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Family Legacy Homeschooling Just a Thought... Tips

Parental Challenge

Stacee Taft Blog - Dreams for our childrenItems needed:
• pen/pencil and paper (or you could type it on the computer if that’s more your style)
• and some personal quiet time/space where you can think and won’t be interrupted.

STEP 1:
Fathers:
Write down the character traits that you want your son(s) to have when they are grown men.
If you only have daughters, then write down the character traits that you want your son(s)-in-law to have.

Mothers: Write down the character traits that you want your daughter(s) to have when they are grown women.
If you only have sons, then write down the character traits that you want your daughter(s)-in-law to have.

Be specific, but only things related to character.

For instance, “successful” is not specific or character related, however, “being compassionate” is.

STEP 2:
Still in in your personal quiet spot, assess your own life.

Look at the list and circle the character traits you have in yourself.

Are you modeling the character traits you want your child(ren) to have?

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image
My sweet babies

KEY POINT:
If we don’t have these character traits in ourselves
and aren’t modeling them in our own lives,
how in the world are our children going to learn them from us.
Positive character traits don’t typically come naturally or “just happen”.
They take hard work.

In case you’re feeling like a failure at this moment,
as I was when I did this… stop that!
Pity parties and regret won’t help you get to where you want/need to be!

Maybe you haven’t ever really thought about all of this.

Maybe you’re just doing what you learned from your parents…

Maybe you aren’t doing everything you can/should be doing…

but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure…
It means you have a choice to make!

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image
My family and dear friends {me – bottom left}

You see, we all come from imperfect families
lead by imperfect parents.

They didn’t do things “exactly right” and
we are molded and shaped by that and other factors.

It shaped who we became…

But WE choose who we will be from this moment on.

We choose if we will stay a victim to our past
or move on toward learning how to thrive.

We choose, each day, one little choice at a time
whether we are going to stay in our old ruts
or start to move out of them…
sometimes slowly,
sometimes in one big “if I don’t do it quick it will never happen” jump.

Face your fears... my husband leading by example
Face your fears… my husband leading by example

This seemingly simple challenge was to attempt to help us see objectively,
without us getting defensive,
how we are doing at setting a good example for our child(ren).

Each one of us wants our child(ren) to grow up
to be the very best they can be,
to achieve the goals that we know they are capable of,
to strive for personal success,
to be better than we are.

We teach, we train, we guide,
we speak words of wisdom and truth endlessly to them.

We pray over them.

We cry over them.

My babies 10 years ago
My babies 10 years ago

We have dreams for them.

We correct, encourage, and challenge them
to be better today than they were yesterday.

It’s our heart’s desire for them to not just live,
but to thrive as adults.

But, often something huge gets in the way… us!

Like our parents before us,
we’re not perfect parents.

We don’t do everything right.

We don’t always set a good example
of what we want our child(ren) to be/do.

© Stacee Taft Photography
20 years together… 14 years of parenting… a lifetime to go!

But we don’t have to stay where we were…
we can grow and mature and learn to thrive, too.

My hope, and prayer,
is that each one of you reading this
makes a choice to live today better than you lived yesterday.

That the excuses and blame-game
and whatever else is holding you back
from becoming the person YOU were created to be…
will no longer have a hold on you.

You choose who you are going to be from this day forward.

No one else.

YOU.

Now get out there and make your life what it should be!

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image
Our family… love them!

Categories
Family Legacy Just a Thought...

Tualatin Police Experience

I just completed the final day of the Tualatin Police Experience
and I’m not sure I can adequately write down how much this experience impacted me.TPD-badge

I’ve always loved our police department.
We are beyond spoiled with the quality leadership
and officers that wear the Tualatin PD badge.

There is so much good humor
(okay… and bad ‘punny’ humor – which I consider fabulous),
so much comradery, so much wit and so much good-natured ribbing;
It’s a LOT of fun to be around our police force.

But that’s only partly possibly because these men and women are professionals
excelling beyond the typical requirements, going above and beyond the call of duty
and doing it because they care do deeply for their community,
those in their community and any person that is in need.

I cannot thank our Chief enough
for taking time and resources out of the Tualatin Police Department
in order for us average citizens to catch a small glimpse
into the heart and soul of what makes the TPD so special.

Chief Barker provides the kind of leadership
that creates a level of expected respect, quality,
caring and attention to detail that is evident
in the officers that are in his department.
His humility, and the humility of his officers,
is so beautiful to see in this day and age…
especially when they are all so highly trained.

The Tualatin Police Experience highlighted each of these things and more.

Yes, we spent a good deal of time laughing and smiling,
but when each officer presented his/her presentation/demonstration…
it was evident how passionate they were about what they do
and the training to be ready to protect and serve their community.
It was also evident just how exceptional they were in that area…
although it took the Chief coming up and bragging on them
because they would never brag on themselves.

I’ve heard many complaints and horror stories
about officers around the country (founded or unfounded is not the point)…
it is a huge credit to our PD that even with
all the bad guys they catch, tickets and citations that are written…
that they almost never get a complaint.
In fact, some who have been ticketed or arrested
have written letters thanking the officers
for how respectful they were treated during and after the process.

The news will never report on this sort of thing…
there’s no sensationalism in it.
It simply doesn’t sell or boost ratings to report it.
{And being as news these days is more about being a business
than being accurate reporters of truth…}
many won’t report or speak of departments run as efficiently,
humbly and respectfully as the Tualatin Police Department.

But I will.

These men and women have my utmost respect…TPD-coin
and they have my heart, my prayers and my undying gratitude
for all they do day in and day out to protect our community
and make it a safe, fun place to live.
Their servants’ hearts are so evident.

If you live in Tualatin,
please talk to them about getting on the list for their Police Experience.

You won’t regret it!

http://www.tualatinoregon.gov/police/tualatin-police-experience

P.S. I might be able to add photos in the future,
but I need to wait for the approved photos before
including any from the experience.

Categories
Just a Thought...

Highlights from DI 2015 Global Finals

Thanks to all of you who supported, encouraged, cheered & contributed financially to help The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans get to compete at Destination Imagination’s 2015 Global Finals! We couldn’t have done it without you all!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans team and team managers
PDX carpet selfie on the way to DI 2015 Global Finals

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans team and team managers
On our way to DI Global Finals 2015

Now… How do I go about explaining such an incredible week, a week in which I saw so much growth and maturity in the kids; a week where we had a total blast! Well, since there’s too much to tell, I’ll give you some highlights of our week…

  • Global Finals was at the UT-Knoxville, TN campus and had 17,000 attendees, 8000+ students from 17 countries, 544 volunteers and 1,468 teams in 6 challenge categories. To say it was an epic week is an understatement!
  • 20150528_DI-2015GF_6
  • What an honor to have walked through this year with the team and then get to watch them compete in their Instant Challenge and Central Challenge (Technical Challenge: Creature Feature) and watching the team work together, have a fabulous performance and let their personalities and skills shine for the appraisers.

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team ready for their central challenge at Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Friends who came to support The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans at Destination Imagination team at GF15

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Central Challenge time at DI GF15 – Penelope’s steam punk top hat is made out of duct tape, straws and decorations!

  • The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans tied for 14th place in the world out of 87 teams — crazy over-the-top proud of them! {once you’re done reading this entire blog post, feel free to head on over and watch the team’s performance: HERE and if you want to hear the introduction by the Appriaser about what the challenge was about watch this first: HERE}

Especially when they got the highest score in the story sub-category: “creativity of the world portrayed in the Story of Adventure, Creativity of the Creature’s role in the Story of Adventure, Integration of the Creature Actions and World Features and Clear and effective storytelling”!

They got the fifth highest score in Team Choice Elements (Savannah’s puppets including and Angler Fish puppet which she created a pattern for herself and the team’s “Rescue Submarine” song sung to the tune of “Yellow Submarine” and Penelope’s excellent communication of the details to the appraisers): “creativity and originality, Quality, workmanship or effort that is evident and Integration into the Presentation”!

And eleventh highest score in World Features (Duncan’s roll up backdrop change and Savannah’s elaborate control panel complete with electronic schematic): Successfully demonstration of World Feature 1 and 2, Technical Design and Innovation of World Feature 1 and 2”!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Duncan is Mr. DeMarcus, Penelope is a Steam Punk Inventor and Savannah is an Electrical Engineer… together they create a team from NASA: National Aquatic Submarine Association, which is part of their solution to solve their Central Challenge

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
CUB (their creature submarine) doing one of his creature actions… diving into the ocean!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Puppet show, control panel, pier/dock and laptop… all created on their own by this amazing team!

  • Noelle!! My photographer friend who lives in Knoxville that hung out with us all week and graciously was our chauffeur, tour guide, encourager, entertainment and photographer to document our week! It allowed me to not have to pack all my gear and actually be in some images!!! If you live anywhere near Knoxville, TN… you should totally hire her!! Seriously! www.noellebellphotography.com

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Stacee & Noelle, so thankful for this friendship (we’re even twinning in our DI GF15 shirts!)

•The team got to walk in the Welcome Ceremony; they were three of the 16 people chosen to represent the state of Oregon. They got to sit on the arena floor during the entire ceremony. Then toward the end of the ceremony they were asked to carry and wave flags of other states/countries. It was quite an experience! Mark, Noelle and I missed having them with us, but enjoyed the plush leather recliner box seats where we were seated!!!
UT-Knoxville’s Sun Sphere is sort of an icon, so we had to make sure we got lots of pictures in front of it!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans getting ready for their Instant Challenge (left) and afterwards doing their Tada (right)!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
One more Sun Sphere pic, because we had our own photographer!! Woo hoo! And some fun art that the DI kids created this week!

  • The team got to walk in the Welcome Ceremony; they were three of the 16 people chosen to represent the state of Oregon. They got to sit on the arena floor during the entire ceremony. Then toward the end of the ceremony they were asked to carry and wave flags of other states/countries. It was quite an experience! Mark, Noelle and I missed having them with us, but enjoyed the plush leather recliner box seats where we were seated!!!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans walking in the Welcome Celebration

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans (see arrow) in the middle of the fun at DI Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Laser light show at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015 Welcome Ceremony

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Arial acrobat an confetti fun at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015 Welcome Ceremonies!

• Closing Ceremonies were also amazingly cool… check out the laser light show and fog machine combo!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Funny pic of the Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015 Closing Ceremonies {thanks for taking it Donna}

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Amazing fog and laser light show and my favorite guys: Duncan and Mark

 

  • The team (and adults) got to attend a workshop with THE Buzz Aldrin! At 85, he’s still doing his thing! He’s adorable, hilarious and it was such an honor to be in the same room a NASA icon! Definitely a highlight! Our only disappointment was not getting to get a photo with him.

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Buzz Aldrin workshop at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015 – it was such an honor to be in the same room as Mr. Aldrin!!!

  • NASA sponsored Nighttime Sky Observing event. We looked through huge telescopes and were able to see Jupiter, Venus, and our Moon. Fun side note… Mark was able to help me figure out how to angle my cell phone so that I could take a photo of what the telescope was seeing. Still cell phone quality, but amazing none-the-less!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans looking at Venus, Jupiter and the Moon at a NASA event at DI Global Finals 2015

  • Pin trading – this is a HUGE event at Global Finals! Each affiliate (state/country) produces their own set of pins each year. Then these pins, and often pins from previous years, are traded. It’s a great way to meet kids from other states and countries. It is also fun to watch which pins become the favorites each year and, by the end of the week, are worth more than a straight 1:1 pin trade.

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Savannah and Penelope with Box and Ball, the DI mascots

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Pin trading with kids from other states and countries! FUN!!!

  • Giga Balls – this are hysterically awesome… think HUGE beach ball meets squirrel cage ball… result… a whole lot of fun. The highlight of the Giga Balls, however, was Duncan being strong and fast enough to literally bowl over the UT bouncer guy who was supposed to stop the balls. It was super funny as he flew into the arms of a nearby dad. The best part, as we were all dying of laughter, was when he turned back to the dad and said, “Thanks for saving me, but I think we should have gotten to know each other a bit before all that!” Then he congratulated Duncan on being able to bowl him over. I have video of it, but kept focused on Duncan and missed the flying bouncer guy! LOL

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Waiting in line for the Giga Balls at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015

 

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Penelope and Savannah in the Giga Balls at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015

 

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Our new UT friend that Duncan bowled over with the Giga Ball at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015

The weather was beautiful and not overly humid. The food was yummy – our favorites were the abundance of fruits, veggies and ice cream treats and desserts!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Eating cotton candy treats

We were blessed with safe travels, health and a lot of fun!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015
Heading back to Atlanta to catch our flight home

Thank you to all of you who helped us along the way!

And thanks to my parents and my brother’s family for welcoming us home at the airport and for our sign at home and the beautiful lavender roses (wish I could capture the smell to share with you all!!).

Thanks to Duncan and Savannah’s friends for decorating our front door with love in the form of post-it notes.

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans {and team managers, Mark & Stacee Taft}

20150528_DI-2015GF_39

Categories
Family Legacy Homeschooling Just a Thought...

2015 Destination Imagination Global Finals

temp

    HELP US GET TO GLOBAL FINALS Oregon Destination Imagination, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Using this link restricts the funds for our team’s use only.

Hi! We’re the Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans! We’re so excited, and honored, to go to Global Finals again this year.

This year’s Technical Challenge is very difficult… and well… challenging. It is a fun challenge to tackle, and took a lot of work!

But, it was all worth it… Out of 68 teams that participated in the Destination Imagination State Tournament, we are honored to be one of the 17 teams representing Oregon at the 2015 Global Finals!

Along the way, we also won special Renaissance Award, in recognition of engineering design.

However, our team needs to raise $8,600 soon to compete20150308_082507crop in this amazing international academic tournament. Every penny donated can help us reach our goal! This cost will cover our registration fees, air transportation and transfers, shipping costs, and on-campus housing and meals.

Destination Imagination… is an amazing program that prepares kids for future careers by teaching them the creative process, project management, teamwork, and critical thinking using STEM {Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics}.

Teams must only use ideas their team originated and must implement these ideas themselves. For instance, we can ask someone to teach us to solder or sew or rebuild a circuit board, but if we want to use it in our solution, we have to do the work ourselves.20150411_172505crop

Our team competed in the Technical Challenge – Creature Feature: we imagined, designed and built a world, a creature that did specific creature actions and a story of adventure.

In our story, Mr. DeMarcus’ submarines are disappearing off of the radar. He hires a team to construct CUB, an ROV submarine, to rescue the subs. While CUB is retrieving the missing subs, it is attacked, however, the team manages to get CUB back to the surface proving that teamwork is the best way to solve any crisis.

We also created a background scene change which applies the laws of physics and a control panel designed using recycled parts, a parallel circuit and magnetism. We also made an awesome antenna for the control panel, powered by a part from an old printer. We DI kids love to reuse things in creative and innovative ways!

We incorporated a puppet show that allows the audience to see what the engineers in the lab are seeing on their laptop monitor: CUB’s video of its deep sea dive and the creatures it encounters while rescuing the missing subs. The puppets were hand sewn and created to look like actual deep sea creatures we researched.20150411-DSC_5331crop We even made our own patterns for the creatures!

We can’t wait for GLOBAL FINALS!

Visit Easy Fundraising Ideas

However, as we mentioned before, our team needs to raise $8,60020150411-DSC_5382crop to compete in this amazing international academic tournament.

If you, or your company, can help us achieve our goal, please use this link to donate:

Oregon Destination Imagination, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Using this link restricts the funds for our team’s use only.

To learn more about Destination Imagination® & Global Finals, visit:

20150411-DSC_5443crop

2015 Global Finals

DI-OR-logo

   WHY DO DI?

   Thank you for considering to help us reach OUR destination,
   2015 Destination Imagination Global Finals!

  Sincerely, The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans

And a HUGE Thank You to all our sponsors and donors for our raffle!

WebLOGO2

Categories
Family Legacy Just a Thought... Kitchen Meals & Recipes Tricks & Ideas

Fundraiser Cookie Dough Overtaking Your Freezer?

Each soccer season we are encouraged heavily to sell
extremely unhealthy cookie dough
to support our kids’ soccer club.

This is the kind of dough
that you can leave on your counter for SIX months,
freeze/thaw back and forth or leave in the fridge…
and it will be fine.
Perfectly fine!!

Yeah, not exactly stuff you want to push on people you love
and want to live a long healthy life! LOL
Especially when I work so hard on our family eating healthy!

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

But…
because we love to support the soccer club,
we typically purchase 4 tubs of this stuff each year.

Now these tubs take up quite a lot of space
for the amount of cookies you get from them.

And in our home,
freezer space is at a premium!

You can’t leave them in the fridge very long or else
they dry out… fast.
Not so bad in the freezer, but again,
freezer space is coveted and not to be wasted!

But if you leave them in the freezer
you nearly break a spoon trying to get the dough out
…or you have to wait for it to thaw.
I have used an ice cream scoop and it wasn’t horrible,
but it did break chips and nuts in half,
not very pretty when you bake the cookies.

So, this year I decided to try something new…

Make them more compact, faster & easier to bake!

{Btw, if you’re following this as directions,
now is a good time to take off your rings…
dough does nasty things to rings!}

I dumped the contents of a tub onto a Sil Pat (or any flexible non-stick surface)
and started squishing it into a long lump.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

At this point I wasn’t going for pretty! LOL

Then I wrapped the Sil Pat around the dough lump-log
and, with very strong hands, gently, but firmly
put pressure in the middle and worked it toward the outsides.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

Once it started “extruding” out the ends of my Sil Pat,
I broke the lump-log into two parts,
placing the extra part on wax paper to wait for it’s turn.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

 

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

 

Then I repeated the process again by wrapping the Sil Pat around the dough
and doing the same thing as before,
but this time trying to make it very even along the whole log.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

A few times I had to unroll the Sil Pat and adjust the dough and start again.

Once I had a “pretty” log,
round or square,
depending on how I held my hands,

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

I then placed the log onto saran wrap
and wrapped the ends first,
then the sides.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

I labeled each with baking temp and time
and, of course, what flavor of cookie it was.

Then I put them on a cookie sheet
and put them in the freezer to flash freeze them.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

Once they were solid,
I wrapped them again with wax paper
just to give them a little more protection from freezer burn or drying out.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

It probably took me 15 minutes for three tubs
(other than trying to document this for you all)
to do the whole process up to flash freezing.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

 

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

The benefit of this process is
1) You aren’t giving up nearly as much freezer space!
2) You can use any dough for this process, not just fundraiser cookie dough!
3) You can simply grab a frozen log and slice off the cookies you need.
4) Super fast and easy.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

However, this process does nothing to help the nutritional value of the cookies! LOL
But they do taste gooood! 🙂

Disclaimer: photos taken with my cell phone with greasy fingers…
obviously not taken for quality as much as visual to help the process be better understood.

Categories
Just a Thought... Nature

A Visitor in the Rosemary

We love our Rosemary bush.

It provides delicious flavors, smells and is beautiful to look at
often hosting a collection of little visitors for us to inspect…

But the other day, my son’s birthday to be exact,
we had a very beautifully creepy visitor.

A Visitor in the Rosemary - 1023

While I don’t know exactly what kind it is,
at first glance, while backlit, it looked like a red crab…

A Visitor in the Rosemary - 1025

Well, since I hadn’t seen this kind before,
I, being a good photographer, grabbed my camera…

A Visitor in the Rosemary - 1032

It kept spinning and building it’s web while I photographed it!!

A Visitor in the Rosemary - 1034

A Visitor in the Rosemary - 1035

Happy photographer.
It was fascinating to see how she pulled, attached, and spun her web.

A Visitor in the Rosemary - 1036

A Visitor in the Rosemary - 1037

We didn’t want to be late for my son’s soccer game, but…
This needed to be documented!

It was simply too cool!

Now I do NOT consider myself a nature photographer at all,
especially when creepy-crawlies are involved…

I leave that to my talented brother-in-law, Mat!

A Visitor in the Rosemary - 1040

But I couldn’t resist capturing her progress,
while cringing a little at the thought she might come in the house
the next time I brought a bunch of Rosemary inside. LOL

A Visitor in the Rosemary - 1041

And I figured perhaps you all might enjoy seeing her as well. 🙂

Categories
Family Legacy Homeschooling Just a Thought...

Failure… It’s All About Perspective

I was just talking to my son about failures.Thomas Alva Edison in his lab
Right now he feels like he’s failing at everything.
He doesn’t enjoy most of his school subjects {especially math}
because they aren’t ‘fun’ or ‘easy,’
so he hasn’t been interested in giving 100% to learn them…
thus he doesn’t get a perfect score.
Then he assumes he’s a failure because of the results.

He’s wrong.
And he’s not alone.

We all fall into this mindset from time to time.
My son is NOT a failure…
he simply hasn’t succeeded yet.

Edison is a great example of this.
He had the right perspective on his failures…
on hard work…
on perseverance.

“I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

He looked at his failures as chances to gain new data
or learn something he hadn’t considered or,
perhaps, just cross a possible solution off of his idea list.

“They [failures] taught me something that I didn’t know. They taught me what direction to move in.”

Failure, depending on perspective,
will either bring opportunity or despair.
Only one requires hard work and is worth the effort.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
“Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

It’s all about perspective.

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”
“We sometimes learn a lot from our failures if we have put into the effort the best thought and work we are capable of.”

I love how Edison had the right perspective.
I am thankful he did, too.
Think of all the amazing inventions that were created
because Edison had the correct perspective on his failure.

Mark and I try to pass this joy-filled, perseverance, correct perspective concept
to both our children.

However, some days are harder than others.

Like today.

My son assumes there isn’t a point to learning most of these subjects.
Again, he’s wrong…
although I surely understand where he’s coming from!

Only a part of our schooling is the actual memorizing of facts, dates and formulas…
the other half is character development: self-discipline; learning to work hard at something
even when we hate it…
in fact, learning to enjoy it;
perseverance when we feel like there is no end in sight;
obedience even if we don’t understand the ‘why’ behind the instructions given.

All of us have a choice when we approach any situation…
We can let our circumstances dictate how we think/feel
or we can choose to be joy-filled.

The latter does not come natural and requires God’s strength and perspective.

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

I attempted to use the game Mastermind as an illustration.Mastermind game
If you’ve ever played the game you know there is a long board with peg holes.
One player chooses a pattern of colors, not letting the other player see.
The other player, through a series of guesses, tries to use deductive logic to figure out the pattern.

No one gets it the first time around.

In fact, they give you almost 15 spaces on the board to try to figure it out.
But each time you try, if you’re paying attention, you will learn something.
Perhaps all you learn is that there isn’t a blue peg in spot number one.
Perhaps you’ll learn more.

But the point is… if you see each one of those tries as a failure, you totally missed the point of the game.

It’s all about perspective.

Now granted… in some people’s cases just trying won’t automatically equal success, but knowing my son like I do…
he can and will thrive and succeed at anything he chooses to.
And the fact that he doesn’t yet get that grieves my heart.

Even more so because he’s my clone (in a boy-version).
I totally remember being where he is.
Feeling what he’s feeling.
Wanting to give up because I don’t see the point of trying.
Being lazy instead of diligent when it’s hard or not fun.
Some days I’m still right there with him! Even at the age of 40.

This is why perspective is so critical.
HOW we see things dictates what we believe about… well… everything.
If I don’t choose to be joy-filled
and choose to be able to look beyond my circumstances,
my ‘right now’ pressures of life, or in my son’s case…
his daunting schoolwork syllabus…
I WILL, by default, be thrown hither and yon by the circumstances that swirl and rage around me.

My stresses, my to-do lists, my schedule, my responsibilities, my sagas…
all the things that weigh heavily on my heart and mind…
they will crush me and steal my joy.

And, in actuality, by not choosing to be joy-filled…
I am giving my joy away.

By choice.

This, of course, is easier said than done.
In my son’s case…
we’re just talking about schoolwork.

But what he learns about how to face unpleasant ‘little’ things
that feel huge will translate later into how to face horrific things,
like cancer, loss of a family member or job.

So that when those things come…
and they will…
we are not destroyed.

Our joy is not lost…
even in the midst of chaos and pain.

So where does that leave my precious son?
Well thankfully, after a lengthy, rather drama-filled, conversation…
He’s having his sister quiz him to make sure he’s really studied well for his two tests tomorrow.

He’s daily, sometimes minute-ly, having to make the choice that we need to do things,
walk through things that aren’t desirable to us…
to grow and get where God wants us to be.

He doesn’t always choose correctly.
But today he’s choosing joy
(via obedience, respect and a good attitude).

He’s choosing to work hard even though the pull
of rushing through his work carelessly so he’s ‘done’ and can go play
tugs on him with force equal to a hurricane.

He’s choosing not to let his desire to play become an idol,
but rather a goal to drive him to work harder,
smarter, more efficiently and effectively.

He’s choosing his perspective.

We all are choosing one or the other…
every day of our lives.
He’s choosing joy over circumstances.

So am I.

Which perspective are you choosing?

Categories
Family Legacy Just a Thought...

Happy Valentine’s Day

May this Valentine’s Day be filled with love, whether you have someone to call an official “Valentine” or not. Remember it shouldn’t always be about getting love… there is always someone who needs to be loved! And it is so much fun to see the difference we make when we take the time to care!

I am so blessed to be surrounded by such dear family and friends. They blow my socks off with how they love me!! I am so thankful!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Categories
Just a Thought... Kitchen Meals & Recipes Tips Tricks & Ideas

Planning Ahead – Meals

How to make the most of your time and money while still eating healthy meals.

On any given day, I wear a lot of hats!
Guess that’s true of any wife/mom, especially one who also happens to run a business.
However, mine is a tad more complicated than most as I actually run two businesses and I also homeschool our 9 and 11 year olds.
Some days it would be impossible to get a healthy dinner on the table if I hadn’t planned ahead.

Recently, I’ve been a tad lazy on the planning ahead part and have slipped back into Costco pre-made meals far too often.
Not a good thing because they are much more expensive and typically not a healthy as what I want to feed my family.

So, I’m working to get back to my former plan-ahead-awesomeness and thought I’d share some of my ideas with you all.

I always dreamt of being one of those plan meals out for a month type of people, but honestly…
in 17 years of marriage…
I succeeded doing that for one month,
and it was before adding my second business and before the kiddos entered the picture.
So, I had to come up with a way that worked for our family.

I hope you can glean some tidbits that will help you provide meals for you and your family, too!!

This is really not as daunting as it  might sound. Really, all this phase includes is figuring out what your family likes to eat:
• types of meats
• types of protein alternatives (dry beans, etc)
• types of side dishes
• types of veggies
• types of fruits

MEATS: They are typically what takes the longest to cook or most preparation when preparing a dinner. Our staple meats are usually: chicken, hamburger, pork and occasionally, if I can find a good sale, steak. I buy them in bulk, often at Costco, and work to use their coupons or anything to get the best cut of meat I can for the best price.

SIDE NOTE: I’m still learning to like seafood {as in I hate it, but know fish is good for me, so I’m working on trying to like it}, so I have NO advice on anything seafood related… yet. LOL

Once I’ve purchased my meat of choice and get home… I attack it with a vengeance, slicing it into thin, usually quarter inch slices, and put what is needed for a single meal into quart freezer Ziploc bags.

Then comes the fun part! I grab out all the sauces, seasonings that I have and I create a meal. For instance, this last batch of pork I did I created 8 meals:
• Italian, pesto, sundried tomato {aka Italian dressing, Costco pesto, Costco sundried tomatoes}
• Orange pork {Panda Express’ orange chicken marinade sauce, also found at Costco}
• Yoshida’s original sauce and stir-fry sauce {just like it sounds}
• Soy, ginger, garlic {soy sauce, freshly grated ginger and freshly sliced garlic with a touch of toasted sesame oil}
• Creamy balsamic and pepperoncinis {creamy balsamic salad dressing and sliced pepperoncinis}

It took me about an hour to slice and decorate all eight bags, but here’s the real reason I do it…
When I need a quick meal, I can pull it from the freezer, thaw it a few minutes in the microwave and cook it up in less than 10 minutes because the meat is thinly sliced. And the meat is more flavorful because they have been marinating while in the freezer, so it actually takes less “sauces” than if you were to only season it later. Think of it… a healthy main dish, reasonably priced in less than 10 minutes… yes please!Prepared freezer meals

HAMBURGER: I do things a little differently with hamburger. Typically I take the 10 or 20 pounds I buy in bulk and cook it ALL up at once, drain the fat, let cool and put into labeled ziplock bags (enough in each for one meal). Then stack in freezer. When I need to use these, it’s a quick 1-2 minutes in the microwave and it is as if I just cooked it fresh. Easy to throw into spaghetti, tacos, fajitas or anything else that’s needed.

PROTEIN ALTERNATIVES: I’m still trying to master using dry beans and collecting yummy recipes that do not involve canned beans. Dry beans are a very economical and healthy way to get protein… if/when I get better about this perhaps I’ll write a blog post just on this topic.

SIDE DISHES: For us there are a few main sides… potatoes, rice or pasta. Pasta is pretty easy to cook quickly, so I just make sure that I have my favorite pastas on hand {Garofalo pasta from Costco… totally fool-proof pasta that keeps its shape at the end… love this stuff! www.pastagarofalo.it}

As for rice, we typically do one of two things: either make a ton of it and eat it over several days in various meals or make it ahead of time, let it cool and freeze it in meal-sized portions {just microwave to reheat}.

Regarding potatoes, there are so many ways to eat them. Since we’re talking about time-crunch meals… I will only mention the quick options. Costco has great instant potatoes that don’t have hardly anything added to them and they are super-fast and inexpensive. We do add seasonings and butter when we make them, however. Another way to enjoy potatoes is microwaving whole potatoes {of course making sure to puncture them well first so they don’t explode}. It’s easy and relatively quick. You can also freeze potatoes in almost any form {cooked or raw} if you wanted to prepare/season them ahead of time.

VEGGIES: these are easy… you can get almost any vegetable in a frozen form that can be quickly made into a yummy side dish. The great thing is that places like Costco or Cash and Carry {I’m sure there are many other places as well} you can buy them frozen in huge bags and save a bunch of money. In the summer we have a garden and eat our own produce: green wax beans, purple wax beans, yellow wax beans, rattlesnake wax beans, zucchini, standard cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, varieties of tomatoes, bell peppers, and sugar snap peas. We eat them raw as often as possible, not just because it’s quicker, but because it’s better for us and SO good straight from the garden!!

One of our favorites is green beans sautéed with bacon {we use Hormel’s bacon in a jar… sooooo good} and garlic. Be careful… they’re addictive!!

SIDE NOTE for those of you who are single or are only cooking for two: If you’re cooking for just a few and feel like this “bulk buying” thing is just too much, find a friend(s) that you can spilt the bulk purchases with. This gives you the savings for buying in bulk while not having to store excess food that will likely get freezer burn before you get a chance to consume it. This also works for bulk purchases of fresh foods like fruits and veggies, too.

FRUITS: Fruits are best fresh, of course, but we also freeze lots of our fruits to use in our VitaMix smoothies {this could be a blog post on its own, too!} or just as a treat. They are so good!! We just make sure there is always fresh fruit on hand… and for the few times I haven’t gotten to the store yet we have canned fruit, dried fruit and ‘no sugar added’ fruit cups. But mostly the non-fresh fruits are used for lunches more than dinners.

Whew… this ended up being much longer than I had intended. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking with it!!

I’m hoping to do more of these types of blog posts… ones filled with tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years {aka gathered/learned from other brilliant people and a few I’ve come up with}.

REQUEST: If you have secrets, advice, tips, or suggestions
on how you keep meals inexpensive and quick…
I’d love to hear them!!
Please leave them in the comments section below so everyone can benefit from your wisdom!!!