December 29, 2012

Mommy Survival Tip: Shift Your Beliefs and Thought Process to Reach your Goals


It's that time of year again! New Years Resolutions, Goal Setting, Re Focusing, Starting Fresh. Everyone has a different term for it, but it's our desire to start fresh with a new year. Change the things that were not working for us, focus on new things that need focusing on. So often though, we have the best of intentions, and somewhere things go off track. How can we avoid this? How can we stay on track? Here are some tips from my Life Coaching practice to help in making a paradigm shift in your thought process.
Sometimes one of the biggest things holding us back in our journey to personal wellness is the core of what we believe and our thought process. I am a victim of this myself. We as innately have been programmed by our upbringing and our environment to have certain thoughts or believe certain ideas, and by habit, we don’t even realize how this is affecting our personal well being.
The most obvious one that comes to my mind is the constant use of “I can’t”, this is such a common belief that many of us hold especially when regarding our movement toward our personal wellness goals. Ex.”I can’t seem find the time to exercise”, “I don’t have the time to prepare healthy meals”, etc…
One of the activities I have my clients work on is to begin to shift your early conclusions and thoughts toward a new belief. Eventually this becomes natural for you and the new belief will be your habit. Voila, causing you to change how you view things and conduct you life and react (or not) to your environment.
Here are some great examples of some shifts to begin making immediately. This new thought process won’t happen over night, but if you make an effort to catch yourself and replace your negative thought with a positive, it will come easier as time goes on. I just read somewhere that it only takes 18 days to form a new habit. Give yourself 18 days to work on shifting your thoughts and the rest will follow.
  • I can’t………………..I can
  • I am not good enough……………….I can do this
  • I can’t control my health and well being……………….I am in charge of my health and well-being
  • I can’t learn………………………….I am always learning
  • I can’t change……………….I am always changing and transforming myself
  • My body is made of physical matter………………My body is an energy field of endless transformations and infinite information
  • I can not control what happens to me……………I am the result of all the ideas and beliefs I hold
  • Suffering pain, sickness, and death are parts of natural reality………………We are not the victims of suffering, pain, sickness or death. Since I create my own reality, I can choose those changes and meanings I assign to them.
This is just a small list to give you the idea of some helpful shifts to begin making in your daily life to help guide yourself toward achieving your vision and goals for the new year. 
You and ONLY YOU are in control of what happens in your life. It is all about how you choose to  view things and learn from your experiences. When you fight against it, you will be stuck at an impasse and will have difficulty moving towards what you really want. You will realize that making positive changes will start having a huge impact on your life and what you want to get out of it.
Choose not to fight with yourself and your thoughts, but choose to learn from everything that happens and move forward. Don't resist the change, let yourself be open to what needs to happen for you to feel fulfilled with your life. Go ahead, take the plunge, start making positive changes in your actions and thoughts, you will be glad you did, I promise.
“It is the nature of a man….to protest against change, particularly change for the better”
-John Steinbeck
Happy New Year to you all. I hope that it is a year of happiness and fulfillment. You only live once, it is worth it to live that life positively and with purpose. Don't be a victim of your own thoughts! Happy 2013~


December 21, 2012

Holy Yumminess!: Easy Tamale Bake

I don't usually post two recipes in a row but I had to share this one! I am always trying out new, easy, throw everything in a pot/pan and let it cook, recipes for my family. Here is one that was a hit at our house and you are sure to enjoy it too! Tis the season for cooking! Enjoy!

Easy Tamale Bake:
What you will need:
1 and 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 jar of chunky salsa
1/2 bag of frozen corn
1/2 packet of Taco Seasoning
1c shredded cheese (any kind you choose)
4 boxes of Cornbread mix (the small ones like Jiffy) OR 1 recipe of Cornbread mix from the Cornmeal Can
Sour Cream and/or Guacamole
Greased casserole pan (I used my deep dish Corning Ware)



Pre heat oven to 400 F. Mix the cornbread batter according to package directions and set aside. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, stirring occasionally. While the beef is cooking, thaw/cook the frozen corn. When beef is almost done browning, add in the salsa and corn and mix together, let cook until beef is cooked through. Next add the Taco Seasoning to the mixture, stir it until the beef mixture is well coated and all the seasoning is dissolved. Remove the mixture from heat and mix in cheese. Coat the bottom of your greased casserole pan with a layer of about half of the cornbread batter, making sure the entire bottom of the pan is coated evenly. Next, add all of the beef mixture spreading it evenly throughout the dish, you want it to sit on top of the bottom layer of batter so don't press too hard. Top with the remaining corn bread batter and spread evenly over the top of the beef. Bake the casserole at 400 for 25-30 min or until the top of the crust is firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.



December 16, 2012

My Pinterest Challenge: I'm in the Mood for Holiday Treats!

So, in the spirit of my own Pinterest Challenge that I made for myself last week, I decided to start with some Holiday Treats for my family to enjoy as we approach Winter Break! One of them I followed exactly from Pinterest, and the other one I made my own variation that I thought would be fun for my kiddos!
So, here it goes....

Recipe #1: 

Christmas Crunch {Funfetti Popcorn Christmas Style}

(Click the Link for the Cooking Classy blog with the original recipe and tons of other great ones)
One can make this recipe for basically ANY holiday, just change the colors of M&M's and Sprinkles! You can find an Easter one at Bake 350, she calls it Bunny Bait.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup popping popcorn kernels, or 2 bags tender white popcorn
1 (12 oz) bag Vanilla Candy Melts (such as Wilton Candy Melts)
1 1/3 cups broken pretzel pieces
1 (12 oz) bag green and red Milk Chocolate or Mint M&Ms
Red, green and white Sprinkles (I used Jingle Mix Nonpareils)

Directions:
Pop popcorn in a popcorn popper into a large bowl (or alternately in the microwave if using microwave bags of popcorn) according to manufactures directions.  Remove any unpopped popcorn kernels.  Toss in broken pretzel pieces and M&Ms.  
Melt Vanilla Candy Melts in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth.  Drizzle half of melted chips over popcorn mixture, then stir, tossing gently a few times with a rubber spatula.  Then drizzle remaining half of melted chips over popcorn, and gently stir mixture until evenly coated (don't over stir though or your sprinkles wont stick if the white chips begin to set and harden).  Pour mixture into a single layer onto wax paper.  Sprinkle entire mixture evenly with sprinkles (as many as you'd like) before vanilla chips set.  Allow to cool and harden, then gently break into pieces and store in an airtight container. 

Here is Cooking Classy's Picture of                                             
Christmas Crunch:                                                                     
                          

                   
And here is my version:

I did a good job right? This was a HUGE hit at my house...I currently have it in that bowl on the counter top and all three munchkins keep sneaking pieces, I am going to have to put it up where they can't reach it!





Now for Recipe #2: This is the one I adapted from another one and made my own.

Chocolate Mint Christmas Cookies

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Nestle Tollhouse Cocoa
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups Mint M&M's
Warm water-this dough was way too sticky for me to mix in the m&m's and chips so I had to add some warm water to make it less sticky, I used about 1/4 cup in all, but added it a Tbsp at at time.

directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.
3. With a mixer, cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Next, add in vanilla extract. Mix until blended.
4. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture and mix until flour disappears. (this is where I added in the water a Tbsp at a time.) Stir in chocolate chips, mint m&m's. I ha Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
5. Bake cookies for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set around the edges, but still soft in the center. Don't over bake. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely.



December 13, 2012

Mommy Survival Tip: Teaching Your Child how to Deal with Aggression from Others

How to to deal (as a parent) with your child being a victim of another child's aggression can be a challenge. In this case I am going to talk about early childhood aggression in children ages 5 and under. In particular a situation with one of my 5 year old boys. According to the public definition of Bullying, it verges, but is not quite there so I have decided to call it aggression instead of bullying so as not to confuse the two. Besides, most children at this young age are exhibiting a learned behavior and projecting internal feelings towards others, rather than intentional bullying.

 As we were getting ready to go to school yesterday, my son informed me that he didn't want to wear his nice (rather pricey) Columbia winter coat because a boy at school told him that he hated his coat and it was stupid and ugly. What? How can a 5 year old have such a hateful opinion about a winter coat? In my experience, when a child this young is being this hateful to another, it is a learned behavior. Someone, somewhere in his life is treating him or others this way. Children are not innately mean, it is modeled for them somewhere!

Seeing your own child hurt, the mamma bear claws come out and you immediately want to protect them. My instinct as a mother was to tell him to tell the other kid to shove it and that he needs a haircut because he looks like a girl! But, the responsible adult and school counselor in me knew better, and I knew I needed to construct a response that was going to 1. Be something that a 5 year old could understand and 2. Be a teachable moment for him.

This is a perfect moment to begin teaching empathy. We talked about how those words made him feel (sad, angry, hurt, etc.), and he agreed that he would not want someone else to feel that way. The old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" unfortunately is just not true anymore. Kids can be verbally vicious to each other and it can be very emotionally hurtful and potentially devastating in severe situations. This situation was clearly not extreme, but it was hurtful. We also talked about how to deal when this happens again (we all know it will, either with this kid or another). 


Teaching a kid not to react to hurtful words is not an easy task, but an important lesson. As adults, we know that these verbally aggressive kids are looking for a reaction, and kids who give them that reaction become a target. I wanted my son to know that reacting to him will only make things worse. My kids will learn to be the better person by modeling appropriate behavior and walking away from situations where someone is targeting them. I simply told him that next time he should say, "that is not a nice thing to say" and to just walk away.

Too many parents (a surprisingly alarming number) want to place blame on others for their child's actions (academic, social and otherwise). They are teaching their children that they do not have to be responsible for their own actions. They teach their kids to be aggressive and to fight back, rather than to rise above. This is a serious problem, I see it everyday working in the public school system.

Being a parent is an incredibly humbling experience. I believe that it is the biggest and most important job that one will have their lifetime. It is a huge responsibility to raise strong, confident, respectful and humble kids that will contribute to society rather than hinder it. I refuse to submit to the "new" parenting ideas of coddling, spoon feeding and befriending our children. My children will not feel entitled or superior. Instead they will be empathetic, respectable, confident and hard working individuals. They will be role models to others and be an important asset to our society. It is my job to teach them this.

OK, I went on a little soap box there! Anyway, the morale of the story is, even though it may be your instinct to protect your child be teaching them to fight back. Resist the urge, and instead make situations like this a learning experience for them. There is enough hate in this world, let's not contribute to it in how we raise our children. 




December 10, 2012

iPad Mini?? Yes Please!

Since my children have taken over my old ipad, I decided it would be fun to enter this giveaway for a NEW iPad MINI! Whoo hoo! I am just not sure what I would do with a new iPad all to myself. I know I would be SUPER excited to not have to share with anyone. In fact, as I began entering my entries for the giveaway, I found myself drifting off into a daydream about not having to share with anyone! Wishful thinking? Maybe not!
So Here is a link to where I entered...Wish Me Luck!!!

I entered at Glam Hungry Mom




December 9, 2012

Mom's Monday Mingle Blog Hop! Join Us!

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Mommy Survival Tip: Creating an Attitude of Gratitude

In the spirit of giving and gratitude this season, I thought I would bring over a post from my Life Coaching blog. I think this easily applies to a lot of moms and/or dads out there and it always helps to have a simple reminder to keep us focused. 


Let’s be honest, we all know someone who, no matter how much they have, they never seem to appreciate it. Sound familiar? You could open up to them and pour your heart out, or work yourself into the ground for them, or share with them what you have until you are empty, and you still wouldn’t see a drop of acknowledgement for your effort with a simple “thank you”. So many people spend much of their time in this process of seeking approval and appreciation from others- their parents, peers, teachers, bosses or colleagues.
In this journey called life, oftentimes the people who seek appreciation are paired with those who never express it, potentially leaving both caught up in a destructive cycle. The more one person seeks appreciation or strives for validation, the more obligated the other feels to express that gratitude and therefore becomes more likely to rebel and withhold appreciation; thus leading to further emptiness for the one seeking this validation. And, the cycle begins….
People caught in this cycle often experience life as an endless dependency filled with helplessness, hostility, fear, anger, and the most difficult, a feeling of unfulfilled needs. The result in this cycle is both people having large, unmet needs for personal support and validation. Both become desperate to feel appreciated and valued. Feeling appreciated and valued is critical to happiness and is a defining factor in being successful in life.
Let’s go back to the basics, as children, our basic need to feel valued is primarily addressed by our parents and/or caretakers. When we reach adulthood we are responsible for addressing our own needs and we often fail to appreciate and value ourselves. We may fail to see the positive aspects of our lives especially when we compare what we have to what we perceive others as having. We oftentimes see ourselves as having less than others.
If we don’t appreciate who we are and what we have, we tend to get stuck in a helpless-hostile-dependency cycle. If you don’t appreciate who you are, you feel helpless. When you feel helpless, the risk of becoming angry and hostile is high. When you feel hostile, it will be your nature to look to others to address your needs. If they don’t appreciate you, or provide you with what you need, then a feeling of helplessness and anger sets in. Therefore causing the cycle to begin all over.
So, you are asking….How do I break this cycle? The solution is quite simple. We can begin with saying “thank you”. Expressing appreciation and gratitude out loud is the beginning of ending this cycle. This gratitude can be directed toward yourself, others, or life itself. A simple “thank you” is a universal way of communicating your gratitude. To the people in our lives it communicates a message of: I recognize you, I appreciate you, I have heard you, I acknowledge you, and most importantly, I value you.
Feeling valuable as a person, as well as for what you do, is one of our most basic human needs. When we feel valuable, we feel able to be valued, cherished and loved. To us, this means we are important as individuals and we no longer feel the need to seek approval from others. We no longer need to feel fear of our own inadequacies. We realize that we are valuable for who we are as people. We realize that what we do may or may not be appreciated, but it becomes less important as we feel valuable as individuals. When we are appreciated for who we are, the need for validation is replaced my a much healthier feeling of confidence resulting in our interactions becoming more caring and intimate.
Regularly saying to yourself or others “thank you for being you” or “thank you for what you do” is the most definite way you can break the negative and self defeating cycle of hostility and begin shifting to your “attitude of gratitude”.  In order to be successful in your life, you must first appreciate who you are. When you can make this shift, your feeling of making a mistake will become much less frightening and you will have the ability to view the mistake as a learning opportunity instead, allowing you to grow as a person.
Adopting an “attitude of gratitude” for who you are and where you are in your life will increase the likelihood that you will achieve everything you desire in your life, and become the person you desire to be. You will live with a positive mental attitude resulting in successful living.

“The healthiest emotion you can experience is gratitude”
~ Hans Selye

December 7, 2012

Spreading Christmas Cheer Giveaway!!

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December 6, 2012

My Own Pinterest Challenge

Hi, I am Megan, and I am a Pinterest addict. 

The problem is I have THOUSANDS of pins, and I can only honestly admit to actually trying a handful of them. So, I have decided that I am going to challenge myself to trying at least 2 new pins on pinterest per week. That sounds relatively doable to me. (I think?)

I am so envious of all of the women/moms out there who either create all of these glorious recipes and DIY's, or the ones who regligiously try them! I am not a crafty person, so the crafts and DIY's are going to be a challenge for me. I do, however, love to bake and cook so should thoroughly enjoy trying new ones!! I am excited for some of the Ooey-Gooey chocolatey  yumminess!

Watch out Martha Stewart here I come!

I am going to document with pictures each thing I try, and whether or not it was a success and whether it was worth the effort. And, I would like to venture into making up a few of my own! I may be getting in waaaay over my head here, but I am up for the challenge!

I am excited to show/write about my Pinteresting Adventures! I will keep you updated with pics and stories!

Here is Recipe #1 http://pinterest.com/pin/138978338472581755/
Huge Brownie stuffed with a Reese's PB cup!!! Food Coma...


December 4, 2012

Join Us for the "Like Me" on Facebook Hop!

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Mommy Survival Tip: Creating a Bed Time Routine {Tips that Work} Part II


Hi again! So as promised, here is Part II of the Bed Time Routine post from yesterday.

Survival Tips and Creating Routines, here are 3 tips I recommend for creating (and keeping) a bedtime routine. If bedtime is something you struggle with, these tips will make a huge difference. If you have a new born, start this routine from the very beginning and you will have no problems when your little one is older.

1. Set a bed time and stick to it every single night (this is especially important for babies and toddlers to set the stage for later). Keep it consistent and do your best not to stray by more than half an hour for kids 5 and under (even on the weekends, sounds rigid but it will work, trust me). When there is a predictable routine for your kids then there won't be a struggle because there is no grey area, they will know it is what it is and will be comfortable with that. Consistency and Predictability is the key theme here.

2. Set a "pre bed time" routine and stick to it every single night (sticking with the predictability theme). We call it our winding down time, it is preparation for bed time. Ours is this: After we clean up from dinner we watch a 1/2 hour cartoon of their choice, then we do bath, brush teeth, read a book and get in bed lights out. Figure out how long this takes on average and start it at the same time every single night. Kids need transition periods to move from one thing to the next and this is a great way to transition to bed time smoothly.

3. Do not let your child stall at bed time by having a never ending list of requests (i.e. water,singing, food etc...). Once you give them the message that you will keep going into their room for every request, they will catch on real fast and make it a habit. Set a 1 time rule that you will go into their room one time for a request and that is it (don't let them know this, this is your secret rule). Say something like " I will sing one more song and that is it, it's time to go to sleep now" and stick to it. As soon as they know there is no negotiating they will eventually give up, but you have to stick with it and stay firm. If you have a child that is already in this habit, it may take a little while to re train them. Be patient, they will catch on if you are consistent.

Soon everyone in your house will look like this:



Now go downstairs, turn on the tv, grab some hot chocolate (or a margarita), take a deep breath and relax.

If you are having any trouble with a night time routine, I would love to help you. I have a tried and true method (based on experience and developmental theories), that is a little more in depth than those three tips, that I would be happy to share with you. Please email me if you need more help: 
megan@momssurvivingkids.com or comment below.



December 3, 2012

Mommy Survival Tip: Surviving the Bed Time Routine {A Short Story} Part I

Do you ever feel like you need to call in back up when you are conducting your night time routine? I know I do. Most nights I am flying solo for our routine because Mr. G works retail and doesn't get home until after the kids are sound asleep. With three kids age 5 and under, an 8 year old that stays over when his dad is out of town and a 10 month old boxer puppy, I am completely outnumbered and I sometimes wish I could call in the troops to get everyone rounded up and settled in for the night.

It's nights like the one I am about to describe that have me spinning by the time its over.
Here is how it started:

I have rounded up the chickens (or kids, call them what you will) and scooted them upstairs to start getting ready for bed. Our routine is this, bath time starts with the youngest because she is usually already undressed by the time we get up the stairs. I have resorted to conducting baths in an assembly line fashion in order to do it in record time. Since having so many children in such a short period of time, I have sort of become obsessed with creating shortcuts to simplify my life and reduce undo chaos around me. (will post more on my shortcuts that work in another post soon!)

Because of the chaos that is created by actual baths (bathing three little ones is like a full time job in itself), I have invested in the shower head that detaches so I can shower the kids off in record time (highly recommend this to streamline bath/shower time). I have reserved actual baths for special occasions because it takes way to long and gets way too messy or for when they are sick and need a soothing bath. 

So, Little Missy hops in the shower and I begin showering her, in the meantime the boys have been trained to get out their clean jammies/undies and get undressed and ready to be next up in the line for a shower. Well, this particular night things got a little out of whack...Here is how it went down:

Twin A decides to undress himself and start running around like a maniac screaming something about elf farts (what??). Twin B has already undressed himself and is using the bathroom on the toilet (which happens to be right behind where I am standing bathing Little Missy) and I begin to feel a warm sensation on the back of me leg. Yup, you guessed it, he was distracted by his crazy brother and the elf fart remarks (common occurance) and a stream of pee was hitting the back of my calf. In the mean time Rocco the boxer puppy is practically inside the tub trying to catch and drink the water and Little Missy is scrambling around the tub on all fours trying to catch the bubbles and stay away from Rocco's licks.

This is probably what I looked like after this bed time routine was over!

I managed to survive it and was SO happy when everyone was settled into their beds and I could head downstairs to veg in the couch with some hot chocolate! Or maybe it was a margarita (don't judge). 

Stay tuned for Part II of this post where I will give some tried and true tips and tricks on creating bed time routines that work! Other than the chaos that occasionally happens due to having multiple children, there is never a struggle in my house around bed time, my kids get in bed and stay in bed smooth sailing...I have a method that truly works!







December 1, 2012

Mommy Survival Tip: Creating Christmas Comforts {For the Kids}

Since it is December 1st, I wanted to go with the holiday theme and write about something warm and fuzzy. To me, December is a month of love, giving, making memories and traditions and what I call "Christmas Comforts". 

This has always been a magical time of the year for me and I want to recreate that magical and comforting feeling for my kids also! We go all out decorating the house (inside and out...it may or may not be a little gawdy), making holiday treats (like, excessively)  and being thankful for all that we have been blessed with. There are a lot of traditions that my family followed that I want to pass on to my children as well. I want them to experience all the sights (oh the lights!) and sounds (me singing xmas songs at the top of my lungs) and smells (oh the yumminess!) and happy feelings (warm and cozy) of the season.

One of the things that has always been a most magical part of the season for me is the Christmas Star on Sundance Mountain in Palmer Lake (the town where I grew up).

Gorgeous right?? Ah-mazing...

As a kid, when I saw this star I knew that Christmas was on it's way. It is such a beautiful and magical sight to take in. I remember looking out at the mountain and feeling my insides fill with warmth and joy. There is something so beautiful and sweet about this tradition of our little town.

Creating special memories and traditions for your children is one of the most precious things you can do for them. Developmentally, when a child is exposed to various happy  occasions they can be stored as happy memories long term. When a child has happy memories, it enables them to more easily offset painful instances that happen in everyday life. The more happy memories your child has, the more positive an outlook they have on life, and the more able they are to handle difficult situations and move past them as they grow and mature into adults. This my friends, is a valuable gift to your kids as you raise them. Allowing your kids to cope more easily and be strong, confident adults? Who wouldn't want that for their offspring?

In my opinion, what better time than the holidays to help create and foster those happy memories for children? There are so many special things that can take place during this time of the year that your children will cherish forever! Take advantage of it and go all out!! Do the lights, the glitter, the treats, the hot chocolate and marshmallows...do it ALL. Make it special. Find a special "Christmas Comfort" for your family that you can enjoy together.

The hubs and I have been fortunate enough to purchase a home in the same town where I grew up and to my very delighted surprise, we have a clear view of Sundance Mountain from our back yard and an unobstructed view of the Christmas Star. I wish I had a fancy camera to take a picture of what we see from our west facing windows and yard.


It warms my heart to know that my kids will now have the same view of the star that we can look at and enjoy together from our very own home. I hope they will get the same feeling inside when they see it that I always got as a kid. This is definitely one of our "Christmas Comforts" that we will talk about and enjoy together for years to come.

What is your "Christmas Comfort?" What will you be doing with your kids to create new ones? 

Thanks for reading....