Monday, December 21st, 2015
Feeling gratitude for my husband, Greg.
It’s been a couple of years now that I’ve had a focus in my life on meditation so that I could calm my mind, body, and soul.
In fact, two years ago it was the only goal I set for 2014 because it was THAT important.
I even felt it was probably more important than my healthy eating habits or exercise, because stress wreaks havoc on a body.
I figured if I could reduce stress and just go with the flow more and chill the f#*k out, that I would probably increase my longevity … more than all the best eating or exercising I could ever do.
That said, I knew a combo of:
- Healthy eating
- Living a calm life …
THAT would be the ultimate.
Well, I pretty much dialed in the healthy eating bit, eh? And exercise and moving? Heck, we got rid of our dining table and couch -> embracing the “furniture free” movement. Check!
Next, I needed to focus on calming my sh*t down.
I’m proud to say that I’ve come a loooong way and I’ve learned a lot the past few years including this post detailing how and why my family meditates, including our daughter (she’s 5 now).
Meditation has changed my life for sure. It’s helped me react less to stressful times. But, I found ways to cope when those stressful times still reared their ugly heads.
That’s what this post is about! I came up with nine ways to instantly chill out. Seriously, they work.
Oh.. And. This past year I found Taoism – WHOA – but that’s for another post.
In the rush of the *sometimes stressful* holidays, these are extra important. Warning: my mouth runs a bit foul in this post.
Here are my top 9 ways to immediately hack your stress and get calm.
The next time your feathers get ruffled, try one of these ideas and see how it instantly calms you. Over time, the more you do this, the more natural it becomes and the more calm you feel ongoing.
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Monday, September 28th, 2015
Epic fun house from popsicle sticks and creativity.
My husband gets credit for this post. Using popsicle sticks to create what has turned out to be an epic fun house was his idea. He wanted to teach Kamea a bunch of skills and concepts in a way that’s accessible to a 4-year-old, as well as convey that activities don’t all have to be pre-packaged, that you can do big amazing stuff with simple objects. He’s very big on teaching her to use things for their unintended purposes (to teach lateral thinking), kind of like “coloring outside the lines” on steroids. Also, he wanted her to engage in a multi-month project to augment the single-serving creative sessions we usually do. There’s something about seeing a project grow and expand over time into wild directions, some planned and some unplanned.
And, so, I share this crazy fun idea with you, parents, out there if you’re in need of a creative activity and long-term project for kids. Keep in mind though, it requires some participation from you, the parents, but it’s easy and relaxed fun. Even mindfully meditative, at times.
My husband bought a bunch of popsicle sticks, and he started gluing them together with Kamea (she’s five years, but this project started while she was four).
Excited to get to work on the fun house.
The house started to really take on quite a life for itself and they started to decorate it with paint, stickers, markers, clay, found objects from the recycle bin, and much more. They also incorporated colored popsicle sticks. It’s become the center of attraction for play-dates as kids stare at it in awe. In fact, so do the parents!
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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015
Kristen Suzanne in camping
, gluten free
, Kristen Suzanne
A family who camps together stays together.
We’d like to call ourselves a camping family, but I’m not quite there yet.
Greg has a history of camping since he was a kid. (He’s slept on pyramids in the jungle in Guatemala, so a Coleman tent is a bit Four Seasons to him.) I, on the other hand, only have a few trips under my belt so I’m still working on my camping legs. We’re really enjoying ourselves though, in spite of the uncomfortable sleeping, cold weather, dirty everything, yadda yadda yadda… cuz… it’s NATURE! Feels so good.
Check out our sleeping quarters in the picture below. Air mattresses supposedly make it more comfy. Our 8-person instant tent is not really instant… or for eight people. I’d like to see that happen. Wait, no I wouldn’t.
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Friday, August 14th, 2015
Tea blend collection. Beautiful Life Blend. Brain Power Blend. Detox Blend.
I have a big collection of herbs. It’s so big that it required its own big bookshelf case so I could put all the glass mason jars in one place. Greg calls it my dirt collection.
Today, Kamea is spending time at my mom’s so I was inspired to make some tea blends in an effort to consolidate my collection a bit.
When I first started on the path of herbal medicine, I was a bit eager, as is my personality. Hence, I ordered quite a bit (most of them from below are from one of my favorite sources for quality herbs at great prices, Mountain Rose Herbs). I’ve since learned that I really don’t require all of the things I bought. I’ve learned a few things:
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Pomegranate Black Raspberry Gummy Cubes. #Fun
I’m fascinated with making gummies, using my own healthy ingredients, because they’re an excellent (and fun!) vehicle for getting extra nutrition in my daughter’s body (and, really, the whole family).
Now that there is a reputable source that I trust for collagen/gelatin, I make them regularly.
Let’s talk about that source a bit…
You all know I’m a fan of Dave Asprey’s Upgraded products – I use most of them regularly in my life. Bulletproof Coffee, anyone?
He recently came out with a collagen that has gelatin in it for making gummies and other delicious foods like chocolate pudding. I’m a fan.
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Kamea and I having fun.
I’m thinking about the strain we parents put on ourselves when we prioritize our children’s well-being so much that we neglect ourselves.
We forsake our own health.
That doesn’t feel right to me. Isn’t that the wrong way to live?
I’m reminded of how airplane flights start with the following, “Put your mask on first so that you can better assist others.” Those seem like smart words by which to live.
However, the idea of putting children first is natural to many of us. But here’s the thing… if we neglect ourselves we can set ourselves up for illness in the future, when our kids are adults.
We harm our own health now because we “don’t have time” to care for ourselves properly, only to turn around and put the awful stress and strain on our children when they are adults and need to take care of us.
I know friends who are caring for their unwell elderly parents. It’s hard on my friends. Very hard.
It makes me wonder… if those ill parents had better managed their health (I know some didn’t know any better, but we do!), then would they be experiencing old age with more strength, and not depending on their kids to take care of them so much? Would they be less of a stress on my friends who care for them? I think so.
This inspires me to care for myself and make it a priority. I take time to eat well, get quality rest, meditate, and exercise. It means making adjustments to my schedule so I get the needed “me time.” This will create a healthier future-me so I don’t put that stress on Kamea to care for me (when she’s an adult and I’m an old lady). I plan to live over 100 years after all. That said, when I reach 110, all bets are off.
Plus, and this is a big plus… kids learn by example. How can I expect my daughter prioritize her own health and well being, if I’m not doing it myself?
Starting her morning right. #BulletproofCoffee
I started enjoying coffee when I was 7 years old. I remember the first time fondly as it represented my entrance into maturity. ;) I was at my Nana’s and, well, I simply asked her if I could have some coffee. Being 100% Italian, she said, “Of course!” (She also taught me how to shave my hairy Italian legs around the same age. Gotta love Nana(s).)
I was hooked from there. The warm deliciousness that marked my initiation into something cool. The next chapter of my life. A Coffee Drinker.
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Saturday, April 25th, 2015
Painting our Pinterest inspired art project.
More often than not I tune out the moms gushing about Pinterest inspiring their kiddos birthday parties, home decorations, or art projects. It’s just too much for me. I mean, who has time for that? Surfing Pinterest, getting supplies, and then making all of those projects? Good grief.
Well, there’s a first time for everything I guess.
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Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
Kamea having fun outside of True Food Kitchen. A great memory for us.
I started a practice at the end of 2013 that I’m so glad I started. It goes on the list of the best things I’ve done.
I started a journal for (and about) my daughter, Kamea. It’s a journal where I simply write a few notes about the day we had, or things that were special, or just a little something about my feelings for her. Capturing the moment for her (and me) as best I can.
It’s not only a beautiful thing to read myself, thinking back on our time together as I read the entries, but it’s going to be something special for her. When she’s older I will put it all in a book or something and give it to her as a gift. I keep it a secret for now. Perhaps I’ll tell her about it sooner than later, but for now, it’s my own special gift to us.
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Saturday, February 14th, 2015
Greg & Kristen. Valentine’s Day 2015. Madly in love.
Right now I’m in Starbucks, on a date, with my husband, Greg. It’s Valentine’s Day and we carved out some “alone time” while Kamea spends the afternoon with her Nana.
It’s weird though, we’re at Starbucks of all places. We’re in Sun City West area, a retirement community because that’s where mom lives, so there’s not a lot of hot-n-happening places from which to choose. We considered a movie, but strangely, it wasn’t attractive. We couldn’t help but find ourselves with laptops, Justins’ peanut butter cups, green tea, and coffee at Starbucks. (I was secretly hoping they’d have their new coconut milk option but it doesn’t roll out until Tuesday).
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