I'm a Joiner

When I was in college I wrote for the school newspaper. It is actually how I met my husband...we were both editors for the paper...but that is a story for another day. When I would write for the paper I would cover university events. You know student groups, university activities, meetings, etc. 

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Inevitably EVERY event I would attend I would want to join. I am a joiner. I go to things and I get wrapped up in the energy, in the excitement, and I want to be a part of it all. I signed the clipboards, filled out the internet forms, all of it. 

That joiner mentality has followed me throughout my life. I always try to sign up for more...in my career, in my family life, all over. Being a joiner is about wanting a connection I think. Or that I really like meetings with groups of various people. Hard to tell.

But if it is the connection thing, I think all of us need that...even if we don't all want it. Look people, times are grim...they just are. Part of the way we make changes in the world is by connecting with others. We belong to each other. We are connected regardless if we think we are or not so we might want to make that connection meaningful. 

Here are 5 ways to make a real connection with others...

Put out positivity-Just put that stuff out there...be positive. Spread it, receive it, own it. The world needs your positivity. 

Mind your manners.-One way to connect and to be positive is to be polite and use your manners. Say “hi” and smile. Those little gestures can go so far.

Look into their eyes when you are speaking to them.-Our eyes are made to connect. We show that we are listening with our eye contact. Look at people...show them that you see them.

Be real.- No bs. Just really be who you are. Who has time to play games? You don't need to be anything, but who you are. That is enough. Unless you are a jerk, then don't be so real...try to be nice instead.

Pay attention-Of course pay attention to who you are connecting with, but there is even more. There is a lot going on. Keep an eye out for those who may need some connection, those who aren't a visible as others, or those that are unlike you. Pay attention to what is going on in the world.

 

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The connections we make in the course of a life...maybe that’s what heaven is.
— Fred Rogers

Cool it Now

Holy hell it is hot lately and this summer's forecast is set to be filled with record breaking highs. It certainly doesn't help that my internal thermometer is out of whack...that is a story for another day. Regardless it is hot.

It's how hot?

It's how hot?

I have been in Oregon a long time and it use be that it didn't really matter if you had air conditioning or not. It only got hot a few times a year. That is no longer the case.

We don't have air conditioning in our home. We usually put a window unit in our room and we have a downstairs that stays cool, but it is definitely something that is on the "to do" list.  

In the meantime we will take direction from New Edition and "Cool it Now." (I loved this song so much when I was my son's age.)

What are some ways you chill when the weather gets hot?

Here are some ways we cool down...other than black out curtains, ceiling fans, etc. 

  • Eat cool food-Put away that beef stroganoff, mom. Seriously my mom likes to make hot food on hot days...it has become a running joke in the family. But have a salad, cool spring rolls, lettuce tacos, smoothie, etc. Or have a snow cone or ice cream if that is more your style. 
  • Make a splash-Get in that water! Go to the pool, the river, or break out the kiddie pool. Or Super Soakers anyone?  Or you can do what my Mema did, which works so well it is disturbing, she always had a cool, damp washcloth on her neck. That is right, I am turning into my grandma!
  • The entertainer-You may or may not have air conditioning, but other places definitely do and you can go enjoy them...bowling alleys, movie theaters, the mall, restaurants, etc.
  • A change of scenery-Go to the river, the beach, the mountain, go wherever you can in your area. Any caves to explore? Is there a forest to look around? Move around to find a cooler place. 

Okay, trying to cool it now. I also accidentally fell down a rabbit's hole diving deep in on New Edition research...onto Bobby Brown next. 

See you Thursday!

 

 

Working on the Chain Gang

I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was just perfection...we celebrated our wedding anniversary and my birthday. That was wonderful, but for the people in the Pacific Northwest...the very best part was that we had sun for a whole day. We have had a wet, long winter so we really savor those sunny moments. Today is the first day of Spring so while it may not happen today or even this week...we can look forward to some more sunny days on their way. 

Paper chain gang

Paper chain gang

For today's Make it Monday we are going to make something so easy that can bring such joy...perfect for the season. We are making paper chains! Why do paper chains? These super simple decorations actually are quite deceptive. They canhelp teach some complex information. 

Paper chains can help make any room seem festive. When I was a kid I remember making them for the Christmas tree. Or you can do what these amazing people did in the pictures below. 

I never even thought of paper chains for a a backdrop, a garden party, or for a wedding. But just pick out your colors for you even and get to working. The more  you have the bigger statement you are making. 

But paper chains can also help teach math or help kids (or grown ups) learn about different concepts like kindness or about emotions. Paper chains are great ways to show how things are linked together. (Just a helpful tip: if you click on the pictures above it will take you to the source of the picture or if you click on any word that looks like this it will take. you to a link. You can then see examples of things we are talking about. I mean, you probably already knew that, but just a little reminder. I want to make sure you are getting the whole enchilada! Okay now back to the fine art of making paper chains.)

The reason why I love paper chains is not just because they are adorable, but because they are so helpful of marking time for children (and adults). They are a concrete physical representation of a pretty abstract concept. Tell your kid something is happening in a few months or show them how many days that is and what it looks like. We did this for our son when I was pregnant with our daughter...we made a long chain that he could take one paper chain off a day or if we forgot (which of course we did)  we would do several at a time. It is just such a great and simple way to build excitement and to show how time "looks."

We are going to Disneyland (thanks Nana for an awesome Christmas gift)! We don't take many "big" vacations...we are hard core staycationers...we are on one income so it isn't always feasible to do a large vacation and where we live it takes just a little time to get to the coast, the mountains, or a desert l location so we travel locally. So Disneyland is a pretty big deal for us and it will be the first time either of our kids have gone. So we are counting down the days. You can see lots of adorable Disney countdowns on Pinterest. Let's make some of our own!

Paper chain supplies

Paper chain supplies

First you need your supplies...

  • Paper-You could go old school and do construction paper, but for a more polished look and honestly for a little more durability a nice cardstock or some fancy scrapbooking paper (with card stock weight) would be great. 
  • Scissors or a Paper Cutter-You could do scissors or a paper cutter...I did a paper cutter, because I want the least amount of work...I am lazy.
  • Stapler and Staples-Do not use tape or glue...I mean, you can, but why would you do that? Just staple it...it is soooooo much easier and faster and once again it will be much more durable. 
  • Ribbon, Clips, etc. (optional)-You will want something to hold the chain up, unless you have it laying out somewhere. 

Step 1:  Get your stuff

Step 1: Get your stuff

Step 1

Collect all your supplies. I chose "Disney" style paper. I mean, it wasn't in the 10 for a $1 pile that I wanted to shop from, but I don't think it was crazy for a $1 a sheet. Plus if you go to Jo-Ann's or Michaels you better be using your coupons on your phone (or from the paper if you get it)...if you aren't you are just throwing money away. Sorry, that sounds harsh, but I am only looking out for you. 

  Step 2:  Cut it out

 Step 2: Cut it out

Step 2

Cut your paper. You need it long enough to make a loop, staple it, and to put another piece a paper through. You can make the strips just a about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick or make giant ones or really thin ones...any little changes you make will make totally different looks. 

Step 3:  Loop and staple

Step 3: Loop and staple

Step 3

Staple loops. Staple a circle...put a strip through...staple that into a circle...and repeat, and repeat, and repeat. Have your kids help. You probably made these as a kid. This is actually a fun project to do together. 

Step 4:  Hang it up

Step 4: Hang it up

Step 4

Hang it up! I tied a ribbon to the top and it made a long chain that hung straight down. I thought it looked better looped so I just used a clip to connect it to the top where the ribbon is. I wanted to be able to access the end easily so the kids could take one down each day without much hassle. 

That is it! So easy!!! Right?!

But what a great metaphor...those links are us, baby...we are all interlocked and connected...not with paper and with staples, but as individuals who are connected with our geography, our interactions, and with our love. So let's get back to the basics whether it is with crafts or our relationships. It seems so simple, but it means so much...see how you can connect today. And maybe make some pretty little chains to countdown things that you are looking forward to...a trip, seeing a loved one, a big moment at work, etc. Or just make some pretty spring themed paper chains to decorate.

Happy, happy spring!