Day 10! Positivity & Productivity Challenge Complete!

It only took me 14 days to complete my 10 Day Positivity and Productivity Challenge. Considering I barely have time to use the bathroom alone without a child barging in, I’ll take that as success! {lol}

To be honest, I loved this “challenge”. There wasn’t anything that felt too daunting or overwhelming, and I did find that taking a few minutes of each day to take care of myself really paid off. Each day had a little something different, whether it be to go for a walk, make a list, remove negativity, clear my life of clutter, listen to uplifting music, meditate, and of course spread kindness among those most important to me.

I leave this “challenge” feeling lighter, happier, and like I accomplished something. Guess I’m a fellow “challenger” now, and I look forward to future ones!

xo Robin

Challenge Day 9!

Yesterday was day 9 of my ten-day Positivity and Productivity Challenge. The task at hand was to plan meals for the next week. As a mom, foodie, and list lover, this was a fun one for me. I always try to mix it up when planning family dinners, hoping that at least one of my children will be willing to veer away from the chicken nuggets & mac n cheese train to try some “real” meals. With that in mind, here’s what I chose:

Sunday: Superbowl!!! No dinner needed- just appetizers, as we are going to a party.

Monday: Trying this whole “meatless Monday” thing by making lasagna, garlic bread, & a caesar salad. I’ll do the prep on Sunday afternoon so all I have to do Monday evening  is pop the lasagna into the oven.

Tuesday: Leftovers. Because who’s really going to eat a whole 8″x13″ pan of lasagna in one sitting?

Wednesday: Beef stir fry with Asian vegetables and brown rice. This is another easy peasy meal, as I buy the veggies already frozen. I do slice up the steak and sear it prior to combining with the vegetables and condiments, but still a pretty simple one. Here’s a recipe if you’re looking for one: https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/teriyaki-beef-stir-fry/

Thursday: Cedar plank grilled salmon with sun-dried tomato and fresh parsley chutney. Served with quinoa and steamed asparagus. Needless to say this is an adult meal lol. But salmon is my fav. Especially when grilled on a cedar plank. If you haven’t made this yet….try it. I promise to post all these recipes shortly.

Friday: As a treat for the kids I’m going to buy a pre-made gluten-free pizza dough at the grocery store along with all the fixings (sauce {obviously}, three cheese Italian blend, shredded, pepperoni, and mini meatballs.) Then, in the evening we’ll make pizza from “almost” scratch together. We used to do this a lot in the summer and the girls loved it. I let them eat it in the family room while watching a movie too. (I have a feeling the requested movie will be Descendants, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for an alternative lol)  *Note: None of us require a gluten-free diet, but we prefer the taste and elasticity of that pizza crust as opposed to a regular one.*

Saturday: Snow is in the forecast for next weekend, and we have most of the afternoon free while my hubby is at work. That means arts & crafts for the girls while mama makes some comfort food. I’m thinking lemon chicken orzo soup, which is healthy with a nice addition of fresh spinach. The recipe I use is from New England Soup Factory’s cookbook. Check out their website, or better yet, look them up next time you’re in Boston.

Well, that’s it for today. I’ll admit that after planning dinners for the next 6 days, I made a shopping list with all the ingredients not stocked in my pantry. I then added all our other weekly necessities. Overall, a very successful and productive use of my time. I did this task while my youngest was sleeping, and still had plenty of time to spare.

Sunday Success!

xo Robin

 

Challenge Day 8

Today’s original challenge said to make a meal plan for the week. Since I prefer to do any weekly  planning on Saturdays, I decided to skip this day and go right to Day 9. I mean it’s my challenge, so why not customize it?

Ok, so challenge day 9’s task was to think of a good memory and share it with family and friends. This is something I like to try to do often, especially with my kids. Today I had some extra down time with all three girls, (due to a 2 hr delay) so I decided to talk to them about my grandparents. My dad’s parents were very special people, who took care of me practically every day while growing up. They taught me how to play the keyboard, take care of a garden, play card games, listen to classic music, read literature…. You name it, we did it. There wasn’t one important event in my life that my grandparent’s missed, no matter how trivial it may have seemed. February is also a very special month because both of my grandparents’ birthdays were in the first week. Therefore, my daughters and I began with me asking if they knew whose birthdays are coming up. Of course they replied with “groundhog day” and “mine” and again with “mine” lol. I replied that although all of them were correct to a degree, it would have been both my grandparents’ birthdays very soon. Unfortunately they recently passed away and we can’t share it together, yet, I thought it would be nice to honor them with some music, food, and card games. The girls and I were limited on time, but listened to a few Beatles songs, as my grandmother loved them. Her favorites were “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Let it Be”.  Dancing was of course part of this morning celebration. and serendipitously, my eldest told me that “Let it Be” is the song for her dance recital. Words can’t describe the smile that broke out across my face.

Next, was breakfast. I explained that my grandfather was English and loved a traditional breakfast. In fact, he usually ate two or three. One at 5am, another around 7am, and a light breakfast snack around 9am. Since I have picky children, we couldn’t have eggs, sausage, oatmeal, or scones with tea, and instead settled on toast with jelly.

toast-toaster-food-white-bread.jpg

Finally, I didn’t have enough time to teach my eldest how to play the infamous cribbage- a card game my grandfather and I played daily. (I honestly don’t even know it she would understand if we DID have the time lol) Nevertheless, we had about 25 minutes left before the bus came, so the four of us played “go fish” (I played for my one year old, who kept trying to throw the cards underneath the coffee table). During the game I told the girls how my brother used to play this game all the time with my grandparents, and how he used to have a meltdown if he wouldn’t win. Not surprisingly, my 4-year-old did the same thing shortly after….

pexels-photo-278965.jpeg

Overall, today was a great time. I consider myself an old soul. And I absolutely loved today’s challenge. It reminded us to slow down and take time out of our crazy lives to think about our memories. We laughed, we cried, it’s bittersweet, but in the end…..it’s all good. Because each one of these little moments is what makes life so amazing.

xo Robin

Challenge Days 6 & 7: Meditation & Music

Yesterday and today were days 6-7 of my ten day Positivity and Productivity Challenge. Appropriately, one task was to do at least 5 minutes of meditation, while the other was to create a kick butt playlist.

Let’s begin with the meditation. This is a practice I’ve been trying to integrate into my daily life for months. Some days I get in 20 minutes, and other times weeks go by and I get zero. Today, however, I found myself 10 minutes of solitude and took advantage of it. One particular app I enjoy that provides some guided meditations is Headspace. Or you can simply go to YouTube and play one. If you’re not one for traditional meditations, you can also go alternative routes. One such route is utilizing sound meditation- which explores how sounds (ie: gongs, singing bowls, or simply music) are connected to our consciousness. A great website to learn more is www.soundmeditation.com. Another great idea that I love is walking meditation. Remember in my previous posts where I say nature helps you clear your head? I wasn’t kidding. Walking meditation involves the concept of focusing on the walk itself. I enjoyed reading about it here: http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/simple-steps-to-practice-walking-meditation/?ref=pin pexels-photo-797403.jpeg

However you decide to meditate is up to you. The point of this mental exercise is really to calm our mind & bodies. Science has proven that regular meditation truly has it’s perks. So, challenge day 6- success!

Onto Day 7: creating a playlist. I honestly don’t think I’ve created a “playlist” since college. I remember buying my first iPod freshman year, and bringing it to the gym with me 6 days a week (Can you tell a lot has changed since then? iPod? Gym EVERY day? HA!!!) Anyway, I created my own loose interpretation of this task. While cleaning the house, I finally utilized our Amazon Echo Dot and asked Alexa to play each song that came to mind. By the time I was finished, I was not only very productive with my cleaning tasks, but also in a great mood. I had heard every genre from Eminem to Madonna to Bush to U2, and all I can say is: music is awesome. It’s very therapeutic. I’m not surprised it was part of this challenge.

At this point I’m 70% through and looking forward to the next 3 days of positivity and productivity. Wishing you a “happy hump day” as well.

Until tomorrow.

xo Robin

Challenge Day 5: Decluttering

Sorry I’m so late with this post. I wrote about 80% of it on Saturday, then, as you’ll see below, I got sidetracked. Thanks for your patience. I’ll resume with Challenge Day 6 Tomorrow.

pexels-photo-725255.jpeg

I believe in Serendipity. Do you? That word alone sounds awesome. But to be real with you, I find it very serendipitous how today’s challenge was to declutter and organize things {both literally and figuratively}. Being a Saturday, my husband is at work for 12 hours and it’s usually spent with the kids and I running to various sports practices or parties or play dates. Today, was a different kind of day though- we finally had a day to just chill. AND, the bunk bed mattresses I ordered TWO MONTHS AGO were finally being delivered. I took this as a sign to reorganize and declutter the girls’ rooms. Serendipitous? Maybe.

Now check this out. A few weeks ago while house hunting, my hubby and I decided to put in a back up offer on a home that was in our neighborhood, though it was pending sale. Today I received a call from the realtor saying that the pending sale fell through and the seller was accepting our offer instead. SCORE!!! Also, I immediately thought: TIME TO THROW STUFF OUT!

Fast forward two days…………..

I continued my day 5 challenge task throughout all of Sunday into Monday, as I have to get my current house ready to sell. It felt great (although I must admit a bit overwhelming) to start going through our many belongings and throw out unused or unwanted things. I imagine I will be organizing, packing, decluttering, then re-cluttering (don’t think that’s a word but I’m using it anyway lol) for the next few months. However, if you too are looking to unload some negativity, organize that closet or pantry, throw out those old clothes you haven’t worn in 5 years. Trust me, it will definitely help you be more productive and positive 🙂

xo Robin

Challenge Day 4

Yesterday was day 4 of my Positivity & Productivity challenge. The task given was to try and focus on the good in everyone, and to provide a genuine compliment to someone I know. My first instinct upon waking was to provide my spouse with some kind words. I’m very blessed to have married a man who’s such a wonderful father. Most morning he helps get the kids ready for school, even doing the girls’ hair, and making lunches. So yesterday morning, I let him sleep in, brought him coffee, got myself and three girls ready, then told my hubby how lucky I felt to have him in my life. Not sure if this technically counts as a “compliment”, but it sure felt like one to me.

Later, while picking up my daughter from school, I spoke to her teacher for a few moments and made sure to tell her how much I appreciate all she does for my child. It’s true, my older two have exceptional teachers.

As I went throughout my day, I have to admit that there were times I didn’t think positively, such as when a guy cut me off and proceeded to drive 20 mph in a 45. I had a few choice words for that fellow. Or when I signed onto social media and saw so many people complaining about everything imaginable. This makes me think a social media detox may be my next “challenge”.

However, I did have a meaningful moment during this day while at the coffee shop. In our small town there’s one particular hip place I love to stop by, daily if possible. Yesterday I had an extra 20 minutes of mommy time, so I took that to sit and enjoy a cappuccino (in a to-go cup of course). While sitting there, I chatted with the barista and made sure to tell her that she had great style & always looks so put together. It’s true, every time I walk in this girl has a funky piece of jewelry, or a cool looking crop top with a perfect messy bun or nails to match. She may have thought I was a weirdo, but I was giving what I considered a nice compliment. (The truth of the matter is, some days I’d compliment a hobo just to have some human interaction with someone over the age of 7.)  She took it with a smile though and thanked me graciously.

At the end of day 4, I have to say that I’ve definitely been experiencing a more positive outlook. Observing others {and myself} in a more kind, meaningful way seems to be starting to pay off. Plus, no matter how modest you are, I think everyone likes to be complimented once in a while.

xo Robin

Challenge Day 3

“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. And sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself”.

This simple saying is not only one of my favorites, but also one of the truest I’ve ever read. When we feel hopeless, or confused, or angry, sometimes all we need is to go for a walk and find the answers.

Today is day 3 in my ten-day Positivity and Productivity Challenge. If you haven’t guessed it by now, my task was to go outside for a walk and try to take in my surroundings. This has been my favorite so far. In warmer weather I used to go for a walk or hike every day. (Living in the Hudson Valley really has its perks) Here are some of my favorite hikes from this past Autumn, while I’m feeling all nostalgic.

IMG_4145.jpgIMG_3833.jpgIMG_3816.jpgIMG_3598.jpgIMG_3528.jpgIMG_0052.jpg

Ok back to the challenge. I’m not too sure what else to put except that when I was outside today, it felt like I could “breathe”. All the thoughts I never have time to think about began to flood my mind, then I slowly processed them one by one. Once I broke out into a jog (I’ll call it a jog instead of a true run), my mind felt clear and I was trying to focus on my breath. I recently read that while training your lungs to run, an important exercise is to breathe in and out of your nose. With a little congestion this proved to be way too difficult, and I resorted to my usual inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth. While exercising, I also tend to repeat my yoga mantras, such as, “use your breath to breathe energy into your body.”. Believe it or not, it helped me perform better.

Overall, a successful challenge task was completed today. Exercise is my #1 suggestion for anyone struggling to reach positivity, clarity, or a happier lifestyle. Before I say goodbye for today, I’ll leave you with two tidbits: 1. I’m currently working on a post of some of my favorite yoga sequences for different times of the day {hopefully someone will benefit from it}; and 2. Getting outside in all weather isn’t just good for adult souls, but children’s as well. Here’s a great article I read from a local organization that I love: https://wildearth.org/blog/children-that-play-outside-in-all-weather-grow-up-resilient. It may be a bit dated but totally worth the read.

Wishing everyone a great rest of your day (or night if you’re on the East Coast)!

xo Robin