Monday, March 11, 2013

Re-Inventing Me

I have been on hiatus on the blog, for a couple of reasons, the most significant one being, I needed a break to take care of other very important areas of my life - my family.

In October the last time I posted on this blog, I finished the last course that officially made me a graduate of Masters in Educational Leadership. I knew I had to put a new order in my life. Since then I have been trying to streamline other aspects of my life so that the people who matter most to me: my family and I will benefit from who I am and what I mean to them.

By December, while all the rage on new year resolution was going on, I decided nothing specific or maybe specifically taking care of my family and me. What did I come up with? I decided to become a better wife, mother and take care of myself so I can take care of others and hopefully live long enough to take care of them.

That been said, what is my progress so far? Am I even making any progress? What have I done differently? First off, I believe I have tried to listen to my husband's needs, ask him what he wants and try and provide them as much as possible without asking anything in return, that's what love is about right? It has not been easy, a part of me has wanted to scream and say cant you see what I am doing? Can't you do the same for me? Ask me what I want? Well since the change is coming from me, no pressures for him hopefully it will pay off. Meanwhile, I hope that I don't get too angry and mess it all up.

My kids, not sure I am making much progress of spending time with them but I have tried to reduce the yelling/shouting because I am so tired from having to deal with middle school kids all day. How I envy stay at home moms. Not saying their lives are easier but at this point, I will rather be with my kids when I am refreshed than be with other people's kids and let mine get the worst of me. I am still really working on this.

As with taking care of me, I think this is where the most progress is going on. I have tried to improve my relationship with God, eating healthier and exercising. Having spent the past one and half years losing and adding weight, I decided to join weight watchers. This gives me more motivation and I guess paying for it ensures I stick with it. So far great! I have also tried to get my financial life in order, by cutting my spending and tracking every single expense I make to the last cent.

This is the 3rd month of the year, it can only get better. Every quarter I hope to do an evaluation of my progress, seeking input from my husband and kids on ways to make them happier, while keeping myself happy too.

If any of you get to read this, I ask but one thing - prayers! Pray that I become the best version of myself. The person I was created to be.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Making the Trip Back to School a Bit Easier

I know school has been in full swing but I find this article still relevant and applicable. Liza the guest author from World Vision UK is asking us to support them in thier efforts to help those kids who do not have access to education.

For many children, going back to school can be exciting, but it can also be a little bit daunting. For younger pupils, this might be the first year they attend, which can be an emotional time for mums and dads too. Hopefully you will be able to take a picture of your little one in their school uniform, proudly and neatly dressed and ready to start the school day, which you can look back at in years to come. Who knows - it may even be a feature on a photo board at their 21st birthday party. Here are some crafty tips that will help you achieve a smooth and stress-free first day back at school and for the rest of the year.

Get prepared

It never hurts to do a little groundwork. Encourage children to get back into the swing of things with activities with a focus on going back to school. Puzzles and colouring in activities with school and learning themes can be found at websites like Activity Village, or you can try out some of the craft ideas right here on Domestic Goddesque. Helping them to think about what they do at school and visualizing it can be very helpful.

Get ready for the big day

There are lots of things that you need to organise for that first day back at school – from the long term planning which involves applying for a place for your little one if they are starting school, to the last minute preparation like packing their school lunch. Make sure their uniform is ironed and put out ready for them to wear first thing, help them pack their school bag and make sure everyone is up nice and early so that there is no last minute rush. It should also leave you plenty of time to get that all important picture!

Get organised

Young children are often given folders to take home letters and homework. Help them to get interested in being organised by decorating the folder with stickers and make sure their name is clearly displayed. You may want to check what is approved with your school, but whether you are using shape and number letters, or stickers based on Barbie or Up, this is bound to be a favourite with children.

Help them get into the habit of sharing their folder with you every day – so you don't get caught out the night before a charity cake sale, having to cook fairy cakes until midnight! When children get older – towards the end of primary school and start of secondary- it would be wise to issue them with a diary (if the school does not) so that they can get into the habit of recording homework needed for different days, school trips and after school activities too. They can add them to the family calendar as they go along and at the end of the week – helping the whole family stay organised.

This is a guest post from Liz at World Vision UK. When children are returning to school this year, consider those who are going without an education. If you would like to support a child through their education, child sponsorship organisations can make this a reality.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weight Loss 101: How to Count Calories without Stressing

If you've ever committed to counting your calories in order to lose weight, then you probably understand how the calorie counting process can begin to take over every aspect of your life. It's not unusual to focus so much on such a task that it becomes more of an obsession than a goal. Naturally, this leads to burnout . . . which is obviously not effective when it comes to losing weight. You can curb this conundrum by applying some simple methods of behavior management. Here are some pointers for how to count calories without stressing:

Put things into perspective. First of all, some simple facts should go a long way in helping you put things into perspective. It is important that you understand the key to weight loss is not counting calories; rather, it is in making healthy lifestyle choices. Counting calories is not necessary for effective weight loss, but being conscious of what you are putting into your body is. If you must count calories for practical reasons (memory, convenience, etc.), then it will be beneficial for you to keep in mind that how active you are throughout the day and what types of food you are putting into your body are much more important than the number of calories you take in - and those things don't require any record-keeping!

Use an app. Chances are you have a smart phone, with numerous apps for both practical purposes and leisure. Look into the wide array of calorie counting apps that can make it super simple for you to log your calories without putting much thought or time into it.

Round it off. As previously mentioned, the amount of calories is not nearly as important as what, exactly, you are eating. Therefore, you can save yourself a lot of effort and mental exhaustion by memorizing some basic numbers and just using estimates to gauge your caloric intake for the day. For example, if you know that a banana has about 100 calories, then it's not necessary for you to weigh the banana or consider its size. As long as you stick to just one serving of whatever you eat and have a close, rounded estimate in your head of how many calories it is, you can easily make decisions about what you consume by subtracting these rounded numbers from your target daily caloric intake. This is much easier than logging exact calories and making calculations all day long.
As you can see, there are some habits you can get into that will help you break the calorie-counting obsession. Perhaps the best thing you can do, though, is to remember that - calorie counting or not - there is no substitute for healthy eating and regular exercise.

About the Author: Nolan Karjala is a health and wellness expert who counsels men and women about weight loss and general nutrition. He recommends all of his clients speak to their doctors to rule out medical conditions that may hinder weight loss, including a need for recovery from candida, heart disease and fluid retention.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Searching for Answers in the Wrong Places

I recently read an article that captured exactly how I feel about my work. My source of strength is not from my managers, adminstrators or employer but surely from God. I work for Him and he is the one who gives me the strength to come to work everyday other than the fact that I love my job as a teacher and my students too.

Let me also state that I have a great principal and wonderful colleagues, they make my day worthwhile but when it comes down to it, God is the ultimate resource.

Below is the article in question, it is not just for the teaching profession, it can apply to all.

I’m sure if you’re over the age of 30, you’ve heard of the old country song, “Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places.” Yes, it’s kind of hokey, but you have to admit, it’s catchy.
Well, that song may still be true today, but when it comes to teaching, I don’t believe “love” is the problem. Because I know you love what you do; I know you love your students; and I know you love the opportunity you get to make a difference in their lives every day. But when it comes to teaching, I believe “hope” is more elusive than love.

If you’ve been in teaching for any considerable amount of time, it’s difficult be optimistic when you see all of the challenges and changes we face in education.

From budget cuts to high teacher turnover to poor student behavior to low teacher morale, we’re experiencing an education crisis that is unprecedented in years past. It’s easy to see why teachers, including the public, are losing hope in the future of education.

We are constantly searching for new answers, new solutions, new policies, new programs, and new practices to remedy a problem that seems to have grown out of control. We’re searching for a cure, but we’re coming up empty, as we slowly come to realize the wounds are too deep for a band-aid to heal.

But the real question is, where are YOU turning for answers? Are you looking to your principal to “get with the program?” Are you waiting on your school district to “get a clue?” Are you hoping the next president with finally “get it right?” Or have you just resolved to throw in the towel?

Well, if you’re reading this article, I know you haven’t chosen the latter; you’re still optimistically clinging onto hope. And you should.

However, allow me to suggest that you don’t put your hope in the system – that includes school administrators, legislators, the public, other teachers, and even parents. They are all just “resources” that can help you, but you can’t and must not depend on them.

Instead of putting your hope in the “re” source, I want you to put your hope and trust in “THE” source, and that’s the God you know, love, and pray to everyday.

That’s probably not the answer you were hoping for as I painted the bleak, but real world, picture of teaching, but I guarantee you it’s the real answer. The Bible tells us, “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.” But I also believe without faith, it’s impossible to survive and succeed in teaching.

Trust me, I’ve tried looking for hope in all the wrong places to help me thrive and survive in the classroom. I pursued all the “right degrees”; I networked with all the “right people”; I said all the “right things”; I even tried to avoid stepping on the “wrong toes.” But nothing I tried made things better.

However, when I put my hope and trust in God, my heart changed even when my circumstances didn’t. And that made all the difference. I couldn’t write these articles based on what I see every day as I train teachers all across the country.

But I don’t put my trust and hope in what I “see,” but rather in what I “believe.” And I believe that “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” So the question is, where are you looking for answers? Are you depending your resources or your source?

Monday, August 20, 2012

5 Financial Tips to Get Extra Money

Most individuals have a few methods available to them for saving extra money, squeezing more dollars out of a simple investment, or paying less at the check stand. Some of these tricks can be difficult to put into action and a challenge to make a habit. However, by implementing several ways to stretch your budget, the accumulative savings over a decade or more can be staggering.
With so many families struggling to make ends meet, it is becoming clearer to most people that a long-term plan to save money is worth the time and effort required to put it in motion. Most of the simple ways to save a buck or two are indeed long-term, with the reward years away.

Participate in a Matching Contribution Retirement Plan

A SIMPLE IRA is a plan developed for business owners who have less than 100 employees. The idea is to give the small business a tax break by making their contributions exempt from federal tax. At the same time, employees match the employer contribution and are likewise exempt from taxation on their retirement fund.
SIMPLE IRAs can be a boon for employers and employees alike. The employer contributions are tax deductible because they are considered part of the company's expense account. The employee may obtain a distribution from the account at any time.
The account itself may earn a considerable amount of interest if the money is being invested properly by the administrating organization. If your employer offers a match and you are not taking advantage of it, you are missing out on a significant amount of money over time.

Collecting On Dividend Stocks

Basically, stock dividends are a portion of a corporation's earnings. These are paid on a regular basis to the company stockholders. The percentage of the company profits that are paid as dividends is directly connected to the current share price.
Dividend payments are separate and above any profit a shareholder would realize through the sale of the actual stock. Companies that regularly pay their shareholders quarterly or annual dividends are generally regarded as very stable in the financial sense. Dividend reinvestment plans allow shareholders to invest their payout directly back into the company stock, or you can take the dividend checks and build your savings that way.

Take Advantage Of Rebate Offers

Not all rebates are worth the trouble. Many people are aware of the post-retail mail-in system that supposedly results in a 10-20 percent rebate check, to be sent within six to eight weeks. The filling out of the rebate form - usually printed along with the receipt - is difficult to complete.
Crafty consumers shop online and search for companies offering instant cash rebates on the items they wish to purchase. There are even rebate coupon codes now circulating on the Internet. Some consumers spend about 30 minutes per day checking the current rebate offers, all of which are deducted from the purchase price. The savings can be substantial.

Discounts For Payment In Cash

Gas stations were once famous for offering the cash discount versus using a credit card. In those days, card processing was actually rather expensive. Today, cash discounts can still be found at certain retailers, and the electronic equivalent can be found on the Internet.
These discounts are not limited to retail purchases. Consumers should always check the various ways creditors and utility companies allow online payments. Some companies accept PayPal, debit card, credit card, automatic bank withdrawal, and payment by phone.
It is a sure bet that one of these payment methods will cost nothing in fees, while the others may charge up to $5.99 or more to use the feature.

Selling Goods On eBay Or Craigslist

The great thing about online selling is that individuals can obtain a very accurate profile of how well similar products are grabbing attention. Both eBay and Craigslist give the seller a good idea of what to expect as a top price or bid expectation. This type of selling goes on 24 hours a day, without the need for the seller to be monitoring the situation constantly.
If you have households items you are no longer putting to use, why not sell them for a fair price and pocket the money towards things you actually need?

John Russell authored this article on behalf of helping consumers get the online payday cash advances they need to cover expenses.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Five Ways for Families to Save Big

Times are tough for many families today. Even with two incomes, family budgets seem to have to stretch even further then ever. Let's take a look at some ways any family can stretch their dollars but still live the lifestyle they want.

Think Before You Buy

Before you buy anything, stop and think about why you are buying it. Do you need it or do you just want it? If it's not a matter of necessity, try putting the purchase on hold for a week. Often, people will forget all about that item after just a few days or realize that they would rather use the money for something else.

If it is a necessary item, such as a new refrigerator, do some research online before you decide what and where to buy. Read reviews from other customers and compare the features of each model you consider. Don't buy anything with a lot of features that you will rarely or even never use.

Slash Grocery Costs

The grocery budget, including personal care and cleaning products, is the easiest place to find savings for most families. The great thing about this is that you don't have to make big changes to see big savings. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to start buying all generic products or stop buying your favorite foods.

Start with planning your meals ahead of time. When you get your store's sales flyer for the week, see what is on sale. Try to plan all your meals around main dishes that are on sale. Don't buy a pork roast at full price if a beef roast is what's on sale.

While you're at it, try to start planning leftovers. This not only saves money, but can save you a lot of time. When buying that roast beef, get one a little larger than usual and plan to make two meals instead of one. Perhaps Sunday dinner will be roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. On Wednesday, slice up the remaining roast and serve it with the leftover gravy on open-faced roast beef sandwiches, with a garden salad and a loaf of Italian bread.

Do-It-Yourself With Style

Get out of the habit of discarding items that start looking a bit ragged. Instead, think of ways that you can re-purpose or refurbish the tired items into whole 'new' items. Sofa pillows looking a bit sad? Cover them for a couple dollars rather than buying new ones for ten times the cost.

For quick wardrobe boosts for kids or yourself, instead of buying expensive graphic tees, buy some plain ones at the craft store. Using fabric paints, iron-on appliques, or other embellishments, you can have a trendy top at a fraction of the price.

Childcare Co-ops

Every couple with young children knows that the cost of babysitting can make an evening out hard to come up with very often. Why not set up a neighborhood co-op with other parents to swap evenings? You take someone else's children one night, they take your kids a few nights later. Both families get a night out without spending double the money.

Don't forget about the time-honored tradition of barter. There are often situations where you can trade services with friends or neighbors. Need your hedges clipped? Ask your neighbor that you see out clipping his own hedges and offer to mow his lawn or rake his leaves in exchange.

Michele Golden is an outspoken and driven blogger together with photographer born and raised in Vermont. Shes at the moment is studying to realize her dream of becoming an independent stock broker to assist those with financial difficulties.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

5 Staples for Raising a Successful Student

Any responsible parent wants to give their child every opportunity to reach their full potential, and that starts with receiving a quality education.
Whether the future holds a doctorate degree from a traditional university or a foray into the world of online colleges, it’s important to lay the foundation for success in school. If you are thinking about your little one’s future and want to make sure they start off on the right foot, consider these five major factors in raising a successful student.

#1 Eat, Sleep, and Succeed
There’s a reason why before every big day of your life you are advised to get a good night’s sleep and eat a balanced breakfast. After receiving the right amount of rest and properly fueling your body, you feel good and have enough energy to deal with whatever’s thrown at you.
Establish a routine that promotes healthy nutrition (lots of fresh fruit and vegetables) and ensures your child gets the recommended hours of sleep to give them a solid foundation to take on the school day.

#2 Be Engaged and Enthusiastic
If you don’t show an interest in what your kid is doing in school then they probably won’t either. Take the time to listen to what your child tells you about their day, attend in-class activities whenever possible and offer praise for a job well done. Education may be on many levels a solo pursuit, but from the beginning, families should establish they value education and support their young student in any way possible.

#3 Make Reading a Ritual
It’s incredibly important, not to mention rewarding, to make reading a part of your child’s regular routine from infancy on up. Reading should be as natural to your child as switching on the TV is for other children. An increased vocabulary, a broader knowledge base and an advanced understanding of the forms of storytelling are among the many benefits of reading.

#4 Notice and Applaud Core Interests
Be aware of what your child is most interested in and encourage them to explore those subjects thoroughly. This will promote a positive attitude toward learning and a sense of achievement. As time goes by, they will approach new courses of study confidently as their interests widen and mature.

#5 Create a Work Space
Carve out a comfortable, quiet place where your child can do homework, read, create, or just think. Let your kid take part in setting up and customizing their study area in order to make it a place where they are productive and happy. By giving a child a space dedicated to study and reflection, you lay the foundation for strong study habits in the future.

Parting Thoughts
Supporting your kids in their educational pursuits is a duty not to be taken lightly. By exhibiting a positive attitude toward education, providing support and encouragement, and establishing healthy habits, you’ll give your child the opportunities they need to succeed.

Guest Author Byline:  Guest post contributed by Ben Jacobs, an education enthusiast whose interest encompasses everything from giving your child the best chance at success to enrolling in online colleges.

God is always near us

We've got to be convinced that God is always near us. We live as though he were far away, in the heavens high above, and we forget that he is also continually by our side. He is there like a loving Father. He loves each one of us more than all the mothers in the world can love their children--helping us, inspiring us, blessing... and forgiving. How often we have misbehaved and then cleared the frowns from our parents' brows, telling them: I won't do it any more!--That same day, perhaps, we fall again...--And our father, with feigned harshness in his voice and serious face, reprimands us, while in his heart he is moved, realizing our weakness and thinking: poor child, how hard he tries to behave well! We've got to be filled, to be imbued with the idea that our Father, and very much our Father, is God who is both near us and in heaven. (The Way, 267)

Rest and repose in the fact of being children of God. God is a Father who is full of tenderness, of infinite love. Call him 'Father' many times a day and tell him — alone, in your heart — that you love him, that you adore him, that you feel proud and strong because you are his son. All this implies a genuine programme of interior life, which needs to be channelled through your relationship of piety with God, through these acts (which should be few, I insist, but constant) which will enable you to develop the attitudes and manner of a good son.

I must also warn you against the danger of routine — the real sepulchre of piety. Routine is often disguised as an ambition to do or to embark upon great feats, while daily duties are lazily neglected. When you see this beginning to happen, look at yourself sincerely before Our Lord: ask yourself if the reason why you may have become tired of always struggling on the same thing, is not simply that you were not seeking God; check if your faithful perseverance in work has not fallen off, due to lack of generosity and a spirit of sacrifice. It is then that your norms of piety, your little mortifications, your apostolic efforts that are not reaping an immediate harvest, all seem to be terribly sterile. We find ourselves empty and perhaps we start dreaming up new plans merely to still the voice of our Heavenly Father who asks us to be totally loyal to him. And with this dream, or rather nightmare, of mighty wonders in our soul, we become oblivious to reality, forgetting the way that will lead us most certainly straight towards sanctity. It is a clear sign that we have lost our supernatural outlook, our conviction that we are tiny children and our confidence that our Father will work wonders in us, if we begin again with humility. (Friends of God, 150)

From the works of St Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei