Get Your Summer Bag Ready For Adventure

Are you prepared for spontaneous adventure at the drop of the hat? We live in a coastal town. That means that any day the sun is shining, on our way to or from anywhere, my daughter may call from the backseat, “Can we go to the beach?”

After the second or third time I declined because we didn’t have any of our beach gear with us, she said, “Mommy, we never get to go to the beach.” I felt awful. I mean, it is right there! So I solved the problem by putting together what I call our summer bag and keeping it in the trunk of my car. Ours is for beach trips, but a bag like this is great for any summer destination – the park, a hike, even the farmer’s market.

summerbag1

This has worked so well I wanted to tell you what I keep in our summer bag so you can make one, too.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Get Your Summer Bag Ready

First up, make sure you have a good bag. I use a large straw market bag my guy brought home as a souvenir from Madagascar (similar to this one), which stands up in the trunk of my car and is easy to carry.…

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5 Mantras for Mamas

We all have those moments, right? Our child talks back, or hits someone (maybe us). We fumble our coffee cup and it crashes to the floor, spraying that precious liquid everywhere. The cat throws up in the middle of the kitchen and then we step in it. Our child whines, “I’m bored,” or “Can I watch TV?” for the 11 millionth time since breakfast.

In those moments, it is so easy to lose it. It is those moments that cause me to yell, stomp, make threats. Those are the ones that crack me.

But when I catch myself just before the cracking happens and use a mama mantra to center myself, I can unwind myself and make a better choice of response. One I won’t regret in the next instant.

Sometimes we all need a reset button. Use these mama mantras for when you are struggling with a situation and need to calm down and focus.

How do I do that? First, I take a breath. Taking a breath always helps. Second, I find a mantra that will take me out of the moment and into a calmer place. Once I’m in that calmer place, I can choose how I want to respond, not just respond without thinking.

What’s a mantra?

Originally from spiritual traditions, a mantra is a series of words or sounds intended to align the practitioner with the divine.…

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5 ways to restart a healthy habit

Things that are good for you aren’t always fun. Sometimes they take a bit of effort. The goal might be worthwhile, but the path there isn’t so enticing. So even when you start with the best of intentions, you might fall off the wagon and then it is really hard to get back on. I know it, I’ve been there. But I’ve learned some ways to make it so much easier to get back on that good habit and make it stick.

Healthy habits are hard to keep, but that doesn't mean you should  quit when you fail. 5 tips for restarting a healthy habit when you've slipped up.

Last year I worked with a nutritionist while I was going through chemo to keep my body as strong and resilient as possible. Early on, she suggested I stop eating sugar, to which I said something like, “Not likely.” But I did reduce how much I was eating, and then after surgery and a couple rounds of winter viruses (thank you preschool kids), I went for a couple of weeks without it and I couldn’t believe how different I felt. I slept better. I didn’t have blood sugar highs and lows, and no energy dip in the late afternoon. My joints stopped aching. I got over the next cold amazingly fast. After the first week or so, I even stopped craving it.…

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Messy life management – 7 ways to cope

What have you done for yourself this week? Or is your messy life getting in the way?

Is it hard to even remember? Does the idea of doing something for yourself feel impossible? Laughable? Too selfish to even consider?

Is your life an overwhelming mess right now? Don't know what to do to dig out? Here are 7 things you can do - fast - to help you get back on top of that messy life. :: nurtured mama.net

 

I’ve had a week like that. Every time I turn around, it seems, I get a little more bad news. Some new complicated thing I need to manage. I can feel that I’m carrying all of my worries in the muscles of my shoulders and every time I move I hurt. And then that makes me worry about the link between stress and cancer reoccurrence. As if I need something else to worry about.

But it is weeks like this that I know how very important it is to take good care of myself. To do things that are just for me. They have to be tiny, mostly, but they have to be in there.

The week after I was diagnosed with cancer last year, I remember talking on the phone to a friend who asked, “What does your self-care look like right now?” I couldn’t think of anything, at first. And then I remembered that each morning for the last three days I had chosen to put the same tee-shirt back on.…

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One small moment of connection

When I want to connect with my child, one small moment can make all the difference. :: www.nurturedmama.netI want to remember that small moment last night when I rose above my frustration, exhaustion and distraction and said to her, “What will help? What will help you hear me? Because I’m feeling really frustrated right now.”

“You can say, ‘I love you, Stella,’” she said.

I know that won’t help the real problem, which is that it is the end of that hard year for our family, and I’ve been sick so much that I’ve lost some authority and she’s practicing being almost 5 by choosing to ignore me sometimes just to see what will happen. The real problem is that I’m tired and my attention is on healing and finding the threads of my life again. My attention is mostly not on the subtle nuances of parenting this small person who is learning to be independent. My attention is needed so many other places, so I’ve been letting it drift away from her until there’s a battle to fight, and then I come in stomping and laying down the law. I set consequences for failing to pick up the pink and green Legos from the living room floor at bedtime, or all of the tiny cut up pieces of paper strewn across the dining room table so we can sit down and have a meal as a family, because we missed so many meals together when I was laid up on the couch during chemo and this is important to me.…

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How To Get Through It: A brief guide for chemo patients

A brief guide for cancer patient on how to survive and thrive during chemo treatment. :: www.nurturedmama,net

Be brave. By which I mean feel terrified and resolve to move forward anyway.

Cancel your to do list.

Call in every favor, but not all at once.

Expect that it will be worse than you think. Know you will get through it anyway.

Get used to the discomfort of other people doing things you feel like you should be able to do yourself, but actually can’t do yourself right now.

Give yourself permission to be righteously furious. And then give yourself permission to speak that fury out loud (but don’t aim it at your immediate family).

Let yourself off all the hooks.

Get acupuncture. Often.

Get used to crying.

Conserve your energy for the things that matter most. Don’t let anyone else make that list for you.

Resign yourself to the many pharmaceutical medications all lined up in their little orange bottles.

Use marijuana medically and also when you just need a break from feeling everything.

Say thank you often to your significant other, or parent, or child, or whoever is carrying the brunt of your care.

Be really specific about helps you and what doesn’t.

Remember that every cycle is going to be a little different.

Get on YouTube and learn to wear a scarf from fabulously stylish women who have not actually lost their hair but wear scarves beautifully anyway.…

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Hello From Outer Space – Keeping A Self Care Practice

How a daily self care practice might save you when big changes or grief hit in your life.

My friend Andrea shared a story on her blog last week titled, “One day you’re a dog, the next day your are in space.” It is about how sometimes your life pivots on a dime and you find yourself headed in a direction that that is unexpected and uncharted. Her story was about deciding to leave her marriage, and not being sure of that step until the second the words came out of her mouth.

My story is about a phone call I got at the end of April, when the doctor on the other end of the line said, “I’m sorry. The test results show that the biopsy is consistent with cancer.”

Boom. Outer space.

If you’ve ever been diagnosed with cancer or been close to someone who has, you’ll know that the next few weeks of my life quickly filled up with doctor’s appointments, tests, research, planning, and many many tears and bouts of anxiety. In many ways those weeks were the very hardest part of this journey so far. So much was unknown, so much was scary. I had to face my own mortality and decide how I was going to stand in that place and also move forward.…

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Beautiful Mother’s Day Gifts From Uncommon Goods

The Uncommon Goods Mother's Day collection has some really nice picks for the mom in your life. :: www.nurturedmama.net

This week I’m teaming up with Uncommon Goods to share with you some fun Mother’s Day gift ideas.

I picked Uncommon Goods as a partner because I appreciate they way they do business. They feature unusual and often handmade products – over half of what they sell is handmade – and share stories of their designers and makers in both their catalogs and on their blog. I love seeing the real people who are making the things I’m buying and I always love a peek into a maker’s studio!

I also want to give them a high-five for their commitment to the environment and running a sustainable business. Uncommon Goods is a registered B-Corporation, which means they meet a stated and high standard on a range of progressive issues, including wage levels (their Brooklyn warehouse workers’ wages start at 50% higher than local minimum wage), environmental impact (a third of their products incorporate upcycled and recycled components) and giving back to the community (they donate $1 from each order to one of several non-profit organizations).

I also find their web site really easy to navigate and they have really well-curated gift collections.  You can see their Mother’s Day collection here and a wider collection of gifts for moms here.…

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20 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself

I believe in the power of a good question – do you?

You may be very comfortable in your life, following your routines, doing what you do. But because you clicked on the link to this post, I’m guessing that routine might not be feeling perfectly comfortable. You are considering questioning, you are considering change, you are considering growth. But where to start? And why?

Do you want to know yourself better? Understand where you are in your life and where you would like to be going? I believe in the power of a good question. These 20 questions will give you an excellent start on that path. :: www.nurturedmama.net

If you’ve been hit with a wallop from life – a new baby, lost job, serious diagnosis – and you are feeling lost and unsure, then you need some good questions to find your way again. You might need a good question if you are hitting the same frustration over and over and over. If you’ve been asking yourself, “Why doesn’t my life look like I want it to? Why do other people make it look so easy when it feels really hard to me?” then you need to ask yourself something different to get to the root of those issues.

I’m a life-examiner. I’ve been working with coaches and therapists for many years. I talk through my experiences and reactions to things with my close friends. I write about my life here and elsewhere because it helps me to understand it.…

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How to Read All The Books You Want To

If you want to have more time to read, set a goal and make a few small adjustments. Now get to reading all those great books. :: www.nurturedmama.net

This year I have a goal to read 40 books. That feels a bit audacious, even though I know people who have a reading goal much higher even than that.

I started setting reading goals for myself a couple of years ago, when I realized I was hardly reading any more and I really really missed the act of really getting lost in a good book. I missed the intellectual workout. I missed the escape from my day to day life and the peek into lives far different than my own. I missed the practice of reading good writing and studying the craft of it, to make my own writing better. I just missed being a reader and I wanted to be a reader again.

Each year since then I’ve passed my goal, so I feel confident in sharing what I’ve learned about finding more time to read, so you, too, can read all the books you want to.

Make It Easy

To make your book the first thing you turn to, you have to make it really easy. Easier than picking up your phone and opening Facebook.

I love paper books. I really, really do. But I realized that if I wanted to read more, I was going to have to embrace other formats.…

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