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my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…


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Not me Monday…a winning to-do list

I’m the queen of To-Do lists.

I think even my tombstone will have a to-do list on it

It will look like this.

1. Go to Heaven

2. Check in with God

3. Clean the pantry

4.  Sing with the angels 

 

How about you?  Do you make to-do lists?

Like this week’s article, How to Write a Winning To-Do List, states – there are good ways and better ways to create and organize your to-do list.

And this article is prompting me….I’ve been meaning to write a series on the difference between goals and to-do’s.  Best put it on the list.

 

What do you think of the article?  How do you organize your lists?

 

Happy Monday Everyone!  And a special wish and hope that everyone on the East Coast is safe and things return back to normal soon.

~Amy

 

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Not Me Monday….an interview with Sara

A couple of weeks ago, my (35-year old) little cousin, Sara, came to visit me for a weekend.  I call her my little cousin, because we are the youngest of the five cousins who grew up together, me and my older sister and Sara and her two older brothers.  She and I have a lot in common and I love spending time with her.

As I do anytime we have guests come to visit our home, I cleaned the house, brushed the dogs and put fresh towels out.  Sara arrived around 10pm and from the time I finished cleaning to the time we got back home from the airport, one of my dogs rolled in something.  We discovered it as I was showing Sara her room and I kept smelling something yucky.  WONDERFUL!

It was too late to deal with it then (approximately midnight by then), but the next day, Sara did a Google search for “DIY Dry Dog Shampoo”   Online, she found a recipe on exactly that DIY Dry Dog Shampoo.  As luck would have it, I had all the ingredients – oatmeal, corn starch and baking soda.  Sara whipped together a batch of this powder in my food processor, we brushed out the dogs and sprinkled some one each of them and just like that – the stink was gone!

Now I’ve known that Sara makes many of her own cleaning supplies and I’ve been inspired by her to try to create some of my own to replace my arsenal of cleaning stuffs.  The dog shampoo experience lead me to ask Sara a few questions and I thought I’d share them with you.

Me: What made you want to make your own cleaning supplies.  

Sara: I watched a documentary by my friend, Dana Nachman titled The Human Experiment (see the trailer, release date coming soon)  which talks about the chemicals that surround us everyday and how we don’t really know how they impact our health and our lives.  After I had my baby, I became more aware and started making some changes to our routines. 

Me: What sort of products do you make?

Sara: I make laundry detergent, fabric softener, now I make a dry dog shampoo and an all-purpose cleaner made of citrus peels, vinegar and water.  I use it everywhere.  I’m always looking for new things to try out.  

Me:  Did you find it hard or challenging to make the switch to homemade versus store-bought cleaning supplies? 

Sara:  No, I like doing it.  It is a lot like a science experiment with each product.  I like trying different recipes and manipulating them by adding or subtracting things that work or that I prefer.  Like my all-purpose cleaner – I make different concoctions of this using orange, lemon or lime and grapefruit.  Plus when you know you are using non-toxic products, it makes you feel better.  And you know what- -it is actually fun. 

Me: Did you end up with benefits that you weren’t expecting? 

Sara: YEAH – where I live, we don’t have curb-side recycle pick-up.  And by making a lot of my own cleaners, we’ve reduced  the amount of trash that we put out each week. 

Me: How do you suggest people get started? 

Sara:  Watch the movie, then start small by looking up ideas and recipes on the internet.  The internet is a great resource. 

 

Sara Lerich is a mother to her 18 month old daughter. She is co-founder of Bunny & Bug, a child’s accessory website.  She lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, daughter and their two dogs.

Happy Monday Everyone,

~Amy

 

PS – this is the first of my interview series.  I hope you like, if so, please share with your friends.  If you know someone who you would like to see interviewed and featured on my blog, let me know, I’d love to talk with them.

 


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Not me Monday…..Change your attitude

Hello!

This week’s Not Me Monday is made possible by Maya Angelou.  But here’s a little back story first.

Towards the end of August, I was really looking forward to school starting up again.  Not so much because I wanted the kids out of the house, I was looking forward to a routine again.  The lazy days  of summer were getting old and boring and I also knew that the boys needed more mental stimulation than I was providing for them.  And OK – there was a part of me that wanted them out of the house.

Labor Day came and the first day of school arrived.  New clothes, fresh haircuts.  My older son started third grade and my little one is in his second year of preschool.  And even though he only goes to school for a few hours three days a week, I was looking froward to getting so much done without interruption.

Well, why is it that things never seem to work out as you imagine?  While we feel into a routine, it was more of morning mayhem and afternoon hell. My older son resisted getting ready in the mornings and soon they were turning into a nag-fest from me.  In addition, for some reason he has turned into an eight-year-old kid.  Where did my sweet little boy go?  Instead, the first day he got off the bus, my sweet little boy had turned into an argumentative, back-talking, no homework doing, sticker!  To add more to my frustration, my younger son gave up his naps and his quiet time completely.  Just a few weeks prior he was still napping, giving me a big chunk of time each afternoon to write or get other work done.

AHHH!!!!  Not even Calgon could have taken me away fast enough.  My dream of being productive had very quickly turned into a nightmare.

My husband and I made some adjustments to our parenting to try to combat the new and undesirable behavior my son was now exhibiting, but we have been disappointed that our changes aren’t really bringing about big changes in him.  While it is getting mildly better, change has not come fast enough, or drastic enough for our liking.

All the while my sons are going through their metamorphoses, I’m starting to spin out of control.  I’m feeling defeated, deflated, exhausted, and I was quickly running out of ideas.  I was falling behind in my work and if you noticed – my blog too.

After talking with a few fellow moms, some friends and my own mom, many told me that the changes the big boy was going through was typical of an eight-year-old.  GREAT!!!  In fact, my mom confessed to me that she doesn’t really like little boys from the ages of about eight until they reach about seventeen.  Wonderful!  So according to her perspective, I’ve got nine years to go until things get better.

About the middle of last week, three and a half weeks in our new found hell (it isn’t that bad, taking some poetic licence here and being dramatic) – it finally sunk in.  I think my friends and my mom were right.  My older son is eight and you know what – he’s good at it.  He’s challenging us, pushing back, trying out more independence.  And while I want him to be a strong man, I am not liking the process to get there.

So the part that finally hit home was and the part that made it a little better was me realizing that this is my life right now.  Going back to school didn’t create opportunities, in fact, it created more problems.  We have crazy schedules, my son is going through a phase that is extra challenging.  My little son is growing too and his changes are affecting me professionally.  And while it took me a little bit to realize what was going on and that this is more of a couple bad days we’re were having, I woke up and changed my attitude.

Maya Angelou says

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” 

And while I’m not giving up on my kids and I will continue to make our lives better and work on our current challenges, I’m not going to be blindsided by it anymore.  I’ve accepted it and I’m dealing with our challenges.

The funny thing is, the morning after I had my revelation and shared with my husband “you know, I think this is more than a phase, I think this is us for now” – – I ran across Maya’s quote.  I had heard it many times before, but when it popped up on a Google search for me was the reinforcement that I needed.  And you know what else?  Ever since I changed my attitude about our current situation…things seem to be getting better.

Has that ever happened to you?  You have a change of attitude and the universe sends you reinforcements to back up your decision or new-found strength?  Share your story with everyone!

Tomorrow I’ll share with you how I’m working around the no nap situation.  My son’s, not mine.

Happy Monday, Everyone!

~Amy

 

 


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Not Me Monday – – Too Busy for Friends?

Last week I posted a question to get your thoughts on this statement I have recently heard from different friends at different times.

I’m too busy for the friends I have currently have, I have no interest in making new friends.”  

I had a pretty full weekend, mixed with work and friends and I brought this question to each of the events to broaden the discussion.

Overall, the reaction was in disagreement to this statement.

Mindy wrote ” WOW – I don’t think that one can ever have too many friends.

And at my wine club party on Saturday night (after a couple of glasses of wine mind you), three friends had the same, immediate reaction ” OH NO!  I don’t agree with that.”

Now, let’s not be too hasty and take a look at why these friends of mine said what they said.

  • It is true, we are all very busy and there are probably many aspects of our lives where we’d like to do more of something and just can’t seem to fit it in.  Adding even more to that mix seems like new friends, new obligations, new appointments seems daunting.
  • Old friends (by old, I mean long-time) are like old jeans or broken in shoes.  They fit.  They don’t take effort, they are easy.

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • New friends take effort.  You have to tell your story all over again,  you need to tread lightly until you and they are comfortable letting your entire guard down. You need to “on” and pay attention to things they say and do, so you’ll look like a good friend the next time  you are together by remembering stuff.

But all in all, I agree with one comment that I received , “I’d never make a conscious choice that I don’t want anymore friends

While I feel exactly the same things I listed above; overwhelmed, tired, too busy, over scheduled, coming and going and yes I still very much have the sense of wanting to do even  more with the friends I have….I could never in my right might conscientiously close the door and not let anyone new in.

Here are more thoughts:

  • Friendships have an ebb and flow.  Sometimes we see and spend more times with our friends than other times.  Personal commitments, family schedules, change in interests all contribute to why we might see friends more or less at any given times in our relationships.
  • There are levels of friendships.  My wine club that I mentioned above, we meet every other month to get together and explore new wines.  I really like everyone in the group, but I am realistic to admit that this is probably the limit for everyone to commit and we’re just not going to get together other than our scheduled times.  It is the same with my BFF from high school whom I only see when I’m home visiting my parents.  In high school, we were inseparable.  Today, I live three thousand miles away and we lead very different lives, we have very different interests.  Would I like to chat with her once a week and stay in touch?  Absolutely!  But I’m realistic to acknowledge that this can’t happen.  So I’m happy to accept what we can give each other when the time works for us to be together.
  • It is scary for me to think of what I might miss in shutting potential new friends out just because I feel I don’t have time.   I believe we can grow and learn from every experience and every person.  Sometimes people come into our lives just one time and other times, that one time chance meeting can change your life.  I’d hate to miss out on either.

Yes’m, old friends is always best, ‘less you can catch a new one that’s fit to make an old one out of.”  ~Sarah Orne Jewett

So – coming from a time-management standpoint, the “statement” begs the question.  Why aren’t you spending enough time with your friends if you want to spend more with them?  What is preventing you?

I’d suggest the following to help fix the situation:

  • Schedule time to see you friends.  One of my pet peeves is when a friend says to me “we should get together.” and then leaves it at that.  While that is a nice sentiment, it falls flat and turns into just words.  Do you really  mean it when you say that?  If so, make it happen!  If you truly want to “get together” schedule a time.  Meet for coffee, a walk, over dinner or even a phone call.  I have a friend who lives in Florida (I’m in Washington State), we will schedule times to chat on the phone.  With kids, schedules and the time difference, this is the only way we ever hear each other voices.
  • Get creative about getting together.  Who says we always have to meet for dinner?  How about inviting a friend to watch your daughter’s dance practice or you go to watch your friend’s son’s soccer game?  Pick an activity you enjoy and invite a friend to join you.  Last week, my friend and I went blackberry picking.  We could have gone down the road, instead we went to a remote location that took almost an hour’s drive so we’d have more time to catch up and visit during the drive and the actual picking of the berries.
  • Set realistic expectations.  Maybe your kids are young and your job is demanding and your tired.  Maybe your two schedules just don’t jive and you just can’t seem to make it work.  Don’t beat yourself up about it, a phone call or a quick visit over coffee is better than none at all.

I’d be remiss to skip the part of saying that if this is really upsetting you and you really want to make changes…please call me.  I’d love to help you find ways to spend more times with your current friends and at the same time get to a point where you are comfortable about making new ones.

I’d love to continue this conversation.  What are your thoughts?

Happy Day to you!

 

Amy

 

 

 


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Not Me Monday…A year from now…

Good Morning Everyone,

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this blog that I’ll share with you today, but I have come to really like the writer.  She is working on a major weight loss goal for herself and trying to find answers to the plaguing questions of her life and her weight issues.  She is very genuine and her struggles are real and her triumphs should be celebrated.

I don’t really want my Not Me Monday to be about just blog sharing to promote other bloggers.  Not Me Monday is geared at featuring a different voice to share with you.  Today’s blogger talks about setting a goal and sometimes in the beginning, it is really hard to stick with it.  But if you do stick with it, within time you’ll see results and this will help continue to motivate you.

If you’re struggling to stay motivated on a challenge or a goal you’ve set for yourself, take a look at this post today – I think it will give you a little boost to “just keep swimming.”

Here you go – here’s the link:

Hot Mess Princess – – Pushing 40

Happy Monday!  Happy Week!

~Amy

PS – it is funny that she quotes Eleanor Roosevelt in her blog.  If you’d like a daily inspirational quote, subscribe to A Minute…A Thought.  This month we’re featuring Eleanor Roosevelt.


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No Me Monday – – the best advice I ever got..

Happy Monday!

I thought today’s edition of Not Me Monday could involve a little audience participation.  With it being graduation season, I wanted to share with you a couple of the best bits of advice I have gotten in my life.

  • A couple of days before I got married,  a friend of my mom’s said to  me:  “Have an interest or activity that you do as a couple and have an interest or activity that you do by yourself.”
  • My dad said this as part of a toast at my high school graduation party: “Never stop asking questions.”
  • My company commander while in boot camp for the Navy put this spin on it: “They can call you Bitch all they want, as long as they spell it with a capital ‘B‘.”
  • After getting fired from a job I had in college where just the month previous, I had been employee of the month, (I’ll tell you the story someday) – after about a week, I heard my position had been filled and all was going on like I had never worked there…. I told myself: “Don’t get too cocky….everyone is irreplaceable.
  • Right after my son was born and I was complaining about how tired I was, my mom told me…and while this isn’t really advice per say – it did put it into perspective:  “You’re going to be tired for the next eighteen years.

So now it is your turn – what is the best little bit of advice have you received?

Happy Monday!

~Amy

PS – we’re still going strong, but I need your help in selling 100 copies of my eBook Making Time for Dinner.  Please share with your friends or buy a copy for yourself.  It is the most time saving $.99 you’ll ever spend.


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Not Me Monday…..Use your words

Lately I’ve been saying this to my three and a half-year old son, “Use your words“.  Truthfully, this saying that I’ve heard many parents say to their kids always grated on my nerves a bit and now I find myself saying it…and I get shivers down my spine.

For some reason, he seems to have stopped talking and is grunting, moaning and pointing whenever he wants or needs something.  And what’s frustrating is the fact that he was a late talker to begin with and has only really been talking for about seven or eight months.

I mention all this because I read a teaser post on one of the groups that I follow on Facebook and it made me think.  It asked the question:

You are going to say about 7000 words today….how are you going to use them.

I found the idea of 7000 words intriguing.  Is 7000 a lot?  I don’t really know.  Maybe if you count out your words in a ten minute span, it might give you some insight on just how many words a person actually says over the course of the day.

But it got me thinking:

What  if we only have 100 words to say each day?  What would we say?

Along the same thoughts….

Who are we talking to and talking with?

One more thought….

Are you all talk?

So I ask you these questions…and then I’ll close with a couple of quotes to ponder:

What are you going to say today?”

What are you going to not say today?

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
~Walt Disney

It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.
~Yogi Berra

I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.
~Lou Holtz

Happy Monday!

~Amy

PS – today’s blog had many thought-provoking quotes…check out my other blog of a Minute…a Thought for a daily quote to jump-start your day.