These are a few on my favorite things!

1- Game nights with friends!

We’re always looking for fun & simple games we can 1) play with the kids or 2) doesn’t require a whole lot of thinking so we can freely talk and joke and hang with our company. There’s most definitely a time and a place for strategy/thinking games. But oftentimes a light/fun/quick game is just the thing.

Here are a couple of our favorites: Zombie Dice and Pass the Pig.

 

 

 

2. The local ice cream shop opening near us. A sure sign of Spring!

This, my friends, is a Puppy Chow Hurricane. It’s frozen awesomeness in a cup!

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3. My latest Goodwill find. Love those 50% off Saturdays!

I have a slight obsession with pretty dishes, specifically ones with gold on them. We’ve slowly been adding mismatched China plates from Goodwill to our cupboard. It’s just so fun to eat off pretty plates, isn’t it? (As opposed to the “boring” nondescript off-white Corelle we have.) My hubby insists on using the boring plates. I insist on using fun plates. We compromise and have both in our cupboards. LOL 🙂

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4. Also found this at Goodwill today.

I’ve been slacking on my French studies. (Eeeeek.) Seeing this in the book section today rekindled that passion I have for language learning. Bought it. And hello again DuoLingo.

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5. Daily dose of TRUTH.

“Be better today than you were yesterday” has become my mantra. It’s not about comparing yourself to other people. It’s about comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, and striving to be better. It’s not about perfection. It’s about process. There is no end goal or date in mind. It’s a lifestyle.

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An unconventional coping mechanism

How do you handle: Loss? Pain? Discomfort? Anxiety? Grief? Fear?

Or just an ordinary day that goes from bad to worse?

I am probably going to sound totally off my rocker when I share my thoughts here in a bit. And there’ll probably be several nay-sayers in the crowd. And I must say this “coping mechanism” must definitely be handled with great care. But… then again, what I have to say could be the very thing someone really needs to hear.

So back to the question above. How do you handle stress?

Journaling? Yoga? Meditation? Reading Scripture? Prayer? Working on a hobby? Music? Video games? Essential oils?

Several articles I’ve read suggested common ideas like: limit caffeine, get involved in physical activity/exercise, get more sleep, try relaxation techniques, talk to someone, keep a stress diary, manage your time, learn to say “no”, etc.

These really are fantastic ideas. Probably lifestyle habits we should regularly be investing our time and energy in with or without stress/anxiety/pain. They truly lead to a balanced, happy life.

But may I suggest a little something else that may be just the trick to quickly soothe your frayed nerves and wrecked mind?

This coping mechanism has been SO shamed in the media and by our culture. And it’s really sad that this is so.

Want to know what I think is an excellent and almost immediate calmer of the mind and body? Something you easily have in your home right now this minute? Something most everyone can afford?

I warn you. With this strategy, there is most definitely room for abuse/taking it too far. It needs to be approached with great caution. More on that in a bit.

So what’s a simple, quick way to feel better?

Food.

Ok, here comes gasps and boos and what-have-you.

But I stand by it. I truly think God gave us food to help take the edge off crazed/hurt emotions and mental distress.

When you’re hurt, angry, and overwhelmed, doesn’t it make you feel better to eat a piece of hot, freshly baked bread with a pat of melty butter? Mac-n-cheese? How about a hearty bowl of soup? A bowl of ice cream? Cookies? Donuts? Chocolate?

BUT, quantity is everything here.

1 slice of baked hot bread with butter. Not a whole loaf/stick of butter.
1 bowl of mac-n-cheese. Not the entire pot.
1 bowl of soup. Not the whole pot.
1 dessert bowl of ice cream. Not the entire pint.
1-2 cookies/1 donut. Not a baker’s dozen.
1-2 pieces of chocolate. Not the entire bar.
Moderation is key here! Absolutely key!

Only take a small amount to take the edge off. Go slowly. Savor. Focus on the taste and feel of what you are eating. Experience the nuances of flavor.

They call it comfort food for a reason!

And it’s OK. I’m telling you– it’s ok.

For so long, we’ve been told that using food for comfort is bad, wrong, going to make us fat, etc. Then, when people do turn to food (because it works almost immediately), they instantly feel guilty. Which just adds more fuel to the inner turmoil they’re experiencing.

I’m telling you– it’s false guilt to feel bad about turning to food for a bit of comfort! It’s not real. Shake it off and let it go.

Food is ok! It’s not sinful!

Most can agree with me that after a stressful event/season, a comfort food taken in moderation and savored slowly gives the mind, body, emotions, and soul a “sigh”… a breather… a must needed break and calm. It literally “takes the edge off”. And it does so pretty darn fast.

It allows the body to relax for a moment so that you can think clearly and plan and figure things out, or rest/sleep. It gives you the “ahhhh” needed to make good and right decisions. And it pairs beautifully with the many other coping mechanisms mentioned earlier in this article. No one single strategy is going to be the fix-all. Food alone isn’t going to “fix” the problem. It’s going to have to be done alongside other strategies.

But I want you readers to know that using food is a-ok to take the edge off your hurt. Just use moderation and care. Shake off that unnecessary guilt you may be experiencing. Add to your plate other calming techniques, too.

And remember this: say you *want* to over-do it in the comfort food department because you are REALLY upset about something. Know this: if you decide to binge, you are only punishing yourself and your body. And the problem or stressor hasn’t been solved. It’s still there. And now, the guilt you are feeling IS real. You overdid it. You lost self-control. You abused your body. You are making your body suffer unnecessarily. Even if someone did something horrible to you, and you are SUPER upset– a binge is a punishment on you alone, and not on the other person. This may seem harsh to hear, but it must be said. It’s never ok to overeat or to drown your sorrows with food. It doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t clear up the mind. It doesn’t calm the nerves. It hurts you. It makes things worse. The original problem has now been compounded even further. It can also set some people up for a future food addiction if they repeatedly do this to themselves.

So please, when I say “try comfort food to calm down”, I am NOT advocating over-indulgence at all.

Moderation.is.key.

So enjoy that cookie. Enjoy that piece of cake. Enjoy that bowl of mac-n-cheese. Go on and take the edge off. While you’re at it, try some yoga or journaling, too. Take a nap. Go for a walk. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good. And don’t wear that unnecessary guilt associated with using food for comfort. It’s ok.

Hope that helps. Hope you can now try releasing that white-knuckled grip you may be hanging onto that “food for comfort is bad”. It’s not. It’s good. Enjoy it. Feel a little better. Let go of false guilt.


There’s some “food for thought” for ya. 😉

Blessings to you!

~Momma Duck

Today’s musings

1. I SO want these made for my birthday!

Flamingos are my absolute FAVORITE bird. In fact, during the warmer months, YES, I have a few plastic pink flamingos decorating my front yard. They are just adorable. They make me smile. 🙂 Wonder if my little 11 year old baker daughter could make these… hmm…

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2. This article: http://life.ca/blog/mindful-learning/

Though I don’t adhere completely to the Unschooling movement, I do agree with many of the ideas they promote. Mindful learning. Life learning. Relax. Enjoy kids where they are developmentally right now. Lots of learning is in fact occurring during play. As a parent, model being a “lover of learning”– kids will follow suit. Learning happens as a by-product of living. Don’t over-commit to activities (either for ourselves or the kids). Look after/make time for ourselves in order to avoid burnout.

Just a really good article.

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3. Silly pranks.

We had friends over for the evening yesterday and our oldest daughter made brownies for dessert. Get it? Brown-E’s? LOL. They seemed to appreciate our humor.

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4. Drawings from a child in the Sunday morning class I teach at church.

The church we attend recently opened. It has been an incredible blessing to our entire family!!! A couple times a month I help teach the elementary grades class. One of the first weeks we were open, this adorable little Kindergarten girl came into my classroom. She was super quiet and reserved. Hardly said a word. She was wearing a pink t-shirt with the Eiffel Tower on it. Being a Francophile, I began telling her how much I loved her shirt. She still didn’t say much. But as the Sunday’s keep rolling by and I keep spending time with her in class, she has truly come out of her shell and has been kinda like my little buddy. This past Sunday, she gave these pictures for me to “take home and hang in your kitchen”. Melt.my.heart. She is just the sweetest thing. And you can bet these two pics are hanging in my kitchen right now! It’s just such an encouragement. I love being able to make an impact for Christ with these precious little kids!

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5. I love chocolate. Yes, yes I do!

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6. On the topic of chocolate…

We didn’t have real brownies for dessert (LOL), but we did have chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting. Be still my heart. My 11 year old daughter who loves to bake make these for us and our company. It was wonderful.

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7. My homemade chili… aka “Mezzo Farte”.

For anyone with music training, you’ll appreciate the name of my chili. 🙂 Back when I was in High School, our choir had a chili cook-off competition. I won 3rd place for my chili, Mezzo Farte, with many a snicker to boot. It’s a family favorite and super easy to make. We always love our chili poured over rice, basmati is best. Try it and let me know what you think!

Mezza Farte Chili
-saute one onion in a drizzle of olive oil, until golden brown
-add 1/2 lb of ground beef, cook well, drain any excess oil
-add the following: 1 large can (46 oz) of tomato juice, 2 (16 oz) cans of kidney beans (drained), 1 T + 2 t chili powder, 1 t salt, & 1/2 t ground black pepper
-stir well, bring to a boil, drop to a simmer for 1-2 hrs or until thick, stir occasionally
-doubles perfectly!

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Savoring the ordinary, enjoying the here and now…

~Momma Duck

Reflections upon today

 

1. Find joy in the journey… TRUTH.

Sometimes I find myself so focused on goals and aspirations that I forget to enjoy the actual journey getting to that end. But if we would just take a moment to slow down, walk (not run), savor the “now”, breath in deep the ordinary… there’s so much to see and experience. There’s so much life right here, right now. Let’s not miss it!

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2. Buying decorations for St. Patrick’s Day today.

I’m a sucker for holiday window clings. They’re just so fun! I have them for each of the holidays. They just make me smile. 🙂 And holiday decorations in general– they keep the house fun and happy all throughout the year.


3. My oldest daughter today.

She was (is!) just cute as a button. She brought a smile to my face every time I looked at her. A messy, wavy side ponytail… super round, funky gold sunglasses… a cactus t-shirt… Love this sweet sweet child of mine. So confident. So cool. So sure of who she is and what she likes. So full of life and creativity and passion. Lover of fashion and music. She has my heart and always will.

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4. Off to a Lincoln Day dinner with my hubby!

Been going for years. Wouldn’t miss this one. Lovely dinner. Lovely company. Lovely speakers. Yummy food. Always a blessing to attend each and every year. It also makes a lovely date night with my hunny.

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5. Winning prizes this evening at the Lincoln Day dinner!!!

I swear my hubby is my lucky rabbit’s foot! With him, we almost always win prizes and free food wherever we go. It’s a thing we always laugh about because it happens all.the.time. No joke. I was never so lucky until I married him and we make out like bandits anytime there’s a raffle drawing or prize contest. Or even at drive thru’s/restaurants (can’t even recall how many times we get free or discounted food. It’s unreal.) Tonight’s raffle won us (2) bottles of BioFreeze (LOVE this stuff!), a 5 gallon car cleaning bucket full of car wax/upholstery & glass cleaners/etc. (*not shown: 2 ball caps, as two of our sons took off with them as soon as we walked in the door), and a $65 coupon for a local hair salon. Luck + prizes = :-).

 

Had a fantastic day. Hope your’s was, too. Hope you’re learning to find joy and smiles in all of the odds and ends that happen throughout your day.

Until tomorrow…

Today’s Adventures

  1.  Got to go to a Chamber of Commerce donut & coffee breakfast with my hubby this AM. I’m not much of a sweets fan, but there is this one type of donut at this shop we were at that has truly won my heart. It’s some sort of sugary twisty loaf of awesomeness. It was also fun hanging out with the local business men & women that I’ve been building relationships with through the years. Absolutely great people in our community!

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  2. My 11 year old daughter took the cardboard hand grippy thing off my to-go coffee cup from breakfast and turned it into a Harry Potter magnet for the fridge. So far she’s got Gryffindor & Slytherin one done. It’s actually one magnet– just flip it. But she found a flat, round magnet lying around the house and glue-gunned it between these two cardboard cut-outs of the house letters she drew and voila, a super-cute magnet! I love her and all her creativity! Gonna boldly wear that on our fridge!


3. Yoga with Adriene this afternoon. She’s got a new 30 day series entitled “TRUE” on YouTube and it’s just a lovely practice. Today I completed Day 14- LISTEN. Been enjoying it immensely. I’ve been doing at-home yoga practice for the last couple of years and I find it very fun, challenging, cathartic, and imaginative. It almost makes me feel like a kid again, uninhibited and free. It helps center me, calm me, and get me focused. While I’m on the mat, the rest of the world sorta falls to the wayside… and it’s just me. The practice is guided, but I can (and do) most definitely veer off the trail to “find what feels good”. It’s helped me deal with anxiety and depression. It helps me to find my breath and my thoughts. I truly love yoga.

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4. About two weeks ago, the new church that we’ve started to attend presented this song by For King and Country: “It’s not over yet”. It’s been on my mind and heart every.day.since. I have struggled for the past 4-5 years with depression, anxiety, and panic. Just this past winter, I have been finally overcoming so many hang-ups and fears and hurdles. It’s been a quiet season of growth and maturation and FREEDOM… Such spiritual victories! This song has become my anthem! I hope it’s a blessing to you as well!!! Keep on fighting. It’s not over yet!

“It’s Not Over Yet”

They are inside your head
You got a voice that says
You won’t get past this one
You won’t win your freedom

It’s like a constant war
And you want to settle that score
But you’re bruised and beaten
And you feel defeated

This goes out to the heaviest heart

[Chorus:]
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over

Yea-et-et, whoa
Yea-et-et, whoa

Oh, game set match
It’s time to put it in your past, oh
Feel the winter leavin’
It’s redemption season
Long live the young at heart (Here we are)
Cheers to a brand new start (Here we are)
We’re revived and breathing
To live a life of freedom

[Chorus:]
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over

Life is a race we run
So run till the race is won
Don’t you ever give up (Here we are)
Oh no never give up (Here we are)
Life is a race we run
So run till the race is won
Don’t you ever give up (Here we are)
We will never give up (Here we are)

[Chorus:]
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over

Yea-et-et, whoa
Yea-et-et, whoa
Yea-et-et, whoa
Yea-et-et, whoa

Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong.

Moments of Happiness

Learning to live in the moment and savor the simple things in life…

 

1- New skills learned.

Went to a homeschool co-op Mom’s Night Out this week. It was “Crochet Night.” I had NO CLUE how to crochet but I was assured food and fellowship… so I went.  🙂

My mom showed me (years ago) how to do it. A lot of my crafty girlfriends do it. But me? Nope! It was challenging at first. And I’ve made several mistakes along the way. But I do find it fun. And I’ve been sticking to it these past couple of day. It gives me time to slow down and think. Gives me something to do with my hands. I’m creating. Who knew I sorta have a crafty bone in my body? And isn’t this color fun?!

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2- Warm(er) Spring days when the kids are busting down the door to play outside after a long winter.

So long as they pick up after themselves, I don’t mind kid messes as all. It’s a sign of life and creativity and imagination. I sit here on the steps outside watching my little ones play and laugh and squeal with delight. It seriously warms my heart. They are so full of life and play and adventure. I truly LOVE being a mom. So thankful for a day of warmer temps. It’s 60F or so and my kids insist on running around outside barefoot. The cool doesn’t phase them in the least. I am SO thankful for Spring coming!!! Bring on happiness and sunshine!

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3- On the topic of Spring… new growth.

This winter, for me, has been one of conquering strongholds and overcoming things that have been challenging me for the last 4-5 years. For many, this winter has been long and dreary and depressing.  But not for me. It’s been one of growth. So when I see these buds popping forth from the ground, I see a reflection of me and where I am right now in life.

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4- As the warmer weather approaches, the neighbors have begun playing music outside by their poolside.

The pool itself isn’t open yet, but my neighbors are starting to play music from their outside speakers. Yet *another* display of the on-coming of Spring!!!

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5- Professionally manicured gel nails.

I was originally going to get acrylic nails put back on. But after calling the salon to schedule an appointment, I was convinced to first give gel nails a try. After my first gel nail application with my beautician, I was sold. I LOVE them! I keep my nails. They remain healthy. They’re absolutely gorgeous. So thankful for something so simple as beautiful finger nails!

Today I went in and got mint green and sparkles, in prep for St. Patty’s Day. LOVE it!

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Simple Pleasures

Getting up early in the morning, before the sun comes up even. Stillness. Quiet. Peace. I am all alone. No one needs me. Nothing is required of me. No noise. Time and space to think, dream, read, write, plan, be.

Then, watching the sunrise, all pinks and oranges and blues:

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Finding my all-time favorite seasonal flavor of coffee at the grocer:

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Then sipping it in my happy Christmas mug:

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Pineapples… they’re just such happy little things. I cannot explain it, but I love this fruit. Not just to eat– but visually, they’re energizing. I have even started to decorate my master bathroom with pineapple decor. It brings a smile to my face:

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Paris… anything having to do with this City of Romance… or the French language… or France, in general. I’m seriously obsessed with all things French. My master bedroom is currently being decorated in French decor. And I’m totally allowing it to spill out into my kitchen decorum and well:

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Visiting my folks in Michigan. Lots of happy memories of my childhood. And new happy memories being made with my own family there. Michigan and my hometown will always carry a special place in my heart. We went to Michigan for Christmas this year and it snowed SO much. It was breathtakingly beautiful. I was like a kid again, watching all the lovely snow fall:

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Fancy imported butters. I dunno why. Very random indeed. It’s just pure, simple (two ingredients), and SO yummy:

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