Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 Tips on Making the Most of your Thanksgiving Holiday

When you think of Thanksgiving, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Food right? Well at least for most people, that's always the major concern, cooking or eating. But Thanksgiving is so much more than just the food. Here are 5 tips on making the most of your Thanksgiving Holiday.

1. Spend time with God. Although this is something we should be doing everyday, if you don't, you should at least do it on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is about being grateful for all that we have. So who's most deserving of our appreciation. God. Sometimes we're so busy cooking and eating that we spend less than 2 minutes with God(which is the prayer before we eat the food). And it's sad. When you wake up pray, have a Thanksgiving devotion with the family, read the bible together, sing praise & worship songs, and/or go to church. Bottom-line, spend time with God.

2. Spend time with family and friends, especially your extended family. It's not everyday we spend quality time with our extended family and friends. Sometimes we don't even get along with some of them. But Thanksgiving is a great day to catch up over a nice plate of food, and yummy drinks. Whether or not our family and friends are the best or they're complete jerks, they're our family; they're our friends. And at the end of the day, we love them and wouldn't wish anything bad on them, at least I hope not. So spend a few minutes/hours socializing with them.

3. Cook your favorite foods that usually comes out good. This would have to be my biggest problem on Thanksgiving. On a normal day, it takes me less than an hour to prepare lunch/dinner. But on Thanksgiving, I wanna be fancy and cook something new, and it takes me forever! That's not even the worse part. After I spend what seems to be the entire day cooking, it ends up being a disaster, or not coming out the way I wanted it to. On that note, cook the things you are good at, foods that are simple, and foods that won't take you forever to prepare. One meat, one starch, veggies, and a dessert. Keep it simple, or don't cook at all. There will be lots of places with free food. If you do decide to cook, here are some simple recipes that you can try.

4. Shop online on Black Friday, but go to the stores for fun. You can find a lot of great deals online, so why get our of bed earlier than needed to go shopping along with countless others, standing in a long line, for what isn't even that big of a deal. Don't get me wrong, sometimes there are some good door busters, but then I see people buying stuff that's not much of a deal, just because it's Black Friday. Please don't do that. Make sure you're buying things that are great deals.

5. Exercise. Bet you didn't see that coming. Or maybe you did. But anyways, exercise. Yes it's the holidays, and you might be feeling lazier than usual. But after stuffing your mouth with a little too much of everything, the least you can do is walk a mile or 30 minutes cardio. Get that exercise in. Burn some calories.

That's it! I just wanted to take this time to say, I love you all and I'm absolutely grateful for all of you who follow me on social media, visit my blog everyday, and actually read and/or take time to comment. Y'all are awesome and thank you so much!

What are you most thankful for? Let me know, by commenting below. Have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

Peace and Love.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

3 Things To Do When Your Children Frustrates You
You went through nine months of continuous body changes. We're talking about stretch marks, skin discolorations, acne, not being able to recognize yourself in the mirror, swollen feet, additional pounds, and so much more, only to have it ended by excruciating labor pains. Not forgetting, the Mamas who had C-sections after going through labor pains(the worst). Bottom-line, it was bad, but bearable. Hence the reason, you would do it all over again, or you probably have.

It doesn't end there! You give birth to a precious little baby, that has similar features of your own and that of the person you love. You enjoy smelling them, and kissing their little toezies. Heck, you said hell with your career, and quit your job to be with them. You even breastfed for what seemed like forever, even when you were tired of feeling like a cow. You did it! You did it for them. You did it, because you love them, and want them to have the best, and be the best that they can be.

You couldn't wait until they could walk. You couldn't wait until they could talk. Finally they reach the age where they can walk, and they can talk, and these four words exit their mouth.
"I don't love Mommy." Better yet, you tell them to do something and they say, "No!" It doesn't end, no, no, there's more.
Because you're the one that has to do most of everything(including disciplinary actions), you end up being the 'bad guy'. While dear Dad is the superhero! And it gets worst, Superhero then decides to say, "The kids are the way they are because of you."  Why? Well because you spend the most time with them of course. Oh yea.... that's right. I taught my child to say they don't love me, and sure, I taught my child to be disobedient and disrespectful. "Good job me", says my sarcasm at it's best.

You can feel my frustration, right? If you're reading this you've probably been there, you're right there, right now, or you might be in the future. While your frustration can lead to anger, don't allow it to. Here are three things to do when your children frustrates you.

1. Identify what's causing your frustration. For most of us, it's because we want our children to behave a certain way, say certain things, and then they don't. Our failed expectations, or lack of control, leads us to feeling frustrated.

What To Do: Instead of focusing on what you can't control, focus on what you can control. We may not be able to control our children's behaviors, words, and emotions, but what we can control are the causes and the effects of them. The causes are the things that leads our children to behave a certain way, that we agree/disagree with. The effects are our reactions and the consequences for their inappropriate/appropriate actions. Don't ever allow your children to be disobedient and disrespectful to you. Calm yourself down first. Then discipline your children. Help them to learn, there are consequences for everything, good or bad. Reward and praise them when they do things correctly, and don't dwell on the bad things.

2. Confess that your expectations of your children are a little over-the-top. What are your expectations for your children? Do you want them to be obedient and respectful to you at all times? Do you expect your baby to not cry? Do you expect your toddler to eat without making a mess? Do you expect a 4 year old to do everything independently? Do you say things like, he/she knows better(a 3 year old)? Do you think they should be an example for their younger siblings? Do you expect your teenager to not find the opposite sex interesting? Confess your expectations of them to yourself. And think about it. Are they realistic?

What to Do: Have realistic expectations, or have none at all. Although we may not want to admit it sometimes, but our children are a reflection of ourselves. Just like you won't agree with them every time, your child won't agree with you every time. Just like you say hurtful things sometimes, your child might say hurtful things to you sometimes. We can expect the best, but at the end of the day, your child has a mind of their own, and will ultimately make their own decisions.

Sometimes we are so impatient with our children, and fail to realize everything is a process. We expect them to learn things and do things in one-shot. When we know, we didn't. Be patient with your children, the same way you expect God to be patient with you(2 Peter 3:9). Sometimes we want things instantly, and maybe society made us this way(instant oatmeal, drive-thru, microwaves. Etc), but everything is seedtime(calls for patience), and harvest(Genesis 8:22). Plant a good seed in their lives, give it time, and it will harvest.

3. Ask yourself, "Am I praying enough?" Well are you? Sometimes we try to do everything on our own. When we become overwhelmed and frustrated, we wonder why. The bible says, we have not, because we ask not.

What to do: Ask. You have to be specific, but go ahead and ask God for help with your children, and for yourself (Luke 11:9-13). In addition, speak life over your children and over yourself. "Life and death are in the power of the tongue," so speak life. You can't take back your words, therefore think before you speak. Don't say things that can potentially hinder your children for the rest of their lives (e.g. "You are a very disgusting little child" instead say "You are the most well behaved child in Jesus name"). With God all things are possible. Make positive affirmations, even when it seems impossible or non-existent. Remain positive, especially through the toughest times, because that's when it matters most.

Yes, we went through a lot to have our beautiful children. Yes, we want them to be the best person they can possibly be. Yes, they will frustrate us sometimes and that's okay. If you don't know the truth about people,← click the link. Children are people too. We have to be the parents that God wants us to be. We have to be that example, that we may not have had, and that our children need.

Our goal as parents is to train our children. But we cannot effectively train them, if we can't even train ourselves. Don't focus on the things your children are doing wrong, or the things they should be doing right. I know it's hard, I'm right there with you. Be patient with them, stay positive, and have faith that God will work it out.

I hope this helps.

What led to your frustration with your child/children?
Let's have a heart to heart in the comments below.

Peace and Love.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

10 Things Every Dieter Needs

Ever since I've started dieting, I'm always researching things I should be eating more often, and things I should avoid. Yes, I have stolen a cookie from the cookie jar, but I also exercise and eat most of the things that my body truly needs. And so will you. What I've noticed with dieting, the more things you have at home to eat, the easier it is to stick to your diet. Eating out usually leads to eating too much, or eating things that should be avoided. With no further delays, here are the ten things every dieter needs at home.

1. Fruits
What's a diet without fruits right? Having a variety of fruits keeps it interesting. My favorites are bananas, grapes, kiwis, apples, blueberries, and pineapples.

2. Vegetables
Vegetables are good for you, eat it, and make it fun to eat. There are so many recipes online for almost every vegetable. Also some vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas are good starch substitutes for white rice, pasta..etc.

3. Snacks
Dieting recommends you to eat smaller portions more often. In between meals, snacking helps to avoid feeling hungry. Getting some healthy organic snack options like plain yogurts, nuts, and snack bars are a must. Of course, you can snack on fruits and vegetables, like baby carrots, and any of your favorites. Also I recently sampled Naturebox, and they're pretty good. I loved the coconut cashew, and my 3 year old did too. If you don't have the money for it, there are many other healthy, affordable snack options out there.

4. Proteins
Proteins are a must. I'm a healthy meat eater. Small portions of meat is key. If you're like me, you like to switch up your protein options, right? Well, always keep a variety of proteins in your refrigerator. My favorite protein options are beans(lentils, black beans,& black-eyed peas), tofu, fish(salmon, tuna, sardines, & kingfish), peanut butter, and other meats(chicken & beef). I make a mean bean patty with this recipe. You can use any bean, but the darker bean, the healthier it is.

5. Extra Virgin Olive oil
I try to avoid fried foods as much as possible. So when I do want to fry something, olive oil is a healthier option. It is kinda thick so a little goes a long way. I use it to dress my salads, pan sear my meats, and bake meats, potatoes, etc.

6. 100% whole wheat anything
Get rid of anything white in your pantry. Replace that white bread, white rice, sugary cereals with brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread, and whole wheat or whole grain cereals. You can even buy wheat germs and add it to your smoothies, snacks, and anything else that you eat.

7. Greens
Every time someone says they're on a diet, chances are they are eating salads more than usual. Having greens such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, brussels sprouts, and kale are some great options. You can eat them as a salad, in a sandwich, or added to a smoothie. The darker the greens, the better.

8. Natural Sweeteners
If you're like me, sweet treats are your enemy. Replace white sugar with honey, molasses, or brown sugar. And for those days when you're craving something sweet, dark chocolate is the business. And it's actually good for you. At the end of the day, sugar is sugar. Too much of it is still bad, whether it's natural or not. Avoid it as much as possible, and always use it in moderation. Less is better.

9. Milk
I drink any kind of milk, but I LOVE almond milk. Milk is a good source of calcium, along with other essential benefits. You know what they say, for strong bones & teeth, drink milk.

10. 100% Juice
I use to drink sodas, and other juices that were not 100% juice. Now that I am on a diet, it's amazing how many "juices" have a small percentage of real juice, and lots of artificial flavors. Read the labels of everything you buy. Make sure that it's 100% juice. Juice is naturally sweet, so of course, drinking too much juice is also bad. I try to drink 1/2 cup of juice per day, or none at all. Remember to drink lots of water daily. Find out how much water you should be drinking a day.

A common misconception, is that dieting is only for people that are trying to lose weight. While in some cases this is true, being on a diet is a lifestyle. Dieting is beneficial to maintaining a healthy body overall. Think about it. When someone is trying to lose weight, they decide to go on a diet, and maintain an exercise routine. After they lose the weight, don't they eat the same way they did when they were on a diet? Chances are they do. Especially if they want to keep the weight off and remain fit.

Set realistic goals when dieting. You can't avoid everything all at once. It is a process. Moderation is key. Too much of anything is bad. Dieting is a challenge, but well worth it. Your body is a reflection of what you put in it. So put healthy things in, and it will show in the appearance of your skin, and the overall look of your body. Do you need help with the recommended daily intake of each food groups? ← Click the link. Whether or not you are on a diet, these are things you should be eating anyways. The word "dieting" can have a negative connotation(e.g. restrictions, limitations. etc.) for some people. Instead of saying "I'm on a dieting", say "I'm eating healthy". It's the same thing.

I hope this helps! I've opened up with you, now it's your turn.

What are some of your dieting/eating healthy challenges?
 Are sweet treats your enemy as well?
Let's have a heart to heart in the comments below.

Peace & Love.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

7 Things That Change After Having Children

Almost every woman dreams of having their own child/children someday. I remembered wanting ten children. However, as time passed, that number has drastically dwindled down. They say that having children will change your life. They talked about how precious they are, and how you would just want to kiss their toes and cheeks forever. And while these things are true, there are so much more to children, than just being the little precious gems that they are. So let me fill you in, incase you don't already know. Here are the top seven changes after having children.

Your Body

You and I can both agree that your body will definitely change after having a child. A woman carries a baby for nine months, gains weight every week, eats for two everyday, and every part of  her body stretches to accommodate the adorable growing baby inside her. After she gives birth, her body takes quite sometime to go back to it's previous state. But most times, it doesn't always. Celebrities do not always give the realistic image, of what your body may look like after pregnancy. Some women get darker, while others get lighter. Some women gain more weight, while others lose weight. You might end up with bigger boobs, you might end up with smaller boobs. You might end up with stretch marks, a muffin top, belly wrinkles, wider/smaller hips, and the list goes on. The bottom-line is, some of the body changes are great, but others may take some getting use to. But whatever the changes are good/bad, they are a reminder of what our bodies endured to give birth to our precious blessings from above.

Tip: Get in shape before getting pregnant. After having the baby, maintain a weekly exercise routine.

Your Finances

Do you remember going to a store and being able to buy whatever you want, without any guilt at the back of your mind? Well guess what, after having children, money becomes a big deal. You may have less of it, so you don't want to spend too much of it. All of a sudden you find yourself budgeting, couponing, frugal shopping, driving less, and doing any and everything to help you save money. Which is a good thing. Children are expensive, but affordable. The smarter you are with money, the better.

Tip: Before having children, make sure that you are financially ready. Always have a budget, and try your best to be debt free.

Your Sleep

When you were younger, staying up late was fun. But after having children, sleep will be a friend that you don't see quite often, even if you wanted to. Whether it's waking up at wee hours of the night to check on the kids, or waking up to a crying baby at 5AM everyday, or just getting things done while they're sleeping. Lack of sleep will seem to be inevitable.

Tip: Develop a bedtime routine for the child/children and stick to it. If you have a baby, take naps while they're sleeping. And if you have a baby and another child/children, have patience. They will grow up sooner than later, and then you can develop a bedtime routine.

Your Time

Before having children, you will have all the time in the world. You can freely do whatever you like, anytime you like. However, after children, you will have many moments when your only excuse for not doing something is, "I don't have time ". After becoming a mother it seems like the only thing you have time for are your children. You won't be interesting in staying out late, because the kids have a bedtime routine. You won't be interested in staying out all day, because the kids act grumpy, when they haven't taken their naps. Time, time, time! You will want more of it, but each day seems to go by faster than the previous one.

Tip: Plan out your days by the hour. Having a schedule and sticking to it will help you get more done. Yes, children can be unpredictable. But trust me, attempting to stick to your schedule everyday, even if you have to tweak it throughout the day, helps a lot.

Your Energy

Do you remember when you hated washing dishes, or doing chores around the house? Well after having children, you better learn to love it. You will suddenly find an energy level within yourself, that your parents didn't know existed. From washing laundry, doing dishes, cleaning, cooking, feeding, bathing...etc, you will be able to do it all with your eyes close. Well maybe not with your eyes close, because you might fall asleep on yourself. I am not saying you won't get tired, because you will. But even when you are, that energy will help you push through. Because at the end of the day, A Mama's gotta do, what a Mama's gotta do. If you don't take care of your children, who will?

Tip: On days when you're feeling tired, get that loving husband, baby daddy, trusted friend, or trusted family member of yours to help out. You're not a machine. Everyone needs a break sometimes, even Mamas.

Your Sex Drive

So before having children, you and your hubby/lover were like wild bunnies, having sex whenever you found time. At that point in your life, you all had lots of time. Hence the reason you got pregnant, right? After having children, well between your lack of sleep, to your hormonal shifts, to your energy invested in doing all things pertaining to the kids/house, the last thing on your mind is sex. The kids seem to be always awake and always around. So when can you sneak some love-making in? When they finally go to bed, at which point you're tired, and ready for bed also? Maybe, maybe not. Clearly, your sex drive decreases after kids.

Tip: Just because you don't care to have sex, it doesn't mean you shouldn't. Sex is like Pringles, "once you pop, the fun don't stop". So even if you're feeling tired, once you start you will instantly get that energy boost you need to continue. Also don't wait too late to get your freak on. The earlier you do it, the more energy you'll have, the better. Besides, having sex will help you and not hurt you. A healthy sex life, equals a healthier you, and an even happier husband.

Your Goals

Children can sometimes hinder your goals, but in time you can still achieve them. Whether it's not finishing school, having the career you wanted, owning your own house,...etc., it's never too late. After having children, your main goal will be to comfort, provide, and protect them. You will find yourself doing every and anything with their best interest in mind. You will want to leave behind something, whether it's your beliefs, values, or assets. Life somewhat has more purpose after having children.

Tip: Try to achieve as much of your goals before having kids. If you already have kids, no worries. You can still achieve those goals. They will grow up and/or go to school, at which time you can reach for the stars.

Having children can be awesome. But if you don't have them, it's not the end of the world. I know there are many women and couples that wish to have a child. I remember my struggles with trying to have my second son. For whatever reason you can't, don't allow it to make you bitter, sad, or depressed. In the meantime, enjoy your life without the added responsibility. Be grateful for the things you do have, and never lose faith. God will work it out.

For those with children, they change our lives in so many ways, but ultimately they help us to be better individuals(more mature and more responsible). In most cases, we live a more meaningful and happier life because of them.

These seven things will only be for a time. Children are like weeds, they grow rather quickly. Be patient. In the future, you will have more time, energy, sex, sleep,...etc. You will even appreciate your body more as time goes by. So whether you have kids, don't have kids, or plan to have kids in the  future, I hope you found this post helpful in someway.

Now it's your turn to share something with me, anything. And in case you have no idea, here are some questions you can answer in the comments below. Let's have a  heart to heart.

What changed the most after having your child/children?

If you don't have children, or want to in the future, which change(s) do you fear the most?

If you agree with the top seven changes,  simply drop an "amen" below. 

Peace and Love.