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

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Tips on Tuesday – Teach ’em young to say Thank you.

My Facebook news feed is bombarded this month with friends expressing their daily thoughts on gratitude.  Everyone is happy for their health, family, job, freedom, right to vote, and so on.  One friend is happy for her dog and another for her curly hair (I can totally relate to that one, and the dog one too).  I’m not complaining – I like it.  And even though I’m not partaking with the daily gratitude declaration, I am enjoying reading those of others.


A few weeks ago, my friend and I took each of our two sons to see an afternoon movie.  As we were heading out to our cars after the movie was complete, she commented to me “I wish my boys would say Thank You, unprompted to me for taking them on this special treat.”  I wanted to somehow secretly pull her sons aside and tell them to give their mom a big hug and a thank you.  Sadly, I couldn’t have done it without her noticing, and I wonder and hope that they said thank you in the car on the way home.

I think as parents we know how we want our kids to act and we expect them to act this way – but we forget that we need to teach them how to act.  We need to teach our kids to say thank you for everything, even when we don’t want to have to prompt them. We need to act the way we want them to act, and saying thank you to them for things they do is one example.

My husband is really good about reminding our sons to say thank you at the dinner table (almost every night).  And even as awkward as it seems, when he is not eating dinner with us – I remind the boys to thank me for dinner too.  My hope is that someday, they won’t need a reminder, and they will do it all on their own.

So for this month, the month of Thanksgiving, let’s all say an extra Thank you and teach ’em young how it’s done!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

And Thank You for reading.  



PS – my A Minute A Thought blog offers a daily inspirational quote.  Check it out and subscribe – this month we’re featuring quotes on gratitude.


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Tips on Tuesday – what to do when you call in sick, but you’re not sick

So – I’m not talking about the “playing hookie” kind of calling in sick.  What I mean is – how do you handle those times when you have to stay home because your little one is sick?

I think we’ve all been there – Junior gets sick with a fever and needs to stay home from school.  It also has to happen on a day when you have tons of work to do, meetings to attend or a training to give.  Or maybe you were going to clean the pantry and do the laundry.  Whatever the case, today is not a good day to be sick!

And you know the feeling – the guilt of being torn between two obligations -1. that of your sick child and 2. your other obligations.  It is enough to cause a nervous tic.

Well – as we are approaching sick season, I thought I’d offer a few idea on how to handle this very situation.

  • Take a deep breath and relax.  Treat this is surprise day off.  Sort of like a snow day.  And as long as no one is vomiting (your child or you), then sit back, pop in a few movies and be there for your baby.  They will only want us for a little while, so even though it isn’t ideal – treasure these moments.
  • Share the load.  Ask your partner to take a half day so you can split the nursing duty.
  • Make a to-do list of all the things you were planning on doing today.  If there is something to hand off, call your co-workers or your assistant and ask for help.  Your list will help you see visually what is dire and what can wait.
  • Call in reinforcements.  Do you have a grandma or a trusted neighbor or friend who might be able to fill in for a little bit.  As long as your little one isn’t contagious, call in for help, you’ll need a break.
  • Can you do a little work during a nap?  Even if you are just signing on to keep up with emails, a little bit of work will help you relax.
  • Skype or conference call into a meeting.  There is nothing wrong with popping in a movie for a tiny bit so you don’t have to miss important details that are happening while you are out.
  • Go into the office after hours.  If there are somethings that absolutely need your attention,  are you able to go into the office in the evening and take care of it then?

And don’t forget to take care of yourself.  There is nothing worse than having a once sick kid – not sick anymore, but you’ve caught what they got.  Drink extra fluids and get your rest too.

What do you do when you are home with a sick child?

Happy Tuesday Everyone!


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Tips on Tuesday…it’s not too early

OK – before you say – “bite your tongue, Amy…you better not be offering a Holiday tip.”  let me explain.

Looking at the calendar and counting the days – we only have nine weeks and 62 days until Christmas.  Next week is Halloween, then the election, then Thanksgiving.  Before you know it – Christmas will be here.

While I have many tips to offer about saving time over the Christmas rush this is one you can do now and it will save you time and help with your gift giving budget

Actually it is two tips rolled into one:

  1. Buy your stamps now.  Either at your local post office or online, Holiday stamps are already available.  The secret is to NOT use these stamps for mail from now until Christmas.   Buy extra, but definitely save these for your Holiday cards and newsletters. 
  2. Set aside tips.  Do you give delivery people, your post delivery person, garbage collector, newspaper guy, babysitter, hairdresser, milk man…Holiday tips?  Go ahead and set that money aside in an envelope today and forget about it until gift giving time.  Cash isn’t going to spoil or expire, so setting it aside now will only save you and help your budget as you get closer to the big day.

Look what I found – a Christmas countdown clock.  Use it to encourage good behavior from your kids or use it to keep you on track.

What Holiday tips do you have that will we can do now to help us save time and money?  Please share them so we can all benefit!

Happy Tuesday!


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Tips on Tuesday – Hours of Operation

After the birth my of my second son, my body didn’t bounce back the way it did after the first one.  Sadly, I’ve had lasting changes that now that he is four years old, seems to be part of my life.  One of these changes has been in my fingernails.  I used to have really strong, hard nails that never broke and were naturally white-tipped.

But after the pregnancy with Number Two, my nails have become brittle and weak.  They break all the time and look like little stubs.

I finally gave in and quit hoping for them to return to their pre-son state.  For the last six months or so, I’ve been getting professional manicures and my nails are actually benefiting from it.  I’m learning to accept the time and money it takes to get these manicures and allow myself this one small luxury.

The little nail shop I go to is owned by a young couple from Thailand.  They have a nice little shop and over the months that I’ve been frequenting them, they have made some small improvements on the place.  I got to talking with the couple the last time I was there about their hours of operation.

They are open for business seven days a week, most days from 10am until 7pm.  Saturdays a little longer and Sundays are a little shorter.

I usually go in during a weekday morning or early afternoon, I never make an appointment and am always able to sit right down and start the manicure.  Many times I’ll be the only one there for the entire hour that my manicure takes, no one else stopping by, no phone calls coming in for appointments.

I get the impression that the owners are doing OK.  They have been in business for a long time and while I’ve been there when it is slow, I’ve also been there when it is busy.  They seem to have loyal customers who come back and offer repeat business.

I want so badly to talk with them about adjusting their hours to have either just one person there during the slow times or to close one day a week or even open later during those weekday mornings when hardly anyone comes in.  I’m sure they are afraid of missing out if they are not open for long lengths of time.  I get that.  But I also get that they have no life and I feel that since they’ve been around for so long, I’m sure their customers will adjust and stay loyal if they opt to reduce their hours a bit.

Yesterday I wrote about changing attitudes if you can’t change your situation.  Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had to go through a major adjustment in the times when I operate too.  As I mentioned yesterday, my younger son has all but given up his afternoon naps.  So while I used to do the majority of my work while he was in preschool in the morning and while he was napping in the afternoon, it is impossible to keep those same hours with his new routine.  While I fought it for a while and/or let him watch a few hours of cartoons while I worked, it finally donned on me to make a change to my own hours of operation.

Today my schedule is to wake up early in the morning, really early – around 4:30am.  At that time, I work for a few hours until I need to switch gears and get the boys off to school.  I quit working around 8am.  Then I’m able to work again for a couple of hours during preschool.  The crazy thing about this new schedule – I’m amazed at how much I’m getting done.  Sure getting up that early is brutal, but having that large  chunk of uninterrupted time to concentrate and get things done is so fulfilling.  And my afternoons are clear to get the things accomplished I can do with my preschooler in tow.   My evenings are freed up and it has given the family much more time together, where dinners aren’t as rushed and hectic.

I invite you to take a look at your situation from a different perspective.  Can you change your hours of operation?  If you’re feeling really stuck – give me a call, I’d love to sit down and figure out a new routine to help you feel accomplished.

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!



Tips on Tuesdays…change your approach

I want to let you in on a dirty little habit of mine.  Well – it was a dirty little habit. OK – Stop it!  It is nothing like that.

I never take my make-up off at night before I go to bed.

I KNOW!  It is a horrible habit and something I just didn’t think was all that important.  Usually, by the end of my day, my make-up is all gone anyway and quite honestly – I’m just too tired to bother with it.  OK – I admit – I am being quite lazy.

A couple of years ago, I developed this rash on my eyelids – it looked like dry skin and it burned whenever I would put my eye makeup on.

I went to the doctor.

He gave me some ointment.

It didn’t really help.

I quit wearing eye makeup – I could only wear eyeliner and mascara – they didn’t seem to bother the condition.

A few months ago, I started to get a burning sensation on my cheek bones whenever I would put on my makeup.

OK – sidebar here – I don’t wear a lot of make up.  I feel it looks pretty natural, it isn’t the sort of thing that looks caked on. 

Anyway – thinking I’m getting older, my skin is changing…I swtiched to “cleaner” makeup, polled some friends as to what they were wearing, did they have any trouble.

Then it donned on me one night….I wonder if I just start washing my face every night – whether or not I feel I need it – I wonder if that might help.

Within two days – – the burning stopped.

Same sort fo secerniro….my husband suffers from chronic heartburn.  A few years ago he went on this big exercise program and was keeping up with it pretty successfully for a long time.  He lost some weight, and his heartburn went away.

Over time, his schedule changed and his workout frequency reduced, causing him to gain some weight back and his heartburn came back.

The other day, he mentioned that he wants to start working out again to help with the heartburn and to also allow him to stop taking the daily antacid.

I think somethings we search for a solution or a “fix” before we look at our current habits to change the things we want or need to change in our routines.

In dieting we look for pills or products that we can do or take to help us lose weight.  Instead, maybe we need to look at just changing hings to our routine.  What I mean is – instead of saying “I’m going to give up soda and sugar” – what if you say “I’m going to add more veggies and fruit and three more glasses of water to each day.”

Likewise – if you are rushing every morning to get the kids out the door and to the bus stop  – instead of bribing them or threatening them or just plain yelling – or instead of telling yourself – I’ll get up ten minutes early….what if you change the approach by getting everything ready the night before so all you have to do is get up, get ready, eat breakfast and out the door you go?

I’m using this same approach with a personal sleep study I’m conducting.  I know  I’ve shared with you that I suffer from insomnia.  I’ve tried a few different prescription sleep aids, yet , over the counter stuff seems to work best for me.  But now I’m tired of taking pills; which cause me to feel gross all the time, and depend more and more on caffeine.  So, I’m slowing eliminating some things from my routine (like sleep pills, caffeine, wheat, sugar) and adding things to my routine (more exercise, meditation and reading for pleasure) to see what has the best impact.  I’ll keep you posted.

Today’s tip – look at your current routine and before adding a canned solution – look for ways you can adjust things.  It might be something as small as washing your face at night or adding one more glass of water to your routine to see a difference.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!


PS – we’re closing in on May and there’s still time to help with my May Challenge to sell 100 copies of Making Time for Dinner.  Have you gotten your copy yet?


Tips on Tuesdays…Speed Shopping

While we’ve probably all heard of speed dating and maybe some of us have even experienced it, Speed Shopping is not quite the same.

Basically – Speed Shopping is shopping done with speed and purpose.  Well, maybe it is more like speed dating than I realize.

The keys to speed shopping are to get in and get out of the grocery store quickly, without spending any more time or money than necessary.  There are some key components to speed shopping:




  • Make a list – – whether you have a standard list of items that you check off as your run out or if you shop from a weekly menu – make a list of all the items you will need from this one shopping trip.
  • Arrange the items on your list in the order of the store.  Most likely, you shop at one or two regular places, so you are familiar with the store layout.
  • Shop at one or two regular stores so you become accustomed to the store lay out.
  • Time yourself on the first run through.  This will be your “control”.  Challenge yourself to cut a set number of minutes from each future grocery store visit.
  • NO SHOPPING!  And by this I mean, there is to be no dilly-dallying through the aisles, looking at new products.  Save those excursions when you aren’t “speed shopping”
  • Wear uncomfortable shoes or don’t wear make up.  When you are uncomfortable or self-conscience about your appearance , you’ll be apt to get in and get out.
  • Organize coupons in order of your list.  Place a *** next to items on your list that have coupons and then when you are waiting in line, find said coupons.
  • Take the kids.  Nothing says get me out of here more than kids in the grocery cart. (I have kids, so I can speak freely on this topic.)

Speed Shopping is for regular and routine trips to the grocery store.   Give yourself more time every once in a while to explore the store for new items.

Today’s question – do you say “in line” or “on line”?  Also include what part of the country you reside.  I never heard “on line” until I met a friend from New York….being from Texas, we always say “in line’.

Happy Tuesday!


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Tips on Tuesdays….change your clothes

How many times does this happen to you….

You wake up, set your workout gear aside and tell yourself “I am going to workout this afternoon.”

Then you go to work, come home and say “I’ll workout after dinner.

Then you sit down and say “I’ll workout after this one show.

And then you go to bed and say “I’ll workout in tomorrow.

A whole day has passed and you didn’t get your workout in.

How can you change that – – change your clothes.

The first thing to do if you have an afternoon workout planned is to change your clothes.

By changing from your work or daytime attire into your gym shorts and sports bra, it sets you up for your workout.   It reminds you that you are planning on going for that run or that walk or that pressing play on that DVD.  It motivates you to stay focused and  then there is one less step to getting yourself out the door.

This really works!

In fact, I’m sitting here at 5:20 this morning as I write this.  My normal routine is to get up and read and write blogs for about an hour and then workout before it is time to wake the boys and get rolling on our day.  The days I change into my workout clothes (and even put my shoes on) are the days that it is much easier to transition from working to my workout.  But on those days when I stay in my PJ’s and work and read….it is much harder to get that workout in, instead I typically work too long and run out of time, and I find myself saying “I need to go change….”

Give it a try.  Do it today.  Report back tomorrow – did it help get that workout in?

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!


PS – we’re half way through my May challenge of selling 100 copies of my eBook, Making Time for Dinner.  Won’t you help me – buy your copy today.