Monthly Archives: February 2010

Dealing with Stressful Situations: The Four A’s

So, as you know, I’m on a mission to better deal with my stresses in life. I came across this great article from HelpGuide.org. It shares the 4 A’s of dealing with stress:

* Avoid the stressor.
* Alter the stressor.
* Adapt to the stressor.
* Accept the stressor.

#1: Avoid unnecessary stress
HOW?
* Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them.
* Avoid hot-button topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list.
* Pare down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.”

#2: Alter the situation
* Express your feelings instead of bottling them up.
* Be willing to compromise.
* Be more assertive. Don’t take a backseat in your own life.

#3: Adapt to the stressor
* Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.
* Adjust your standards. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection.
* Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts.

#4: Accept the things you can’t change
* Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”
* Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist.
* Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes.

Cause_of_Stress

Here’s a list of activities I’ll be using when feeling stressed…feel free to add your own ideas as well:
* Go for a walk.
* Sweat out tension with a good workout.
* Write in your journal.
* Take a long bath.
* Work in your garden.
* Get a massage.
* Curl up with a good book.
* Listen to music.
* Watch a comedy

Here’s to destressing!

Blogger Award!!


I was just given this amazing blogger award from Who Doesn’t Love Coupons! Her blog is a really wonderful one, you should definitely check it out.

WOW…I’m touched. I’m flattered. I’m giddy. I would like to thank all who made this possible! (Would you ever guess this is my first award? hee hee) Seriously though, this made my day! Especially coming from such a gorgeous blog. Thank you so much!

Now, to the official stuff:

The rules for accepting this award:

1.Thank the person that gave you the award

2. Pass this award on to 13 bloggers you’ve recently discovered and whom you think are fantastic!

3. Contact the Bloggers you pick to let them know they’ve won.

4. State 7 Things about yourself!

And to follow the rules, here are seven highly interesting (or slightly boring) tidbits about me:

1.)I LOVE to read…it takes me to a new world, and I sometimes forget it’s not reality.

2.)I love sleeping for the same reason. I’m a vivid dreamer, and I LOVE the excitement and magic that comes with dreams.

3.)I just started going to school again after 10 years, and I’m stressed beyond reason, but I LOVE it. It’s so weird to be working my mind in adult ways again…I’m so in the “Sesame Street” mentality with kids, so it’s been good for me.

4.) I LOVE music, all kinds. It makes my soul happy.

5.)I also have an ongoing fear that the brakes in our car will go out. A mechanic mentioned it once, and ever since I worry. Going on the freeway is torture for me.

6.)I HAVE to have a list for just about everything I do….if I go out and get the mail and didn’t have it on my list, I’ll write it on my list just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it out.

7.)My ultimate dream in life would be to travel to Africa and find a way to provide healthy, sustainable food for the people there.

Here are 13 blogs I have discovered recently and love:

1.)Writing the Waves of Motherhood – Just a feel good happy place blog!
2.)Deeper Shade of Soul – ditto…reading this makes my day, and the design on the blog is SO cute too!
3.)Blue Cricket Design – Okay, you want to be crafty? Check out the wonder woman of making your own stuff.
4.)Saving Toward a Better Life – Great blog with saving ideas! I seriously love this site.
5.)Seeking Sisterhood – A beautiful blog celebrating womanhood!
6.)Navel Gazing at it’s Finest – In need of a good laugh? Here’s where to go.
7.)Tech4Mommies – This blog is so unique, and it’s SO useful for those of us who are technically “un savvy”.
8.)Adopt a ‘Do – This is FULL of CUTE hairdo ideas for girls!
9.)Ink Splasher – Another fun read…just a great place to go when you want to get away.
10.)Designing & Motherhood – SO many great ideas for designing your house and making things!
11.)Prepared Not Scared – This is full of fantastic canning recipes…I LOVE them!
12.)To the Max – A blog about kids with special needs….VERY inspiring! And for me, it hits so close to home:-)
13.)Wonderful Ward Recipes – YUMMY looking recipes, people!!

Thursday’s Thought


The Garden of Life

Work on your garden early, while the dew is still on the roses …

For the garden of your daily life plant three rows of peas

1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul

For strength of character plant four rows of squash

1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness

Plant four rows of lettuce

1. Let us be faithful
2. Let us be kind
3. Let us be patient
4. Let us really love one another

No garden should be without turnips

1. Turn up willingly
2. Turn up with reliability
3. Turn up to help one another

Every garden needs thyme

1. Time for each other
2. Time for family
3. Time for friends

Don’t forget to have a few carrots.

If you care at all – show it.

Water freely with patience and cultivate with love.

There will always be plenty in your garden because you reap what you sow.

It’s STRESS, people!

I am a sickling. Everyone knows this about me. I hate it. There’s always SOMETHING wrong with me!

But today, I had an epiphany.

There’s really only one thing wrong with me.

STRESS!!!

Take May-June 2008, for example. I had chest pains that were so bad I couldn’t lift my kids or push a vacuum. Had EKGs done, X-Rays, and the like. The doctors decided it was pleurisy. Yet the meds they gave me for it made no difference. One day I decided to take my anti-anxiety medication and guess what. The pain stopped. It’s worked ever since.

How about Those migraines I get every so often? They began coming almost daily, and would take me out. Big shocker, the meds I had for it didn’t help. Then I try good ole’ clonazepam, and boom. Headaches gone.

And let’s not forget gall bladder surgery in September 2009. I’ve been told that stress can cause gall stones to form. I wasted away the entire summer with pains from that.

Now, I’m having a whole new pain. We’ve done blood work, CT scans, urine samples, the works. I get this TERRIBLE awful stomach pain out of nowhere. The doctor thought it must be some severe ulcers, but the stuff they gave me to coat my stomach lining did no good. They’re thinking now maybe it’s scar tissue from my surgery. You wanna know what I think?

I think it’s stress.

Even if it is an ulcer, we all know about the link between those and stress, right? SOOO, I have a solution!

I can continue taking the wonder med clonazepam, or I can learn to, I don’t know, MANAGE MY STRESS.

The problem is, I don’t know how. I’ve tried to just avoid stressful situations in the past, but I’ve found that no matter how much I hide, life finds me. So I gotta learn to deal. And not with food, either.

Ideas, anyone?? I’m sick of being sick (hardy har, never heard that one before I bet)

My boy is counting!!

My boy is counting!!! Oh, it’s so cute. It’s thrilling, it’s exciting!

For those who aren’t aware, my son is on the Autism Spectrum. He’s 3 years old and still doesn’t say “mama”. So this counting thing is awesome.

Don’t you just love how he says “18” for half the numbers, and then says “19” for 18? :-) Clear as mud, right?

If you’re wondering why I’m growling in the background, he was growling while counting earlier. I had hoped he would do it again, but alas, he would not.

Frugal Fridays…Frugal Recipes


(photo credit)

One of the best ways to stretch your food budget is to learn to LIKE frugal meals! Rice, for example. Rice is SO cheap, and you can incorporate it in so many different delicious ways! Beans are cheap. Potatoes are cheap. There are so many different great meal ideas that cost pennies. Below, here are some ideas:

Seasoned Fan Potatoes
2 medium baking potatoes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons finely shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
With a sharp knife, slice potatoes thinly but not all the way through, leaving slices attached at the bottom. Fan potatoes slightly. Place in an ungreased 8-in. square baking dish. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and salt. Drizzle with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees F for 50 minutes. Sprinkle with cheeses and parsley; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until lightly browned.

Country Pie

1 lb. ground beef
1 jar(14oz)spaghetti sauce
3-4 cups uncooked white minute rice
Mozzarella cheese to cover top.

Brown & drain ground beef. Combine meat & 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce. Spread evenly into bottom of 13×9 dish.(will be spread thin) Mix remaining sauce with rice. You can add 1/4 cup water to sauce jar & shake. Use up the last of the sauce in rice. Mix well. Spread evenly over meat. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil. Bake 25 min @ 350. Remove foil. Bake uncovered 15 min. Let stand 10 min before serving. Serve with garlic bread or bread & butter. Lots of leftovers!!

Homemade Donuts
Refrigerated canned biscuits (the cheapest work best)
Cinnamon and sugar, mixed together for coating
Deep fryer with oil (350-375 degrees)
Take a small film container and press it into the center of each biscuit making donut and hole… then put into heated oil to fry. Turn donuts after the first side is browned nicely. When done, remove from oil immediately and coat in cinnamon sugar. I put mine in a plastic zip bag and shake well to coat.

Beefy Rice & Bean Casserole
1 pound dry pinto beans
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound lean ground beef
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8 ounces) can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4 to 6 strips of bacon

Wash beans and place in a 4-quart, covered Dutch oven. Cover with water and cook until tender, adding more hot water as needed. Add rice and cook until rice is tender. In a skillet heat oil, add ground beef, salt, onion, and pepper. Cook until ground beef is no longer pink, then add to beans and rice. Add tomato sauce and chili powder. Mix well and put ground beef and bean and rice mixture in a 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Place strips of bacon over top and bake at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes, or until bacon is browned.
Pinto bean and ground beef casserole serves 6.

Thoughtful Thursday

If I Had my Child To Raise Over Again

I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.

I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.

I would do less correcting and more connecting.

I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.

I would care to know less and know to care more.

I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.

I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.

I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars,

I’d do more hugging and less tugging.

I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often,

I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.

I’d model less about the love of power,

And more about the power of love

by Diane Loomans

Love Lynches – 3


(photo credit)

This is the last of my love lynches stories, since Valentine’s Day is over…but I have to include this one.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was in desperate need of help. I needed advice. How to let a guy know I wanted to kiss him? So, I went to my expert brother in law for advice.

Let me explain something quickly. My brother in law is an amazing strategist. I would ask him advice on just about any subject, and he’d pull out theory number 1027 part A or something. Seriously! It’s great stuff!

SO anyway, I asked him about kissing a guy. He pulled out the love file he has in that brain of his, and told me about the “Mad Cow Look”. You gaze up at the guy, let your eyes glaze over a bit. Don’t look away too soon, or he’ll not catch the hint. Don’t look too long, or you’ll appear desperate. That kind of jazz. Either way, there was a very specific strategy that I had to memorize.

So a few months go by and I’m kinda dating a new guy. He just happens to be my brother-in-law’s best friend, and I know he knows about the whole Mad Cow theory. He also knows I’ve never been kissed, so he does not come CLOSE to rushing anything like that. One night I decide it’s time. I tilt my head slightly, try to force my eyes out of focus, and gaze in the general direction of his fuzzy, out of focus head. I smile and wait. He’s looking back at me, seeming a bit confused.

Oh no!!! What’s going on??? I’ve memorized that stupid look, and NOTHING IS HAPPENING!!! Did I tilt my head the wrong way? Are my eyes too glazed? I’m feeling dizzy, and I need to focus soon before I pass out. OH MY GOSH, I’m a KISSING FAILURE.

Just as I’m ready to hyperventilate cause I’m SO flippin’ panicked, he asks me: “Um, what are you doing?” I’d had it. No more playing around. This was ridiculous. I told him straight out, “I’m trying to give you THE LOOK.”

“Oh”, he says, shocked. I must have really botched it. He then says, “Well, is it okay if I kiss you then?”

And there you have it….MY FIRST KISS! (Hallelujah)

BTW, I got engaged to that guy 10 years ago today, and I still don’t know how to give that darn look. But somehow, our marriage has survived anyway. I just tell him when I want to make out now:-)

Happy anniversary dear!!!

Monday’s Menu Planning

I’m posting Monday’s Menu Planning a little early this week, simply because I actually PLANNED it in advance. This week, we’re doing some fun stuff for food. In honor of the Olympics, each night we will eat a dish from a different country. And after dinner, the kids and I will make the flags from those countries out of paper or something. I’ll post some of the results as the week goes on. In the meantime, here’s the plan for the week:

Monday: (China) Egg rolls, Ham fried rice, steamed veggies

Tuesday: (Mexico) Tacos

Wednesday: (Guatemala) Guatemalan Limeade , Arroz Guatemalteco

Thursday: (Jamaica) Boil dumplings, Jerk chicken, Gizzada

Friday: America) Hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, lettuce salad

Saturday: (Italian) Homemade pizza

*Items needed to buy: coconut (from bulk section at Winco), 1 bottle of sprite