Monday, August 29, 2016

Weekly Intention and Meal Plan ~ August 29

Setting weekly intentions is a simple, effective way to find your focus and keep you in that driven, motivated mindset. I find, that writing intentions down makes it all the more easier to get things done and to really live an intentional life. Whatever is on your to do list, I believe it’s the little choices you make each day that will get you that step closer to developing the true YOU!
My weekly intention:  School starts{meetings & classroom setup} this week for me, which means it's back to early mornings, long commutes, after school meetings and sports schedules to keep track of. This is when I put so much pressure on myself to make good meals, be a great teacher, keep a clean house, be a loving, supportive wife and just plain 'ole Wonder woman! It's exhausting. 
So, this week I will be gentle with myself. I will accept the fact that I am doing the best that I can and my best is good enough! 

Choices I Want to Make:
  • One: I will choose to practice self-care. Permission granted to take a time-out; sit down and just relax. Do what makes my heart happy.
  • Two: I will choose to move my body everyday. I have more energy and feel better about myself when I exercise. I will make the time for myself. 
  • Three: I will choose to focus on living in gratitude. 
Top Goals this Week:
Work: I will happily set up my classroom. Make it look joyful and add little personal touches that will make it a place that I love to come into everyday.
Personal: Drink more water. I've had headaches everyday lately and I know it's because I'm not staying hydrated. 
Family: Plan one fun outing- Sky High Adventure Park!

This Week I want to remember:
  • Be gentle with yourself. You're doing the best that you can. Your best is good enough!

During the summer, I really slack in the area of meal planning. Now, it's back to school which means back to schedules.

Here's what we are eating this week:


Burrito Bowls

Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Our last weekend out at the cottage before school starts.  Most of our dinners are cooked out on the grill - chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs and of course picnic-style side dishes. 

I hope you join me in setting your weekly intentions and also in meal planning. I am linking up at in order to stay motivated! Hope you have a great week!

Pasta Caprese

Photo Source
My girls love Caprese salad so when I found this oldie but goodie in my recipe box, I whipped it up and they weren't disappointed.

You'll need 



  •  3/4 cup Olive Oil
  •  1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  •  1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  •  1/4 tsp. salt
  •  1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes {use less if you don't like spicy}
  •  1/8 tsp. black pepper
  •  1 pound plum tomatoes, chopped
  •  1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  •   1 pound pasta 



1. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, salt, red pepper and black pepper. 

2.  Add the tomatoes and cheese. Toss well to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

3.  Cook pasta according to instructions on box; drain. 

4.  Place the pasta in a large bowl. Add the tomato mixture and toss until well combined allowing cheese to melt slightly.

5. Serve warm.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Making Positive Affirmation Photos for College Students

Affirmations are positive, specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualize, and believe in, what you're affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life, at school or your career.
 There is evidence that the use of positive affirmations can successfully treat people with low self-esteem, depression, or those under chronic stress, like our college students. Quite a lot of how we do in life depends on our mindset. If we begin to replace those negative thoughts and conversations in our minds with positive ones, we can actually begin to reprogram our thinking patterns. 
So try looking at positive affirmations this way – many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our body's physical health and condition. Affirmations are like exercises for our mind and outlook; these positive mental repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that, over time, we begin to think, and act, in a new way.
Each month I like to send a care package to my son who is away at college. I know it helps to lift his spirits and helps remind him that he is loved and remembered. This year, I've decided that I'm going to add little positive affirmation photos for him. These are affirmations that I know his heart is needing to hear right now as he settles into his sophomore year and begins his classes. 

How to write affirmations for your child:

1. Think about your child's positive attributes or the things that you want him to know you love about him. Make a list of all the beautiful things about your child. 
2. Think about the negative thoughts or conversations that your child may be having with themselves. You know, the little conversations that you have when they are down on themselves and you try to build them up? The things they beat themselves up over. The lies they tell themselves. 
"I am not ____ enough."    
" I am terrible at math. I just can't understand."
"I really don't have any friends."
"I'm all alone here at school. I'll never fit in."
3. Prioritize what you think your child's heart is needing to hear right now. For example, I know my son is feeling anxious about the harder classes he will be taking this semester and that he is now living in a suite with 3 other boys. I know that he feels a little left out when he leaves home. He is very family oriented and feels like he's missing out on family activities when he is away. I think about how he might be feeling right now and what he needs to believe about himself in order to move forward. 
4. Now it's time to write the affirmations. I think about the negative thoughts he might be thinking and then write a counter-script. Begin the affirmation with "I" and write in a present tense as if this is happening right now. Here are a few examples:
  • I love myself even though I sometimes fail. 
  • I enjoy challenging myself in new ways, possibilities and directions.
  • I turn failures into opportunities for success.
  • I am brave.
  • I am beloved. 
  • I feel confident and secure.
5. Look through pictures on your phone or camera. Pick ones you think your child would like. Then go to Picmonnkey. Click edit and download a photo from your computer. Select the photo you would like to edit. You can crop or add effects and then add text to your picture. I picked different fonts and colors to mix it up a bit. When you are satisfied with your photo save it to your computer and then order prints. It's that easy! 
Here are the affirmation photos I made to tuck into Septembers care package:


I know he is going to love these and because I chose pictures with special meaning, he will put them out where he can see them with their affirmations. Every time he looks at them and reads the affirmation it will help him to to reprogram his thinking pattern. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Adjusting to College~ Understanding the W-Curve

Last year when my husband and I attended our son's parent orientation at St. Bonaventure University, the woman in charge of student wellness explained to us the W-Curve and how it relates to freshmen college students adjusting to their new environment. I had never heard of it before but it was something that made so much sense to me and seemed to outline the exact stages that my son experienced as he adjusted to college life. 
 My niece leaves for her freshman year of college tomorrow and it got me thinking that not all parents have heard about the W-Curve so I thought I'd share it here. 

So what is the W-Curve?
The W-Curve is a predictable pattern of  5 stages that occur when a person experiences culture shock. It's normal to have the ups and downs of the W-Curve, and knowing about this may help make the transition easier. Sometimes, at the first signs of culture shock, first year students may think this means they have made a mistake about going away to college or that they have chosen the wrong school. If students and parents can see that this is just part of a journey that everyone goes through, then they may be better able to take it all in stride. 

Honeymoon: This stage often starts before students arrive on campus. It typically begins once they have chosen and been accepted to college, and continues to build as students attend orientation, choose their roommate and residence hall, and as they continue through their process of getting ready for college.
Emotions and experiences during this stage may include:
  • Enthusiasm and desire to meet new people
  • Freedom and exhilaration as they move away from parental oversight and begin taking responsibility for their own lifestyle
  • Returning students become peer mentors and the staff and faculty assist them through a variety of ice-breakers and first-week activities
  • Homesickness mixed in with all the fun and energy of their new experience
Culture Shock: As the newness of the college culture begins to wear off, freshmen begin to deal with the reality of all the adjustments they are going through. In the Residence Halls, students are adapting to roommates, sharing a room, shared bathrooms, lots of neighbors, eating in a cafeteria, and the diversity that comes with meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures.The process of making new friends is fun, but can also be draining.

Emotions and experiences during this stage may include:

  • Difficulty finding their way around and feel lost
  • Excitement about living with a roommate and on their own wears off
  • Adjustment to new surroundings and expectations are hard to adjust to
  • Academic expectations are harder than anticipated- they may experience a few bad grades
  • Homesickness may become stronger and some students may begin asking to come home more often and reach out more to their high school friends
Initial Adjustment:  Students begin to feel an upswing as they begin to successfully manage many of the issuers they faced during Culture Shock. Students begin to feel more "at home" on campus. 
Emotions and experiences during this stage may include:
  • Minor roommate irritations begin to diminish
  • Students fall into a routine and gain confidence in their ability to handle academic and social environments of college
  • Students begin to make friends outside of their initial connections
  • They feel they have regained some sense of control and normalcy in their lives. Conflicts and challenges may still continue to come and go, but students are now feeling more in the swing of things.

Mental Isolation:
This phase commonly arises after the students go home for an extended break. Strong feelings of homesickness begin to arise or re-arise for students and they often feel as though they are caught between two worlds. College life is still not as comfortable as home and now home is not as familiar as it once was. 
Emotions and experiences during this stage may include:
  •   Shock over changes that have happened at home and not having been a part of them
  •   Feeling of homesickness for a home environment that no longer seems to exist
  •   Doubts regarding choice in college, major, career and other decisions begin to surface
  •   Beliefs and values begin to be challenged and they may not be able to adapt to the ideas and
      values of the university culture
  •   Larger roommate issues surface and students tend to sit alone in their room or find outlets to
      escape their housing situation
  •   Cliques may form and students may feel that getting to know others is harder than before
Acceptance & Integration: As students become more involved in campus opportunities, gain some history with new friends, and get to know faculty and staff members, they begin to feel a true connection to the campus community. They begin to have a more balanced and realistic view of the university, seeing and integrating the good experiences with the challenges.
Emotions and experiences during this stage may include:
  •   Students begin to refer to college as their “home”
  •   They feel as though they are part of their new environment/community
  •   Roommate issues are likely resolved or overcome and new friends are made on and off-        campus
  •   Home values are reconciled with university values
  •   Dependence on parents and former peers begins to lessen 

Leaving your child at college the first time is gut-wrenching. It was so helpful to know what we could expect. Understanding the W-Curve helped us so that we could offer the correct amount and type of support for our son. I wish you all the best of luck!