Where IS The Magic?

“Inspiration does exist but it must find you working.” Pablo Picasso

All that stuff you’ve been avoiding . . . the paper work, the de-cluttering, the training your child to make his lunch, do her laundry, drive the car you AIN’T never gonna feel like doing it. Ever. Never. Not in a million years. Let’s all just STOP waiting for the inspiration to feel like doing the stuff we’ve been avoiding.

Inspiration will bubble UP from the working. It’s a mind bender, it’s a game changer, it’s the NO EXCUSES zone. Well, you can keep all your excuses, “I’m too tired.” “I don’t feel like it.” “I don’t know how.” “Someone else should do it.” Keep ‘em, AND do the dreaded task anyway, AND here are a couple tips.

Don’t obsess over the final destination. Look in the distance, squint your eyes, start MOVING. Movement feeds your brain. We all try to THINK our way out of situations. Think a little, move a little, learn a lot.

Start with today – some of us spend a lot of time analyzing our problems, the WHY of the procrastination – the deep seeded issues, the angst, the theory when really we might get further setting our timer for 10 minutes and doing something.

Go ahead and quit, but start again. Re-frame quitting as resting, or re-grouping. If all you have done is taken a rest, it’s much easier to get back in the game rather than having to berate yourself as a quitter

We will get to the magic of our projects by doing our projects.

I’m here for you! Email me if you want any help. I mean it.

Anxiety!

Worrying, or anxiety gone rogue, can eat up A LOT of time!

Worrying, or anxiety gone rogue, can eat up A LOT of time!

Anxiety! We all feel it. Our kids are feeling it more and more. As a life long anxiety sufferer/thriver I’ve come to understand that mild anxiety can have so much to teach: life skills, self-management, nutritional awareness, motivation to exercise and the need & practice to ask for help. Anxiety is here to stay and it behooves us to address it head on.

 1. First, we can change our mindset about anxiety. Anxiety, like anger, is a normal human emotion and cannot/should not be eradicated – lest you throw out the baby with the bathwater. Consider that kissing cousins of anxiety are:  excitement, anticipation, planning, avoiding truly dangerous situations, listening to our inner wisdom. These feelings/skills are anxiety feelings that haven’t gone sour yet. Imagine, we don’t need personality transplants to tame the beast. Once our mindset around anxiety is cleaned up and we aren’t victimized by it, or afraid of it, but we open up our arms to it we then can find some energy, space and creativity to move anxiety up and out of ourselves (so it doesn’t curdle and go sour into fear, avoidance, panic).

2. Anxiety can be GREATLY reduced by the following: limiting screens, diminishing sugar, deleting comparisons, regular outdoor activity, a meditation practice, a work-out regime, regular playtime with our anxious kids that is physical and joyful, a daily 10 minute dose of writing down what is making us anxious (it’s amazing when you do this and you review it regularly how many things consistently DO NOT happen and thus release us from having to worry about it so much), journaling, more green vegetables, less processed food, eating at regular/predictable times. WHAT on this list sounds like it’s bad for you? What on this list will make you feel worse?

I understand, the list makes us anxious because we all know we spend too much time on screens, eat too much sugar, are over caffeinated, need more outdoor time, a workout routine. It’s those darn simple solutions that aren’t easy. I understand so the third tip I offer is a list of my current favorite resources!

3. Anxiety Resource for more information

·       If your little one has anxiety: The Opposite of Worry, Lawrence Cohen

·      If your tween/teen has anxiety: Crazy|Stressed, Dr. Michael Bradley

·      If you are anxious: The Worry Cure, Robert Leahy

·      If your family is overwhelmed: Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne

Sign up for the weekly Nifty Tip and/or check out my event page at www.paigetrevor.com/events or email me at paigetrevor@mac.com to see upcoming events.

 

Effective Parenting Through Mindset

Mindset is a VERY powerful parenting tool.

Mindset is a VERY powerful parenting tool.

One overlooked tool in our parenting toolbox is learning HOW we think about parenting (and our kids and ourselves). When we are aware of our current thinking, a.k.a. mindset , we can then start tweaking, transforming and revising it to create a happier, healthier and more harmonious family life based in reality. (Reality is a VERY under-used parenting tool!)

Who is in charge of who? We are in charge and can change only one person in the entire universe - ourselves (even if we try super duper hard, and even if we are so, so, SO righteously right!). When we truly embody the KNOWING we are only in charge of only ourselves, we focus on our own lives, our own limits and our own values. We stop trying to entice, bribe, shame or punish our child into being different from who they are today. We conserve our energy to be the parent we want to be, and SEE the actual child we live with.

Why do I feel so strongly? When we are overly involved with our kids, we are well served to think to ourselves, “WHY am I so worked up?”. When our kids lives take on a life of their own in our heads, we can bet we have hit a spot RIPE for personal growth.

WHY does their hair matter so much to us? WHAT is the 4 AP classes – all with A grades to prove about us? HOW is them being out and socializing every Saturday night going to fix our own middle-school loneliness?

Our emotions can lead us to personal growth, but our mindset that our OVERemotionality is our own immaturity guides us back to. . . we are only in charge and can change ourselves.

I know what’s best for them! We are NOT ever an expert on anyone else. I remember so CLEARLY being a new Parent Educator with the Parent Encouragement Program (PEP), sitting in a leader meeting sharing problems from our classes. OH MY GOSH, back in the day, I had an ANSWER for EVERYTHING. I was sure, with only 2 sentences that I could diagnose and SOLVE the problem. However, I noticed the MOST experienced PEP Leaders took a different tact, they asked for more information – they lead with curiosity questions and then, in their wisdom – they offered up a variety of solutions. I also noticed they used very little blame, very little shame and high dosages of compassion. Revolutionary!

Where is our mindset getting in the way? Where do we keep trying to control? Where do we feel so strongly we can’t stop thinking about it? How can we focus being the expert on ourselves instead of forcing our opinions on them?

Check out this Washington Parent article for more insights on parenting mindset shift.

*This blog was inspired by a quick conversation I had with PEP’s Executive Director, Kathy Hedge - so stay tuned for more information on a possible Parenting Mindset Shift Webinar!

3 Ways to Get Your Kids to LISTEN To You!

Communication . . . a life long relationship tool!

Communication . . . a life long relationship tool!

Looking for a new parenting tool to deal with conflict, upset and drama? Are you tired of saying the same thing over and over? Here are a few new communication techniques to calm you down, mix-it up, get you thinking and create the change you are hoping for.

 Transform

FROM: “It’s time to wake up. I’ve told you a 1,000,000 times. Get up, get up, get UP! We are going to be so late . . . again!”

TO: “I am willing to come upstairs once in the morning to make sure you have woken up to your alarm clock. I am unwilling to nag or yell at you anymore.” Consider offering anyone 6 and over $25 to buy an alarm clock of their choosing (not their phone, not their phone, NOT their phone!). Offer it this way, “I’m really sorry, I’ve been treating you disrespectfully – nagging and yelling every morning, it must be really discouraging to start the day with so much negativity?” Kids will certainly be much more interested in what we have to say if we begin with a heartfelt apology, and sincere acknowledgement of our contribution to the problem.

 

Transform

FROM: “Put your dirty clothes in the laundry bin! It’s not that hard.”

TO: “I am unwilling to buy any more clothes until the current clothes in your room are reliably picked up once a week. I am willing to help you tidy every Sunday at 4pm if you’d like my help. I promise to help and not lecture and advise.” Consider training anyone 11 or over to do their own laundry. Be sure the laundry basket is where the kids like to take off their clothes, not necessarily where it looks best to you. Laundry baskets with lids are subliminally asking kids to chuck their clothes on the floor.

Transform

FROM: “I need you to put your shoes on.”  

TO: “The car is leaving in 10 minutes, what do you need to be ready to go?” (pssst . . . if you live with anyone 5 and over, they KNOW they need their shoes on, do NOT waste your precious life energy on repeating things people know.) Or – with a friendly smile, point to your shod feet. Or reach out to them and walk them to their shoes (nary a word is necessary). AND de-clutter your launching area (front hall, mud room, tiny nook by the most used door) to support shoes on – only 1 to 2 pairs of seasonally and fashion appropriate shoes per person are in that area.

When we have something important to communicate our children will be MORE likely to receive our messages if we: speak quietly, in a normal tone of voice, at their eye level. Communicating effectively takes a lot of practice, skill and patience. Mutually respectful communication is a relationship building tool and worth our while.

Follow me on Twitter: @BalancingAct_DC, https://twitter.com/BalancingAct_DC


Check out my event page at www.paigetrevor.com/events or email me at paigetrevor@mac.com to see upcoming events.  

Not making much progress on your New Year resolution?

Bloom!.jpg

 Wish things at home went differently? Not enough time to get it all done or have a hard time prioritizing?

We all have things we want to start or stop doing in life. We work hard to reach our goals, but too often we go it alone hoping that or personal will-power will be enough to get us the results we want. When this doesn’t work, we end up stuck—disappointed or resigned to the way things are. It doesn’t have to be this way! Research shows that caring and supportive group work increases your chance of developing new habits and behaviors faster than you would without it.

 So, we have joined forces for our clients! Parenting Coach and Certified Parent Educator Suzanne Ritter and Professional Organizer and Certified Parent Educator Paige Trevor will facilitate discussion, share knowledge, tips, inspiration and ideas for both quick wins and long-term sustainable change. And, you will help each other make it all work! If you’re serious about reaching a professional or personal goal, improving a relationship or your parenting, or creating a new habit, this exclusive series is for you!

 Register Here

$449 for the entire series!

Series includes:

·      4 Monthly in person roundtable sessions* and 2 recorded Zoom support sessions**

·      Goal setting support with buddy help (book optional***)

·      Teaching in Time Management and Time Mapping and Positive Parenting skills

·      Listserv communication and tips

·      Discounts on individual coaching

*In-person seminars on Mondays from 7:30 to 9:00 pm (90 minutes each) at IGNITE Good Health in Bethesda: 3/25, 4/25, 5/20, and 6/10

**Zoom calls on Thursdays from 8 to 9 pm (60 minutes each): 4/18 and 5/9 (you can watch it later if you can’t make the call)

Contact Suzanne Ritter (sritter@the360parent.com) or Paige Trevor (balacingactLLC@me.com) for questions and monthly payment options.

Wait! Let Me Say That Again

Enjoy this 18 minute podcast on how to change how we speak so we can change up how we parent.

Enjoy this 18 minute podcast on how to change how we speak so we can change up how we parent.

For More Information & Inspiration

Shhhh . . . Listen, Up!  You guys, listening IS communication!

To Change the Walk, Start with the Talk: No, not "THE Talk." Examine how the way we talk, how we phrase things, our tone of voice and even our intentions can impact our parenting and relationships.

BOOKS & ARTICLES

Letting Go with Love and Confidence: For parents of tweens & teens, Ken Ginsburg gives sound advice and clear language on how to communicate with your child over a myriad of typical tween/teen behavior.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen: A classic parenting book with communication at its core.

Duct Tape Parenting: My number one, go-to parenting book by the amazingly wise Vicki Hoefle.

VIDEO

Wendy Mogel: 10 ways to communicate NO to your child, with respect (and a teeny bit of Wendy Mogel’s irreverent humor).

Dr. Mike Bradley: Communicating with teenagers.


It's Harder than it Looks!

Paddle, paddle, glide . . .

Paddle, paddle, glide . . .

“He was happy, but not at all in the same way as he had expected. At every step he found himself disillusioned in his former dreams while also discovering new, unexpected enchantments. Levin was happy, but on entering into family life he saw at every step that it was not at all what he had imagined. At every step he felt as a man might feel who, after admiring the smooth, cheerful motion of a boat on the water, actually gets into the boat himself. He saw that apart from having to sit steadily in the boat without rocking, he also had to keep in mind, without forgetting for a moment where he was going, that there was water beneath his feet, that he had to row, that his unaccustomed hands hurt, and that it was easy only when you looked at it, but that doing it, though it made you very happy, was very hard.”

—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 1877

 

When you dreamt of having kids and parenting what kind of picture did you have in your mind? Were your dream kids well behaved and quiet or rambunctious and a bit like Calvin from “Calvin and Hobbes?” Was your house neat and tidy in your dream family? Did you eat a healthy dinner each night as you discussed literature and current events? Did your kids excel at sports, piano, school, and were they polite to boot? How about you? Were you patient and kind and crafty in your dream family?

Well, those dreams are wonderful to think about, and yet the reality of family life often turns out quite differently. It’s not that reality is a nightmare, it’s just that our real kids are slightly different then our dream kids, and our real selves can be a wee bit more tired, grumpy, confused, and impatient then our dream selves.

It’s empowering to look around your family and see the gifts you received that you weren’t clever enough to even dream of, and the fantasies you had that you now have to discard. We get into  “parenting mischief” when we parent from our dream state. When we expect our kids (and ourselves) to be different than who they really are we get upset, anxious, worried, angry and disappointed.

 The analogy of watching the boat sailing smoothly in Tolstoy’s quote is so perfect for parenting. Once we steady the boat and get used to the oars that work in the 4 year old water, guess what happens? The 4 year old turns 5, the currents change, the weather shifts, new people and activities enter the boat and we have to start all over again.

So best to be mostly awake while we steer the boat of our family because as Tolstoy said, “it was easy only when you looked at it, but that doing it, though it made you very happy, was very hard.”

 

Shhhhh . . . . Anger is Telling You Something (or Speak Up . . . . I can't hear you!)

Anger is trying to tell us something, we need to be quiet to receive its messages.

Anger is trying to tell us something, we need to be quiet to receive its messages.

Anger is a wily one. It can come out so loud that we can't hear the message over the yelling, shaming and blaming. Or, it can go undercover (repressed) anger and be so quiet that we don't hear any message at all.  Let’s explore some of the values, feelings and behaviors that are behind the anger.

Values: When we are chronically angry about homework, table manners, grades, keeping rooms neat we might have hit something that we value and hold in high esteem.  

Alternatives to Anger: If I value homework getting done, maybe I create a quiet and device free zone from 7-8 each night. I could inspire us all with some new school supplies.  And listen to this, I could sit and do my own work while my child works.. I could do some AP modeling  and let my intellectual curiosity shine by studying my own books or information I find interesting. See, I'll be so busy doing all that highlighting and note taking, I won't have time to yell or nag.

Personal Space: Sometimes kids can just be too much and we feel smothered by all the needs, wants, desires and strong feelings that kids bring to us. Our anger might be a way of telling us that we need a wee bit more time alone, or more help around the house, or our kids need to get used to some benign neglect so we can read a book, or paint our nails, or watch the basketball game.  

Alternatives to Anger: If I need more personal space and feel smothered -consider a teenager in your neighborhood who would like to make a buck or two, why not ask them to take the kids to the park twice a week, just for a few hours, and enjoy a quiet house?  It will minimize the yelling (not extinguish it).

Ready for Responsibility (but they need the pink slip first):  If we get angry every day about our kids' waking up, packing their backpack or getting dressed it could be that anger is telling us it's time to hand over responsibility. The trick here is we have to really hand them the pink slip to waking up in the morning (packing their back back, getting dressed) and it might get bumpy. Aint' nobody gonna take responsibility for something they don't own!

Alternatives to Anger:  If it's time to hand over responsibility to my kid I could ask someone with older kids how they did it and get support in letting go (it's harder then it looks). I could train the beloved child in waking up to an alarm clock and see what happens. If I let the child struggle with the alarm clock instead of me I won't have to stomp upstairs so many times ready to rumble. I can greet the child (who might be early or late) with open arms and find out what he learned.

Nice and Accommodating (repressed anger):  Here's a twist - sometimes our anger goes way underground and our theory is that if we are just super duper nice and accommodating then really the child has to do what we want them to, right? I'm so nice, how could they not? Just like we try to control through fear and bluster with aggressive anger, so too can we try to control with sweetness and light. If we say things in just the right way, with just the right timing, with just the right healthy snack - well then why WOULD'T they do their homework (have good manners, get good grades, keep their rooms clean)?  What we might really mean is  "How COULD they not do their homework, have good manners, get good grades, keep their rooms clean, AFTER all we've done for them?"

Alternatives to Anger:  If I control with over-nicing people I might have no idea it's a problem because, after all, I'm so nice how can anyone criticize me?  If I have a good friend, an honest spouse, a wise teen, they might tell me and then I could see where I'm being just as controlling as my angry counterpart. I could turn some of the nice on myself and treat myself to all those kind words and healthy snacks. Then I'll have more energy to learn and discover the child I actually live with, rather then the one I'm trying to control. And when I'm not spending so much time being nice I can discover who I really am too. I might just not be so nice . . . . and that might be a relief to everyone we live with.

Stress & Overwhelm: Sometimes we are angry simply because we are tired, hungry, over caffeinated, have to go the bathroom, under caffeinated, are mad at our brother-in-law, had something go terribly wrong at work or any other number of things that upset us normal, everyday, overbooked parents.

Alternatives to Anger: If I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed I could drink 1/2 a cup less coffee today, I could add in a 15 minute walk around the block, I could realize that my brother-in-law is doing the best he can, I could go to the bathroom before I talked to the kids about all the legos on the floor. Sometimes I can short circuit an anger episode just by realizing it's something I can easily fix or alter in my own routine.

Diagnosing the problem correctly can take a heavy load off us (and our relationships).  We have to listen to the anger, we have to see what's underneath the fury, we have to feel the vulnerable emotions. Scary and we can do it!  Our tempers and emotions are the climate control for the house, let's learn how to use that thermostat with respect and effectiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

Scared Little Mouse

The ROARING is because we feel so unheard . . .

The ROARING is because we feel so unheard . . .

I hear you .  . . "Ummmm, Paige, why  is the title 'Scared Little Mouse' and the photo above is a big, scary, aggressive Grizzly?"

Last week we learned that anger is a cover for scarier, more vulnerable emotions, like feeling unheard, powerless, disrespected, overwhelmed and smothered, to name a few. (Click on Anger: A Primer if you need a refresher.)  Our kids see us as this big Grizzly when are yelling and losing our minds to get things done. If they saw beneath the fur coat they'd see the scared little mouse, trapped and using the only tools we think we have, yelling, gnashing teeth, clawing our way out and through our family to get to work on time (or get homework done, dinner eaten, baths taken, rooms cleaned up).  

Let's hit pause and ask ourselves if all that ferocity is building the relationship, the child's self-respect and our self-respect? Or is it wearing down the relationship, the child's self-respect and our self-respect?

I imagine our child walking in the forest of our family and consider, would they dare to ask that Grizzly how to clean up the chocolate they accidentally got on the white couch, or what to do because their best friend started smoking pot, or they blew off their science fair project and have only 12 hours to get it done? I doubt it. They'd probably wait until the Grizzly was distracted by some blueberries (a glass of wine or an i pad) or was hibernating (sleeping, out of the house) and then they'd try to figure out the chocolate clean up (or hide it), the pot smoking, the science fair project in secret, when all was quiet and safe.

And then I imagine in a few years, when the child we are trying to control with anger is  24 and needs to get themselves to the car in the morning. . . will they need a big ole Grizzly behind them (a mean boss, a demanding partner, a vicious voice in their head) to get them moving?

This is so depressing!  Whether we unleash it like the Grizzly, or if we repress it and become icy and cold, or if our kids use anger to control the situation (you know the families that walk around on eggshells to stop the angry kid from hijacking the day) anger touches all our lives. 

When it bubbles up we have a choice what to do. Next week I'll help you interpret what anger is really saying along with options and actions we can use that will build the relationship and keep our child's and our self-respect intact.  I can't wait!

Anger: A Primer (or "Pay No Attention to the Little Man Behind the Curtain")*

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 9.15.17 AM.png

From ages 0 - 32 my go to overwhelm emotion was crying.  If I wanted to rally the troops around me and get something done, I would cry and pout.  At 32 with two children under four,  I was suddenly the adult (I am the youngest in my family origin and baby was/is an accurate way to describe me). In my new found adulthood I realized I couldn't call my sister crying to solve the getting out of the house in the morning problem.  No, I had to get two smallies out of the house, EVERY day.  The tears didn't work on them.  I dug in my tool box and the only thing I found was ANGER, and people, anger works.  People MOVE when you are yelling at them. What a discovery, be a total jerk until people succumb to your will.  Fabulous!

However, as we know, all good things must come to an end and I went to PEP (Parent Encouragement Program) to learn about parenting (well, I really went to have them  fix my kids, but that's another story for another time)  and learned the destructiveness of unleashing anger on the people you love the most in the world.  

Anger touches all our lives, it's an energy, it's information, it's a guide and it shouldn't be repressesed, unleashed or ignored.  It's such a big topic that I have more posts about it (so exciting!) so if you are left feeling unsatisfied, don't get angry (tee hee), there is more to come.  For this week let's consider that anger covers up scarier emotions that we would rather not admit to, let alone feel.  Shall we go through some examples?  

We yell at our kids to put their shoes on. Consider we really feel unheard and disrespected, they put their shoes on at pre-school, why won't they listen to us?

We are furious and nag when homework doesn't get done. Perhaps we are scared they won't get into college, ever get a job, or live up to their potential?

We are hostile and aggressive when our four year old gets up for the 723rd time to ask for something at bedtime. Might it be we are desperately tired and feel smothered by our beloved child?

Anger actually comes from a place of vulnerability rather then strength.  Think the Great and Powerful Oz behind the curtain -- just a regular guy (parent), living in a foreign land (kids are strange and beautiful creatures), trying to get home (or to work, or to bed).  We use all sorts of bluster, smoke and scary voices to hide the fact that we are just a regular guy from Kansas, scared and alone, with some pots, pans and a smoke machine behind the curtain.

Next time we (or they) get angry, let's see if we (or they) are really feeling - ignored, scared, anxious, unheard, disrespected, abused, smothered, tired, overwhelmed, teased, broken-hearted, embarrassed, humiliated, unappreciated, sick, wounded, hopeless, small or taken advantage of.  Changes the game, huh?

*this anger series originally posted in 2015

Mindful Parenting

We are in it together, Mindfulness helps . . . .

We are in it together, Mindfulness helps . . . .

Mindfulness: Attending to the current situation with a kind and curious attitude.

Mindfulness doesn’t mean ‘let it go’ or ignore or accept bad behavior. Mindful parenting means that we live in the now, our current reality and we approach our problems with kindness and curiosity. In getting ready for next week’s webinar I’ve been reading up on the matter and have loved the book, Mindful Discipline.

We often don’t combine mindfulness (which we think is ‘nice’ & permissive) and discipline (which we think is ‘mean’ & punishment).

But, instead of punishment let’s use this definition (found in Webster’s Dictionary): training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.

And then when we are disciplining our child consider:

  1. How does the discipline affect our relationship? (What ties us together - being yelled at or being expected to clean up after ourselves - at a reasonable pace?)

  2. How does it impact my child’s authentic desire to be respectful and responsible? (Does nagging, reminding and obsessing over our kids homework allow them the space and time to figure it out on their own, or consider their own feelings about kinds of grades they want to get?)

  3. How does it affect my child’s emotional intelligence? (Do we want our child to learn that they only have to follow through when someone is angry and yelling at them?)

  4. How does it impact my child’s long-term development? (Is our demanding or rescuing giving them practice in self-discipline?)

When we approach discipline with an open, curious and kind mind and focus on training, correcting and molding toward moral character we use relationship building tools from our parenting tool box: listening, natural consequences and doing the un-expected. We put aside our habitual tools of yelling, reminding or nagging knowing that those do not bring us closer to our child, they do not teach our child to be responsible or respectful.

Hope to see you next week online!

The New You!

Oh, if only it were so as easy as declaring it on a Post It!

Oh, if only it were so as easy as declaring it on a Post It!

Everyone go to the gym? Did we all 'just say no' to that cocktail we promised ourselves we were giving up? Budget anyone? Bueller, Bueller, anyone Bueller?

Turns out we are still our same old selves on January 2nd as we were on Dec 31st. Unfortunately, just as we can't nag, shame, or yell our kids into being different, we can't nag, shame ourselves into our being different either.

Here are a five ideas to keep us realistic as we change, modify, exchange habits that no longer serve us.

1. Add, don't subtract. Instead of thinking, "I'm eliminating cheese!" Think, "I'm adding in guacamole and hummus."

2. 5% is better. Do not minimize tiny, incremental steps. "I wanted to yell every morning at the children to get up, I spoke in a normal voice that one morning. Gee that felt good."

3. It's all about the re-boot. Kitchen counters, front hallways, coat closets, shoe bins, kids cubbies need to be emptied, sorted and 'put to rights' FREQUENTLY. Do not stop because it didn't "STAY ORGANIZED". PEOPLE! Organizing is like sit-ups, you can't do them once and be slender and svelte. 

4. Date your problems. Read, Buy it a Drink!

5. You are still you, they are still them, even if it's 2018. Sit down and ponder that one!

Below are links to a few other posts to keep you thinking, inspired and encouraged about the same old, and yet improved and fantastic 2018 YOU!

This IS Tomorrow

Who Do I Need to Be?

Five Steps to Getting SERIOUSLY Organized this Year

New Years Resolutions

If you like this Nifty Tip, please forward to a friend, share on Facebook or Twitter! (see Share button below).

Follow me on Twitter: @BalancingAct_DC, https://twitter.com/BalancingAct_DC

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Baby It’s Cluttered Inside . . . . I Really Can’t Stay . . .

Where is YOUR junk drawer (closet, garage, attic, basement . . . )

Where is YOUR junk drawer (closet, garage, attic, basement . . . )

Right before the holidays is the perfect time to de-clutter, purge and get your house in order.  I hear you people, “Paige, we are too busy. Paige (whining voice, yes adults whine just as much as children), I haven’t even BEEN shopping, I have to do holiday cards. Paige, I don’t wanna!”   

1.     Hardly anyone wants to de-clutter, don’t wait for inspiration.  Please re-read The Most Exciting Nifty Tip . . . . Possibly . . . Ever.

2. Inspiration will come WHILE you are de-cluttering, NOT before.

3. The time compression will HELP you not HARM you.  If you have to clean out that closet in 30 minutes you will spend a lot less time thinking about, considering, weighing options, and making perfect choices. 

4. Interacting with all your stuff, all your spouses stuff, all your kids stuff will inform your holiday shopping.  If you like hanging it up, picking it up, stepping on it, containing it . . . well then, you will buy more.  If all that bugs you . . . . well . . . you shall re-consider stuff as gifts.  Check out Fly Lady for clutter free gift giving inspiration.

5. We are entering the stay indoors part of the year.  Remember school holidays, snow days, and sick days are upon us.  Won’t you be nicer to your kids, to your spouse, to yourself if your home is more orderly and de-cluttered?



5 Things To Get READY for the Holidays!

Oh geez Lousie, it's coming . . . .

Oh geez Lousie, it's coming . . . .

1. Buy some gift cards TODAY. We KNOW we will have that last minute gift we have to give. Have a stack of easy, peasy goodies ready to go.

2. Buy a few bottles of 'good enough' wine. You don't want to go empty handed, you don't want to have to run out all season and the the wine for the hostess gift. 

3. Create a budget - you'll be glad you did. Sale items can get us into just as much credit card trouble as full price items bought with cash.

4. Start freezing shit. Double your Cincinnati Chili (recipe below!), make cookie dough and freeze it in little balls to be whipped out and bake later.

5. Plan some self-care. An afternoon at a movie YOU want to see, a housekeeper to come before the guests arrive, massage, yoga, sleeping in. Ain't nobody happy if Mama (or Papa) ain't happy.

Pseudo Cincinnati Chili (from SavingDinner.com)

Cook’s note: For five-way chili, sprinkle raw diced onions on top.

8 ounces thin spaghetti

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 pound ground beef (93 percent lean)

1 large onion (for 1 cup chopped)

1 large green bell pepper (for 11/2 cups chopped)

2 small cans (8-ounces each) tomato sauce

2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

cayenne pepper to taste, optional

salt to taste, optional

1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans

1/4 cup already-shredded sharp cheddar cheese

 

1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts of unsalted water to a boil in a 4 1/2 -quart Dutch oven or soup pot. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the spaghetti and cook until tender, 7 to 9 minutes.

 

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil on high heat just until hot. Using your fingers, crumble the ground beef into the skillet. Immediately wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap and hot water. Peel and coarsely chop the onion, adding it to the skillet as you chop. Stir the meat occasionally. Rinse and seed the bell pepper and cut it into 1/4-inch dice. Add it to the skillet.

 

3. Cook, stirring frequently, until the ground beef is finely crumbled and completely browned, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium.

 

4. Add the tomato sauce, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Stir to mix well. Reduce the heat to simmer, and continue to cook, stirring from time to time, until the pasta is done. Season with cayenne pepper and salt, to taste, if desired. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the beans, and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a paper towel and microwave 1 minute on high or until heated through.

 

5. To serve, divide the drained spaghetti among 4 serving bowls. Top each serving with chili, 1/2 cup kidney beans and 1 tablespoon shredded cheese. 

 

Serve at once. Serves 4