Mindfulness

Photo by Julia Volk

That damn clock ticks loud in my ear reminding me how much time I’m wasting. Father time you’re an asshole, bossy as hell and I don’t even want to get into the shit you do to my body when I’m not looking.

We are all peons to his ever demanding timekeeping being told “when to” and “for how long.” not to mention always chasing that ever ticking last minute. We NEVER, let me say it again, NEVER have enough time for the things we want to achieve. The deadline of my “to do” list will never be complete. I’m starting to be ok with that , I think? On a good day I am at least.



What I’ve been trying to focus on lately is staying mindful to enjoy the time I have, in that day.

Is my happy meter above 60%?



I’ve come to realize I’m not stuck in a Instagram life…..my house will never be on the cover of Better Home and Garden, but its warm and safe. my body will never be bikini ready, ever! But I’m healthy and active. My meal will never look like it was made from a T.V. chef ( Ree Drummond, we love you) lord knows I’ve tried. Many prayer have been said in this kitchen as I’m racing to get dinner on to plates.

As for vacations… I know no such word, day trips are more our speed. Beach, park and exploring our town has brought us more laughs then a week long trip, miles from home.

Life feels like it’s moving way to fast and the feeling to meet these life expectations, makes time that ticks much less enjoyable.

So instead of giving into that energy, I’m going to concisely practice deep breathing. By doing so, I replace that anxiety filled ticking with a mindful view, of the moment and just exist.

Photo by Madison Inouye

5 Ways Of Practicing “Self Hugs”

Breathe

Fill those lungs up friends! Deep inhale and deep exhale. Feel the belly rise and fall, while sitting, eyes closed. If you catch your mind taking you somewhere, mentally say, (while breathing) “belly rinsing, belling falling.” That brings your awareness back into the present moment.

Do not identify with feelings

“I am not sad, I am experiencing sadness” Your emotions are not you. They are temporary visitors that sometimes over stay their welcome.

Just notice them. Give them a title, no need to be accurate. Sad? Bored? Weird?

The more often you name your emotions and see them as temporary, the less they will control you.

Get Moving

Whether you; go to the park with your kids, do a couple stretches in your living room, trying tai chi in your backyard. Taking a few minutes to move is very beneficial for the mind and the body.

Make an effort to look good

This doesn’t mean getting jazzed up from head to toe. It does mean, hair brushing, nice shower, getting dressed, maybe an eyelash curling, one baby coat of mascara, if and only IF you are up to it, try some eyeliner.. I am telling you, eyeliner does the job. You know the saying “if you look good you feel good” it’s so true.

Make yourself a priority

Try learning a new skill. Maybe you have always loved woodworking or gardening but, never attempt because of those road blocks, start clearing the path. What a better time then NOW to start.

OR, you are so talented that you don’t know where to start..just start. Doing something that you enjoy nourishes and challenges the mind.

Easy to bake, mouth watering cookie that will Guarantee to put you on his “good list”.

Santa’s Cookies

Santa Claus, Santa, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Saint Nicolas, Mr. Clause…

Commercialized Santa is pretty much what we know. BUT, did you know that, St. Nicholas “saintly” life inspired the modern day Santa Clause.

Legend goes back to a young monk St. Nicholas, who saves three young girls from a life of prostitution by secretly delivering three bags of gold to their in debt father.

He traveled the country side helping the poor and the sick while, giving out his wealth of inheritance. Becoming known as the patron saint for children.

Gift-giving, mainly centered around children, has been an important part of the Christmas celebration.

In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister, wrote a long Christmas poem for his three daughters entitled “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas,” more popularly known as “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.” Moore’s poem, is largely responsible for our modern image of Santa Claus as a “jolly old elf” with a round, portly figure and the supernatural ability to ascend a chimney with a mere nod of his head! 

And with keeping traditions alive…

Through his nightly travels, our house guest has a lot of work to be done. To up Santa’s stamina we offer a delicious treat. In hopes, to keep us on the “good” list.

Keep scrolling because “your” I mean, “his” taste buds will be satisfied!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup unsalted softened butter (1stick)
  • 3/4 Cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • A splash of vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 3 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup candy cane *optional

Preheat oven 350°


*Make sure egg and butter are at room     temperature.

Using a mixer creamy together butter and sugar on high for five mins, until smooth. Then, mix in (on slow) egg  and vanilla.

In a bowl add your dry ingredients;
Flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt. Give it a little stir.

Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients a little at a time. Mix until well incorporate


Fold in chocolate chips and candy cane.

Place cookie batter in the refrigerator for at least an hour before scooping.

Scoop out (with a medium Cookie scooper) onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper (should be the size of a ping pong ball.)

Place a few more chocolate chips and candy cane on top before baking.

Bake for 10-12 mins. Or, until golden brown around the edges. The center will look soft don’t you worry they firm up as they cool.



Let rest for 5 mins before moving them.

Enjoy!!

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

-Santa Clause

Last minute DIY gifts..

To the added stress and pressure of the count down. We have concluded a couple of simple, do-it-yourself ideas to finish off what we didn’t want to begin in the first place. But, we’re here, tired, and participating. Is this what the holiday has turned me into. A Scrooge?

Ok, now that I have pulled myself together. Drum roll please….

Easy, affordable diy’s that everyone would love to receive

…And when I say everyone, I mean myself.

Rock painting..the new 2020 craft next to baking bread. Anyways, we are working with what we got. A rock, paint brush, paint, and imagination.

Rock Herb Garden Markers from Fizz Finds

If you have any jewelry wire lying around like I do. Might I suggest “Garden Markers.”

Garden Markers The Folk Etsy Shop

Chai Tea Latte Mix- made with Nestea, powdered coffee creamer, Cardamom. All you need is a sweet bow. And another gift checked off your list. Who else do we have left?

thekitchenismyplayground.com

Aloe Green Tea -face scrub- Although, I use this as a body scrub in addition to face. I absolutely love this and its so simple to make.

DIY Bubble Wand With Beads

Made with a wooden dowel, pipe cleaner, beads. Such a Brilliant idea for those little bubble lovers. I definitely will be adding this one to my “to do” list.😉

artfulparent.com

Clay Ring Holders

Made with polymer clay.

And the fact that they offer more than one holder is genius. I love the classic colors to them.  But, since you will be “doing it yourself” like I always say “the possibilities are endless.”

liagriffith.com

Fabric Bookmarks

Where are all of your fabric scrapes stashed? Here is the moment that you need to pull them out.

Made by cutting “4×4” squares, ironing interfacing in between, and sealing it closed with a top stitch.

quilterscandy.com

I hope these bring you comfort and joy along the way with creating and giving.

Breathe that sigh or relief because, your list is finished.

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

-Joseph Chilton Pearce

Three Ingredients For Easy Dog Treats


I love  baking for my loved ones and my furry baby is no exception. These oatmeal, banana and peanut butter treats were a big hit with our border Terrier mix.

We Adopted Dexter into our family 4 years ago and it was the BEST decision, right after giving my husband the privilege of marrying me 🤭 and becoming a mother.


Before we we’re lucky enough to find him, He had been transferred to two different shelters in a span of 3 months.

His undeniable loyalty and love for our family is a testament to his appreciation of the constant love he receives. He is a sidekick to my 9 year old daughter, my bestfriend and a constant joy to our family.

Dexter’s doggy treats


** These treats were approved by OUR Veterinarian’s office but each pet’s needs are different. I just what to make sure, care is taken when baking for your Furry Babies. **

Ingredients


*1 1/2 C Oatmeal ground
*1/2 C Peanut butter
*1 Banana

Let’s Start


1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3) With a food processor or blender, grind your oats, until oats look like powder.

** Reserve about a tablespoon or two of the oat meal powder**

4) In a bowl, add *oat powder, *banana and *peanut butter mix until smooth. The best tool for this job are your clean hands. It’s going to get messy but it’s also the best way to pour lots of love into your treats.

The dough should stick together, but shouldn’t be too sticky. Mix until combined it should resemble slightly sticky Play-Doh. Dust your surface with the reserved ground oatmeal and press your dough out to about a 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut into desired shapes and place on a prepared lined baking sheet. 

** Add more peanut butter if the dough is too dry or additional oats if too sticky.**

5) Bake treats at 350° for approximately 13-15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. I keep mine in a airtight container in refrigerator for a nice cool summer treat. *Shelf life about a week.*

Easy Orange Cinnamon Potpourri

This DIY is very versatile, add any of your favorite seasonal fruit, spices and herbs that fit your budget and is easily accessible on your next grocery run.  Some of my favorites spices to use are cinnamon, star anise and cloves.  These spices together scream Christmas.

All the beautiful colors and shapes in the  glass jars makes for a truly beautiful gift, Adorn with a personalised label…. who could ask for a better gift.

Things you will need


• Mason jars
• 5-6 large Oranges
• 3 large Lemon
• Fresh spriggs of Rosemary
• Cinnamon sticks
• Cinnamon power
• Cardamom
• Fresh cranberries
• Staranise
• Parchment paper

How To:

Thinly slice oranges and lemons  and  arrange onto parchment lined baking tray. sprinkle a fine dusting of cinnamon powder onto both sides of your oranges slices.

Bake 250° for 4 to 6 hours.  **Time will vary depending on how thin your slices are. *turning the fruit slices every hour. occasionals checking to make sure that the fruit does not burn.

let it cool completely before adding it to your container

You can also add essential oils **after backing ** or extracts like orange essential oil or even lemon or Peppermint extract  to Amp-up  the fragrance.

**It is important to completely dehydrate your orange and lemon slices  to prevent  mold from growing after concealing all of your ingredients together in your container. If your slices feel sticky or squishy ( These are technical terms I’m using.) to touch in any way put it back in your oven and continue to bake, 30 minutes at a time.

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas,  specially if you have this amazing DIY  Simmering on your stove top. Its easy to assemble and the  affordability makes for a perfect gift for co-workers, neighbors and teachers.

Happy Holidays!

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Air Dry Stampted Clay Ornaments

Well, the name says it all. “Air Dry” nothing easier then that.

Love a good Air Dry every once and a while. Especially, one that is painted with something that you already have on hand…nail polish.

What you will need:

Air Dry Clay https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001GAP4YA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_fabc_dlC_7og0FbFZQ7A20?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Cookie cutters

Stamps

Dried Flowers *optional

Rolling pin

Nail Polish

*optional* Mod Podge I would have used for sure but, with the nail polish I felt I didn’t need it. You use your best judgment. If you are wanting a more finished look then I would recommend using.

Let’s prep

I had on hand a cookie sheet that I use for my girls projects (dollar tree..holla!!) Less mess for me to slave over, am I right?!

*Try to have access to water throughout the rolling out/cutting out process. It just helps fix those cracks that you will start to see in the clay, when it starts to dry out.

Roll out your clay

Stamp clay with stampers (I prefer doing the stamping before the cookie cutter part, just to see what you are working with) Also prefer, to cut it out with my daughters playdoh tools.. you know those plastic knives that come with their kits (if you choose to free hand it instead of using a cookie cutter)

Cut with cutters, if you are wanting to hang, then I recommend that you do add a tiny hole now before it dries. *I used a flat head screw (or you can use the back of a thin paint brush, pencil..etc.)

*Also, if you would like to press in dried flowers, do it right after you cut out shape. I pressed the flower in with some water on fingers.

If you haven’t dipped those fingers in the water yet, well now’s your chance. This is the right timing to make sure your beauty is the look you are going for. Dip those fingers and fix whatever crack, smudge, or dent.

Now the magic…just let it dry I’d say depending on thickness of clay, 24hrs or longer.

Painting with Nail polish on clay worked out perfect. You only needed one coat. The brush bristles were just the right size to get a good stroke. It just made the “job” of painting go a bit smoother.

I have to say, that the nail polish with glitter is a must! Even if you paint the ornament first or you decide to go without, it stands out from the crowd.

Viola! Just like that, you spruced up a loved ones gift.

Let’s wrap it up

In my teen years, I used to use old magazine pages to make envelopes for my letters that I would then mail out, It added pizazz.

I still love using beautiful paper. It doesn’t have to be expensive to add a little art to your gifts. Your children’s books that you were going to donate would do the job, anything that catches your eye, the print on the pages, the color in the books, newspaper, music sheets, magazine pages. Why purchase something that is going to be trashed anyway. Re-use!

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Momming Hard

Veni, vidi, vici.

If you’re not complaining about motherhood you’re not doing it right. It’s HARD! But, never sitting with my babies did I ever think “this is a waste of time” even, when they bullied me into doing the weird animal noises, when reading their books. And the willingness to contort your face into an emotion so my daughters can understand what hurt looks like, when biting become their form of hello.

I must say I’ve giving some Oscar worthy performance over the years. To the endless poop inspections I did to make sure they dietary needs are being met. My girls have been the BEST yet MOST challenging decision I’ve ever did.

The amount of self growth I have done in the short years since having them have trumped any self-growth before them. Their peace of mind has become an important thing to me.

It’s made me work harder to work my own shit out for the good of their beautiful faces. Trying my best
to love and guide myself and them though this world that can be scary and amazing at the same time, so I’m discovering.

Parenting is like having sunny day filled with blue skies and chirping birds in the front lawn with a tornado in your backyard ready to wreck your shit up at a moment’s notice.

We don’t do what we don’t want to do.

If only that was true. For the most part it is, but after joining this amazing experience of parenthood you find yourself agreeing , volunteering, hosting (Yikes) events you would have never agreeded to do before children.

I’m not a big group person, not because I don’t have the social skill, belive me, I was and still can be at times the “social butterfly”. But, I have finally found the power in not needing outside acceptance for my life to feel fulfilled. I prefer…

The power of HOPE:

Three wishes… if only. Let’s pretend, a magical genie did existed and you were the lucky person of three wishes what would you wish for?

I could think of myself clever and wish for more wishes. I’m sure, I wouldn’t have been alone with that wish. But, three wishes is all you get. No more, no least.

1: I’d wish to end all animal and human suffering, Done!

2: I’d wish for my family to be safe from harm.

3: To be the smartest person in the world. (said in an climactic voice)

Ok, the last one was a selfish wish but their my wishes. The one thing wishes give us real or not is hope, isn’t that all we need.

As long as I can remember my dad use to buy these lottery tickets he would hold them tightly in his hand and say ” this one feels lucky, Dora i can feel it!” He has so much hope that I believed him every time. The car drive back home was filled with all the possibilities of financial freedom for his loved ones. With that big win, he would one day win. That ticket was his genie. His hope …..

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DIY Christmas Wreath for under $10

It’s that time of year when the snows falling down…. da da da da da that’s as far as I know with this catchy song. So, the stage is set. It’s Christmas time! *Oprah voice* “you get a wreath and you get a wreath!” Let’s craft, shall we.

Items that are worth nearly nothing.

*Side Note*

This might seem like a lot of items but, if you truly think about it you are basically borrowing items from other decorations or using items that you have on hand. I am sure you could take a clipping from an old wreath or give a cute ornament a new home. I am almost positive that you have an old shirt, scarf or your kids shirt that they have outgrown.

What you need:

Dollar Store wire wreath

fabric or reuse old clothing item to get desired look. *I used an old scarf*

Dollar Store floral wire wrap or any wire would work *even pipe cleaner if the color blends in with wreath*

berry wire wrap or anything to add color..

glue gun and sticks

E6000 glue for reinforcement

garland or any greenery

wooden balls with holes pre-drilled or you can drill holes yourself if you are up to it.

A piece of leather to hang or fabric, wire. You can either hot glue, or sew the fabric (if using as a hook to hang)

brass brags to use as a closure on the leather strap.

Cute little ornament to finish off the look. *see below*

When using E6000 glue or any type of bonding agent..a helpful tip is to add a nail through the tip so it’s easy to use again and so it doesn’t dry out. It’s been a lifesaver and has cut back on the cursing.

DIY Ornament out of paper bag

Literally a paper bag! Not the paper bags that you would pack your kids lunch in but, the grocery store paper bags (they are much thicker).

Draw desired shape, Make sure to cut out two because you are going to layer (top, bottom). You can use a cookie cutter if you would like. And the possibilities are endless… snowman, angel, cowboy, star. Whatever your heart desires.

Use your creativity and paint! Add on buttons, or pieces of fabric to spruce it up.

On the second piece that you cut out, cut out a tiny hole where you are able to fill it up with cotton (from pillows, or cotton balls)

Once top layer is dry glue top and bottom pieces together with hot glue. (thin outline of cutout with the glue)

Stuff the ornament. (you can use a pencil to help push in)

glue it shut (you can use cute fabric piece or felt to cover up hole)

If you wanted to make as ornaments just glue on a piece of wire.

I added texture to santas beard with snow globe glitter snow.

Most importantly; Be creative and have fun!

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Cranberry Orange scones

Go ahead and drool..

A nice morning zing needed in your day?! Tart and sweet these boys pack a punch, enough to wake your taste buds up! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1 ½ C.  flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp orange zest (about 1 large orange)

2 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed

½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

3 tbsp  honey

3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup fresh cranberries, diced

2 tsp nonfat milk


Preheat the oven to 425°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest. Cut in the really cold butter, I like to toss the butter into the freezer for a few minutes before diceing into cubes, then cutting into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or the back of a fork. 

Work your mixture until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the Greek yogurt, honey, orange juice, and vanilla.

Fold in the diced cranberries with a spatula. (the heat from your hands could soften the butter.)

Lastly, use a biscuit cutter or slice into triangular segments with a sharp knife.

Bake at 425°F for 18-21 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Glaze:

1 cup of powder suger
1 tsp of orange fresh  squeeze juice
1 tbsp of milk

Sir all items together unil well combined, you are wanting the consistency of  syrup.  Pour and enjoy!

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