Thursday, February 7, 2013

5 things you can do right now to be happier

1.  Get moving.  Research out of Duke University shows that depression may be just as easily treated by exercise as medication - for free and without all those side effects.  "Other research shows that in addition to health benefits, regular exercise offers a sense of accomplishment and opportunity for social interaction, releases feel-good endorphins and boosts self-esteem," writes Jen Angel for Yes magazine.  If you're short on time, even just 10 minutes a day of moderate, sustained movement will be enough to get your endorphins going. 

2.  Have a laugh.  According to healthy-living guru Dr. Andrew Weil, laughter really is the best medicine.  He says that laughing "constitutes a powerful collection of internal and external feedback loops of positive emotion," so read the comics, watch a funny YouTube video or, for an extra boost, share a joke with some friends.  "When we see or hear people laugh, we tend to laugh ourselves, which makes them laugh more, and so on,"  Weil says, "If you want to be happy, put yourself in such situations as often as you can."

3.  Do something nice for others.  "Researcher Stephen Post says helping a neighbor, volunteering, or donating goods and services results in a 'helper's high,' and you get more health benefits than you would from exercise or quitting smoking," Angel writes.  She suggests making "altruism and giving part in your life, and be purposeful about it."  Real Simple magazine's Gretchen Rubin says whatever you do, make your relationships with others the most important aspect of your efforts.  "Having close bonds with other people is one of the most important keys to happiness.  When you act in a friendly way, not only will others feel more friendly toward you, but you'll also strengthen your feelings of friendliness for other people." 

4.  Forgive Someone.  It's been said that refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  It's the behavior that may be holding us back from joy in all other areas of life.  "Many of us have erroneously incarcerated ourselves to a life choked with grudges, hostility against family members, co-workers and frenemies, zapping our precious spiritual and mental energies," writes T.D. Jakes for the Washington Post.  Forgiveness is difficult to master, but allowing yourself to be free of grudges and bad blood could be the key to emotional freedom as well.  "We must ask ourselves, 'What could we attain if we cast off the weight of yesterday and embrace the galling winds of a changed mind and an open heart?" 

5.  Act happy.  Even if you don't feel happy, going through the motions and physically acting happy will get you to the real thing much quicker.  "Research shows that even an artificially induced smile boosts your mood,"  Rubin says.  It's all about activating those feedback loops, according to Weil:  "It's similar to the way that sound coming from a speaker can be picked up by a microphone and sent back through the speaker as amplified feedback.  This has huge significance for those who aim to improve their emotional well-being, because it suggests that we can consciously control our emotional lives much more than we might have suspected."   

If you're interested in the full article, find it here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

5 Easy Ways for Moms to Keep Their Sanity

I'm always seeing articles about ways to keep sane as a mom or mom of a toddler, I always know it was written just for me, but I never actually follow the advice.  It's ridiculous, really.  This time will be different.  I'm posting it here so I can come back whenever I need a little reminding to treat myself gently.

You can go here for the full article.

Put yourself in time out  My mother-in-law often recalls how, as a mother of three spirited young boys, she would find it necessary to lock herself in her bathroom, sit on the floor and let out a few screams and tears of her own. I always chuckled at the thought of my sweet mother-in-law hiding from my husband and his brothers in what is arguably the least-dignified room in the house. Oh I laughed alright, up until the day I found myself seeking refuge in my own bathroom, Diet Coke in hand, as my children banged on the door until they presumably found themselves bored with the whole tantrum theatrics and moved on to their puzzles. You know what? After a few moments of alone time, I found in myself the strength and will to open the door, wipe my tears away and dispose of the "kids for sale" sign I'd been working on all afternoon. Find your 5 minutes of peace throughout the day, whether it be meditating in your own little corner or sitting in your parked car in the garage. These 300 seconds will get you through the most difficult hours, of this I am certain.  Treat yourself  As the wife of a graduate student, my budget for all things frivolous is painfully limited. My thoughts are often consumed by the stack of bills laughing at me from my desk, the groceries that seem to run out much faster these days (who knew my 18-month-old would have such an appetite?), and the guilt brought on by my desire for a new pair of heels. But setting aside a little money and time each week to spend on something that makes you happy is an extremely worthwhile investment. For me, that splurge can be as small as a McDonald's ice cream cone or as extravagant as a pedicure. In fact, your treat doesn't even need to cost you a cent. Reading your favorite book while soaking in a bubble bath is zero dollars, you know? Whatever your indulgence may be, make it something that rejuvenates you; something that reminds you that hard work deserves a little reward. It's completely worth it.  Exercise  I know, I know, on the daily list of to-dos exercise can be one of the harder tasks to squeeze in. But a little bit of physical activity not only helps a busy mom stay healthy, it can greatly contribute to her happiness as well. The American Council on Exercise offers a list of tips for moms who want to make exercise a part of their busy routine. Some of those suggestions include scheduling your workouts for the week ahead of time, buying workout DVDs to maximize school and nap time, and joining a gym with a good daycare. Another tip: Involve your kids in your workouts. Instead of driving to the park, load them in the stroller and run. For the extra ambitious, you could even set up an obstacle course in the yard.  Schedule a monthly night out with girlfriends  This is perhaps the one that takes the most effort, but for me it yields the most effective results. Pencil in one evening a month with the girls and without the children. Go to dinner, see a movie, check out a museum, stay in and gossip over junk food — it's not the activity that matters, it's the off-the-mom-clock time and adult conversation that makes all the difference.  Forgive yourself  As mothers, we are our own greatest critics. We're going to yell, we're going to lose our temper, and we're most certainly going to feel a little inadequate. We often see the glowing mothers around us who handle their children with seemingly effortless grace and wonder how it is we were entrusted with our own little people when we fall so short. But it's time we as mothers cut ourselves some slack and celebrate the things we're doing right. We're keeping humans alive and happy, for crying out loud! And that, my friends, is no small feat.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

100 Things To Do With Your Toddler

100 Things To Do With Your Toddler

I found this here and can't wait to start playing!

1. Color
2. Blow Bubbles
3. Play Hide-and-Seek
4. Peek-a-Boo
5. Play Chase
6. Do finger-plays
7. Sing a song
8. Collect rocks in a basket
9. Make an obstacle course out of cushions and/or furniture
10. Make a fort out of cushions and sheets
11. Go for a walk
12. Make a car out of a box
13. Read a book
14. Go to the park
15. Finger-paint
16. Play with play-dough
17. Toss bean bags into a bucket
18. Play the shell and pea game
19. Dance to music
20. Download games for toddlers from the Internet
21. Practice putting things in and taking things out of boxes and bags
22. Make a temporary slide out of a table leaf and your couch
23. Roll a ball back and forth on the floor
24. Scoop dirt or sand into a child’s bucket (or use serving spoon and bowl)
25. Practice climbing by stacking boxes on top of each other
26. Put on a puppet show
27. Go fishing with a yardstick and yarn
28. Make a horseshoe game
29. Make a shape puzzle
30. Play paper basketball
31. Run through a sprinkler
32. Play with a bucket of water and a sponge
33. Make a drum out of an oatmeal box
34. Play a kazoo
35. Wash windows together
36. Bang on pots and pans with a spoon
37. Brush each other’s teeth
38. Play dress-up with stuffed animals or children’s clothes
39. Stack canned or boxed food on top of each other
40. Let child stack mixing bowls inside each other
41. Make a playhouse out of a large box
42. Let child play with a sticker sheet
43. Put stickers on fingers for finger puppets
44. Play a musical instrument together
45. Go on a smelling hunt
46. Frost cookies
47. Plant a flower or vegetable together
48. Roll a tennis ball into an empty trash can or bucket
49. Draw on a mirror with dry-erase markers
50. Play hide and seek together in the bathtub
51. Have a splash party together in the bathtub
52. Put a leash on a stuffed animal and walk around the house
53. Record each other on a tape recorder
54. Make and try on paper hats
55. Give a piggy-back ride
56. Play “horsey”
57. Talk into an electric fan
58. Play tug-of-war with a blanket
59. Collect flowers
60. Make a camera and go on a Safari
61. Play games with frozen juice lids
62. Disconnect your phone and pretend to make phone calls to relatives
63. Leave your phone connected and really make phone calls to relatives – let your child talk too (Facetime)
64. String large beads onto or along a shoelace
65. Squirt each other with squirt bottles
66. Glue shapes onto paper
67. Make sock puppets
68. Make paper puppets
69. Fill an old purse with toys
70. Use a paper towel tube as a megaphone
71. Make binoculars and go “bird watching” or “stuffed animal watching”
72. Put snacks in different fun containers (paper sacks, empty canisters, etc.)
73. Act out a story from a book
74. Walk on a balance beam – use a 2x4 placed on the ground
75. Draw with chalk on the sidewalk
76. Sketch an outline of your child on the sidewalk or paper with chalk
77. Paint child’s palms with tempura paint and blot on paper. Makes a great card.
78. Put lipstick on child and kiss a mirror.
79. Make a puddle on cement and splash barefoot in it
80. Let child decorate and eat an open peanut butter sandwich
81. Make a toilet paper barricade or child to go under, over or through
82. Do the Hokey Pokey
83. Make a super-hero costume out of household items
84. Do knee-bouncing rhymes
85. Play “Red light, green light” saying “go” and “stop”
86. Make a shoe-box train for stuffed animals
87. Make a pillow pile to jump on
88. Make an easy puzzle with felt and Velcro
89. Make bracelets or collars for stuffed animals out of pipe cleaners and jingle bells
90. Learn numbers from a deck of cards
91. Play the matching game with a deck of cards
92. Make a domino chain
93. Have a picnic in the park, backyard or living room
94. Play dress up in mommy or daddy’s clothes
95. Make a tin cup telephone and talk to each other through it
96. Make a nature collage
97. Mirror each other
98. Make a Mummy mommy with toilet paper
99. Make and walk along a paper trail.
100. Take a nap!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Words of advice

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.


If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.


If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.


If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.


What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.


If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.


The good you do today, will often be forgotten.


Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.


Monday, March 12, 2012

10 Ways to Excuse Proof Your Workouts

Got these tips from Weight Watchers, here.

Make life easy for yourself
Plan a regimen that fits your lifestyle. If you work irregular hours, for example, don’t sign up for classes that start at the same time each week. Instead, choose activities that can be easily slotted into your day: Walk the kids to school or run errands on foot during your lunch hour.

Draw up a weekly timetable
To help you organize your time properly, draw up a weekly timetable of planned exercise and activities. This will also help you see how much activity you’re getting. Try to do something for at least 20 or 30 minutes each day, even if it’s just yard work or going on a brisk walk around the neighborhood.

Attach exercise to a treat
Give yourself a reward for scheduling in fitness. Buy flowers once a week for completing all of the workouts you scheduled. You can also attach exercise to an enjoyable event, such as playing with your kids in the park or catching up with a friend on a walk.

Get everyone else on board
Make sure your family and friends know when and where you plan to exercise. This way you shouldn’t get any unwelcome interruptions. If you need someone to watch the kids while you exercise, make sure you arrange this well in advance; don’t rely on last-minute favors.

Anticipate motivational dips
Everyone struggles with motivation from time to time, preparing for these feelings can go a long way to combating them. For instance, if you sometimes struggle to go to your aerobics class, get a friend to call you to make sure you’re not still sitting on the sofa.

Avoid danger zones
Many things can distract even the most hardened of exercisers: your favorite TV show, the lure of a night on the town with friends, or a neighbor popping in for an impromptu chat. Learn to recognize your particular “danger zones” and take steps to negotiate your way around them.

Buy figure-flattering workout clothing
You don’t want to look like a sack of potatoes when you’re exercising. Spend a little money on well-designed, flattering and supportive gym clothes; you’ll be more motivated to work out.

Have a specially designated drawer for fitness gear
When you’re in a hurry, the last thing you want is to be hunting around for your gym socks. Keep all your exercise clothes in a special drawer so you can find them quickly.

Leave your gym bag by the door
Leaving your gym bag by the door serves two purposes: you always know where it is; and it serves as a gentle reminder that an exercise session might be due.

Put your gym clothes straight into the wash
And last but not least, when you get back from the gym or pool, put your dirty clothes straight in the washer. Nothing is guaranteed to put you off exercising more than having to rummage around in the laundry basket for the least-funky pair of gym socks!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's the incredible, unforgettable, multi-dimensional ME!

You may remember the post I wrote about my amazingly thoughtful sister and her unique Christmas gift to help me combat the blues. If you don't, you can read about it here. Or, you can scroll down and read it because it's literally like 2 posts away. Don't worry if you don't want to do either (I don't blame you), I'll give a little run down before I begin the second part.

Depression sucks. Seriously. I actually think that it literally sucks my will to live sometimes. I happened to be confiding in my sister, just before Christmas, about how bad my depression had been and still is. I didn't expect anything from her, sometimes I just need to talk and she makes a phenomenal sounding board. Fast forward a couple of weeks to Christmas. I was anxious to open my present from her because she'd mentioned being excited to give it to me "if she could pull it off." Made me curious. What she gave me was one of the most (maybe the most) considerate, thoughtful, loving gifts I've ever received and may ever receive. A jar. Not just any jar, but a jar filled with paper folded stars of beautiful papers. With it, a note: "A jar of Love and Encouragement. Open one each week for a year."

I'm not sure how many I've opened so far, but we're not even two months away from Christmas and having opened them every time I've needed a pick me up rather than once a week, I'm certain I've opened waaay more than 8. Sad that I've needed so many, but I've been eternally grateful to have each of them in my times of need.

Now for the follow-up. You may learn a few things that surprise you, some things you never knew about me. Maybe you'll realize you don't know me as well as you think. I know I've certainly been reminded of several things I'd let myself forget. Here's the list of what I've opened so far:

  1. You are so thoughtful and mindful of others. You're always trying to find ways to make others happy and more comfortable. Thanks for your example.

  2. "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Nelson Mandela

  3. Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we re here, we might as well dance!

  4. "What you create doesn't have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don't let fear of failure discourage you." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

  5. I love that she is so good at cooking and thinks everything tastes better with food dye. -Scud (Who is my adorable nephew who makes purple scrambled eggs that only he will eat and sends me pictures of them, because like he said, I get it!)

  6. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

  7. This week, call me and let's find a time to go to dinner or lunch together. (Hey Haha, we totally need to do this still!)

  8. "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." -Judy Garland

  9. "When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

  10. "Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not. Fear not." -D&C 6:36

  11. You are never afraid (or never appear afraid) to use your voice to speak and stand up for what you believe. Wow!

  12. You are smart, witty and fun to talk to. Also, I'm always amazed by all you know because you pay attention! (How did I not learn that as a kid?)

  13. You are one of the most generous people I know, and like Heavenly Father, a cheerful giver of good gifts.

  14. "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -Henry Ford

  15. "Never give up on anyone. And that includes not giving up on yourself." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

  16. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

  17. "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." -Lao Tzu. This week, I encourage you to let go. Let go of who you were. Let go of who you think you are. Trust yourself to live, to grow, to become who you can be. It will be beautiful.

  18. All of this attention you've received as a dispatcher is only the outward evidence of the inward amazingness of you. You are smart, brave, attentive. You genuinely care about others. You are doing things right. You are so good on the inside. You deserve an award daily.

  19. I love that she is so caring. -Scud

  20. I love that you're spunky, that you tease others and you're such a good sport. You're just so much fun.

  21. You can do this! You can do hard things! You're amazing!

  22. "Happiness is the object and design of our existence, and will be the end thereof if we pursue the path that leads to it." -Joseph Smith

  23. I love the way she loves everyone. -Kaitybean (my wonderful niece who is not only equally spacey as her mother, but a beautiful, kind and wonderful, miniature version of her.)

  24. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt. Remember, you are in charge! -Kaitlyn (See, I told you!)

  25. "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me." Phillipians 4:13

  26. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

  27. I love that you are fiercely passionate. What you love, you love wholly. What you do, you do passionately. Bravo! (This one gets me into trouble. A lot.)

  28. "Face troubles with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility." -Thomas S. Monson

  29. "God loves broken things." -Jeffrey R. Holland Remembering this has literally changed my life. I know, in my bones, that God loves me in my deeply broken state. His most treasured gifts are a broken heart and a contrite spirit. His love and mercy are constant, powerful. He loves me. He loves you!

  30. How blessed I am to have a sister, and that it is you! Please always remember how dearly I love you, all of you, and that you're deeply deserving of that love.

I saw a saying that describes our relationship perfectly. "My sister has the best sister in the world!" It's true... my sister's sister has the best sister in the whole world! (Did you follow that?)

Writing all of these out made me realize that my most wonderful gift didn't come in a glass jar filled with paper, but in Heavenly Father giving me the most creatively loving sister. Thank you Haha, for being you. And for loving me, just for being me.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

...what a difference 6 months (give or take) makes...

Check out the first picture, taken around Memorial Day 2011. These are by far the most beautiful, chubby baby faces in the whole world!

Next we have storytime with Grandpa on Christmas morning. I wish I'd gotten a better picture, of course it's my little guy who refuses to stay still. (Kenna if you got a picture of this and it's better than mine, can I have it please?)

No matter how much I tell them, "Stop GROWING!" they never listen.