26 February 2015

Finding a Greater Purpose

I attended a class a few weeks ago and the topic was establishing balance. The class group was quite diverse in that gauging what specifically to talk about would be a challenge, but the instructor really tried to help everyone establish a relationship with this concept known in the health industry as bio-individuality. She illustrated the importance of knowing ourselves so well that we know exactly what our body needs for nourishment. Although the topic encircled the ideas of holistic health and wellness there was an ever present principle I found myself personally connecting with throughout the whole presentation. I am responsible with understanding the individuality of the creatures in my home and acting on that understanding by nourishing them. The instructor discussed four primary food groups, physical activity, healthy relationships, fulfilling careers, and spiritual awareness. She discussed how those areas of life, when in balance, contribute to our well-being and our ability to eat to energize our livelihood rather than filling any voids we create. The idea of how powerful I am as a mother and a nurturer was so intense that I could hardly retain any other thoughts or impressions. I went home that night and suggested to my husband the need to create a greater purpose in the responsibility we have to raise sons.

I sometimes struggle sorting out my priorities. My social media break is proof of that struggle. I really want to change people's lives and be an influence for good. I like thinking that I can motivate change and progression in others. The idea of doing that within my own home is a lot easier said than done.  I never knew how difficult it would be to create what kind of parent I want to be. I have studied different techniques and child raising philosophies and yet they offer minimal support when my four year old is screaming at me because...well your guess would be as good as mine. I have days where I am master of the storm and days when I fall victim to defeat. I can't write out what it is like to be a mother to these two. Not many moms can explain perfectly how it feels to raise their own, but I can say that after attending that class I realized that my home is in need of more purposeful choices and an establishment of balance. I need to change the way we spend our time to things that our elevating and nourishing rather than fillers to get us from wake up to bedtime. I cherish my alone time, who doesn't? But this idea of nourishing through quality time is hitting me like a ton of bricks. Blake got home from school on Tuesday and instead of going inside and rushing through evening hours we decided to take it slow. We took the boys on a walk, hit up Liberty Park for some slide time, and found ourselves home late and making dinner together. That's what I am talking about!

I am all about taking on new goals and changing things up to make life work out better. I am setting the goal of nourishing balance within our home. Establishing consistency and creating quality time. Time that isn't governed by the outside world and it's stress, expectations, and pressures. They need it. I need it.

I invite you to see what areas of your life need nourishing and act on it by creating a plan and following through.

I can't wait to hear how you do!

Photos by: Allyssa Zemke 

20 February 2015

Brown Rice For Breakfast

Sometimes breakfast can be hard. There are mornings that I can hardly get out of bed because Blake and I spent the previous night watching mindless episodes of shows like Arrow or laughing for hours watching Jimmy Fallon's favoite clips. Some mornings where we have to be out the door, dressed and ready for the day to get Nikson to preschool, and then mornings were all my boys want is cold cereal. I am really trying to break the cold cereal habit by being more creative and purposeful with the way we eat. I realize that a sandwich baggie of frosted shredded wheat for the car ride just isn't nurturing my family you know?  A friend made this at a health seminar Blake and I attended and I loved it so much, I thought I would give it a go. It is now a household hit. I added a couple soft boiled eggs to Blake's mix so he could get a little more of his beloved animal protein.


Cooked Brown Rice (I made it the night before)
Warm it with 
Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk Coconut Oil 
Maple Syrup 
Sprinkle Chia, Hemp, Flax seeds for added protein
Add favorite berries 

Everything is measured based on personal preference. 

Nikson threw a five minute fit and said he wasn't going to touch it. I told him he could make himself his own breakfast then. He ate the whole bowl. #winning

Three Principles I Live By

As an organizational consultant, it is ingrained in my behavior to keep my house in order. When things are not properly put away I don't function properly. I have found that when I have a home that is conducive to learning and growth, my spirit mirrors that. When it comes to home organization there are three principles I live by.
  • Always have a plan.
  • Live with intention.
  • Make it simple.

Always have a plan.

It may seem daunting to make a plan and maintain a schedule when it comes to house order, but my purpose in exercising this principle is to train myself to master my surroundings, teach my child the importance of having a plan and following through with it, and it enables me the surprising flexibility to do whatever else it is I need to enjoy that day. For example, Mondays are dedicated to laundry, bathrooms, and vacuuming.  My kids know that along with our regular bed making, putting toys and books away, and doing dishes we will be getting the laundry washed...and FOLDED. Say what??!! I know. I can not bare to think of doing laundry more than that so I get it done. Mondays are days where my kids are making crafts, treats, backyard play etc. to fill home time. If you have a household of more than four, I would add in one more laundry day and break it up. For every two additional bodies, add another day. Once a month I go through our clothes to see what can stay and what can go. When cleaning the bathroom, I go through bathroom drawers, toss empty bottles, and keep my bins in order. I am the queen of bins and love the look of them. I am always keeping an eye out at Target for any clearance bins hoping to add to my collection. You get the idea of what a schedule looks like. Make a list of what needs to be accomplished in the house and start adding projects to your calendar. I love having play dates at my house because that means my kiddos are occupied with positive attention and I can tackle projects like seasonal or grown out of clothes, the craft closet, or even the garage. I dedicate a room to disaster so that I don't get overwhelmed and usually can get some help with boy room clean up if a chocolate almond butter smoothie is promised. Find what works for you and use your resources to create a system you are comfortable with. 

A revamp picture of the best closet that this old house contains. At first this closet was a catch all, but I figured it needed more purpose. It was to contain everything we use in our front living space. I completed the project after collecting clearance bins and having the boys friends over for a Nerf war.  

Live with intention. 

One of my favorite recent reads is Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenrider. Although I have yet to implement everything I have learned from that book, I walked away with a resolve to be more intentional with the way my family and I behave and how our home functions. I have started buying things that are effective and functional for our home and not just to satisfy the childhood understanding that a home needs a bunch of...eh hem...stuff. It helps to have a spouse that is supportive of minimalism and creating quality experiences in our home. That soon defined itself for me as selling or donating useless items and making wiser purchases so there was no fuss over experiencing life. My best example of this is with a console table I bought to help with living room clutter. I watched Ikea for a Last Chance piece and then found the coordinating bins at a consignment shop. The piece coordinated well with my home satisfying my design loving heart, was inexpensive, but also served as a great storage piece for books, diapers, and small toys that inevitably make their way into the living space. I can create order with the bins coming in a set of three, which was definitely a perk. My kids know that if something doesn't fit, they take it to their rooms or into the basement with the bigger toys. I have found other great ways to implement this principle and I am excited to share. 

Make it simple.

Are you frustrated with how cluttered the kids rooms get with toys? Food falling on the floor in the pantry? Cords popping out of the computer gear drawer? Simplify. Easier said than done for most of us. The best and most effective solution is to plan a day, an afternoon, or an hour where you can tackle it and ask yourself , "Do we really need this? Have we used this in the last three months? Why do I have this?" The principle of simplicity makes its way into everyone's home. Some humans are naturally gifted with the lack of attachment to things while others find it more difficult to let go of "the sheets we had when we first got married." Seriously? I had to glean an understanding of this principle from some experts in the field. Some of my favorite resources are Leo Babauta's Zen Habits Blog, previously mentioned Tsh Oxenrider and The Art of Simple , and Dieter F. Uchtdorf's counsel on What Matters Most and using that counsel to enrich my spirit and enliven our home.  

How can you implement these beloved principles in your own home? Let me know!