Wisdom Wednesday: Kids should be in the kitchen…

This week’s guest post is written by a friend I’ve tweeted with for quite a while… and got to meet at Blissdom this year as well. Catherine from Evolving Mommy can be found writing about a wide variety of topics… one of them being about her including the kids in the kitchen.

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I remember a time a couple of years ago, Maddy was maybe two and a half, when I overheard her and her best buddy playing in her play kitchen. They were baking something together and listing off ingredients as they went.

Eggs

Wheat Flour

Salt

Baking Powder

Cinnamon

Honey

Flax Meal

My heart burst with pride for their combined knowledge of baking ingredients, after all I love baking. But what really got my attention was the kind of ingredients they were listing. Healthy ingredients that I used in my kitchen all the time. That moment may be the first time the importance of all those times we pulled dinning room chairs up to the kitchen counter – taking turns measuring, stirring and tasting – hit me. I wasn’t just keeping their little hands busy I was teaching them. Lessons about cooking, food, healthy ingredients and spending time together.

I’ve always kind of tried to include Maddy in my forays in the kitchen. Although, my desire to have her take part in preparing food has grown since that day when I realized what kind of impact simply having her in the kitchen with me had. Now my almost four-year-old takes part in menu planning, gardening, choosing vegetables at the farmer’s market and takes part in the whole grocery shopping experience. If I want her to know how to cook – and more importantly feed herself good, healthy, and real foods – then she needs to take an active roll in feeding herself now.

Someday she will take these lessons and feed her family. She’ll know that real butter is always better than margarine. She’ll know what an eggplant is or how to cut a mango. She’ll know that the most important ingredient in a healthy dinner is love. And she’ll know that taking care of herself and her family starts with good, healthy, homemade food.

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Thanks so much Catherine!! This definitely brings back memories for me – baking cookies & banana bread with my mom. :)

Do you include your kids in the kitchen? What are your favorite memories of being in the kitchen?

Wisdom Wednesday: Do what you want to do…

Today’s topic chosen by Leigh is so very near and dear to my heart. Especially if you’ve seen me really working to do my #101in1001 list. But not only that, Leigh is very near and dear too… I just got back a couple of weeks ago after visiting her while on my six state road-trip. She is an amazing friend and I am truly blessed to know her and to have been able to spend time with her.

And now… her words of wisdom. :)

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Around the thousandth time I heard Switchfoot’s song This Is Your Life, the lyrics stood out to me in a different way.

This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose

The questions unsettled me. In a way, we are never who we want to be. We are always growing- or at least, we have the option to do so.

Was life everything I dreamed that it would be? No. But I wasn’t sure what to do about it other than continue living, continue praying.

A couple of years later, I stumbled across the idea of a Birthday List, accomplishing so many things before your (insert age) birthday. The lists were inspiring and before I knew it, I came up with my own 31 Things Before Turning 31.

Nervously, I posted the list on my blog. There were some doozies on there, goals I wasn’t quite sure I wanted publicized, like Move to Nashville, something I’d decided to do but had told few about, and Read 100 Books in a Year, revealing just how big a book nerd I am.

The feedback was encouraging and I found myself looking forward to sharing each item as I accomplished it. There were only 5 items I didn’t cross off the list, mostly for logistical reasons. I enjoyed 31 Things so much that I created 32 Things Before Turning 32. Come January, I will look back on the year and smile on all that I’ve been able to do.

Would I still do some of the things on my list if they weren’t listed? Possibly but having them in list form reminds me of what I want to do. It’s helped me live more purposefully. The little goals, like eating at a new restaurant or finishing a project, ensure that a Birthday List is doable. The big goals, like writing the first 5 chapters of my novel or traveling to another Southern state, challenge and stretch me. Accountability, via my blog readers, is surely part of the reason why I’m able to accomplish so many of these items.

I’ve encouraged friends, both blog and real life, to create their own Birthday Lists. First, it’s interesting to see what people come up with. Second, it reveals aspects of their personalities and dreams we might not be aware of otherwise. Third, it’s just a plain fun idea!

Next year I’ll transition to a Life List, instead of coming with another 30-something goals to complete in a year.

Birthday List, Life List, Bucket List, it’s really semantics. No matter what you call it, these lists are ways of keeping us on track. One day I’ll look back on who I was at this time of my life, knowing then how certain dreams unfolded. I’m pretty sure I’ll be pleased with what I see.

Have you created a Birthday List?

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In May 2010, Leigh Kramer intentionally uprooted her life in the Chicago suburbs by moving to Nashville in an effort to live more dependently on God. She writes about life in the South, what God has been teaching her, and her ongoing quest for the perfect fried pickle. She is currently writing her first novel and is a contributor for The Well Written Woman. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and her blog HopefulLeigh.

Wisdom Wednesday: Make Time for You…

I am so lucky to have Dianna sharing with us today. I actually got to meet her almost a year ago now at BloggyBootCamp Philadelphia and then saw her while on my road trip to Tennessee! She is a great friend of mine and I am so thankful she’s here today to share about making time for yourself. :)

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As the mother of a small tribe, I’ve learned that when Momma ain’t happy, no one is happy.

The easiest way to make sure this momma is happy, is by making time for myself. Here are my best tips to make sure that happens.

1. Understand your needs and communicate them well

For some people, time alone is vital. For others, they crave more hustle and bustle. Figure out what recharges your batteries, and let the important people in your life know. They are not responsible for making you happy, but by putting it out there, you’re one step closer to making it happen.

2. It’s all about indulgences

At the end of a 24 hour work, plus trying to find time for the children and my husband, I’m beat. I find ways to reward myself — anything from new running clothes to some costume jewelry.

3. Exercise Gives You Endorphins

I know we’re all busy. I have four children, work part time, and will be homeschooling my children in the fall.

Still — exercise is a vital part of my life. It makes me stronger, helps me decompress, and I get at least one hour of peace and quiet. In the eternal words of Elle Woods, it makes me happy.

4. Connect With Your Girlfriends

I have the most awesome husband in the world, but he can’t fulfill my every need — especially for long conversations. Invest time in your girlfriend relationships. Go out for coffee, meet at the library and read, or cook together. Any way you slice it, time with your friends refreshes your spirit.

5. Don’t Overlook Your Health

We’re always on top of our children’s dental appointments, eye exams, and pediatrician visits. Pay yourself the same courtesy, and call your doctor for a checkup.

catching some rest on vacation in Baltimore

catching some rest on vacation in Baltimore

6. Get Some Sleep

We’ve all burnt the candle at both ends. It’s only a matter of time before that catches up with you. Put your commitments on the shelf, and hit the sack early. You’ll be glad you did.

What about you? Have I missed some of your favorite ways to make time for yourself?

Dianna can be found over at The Kennedy Adventures, where you can find her training for her second half marathon. She also keeps busy by homeschooling her Kennedy Kaboodle and teaches others about her faith. She’s also a force to be reckoned with on Twitter.

Wisdom Wednesday: Changing our perspective…

Today one of my very favorite blog friends has stopped by to share wisdom. I’m so thankful for Jen… and wish that we lived just a wee-bit (or a lot) closer, because I *REALLY* want to meet her. When I was struggling earlier this year, I turned to her via email and she definitely helped me put things into perspective a couple of times. For this, I am so grateful. She is a wonderful friend. :)

And the words she speaks (er, writes…) here today is definitely thoughts that I need to keep in the forefront of my brain.

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We all deal with undesirable situations in our daily lives, don’t we? An irritating boss. An unpleasant salesperson. Jerks all over the road, to whom the law is merely a suggestion. The incessant return of Monday morning.

Then there are the bigger-picture situations. Life-changing ones.

I’ve faced a number of those big events recently. I know things could always be worse, but…well, this isn’t exactly where I saw my life going.

I don’t know about you but once I start focusing on the negative, I see nothing but dark clouds everywhere I look. My emotions will far outweigh the gravity of the immediate situation. “Right now” isn’t the issue anymore. The bigger picture is what starts to overwhelm me.

For instance: We have to ask my brother-in-law to come over and sit with his father whenever we want to go out. This isn’t often. When it does happen, we have to ask far in advance. I start brooding over the fact that there’s no more spontaneity in our lives. Brother-in-law can’t come over that night because he has plans. Oh, it must be nice to be able to make plans whenever you want to. Within moments my entire life is crap, nothing will ever be fun or cool or worth living for again, and what’s the point anyway? Life sucks. I’m powerless against it.

I knew I had to change this pattern of thinking when I found myself more depressed than I’d ever been.

In almost every situation there’s a choice between finding the positive and finding the negative. Perspective is key at those critical moments. It’s not always easy – in fact, it rarely is. I can’t always stop myself before negative thoughts take control, especially since I’m so used to letting things snowball without a second thought. But it’s possible to find my way back to at least a neutral position where I can look at things objectively.

Whenever I feel myself starting down that road of destruction, I ask myself how I can change my point of view. Because I can’t change the situation we’re in, and I can’t change my brother-in-law or the fact that not many people are around to help us. I can’t change anyone – not that jerk on the road, not my boss or the nasty salesperson or the day of the week. What I can change is how I deal with it all

It’s the only choice any of us have sometimes.

I’m tired of feeling powerless, of letting life and my emotions control me. I’m taking my power back, one positive choice at a time.

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I love the words that Jen shared today. It speaks so truly to me that I don’t really even know how to describe it. I’m so very thankful for her and her wisdom… more than just on Wednesdays! :) Go check out some of Jen’s recipes (as well as supurb writing) at The Misadventures of Mrs. B.

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Would you like to share a bit of Wisdom on an upcoming Wednesday? Just email me at dutchbeingme (at) gmail (dot) com! I’d love to share your wisdom too! :)