Weekly Whims

Weekly Whims: 5 Budget Friendly Staycations! Yes please!

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I have to admit I really really reallly love to travel, but to be honest, when we take a big and more expensive “fly away” vacation…particularly with children in tow…we inevitably come home with the feeling of needing a vacation from our vacation. Who’s with me here?  So, this year we are opting for some staycation fun by not travelling more than a few hours from home.  A short road trip is always manageable and doesn’t drain everyone completely from the commute alone.  Here are a few ideas that may inspire you and yours to do the same!  Staycations have made some great memories for us, not to mention how budget friendly they can be.  I look forward to our plans ahead and would love any staycation ideas that you have so please share in the comments!  As always, thanks for reading friends! ~Lisa 🙂

1) SOMEWHERE NEW :  I have lived in the same region for my entire life and there are still new places for me to see. Check out places that are popular or historical that are within driving distance that you have never been to before. Maybe find a great deal on a hotel or campsite to stay for a couple of nights to explore the area more.  You don’t have to go far to see something new!

2) FAMILY VOTE : This is one of my kids favorite ways to spend a staycation if we have time off and haven’t planned to go anywhere. Each day one family member gets to pick what we will do near home…day trips! We have gone bowling, to the mueseum, movie day, hiking, picnic at the park, etc.

3) VISIT FAMILY OR FRIENDS : If you have family or friends that live within driving distance…plan with them to head over for a visit! Getting together often sometimes go to the wayside with busy work and school schedules, so take advantage of the time off to spend quality time with those that you care about most. Plan a BBQ, Picnic or Camping Trip to catch up and give your kiddos a chance to catch up with cousins!

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4) HALF & HALF : If you are someone who could really just use some time off to catch up on all of the to-do items that get put off due to the daily jam, but really don’t want to spend your time off doing anything but relaxing and having some fun….I say split it up! Plan ahead to do the “productive” to-do list items that are a priority to you the first half of your time off and commit to yourself and your family that you will spend the second half relaxing and having a bit of fun.  The time spent on the to-do list will help you relax guilt-free while you end your time off recharging your “batteries”.  Sometimes just checking a few items off of that never-ending to-do list can make you feel great without having to forfeit the all important “you” time!

5) JUST CHILL: Seriously…spending time at home chillaxing (thanks tween vocab) doing whatever we feel like on a whim really is some of the most rejuvenating time off. Double bonus is that the time off always feels longer when you are not trying to fit too much into the schedule. Make it still feel special by ordering take-out from a favorite restaurant or have some neighbors over for an impromptu BBQ and board game night. Whatever floats your boat just chill and do what makes you happy!

 

Weekly Whims: 7 Lucky Facts about St. Patrick’s Day!

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I have to be honest, I have gone most of my life knowing very little about the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.  I researched a lot of history on it and found this fun infographic by DegreeSearch.org that I thought would be fun to share with all of you in spirit of the holiday!  I look forward to keeping my Little Leprechauns busy with a St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt this afternoon.  I also would love to make a tasty traditional Irish dish, but I honestly don’t have one.  If you have or know of a good one…please share!  I would love to try it!

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

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Weekly Whims: Lucky Leprechauns! St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt! DIY!

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My little ones have always loved Easter Egg Hunting so I was inspired to do something fun for St. Patrick’s Day.  I almost can’t believe it is right around the corner!  This year is off to such a speedy start I feel like if I blink it will be summer!  So, in my frequent browsing around on Pinterest, I found many great ideas and pulled what I liked most from many and put them together into this Scavenger Hunt for Luck, Sweet Treasures & A Special Wish for my Little Leprechauns.  I can’t wait to unveil it as a surprise activity for them next week!  Wishing you all a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day full of green galore and very few pinches! 😉 ~Lisa

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 medium stones (LUCK)
  • 1 large stone (WISH)
  • Gold Outdoor/Patio Acrylic Paint (Weather resistant for outdoor play)
  • Gold Glitter (Optional)
  • Small alphabet stickers
  • Small-medium paint/craft brush
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Newspaper, paper towels or paper plates (to protect surface of work area)
  • Gold wrapped candy such as Chocolate Coins or Miniature Peanut Butter Cups

**Note: I found all of these supplies at my local dollar and craft store with the exception of the stones which were in my backyard. 🙂

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • On a paper towel, paper plate or sheet of newspaper…paint one side of the stones with gold paint. Let them dry for 30-60 minutes before flipping them over and painting the other side.  This will keep them from sticking to surface when flipped over.  Once stones are completely painted, let them dry thoroughly for at least a 2-3 hours minimum.
  • Adhere letters to stones. LUCK to the 4 medium stones and WISH to the single large stone.
  • Lightly spray all stones with Adhesive Spray to help seal the letters to the stones.
  • Optional Glitter:  While the large stone is still sticky with Spray Adhesive, sprinkle with gold glitter.  I lightly scraped with my fingernail any glitter that stuck to WISH letters so that the word would show through better.  Lightly spray one final coat of Spray Adhesive to set the glitter and to help reduce glitter flaking off.  This is a messy addition as glitter is known to be, but it looks really great and makes the WISH stone stand out as the “extra special” one to find.  Once completely dry, I tapped the glitter stone gently several times to get most of the excess glitter off.  There is still a few flakes that will transfer to hands and hiding spots so definitely keep this in mind when deciding on adding glitter.
  • Finally, hide the stones with the gold wrapped candies and let the Scavenger Hunt begin!

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Images: Sourced and owned by Cuppa Sunshine & Sugar

 

 

Weekly Whims: Mommy Lockdown! Tweens and their machines! Oiy!

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Alright so this has been quite the transition with our son that just turned 12.  The constant…”but everyone else has one…” and relentless badgering for the next best thing to “fit in” has nearly been enough to drive me to drink (which is saying a lot because I don’t drink).  I completely remember feeling like he does, and like most other parents…want my kids to have more than I did as a child.  However, now coming from a parent’s stand point…I feel like a line has to be drawn somewhere.  Right?  It isn’t that I necessarily am only worried about all the things that having a cell phone and social media can expose him to…it’s more about just trying to keep his life simple and allowing what is truly needed at the appropriate time.  So no, he still doesn’t have a cell phone.  However, for Christmas we did get him an iPod Touch for app gaming and to let the reigns out a bit by allowing him to text with his friends.  My husband and I heavily monitor the device and have set restrictions.  Within days, he quickly became “obsessed” with it.  Screen time went through the roof.  I was mega frustrated always looking at him with his face in that thing, barely responsive to the people in the room with him.  So came what I like to call “Mommy Lockdown”.  I even texted the lockdown message to him so that he could reference the formally written terms regularly.  No “I forgot” whines outta him!  HAHAHA!   Now that the air is clear, of course he is still wishful for many things, as we all are.  He is being more reasonable and accepting of the rules so that he may be allowed the privilege of having anything at all that falls in the category of “wants” rather than “needs”.   I won’t claim victory just yet as I know there are years of hurdles ahead, but for the time being I am feeling a whole lot better about an area that has stressed me out for months.  Woo hoo!  The very best part is when I see him being more present with our family and heading outside to shoot hoops and spend real face time with friends.  🙂  Any tips or advice you may have with tweens is greatly appreciated.  I welcome you to comment below and as always thanks for reading friends!  ~ Lisa

THE MOMMY LOCKDOWN MESSAGE

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Weekly Whims: Meal Train! Brilliant!

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I feel like I may quite possibly be one of the last people to have heard of this, but regardless I am so glad to have discovered it and to share it will all of you.

We all have had friends and family that have had life events and/or circumstances that have left us feeling like we want to help them in some way.  For many, just having a meal made for them is a huge help and often is profoundly welcomed.

Recently, some dear friends of ours had their third child and I was happy to set-up and participate in a Meal Train for them.  In fact their meal is cooking away in my crock pot as we speak!  You can utilize this wonderful resource for anyone for just about any reason under the sun.  I have included some of the basic details below, but definitely check it out for yourself.  It is very user-friendly and allows you to even enter special dietary needs and/or instructions for participants.  I especially like the reminders that it sends to those that sign-up to make a meal.  I received my reminders which helped plan to pick up ingredients that I needed.  Plus, it’s FREE!

Create a Meal Calendar for:

Arrival of a new baby Welcoming a new neighbor
Injuries/Surgeries Military deployment
Extended illnesses Condolences

A meal train is the act of organizing meal giving around significant life events.

But what does this really mean?

When a friend is in need, everyone says “What can I do to help out?” The answer is usually to help them with a meal. When many friends give a meal, this is a meal train.

Think about it like this,

Friends going through a difficult or challenging time due to a birth, surgery, illness, etc., could use some help. Willing friends, neighbors, colleagues, and congregation members would love to meet this need, if they only knew what to do. An organized meal train gives them a way to show they care by cooking and taking a meal to a friend or family member.

But why should I use mealTrain.com?

To help eliminate the confusion related to meal giving. No longer are questions like; What do they like? When are they available? What have they already had? left unanswered. Providing each giver this information helps simplify the process so they can focus on supporting others with meals.

SAMPLE MEAL TRAIN

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Weekly Whims: 7 Foods To Boost Your Mood

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P1090406We all have days, myself included, where even that lovely morning cuppa joe just doesn’t do the trick.  On a whim this morning, I thought about how flattering it is to hear people say…”you are always so happy”… “upbeat”… and “bubbly”.  I wondered what foods are out there that actually can help boost our mood.  I was jazzed *insert jazz hands* to find at HuffPost Living Healthy that I am a big fan of most of the 7 foods shown to boost your mood.  There were a couple that I eat seldomly and will definitely consider eating more of now.  I love that these are natural resources of mood boosters that are delicious, because honestly, I love food and love to eat!  If I can eat happiness well hey….count me in! 😀

Do you have a favorite food that you find invigorates your mood?  Please share!

 

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WHOLE FOODS
“Emerging research in the fields of neuroscience and nutrition show that people who eat a diet of modern processed foods have increased levels of depression, anxiety, mood swings, hyperactivity, and a wide variety of other mental and emotional problems,” wrote HuffPost blogger and psychiatrist Dr. Drew Ramsey.  One way to combat the ill effects of a processed diet is simply to start with a whole, unprocessed one. Cooking one’s own meals out of natural ingredients is a good way to take care of the body and the brain.
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SALMON
Salmon and other fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA could play a role in overall mood and well-being. Research shows that these fats have a protective effect against depression and in one study helped reduce the anxiety experienced by medical students.  Vegetarian sources of omega-3s include walnuts and flaxseed, which are both high in ALA, which the body may partially convert to DHA and EPA, which the body may partially convert to DHA and EPA, according to a Harvard report.
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ALMONDS
Almonds are high in a compound called tyrosine, which is one of the building blocks for the production of dopamine and other mood-associated neurotransmitters. That means eating a handful of these healthful nuts will not only improve cardiovascular health, thanks to their richness in fiber and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids — it could also help your mood.
Other tyrosine rich foods include: chicken, turkey and cheese.
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APPLES
Apples are rich in quercetin, a compound that defends your brain cells from free-radicals that can damage the lining of neurons, CNN reported.
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CHOCOLATE
Everyone knows that chocolate is delicious and full of antioxidants. But it can also help to reduce anxiety. In those who suffer from anxiety, milk chocolate was found to help reduce symptoms. For those with no history of anxiety, dark chocolate was most helpful, the study reported.
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SUNFLOWER SEEDS
These seeds are another source of tyrosine, and are also rich in heart-protective vitamin E and selenium.
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TOFU
Soy is another rich source of tyrosine, but also provides a heart-healthy dose of protein and can help benefit everything from bone health to reducing symptoms of menopause.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   While I am not much of a drinker of alcohol this maybe good news for your beer lovers!  The article on HuffPost Healthy Living also says this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The taste of beer — without the inclusion of alcohol — may be enough to trigger the release of a pleasure hormone, dopamine, in the brain, according to a study released yesterday.

“We believe this is the first experiment in humans to show that the taste of an alcoholic drink alone, without any intoxicating effect from the alcohol, can elicit this dopamine activity in the brain’s reward centers,” the study’s lead author, David Kareken of the Indiana University School of Medicine, said in a statement.

In this particular study, 49 men were given sips of beer that were small enough to taste, but not large enough to cause an effect with alcohol. The researchers evaluated fluctuations in neurotransmitters, finding that just a taste was enough to increase levels of dopamine. Dopamine is associated with feelings of well-being and also with memory and decision-making.

~Interesting!  My husband loves a good cold beer now and then.  Who new it would be a true bottle of bliss!?~ 😀

Food Images Source: HuffPost Healthy Living

Weekly Whims: Toddlers—Natural Mischief Makers -or- Just Their Apprentice?

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WHY ARE THEY SO FAST!?!?  Seriously, it feels like in 0.23 seconds they are gone from climbing up over here to getting into that over there!  Whew…It certainly is a full-time job keeping up with this dude!  I can tell he knows exactly what he’s up to and he knows the Sherriff (me) in town is watching!  I am just trying to sort out…is he naturally engrained with this drive of mischief making or is he merely their apprentice?  My older ones set examples, giggle and encourage the silly craziness that is his toddlerhood.  I am trying to figure out when we went from chill babe to Lil Man the Menace.  Good grief!  It’s a good thing he is so stinkin’ cute and lovey…otherwise I think he’d be duck taped to the ceiling!  Anyone else just trying to keep up?  😀

DOM! DOM! DOM!  EVIDENCE PHOTOS:

Hmmm…it appears the training started very early

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Bathtime?  Nah…Mama needs a new dishwasher!  Yesss!!

 

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Shelves?  No no no…they look like stairs to me Ma! Oh and you don’t need decorations!

 

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Tissues are my favorite.  Oh and I might be part Labrador.

 Who’s up for a game of Hide N’ Seek?

 

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Chair to block me? Yo Tweety! …Sylvester aint got nothin’ on me. 

Here birdie birdies! Tweet Tweet! Muahahaha!

 

 Good thing I am such a cute “monster”.  She’ll keep me forever!

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