Develop a work and life mantra.

YOLO

I have shared my work and life mantra with many over the past few weeks. It reminded me of one of my earlier blog posts which I felt was worth repeating:

At some point everyone should develop a general mantra for their life…Mine is pretty simple and revolves around the following:

1– “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

Perhaps you are a working mom and you want to work from home a few days a week to be able to balance your work and family life, but no one in your organization has done it before. Someone has to be the first one. Don’t be afraid to ask! All your leader can say is no, but if you never ask, how will you know?

2– “You have to look out for number one… if you don’t, no one else will.”

Even though one would like to think everyone is kind and thoughtful and looking to do the “right thing”…let’s face it, many people follow the WIIFM (What’s In It for Me?) factor.

For example, you may want to get promoted and have a leader or mentor looking out for you, but don’t count on it. You have to put in the effort to make it happen. Others may be supportive, but don’t expect them to make it happen for you. You have to work hard to get something you really want for yourself!

I’ll repeat…You have to look out for number one (which is yourself) because if you don’t, no one else will (some things are worth repeating).

3– Work to live, don’t live to work.

This gets back to my overall YOLO (You Only Live Once) philosophy. No one on their death bed says they wish they would have worked more. Since you spend so many of the hours of the day at work, there should be some level of enjoyment, but don’t let work consume you. Getting paid for work should enable you to enjoy life and have fun… A Ferris Bueller movie quote comes to mind…”Yup, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Life moves pretty fast… If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.”

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Happy New Year….Set realistic goals for yourself and help your children do the same.

goalsI am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to write five to ten goals I would like to accomplish in the new year. I also encourage my kids to set some goals too. My six year old actually accomplished all of her goals this year. Just to give you a sense of what I am talking about, I will share her 2013 goals with you:

– Get a puppy (June 2013 – his name is Max)
– Get an iPod Touch (After wishing for this for 2 years, Santa came through this year)
– Video games (on the iPod Touch)
– Money (gifts for birthday and Christmas)

At an early age, it is useful for kids to think about what they want to achieve. As a parent, it is interesting to listen and learn what is important to them.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

PS- I also really liked these “practical” goals for younger kids: (Source: Children’s Medical Center blog)

Kids, 5 to 12 years old
1. I will drink water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only at special times.
2. I will put on sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright, sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
3. I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week.
4. I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike.
5. I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
6. I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends or who may have a hard time making friends – like someone who is shy, or is new to my school.
7. I’ll never give out private information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without asking my parent if it is okay.
8. I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.

Laughter is the best medicine…Try laughter yoga :)

30485512f35612816cLogo 2I feel so energized today. Still on our family vacation in India and had the opportunity to do a laughter yoga session at the local park in New Delhi.

Laughter yoga started in India less than 20 years ago when Dr. Kataria (the father of laughter yoga) was writing an article about “Laughter – The Best Medicine” for a health journal. He discovered many modern scientific studies, which described in depth, the many proven benefits of laughter on the human mind and body. For more information on laughter yoga and laughter yoga clubs in your area, go to www.laughteryoga.org

Laughter yoga is a breathing exercise where you pretend to laugh without purpose and it makes you feel happy and good. You don’t have to stretch your body into different traditional yoga poses, but just laugh and do what feels comfortable for you. Good hearty laughter gets rid of stress and worry. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. It’s the same sense of overall well-being you get when you finish a workout.

Parenting life lesson: Whether you are doing laughter yoga or laughing for another reason, it will lift up your spirits and generate positive energy. If you’re happy and less stressed out, your kids will benefit and be happier too. Ho…Ho…Ha…Ha…Ha…

Make it a day filled with laughter!

Holiday shopping : Buy games which promote time with the family.

Game PhotoIt’s Cyber Monday. I realize that, but you all know what you need to do. Look at your holiday list, find deals, shop online and spend more time with your family.

My blog post focus for today is to share with you my top 5 favorite family games:

1) Table Topics – set of 135 clever questions cards that ask a different question, from lighthearted fun to thought-provoking. No rules, just great conversations! (I have multiple versions of this game – I bring it out at family/friend gatherings, road trips, wine and cheese parties – it is always lots of fun and you really get to learn wonderful things about family and friends)

2) Apples to Apples – game of hilarious comparisons ( We just played multiple rounds of this game at Thanksgiving. It’s great fun!)

3) Sorry – excellent board game that is simple to learn and play, but is also fun for people who like complex strategy. ( Always an “old school” favorite. It is a simple and easy game to play in a reasonable amount of time. )

4) Yahtzee – The object of the game is to score the most points by rolling five dice to make certain combinations. ( I love this game because it is so compact and easy to take with you when you travel. When I was a child, we used to play this game at the beach. It is also a great game for teaching math skills.)

5) Monopoly – I think everyone knows this game . One goes around the board buying properties, building houses and hotels on your properties and trying to drive other players to bankruptcy. (It is great for teaching math skills using the play money, but the game can take forever to play. You can always put a time limit on it.)

During this holiday season, think about purchasing an actual board game vs a $25 gift card to purchase online games. You choose: Load games on an electronic device and have your child sit in a corner to play video games by themselves or interact and play a game with others? Family time is precious. Enjoy the gift of time. Play some games and laugh with your family and friends!

Small Business Saturday – Support local merchants in your community.

Small Business SaturdayIt’s Black Friday. Let the games begin. While I won’t join the madness of going shopping today, I will go out and support local merchants in town tomorrow (November 30). When you support local merchants, you are supporting your community.

In 2010, American Express developed the “Small Business Saturday” marketing campaign and I think it is pure marketing genius. Small business owners get marketing help on a national level and they don’t even have to pay for it. American Express comes in as the hero supporting the little guy (local merchant).

My Helpful Tips:
• If you have more than one American Express Card*, enroll each one to receive a $10 statement credit. * (Corporate Cards and all prepaid Card products (other than American Express Serve ®) are not eligible.)
• Buy gift cards at local merchants. You can use them at a later date or give them as a gift during the holiday season.
• Registration is limited so register today so you can enjoy this offer.

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. I have copied the message American Express sent me which lets you know what you need to do on November 30 to receive your $10 statement credit.

SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES WHEN YOU SHOP SMALL®

Small Business Saturday® is a great opportunity for you to show your support for your favorite small, local businesses. Register any eligible American Express® Card¹ to get $10 back when you spend $10 or more at a qualifying small business location on Small Business Saturday, Nov 30, 2013.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

1. Register any eligible American Express Card online at ShopSmall.com. Registration is limited. Registration opens at 12:00 A.M. MST (Mountain Standard Time) on Nov 24, 2013 and continues until 11:59 P.M. on Nov 30, 2013, unless the registration limit is reached sooner.
2. Use your registered Card on Nov 30, 2013 to spend $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location that appears on the Small Business Saturday Map. Online transactions do not qualify. To view the map, visit ShopSmall.com.
3. Get a one-time $10 statement credit from American Express within 90 days of your qualifying purchase.

Max and Bella (our puppies) are a big responsibility, but a wonderful addition to the family.

Bella

With Halloween coming up this week, it is only fair that Max and Bella also enjoy this holiday getting dressed up. It is hard to believe they have been a part of our family for 4 months now.

Santa had promised the girls they would get a puppy in 2013. It was my husband’s idea to get a puppy (which turned into two puppies) at the beginning of the summer. This enabled the girls to bond with the dogs while they were on summer break. Great decision!

Neither my husband nor I grew up with dogs so this has been a true learning experience. Here are the lessons we have learned so far:

Babysit friends’ dogs to expose the kids to the responsibility of having a dog before you get one.
Get the dog while the kids are young so they can grow up with the dogs.
“EST” every day –  Exercise (walking the dogs), Socialization and Training are important for dogs.
Study the different breeds – we were focused on hypoallergenic dogs with hair which don’t shed – poodle mixes like ours are very popular for that reason as well as many others.
Travel requires more planning – While you lose flexibility to just get up and go away for longer periods of time, the love and affection we have received from Max and Bella is well worth it! Can’t imagine our lives without them!

Develop a work and life mantra.

YOLO

This all sounds kind of deep for a post, but at some point everyone should develop a general mantra for their life…Mine is pretty simple and revolves around the following:

1– “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

Perhaps you are a working mom and you want to work from home a few days a week to be able to balance your work and family life, but no one in your organization has done it before. Someone has to be the first one. Don’t be afraid to ask! All your leader can say is no, but if you never ask, how will you know?

2– “You have to look out for number one… if you don’t, no one else will.”

Even though one would like to think everyone is kind and thoughtful and looking to do the “right thing”…let’s face it, many people follow the WIIFM (What’s In It for Me?) factor.

For example, you may want to get promoted and have a leader or mentor looking out for you, but don’t count on it. You have to put in the effort to make it happen. Others may be supportive, but don’t expect them to make it happen for you. You have to work hard to get something you really want for yourself!

I’ll repeat…You have to look out for number one (which is yourself) because if you don’t, no one else will (some things are worth repeating).

3– Work to live, don’t live to work.

This gets back to my overall YOLO (You Only Live Once) philosophy. No one on their death bed says they wish they would have worked more. Since you spend so many of the hours of the day at work, there should be some level of enjoyment, but don’t let work consume you. Getting paid for work should enable you to enjoy life and have fun… A Ferris Bueller movie quote comes to mind…”Yup, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Life moves pretty fast… If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.”