Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


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The Secrets of Happy Families

Here is NPR’s weekend story covering Bruce Feiler’s new book “The Secrets of Happy Families” entitled Control the Chaos which was previously covered by the Wall Street Journal.  It is interesting that NPR approached the book from a different angle.  NPR stressed the aspect of “controlling chaos” in order to improve family life.  The Wall Street Journal pointing out that Feiler used successful business models in the home.  I think the attention given this book shows that most folks are looking for ways to improve family relationships.  We also like easy answers.  Not that little changes can’t make a big difference.  Another book that came out recently is Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin.  I relate to Gretchen since she is an attorney turned writer.  I’m not sure how I feel about either self-help book and what they mean about parenting these days.  Just thought I’d share what’s out there.


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World Moms Blog Sidebar: Balancing Family Life and Career Life

Saturday Sidebar: Balancing Family Life and Career Life

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to the World Moms Blog RSS feed. Thanks for traveling with us around the globe!

This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog Fan.  She asked our writers,

“What are your best tips for balancing family life and career life? How do you make it work where you live?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

A working woman

A working womanMomma Expat of France writes:

“ When I was in the US, working full-time outside of the  home, my husband always pitched in to help around the house and three days a week made dinner. This allowed me to fulfill my work requirements  and feel supported. Now that I’m working from home part-time, my husband is STILL continuing to support me by freeing me up to run in the morning while he takes my son to school. Since my sister-in-law is also here with me, she said, “Also making sure mom gets a full night of sleep! So important to face the next day! And lastly choosing to let certain things go and focusing on what’s more important. Lastly, parents should make time for one another. Both of us would pick one day a month and leave our kids in school or daycare to go out for lunch. Spending time for one another is really important!”

Eva Fannon of Washington State, USA writes:
“As a working mom, sometimes I feel like every day is a juggling act. So I try to plan ahead whenever possible (coordination with my husband about business trips is key!), but also take things one day at a time, more than that gets too overwhelming for me!”

AnaGaby@StumbleAbroad of Indonesia writes:
“As a stay-at-home mom currently in the process or reentering the work force I have to say that we have to add a third and maybe fourth factor to the equation. I believe that separating some time for ourselves is key to an integral lifestyle. Whether you need a good run, a good book or a good cup of coffee with girlfriends, you need to find a balance that keeps you engaged and happy. The fourth element is reigniting your relationship with your partner. Family life is fun but remember that your family started as two and changing diapers and taking turns helping with homework or baths isn’t the perfect date night.”

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Run Your Family Like a Business

Should we run our home and family more like a business?  Weekly meetings?  Family mission statements?  A mommy friend recommend this very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal – Family, Inc. – which discusses business strategies that may work in the home setting.  The essay was adapted from Mr. Feiler’s book, “The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More,” coming out later this month.  This article really hit home now that I have completely merged work and home responsibilities by starting my own law practice.  One morning I’m talking to a prospective client and the next I’m off to a mommy playdate.  The self-discipline required to focus on one task and get that task completed, rather than have the day flow like my stream of consciousness, is MUCH more challenging than I imaged.  It is a good challenge and I love it.

I read several of the business books mentioned in the article, such as Good to Great.  I never imaged applying those principles to my home but it makes sense in many ways.  Having a central, charismatic leader with a top-down approach doesn’t work in most start-ups so why would it work in my new family (ad)venture?  Having all members of the team buy into the team’s mission statement is as important for a functional business as it is for the functional family.  Weekly meeting and reviews should help employees and kids learn accountability.

The other day I was pondering ways to improve my relationship with my little guy (10 months old).  The thought of improving my relationship with my husband popped into my mind.  I briefly thought, “What does he have to do with it?”  That should have been a red flag but it still took me awhile to accept the idea that a commitment to my baby was also a commitment to my husband.  There is no “I” in TEAM.  Just like any other startup, we need to get the right people on the bus and empower them to do what they do best.  It’s also important to remember that a new baby is NEW and that it requires love, time and patience for the relationships to blossom into a full-fledged functioning family (your own Fortune 500 company).


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Tri Workout

Here is my slightly modified triathlon workout for this week.  I skipped week 3 and am following week 4 from The Original 13 Week Sprint Schedule since I feel like I can do a little more this week.  Looking forward to getting back in shape!  Tri races are a huge incentive for me to workout.  If you’re looking to find a race near you try Setup Events if you’re in the Southeast or the official Ironman webpage.  Happy training!

Monday 45 min bike

Tuesday Run 30 minutes

Wednesday Swim 25 minutes

Thursday Off

Friday Swim 20 / Bike 30 minutes

Sunday Off


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Morning Bars!

Or Monster Breakfast Bars.  Whatever you want to call them.  These have been a hit.  They are pretty addictive and you can vary the ingredients however you want.  Be creative!  You can use a Vitamix or a regular blender but the recipe originated from my Vitamix cookbook.  Happy baking!  Try not to scarf them down in one sitting!

morningbars

 

Topping:

1/2 cup butter, melted (or coconut oil or other oil but I love butter for baking!)

2 cups creamy peanut butter (or your own nutbutter of any flavor, maybe add a little tahini)

4 large eggs (not ostrich eggs, they won’t work – ;))

1 and 3/4 cups of firmly packed brown sugar (feel free to reduce or use other sweeteners like dates)

Oat mixture:

2 teaspoons of baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (in case you were thinking of putting the whole stick in)

3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Fruits:

6 cups or so of any dried fruit you can find or make with your dehydrator 

dried apricots, cherries, cranberries, raisins maybe – last time I used dried strawberries – yum!  – be creative

Optional:

Chocolate chips

Cinnamon chips (I can never find these in the store!)

Flaked coconut

Preheat oven at 350 and spray 13×9 baking pan with cooking spray; Place all Toppings in Vitamix and blend; In large mixing bowl stir Oat Mixture; Pour Topping mixture over Oat Mixture and mix well with wooden spoon (mixture is very thick); Stir in fruits/other; Spread in pan and bake for 20 to 22 minutes; Cool and cut; Pig out