Saturday, April 25, 2015

5 Positive Ways to Help Teenagers Cope with End-of-School-Year Stress

The end of the school year brings a complete adjustment for teenagers and their parents alike, but for some kids who have difficulty with transitions, the shift from spring to summer triggers anxiety and worry. Think about the kinds of stress teenagers face at this time of year. Big worries overwhelm them like tests and final exam scores that will be reported to colleges. Likewise, smaller worries can cause just as much anxiety like having to do the swim unit at school now that the weather has warmed up. Spring fever also tempts kids to play hooky and enjoy the warmer days. Teenagers can hardly hang on until they are done with what they see as busy work. Other teens may be discouraged about looking for a summer job and discovering they have limited options because they are underage.

The transition from the school year to summer is stressful for single parents, too, because of the shift to a completely new routine. For instance, the single mom or dad needs to come up with a two month plan for their child's day-to-day summer routine, not to mention the added costs of summer activities and entertainment. These parental problems can rub off on teenagers at home and create even more tension. 

If you can relate to any of this, why not shift from the problems and ease into the transition with some new solutions? Try these ideas to navigate the rocky road of change and help your teenager cope: 

  1. Talk to your kids about their anxiety. Some kids are more sensitive to change than others. Talk to them about ways to de-stress, like having them draw out their feelings in an art journal. Or teach them a coping skill they can use anywhere—deep breathing. Have them practice this calming strategy at home so they can use it anywhere else when they might need it. Finally, teach them to meditate by starting with a guided meditation that quiets the mind and body.

  2. Sneak more fruits, veggies, and protein into their diet. Without your kids even
    knowing, you can limit white carbs and sugar in the meals you serve. Studies now show that diets high in carbs and sugar cause depression and anxiety, while low-carb protein rich diets can increase energy and even happiness. Cut up veggies and fruit to pair with a light dip that can easily be packed into lunches, served as a snack, or included with meals at home. Give your teens snacks like nuts, peanut butter, or beef jerky for a protein filled pick-me-up throughout the day that will help them have the energy to face term papers and final exams.   

  3. Help your kids get inspired about creative summer jobs. If your teenagers are old enough to work, but find their options are limited, brainstorm a list of ways they can use their skills to make money like pet sitting, mowing lawns, cleaning homes for elderly neighbors, babysitting, selling baked or craft goods, or working at a family business.
  4. Plan a family vacation so you and your kids have something to look forward to. Have a family meeting to discuss various options that fall within your single parent budget, and come to an agreement on an idea that would be fun for everyone. To save money, you can camp with a group of other parents and their kids, vacation at motels that offer low rates, or stay with friends and family. Bring coupons with you to use at restaurants, pack your own snacks, and use online discounts when booking activities.
  5. Be consistent as you establish new routines. Ease into the transition by
    establishing new habits that are workable for you and your teens. Then be as consistent as possible since most people feel more secure—and that includes teens—if they know what to expect. Creating a stable atmosphere at home while your teens are going through change will help them deal with it more successfully and come out on the other side with confidence. While there may be more bumps to come on the rocky road of teenage transitions, these strategies will help single parents give their teens the skills that will help them on the journey towards independence . . . and beyond.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mmmm . . . Homemade Chocolate Donuts

  • Want to make breakfast extra special? 
  • Try this easy and LIght homemade donut recipe that both moms and kids will Love!!!

  • Chocolate donut ingredients
  • 14 cups moist-style devil's food cake mix
  • 12 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2 egg whites 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 13 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp softened butter
  • 14 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 drop pink food coloring
  • 1 Tbsp nonpareils sprinkles
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 6-cavity standard donut pan with nonstick spray.
    I found my donut pan at Bed, Bath, and Beyond
    where I got to use the 20% coupon. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix cake mix, pumpkin, egg whites, and 14 cup water until completely smooth and uniform. Evenly distribute batter into the rings of the donut pan and gently smooth out the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a donut comes out mostly clean, about 12 minutes.
    The secret "lite" ingredient? Pumpkin!
  3. Meanwhile, place a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Let donuts cool completely, about 10 minutes in the pan and 15 minutes on the cooling rack.
  4. In a wide microwave-safe bowl (a little larger than one of the donuts), whisk sugar with cornstarch until uniform.
  5. Place 2 Tbsp water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Add butter, vanilla extract, and food coloring. Microwave for 20 seconds, or until water is hot and butter has melted. Mix well, and add to the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Vigorously whisk until completely smooth and uniform.
  6. Microwave for 1 minute and 20 seconds, or until mixture is bubbling. Let cool slightly.
  7. One at a time, dunk the tops of the donuts into the topping, coating the top halves. Return to the cooling rack, top with sprinkles, and allow to set.
    My helper, Reina, dipping the donuts in the glaze. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

4 Easy Summer Start-up Jobs for Teenagers

Baking treats are a sweet summer job for teens.
Summer is coming, and for many teenagers, this means some free time to make money. But why not consider a more entrepreneurial path? You don’t have to be the creative or hipster type to start your own summer business. If you have a brilliant plan, go for it, but even if you don't, you're not resigned to slinging cheeseburgers or folding polo shirts. (There’s nothing wrong with food service or retail, but if you’re reading this, it’s a safe bet that you want something different.)

Luckily for you, there are some tried-and-true self-employment ideas perfect for high-schoolers or college students. Throw in some cutting-edge communication technology, and your business might outlast the swimming-pool weather and grow into a big future. Who knows?! Here are several ideas to jump-start you on the path to being your own boss:
Make scrubs and soaps to sell! 

1. Craft Seller
Do you have a talent for turning out artisan products? The hype surrounding Etsy indicates wild demand for knitted hats, hand-sewn dresses, carved wooden bowls, and every other “maker” product that you can think of, including custom candy. You don’t have to sell a physical object—if you’re an illustrator, you can provide instant downloads of your artwork. In addition to Etsy, online shops can be hosted on Storenvy or Big Cartel. Also try selling at craft fairs or art shows. You can even rent a table at the local farmer’s market.

Setup costs: $50 at Michael's or Jo-Ann Fabrics for craft supplies 

2. Coffee & Pastries
Ah, the bake sale with its tempting treats that cost a lot less than Starbucks! If you make great chocolate-chip cookies, Rice Krispies treats, and even lemonade, plant yourself on a suburban corner to sell your stuff. Help people get their sugar fix, and they’ll help you pay for textbooks. Or open a coffee stand in the early morning with a friend—call it a “popup cafĂ©”—and catch commuters on the way to work. Add yourself as a business on Yelp! Then contact local media to see if they’ll review your venture.

Setup costs: $25 for ingredients; mix flour and water with no-frills guerrilla marketing techniques. Serve warm.

3. Amazon Affiliate Website
Start an Amazon affiliate website, promoting and selling goods listed on the e-commerce giant in exchange for a commission. The process is simple, as demonstrated by many people who their living online.

Setup costs: $50-$250, depending on whether you DIY or buy pre-made from a site like Flippa

4. Online Freelancer
You don’t need a finished college degree or tons of professional experience to get jobs doing intellectual work, like writing or programming. Today’s market is all about producing high-quality results. If you can get the job done, you will find people eager to hire you (partially because you’ll be cheaper than the middle-aged adults who do have degrees and mile-long resumes).

Remember to network on LinkedIn, and join other dedicated communities. Polish your profile to the max. Connecting with people established in your field is one of the best ways to get ahead.

Setup costs: FREE + good marketing abilities 

By Jennifer L. Jacobson, PR Evangelist for
TrustLeaf is a new funding service that helps self-started businesses and entrepreneurs get starter loans from friends and family, without straining their relationships. Because loaning money to friends and family for new ventures can be tough on relationships, TrustLeaf formalizes personal loan agreements, keeping money far away from affecting relationships, so entrepreneurs can get their business going and friends and family can feel more secure.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Grandma's Easter Dish

Almost every year of my daughter's life, my mom and I have colored Easter eggs together with her. This year, Reina wanted us to have a contest to see who could color the best and worst eggs, so Mom brought over an egg spinner contraption this morning. We dropped various dye colors in and spun the eggs to reveal brilliant tie-dyed hues. Of course, we also dyed some eggs the old-fashioned way and, well, you can judge for yourself which eggs are the best and worst!

Many more years before, Grandma placed colored eggs, grass, and jelly beans in her 1950's era iridescent pink glass dish each Easter. To my eternal regret, we no longer have that dish, but I found a similar orange one at a local flea market bonanza one Saturday morning and was thrilled we could carry on the tradition even though it wasn't quite the same.

Silly me, I've actually prayed that God would give me Grandma's dish again, that somehow it would make its way back to me through a thrift store, estate sale, or some other unexpected place. I truly believed I would be reunited with it . . . But these years of longing have taught me it's not really about the dish. The important lesson I've learned is to cherish the memories, honor the tradition, but also let go of the past to make room for the present. This spring, it's time to clear the way for the new memories, traditions, and unexpected miracles around the corner I might miss if I am looking for something in the past.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

7 Simple Ways to Welcome Spring

Spring is here, ushering in new beginnings and fresh starts. It's time to clear away the cobwebs and clutter--both mentally and physically--in order to make room for new growth. Try these surefire ways to welcome the season and liven up your life!
  1. Grow a kitchen garden from seeds.
  2. Buy a spring bouquet to spruce up your home. 
  3. Blow bubbles with your kids in the backyard. 
  4. Banish negative thinking and worry with positive thoughts. 
  5. Add color to your days with bright nail polish or accessories. 
  6. Get out your camera and capture nature coming back to life. 
  7. Get outdoors to your local park or arboretum and enjoy the extra sunlight.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Elegant & Easy Mini Cheesecakes

Elegant & Easy Mini Cheesecake Recipe


*4 mini graham cracker pie crust tins
*pre-made cheesecake filling (in the frozen section)
*lemon curd
*whipped cream
*fresh strawberries


Scoop cheesecake filling into pie crusts. Top with lemon curd, whipped cream, and sliced strawberries. Yes, it's THAT easy!

Linking to: Moonlight and Mason Jars Link Party

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Finding Time for You {Why You MUST Do It}

A Modern Quilt
No, I haven't forgotten about it. My New Year's Resolution to be as creative as possible is materializing as I look on with amazement. It's so exciting how everything is coming together with the word I also received for this year, uphold. I figured out that 2015 is the time for me to uphold what is important to me, and I weigh my choices intentionally against this word. First, I took an intro class on art journaling at Michael's, then I spent a Saturday with a friend who gave me a crash course in art journaling 101 techniques by taking me through her gorgeous journals, and next I came across an online book club on The Fringe Hours, the most inspiring book about finding time to pursue your passions. In between all of this, I spent a lovely afternoon with a fellow single mom friend gaping over the most beautiful quilts at a local exhibit, thinking about how women who didn't even have electricity could make time for their passions, then so could I.

Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore and that I'll never be the same again after this year because I've discovered what makes me tick. And I am finally prioritizing the time to do it. 

Let these words from The Fringe Hours give you permission to make room in your life for what is truly important and give you the courage to focus on your passions: "Without creative expression, a part of you will atrophy, which means to waste away . . . No matter how busy you are, you must make time for yourself and your passions." 

Quilted Strawberries . . . I love it! 

This is my favorite block. 

The curator mentioned this quilt was the crowd favorite. 


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