Packing More Life Into My Days

Monday, January 30, 2012

I have to say, I'm just loving these "10 minute increments" that I'm building into my day. I do sometimes truly feel like I'm packing extra life into my days. These are a few of the things that are keeping me busy:

1. how come no one ever told me about this site before? Ha! You can literally take classes for free. I'm currently listening to a podcast course on entrepreneurism. I can sneak in clips here and get a Carnegie Mellon University-worthy education for myself along the way. What a concept!

2. TedTalks: These are just mesmerizing, if you didn't already know. These come in 20-minute increments, but I often just have them playing in the background. Some are motivating, some are educational, and some are downright awe-inspiring.

3. I just picked up these two books from the library as a complement to the journaling course I'm taking. I'm just trying to soak in all the different journaling techniques to use and coming up with of some of my own.

Journal Junkies Workshop

Visual Chronicles

4. Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall: I keep trying to squirrel away time to read this book, because I'm completely mesmerized. I'm a runner, so I find myself just wanting to steep myself in this culture of mega-distance runners and learn all their little secrets. My aunt was visiting last week and she was the one that turned me on to the book. Thanks Aunt Mary! And thank goodness for the public library.

5. I messed around on this site this past week. Wow! Right now Picnik is offering all their premium stuff for FREE!!! Until April, when they merge with Google, the site is just open to the public. Oh, what fun it is to ride in a Picnik open slate, hey! I am trying to learn new ways to make my blog cuter without Photoshop. So, slowly but surely I'm teaching myself little techniques in those spare moments. I just played around with the above banner, designed an Etsy banner and made a really cool picture invitation. That's right friends, I'm actually taking steps to open an Etsy shop. S'about time!

Any other ideas of great things to sneak in during the day? What do you accomplish on your lunch break?

How to Spend my Christmas Money

Monday, January 16, 2012

So, I am notorious for holding onto chunks of change until I find something I absolutely adore. There are no holes burning in my pockets like there was in my husband's. His Christmas money is long gone, spent mostly on the magnetic force that is his appetite. I joked that he'd have his money gone by Tuesday, following Christmas, and mine would be gone by June. Anyhow, here are a few things that are stealing my thoughts lately and will perhaps be the means to the end of my small Christmas stash (because I guess you're never too old to get Christmas checks):

1. The Crosley Lancaster: I haven't owned a record player since college when one of my friends decided to borrow my thrifted find and returned it in "not working" condition. But instead of updating my vinyl collection, I decided I just couldn't part with them and must.find.record.player. This particular record player has a CD player and radio built in. Best of the old and the new. I have a feeling that when I pull off the bubble wrap and test out the fresh needle, my level of inspiration will skyrocket. This is an investment in my productivity people!

2. Washi tape: I am an improviser the the nth degree, but you can't really improvise on pretty tape, right? This will get used for all sorts of projects from art journaling to banner-making and other pretties.

3. Speaking of art journaling, my first $30 was spent without blinking an eye on Elsie Larson and Rachel Denbow's Art Journal All Year e-course. That was literally a no-brainer. No thought whatsoever. My fingers did the walking before my brain even had time to process it. I never make impulse buys, so that must tell you something... I might consider buying another e-course from Red Velvet as well.

4. Feist CD: Every Pandora station I tune into comes around to her in one way or another. What can I say? Love it!

I have already spent a few bucks here and there one treats for my husband, a trip to the thrift store and a trip to Office Max to get a fresh new sketchbook for the art journaling challenge (which I will offer a sneak peek in a future post:) Oh, and I bought my boy some requested fine-point pens for his second semester of college. I am so proud, I don't even know how to fully express it!!!

It's a Pleasure to be Your Momma

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Our daily indoor trampoline date: I swore we wouldn't keep it in the house

He calls out "momma!" at least 16 times per minute. Look at this. Try this. I'm thirsty. Follow me. Let's be ghosts. Hide! I want one.

Yesterday it bothered me, to the point that I started to mimic him. Oh heavens, please forgive me. But today, I decided to be a little bit more contemplative and deliberate about embracing it. After all, I know that before I know it, there will come a time when he'll be more inclined to talk to a garbage can than his own mother. That little tiny high-pitched voice will turn into a manly grumble. And I know I'll miss these days and all that "momma"-ing.

So today, I'm going to embrace it. I'm going to wrap my arms around him and listen to everything he has to say, complete with eye contact and legitimate interest in his words. I'm not too jaded to hear what's all been said before, because it hasn't been said by this particular little human. Because there's something truly thrilling about watching my boy learn all these new things for the first time himself.

There's this magical glue that we mommas have that keeps our little ones at our sides and fuses our souls. There will be times when our children will be so far away, even if in the next room, but that momma bond is one tough cookie. It can survive the utmost tragedies and coldness (a la Gone With the Wind). And if anything is truly worth celebrating, it is this mother/child connection.

I know firsthand how much mommas mean, because I know what mine means to me. It's enough to make a grown person cry. That sublime connection alone makes it such a pleasure to be this little man's momma.

P.S. Speaking of little Peanuts: my husband told me today that our son knows the words to the Walker Texas Ranger theme song. Oh brother! Not sure I can embrace that one. Haha!

Changing Life in Increments

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I spoke in my resolution post about avoiding time-waste by filling all those random 10-minute increments in a day with meaningful activities. I've got to say, I'm off to a strong start:

1. This morning, while watching the news (still productive in itself), I pulled out this gentle workout from my magazine for my new "morning warming" idea. It's bitter cold here where I live right now. Mornings are tough when you have to force yourself out of bed into the brisk winter air. To wake up, warm up and start my day off right, I decided to implement a "morning warming" ritual. Could be tea, could be yoga, could be Dr. Oz's 7-minute Morning Workout. But it eases me nicely into a productive winter day.

2. Each day, I try to peek at a success story or two. Right now, I'm drawn to weight loss success stories, but creative entrepreneurial business successes have been known capture me whole-heartedly. I seek them out and use them as fuel. Success stories are my favorite part of my magazines and the very reason I started working out from the very beginning. Thank you Self Magazine! I've even written about a few success stories here on my blog. I just read that, according to science, reading/watching about success stories can do wonders for your health. What a great way to spend 10 minutes!

3. Quality family time can be built in 10-minute increments. A jump-fest on the trampoline? Sure! You should see the smile on that boy's face. That trampoline is keeping us all young--and releasing all this pent-up, cabin-fever rambunctiousness. Seriously, who could resist?

I'm loving this new experiment. What else could I fill those precious 10-minute spaces with?

Resolutions for Happiness

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Last year I wrote a great article outlining ways to stay on top of your resolutions. I also blogged about how I don't think resolutions need to be confined to one day of the year. I believe we can start over any day, any second of any day.

This year, I'm approaching resolutions from a "what makes me happy" standpoint. I'm going to make it a point to enrich my life this year, not trouble myself too much with where I'm falling short.

I did some, what I like to call, stream-of-consciousness journaling. I was grabbing papers out of the recycle bin and bits of fabric from the craft room floor to piece together the pages. Here is a personal peek inside the pages:

I have a terrible habit of collecting things and "saving them" for a good time. Sometimes I save them to the point that they're outdated or no longer suit my taste. For instance, I have a whole package of 8-1/2" x 11" scrapbook paper from high school that I collected bit by bit. I find some of the patterns horrifying now and I've since graduated to the standard 12"x12" scrapbook anyhow. I am still inclined to save beautiful fabrics for that "ideal" project and expensive face cream for the night before special parties. Instead, this year, I'm going to make a concerted effort to enjoy the things I find beautiful NOW!

I also did some season-specific pages, outlining the things that I want to do in the summer and the winter, like "perfect a Sangria recipe" in summer and "morning jump rope/stretches to get warm" in winter. My whole heart felt lighter as I was brainstorming all these things that bring me pleasure. I want to remember to indulge in these special things with each passing month. In fact, I'm so eager about them, I want to do them all today!
I even did a "Do the things I Love" page, listing my top sources of pleasure, so that I don't forget to make space for them in my daily routine.

And I plan to do my favorite things by implementing a 10-min increment plan. You know, all those 10 minute chunks of time we let slip away each day? Well, I'm going to squirrel them away and work my hardest to bring some of my dreams to fruition. There's a lot you can make, research about, see or sweat off in 10 minutes. Even parts of those "things I love" from the list above can be managed in 10 minutes.

I also set some fun fitness, finance and romance goals. And I have a page listing what I could be doing daily, weekly and monthly to achieve my dreams. This process is like therapy! I suggest giving it a try. In fact, "dream planning" is now on my list of weekly goals, along with picking out my weekly workouts, and checking in on the family budget. Ahhh, sounds perfect.

What are your plans for 2012?