There Is Only One Today

I am a very lucky woman.  I could go on for years about the bad things I have experienced in my life, but the list of blessings is much longer.  In fact, over the last 4 years I have experienced more of those good things than I did the 28 years prior.  All of that is to say I am learning as I grow older that There Is Only One Today.  Simple concept huh?  There is more truth in that simple statement than most things that come from our mouths on a daily basis.  There is only one today.  One singular set of 24 hours.  Each and every day is different and we don’t get a chance to relive them or take them back and cling to them.

So why do we waste so many of our today’s?

You see, this year I have really begun evaluating where I want my life to go.  For all intents and purposes, let’s just assume that 4 years ago was the beginning of my life.  The first year was spent just learning to tread water and stay afloat.  The second year, I began doggy paddling and made it a bit closer to land.  The third year, I found I was able to walk for the first time, but I was still so far from shore that I often got discouraged.  And now, finally in this fourth year, I have not only walked through the waters, but the shore is within reach.  As I have seen the progress in my life, I have realized how much time has been spent just treading water when I could have been swimming for shore.

I am embracing life because There Is Only One Today!

I have been working from home for a long time, but over the last 2 1/2 years I have spent countless days and hours tied to a computer doing “just one more thing” to make ends meet.  I had begun feeling that if I didn’t work the long hours, there was no way I could stay afloat.  In my mind, I was getting closer to a place where the hours wouldn’t be necessary, but I just wasn’t sure how to see that reality actually come to fruition in my life.  Rather than letting go of projects, jobs and tasks I had continually taken on even more stretching myself thin, and in the process wearing down my relationships, not to mention my mind and body.

Christmas of 2013, I took a two week break from my work.  I spent the time doing virtually nothing but hanging out with my family, catching up on sleep and reading.  Guess what happened?  Nothing.  I went back to work relaxed, well rested and nothing had fallen apart.  Guess what else?  I wasn’t so far behind on work or on my bills.  I had stayed afloat.  That two week holiday break gave me the courage to let go of some jobs I had been wasting time on.  By March, I was down to only a few clients I worked with, and had made major changes to my work schedule.  You know what happens when you are well rested?  Your work improves.  Yep.  I not only was doing better work, I was doing it in better time.  That meant I was able to focus on my own projects more.

Epic Family Road Trip

Slowly, with a lot of patience and help from my little family, I have made it to the shore.  I am now standing on the shore with my feet in the sand and the waves are only washing the water up on my toes on occasion.  I can sit back and relax.  I can actually take the breath of fresh air, settle in and enjoy the moment without fear of drowning.  As a result, I sit here now realizing not only that there is only one today, but that I can actually LIVE in today.

That means that I no longer tell my son, “Sorry, not today” or “when I get done with this”.  It means that when he comes into the office all sleepy eyed and groggy in the mornings, I can actually say “sure” to his request that I snuggle and watch a movie with him.  It means that when I need a break, I can actually take one and not worry about staying up all night to make up for the time lost.   It means that a two week long epic family road trip was enjoyed with me only turning on the computer to work a few hours.

Hot Selfie Collage

It means I can have days like today.  Days where I get up and head out on an adventure with the Wee Child and leave the laptop at home.  Spending hours making crafts, blowing bubbles, sliding down slides or playing games at Chuck E. Cheese are doable.  Sitting in the car waiting for a store to open and taking dozens of selfies because we can.  Enjoying the hug and kiss at bedtime telling me it was “the best day ever”, knowing I only spent a few dollars, but what he wanted was my time and attention.  I can sit between my greatest loves in this world and relax watching Star Trek knowing that I chose to live in TODAY.

There is only one today.  I plan to spend it showing my loves how special they are to me.  I plan to spend it making a difference in the lives of those around me. I plan to spend today living my dream.

The Loves Of My Life

What about you?

Posted in Belle's Heart, Family, relationships

CrockPot Weight Watchers Homemade Sloppy Joes

Homemade Sloppy Joes

I remember eating sloppy joes as a kid and kind of hating them.  Whether in the school cafeteria or made at home with the infamous can of sauce my mom grabbed to help make our family budget go farther, I couldn’t stand to eat these sandwiches unless they were covered in copious amounts of cheese to mask the flavor.  I was never a big fan of ground meats but certainly not what I thought was the odd taste of sloppy joe sauce.  Fast forward to adulthood and the point I discovered you could make your own homemade sauce!  Needless to say, I have tested out various recipes and finally created these CrockPot Weight Watchers Homemade Sloppy Joes that I can be proud to serve and eat.

To make this healthier and cut back on points per serving if you are doing Weight Watchers like we have in the past, always opt for the leanest cut of ground beef, turkey or chicken.  I also go the measure of rinsing the meat off once it is cooked to rid it of extra grease. The sauce provides plenty of moisture so no worries about the meat being dry.  While this recipe is definitely a more complicated version than the old school cook meat and throw a can of sauce in variety, it is worth every second spent.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

HOMEMADE SLOPPY JOES

CrockPot Weight Watchers Homemade Sloppy Joes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Pound Lean Ground Turkey (Beef or Chicken if prefered)
  • 1 14 oz Can Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Orgaic Tomato Juice
  • 1 Medium Organic Yellow Onion, chopped fine
  • 1 Small Organic Red Bell Pepper, chopped fne
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • ⅛ Cup Bragg's Liquid Amino's
  • 1 Clove Garlic Minced
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Cumin
  • 1½ Teaspoons Chili Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Mustard Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Cup Organic Raw Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Molasses
Instructions
  1. In large skillet, brown ground meat until cooked through. Drain excess grease and rinse well to remove grease.
  2. Place all other ingredients into blender and pulse until well mixed. Onion and bell pepper may still have some fine bits, but mostl blended.
  3. Pour ground meat into slow cooker and cover with sauce.
  4. Stir well and cook on low heat for 2-3 hours.
  5. Serve on organic whole wheat buns.

We like serving these Homemade Sloppy Joes on slider buns.  They are perfect for game day snacks, but I love making a double or triple batch and then creating sets of 2 sliders and wrapping, freezing and having handy for quick lunches during the week.

Each Serving of Sloppy Joe Mix is 4 Weight Watchers Points.  This recipe creates 6 servings.

Crock Pot Weight Watchers Homemade Sloppy Joes 2

Want to make it a freezer meal?  Stop after step 2 and simply combine ingredients into freezer bag and label.  Pull from the freezer and cook for 4-5 hours instead.

Check out our other great Weight Watchers Recipes:

Weight Watchers Sesame Chicken

Weight Watchers Crockpot Chicke Verde

Weight Wachers Baked Veggie Egg Rolls

Weight Watches Veggie Egg Scramble

Weight Watches Sugar Free Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

Posted in recipe, recipes

Using Television In Your Homeschool Curriculum

Television In Homeschool Curriculum

You will find many camps of thought when it comes to television and movies, and more specifically children and their viewing habits.  While I grew up in a home that wasn’t super restrictive about our TV time, I also didn’t have access to a lot of TV in my younger years as we lived where cable wasn’t an option.  That said, we watched TV and some shows I recall more than others.  In our house now, TV is a regular occurrence, but it varies widely in how much time is spent there and for what reason.  We do watch movies routinely and a few fun shows are in our weekly DVR list, but we are not slaves to the television by any means.  There are even many days it is never even turned on.  While I am not here to argue the benefits of TV in general, I am her to share how Using Television In Your Homeschool Curriculum can be a great tool.  Not only can you reach your kids on a level they understand easier, but you may be able to introduce them to things you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

Television In Homeschool Curriculum

USING TELEVISION IN YOUR HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM

What are the Benefits?

For homeschool parents who do not feel knowledgeable enough on some things to properly teach their child, this is a great way to help them understand.  For example, you have a son who is very interested in learning more about engineering and electronics but you do not have any knowledge in that field.  However, it would make a great unit study that could help you teach about electrical currents, gas and oil needs in society and even clean energy options.  Turning to a show like How It’s Made on the Science Channel, or even History channel shows about different time periods of modern automobiles are great alternatives.  You have been able to educate your child on a subject you know little about and perhaps encouraged a future career interest in the process.

How do I incorporate television without it feeling like a babysitter? 

The easiest way to ease your mind is to actually be there with them participating.  Sit down together as a class or family to watch the shows and discuss as needed.  One of the best benefits of using select television shows for education purposes is the ease of hitting the pause button when questions arise.  The invention of the DVR has been excellent for recording series of shows on wars, culture and other great food for thought items in our house.  The recent Cosmos series update as well as the Apollo missions shows have been great for talking about various scientific things with our son.  If the show doesn’t answer a question your child has, it can often lead to more research and learning.  Anything that is encouraging them to seek more information and learn more is a great thing.

What are good shows to start with?

There are a multitude of popular TV shows and movies out there that can be adapted to your homeschool curriculum.  While the list below is a great place to start, don’t limit yourself.  Think outside the box and look at what stories and information are included in your favorite shows and then work to make them a part of your curriculum as well.  The best teaching methods are the ones that introduce critical thinking.  Many shows have a lesson to learn that will be prime opportunities for your child to inquire more, research and really stretch their minds.

Younger Students:

  • Schoolhouse Rocks
  • Liberty Kids
  • Sid The Science Kid
  • Word Girl
  • The Magic School Bus
  • The Waltons
  • Little House On The Prairie (movies and television show are excellent)

Middle Grade Students:

  • How It’s Made
  • NOVA
  • Mythbusters
  • Modern Marvels
  • Bill Nye The Science Guy

Older Students:

  • Cosmos
  • Apollo 13
  • The Men Who Built America
  • North America
  • America The Story Of Us
  • Empire Of The Sun
  • The Bridge On The River Kwai
  • Moyers & Company (documentaries, very open political debates, etc.)

As you can see this includes a lot of classics as well as modern adaptations that are sure to bring about great questions and answers.  Always do your research to make sure that the shows and DVD’s you introduce are acceptable for your child at their age and maturity level.  Some productions involving war and crime in the past can be very violent and may be disturbing to younger viewers.  Don’t hesitate though to include your favorite movies or show sin the list that could give you a great teaching element.  Homeschooling is all about looking outside the box and using television in your homeschool curriculum may be a great way to help your kids overcome educational challenges.  All of the shows listed above offer some level of education that you can fit into your curriculum.  While not all will have your same belief system, faith, political stance or interpretation of facts, they will all offer a great talking point and place to begin.

Posted in Homeschool Tagged with:

Upcycled CD Locker Set

Upcycled CD

 

locker cd

Custom locker accents are a popular way to create a locker that reflects your style and uniqueness. One of my favorite ways to craft is by re-purposing items that would otherwise be tossed.  Scratched cds and dvds are a perfect blank canvas to create a variety of decorative pieces.  I thought that combined with some pretty scrapbook paper they would make a fun locker set with a mirror, chalkboard and even a monogram to brighten up an otherwise dull space. Give this Upcycled CD Locker Set idea a try!

UPCYCLED CD LOCKER SET

Supplies Needed:

  • 3 cds
  • scrapbook paper
  • buttons
  • inexpensive compact mirror (Dollar Tree)
  • chalkboard spray paint
  • magnets
  • hot glue gun/sticks
  • scissors
  • sharpie

 

Directions:

Trace 2 of your cds onto coordinating pieces of scrapbook paper and cut the circles out, affix to cd with a thin bead of hot glue.

cd monogram

 

One one paper covered cd either write your monogram initial or use a large scrapbook sticker to personalize.

locker monogram

To make the locker mirror, gently pop apart a compact ( the inexpensive one I bought at Dollar Tree popped right in two)

Hot glue compact onto your second paper covered cd.

locker mirror

 

Hot glue buttons or tiny silk flowers around mirror to create a frame and cover your plastic compact.

locker mirror

 

 

To create a locker chalkboard spray backside of cd lightly with chalkboard spray paint, allow to dry 5 minutes, add 2 more coats waiting 5 minutes between each.  Let set overnight before writing on your chalkboard.

chalkboard locker

 

Finally, to get them ready to hang up in your locker you will need to attach magnets to the back, you can purchase magnets or use the ones that you get for free from lawyers, dry cleaners ,etc. You probably already have a couple of these hanging on the refrigerator already.  For the compact you will need to use several to hold up the heavier weight.

locker magnet

 

Your locker decorations are all ready to hang up and enjoy!

locker decor final vert

If you have a bunch of old CD’s or DVD’s that are unusable laying around, this Upcycled CD Locker Set is a great craft to make.  Get the kids involved and make these for their lockers, or use as message boards on your refrigerator!  You can also attach a wall hanger using glue to the back and make a fun unique piece of artwork personalized for your kids rooms!

 

Posted in DIY

100 Calorie Moist Pumpkin Muffins

Moist Pumpkin Muffins

It is that time of year again where everyone is going crazy over their favorite pumpkin treats.  I too love a great pumpkin dish, but all of my favorites have always been sugar or fat laden.  As we are moving toward much less processed food in our diet, less sugar and of course seeking out organic ingredients, I have found making my favorite treats from scratch has become the best choice.  I was excited to discover this batch of 100 Calorie Moist Pumpkin Muffins I whipped up early this week are seriously delicious and healthy!  Packed full of flavor, fiber and the standard yummy pumpkin flavor we crave they are sure to be a standard in our kitchen from now on.  As you can tell, I have a love for muffins for breakfast and snacks.  They are small, easy, feed my sweet tooth and can often be made with alternate ingredients to make them both refined sugar free as well as gluten free.

 Moist Pumpkin Muffins

With our recent desire to only eat organics as much as possible, I have been experimenting with a lot of different stores and brands to satisfy this need.  In the case of this recipe, a few items were used that I now keep in my pantry.  I prefer buying my organic whole wheat flour from the bulk bins at Whole Foods or our local Kroger Marketplace.  Both have quality at reasonable prices.  Organic Rolled Oats are often less than $2 a package in the Simple Truth brand that Kroger carries.  Alternately, we love the Simply Balanced Organics brands at Target.  All of these are reasonably priced, frequently have coupons available in store or on the store website and are high quality.

100 CALORIE MOIST PUMPKIN MUFFINS

100 Calorie Moist Pumpkin Muffins
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Organic Pumpkin Puree (we use 365 Brand from Whole Foods)
  • 1 Cup Organic Rolled Oats (Simple Truth from Kroger)
  • 1½ Cup Organic Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1½ Teaspoons Organic Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 Tablespoons Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (we prefer Tropical Traditions but other brands are excellent)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened/Light Coconut Milk
  • ½ Cup Organic Wildflower Honey
  • ¼ Cup Stevia
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside
  4. In large bowl mix together pumpkin purree, coconut oil, egg, coconut milk, honey and stevia until well blended.
  5. Mix in oats and flour mixture until just blended. Don't overmix as this will make the muffins tough.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes or until browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (They will be moist but the batter will not sling to toothpick in liquid form).
  7. Makes 12 muffins

 100 Calorie Moist Pumpkin Muffins

I will be honest.  I was doubtful when I had these in the oven.  I just wasn’t sure how they would turn out.  Needless to say these super moist pumpkin muffins are perfect.  They aren’t overpowering as some pumpkin dishes can be.  The coconut milk and coconut oil offer a lower calorie, nutrient dense moisture that is light and leaves a barely noticeable hint of flavor.  Quite frankly, they are some of the best muffins I have ever tasted!

Weight Watchers Points Plus Only 1.5 Points Each!!!!

Check out my Organic Coconut Lime Muffins as well as my Organic Sugar Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins for another delicious treat option for breakfast this week!

Posted in Organic, recipe, recipes

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