Friday, November 27, 2009

Trip Around the Kitchen

One of the best things I love about family gatherings is the ability to take anything from the kitchen and prepare a feast for any number of people who have come in one house to be together and socialize .

The day after Thanksgiving is filled with long hours of traffic, crowds, shopping malls, and discount outlet stores. Yet, when the day is all over, everyone gets back together for a trip around the kitchen.

The evening is spent with women talking about bargains from stores, the men playing Euchre, and the children playing. The hours fly by, and before everyone knows it - it's time to leave and go back home.

I'm told this tradition, of my husband's family, began one evening when people were spread out into different groups, playing cards, socializing, and teenagers where hanging out in the kitchen wanting some snacks.

So my husband pulled left overs from the refrigerator, cheeses, meats, snacks from the cupboard like Frito's, pretzels, and crackers, and fruits from the counter. This was put together on plates, bowls, and platters on the kitchen counter. It has ever since become known as "Trip Around the Kitchen".

What do you have in your kitchen who is coming over?
What traditions will your family uphold this holiday season?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Preparing to Travel

Every Thanksgiving I'm grateful for the time I get to spend with my family, even if it means hours on end in the family taxi.

However, before that wholesome family time can begin a lot of planning, packing, and time is spent preparing for the days away from home and on the road.

If you are planning on traveling for Thanksgiving, here are a few things you may want to add to your "to-do list".

1. Water Plants.
2. Arrange for Pet Care (if your pet isn't coming along for the ride too).
3. Turn your thermostat down for the days you'll be away.
4. Make sure your home is secure by locking all the windows, doors, and removing hidden keys from outside around your house.
5. Set a radio and light on a timer. Those who don't know you're out of town will think your home.
6. Close blinds and curtains.
7. Clean up the kitchen, empty garbage cans, wash dishes, and dispose any items in refrigerator that won't be good when you come back.
8. Have at least one frozen dinner in the freezer when you get back, you'll be thankful for it later.
9. Check out the family taxi before you leave, tires, jacks, fluids... make sure your vehicle is road worthy for the trip.
10. Make sure you have a few dollars of cash for tolls or traveler's checks depending on where you're going.
11. Have the car charger for your cell phone and a calling card for areas you might not get service on your cell phone in an emergency.
12. Take care of any last minute bills that arrive and are due while you're away.
13. Catch up on your laundry while your packing, this way when you come home you only need to take care of the soiled clothes in your suitcases.
14. Pack an extra "fun bag" for the kids with books, games, and other amusements that are age appropriate for the ride. (we'll talk about this in another up coming blog. :) )
15. Take along plenty of snacks to prevent unnecessary fast food stops.
16. Don't forget your GPS, Maps, and directions.
17. Post a list of "what not to forgets" on the front door as your going in and out from packing the car, write on last minute items as you think of them, but don't get too carried away!!
18. Wear old comfortable shoes. Yes, you can get blisters inside the car too.
19. Give yourself plenty of time to travel to your destination.
20. Relax, it's going to be okay. You're family will remember this time always. :)

Make sure you use your travel itinerary and packing list in the free MRsCHADT Holiday Planner to help guide you as you prepare to leave. And, if your staying home this Thanksgiving, there's a meal planner and shopping list made especially for the occasion.

As always I'm thankful for my family, great friends, wonderful fans, and I don't have to cook the turkey this year. ;P

How about you?

To all of you, a blessed Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Creating a Crisis Plan

We all know that life is easiest when things are going our way, but it's a different story when things turn upside down in a snap and become difficult. Unfortunately, we can't keep the inevitable downs from happening or plummeting further downward, however we can be prepared.

In the book,The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know the author talks about creating a crisis plan.

Whether your family suffers from bipolar disorder, depression, or not, it's always a good idea for families to create a crisis plan to help bring order to a otherwise chaotic time in your life. Like each fall when you and your children practice and learn about fire drills at the start of the school year, this same type of plan applies.

Start out by asking yourself, "If I were ever in trouble, who would I call?"

We teach our children from young ages to dial 911 in an emergency. However, there are crisis groups, and other people you may need to call or depend on given the type of situation.

It is hard for us sometimes to think that our significant others may not always be there for us when we need them, or visa versa. Sometimes there are those in our lives that are unable or unwilling to provide the support we need, and thus we must turn to other people in our lives when crisis occurs.

The first stage of creating a crisis plan is to take out a sheet of paper and list all those who answer the question above, "Who would you call?"

Make a list of family members closest to you (driving distance) and their phone numbers. Be sure to ask these family members about putting them on your list that you can rely on them when a crisis occurs.

Next go to your friends. Ask them the same thing.

These are people who will step up and provide childcare at anytime during the day or night if you have children who are too young to be left unattended, that can drive you to a hospital, or other places you may need to go, that can provide meals when you are unable to provide for yourself, and even those who are willing to listen and give you emotional support when you don't feel you're getting it anywhere else.

These people will become your core circle, and you may become part of theirs.

Once you have your crisis plan in order, post in a place where it can easily be found, a central place in the house and also keep a copy in your daily planner where you have it on you always. Go over this plan and share it with all the members of your household, make sure everyone is on track and understands what to do when a crisis occurs.

Remember, you can't prevent a crisis from happening in your life, but you can plan ahead for the day it does.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Free Shipping for our Military Men and Women

Yesterday I had my day all planned out: drop kids off at school, go to the bank, go to the post office, and pick kid up from preschool, then my afternoon would be free to household duties, and if I were lucky I'd have time to write.

Then as the morning progressed, my plans came to a stilted halt. It was Veteran's Day!!

Not only would the bank and post office be closed, what upset me more was I had forgotten such an important day.

So, as I began to reflect upon the day, be thankful for the veterans in my life and those I didn't even know, I got to thinking what one way I could show my support for those who have served us in the past and those men and women who serve us now.

Starting today, I'm free shipping on my books to AFO and APO addresses.

In order to receive this discount simply email the name and address (AFO or APO) and your order to me through my website at I will then send you an invoice reflecting the free shipping.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Better Days Than These Ahead...

A few days ago, nothing seemed to be going right.

The household was falling apart - everyone was sick, the laundry piled to the ceiling, dishes over flowing the sink, and a husband who went to work without lunch.

Whatever task was written down for the day, went uncompleted. Those attempted tasks failed, and the only thing I could look forward to was a babysitter arriving in the evening to allow my escape of it all.

Only, the babysitter didn't show, and the hope that had carried me through the day dissipated like a knife slicing through butter. All around me was a household in chaos, and I began to cry.

Eventually, the babysitter came to rescue me twenty minutes before the event I had scheduled to go to with my local MOPS group. Every year, it has become a tradition to attend the Taste of Home Show at the theater in town.

After playing phone tag with a few friends, rushing to get there, I found my seat. As I watched the lady on stage begin to prepare foods, my eyes drifted, and I fell asleep. Somewhere around the time of chocolate fondue I realized what had happened, and felt embarrassed.

I'd been up since 5am, sick kids, sick self, running errands, doing the best I could to tend to the house, and finally when I made it through the day and began to unwind, I relaxed and took the rest I needed.

Mother's with young children can relate, I'm sure. Those sitting around me, sat and laughed and enjoyed the show, no one noticed I wasn't awake. Many of them, friends, could relate afterwards when I admitted my fault.

My mother said there would be days like these, and many more to come, but the one thing that gets me through the days ahead, better days, is no matter how tired, frustrated, or unproductive my days may be I can always cross one thing off my to-do-list for the day, even if I have to write it in first then cross it off. Like taking a nap. :)

So when the days seem endless, and the household seems like it's falling apart, tuck hope in your pocket that there are better days than these ahead.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Free Holiday Planner

Every year I tell myself that I'm not going to let the holiday's stress me out and I'm not going to get carried away in the spending spree that Christmas often invokes upon us.

Yet, each year, I get more and more stressed. I have less dollars to spend, kids who as they grow, so does the price of their gifts, and less time it seems to accomplish all the preparations of our home for the holidays.

Over the years, I've compiled lists of guiding me through the holidays. To help me keep track of my spending, the people i need to buy gifts for, sending out Christmas cards, planning my Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners, and even planning out my New Year's day.

I've got list for online and catalog shopping, handmade gifts, mailing gifts, and grocery lists.

A few weeks ago, I sat in my MOPS group listening to the women praise how lists have helped build their self-esteem and give them that feeling of accomplishment. Even if it means writing down something they've already done and crossing it off for the day.

This holiday season, I'd like to share with all of you my Holiday Planner. It's FREE!

You can go to and print it out.

I've also added a link to it on this blog.

Let me know what you think, and how your holiday's went.

Wishing you a joyful, family filled, holiday.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Welcome... Just Don't Expect Much

Yesterday morning, while I was headed into the grocery store, I walked past a display of door mats. One caught my attention, it said, "Welcome. Just dont expect much."

I thought "wow", and I stood there for a moment, child in arms, and stared at it. Boy, did I need that welcome mat, but over the course of gathering my groceries I talked myself out of it.

First of all, it was'nt too inviting, and although meant to be humuros, it could also be taken the wrong way.

But as I shopped though, I couldn't help but thinking about all the expectations that have been bestowed upon me when I walked through the front door of my home, or when I greet someone at that very same door.

Welcome. Just don't expect much.

When my husband walks through the door he expects three things of me:
1. I'll be home.
2. To be greeted at the door.
3. Supper will be on the table.

But my husband isn't the only one who has expectations of me, so do my children. My oldest child expects me to be at the bus stop on time and see that we get home safely. Then after walking through the front entrance of our home, my oldest child also looks to me as a source of information for tutoring homework assignments, and my other children look at me as a source of getting their next meal, entertaining them, and readng to them during the day. At night, I'm expected to orchastrate the clean up of supper, bath time of children, and tucking-in at bedtime. In addition to household chores and seeing to our home's maintenance.

Those are a lot of expectations to bring through the door. The list above could go on and on, and somedays I feel as if I'd like to shed those expectations, wipe my feet of them, and leave them on the mat while I serve a new purpose - one for myself.

Yet, I have a whole new list of expectations for myself. Just don't expect much. I don't, I expect everything from myself. Sometimes, when keeping up with the household, I, like many others I know, get stuck in a rut of "If I don't do it, it will never get done."

In most cases that maybe true, but more often than not, we would not have to do it alone if we asked, accept help from others, and voiced our need to those offering to help us. It's like stopping to ask for directions when you'd much rather keep driving around and around trying to find the right place to turn--only to become increasingly faustrated later.

Turning our expectations in the right direction is the first step of not letting expectations overwhelm you. Accepting there will always be expectations of yourself - by you and from others, elevates the weight expectations put on our shoulders and pull you down.

We fall when we let someone pull the mat out from under us. We stumble at the sight of another expectation finding it's way to increase the weight of our daily responsibilities. Yet, we strive best when we are able to take those expectations and rationalize them, make lists out of them, and take baby steps to achieve the ones most important to use.

Perhaps the next time someone walks up to my door they'll read a door mat that says "Welome. Expect the unexpected."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Turn Back Your Clocks!

I'm so excited, today not only are we turning back our clocks one hour, but as I sit here and type I cannot help but think back to where I've been and look forward to the next three months filled with family oriented holidays.

Where as most people were probably looking forward to one hour more of sleep this morning, I on the other hand found myself with one hour more to write in the quiet bliss before the pitter-patter of little feet sound through the hallway of my home. What a rare treat!

Today is the marking of many things for me. Yesterday, we celebrated halloween, and I had the blessing of being able to serve others and shared this occassion with my children as we decided it would be more fun to handout treats to our neighborhood kids, then go out trick or treating and leave our porch light off. Since my children had already induldged in Halloween parties and trick-or-treat a previous night, last night came as a great joy.

Not only was I able to hand out treats to others, but recieve a treat of my own. It came in the mail, offically released TODAY, the 2010 DAILY MOOD ORGANIZER is now available on my website at or you will also see it appearing in a few days on

That and serving the children of the community for halloween, I think made this the best holiday I've had so far. We'll see... Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are on their way.


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