Blog Archives

Wasting Precious Time

In perusing yahoo news, I came across an article about a study done of older Americans (aged 65+) and what they regretted most in their lives. The most common answer? Worry. Out of 1500 people, the most common regret was that they’d spent too much of their lives worrying.stress

You can read about the study here.

I found this to be particularly relevant because I notice more and more young adults riddled with anxiety, more and more middle aged adults suffering the side effects of stress, and more and more people turning to pharmaceuticals for relief.

Some worry is unavoidable. If you’re a parent, worry comes with the job. If you or a loved one is suffering an illness, make room for worry.

But kids? Really?

School is harder than ever. The things my kids learn about in high school were college subjects in my day. A friend was talking the other day about a five year old who didn’t want to go to kindergarten because she didn’t know how to read. In kindergarten! When I was in kindergarten, we learned to tie our shoes. And it was half-day.

Bottom line: life’s too short. Every day is a gift. If we spend too much time worrying about things that either don’t matter or can’t be changed, we are frittering away the gift of life.

So get off the computer. Go outside for a walk. Read a good book. Call a friend. Smile at a stranger. Live the gift, and have no regrets.

photo credit: 2 : 😡 via photopin (license)

Socially Frustrated

Today’s post will be brief, as I’m socially frustrated. I’m battling cyber social circles, middle school peer pressure, opposing parenting styles, and I don’t like it. Not one bit.

facebook logoMy family has a policy. We understand our teenage children want to fit in, enjoy the normal social activities of their peers, but when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, I find there is a wide variety of opinions with regard to appropriate media behavior. Thankfully, my kids are not facing bullying. We watch for it, talk about it and are prepared for the day–should it ever cross our path. But in our family, we don’t want pictures of our children posted online. Period.

instagramI’ve posted the occasional “view from afar” or the innocuous half profile, but nothing that boasts, “Hey, look at me!” And we certainly don’t want any pictures posted of our children that are less than appropriate in any form, shape, or matter, ie. “embarrassing.” Am I alone? Am I the stodgy parent in the parent who doesn’t “get it?” This is nothing more than harmless fun between kids?

I always thought I was pretty easygoing. Strict, but understanding and accommodating. I know that sounds like an oxymoron (and some have called me worse), but I don’t know what to do. I can police my children’s behavior. It’s when it comes to their peers that I’m having a problem. Any words of wisdom?

Fluffiest Carrot Cake EVER

Looking for the perfect dessert this Easter? This carrot cake differs from most in that it’s light, fluffy and kid-friendly—from the making to the eating! Not only can they help by harvesting and shredding the carrots, they’ll love to decorate this spring treat (bunnies, anyone?).

light and fluffy slice

While this recipe calls for cream cheese frosting, a bit tangy for some youngsters, it would also be great with a creamy white/vanilla frosting, too.

Fluffiest Carrot Cake

2 cups self-rising flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

3 cups freshly grated carrots

½ cup raisins (optional)

½ cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)

pre-made fondant for decorations

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Grease or butter 9 x 13 or 2 8-inch round pans. In a large bowl, combine oil, eggs and sugar and beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour and cinnamon and mix together until creamy smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet and blend well. Fold in grated carrots, followed by any optional items of your liking!

Pour batter into pan and bake for about 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Serve with cream cheese frosting (even plain, this cake is so good).

Approximately 1 large or 2 8-inch cakes.

 bunny cake

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, refrigerated

2 TBSP unsalted butter, softened (at room temperature)

1 ½ – 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how thick you like your frosting!)

1 tsp vanilla extract

dash of grated orange zest (optional)

Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in blender until well-blended and smooth. Add sugar gradually, 1/2 cup at a time, beating until blended. Stop when you have reached your desired consistency. For stiffer frosting, use more sugar. For creamy frosting, use less. Stir in optional flavorings at end. Spread (or drizzle) frosting over cake and enjoy!

You can purchase packages of pre-made fondant at most major craft stores (Joann’s Fabrics, Michael’s…) and forming your figures is easy. We used a tube of green cake decorating color for the greens on our carrots—for a more feathery effect. Don’t forget the pre-made flowers and sprinkles—talk about EASY! You’ll have a stylin’ cake in no time!

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For more great recipes, be sure to mark your calendar and join my 4th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop where authors and bloggers share their favorite recipes and gardening tips plus offering a host of GREAT prizes, including a brand new ereader of your choice (up to $200 value). Fun begins April 8th-April 17th.

Happy Spring!

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program…

Last week was a whirlwind for the Hayes family. The oldest left Saturday for a mission trip (his first) in Guatemala and the youngest left Sunday for a mission trip (her first) in Tennessee. While the kids were off forging memories and helping to change lives, the hubs and I scooted away to the U.S. Virgin Islands for a late anniversary celebration.

Honeymoon Beach

Honeymoon Beach

The whole week prior as I struggled to pack both kids for very different locations, I kept thinking, “What are we doing? We should just stay home. We could get so much stuff done around the house we’ve put off. And the kids…” Thankfully, it was too late to cancel the reservations because St. John is a beautiful, mountainous island with white sand beaches, friendly people, and near perfect weather. We spent a day boating with our captain, Delbert. We hiked. We relaxed by the pool with the ocean just steps away. We went to a pristine beach and lounged under the shade of mangrove trees.

Indulgent? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely! Sometimes married folks (or those in long-term relationships) get so lost in the daily grind that they forget what brought them together in the first place. A little reminder of why you said, “I do,” before the kids and the mortgage came along never hurt anyone. Thank goodness I ignored my practical nature because after five days alone with my husband, I’m looking even more forward to the next twenty (or more) years together.

Our beach buddy. Yes, that is a rooster.

Our beach buddy. Yes, that is a rooster.

We’re home now, all of us from our adventures, and Mama’s happy to have all her chicks back under one roof. When was the last time you took the time to get away with your someone special?

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas…

I did one of my least favorite things today. I went the mall with my daughter. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE spending time with my daughter, but the mall…

My daughter is thirteen, she knows Santa lives in her very own home, and she loves to shop. This year, thanks to the fabulous suggestion of my good friend Susan Sands, my daughter has been given a dollar amount and she is buying all of her own Christmas gifts. small__3095100467

I know this doesn’t sound very festive. When Susan first told me she and her husband decided to do this with their three kids last year, I was skeptical. Buy their own gifts? Wrap things they’ve picked out? And then I spent a frustrating season buying and returning all the things she apparently didn’t want.

I’m telling you, this is genius!

So, we went to the mall and while she flittered in and out of the dressing room, I spent my time doing what all writers do: I people-watched. I was amazed at how many men were shopping with their wives/girlfriends/partners/whatever. Whole families were trudging through the stores, clogging the aisles, and waiting in line. Whole families!

Maybe it’s just me, but the LAST person I’d ever drag to the mall is my husband. He hates shopping. He’d rather peel his skin off than spend an afternoon with me at the mall. And the kids? Let’s be honest, who wants their husband/boyfriend/partner/whatever with them when they shop? I mean, really? My husband would tell me something looked good just to make me hurry up. He’d fall asleep in one of those chairs they provide for men. Hell, he’d probably drive off and leave me there—and I’d be happy.

And remember, I don’t like to shop!

So what about you, Women Unplugged? Do you want your man around when you shop? Your family? Let me know…

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattbuck007/3095100467/”>mattbuck4950</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

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