Monday, September 30, 2019

List: Ten ways to stop procrastination.


Before I went on a temporary blogging hiatus, I typed up a draft and saved it in my posts.  This draft was created on March 5, 2016 with my last post being September 26, 2016.  This post was ironically entitled "List:  Ten ways to stop procrastination."  Ladies and gentleman, I give you the ultimate procrastination!  To add insult to injury, this was my only remaining draft.

I could have deleted this draft, accepted my fate as a procrastinator, and moved on.  Instead I am choosing to change my ways.  I will no longer let today's problems become tomorrow's problems.  Here's to the start of something new!


Image result for there is no better day than today; ten ways to stop procrastination; let today be the day of something new

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten ways to stop procrastination.


1.  Learn to prioritize.
Sometimes things are pushed to the side because of time restraints.  Get organized by acting on the most important items first.  This is effective as long as you continue to throw in low priority items along the way.

Idea: Do my favorite activity and write a list with the high priority items at the top.

2.  Plan out your day.
At the start of your day, make a plan.  Use a calendar or agenda religiously.  Think of all the things you need to do and schedule the best time for all to ensure everything gets done.  An itinerary may get gruesome, but sticking to a plan eliminates the risk of procrastination.

3.  Identify your most dreaded tasks.
One of the biggest reasons for procrastination, at least for me, is not wanting to do something.   The things that sit and wait are the things that we are just not excited for.  Identify these tasks and get them over with early to ensure that they are done and not lingering.

4.  Keep your focus.
Once you have prioritized, made a plan, and flagged your most hated items, focus and get it done.  This means shutting the door, putting your phone on DND, and turning off anything else prohibiting focus.  Anyone else famous for getting distracted?  I could do that thing now but, oh wait, there's spaghetti!

5.  Talk about your tasks and deadlines.
Commit to your tasks by going public with your action items and timelines.  Strategically speak to people who will hold you accountable and question your progress.  You're more likely to do something timely when your reputations is on the line.

6.  Don't overthink something.
When we dread doing something we tend to complicate it.  I can't be the only one that does this!  Complicating simple things is another one of my many talents.  Try breaking the task down into smaller steps to simplify the process and ease the dread.

7.  Stop with the excuses.
Procrastination is usually found hidden below a pile of excuses.  Stop making excuses and do what needs to be done in a timely manner.  The world may implode, an ox may fall onto your roof, and aliens may invade, but they are still excuses.

8.  Find someone to do it with you.
When you have a friend going along for the ride, you may be less likely to procrastinate.  If possible, pick a buddy that isn't flaky and is just as invested as you are.  You may find yourself forced to continue simply because someone else is involved.

9.  Track your progress.
One of the best motivators is to acknowledge the milestones along the way.  Within reason, people!  I'm not going to cheer for a one sentence start to a 30 page report...  Many times you may find yourself eager to finish simply because you started.

Idea:  Invest time in keeping a journal designed to encourage high performance.  It's like a progress report of your life and the ultimate motivator.  I really like this one because of it's daily and weekly engagement and the low price tag.

10.  Plan a small reward at the end.
Just because you're doing a daunting task, doesn't mean you can't create incentive.  Promise yourself that if you complete the required tasks by a certain day/time, you'll indulge.

Idea:  Make your reward a virtual assistant like this one with a visual.  It's both a prize AND a tool to be used for future motivation.

How do you stop procrastination?

Friday, September 27, 2019

Life: Friday Ramblings



halloween decor; vampire pig decor; halloween pig; pig tea candle holder for halloween

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Friday Ramblings


I fell head over heels in love with...
...this adorable vampire pig!  Unfortunately, my husband doesn't feel the same way.  Every time he walks past my vampire pig, he just shakes his head and sighs.  I have a thing with pig decor, so he's been shaking his head a lot throughout the years.  I added this vampire pig to my holiday decor about 5 years ago.  Ever since, he's been our little welcome to the Fall season since he comes out on the first day Autumn every year.

If you love this little vampire pig as much as I do, you can find him by clicking here.

I feel powerless because...
...my poor baby boy has a virus with a fever.  Every time he coughs my heart breaks.  Although Nanny keeps telling me it's a fake cough for attention..

I feel really, really dumb when...
...my six year old daughter gives me directions to places I go to often.

I feel even dumber when...
...I make a wrong turn with my GPS on and my six year old says "Mommy, where you going?"

I realized that...
...I'm really uncomfortable writing with a pen.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but I only use pencils or markers.  I wonder if that has some sort of hidden meaning?

I'm FREAKING OUT because...
...my family and I will be boarding a plane in less than two weeks.  It's one thing to fly alone because I can medicate and panic in silence without worry.  It's another thing to fly with your babies next to you.  Please send good vibes and prayers our way for a safe trip there and back!!

I've replaced my red baseball cap with...
...a stylish fedora that I can't take off.  I've learned to protect my skin from the sun in my old age.  Not to mention, it was on clearance for $3!

I'm losing a war with...
...the vines that have taken over our flower beds!  We've cut then down, dug them out, and sprayed them with dangerous chemicals.  Despite our best efforts, the vine keeps returning with a vengeance.   These vines are about to choke out my beautiful cabbage roses and then I'm really going to cry!  Any tips on how to get rid of the ivy?

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Let's Discuss: The Flat Earth Society


The Flat Earth Society has been making its way around my social media platforms.
At first glance, I thought it was nothing more than a really odd joke.
After seeing it pop up a few more times, I decided to do some investigating.

Turns out that The Flat Earth Society is a real thing.
They have a real life following with a significant number of members.
They have their own website and FAQ pages.
They have their own social media pages including Facebook and Twitter.
They even have their very own soccer team called Flat Earth FC.
You're not an official "society" until you have own web page and sports team.  Just saying!

A few clicks later and I just couldn't stop reading.
While I didn't join the movement, I did learn a whole lot of information surrounding it.

Image result for flat earth society; flat earthers; flat earth; flat earth fc; the bedford experiments
via

What is The Flat Earth Society?

The Flat Earth Society is a group of people that believe the Earth is flat.
Well, that was anti-climatic, wasn't it?

What about all the scientists that say the Earth is round?

They believe that the "Round Earth doctrine" is nothing more than a hoax.
They believe that they have scientific backing on their claim that the world is flat.  
One of their scientific pieces of evidence included a six mile body of water that did not have any curvature.  This was called the Bedford Level Experiment.  Another piece of scientific evidence that they reference is called The Bishop Experiment.  This experiment supposedly proves that the Earth is flat because on a clear day with a telescope you can see a beach 23 miles away.

What about the people who went to space and saw a sphere?

The Flat Earth Society justifies this by suggesting that people have never been to space.
To be clear, space travel is a separate hoax and is not associated with the round Earth hoax.
Furthermore, they dismiss all pictures of a spherical Earth from space or otherwise as fake.  They believe these pictures were created as part of the elaborate scheme to make society believe man has been to space and that the Earth is round.  While they do not blame NASA for filling our heads with circular lies, they do blame NASA for the motive of a time travel conspiracy that somehow ties back to lies of a round Earth.
Is your head spinning yet?  Mine was just about now.

If the Earth is flat, why hasn't anyone fallen off yet?

This one was simple for them to explain - There is no edge!
...and this is where I stopped researching because my brain hurt...

What do you think of The Flat Earth Society?

Monday, September 23, 2019

List: Ten activities to do this Autumn.


In honor of the first day of Autumn, I made a list of some fun fall activities.  Autumn is my favorite season because I love the cooler weather, Thanksgiving, and fall produce.  Also, because of my hair.  My hair loves the fall season.  I get to replace my shorts and tank tops with jeans, scarves, and boots.  We get to decorate our stoop with pumpkins, barrels of straw, and beautiful mums.  We get to decorate our fire place with our cornucopia, gourds, festive candles, and glass pumpkins.  It's also the season to lower down the AC and open the windows for some crisp, cool air.


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Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten family activities to do this Fall.


1.  Take a road trip to the farmlands.
Depending on where you live, this could be a day trip or a weekend getaway.  Every year my family and I spend a few nights at a resort called Villa Roma in Callicoon, NY.  We have lots of fun visiting farms to pet the animals, buy fresh produce or honey, and pick out pumpkins.  

2.  Visit a haunted house.
One of my favorite activities to do during this season is get scared!  It's easy to do on Long Island with all the haunted houses, corn mazes, and even gazebos available to tour.

Idea:  Many local touristy spots have ghost tours that you can join for a small fee.  For the ultimate scare, go on the hunt for real ghosts instead of walking past a bunch of actors in costume.

3.  Jump in a pile of leaves.
...and then immediately take a shower because the whole concept skeeves me...  Whoever helps daddy rake up all the falling leaves in the front & backyard gets to jump into the pile.

Idea:  Help encourage your child's creativity with this pressed flower art kit.  Task your child with finding the prettiest leaf in the pile that they just raked.  Then task them with making a work of art out of it.

4.  Get an Autumn themed manicure and pedicure.
Every month I go to the nail salon for a fresh UV gel mani and spa pedi.  My favorite nail polish colors are Fall themed and consist of pale grays and silvery blues.

5.  Go on a hay ride.
I like a traditional fall themed pumpkin picking event.  My babies have to take a hay ride and trek through a muddy field to pick their pumpkins.  Not only is this more fun, but it usually involves a homemade pie and a grilled corn stand as a bonus!

6.  Visit the local festivals.
We love to spend the day at the local apple festivals, harvest festivals, and even the spooky festivals!  These are fun and typically inexpensive.  For an added bonus, they support your community and local businesses.

Idea:  These are usually filled with local vendors where you can find some unique holiday presents.  Start shopping early!

7.  Make homemade s'mores.
If you are lucky enough to have a fire pit in your backyard, invest in some marshmallows!  There's nothing more fun than spooky funny stories around a campfire while making snacks.  The fire will keep the night air the perfect temperature.   ...and a sweater will hide the effects of the s'mores on your belly...

Idea:  Don't have a fire pit or a place to put one?  No problem!  Check out this electric s'mores kit to make this delicious dessert almost anywhere you want.

Invite over some of your closest friends to carve and paint your pumpkins.  Choose a grown up or nonparticipant to be a judge and pick their favorite pumpkin.  Winner gets to be the first person to bob for apples and eat their snack!

9.  Bake a homemade pumpkin pie.
The cooler air makes it more bearable to have the oven on.  This is the perfect season to bake some season friendly desserts and save on heating.  Other ideas are pumpkin bread or my favorite - ricotta cookies (recipe in link)!

10.  Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade.
Thanksgiving is not only my favorite holiday, but it's my holiday to host.  Watching the Thanksgiving parade with my family while the turkey is in the oven is what I live for.  My favorite memory each year is my daughter's face at the grand finale of the parade!

What will you do this Autumn?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Life: Friday Ramblings


Image result for friday pictures
Via

Friday Ramblings

I come home smiling because...
...I love the Autumn decor throughout my home.
We decorated early this year because it makes me happy.

I jumped up and down cheering when...
...my son took FOUR wobbly steps from the TV stand to the couch.
He did it all on his own and didn't even realize what he did.

I'm real proud of my baby girl because...
...she started ballet lessons and already looks like a ballerina.
She has the rhythm and grace for it, but needs discipline as she thinks she knows it all.
I tried to show her some ballet moves and she just said "Mommy, you look like a lunatic."  Hmph!

I'm totally not looking forward to...
...all the Halloween candy that is about to make it's way into my home!
It's a month away and yet my hubby still finds the need to eat stock up on it.

I'm really, really, REALLY excited for...
...Supernatural to start in a couple of weeks!!!  Hello, Sammy baby!!
To prepare for season 15, we are watching some of our favorite episodes each night.

I'm freaking out because...
...my family and I are about to board a plane.
It's one thing to put myself at risk, but bringing my babies along has me loosing sleep.
I'm literally having nightmares!!  It's making me wish this trip was over before it starts.

I'm a little shocked that...
...it's time to book our Christmas card pictures already!
I got an e-mail from my photographer that they were booked out through October.

I'm in pain and little scared because...
...I did a minor procedure on my belly button and it looks like a war zone.
I was awake for the procedure, saw lots of blood, and felt every tug!  It was awful.  Bleh gag barf!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Idea: How to preserve fresh herbs from your garden to use all Winter long.


September is the time to start gathering your herbs from your garden.  You want to gather as much as you can before the chilly nights and your plants frost.  I pulled my herb plants (parsley, basil, oregano, mint, and cilantro) from the roots.  If you told me 8 years ago that I'd spend a day preserving herbs, I'd say no way.  I'm officially old!!


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Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

How to store fresh herbs from your garden.


Tip:  If you're looking for the best basil to grow and cook with, then I got you!  The best basil to use is Large Leaf Sweet Italian Basil.  In my opinion, this is the best tasting basil and grows easily with very little maintenance.


Step One:  Clean

The first step is to clean them.  ...every single leaf...

Step Two:  Dry

The second step is lay out each leaf on a clean paper towel so that they can dry completely.

Step Three:  Preserve

Next, determine which method of preservation is best for the specific herb.  Depending on the herb, I preserve them by either drying them or freezing them.  I dry all of the oregano and half of the parsley.  I freeze all the basil, half the parsley, and all the cilantro.  Then work on actually preserving them so that you can have fresh garden herbs throughout the Winter.  

To preserve by drying,  wash the herbs on the stems and then hang them upside down to dry in the sun.  After 7 - 10 days, they should be fully dry and crisp.  To remove the herb from the stem, you should take two fingers and slide down the stem.  All of the leaves will fall off perfectly and can be stored in a plastic container or bag for future use.

Tip:  Hang them to dry inside your home but next to a window.  I use dental floss to bunch the stems and hang them.  

Tip:  To have those herbs for almost forever, invest in this ridiculously inexpensive portable vacuum seal for herbs.  I love these because they make my cabinet look pretty and come in so many different designs and sizes.

To preserve by freezing, remove the leaves from the stems before washing.  Pat the leaves to dry them and don't let them sit too long otherwise they will wilt.  After they are completely dry, lay the leaves out flat and freeze in portions.  Remember, once frozen, they are very difficult to separate without fully defrosting.  I always make sure to date and label the bags because some herbs last longer like mint and cilantro.


Tip- Throughout the season, trim from the top of the herb plants so that they don't seed.  Because I do this, I'm constantly preserving my herbs.  To keep myself organized, I date each bag of herbs so I use the oldest ones first.

How do you preserve fresh herbs?

Monday, September 16, 2019

List: Ten games to reinforce primary school skills with your child.


My baby girl just entered the first grade.  Yes, I'm crying.  Don't judge me.

To keep her brain stimulated during the Summer, we got creative with playtime.  I felt that it was important for her to reinforce the skills she learned before she lost them.  She was happy to play and we were just happy that she was practicing reading, writing, and math!  She could thank her playtime for the confidence displayed on her first day of school.  Equipped with her new Jasmine backpack, gigantic hair bow, and special dress, she skipped onto the bus.  Here's to another fabulous school year filled with knowledge, fun, and lots of laughs!


elementary school games; games that teach you something; educational games; primary school games; summer break games kids; educational playtime

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten games to enhance learning with your child.

1. Mailman
With your child on one side of the house and you on the other, pretend to deliver mail.  When one person takes the turn as the mailman, they also have to write and deliver a secret message.  This requires writing a message, reading a new message, and a whole lot of pretending.

Idea:  Make it extra fun for your child by investing in this mailman dress up outfit.

2.  Restaurant
Using your kitchen as the main prop, your child could pretend to be a cook, waitress, or a cooking waitress.  The rules of the game could could require them to write down the order, plate pretend food in a pattern, and man the cash register.  This requires writing, making patterns, and using math skills to add prices.

Idea:  Take this game to the next level by gifting your baby with this surprisingly realistic toy kitchen because all kids love to play pretend chef!

All kids love to play eye spy or seek and find.  Using an I Spy book as your focal point takes these simple games to the next level.  Together you can hunt through pictures to find different items lost in a photo of a million things.  The best part of these books is that there's so many things hidden in each photo.  You can easily task the child to find a whole new set of things written on a piece of paper.  This requires reading the items and memory skills to find new ones.

Idea:  Our favorite I Spy books includes this I Spy Extreme Challenger book and I Spy Christmas which my baby girl was gifted from Santa.

To start, take a trip to a local craft store to buy inexpensive string and all different types of beads.  Then challenge your children to make different necklaces following the "recipe" that you design for them.  This requires math skills, following directions, and making patterns.  As a bonus, let them "sell" their jewelry to you to use for ice cream man money, but they have to count the change.

Idea:  If your child really enjoys passing time this way, you'll need a storage case like this one to keep everything organized, neat, and away from little ones that can choke.

5.  School
My baby girl loves to take out her easel and pretend to be the teacher.  You act as the student and have your child role play as the teacher.  Your child can set up basic lessons such as writing out simple math problems, spelling out words with missing letters, or even mimic a calendar.  This requires math skills, reading skill, writing skills, and basically anything else you want!

6.  Cinderella
To play this game it's very important to dress up in a Cinderella costume or, for the boys, try a butler.  Once in uniform, pretend to do small chores by adding and subtracting different actions.  This requires math skills and following directions.  Bonus points or more ice cream man money for doing real chores.  For example, take 4 fork and 3 spoons out of the dishwasher to put away 7 utensils.

7.  Pet Store
The first step is to take out all of the stuffed and/or action figure animals in your room.  Then you put them on display, wait for a customer, and sell away.  Don't forget to have your child write you a receipt in case you end up being a disgruntled customer that wants to make a return.  This requires math skills, writing skills, and speech skills.

Idea:  For a special occasion, gift your child with this Littlest Pet Shop Play Set and collection of pets to use for the best round of pet store ever!

8.  I'm Thinking Of...
This game can be played virtually anywhere because it's simply a guessing game of you're choosing.  All you need is your brains!  Your child can think of something that starts with a letter, ends with a letter, lives in a place, etc.  This requires spelling skills, science skills, and memory skills.

9.  Library
My one year old son and I will take a trip to my daughter's book shelf library.  There we will pick a special book and ask the librarian to read it to us.  Reading is fun with an audience!  This requires reading skills and learning patience with a baby that doesn't focus as your audience.

10.  Bakery
I'm constantly searching the internet for children friendly recipes and then buying the ingredients.  Have your child rock their apron and chef hat, read the ingredients, and do their best to do the simple tasks.  To make it even more fun, record them making their creation and ask them to dictate their actions like their very own cooking show.  Perhaps they have to back a background on a poster board for their show, too!  This requires reading skills and following directions.  Oh, and then eat the yummy snacks and share with mommy!

Idea:  If your child really enjoys this game, invest or gift this My First Cookbook that's filled with child friendly recipes that are also delcious.


What games do your kids love?

Friday, September 13, 2019

Life: Friday Ramblings

Friday Ramblings

handmade mosaic decor; mosaic heart with family tree; mosaic

I am absolutely in love with...
...the mosaic heart pictured above.  It was a great find from a local vendor at the seafood festival.
The artist was a very sweet lady with a display of the most beautiful, handmade items.
I have a thing for mosaic decor.  You can find mosaic pieces tastefully displayed throughout my home.

I'm constantly impressed...
...with the fun, fabulous, and FREE events hosted at our local library.
They range from arts and crafts, story times, bat walks, all the way to meeting Princess Jasmine.

I am beaming with pride because...
...my little Mushy Face is watching TV alone and put on Scooby-natural!!
She did this 100% on her own with absolutely ZERO influence from me.  I swear!

I'm patting my back because...
I managed to create a back log of posts through the end of November.
I am having so much fun letting my creative juices flow.
& having even more fun playing with all of you!

I'm contemplating...
...asking my husband to get something from the grocery store and shutting my phone off.
"Hey, you said you wanted Barilla pasta.  What kind of Pasta?"  "Spaghetti, please!"  Click...
"Hey, there is angel hair, thin spaghetti, or just regular spaghetti." "Thin spaghetti, please!"  Click...
"Hey, there is linguine and fusilli pasta also."  "Alright, whatever you want!"  Click...
"I just realized they also have whole wheat pasta.  Want to try it?"  "No thanks!"  Click...
He comes home with a roasted chicken and totally forgets about the pasta.  The process repeats itself.
Ladies and gentleman, this is real life.

I get really aggravated at...
...people that think you need to rearrange your life to accommodate theirs.
Side note - High income jobs like a doctor or a lawyer, doesn't make people royalty.  Put the crown down.

I learned a really neat trick to...
...keep fresh, cut flowers alive for a longer period of time.
Every 4 to 5 days, cut down the bottom part of the stems about a half inch or so.
This allows the flower to keep drinking fresh water making them to live for weeks.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Recipe: Baked Salmon with Italian Dressing


Have you ever had guests decide to come over for dinner with only a few hours notice?  Well, this seems to happen to me  a l l  o f  t h e  t i m e.   ...& by all of the time, I mean at least once a month...

The other night my in laws made last minute plans with us to come over dinner.  Between my family and his, this happens often enough that I am always prepared within a few hours notice.  One of my last minute meals of choice is baked salmon, vegetables, a potato, and a salad.  In just a few hours, I can have an entire meal prepared and not even have to run to the store.

Being prepared means always having enough salmon in the freezer to feed at least a party of 5.  Every time salmon goes on sale, I run to the fish market to stock up my freezer.  Salmon is a great choice because it defrosts quickly and marinates just as fast.  It also goes well with the wine that my husband likes to purchase in bulk and hoard in the garage.  For a double bonus, there's minimal prep work and an easy clean up!

The compliments I get from making this meal should be a crime because it's so easy to make.
You're welcome.


baked salmon with italian dressing; quick fish recipe; quick salmon recipe; easy salmon recipe; italian salmon recipe, italian salmon; last minute meal ideas

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Baked Salmon with Italian Dressing

Ingredients

(2) Pounds Defrosted or Fresh Salmon
(1/4) Cup Balsamic Vinegar
(3) Tablespoons Water

Idea:  If you wanted a really easy way to mix this dressing, get this salad dressing bottle with the measurement lines right on it.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together the Italian salad dressing mix, balsamic vinegar, water, and olive oil.  Once thoroughly mixed together, pour into a resealable bag.  Put the salmon in the bag with the dressing and move it around until it's fully submerged.  Leaving the salmon in the bag, place it skin side up on a dish in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes to marinate.
 
When it's done marinating, line a baking sheet with tin foil and lightly coat with olive oil.  Place the fish on the baking sheet skin side down and pour any remaining dressing over it.  

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

That's it!  That's the entire recipe.  I promise that I'm not leaving anything out.  Be prepared for lots of compliments and lots of questions about how you made it.  I'll leave it up to you to decide to say the truth or pretend that you dried the herbs yourself.

Idea:  Keep a NY style cheesecake in your freezer for an emergency dessert.

What's your favorite "easy" recipe?

Related Post:  R&W Family Cook Book - For easy and delicious recipes.

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