Sunday, August 7, 2011

Quiet Time

It is amazing how much you can love your family, want to be with your kids and at the same time just crave some time alone.  I have noticed lately that come Sunday morning, all I want is time for myself, to do what I have been putting off all week and to do it in silence.  Don't get me wrong, I love having my loving fiance and his kids around, but sometimes I just need me time.  So I have come up with little times during the week that respectfully belong to me.  For instance, while I am cooking dinner, I am generally left alone.  While I'm in the kitchen baking, I get to keep my piece of mind.  My time while doing yoga before bed is strictly me time and every once in a while Sunday mornings the house is empty and I get to clear my head.

Why is this important?  Because I would probably go crazy.  I don't have any one constantly questioning me, and I can get more accomplished with no one else home than if I were moving around several bodies.  I think that it is important for everyone, for their own health and sanity, to take a break and breath.  Do something for yourself once in a while.  Shut off your phone, close the computer, and make time for yourself.  It makes me feel a better sense of self and a little more self worth afterwards, which is something I severly lack after a week of sensless work and busy go go go all the time.

What about you?  How do you get your me time in? And why do you feel it is important?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sweet Cream and Sprinkles!

In a world that has become obsessed with cake decorators and cupcake shops, where shows like Cupcake Wars and Cake Boss are all the rage, I ask myself, why didn’t I follow my first attempt to make a career out of something I love?  Quite simply put, finance is not easily expendable at my house.  But things are a changing.  My hobby has led me to a new opportunity.  I have taken up teaching the Wilton Method of Cake decorating as an independent contractor, which will hopefully open all sorts of doors.  After finding out that I would be starting this endeavor I set out to flex my muscles.  As a result I have learned new recipes and techniques that will allow me to expand into almost any direction once I put some time under my belt.  It's an exciting time for me, being able to once again turn to something I love doing, especially after not thinking I would be able to do it after my second surgery.

So, you may be wondering, what I’ve been up to and how this is all working out for me.  Well my answer is not as simple.  Right now, it’s just an idea and a pile of raspberry cupcakes with champagne butter cream frosting.  To track my progress and to share with you all of my new found tips and recipes and projects, I have decided that instead of changing this blog, where I write about anything that comes to mind, I would start a second blog, specifically aimed at cakes and cupcakes.  You can check out the new baker's blog at 
No fear fellow readers, this is not the end of Life’s Lessons, just an experimental growth.  Both blogs will continue on and will be posted with updates often!  Wish me luck!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Getting Inspired

So the world seems to have turned to food.  Not just particular types of food, but just in general.  People are looking more at their food, trying to spend less, eat fresh, cook simple, and have fun.  More and more people are tuning into food network, cooking from scratch, canning and freezing fresh, local produce, etc.   You can find everything from books, to internet sites, to TV shows, to magazines that will teach you how to cook, bake, and preserve.  Why all the fuss?  I think that as the economy still holds steady in its rather large slump, people struggle.  They want to save money, yet get it done fast.  Others want to just have fun and eat well.  I myself, find joy and freedom, and relaxation in my kitchen.  Anything from cooking, to preserving to making fun and decorative deserts, that's become my passion.

So, what do you do when your passion tends to become your obsession?  I go with it.  I went to the library and checked out books on canning and freezing.  Then I bought the equipment to get it done.  Now, I'm working on doing it.  Who would have thought that preparing produce and even meat ahead of time, and preserving it, would make cooking so much easier, and cheaper.  You may ask, what do you mean?  I went and bought some meat, mixed it in a marinade and then froze it.  That way when I decide that is what we are having for dinner, I don't need to worry, it won't be undermarinated, and it won't be a rush to get it around.  All I have to do is unthaw it.

I've also rekindled my love for baking.  Thank you cupcake wars!  I have recently taken on the chance to teach others how to decorate cakes.  So in order to practice, I'm trying new recipes outside of the normal plain jane realm of baking and finding that there are some pretty good things out there.

What got me started on this new obsession?  I'm really not sure.  I think it is a mixture of things.  I watched Julie and Julia the other day and that inspired me to get my butt back in the kitchen.  Then cupcake wars was on, and my creative genius stepped up.  Then I decided we really needed to find a way to save money on groceries, and what a better way than to preserve everything possible!  I'm sure with the kids being with their mom for the last few weeks, giving me a lot of extra time on my hands, has aided in that decision to spend almost every waking moment in my kitchen.  And I'm loving every second of it.

So I ask you, what inspires you?  Do you love your kitchen as much as me?  All of this inspiring, and I may just have to add a new section to my blog on my kitchen adventures...we shall see :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Good Read

   Normally, I would not rave upon a book this much, but I need to tell the world how wonderfully written Marisa de los Santos novel, Belong to Me is.  This book was a whirlwind of emotions.  As a reader of many books, this is one of the only books I have read where I can honostly say that every character is relatable, every emotion portrayed is felt and every idea is realistic.  The characters jump off the page at you, and beg you to realize that you know that person, that you have experienced that situation, in some shape or form.  You really feel what the characters feel, you can relate to the love, the uneasiness, the anger, the friendships, the saddness, all of it.  I would recommend this book above all others (at this point) to anyone.  It is a tale of living and loving, but also of friendships, secrets, betrayals and self-realization.  I definately give it two very enthusaistic thumbs up.

Let me tell you about this book.  First, you meet Cornelia, the literary, off-beat kind of gal. . And Lake, the crazy, spontaneous, secretive type.  Then there is Piper, the stuck-up one you dread to come face to face with, but in the end she finds her true self to be total opposite of that whom she portrays.  And the list goes on.  The synopsis tells about a big city women trying to make it in the suburbs, finding friends in the least expected places.  You take the rollercoaster ride with each of these characters and it opens your heart and warms your spirit to see them triumph over their individual demons.  You begin to cheer them on, and get that sense of gratitude and excitment when they succeed.  Like I said before, it is impossible not to relate in some way or form to every character in this book, which is what makes it so unique.  Never have I been so captured and caught up in a story like I have with this one.

So, do yourself a favor, go to the library or the bookstore and pick up a copy of Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos, and find yourself caught up in the whirlwind of emotions and characters.  You won't be sorry! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Finding Fun with Storytime!

I was thinking the other day, I know scary right!  I realized that there are thousands of preschool and kindergarten books out there and  most story times come with snack time, but most snacks are either unhealthy or unrelated to the story topic. With our kids, they like to make a big deal out of every story.  And I thought, it would be fun to do a story and snack time that is based around the theme of the book.   So I started searching.  I searched the library, I looked online, and everywhere you can imagine I looked for snacks that matched story themes.  Needless to say I came up pretty much empty handed.  There was the all time favorite Green Eggs and Ham but other than that, there really isn’t anything like this out there.  This baffeled me, because I can't be the first person to come up with this idea!  While I'm not sure it's a strong enough idea to publish in a book somewhere,  I came up with the idea that I could add a section to my blog. I could start here, see what the response is, and then go from there. This posting is to explain what this new section is all about.  It will be located on the side columns and every month I will feature a story with a short description.  The there will be a craft activity and a snack that goes with the theme of the story.  So, for all you stay at home moms and elementary teachers, there will be some good ideas for you to build off of!  Hope you enjoy!  And let me know what you think, if I get enough positive feedback, I will reconsider the publishing idea.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Finding Yoga--Part Two


   In my attempt to integrate the Yogi lifestyle with my chaotic, over-stressed current lifestyle I have come to find that there are many challenges and constant growth involved.  It’s hard to find the time to get in a good yoga routine everyday, not to mention finding time to meditate.  I find myself constantly searching for time, not always when it comes to yoga, but in general.  My yoga practice is usually hit the hardest by this lack of time.  So, I have made a point to become more disciplined.  I have learned that flowing through life freely is not always the idea situation and though I grasp to routine a little too tightly, I think it is necessary to have a schedule in place to at least follow.  And that is what I have done.  I still find myself having difficulty with a morning routine, but it’s a work in process that I am beginning to appreciate more and more as time goes on.
            Now that I have established (in my head at least) a time schedule, I find that my morning sequence is ever growing.  I feel that I continuously add more poses, harder poses, more breathing.  I read a blog post at the other day (Beginners Mind) on the feeling that yoga has on a beginner.  I agreed with the author 100%.  You never really ever stop being a beginner.  It’s an ever changing, growing business of sorts.  Slowly incorporating the ways of yoga in my life has made me look through a different set of eyes.  I have found that I make better decisions more often because in my mind I am becoming more of my inner self and less of a person who is made up of those things important to those around me.  On the days that I do even just a quick and gentle sequence, I notice that I am less anxious for the day to be over, I make better food decisions (more fruits and veggies, even adding breakfast everyday), I even notice that my body aches less and my mind is not as busy.  I have also cut down on my soda intake (can’t say the same for coffee, as I have a slight addiction to it) but in return I have increased my water intake, and notice more often then not I choose tea over coffee.
            Yoga, for me has become a lifestyle, not just an exercise.  It affects everything in my life.  I feel more concerned about my environment, my space, and my well being now that I have introduced yoga into my life.  Hannah and I are growing a vegetable garden so that we can grow and eat our own vegetables that we worked hard to create.  I have started using more reusable containers and bags more often.  I buy fresher groceries and make more from scratch then buying and making foods filled with preservatives.  I notice too that even when I feel stress coming on I take a second and just breathe.  I don’t automatically get an attitude or upset, I focus on my breath and then readdress the subject from a new perspective.

            There are days, at least for me, when I can’t wait to get on the mat.  Days like today, where everything goes wrong and everything seems tense.  When I get home I just can’t wait to slide into Down-ward dog or cobra.  I actually crave these things on days when my mind continuously is saying all the things I wish I could say out loud.  These are the days when the only thing that seems to calm me down is some alone time with my yoga mat.  Before yoga, I would just take on a grumpy attitude and turn inward and not talk to anybody about anything.  Now, I blow it all out, onto my mat, and I feel relaxed and calm afterward.

 I can honestly say that Yoga is changing my life, every part of it.  It’s an exciting adventure and I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Finding Yoga

In my search for self, I came across a practice that is all about finding the inner self, becoming one with yourself through carefully breathing, posing your body, and meditation.  This practice is known as Yoga.  I know what your thinking, isn't that the the thing skinny people do to become more flexible?  My answer is no.  As a matter of fact, according to articles at, it is not necessary for a person to lose wait before starting to practice yoga, and yoga is more than just standing in funny poses. The philosophy of yoga is a process of teaching "the transformative possibilities of awareness", says Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., P.T., author of "A Year Living Your Yoga".  There is actually 3 parts to the study of yoga:  Asana (yoga poses), pranayama (breathing), and dhyana (meditation).

While I am by far no expert, I have increased my home practice to include pranayama before, during and after practicing asana, and I attempt to practice dhyana after my asana practice every morning and sometimes in the evening.  I have found that Yoga is not only a study about who you really are, but it helps to relax you, strengthen you, and calm you on a physical as well as mental level.  I have noticed in the last month of truely devoting myself to this practice at a home level (lack of classes in the area that fit my schedule means I'm on my own!) that I am feeling better about my self and my life situation because I am more aware of it now.  The breathing techniques and meditation have helped me calm and relax in order to let tensions and stress melt away.  Studies have shown, according to, that Yoga in itself is actually beneficial on multiple levels.  There was even one article that talked about recent studies that are proving that a dedicated practice of yoga can take the place along side a healthy diet in order for a person to become medically in-shape (goodbye cardio and weight lifting!).  Yoga isn't for everyone, mostly because it is a life style change, and a big one.  But those who do choose it find peace and become self-aware on multiple levels.  And it isn't like some practices where you change your religion and your outlook on life.  Yoga is adaptable to what ever you need it to be when you need it to be that way. That is why it is so great, not only does it help you be aware of who you are, but it adapts to your lifestyle and your needs in order to build a healthier, stronger, more aware individual.  So, give it a try, you might just find something that fits who you are and helps to reduce your stresses too.