Friday, May 28, 2010

Reaching out to you ladies... I need some advice.

This is another blog about Facebook. Ugh.

For something that was designed to make life easier and more connected, and help you share your life with the people you love... it sure is a huge pain. It seems like every time I get comfortable with the way things are going, something else "comes up" that I have to deal with.

I think maybe part of this has to do with my apprehension about all the sharing of the coming baby photos. It's one thing for me or hubby to post pictures of our baby, but when they start being posted by family members and friends, how do we know how far they reach? Not everyone is as selective with their Facebook friend choices as I am... and I certainly know that not everyone is as stringent with their privacy settings.

But here's the real problem: I found out today that my mother-in-law and sister-in-law are Facebook "friends" with one of my husbands ex-girlfriends. Now, let me preface this by saying I am in no way insecure about my marriage or my relationship with my husband. In fact, it's probably because he's been so candid with me about his past that I'm feeling weird.

Apparently this chick went all "fatal attraction" on him when he broke up with her because she cared way more about him than he ever did about her. I guess there was a period of weird behavior on her part and he subsequently cut her out of his life completely. I'm sure his mom knows nothing of this scenario, and it's been several years ago, but it TOTALLY weirds me out.

For someone like her- with the specific ties to my husband, not to mention the wacko outcome of their situation- to have access to my family photos and information via my mother-in-law and sister-in-law's Facebook page freaks me out.

I don't know if I should address this with my MIL, or if I should just let it go. I mean, on one hand, what is it my business who she is friends with on Facebook? But on the other hand, if we're talking about pictures and details of my life, my husband and I, as well as our child, shouldn't I have some say?

This digital media and the expansive networking sites exhaust me. There's a whole new level of awkwardness and etiquette to deal with and I just don't even know where to start...

Any and all suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm finding myself at a loss.


Almost Summer Vacation!

Nine months ago, I was not ready for the first day of school. Here it is, two half days of school left, I'm counting today as well. And why in the bleep, would they have the kids go to school, two half days. Just make today one full day, and lets call it quits! I'm ready to get this party started!

I'm looking forward to not having to wake the kids up early, and fuss continually. Each morning I'm like a broken record.

Get up... get up... get up...

It's 6:15... It's 6:30... It's 6:45...

Out the door... out the door... out the door...

Do you know how much energy it takes being the time keeper, the general, and the usher. I need another full nights sleep after that. Then I have to get myself ready for work. Whew!

I'm also looking forward to a Summer adventure. In March, we had THE BEST SPRING BREAK STAYCATION EVER!

I made a list of things I wanted to do, and we did only one of them. So for the summer, I'll make another list of things "I want to do with the kids," and do something totally opposite. That seems to work for us.

So for all of you mothers with kids starting, or soon to start summer vacation, have a blast!

If you liked what you read, and must have more... follow me to 40s ~ Living, Loving & Laughing Out Loud.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Your walls will be begging for this...


I have new wall couture. And oh, it is gorgeous.  It started with one of my absolute favorite pics of MiniMac taken by my great friends Leah and Mark

And then I met Megan Deal from Modern Bird Studios and her creative and artistic huband Gregg turned my favorite picture into a perfect piece of art.

Painted onto a very thick piece of oak, we decided the two tone picture would look the best in velvet brown and almond. It turned out beautifully. Modern Bird Studios takes a different approach to modern art by combining photography, graphic art, and traditional painting into a hand crafted work of heart

I got this last week and everyone who has seen it is blown away. Including my Mom who asked, "Will this be his first album cover?" For those of you who have been reading me awhile, you know that MiniMac has incredible musical inclinations. This picture and now, this amazing piece of art captured something pure, raw, and beautiful in our son. 

And working with Megan and Gregg was so easy. They are working hard to build their brand, live their passion of an art filled world, and raising two beautiful kids.

So am I merely gloating? No friends. Working with Megan and Gregg also includes some perks for you. We are hosting a giveaway to one reader of a custom made 12" x 12" work of art from one of your favorite photographs as well (valued over $200...fab-u-lous!)  Your walls will be begging for this. 

Contest starts today and ends in one week. A perfect way to wrap up our holiday weekend. AND, you can keep it for yourself or you can opt to give it away as a fabulous Father's Day gift.  Winner announced June 2. 

How can you win? First entry: You must be a public follower of my blog and leave a comment.

Additional entry love. You can do any, all or none of these options to ante up your chances. Please leave me a separate comment for each.

1. "Like" Let's have a cocktail on Facebook. This easy  (1 entry)
2. Follow me on Twitter like so  (1 entry)
2. Give the sweet tweet about the giveaway and send me the link. You can do this daily for one entry per day.
3. Follow Modern Bird Studios on Twitter here. (1 entry) 
4. "Like" Modern Bird Studios on Facebook here. (1 entry)

5. Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to me. Leave me your link to show the post. (2 entries)

Go the their site and look at their gallery of amazing work. They also have a great Q&A section for selecting the perfect pic and colors for the piece. AND, from now until June 7, Modern Bird is also offering a 15% discount. Use the code: JennyMac.

The world needs more art so good luck!

*Contest open to shipping in the US only, lower 48.

her diamonds.

I heard Rob Thomas play this song acoustically today, after explaining why he wrote it and what it means to him. It really touched me, so I wanted to share the lyrics here. Sometimes in radio play, or just regular listening, the lyrics get lost in the music. Thus, the reason I love acoustic music so much.

It's truly the story of a man in love with his wife who is going through something neither of them can fix. But he's there for her, and his empathy is so moving, especially upon hearing it acoustically.

Enjoy. :)

"Her Diamonds"
Rob Thomas

"Oh what the hell," she says,
"I just can't win for losing."
And she lays back down.
"Man there's so many times
I don't know what I'm doin',
Like I don't know now."

By the light of the moon
She rubs her eyes
Says, "It's funny how the night
Can make you blind."
I can just imagine,
And I don't know what I'm supposed to do-
But if she feels bad, then I do too.
So I let her be.

And she says, "Oooh,
I can't take no more."
Her tears like diamonds on the floor.
And her diamonds bring me down,
Cuz I can't help her now.
She's down in it,
She tried her best and now she can't win it.
Hard to see them on the ground,
Her diamonds falling down.

She sits down and stares into the distance,
And it takes all night.
And I know I could break her concentration
But it don't feel right.

By the light of the moon
She rubs her eyes.
Sits down on the bed and starts to cry,
And there's something less about her.
And I don't know what I'm supposed to do,
So I sit down and I cry too-
But don't let her see.

And she says, "Oooh,
I can't take no more."
Her tears like diamonds on the floor.
And her diamonds bring me down,
Cuz I can't help her now.
She's down in it,
She tried her best and now she can't win it.
Hard to see them on the ground,
Her diamonds falling down.

She shuts out the night,
Tries to close her eyes.
If she can find daylight,
She'll be alright.
She'll be alright.
Just not tonight...

And she says, "Oooh,
I can't take no more."
Her tears like diamonds on the floor.
And her diamonds bring me down,
Cuz I can't help her now.
She's down in it,
She tried her best and now she can't win it.
Hard to see them on the ground,
Her diamonds falling down.

And she says, "Oooh,
I can't take no more,"
Her tears like diamonds on the floor.
And her diamonds bring me down,
Cuz I can't help her now.
She's down in it,
She tried her best and now she can't win it.
Hard to see them on the ground,
Her diamonds falling down.


The best guacamole ever!

Freshly prepared food is best, but if you don't have the time, you really need to read those back labels. Some of the ingredient names sound like they were created by a mad scientist.

In general, I find homemade food often tastes the best. Even if it's fattening, it's healthier to eat as there are few to zero additives.

It's a very hot day here where I live. In fact, I just don't feel like turning on the stove. So I decided to make some guacamole. It's so tasty that I'm going have it in a salad tonight in place of my regular olive oil/vinegar dressing.

I also love using guacamole in wraps, on top of baked potatoes, and as a side dish to some barbecued chicken.

Here's the recipe - it's tastier than the ones prepared in the stores:

2 ripe Avocado's
1/4 onion minced
1 tomato chopped
1 clove of garlic
1/2 lemon juiced
2 healthy pinches of sea salt. (I'm a personal fan of himalayan salt)

Use your stick blender and you've got guacamole!

All the best,

Friday, May 21, 2010

101 ways to prepare Kale...

I've been using Kale in my green smoothies. I like it because it doesn't have a strong flavor and it blends well with just about anything. I find that with spinach too.

Lately I've been buying a lot of kale. I've kind of gone...OVERBOARD. It takes up a lot of space in the fridge. I love all the benefits this leafy green gives me, but some day's I'm just not "into" it. Sometimes change is good. Luckily for me, kale is versatile and can be used for many dishes other than smoothies.

Today I bring you....Kale Chips! They are so easy to make and they are really tasty. You can buy them in the health food store for $6.00/100g, or you can make it for pennies at home. They are an excellent, guilt-free substitute for potato chips.

You can season them anyway you like. You can make them as healthy as you like. I have found that you can't really mess this up.

So...if you do not have a food dehydrator (I don't) set your stove to 200. Wash and dry an entire bunch of kale (a bunch is the whole lot with the twist tie on it). Pat dry your kale, and break it into little bits, being sure to remove the stems and hard vein down the middle of the leaf. Break it into little bits just like you are making a salad.

Now comes the seasoning. I wanted to make this very healthy, so I used 3 TBSP of Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 TBSP of Bragg's (it's like a soya sauce) and a generous dash of black pepper. For this part, you could easily toss in 1 TBSP of olive oil, and use lemon and sea can use anything you like.

You then grab your cookie sheets and lay the mixed kale out on them. Mine took two cookie sheets. Keep your kale in the oven for 2 hours. You could set your stove at a higher temperature, but you risk burning it and losing a lot of nutrients.

Happy eating!

All the best,

Monday, May 17, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 137: Be Kind

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. -Dalai Lama

Why is so hard to be kind? Why do we choose hate over love?

I have opened myself up here. I've let myself out of the box and it was not easy. For the most part, I have found kindness. But I have also sensed other emotions. The tug and pull of others upon us is really only the tug and pull of ourselves. It's very hard to love someone whose mission seems to be to point a finger and destroy all that is in you that is good. But I find that compassion for myself and others is what is really needed. I think of how many times this has occurred in history.

Saints, sages, political figures, common folk who dared to be different, but were shunned for being who they are. Some crucified, hanged, cursed and hated for only wanting good. I don't know what is wrong with wanting and feeling joy, peace, love, and happiness and wanting to share these with others. What is in human nature that makes us want to hate these beautiful things in others? Why can't joy be shared? Why are we afraid to honor and appreciate the successes of others knowing that we are not really separate from one another, we are one in the same. What makes people turn green with envy and want to shut others out of their lives completely. What makes a person say, "I will never forgive you, forever." Forever rolling in their own misery.

It takes a very compassionate person to love the one who wants to kill them. How do you muster up this compassion? How do you replace hate with love? How do you love the one who silently hates. Or an even harder question, how do you love the one who verbally and physically hates?

So I keep practicing. Just keep going inside. Just keep loving. I give all the love in the world to myself. I give all the kindness in the world to myself. If I can't love myself with every ounce of my being and give kindness and gentleness to myself with every ounce of my being, how can I love the world? How can I find room in my heart to love the one who is hurting so much that all they can do is inflict that hurt on others, however subtly?

Fortunately, I've also found love, peace and kindness to be contagious. There are more people who would rather share these feelings. You never know how your presence will affect another, but if what you feel, say and do feels right to you and you feel good, chances are others will too. I received a postcard in my college mailbox that had the Chinese character for kindness on it. I was surprised. The person who gave it to me hardly knew me, but I had invited my colleagues to partake in a party at my house and she felt thankful. The Chinese character for kindness shows the symbol for person combined with the number two symbolizing benevolence, the essential kindness one person shows another. This is what was written on the card:

So I'm going to keep walking with this love in me. I'm going to keep shining this light. I'm going to keep being kind.

Also on my blog Lessons from the Monk I Married

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Classic Pads...

What do you think of these?

You can find them here.

Not sure what to think of them... but I do like lists.

Married? Read this.

You Should Have Sex With Your Partner to Make Him Happy

"'Sex becomes yet another item on your to-do list, and you think you have to do it for the sake of your marriage and the happiness of your spouse,' says Dr. Lombardo. While neither of those reasons is wrong, they shouldn’t be the only reasons."

One of the 'myths' that this great slideshow/article shows the married people that not all that marriage advice is true.
Others are:

-If There’s No Spark, You’re Doomed

-Always Put the Kids First

Read more here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother, the heart of the Family.

Nations rise and fall, empires prosper or crumble and men are stirred to great accomplishments or driven to shameful failure often because of the influence of a wife or mother. The wise poet has properly said, "The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world."

For most women, motherhood is a great privilege, a crowning joy and sublime fulfillment. Perhaps the greatest privilege of motherhood is that of sharing a giving. No one shares and give as a mother does. She shares her body with another in order to conceive. She shares it again with her unborn child. Then, she shares her time, energy, and talent with it after it is born in order to meet its needs and help it to grow and develop. But most of all, she shares her heart and her love as she weeps, laughs, sorrows and rejoices with her child through the months and years of it's life.

Motherhood, while being a great privilege, also involves obligation. No task on earth requires more dedication, greater skill or fuller commitment. Her responsibilities demand devotion to the highest ideals and patient perseverance over long years of time. Her task is formidable because there is no human obligation that is less adaptable to substitution than motherhood. You can substitute for the teacher, policeman, governor, and almost anyone else- but no one has found an adequate substitute for a mother's love.

Happy and blessed are the home and the children of a loving, devoted mother. Happy Mother's Day!

**I am looking forward to sharing my life with my first born child in only 5 short weeks. I only hope that I can be half the mother that my own is. :)

Much Love,

Monday, May 10, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 124: Stress is Caused by You

Now I know some people would like to slap me for saying, "You cause your own stress." It's the last thing you wanted to hear, right? But it is true. Do you feel stress right now? Are you having difficulty balancing all the things in your life? Why do you do this to yourself?

Recently I read a book called Midnights with the Mystic. It's the story author Cheryl Simone tells of her conversations with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a yogi, mystic and visionary. The conversations take place at her lake house in North Carolina, where Sadhguru and his assistant stayed as guests. The book is called Midnights with the Mystic because most of the conversations take place around a fire near the lake at midnight. I was extremely inspired by this guru's words and particulary about his view on stress in America. I'd like to share these words here:

Cheryl: "Many people in this country are so stressed out and it is ruining their lives. What can they do about it?"

Sadhguru: "First of all, why are people becoming stressed? When I first came to the United States a few years ago, wherever I went, I noticed people were talking about stress management. I could not understand that. Why would anybody want to manage their stress? You want to manage things you value, don't you? Do you want to manage things you don't care for? I can understand that you want to manage your business, your property, your family, your money, things like that, but why stress?

It took me a while to understand that people have come to the conclusion that there is no way to live without stress. Stress is an accepted part of life here. But the truth is that stress is not a part of life except when you have lost your sanity. Stress is not happening because your job is difficult. It is happening because you are incapable of handling your own systems. You don't know how to manage your body or your mind or your emotions or your energies. If you know that, then nothing is stressful because you are no longer hijacked by external situations."

I say, why wait until the avalanche of stress causes your own demise? Why not make taking care of your body or your mind or your emotions or your energy your TOP priority. Otherwise, taking care of anything else will be futile. Don't make taking care of yourself a passing fad, like the diet of the day, or the workout of the season. Taking care of yourself is a lifetime commitment. Do something every day to nurture yourself. Whether it's yoga or meditation or praying or walking or just focusing on your breath. Now you may gasp when I say this, but you really need an hour or more of your day, every day, free for this. Five minutes is better than nothing, but you won't see much affect when you limit the time you have for taking care of yourself. "But I don't have an hour!" you shout. Oh, yes, you have 24 hours to be exact, and if it's your TOP priority, this taking-care-of-self thing, then you WILL find time for it.

DO IT EVERY DAY, not only when a crisis happens or you become sick. If you practice taking care of yourself and make it part of your life, when a crisis really does happen, you will be ready for it and you will most likely find that it is not really a crisis at all. By taking care of yourself everyday, you are untying the the Gordian knots caused by your own stress and you are making sure that new knots are not formed. You will also find that you don't get sick anymore, that you have boundless amounts of energy, that you can do so many things. Fill up your tank first and then you will find life much easier to live and you have so much more to give.

Also on my blog, Lessons from the Monk I Married, where I am writing 365 Lessons

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Have Seen...

I Have Seen:

Fields of fragrant lavender in Tuscany...

...the steeples of Oxford at cool daybreak...

...the most delicate works of nature in Alaska...

...the sun slipping below the horizon in Chile...

...And they were all nothing compared to watching my baby play with its fingers and suck its thumb in grainy black and white:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A smack upside the head....

I had to laugh as my friend posted this status on her Facebook page:

Please copy and paste this to your status if you know someone, or have been affected by someone, who needs a smack upside the head. People who need a smack upside the head affect the lives of many. There is still no known cure for someone who deserves a smack upside the head, except a smack upside the head, but we can ...raise awareness. Many won't copy and paste this. I did. Will you?

I didn't copy and paste it, but it got me thinking. We are all not perfect, but there are things that we see (or have happen to us) in our day-to-day lives that should be corrected. We've become so PC in this society...almost to the point of which you are frowned upon for standing up for yourself or for simply doing your job as a spouse, parent, employee etc.

I'm not advocating that everyone start slapping one another silly (well perhaps on occasion), but the point remains that if we don't stand up and speak up for ourselves then our situation can not and will not change. If something is annoying you, it's most likely annoying other people too.

My daughter is in SK. She is 5. I love volunteering in her class for the simple reason these kids say what they mean. They pull no punches. If they don't like something, they will let you know. At times it's comical. I say comical because it's so refreshing to see such honesty. It would be more difficult for them to not speak up. We were all like that at one point. Along the way we change and become more scared to speak up. We start to care too much about what others might think.

I think the SK's in my daughters class are starting to rub off on me! I have noticed that I'm speaking up more and let me tell you it's served me well. I figure it's better to say something than to go home and stew about it. We need to re-learn some of what was taught in SK.

For those of you who do speak up, great! For those who need to, I highly encourage it. I view it as a form of self love.

All the best,