations on occasion … so we are extremely blessed in a lot of ways. We trust and believe in a simpler way of life, and the foundational truths that family is based on mutual respect for Man being the protector/provider and head of the house. The Woman is next in line and looks to her husband for covering, love and direction. She is to help him, manage the home and children and maintain order. The children follow them both. Without mutual love and respect, it doesn’t work, and it doesn’t work if it’s not done in order.
We save for a rainy day, have great aspirations and business goals and multiple irons in the fire to earn income. (Just because I am a Stay-at-Home Mom doesn’t mean I don’ t WORK!!!) LOL
The bottom line: I would recommend spending as much time with your children if you can in any way shape or form make a way to do it. You will never regret the sacrifices you made to do it, and you will not miss the things you didn’t have because of it. You will not only cherish the time you spent with them, but just think of the memories they will have of you. Do you want them to say they wish they had more time, or they remember the time they had?
DEEPLY ROOTED LIKE THE ROYAL PALM
Isn’t it amazing how the trees regrow leaves and the flowers sprout back up every Spring just like clockwork, even if the weather gets a little sketchy? I mean, lets face it! This Spring has been bi-polar! Cold, hot, breezy, pick-you-up-off-your-feet windy, tornadoes, snow, ice, sun, rain, thunder, floods … and that was all in one week!
But we make it through those changes EVERY single year, don’t we? We are resilient. We survive, and so do the strongest of the plant life. I sometimes use that as a metaphor in this journey. We survive because we have learned to; we adjust. The strongest plants/trees have the deepest roots.
Although I live in the Midwest, I admire the Royal Palm the most. Now THAT is a tree that can withstand some STUFF! You talk about turmoil and strife, storms and rain … that tree can hold fast. I wonder if that’s why it is called ‘Royal’. That is what I strive to be; Royal. I must admit, I don’t always get it right. I slip and fall (bend and sway), but I always end up standing upright again. I guess it’s the morals and values my parents taught me.
Morals and values are very important in my family life. Even though we are grounded in those values (traditions), we made sure they were reinforced by Biblical Â Truths for our family. (For the most part, my parents had a good foundation).
All families are different. We go the Biblial/Spiritual route and don’t mess with a lot of religious traditions (which can lead you down some ‘WIDE’ paths if your not careful),Â and throw some family traditions in here and there. But this is a NO JUDGEMENT zone. There are a lot of ways to build relationships and hold families close, and traditions areÂ one of them. Here is a partial list I’ve compiled:
- Spiritual (Relationship over ‘Religion’)
- Free Will
- Social Norms
- Bible Based
Just be sure whatever way you choose, you are on one accord and are working hand in hand. Children know when Mom and Dad are at odds. They seek it out and try to divide and conquer! LOL Try mixing it up, like we do.
The deeper your roots go, the better equipped you are to withstand any storm that comes your way. Decide early and work on it DAILY. It is important that your children have stability, just like that Royal Palm. You never know when the next Hurricane is coming!
PINCHING PENNIES Pt.1
Ok. I am FABULOUS! If nobody else says it, I am going to say it! However, I refuse to be fabulous if my family looks raggedy. When I was single (even a Single Mom), it was pretty easy to maintain my STYLE. Now? Â Um … Well, I have ‘eighthundred’ kids. (That’s one of my favorite words – so get used to it).
Here is a pic of a FABULOUS FAMILY:
This look is REALLY nice, isn’t it? It all cost under $50. I mean EVERYTHING. How, you ask? Well, let me explain.
- I thrift. I admit it. I’m not ashamed of it. I LOVE IT! Thrifting and bargain shopping areÂ WONDERFUL. If I can’t find it for a bargain, then IÂ think long and hard before I buy it.
- I Make It. If I can’t find it at a thrift store or on the clearance rack, I make it. I usually purchase fabric at the Â Â thrift store, or on clearance at the fabric store when I see some I really like, and save it for when I have use for it. (I keep fabric in a storage bin and out of sight – my house is NOT cluttered!)
- Gifts. Birthdays and Christmas areÂ the BEST times for Grandma to give the kids new clothes! (And give you great accessories!)
How about THIS look?
This entire Christmas look cost under $85. We already had the tights, shoes and jewelry, we bought:
- Women’s Dress: $10
- Women’sÂ Jacket: $5
- Boy’s Pants: $7
- Boy’s Shirt & Tie Set: $8
- Boy’s Sweater: $5
- Girl’s Dress: GIFT
- Girl’s Bow: $1
- Men’s Pants: $15
- Men’s Sweater: $25
- Men’s Jacket: $5
- Pocket Square: $2
Don’t think you have to spend a million to look like a million. AND we are all color coordinated. (That is a special little thing I like to do with my family). I’m … quirkyÂ like that LOL!
If you like what you see, check back with the Frugal Fashionista for more fashion tips!!!
THE DETAILS MATTER
My husband and IÂ were away for a long weekend and left my children in the care of my parents – the kids’ Grandparents – Â and they had loads of fun. When we got back, we cuddled, snuggled, told great stories of our trip and brought gifts. We sat and listened to their stories of their escapades with Grandma and Grandpa and laughed and had a great time ‘catching up’.
I noticed when it was time to go to bed, my 7-year old daughter clung a little tighter and became a little … ‘whiny-er’. It irritated me a bit and I just chalked it up to her being very tired and gave her a little extra attention (trying not to show my agitation) while saying prayers before closing the door and turning out the light.
The next morning, she was overly clingy and I promise, if she was a jacket, I would have been wearing her all day. After school, she was lying on top of me, and I basically had to FORCE her to leave me to do her homework, read a book and practice her piano. It wasn’t long before she was right back on my hip, cuddled up under my arm (making me HOT and giving me FLASHES!!) Needless to say, I was becoming increasingly aggravated by this behavior and the subtle hints I was giving her to go be her normal independent self was not working.
FINALLY – I stopped what I was doing and looked at her. I looked in her eyes. She looked very worried. I saw her heart and asked what was wrong. “Why are you clinging to Mommy so much, Honey?”
“Because you went Â away and I missed you so much.” WOW!!! It blew me away. My absence had affected her THAT much. I had been gone before and it had never affected her like that, but somehow, for some reason -Â this time was different. It broke my heart. So I just picked her up and held her. She cried a bit and I sang to her to comfort her.
Then … I explained to her that Mommy is like a kangaroo – and she is my Joey. When she is born, she gets to ride around in my pouch all the time. The older she gets, the bigger she grows and she can’t fit in my pouch anymore. She can always get hugs and kisses, but she just can’t ride around all the time. She’s got to learn to jump on her own legs and get them nice and strong. So – I sent her off jumping … and she’s been fine ever since.
The moral of the story? Never take for granted that just because your child handled something great one time that they will ALWAYS react that way. Take time to pay attention to the details. It will make all the difference in the world!
Date Your Daughters
Daddy’s little girls. It’s almost a given, isn’t it? Well … it wasn’t for me. I don’t think my dad knew what to do with a girl. We hung out and stuff – washing cars, planting gardens, painting the house, mowing the lawn. I LOVED hanging out with my Dad. Wherever he was, I wanted to be. My most favorite thing to do was watch him shave. I know, it seems silly … but that just brought a huge smile to my face!
I learned a lot from my dad, even though he didn’t really know how to show affection in the ‘girly’ way I might have needed. I learned to appreciate the way he loved me, and grew to expect the same from any potential husband ‘candidate’. He MUST know how to mow a lawn properly or SOMETHING! Know how to work on cars – something I can’t do! LOL
The point is … any potential man who wanted to share my life had big shoes to fill if he wasÂ going long term. I have some AWESOME memories of my Dad. Emotionally though – I was seriously lacking. I didn’t get my emotional pocket filled up with great memories from my dad. As a matter of fact … I don’t have any. It’s not bad, it’s just what it is.
The problem is, it left me void when I left home at 17 to go to college and I looked to fill my pockets up with LOVE and I found … UN-love. Â Something disguised as love but definitely NOT love. Â I was very naive to that. I didn’t understand it, so I got hurt by it a lot. No one told me that people … boys … men could be so hurtful; that I had to protect my heart. No one told me how I should expect to be treated as a young lady.
SO! Mothers! Encourage your husbands, boyfriends, ‘baby-daddies’ to DATE your DAUGHTERS! It is their responsibilityÂ to teach your daughters how they are to be treated by men. Dad’s should show their girls what chivalry is, what respect is, what listening is. A Dad should pay attention to the details – compliment their dress or hair, introduce them as their Princess(es) [Never forget that YOU are the Queen]. Hold their hand, hug them. Daddy’s should never skimp on letting their daughters know how much they are loved and cherished. Take an interest in their lives – school, their friends, boys, clothes, whatever … and make it often.
It’s never too soon or too late to start. Any time from 3 to marriage is always good. Remember – if Daddies don’t do it – some other boy will. And that boy mightÂ whisper the wrong things in our little girls’ ears and make those little hairs on the back of her neck stand up and make her all tingly inside and she’ll be doing all kinds of things we don’t want her to do – or don’t THINK she’ll do.
Reinforce the bond and the boundaries of a healthy relationship. It might feel awkward Dad, but your daughter will appreciate it and never forget it when she is older. Instead of listening to that creepy boy in her ear, she’ll hear YOUR voice instead … telling her she’s worth more than that!
Help your family get active
When it comes to heart health, itâ€™s important that we think not only of our own cardiovascular health but also that of future generations. A study last year found that obese children and teens have as much plaque in their arteries as a 45-year-old adult, setting them up for heart disease and other serious health conditions much earlier than their parents.
If youâ€™ve got kids, of course you want to make sure they grow up fit and healthy. But you also know itâ€™s hard to juggle work, family, and physical activity. Still, setting a healthy example is a good start; research shows that parents who are physically active increase the likelihood that their kids will be active as well. So if youâ€™re looking for ways to get your kids involved, check out these tips. Read more »
How can I improve communications in my family?
Here are a few important ways to build healthy communication
- Be available: Make time in everyone’s busy schedule to stop and talk about things. Even 10 minutes a day without distractions for you and your child to talk can make a big difference in forming good communication habits. Turn off the television or radio. Give your undivided attention to your child. Sit down and look at your child while you talk. Those few minutes a day can be of great value.
- Be a good listener: When you listen to your child, you help your child feel loved and valued. Ask your child about his feelings on a subject. If you are not clear about what your child is saying, repeat what you are hearing to be sure that you understand what your child is trying to say. You do not have to agree with what your child is saying to be a good listener. Sharing his thoughts with you helps your child calm down, so later he can listen to you.
- Show empathy: This means tuning in to your child’s feelings and letting him know you understand. If your child is sad or upset, a gentle touch or hug may let him know that you understand those sad or bad feelings. Do not tell your child what he thinks or feels. Let him express those feelings. And be sure not to minimize these feelings by saying things like, “It’s silly to feel that way,” or “You’ll understand when you get older.” His feelings are real to him and should be respected.
- Be a good role model: Remember, children learn by example. Use words and tones in your voice that you want your child to use. Make sure that your tone of voice and what you do send the same message. For example, if you laugh when you say, “No, don’t do that,” the message will be confusing. Be clear in your directions. Once you get the message across, do not wear out your point. If you use words to describe your feelings, it will help your child to learn to do the same. When parents use feeling words, such as, “It makes me feel sad when you won’t do what I ask you to do,” instead of screaming or name calling, children learn to do the same.