All in One Bite?

Bite

Chocolate covered strawberries are a treat that many of us enjoy. My father-in-law loves to make this special treat for the kids. He works hard to use perfectly ripe strawberries and make them look extra delicious. Every time he drops the special strawberries off he can’t wait to see the kids dig in.

The problem is my kids LOVE strawberries and they LOVE chocolate, but they won’t eat them together. They methodically pick the chocolate off the berries, eat the strawberry, and give the chocolate to me (because it touched a strawberry).

What is wrong with eating them all in one bite?

Do you eat chocolate covered strawberries?

I guess those tasty cocoa-covered fruit are a blend of two enjoyable things. Some people enjoy can only enjoy them separately, while others find the combination irresistible.

I have the problem of finding the combination of being busy and needed too irresistible. I love to be busy. I love to help others. I live to feel needed and appreciated. The problem is I sometimes drown myself in being busy and fail to find that perfect balance of needed and healthy.

Do you ever do this?

Continue reading “All in One Bite?”

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Visits from Opportunity – Wise Words Wednesday

Opportunity Visits

“Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor”Into the Woods

These words always seem to pop up in my life at just the right time.

For the last month, I have not been writing much (the whole, “I’m too busy” thing). Each day that I don’t write separates me from the messages I wish to share and the healthy practice of jotting down my thoughts and experiences. Those thoughts and experiences may not come again. Reflecting on this quote from Into the Woods, I find myself with renewed vigor for writing and encouraging others to share their own thoughts and works.

What talent or passion have you been neglecting?

“Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.”

I have wrestled with finding time to take a break for myself. Creating opportunities for quiet, peaceful time with my family has also failed to make its way into my schedule. If I don’t instigate those calm, restorative moments with my family and for myself, who will?

Please take time for yourself and those you love. Peace has to begin in our hearts and homes before it can be found all over Earth. Continue reading “Visits from Opportunity – Wise Words Wednesday”

Knotted Fun = Not Fun for Mom (Sometimes)

In Knots 1

My kids have been dragging home loops of knotted yarn. They spend hours of their day trying to make patterns including: Jacob’s Ladder, teacup, spider web traps, Eiffel Tower, bow and arrow, and other geometric shapes with the yarn between their fingers.

Hours, I tell you!Hours they should be cleaning rooms, doing homework, practicing basketball, or being productive in some way.

The hours of employing imagination and making yarn shapes are really not what get me worked up. It’s the random yarn loops lying around EVERYWHERE and the knock-down-drag-out fights over who has whose “special” yarn loop.

Seriously, it’s a knotted circle of string!

In Knots 2The knotted fun for my kids has not exactly been fun for me, but I am always seeking the positive in situations so I thought I would share what I discovered after researching the knotted fun phenomena. Continue reading “Knotted Fun = Not Fun for Mom (Sometimes)”

Security Brought on by Blankets

Security Brought on by Blankets via Daily Prompt: Blanket

Stolen blanket 1

When you become a parent, you give up the rights to many things. Six years ago I gave up ownership of a blanket.

The blanket was a Christmas gift from my Secret Pal. I liked the blanket. It was festive and cozy. My two year-old liked it more.

As I was 8 months pregnant at the time, I couldn’t chase her very well when she ran away with it. I was too round and too nauseous to run. I really didn’t put up much of a fight.

She sure loved that blanket. Stolen blanket 21It went everywhere with her. It made her feel safe in any situation and comforted her when she was sick or exhausted. That blanket provided a lot of security for my little girl.

Today that blanket continues to be her traveling companion and provides needed comfort often. It also makes a great foot warmer when she is playing on her tablet. 🙂

png 1 What is it about a blanket that provides us with comfort?

Many of us have that one special blanket that softened our childhood. It provided security when we felt scared and soothed us when we needed consolation. Security blankets and leaving them behind are rite of passage.

When I was little I didn’t carry around a blanket. I had a frilly, silk pair of underwear that I loved. Yup, underwear. Today not many little girls have silk underwear with lace sown across the back, but in the early 1980’s a few of us still donned them. I didn’t wear the silky underwear though. I held them between my fingers as I sucked my thumb. Sounds pretty cute right? Well, eventually it wasn’t cool to carry around a pair of underwear or suck my thumb, so I moved on, but we don’t all have the luxury of outgrowing our security blankets.

png 1 Did you have a security blanket?

When my son was born, his godmother gave him a sweet, snuggly blue blanket with his name embroidered on it. The blue blanket wasn’t a big one. It was a small, square fleece with sateen border. It had just the right-sized tag for my little guy to wrap his finger in and he rarely went anywhere without it. One day when he was 2 1/2, we had multiple doctor and pharmacy appointments for his ear infections. It was a rough day. It only got rougher that night when we realized blue blankey was gone!!!! I called and drove back to all of our stops the next day. No blankey was to be found. My mom lovingly made him a new one, but it was just never the same.

png 1 Have you ever lost your security blanket? Continue reading “Security Brought on by Blankets”

Elf Spotting …continued

Elf Spotting and the Trouble that Follows (Reblogged from 2016)

 

 

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Three years ago Chippy the elf showed up on our front porch. He made his magical appearance after my sweet daughter wrote a letter to Santa asking for one of his handy helpers to visit our home.

My husband and I were leery about this new holiday watchman but went with it. I mean how much trouble could one elf be???

After three years the magic of Chippy is alive and well, if you consider daily wrestling matches and crying fits over who found him first to be magical.

Seriously! Everyday there is a tremendous tumult over who finds Chippy first. It is so magical I need stronger coffee in the morning and extra melatonin at night to get past all the Christmas spirit his presence brings.

That silly elf has brought more trouble than I could have imagined, but he has also brought some humor to some pretty angry situations.

For example: In the  middle of one of their daily brawls, my daughter yelled out, “Get off my hair. Chippy sees you and he is going to tell Santa.” My son replied, “Good! Maybe Santa will bring you a new brush for your messy hair,” and continued torturing my little girl’s curls. The elf just kept smiling. Continue reading “Elf Spotting …continued”

What Color Are Your Pancakes?

Blue Pancakes (6)

Blue pancakes are the usual in our household (when we have pancakes). I usually like to keep my breakfast dates with friends (when I can schedule breakfast dates). This past week my friend Erin and I had a breakfast date planned, but my sitter situation became bleak. I offered to make breakfast at my home (if Erin didn’t mind the three-ring circus running around while we visited). She was cool with hanging out at my house so we kept our date.

Blue Pancakes (7)As I was whipping up the pancakes, my youngest son asked if the pancakes would be blue. My daughter soon chimed in that she really wanted blue pancakes too (after all our pancakes are usually blue). I wasn’t sure how Erin would react to blue pancakes, so I left half the batch plain and the other half was blue. When Erin arrived, the kids stampeded to let her in and were in full three-ring circus mode. It seemed only right that there were blue pancakes.

In true awesome Erin fashion, she said, “I’m down with blue pancakes,” and happily ate blue and plain colored flapjacks with my family.

What color are your pancakes? Do you have a special breakfast tradition in your household?

As we begin the season of holiday feasting, think about the traditions that been upheld by your loved ones. My mom’s side of the family has had chicken and dumplings at every family function since time began (that maybe a bit of an exaggeration); it just isn’t a Frank family holiday without chicken and dumplings.

Is there something special your family will eat that is a unique tradition this Thanksgiving?

Traditions, such as blue pancakes and chicken and dumplings, make special days “special.” My hope for you is that you are able to remember and (if you can) enjoy the food feasts that make family “family” this holiday season. Be sure to share your traditions with friends and tell the stories of your childhood to your kiddos. Savor the meals and memories that have made you who you are and be grateful for the events that enriched those memories.

Remember not everyone has “picture perfect” holiday plans. Be considerate and kind (and inviting, if you can) to those who have less to be thankful for.  Make your newest tasty tradition be one that dishes out meaningful memories for yourself and all those for whom you love. Who knows, maybe blue pancakes will be your new Thanksgiving brunch or chicken and dumplings your new tradition of choice. Whatever it is you serve, whether it be food or memories, make them positive and full of energy that inspires grateful intent.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. If you are making blue pancakes. you will need to pick up some blue food coloring.

Blue Pancakes (1)

 

 

 

Don’t Worry…They are Struggling Too

Don't Worry...they are struggling too

“I don’t care what they think.”

“Who do they think they are? Judging me?”

“Seriously, why do they think they are better than me?”

How often do we find ourselves making these snarky statements?

Our rhetoric for these loaded comments usually shows itself when we feel like someone does not like us or something we do. We immediately go on the defensive and throw down the I-don’t-care-what-you-think-of-me jargon, but inside we are battling the why-don’t-they-like-me fight.

Some of the snarkiest people I have ever met are also some of the most insecure individuals I have known. To inflate their self-perception, they preach a degrading dialogue about anyone they think they bring down. The problem with this kind of judging is that the hurtful words usually become flames in the fire of burning bridges for future friendships and work experiences.

Let me give you a for instance: When I was in college I worked for an entertainment retailer. My job included working in the book department, the cafe, and training new employees. I loved that job. There was one associate, who we will call Adam. Adam did a nice job on register and worked well with customers on the floor. He eventually made it to the ranks of shift manager. After becoming a shift manager, for whatever reason, Adam gradually became unhappy with the company. He put in his two weeks notice. One night while closing the store, I overheard him tell another associate that he never comes to work for his last day at any job. Well, I knew what was coming and planned to come in the day of his last shift. We were going to be short a manager. Continue reading “Don’t Worry…They are Struggling Too”

Sometimes the Answer is “No.”

Sometimes the Answer is No

Monday the electric company cut down our pear tree.

It was not just any pear tree.

My babies and my nieces and nephews all ate canned pears from that tree when they were too young to eat the fresh pears. It was our safe spot in case of fire or evacuation when we lived in the old farm house. Countless pears from that tree were given as gifts to friends and neighbors. For 6 six years, Peters’ Pears were delivered for Letter “P” Show-and-Share Day at Miss Kim’s daycare. That tree was the first place we let our kids go to “alone” after we built our new house. (It is just up the driveway, but far enough away to feel like freedom.) When my children came home after a stressful day at school, I would often let them take a break to pick pears and de-stress as they ate the fresh fruit and walked the distance to and from that fruit-filled tree. Watching deer eat the fallen pears was always a fun pastime.

The only downfall to that tree was it stood 13 feet from the power line and the required distance was 15 feet. Even though it has never grown (and probably would never grow) tall enough to touch the lines, those two feet cost us our tree. Continue reading “Sometimes the Answer is “No.””

Don’t Knock Jokes – Funny Friday

Don't Knock Jokes

Teaching the art of joke-telling is a healthy and happy way to develop communication skills.

Every week I share a joke with the 1st and 2nd graders at our school library.  The students keep a journal of the jokes and their answers. I also always invite the students to share jokes of their own.

The 2nd grade teacher recently thanked me for getting the kids excited about reading, in particular for their excitement about reading joke and riddle books. She said, “They just can’t get enough jokes or joke books. It’s fun to see them laugh and try to tell the jokes.” It is great to see my silly habit of sharing jokes is contagious.

When kids tell jokes, they are able to laugh at themselves and their message. Too often kids are hounded with seriousness. If we can use humor to educate and provide experience, we can inspire happier learners.

I have given speeches and had opportunities to be a public speaker for most of my life. When I started public speaking in 5th or 6th grade, I learned that the best trick for breaking the ice was to tell a joke first.

  • If you can tell a joke, and tell it well, you can speak to anyone.
  • If you can identify where to add inflection or pauses, you can communicate a message.
  • If you can identify where to add inflection or pauses, AND make your audience laugh when you want them to, you can communicate anything.

Continue reading “Don’t Knock Jokes – Funny Friday”

Sometimes the Fear Won’t Go Away. Do It Anyway. – Wise Words Wednesday

Somes the fear doesn't go away

via Daily Prompt: Brave 

Sometimes the fear won’t go away, so you’ll have to do it afraid.

As a matter of habit, I don’t watch the news. My husband does though, so the news is on EVERY morning. We start our day catching up on the shootings, bombings, trash-talk Tweets, and the generally tragic state of our world.

I would much rather start the day by watching something like “Friends” or “I Love Lucy,” but hubby would remind me that it is important to know what’s going on in the world and then change the channel.

The story that has been most bothersome to me lately is the one of the four soldiers killed in Niger on October 4th. Victims of an apparent ambush, these men died serving our nation and world as they worked to stop ISIS.

As they served, those men knew that there was much to fear. Their service was intended to assist in ending the evil of ISIS. They were most surely afraid, but their actions reflected the definition of bravery.

If men can face the terror of forces, such as ISIS, can’t we take on horrible happenings on our own fronts? Continue reading “Sometimes the Fear Won’t Go Away. Do It Anyway. – Wise Words Wednesday”