Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days to a Peaceful Holiday Season: Intro & Calendar Review

Welcome to Almond Place! I've always loved this series from the Nester and while I was hesitating for a while, I'm ready to jump back on the bandwagon! Each day this month will feature a topic, an action item or a piece of inspiration to help you create a Peaceful holiday season regardless of which faith community you belong to. You can find ALL of the posts for this month HERE.

We all know how crazy November and December can get with all of the different obligations we have surrounding our various faiths' holidays. So I figured taking October to prepare would be helpful in making our holidays run smoothly and as stress-less as possible. 

Each week I'll be highlighting a "to-do" list as well as giving you some gift, recipe, craft, and holiday tradition ideas. We'll also be talking about things like financial planning for this time, dealing with less than cooperative family members, and how we can truly serve others...no matter what set of holidays you might be celebrating. 

We as a family have done better each year at keeping our lives as stress free during this time but I know there is always room for improvement and I hope that this series can be of some encouragement to you!

So I'm kicking today off with a pretty big task...sit down and figure out just how much you and your family are willing to take on.  Pull out that master calendar and double check for sports, school concerts, parties, date nights, volunteer days, shopping days, days at home, vacations, travel dates, etc.  We're looking for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that needs to be put on or is already on the calendar.

Once you've found or decided on the things you're ready to commit to, you can start plugging things in....THEN you can start CROSSING STUFF OFF.  For my family, we very intentionally choose to be together for the holidays.  We have a few work and school obligations that must be met, but unless we are really excited about something, it gets crossed off the list. This can be hard at first because it often means telling people "Sorry, but NO."....I promise it gets easier as you figure out how to make your holiday season YOURS.

As a family, we try to limit our travel (meaning we don't travel!), we limit the number of parties we attend (only the ones we feel will really bring us JOY), and we like to be prepared for what's to come...meals are planned, shopping done ahead of time and the number of traditions we observe are also restricted...pinterest overload does no good for anyone! Don't get me wrong, there are still times where we are busier than I'd like to be and some stress can creep in...but this pre-planning goes a long way to keeping this Mama sane!

So take stock of what's coming up and start looking ahead so that November and December don't barrel over you with obligations! Come on back tomorrow and I'll explain my strategy for how I plan our budget.

I have some lovely friends who are also doing the Write 31 Days challenge.  Check them out for other great inspiration!

Keri at Living in the Season: 31 Days to Intentional Living

Tammy at The Blithe Blog: 31 Days to Feeling Comfortable in Your Own Skin

Have a great day!

Mandy

I'm linking up: Write 31 Days

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dreaming of Cheese Slices

Welcome to Almond Place! So sorry that things have been a little quiet around these parts, but it's all for a good cause I promise!

While I live in a massive city in the desert, I have often found myself feeling alone, isolated and lacking a strong sense of community....all things I did not experience growing up in a small town. Making friends when you're a legit grown up, working, married, with kids, is hard. We live in a society where BUSY is worn as a badge of honor and emphasis is no longer placed on quality time, friendship and simply enjoying life in the moment. It's sad, really.

Although I attend what would be considered a Catholic "Mega-church"...(we have 6000 registered families), the Catholic church as a whole is not nearly as organized as our Mormon or Evangelical friends. We have not had an active MOMs group at our church in a couple of years and even then, it was difficult to get women to participate.

I've been yearning for a faith based group of moms at MY church. After several months of prayer, a friend of mine and I have relaunched our group.  So, there you go...that's what I've been up to this past month.  We had our first session last Thursday and it was great!

Our theme was Encouragement. I was struggling to find a funny story that might help break the ice, help other moms relate to each other and keep things real....this is what I shared.



We are all busy. We have so many things to keep track of. Appointments, jobs, keeping up with friends, maintaining a healthy marriage....tending to all of our kids' needs, making sure everyone eats well, sleeps well, doesn't watch too much t.v....you know how it is!

I was feeling particularly proud of myself last week when I had successfully kept all my kids happy and in bed on time. It was just one of those days where I felt like SuperMom! I went to bed on time and was off in la-la land in no time.

SUPERMOM.

Until I woke up....and realized I had spent all night sleeping on a full slice of cheese....that was now mushed into my bed.

awesome.

So I get everyone up, lunches made, backpacks packed and everyone out the door on time....still laughing at myself for the cheese slice...jump in the shower and get myself ready for work.

I'm sitting at work when I get an itch. I reach down to scratch my leg and it feels oddly prickly. Replaying my day, I distinctly remember shaving my legs. I reach down to feel the other and voila...silky smooth.

People....I shaved ONE leg.

Sigh. Supermom was just thrown off her mountain.

Honestly, between this and the cheese slice I couldn't help but laugh. I mean, who does this?!

THIS is why we need MOMS. Who are FRIENDS. Who can be there to laugh with you and who can share their very own cheese slice-one shaved leg story. Encouragement. Knowing we're all in this together.

If you're missing a group, I would encourage you to seek one in your area. If there isn't one that can suit your needs? Go ahead and start one. It takes a little prep work, a lot of prayer and some organization but it can be very rewarding when nearly 30 people show up looking for the same thing.

Happy Tuesday! May you have cheese free beds and remember to shave BOTH legs today ;-)

Mandy

I'm Linking up: The Modest Mom BlogA Mama's StoryOak & Oats

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Monday, September 15, 2014

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle-ENDS TODAY!

Good Monday Morning to you! 

Couldn't we all use a little help in the health department?! 

This Ultimate Healthy Bundle is awesome! It ends today and I thought it might be of interest to some of you.

It's only $30 and is worth well over $1000 if you were to purchase all of these books individually.

Head on over and take a look! The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle