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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It keeps falling...

If you have not gotten any snow yet, do not fear: its COMING (well, if I could send it your way, I would). We have had snow fall almost constantly for the last week or so, ranging from light snow to winter storm. It is very pretty, but after a while it gets really old. I'm thankful that the roads are fairly clear (that's a plus to living in a city that expects a lot of snow!); however when its cold and wintry out, and you have young children, there are times when some extra indoor ideas come in handy so that you all don't get cabin fever. 

Maybe you are in the same boat as me with a little one who is still too young to do much activity-wise; we end up playing hide and seek around the corners in the house, or making faces in the mirror, or even "lets climb all over mommy" time. But then again, maybe you have kids who are at the "too cool for you" age. Either way, hopefully these simple winter crafts/activities will help you get through the long days stuck in the house.

Growing up, my family and I always made these around the holidays. It became my little sister's specialty; even if no one else wanted to make the snowmen, she would make sure a batch was created. They are fairly simple to make and are fun to create different personalities on the snowmen. They are also fun to eat :) As they are not too sweet, it is very easy to eat about 10....hey they're small! :)

Okay, so your tree is already decorated and you are all ready for Christmas, but maybe you want to add some personal things to the tree to make it more your own. Or maybe your presents are already wrapped but you can't find those gift tags you bought on sale last year. This year I am using salt dough gift tags for my presents. I actually wrapped them all up last night- so excited to see every one's faces when they open their gifts this year! Salt dough is inexpensive and opens the door to let creativity rule! Mine bubbled up funny in the oven when I baked them but it wasn't too bad. I have yet to figure out why that happened as all the tutorials I found showed beautifully flat pieces. One thing I would recommend would be to make sure you work fast as the dough does not like to sit (that might have been my problem). I used holiday cookie cutters and a small round lid to cut my ornaments/gift tags but you can you anything you want. I also used my holiday stamps to make indentations in the dough created some flair. Oh and make sure you remember to use a straw to make the hole for your string or ribbon. Once dried or baked, you can leave them as is or paint them. (Just a note about the linked tutorial- its maybe a little dated looking, but I was very impressed by her ornaments! Much more detailed than mine!)

Homemade Garlands
I know, I know, your tree is all done- why do I keep telling you about decorations? Well, because I love decorations! Plus- even if your tree is done, that doesn't mean that the rest of your house can't use a little festive decorations :) Also, these would be great to make with your kids. Super easy and super fun as you can make them however you want! You could even venture outside to get some pine cones for one of the garlands, turning it into a scavenger hunt as well as a fun craft. Sadly I have run out of time for making any more decorations this year, but I hope to try these out next holiday season. 

If these don't suit your fancy, I hope you find other fun/family friendly activities that can occupy rambunctious little people. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season! We will be traveling a lot over the next week and a half so I probably won't be posting again until the New Year- so on that note- Happy New Year as well!! 
Until next time- 
Ruth B.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Who is Perfect?

I like every other person out there have felt insecure about my figure.  I have always been a very petite person.  Growing up, I was muscular with little to no fat on my body.  When I wasn't running round outside or playing some other active game like king of the mountain I was doing gymnastics, cheerleading, track or some other activity.  I never had to worry about what I ate.  Never had to worry about gaining weight either because I was burning so much off.

Even in college, I never had to worry about calorie intake because as a cheerleader, you ran it off.  We had regular workouts.  We had scheduled weights, running and of course practices.  I always had scheduled workouts for me and never had to really work at keeping a figure.  Not to mention at football and basketball games, you were always moving!  Post college however is a very different sort.

I have been out of college now for almost 5-1/2 years.  To most who know me or see me, they see the same old Catie who never has to worry about what she eats and she is always thin.  Well that is not always what I see.  I know that I have been blessed with a nice figure but that doesn't mean it's not without things I would love to work on.  I would love to have the energy to go to the gym to tone up.

This past year with working full-time and going to school, it was near impossible for me to workout.  I was putting in 16+ hour days and I cannot say my body didn't suffer.  Trying to eat healthy became harder and more of a discipline.  Reaching for a bag of chips was easier than packing an apple.  There are some days now where I get home and the LAST thing I want to do is go to the gym.  My joints hurt, I am tired, my stomach is upset, I have to do laundry and the dishes…..and this is just me!!  My stress level has been so elevated that I just don't want to add on any more….you know there are the usual excuses.

I have come to terms that certain outfits of mine are just not fitting like they used to fit.  I have a little belly on me.  My arms are a little flabbier.  My thighs are still Thunder Thighs.  I still have my curves….yet I feel curvier than I used to be.  That makes me rethink what I wear as I want to be modest.  I find myself reaching for clothing articles that help you suck it in and hold it together verse just look cute and carefree.  Why can't I accept that I am not where I was 10+ years ago and I shouldn't expect my body to be either?  Why is it so hard to want to maintain this youthful built, relatively stress free, and care about getting rid of the jello giggler arms I have?

It just gets frustrating and I need to remind myself no one is perfect.  I need to be realistic with myself.  I also need to be honest.  No body is ever going to be what we desire it to be.  As we get older, aging and gravity take its toll.  We should accept that fact with grace and appreciation…not with bitterness and disgust.  Yes, there are things I can do to prevent this from happening and I am mindful of that too.  If I want to be fit, I need to make the time to workout.  I need to continue to do my calf raises while brushing my teeth.  I need to me mindful of not sitting for too long on the couch and work those muscle.  I need to do that for me and my health.

Although I am discouraged about my figure, I am reminded that no one goes without struggles or frustrations. I found a really wonderful video that I would like to encourage you to watch.  I think it simply demonstrates our natural reactions to a less perfect design.  Keep in mind, we all have expectations to shape and form, but nothing is perfect remember?

Lastly, this blog made me pleasantly smile.  It made me happy to know and see this mother desires her daughter to know what is important in life and that is not about working yourself to death just simply to get the "perfect body".  This is much of what my parents instilled in me and my siblings.  We strived for healthiness not perfection.  The important thing is to live life as it should be lived and that is NOT focused on what we aren't.

So, who is perfect?  Nobody….thank goodness!  :-)


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What the man selling cotton candy has taught me

I don't remember when the first time it was that I noticed this man, but since then I can tell you I always look for him. He is the man standing at the corner of Western and W. Peterson selling cotton candy. What struck me most and what still strikes me is this man's dedication and perseverance to sell just even one cotton candy. No matter what the weather or how many times he hears no, he keeps going. He makes the same loop with his tall heavy poll of cotton candy and works honestly to make a living.

I don't know much about this many except the fact that he always makes himself look put together. I also know that despite the fact that he has no teeth, he smiles at you with a big smile.  I know that he doesn't speak much English, but he attempts to communicate with you still. And I know that he is dedicated and focused.

Through my brief 1-2 minute observations of this man I have been convicted. This man makes so much less than me, but he does his job with such a perseverance that challenges me. I love my job, but there are days that I lose steam. I am convicted of the fact that this man works hard every day just to bring a small sum of money home.

As the holiday season approaches I wonder how I can help others who aren't as fortunate as me. But I also wonder how I can do this more than just during the holiday season. How do you help others? What is your way of giving to others?

I've also been thinking how can I put forth the type of work ethic that I should be every day? How can I go forward with a positive attitude and gracious spirit? How can I smile?

I know one thing that I can change is this. I can smile more at those around me. I can smile at the man on the street. I can smile at each and every individual I come in contact with and I can encourage. Even when I cannot provide money or material things I know that like this man selling cotton candy I can smile and put forth 100% of an effort at the things I can do for others.

Who can you smile at today?

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