Category Archives: Healthy Family

31 Days to Better Sleep: Week One

Week 1 sleep chal.31-Day Sleep Challenge

Week One: Setting the Stage

  1. Create an Oasis:

In this exercise, we will be cleaning our sleeping space, and creating a soothing and relaxing sleeping environment.  Make it a place you want to be. Start by cleaning and decluttering. All those magazine, books, papers, odds and ends you have piled up on your nightstand, get them out! I tend to have “I will read these later piles.” Lets designate a different space for that. Even better, if it has been sitting on your night stand for more than a month or two, let it go.

Once you have everything decluttered, now is the time to wash the walls, floor and carpet, vacuum all the corners, and wash the windows, nightstands and bureaus. Clean out your drawers and closet, let go of anything you are not using or haven’t wore in the past 6 months.

Wash your bedding and hang it on the line to dry.  There is nothing better than line dried sheets!  Is it time for new pillows? This is great time to do a little splurging. Getting some new pillow and bedding is a treat. Look at getting natural fibers, soft colors, and something that you really love.

  1. Create a Bedtime Routine:

Setting a bedtime routine is the are I sometimes have the most challenge. Your goal is to be in bed with lights out by 10 or 11 pm. You also want to wake up every morning at the same time, and try to achieve 6-8 hours of sleep a night.

One to two hours before bedtime, turn off all electronics. Yep that’s right, no TV, no video games, no Facebook, for me, no Tiny House videos on YouTube! TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!!  If you use your phone as your alarm, put it on Airplane mode so that you are not receiving your messages and updates on social media.   Reduce all artificial lighting. This is a great time to start a new evening routine with your family, like eating dinner by candlelight, and just continue using the candle light for the remaining part of the evening. Himalayan sea salt lamps are great to use too.

Stop your caffeine intake after 2 pm. That means no coffee, soda, or any other sugary drinks. Stick to water and stop drinking anything 2 hours before bed. That is also the rule for eating. No eating 2 hours before bedtime.

So now you have 1-2 hours before bed, of no TV, electronics, NO PHONE, etc., what do you do??? Now is the time to do something that’s relaxing. But first, gather the things you will need for tomorrow. Set out your clothes, make your lunch, anything you need for the next day, have it set out and ready. Then start working on that “I’ll read it later” pile. Begin a journaling practice or a meditation practice. Work on a crafting project, color a mandala, gentle yoga, connect with your partner, the possibilities are endless. Just do something that relaxes you and nourishes your soul. We will go into this more in a later week.

Creating a morning routine is just as important as an evening routine.  Upon waking drink water! I like to keep a glass next to my bed, so when I wake up I can drink immediately. This helps hydrate your body and wakes up your digestive system. I also like to drink another glass of lemon water before eating anything or drinking my coffee. Other things to incorporate into a morning routine is making your bed, dry brushing, stretching, journaling, the list is endless.

Last year I started to wake up an hour early to have some extra time for me. I began a meditation practice and did some gentle stretches to start my day. I encourage you to do the same. It really allows me to ground myself and I don’t feel so rush trying to get out the door.

Practice these exercises this week and see how you feel.  This could be something you track in a journal.  Record how your feeling when you wake up, how many hours you sleep, how many times you wake during the night, anything related to your sleeping habits.  This is a great way to track your progress.

Come over to my to Facebook Sleep Challenge Event  and join the challenge!

Out of this World Orange-Pineapple Juice

orange, pinapple and blueberry

Out of this World Orange-Pineapple Blueberry Juice

This morning I got up and made breakfast as I do every Sunday morning.  After Jason finished eating, he said that he wished we had orange juice.  And me, being the granter of wishes and magic, obliged.  I had 5 oranges that needed to be used up, and a pineapple that had finally ripened.

juicing w elliot

“I juice oranges Mama”

With Elliot’s help, we juiced the pineapple and oranges in our juicer.  During the juicing process, I had a wild idea to take our orange juice to a whole new level!!!! Let’s add some frozen BLUEBERRIES!!!! I transferred the orange-pineapple juice into the Vitamix and threw in about a couple of frozen blueberries.  OMG!!!! It was so good!!! Another step toward our zero waste movement!!!

taste test

Taste Test… “Mmmmm, it’s good Mama!”

Recipe:

  • 5-6 Oranges
  • 1 Pineapple
  • 1 Cup of frozen blueberries

Instructions:

Peel and cut up the oranges and pineapple and juice them in your favorite juicer.  I love my ACME Surpreme Juicerator (which was also thrifted, or I should say, rescued) 🙂 Then place the juice in the blender and add frozen blueberries. Blend until smooth and enjoy!!!!

 

family juice

Say “Juice!” A family that juice together, stays together.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by Indulging in Raw Chocolate….

valentines-day-letteringHappy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you are celebrating love even if you don’t have a someone special.  Actually you do.  You have you! And you are the most important person in your life! How about you doing a little self care and lavish yourself in raw chocolate? And guess what?  IT’S GOOD FOR YOU!!!! Continue reading

What the death of my father-in-law taught me…

 

popsIt was a year ago today, I was working the evening shift at a job I absolutely hated. At about 6:00 p.m. I became violently ill and had to leave.  Before leaving work I returned to my desk, and saw I had 2 missed messages from Jason, but I didn’t response to them until I got  to my vehicle.   That’s when I got the frantic message from Jason to “GET HOME NOW!”

I tried calling his cell phone a couple of times, but he didn’t pick up.  So I called the house, where my oldest son answered the phone.  He said Jason was on his was to his parent’s house and had left the baby at home with him.  At that point I knew something bad had happened.  Jason’s step father, Joe had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer 2 months prior and he had been traveling to Boston for treatments and doing well. I was 15 minutes into my 40 minute drive home, when Jason finally called me and told me that Joe had passed away.  I was in shock.  How could this amazing man so full of life, be gone?  We had just been at their house 2 days before putting up the Christmas tree.  We had family plans, he had grandchildren to play with and spoil, golf games to play, and so much more life to live.

This year has been a struggle and a blessing.  So many things have changed, I have experienced so much growth and Joe’s passing taught me some important lessons. Most importantly :

1.) Life is truly a gift.  In our every day life, there are so many struggles, from juggling work, home, kids, bills, and so many other responsibilities.  We forget how precious it is and the abundance of magic that surrounds us.  I now treasure the chaos and craziness of it all.  I love that my house is messy and there are dishes in the sink, laundry piling up, when before I would stress about it all.  Now a feel blessed that we have toys all over the floor which means I have a healthy active 2 year old using his imagination.  The dishes in the sink means I have the money to fill the belly’s of my family, and the 10 loads of laundry means the ability to be able to provide clothes for all of us.  And also that I have 13 year old daughter who needs a new outfit for every hour.

2.)The present moment is where life occurs.  I use to spend so much time, thinking of the past, the mistakes I had made, how or what I would do to fix them, and being full of regrets. The reality is, I could never go back or do anything to fix them.  This would only leave me feeling inadequate and depressed.  When I began living in the moment, I enjoyed being a mom even more, I felt connected to Jason, life was sweeter and less stressful.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days, loose my temper, or get sad.  That is what living in the moment is all about.  Just allowing the experience to happen and be with your feelings, good or bad. This is what makes you grow as a person.

3.) Allowing yourself to feel.  We live in a society where we are so quick to take a pill to numb the pain, or throw ourselves into work or other vices to distract  from what we really feel.  No one can ever heal this way.  We need to accept that it’s ok to feel sad, angry and alone when someone we love passes.  And that 3 day of bereavement time is NOT enough time to “get over” a loss.  I admit that it is scary to sit with your emotions and just allow yourself to feel the loss of someone you love.  Sometimes the pain can be so overwhelming.  But if you just sit with it and breathe through it, that’s when the real healing begins and you can release the pain.  I don’t think that feeling of loss ever goes away, but it becomes bearable.  Instead of being overcome with the pain, a shift  takes place and your are able to honor their memory by remembering the wonderful times you shared and what they offered the world.

4.) Being Fearless. No one is promised tomorrow! You can make excuses of why you can’t or don’t want to do things you KNOW will make you happy, or continue to not to participate in life, but where does that lead you?  To an unhappy, unfulfilled, lonely space and full of regret.  I wouldn’t do a lot of things by myself, because I was afraid to put myself out there.  I became very isolated and shut off from the world.  This year I began making myself attend workshops and events that I found interesting.  It was uncomfortable for me at first, but it changed my life.  I have created some magical friendships, I am now excited  to go places and do things I have never done before, and my confidence has grown. Life is too short to be unhappy, and to beautiful not to experience it.  Don’t let fear take it away from you.

So tonight I honor Joseph “Popo” Graham and thank him for touching my life and accepting me as part of your family.  Thank you for sharing your light and kindness with the world and with me.  I love and miss you…

honoring joe

A Half a Year in Manifestation… more great things to come….

IMG_1022This year is the year of manifestation for me. I have been discovering my own power of being able to manifest the things I want and desire.  Back in January I created a vision board to help me focus and work towards the things I want to accomplish this year. I’m happy to report that most of my vision board has been completed or being actively worked on. I have a new job that I love. I have completed all three levels of Reiki training and now am a Reiki Master. I have improved my spiritual practice and continue to work at it constantly; I practice mediation everyday, and have even obtained my certification in meditation. I am currently working on another certification. I’m attending an extremely intense holistic health coaching and nutrition program, which will take me a year to complete. And the last thing on my vision board to complete is finally coming to fruition.

Last year I began researching and exploring the possibility of become a surrogate. This is something I have been wanting to do for the past 15 years.  On September 18, 2014 I applied to become a surrogate. It was my youngest son’s first birthday. I went through all the paper work application, the interview, background check, psychological exam, medical reviews and after many, many months I was finally matched with a gentleman 2 hours away from where I live.

Today I begin the first physical part of the process by starting birth control pills. I am not looking forward to taking this or the hormone injections I need to do because of the synthetic chemicals and side effects that my body will encounter. But it will only be for a short time and it will be all worth it in the end.

At the end of the month I will travel to Connecticut to see a fertility specialist and have an internal exam. If everything checks out ok, I will begin hormone injections. I have spent the last few months cleansing, praying, meditating, and getting my body ready to undergo this miracle of life, so that I can share my body to help create a family.

belly shotJason and I will be documenting this experience through blogs and vlogging. I am so excited to take this journey, and will go into this experience with no expectation and will allow things to unfold as they are intended too. I look at my beautiful boys and can’t imagine not being able to have them in my life. Not to be able to hold them when they cry, see their sweet little faces when they wake up, not to see them develop and grow into the people they are meant to become, and all the other wonderful and not so wonderful things that come with being a parent. I am honored and humbled that I can provide this for a family or someone that has not been able to conceive a child. And I am looking forward to this beautiful experience.

 

 

Pollinator Celebration

Earth day is fast approaching, and I was trying to think of something to do with my little man this past weekend to celebrate.  I took him to the local Audubon Society to participate in the first Annual Pollinator Parade. This celebration was to raises awareness of the critically low numbers of Monarch butterfly population and the plight of many other pollinator species.SAMSUNG CSC

Children and parents were encouraged to don their wings and antennas, to participate in the parade around Gilsland Farm. They had a scavenger hunt, an obstacle course of the Monarch butterfly’s migration from Maine to Mexico, art projects and a bee display.

SAMSUNG CSCMe being the procrastinator I am, waiting until Saturday night to make Elliot’s wings, and at the last minute decided I wanted to make dream catcher wings. We joined the ranks of butterflies, spiders, bees, hummingbirds, and many other giggly wiggly creatures to celebrate these unsung heroes of our planet.

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We learned a lot about the importance of pollinators in our ecosystems. Creatures like bee’s, hummingbirds, butterflies and other insects are largely responsible for many of the fruit and vegetable we eat. Things like apples, strawberries, almonds, pumpkins, cucumbers and many more exist due to the hard work of these amazing critters. I know I could not survive without almonds and strawberries, and let’s not for HONEY!!

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So what is the job of a pollinator? They transfer pollen from one flower to another, fertilizing the plant so that it can grow and produce seeds and food. According to the Maine Audubon, cross-pollination helps in at least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of the wild plants to thrive. Without them many plants would not survive. These are the little things we forget about as we go about our everyday life. Without pollinator, we would not have our beautiful fresh organic nourishing fruits and veggies!

Some of the things that that threaten the survival of pollinator like the Monarch butterfly and bees are insecticide such as Neonicotinoids, which are found on pre-treated seeds, the loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat, non-native species and climate changes, all contribute to the loss of our pollinator champions!

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What can we do to help pollinators survive?

  1. Pesticide Free Lawns and Gardens: This not only helps the pollinators, but also keeps your children and pets from being exposed to toxic chemicals.
  2. Plan a Pollinator Garden
  3. Set up a watering station for bees

Here are some additional resources to help Pollinators in you own yard:
http://www.pollinator.org/index.html
http://www.beyondpesticides.org/pesticidefreelawns/
http://www.waldeneffect.org/blog/Building_a_bee_waterer/
http://www.fws.gov/pollinators/pollinatorpages/yourhelp.html