Only I can change my life.

08 February 2018

Only we can change things for ourselves. A little something to remember on Thoughtful Thursday.

Game On: New Twists on Old Favorites

02 February 2018
Many people spend a lot more time indoors, when winter hits; or there is just a string of bad weather days. For times like those, it's a good idea to have some tricks up your sleeve, to keep your family from getting cabin fever. One idea that I've come across, is putting new/creative spins on old board games. Chances are, you have at least a few of these already, so this idea could actually be completely free! Below are some examples, you could try. Monopoly: Switch this game up, with Monopoly Dare! The rules are simple; play just like always, but when someone lands on your property; and therefore owes you rent; you can give them the choice of paying the rent, or accepting a dare of your creation. This will get more fun, as the game goes on, and everyone's bank pile dwindles. Extra fun: when someone lands on "Free Parking", they get to challenge the person to their right to a dare, that the person cannot refuse. On the flip side of that: if someone is sent to jail, the person to their right, challenges them to a dare, that they cannot refuse. This can result in some great family fun, and lots of laughs! Scrabble: Played just like classic Scrabble, except you can mix it up, by only using names of people you know; movie/TV/television show titles; book titles/characters, and so on. Trivial Pursuit: This game is not for everyone, and the reason for that is simply because, well, it's not easy. We all have that one (or three) category that we absolutely dread, because we are just not good at it. But, you can easily make it more fun, and a lot more easy, for you and your kids to play. Cut up pieces of paper, stock card, or cardboard, to make your own cards, for each category. Then, write questions that your family, specifically, will know the answer to. For example: (Geography) Where did we go on our last family vacation?; Or (Entertainment) Which TV show does Mom love to watch the most? The most important thing, is have fun! See if you can come up with your own ideas, or ask the children for help. Creating your own family game, can be a great activity, in itself.

Drinks To Chase Away The Winter Chill

25 January 2018

Is there anything better than wrapping your hands around a warm mug of something delicious after coming in from the cold? Whether you've been shoveling the drive, leading a snowball fight, or just coming in from a long day of work, these five yummy drinks will have you toasty warm and smiling in no time!

  • London Fog - I found this recipe over on The Healthy Maven, and instantly fell in love! Earl Grey tea has been a favorite of mine since childhood tea parties with my Nanny Balkum. The London Fog takes this classic and kicks it up a notch with subtle sweetness and frothy milk. Don't you love when something you enjoy gets even better? 
  • Irish Coffee - There are a lot of flavor combinations I enjoy, boozy coffee is high up on this list. When I'm in the mood for a warm, adult beverage, Irish coffee is my favorite. This recipe from Diethood is magic in a cup!  
  • Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate - Another amazing combination of flavors is peanut butter and chocolate. This hot chocolate reminds me of peanut butter cups. If you are a fan of creamy, peanut buttery goodness coupled with decadent chocolate, this drink recipe from The Happier Homemaker is sure to hit the spot. 
  • Pink Hot Chocolate - If you are looking for something a little different, this tasty treat from Homemade Ginger is something you should check out. Not only is the drink pretty and tasty, the mix for it would make adorable Valentine's Day gifts for the hot chocolate lover in your life. 
  • Hot Butterbeer - Bring a taste of Hogsmeade home with this rich butterbeer recipe from Mom's Have More Fun. I've tried several butterbeer recipes in the past, none of them hit the spot quite like this one does. Why not whip up a big batch and have an HP movie night? 
Let me know if you try any of these recipes and what you think. What are your family's favorite winter beverages? 

Survivng Snow Day

19 January 2018

Everyone loves a snow day! Well, kids definitely do. Mom and dad? Maybe not. The kids are home, your schedule is thrown off, and the worse part: it's too cold to go outside! Or maybe they've been outside already, and now they're just kind of.... around, (and under foot). As a mom, trust me, I get it. So, here are some ideas, to keep the kids entertained, and your sanity safe. First, you'll need yummy snacks! Most kids love to feel like a grown-up, and help in the kitchen (until it's time to clean up, of course), so here is a really great link, for 3 ingredient recipes, that you can make with the kids.

 Another idea for snacks, that my own children love, is making their own personal pizzas. I like to buy packages of pita bread, which are perfect size for personal pizzas; then you can add small bowls of toppings, such as: pepperoni, crumbled and pre-cooked sausage, cheese, black olives, and whatever else your family loves on pizza. Then, allow each child to create their own edible masterpiece. Now that snacks are out of the way, let's move on to activities. Depending on your level of noise/chaos tolerance, here are four of my personal favorite ideas.

  • Quieter activity - Puppet show! Whether you have paper lunch sacks, a basket of old socks with no mates, or what have you; you can set the kids down with yarn, buttons, markers, whatever you have on hand, that will work to create faces for your puppets, and put on a show for each other.
  • A Little Bit Louder - A twist on charades - My kids and I like to act out scenes from our favorite family movies, and let the others guess. First to guess it right, is the next one up! (A game that is along the same lines as this, is Heads Up, which is another family favorite of ours.) No matter which game you choose, or how you play it, family games like these, can be a great way to spend an afternoon, while still being a bit active, and allowing yourselves to be a little silly!
  • A Little Bit Louder Now - If your family members can laugh at yourselves, a great game is family dress-up impersonation. What I mean is, you and your family take turns, dressing like another member of the family, and put on a sort of improv show, acting as each other. (Be sure that each person knows to keep it kind, and respectful.) This is a great way to poke a little innocent fun at each other, while also laughing at ourselves.
  • SHOUT! - Finally, if you really want to turn your day in, into a party: have one! Make a refreshment table (using the snacks you've made together) and clear the living room floor, for a family dance party! You can even add a little more fun, by pausing the music at different intervals, and having freeze dance! When the music stops, each person has to freeze in place, immediately. It can make for some really funny poses, and great family fun. Plus, by the end, everyone just might be ready for a nap, and then it's quiet/alone time!
These are just a few ideas to keep the kiddos entertained and, maybe keep you from losing your sanity, on the next snow day that comes your way! What are your go-to ideas for surviving snow day?

Every end is a new beginning, right?

11 January 2018

I've heard that inspirational quote a time or two, hung onto it when times seem dark. It's great to be hopeful, to think bad things are behind you, and even though times look bad, it's somehow the start of something wonderful and new. Then again, sometimes, the new, exciting adventure life throws your way is just crappy. Sometimes, being all hopeful is difficult, and we get bitter. Lately, I swing wildly between the two.

In the fall, Little Miss had started senior year of high school, gotten her first job, the world was her oyster. Then, she started getting migraines, something she had always struggled with, but they grew more frequent. Then came vision blackouts at school, causing this mama to freak out hard core. To the doctor we went, my thought being that they could give her some sort of medication to control this, and life would get back on track. That's not exactly how it went. 

A MRI was ordered, we spent a great deal of time at an outpatient facility having that done, only to be sent to the emergency room. Our instructions were specific, go there, tell them we were sent to see a specific doctor. I knew then something was wrong, but had no clue what. Months later we were told by her neurosurgeon that the person who did that original MRI thought she had a large, inoperable brain tumor and that is why we were sent to the hospital. It was not a brain tumor and I thank God every day that the doctors at UMC took the time to figure that out. In talking to her team of physicians now, we quite easily could have been told that was just it and they would have insisted on biopsy. Instead, a team of doctors from across the country consulted on her images, for hours. I'm not sure I've ever been so nervous in my life.