Snow Sisters

I so look forward to January because of Sundance Ladies Day.  It truly is the highlight of my winter.  Today was the last day of the January Session and I will miss it.   I can definitely use more ski lessons before I ski as beautifully as I want to, so maybe I will come back in March (February is WAY too busy and my boss wants me back at work). But, this session included some of my favorite women AND the best instructor on the mountain! How do you top that?

There is just something about Sundance that seems tailor-made for women hanging out together.  As I sat at the bottom of Jake’s lift waiting for my daughter and her friends to finish skiing today (they had enough energy to do several additional runs after I was finished), I saw so many women skiing.  Friends who came up to enjoy the day together or moms with their kids.  Skiing seems like an aggressive sport that intimidates women, but the environment at Sundance is so laid back and inviting that it is the perfect place for us.  I have been to other resorts that remind me of a snow-covered Disneyland–way too many people, way too long to get to where you want to be, way too much distraction.  Sundance is calm, nurturing and natural.

This year, will be remembered as one of the best with several of my friends and my daughter’s friends getting on the slopes for the first time ever or in a long time.  Some of these women I only met on the mountain but they now are my Snow Sisters! We have stories to tell, experiences to remember and better skiing skills.

If you have ever thought about getting back into skiing or starting to ski, Sundance Ladies Day is the way to do it.  The supportive learning environment makes it easy to learn, the instructors are top-notch, and getting to know the other women is so dang fun.  Come be a Snow Sister with us! 20150127_111406

Think you Can’t? Think Again!

I love Sundance Ladies Day so much that I tell every woman I meet about it.  This year, I was joined by 9 other women and three girls (total of 13) who I cajoled and chatted and convinced to come with me.  It has been SO much fun! We have one class left, but I am celebrating today because today was great!

Ever since my first year skiing, I have been talking to my friend Shannon and telling her that she should come with me too.  This year started out about the same way with me telling her she should come and her saying probably next year.  BUT, something amazing happened.  Shannon brought her daughters to ski with Anna in Ladies Day and when she saw us, she changed her mind!  I actually did not believe she would show up for the next lesson.  But she did!

Along with Shannon, my neighbor Chandani agreed to ski this year too! Like Shannon, I thought Chandani would find some reason not to come. Chandani is from India where no one skis.  She had no snow clothes so she borrowed everything from me and headed up the mountain with me and Andrea.

It has been so fun to see two Never Evers ski.  It brings me back to my own experience 4 years ago when I was a Never Ever.  Listening to them talk about how they felt the first day and how hard it was (Shannon told me that she might never forgive me after her first day) to seeing them ski today and how happy they were to ski that they wanted to ski after Ladies Day.  So, we went up to Mid Mountain and I got a chance to film them after three lessons.

Check them out (and the girls).  Yes, it isn’t perfect skiing, but for 3 days on the mountain, it’s pretty darn good! It makes me realize what anyone can do.  Think you can’t ski?  Think Again!

So why are they doing so well?  The great instructors in the Sundance Ladies Day!  Steve was stellar at taking my friend Andrea from 0-100 last year (she is a rock star and was able to get to the back mountain in 4 lessons) and he’s taken Chandani and Shannon from Never Ever to being excited to ski and looking forward to more.   And Eleanor has only skied 4 times with Sundance Instructors.  Look how incredibly great she is doing too!

What about me?  I had a fabulous day working on my carving with Kipper and the ladies in my group.  I am a groomer girl and I loved today.  Perfect Bluebird and warm.  I appreciate so much that Kipper takes the time to talk to each woman in the group and see what her challenges are and help individually.  I have an issue with my legs that makes it difficult to bend as much as others.  Kipper modified what she was teaching me to fit my needs and helped me get better.  That is a great instructor!  Look how happy we all are!  LadiesDay3

So, if you think you can’t be up on the mountain skiing with your family or friends (or even alone in the beauty of nature), think again!  Look what you can do at Sundance Ladies Day!

 

Ski the Pow and the Clouds

20150113_092416 Last night, it snowed 23 inches at Sundance!  Look at the amazing view as we drove up the Sundance road.  It’s a winter wonderland. My 13 year old was so jealous that I was going skiing.

Unlike our typical Tuesdays where we have the mountain to ourselves, we had to share it with a lot of people suffering Powder Flu.  But, even with the extra people, we had a wonderful (but tough) time on the mountain.  Skiing powder is not a skill any of us have mastered and it is intimidating and tough when you are not used to it.  And by the time we got there, all the runs had been chopped up by the Powder Hounds who were lined up at 9am to get on the lift.

So, what we thought was going to be a day of fun in the snow turned into a day of pushing ourselves to learn some new skills.  But with Kipper as our guide, we embraced the challenge.  Ladies shuffled around a bit in the classes to the levels they felt comfortable with (or uncomfortable with as my friend Laura found out when she moved up to our class).  That’s not uncommon.  Sundance Ladies Day is focused on getting each woman in the right group and learning something that stretches her.  We were ALL stretched today by the conditions and the concepts.  But that is what it’s all about, right?

PowCloudsLet me say that skiing the choppy stuff is not my favorite–especially when you are skiing in fog and can’t see where you are going (and you hit a mogul made by someone when you think you are on a groomed run).  But today, we focused on being less stiff in our legs and allowing our lower body to go with the terrain and be light on our feet.  Easier said than done when you are terrified you will run into someone since you can’t see them in front of you.  But, Kipper made us feel at ease and gave us fabulous instructions on what to do.

So, even Laura who had not skied the Back Mountain EVER was able to get it.  Of course there was a lot of falling today, but the powder makes it so much easier when you do fall. On one run, Andrea fell 3 times in less than 3 minutes.  We just laughed and enjoyed ourselves (I should have gotten a picture but I was trying not to fall myself).

20150113_100253My Newbie Friends Chandani and Shannon had a great day falling too. That’s all a part of learning but is much easier when you fall on powder instead of packed snow.  Shannon has decided that she doesn’t hate me for bringing her and looks forward to our next two classes (last week, she was unsure if she wanted to be my friend anymore).  Chandani was so excited that she wanted to stay and ski longer.  Sadly, our kids had to get back to school so Shannon and I had to decline the offer.  Being 20 years older than Chandani also probably had something to do with it but I won’t tell her that if you don’t.  My legs are sore and I was glad that class ended when it did.

One of the best kept secrets at Sundance is that their instructors are led by Jerry Warren, an amazing ski instructor who literally wrote the book on how to ski.  Today, I got my own copy of the Home Base Ski Program he designed (and the one that all instructors at Sundance use).  It is simple and focused and gets you from where you are to where you want to be in skiing quickly.  Thanks Jerry for the manual and the one-on-one tips today.  It is a bonus to have you on the mountain checking to see that we are having fun while learning and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone.  My C Shape improved based on your tips!  And thanks Kipper for the Bearclaw pin!  Feels good to earn it!

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Decision Making Skills

One of the best skills you can teach your child is to problem solve for them self.  Whether they are 4 or 14, this skill will become one they use throughout their life. Julie Nelson shares 5 steps to help kids learn how to make decisions along with practical examples to help you see how to put these steps into practice.

Step 1: Define the problem. Context changes perception for each person. Be sure that both people agree or moving forward will be going in the wrong direction.

Step 2: Generate possible solutions. Let the child do this as much as possible so they feel empowered. Don’t shoot them down right way. Let them feel safe with their ideas. Offer some of your own. If they say, “I don’t know,” tell them that you’ll give you both time to think about it and come back.

Step 3 Evaluate possible solutions. “That doesn’t work for me” is a good way to phrase a bad idea. Make sure this ends up being a win-win for both of you.

Step 4: Implement the decision. Try it out. See how it works. Step 5: Evaluate. Get back together and see how the solution worked or is working.

Step 5: Evaluate. Get back together and see how the solution worked or is working.

Check out Julie’s website at http://aspoonfulofparenting.com/ where she shares many more tips. And check out her book Parenting with Spiritual Power.

2015 Day 1: Getting Back on The Mountain

AnNaThis year, I convinced several friends who haven’t skied for years (and decades) to get back into skiing.  If you haven’t noticed, I LOVE Ladies Day.  These women had skied with husbands and boyfriends and some with other women, but that was YEARS ago and they had never experienced the comradery of working on a skill with other women.  There isn’t a feeling like this.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my husband and my kids, but skiing in Ladies Day is my time to focus on me and what I can do and spend time with my friends while doing it. And besides, look at the INCREDIBLE view we have.

There is no competition and no frustration.  We all are working together to improve ourselves and we celebrate the successes of the women we ski with.  There really isn’t anything like it.  Today was no exception!  With my band of Merry Friends, we headed up to Sundance for a wonderful experience.  The day did not disappoint!

This year, I’m in Kipper’s class (my dream instructor) with my friend Andrea who learned to ski LAST year (this is my 4th year and she is in the same class–can you say someone is an over-achiever) along with Emily (I met her through her husband who bought skis from me) and my friend Lindsay (who had to postpone today because of a sick kiddo).  We met some other great ladies in our group and had a wonderful ski day.  It was a time to remember all those skills I have learned before and work on my form.  I was pleased that this was the first year, I don’t feel like the worst in my class.  Practice makes you better (not perfect).

One of the nice things about skiing with other women, is you can express how you feel.  All of us had some level of terror about being up on the mountain again. It is a safe place to express that fear and get support.  We all had things to work on and fears to overcome.  Since I have been up several times before Ladies Day, I was probably the most comfortable of the bunch.  That felt good because I could concentrate on having a good time while learning.

I also convinced my neighbor Chandani who has never skied before to ski with us.  She came today and started.  It was a bunny hill day for her but she is ready for another lesson! Seeing all of us having such a good time convinced my friend Shannon who was kind of on the fence to start too!  Since she was there dropping of her girls, she has decided to come on Thursday to catch up to Chandani!  Two Never Evers this year!  WHOOOO HOOOO!

Even though the snow was not perfect and there were a few rocks showing through, Ladies Day was fabulous and warm and wonderful!  I look forward to next week. If you are thinking about coming up, all I can say is that it is the best thing to do to help your skiing!

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The Psychology of Weight Loss

Does emotional eating sabotage your ability to enjoy a healthy weight and keep it off? Do you eat when you are bored? Depressed? Anxious? How about when experiencing too much stress or when you are feeling a need to reward yourself?  Chances are that your emotions are feeding your appetite for overeating and you are an emotional eater. We chat with Dr. Denise Wood, Doctor of Clinical Psychology and co-author of
Psyched to be Skinny.  We discuss how to identify your emotional eating patterns and what you can do to help stop emotional eating so you can achieve a healthy weight and keep it off for life.

Are you ready to change your relationship to food? Are you ready to have more control over your emotions and become happier and healthier? Are you ready to lose weight and keep it off? If you suffer from emotional eating you will find the help, support and answers you are looking for.

Dreams Come True in an Awesome Way

DallasHave a dream you want to realize?  Want to teach your kids to dream big? We talk with Dallas Clayton, author and dreamer whose book An Awesome World shows kids and adults how to dream big. Learn what it takes to make dreams come true and how Dallas is changing the world.

Check out this video about Dallas.  Dallas has a great book on Thankfulness and a great book on Love you should check out and share with your kids during Thanksgiving and around Valentine’s Day (or any time of the year).  There is even one for the adults.  Check them out!

Lily Mae BagsCheck out the Lilly Mae bags  The 20% discount code is Holiday 2014.  Lilly Mae is owned and run by Stay-at-Home Moms! Support moms everywhere in their dreams!

Thanksgiving and Christmas: Expressing Gratitude and Love

20141111_090326 We discuss ways to teach children gratitude and love this holiday season through small acts.  Starting in November and going in to December, these tips help teach kids how to focus on gratitude and family instead of on what your kids are “getting this Christmas.”

Starting in November:

  1. Start a Wall of Thanks or a Thankfulness Chain.  You can leave the Wall of Thanks up during after Thanksgiving and add to it as you go into the holidays.  Or, you can create a chain of thoughts of things you are thankful for.  This chain could be added to your Christmas Tree.  Let kids write as many things they are thankful for.
  2. Plan some acts of service for others.  Make it something your kids can participate in.  Maybe your elderly neighbors need some help with their leaves or there is a place for the homeless where you can bring some gently used clothes. Starting in November gives you a chance to start the holiday season off right.
  3. Contact a local shelter or crisis center and ask what they might need for kids and if they accept gently used items.  Help you kids decide which toys or stuffed animals they can part with.  Help them clean the toys and prepare them for drop off.

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Getting A Better Answer to “How Was School Today”

We ask our kids “How was school today?” and hear “Fine.” End of discussion.  Why do we ask it then every day hoping for more?  Because we want to connect with our kids.  Our intention is right, but the question is wrong.  We discuss ways to ask your kids about their day at school without asking the wrong question that gets no response.  The idea came from a post by Liz at Simple Simon and Company.  Check out their two lists of questions to ask your children instead of “How Was School Today?”

Teens and Respect

What do you do when your teen treats you with disrespect?  How do you deal with it when your simple request is responded to with venom?  Julie Nelson shares very practical tips on how to help your child navigate the hormonal horrors of the teen years that often set them off.

Use the following phrases:

  • Say Yes with a No:  Yes you can go out as soon as you . . .
  • I noticed that . . .
  • It appears that . .
  • That doesn’t work for me . . .

A few more tips:

  • Often kids need to blow off steam so using physical activities to help them get back in balance often helps.
  • Use Parallel Talk: this is when you do something while talking. This could include taking a walk, playing basketball, crafting, etc.  Anything that gives you time together and a chance to talk where you don’t have to look right at each other.
  • Past Performance Predicts Present Privileges: If your kids know that what they have done in the past helps determine what they will be able to do in the future, that will help them know what is coming
  • Loosen the reigns as much as you can.  The teen years are a time to give them a chance to experience more freedom and learn how to use it wisely.
  • Know that mistakes will be made by both you and your child so be prepared to have do-overs.

Check out Julie’s website at http://aspoonfulofparenting.com/ where she shares many more tips. And check out her book Parenting with Spiritual Power.

Free 12 Week Course: Fitness for the New Year

Shelly Zumba picsmallAre you ready to start on the first week of this super simple, totally doable, powerful plan to give your life a kick in the health? Check it out.

This is Shelly’s FREE and EASY Plan. She created it because she has seen people struggle with where to start for too long.  Many people don’t know where to start or aren’t even aware of what habits are unhealthy. She wants to empower you with simple, practical guidelines that will set you in a great direction.  The goal is to be in control of your health by the New Year but you can do this any time. This isn’t a “diet” but a way to establish the habits you need to get yourself on track to healthy living.

Let’s do together!

Shelly Parcell

shelly.zumbafitness@gmail.com
www.zumbaspot.com

School Social Skills

We expect our children to practice their handwriting, their piano, and their jump shot to get good at them but we don’t often think that they have to learn and practice social skills to be successful at school.  One blogger starts the conversation on what social skills we need to teach our kids and we continue the conversation.

Here is her list to get the conversation started:

  1. Make eye contact, smile and say hi.
  2. Learn to converse: don’t monopolize, ask questions, pay attention, listen (be a reporter).
  3. Learn people’s names.
  4. Include everyone.
  5. Be kind.

What do you think and what ways have you found to teach these skills to your children?

Get Your Spook On: Halloween Preparations

20141003_143858  What costumes do your kids want? How are you going to decorate (or not) for the season?  Are you in charge of games at the school party? What about some fun food ideas?  We cover these topics and more with some excellent ideas to help you get your Spook On!

Some Decorating Tips

  • If you can’t decorate a lot, choose one area to decorate and put it all in that one place.
    • Your front door is a great place to decorate because many people come there (see the photo of Nancy’s front door above)
    • Choose one Room to decorate (Nancy’s living room gets transformed with a Harry Potter Theme–check out the book titles and the magazines–great printables from online)
  • Choose a theme and a style
    • The key is to have some cohesive look (cutesy or scary, Harry Potter look or Fall Décor, witches or scarecrows)
    • Find a color palate and stick with it. Spray paint can be a life-saver20141006_11583820141006_11592620141006_115758
    • Black and Orange are not the only colors. Try using lime green or turquoise to spice it up. Silver and white work too to give a ghostly feel.20141006_115810
  • Use what you have—don’t buy new things
    • Outside lanterns for summer become spooky lanterns
    • Planters/Urns can be used to stage pumpkins or Witches Legs
    • Trimmed trees or bushes can become backdrops for both Fall and Halloween scenes
    • Vases and jars can become apothecary jars
    • Family silver and old photos of relatives add that old feeling
  • Candles add ambiance
  • Check out a past podcast and photos
  • Paper can be your cheap friend for a great impact (Shelly’s silhouette)
  • More is More—one bat won’t cut it. You need a swarm for impact.
  • Check out the perfect 20141006_120000way to cut out a pumpkin for cleaning and lighting  http://makezine.com/2009/10/23/a-better-20141006_115903way-to-slice-a-pumpkin/

Ideas for School Games

  • Eyeballs—have you played Kerplunk? Do this at school with eyeballs (ping pong balls painted)
  • Eyeball relay with eyeballs and spoons where they have to carry the eyeball through a course and drop it in the cup.
  • RENAME a game Shrinking Island (like Musical Chairs)
  • Witches Stew (kids have to make a stew by picking up pieces of paper with a straw and suction to get them in to their stew—the first one wins) Print pictures of Halloween ingredients for the stew from the Internet and

Costume Ideas

  • Start early
  • Think of something easily recognizable but not often repeated
  • If on a budget, think of something that uses what you already have (Clothing, etc)

Food Ideas

  • Use a toothpick to drag out legs from melted chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies   http://jensfavoritecookies.com/2013/10/19/spider-cookies-2/  or go to http://iambaker.net/spider-chocolate-chip-cookies/
  • Inside out Caramel Apples–slice the apple in half, core out the seeds and a bit more flesh, pour the caramel in the center and let set up before slicing.
  • Turn Cuties (small oranges) into pumpkins (with or without the peel).  With the peel–draw faces on the peel.  Without the peel–stick a green candy coming out the top like a pumpkin stem.

How to Get the Witch Leg Look

1410794201268Use what you have around the house. I used one pool noodle cut in half, halloween tights, old boots, and some stuffing and bubble wrap to get the shape of thighs.

Once you get the legs, you can attach them to your pot.  I used two dowels (actually two checkered flags on wooden sticks) to give the legs some stability. Then, I attached the shoes to the legs using rubber bands that I covered with cute ribbon (see the photo at the top).

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Cross Country Move

Back after a summer of craziness, cancer and a cross-country move!  Stacey shares tips on how to make the best of moving kids–especially kids in school–to a new place. How can you prepare your family to make the move successfully?  Listen and learn from a woman with nine-yes-nine children ranging in age from college to kindergarten.

Here are some tips for moving with kids/teens:

  1. Do lots of research. Uprooting kids (especially teens) is very traumatic for them, so make SURE it’s the best move for your family.
  2. Once you decide, don’t look back. Remember your old home fondly, but look forward with hope, speak with optimism.
  3. Find out what your new area is famous for (best fish, biggest clock tower? Special museums? Pumpkin patch, theater, etc.) and explore that with your family.
  4. Go onto a family history website to find out if you have ancestors who may have lived anywhere near your new place. Visit wherever they came from and feel connected.
  5. Keep family traditions going (bedtime stories, birthday dinners, holiday rituals) Keep some furniture and decor the same to provide a bridge during the transition time.
  6. Find a local congregation of your church and get connected there.
  7. Volunteer at schools, network in the community. Don’t wait for an invitation.
  8. Take treats to your new neighbors with a card introducing your family. It will break the ice and let them know you’re open for friendship.
  9. Communicate daily with your kids. Through notes on pillows, texts, emails, phone calls or talks in the car. Just communicate. They will be going through some of the hardest days of their lives. Keep a pulse on how they are doing. Tell them when you feel homesick too. Be a friend and a support. Let them talk safely about their loss of old friends, old school, etc.
  10. Stay connected with family and friends through Facebook, email, etc. but never say negative things about your new home. Your kids will take their cues from you. If you transition well, chances are, they will too. Soon, you’ll realize that home is simply where the heart is. :)

Upcoming Shows

We have several shows we are working on so please stay tuned (or let iTunes automatically download us when we post):

  • Cross-country Move: How to handle it with kids
  • Halloween Ideas to Get your Spook On: Costumes, Decor, Food, and more
  • So How Was School: Better Questions to get the goods on what happened during the school day
  • School Social Skills: What kids need to Learn to Succeed in the classroom
  • Best Baby Gifts Ever: What really is useful for new moms
  • Claire Lerner: Effects of Screen Time–the Definitive Study
  • Problem Solving with Kids
  • Homeroom Hero: Volunteering at the School

Thanks for your patience. These shows are worth the wait!