Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Recalibrate

Hubby and I are currently doing a study developed by Pastor Troy, the lead Pastor of our church.  We meet with a two other married couples on Saturdays, and I meet with a group of women on Fridays to discuss the same study.  The study is called Recalibrate Your Life and revolves around the principle of "recalibrate or stagnate"...you're either moving forward, or your moving backward.  The 5-week study focuses on 5 different areas of life:
Your Soul
Your Relationships
Your Home
Your Finances
Your Legacy


I've been thinking about how I can apply this study to other areas of my life, and thought I would share and ask for your ideas as well. 

Recalibrate my Friendships:
Honestly, friendships take a lot of work.  It takes being intentional in nurturing friendships, especially once I became a mom and had nap time, work schedules, traffic, and swim lessons to work around. It's not necessarily easy, but oh so necessary to maintain those dear friendships.  My hubby and I love each other dearly, but we also think time away with our friends is vital. 

My friend Brooke and I have season tickets to a theater about halfway between where we each live. We meet early for dinner, have time to visit, and then get to enjoy a musical or play; something we both love! The dates are set for us in advance, so we are sure to get together on a regular basis, and we hope to still be doing this when we are old and using walkers.

I have been intentional about phone calls!  I've realized I've done a really bad job at staying in touch with friends via the phone; partly because it's so difficult to find the time to talk on the phone with little ones who instantly and desperately need my attention once I put the phone to my ear...but partly because I've been slacking!

Recalibrate as a Mama:
This also falls under the Friendship category, because for me, taking time away to be with friends who lift me up and fill my cup, freshens up my mama soul and allows me to return home ready for another round. Just like a computer needs to be restarted every once in a while when it "freezes", so do we as mamas.

Sometimes, it's as simple as planning my grocery shopping during a time Hubby will be home to watch the kids. Never underestimate the power of a solo grocery shopping trip. Sure, a trip to Target is nice without kids, but give me Grocery Outlet with just the baby and I'm a happy mama.  Sad how easy I am to please these days.

I have fallen in love with Barre! The isolated, controlled, graceful movements are right up my ally, and new classes have recently been added to my local gym's schedule. I grew up dancing and this class really brings back great memories. Hubby and I have worked out our schedules so I can go at least 1x/week. 

Quiet time with my computer is another way I refresh. Some might see this blog and the Momster Mash Facebook page as "work", but this is a hobby and creative outlet for me that brings me so much joy. I am filled up by connecting with and encouraging other mamas. I encourage you to do what brings you joy; life is too short to rely on "someday".

Making time for the activities that bring me joy, allows me the ability to offer more patience and attention to my children. Knowing that I am guaranteed time in the near future to nurture my passions, apart from my #1 passion and priority of being a mama, helps me to be more present with my children in each precious moment I get with them. 

Recalibrate my Career:
I am a Dental Hygienist, which I love, but had been working in an office for far too long which was sucking me dry.  I made up my mind that I wanted to work less, closer to home, in a wonderful office filled with coworkers who worked well together, and I was going to find this office while on maternity leave. I sent my resume on a whim one Sunday night and was hired that Tuesday...it's 2-3 days a week, 10 minutes from home, and I absolutely love everything about this dental office. The job is a long-term temporary position, but it was clearly an answer to prayer. We prayed hard about what to do, but really felt the choice was easy and I am SO happy in my new office. I often see people working a job they hate for 20 years. Comfort zones might be cozy and familiar, but I believe great things happen when we wisely step outside of those "safety zones", trust God, and try something different.

Recalibrate my Schedule:
Time is precious, and I want to make the most of it. I've always been a task-oriented, list-making, goal-setting lady, but since becoming a mama of two I've found keeping an organized schedule is so vital to my productivity. Mommy-hood is unpredictable, so I know my lists aren't hard and fast when I make them, but it sure helps me stay on track. I was getting so frustrated when maybe one to-do would get crossed off for the day, especially when I used to crush a to-do list like it was an Olympic event. 

I've learned to prioritize my lists to the three most important items and give myself grace with none of those get crossed off by the end of the day. 

I have fallen in love with my Plum Paper planner! It is completely customizable to your needs and style, and is large enough to keep my family, blog and AdvoCare business organized in one place.


These are just some of the areas of my life I've been giving more attention, as a way to continue to recalibrate and grow (GROW is even my "One Little Word" for 2015). What areas of your life are you currently recalibrating, and how are you doing so? Are there any areas you'd like to recalibrate?


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wholly Chicken Broth

Since March has unexpectedly turned into a random blog post month, now is the perfect time to share some random nuggets I've been stashing away, waiting for a good place to fit them in.  

When I conducted my survey, I received feedback from almost everyone that you would like to see some more personal posts from me, as well as more recipes.  So, I'm just going to get both of those birds with one stone and share a crock pot favorite of mine involving a whole chicken..."wholly" heavens this is amazing!  

Cook a whole chicken in the crock pot all day for a tender and juicy rotisserie-style chicken for dinner, then cook all remnants overnight for a delicious and nutritious broth you can use for weeks and weeks!  I'll also share my tips for storing my broth. I recommend this process for a Saturday, or a day where you'll be home all day. It's incredibly easy, but a time consuming.


What you need:
  • 4-5 lb whole chicken
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, quartered
What you do:
  • Mix all ingredients, except garlic and onion, and rub all over chicken, inside and out, and place in crock pot breast-side down.
  • Place onion and garlic inside chicken cavity.
  • Cook 8 hours on low.
  • The chicken will be so tender, it will fall right off the bone!
  • Eat your delicious chicken for dinner, and then return to the kitchen for part 2...
To make the chicken broth:
  • After the kiddos are in bed, get to work on that chicken. Get all that yummy chicken meat off the bones and EVERYTHING else remains in the crock pot; bones, fat, skin, juices...everything.
  • If you have them on hand, add 1 roughly chopped onion, carrot, celery rib, 1 bay leaf.. Don't worry if you don't have these on hand, the broth turns out great anyway, but these will add extra flavor if you have them.
  • Fill crock pot with water, leaving about 1-inch at the top.
  • Cook on 'low' for 8-10 hours. I like to set it before going to bed and let it cook all night long.
In the morning:
  • Ladle out broth from crock pot and filter through a fine strainer over a bowl.
  • Cover and refrigerate a little bit to cool it off before moving onto the next phase of broth storage, which usually takes place over the course of the day.
Broth storage:
  • Grab your muffin tins!  I use a 4-cup measuring cup with a spout to pour the broth into my muffin tins.  Mine hold 1/4 cup liquid each. Very carefully, with the grace of a prima ballerina, place your broth-filled tins into the freezer. 
  • Once frozen, use a spoon to pop out each "puck" and place into a gallon freezer storage bag to store in the freezer.
  • Repeat until all the broth you want to freeze is in bags. 
  • When I'm in need of broth, I know exactly how many "pucks" to pull from my freezer stash. 4 pucks = 1 cup!
There you have it!  Homemade broth for dayyyzzz, and I don't know about you, but making this always makes me feel like Suzy Homemaker.

Please share your favorite healthy crock pot recipes 
and let's help each other save time in the kitchen!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

MOM Elizabeth: Trusting God in the Delay, Part 4

During the month of February, we've learned about Elizabeth and her story of being blessed with twins after trying to conceive for two years.  You can catch up here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 

Today is the first "Momster Monday" of March, and I would typically be introducing a new Momster of the Month.  Instead, due to several unforeseen circumstances, I am going to use today to share more about Elizabeth. 

For our last installment of Elizabeth's interview, we will learn more about her passion for social justice and what she is doing to make lasting change for lives around the world, using fashion and design as a vehicle for poverty alleviation. She has also offered Momster Mash readers s giveaway, so read on to learn more!


Elizabeth has a huge heart and sincere love for people, and has made some very intentional changes in her life in order to bless others. Elizabeth's passion for social justice stems back to the first time she visited a brothel.  You read that correctly.  In 2007, she spent four months volunteering in Bolivia and this is when she truly realized that slavery still exists.
"...I met women and very young girls who were bought and sold for sex and money...I ate lunch with women and transvestites who prostituted. Some were physically forced or coerced, though many found themselves in poverty's grip and no way to feed their families without working the strip."
In 2013, Elizabeth was "dismayed" to realize a completely different type of slavery also still existed, while "bragging about bargains and relishing in my comfortable consumerism for far too long." To further explain, Elizabeth shares why Forever 21 is among the worst places to shop.
"On a grading scale of A (the best) to F (the worst), [Forever 21] consistently received a "D" grade on worker rights, traceability, monitoring, and use of excessive overtime. They don't guarantee their workers a living wage, and they have not taken steps toward responsible purchasing."
Did you know that Forever 21 prints John 3:16 on their bags?
"For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

I agree with Elizabeth when she says "the last time I checked, the "world" refers to ALL people, from every tribe, nation and tongue, from every economic status, with every job title. The "world" means those living and working in desperate, horrific conditions like Forever 21's cotton growers, cotton pickers, fabric dyers and garment sewers...those exploited by the company's cheap and fast fashion."
If you're like me, and admittedly Elizabeth, you find pleasure in how inexpensive you were able to snag those cute new shoes, You share with your friends the low shopping spree tally from your favorite store. You are quick to blurt out the amazingly low price of the necklace which brings such regular compliments. 

However, Elizabeth urges you to consider this:
"Think about it. If an accessory costs less than $4, someone in the supply chain isn't getting paid appropriately (or at all). Considering Forever 21 has a net income of $135 MILLION, one would hope they would invest a little more money into the humane treatment of their workers all over the world today."
Over the years, the tension Elizabeth faced continued to grow, "...I can NOT keep buying what I've been buying without knowing it was ethically produced." So she took action and changed her buying habits from low-cost Target finds to intentional purchases from fair-trade companies who empower artisans across the globe, pay living wages, source local textiles and give back to the communities from which the goods come.

Enter Noonday Collection!  In February 2013, Elizabeth made the decision to become an Ambassador for Noonday Collection, a company that trains and employs artisans from across the globe to create beautiful hand-crafted jewelry and accessories from locally sourced materials; alpaca from Peru, recycled artillery from wars of conflict in Ethiopia, scraps of paper in Uganda, and up-cycled VHS cassette ribbon in India.  Each artisan is paid a fair, live-able wage according to fair trade standards, work realistic hours, in comfortable and sanitary conditions.

Each piece is on-target with current fashion trends and colors, similar to what you might find at Nordstrom or Anthropologie. Check out some of my favorites:
La Vela Bracelet
Glass beads
~ Guatemala ~
Here I am wearing the Tushabe Layered Necklace
Handcrafted paper beads, seed beads, ethically harvested horn.
~ Uganda ~
Monaco Necklace
Ethically harvested cow bone and brass.
~ India ~

Minted Cowl
Alpaca and wool
~ Peru ~
Isn't it all so lovely?! Elizabeth says that her goal is to "empower you to take action." We have the opportunity every day to caste our vote with the dollars we spend. As the saying goes, "you can't eat an elephant in one bite".  The problem may seem too large an overwhelming, but one by one bite at a time, we CAN make a difference. Here's what you can do to take action today:

1. Purchase from Elizabeth's website.
2. Host a Trunk Show - style your friends, change the world.
3. Become a Noonday Ambassador by contacting Elizabeth via her website.
4. Read more about Elizabeth and follow along on her mission of using fashion and design as a vehicle for poverty alleviation via her blog El-Town.

"Together, we are building a flourishing world where children are cherished, 
women are empowered, people have jobs and we are connected."
- Elizabeth Bricknell -

Elizabeth has graciously offered a $25 Noonday Collection gift card to one Momster Mash reader! Follow the prompts below to enter.  Winner will be announced this Friday, March 6th, 2015.