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When Your Child Loses Their Passion For Something They Love

oatmeal cookies (1)Does you child have something that they love to do more than anything else in the world? Playing a sport? Creating art? Reading books? Participating in an activity like boy/girl scouts? Have you ever experienced your child lose their passion for this activity?

This past week, I have experienced Danyella telling me that she doesn’t know if she wants to dance anymore. What the What?? This must be someone else’s child because my child would NEVER say this about dance but she did.

Here is some background story about why this is so unbelievable to me….

Since Danyella was little she LOVED to dance. In order to get her to start walking, I put on Happy Feet and this child danced before she could walk but the movie encouraged her to walk/waddle around the house. As she got older, she experimented trying different things like gymnastics, soccer and girl scouts. She liked them (ok not soccer, she ran the other way) but nothing gave her a spark to wake up and want to do it everyday.

A little over 3 years ago that all changed. She asked to take a Musical Theatre class at a local dance studio so I signed her up for that and a Jazz class. Danyella loved her classes and she was naturally good at dancing. We added a ballet class to her line up and she couldn’t be more in her element. Just a year after dancing, Danyella made the studio’s first ever Mini Elite competition team. She takes 7 classes a week plus competition team or the special recital team’s rehearsals. On Saturdays she dances for 11 hours with breaks throughout the day. This is when my kid is in her element. She is a great dancer and quick to pick up choreography.

Now after 3 years, she lost the spark she had because of a couple of girls in 2 of her classes. She still loves to dance but now she only wants to dance in her room. She dreads going to her first 2 classes on Saturday mornings because it feels like torture to deal with these girls. The nail in the coffin is that next year she only has one option for ballet and it forces her to be in the same class with the same girls with the same teacher that doesn’t seem to care to control the class. She doesn’t want to go at all next year.

When my child is unhappy then I am unhappy!

What to do what to do? Danyella doesn’t want me to say anything to anyone for fear that this girl will hear that her mom opened her mouth and will retaliate against her. Well, she should know better because I will open my mouth. I don’t want to see Danyella avoid doing the thing she loves because a few girls have ruined this year for her. I will advocate for my child because when she dances, she has a magical spark about her and twinkle in her eye. You know that she doesn’t have to dance but she choices to display a beautiful form of art for everyone to enjoy.

Yes, I could be the parent to take the easy way out and let her just quit. What does letting her quit teach her? How will she feel in 10 or 20 years that she gave up on her dream to be a professional dancer? I want her to push to be the best person she can be and for her that means being a dancer. Dance has given her friends that she can relate to and enjoy spending hours upon hours with. Dance has given her a discipline that she didn’t have before. Dance has given her a passion about something in her life, something to look forward to doing every single day.

Not only has Danyella given her heart and soul to dancing, but so has the rest of our family. Evie has become the team mascot for the Mini Elite team and dance studio. The teachers love to get the chance to hold Evie and dance with her. The other moms have become a second mom to both girls. I have formed friendships that will last a lifetime. The studio has become our second family and I don’t want to give up our second family without a fight to help Danyella get to a place where she is comfortable for next year’s classes and that she will participate in all of her recital classes this year.

Moral of this story: Don’t let your kids just quit when they have a passion for something. There are negative people in the world that will always try to extinguish your flame but when they do just relight it and burn them with it. Ok not literally burn them but you get what I mean…. make them realize they can’t force you or your child out of what they love. Fight for your kids dreams and passions!

There will always be Negative people trying to extinguish your flame. Reignite that flame and show them No One can extinguish your passion!

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Easy Foil Lemon Fish Packets

img_3653This is one of my favorite fish meals to make because it is easy, yummy and it can go in my oven or on the grill in the summer. Personally, I love white fish like tilapia because it is a mild fish. Though, when it comes to my sushi, I pretty much eat any fish.

You can either get fresh fish fillets from your local fish place or grocery store’s fish section. I prefer to get the frozen fillets that are individually packaged because I can just take out how many I want at a time and not end up with leftovers that won’t be eaten. Let’s be honest, fish the next day is just not something you want to eat.

This pairs great with rice or fresh veggies or salad in the summer. I love tilapia with grilled asparagus in the summer. Plus, I use fresh herbs from my herb garden to enhance the taste of my fish. Win-Win!

Now, I can’t get Danyella, aka the sassy tween, to eat fish but she tried this and loved it. This is a huge accomplishment in my mom life!

Foil Lemon Fish Packets

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fresh, light, easy fish recipe.


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

  • 2-4 fish fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 lemon sliced
  • 1/2 lemon for juicing
  • olive oil for foil
  • a piece of tin foil for each fillet large enough to create a packet
  • salt and pepper; to taste

Directions

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees or fire up your grill. Fold the sides of each piece of tin foil to create walls. Drizzle oil in each.
  2. Place a fillet on each piece. Sprinkle each piece with garlic, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.
  3. Squeeze lemon and place lemon slices on each fillet.
  4. Fold each packet around the fish. Set the fish in a glass or tin baking dish or place directly on your grill.
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the fillets. The last 5 minutes I like to open the packets and let the lemons bake into the fish a little more.
  6. Serve with a yummy side and enjoy a nice dinner with your family.

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ABC Your Positive Life with this Gratitude Starter List

SpringInspiration

If you are anything like me, you can fall into a funk with keep a positive life all of the time. Things happen that can cause stress in your life which can lead to negative thoughts. It can be easy for your mind to get distracted by negative thoughts and forget everything we should be grateful for.

The other funk I fall into is being grateful for the same things over and over. Yes, I am thankful for my house, my children, my husband, my family etc… you get where I am going with this. Now, it is time to find the details of those general things that I am grateful for not just my kids, etc.

One way that helps me sort through these funks is to use my ABC list. This allows my brain to open up and think outside of the box for the things that I am grateful for in my life. Some of the letters make me get very creative which helps in exercising my brain as well.

Such as… A: I am grateful for apples and that my baby girl is big enough to start eating applesauce now.

You can start off with one letter a day or a few at a time. You can go in order or skip around. In the end all that matters is that you are working on your positive life and gratitude towards what is in your life.

I created the sheets in yellow and purple to brighten your day while you write, the first link is the pdf to download, the second is a jpg:

Yellow ABC’s of Gratitude

ABC's of Gratitude

Purple ABC’s of Gratitude

ABC's of Gratitude (1)

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How to Create Your Dream Bucket List

How to Start a bucket list

A bucket list is something that people have been doing for years, decades even centuries. People have written books about bucket lists and movies have been made about them even one move having the title The Bucket List. (Great movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) You might even have a mental bucket list but have yet to put those things on paper.

I think I started my first bucket list when I was 5 or 6. Any girl at that age, the top of their bucket list is Disney World or Disney Land (depending on what coast you live on). Which I accomplished when I was 22. Now, I want to take my girls to Disney to experience the wonders they offer as kids. I have always had travel locations that I want to tour on my bucket list(s). I want to tour Italy which could take a lifetime with all of the history, architecture and art that I want to enjoy. Ireland, Germany, France, England and the rest of Europe are on my list. Plus, Hawaii, the different countries in the Caribbean, Bali and other exotic locations. In more recent years, I have added a cross-country road trip to the list so that I can show the girls different landmarks in the country we live in.

Beyond travel, I have things that I want on my bucket list. Like purchasing a house is on my list. I would love to stop renting and paying someone else for the house we live in and call home. Finishing my degree is an important one on my list. Hopefully, this will happen sooner than later. I want to eventually have my tattoo on my leg finished.

Some things I have marked off my bucket list: becoming a Philadelphia Horticultural Society member, seeing Pitbull and U2 in concert, going to Las Vegas, having a girls trip with my friends, learn how to crochet (turned into a business!), learn how to screen print on clothes (so much fun!)

A bucket list gives you something to look forward to in life… goals for your future.  Your bucket list just needs to start with one thing that you want to accomplish in your life.

Here are some ideas:

Camping

Traveling to different areas

Concerts to See

Events you want to attend

Eat at a favorite restaurant

Attend an art class

Learn a new Hobby

Remodel a Room in your House

Start a new Self Care routine

Learn how to Bake/Cook

and the list is endless!

This Bucket List list can help you kick start your bucket list with different areas to think about adding to your list. This is the PDF printable version: My Bucket List

My Bucket List

 

 

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Lucky Penny Picture Frame With Free Father’s Day and Graduation Printable

Lucky Penny DIY Frame

Now that Mother’s Day is over, our next concentration is Father’s Day and Graduation. This frame really can work for a holiday like Father’s Day or celebrations like Graduation or Birthdays. This DIY project is super easy and an affordable gift for a loved one.

The frame is from the dollar store and the pennies are from my wallet and savings jar. The only other thing I needed was a hot glue gun. You can use one of the printables below or have your kids make a special poster for the frame.

For the penny frame, I used a hot glue gun to glue the initial row of pennies then staggered the top row to give it a unique look. You can replace the pennies with nuts and bolts, golf tees or something else related to Dad’s hobbies.

For the Dad Printable: Father’s Day Lucky Dad Printable

Let ourchildren play

For the Graduation Printable: Happy Graduation Printable

Happy Graduation

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Just Another Mother’s Day or Is Everyday Mother’s Day?

As I scrolled through Facebook and Instagram yesterday, it was filled with tributes to specific moms and grandmoms, quotes about moms and motherhood and photos of special celebrations and gifts.

For my Mother’s Day, I spent a special lunch with my Mom, Danyella and Evie. Our original plan was to go to a special restuarant my mom and I have been dying to go eat fish and chips but sadly they never answered their phone to let us know what their hours were going to be or if we need reservations. Sorry but super bad business practice for a place to eat! Since it was going to be raining all weekend, outdoor plans like going to the greenhouses and gardening centers were out. As was, going to our favorite outdoor shopping center.

Instead, we decided to go to Ruby Tuesdays since we all like the salad bar and the food is decent. We each had a good meal and our bellies were so full. It was time to walk off some of those calories we inhaled by shopping at Home Goods and Marshalls. We love shopping there for their good prices and the home decor is always so cute. We always find the cutest clothes for the girls.

Since the puppy ate one of Evie’s sandals, she got a new pair of sandals and an outfit to match. Dany picked out a couple of rompers… her new fashion must have. We looked at shorts but holy cow they were way to short to put on my 11 year old daughter! (This will be a future blog post!!) My mom found really cool HUGE glass jars that she is converting into planters. (This is where I get my gardening love from) I looked at cast iron pans but was not a fan of the ones they had so I found one at Walmart that I can’t wait to start using.

The girls gave my Mom the footprint vase that Evie and I made a while back for one of the Mother’s Day Teach Me Tuesday posts. If you want to see how to make your own this is the post: Baby Prints DIY Mason Jar Vase  Danyella was in the process of making me a card but I told her to make it for Nanny and we will include that with her gift. My original idea was to make her a salt dough thumbprint necklace but time got away from me. Plus, one day I will save the money to buy her the Ancestry DNA test that she has been begging us to get her for every holiday for the past year.

My gift this year was the love from my kids. I am blessed to have Evie in our family and all the smiles, giggles and stinky diapers she gives me everyday. I have watched Danyella go from my little girl to a graceful, crazy dancing tween. Aidan is my only boy who gave me the biggest scare with being born a preemie and spending so much time in the NICU to a football star. Kaeleigh was the first to make me a Mommy and though we have lost that special bond, she will always have that special place in my heart. She will be 18 this year and has become a beautiful young woman. I saw her prom pictures yesterday and cried at how beautiful and grown up she is now.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have adored a gift from the kids or my husband this year but that was not in the plans from the universe. I appreciate the pan that my mom gave me because it will continue to enhance my cooking skills and new passion. I loved the moments I spent with the girls. I could have used some more sleep and maybe someone else to cook dinner which maybe one day soon my husband will cook for me (hint hint).

So back to the point of this post, the day I had was like other days that I have had because my mom and I like to eat lunch out and then go shopping. I usually spend my days with the girls and cook dinner then stay up way to late to catch up on business stuff or blog stuff. It might not have been a huge, over the top celebration but I got to spend the day like I do everyday… with the people that love me living my life as a mom. I wouldn’t change my everyday is Mother’s Day for anything in the world.

How did you spend your Mother’s Day?

Everyday that we spend special moments with our children is Mother's Day

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Brown Sugar Breaded Baked Pork Chops

If you can’t tell, my family has been on a pork chop kick lately since “Christina” gave us a bunch of chops and ham steaks from when they purchased a pig last year. The challenge has been to find different ways to make the pork so that I am not feeding my family the same recipe over and over.

One thing I love to make and eat is breaded chicken but I have never done this with pork before. Hey, it should taste just as good right? Oh it did taste so good! The combination of the bread crumbs, brown sugar and a little bit lemon juice makes this a savory with a touch of sweet pork chops. It pairs well with potatoes, egg noodles or rice really nicely.

Brown Sugar Breaded Baked Pork Chops

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

  • 4-6 pork chops
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or non stick spray
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced or chopped
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons onion flakes
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or 1/2 fresh lemon

Directions

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees. Spray or coat a deep baking dish with oil. Set 2 bowls aside
  2. In one bowl, whisk the 2 eggs. In the other bowl, mix garlic, onion flakes, bread crumbs, brown sugar, salt and pepper together.
  3. Dip the chops in the egg wash then into the breading mixture. Place the chops in the dish.
  4. Drizzle the lemon juice over each chop.
  5. Bake on the bottom rack for 30 minutes. Switch to the top rack for 15 minutes to crisp the breading up. If your pork chops are thicker please allow for longer cooking times.
  6. Pair with your favorite sides and enjoy a nice meal with your family!

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Thankful That I Enjoy Cooking Now

Thankfulthat I Enjoy Cooking Now

For most of my life I was intimidated by cooking because it seemed so complicated to make a meal worth eating and tasted good. So many pots and pans and other kitchen gadgets to use and I didn’t know what I was doing. Which pot was the correct one? Which utensil was correct? How did you use this gadget or that? Plus, it seemed to take me FOREVER to cook a single dinner.

For years, I have had a couple of key meals that I knew how to make and they tasted great like my chicken paprikash. Pasta was a weekly, sometimes more than once a week, staple meal in my house because it was easy and you really can’t fail at it. Add that to my breakfast for dinner like pancakes or eggs with a side meat. That was 2 simple meals that were fast and edible. The rest of the time we would eat out… we have kept our local pizza and chinese places busy for many years now.

Since I barely ate through my pregnancy with Evie because of my hyperemesis gravidarum, I wanted to eat everything in sight after I gave birth. The thing was, I no longer wanted to eat the quick meals that I was used to cooking everday. I wanted foods with more flavor. I wanted the meals that they cook on my favorite cooking show… The Chew!

All of the cooking shows that Danyella and I watch make cooking look soooo easy! So, I decided it was time to get out of my comfort zone and start cooking real meals. I have come up with some really delicious chicken and pork meals like my Mushroom Pork Chops  and Baked Lemon Chicken Printable Recipe . 

My Instant Pot has made it so easy to make delicious meals without getting completely overwhelmed. I love to experiment with different veggies and flavors. I can’t wait until my herb garden grows so I can start adding fresh herbs rather than dried herbs to my dishes. Plus, once we have our veggies grow over the Summer, I can incorporate even more fresh veggies into our meals.

Not only have we been able to put the take out menus away (ok we eat out about once every 2 weeks because somedays its just easier to let someone else cook!) but we have saved money because it costs us less to eat in then out. I try to cook at least 5 times a week with one night for leftovers (I hate wasting the food) and one free night where I don’t cook (aka find a box of cereal and be happy!).  I hope that I can continue to enjoy cooking and learn new skills to make delicious meals for my friends and family.

Drop a link to your favorite recipes for me to try in the comments below!

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Finding Your Life Mantra

Finding Your Life Mantra

When I first heard the term “Life Mantra”, honestly I thought it sounded kinda weird and crazy. I mean why did I need a life mantra to remind myself that I am a wonderful person or that my life is amazing?

It took me many years to realize that I needed the life mantra because I would mentally beat myself up. Everytime something went wrong in my life, a relationship or friendship would end, I fell behind on bills…. anything that was wrong, I would tell myself hateful things. I would tell myself how stupid I am, how ugly I am, that my life sucked or that I was just not loveable.

When I wasn’t in the throes of my anxiety or depression, I could see how my life wasn’t as horrible as my mind was making it. In the midst of those throws, it was like a tape recorder on repeat where all the bad things were just ongoing in my mind. How could I feel like a wonderful person when the one person that should love…. me …. couldn’t say one nice thing to myself??

That is when I started working on my self-care and reading everything I could on helping get myself out of this repeat mode of bad thoughts. I can’t even tell how many self-help books I have read over the past 10 years but the one recurring theme was to change your bad thoughts into good thoughts. In addition to changing your thoughts, you should implement positive affirmations into your daily self care routine.

I like to take the positive affirmations one step further and created a life mantra. My life mantra is something that I like to repeat to myself when I start those bad thoughts. When life gets stressful and my instinct is to beat myself up, I repeat “I am loving and loveable” to myself over and over and over until I snap out. Some days, life gets overwhelming and I will not only repeat my mantra to myself but I will write my mantra down so that I see what I want to feel.

I know that some people use “I am Enough” or “My Life is Wonderful” as their life mantra. Your Life Mantra should feel unique to you. Think about how you wan to feel about yourself or your life…

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Do you want to feel more love? Do you want to feel like you are enough? Do you want to feel your life is going in a certain direction? Do you want to feel successful in your life?

I am Loving and Loveable

Once you come up with your life mantra, it will take some time and practice but start by saying your life mantra to yourself when you wake up and before you go to bed. Doing this in the mirror is more effective, especially in the beginning, to get your mind used to repeating this to yourself. When you begin to think those bad thoughts, turn your thoughts to your life mantra to turn yourself around to the positive side.

Yes, this takes work, time and patience but it is so worth it because self-care is important to everyone at every age. Start slow and begin to build your life mantra into your everyday thinking. When you see yourself, spiraling down, say your mantra and bring yourself up again. I believe in you and now it is time to believe in yourself!

 

 

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Family Day at Adventure Aquarium

family Day

Every Summer, Danyella and I, create a Summer bucket list of things we want to do through the summer. We don’t get through all of the items but it is the fun of making the bucket list and trying to accomplish as many as we can. One of the top things on this year’s bucket list was to go to the aquarium. Yesterday, we surprised Danyella and had a family day at the aquarium!

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I was NOT paid and DID NOT receive free tickets. This is just our family’s experience at the aquarium.

Knowing that we had a day that my husband was off of work and Danyella did not have dance, I had to plan a family day. Having nearly 90 degree weather through the week, I thought that the zoo would be the perfect place to go… until the weather changed and the forecast was calling for rain all day. Having a love of sharks, my husband suggested that we go to the aquarium.

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This was a great idea until I looked at the ticket prices. $30 per adult and $22 per child which was a huge leap from the $13 and $11 for tickets to the zoo near us. I did some research and found a discount on groupon. So instead of spending $91 (with taxes and fees), I purchased the tickets for $62 for the 3 of us. Thankfully the baby was free!

We got there and started off with the shark touching exhibit which was fun for Doug and Danyella. Next, we were off to the penguin park. We got outside just as they were feeding the penguins which was fun to watch. Danyella could have sat there all day and watched her precious penguins. There is a play area for younger kids and what looked to be a water play area for nice days. This was a short stop because it was so crowded with strollers that it was hard to maneuver around.

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Our next area to check out was the kid’s touch area. This will be fun to take Evie when she is a little bigger and she can play with the interactive learning tools. It was fun to see the crocodile and frogs in this area.

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Then, we headed to the area with the different exotic fish, jellyfish and other sea creatures. By the time we hit this section, Evie decided she didn’t want to sit in her stroller anymore. I should have known this would happen since she is usually wrapped when I take her out. So, she got her Daddy to hold her as we walked through the rest of this section.

We got to see many cool fish, more penguins just hanging out and the parts of what they call their shipwreck. This is the big tank that extends through different parts of the aquarium that has so many different fist, stingrays, sea turtles and sharks! I wish Evie was a little bigger that we could have sat her up against the glass and gotten some good shots of her with the sharks, stingrays and sea turtles.

The sharks were saved for last since that is my husband’s favorite part and we knew he would want to spend more time watching them. The shark tunnel was really cool to watch them swim all around us. I got a funny photo of Evie crying as one was coming up behind her… just perfect timing for that one. Then, I took a photo of Danyella with this look like she was actually interested and having fun. (Moms of tween girls will understand how hard that is lol). Doug and Dany went across the Shark Bridge which is basically a net walking area across the shark tank! I stayed with the baby since we couldn’t hold her and walk across.

As a mom on a budget, being able to pack our lunch to eat at the aquarium was a huge plus for me. We stopped and bought $5 wawa hoagies plus I picked up chips and drinks at the dollar store the day before. We bought Danyella ice cream which was $5.50 for a small cup of Dippin Dots…. crazy! The money we saved on food was well spent at the gift shop with the girls getting stuffed animals and other cute things.

Overall, the trip was fun for the whole family though in a year or two Evie will really be able to enjoy a visit. The discounted cost through groupon and bringing our own food helped justify the cost of the tickets and parking ($10!!). We were in the aquarium by 10 and left about 2 so it was a short visit and next time I would plan on going when it’s warmer and we can enjoy the outdoor activities. If you want to make a plan the website has lots of information: Adventure Aquarium but I highly suggest looking for a discount on tickets through groupon or local businesses sometimes have discount coupons in the Summer.

Our Day With the Penguins