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The Suede Sofa Blog is Moving…

Hi Readers! As you know, we’ve been sharing a lot of information about our Peace with Food concept. We’ve had a great response and appreciate your interest and feedback! Due to this, we are moving to www.peacewithfood.com

Please come join us–we would love to have you! Peace with Food has changed our lives and we are excited to share it with you in hopes you can experience the same type of freedom in your own life! To get a taste, you can read Lara’s Story HERE. and Robynn’s story HERE.

Many thanks for your love and support over the last few years! It’s been a great ride, thanks to YOU…

Cheers,

Lara & Robynn

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Season of Food

Hi Suede Sofa Readers! It’s been a while, dear friends–thanks for sticking with us.

Robynn and I LOVE the holidays. Absolutely LOVE them. But we also know that the holiday season can present it’s own challenges, one being FoOd. Since the holidays are right around the corner, we have decided to spend the next few months discussing food, weight loss, and body image. We are going to share ways to have peace in those areas without having to be on a diet, dreading exercise or giving up your favorite foods. Sounds good to be true, right? Well it is true, and you can have it. We hope you’ll join us, for what we are calling theSeason of FoodBut why wait for Thanksgiving? Let’s get started today by sharing a little Q & A. These are answers we gave before we learned how to have peace with food.

What do you dread the most about the holidays?

Lara: There is hardly anything I dread I dread about the holidays–I absolutely LOVE them! But now that you mention it, I guess I don’t look forward to gaining a few pounds due to all the good food. Either that or I dread feeling like I have to deprive myself of my favorite holiday treats so I don’t gain weight.

Robynn: Before I started having peace with food I lived in one extreme {a.k.a insanity} or the other.  The first extreme was depriving myself of my favorite holiday foods because I was on a diet.  The other extreme was rebelling against dieting by giving myself permission to indulge on anything I wanted which only caused me to gain weight and feel cruddy about myself.

 Can you remember a time when you overindulged during the holidays?

Lara: Can I remember A time? Are you kidding? I have countless memories of spending the holidays eating so much I was stuffed before I went to bed and still suffered from a eating hangover the next morning. It’s obvious that you ate too much when you still feel full after waking up the next day. Egh!

Robynn: As I stated above, Yes!  Too many times to count.  However, with the skills Lara and I have learned that living with peace may not mean perfection but I have a much greater success rate.  :)

 

Do the holidays ever present challenges for you? If so, we’ll be sharing what we’ve learned and how to maintain peace during the season of food!

Until next time,

Lara & Robynn

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When Tragedy Strikes

This is a tough one.  No one wants to face a tragedy, yet you may encounter one in your lifetime.  How is one to handle these events?  How do we cope with the pain, suffering, and feeling of helplessness?  Not to mention, how to avoid the fear of it happening again…

First, we weren’t meant to do this alone.  Long ago, we were sent someone who would save us.  Someone who came to reassure us that we don’t have to walk our path alone.  God knew life on Earth would be difficult, and He wants to help lighten our load.  He began restoring our confidence by sending His very own son, Jesus.

Does knowing we have our faith mean it takes away all of our pain and sadness?  Unfortunately it doesn’t, but it does provide enough comfort to keep us going.  To keep praying.  To not lose sight of what God has called us to do: trust in Him and continue to live out the life set before us.Sun-through-the-clouds

Secondly, we can’t live in fear.  I know it is easier said than done. But do we really have a better option?  If we are realistic with ourselves, life will consist of steady highs and lows (regardless of how hard we try to control them). So, why not have something constant to lean on through it all?  God is here to take care of us.  At times it may not seem like it—especially on Earth—but if you keep your eyes on the eternal promise, we are assured He has a place more amazing than we can imagine, waiting specifically for us.

If you are going through a difficult time right now, remember that God is right there with you.  He wants to pick you up and carry you. Let Him.  And don’t stop there.  When He speaks, hear His voice….

“Hang with me. I know this is tough. I am here with you. Your eternal rewards will be great, I promise. Never lose sight of me. I love you. ”

I’m praying for you. Keep the faith-

Lara

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How I Fixed Our LAUNDRY Situation in 15 Minutes

If you were to ask me what area of my household chores stresses me out the most, I would say “LAUNDRY”.  I feel like our laundry takes over my life and my mood!  Like most people, we have a small laundry room, which also serves as a mudroom next to our garage.  Since I don’t have much room in there, laundry always ends up in our bedroom.  Clean clothes, dirty clothes—you name it—ends up either folded or unfolded on our bed.  By the end of the day, I usually never get around to putting all of it away, so where does it end up?  On the floor!  Yep, we are always so tired at night that the easiest thing to do is throw it on a dresser or make a pile on the floor.

This makes me CRAZY because the very next morning I feel like I have to rewash or dry everything due to unwanted wrinkles or not knowing what is really clean.  What a waste of time, energy, and laundry soap!!

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when we noticed some of our clothes smelling bad, even after being washed.  Since I didn’t have a good laundry system all of our clothes, musty towels and kitchen washcloths would sometimes end up in the same load.  What happens when you don’t do a good job sorting?  Your shirt smells like the onion you made for dinner last night :-/

I couldn’t take it any longer.  One morning, I decided I had to make a major change.  I headed down to the basement and grabbed a couple old card tables and plastic tubs.  I cleared out the corner of my office (which once consisted of a comfy chair and lamp) and I set the tables up.  Sure, I was sad to see my “reading chair” go (which never got used—but “looked” nice!) but I knew this area could be better utilized for something more practical.DSC_0577

I labeled each tub “whites/colors/smelly stuff—washcloths/other” and slid them under the table.  Within 15 minutes I had a functional laundry area and my life has been drastically changed every since!  I now have room to fold and make piles for each person in our family.  I also decided that I needed a place to hang clean clothes, so I took the hanging rod out of one of my kids’ closets and hung in above the card tables!  It only took me about 10 minutes to move from their closet to the new spot, and now it saves me tons of time from walking back and forth to bedrooms to hang clothes!DSC_0571

If I don’t get around to putting clothes away, everyone knows that their clean piles are now in my office.  My entire family has done great making sure they put their dirty laundry in the correct tub (but I even have an “other/don’t know pile” tub in case someone gets confused!) and I am proud to say that we haven’t dealt with any onion-smelly clothes since! YAY!  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!DSC_0572

One more thing I want to add…as you can see, my laundry room does not look “pretty”.  In the past I would have put off making a makeshift laundry room due to feeling like I needed custom cabinets and a reconstructed room in order to have a functional laundry space.  Because I did it this way, I was able to create a better laundry situation within 15 minutes AND it will give me time to try it out before I decide when and if I should ever upgrade to something more permanent.

Is there an area of your daily routine that makes you CrAzY (like my laundry situation)?  If so, I encourage you to think outside the box and find a way to make it less stressful.  Sure, I am sacrificing looking at dirty laundry baskets in my office, but now my master bedroom is ALWAYS clean and laundry free.  I am also saving time this way!  Just remember, even though you want your home to look like something from Pottery Barn, you have to ask yourself, “Would I rather have a magazine-looking house, or eliminate DAILY stresses by making an area more functional?””

Good “looks” don’t always mean a HaPpY HeArt!  Make a change TODAY!!

Lara

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How I am avoiding a stressful Christmas this year…

I know…it is only September…but I already have half of my Christmas shopping DONE!  The motive for starting so early?  I’m tired of stressing out during the holidays!

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The reason I’m starting so early has to do with money.  If I began now, I could spread the cost of gifts over the course of several months, instead of spending a large sum of cash in November and December.  Since we do a monthly budget, I didn’t want to go WAY over in December (and throw the budget out the window), all because of Christmas.  I figure if I SpReAd OuT my spending, I could easily pay $50-$150 in Christmas gifts and it wouldn’t make much of an impact each month.

The last couple of weeks I started searching for a few gifts.  To my surprise, I was able to purchase several of my items half-off, just by shopping on eBay and Amazon!  If I would have purchased those same items in a couple months from now, I’d be bidding against NuMeRouS (stressed) Christmas shoppers, which would make the bidding prices go uP Up UP!!!  I have already saved significant cash on gifts, which allowed me to start working on the items I was planning to purchase next month.  Can’t beat that!

The other obvious advantage is avoiding to shop (and panic) at the last minute.  I feel less rushed doing it this way and can also make sure I get what I really want (since items are IN STOCK in September!  ha!)

Christmas can be the last thing on your mind since we haven’t even hit Halloween, but if your past experiences left you in financial ruins and stress, it might be worth considering!

Happy Shopping!

Lara

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How I Got My Kids To Stop Sucking Their Thumbs

Hi friends!  I missed you all this summer, more than you’ll ever know.  I underestimated how much writing YOU is such good therapy for ME! :)

At the beginning of the summer I decided to work on accomplishing one GoAL with the kids by the end of the summer: to stop their thumb sucking!!  It has been a habit for both of our kiddos ever since birth.

We purchased some (pricey) thumb guards from tguard.com which was recommended by a friend.  This worked well with Leanne, our oldest daughter who is 6.  thumbguardGarrett, our 3 year-old, didn’t respond as well to them.  No matter what I did, he seemed to find a way to get the guards off.  I even bought the next size down, thinking they were too big, but he still found a way.  Truly, I think he got them off because he was willing to put himself through a considerable amount of pain…that’s a BOY for ya!  But my daughter didn’t really fight it, and even if she tried, she wasn’t able to get hers off.  Regardless, I would still highly recommend tguards to anyone wanting to break this habit.  I think they are one of the best options on the market.

The next thing we tried was our ChEApEst and most successful attempt so far.  I took their winter mittens and cut out all the fingers except the thumbs!  Both kids responded well to these because they were more comfortable to wear and much easier to put on.  The issue with mittens: they are SUPER easy to take off, which meant we had to UP the incentives to keep them on.  So…if they took the mittens off during the night, they didn’t get chocolate milk for breakfast and had to choke down regular milk (ha!).  Also, they got points toward a favorite toy which they finally got to cash in at the end of the summer.  The chocolate milk was a good incentive because it is the first thing they look forward to when they wake up, which we always reminded them when putting them to bed.  Sometimes they would come into the kitchen with a frown on their face and mitten-free hands, knowing regular milk would be on the menu:(

DSC_0556It took about a month for Garrett to break the habit of taking his mittens off at night.  And even though I feel they have broken their habit, they still request the mittens at night, just to make sure they don’t suck their thumbs without realizing it while sleeping.  I am so proud of them!

As I re-read this post, the process still sounds so much easier than it really was.  I don’t want to lie and make it sound like it was easy, because it wasn’t.  It was a FigHt, especially with our 3-year-old.  We exhausted all incentives and thumb guard options out there, and by the second half of the summer the mittens seemed to be what was most effective (even though it still took a good month before I felt like they really had it mastered).  It was a roller coaster of a summer, but worth all the hard work!  If your kiddos are dealing with the same struggle, I hope our experience and the mittens/tguards can be new options for you! Don’t lose hope! Hang in there momma!

Good Luck!

Lara

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Honoring Teachers, Nurses, and Mothers!

It just occurred to me that this week we are celebrating three of my favorite professions…NuRsEs, TeAcHeRs, and MotHeRs!  Having been a first grade teacher for the 8 years prior to having my children I know how teaching can sometimes seem like a thankless job.  There are MaNy parents who go out of their way to let you know that they appreciate the difference you are making in their child’s life.  BUT…for every parent that thanks you there are 5 that say nothing and 5 that do nothing but complain about what you are NoT doing for their child!  I saved every card and thank you that was ever given to me by a parent or student and now being a parent myself know how important it is to simply say…ThAnK YoU!

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Next up…Nurses!  I have to say up until my late 20’s I had little experience with nurses.  I never broke a bone or needed surgery and had no reason to visit a hospital.  I guess I saved up my need for nurses for the grueling 2+ year struggle with infertility and then my 2 time bought with postpartum depression.  There is No WaY I would have made it through both of these experiences without the support of the nurses who took care of me during these times.  When going through my 3 IVF cycles, it was truly the nurses, not the doctors who knew my story.  I saw the doctors every morning on a rotating basis, but it was my nurses Mary and Pat who were my true cheerleaders.  They cried with me through the disappointments and were on the phone with me when I found out I was expecting my miracle baby.  It takes a SpEcIaL kind of person to be nurse and share in the highs and lows that come with the fragile life we are given.  To all of you…ThAnK YoU for all you do!

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Finally…a huge thank you to all of the MoThErS, AuNts, and GrAnDmAs!  For years I dreamed of having a baby and being a stay-at-home mom.  I am not sure what exactly I thought I was getting into, but I can remember saying a few times in the very beginning, “Where are the cute baby bunnies and little yellow duckies?!!!”  Baby gifts and baby cards always have cute little animals on them with cheerful little expressions…there have been MaNy a day that our house looks like a bull ran through a china shop and I have yet to see those cute animal faces!  That being said, I believe that being a mother is the hardest JoB in the world.  Every single decision you make directly affects those you hold so dear.  I wish all of you a VeRy HaPpY MoThErS DaY!

!BZQn3U!!2k~$(KGrHgoOKigEjlLm,etkBKl)tRL8Lw~~_12

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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