Tag Archives: Reviews

Change to Change

Recently, I’ve been reading a book for work. It’s called Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream by Steve Van Remortel. It’s not really about trying to ban vanilla ice cream from the supermarket shelves. I mean, really, who would want that?! It’s about differentiating your company through strategy and talent development.

So, to be clear, the reason I’m reading it is because I have to for work. But, I do not have to write a post about it for work. Haven’t been asked to. Not being paid to. And, actually, this post isn’t really about the book. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I wanted to share that.

Now, on to my point.

As I read the book, I’m finding tidbits that pertain to family, household, personal life–not just the business world.

I read this sentence:

“If nothing ever changes…nothing will ever change.”

Think on that for a minute.

If nothing ever changes…nothing will ever change.

If I don’t ever change the way I eat, if I don’t change the way I exercise (or the fact that I don’t)…I will never lose weight or be fit.

If I don’t ever change my messy habits…I will never have a neat house.

If I don’t ever change the way I manage money…I will never have more savings.

If I don’t ever spend more time in prayer and Bible study…I will never have a closer relationship to God.

The list goes on!

What can you insert into the blanks?

If I don’t ever change _______________…I will never_______________.

My take away is this: if there’s something in my life that I’m not satisfied with, how can I expect it to improve if I don’t take action and initiate the change?

Worst. mother. ever.

I recently read a post by Pauline Karwowski over at Classy Chaos entitled¬† I can’t make this stuff up. #worstmomoftheyear. In it, she tells the tale of how her beautiful daughter ended up wearing a cheerleading costume to preschool on picture day. I encourage you to read the post, it’s very entertaining, but the short version is–she (Pauline, aka Mommy) forgot it was picture day. gasp!

Never one to be outdone, I have now become the worst. mother. ever., thereby beating Pauline.

You see tonight was, well, chaotic. Michael ran out and picked up Subway and Marco’s for dinner (we can never all agree on one restaurant, it seems). As is our norm on nights like these, we let the kids set their little lap desks up in front of the TV and serve them their dinner in the living room.

He came home, we rushed around the kitchen plating up the subs, pouring drinks and delivering everything to them. Then we sat down in the adjacent dining room to eat our meals. Normally, we would have sat on the sofa to eat, but it was too piled up with folded laundry, so we sat in the other room.

Part way through my meal, Leah, who doesn’t like Subway very much, asked for a second helping of Wheaties Fuel, a new cereal that she apparently liked enough to ask for seconds, which says a lot about this cereal that contains 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving. But I digress.

So, I refilled her bowl. Two trips into the living room. First with the cereal, then with the milk.

Back to my dinner.

A bit later, Leah asked for a third bowl of the cereal. Third trip to living room for cereal refill. While I was there, Noah asked me to bring him the rest of his sub when I came back with the milk. Sure thing!

Fourth trip to living room…milk. check. Noah’s sub. check.

Then I saw Sarah. Dear little 2 year old Sarah. Sitting at her little desk right between Leah and Zachary. Her little empty desk. I FORGOT TO FIX HER ANY DINNER!

worst. mother. EVER.

Literature Evaluation

That’s a fancy way of saying Book Review.

I’m kicking off my Books We Love series with Fancy Nancy. Before I begin telling you why we think these books are so wonderful, let me tell you how we were introduced to her.

When he was in first grade, Noah came home with a paper he had done in school. It was a picture he had drawn with the sentence, “It reminded me of my mom.” So the ensuing conversation went like this:

Me: “What reminded you of me?”

Noah: “Mrs. Farnan read us a book today.”

Me: “What was the book?”

Noah: “Fancy Nancy.”

Me (beaming with pride): “Do I remind you of Fancy Nancy?”

Noah: “No, you remind me of her mother.”

Me (still hopeful): “Is her mother fancy, too?”

Noah: “No, she’s very, very plain.”

Me (crushed): “Oh.”

I may have been crushed, but I was also intrigued (that’s a fancy word for curious). We read the first book and we all enjoyed it, but my daughter (who was 4 at the time) and I were hooked!

Here’s how I would describe Nancy. She’s not a princess or a fairy or a ballerina. She’s a bright girl who loves all things, well, fancy. She loves french words–because, “everything in french sounds fancy.” She has an extensive vocabulary–after all, big words make what we say fancier. And when it comes to accessories and decorating, her mantra is “more is more!”

100_2544Here’s how Leah, now 6, describes Nancy. She’s fancy. Her whole name rhymes–fancy Nancy Clancy. I like her because she really likes fancy stuff and she wears her hair all up on her head. She also likes how it’s written in “cursive.”¬† (She asked the other day if I thought “they” got cursive writing from Fancy Nancy.)

The author, Jane O’Connor is one sly lady! Through her use of “fancy words” she’s building the vocabularies of young girls everywhere! She also sneaks in fun facts and little life lessons along the way so the readers are learning without even knowing it.

Among the many lessons, young readers learn:

  • not to leave their homework until the last minute
  • how to work together with someone who is very different from themselves
  • the importance of sharing…even sharing your best friend
  • about constellations like the Big Dipper
  • map and exploring skills
  • about nature
  • how to make a pine cone bird feeder
  • etiquette
  • how to improvise and overcome disappointment
  • and, maybe the most important lesson–ice cream is perfect whether you’re celebrating or soothing disappointments!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the captivating illustrations by Robin Preiss Glasser. She has captured the essence of Fancy Nancy beautifully!

Leah and I highly recommend any and all of the Fancy Nancy books as a magnificent supplement (that’s fancy for great addition) to your library!

Recipes from the Chaotic Kitchen

People often tell me I’m a good cook. Maybe. I do know I can read, and I think if you can read and follow directions, you can cook. My definition of a truly good cook is someone who creates a dish out of thin air–to me, that’s a good cook. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. Everything I make comes from a recipe.

Maybe it’s the mother in me, but I truly delight in serving a meal to someone who enjoys it. But with a busy family of six, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time in all the chaos.

My favorite recipes are those that require relatively few ingredients and are quick to prepare. There are exceptions of course, but our day-in and day-out favorites are both quick and easy to fix. Oh yeah, and it’s helpful if at least two of my four kids will eat said dish!

One of the worst parts of my “household duties” is coming up with a menu day after day, week after week and month after month, coordinating the grocery list, finding the recipes, etc. It’s hard not to get stuck in a rut of eating the same seven dishes week after week.

I’m always looking for new dishes to try and know many of you probably are, too. I’m also looking for some way for the recipes, the planner and the grocery list to all magically “talk” to one another so I don’t spend hours on the process. I came across a great site, thanks to The Organized Mom, that comes as close to this magic as I’ve found. It’s called Kitchen Monki.

KitchenMonki.com is a recipe sharing site, but it’s so much more than that! You can plan your meals using your own recipes or one of the ones others have shared. You can also create your grocery list from the recipes you choose. The items in your list are automatically sorted by grocery aisle and you can sort them by the different stores you shop. You can add notes for a specific brand or the details of the coupon you have for a particular item. Once you’re done, you can send it to your phone or print a PDF and take it with you. Like the sound of all of that, but don’t want to share Aunt Mildred’s secret recipe? Choose to keep the recipe private. You still get all the functionality described above, but no one else can see your recipe.

On top of all that, if you’re a blogger like me, you can easily embed the recipes you share on Kitchen Monki to your own blog–no formatting required! So now, I can share my recipes with my readers, thereby making my blog more interesting. Check out my “Last Minute Cranberry Relish” below. Yummy!

So now we have the birth of a new category: “Recipes from the Chaotic Kitchen.” I’ll share some of my favorites with you. If I find other tips and tricks for making planning and preparing family meals easier, I’ll share those, too. If you have tips or suggestions, let me know in the comments.

Together, maybe we can make the process less chaotic and a little more blissful!