Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beating the Post-Vacation Hangover

We waited all year for it to come, you spent the best time doing whatever you love to do. You spent time away from your work and house responsibilities. You probably stayed up late and slept in even later. And now it's all over and your experiencing what I like to call a "post-vacation hangover". Where the task of unpacking just seems so hard and depressing. You avoid calendars because you know that the following dates include going to back to work and to your everyday routine. You refuse to open the fridge because once you do there will be no more denying that a grocery shopping trip needs to be done. Why do I know so much about this? Well because my whole house was experiencing this exact thing for the last few days. It happens to us every year.

Here are a few things that help us get through our post-vacation hangover....
  • take an extra day off before going back to work. We usually get back from vacation on a Saturday night, which means Sunday is for unpacking. We also take Monday off to give ourselves a day to relax, decompress and mentally prepare for reality. 
  • understand that this is normal. It is perfectly normal to feel a bit blue after a great vacation. 
  • take some lessons from your vacation self. While I was on vacation I kept my cell phone on airplane mode most of the time. This allowed me to take photos and even read a book. It was nice to not keeping my ear out for a phone ringing or a text message. I have taken this approach and am using it during times I don't need to be "on call", like having dinner with my family. 
  • If none of this works one way to get over your last vacation is to start planning the next one!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Marriage in Celebrity Culture

Over and over again we hear about celebrity divorces. Tabloids run rampant and the Hollywood couple demise feels standard. There's the trice-divorced Jennifer Lopez standard, the Tori and Dean chaos and now even Kendra and Hank. Sadly, both reality starlets, Tori and Kendra are dealing with cheating scandals after giving birth to children. I find that insane! What's marriage coming to in celebrity culture?


Too many of today's scandalous stories get airtime and headlines, but what about the successful marriages of Hollywood? I recently saw a report that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith would soon celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary. Way to go, Will and Jada! In my opinion, there needs to be more examples of longterm commitment in celebrity culture especially since celebrities set the tone for today's modern culture and the youth of our time.

Then again, though I'd like to see more positive examples of marriages in celebrity culture, I also keep a realistic expectation of celebrities. I don't let them define my ideal of marriage, I don't believe everything I read and I definitely don't get my marital counsel from celebrities on a screen. That is reserved for outstanding couples in my actual life. 

What's your take on celebrity marriages?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Salads

Growing up for me salads were as basic as you could get. Some iceberg lettuce with some chunks of tomato and Italian Dressing. Over the years I have been exposed to a bigger range of salads. With the summer heat at its peak, a quick and cool summer salad is a great way to have dinner on the table without adding the extra heat from the stove.

Here are 3 salads that not only taste delicious but take advantage of all the great summer fruit and veggies available now! Just click on the pictures to go straight to the recipe! 

Growing up in Ventura County nothing said summer like strawberries and avocados. This salad is made up of 4 ingredients, salad, avocado, strawberries and blueberries. There is also a simple homemade cilantro recipe. Some blending and some chopping and you have a perfectly sweet summer salad. 

My kids will instantly complain when they see lettuce on a plate, but they love themselves some pasta. Fill this salad with veggies, use whole grain pasta and just use some light oil based dressing and you have a pretty healthy and filling salad that even your kids will eat.

Your backyard grill is most likely getting a work out this season. For a quick and flavorful salad add some veggies to your grill. Just chop, season with oil and seasonings and throw in a grill basket. This is one of my favorite ways to eat vegetables. There is something about the grilling that brings out the flavor.

What are some of your favorite summer salad combos?? 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Why Kids Whine and How to Deal With It

Whining has come to feel "normal" in my home with three small children, but what's important to note, this whining comes in waves. Whining leads me to feel either overwhelmed & upset or I try ignoring the behavior all together. Neither of the previously mentioned scenarios actually helps a whining child. I know that much from experience. What it also doesn't do is leave a parent feeling good about themselves.

But what's a parent to do?

Like I mentioned before, whining comes in waves in our home. Therefore I realize very quickly when the waves come crashing through that something is off. For instance, do you ever notice how your children can get wild and cranky after a long birthday party?You'd think all the fun would keep them light and happy, but other than being pooped, they've also had to compete for your attention and suddenly they're not feeling very connected to mom, dad or both.

A child whines because of disconnection. They're feeling internal turmoil as they try to express a want. They do not mean to annoy mom and dad. They are simply disconnected from their parents to the point that whining feels like the natural and only measure for them to express needs, and possibly, have those needs met.

When a child begins one of these waves of whiny behavior evaluate how much of your individual attention they've had lately. My kids share the spotlight like many and so sometimes whining just comforts them. This doesn't mean whining is okay because it's NOT. Kids simply falsely believe parents will understand their needs and jump into action when whining happens.

Some tips to utilize when dealing with a whiny child (from

  1. Keep a record to figure what is happening before, after or during the whining. Understand the triggers and wants of your child. Whatever you do, don't argue with a whining child. That only makes matters worse. Younger kids are easy and usually whining means a child simply need to rest or eat. Older kids can be more challenging to understand.
  2. Whatever you do, don't give in, but instead teach the difference between a pleasant and a not pleasant voice. This is good with older kids. Ask them to use their "pleasant voice" teaching them what it sounds like. Giving in leads children to believe if they persist, they get what they want. It's tough, but don't give in. Not even in public! Doesn't matter who's watching you MUST be consistent with a child. Correct negative behavior immediately.
  3. Role play: You can use stuffed animals to teach pleasant verses unpleasant voices. Get a couple of books or cartoons on this subject matter. We love Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood in our home (many episodes focus on themes that teach kids to think about their feelings and appropriate communication). 
  4. Catch children in the moment. Remind kids right away about using a pleasant voice and when they do that then respond promptly. Show them that the pleasant voice mattered to you and they got the connection and attention they wanted when they used it.
Share your tips, too with a comment below...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Road Trip Essentials

Are you hitting the road this summer? I love a nice long road trip. I love seeing California through a passenger window. Before we had children my husband and I could jump in the car and just go. Now that we have a 4 year old and 9 year old road trips are still one of our favorite things, but these days it takes a some planning and prepping for a successful road trip.

There are 3 major things to think about when planning for a road trip: entertainment, food and stops. When it was just the 2 of us we would drive for many hours straight with just the radio. These days we can get maybe 20 minutes in until someone from the backseat is complaining about being bored.

When it comes to entertainment there are lots of great options. Of course music in an option, and since we all have different tastes I made a Pandora station where each family member got to pick one type of music. Our station is a mix of Selena Gomez, Blink 182 and Luke Bryan. Another option is to download a family friendly audio book. Many libraries have a audio book lending site or you can find audio books on We also love games like Auto Bingo (you can find the game boards at most toy stores) and classics like the license plate game, I spy and 20 questions.

Investing in a good soft shell cooler helps us on road trips. A small cooler that fits in the back seats filled with drinks and snacks. A few water bottles and juice pouches are great for drinks. When it comes to snacks, I try to stay away from things that crumble or have the potential to melt onto seats. Cut up fruits, string cheese and nuts are a great way to keep the kids full in between meal stops.

Driving 6 hours straight is just not an option for us anymore. We have found that the more stops the better. Sometimes we research stops in advance and sometimes we just look for billboards. Over the years we have found some really great and weird little places to stop and stretch our legs. Even a quick 10 minute stop can be the difference between a meltdown in the car and a peaceful ride.

Safe Travels!
What are you road trip tips? 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Passing Your "Addictions" On To The Next Generation?

On Monday's post we discussed a topic that touched on self-acceptance. A message that also included redefining society's norms of beauty. I got to thinking about my own tendencies to feed into bad habits like "feeling the pressure to fit in." I thought about three areas of my life that can almost be addictions. I use the word addiction because bad habits are addictions. We have to break those habits, and in turn, break the addictions for ourselves and the generations that follow.

I have three areas that I am always striving to improve in my life to avoid passing these "addictions" on to my children because as we all know children are always watching. I want what they see to be the best example...

The first "addiction" may sound silly but it's a common habit of my generation. I'd hate to debilitate my children by having them carry it on. In today's world, we are so interconnected by devices and social media. I understand that I have the habit of not only "living" on social media though chronic posting, but I'm subsequently buried behind a laptop or smartphone. I don't want this to be normal to my children because as I recently read: "technology cannot replace love". Social media and electronics can be like another "limb" attached to our bodies. It's a huge part of my day, but this virtual world has ZERO connection to true and profound love. My heart is filled with joy thanks to three amazing children, a loving husband, family and friends. Therefore, I remain conscious of my social media and technology use in order to avoid an addictive pattern that carries over into my children's lives. 

Food, Food and more Food! Whether folks care to admit it, many of us are addicted to food. Growing up I was a huge over-eater. Food was love in our family; it still is. My momma cooks up a mean feast. We also soothed our crazed emotions through food. This is such a common part of society. Like with any addiction, admitting it is an essential first step to overcoming it. I've been a "normal" body weight for a handful of years after 30+ on this earth. It wasn't until I understood that for me food fed an emotional void, and how bad of a habit over-eating was, that I was able to break the addiction. Past eating habits left me unhealthy, unhappy and lethargic. This is clearly something I don't want my children to carry on. By becoming conscious of daily eating habits, I am breaking this addiction of using food for comfort, staying healthy and ensuring my children don't develop food issues, too. 

The final "addiction" is another biggie and it has to do with one's nagging tendency to care what other's think of them. Why do we always want to fit in anyhow? We're hoping to fit in to be "approved of" and that's the kicker. We all at some point or another feel the insecurities of being judged. Caring about what other's think of us is a common addiction. It becomes a senseless worry and it's a real pain in the rear. I've evolved a lot in this area, but that doesn't mean I don't work on it daily. It's hard to let go of a chronic habit of caring what other's think, but once you do it's liberating for you and grateful generations to come. Not caring about how I'm perceived has led to an inner-confidence, a heightened ability to be honest, a need to surround myself with good quality relationships and it makes me a much better mother. It's truly a great habit worth BREAKING! You're welcome for that, next gen.

What addictions are you hoping NOT to pass on to your offspring?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Technology on Vacation?

Right now my family is on vacation at the lake. The whole family is together and either 2 things are happening. Either the kids are having a great time swimming and playing on the shore OR they are miserable and complaining because we decided as a family to not allow tablets or handheld game consoles during our vacation week. I am really hoping for the first one.

As a way to make sure that the kids have a good time and don't even think about their electronics we have planned a few fun activities for the week:
  • Family Talent Show: We have the annual talent show planned! Each year we put on a big show and there is a trophy for the winner! This gives the kids something to practice and work on during down time. 
  • Team Puzzle Challenge: Every year we make a puzzle, this year we upped the odds and made it a competition. We bought 2 of the same puzzle and picked teams. There will be a specified time during the day for the teams to work on the 1000 piece puzzle. First team to finish wins! 
  • Day Trip: To break up the week a little bit we have a day trip planned to take a train ride through an old logging area. This gives the kids something to look forward to during the week, and something to talk about for the rest of the week. 
Do you have a no electronics rule on vacation?