Friday, October 30, 2015

Does Eating an Elephant a Bite At a Time Work?

October Challenges For a Happier Life - Do Small Changes Make a Difference?

Fall is truly in full swing and it is hard to believe the end of October has arrived. What comes along with that is Halloween tomorrow and in my neck of the woods we 'Fall Back' for daylight savings time.

My October Challenge is coming to an end and it's time to look back and see how it went. To start the month the idea was to post on this blog every day during the week. Since this is my 9th post I guess that did not end up happening. I don't see this as a failure though, I blogged more than I had been before and I am happy with how this blog is shaping up.
October Challenge Conclusion #1 - Even if things do not go exactly as planned there are still quantifiable benefits to trying.

The Making Home a Haven challenge has been simple and I found that it has helped me have a positive mindset at home. Creating an atmosphere of peace and fun is never a bad idea for a family! The one part of Making Home a Haven that I didn't get to was playing a board game as a family. When I mentioned this to my husband Sean he said "that's because they should really be called bored  games." He did agree to play along and I am pulling out the game of Clue that I purchased over the summer but that has never been used for us to play together this weekend.
October Challenge Conclusion #2 - Everything is better with a positive attitude.

I am obsessed with a new author, Gretchen Rubin. She wrote The Happiness Project, Better Than Before and she has a new book coming out soon. The first thing Gretchen does in her happiness project is add in to her life activities that will boost her energy. I have tried to do that same thing .
My goal has been to fit in walking as often as I am able and it has been working. Hopping on the treadmill at home for 20-30 minutes and getting outside when the weather is good, like it is today. Using the treadmill at home (a treadmill I have owned for at least 10 years) has been great. Exercising used to feel like such an event and for a busy, time challenged working mom it allows me to fit in some exercise that I would not have otherwise fit in. Heading to the basement treadmill requires no travel time, no special outfit and you don't even need to brush your hair if you don't want to because lets face it who is going to see you? The dog? She doesn't mind, she told me :)
Cutting back on alcohol and adding more fruits and vegetable in to my life (and the life of my family) has also contributed to increasing my energy level.
October Challenge Conclusion #3 - Being conscious about finding ways to boost your energy that does not include drinking more coffee works.

A challenge that I implemented during the month was one relating to more healthy eating. My attempt at blogging about food made me realize that I am not an enthusiastic cook. It also underlined the fact that while I love that my husband is a willing cook when he is in charge of meals there are not enough of the fruits and veggies from the 4 food groups included. This past week I've challenged myself to include 2 different fruits and 2 different vegetables in my eating each day. Today is the last day and the photo below is what we got left to choose from (my family did join me in this challenge).
October Challenge Conclusion #4 - Variety can make a big difference when it comes to trying to eat right. A carry over challenge for November will be an attempt to try even more of a variety of fruits and more importantly veggies.

October is ending on a high note and I learned on final thing from my Challenges for a Happier Life.
October Challenge Conclusion #5 - I love challenges! They make the mundane much more interesting and satisfying.

Wishing you all my best, Wendy

Fruit IS my friend & the candle is still burning

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fruits & Veggies Are Not My Friend

October Challenges For a Happier Life

One thing I know for sure from being more concious about eating at home this month is that I do not eat enough fruits and vegatables.
As the mom I set the example for my family and as a result my family does not eat enough from the fruits and veggies part of the food groups.

Fruits and veggies are not in my life enough to be counted as friends but I'd like to change that.

This weeks challenge, in addition to eating at home, will be to each a different fruit and a different vegeatable each day Monday through Friday. It shouldn't be hard right? Follow along to see how we do!

Wishing you all my best, Wendy

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New England Fall Favorite - Apple Pie

We now interupt this October Challenges for a Happier Life with ... Life!

I am keeping the goals I had at the front of my mind and it has not been perfect (haven't posted in a while ...) but it's all good.

Read about my plan for the month here mymiddletonchronicles.blogspot.comoctoberherewecomechallengesfor

 Nothing makes a house smell better and feel cozier than the smell of baking apples and cinnamon and I baked a scrumptious one this past weekend.

Pies are a dessert that I normally would only make for a holiday so it made the weekend feel special.
What is your favorite holiday dessert? I'd love some ideas for the upcoming holiday menus.

Wishing you all my best, Wendy

On the way to the oven

Ta da!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Is Your Candle Burned Out?

Mine is! It's only mid-October and my candle that I purchased to make my home a haven is burned out. My schedule is full too and I am feeling like there is some symbolism there.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Telling Myself What I Want To Hear?

Not perfect, but real.
Fake it 'til you make it?

So many people find joy in creating meals. As a mom it can feel like a chore. The challenge of cooking at home more will only be enjoyable if I work on making it enjoyable. I'm excited to search out new recipes and to make some old favorites.

I just read that last sentence back and have to say I think I just told a fib. Actually, I know I just outright lied. I'm not excited ...

Cooking does often feel like a chore. The cooking I do get excited about is a holiday meal. I love having family visit and sharing a holiday feast with them. My husband and I always look forward to hosting.

Growing up my mom did 100% of the cooking. My hard working dad worked very long hours and for the first half of my childhood my mom was a stay at home mom so they fell in to the traditional roles of mom doing the cooking. I have to say she really did take pride in cooking healthy meals for us and still does that in her home today. So what's wrong with me? I think I just fell in to the trap of how easy it is to eat out and to get take out.

My candle is still going, it truly is making home a haven. Just that simple act of lighting it and saying a prayer for peace in my home has brought some peace. Read about my octoberchallengesforahappierlife here.

What can I do to make the chore of cooking more enjoyable? This is where my creativity needs to kick in. What should I do? Have theme nights? Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Whatever Wednesdays and so on. That could be fun. What do you do to make the chore of cooking more enjoyable? I'd love to hear your comments and suggestions.

Wishing you all my best, Wendy

Friday, October 2, 2015

Memories For a Chilly Day

October in New England
The most beloved family dish as reported by my family, Omi dish. A concoction of egg noodles, scrambled eggs and ham. On a day like this rainy October day in New England it sounds heavenly. True comfort food. As I type it is grey, rainy and a chilly 50 degrees. After the drought of a summer we just had this weather is a bit of a shock.
Does anyone even know where their jackets, rain boots and umbrellas are?

I don't know if Omi invented the Omi dish. Perhaps it was passed down to her by her mother or mother in law. That is who Omi is, my mother in law. Or who she was, I should say.
Heidi English, Omi, passed away in 2009. She was relatively young and it's hard to believe she's been gone over 6 years.

The Heidi I picture when I picture her serving Omi dish would have been a young mom with 5 kids. 4 boys and a girl. That Heidi probably had no idea, just as I had no idea, how quickly her children's childhood would go by or that once gone by that her grandchildren would still be talking about and loving Omi dish.

I am making 2 meals today so my family has some good choices this weekend - Omi dish and a lasagna. Will lasagna be the dish I end up being known for? Probably not but by the end of this month of eating at home hopefully there will be one. I'll light the candle, take my time to make it right and then hope they notice the love that's inside. If not today, someday.

Read the details of my October challenges here mymiddletonchronicles.blogspot.comoctoberherewecomechallenges

Wishing you all my best, Wendy

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Beloved Family

Family & Food Go Together Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

My family, perhaps much like yours, has distinct opinions when it comes to food. I must admit that as the mom I have not always been the most enthusiastic cook. I sheepishly admit that and am looking at October and at my family challenge to eat at home all month as my chance to get creative and make some memories with my family. 

Last night sitting around the table with my family I took an informal poll to find out what their most beloved family dish is. I was not surprised to find out that it is not a dish that I cook. It did make me a little sad to hear that but truth be told, it's no ones fault but mine. 
The dish that is the family favorite is one that my husband makes and that his mom made for him. It is a dish that stretched the family dollar and fed a bunch of kids back in the day.

Omi Dish -
Egg Noodles
Scrambled Eggs
Ham Steak cut in to cubes

In my family the dish we were served when the fridge was just about bare was tuna casserole. Not a favorite of mine but I certainly do remeber it well. Apparently my dad loves it. I always wondered if he really loved it or if he was just being good natured about a meal that was not the most decadent but was what we had. 

On another note, we went out last night and selected an extra large Yankee Candle to start of Octobers Making Your Home a Haven challenge. Pumpkin Spice was the candle of choice and it felt great to splurge and buy the big one. We lit it this morning and I love what it symbolizes.

Please bless this home with peace.

The first post on this blog details the October challenges mymiddletonchronicles.blogspot.comoctoberherewecomechallenges