Nifty vs. Thrifty

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Giving up Gossip

I signed up for the free Inner Mean Girl 40 day cleanse This week I have been doing the gossip cleanse, meaning that I am staying away from gossip and instead practicing more positive talk. I actually don't think I gossip that much so it hasn't been too hard for me but it has made me think about what I say and do.
One thing I have thought about this week is how my gossiping (or lack there of) can affect my relationships with others. When I think about the people around me that gossip a lot, I tend to wonder what they are saying about me to others when I'm not around.

Also, I never thought of this before but Facebook is a breeding ground for gossip. Since part of my promise is to not participate in gossip, this week I starting hiding some of my friends that tend to gossip on Facebook. I read what's on my Facebook page every day and if I have gossipers writing every day then I am [in a way] participating in it.

Sooooo...what about my daughter? If I am gossiping, how will it affect my child? Well, if she hears me doing it, she will most likely begin gossiping in school or on the playground. Is that something I want? I would much rather my energy and her energy spent toward something positive and away from something that wouldn't potentially harm someone else. Will she start hanging out with others that gossip and maybe the kids who pick on other kids? Will her friends not trust her and think she talks about everyone? Hmmmm.

Do I occasional gossip? Yes, but this experience is really teaching me that gossip is no good and staying positive when I'm chatting with others leaves me with a much better feeling at the end of the day!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Handling Confrontation

Setting boundaries is a very difficult thing for me to do. I'm not sure why? I guess it's because I don't always trust my own judgement therefore I feel more comfortable having someone else take control of certain situations. When something happens to me, I find it difficult to find the courage to face the issue head on. Also, I struggle with follow up from my threats or promises (this is what always gets me into trouble!). Unfortunately, setting a boundary is not just a one time discussion. It requires a lot of work (I'm tired just thinking about it) and follow through. But here' the thing; I know that if I don't set boundaries, I will get depressed (which is a road I am trying very hard not to go down).

If I have a significant issue with someone I care about, I really try to resolve the matter as soon as possible. First of all, I try to think extensively about the best way to handle the problem (This may take a few days!), if not I will most likely say something out of anger and then regret it. Then, I confront the issue in a calm but assertive manner (of course this is the hardest part). Finally, I have to follow up with any promises I've made regarding the issue (no, I changed my mind, this is the hardest part!) PHEW! My favorite thing to say (in the past) is "one more time and I'm out of here." But I've learned that making these kinds of threats makes my follow through very difficult which enevitebly loses my credibility!

The thing is, I take pride how I take responsibility for my actions. I think I have a pretty good life and I know I have worked damn hard for it! But why is life so hard sometimes? Why does facing these confrontations head on seem so tough? I guess it's just a part of life and how we learn and grow but darn it...I'm exhausted!

So, what does all of this have to do with motherhood? Well, any research on society will show you that a child learns how to deal with their problems mostly from his parents. So, if I choose to confront my problems (with my husband, my daughter's teacher, or even directly with my daughter) in a calm but assertive manner, she will most likely handle her problems in a similar fashion.

Having a child that can eventually stand up for herself and be resilient is something I would really like to teach my child but darn it...I have a lot of work to do!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 Things I Love About Having a Child

1. Having a "little me"

2. Learning the art of patience

3. Seeing that beautiful smile every morning

4. Seeing the world through a child's eyes

5. Being able to be myself and know she will love me unconditionally

6. Getting kisses whenever I want them

7. Challenging myself more than I ever thought was possible

8. Finding a new love and appreciation for my parents

9. Bringing my Dad back into my life (after having Sienna I decided to reunite with my father after 15 years!)

10. Keeping me grounded and appreciating the little things in life

Monday, August 23, 2010

Letters to my Daughter

When Sienna was a newborn, I had 5 baby journals and was trying to keep track of every detail of her little life. I was going a little crazy. Then, I thought about what was most important to me (and Sienna). Now I keep it simple. I keep a simple health journal (logging any rashes, ailments, etc.) and also a journal that containers special thoughts and ideas.

The journal that contains thoughts and ideas is almost like a series of letter to Sienna. I write things about her developmental milestones but also about life lessons (honesty, respect, and love). I am hoping that by the time she has a daughter, she will really enjoy and appreciate these thoughts and ideas I have written. Also, in the event that I pass away, she will have a special keepsake to feel like I am still with her even if I'm not. I am not sure exactly when she will get this journal (hopefully not for a long time!) but I am pretty sure it will be very special!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

4 Easy Ways to Ensure a Successful School Year

1. Setting a routine. Have your child get use to bedtimes when school starts by having them start going to bed early now. Getting them back in the routine will help their bodies adjust to the change and will avoid having them be extremely tired during those first days back.

2. Get your child excited about school. Talk to you child about their new classroom, teacher, and/or friends. Ask them what they are excited about most or what they are most nervous about. It's often helpful focus on making the new school year itself exciting by asking about books or classes (instead of things like clothes or material objects).

3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. Read through any information that you receive right away and do your shopping promptly so that things aren't crazy the day before school starts. Go through school supplies and/or clothes and purge old things to keep it simple. Help your child find a special space for them to do their homework. They can make this space their own with a cork board, bulletin board, and supplies.

4. Provide your child with expectations. Think ahead about what you want your child's school year to be like. What do you need to do to make sure that happens? Setting clear expectations ahead of time will provide your children with ample time to prepare. Of course, consistency is key! So, start thinking now about what you want the school week to look like and what you need to make sure it happens. What are the usual problem areas? If mornings are normally crazy, waking up earlier might be the answer. Perhaps your child is old enough now to start taking out their own breakfast or utensils. Are there any modifications you can make to help them help themselves (such as moving the plates to a lower cabinet)?

Enjoy these special days. Although the first days back to school are filled with mixed emotions, they won't last forever and one day we will miss these special times! Take pictures and tell your child how you feel! Don't forget, enjoy the moments!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

"A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary. "-Dorothy C. Fisher

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Celebrating Summertime with a Cake!

How to Turn any Day into a Celebration!

Try this simple and tasty salad...

This is my favorite salad and it's so simple and easy! The best part? All the ingredients last longer than most salads so you don't have to throw away bags of old lettuce and moldy cheese!



Cran Raisins

Feta or Gorgonzola cheese

Optional: almond slices, eggs, onions, mandarin orange slices

You can use any dressing you like but my favorite is the Asian Sesame Dressing!

Friday, August 13, 2010

3 Easy Ways to Get Your Family Focused!

My martial arts training has given me many tools to make my life easier and happier. Learning to focus effectively has helped my relationships, my work life, and even my health. Here are a few easy ways that you you can provide your children with an environment that is less distracting and more productive.

1. Provide a simple environment. When children are really young, their playtime is their learning time. If we allowBold them to completely focus on the activity they are doing, they will be more creative and learn more from what they are doing.
Have your children take out a certain number of toys at a time so they are less overwhelmed. (Of course, this also helps make clean up easier!) Be realistic and take into consideration their age and abilities. Use your awesome motherly intuition to figure out how many toys are too many. Watch your child intently to see if they seem overwhelmed and adjust accordingly.

Wondering how to get your teen to focus? Limit thier temptation to socialize with friends by keeping the phone in a certain place where you can see it such as the kitchen counter. However, don't forget to let them have it when they need their socialization time!!

2. Turn off the t.v. Creating an overstimulating environment will make it harder for children to focus in quiet areas (like the classroom). Make it easier for them to focus on whatever it is they are doing such as family dinner, homework, playtime, or reading by turning off the t.v.

3. Avoid giving your children too much caffeine and/or sugar. Giving a child a lot of sugar or caffiene and then expecting them to focus and be in control is not really a fair expectaiton to ask of your children. Giving them healthy snacks instead will make it easier for them to focus and sit still.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

DRINKMARX Customizable Markers

A great way to keep life simple!

The kids and I had a pajama party today and used these Markers for a fun craft. The kids had so much fun making the "bracelets" (as they called them) and putting these fun accessories on their cups to identify which drink is theirs. The DRINKMARX markers come with a whole sheet of really cool stickers so the kids can personalize their own marker. The markers are durable and dishwasher safe and fit a variety of cups (even sippy cups!). They are $12.95 for a pack of 4.
Here are the kids making their markers....

For more details or to order your own beverage markers, visit their website at

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life Lessons From my Girlfriend Weekend

SO, I just got home from girls weekend with my favorite girls! I had such a great time! Sunshine, laughs, wine, good food, and silliness! It was so great to have uninterrupted adult conversations without having to chase after my one year old. I loved taking a walk by myself on the beach while smelling the ocean and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Also, walking to the beach is considerably easier with out a million bags, strollers that don't move in the sand, and a thousand toys!
Although the weekend was so fun, I did have one issue. We went out to our old hangout and consumed some adult beverages. After a while, we decided to head to the dance floor...that is where I had an embarrassing meltdown!! I was dancing with my friends to the songs when it occurred to me that I didn't recognize the last 4 songs played. I quickly began sobbing like a lunatic and ran to the bathroom (like a teenager who's boyfriend just broke up with her!) Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have a friend that chased after me, listened to me, then sternly told me "Snap out of it, it's time to get back to the dance floor!"
Well, here's the deal...I was crying because I felt like I had lost 'Toni' and I felt like I only knew my identity as 'mom' lately. I felt like I had no idea what was going on in the world (outside of the daily routine of changing diapers, chasing my daughter, and watching Yo Gabba Gabba!). How could I let this happen? I am usually so good about recognizing when I need me time and making time for myself. Also, my husband is always willing to take over if I need a break. What the heck?!
Well, the truth is, the week before had been a rough one! My daughter had the stomach flu and she was still not 100% when I left for my trip. I was stressed out and had not slept very much the whole week (and adding alcohol to the mix probably did not help the situation!) I'm sure that these factors made it hard to transition from pediatrician's office to the dance club. (However, the transition did finally happen the next day and I was able to relax and unwind quite a bit!)
Here are the lessons I learned from this experience....
1. Be proactive in scheduling 'me' time before getting overwhelmed (even if it's just a walk around the neighborhood!)
2. It's difficult to transition from mom to me in just a few hours! I also, have this problem sometimes when I am on a date night with my hubby and start talking about kids instead of just being a wife and a friend to the hubby.
3. Lady Gaga and Katy Perry (not sure if I spelled that correctly!) have hit songs that I should at least know some of the words to....and if not I can just pretend by saying the words "mashed potato, mashed potato" (this was one of my friends ideas! She says she does this in church when she doesn't know the words and it works!)
4. Great friends are a great treasure not to be taken for granted! Although these events don't happen often, I need to make time for those special moments which reenergize me and make me feel like me again!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Kid's Guide to Keppin' Life Simple

Starring the amazing and talented Mikayla Rakoff

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Simplify Your Life Series: The Mommy Checklist

Welcome to our Simple Sunday feature!

Hope you're enjoying this Sunday with your family! Today is the start of National Simplify Your Life week (yes, it's a real thing, I didn't make this one up!) Check out my ideas throughout the week to simplify your life with your family. Today's vlog features the mommy checklist which helps me keep my life simple on a daily basis. As a person who has ADD, this checklist helps me stay stay focused and be productive! Hope you like it!