Five Senses Monday

It’s been a few weeks since my last Five Senses Monday, so I thought I’d kick off the week with a little reflection of the past few days.  I’d like to call this the “Welcome Summer Edition” because, for better or worse, it has arrived…

Hearing. The continuous humming of air conditioners, day and night.

Seeing. A mommy mourning dove sitting in her nest with her newly hatched nestlings. Our side yard fence has an overhanging tree from the neighboring yard that provides a perfect little oasis for nesting doves. It’s fun to watch for eggs and babies over the course of a month.

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Photo by T

Feeling. Hot. We’ve had a great introduction to summer this year with below average temperatures and some unusual rain fall for June. However, the mercury is rising well beyond my level of comfort now and I’m reminded again of why I need to be a snowbird.

Tasting. Iced tea. Lots of iced tea.

Smelling. Heat. Yes, there’s a smell of early summer in Arizona and it’s heat mixed with a little dust.  I certainly wouldn’t make a candle out of it or bottle it up because, well, it stinks.  June is right between spring blooms and summer monsoons, two of my favorite smells, so right now, it just stinks.

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True Colors

When we first signed up for dance class, I wasn’t quite sure how it would go. What I knew at the time was that I lived with a little girl who loved to dance around the house all the time in various costumes, to various music whether it was on iTunes or in her head. I also knew the kid had rhythm and some moves of her own, but didn’t always like sharing them with others. Oftentimes she would share them with daddy and I, other times I became a peeping-mom around corners. Once classes started, she found her own groove. She didn’t know any of the other girls in class, but it didn’t matter. Her focus on the instructor and routine were impressive each week for 17 weeks.  When it came time to commit to the recital, I still wasn’t quite sure she’d make it to the stage, but we went through with it and hoped for the best.

Well, the best case scenario is exactly what happened.  She performed with very little anxiety, she stayed focused and had a great time.  When I asked her if she wanted to continue dance in the fall, she didn’t hesitate to say “yes!”  I’m glad she has found an outlet for her talents – even if it does come with a little more sass than this mama cares to witness sometimes.

We were unable to get photos or video during the recital, but here are some of T’s photos during the rehearsal.  The Ballet dance was to Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”, and the Tap dance was to The Go-Go’s “We’ve Got the Beat”.

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A Tea Party

This year, we rang in the big ‘5’ with girlfriends and a spot of tea at a local English tea room. The room was full of many flowers and frills and the girls were in heaven. I will admit I was a little nervous with six girls and 12 hands, arms and elbows around that many porcelain china cups and saucers, but not a one was broken or spilled.  Lemonade, hot cocoa, finger sandwiches, cookies and fruit were enjoyed amongst preschool chit-chat, laughter, boas and hats. Most importantly, the girls endured over an hour of dining and were complimented by the owner on how well behaved each of them were. It left us moms feeling quite proud – and a little more relaxed in the end.  It was a low-key party that allowed the venue and 5-year-old camaraderie to provide the entertainment.

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The invitation

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Each girl received a boa, hat and tea cup/saucer to take home.

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Tuesday Tea

Oolong Tea. This tea has been touted as an antioxidant that helps with weight loss, promoting heart health and reducing high blood pressure and treating skin disorders. I just really love its nutty, no frills flavor. I prefer to drink it after lunch as it helps settle my stomach and keeps the digestive tract moving. I bought the Triple Leaf brand at Sprouts.

eventpic_576CLEAN EATING

With the onset of warm weather, the presence of more fruits and vegetables in the markets and the pure and simple need to put food into my body that I can pronounce, I’m on a mission to make and eat more foods that are in their most natural state. We eat pretty well in my house, but there’s always room for improvement.  Ok, so I may have to steam my broccoli versus eating it raw because, well, that just keeps me from dipping it in dressing I don’t need. I figure as long as I’m not adding it to a cheesy casserole, I’m a giant step ahead.

You may remember I’ve been here before back when I did the summer real food challenge. I introduced my family to some great recipes we still eat to this day.  One of the best things I learned then, and even now, is I don’t have to slave in the kitchen to eat this way.  And trust me, if I had to, I wouldn’t do it.  Every Friday or Saturday, I plan our meals for the following week.  I go to the store and load my fridge with the good stuff – lots of green, red, orange and yellow – and most of our dinners consist of simple eats like a veggie, pita and hummus plate or quinoa salad with apple slices.  I like to eat light at night and it’s a win-win for me because I avoid the exhaustive meal prep, I eat right and I leave the table feeling satisfied but not full. I really hate that full feeling, don’t you?  It’s just not necessary and it makes me feel bad and a tad bit grumpy.

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Tonight we had the Chopped salad with cilantro lime dressing from Damn Delicious. The one thing I changed is I replaced the yogurt in the dressing with half an avocado.  It was still creamy and, yes, damn delicious.  I will certainly make this again.

Do you have any favorite “clean eating” websites?  If so, please share! 

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Five Senses Monday

On Saturday, we took a day trip to Sedona.  Here’s how one day in this beautiful place filled my senses.

Hearing. The sweet sounds of an acoustic guitar while lounging out on the patio at The Enchantment Resort.

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Tasting. A glass of red wine sangria while lounging on the said patio and listening to the said musician.

Seeing. A 360 degree view of these red beauties while watching a mix of sun and developing storm clouds create a stunning light dance on them.  A great backdrop for a little game of croquet.

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Smelling. Fresh air and a newly built fire as the sun goes down along with the warm day’s temperatures.

Feeling. Privileged to have such beauty close to home. It makes those day trips easily obtainable when the need to get out of town seems so great.

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Please feel free to join in.  You can also visit No Apathy Allowed for Five Senses Friday.

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Tuesday Tea

Pu-erh Tea. A very mild, earthy tea from the Yunnan province of China, best known for improving mental alertness and sharp thinking. It is also used for reducing bad cholesterol and assisting in weight loss. I drink two cups in the morning after breakfast.

eventpic_576A few months ago, I had the privilege of going through Franklin Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People training at work. It was a very dynamic and engaging two-day course that has continued to challenge me (in a good way) several weeks later. In Habit #2 – Begin with the End in Mind – they ask you to write your own personal mission statement. A statement that focuses on what you want to be and do; your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life. It challenges you to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination.  

While I’m not yet ready to divulge my destination goal, when writing my mission statement, words like simplicity, mindfulness, meditative, present and contentment dominated my thoughts, and my pencil, while I quickly scrawled out my life in the allotted five minutes. In my mind, these things – these frames of mind – are all interconnected and don’t exist without the other, or at least not at their full potential. I strive for simplicity so I can de-clutter my space and my mind, and make more room for the things that, ultimately, give me contentment and peace. Yes, I am still a novice at this, albeit a spirited one!

My morning walks and meditation have resumed and, oh, how I love this one little hour in the day. I use my walking time to think about what I want to accomplish in the next 15 hours towards my mission, and the meditation time to completely close my mind and just focus on my breathing. I know life is going to get noisy once I hop in the shower, so that time gives me the peace I need to get going. Pair it with a little tea, and I’m off to a great start.

I would like to use this space on Tuesday’s to continue on this adventure, and I would be delighted if you’d join me. What are some key words or phrases in your personal mission statement? 

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Friday Favorites

Oh my, this week brought some great moments and discoveries, and I thought I would share them here with you on this Friday.

Favorite Moments: (1) Having an impromptu afterwork margarita at the beautiful Four Seasons Scottsdale. (2) Games, books, coloring and snacks in a pop-up play tent with my daughter.

10984609_10206522574126275_9215590507756367101_n _DSC3908Favorite Healthy Snack: Snapea Crisps. I can’t seem to put these down once I put one in my mouth. We just go for the lightly salted flavor. Delicious, healthy and portable. You can see in the above photo they are great for snacking in compact tents, too.

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Favorite Baked Good: Fresh Strawberry Muffins from Real Mom Kitchen. We made these last night and shared one as an after-dinner treat, and again for breakfast this morning. They are fluffy and tart from the strawberries, but sweet from the cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top.

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Favorite Dinner Idea: Cauliflower pizza crust. I must try this in this next few days. I really like cauliflower rice and this looks right up my alley with the mozzarella cheese, artichokes, sundried tomatoes and olives.

Favorite Blog Post: 10 Life-Affirming Reasons to Live a Simple Life over at Slow Your HomeThis wasn’t so much about the information as it was about the timing of it.  May is usually a very busy month for me with birthdays, visitors and an annual work banquet, and this year we’re adding our first dance recital to the list.  Simplicity is hard to come by during these times, but I need to strive for it because I don’t want to lose focus on my priorities.  Decluttering and meditation are on the top of my list, so stay tuned for further musings on these.

What are your favorite things this week?

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