Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

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Hi. My name is Ruthie and I’m an exhausted mom trying my best to be everything to everyone. I am the mommie to two wonderful little ones who are active in sports and dance. I am the homework boss, snack regulator, grocery shopper, and home referee. I am classroom volunteer, fieldtrip driver, school board member, and cheerleader. I am the housekeeper and home chef. I could go on, but I’m sure you get it. I’m certain you feel my pain. You are in similar shoes.

We are moms. We are wives. We are employees. We wear many hats. And do many thankless jobs. We are the ones who everyone goes to to get things done.

So, what happens when we need a break?

This is exactly where I was last weekend. I needed a break. From Friday until Sunday, I had 2 dance practices, 2 soccer games, 1 dance picture session, and 1 school auction. Plus, I needed to move into my new office space. I felt pressured to attend all of these functions. with a smile on my face. You see, all of these activities needed me or at the bare minimum wanted me. But I felt EXHAUSTED thinking about the weekend. I needed a break. After working 40+ hours a week, I still had a crazy busy weekend to get through.

I silently rejoiced when it was too cold and snowy for soccer. It was one thing off my list. I opted out of attending the school auction. And you know, it was OK. The world didn’t end. Yes, some may have been disappointed. My kids for the cancelled soccer game and probably some people from the school since I typically attend the auction. And you know I and my kids had one of the best weekends we’ve had in a long time. We hung out and watched TV. The kids helped me move into my office without me feeling impatient and rushed. The kids played video games.

I gave myself a pass. You can too. You can take a deep breath and opt out of things. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. You can pick and choose what you want to volunteer for. And, quite frankly what events you want to attend. ITS OK. Give yourself permission. Because, when you slow down you win. Your kids win. Your family wins. And, that’s more important than anything else in this world.

Trying to be everything to everyone is a curse. Its not realistic. It won’t make you happy. Volunteer and do things you want but also give yourself a break. Accept being able to take a break and just enjoy life with your family. Sleep in. Break that curse.

(This post was shared HERE where you can find blog posts from other encouraging posts.)


It probably seems like I dropped off the side of the world as its been a long time since I’ve posted here. The good news is I’m still here and kicking! This spring has been very busy! My son was in soccer and I was the assistant coach. That with my daughter in Softball has kept me busy. This paired with my starting of Adult/Gero Nurse Practitioner program has been very, very, very busy.  So, have I mentioned, I’ve had a busy start to summer?

My plan is to post 3 book reviews in the next couple of days, thus getting me caught up. Here’s the first one:

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Book Review: Fika: the art of Swedish coffee break

This book was written by a Swedish-American and illustrated by a Swedish  woman who lives in both Brooklyn and Sweden. The book discusses the coffee culture in Sweden. It addresses both coffee at home and going out for coffee. The book also provides several recipes for snacks and treats that typically goes along with coffee. The book is filled with hand drawn images.

I was very excited to receive this book to review! I am a coffee lover and enjoy reading about coffee traditions and traditional snacks. The book is filled with wonderful illustrations that set it apart from a traditional cookbook. My book is so beautifully done my 6 year-old daughter wanted to claim the book for herself. The book is filled with snip-its on Swedish culture, specifically to that of coffee drinking. However, one could glean further insight to the overall culture from the information shared.

Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone interested in Swedish traditions and culture, anyone interested in coffee or baking.

On a scale of 1-5 bookends, I give this book a 5.

I did receive this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of the blogging for books program.


Today I got a fun little email from one of the publishers I review books for. I’m pretty excited they are giving away a free copy of Sweet by the editors of the food network magazine. This book is a recipe collection of their favorite treats. The nice thing about these recipes is they are triple-checked so they will turn out! Which is great, because I hate when I try something and it doesn’t turn-out.

I would like to encourage you all to follow this link and enter the give away.

This giveaway is not affiliated and is not being administrated by this blog.

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This year, we’ve been introducing some chores into my children’s lives. My oldest just started 1st grade and last year was her first year of some responsibility before school. My son just started pre-school and he too has some things he’s responsible for before school.

Our implementation of chores has been a slow process. My kids have always loved helping me with household duties such as cooking and setting the table. I used their natural desire to help to direct them to appropriate duties. So, I guess one could say, they’ve been informally doing chores for a long time now.

My 1st grader’s before school routine- what she’s responsible for:

1) Getting dressed

2) Brushing her teeth

3) Making her bed and putting her pajama’s on her bed

 

My Preschooler’s before school routine- What he’s responsible

1) Dressing himself with supervision

2) Brushing his teeth

 

Saturday morning chores for both children- my preschooler with more supervision

1) Put away all folded clothes

2) Pick-up their room

Our chores are simple. None of them too difficult and some may say too simple. However, implementing chores at this age to me is more about teaching the children to be part of the family and to assist the family. I don’t want chores to have a negative connotation. I want them to think that chores are no big deal, it’s just what we do. Because, really, they will have chores to do all of their lives. No reason to make it a negative experience at such a young age!

Do your children do chores? What age did you start? What was your approach? Was it successful? Leave a comment, let’s talk chores!


My last post was all about how the family dinner seems to be quickly fading into the past. I have memories of eating as a family. Family dinners in my house are a priority. Highschool kids these days, I can’t imagine will have the same types of memories. Instead, they’ll have the grabbing McDonald’s on the way to the ball game or dinner waiting to be warmed up as each person has a moment memories. Dinner tables across the country are looking like this:

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Are you one who wants to add more family dinners in but am not really sure how to do it or feel it’s impossible? I’ve come up with some ideas that may make the transition easier.

Prepare for starting the family dinner by: 

1) Ask Why not? Find out the root cause to why you’re currently not having family dinners. Are there too many activities? Do have time issues? What barriers do you have? Once you’ve figured out what’s holding back from having a family meal, you can find ways around those barriers. For example, your child has sport practice right after school until 5:30 with games on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or, you’re a full-time mom of a toddler who wants to eat right away when he gets home.

2) Get Organized: This will take a bit of work at first but once you’re organized it will be easy going forward. I recommend putting together a family or kitchen binder. Buy or make some dividers with tabs and buy some of those plastic page protectors. Label your tabs: Menu, Recipes, Want to try, Shopping List, Coupons. Add the page protectors behind each tab. Search online or create yourself some templates for Menu, Recipes, Shopping list. You may have some luck here: Pinterest. Consider which days of the week have evening activities that will affect eating times. Consider that toddler’s rumbling tummy and have a small snack handy when you pick him up.

3) Keep it Simple: This is especially true if you’re trying to newly implement this. Every meal doesn’t have to be a fancy 8 course meal. In fact, not every meal has to include home-made dessert. If your family likes chicken nuggets and french fries, do chicken nuggets and french fries. Remember, it’s the experience of the family dinner that’s way more important than a gourmet meal.

4) Plan ahead: This is one of the essential steps to regular family dinners. Well, it at least is one that I feel takes the stress out of the family dinner. I highly recommend menu planning and shopping according to your menu. I always keep a few easily made items for those days that don’t go as planned. For us that is chicken, BBQ sauce and french fries. I also love my crockpot for days I know we’ll be busy in the evening. If you know you’ll be eating later because of an activity, put together snack bags and carry them with you. It will fight off the hunger and decrease the chances of grabbing food on the go.

5) Try and Try again:  If this is a life change for you, it will take time and practice. Don’t worry if this week was a fast food week and not one of menu plans actually worked out. There’s always tomorrow or next week. That’s one of the best things about life, you can make changes slowly and try again when it doesn’t work the first time.

Are there ideas you’d add to my list? Have you found something that works well for you? Please share I’d love to all about your family dinners.

You can read the first of these posts here.


When we bought this house I remember several people told me to not worry about a formal dining room because people find this room to be a waste of space and don’t use them. I was surprised that of all the things on my house wish list, that was the one thing criticized the most. A few years ago, the Today Show was interviewing a woman who was encouraging what she called the “slow down” movement. This “slow down” movement was encouraging families to eat one meal at home a week. One meal? That’s it. At that point in my life we were eating at home practically every night. Now, I’m told that we are entering the stage in life when we’ll be eating less and less at home and more and more on the road. Really? My kids are only 3 and 5. Does it really happen this soon?

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Currently, on average we eat as a family 6 out 7 evening meals together around our kitchen table. The only meal we don’t all eat together is Wednesday nights when I and my daughter spend it at church. And on the weekends we eat all of our meals at home minus a 1-2 times a month we eat lunch out following church. Oh, and our meals aren’t from a box. I cook, yes, actually cook every evening meal (minus Wednesday when my husband cooks).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work planning and preparing food for my family. I work all day and then once my day job is done; I cook dinner. I get it, it’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. It’s not appreciated work. I get it. I’ve felt the pressure of getting a meal on the table. I’ve heard the whining “is it done yet?” just to hear “I don’t like it” at the first glance of the meal. I get it. It’s simpler to run through the drive-through to not hear the groans and moans. It’s more relaxing to grab food to go and eat in front of the television.

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But what I also get, is the benefits of eating dinner together as a family at our dining room table. My kids are gaining valuable experiences eating together at home. They are learning to cook and the feeling of achievement from making something delicious. From helping to cook they are learning numerous skills and their knowledge is growing. We, as a family, have time to learn from each other and actually have a conversation about how our days have gone. We get to say Grace and thank God for all he’s given us. We are bonding as a family.

If you’re a family that eats out or grabs fast food several nights a week, I’m not meaning to shake my finger at you while peering over my glasses. Rather, I want to encourage you to consider what you are missing out when you don’t eat as a family. Take some baby steps and start eating all together at the same table and see what you learn about each other.

 

This post was shared at the Reading list and Graced Simplicity


This year is basically over and a new one starts very soon. It’s amazing how quickly time goes! I’m a believer in my grandmother’s saying, “time moves faster the older you get”. Yes, this is very true. I feel like I literally blink and a new year begins.

As I do every year around this time, I begin to think about what I’ve accomplished. I’ve not reached all of my goals but I’ve made some major steps toward them. I’m not one to feel bad or sorry for myself if I don’t reach all of my goals. I mean, after all, I have a whole new year to continue to make progress, to continue to grow, and to continue to develop. So, why stress about a goal here or there?

I do however, feel its good to look back and evaluate my progress as I look into my goals for next year. So, here’s a quick look at 2013’s New Year’s Resolutions:

2013 word Health: my goal to improve my health and the health of my family. I often thought about how decisions would affect my health or the family’s health and based decisions on this.

Personal Health goals: I didn’t hit the mark on this completely. My actual weight goal was not met, however, for most of the year, I was the lowest I’ve been since having the kiddos. And my goal was to continue to work toward’s losing, and I most certainly did that! I found there were times and seasons where I had lapses in my focus on diet and exercise. My jogging goals were also partially met. I did complete a 10K and multiple 5Ks. I had a time goal of 38 mins for my 5k but unfortunately the one race I think I would’ve met that goal, I forgot to time it.

Household Health: I did put together my cleaning schedule it was much later in the year than I would’ve liked and we’ve now fallen off that schedule. However, it’s easy to get back on board which we will do.

My 2013 Bible verse: Trust in the Lord always with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

I still love that verse. I often went back to it when I was struggling or just needed some reassurance.

How did you do with your resolutions? Are you making any for the new year? I’d love to hear about your successes or learning opportunities!