November 2016 Book Reviews

November 2016 Book Reviews

Well, this turned out to be the month for psychological thrillers.  Some real intense reading.  HERE is a list of everything I read last month, and below are short reviews of my favorites: This was a crazy story.  Flora was kidnapped seven years ago and then rescued after 472 days.  Needless to say, she has some emotional scars and issues.  Now, she is missing again.  Along with several other younger women – closer to the age she was when she disappeared.  Is Flora involved?  How?  Is she safe?  The book goes back and forth between present day and during the time Flora was held captive.  Very intense.  My rating 4 out of 5. What a fun book.  Each year, there is “a dress” of the season.  The book follows nine different women and their stories involving the dress of the year.  Some are sweet, some are not.  It seems like this would be confusing – so many “main” characters, but somehow the author makes it work.  My rating 4 out of 5. Have to admit I loved this book.  I’m anxiously awaiting the next one to become available at the library.  It was a slow start – I had to make myself keep reading until I was about a third of the way through, then it just took off and I enjoyed it immensely.  Put together a mysterious island, some scary monsters, things that don’t seem possible and some creepy children and you get quite a tale!  I definitely need to see how they made this into a movie.  My rating 5 out of 5. What has been your favorite book...
Thanksgiving Round-Up

Thanksgiving Round-Up

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you all have some fun and fulfilling plans for the next few days.  Today I thought I’d share a round-up of my favorite Thanksgiving posts and recipes. Everything Thanksgiving, all in one place! Recipes: Fresh Cranberries – I made these last night for the Thanksgiving I’m hosting Saturday.  Perfect to make ahead and check them off your list! Cranberry Mimosas – I’m totally adding these to my holiday gathering this year – YUM! Green Beans – so much better than the traditional green bean casserole Easy Cheese Plate – people love to snack on this while waiting for the turkey to finish cooking Traditions: Thanksgiving “Awards” – a fun family tradition my daughter created a few years ago – always a hit! Thanksgiving Leaves – this year I’m planning on adding this as a new tradition – simple and meaningful Burn off that dinner! – We’ve had kickball games, walks in the woods and other kinds of fun – I don’t know what it will be this year, but we’ll do something active after we eat. How will you spend your Thanksgiving holiday?  Are there any traditions that must be followed for your family? Ready to kick start a healthier and happier life?  Get your FREE copy of my 3-day Refresh HERE and see how easy it can be to change your...

A Skill Every Busy Mom NEEDS

Feeling busy Mama?  I hear you!  We are deep into the school year and between work, kids and all the up-coming holidays if life isn’t crazy for you now, it soon will be. So what skill should you have?  Be Present. For the love of all that’s holy, please STOP multi-tasking.  You might think you are good at it, but you are NOT.  Even worse, it’s robbing you of the simple joys of life like noticing and appreciating what you are doing, enjoying the moment and creating lasting memories. If you are always on your phone while “watching” your kids play instead of paying attention when they yell “watch this,” what do you think they will remember?   Mom on her phone, not Mom watching me. Studies show we aren’t as productive when we multi-task as we think we are and in fact, it takes us longer to get things done.  (http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/09/health/your-brain-multitasking/index.html; http://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2014/10/08/multitasking-damages-your-brain-and-career-new-studies-suggest/#6aa05caf2c16) If you are accustomed to being a “power multi-tasker” this isn’t going to be easy, so be gentle with yourself and start slow. A few ideas to get you started: When you catch yourself doing multiple things at once, stop one immediately Set yourself up for success. Put your phone AWAY when you are with the kids.  Or driving.  Or in a meeting. When working on a project, shut off distractions (Facebook anyone?) Don’t over schedule yourself Set a timer when you begin a task – it will let your brain know when you can stop focusing and move on to the next task. What do you think about multi-tasking?  I know for most of us it’s...

My Favorite Books – October 2016

I read some terrific books this month.  HERE is the entire list, and below are short reviews of my favorites: This was definitely my favorite book.  I read it in two short days and then immediately passed it on to my SIL who also read it in just a few days.   It has a similar feel to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train so if you liked those, you’ll like this one.  By the end I knew it would end one of several ways – I just wasn’t sure which one . . .  nicely suspenseful with a untrustworthy narrator.  Don’t read it if you are heading on a cruise soon.  My rating 5 out of 5. I found the subject matter of this book very disturbing, but the suspense was excellent – I really wasn’t quite sure how it would end up until the last chapter.  The main character was given a drug so she would “forget” a traumatic attack.  Aside from the mystery of what really happened that night, the book also stirs up questions about whether you truly CAN forget and if that’s really the best way to move on from tragedy.  My rating 4.5 out of 5. It has been years since I read a Nicholas Sparks book – I don’t like books that make me cry and so many of his seem to do that.  However, this one really seemed more like a James Patterson novel.  It was a love story (between a high achieving “good girl” and a recovered “bad boy,” but it also contained some suspense.  It was a perfect...
Healthy Halloween Round Up

Healthy Halloween Round Up

I can’t believe it’s almost Halloween again!  Where has the Fall gone?  Oh yeah, soccer tournaments, Fall Break, daily life!  Today I’m sharing my favorite healthy Halloween posts: Healthy Snacks The Halloween Candy Aisle – what to buy and what to skip General Healthy Halloween Tips 5 Steps to Rid Yourself of Halloween Candy Healthy Halloween Candy Swaps:  Eat This and Not That Fun Halloween Ideas 11 Healthy Halloween Ideas What are your healthy Halloween Ideas?  I know this year I’ll be making a pot of Posole to enjoy before heading out trick or treating and I’ll be walking with the kids to get those steps in! Looking for ways to live a healthier and happier life?  Check out all the ways I can help you...

Got Mommy Guilt? How to Release It

Today’s society has led us to believe that we should have it all, right?  We should have that great career, raise perfect kids, exercise daily, keep a super clean house, entertain and prepare dinner seven days a week.  That makes me tired just typing it all out! The thing we have to remember is that all of that takes time – and we each have the same amount of time in every day.  That amount of time just isn’t enough to do all that.  Add it up if you don’t believe me: Work – 8 hours Exercise – 1 hour Clean the house – 1 hour Entertain – 1 hour Fix dinner – 1 hour Kid time – 24 hours! And I didn’t even include all the other things we do – drive kids to practice, social obligations, leisure time,   time with our spouse, etc. Face it; it’s NOT possible to do everything at once.  However, it IS possible to do it all – just not at the same time and not every day. What you need to do is let go of what you see on social media (let’s face it, most people are posting the BEST of their life – we aren’t seeing the mess behind the photo), let go of judgement from others (and judgement from yourself) and decide what is most important to you right now in your life.  THIS is what you need to concentrate on first, and then don’t worry too much about the rest – in fact, if you can farm it out or let it go. At the end of the...

5 Ways to Help with Anxiety

Feeling anxious?  I run into this a lot with my coaching clients.  With the crazy, busy lifestyles we all live these days, it’s not surprising.  When you have 5 places to be between 4:00 and 8:00, not to mention dinner, homework, etc. how can you not feel anxious?  Next time you feel that tightness in your chest or the beginning of panic in your mind, give a few of these ideas a try: Slow down.  When you are anxious, your heart rate speeds up along with your breathing.  So stop for a minute or two and take 3 to 5 long, deep and slow breaths.  If possible, close your eyes.  This small pause is sometimes enough for you to catch your breath and get yourself back on track. Define what you are anxious about.  Is it true?  Are you worrying about something that just “might” happen or “might” be true?  Is it something you can’t change?  Then maybe it’s time to let it go.  A simple example (I know you might be worrying about something much bigger, but often it’s these small things that push us over the edge):  you are going to be late to an appointment because you’ve been rushing around all afternoon or are over scheduled.  Is there anything you can do to be on time?  If not, call ahead and let whomever you are meeting know and then cover up your clock.  You are going to be late regardless so quit focusing on how late you are and just get to where you need to go safely. Distraction.  Break the cycle if you can by reading...
Favorite Books from September 2016

Favorite Books from September 2016

I read quite a few great books this month – in fact, I’m out of books from the library so I just went and put a bunch on hold.  I’ll probably end up with more than I can finish now!!!  HERE is the list of everything I read this month and below are quick summaries of my favorites: FICTION Due to an unusual situation where an expense reimbursement comes through and then the original expense is comped, Tina ends up with a check for $20K.  It’s not really her money, but when her boss is spending that much for trivial things, who is going to miss it?  And $20K would exactly pay off her college debt.  Tina succumbs and before she knows it is deeply involved in an inside scheme to help other low paid assistants at her company pay off their college debt.  A very fun book – and actually stimulated an interesting conversation with my husband about the cost of college and how hard it is for new college grads to get ahead when they start life with a significant amount of debt.  My rating 4.5 out of 5.  Beginning last month with Al Capone Does My Shirts (Tales from Alcatraz), my son and I have been reading this series of books most evenings – we take turns reading pages.  The setting for the series is Alcatraz Island, back in the day when it was open for criminals and the stories discuss Moose and his family (his Dad is a guard) and their life living on the island.  We have a lot of fun talking about the...
My Thoughts on Aldi

My Thoughts on Aldi

I’ve shared in the past some great ways to save money on healthy food – and I still do most of those things weekly.  Lately I’d been hearing about how Aldi now has a line of organic food.  Of course I had to check it out. For those of you unfamiliar with Aldi, it is a grocery store chain (owned the same company who owns Trader Joe’s) that carries a small selection of products.  Most of the food Aldi sells is it’s own brand label.  Just like Trader Joe’s, if you want ketchup, you have one choice, not the twenty you’ll find in a typical grocery store.  At Aldi, you also bag your own groceries using your own bags – this helps keep the costs quite low. I’ve often run into Aldi to check out their produce or pick up some staple like dried beans that I know I can purchase inexpensively, but I’ve never done a full out shopping trip there. This week I decided to go in specifically to check out this new organic line.  I have to say, I was quite impressed!  Most categories (dry goods, snacks, dairy, frozen, even meat) carried at least a few organic items.  And at excellent prices!  Check out what I purchased (note the seeds weren’t organic, they were just a really good deal, and I used them for a big batch of trail mix!): A few examples of what I found: Organic Vegetable and Chicken Broth -$1.79 Organic Coconut Oil – $4.99 Organic Spices – $1.99 Gluten Free Bread – $3.99 Based on my experience, I will definitely be adding...

Healthier Eating in ONE Step!

Looking for an easy healthy fix?  One simple step that will automatically make you healthier? Add a fruit and vegetable to every meal. Doing this one small thing will automatically increase your produce intake to at least six servings a day.  You’ll eat less unhealthy foods if you fill up with healthy and low-calorie fruits and vegetables.  If you mix up which fruits and veggies you enjoy with each meal, you’re also likely to hit your appropriate amounts of daily vitamins and minerals. How easy is this?  If you took my challenge last week, even on your busiest days you can just pull out your bowls of prepared fruits and vegetables or create a quick and healthy salad with your already prepared greens and dressing.  So no excuses of “I don’t have enough time” are allowed here. This is also something you can make fun for the whole family.  Create a challenge for your kids to see who can hit their servings for each meal.  Let them pick out a new fruit and veggie each week from the grocery – often kids are more likely to try something they have chosen themselves. This week I challenge you to try it for a week and see how you feel.  Don’t overthink it, just make sure to include at least one fruit and one vegetable every time you have a meal.  I’d love to hear in the comments how this made you feel, so please share! Looking for more ways to improve your health (and by default your family’s health)?  Let’s talk – I love to help busy working moms create a healthier and...

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