Thursday, January 12, 2012

Simple Smoothie

"I'm hungry!"

As a mom of a growing boy, I hear this statement often throughout the day.  Of course I do feed him, with nutritious, prepared-with-love food.  I think perhaps he does more hops, Martial Arts moves, and running in place than calories he consumes.  If you and your family are tired of the same run-of-the-mill snacks each day, try this one the next time your kids call out those infamous words.  With just four ingredients, it is super simple to make.  Not only is it naturally sweet and packed with vitamins and potassium, it will also hydrate those who perhaps aren't dedicated to consuming enough fluids each day.  My son gives this recipe Two Thumbs Up, which means it's goooooood.

Nathan's Smoothie (created just for him, by his loving mom)- serves 1

In a small blender/food processor, combine:

1/2 ripe banana
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup milk (we use rice or coconut)

Pour into a 9 ounce glass or plastic cup.  It is enjoyed best with a straw.  This is also a wonderful beverage to serve to someone who is feeling under the weather, as it is tasty, nutritious, and hydrating.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lunch Notes

We read in magazines and parenting books about the importance of being thoughtful and loving towards our children by tucking sweet messages into their lunchboxes.  There are even tips on how to be creative, ranging in use from a napkin, to a colorful, cutesie notepad.  Then, of course, there is the ink shade, and suggestions about what words to form.

Our spouse/significant other can also use a little daily boost.  Like our children, they enjoy being reminded and reassured that they are loved, appreciated, and thought of. 

When my husband and I were courting, we "hid" notes and cards in each other's homes, knowing that later, when we were each alone, the printed evidence of affection would bring a smile and warm our hearts.

I have continued something similar today.  Gone are the days of purchased, mushy cards and hand-colored messages.  Instead, I now use recycled paper, salvaged from the advertising packets that arrive in the mail.  They are the perfect size for folding in half, which allow the original author to write on one portion and anticipate a reply on the other.  Each evening, I write my husband a note and place it with his lunch and snack foods for him to take to work.  In the morning, he enters the kitchen and looks on the counter for his note.  Later, I look on that same counter to see what he wrote back.  Some days, we have a few things to say to each other...reminders about plans for the evening, assurance that prayers are being said for a safe drive to work/taking care of errands, and thanks for tasks we complete that benefit the other (my husband LOVES that I prepare his food for him to take to work, and thanks me often).  Other times, we don't have much to say (especially my husband, whose brain is not fully awake until after a cup or two of coffee tea), except "I love you", and "I hope you have a good/productive day".  The length and content of the note is not what matters; just the fact that we each took a moment to stop and think of the other. 

Maybe you are in a relationship where you are gushing with ideas of what to write to your significant other.  Or, perhaps things are not exactly as you would like them to be, and the thought of taking the initiative to be caring seems like a task that might go unappreciated, and possibly not reciprocated.  It has been my experience, especially during those "slow" times, that writing even the simplest of messages can in time encourage a reconnection. 

Start simple, or go all out with fancy paper and cards.  Just do it.  Leave someone a note to discover.  The very act of it will cheer you, and perhaps brighten someone else's day, too.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

'Twas the Day After New Year's

I sincerely meant to post this yesterday, but some tweaking of my words went on into the night, well past the date of January 2.  I hope you enjoy reading my rhyme about the wonderful day I had, which included my two loves...pancakes and paper!

'Twas the Day After New Year's by Lisa Wagner

‘Twas the day after New Year’s,
When craft stores have sales,
On new items and clearance,
To entice the females.

The flyers are filled
With coupons galore,
To save on one item,
And also several more.
The scissors start clipping
To pinch every dollar,
While visions of paper stacks
Rise as high as my collar.

After blueberry pancakes
With syrup and cream,
I prepare to go shopping
As if in a dream.

My husband and son
Stay safely in our dwelling,
As I pack up snacks
So I won’t be kvelling.

I grab some CDs
For my listening pleasure
And inspiration
 For finding lots of treasure.

The sky was quite clear
Yet the wind was very strong,
I drove cautiously
So that nothing could go wrong.

My first stop was bliss;
What I wanted was in stock.
Yet some time flew by,
As evidenced by the clock.

The paper in bins
Near the registers up front
Distracted and teased
Which led to a hunt.

For colors and monograms
In plenty they were,
Also textures and patterns
Became such a blur,
Of notecards! And memos
For to-do lists aplenty!
Rubber stamps and stickers
To close letters with sincerity.

I gathered my selections
And my arms did ache,
Yet I liked all that I chose;
There was no mistake!

The savings were amazing!
The coupons came in handy,
When the cashier let me use two
I knew it was a dandy.
So off to the next store
I gleefully drove
With a car full of paper-
And another coupon trove.

I entered the building
And knew where to go
The scrapbook aisle beckoned;
It seemed all aglow.

As I searched for new stacks
And was looking around,
I became disappointed
For none could be found.

This store had the racks
For the advertised stock,
Yet the shelves contained nothing;
The sale was a crock!

I settled for small stacks
As they were on sale,
With numerous colors,
From bright ones to pale;
In neutrals and corals,
Citrus shades and blue,
An assorted palate
With many a hue;
To coordinate with prints
I already own
Will make layering a breeze,
Without money blown.

I chose the five stacks
That compliment my supply
Of twelve-by-twelve papers
Plus the two I did buy.
I again saved some money
With coupons galore
As I do with each purchase
Made in a craft store.

I carried my bag
Filled with a beautiful stash,
And walked to my car,
Where I praised my saved cash.
I began to think,
As I made my way home,
“Craft stores sure are great,
And they are fun to roam!”
May the New Year of 2012 be filled with delicious pancakes and beautiful paper!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Thank You

"Thank you." 

How often do we say, type, or write those two simple words?

As a young girl, my mother taught me the importance of writing a thank you note immediately after receiving a gift.  I remember her specific guidance: "Never say, 'Thank you for your generous gift'".  She explained that generalizations are not personal, nor do they convey sincere appreciation.  Mom instructed me to be specific about what I am thankful for, which will indicate to the sender that I am well aware of exactly what he/she gave to me. 

I recently read an article with a topic along this same vein.  The author shared the importance of being grateful for what we have, and the positive impact we can have on others when we sincerely thank them for the ways they have blessed our lives.  He went on to say that he set a goal of writing one thank-you note per day for a year. 

As of this first day of January, 2012, I too have set a goal to handwrite one thank-you note per day.  I am off to a good start, as the message I wrote today came was for a sweet gentleman who works at our local grocery store.  For the past 7.5 years, he has remembered our names, taken the time to talk with me as I shop in the produce section, and exchanged birthday and holiday gifts.  He is like family to me now, and today I thanked him for being a big reason why this community is now my home. 

365 names may seem daunting (actually, 366, since 2012 is a Leap Year), but I think we will be surprised to realize that we have interacted with at least that many people throughout our lives so far.  The size of the gift or the amount of impact we are thankful for doesn't matter; we just need to say, "Thank You".