Archive for September, 2010

1,000 Awesome Things

Cover of "The Book of Awesome: Snow Days,...

Cover via Amazon

Neil Pasricha is a great blogging success story.

Neil started his Webby Award winning blog, 1,000 Awesome Things, to highlight one awesome thing each weekday to help keep himself positive. Three years later, he is now an author. He has published The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket and other Simple, Brilliant Things. He is also writing a page-a-day calendar and meeting with TV producers. 

Of Neil’s recent posts my favorite is #409 Kids who dress themselves. There is nothing that makes me smile more than to see some of the outfits Colby comes up with. The other night he picked out his pajamas and he came downstairs wearing a blue space pajama top and a white tractor pajama bottom. When I complimented his choice he shared with me his inspiration – the top was night and the bottom was day. Of course!


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Growing Pumpkins

A pumpkin stem.

Image via Wikipedia

Jay’s parents grow pumpkins in their garden and Colby recently got to pick two; one for him and one for Sawyer. He picked the biggest one for him and the tallest, skinniest one for Sawyer because it reminded him of his little brother.

At Halloween it is great to have home-grown pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns with. Jay’s Mom also uses the fresh pumpkin to make pies and roasts the pumpkin seeds.

What I found out about growing pumpkins:

Pumpkins are gourds. They grow on vines and need a lot of space. They also need a lot of sunshine and water to stay healthy. For most families, one or two plants would be plenty.

Pumpkins need protection from wind so a sheltered warm spot is the best. Do not plant until you are sure there are not going to be any more frosts and do not plant pumpkin plants too close together. Also, do not plant them too close to potatoes, cucumbers or squash. Watch out for plant attacking slugs and snails.

Pumpkins need to be planted on a mound. If you are starting out with plants rather than seeds, plant in early June. Be sure to pick them before the first frost in the fall.

I told Colby we could plant our own for the first time next June. He does not understand why we can not plant some now. I am afraid he is going to have a long wait.

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How to Meditate

Waves breaking at Porto Covo, west coast of Po...

Image via Wikipedia

I tried meditation for the first time today. Thanks Rachel for showing me how! This is what she taught me:

1. Get comfortable. Find a nice, cozy and quiet spot. Sit down and rest your hands on your lap. When I tried I was sitting on a couch with my feet on the floor.

2. Breath. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breathing. Slowly and deeply inhale with your nose and exhale from your mouth.

3. This is the hardest part – stay present. Whenever your mind starts to wander, try to stop it. When I started thinking about something I would say to myself in my head, “Pay attention to your breathing.” It worked to bring me back to just being.

4. Start small. Since today was my first time I tried it for three minutes and had a timer go off when the time was done. You will be surprised how long three minutes can feel when you have never done something before.

Now that I know how, I just need to find a quiet time during my day so I can keep practicing. Not a simple challenge, but definitely a worth-while one.

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Stuffed Peppers

Image via Wikipedia

This past weekend was Colby’s birthday party, which was a lot of fun. After eating pizza and cupcakes for a couple of days straight though, it has renewed my interest in meal planning. Not just meal planning, but healthy meal planning while on a tight budget. Here is what I came up with for this week: 

Monday – Roasted chicken, whole wheat pasta, frozen vegetable
Tuesday – Whole wheat pasta, olives, cucumber, feta cheese & vinaigrette
Wednesday – Stuffed peppers with quinoa
Thursday – Steak and sweet potatoes
Friday – Turkey chili with corn bread
Saturday – Baked potatoes topped with leftover chili
Sunday – Grilled sandwiches, sliced carrots & celery with dressing 

For snacks I am buying granola bars, bananas and yogurt. Lunches will mostly be leftovers from the night before, but I will pick up some whole wheat bread, cold cuts and cheese too. Other staples I need to get are eggs, milk, cereal, pita chips and orange juice. 

Any suggestions for me for meals for next week? 

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How to Be Strong

The other day someone told me they thought I was strong and brave. After I stopped laughing, I started wondering what that even means.

To me being strong means being able to get through and cope after stressful situations. It means having the ability to carry on no matter what.

Tips for Being Strong

  • Do whatever you need to do in order to feel in control. When there are things that are out of your control, there are always some things that are.
  • Keep a positive attitude no matter what. Sometimes it is really hard to do, but it always helps.
  • Have confidence in yourself. Even if you do not really have it, “fake it to make it.”
  • Chose your battles. Decide which issues are most important to you and which fights are worth your energy.
  • Spend as much time with your family and friends as possible. Their relationships make you a stronger person.
  • Lastly, be grateful for what you have. Remember that no matter how bad you think you have it, someone else always has it worse.

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Feng Shui for Families

Feng shui symbol

Image via Wikipedia

Feng shui has seen an increase in popularity in the United States. According to Wikipedia, it is defined as the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help improve life by receiving positive qi (pronounced chi.)

The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings – often spiritual centers but also homes. Placement on a site is determined by things such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass.


  • Feng shui places a big importance on the center of your place, calling it the Heart of the Home. Keeping it clean and clutter-free is a must for a harmonious home. I wonder what it means that our stairs down to our basement are right in the center of our house.
  • In feng shui terms each area of your house is connected to a specific area of your life. For example, east feng shui area of your home is responsible for the energy of health and family while southwest area is connected to the energy of love relationships and marriage. I drew a map of our house – in our east area is our living room and play-room and the southwest area is our dining room and master bedroom. I guess our house’s feng shui is not so bad.
  • Have many happy images of your family throughout your house, especially in the living room, kitchen and dining room, as well as the East feng shui area of your home.
  • Apply feng shui in your bedroom, as well as your childrens’ rooms.
  • Use harmonious colors throughout.
  • Be mindful about the EMF levels in your home from computers, cell phones, etc.
  • Use candles to bring calm and balance into your space. I always light a candle right before I do the dishes and it seems to calm me, but I never knew why.

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Chapter Books

Cover of "It's Halloween, You 'Fraidy Mou...

Cover via Amazon

Colby has started to really enjoy reading chapter books. We read a chapter a night together. At first I was afraid they would not keep his attention, but he is always very excited to find out what is going to happen next.

So far we have read books from the series Magic Tree House and Geronimo Stilton. Right now we are reading Geronimo Stilton’s It’s Halloween, You ‘Fraidy Mouse! Someone suggested we try the Moongobble series next.

I have to say, I have been enjoying reading these types of books more than Colby’s picture books. They keep me interested and are bringing me back to my Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High days.

Colby also likes to listen to stories being read on CD on his way to school in the morning. Hopefully all this will help him grow up enjoying books as much as Jay and I do.

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