Category Archives: family

The Culture of Being Nice

How many times have I told my kids to be nice? Be nice and share your toys with Susie. Be nice and give Johnny a turn. It drives me crazy when parents act like saying please is a golden ticket that gives their kid a free ride to whatever they want. Maybe this is just more of me getting meaner, but I can’t help but wonder in hindsight if sometimes I have taken away my children’s voices all in the name of being nice.

I recently watched my daughter panic at an invitation she wanted to turn down but struggled with declining and still being nice. I know I taught her this, but in hindsight I’m not sure how avoiding is any nicer than being straight forward.Nice Beach Cake

I know she isn’t the only one who has trouble with what nice actually means. One time a lady at church was talking about a co-worker that was constantly harsh and abrasive. From the description the co-worker was toxic and should have been avoided. But the church lady decided the best way to deal with her abusive co-worker was to try harder to be friendly, and make her a cake. And most of the women in the room seemed to agree that her “Let me reward you for walking all over me” attitude was a great idea!

There is no shortage of the opposite extreme either. Strong personalities seem to smell us from a mile away. But I’m learning it’s not nice to reinforce that pushing and manipulating is acceptable. Even when we’re interacting with moderate personalities, our hesitation and beating around the bush can be hard to interpret. Is the hesitation because I have other plans, or don’t like Chinese food, or am not interested in spending time with the person who offered the invitation? Or maybe, I just need a little encouragement.

I’ve also noticed that when I’m talking to someone who is obviously being nice or encouraging, I catch myself wondering if their compliments are sincere or if they have some ulterior motive. It’s like I’ve spent so much time putting a positive spin on everything to be nice, that I wonder if the tables have turned and I’m on the receiving end.

I absolutely believe that when sharing my feelings it’s vital to do so with kindness, tact and sensitivity. However, honestly is equally important to be honest for the greater good of the relationship. Additionally, it’s important to be sensitive to the other person’s needs and wants, to be aware of their body language and strive to truly understand them. When I’m authentic, it creates a safe environment of trust.

I’ve had years of building bad habits that will take time to break. But I’m working to be content with who I am, and then maybe I can help others to do the same. What are your best tools to find a balance between being nice and being honest?

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May 2015 Review

May was busy, but at least it was a good busy unlike April. The month was full of celebrations from a wedding to birthdays and graduations. Oh yeah and Mother’s Day was thrown in the mix for good measure.

May buffet0 – Weight lost, also the amount of weight gained – so there’s that

1 – New dishwasher!

2 – New lenses

4 – Other moms who enjoyed a Mother’s Day brunch with me

6 – Bras for $30 shipped from Zuilily

9 – Celebrations, all those birthdays and graduations – I even posted my favorite graduation speech on YouTube

13 – Projects completed, most of them were celebration related!

24 – Tables decorated for a friends wedding, which was a great way to spend time with my girls

May Squat Challenge31 – Pictures on Instagram

47 – Countries that visited the blog

178 – Words added to my book, the celebrating cut into my writing time

618 – Pageviews on Just Wanna Be Me

1640 – Squats completed in the month of May

All in all, May was a good month with many happy moments to celebrate with family and friends. I must admit, I wouldn’t mind if June was a little more lo-key.

Share your plans for June!

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February Review

Remember at the beginning of the year when we set some goals? This February I was still plugging away at mine. How about you?
1 – Pound lost. Here’s to not finding it!February dessert
1 – Fancy date at Orange Sky
1 – Insurance designation completed
2 – Days of the American Night Writers Association writing conference
4 – Belly dancing classes
4 – Bags of chocolate to share with my kiddos for Valentine’s Day
5 – Projects completed, but they were good ones
10 – Countries visited Easy as PIE, well not the whole country but you know what I mean
18 – Holes of miniature golf
25 – Pictures posted on Instagram
593 – Words my new writing project
601 – Easy as PIE page views

Whether your February was filled with progression your New Year’s resolutions or other fun stuff, I’d love to hear about your month.

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Caramel Apples

One of my f2014-10-18 21.02.13avorite fall activities when I lived in California was a trip to Apple Hill to enjoy a caramel apple. Actually I enjoyed more than just caramel apples. I also enjoyed apple pies, apple fritters, apple cider and an occasional applesauce doughnut.

Since it’s a rather long drive to Apple Hill from Arizona, I had decided to make my own caramel apples this year. I had heard a few different tips, so I decided to search Pinterest for the perfect caramel apple. Alas I couldn’t find the perfect recipe, but I found several different recipes with a lot of good suggestions.

I couldn’t decide which one of the recipes would be best, instead I took parts from several of the recipes and came up with my own version of the best caramel apples.

Caramel Apples

Ingredients

  • 5 medium apples
  • Popsicle sticks (optional)
  • 1 bag of caramels
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • Extras: mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, chopped nuts

Directions

  1. Boil water with 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  2. Insert Popsicle sticks into apples, I used a fork instead to make it easier to cut my caramel apple into wedges
  3. Dip apples into boiling water and swirl to remove waxy residue from apples
  4. Towel dry
  5. Set apples on cookie sheet in the fridge to chill
  6. Melt caramels with milk
  7. Let melted caramels stand for one minute
  8. Dip apple and let excess caramel drip off
  9. Immediately roll apple in extras, if desired
  10. Place on wax paper covered cookie sheet and let cool.

Not only did I think they were super yummy, my kiddos agreed. We may live too far away to continue our Apple Hill tradition, but I think we came up with a good caramel apple substitute.

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