Dance like no one is watching with your kids.

A Dance like no one's watching picture -inspiredmommiedesigns

Dance….Have fun with it….”Freeze” dance….Dancing is good exercise….It relieves stress….Dance like no one is watching with your kids – they will love it and so will you!

These are some of our current “girl pop” favorites: (in no particular order):

– Pharell Williams – Happy (great video)

– Ylvis – The Fox (What Does The Fox Say? – great video)

– Pitbull Ft. Ke$ha – Timber

– Any dance tune from Madonna and Lady Gaga

– ABBA Gold album

– Black Eyed Peas – Tonight Is Going To Be A Good Night

– Pink – Raise your Glass

– Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble, We Are Never Getting Back Together

– Kelly Clarkson – Stronger

– Katy Perry – Firework, Roar

– Anna Kendrick – Cups (When I’m Gone)

– Village People – YMCA

– Taio Cruz – Dynamite

– Lorde – Royals

– Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball

– Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music, Only Girl In The World

– Beyonce- All the Single Ladies

– Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger, This Love, One More Night

Plant a tree – Commemorate a special event.

Ava Tree

When we went to India for our family vacation last year, I asked the girls what they wanted to do and they immediately responded – ” We want to visit our tree in the park!” Two years ago, my in-laws had a beautiful idea of having the girls each plant a tree in the park where they take their daily walk. It was very special for us and I know brings a smile to their face when they see it.  It also allowed the grandchildren to have a living connection(tree) with their “roots” (heritage) in India.

It is really such a unique and special way to commemorate loved ones, celebrate a special birthday, a birth of a child, a new home, Mother or Father’s Day, wedding, anniversary, etc. You could plant a tree on your own property, at a local park…just do a google search for options.

So the next time you are looking for a special and unique way to remember someone and do something positive for the environment,  think about planting a tree.

God works in mysterious ways. Miracles do happen.

I can’t remember the exact date, but it was 1999 and my mother had been diagnosed with colon cancer for the 2nd time. We met with the surgeon who said he could not operate because the cancer had metastasized. Chemotherapy for the rest of her life was the treatment. That seemed like a death sentence to me and I was determined to explore options.

After the meeting with the doctor, I went back into the city on the train. I was mentally drained and exhausted. When I looked up, I saw a friend from high school I had not seen in years. I truly feel God put this friend (angel) on the train for me to meet that day. That “chance” meeting is the reason my mother is still here and alive today.

Long story short, my friends’ coworker’s mother in law had a similar colon cancer diagnosis and suggested we get a 2nd opinion from Dr. Sugarbaker at the Washington Cancer Institute, Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, D.C.  He had an innovative treatment which consisted of surgery and heated chemotherapy in the affected area where the cancer was. I won’t go into all of the details, but the point being she was a viable candidate for this surgery, the treatement worked and my mother is still here 15 years later. We are all extremely grateful.

I feel my mother’s situation was truly a miracle. When I meet someone who is impacted by cancer, I pray to God to help them find the best information/treatments for their situation. Had I not met my friend on the train that day, I don’t know if I ever would have found out about Dr. Sugarbaker.

I hope I can be that “angel” to help someone else some day. Miracles do happen.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Be aware of your family medical history.

Did you know colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US, the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined, can very often have no symptoms, but if detected early has a 90% cure rate?

It’s important to be aware of your family medical history. My mom is a two time colon cancer survivor and I already have a few colonoscopies under my belt. They are really not a big deal; the prep is far worse than the actual procedure. At age 50, everyone should treat themselves to a colonoscopy (even if you don’t have family history). No one wants to talk about “that area down there”, but if more people did we would have far fewer cases of colon cancer.

Your family history should not be ignored. It’s still going to be there even if you choose to ignore it. Preventive maintenance is key. Do it for yourself and your children.

The following information provides more details on colorectal cancer symptoms and was pulled from the Colon Cancer Alliance  website. This organization provided my family with phenomenal patient support/information when I needed it 10+ years ago.

” Colorectal cancer first develops with few, if any, symptoms. It is important not to wait for symptoms before talking to your doctor about getting screened. However, if symptoms are present, they may include:

* A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
*Feeling that your bowel does not empty completely, rectal bleeding, or finding blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
*Finding your stools are narrower than usual
*Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas, pain, or feeling full or bloated
*Losing weight with no known reason
*Weakness or fatigue
*Having nausea or vomiting

These symptoms can also be associated with many other health conditions. Only your doctor can determine why you’re having these symptoms. Usually, early cancer does not cause pain. It is important not to wait to feel pain before seeing a doctor.”

Thanks for reading this post. It is all about awareness. If you or someone you know is 50+, please ask them to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. You could be saving someone else’ life or even your own.

Learning a foreign language at a young age is important.

A foreign language picture

Having grown up in a in a dual language household, I understand the importance of learning languages at a young age. When I found out last week that the FLES program (Foreign Language in Elementary School) program was going to be cut from the school budget, I had to spring into action. Two other moms and I started a grass roots online petition campaign through to see if we could save the program. After 5 days, we were able to gather 500+ signatures from residents within our district to have our voices heard. It goes along with my motto of “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” All the Board of Education can say is no, but if you don’t ask you will never know if your efforts could have saved this very important foreign language program in your school district. We are hoping for the best.

OK, but let’s get back to the importance of learning a foreign language at an early age.

Young brains are hard wired to acquire language. Research has shown that young children have a unique ability to absorb a second language naturally. Experts estimate that by age 8-12, humans already begin to lose the ability to hear and say new sounds. Taking advantage of the window of opportunity that exists between birth and adolescence allows a child to optimize his or her learning potential, and speak the second language with a native accent and absorb grammatical structure naturally. In addition, studies show that young children who learn a second language enjoy many additional cognitive benefits:

  • They do significantly better at tasks requiring divergent thinking, problem solving, and figural creativity (Landry, 1974);
  • They score higher on standardized tests in language arts, reading, and math than students not enrolled in foreign language programs (Rafferty, 1986; Garfinkel and Tabor, 1991);
  • They score higher on the SAT and ACT than students not enrolled in foreign language programs (Cooper, 1987; Olsen and Brown, 1989);
  • They have the ability to excel in the pronunciation of a foreign language (Dulay, Burt, and Krashen, 1982);
  • They show greater cognitive development in higher order thinking skills (Foster and Reeves, 1989);
  • They are more open to cultural diversity (Carpenter and Torney, 1974; Hancock and Lipton et al., 1976); and
  • They have an improved self-concept and sense of achievement (Masciantonio, 1977).

Thanks for reading this post! A heartfelt dankeschoen, merci, grazie and gracias to all of you!

A “Donkey Bridge” or a Mnemonic can help you remember information.

A Spring Ahead Photo

As I was thinking about the upcoming Daylight Savings time for this weekend, I immediately said to myself: “Spring ahead, fall behind.” This is the only way I can remember that we change the clocks ahead an hour in the spring and back an hour in the fall. Now if everyone in the world could just do it at the same time, that would be helpful.

Now I grew up with this “donkey bridge” expression, but I never realized until now that it was more of a term used in Germany (Eselsbruecken). This is a tool which helps you make a connection between one idea and another, specifically for simple ideas that only a donkey would need help remembering. LOL!  In the US, the more common term is a mnemonic which also helps you memorize information.

Here are some of my favorite mnemonics:

Music : 50 Nifty United States” song is a way for children to remember all of the states in alphabetical order. I learned this song in 4th grade and would be happy to recite it for you at any time.

Name:  ROY G. BIV – colors of the spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.)

HOMES –  North American Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior)

Expression: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally – The order of operations for math is Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, and Subtract

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos – planets in our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

Connection: Horizontal and Vertical –For horizontal, the sun sets on the horizon which goes from left to right. For vertical, the two lines that make up the letter V go up and down.

It is easy to make up your own mnemonic. I just made one up to remember the Project Management process groups for a class I am currently taking.  I Plan on Eating More Chocolates: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring/Controlling and Closing.

I am sure there are many more, but I always found this to be a helpful study tool and have shared it with my children.

Sharing is Caring. We can all learn from one another. Learning is a lifelong process.

A Sharing Is Caring Photo

I have a YOLO Mom’s Night Out group which gets together once a month for Ladies Night at a local place in town. Sometimes the group is small and sometimes it is a bit larger, but I enjoy meeting with fellow moms and always learning something new.

This month, I asked the moms to send me a helpful parenting tip. I was just going to share the tips with the group, but I thought my blog followers might enjoy them too. So here they are:

  • Too much stuff makes you crazy. If you don’t need it, get rid of it. (And I will add this: If it is “free” and you don’t need it, don’t take it.)
  • I love….a way to save money for college with every day purchases… even works on vacations!
  • When making pancakes, cook up some extras and freeze. When you are short on time in the morning, simply put the frozen pancakes in the microwave or in the toaster oven, and you have a hot breakfast with minimal prep time.
  • On snow days or any day for that matter, follow a lead from corporate America and give your kids a” to do” list. You can include fun things and chores; play a game with your brother for 20 mins, practice instrument, complete 3 Lego figures and read for 30 mins. Once the list is complete, they can watch TV or have free time. Kids are very achievement oriented. You’ll be surprised how they’ll whip through the list, so make sure you time them.
  • We do family movie night on Fridays. The kids really look forward to it. We do special snacks, make popcorn together. It’s a nice way to end the week
  • Never go to bed angry and always say goodnight. Whether it’s that you are angry at your spouse or your kids, you should always say I love you and goodnight!!
  • I was thinking of a YOLO Mom tip. And I thought of this. It’s not really a tip but it was something nice we do. What I did was teach my boys a little bedtime prayer. I would say it to them every night. “Goodnight, I love you, I thank God for you.” Eventually they started repeating it back on their own. It was a nice sentiment to end the evening. One morning my younger son woke up, and said to me “Mom, Good Morning….I love you, I thank God for you.”

Beautiful ideas and tips! I hope you learned something new. Sharing is Caring…We can all learn from each other every day. Learning is a lifelong process.