Monthly Archives: June 2011

BBFYB: Avoiding Skin Cancer & Hearing Loss

With the FuN summer hOlidAy around the corner, get your biggest bang for your buck by packing along your sunscreen and earplugsDon’t underestimate the ImpAct of being in the sun for a picnic or surrounded by a few fireworks crackling in your ears. Someone once told me that any noise over 85 decibels causes hearing loss.  For example, a lawnmower makes noise at 90 decibels. Keep this in mind when the kids are outside or near other sounds at similar volumes. Prolonged exposure of the sun and noise can cause problems later in life and ProTectiNg yourself from these potential issues only takes a second!

Have a SAFE holiday!

~Lara

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Filed under B.B.F.Y.B., Health/Fitness, RANDO•RAMA, You

God Shouts

Let’s be real.  Life hurts.  As humans it is one of our common denominators.  And it is inevitable.  It may happen to us in different ways; divorce, death, a broken heart, grief, loss, lack, low self-esteem, loneliness, sickness, addiction, abandonment, rejection, betrayal….. but sooner or later we experience pain.

And then God speaks.

Turns out He has actually been speaking all the time, but just as writer C.S. Lewis points out:

~God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world ~
 
I find that pain seems to heighten my ability to hear God speak.  Distractions seem not to matter so much.  What’s really important in life becomes crystal clear.  It’s in these times that I turn to the Psalms.  They are a source of comfort, a source of hope, a source to remind me that, “God is my refuge and my strength.  A very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1
 
Robynn~

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Filed under Faith, God, Hard Reality, Life

American Flag Cream Cheese Dessert

Here is a great recipe for 4tH oF JuLy festivities!! Not only does it celebrate our country’s independence, it is also easy to make, easy to serve, and fun to make with kids!!

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of shortbread cookies with pecans
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 1/2 packages of cream cheese (8 oz. each)
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 quart StrAwBeRriEs
  • 1 pint blueberries

Melt BuTtEr in a mixing bowl.

PlaCe cookies in a large ziplock bag.

CrUsH cookies with a rolling-pin.

 

Add cookie CrUmBs to butter and combine.

PrEsS cookie and butter mixture in a cookie sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Cool and place in a freezer.  (Freezing the cookie crust will help in spreading the cream cheese.)

Add powdered SuGaR to softened cream cheese and combine.

 

Spread cream cheese mixture on cookie CrUsT.

 

Decorate as a FlAg with strawberries (or raspberries) and BLuBeRrieS!  Refrigerate or serve immediately. 

Happy Celebrating!!

Robynn~

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Filed under RANDO•RAMA, Recipes, Traditions

Mommy Guilt

I have yet to talk to another Mom that doesn’t feel guilty about some area of MotHeRhooD.  Do you feel like you don’t spend enough time with your kids?  Aren’t as good of a Mom as the friend down the street? Feel bad that you overcooked dinner for the family?  Unfortunately, most Moms could make an infinite list of questions because we never FEEL like we’re good enough.

Whether you are a Mom or not, we all know what guilt feels like.  Guilt is usually caused by ComParinG ourselves to someone else.  Comparisons are PointLess because every person’s situation is different.  Remember that YOU are a good Mom because YOU are doing the best that YOU can for your situation.  I sometimes feel guilt for not sending my daughter to preschool, but I know that I will ReGrEt not spending that last year at home with her.  People assume that I don’t spend time with my kids because I have a home business, but they don’t know I get up early so I can get most of my stuff done before they get out of bed.  I know the reasons why I do what I do and when I start to feel guilty I have to quickly remind myself that this is the best thing for MY situation.

I know this post won’t cure your Mommy guilt indefinitely, but as a Mom I know how important it is to be reminded to not be so hard on myself.  Stop comparing yourself to other Moms and focus on the things you do well. Ask yourself this:  If I wasn’t aware of what others were doing, would I feel guilty about______?  Do things that your heart naturally tells you to do. No one knows your situation better than YOU so stop letting others control how you feel.

~Lara

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Sweet Spot – The Challenge (Wk 13)

I think I need to back up.  We are on Week 13 of “The Challenge” where we are encouraging you to go for your dreams.  But I know people my age and older who say, “Hey, hold on.  I don’t know what my DrEaM is or where to even begin looking for my PurPoSe.”

If that describes you or even if you want to fine tune your dream consider this:

Your purpose is where your PaSsioN (heart’s desire) and your TaLenTs meet.  In what area do you have high marks in both the passion category and the talent category?  Maybe you don’t know the answer to this question.  It may be that you have not yet discovered your talent, or your passion for that matter.  However, when you do find them you have hit Bull’S-eYe.  This is your “SwEeT sPoT”.  For the next few weeks Suede Sofa is going to focus on finding your “sweet spot” a.k.a. your purpose.   

Until next time ponder this question:  Do you know your “sweet spot”?

Robynn~

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Filed under Dream Big, Inspiration, Inspire, The Challenge

Guest Feature: Homemade American Flag

Check out a DIY project from one of our readers, Robyn Caruso from New Jersey!

For years I’ve wanted to make my OwN American Flag out of a fence, but always pushed it to the end of my to do list. Robynn recently posted her inspiration for making an American Flag and that was all it took to get me going. With my little ones birthdays both approaching this summer, I am feeling the need to “fReeZe” time and just take in every minute of them being little. My idea for my flag included their little HanDprinTs so that in years to come we can look back and remember how special this time was. Next came a trip to Home Depot where I convinced the lumber crew to cut down a broken fence that originally cost $24 into the size that I wanted. I walked out of the store sMiliNg ear to ear after they rang it up for $4.04! I guess it’s not every day they have a mommy on a crafting kick with 2 toddlers throwing fishies out of a double stroller in the lumber department! I got home and went through my stash of paint and got to work.

Picture #1 – My son Nicholas helping me sand all of the edges.
Picture #2 – Nicholas concentrating on painting the field of blue.
Picture #3 – I used painters tape to keep the colors from running together and then imprinted Nicholas handprints on the first and third rows of blue.
Picture #4 – Mommy and Nicholas.
Picture #5 – Abby gets her turn on the second and fourth rows of blue. 
Picture #6 – Painting the year, kid’s names, and ages on the back of the flag.
 
Picture #7 – After the names were finished I sprayed the front and back of the flag with an indoor/outdoor sealer and was ready to tie the rope through the metal screw eyes that I screwed into the top of the flag.
Picture #8 – My finished keepsake flag!
Thank you Robyn for sharing this with all our friends on the SuedeSofa!!
~Lara & Robynn

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Filed under DIY, RANDO•RAMA

If You Feel It Say It

How often have you thought of something NiCe about someone but didn’t tell them?  Maybe you ran into an old friend and you thought how GrEaT they looked, but failed to mention it…or perhaps someone said something nice about your spouse but you didn’t take the time to pass the CoMpLiMenT on to your loved one.

Many times we don’t stop to share a GOOD WORD because there wasn’t that right “break” in the conversation to bring it up, or maybe we fear the situation could get awkward.

The thing you have to remember is how GREAT you feel when someone says something nice about YOU!  Doesn’t that just make your day?  If a customer emails me saying how much they LOVE their blocks or a person mentions my new outfit, I have a JuMp in my step the rest of the day!  How would you like to have that same effect on someone else?  If you feel it, say it!  Don’t let another opportunity pass you by!

~Lara

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Filed under Marriage, People, Relationships

Rude for you. Ok for me.

Have you ever left a message for someone who didn’t return your call/text/email and thought, “HoW RuDe!”?  I have to admit, this has happened to me on numerous occasions.  The main problem with this attitude is that I do the very same thing, but I don’t consider myself being rude or inconsiderate.  Instead, I’m “busy”, or I’ll eventually get around to responding.

The last time I was indignant with someone not returning my call I was reminded of my double standard and I vowed to make a change.  Very often all that is needed is a quick reply such as:

 “S o u n d s   G o o d”, “O k”, “=)”, or “I’ll get in touch with you when I know more.”

So that’s my my goal.  Hit that “RepLy” button immediately, return the call, or text an answer back and do as the GoLdeN RuLe says:

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Ouch.
Robynn~

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SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE

When I was a first year teacher I wanted to be the best at EVERYTHING.  After a month I ended up being the exact opposite because I was burnt out and exhausted all the time.  It finally dawned on me when I pulled out the “quote of the week” that read: SIMPLIFY.  We’ve all read that word numerous times, but how often have we actually applied it to our everyday lives?

Simplifying your life may mean cancelling dinner with friends because you haven’t been home with your family all week.  Perhaps it is buying a treadmill so you don’t have to drive to the gym.  Maybe you’ll aLLoW your kiddo to wear clothes that don’t match because it isn’t worth the extra stress to get them out the door!

Make it your goal to simplify your life.  What is iMporTant?  Is it TIME? Is it reducing stress?  StRip AwAy the unnecessary elements that are causing problems in your life and only focus
on achieving the “have-to’s” today!

~Lara

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“Smokin’ Hot!” – The Challenge (Wk 12)

Like it or not, the people you are hanging out with play a big role in regards to wHeRe and WhO you will be in 5 years.  Are the people in your life raising you up to help you fulfill your potential or dragging you down?  Are they inspiring, positive and motivating or are they negative and critical?  Do they seem to suck the life out of everything or are they LiFe-GiVinG? 

My husband recently shared this quote with me:

“SmaLL pEopLe talk about other PeOpLe, AvEragE peOpLe talk about ThiNgS, GrEaT pEoPle talk about IdEaS.” 

That’s one thing I really appreciate about Lara.  She’s an IdeA PerSon.  As a result, I get inspired.  Everytime I talk to her I feel like I am leaving “smokin’ hot” with new ideas!

Who are the people in your life who make you a better person?  Is it time for some new relationships?   Time for a new CiRcLe oF FrIeNdS?   Because you’re gonna blink and your 5 years will be up.

Robynn~

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Filed under Dream Big, Inspiration, Inspire, The Challenge