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Happy International Women’s Day!!!!

Honestly, I didn’t know it was an actual holiday. I receive forwards celebrating women camaraderie throughout the year, half of which end with wishing me a “Happy International Women’s Day”. Of course, they also tell me to forward the e-mail to twelve women within one minute or the elastic in my underwear will snap, but whatever. It’s the thought that counts.

I was fortunate enough to spend yesterday with two of my best friends at a Women’s Expo, doing lunch, and investing in some retail therapy. When I got home, I checked in with my mother and my mother-in-law– two smart, classy, and beautiful women who were thrilled to hear I was “out with the girls”, and encouraged me to do it more often. My evening was spent with my daughter, watching the first female director to ever accept an Academy Award. It was definitely a “Girl Power” fueled day from start to finish. I’m embarrassed to say that happens all too rarely around here, and I’m taking steps to spend more time with the women that mean so much to me.

I wish for all you incredible, sassy, smart women out there a happy International Women’s Day! Always remember the wisdom we learned in our youth…”Girls Rule, and Boys Drool!”

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I’d Like To Thank The Academy…

I Love Oscar Night! I know that may come as a shock, as I hardly mention movies. Ahem.  It’s rare, though, that I’ve seen the movies that are up for the awards. The last time I was in a theater was to see Sweeney Todd. No matter. It doesn’t stop me from making predictions to my family, or groaning when my picks don’t win.

What I really love about the Academy Awards, though, is watching them with my oldest daughter. We plan our evening over the course of a month. We have our own Academy Award that we made years ago, and drag it out prior to the big night. We toss on our favorite pjs, set out trays of our favorite foods, and tune in early so we can dish about the fashions the stars are wearing before the show starts.  Our comments regarding the outfits are generally favorable, but at times rival the cattiness found here.

This year is no exception. Oscar is on the entertainment center. The menu has been planned. Guesses about winners are still being made, based on favorite stars, or on movie titles, in place of actual knowledge about the films. Our Oscar wear has been laundered, and awaiting the big night.

This year our menu is pretty simple:

The male members of my family will undoubtably join us at some time during the evening, and I can guarantee my daughter and I will “shush” them several times throughout the show. We will then confuse them by talking ourselves, and not bother trying to explain the double standard. Ultimately, the evening is about my oldest daughter and I spending time  enjoying an evening together. And for that, I’d like to thank the Academy.

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Around the Web…

Last week my toddler had her first public tantrum. I did not handle it well. And to add insult to injury, a well-meaning mom told me, “My son always acts up for his grandmother, too.” Ouch! I took solace in GenX Moms’ post.

One of the books I read this past month was Aunt Erma’s Cope Book: How to Get from Monday to Friday… in 12 Days by Erma Bombeck. Like many, I loved Erma. She helped me laugh at the insanity that parenting can bring. This book is about her take on the self-improvement roads programs people put themselves on. It was published in 1979, and I was amazed how many things were still true in 2010. Shortly after I finished reading it, I came across a beautiful tribute to Erma. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I also found reason 2,136 that I’m thrilled to have kids. Explaining making and displaying this to others is going to be so much easier! Between you, me, and the fence post, it makes me giggle.  I’d be making it anyway.

This little gem is helping me improve my wardrobe on our “poor but proud” budget. Using her suggestions, I snagged a pair of Not Your Daughter’s Jeans for $25. They arrived yesterday, and they’re the best pair of jeans I’ve owned in 2 decades!

I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I did!

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WFMW: Weight Loss Reward

When I’ve gone on diets and exercise programs in the past, it was for vanity reasons. You know, to look cute in a bathing suit on vacation, or fit into a fabulous dress for my husband’s work parties.

After I gave birth to my youngest, I found myself weighing more than I could have ever imagined I could. Bedrest and KFC Popcorn Chicken will do that to a girl. I found myself having to lose weight not just for my vanity, but for my health. How large was I? When I lost the first 10 pounds, no one noticed. Same with the second 10 pounds. Talk about depressing! And waving around doctor’s reports of my lower blood pressure and cholesterol just didn’t cut it for me. It’s hard to stay motivated under those circumstances.

And then I hit upon my “reward program”. I admit, rewarding yourself when losing weight isn’t anything new. What I did was buy myself rewards for my hands/wrists. After I lost thirty pounds (that was barely noticable to others), I bought myself a beautiful bracelet. My initial reasoning was it was something that I didn’t need (like new jeans), so it felt more special. Then I discovered an added benefit: whenever I reached for a snack or junk food, I saw the bracelet. It reminded me of what I had accomplished, and made me think twice about mindlessly munching on chips.

Since then, I’ve added another bracelet reward, and then had my wedding ring sized. Visible weight loss rewards on my hands and wrists are working for me! To see what’s working for others today, hop on over to We Are THAT Family.

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Indoor gardening

I miss my garden. I miss hanging out in the yard, watching the vegetable plants grow. I miss pulling up to the front of my house and seeing the flowering hanging baskets on the porch. I even miss pulling weeds, for crying out loud!

Don’t get the wrong impression. I don’t have a green thumb. My mom has a green thumb. I envy her green thumb. And her ability to realize that plants need to be watered more than once a month, but I digress.

During the winter months when I really miss my garden, I make do with my Peace Lily. His name is Phil. He has hopes and dreams. He hopes I’ll remember to water him, and dreams of being watered on a more regular basis. But again, I digress.

As I was flipping through a Better Homes and Garden magazine the other day, I saw it. Little brothers and sisters for Phil! AND they seem to need the care that I’m already in the habit of giving Phil. Kids, I’m talking about a cool little succulent table top garden.

I was giddy as I surfed the internet to find other examples of a table top gardens made mostly of cacti. I found a great instructions about how to do it at this site. After a little more, er, digging, I found a woman who took it to a whole new level at this site.

I cannot wait to play in the dirt again! I’m hoping once my husband sees how well I’m doing with the new house plants (and Phil), he’ll agree to something that I’ve lusted over for years–an indoor herb garden. And that he’ll pop for this cool container that I can hang over the kitchen sink. If Phil can have hopes and dreams, so can I!

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Site Construction and The Flu

Happy Friday, all!

You’re not seeing things. Diapers and Hair Dye is under going a face lift. I’ll be trying out different looks over the next week.

We’ve been battling the flu and colds in my happy home. 4 out of 5 of us are walking around like the living dead, groaning and reaching for fluids, kleenex and vitamin C.  The fifth (my son) is running for his life to avoid the biohazard around here. I think his quoting the rules from Zombieland are a little over the top, but whatever.

Even though we had to miss our usual activities, like my toddler’s Wee School and my “Bridezillas on Bouncy Balls” class (more on that in a different post), the week hasn’t been a total wash. I stumbled across the 5 Minutes for Books site. Are you familiar with it? You are? Why didn’t you tell me?! What a fun place! Book reviews, reading challenges, book clubs…it’s like a little slice of heaven for busy people who love to read, and may have slacked off because of hectic schedules. A couple of the challenges had me running (ok, “staggering” would be a better description) to my bookshelves, reaching for old favorites that have been neglected in recent years. It’s been fun to focus on a great story and not how horribly we’re all feeling around here.

Speaking of which, it’s time to re-medicate and hold a cage match fight over the last 4 ounces of orange juice.

Have a healthy weekend!


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Reinventing Yourself…

I remember my plans for college. I was 18, and things were going to be different from high school. I was going to be “one of Those girls” who wore cute outfits and just seemed to have it all together. It was going to make for a huge change from my “jeans-and-a-sweatshirt wearing, homework losing” former high school self! I couldn’t wait for the first day of classes.

It didn’t go as I’d planned from start (when I confidently sat in a classroom with my notebook ready, only to discover I wasn’t due in that particular classroom for another day), to finish (when a very put-together looking girl pulled me aside after my last class to tell me–privately, thank God–that I had my skirt on backwards). The next day I was back to my jeans and sweatshirt.

The first time I had ever heard it put that someone had “reinvented” themselves was used to describe Madonna. It totally captured my imagination. I became giddy at the thought of becoming someone completely different. And I knew just who I wanted to be–Lara Croft: Tomb Raider! Exploring exotic locations, fighting off danger at every turn with a sassy swish of my long braided hair, discovering ancient treasures. How cool would that be?

I discovered very quickly that turning myself into Lara Croft wasn’t practical in my life. Exploring exotic locations didn’t fit into my schedule of PTO meetings and parent/teacher conferences. I didn’t have the energy to fight off danger after spending my day teaching kids how to read at the school I worked for. I couldn’t sassily swish a long braid because I could never get my hair to stay in one for longer than five minutes. I found myself making do with discovering dinner from the depths of my freezer instead of  unearthing ancient treasure.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my life, and am pretty pleased with what I’ve been able to do with it. It’s just  that the power to “reinvent” myself seemed so elusive to me.  If the Material Girl could do it, again and again, why couldn’t I? I found myself looking for a book, an article, a person…something or someone to explain to me how the average person would go about reinventing herself.

Enter LL Cool J, rapper, actor, co-star of the NCIS: Los Angeles. I love LL Cool J. He is the only reason I will watch Deep Blue Sea whenever it’s on. Going Back to Cali? I’m there! And he has one of the greatest smiles in the world.

So when I saw him on the cover of January 17th’s Parade magazine, of course I had to read the article. And then I re-read it. And read it again. All for one comment of LL Cool J’s:

Reinvention isn’t only for celebrities or actors or musicians or athletes–reinvention is for all humanity. All of us should strive for a newer and better self. Just constantly take our lives to the next level.

After reading that, the idea of  reinventing myself seems not only do-able, but easy. Something I have done every year of my life. Even if at times my skirt is on backwards, and my treasure hunting is limitted to digging in the freezer.

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Preparing for Success

Yesterday we talked about embracing past successes where our New Year’s Resolutions are concerned. Today let’s talk about what we can do to set ourselves up for future success.

I talked about my goal for losing the last 30 extra pounds I’m carrying around. Instead of jumping in with a strict diet and vowing to work out an hour a day (sad to say I’ve tried that before, and quit before January 7th), I’m breaking it down into a more reasonable goals. My goals for this month: a 20 minute work out M-F first thing in the morning, drinking 64 oz of water daily, adding more fruits and vegetables to my daily diet, and ending my day with 20 minutes of yoga.

I already started this, and I’ve found that since I’m adding to my diet (fruit at breakfast, salad at lunch, and a veggie side at dinner, plus the water) I’m cutting back on junk food without swearing off of it. I’m just too full. And the exercise? The 20 minute workout in the morning fits my attention span, and I still sweat. I’m finding the yoga in the evening a great way to unwind. There’s an added bonus of making time for myself in the evening. It feels down right decadent to this mother of a toddler.

My other goal for this year is to continue organizing my home. I’ve had a lot of help over the years from Flylady. 15 minutes at a time, routines, breaking my home down into zones all make sense to me. AND Flylady encourages you to fit the system to you, not the other way around. Is that cool, or what? Baby steps are the key.

Keeping that in mind, I’m starting my organizational project in my bedroom. I’ve already cleaned out my dresser, and have been working on the wall shelves on either side of the room. 15 minutes at a time, armed with a trash bag, a timer, and a ‘tude. I’ll be finished with my bedroom, and ready to move onto the kitchen by February.

Those are my two main goals for 2010. What are your’s? How can you break your goals down into smaller steps?

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Celebrating What You’ve Accomplished

It’s the first Monday of a New Year…a New Decade, no less. Did you make resolutions for it? Are they the same ones you’ve made on prior New Year’s? Like losing weight, getting the house organized, etc.

It’s fine if they are. Honest! I’ve had the same resolutions (the ones mentioned in the first paragraph) for the last couple of years. I could beat myself up for not attaining my goals in a year’s time, but then I’d be missing out on the process. And the pleasure of enjoying what I did accomplish.

I could beat myself up over only losing 25 pounds in the last year–a far cry from the goal I had set for myself. But then I’d be missing out on a few things, like losing my dread of exercising, or enjoying the vegetable side dishes I’ve learned to make.

Then there’s the house. I could be sitting here depressed that the closets aren’t completely organized, or about the cupboards in the kitchen that are a wreck. Instead I’m pretty happy that my bedroom closet is in better shape than it has been in years, that I can find things in my linen closet without too much searching. And you should see the shelf I set up in my kitchen last February that’s designated for baking supplies! It’s still organized!

My goal for 2010 is to finish things I’ve started, like losing the last 30 pounds I have to go, and getting the closets and cupboards in the condition I want them to be in. If I find in December that I’ve only lost 20 of the thirty pounds, and I’ve only organized the kitchen pantry, you can bet I’ll be raising my glass to toast what I did accomplish.

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Diapers and Hair Dye

It occurred to me this morning that I’ve never had a post about either diapers or hair dye.

About the hair dye. I had a “brilliant” idea to match my hair color to the two-inch roots (slight exaggeration) I was sporting.  After careful deliberation in the dye aisle, I finally picked a pretty color, went home, and squirted it all over my head. As I was waiting to rinse, I congratulated myself for such a great, low maintenance idea. I rinsed it out, blow dried my hair, and…

Oh, my. It was black. Jet black. Raven black. Combined with my pale skin, I looked like I needed a blood transfusion. Oh. My.

But wait! It gets better! My darling husband (who told me I looked fabulous, by the way) and I went to a party. My friends gathered around me to comment on my new look.

“You look tired.” “Are you feeling all right?” “Here, take this seat.” “Is everything ok?”

I was forced to explain it wasn’t insomnia, illness or stress that caused my new look. They clucked sympathetically, and shared a few of their own hair faux pas.  I also shared my worry of straightening my hair while sporting my new color, for fear of looking like Professor Snape. Their consensus? It might be ok if I cut back on the pomade.

I love my friends.

If you’re feeling brave, check back on Monday for a post about the other half of this blog title!

For some great giggles, head on over to Earnest Parenting . You won’t be disappointed!

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