Monthly Archives: February 2013

What’s On Your Mind?

What is the last thing on your mind before you fall asleep?  Or when you have a lot of road time, what do you spend most of your time thinking about?

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The reason I ask is because what people spend time and energy thinking about is usually what they are most passionate about.  Yes, we can get consumed about “life” issues that take up a lot of our thoughts (worrying about kids, replaying embarrassing moments in our head).  But with those things aside, what is usually on your mind?  Are you aNxiOusLy brainstorming a new meal to cook that night?  Envisioning the next vacation you want to take?  Predicting how the sports season is going to turn out?

The cool thing about this question is that your answer may vary from year to year or even month to month.  Want to know the most current thing “on my mind” these days?  Interior design.  I LOVE colors and furniture.  I love changing the way a room looks and turning something junkie into something pretty.  I can spend hours faNtiCiziNg about ways I could transform a space and can get lost in textures and fabrics.

Discover your hidden obsession by taking note of where your mind spends its time.  Next, do something about it.  I’m not saying you need to switch careers, but if you are only thinking of this great thing, why not take the first step and actually put it into practice.  For me, it would be easy to find an excuse such as not having the funds or time to transform my house in the ways I’ve envisioned.  BUT, in the meantime I can still get excited over small projects that don’t cost much and allow me to enjoy transforming a space or furniture piece.

If you can slowly act on these thoughts, you may find that they will become more and more of a reality.  Five to six years ago I would daydream a lot about being my own boss.  To my surprise, it soon became true and I’ve been living that dream for over 4 years.  It didn’t happen overnight, but by actually applying some things on my mind, I ended up discovering new ways to make it happen.

Your passions may just be hobbies.  They may turn into a career.  They may be something that will make you money when you retire.  You will never really know how they end up, but I can tell you one thing…they will always just be a dream if you don’t do anything more than that.  And what fun is that when you could be LiViNg iT?!

Happy Dreaming ;)

Lara

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Filed under Inspiration, Inspire

St. Patrick’s Day Handprint Art

I’m at it again!  Here are some pictures of the art that I created using my kid’s handprints and some finger-painting!

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To make this shamrock I used a small canvas that I bought on sale at my local craft store. I let me son paint the background orange and then I used a different green color for each of my kid’s handprints. To add the lettering I used rubber stamps and paint! This one is my favorite!

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I had my son finger-paint the rainbow and color the pot of gold with crayon.  Once the rainbow was dry he glued on his own “gold” coins that I purchased at my local dollar store!

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My son wrote his name with a white crayon and I went over it with gold glitter glue!

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You can do this with the shamrock and leprechaun like I did or do them separate. I had my daughter do the shamrock and son do the leprechaun so they each got to do their own thing. My son used his fingertips to do the hair and pink cheeks. I attached a cute saying and sent these to our family for St. Patrick’s Day!

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Click the links below to see handprint ideas for

Christmas,Valentine’s Day, and Patriotic Holidays!

Christmas Handprint Memories

Valentine’s Day Handprint Crafts

Handprint American Flag

Have fun MaKinG MeMoRiEs!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Holiday, Junk Drawer, Kid Stuff, RANDO•RAMA, Uncategorized

Robyn’s Tips for a Disney World Vacation

This past August my entire family went on a 9 day trip to Disney World.  My kids had just turned 5 and 3 and my niece was 3 1/2.  It was the MoSt MaGiCaL time of my life.  There are no words to describe the sheer joy and awe that comes with seeing your children experience the magic of Disney for the first time.  Here is a list of tips that I put together based on my experience at “The Happiest Place on Earth!”

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*PLAN AHEAD!!! We had our entire schedule planned out from wake-up through bedtime before we even left for Disney.

*Book all of your meals in advance.

*Bring clear ponchos to put over your stroller if it rains.  They are cheap and fit over single and double strollers.

*Don’t bring ponchos for the kids…they are too big, just pack their raincoat.

*The Hoop Dee Doo Revue is a great show/dinner for a big family trip.

*Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins are going to be characters  in Hollywood Studios. If you do the Hollywood and Vine breakfast they should be characters there along with Special Agent Oso, and Jake from the Neverland Pirates, and Handy Manny.

*FAST PASS EVERYTHING!!! It saves you a ton of time!  Fast passes are available on rides and attractions that have long wait times.  You can take a fast pass ticket and it tells you when to come back and do the attractions with no wait time.

*To see the princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle…sometimes they switch out Sleeping Beauty for Rapunzel) without doing a princess breakfast, you can fast pass the line for the Princesses in Town Square at Magic Kingdom. Right next to this is the same spot to get your picture taken with Mickey and Minnie. Fast Pass them both and get all the pictures there. It is near impossible to get pictures with any of these characters unless you do a breakfast.

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*Get to Magic Kingdom a half hour before it opens so you are there for rope drop. The characters come in on the train and fireworks go off…it is AMAZING.

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*Right after rope drop at the Magic Kingdom, if you hang out in town square, there are always characters. Mary Poppins was there every morning off to the right along with Snow White. Goofy and Daisy and Pluto were there most days too.

*If you hang out by the Mad Tea Party ride you can find Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit.

*The ONLY way to meet Tinker Bell is to wait on line at Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook (on the right hand side on your way to Adventure Land). Tinker Bell is always there with another fairy. We waited over an hour, but it was worth it!

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Pure Magic!

*You can find Peter Pan on the bridge going into Adventure Land right after the character parade that goes down Main Street.

*Make sure you see the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It Parade in Magic Kingdom. My kids LOVED it! We went twice a day on some days!

*Pre-purchase your Disney Photo Pass. This is a pass that looks like a credit card. They sell plastic things to keep it in with your park tickets on a lanyard around your neck so that you can access it easily. There are park photographers ALL OVER the place. You ask them to take your picture/family picture and they scan the card.  All of the pictures go onto your Photo Pass account. When you get home you can upload your own photos to this account and make your Disney Memory Album.

*Get a bright colored bandanna and tie it to your stroller. When you get out of an attraction the strollers are sometimes moved around and it makes it really easy to find yours.

*ASK QUESTIONS…Disney employees are extremely knowledgeable and can help you navigate your day through the parks.

*In Hollywood Studios, The Character Department at the Magic of Disney Animation Building is a GOLDMINE for hard to find characters at 5:00.  We were able to get pictures with Pinocchio, The Queen from Snow White, Captain Hook and Smee, Mulan, Goofy, Mary Poppins, Jake, Piglet and Pooh and more!

*Bring your kid’s costumes with you.  There are kids dressed up as Disney Princesses everywhere you look.  My sister and I brought all of our costumes and brought certain ones to the park based on which characters we knew we would see that day.  My son brought his Peter Pan costume and a pirate costume!  It is a lot less expensive to bring the costumes you already own than to buy them in the parks!

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Mommy’s little Peter Pan!

*Bring glow-sticks, glow-wands, glow-necklaces, etc. from your local dollar store with you!  The kids can use them at night at the Main Street Electric Light Parade and lots of other nighttime festivities!

*Grab a park map at the entrance of each park.  Not only will you save time knowing where you are going, but they list the character spots and times that they are there so that you don’t have to guess who is in each park for photos.

*If there is a character that you are trying to get a picture with and can’t seem to find, go to guest relations in City Hall on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and ask.  They have a schedule of all of the characters who will be in the park for the day.

*If you are staying in the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks, make sure you have a view of the top of the castle.  Weather permitting…each night the fireworks are started after Tinker Bell flies out of the top of the castle.  If you are staying that late, with kids…it is a MUST SEE!

*If you are planning a family trip or reunion, you can schedule a photography session at The Grand Floridian.  You are paired up with a professional photographer who will take family photos for a half hour.  When you are finished you get to keep all of the photos on disc that can then be uploaded to your Disney PhotoPass account.

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Family Portrait Taken at The Grand Floridian

HAVE FUN!!!

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~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Family, Good Life, Life, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Road Trip, Uncategorized

You can either be miserable about it or…

Accept it and move on.  Easier said than done, isn’t it?!  I was actually sitting here answering a bunch of emails this afternoon as I could hear a bunch of gravel trucks driving back and forth on our gravel road.  Now, you must understand that where we use to live, we were lucky to get 1-2 cars drive by every day.  So…no matter what is driving by our house it would seem oVerwHeLmiNg because it is so foreign to me!traffic

When we first moved here this summer the traffic drove me crazy.  I cringed every time I could hear a motor off in the distance.  It would upset me so much I would be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. (Doesn’t that seem so silly?!?!) I am so embarrassed to even admit that!  I would have a pity party every once in a while and sulk about how much I loved living in our old location, with no one to noisily drive by the house and kick up the dust.

After a couple months, I got tired of FeeLiNg this way.  There wasn’t a lot I could do about the situation and I could either let it destroy my days or I could accept it and move on.  Believe it or not, things actually got easier the day I finally decided to accept it.  It isn’t always easy but most days I don’t even give it a second thought.

There are so many things that pop into our lives that we don’t have any control over, YET we let them consume us and our mood.  Maybe you don’t like your husband’s new work schedule or you get annoyed with someone you work closely with.  These things are probably out of our hands and the only thing we can do to control the situation is to control how we let it affect us.

So next time that gravel truck gets under my skin I’m going to remember all the great things about living in our new location.  Sure we have more traffic, but that also means we are seeing more friends and family!  You have to take the good with the bad, and instead of letting the “bad” destroy you, make the best of what’s left or simply LET GO.

Lara

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Filed under Getting Real, Life

A Simple Solution for a Chaotic Life

One of the best things I learned as a first year teacher was, when I got overwhelmed, to take a step back and try to SIMPLIFY the situation.  I am especially grateful that I figured it out before I had kids because I can’t imagine my life without it!

Are you overwhelmed about house projects?  Starting your own business?  The rhythm of your family life or how your child is doing in school?  Maybe it is your cooking skills or the thought of your daily workload as a mother or in your career?  We are usually so busy trying to keep our heads above water and control every situation that we can’t see the obvious solution:

SIMPLIFY THAT AREA OF YOUR LIFE.

How do you do that?  Take a step back and prioritize what is truly important about each specific situation.  If you are stressed about your house being out of order, maybe you should decide on what room is most important and ONLY focus on that.  If you don’t, you get so overwhelmed about trying to do it all, which only discourages you from even starting!

If your kids are having trouble in school, maybe instead of nagging them constantly you should set really small, achievable goals so you can praise them for something they are doing right.  I understand that it will feel like their progress is going at a snail’s pace, but focusing on the small successes will remove the tension.  And we all know it is easier to be motivated as a kid if you are getting praised and not yelled at, right?

I don’t write this because I have it all figured out.  In fact, consider this post as an entry to my journal, reminding me that I need to re-evaluate some areas in my life and toss the “all-or-nothing” mindset out of the window.

That being said, this post probably comes at a good time now that Lent is here.  If you want to enrich your spiritual life over the next 40 days, try to think of a small and siMpLe thing you can do each day to spend time with God.  Mine is as simple as having Christian music on throughout the day.  Whatever it is, just remember….

LeSs is MoRe!

Lara

P.S. And because I am “simplifiying” the fact that I wanted to post something, I am NOT including a picture.  If that is what it took for me to sit down and write, I still think it is bettering than doing nothing at all!

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Filed under Faith, God

Valentine’s Day Treats for Kids (With Printable Treat Cards!)

Each year I try and think of a cute way to send out my kid’s VaLenTiNe TrEaTs at school.  This year I found two cute ideas on Pinterest and then added my own touch!  Our school has a no candy policy so we used individual packs of Teddy Grahams and Goldfish.

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I printed the cards on light brown card-stock. Next, I glued the eyes on the bear and had my 3-year-old daughter draw a nose, a smile, and then sign her name!

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I printed the cards on white card-stock. Next, I had my 5-year-old son draw the water in the fishbowl and then sign his name!

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I attached the bear to a treat bag with Teddy Grahams and the fishbowl to a treat bag with Goldfish!

Click here to download the cards to attach to your treats!

Abby’s Valentine Teddy Bear

Nicholas’ Valentine Fish Bowl

Happy Valentine’s Day!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Holiday, Kid Stuff, RANDO•RAMA

What are you worried about?

If someone asked me that, there would be days that my response would be, “ EVERYTHING!”  Do you ever go through phases like that?  It seems like I can go through months without fretting over anything, and then other days where it consumes every part of me!

As a Mom there are SO MANY things that we can worry about; if they will be safe when you leave them with someone else, if their cough is turning in to pneumonia, if they are making the smart decisions with their friends, how they are doing in school, if we are doing the right thing as parents…I could write a novel on all the things Moms worry about!!

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With my daughter going to Kindergarten this year I have been challenged with this more than normal.  We want our kids to be safe, healthy and smart, yet we are reminded by all the negative things in the world as soon as we turn on the t.v.  So what is a Mom to do?

I’m still trying to figure this one out.  I’m not even confident I would be able to answer the question when I am 100 years old, but I’m determined to try.  I just have to keep reminding myself that in some ways, worrying is good because it means that I love my kids so much!  BUT I also have to remember that worrying is a result of the devil creeping into my life, and why let that take away precious time with the ones that I care about so much?!

If you are worrying a lot these days…no matter if it is kids, health, money, your job…try to TaLK BaCk to those negative thoughts as soon as they creep in your mind.  This is sooo hard, I know.  It is a full-time job on its own!  The other thing that helps is to KeEp BuSy.  If silence traps you in bad feelings, turn on the radio, listen to books on tape, or start singing.  If you have too much time on your hands, find a new hobby that requires a lot of concentration so you can give your worrying a break!  And of course, the obvious, pRaY about it.  Try your best to hand your worries over to the one that created you.  That is what He is there for ;)

Take comfort in knowing that you are among the rest of us mommies out there that are losing sleep and feeling like we are going crazy.  That in itself should ease your mind and give you motivation to shake those bad thoughts along with the rest of us!

For another one of my posts related to worrying, read: Become A Trainer

~Lara

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Filed under Parenthood, Relationships