Living in Gratitude

Yesterday I was blessed to host our first Women of Faith spring breakfast. What a wonderful experience to share a morning together spending time sharing, learning and growing in faith and gratitude. I loved seeing the women visiting and getting to know each other in a deeper way than they could on a Sunday morning at church.

One of my favorite things about the morning was sharing how our brains operate on gratitude. The National Institutes of Health studied people’s brains while they summoned up feelings of gratitude and found that there were higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus. The part of the brain controls essential body functions, metabolism and stress levels. There were also higher activity in brain regions associated with the neurotransmitter dopamine. When we think about the things in our lives that we are grateful for we get a dose of dopamine. Increases of dopamine makes us want more of it:

Gratitude = Dopamine = More Gratitude = More Dopamine…..

As we start seeing things to be grateful for our brain starts looking for more things to be grateful for. Wow! Isn’t this awesome?

Living a life in gratitude helps us find more things to be grateful for. Oh this is so much better than living a life being critical, complaining and grumpy. It takes practice but the more you do it – the easier it gets and the more naturally you will be a grateful person.

Start everyday with a moment of gratitude. Write it down. Write it on your mirror, in your journal, your planner, on a note in a gratitude jar or where ever you can see it and remember it. You will be glad you did!

The Dreaded Question No New Mommy Wants to Hear…

I was walking out to my car after church this Sunday when a lady asked me “Tilisa, are you having another baby?” Ugh! Now keep in mind the following Sunday we are having a baptism and first birthday party for my little guy. Yes a year has gone by since his birth and yes I am still hanging on to twenty pounds of what I like to call ‘new mommy fat’. I guess now after a year I can’t really refer to myself as a new mommy any more. I will have to refer to myself as a mom now and it is probably time to get rid of that fat – because now I need to look at it as… just fat.

Nothing like that dreaded question to get you motivated and serious about loosing that extra weight. I really don’t want to look like I am having another baby with a pooch belly when I’m not.  I laughed it off by patting my belly and saying “No, I am just hanging on this post-baby belly. I wish I was pregnant, then I would have a good excuse for this belly of mine.” Of course this was in front of several folks from church who overheard this conversation. I am sure they were embarrassed for me. One friend of mine tried to make me feel better by telling me how much she has gained in the past few months – I love my friends! Of course I told my husband this story and he laughed (quite a bit actually) thinking that was pretty funny. The he asked me how I felt about being asked that – my response: “I feel fat”.

Ok, now it is time to get serious about dropping that mommy fat and get my belly looking like it did before baby. I will be taking it one step at a time (I am still nursing). Small changes are easier to make and will last – rather than drastic changes that I wont be able to keep up with. Follow my blog to keep up with my journey and feel free to share your story, tips, and helpful information in the comment section below. I look forward to hearing from you!

FREE Menu Plan & Shopping Guide

“What’s for dinner?” my husband asks on a regular basis. I used to answer “I’m not sure yet.” A few short weeks after being married I decided I needed to start planning our dinner meals so I could have a more organized and ‘put together’ answer for him. It was so nice to be able to know what meals we had planned for the week, the items that I needed to buy at the grocery store and what had to be taken out of the freezer in the morning. To make things simple and organized, I created this Menu Planning and Shopping Guide – oh what a great tool! This has made my life so much easier and I want to help make yours easier too.  Please feel free to share this post with others and print the guide off each week so when your husband asks ‘what’s for dinner’ you will have a perfectly planned answer too!   Download – FREE Menu Plan & Shopping Guide

Please post any questions or comments below in the ‘comments’ section.

Getting the Most of Your Pedicure

Time Treasure (words)Time Treasure Tuesday…  I love getting pedicures but they seem to fade away so fast. After a week my polish starts to chip, peel and well, look less than pretty. I must be hard on my poor toes. I spend the summer in flip-flops and sandals doing everything from yard work, shopping to taking care of baby and our chickens.

As you ladies know… pedicure aren’t cheap, take time to schedule and not to mention actually going to your appointment. So how do you stretch your time in between appointments?

Time Treasure Tip: Bring your own polish. When your nail color begins to chip, peel and otherwise need a touch-up, you will have your own nail color to apply a new coat to create a freshly polished look. Add a clear top coat and you are good for another week or so.

Husband’s Away… Wife Will Play

Ladies, what do you do when your husband goes out of town for two weeks? I write this as I am reflecting back on the past two weeks and all the wonderful things I had the freedom to do while my husband was in Portland, Oregon. He was studying for his doctorate of ministry degree while I was joyfully on my own (well we do have an eleven month old baby so not totally on my own).

There was plenty of time for me to think about all the wonderful things I wanted to do while he was gone for two weeks – he makes this trip each June for three years for his doctorate studies. I have to admit the first thing I did was clean the house and the laundry. Oh the joys of having a clean house for two weeks! No ‘accidents’ on the toilet rim. No husband to clean up after. No stopping what I was doing at 4 pm to start dinner. No toothpaste in the bathroom sink. Oh… and having the bed to myself was a little piece of heaven!

Let’s talk about the garage. I know that space is supposed to be reserved for the guys but I do want to park my car in there especially with having a little one. It’s no fun having to shovel snow in the winter and hard to put baby in a hot car in the summer. So I spent two days throwing stuff away, taking an entire truck load of stuff to the local donation center, and organizing the space. I couldn’t wait for my husband to see how our garage looked all cleaned and empty!

Whew! Those first three days of ‘playing’ deserved a much needed reward so I did some shopping and had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants followed by some more shopping and ended with a fabulous dinner at yet another favorite spot.

Now, on to my most favorite playtime activities… Landscaping and decorating! The days following were spent landscaping our backyard and creating a space that I lovingly call our cabana retreat. If you know me, you will know that we have 19 chickens and we have allowed them to free range on our entire property for the past two years. It was time to reclaim some space of our own. No more chickens stealing my lunch right out of my hands as I tried to find a spot that didn’t have chicken poop on it. (Yes, chickens are worse than dogs when it comes to begging for food and stealing it if you don’t give it up right away). Up went the fencing. Raking, weeding, and planting new plants ensued after I had a safe place away from the ornery hens. Next was the cabana, flowers, cushioned patio furniture, candles, and speakers for music. Oh – this was my next little piece of heaven.

When my husband arrived back home after two weeks he wasn’t sure he was even at the right place. Pleasantly surprised at all of his wife’s play-time activities, he gets to now enjoy little piece of my heaven – except having the bed to himself.

But seriously, I missed my husband and couldn’t wait for him to come home. We skyped almost every night and talked on the phone every day so we could stay connected (no I didn’t tell him about all my secret play-time activities) but we did have fun with baby trying to figure out where daddy was in the computer and it was nice seeing his handsome face.

I am currently now working on my plans for next June, hmmm… what will I come up with for next year?

Lock It Up!

Time Treasure (words)Time Treasure Tuesday…  I write this post as my husband is informing me via text that he has had yet another bike stolen – this makes 3 bikes that he has stolen in the past 3 years that we have been married. Yep that is one for every year we have been married – this could get expensive! He is in Portland for training for two weeks and took his bike so he can get around the city during his down time and he loves riding for exercise.

My husband is a trusting sole who has had 3 cars stolen and countless bikes stolen – sometime locked up and sometimes just sitting there ready for the taking. Oh how much time he has spent filing police reports, following up with insurance claims, replacing his stolen items and not to mention trying to find his ride back home.

Time Treasure Tip: please… learn from my husband! Lock up your bikes, cars, and homes. Make it hard for someone to steal from you. Yes, keeping things under lock and key takes time and consistency – but just think of all the time and money you will save. Need I say more?

Oh Those Darn Emails!

1. EmailsNearly 80 percent of e-mails sent worldwide are spam and according to the National Technology Readiness Survey and Maryland’s business school, the average time spent per day deleting spam messages is 2.8 minutes. If you do the math, the average person wastes several hours each year deleting junk emails. Some of you just ignore them (like my husband) and your inboxes are cluttered up with so much junk that you can’t find those important emails when you need to. Others of you (like my mom) gets hundreds of spam emails each day and spends five or more minutes  each day just cleaning out the junk before being able to get to  the good stuff.  Oh so much time wasted each day searching, sorting and deleting emails.

Time Treasure Tip: spend that 2.8 minutes each day  unsubscribing, blocking, and/or reporting those unwanted emails a s spam. Before you know it you will have a much cleaner inbox and will be spending  a  whole lot more time on the important ones.





Creamy Spinach Eggs

Ohhh the joys of creamy, baked eggs! I absolutely love how delicious and simple this dish is. This is one of those breakfast traditions soon to be made. I am such a fan of egg dishes that tastes as amazing as it looks – simple to make – only 15 minutes and breakfast is served!

This recipe is for one, single serving.

Items needed:

  • personal sized cast iron skillet
  • dollop of butter
  • chopped garlic (I use the kind you buy in a jar)
  • some spinach
  • 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 eggs (cold from fridge)IMG_6510
  • some shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place skillet on stove and melt butter. Add garlic and spinach and saute about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cream. Gently add the eggs and top with cheese and salt and pepper.

Place in oven and bake for 12 minutes. Let set for a minute before eating. Enjoy!

Note… do not substitute milk for cream to save on calories – it just wont turn out right and you will be disappointed.

9 Simple Steps to Creating a Bedroom Sanctuary

What do you feel when you walk in to your bedroom? Do you have an overwhelming feeling that you need to do laundry or clean up so you can even find your bed? Ugh… I have had those days. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked (ok dragged myself) into my bedroom and – oh the shock – I still have to put those clean sheets on my bed before I can even climb in!

The first place I started to work on cleaning up in my life was my bedroom.  Yep I simply started in the room that I came to the realization that I can’t live this cluttered, crazy life of mine any longer. So here is the beginning of my journey to Simply Organized Meets Real Life… in the bedroom.

That morning as I pondered over the mess my room had become (piles of laundry overflowing out of the basket, dusty furniture, stuff scattered everywhere, and a closet bursting at the seams of clothes that no longer fit me), I decided that I wanted to have a place that felt like a sanctuary for my husband and I. I wanted a comfortable and simple place to go to at the end of busy day. A place to relax mentally as well as physically.

Here are 9 simple steps you can take to create your own bedroom sanctuary (this does not have to be done all in one day – take one step a day if you need to). Also, this is NOT an excuse to ‘go-buy-new-stuff’ – the idea here it to get rid of stuff and only keep the essentials and what creates a clutter-free bedroom sanctuary. Here we go…

  1. Electronic Free Zone: first thing you must do is take out all cell phones, computers, televisions, movie players, distracting lighting (night lights that change color), etc. These electronics keep your brain going and does not allow your brain to shut off and relax as you prepare for sleep.  The one electronic device that I do allow in my bedroom is a essential oil diffuser – my husband and I like to use a relaxation or breathe blend. If you decide this is something you want to keep or incorporate in your room, make sure your diffuser does not have any kind of light or one that you can turn off. Your room needs to be as dark and distraction free as it can be to allow your brain to turn off and prepare for rest.
  2. Clean Up Those Surfaces: next is to take everything off night stands, dressers, shelves and windowsills. Ok, now dust and clean every surface area.  I suggest taking your night stand and placing a lamp as your anchor piece and decide what one decorator/picture item you want to incorporate with it. Then really decide what few necessity items you need (I have lip balm, baby monitor, and water bottle – yep that is it!).  Less is more here. Now do the same for the rest of your room – keep 1-2 plants if you like them and very minimal items. The less you have on display the less you have to dust and the calmer your room will seem. Clutter only creates a busy space that does not create a sense of relaxation.
  3. Floor Space: pick up everything on the floor and put it where it goes. All items should have a special place for it. Put shoes in the closet. Dirty clothes in the hamper. Toys in kids room. Trash in the garbage. Sports equipment in the garage. (you get the idea – put it it away – everything…). Now vacuum, sweep, mop – baseboards too.  By the time you get done with this task you should be feeling a whole lot better about your room.
  4. Walls: the pictures, artwork, etc. that you have on your walls should be calming – not busy with bright, bold colors. Decide if what you have on your walls creates that sense of peace and relaxation for you – if it doesn’t, take it down and donate or display in it in another area of your home. Remember be minimal – less is more.
  5. Windows: clean windows, add or replace any broken blinds. Your room should be dark and your window coverings need to black out any lights from the outside. I personally have blinds and dark curtains that are made out of heavy material not only to keep light out but to also help keep drafts down and maintain room temperature. You don’t want your mind distracted or being woke up from busy lights or the neighbors taking their dog out at 4 am.
  6. Bed: wash all bedding and replace any old pillows, torn sheets, broken electric blankets or anything that has stains or holes in it. Your bed should be comfortable, cozy and inviting. Add or remove any blankets or covers that you need to so you are not too hot or too cold (think Goldilocks here… seek to get it just right for your best, optimal sleep). Your decorator items need to be minimal – do you really need all those decorator blankets or throw pillows? Keep it simple and minimal.
  7. Plants: are you a green thumb or a brown one? I am sometimes amazed at how many plants people keep in their homes. One friend of mine had over 20 plants in their kitchen/dining nook! She was a great plant keeper but it made her space overwhelming, cluttered and unkempt – not to mention the time she spent every week taking care of them. If this describes you – starting thinking with a giving heart… give these gems away to others who may not have plants of their own. Your bedroom space should not feel like an overgrown jungle (or for those brown thumbs a dead, dried up desert). Keep a few (3-4) of your favorites. Brown thumbs – toss all of those dead and dying plants and donate the pots or try some succulents rather than houseplants – you may find a little green in your thumb after all.
  8. Lighting: if you can, add a dimmer switch to your overhead lighting in your room. As your day is coming to a close and you prepare to retire for the day, dim your lights in your bedroom to fifty percent of normal. This tells your brain that it is time to start shutting down and prepares for rest and relaxation. Remove any night lights and move them to the hallway or bathroom where safety may be needed.
  9. Closets: before going to bed, close your closet doors. Everything should fit in neatly and doors should properly close. This helps the mind focus on the business of relaxation and not the mess and/or the abundance of stuff in your closet. Closing your closet doors tidy’s up your room with one easy move. (Coming soon! ‘How to Organize Your Closet’)

Congratulations! I know with these simple and easy to do steps in creating a clean, clutter-free bedroom you will be resting easy and enjoying your new sanctuary space. Please comment below so I can hear about your success and your new-found appreciation for living simply organized in your bedroom and how this has helped with your peace of mind and relaxation.