Saturday, August 30, 2014

Do you have gumption?

Friday, August 29, 2014

PERFECT appetizer for Labor day picnic

Looking for an awesome and refreshing appetizer to bring to a picnic this weekend?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Terrific Tuesday: Living with Intention..why you shouldn't be ignoring stress

Is life stressing you out?

I don't think you can go one day without seeing a post on Facebook telling you to enjoy EVERY single second of parenting and live in the moment.  If you haven't already read it, Glennon from Momastery wrote an awesome article a few years ago called Don't Carpe Diem(click on the link to read!)  In this post, she freely admits that "as much as she loves her children, her favorite part of the day is when they are asleep and she cuddles in her husbands arms".  I think it's safe to say that the whole world took a deep breath when they read that and thought, "Ahhh....maybe it's OK that I don't like parenting all the time.  Maybe I'm not ruining my child's life because I get frustrated."  I love that she brings us back to reality and tells us that it's OK to not enjoy every minute of being a parent.  But all this talk about living in the present got me often should we live in the present? Could living in the present actually be hurting us?

While living in the present is great advice,
we need to be careful about what we're ignoring.  
I want to talk about the dangers of living in the present and not thinking about the future.  How many of us excuse harmful behaviors (toward ourselves or others) because "we only live once" or "there may not be a tomorrow!'  How many of us are ignoring our child's continuous defiant behavior instead of making a change as parents?  How many of us are ignoring a family member instead of confronting them about something that bothered us?  How many of us say that we're going to go on a diet tomorrow and just throw on stretchier pants today?  How many of us are going through the Starbucks drive through instead of paying back our debts? 

When we're feeling stressed, guilty, or worried about's usually for a reason and ignoring it isn't going to solve the problem.

What I'm trying to say is something today that you will thank yourself for tomorrow.  LIVE INTENTIONALLY! Don't ignore your stress or guilt.  If you're feeling guilty about how you've hurt someone, pick up the phone and talk to them.  SAY SORRY which will allow you to let it go. If you're feeling stressed about money, make a plan to create a more abundant life.  If you're stressed about your health, try a new plan and surround yourself with people who share the same values as you.  
Stop looking at gossip and pictures on Facebook and start making things happen!  
Stop making excuses and live the life that you were meant to live.  

Instead of living in the moment, live with intention.

Want to know more about living with intention?
Watch my video about gumption below!

Sunday, August 24, 2014


So sorry for the absence this week! I was on a brief vaca and decided to unplug for a few days! Pics to follow!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Terrific Tuesday: Prayer for my daughter's teacher

Dear God,
 I ask that you give my daughter's teacher the strength to teach a classroom full of excited children.  
I ask that you give her/him the patience when she is asked the same question over and over again.  
I ask that you give her/him the creativity to make learning fun and be able to problem solve issues that come up in the classroom.  
I ask that you give her/him the ability to ask for help when teaching 15 kids with different needs becomes overwhelming.  
I ask that you give her/him a sense of humor when the lesson plans don't go the way they were intended.  
I ask that you give her/him the ability to get down on my child's level or pull op a chair next to her and see her beautiful soul . 
I ask that you give her/him the ability to set rules and be consistent in the classroom.
I ask that you give her/him a safe environment where she can focus on the children without worrying about intruders.
I ask that you give her/him the opportunity to see what a difference he/she can make in my child's life. 
Most importantly, I ask that you help her/him to understand my child's needs and see her true potential.  


Monday, August 18, 2014

Motivational Monday: 12 Habits of Happy Parents

I'm inclined to think that happy parents raise happy kids.  While there are many reasons why someone may or may not be happy in general (depression, bad marriage, unhappy in career, etc.) there are certain habits that create more security, love, and trust...which ultimately leads to happiness.  Here are a few habits that I have found from happy parents.

1.  Get down on the floor.  When you see the world through your child's eyes, you will begin to feel more comfortable as a parent and they will feel more comfortable with you.  Kneel down, sit down, or even lay down with them.

2.  Turn off electronics.  Some families unplug everyday during certain hours, other families require no phones at the dinner table or after a certain time in the evening-whatever rules you set, make sure that you as a parent are no exception.  Unplug every day.  You will be happier knowing that the time you spent with your kids was TRULY uninterrupted "quality time" and they will know that there are times when nothing in the world matters more than them.

3.  Family dinner at the dinner table.  (This one coincides with the no electronic rule.)  Sit together every night so you can look in each other's eyes and hear about each other's days.  If dinner time is a struggle in your house, check out my tips for having a great family dinner.

4.  Play together.  It seems to me that so many parents don't know how to play anymore (or else they forget what games they enjoyed as a child).  Take time to really think about what you enjoyed as a child and introduce your kids to something you like.  If playing still sounds like torture, check out these ideas for clever ways to have fun with your family.

5.  Exercise.  I don't think I need to explain this one! Everyone knows by now that your brain secretes more serotonin when you excercise, right? C'mon people, get movin'! Can't find time to exercise? Check out this video..

6.  Watch shows or movies together.  If the thought of watching an entire Calliou show all the way through makes you want to punch yourself in the face, you're not alone.  But remember that children like to enjoy things with someone (just like we do).  Think about how much you enjoy laughing with someone else while watching a movie or watching sports.  Step inside your kids world and ask them questions about the show that interests them.

7.  Take time for yourself. Whether you go for a run, have coffee with friends, or just tell your children that you need a half hour of alone time-take care of YOU.  Think about why the flight attendants on airplanes always say to "put the oxygen mask on you first".  You will be no good to others if you aren't taking care of you.

8.  Say I love you.  We all need to be loved and we we need to hear it from our family members OFTEN.  Tell your kids you love them and how special they are to you every day. Also, tell them WHY you love them.  Not just because they are your child but because there is no one in the world like them...that makes them special.

9.  Focus more on what your child does RIGHT than what they do wrong.  Children want to be loved...and liked.  Particularly, they want to be liked by their parents.  If they feel like they are a pain in their parents butt, then they aren't going to be happy (and you probably won't be either!).  If you find yourself trying to improve them all the time then they will probably be resentful.

10.  Say no...and mean it.  Healthy boundaries are so important to protect not only YOUR sanity but also your child's sanity.  If you say no and then give in- your child will feel confusion about when you really mean it and when they should push you to your limits.  Life is easier for them (and you) when they know that you mean what you say and you say what you mean.

11.  Show affection.  Maybe your child says that he doesn't want your kisses ("ew, mom, I'm too old for that mushy stuff!")  Try challenging them to an arm wrestling competition or beat them in a thumb war.'re still holding hands, right?!

12.  Laugh..I don't mean a little giggle...I mean LAUGH every day!  Let your hair down and get silly.  If you don't think you're funny (or can't find the humor in things)  search for funny videos, shows, or funny jokes online.  Our family enjoys watching America's Funniest Home Videos together.  The saying "laughter is the best medicine" really is true.

I have to admit, I'm going through a bit of a funk myself right now and really had to do some research and think outside the box to see what happy people are doing every day. Let's face it.  Not every day is happy when you're a parent....and that's O.K.  Actually more days are challenging than are blissful.  But if you want to be a happy parent overall, then try to change some behaviors I mentioned above that will encourage a simpler, happier lifestyle.  Psychologists say that habits are created after 21 days of daily repetition so why no give one or 2 of these habits a try and see if it makes a difference in your life? Couldn't we all use a dose of HAPPY?

Follow the Motivation Monday Hosts

Barb of A Life in Balance

Mitzi of Written Reality

Lauryn of The Vintage Mom

Katie of Mom Favorites

Marie of Normal Everyday Life

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs

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Barb - A Life in Balance

1. How to Freeze Green Peppers | NEPA Mom 2. 12 Ways to Add Some Adventure to Your Marriage | Calm Sexy Healthy

Lauryn- A Vintage Mom

3. 100 Lunch Box Notes and Jokes | Coconut Head Survival Guide 4. Food Swap What Is It and How Does it Work| The Homesteading Hippy

Mitzi- Written Reality

5. Strawberry Peach Popsicles | Home.Made.Interest 6. Simple Felt Needle Case| Sum of Their Stories

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs

7. Chicken Pineapple Kabobs – Recipe for your Grill | Frugal Coupon Living 8. Homestead Inspiration | Letters from Sunnybrook

Katie- Mom Favorites

9. Why I Eat More Arugula | Homestead Mania 10. Watermelon Salsa | Daily Leisure

Marie - Normal Everyday Life

11. Fresh and Easy Avocado Corn Salsa Recipe | Little House Living 12. Mom, Your Wrinkles Matter, They Tell Your Story | The Giles Frontier

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lum Lum Toy review

*Lum Lum sent us this toy to review but this was not a paid review.  The opinions expressed were completely honest and authentic.

Friday, August 15, 2014

I'm not a morning person?!

I used to always say, "I'm not a morning person."
I don't say that anymore.
One day while I was in my karate class I learned a valuable lesson.  My sensei explained to me why he always made the kids jump up and down before the kids practice their katas.  Katas are the art form of karate which is not the most popular part of the class.  In an effort to change the attitude about katas, he decided to present them differently.  He would say "It's kata time!!!" (with great excitement) then the kids knew to respond by jumping up and down and saying "oh boy Sir!!"  Basically, he changed the children's mindset from dreading katas to being excited about katas simply by changing the presentation.  This got me thinking, why was I telling myself (and others) that I wasn't a morning person? Was I sabotaging myself? Isn't that a crappy way to start my day?

Here's how I changed my attitude about being a morning person..

1.  I stopped telling myself "I'm not a morning person" Could it be that simple?  The most successful smoking cessation programs ask people to think of themselves as non smokers.  The same thing can be applied to any negative habits including waking up happy. If you stop telling yourself "your not a morning person" then you will start feeling happier.
2.  I started filling my mind with happy and inspirational thoughts (instead of Facebook gossip).  There was a study done at Harvard that proved that you can cure depression by having people stare in a mirror several times and day while simply smiling.  What does this mean?  Could it be that simple that smiling and gratitude can cure depression?! I believe that to be true.  So if it can cure depression than it can definitely cure your morning grouchiness.  Feed your soul in the morning with good stuff.  I  love to listen to the 5am Miracle Podcast by Jeff Sanders or  the Jess Lively Show for uplifting ideas and topics. If you haven't checked it out I strongly recommend you do!  Even if those podcasters don't speak to you, search Google for popular podcasts and find something that speaks to you!
2.  I started doing at least 5 minutes of prayer or meditation daily.
3.  I started waking up earlier.
4.  I started drinking a glass of water in the morning.  After hearing several successful people talk about drinking water first thing in the morning I decided it must work.  I will eventually drop my coffee habit but for now I'm starting with a glass of water before coffee in order to stay hydrated.
4.  I started a Gratitude list.  It was hard at first but now I can say that I find myself being grateful so often about so many things around me.  This habit has made me so much more resilient and successful in my life.
5.  I started doing affirmations.  I posted 3 signs around my house saying something positive like, "You're beautiful!", "You're a child of God. You're not alone." or post a LIST of 5 things that are great in your life.  Here's mine.  This really got me through my divorce and I'm willing to bet it would help you too!

Looking for more ideas about creating an amazing life?  I think you would love this video post...
The best game of gratitude for families.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What can we learn from the death of an icon? Great video!

I'm just like everyone else today, staring at the pictures and watching videos of Robin Williams wondering why? How?  How could the person that made the whole world smile and laugh uncontrollably be so sad?  
It just doesn't make sense.
Suddenly, this famous, amazing celebrity seems just like you and me.  He was hurting.  He was vulnerable.  He didn't feel valued.  How can that be?  In so many ways, he was just like you and me...trying to make sense of this crazy world.

I grew up in the 80's and I remember crying and laughing while watching many of his great movies.  Mrs. Doubtfire was my favorite.  Most of his movies had you believing that he really was the part that he played.  
Now, with this tragic twist, we see someone who made everyone else happy end his own life.  It's so hard to comprehend.  
It makes us think about our own lives and the people we love.  Who do we know that is hurting so badly and so afraid to let anyone know?  It might also make us think about times when we thought we were worthless ourselves.
To me, comedy seems like a great healthy tool to deal with sadness...but why wasn't it enough? 
What was missing in his life? 

The part that is really hard for me to understand is that he WAS reaching out for help and it wasn't enough.  If ROBIN WILLIAMS wasn't able to find the best damn psychologists, psychiatrists, and rehabs to help him out of his depression, what about all the other people fighting this war?  Where do they turn for help?

I have battled depression myself many times throughout my life.  In fact, I was first diagnosed and started anti depressants at age 12.  Since then, I have been on and off anti depressants many times throughout my life as well as having seen many therapists.  Some of the worst times were after my children were born and when I was going through a divorce.  Fortunately, I have always been able to get the help I needed.

If you know me well enough than you know that I always look for the silver lining, even in tragedy.  I believe that this tragedy will bring awareness regarding depression and suicide.  Maybe not only save lives but also create a better life for people that are hurting.  I believe that even in Robin's death he will help people by allowing them to realize that they are not alone.  If the funniest, most talented man in the world can feel like he isn't worthy of living, then it may allow people to see that they aren't alone and what they are feeling may not be a reality.  It may make them see that death is a long term solution to a short term problem.  My hope is that it encourages people to reach out for help and  remind them that they are put on this earth because they are worthy and amazing.  

But finally, I found something that really makes sense to me...check out this video..
awesome video about depression

Monday, August 11, 2014


stuffed french toast It is a pleasure to guest post for Tickles and Timeouts.  The start of the school year is fast approaching and the first day is always so special...

Let's face it, there are days when we don't always give our kids a good breakfast (you know the days when we throw the kids a granola bar as they are running out the door) but the first day of school is always special and deserves a YUMMY breakfast!

This is always a hit for my family! We like to try variations with the stuffing. Peach is really good. It would also be great with cherry, apple, banana or chocolate chips. Why not pull up a chair and let the kids help you make it. They do great sprinkling the blueberries in and helping to seal the slices. stuffed french toast Ingredients: thick sliced bread (I used Pepperidge Farm’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread) 1 (8 oz. pkg) cream cheese 4 egg ¼ cup half and half or heavy cream 1 pint of blueberries 1 cup powdered sugar 4 T. butter 1 T. maple syrup Serve with fresh blueberries, maple syrup and confectioner’s sugar. stuffed french toast Preheat a cast iron pan to medium. stuffed french toast Next beat the cream cheese with a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Add a teaspoon of maple syrup. Set aside. Wash fresh blueberries. Drain well. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Gradually add in the cream. Set aside. stuffed french toast Take one slice of bread, generously spread the cream cheese mixture on one side. Add a handful of blueberries. stuffed french toast Be sure to leave a border around the outside to seal the slices. Carefully, press another slice of bread on top. The cream cheese acts like glue to hold everything together. Press all sides closed. Prep the rest of the stuffed french toast and place on a plate. stuffed french toast stuffed french toast Add butter to pan. When butter is melted, begin by dipping each stuffed french toast into the egg mixture. Allow each piece to soak for at least 10 seconds. Then cook for about 4 minutes on each side. 2014-06-02_0013 stuffed french toast stuffed french toast Happy Cooking! Kate All images taken by Kate Mazzi Photography

Stuffed French Toast with cream cheese and blueberries
Recipe Type: dinner, breakfast
Author: Kate Mazzi
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3.5
Delicious french toast with a sweet creamy cheese and blueberry filling that just melts in you mouth
  • 1 loaf of thick sliced bread (I used Pepperidge Farm’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread)
  • 1 (8 oz. pkg) cream cheese
  • 4 egg
  • ¼ cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1 T. maple syrup
  1. Preheat a cast iron pan to medium.
  2. Next beat the cream cheese with a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Add a teaspoon of maple syrup. Set aside.
  3. Wash fresh blueberries. Drain well.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Gradually add in the cream. Set aside.
  5. Take one slice of bread, generously spread the cream cheese mixture on one side. Add a handful of blueberries.
  6. Be sure to leave a border around the outside to seal the slices. Carefully, press another slice of bread on top. The cream cheese acts like glue to hold everything together. Press all sides closed.
  7. Prep the rest of the stuffed french toast and place on a plate.
  8. Add butter to pan. When butter is melted, begin by dipping each stuffed french toast into the egg mixture. Allow each piece to soak for at least 10 seconds. Then cook for about 4 minutes on each side.

Motivational Monday! How to Motivate Your Kids to Have a Rockin' School Year

Back to school is such an exciting time!
It is a time for 
new beginnings, 
new classes,
new experiences
new friendships,
new attitude,
and a new chapter of your child's life.

Going back to school can bring up many feelings for kids-excitement, curiosity, but also fear.  They may wonder what their teachers will be like, where they will sit on the bus, or if the kids will like them.  If your child says that they are nervous about school, you can tell them that being nervous is actually a GOOD thing because it means that they care!
So, how can you channel all these feelings into enthusiasm and excitement?
It's EASY!
1.  Create Goals.  This is especially helpful for older kids but can be used for younger kids in a simpler way.  Younger kids may be excited to learn to read and make new friends while older kids may be motivated to get on honor roll or start a new sport.  What's important is that these goals are your child's goals...not yours. 
2.  Be careful not to focus on their worries too much.  While it's important to allow kids to to express their concerns to you, be careful not to focus on it too much.  The more you talk about their fears, the more they think they really do have something to be fearful about. This is why dog trainers tell dogs "no" when they are scared of a thunderstorm.  If you cater to the dog then the dog will think that they really do need protection from the storm. 
3.  Create a homework station.  Encourage your child to create a space that they can use for completing homework. Check out The Happier Homemaker post about giving a child a desk makeover.  

The important thing is to make it fun but also ask them to think about what setting they can focus best and how they can be most productive while doing homework.

Follow the Motivation Monday Hosts

Barb of A Life in Balance

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Mitzi of Written Reality

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Lauryn of The Vintage Mom

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Katie of Mom Favorites

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Marie of Normal Everyday Life

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Toni of Tickles and Time Outs

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Barb - A Life in Balance

1. Why I miss being a wife | Tickles and Time Outs 2. How We Did Disney on a Dime | Latte Everyday

Mitzi - Written Reality

3. Vidalia Onion Rings | An Alli Event 4. Yellow Squash Cheddar Biscuit Recipe | Little House Living

Lauryn of The Vintage Mom

5. Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe | Cincy Shopper 6. LAUNDRY ROOM INSPIRATION | 702 Park Project

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs

7. Embrace Who Your Children Are | Satisfaction Through Christ 8. Healthy Eating for Picky Eaters | Growing Up Gabel

Katie - Mom Favorites

9. Back to School Checklist | A Girl in Paradise 10. Strawberry Ricotta Bites | Home Cooking Memories

Marie - Normal Everyday Life

11. The Girls' Room : The Big Reveal | The Little Farm Diary 12. Where's the Finish Line? | Days & Thoughts

Friday, August 8, 2014

Top 9 first day of school pictures (and videos)

Looking for awesome ideas for first day of school pictures? 
I got you covered!!

1. Make a clever sign
*I created this cute sign on  
PicMonkey is fun, easy, and free! 

2.  Chalk drawings

3.  Print out a cute sign 
*You can easily download the picture above (with whatever year you chose) at Classy Cutter 

4.  Take a Book bag shot 
(or getting on the school bus!)

5.  Gotta love the funny pics!

6.  Feeling Clever?

*picture taken from

You can also create this awesome pic on PicMonkey as well! Simply take a picture of your child standing next to a blank area (wall, tree, building).  
Don't forget to leave space for writing then upload the pic to PicMonkey and insert your text...easy breezy!

7.  Feeling creative? Take shoe pic!

8.  Purchase a graduation tshirt..

And last but not least...

9. Make an awesome video!

My daughter will give autographs upon request ;)