The Best Christmas Present Ever

14 years ago today, I received the BEST Christmas present I could ever ask for:

This little fella took us all by surprise by coming 2 weeks and 6 days early. Well, it was the second time he took us by surprise since his older brother was only 10 months old when I found out I was pregnant with him ifyaknowwhatimean. Punkin was born on the 23rd and came home on Christmas Eve.

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Punkin got off to kind of a rough start with horrible colic. I tell him that if he wasn’t crying he was eating. When he wasn’t eating he was pooping, and when he wasn’t pooping he was sleeping. Since he never slept, he was doing one of the first three all the time (mostly crying!).

But, Punkin had my heart right from the very start. He had a smile that lit up the room and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen.

Punkin is smart, funny, and has razor sharp wit. I love that about him. He also has compassion for others and a lot of patience with his younger brothers.

Here’s to a very happy 14th birthday Punkin. I love you so very much. You are the best Christmas present ever!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Missy Homemaker Family to yours.

I am grateful for Storm Trooper Humor and the people who also think it’s funny.

I am thankful that my family is healthy.

I’m especially grateful that my dad has a wonderful prognosis from his cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

I am super thankful for my friends Jodi and Rhonda. They both get me.

I’m really grateful that my kids are mine. We drive each other crazy, but in the end we both know who has each other’s back.

I’m grateful people keep reading this blog! Thank you thank you thank you!

And I’m very thankful and blessed to be spending my Thanksgiving with my love and my Peanut while my older boys enjoy Thanksgiving with their dad. And I can’t forget to be thankful for the steak dinner we’ll be eating. I {heart} steak.

Here’s to a fabulous Thanksgiving.

The Family Fridays Link-Up Party is Here!

This has been quite the week here in Casa Homemaker. The biggest thing was my HUGE Wellness Coaching Giveaway that I posted here. Please don’t make another New Year’s Resolution until you head on over there and read that post. Now, onto the Parrttaaayyy!

 Don’t forget to stop by HERE and enter to win 3 months of Wellness Coaching for no cost!

Welcome to Livin’ The Mom Life & Missy Homemaker’s Family Friday Link-Up Party!!!

Winter Storm Nika

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For those of you who don’t live in Illinois, there are a few things you should know. Weather changes at the drop of a hat, and all four seasons are often represented in each season (i.e. the 60°F weather we had just a couple of weeks ago followed immediately by a -10°F day. Weird.). Oh and last Saturday, our basement flooded due to it raining on frozen ground. Good times had by all that day.

Having been born and raised in Northern Illinois, I’ve seen my share of very snowy winters. I saw greater evidence of this when I moved to the U.P. of Michigan for four years during college (Go Huskies!). There’s nothing like opening up your front door only to be met with snow up to your boobs as far as the eye can see. No joke.

When we moved to Iowa we were warned that the winters out there were horrible, but we found that they weren’t much different than we were already used to. The people there took those regular winter storms in stride.

Then we moved to Central Illinois. This area is a whole new animal. I’ll admit, compared to last winter, it may seem to the people who have lived here their whole lives that the world is ending by snow. We’ve gotten feet more snow this year than last.

But please. Each and every time the weather forecast calls for snow of greater than an inch, the people in this city lose their minds.

I happened to have to run to the grocery store this morning, and for a Tuesday morning, the parking lot was packed! Now I’ll admit, I didn’t even realize that there was a storm heading our way. I’d heard of one supposedly hitting up north, but because I don’t watch the news, this whole Winter Storm Nika thing had escaped me.

And inside, it was chaos! There were shoppers filling carts…multiple carts, ladies!… of groceries in order to prepare for a snow storm. My checker commented that she’d never seen such ridiculousness before. That’s saying a lot considering my first experience in this particular grocery store was a girl standing at the checkout pulling not only her EBT card, but her iPhone too, out of her bra.

This made me think a little bit more about how crazy people around here get about snow and food. I suppose I think differently about it because generally, we cook from staples and we (almost) always have those staples in the house. We buy bread most of the time, but if we ran out, I could easily bake a couple of loaves or we’d just go without. Our freezer is stocked with some meat and veggies, and we have a decent pantry going…and if all else failed, we have rice and beans on standby.

I was being snoopy today so I checked out the carts filling the check out lines. Citizen of this city: You were freaking out over Pop Tarts and frozen pizza. Seriously? You think the world is coming to an end and you’re buying that crap?

Judgement aside, I wonder how and when people moved away from putting some food back for emergencies and totally flipping out the moment there’s the possibility of bad weather.

I’ll talk a little more about this in my next post.

Tell me, do you have a stockpile for emergencies, or are you one that stocks up if there’s bad weather on the way?

SMART Goals for 2014

I’m not a big one for New Year’s Resolutions, but ask me to write down my goals and I’m all over it.  Many people struggle with goal setting-either setting goals that are too vague or too aggressive. Often when the goal isn’t met or the actual goal isn’t understood, a person becomes discouraged and gives up.  In setting my goals, I’ve found the best strategy for me is using the SMART Goal Setting Method.  SMART is an acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Action Oriented, Realistic/Relevant, and Time Bound/Trackable.  How do you use the SMART Goal Method? Here’s an example of one of my goals for 2014.

When setting a goal, first make the goal Specific:

  • I want to have more followers on my Facebook page.

Next, make the goal Measurable. How will the goal be measured and how will you know it was obtained?

  • I’ll have 1000 followers on my Facebook page.

The goal must be Attainable. What Actions will be required to achieve it?

Is my goal a challenge yet still able to be achieved?

  • Yes, it’s attainable.

What Actions will be required for me to achieve it?

  • Network through various social websites.
  • Join new blogging groups.
  • Pimp my blog where I can.
  • Participate in Facebook Page Hops.

Goals must be Realistic and Relevant.

Are my goals realistic considering the sources I have? Am I committed to achieving my goals?

  • Yes, internet time is all I need. Yes, I’m committed.

Is my goal relevant to the Big Picture? Will reaching this goal help me create the life I want to live?

  • Increasing my numbers will give me more blogging opportunities and future monetizing opportunities.

Goals need to be Time Bound.

Is my goal trackable?

  • Yes. It has a specific number.

When will my goal be reached?

  • I’m setting the goal date at May 1, 2014.

Finally, re-state your goal using all the above criteria:

  • I will reach 1000 followers on my Facebook page by May 1, 2014 by joining new blog groups, participating in various Facebook fanpage hops, and committing to 30 minutes a day for strictly promoting my blog and fan page through various networking channels.

And just for you, I put together this basic template using my pathetic design skillz to help you create your own SMART Goals for 2014.   You are free to use this template as you wish.  Best of luck with your goal setting for 2014.  Would you like join our link-up to help yourself be accountable for your goals, please grab a button! We will be doing a link-up on Thursday January 2, 2014 and then the last Friday of every month.

Wellness Wednesday: The END of New Year’s Resolutions and a Big Surprise!

Welcome back to this week’s Wellness Wednesday with M-Powered Lifestyles. In this post, I’m daring you to put an END to New Year’s Resolutions.

Yes, you read that right. I dare you to NOT vow to lose those last 20 pounds by swimsuit season. I dare you to NOT say that you’re going to start the exercise program you’ve been putting off. Don’t swear you’ll eat better…beginning a complete lifestyle overhaul on January 1st (or 2nd after the hangover has subsided).

I’m urging you instead to “Make 2014 The Year of the Best You!

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What exactly does this mean?

This means that instead of making promises to change your eating and exercising habits (that you know probably won’t last to February), I’m asking you to make SMART goals for this next year.

Here’s an example”

What is it that you really want to accomplish? If you normally resolve to lose weight, why do you want to lose that weight? Do you want to be able to move better or perhaps even just walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath? Those are specific goals. Do you normally say you want to eat healthier? What are you hoping to accomplish by eating ‘healthier’ and what do you consider ‘healthy’? A more specific goal would be to have 1/2 of your plate be vegetables and greens.

Once you have your goals listed (there’s a handy printable here to help), you can then create your action plan (which is also a step on the printable) for each one. Remember, little steps added onto over time create BIG changes.

There is one thing I want each and every person reading this to remember:

You are unique, beautiful, and amazing! Your size, fitness level, body fat percentage, weight…it does not define who you are.

You don’t need to look at other women and pine for their bodies, their careers, their looks or anything else. You already have all you need to be the very best version of yourself. There’s nothing more beautiful than that.

And, sometimes, you just need support and guidance.

Saying that, here’s my big surprise!

I am giving away 10 *free* 3 month health coaching programs through my wellness coaching practice M-Powered Lifestyles.

Five lucky winners will win a 3 Month Individual Wellness Coaching Program equalling 6 sessions of 50 minutes each by telephone. The value of this prize is $600 each.

Five more lucky winners will win spots in a 3 Month Group Wellness Coaching Program equalling 6 sessions of 75 minutes each by telephone. The value of this prize is $300 per person. The starting date for this group will be Monday January 20, 2014 and will be held in the evening. Time to be determined.

Please look at the fine print under terms and conditions. This giveaway is open to everyone regardless of location, as long as you’re willing to schedule sessions during the available times. Winners will be notified December 27, 2013. Edit: The giveaway has been extended through January 1, 2014. Winners will be notified by January 3, 2014.

Not sure if wellness coaching is for you? You can read more about me and my philosophies here.

Best of luck, and here’s to Making 2014 the Year of the Best You!

Wellness Wednesday: I desperately need your help

In planning this week’s Wellness Wednesday post, I had several ideas, but it occurred to me that what I might think is important may not be important for you.

For instance, I struggle with depression and know from experience that what I eat can lessen or enhance depression symptoms. Would information about this interest you?

Or what about sugar? We all know it’s bad for us, but would you like more information as to why it’s bad to eat processed sugar and sugar alternatives and what the best strategies are for getting sugar out of your diet?

Children’s wellness, women’s wellness, fitness, stress reduction…do these topics interest you?

My goal as a Holistic Health Coach (or Lifestyle Transformist as I like to say) is to give you the wellness information that is vital to you and your family.

Let me help you make 2014 the year you transform your lifestyle to become your best version of you.

In the comments below, would you please list the questions you want answered? And if you don’t want to ask them publicly, you can contact me through my contact page here on Missy Homemaker or here on my M-Powered Lifestyles website.

Party Time! Family Fridays Link-Up is Open

Welcome to Livin’ The Mom Life & Missy Homemaker’s Family Friday Link-Up Party!!!

Let’s celebrate the upcoming weekend by sharing some linking love.
Jennifer at Making Our Life Matter is Co-Hosting Family Friday Link-Up Party with us this week and we are so excited she has come to party with us! Please check her out HERE and remember to follow her too!

This week is all about family. Enjoy!
Rhonda at Bitch and Whine discusses how sometimes kids should be rewarded for effort not results. This post tore at my heartstrings and is well worth your time to read.

Bonnie a.k.a. Lady Blogger writes a quick post: Applying to College. It seems it’s a lot harder than it was 20+ years ago when I sent my quick and dirty application in.

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Adelein at Blessed Learners writes about the importance of one of my favorite parts of the day: Having Meals Together as a Family. It’s something my family did when I was growing up and something my family does now.

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Oh did Tanya from Mom’s Small Victories crack me up with her Sharing Moments of Motherhood post. I can totally relate to flatulence being the music of my life. Seriously. Is there something wrong with these kids’ digestive systems?

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I can’t let this day pass without one recipe right? My buddy Melissa at Forever Fitting In has a recipe for an A.MAZ.ING Candy Cane Protein Shake. You don’t have to wait for a workout to make this. Just do it. Now. Yumm-O!

Please also check out the featured posts at Livin’ The Mom Life & Making Our Life Matter!
If you have been featured in today’s Family Friday Link-Up Party, please grab the button below and proudly display it in your post or sidebar!

Saturday Soapbox # 11: Homeschoolers, Opinionators, and Haters…Oh My!

Maybe I have PMS, maybe I’m disheartened by the lack of ‘The Season’ in ‘The Season’, but it seemed that there were an unusually large number of things that irritated me this week. I’m so grateful for Saturday Soapbox.

The whole point of Rhonda sharing this video with me was that we had just been having a discussion on how a few homeschoolers give everyone else a bad name.

The conversation in the video goes like this: The man interviewing the family asks the girl what 12×12 is, then 6×6. When she doesn’t know the answers to those questions, he then asks 5×5 (which she answers as 20 with the mother correcting her to 25.) The mother then says, “We’ve studied Genesis to Joshua. Not so hard on the math facts. We’re on Bible. That’s alright.”

The issue wasn’t that the woman taught the Bible which is what someone insinuated on my FB page. The issue was that a 12 year old girl (I’m assuming she’s that age because she looks to be the same age as Sweet Pea), didn’t know what 5×5 was-the most basic of math facts.

Quite frankly, I don’t care if a parent chooses to use the Bible as the only text book for their homeschool curriculum-it is the parent’s choice and right to choose how to school her children. My opinion is that by not teaching your child the basics in other subjects, you’re handicapping the child in real life situations. Hmmm, how much would 5 cans of soup at $3 a can cost? Math is kind of necessary for pretty much everyone. When things like this spread around, it makes the rest of us homeschoolers look bad. Homeschoolers are fighting an uphill battle in this country. I would prefer if you’d not make it any harder.

Alright, on to the next thing. I would love for people who aren’t bloggers to realize that if you piss a blogger off, especially one who doesn’t mind being a jerk, you will probably end up in a blog post.

Talking about the FB post I mentioned above, an acquaintance of mine piped in on the conversation that was going on there. I’ve known this woman for quite a while, 20 years at least. I know her to be a great mother and an AWESOME homeschool mom. BUT, she took it upon herself to take the argument about the HS mom not teaching math personally.

Not only did she begin to freak out about people judging her for not schooling her kids properly (which seriously wasn’t the case and wasn’t ever said) and for the criticism shown towards a Christian mom who chose to teach Bible (which again, wasn’t ever the issue), she chose to throw out an insult or two about my good friend and came terribly close to insulting my friend’s kids.

Now I don’t know about you, but my friends really do mean the world to me. I don’t have many, and those I have, I care about deeply. If you mess with my friends, I will cut you. And, of course, I’ll immortalize you being a butt on my blog. See how that works? So don’t be a butt to me or my buds, and you’re golden.

Lastly, I want to address something that has really been bothering me. IF you are a Christian, and IF you are one of the ones who insist that people say Merry Christmas because you’re ‘offended’ by a person ignoring your Christian sensibilities about ‘this season’, you are also a butt.

You CLAIM that you feel this way because you believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior and that Christmas is the celebration of His birth. You INFER that December is apparently reserved for you and the ones who feel the same as you only.

Let me tell you what I think. I think you’re a bully. I think you use the label of ‘Christian’ as an excuse to act rude and to make yourself feel better than other people.  I think you’ll look through the Bible to pick and pull Scripture that will help you feel that your actions are justified.

Using your religion, whatever it may be, as a reason to abuse others is never okay. (See this news story.)

It is okay to have views that differ from other people. In this country we have a whole Amendment in our Constitution that protects the right to voice our opinions about our differences. (Well for the most part we still can. The government has overstepped this greatly in a few areas but that’s for another Soapbox.) I know that Christians are supposed to evangelize. I get it, but hitting someone for saying, “Happy Holidays!” isn’t exactly spreading the love, is it?

And for the record, I’m perfectly happy with Happy Holidays. It could just as easily been a big ol’ fat “F-You!”

Don’t forget to enter to win 3 Month of Free Wellness Coaching! Make 2014 the Year of the Best You!