Prepping for Paradise

Look for some fun info on Nancy’s trip to Hawaii.  Just a few notes:

  • I am trying desperately to get prepared to trying to surf.  Check out the latest YouTube lesson I’m watching constantly
  • If you are thinking about going to Paradise, think about renting a house.  Not any more expensive and much more room.
  • Think about areas not trafficked by tourists.  We are heading to the North Shore.
  • Keep ages and needs in mind when planning.  This is my mom’s 80th birthday and she needs shade at the beach.  We are trying this at the beach.
  • Thing outside the timeframe.  We found that checking schedules tells you a lot about when to go and when not to go.  Some places may be closed on certain days and others may be better to visit at low tourist times.  We shall see and report back.

Can’t wait to share pictures and more!

Mothering Ourselves on Mother’s Day

Dr. Andie discusses the actual roots of Mother’s Day and how we can recapture its essence and have a wonderful day ourselves by taking care of ourselves.  Dr. Andie is the author of More than Saying I Love You.  This show is just what you need to make Mother’s Day great for yourself.

This book is so good, we had to post this podcast again! Enjoy and Happy Mother’s Day

Breaking the Good Mom Myth

Alyson Schafer, psychotherapist and parenting expert, discusses the Good Mom Myth and how we can break it and learn what we really need to do as moms.

Alyson is author of Breaking the Good Mom Myth and Honey I Wrecked the Kids as well as the host of a popular parenting show in Canada.  Check out her site at http://www.alyson.ca/

We found very good advice in Breaking the Good Mom Myth and recommend this book to mothers!  You can find her on Facebook and Twitter too!

(Note: this is a re-run of a former podcast)

Under Pressure: Cooking with a Pressure Cooker

Nancy explains how the pressure cooker has changed the way she cooks dinner and how it helps her get great meals to the table while still driving kids to music and taekwondo lessons.  Learn about the new electric pressure cookers and how they can make dinner prep easier and faster.

Nancy likes the Cuisinart electric pressure cooker available at Costco.

Nancy’s EASY Frozen Chicken Dinner

Ingredients:
frozen chicken thighs (you can do breasts if you prefer)
1 cup Kirkland Organic Salsa from Costco
1/2 cup water

Place frozen chicken thighs in pressure cooker, then add water and top with Kirkland Organic Salsa. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.  You can use the quick release method.  Remove the chicken and keep warm.

To make the pan sauce, set the pressure cooker to brown and watch the sauce until it reduces.  Stir occasionally.  This should take 5-7 minutes and makes a healthy and delicious sauce.  If desired, you can add sliced zucchini to make the sauce into a side dish.

 

NOTE: Still Nancy’s favorite fast meal machine.  Dinner Sunday night and the kids rave about it still–5 years later.

Mama Got Her Mojo Back

January 2017 has been an out-of-the-comfort-zone Ladies Day season. Deep powder, ice, high winds snow storms, white-knuckle driving. We joke that If it is Thursday and if it is Ladies Day, there must be a storm. Today was supposed to be sunny but I woke to 2 inches of snow to shovel at my house.  Four for Four.

I had begun to doubt my skiing abilities even wondering if I lost my mojo after a skiing accident last season. I spent this week working on my motivation doing soul searching and asking friends to suggest motivational videos to watch, hoping to get inspired.  My concerns even worked their way into a deeply spiritual conversation with my boss about what we are able to do with God’s help.  I don’t even know my boss’s religious affiliation and never expected such a conversation by Skype while listening to an online webinar.  It was kind of surreal.

But God moves in mysterious ways. And something in that conversation clicked inside of me.  God uses things that are tough to do to teach us that we can move beyond our limits.  When we trust in Him and ourselves, we are unstoppable. I felt God telling me, “Get out of your own way.  You got this one.  You are powerful.” I began to see a way back to my mojo.

So I looked forward to today with new hope,  encouraged by my recent insights into my potential inner strength.  When I woke to 2 inches of new snow, I bucked up my courage, thanked myself for buying a 4×4 and headed out with the girls.  I made sure my chick-power songs were playing: Unstoppable, Woman Up, Fight Song, you know the types of songs.

But, when Sadie said her goal was to get us skiing a Black Diamond today, I was a bit overwhelmed. She sensed my concerns and asked what I felt like I wanted to do.  I wanted to have a confidence day—I wanted to get back my mojo.  She agreed and said we’d work on that.

Conditions were not perfect.  We still could not see the valley from the top and the winds whipped while the snow fell. But something clicked.  I could feel it.  I could feel my mojo was back.  This was not a bluebird-groomer day but it was a kick-butt day with my snow sisters.  We skied with confidence and worked on getting ourselves in better form.   I felt so happy and exhilarated!

To top off a great day, Sadie suggested we take a black diamond on our way back to the base.  After having an amazing day of confidence, I worried that this would end badly.  The run was connected to a run where I had taken a huge fall my second year (almost ending with me going off a cliff).  But with my Snow Sisters, I wasn’t going to say no.

It was definitely not the most beautiful run I have ever taken. I fell twice in the chopped-up powder, but I made it in one piece.  Being the last one of the group, I was cheered at the bottom by my friends.  They encouraged me to take the chance even when the run was incredibly scary and steep.

To celebrate conquering the black, we synchro skied all the way down to the base. We must have been a site.  Esther Williams on snow (It was Sadie’s dream).

So, the moral is you are going to get knocked down in life.  Conditions are not going to be sunshine and rainbows every day.  You are going to face things that scare the absolute crap out of you.  That’s OK.  You’ve got this.  If you lost your mojo, it’s not the end.  Don’t quit.  Maybe you will get your inspiration from a middle-aged bald guy chatting with you via Skype when you are supposed to be paying attention to work, but take your inspiration where it comes.

My mojo is back! And Ladies Day, I am coming for you in February—even if you are snowy every week.  I got this!  Come ski with me!

#sundance #sundanceladiesday #chicksonsticks

Amanda shares skiing with her daughter!

 

 

 

Melissa shares skiing with her son
Neighbors skiing together!

Sticks Where the Sun Don’t Shine

It’s Thursday.  It’s Ladies Day. So, it’s snowing at Sundance. We can’t catch a tiny patch of blue sky on a Thursday this season.  The sun shines most other days. As we line up for class, we all joke that it’s Thursday so another monumental storm has to hit the mountain.  Today is slated for 4-7 more inches.  I am thinking of renaming Chicks on Sticks to Sticks Where the Sun Don’t Shine.  

But, it’s all good.  Why?  Because Snow Sisters can do anything.

It’s snowing sideways. I never would have gone up the mountain today without my clan and our fearless leader. Sadie looks like she is 19 (btw: she has 19-year old twins).  But somehow when she says, “We’ve got this,” I believe her.  She’s one of us—a mom with the same life stressors and challenges, a mom with other things to do, a mom who knows how to conquer her fears.  She’s a woman who has done what we want to do.  So, we put our faith in Sadie and head up to the Back Mountain through the powder I respect now, but am not sure I want a long-term relationship with.   Remember, Nancy, it is just snow.

Was it a glorious ski day?  No and Yes.  I am still a groomer girl at heart so being pelted with snow isn’t my first choice. I long for the sun and pristine conditions.  On the other hand, this season has been all about challenging myself and bonding with my Snow Sisters.  Nothing like pelting snow to get four women on a lift to get closer.

Take a look at us.  We are standing at the top of the mountain at the point that usually has an amazing view of the Valley below.  Nothing like that today.  BTW: Sadie is the one in Red and Black–the right colors since we keep losing her in the low visibility.

Can you see the Valley?

So, I remind myself that I want to be an active verb. I heard this phrase when I was a teen.  Hypatia, a female character in George Bernard Shaw’s play Misalliance says: “I don’t want to be good; and I don’t want to be bad: I just don’t want to be bothered about either good or bad: I want to be an active verb.”

To which her male counterpart, Lord Summerhays, retorts: “An active verb? Oh, I see. An active verb signifies to be, to do or to suffer.”

Hypatia answers: “Just so; how clever of you! I want to be; I want to do; and I’m game to suffer if it costs that. But stick here doing nothing but being good and nice and ladylike I simply won’t.”

Stick here doing nothing, I simply won’t.  I am going to put my Sticks where the Sun Don’t Shine (Sundance on Thursdays) and be an active verb!  Remember, Nancy, it’s just snow. OK, a lot of snow.  But, it’s just snow. 

P.S  Look at this totally awesome Sundance Swag! Got to love the retro hats.  They were supposed to be for me, but they got absconded the minute I came in the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.P.S. If this post reminds you of the post I wrote about my daughter and wanting her to be an active verb, you are right—it is repetitive.  I guess it has been on my mind.  If you haven’t read it, here it is.

 

 

Chickadees on Sticks

My mom was one of those women who did not sweat, she glowed. And she never seemed to do that even in 114-degree heat in Las Vegas. So, she never really pushed me into athletics. It wasn’t the lady-like thing and I wasn’t naturally driven to sports. The idea of running appealed to me about as much as getting my teeth drilled at the dentist’s office. I did play a few team sports with my church and I did take a few dance classes (very lady-like). But most of my extracurricular activities were focused on music or theater. I never really saw myself as the athletic type

I didn’t want the same for my daughter. I wanted her to experience the world in all its glory. I wanted her to be an active verb, as George Bernard Shaw said. I especially wanted my daughter to feel the empowerment of her body in action.

Lessons at Sundance have been an integral part of my daughter’s active life. She sees herself as someone who has physical prowess and power. She is active all year around. She participates in a sport that takes guts as well as physical training. She feels her body responding to the challenge. She is an active verb.

But it has done more than get her active—it gets her out of her comfort zone. She feels the aggressive stance needed for skiing and that translates into her everyday life. She can face challenges the way she faces skiing down a black diamond.

It also gives her a chance to bond with other girls who are skiing. She and her best friend take lessons during ski season and it has been a great experience to ski together. Sometimes, I take a group of girls to ski together and they have such a fun time bonding and enjoying the challenge. There is no caddy conversation, no back-biting. The time is filled with encouragement for each other and challenge for each person.

I am lucky enough to be able to take my daughter out of school and have her in ski school during the Sundance Ladies Day that I participate in. Ski lessons are a very educational experience and worth the days she misses at school. We make sure she keeps up with her assignments and tests. But this makes her a more well-rounded person.

Last week, the girls spontaneously made up a song about their wonderful day skiing powder. Take a listen. They are amazingly cute. They are chickadees on sticks!

 

Float Not Carve

There are actually skis somewhere under there

This season, Sundance Resort has been blessed with crazy amounts of snow.  Every day, it seems that there is another 6-10 inches of powder.  For a self-professed Groomer Girl, this is a challenge I wasn’t sure I was ready to face.

But, you can’t disappoint the ladies.  So, I put on my big girl snow pants, braved the nasty roads, thanked myself for buying a 4×4 and headed up the mountain. As a girl who grew up in Las Vegas, weather and road conditions like yesterday can really put the fear of God in me.  A personal triumph even before I got to the resort.

We look nervous

When we gathered for class, I could see the fear in my snow sisters’ eyes. Those of us in the intermediate groups (there are 4 groups this time) were visibly worried.  Most of us ski only on Bluebird Days and pristine conditions and leave the resort at the smallest hint of a challenge.  Only the advanced black diamond ladies group was excited about the powder.  But, since we were all there together under the watchful eyes of amazing instructors, we took the plunge (literally) into the powder.

Powder is different than groomed snow.  You can’t dig in like you do on packed conditions.  You have to float on top of the snow.  Everything I have learned is counter-intuitive to powder skiing.  It’s a good metaphor for life: when the conditions are right, sometimes you just need to float, not carve.  Go with the flow, work with the snow.  Don’t get too aggressive and let the snow guide you.  For a control freak, that’s hard.   

Of course, I fell (doesn’t hurt in powder) when I tried to control the snow and carve.  Then I had to try to get a ski back on (impossible in powder) while my class watched me from 100 yards down the mountain.  Of course, my thighs burn today because I didn’t stay in Home Base well enough (a term from Sundance’s award-winning ski program).  Of course, I had a hard time getting over my need to control. But, I am proud I got out of my comfort zone and tried something I never would have on my own.

Being with other women really motivates you to try something new—try something that makes you stretch.  And that is the only way to make progress and learn.  Sometimes floating teaches you more than you expected. Our instructor, Sadie, is a mom like us with kids ranging from 19 to 13.  She understands us and pushes us just enough where we are learning but not endangering ourselves.  We trust her and that is what we need to conqueror our fears and try something new.

Lisa after 25 years! She looks great!

Yesterday, I experienced a different kind of floating.  Each Ladies Day session, I am amazed at the women I meet and how much our lives mirror each other’s.  The group is very cohesive and we become instant friends.  We see friends from past years who float back into our lives even if only for a few weeks. I saw Rachel from Australia yesterday—she’s in the black diamond group now.  I saw my friend Amanda with her daughter.  I saw other ladies that I don’t remember their names but we are Snow Sisters so who cares.

But yesterday was special.  I met a woman named Lisa who I had met 25 years ago in Moscow, Russia.  How amazing is that? To sit on a lift and discuss your life only to find that you had known each other in another time, another, country, another hair color. We floated back into each other’s lives after so many years. In Moscow, we shared living in a country in a time of great transition in moving from Communism to a free market Socialism.  And now we share a transition that is maybe not as radical, but sure feels like it:  moving from groomer girls to powder princesses (almost).

To all you ladies who are hesitant to ski powder or get back on skis after your child-bearing hiatus, I say “Come Join the Snow Sisters!  Be a Chick on Sticks!  Be a Groomer Girl or a Powder Princess!” The mountain is your oyster.  Sundance is the place.  Ladies Day is the way.  Can you tell I love it?

Float not Carve, Float not Carve. The mantra for the week!

#sundanceresort #sundanceladiesday #chicksonsticks

Why Did I NOT Do Squats?

Today was day one of Ladies Day 2017 at Sundance Resort.  The drive up was a bit hairy as it snowed all night but at least half of the ladies scheduled for Ladies Day made it.  We had a huge group!  Of course, we were divided by ability but since today was the first day I have skied, I know my form was not good.  Oh Well.   

Sundance has been blessed by the snow gods for the past few days and has a 60 inch base with 22 inches of new powder since yesterday.  I am NOT a powder skier yet.  I freak out when I can’t see my skis and I hate skiing through the messed up crud left behind by the guys who love it.

But, today, that was the lay of the land (or the mountain).  So, I embraced it.  And I did fine.  So did the six other women in my group.  A couple of them were from my group last year (Hi Stephanie and Kara!) and I made four new friends while we plunged ourselves into the powder! As always, we had an excellent instructor–Hi Sadie!

As I talked to the ladies I was skiing with, I was struck (as I always am–you think I would get used to this) by how similar our stories are.  These women have either learned to ski recently to be with their kids or are returning to skiing after their kids are all in the able-to-ski age range.  April came back to skiing after her youngest turned 10 (6 kids, ladies).  She did not want to be the only one left home!  I get that.  It is why I started skiing too.

There really isn’t anything like skiing with women.  Don’t tell my kids, but I actually prefer it because there is no competition and we all have the same fears and issues–things like worrying about getting off the lift or being afraid to try the powder (yea that was me).  But doing it together helps.  We support each other and make it OK to be nervous.  No male intimidation factor.  And besides, instead of saying that we need to point our belt buckle down the mountain to remember to keep our upper body still, we can say “point your boobs down the mountain” and laugh about it.  Those are some good friends and some good times.

But I have to ask myself: What Were You Thinking?  Six weeks ago, I thought I should start doing some more lower leg work.  And did I do it?  No.  I got a raging cold and laid around.  It took everything in me to drag myself through two birthdays, Thanksgiving, and family visiting so I ignored the voice telling me I would be sore on that first day.  Today, I paid the price.  Ouch!  My quads burn (which means I did not ski into my boot–I can hear Sadie in my head telling me that my quads will burn if I sit back too far on the skis).  And . . .I got a cramp in my buttocks.  No joke.  I am sure you feel sorry for me now!

So for a first day with fresh powder, weak quads and first-time fears, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I can see squats in my future this week AFTER I can walk again.

Social Media and College Applications

Admissions offices are now checking your child’s social media accounts when they apply for college.  But before you think of this as a negative, it can actually be a positive.  Right now is the time to create your child’s brand.

According to TeenSafe:
What might be surprising is that you don’t have to rush online to start scrubbing your teenager’s Instagram feed, lest colleges find a trove of pictorial tomfoolery. “The fact is, colleges and employers simply don’t care if they find pictures of you having fun (or too much fun) on the Internet,” say the social media consultants at Social Assurity. “But, increasingly, they do care that the claims on your application reflect the realities of who you truly are.”

Melissa Davis is the CEO of GoEnnounce, which teaches students in grades 7 to 12 the importance of creating a positive digital footprint for college readiness. “Admissions aren’t searching strictly to police students, they are also searching for things that validate and confirm what a student is putting on a college application,” she says.

Make sure that your child’s social media feed includes activities that back up what they put on their admissions form.  And use that space to sell them as a great candidate.

Check out the article on TeenSafe and our discussion for more details.

 

Henry in Australia

Shelly discusses what it was like for Henry to move to Australia as a two-year old.  During this important time in his life, this change could be either very helpful or detrimental.  Shelly discusses how she managed the change to make it a positive experience for him.  For moms in any situation where there is big change, she shares what worked and how she kept the bond with people back home alive.

Cousins

In our society, we underestimate the power cousins have in our children’s life.  The power could come from their presence or their absence.  If you are lucky enough to have great cousin relationships for your children, there are some amazing benefits.  If your children do not have a close relationship with their cousins, we discuss how to create one and why it could be critical for your children in the future.

One Mom Builds Playground for All Abilities

We have been busy getting kids in to school, coming back from Australia, AND building an all-abilities playground for our friend Presley Gleason.

Check out some of the photos.  And we promise we will post new shows ASAP.

They show the power of 1 mom to make a difference in the world.

day-1
Day 1

 

 

 

 

day-2
Day 2
day-6
Day 5
plaground-sign
Day 7
playground-finish-3
Day 7
nancy-built-2
Nancy and Shelly Day 7

Shelly Twelve Months to Live

We are so excited to have Shelly back from Australia.  She spent the last 12 months living down under.  Here how her experience changed her family and tips for every family–even those not as fortunate to have twelve months to live in Australia.

Mom Champions

Katherine discusses her experience with her daughter who has autism and how she has become her daughter’s champion.  Even if your child is healthy, you are your child’s champion.  We discuss neuro-medical options and how parents keep searching for the right answers when they have a child with special needs.

Making History Come Alive

When traveling in your state, the nation, or the world, you can make history come alive for your kids so that when they study history in school.  Learn the tips to help your kids connect with the places you are seeing and the history. It doesn’t matter where you are at, you can create connections that help your child understand the world.

TIP:  Prep for the trip by having family night discussions that explain where you are going and the history of the place. 

From Nancy’s Recent Trip, here are the historical places she and her kids visited and learned from:

  • Churchill War Rooms gave us an incredible opportunity to see where Winston Churchill ran the British experience in WWII. The incredible Winston Churchill and his example was a great example for my kids. 
  • Greenwich is a great opportunity for sightseers interested in science since this is the location where modern clocks and other tools of travel were created. Heard of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)?  This is the place that the whole world’s time is set.
  • Tower of London is a great place to learn about the history of kings and queens of England and how quick the tide can turn on the leaders.
  • British Museum includes pieces of history from many times and countries.  In one museum, you can see Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and British history. From Mummys to Greek Gods, this place gives you a chance to discuss human history.
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theater provides an opportunity to understand the greatest writer in history.  See a play while there.  But remember to prep your kids either with a synopsis or by watching the play on a video before you go.  If they understand the play before they get there, things will go better.
  • The Medieval Banquet was a great way to experience and understand the medieval era in an enjoyable way.  My kids LOVED this dinner and show  It was one of the highlights of the trip for them.
  • Stonehenge takes you back in time over 5000 years.  Tours from Antiquity  provided the most amazing tour with an archeologist who shared his findings in the area as well as those of others and the theories they currently hold about the culture that created Stonehenge as well as other henges and burial mounds in the area. 
  • In Copenhagen, taking the Bus Tour and River Cruise helped us get a feel for the city and the history.  We also visited the Round Tower and the Changing of the Guard.

Even though Nancy’s trip was to one of the most important historical cities, you can create the same experience in local trips.

Helping Friends in Times of Sorrow

When those around us struggle with huge burdens: death, loss, stress, divorce, What can we do? Nancy and Tricia discuss from personal experience how to help our friends.

Here are a few tips:

  • Listen more/talk less
  • Don’t try and tell them you have been through it unless you have
  • If they seek your help and advice, be careful unless you are a therapist
  • Find concrete things you can do to alleviate stress (dishes, laundry, picking up kids)
  • Don’t ask what you can do, tell them what you are going to do
  • When all else Fails, Chocolate is a good option

Listen to our podcast on Dealing with Death.

What Parents Fear and Need

Claire Lerner, Senior Parenting Strategist, shares the findings of a Zero to Three survey that yielded new insights about the challenges parents face, what they do and do not understand about early childhood development, and what they want and need to be the best parents possible.

One of the most interesting findings in the report is the changing role of the father and how they want to participate more but are not always allowed to by their partners.

Additionally, parents underestimate their child’s development.  Clair discusses things that parents could do better to help their child’s development.

Check out the survey at www.zerotothree.org/parent-survey for more in-depth information on the survey results including videos of parents discussing their concerns and hopes.