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Showing posts from June, 2015

5 Upgrades to Our Summer Bucket List

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This is a testimony, not a persuasive, but if it inspires someone, then I consider it a privilege.
Summer Bucket Lists--fun, energy-releasing, imaginative activities that you check off as you complete them. I love lists, I love check marks, I love activities!

But the bucket list alone lacks a component that we've found key for an enjoyable summer.

We upgraded our Summer List by adding a variety of disciplines for our kids. (If you shirk at the word discipline, try one of these: practices/habits/character-building activities). ;)
In our experience, without disciplines, our kids become complainers--expecting a fun activity planned for them instead of exercising their imagination. Without disciplines, they also expect more purchased activities--carousel rides and snow cones are no longer appreciated luxuries but almost a right of life. This is what makes ME shirk.

I want my children to grow in gratefulness, I want their creativity to soar. I want to buy them the snow cones--not to ke…

Style Saturday: Don't buy it unless you love it!

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"Buy less, choose well." ~Vivienne Westwood Kylee, a sweetheart college student who's in Italy for the summer, asked me to be her personal shopper for the day. Sign me up!

I took her to my favorite boutique, which displays 5-10-15-20 on the door. (Those numbers are the prices!) Usually when shopping, I find so many things I'd like to buy that it's hard to leave it all behind..

Today, we didn't have that struggle. 

Kylee wanted a maxi summer dress. She tried on several, and while they were cute prints, and looked good on the hangers, they just didn't fit quite right.

We hit two other larger stores, and they were also a miss. Before leaving, we decided to browse.

Both of us tried on several things, and put them back on the rack.

Kylee said, "I like to ask myself before I buy, 'Can I wear this with two other things I already own?'"

I found a cute top for a reasonable price. Kylee asked me her wise-before-you-buy question. I said, "Ye…

REAL lasagna with Roberta

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One thing I've learned in Italy--Italians will scoff at the idea of ricotta cheese in a lasagna.
Instead, there is a melt-in-your-mouth creamy layer that I could never get enough of, and could never quite identify. Until now! Thanks to my new friend, Roberta!

Roberta took pity on me under her wing, and said yes when I invited myself invited me into her kitchen to teach me how to make her lasagna, which I had raved about eating a few weeks before.

"What IS this creamy stuff?" I asked her, and "Wait, do I taste cinnamon in here?!"

So we did it together start to finish, 5:30-8PM. And she said this was faster than her mother's lasagna. :)

We added two pounds of meat to this, which would become our ragu sauce--beef and ground pork, which she said keeps it from being too dry. We browned the meat just a little, salted generously, added about 1/4 c water, and let it simmer on low heat while we prepared the rest.

Next, the besciamella (the amazing, creamy, non-ric…

Snuggle Nights

It's typical for hubby to be gone 1 or 2 evenings a week, and since becoming a mama, those evenings are usually the most challenging--by the time dinner is finished, I'm wiped, and I look forward to an hour or two after kids are in bed to just relax.

Yet bedtime was the biggest struggle on those nights--I don't know if it's because Daddy wasn't home to reinforce, or because they knew mama is tired, or if they were just missing him and acting out, but every.single.week on those days, it was a battle for kids to stay in bed. They'd be awake for an hour or two past normal, and we would all be grumpy. 

So this year, I decided to do something different. (Why oh why did I wait NINE years to do this?!) 

We gave the nights when Daddy was gone a new name: Snuggle Nights. 

After stories, prayers, cuddles, kisses, lights out, etc, I lay down next to each of them for an extended snuggle--the kind Grandma's do--rubbing their backs/heads/hands whatever they wan…

To All My Friends Selling Products on Social Media

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Dear Friends Selling Products on Social Media, Some of the things you offer me I love to look at, some of them I have no interest in. Either way, I rarely purchase your goods because I'm a Target clearance rack kinda girl. But here is one thing I can give you: my encouragement. 

If we are connected on social media it is because our paths have crossed at some point in life. Some of you are lifelong steadies, some of you I have barely met. Either way, our lives have intersected, and one of the greatest joys of this world is getting to know the people in it! I like that we can share glimpses of our days.

Part of your day, like mine, is earning a living. When you include me in your product parties, I see this as an opportunity to learn about your living. 

Your nails, make-up, tote-bags, herbal supplements, and the like are something that you value. I want to know why you value them because I value YOU.

And because of that I'll continue to be your friend/stay connected to you online whi…