The Pennington Point http://thepenningtonpoint.com Fri, 17 Jun 2016 21:33:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.4 How to Keep a Simple Summer Menu http://thepenningtonpoint.com/2016/06/how-to-keep-a-simple-summer-menu/ Fri, 17 Jun 2016 21:33:22 +0000 http://thepenningtonpoint.com/?p=13006 summer-menu01

Do you stick to a tight schedule in the summer or do you keep it foot loose and fancy free?  Me, I’m a little of both.  When there’s a lot going on I keep it tight, carefully planning how we will manage the time away from home and still keep the house clean and food on the table.  But if we aren’t traveling or keeping appointments I’m all “Get up whenever you want and feed yourself.”  It’s those times I will lounge around like a movie star who has nothing to do but ask the servants for more ice.

Over on the Tommy Nelson blog I’ve shared my 5 Tips for Keeping a Summer Schedule.  It’s how I manage things when we have a lot going on.  Like right now, I am getting ready to be gone all next week to Utah (Young Living Convention here I come!) and I am using all of the tips from that post!  Since two of my older kids are going with me and my husband will be home with the younger boys, there’s a lot of meal planning and organizing to do.

But the week after that I am planning on doing n-o-t-h-i-n-g.  This means we will be lounging and not cleaning or cooking if I can help it.  We do have to survive though, so I have a list of staples that we keep around for those weeks when Mom needs a break and the kids just want to swim, eat, swim, repeat.  With these things in the pantry it’s super easy to put together meals with very little cleanup.

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Here’s what I will have on hand:
corn chips (I buy big boxes of them at Costco or Sam’s Club…actually I buy a lot of this there)
refried beans
tomato sauce
rice
almonds

elbow macaroni (including a gluten-free option)
shredded cheese (again, a huge bag)
rice or almond milk
yogurt
eggs

bread (GF bread for those who need it)
bone broth (I make it and it’s ready to eat for any snack or meal)
carrot sticks
lettuce
apples
bananas
berries

onions
popsicles (I’ve been making NingXia Red popsicles that are amazing!)
ground beef, cooked and seasoned
chicken, cooked and seasoned and cut up or shredded
hot dogs
buns
corn tortillas

I also keep the makings for my Taco Soup around so we can throw that together.  I know it’s not really soup weather, but its so easy to make and very satisfying.  We can just heat & eat it when we are hungry.

With this list of ingredients we can make: nachos, burritos, macaroni with chicken, macaroni with cheese, hot dogs, cereal, smoothies, simple salad, simple soup, chicken & rice, chicken sandwiches, sloppy joes, burgers, eggs and toast, and many other random experiments.  Now, this is assuming there are already spices and oils in the pantry.

For instance, I can shred lettuce, chop carrots and almonds to sprinkle over the lettuce, drizzle with whatever dressing we have in the fridge and it’s an easy salad.  Or mix the seasoned ground beef with a little cooked onion, tomato sauce and whatever spices we have and serve over rice (Do you have a rice steamer?  Um, you need one!).  Really, we just wing it.  As long as there’s protein and produce at every meal we’re good.

It’s not a super healthy menu, but quick and easy for the kids.  When I am not laying around ignoring my responsibilities we have a healthier menu.  But everyone loves this style of casual eating….I just lay out some things on the list, cut up some veggies or fruit and they make their own concoctions.

Oh, and don’t forget the paper plates!  That is KEY to an easy summer menu.  I keep them in the cabinet right next to the real plates so they’re easy to grab.

As for drinks, we are water all the way.  We very rarely have anything else so drinks are not on my shopping list.  But once in a while I’ll buy soft drinks to have around for a family movie night or when we have friends over.  I keep the soft drinks hidden away in the extra fridge so the kids don’t really notice them, otherwise they’d be gone before the end of the day I bought them..

Whether you have a crazy summer schedule or laid back lazy days, or like me, a little of both, getting organized will go a long way toward a smooth and enjoyable time.

Stay cool my friend!

If you have more summer menu tips, hop over to Facebook and share them with us!  We’d all love to hear!

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The Best Memories Are Made When Things Go Wrong http://thepenningtonpoint.com/2016/06/the-best-memories-are-made-when-things-go-wrong/ Tue, 14 Jun 2016 15:17:54 +0000 http://thepenningtonpoint.com/?p=12990 How can I sum up a whirlwind weekend of travel and mishaps?  In three words: hot, draining and delightful.

Last summer our oldest daughter moved to Dallas last to live with my amazing sister-in-law and this past weekend she was moving out of their house and into a house shared with 2 other girls.  But she needed bedroom furniture.  Simple things, a bed, dresser, desk and a few odds and ends.

I was finally going to be able to prove to my husband that my obsession with keeping furniture piled up in our storage building is worth it.

So last Thursday I rummaged around in there and found what we needed, except a bed which I have no extras of, and loaded it all into our 15-passenger van.  We’ve had this van since the dawn of time and it’s got some wear and tear.  But since it was supposed to rain, we decided to use it to carry the furniture so we didn’t have to figure out tarps, etc.  We removed 3 of the 4 benches and everything fit with a little room to spare.

In order to tell this story, you have to know that something weird started happening with our van a couple of weeks ago.  We suspect it has something to do with all of the rain we’ve been having, but who knows really.  That’s just our theory.  First one of the side doors wouldn’t open from the outside.  The handle did nothing.  So we had to reach in from the front door and pull the latch from the inside.  OK, not super convenient, but we can do that.  Then one of the back doors did the same thing.  So now we had to crawl to the back and open that from the inside too.  A bit less convenient, but onward and upward, as they say.

On Saturday morning we got up early to make the 5.5 hour drive to Dallas only to discover that the side door wouldn’t open at all.  Not from the inside or the outside.  So NOW we all have to get in and out of the van through the front doors and CLIMB to the back.  Nice.  Can you say “Redneck”?

But it got worse.  Hang on.

We got to Dallas, unloaded at the new place (climbing in through the front door and crawling over all of the furniture to the back to open the door from the inside), then went to my daughter’s boyfriend’s parents house to pick up a box spring they were loaning her.  “Hi, nice to meet you, thanks for letting us borrow this.  Hang on while I get my 13 year old to crawl through the driver’s door to the back of the van so we can load it up.”  On the way back to my daughter’s house we stopped at Sam’s Club to get a mattress….same story.  He kept cheerfully crawling over the furniture to open the back door for us.

When we got back to the house to deliver the bed, my son did his thing, headed to the back of the van to open the door, and guess what.  Yep.  The door wouldn’t open at all.  We stood there stunned.  I mean, really?  WE HAVE A BED BACK THERE!!!

My daughter’s boyfriend made his way inside to the back of the van and worked on it with nothing but YouTube videos and a paint can opener.  The girls had NO tools.  While he did that, my boys and I removed what we could through the front doors, even getting the mattress out.  But there was no way we could get the box springs out.  After an hour we gave up on the back door and started trying the side door.  That took another half hour and I was beginning to think I was going to have to go buy a box spring, strap it to the top of my daughter’s car and just keep the boyfriend’s parent’s box spring forever in the back of my van.

Finally, after another 20 minutes, my other daughter got her tiny hand up in the side door mechanism and clicked it open.  SWEET RELIEF!

Since we have never been able to it again, we think it was just a God-thing.  He had mercy on us before we all fainted from heat strokes.

We took the bed out, made triple sure we didn’t need to have the door open anymore and went to close the door only to discover it wouldn’t close.  Um, this might be a bigger problem.

I will spare you the rest of the details except to say that we did finally get it closed about 40 minutes later, went to get food and collapsed.

The next day we evaluated what more she needed to get her room organized and decided she needed some shelves.  So I headed to IKEA (only 20 minutes away….dreamy!) and I wish you had seen us in the IKEA parking lot pushing huge boxes through the front window into the back of the van.  I know people were wondering why we didn’t just open the back door and set it in.

But we do like an adventure and as much trouble as it all was, memories were made and everybody had a great time.  Well, maybe not the boyfriend whose legs cramped from sitting on the floor in the back of the van for an hour.  But he never complained.

I started to feel like I needed to repay him somehow.  Then I remembered that I am essentially giving him my firstborn child, so I got over it.

We hung around until around 3:00 Sunday assembling IKEA furniture (I bought tools while I was out as a contribution to the girl’s house) and enjoying being together.  Oh, and did I forget to mention that the A/C in my daughter’s new place was out?  Uh huh.  I have had my quota of heat for the summer.

When we got back home Sunday night, I was retelling the whole adventure to my husband, who sat quietly and listened to me unfold the details all about the heat and the bed and the van doors and feeling faint a few times.  I told him about my daughter’s little room and how we figured out the best arrangement and got her all settled.  I apologized for spending more money on her furniture than we had planned.  When I finally stopped talking he just smiled at me and said, “You loved every minute of it, didn’t you?”

Yep, I sure did.

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A Little Mom Time http://thepenningtonpoint.com/2016/06/a-little-mom-time/ Mon, 06 Jun 2016 13:14:36 +0000 http://thepenningtonpoint.com/?p=12978 Moms need breaks sometimes. If you're feeling bad about resting, it's time for you to get over that!

Well? How was your weekend?

It was pretty quiet around here.  It was supposed to be busy, but things got cancelled and changed and it turned out to be kinda slow, which was so nice.

On Saturday it was just me and my younger three boys at home, so I told them that if they got all of their chores done quickly they could have the afternoon free.  The only requirement for their free time was that at least an hour of it had to be doing something outside.

I could hear them plotting while they swept and folded the clothes.  By the time we were all done with chores they had a whole plan in motion.  Their plan included sword fights, super heroes, eating nachos and playing wii.  That was perfect for me because my plan included ignoring them for the afternoon while I caught up on my reading.  I have two books that I am in the middle of, one fiction and one non-fiction.  There are always two because sometimes I’m in the mood for educating myself and other times I’m in the mood to get swept away in a great story.  This day it was fiction.

I settled in my bedroom and read my delicious book.  When the day was over I was feeling pretty refreshed.  I mean, what’s more relaxing than a clean house and happy kids who are playing together?  Nothing, I tell you, nothing.

On Sunday we visited a new church for the second time.  The whole finding-a-church thing is so hard.  You visit one for a few weeks, realize it’s really not the right fit for you and you move on.  Sometimes it’s obvious why the place is not right for you and sometimes it’s just a sense after much prayer and discussion.  We have had several great churches in our past that we loved and loved the people, but since we moved here many years ago that connection really hasn’t happened.  We’ve attended some for years, but not had that sense of belonging.  I’m not sure why God has kept us in this dry place, but we have continued the search and are not giving up.

After we got home yesterday it was the best part of my week….Sunday nap.  I mean to tell you my Sunday nap is critical to my well being the rest of the week.  I slept for 2 hours and woke up wondering where I was.  After a second I rolled over and just laid there…oh yeah, it’s Sunday.  It’s really the only day I can just let myself wake up slowly without someone waiting for me to help them or asking me a question.  There was nothing pressing, no work to do, no kids needing me for anything.

If you’re feeling jealous over my Saturday reading and Sunday napping, hear me when I tell you that these things were impossible for me for about 20 years.  With 9 kids and homeschooling and living on a hobby farm, there’s never been much time for rest.  So this is a new season and you will get there too.  When the babies are little it seems so far away, then you blink and you’re there wishing for them to be little again.  But not too little….’cuz that nap was pretty awesome.

This week it’s gonna be me bracing myself for the oncoming heat wave.  The temps are rising steadily and are expected to be 90 by the weekend.  That’s nothin’ compared to what’s ahead, but still too hot for this A/C loving mama.

Have a great Monday and hop over to Facebook to say hello!

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8 Summer Vacation Helpful Tips AND a Terrific SHOE Giveaway!!! http://thepenningtonpoint.com/2016/06/summer-vacation/ Thu, 02 Jun 2016 14:43:09 +0000 http://thepenningtonpoint.com/?p=12964 This post contains affiliate links.

Have you made any summer vacation plans?  I know many of you are going to be packing up and heading somewhere this summer.  I have several trips planned myself that I am super excited about!

I get so many questions asking for Disney advice or airplane tips, since I have been so many times now.  You might notice, however, that no one asks me for camping tips.  I’m not a camper since I’m a big fan of air-conditioning and indoor showers.

If you're traveling this summer, here are some great tips for travel PLUS a favorite travel shoe giveaway!

 

Anyway, I love sharing what I have learned from my experience of traveling, especially from my Disney and Universal trips.  Traveling to Disney or anywhere you’ll be walking all day long, high activity and crowds is a whole different kind of vacation.  You walk so much that your feet need extra care, the heat is a problem and sometimes people cry.  Or is that just me?

I’ve discovered products that help make traveling easier and simple tips to smooth out the bumps.  And there are always bumps.  That’s my first tip….

7 great tips for summer travel, product recommendations PLUS a favorite travel show giveaway!

  1. Expect there to be problems.  No matter how well you plan your trip, there will be kinks along the way.  Tires go flat, lines get long, rain pours, people get sick, it can’t be helped.  That’s part of it, the messiness.  That’s what adds the flavor to the memories.A couple of years ago we went to Disney World with 11 people: James, me and 9 kids (although a few of them were over 18, we still call them kids).  It was 3 hotel rooms, 33 meals every day, no one replying to text messages, not knowing where half of them were most of the time, etc.  After a couple of days I had a Mom-meltdown and started crying in the lobby of our resort, like bawling.  The kids stood around me like I was a display in a freak show, not knowing what to do.  Should they pet me or walk away and pretend not to know me?  We laughed about it later, it was pretty funny.  On another day we were so late for our dinner reservation that we had to wait until about 9PM to eat.  We sat on the sidewalk outside the restaurant like beggars, waiting to get some food tossed out to us.  Those things weren’t part of our plan, but honestly, they are some of the funniest memories.  Make the best of those hard times and let them add to the fun! (the crying wasn’t fun, but even in the middle of it I could see the humor of how ridiculous I looked)
  2. Relax.  Active trips can make you forget to just relax.  Parents all around you will be begging their screaming children to stop crying.  Bribery (“Want an ice cream cone?!”), empty threats (“If you don’t stop that we are going to leave.”) and throwing their hands up in exasperated defeat is what you will witness everywhere you turn.  You don’t have to be one of those parents.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all, take a step back and relax.  Sit down with your kids (this is MUCH better than having a meltdown in a resort lobby) and chill for a minute.  Yes, you might miss something, but in the end you will be better for it.  There’s always plenty to do on these trips, so if you miss a Fast Pass just let it go or try to get another one.  If you don’t make it to a show because you were resting, so be it.  You will enjoy your trip so much more if you slow down.
  3. Eat well.  This is tough, but if you eat well you’ll have a much better time if you eat as healthy as possible!  Even if you’re dining out for every meal, you can stick close to lean protein and veggies as much as possible.  Instead of giving the kids a bunch of sugary treats, stick with fruit, water, hummus, veggie sticks, etc.  You can find these on the snack plan at Disney or you can bring them with you.  Here’s a post about how I went to Disney without eating sugar!
  4. Wear comfortable shoes.  Before my last trip to Disney a few weeks ago I was on a mission to find shoes that would keep my feet from hurting after walking over 20,000 steps every day for 7 days.  I don’t ask for much….comfortable, water proof, and look really cute.  I went out three times and looked for shoes.  I could wear sneakers, but it’s really miserable once they get wet and it almost always rains in Florida.  I could wear my Birks, but they tend to hurt my feet after a few thousand steps and they also don’t do well in water since they’re leather.  I tried everything from Chacos to Crocs and nothing worked.  I love my Otz shoes, which is what I wore the past few trips, but they get ruined in the rain and I didn’t want to lose another pair.

    I was just about to give up when I found the perfect shoe.  I saw it on my way out of my last store, giving up all hope.  I’m pretty sure a sunbeam was shining right on them so I couldn’t miss it….a sign from God that this was the answer to my search.  They’re made by Oofos.  They had all of my requirements….comfy, cute and waterproof!  And believe me, I tested them thoroughly by wearing them for my entire trip and my feet never hurt at all!  I am not kidding, they gave my the arch support I need.  It feels like you’re walking on a cushion.  In fact, I am so amazed by them then whenever I run into anyone on the street or in the grocery store I make them try mine on so they can experience it for themselves.  Trust me, you want these shoes and they come in both between the toes (this is what I wore) or as strap over the foot (this is what my husband wore).I’m going to be wearing them all summer! (read all the way down to see how you can WIN a pair of these!)

  5. Stay cool!  Like I said above, I like air-conditioning.  But this is summer and it gets hot.  You have to be outside in the heat sometime.  So I found this great way to stay cool.  Or cool-er.  I used to carry a small fan with me and hold it up to my face when I got hot, but then some friends on Facebook told me about this little beauty!  It’s a fan you wear around your neck and it blows on your face.  Oh. My. Heaven!  I ordered two and I don’t care that it makes me look like I have on a medical alert necklace, I will be wearing it all summer!  I even added something extra to mine by putting a piece of sticky felt to the top and now I can add a drop of my favorite essential oil.  It blows the aroma right up to my face, which is perfect!!!  I’m going back to Orlando in September for Universal and this personal fan will be my BFF.7 great tips for your summer vacation with product recommendations AND a giveaway of the perfect vacation shoes!
  6. Stay hydrated.  Water, water and more water!  I decided to get a holder for my water bottle so it’s easy to access without my needing to hold it all the time.  I like my camelback backpack, but you can’t add essential oils to the water pouch on that.  You have to use glass or stainless steel when you’re adding oils, and I prefer stainless since it’s lightweight and not breakable.  I got this bottle holder that makes your water available to you hands free!  I wore it crossbody and even rode the rides with it still on with no problem.  You can buy the companion water bottle, but I found that a plastic bottle fits in it and so does the stainless steel bottle I already own.  I’m going to get a few more for the kids before we go to Universal in September so they can carry their own.7 great vacation tips with product recommendations AND a giveaway of the perfect pair of vacation shoes!
  7. You know I have to add my beloved essential oils to this list.  I can’t make a helpful travel list without including my oils.  They bless me so much on all of my travels both for the plane and through the exhausting days.  I carry around with me peppermint, PanAway, StressAway and Thieves (usually more but these are my must haves).  Those are all in the Premium Starter Kit that I am always talking about.  Plus I take a diffuser for the hotel room which is fantastic for eliminating odors and germs.  I make sure to have lemon, lavender and Purification with me for the room diffuser (also in the kit).  Using the oils while traveling helps me deal with the inevitable problems I mentioned in #1.
  8. Prayer.  I saved the best for last.  Places like Disney and Universal are incredible family trips, but there is a lot of pressure around any vacation.  What to pack, how to pay for it, what activities to do (because you can’t possible do it all), how to get there, keeping the kids (and Mom) happy, being patient with other travelers and the workers who are not always in a good mood are only a few of the hard things that we need help with.  Put on the armor of God be “prayed up” every day and throughout the day.   There is so much peace in His care….prayer is a vacation MUST!

Now…..you will LOVE this so be glad you read all the way to the end!  I reached out to the folks and Oofos and told them how much I loved my shoes and they offered to let me give away a pair to TWO of you!  HOW COOL IS THAT?!  You have got to enter as many times as you can to improve your chances of winning!  And if you don’t win, I urge you to go find where they sell them in your area and try them.  Or just believe me and order a pair for yourself right now!

7 great tips for summer travel PLUS a giveaway of my favorite pair of sandals for travel!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All in all, vacations are a blessing, but tiring and challenging.  These 8 things will help you no matter where you’re going and what you’re doing when you get there.  But especially if you’re planning a trip that is demanding, you’ll want to gear up and say those prayers!

And yes, I realize the picture says 7 things and the list has 8.  I didn’t realize it until after I had published and I was going to make a new graphic, but then I thought, “Nah.  My people don’t care about that,” and I moved on.  See?  There’s always a mess.

Have a great summer vacation!

If you liked this, you will also love “10 Ways to Lighten a Traveler’s Load” and “9 Things You Must Have at Disney“!

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Sweating and Crowds…Two of My Least Favorite Things http://thepenningtonpoint.com/2016/05/sweating/ Mon, 30 May 2016 16:45:54 +0000 http://thepenningtonpoint.com/?p=12957 Oh summer.  I have a love-hate relationship with it.  On one hand, it’s relaxed and the daily swim parties we have are so wonderful.  On the other hand I sweat so much that I walk around looking like I’ve been digging ditches in 100° temps wearing a leather suit.  That’s the hate part.  Oh, and the fact that every time you open your car door it feels like you’re being pushed into a kiln.  Otherwise summer is great.

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Right now, however, our issue is rain.  Rain and rain and more rain.  It’s a good thing I bought so many ponchos and umbrellas at Disney because they came in handy this past weekend.  It’s funny though, how normal a rain poncho looks on you at Disney World and how unusual it look around town.  I was the only person rockin’ one at Walmart.  People should get with it.  With a poncho my purse was protected from the rain, I stayed totally dry and my hands were free.  Umbrellas are nice, but ponchos are th’BOMB!  At one point I was using BOTH!  MmHmm.  I am a trend setter.

We are winding down a little bit with our school work.  We will have light lessons all summer, but the pool beckons us and we have no choice but to go out there every morning after breakfast and play silly games and splash around.  Every year the kids make up a game or two that keeps them challenged all through swim season.  There will be a complicated point system and bragging rights and usually a grand prize of some sort.  I never really understand these games, so I spend my time on the other side of the pool on my float pretending I’m alone.

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This week I need to get the swimsuits out and checked.  We always think we have what we need left from last year, then a boy goes to get dressed for the first swim and has nothing but too small shorts with stretched out elastic.  And all of us girls always need at least one new thing, which requires creativity and perseverance.  Since we don’t wear typical swim clothes and don’t have $120/person to spend, it takes time.  But we always find something.  I’m generally surprised where I find things, like for the past couple of years Costco had swim skirts that we could use!

Another changes for summer is how often I go to the big city.  During the rest of the year I will go to the city about every 2 weeks.  I like to poke around and maybe see a movie, hit Costco, Whole Foods and a few other places.  But in the summer with the crowds and school kids out in ganglike groups, I go less than once a month.  I do not enjoy a crowd therefore I avoid them at all costs.  Unless it’s at Disney World, then I just go knowing there will be 10,000 other people to deal with and I try to take crowd breaks as much as possible.

Speaking of crowds, I am gearing up for a super-exciting road trip to the Young Living International Grand Convention in June.  I love, love Salt Lake City!  I have been there several times and it’s so beautiful I can’t stand it.  But since I am going with 10,000 of my closest friends, it will be crowded, so I have to get mentally ready for it.  I use a LOT of White Angelica when I have to be in a crowded situation.  It’s what I like to call, “My Introvert Oil.”  It helps me feel a sense of safety and, oh I don’t know how else to say it except that it helps me deal with the negative energy of other people.  I love that stuff.

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This coming week we are cleaning up the yard from the storms and emptying the boys’ lockers to get the prepped for a lighter school load.  I’ll be checking swimsuit needs and doing a Coscto run for June.  Oh!  And making sure I have a poncho in every vehicle….because I enjoy being different.  And dry.

Have a good one!

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Smile! It Increases Your Face Value! http://thepenningtonpoint.com/2016/05/smile-it-increases-your-face-value/ Wed, 25 May 2016 18:17:04 +0000 http://thepenningtonpoint.com/?p=12940 (I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

Come on over and share your smile story!!!

Did you know what a smile can do for you and the people around you?  Here are a few fun facts about smiling:

  1. It actually improves your mood.  Studies show that the simple act of smiling sends the message to your brain that you are happy.
  2. It helps others feel better.  Like a kind word or happy song, a smile cad cheer up another person.
  3. It makes you look prettier.  There’s really nothing like a big smile to make you look your most gorgeous.
  4. It can lead to laughter….and we know what the Bible says about laughter….it’s GOOD MEDICINE!
  5. It’s a natural stress reducer.  You’d be surprised to discover how much more relaxed you can be just from smiling a few extra times a day.
  6. It boosts your immune system.  If smiling relaxes you, then it also naturally helps your body fight off germs.  The more relaxed you are, the healthier you are!
  7. It makes you look successful.  Have you ever seen a person smiling and wondered what they have going on in their life that’s so good?  It can actually make you look like you have a great life which communicates success!
  8. It puts others at ease.  Meeting someone that is frowning (like me!) can make someone uncomfortable.  Should you talk to them?  Are they worried?  Do you even want to know what’s happening in their life?!  Smiling helps other people feel more comfortable.

I definitely need to work on smiling more.  It’s one of my many weaknesses….I don’t smile enough naturally.  I can be all happy and cheerful on the inside but often no one can tell.  I am convinced that God gave me a natural frowny face as a life challenge.  I sometimes smile at myself in the mirror so I can see how much better my face looks when there’s a happy expression on it.  It may be embarrassing, but it actually helps!

When I started speaking to women’s groups a few years ago, a friend of mine told me, “You need to smile more when you speak.  It will really bless your audience.”  I knew I wasn’t super smiley, but I hadn’t really thought about how it affected the listener.  So I began to really work on it, besides looking in the mirror and practicing, I also tried to remember to smile at least twice in every conversation.  Even if I am on the phone with someone, smiling changes the mood of the discussion.

Recently I made myself a challenge….to smile for 10 seconds when I am talking with someone.  Do you know how HARD it is so smile for TEN SECONDS?!  Especially for someone like me who tends to have that airport face on all the time.  You know, the one that says, “I am not.in.the.mood to talk to you.”  I will not even realize I am doing it, so I try to remind myself of how great it feels to me when someone smiles at me and then try to give that feeling to other people.  So if you’re talking to me and I look different than usual, know that I am probably practicing my smile.  Maybe even smile back at me to help me see if it’s working.

Come see 8 reasons smiling is good for you!!!

 

I’m not insecure about my smile though, I just don’t naturally grin.  But many people are insecure about their smile.  One of my sons, for example, used to keep his lips closed when he smiled or he covered his mouth.  He was really self-conscious about his extremely crooked teeth.  Of COURSE we encourage confidence no matter how you look!  That’s so, so important!  I am also glad we were able to use the Invisalign treatment and get those gorgeous teeth straightened.

A big, confident smile can really make a difference in every area of your life.  Family relationships, work, church and community friends, even how you see yourself can all be improved with a joyful beam.  I am also amazed at how much better I feel when I am smiling.  It’s an instant happy pill….like sunshine and chocolate.  My son has found his smile and it does my mama heart good to see his face light up with confidence.

Here’s a really sweet video about how some other people found their smile too:

The folks at Invisalign are interested in your smile story!  Click HERE to see how you can not only share your story, but enter to win a “Smile Grant” for free Invisalign treatment!

Say WHAT?!  Now that should make anyone smile!

So, let’s all smile more!!  I hope you’ll head over to the Smile Grant page and share your best smile story!

If you liked this you’ll also like my Ten Reasons to Use Invisalign and 5 Tips for Helping Your Teen with Invisalign!

And for extra fun, hop over to Facebook and tell me if you know what move the title of this post came from!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

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How I Went to Disney and Didn’t Eat Sugar http://thepenningtonpoint.com/2016/05/how-i-went-to-disney-and-didnt-eat-sugar/ Thu, 19 May 2016 17:54:30 +0000 http://thepenningtonpoint.com/?p=12932 This post contains affiliate links.

I just got home from a marvelous, magical Disney vacation.  My husband and I went for a week….no kids.  My BFF and her husband went also, but we only hung out together a few times, mostly it was just my husband and I.  Disney isn’t just for kids, my friend.  There’s a LOT to do for grownups.

We went to Disney with just the two of us, no kids, no worries.

There’s also a lot to eat.  Like, a LOT.  We did the Disney Dining Plan, which means each day we had one sit down restaurant meal, one quick service meal and one snack.  Both daily meals come with a drink, entrée and dessert.  I am telling you, if you’re not careful you can spend the whole time just rolling around like a over-inflated tire feeling ill from overeating.

I made a promise to myself a couple of months ago to remove sugar from my diet.  Well, I actually removed a LOT of things, but sugar is one that I determined not to add back in even when I was on vacation.  This, when you are getting three desserts per day, is not an easy task!  But I did it…..I went the entire week without eating sugar.  I told myself that I could have one sugar dessert the entire trip, which I chose carefully.  I had an ice cream cone on the last day of our vacation at my favorite ice cream shop in Disney Springs, Ghirardelli.  That’s it.

I went to Disney World without eating sugar.  Here's why I did it and how I made it work!

If you’re wondering how I did it….I want to tell you.  But first let me express WHY this made my vacation so much better than any Disney trip I have taken before.

  1. I never got a post-sugar crash.  That lovely high you feel when eating a sweet treat, there’s always a crash that comes after.  But because I didn’t eat the sugar, I didn’t have any big lows.  That was really nice.  It definitely helped me keep my energy levels up and at Disney you need a lot of energy, even when you’re there with only slow-poke grownups.
  2. My good mood was easy!  I tend to get very grumpy when I eat a lot of sugar.  I kept that in mind as I made my food choices because I was enjoying my easy, joyful moods and I knew if I ate much sugar I would start to struggle to stay cheerful.  I still had a few of my normal ups and downs, but overall I found it SO much easier to get over things and relax.
  3. I didn’t gain 10 pounds.  I did gain a little, I mean, it’s not like I fasted!  Since I cut wheat, dairy, corn, potatoes and more out of my diet a few months ago, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay away from all of that.  I was definitely eating things that my body wasn’t used to.  I tried to order salad as much as possible, but occasionally I’d just get a burger.  I would eat the meat without the bun or only a little of the fries.  I never felt stuffed (except for this one steak meal that I ate like a pig).  I did gain a little weight from the trip, but nothing like the times when I have just had a sugar-free-for-all.
  4. I proved something to myself.  Honestly, I am not super strong when it comes to staying away from sweets.  I definitely have issues.  I kept telling myself that I could do it and thinking about how great I would feel knowing I did this very hard thing.

You can have a great time at Disney and not eay any sugar!!!  Here's how and why!

Interestingly, it got easier as the trip went along and as I found ways to get around the treats that came with my daily plan.  Here are the things I did to avoid the sugar and not feel deprived.  I mean, everywhere you look there’s someone eating a Mickey shaped ice cream bar or an apple on a stick covered in candy.  I had to make sure I was feeling treated and enjoying some snacks without the sugar.

  1. I read through the dining plan and discovered that for the quick meals it’s not actually “1 drink, 1 entrée, 1 dessert”.  It’s an entrée with 2 “snacks”.  In other words, you can substitute the dessert for anything that restaurant considers a snack!  So I would get my entrée with 2 water bottles.  I’d drink one with my meal and have the extra water to carry around the park with me afterward.  A couple of my restaurants had sparkling water so I would get that as my drink for a carbonated treat.
  2. I found snacks that weren’t sugary.  There are not a lot of non-sugar snacks, but they are around if you keep your eye out.  At some kiosks/restaurants you can get fruit, popcorn, pretzels, hummus cups, even a bagel or hot tea.  Also, the gift shops have candy that you can use as a snack option and so I used the snacks I had left on my account (I only used a few of my snacks credits the entire time) to get fun treats to bring home to the kids.  There’s a beautiful candy shop at the front of Magic Kingdom where you can get some darling take home gifts with your snack credits.
  3. I carried snacks with me.  Disney doesn’t care if you bring food into the parks, so don’t be nervous about it.  You don’t have to bury them under feminine products for the bag check.  It’s totally fine to bring snacks in.  So I carried nuts and my little GF-sugar-free crackers and ate them when I felt a need for an energy boost.
  4. I drank a LOT of water.  Did you know that any place they serve drinks will give you a free cup of ice water?  I made sure to keep myself hydrated.  The free cups are really small so I would just ask for 2 or 3.  That helped me not get as many cravings.  I carried a small stainless steel bottle that I could pour the ice water in and add a few drops of essential oils (like Slique, lemon or peppermint) and that felt like a cool treat!

    In choosing a water bottle, here are some things to look for (THIS is the one I use).  Trust Aunt Lisa, I learned from my mistakes.  You want your bottle to be insulated.  A non-insulated one will sweat and make the things in your pack get all wet and ruin your little package of Bandaids and your receipts, which your CPA husband might want, hypothetically.  You’ll need it to have an easy to use lid so you can take a sip while you’re walking in case the people you’re with won’t slow down even if you’re painfully thirsty.  Lastly, I ordered some of THESE holders so you don’t even have to put it in your pack if you don’t want to.  We will be using these for all the boys in September when we go to Universal!

  5. Speaking of adding oils to water, I carried 5 of them with me to the parks every day.  My Young Living oils make me feel like a princess.  I know it’s silly, but if you’re at Disney you are supposed to feel like a princess even if you’re in your 50s. They don’t talk much about it in the movies, but Cinderella had to get old at some point, right?  I mean, what does “happily ever after mean if not turning 50 and gaining weight?!  My oils are such a blessing and they are so precious to me because I can feel God’s love for me through them that it makes me feel spoiled to have them.  Here’s what I carried: peppermint, StressAway, lime, PanAway and FUN.  (yes, there’s an oil called FUN!)
Disney World is a place I use my oils a LOT!  Here are some tips for what to bring and also how to avoid sugar while you're there!

Now, I did have my one sugar treat on the last day and I have to say, it didn’t live up to my week long anticipation.  It tasted good, but after I ate it I wished I hadn’t.  It is such a momentary pleasure with long term consequences.  I felt sluggish for a while after that and didn’t want any more sugar.  So, when I ever go back I won’t even do that.  I will just enjoy the other great foods and leave the sugar to the whining kids and exhausted parents.

I want to encourage you that if you have removed sugar from your diet you can keep it up even on vacation!  It is well worth the effort.  Oh, and don’t feel sorry for my kids who stayed home while their parents went to Disney World.  We took them last November and they get to go to Universal Studios later this year.  They’re perfectly fine.

If you liked this you will also like, “9 Things you MUST Have at Disney” and my “Not-So-Scientific Experiment” about why I stopped eating sugar.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Doth Thou Feelest Ready for Summer? http://thepenningtonpoint.com/2016/05/ready-for-summer/ Mon, 16 May 2016 22:13:18 +0000 http://thepenningtonpoint.com/?p=12925 There's always a slew of things to do before the summer.  Like, put away the stuff still out from last summer.

Are you getting ready for summer?  With school winding down and vacations being planned and the heat coming upon us it’s prep time.  I am trying to clean the house and the spiff up the porch and our pool is getting the care it needs to be ready for daily swimming and splashing that happens all summer around here.  At some point I guess I need to see if everyone’s last year’s swimsuits still fit and/or have any elastic left.

My summer is already looking full on the calendar.  I am traveling a couple of times each month plus we have nieces and nephews visiting for half of July.  I am really looking forward to their visit….they are so precious!  I am going to plan all kinds of fun times while they’re here.  Pennington Summer Camp complete with NingXia red popsicles and diffusing peppermint.  My 7 year old nephew might not realize how awesome this is, but he’s getting it anyway.

This past weekend I made a quick trip to Dallas with my husband for the Republican Convention and to visit my oldest daughter.  When I got home on Friday night, being in my summer prep mode, I started to unpack and then wondered about the suitcase…..to put it away or not to put it away…..that is the question.  Really, it always comes down to Shakespeare, doesn’t it?  Once more unto the breach, dear friends and all that.  Yeah, I don’t know what I’m saying.  It’s possible that the suitcase now sitting in my bedroom with no purpose but proving that I am too lazy to carry it to the storage building then go get it back out in three weeks has gone to my brain.

I did clean my bedroom on Saturday.  I was alone with my 3 youngest boys all day so we decided (well, I decided and they went along with it since I promised them a junk food dinner) to have a bedroom cleaning marathon.  We made lists on our giant white board of tasks in each room then set a timer and blasted fun music while we worked.  After the timers went off we all checked each other’s progress.  We got a lot done that way.  List, work as fast as we could to the music, timers going off, check, repeat.  3 rooms cleaned.  Now we only have the rest of the house to do.

Their reward was going to the dollar store for food.  I let them each pick a frozen dinner and chips.  Don’t judge me.  A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.  I’ll feed them veggies all week to make up for it.

I am also getting my wardrobe ready for the heat wave that’s about to hit.  I haven’t heard any weathermen saying there’s a heat wave coming, it’s just that I live in Texas and there’s no avoiding it.  I am also making sure all of our fans are working and I have freezer space for bags of Sonic ice.  I read recently that it’s healthiest to only drink room temperature water.  While this may be ideal and maybe I will shoot for that in the mornings and evenings, I can’t do it in the mid-day-summer-temps.  My survival depends on crushed ice.

I am also hoping to get the yard cleaned up before summer, but that may be overshooting our abilities since all my bigger kids have jobs, are in theater performances and doing extra activities that keep them out of the house.  It takes a village to run this operation and half my villagers are running around all times of the day and night.  Although one day last week my girls got the urge to clean out the pantry which absolutely made me giddy until I saw the mountain of “extra” food covering the kitchen table.  “We weren’t sure what to do with this stuff,” they said.  Um…..great.  Now I have a pile of expired soup and half used boxes of dry milk to feel guilty about.  #thestruggleisreal

Maybe if I promise someone another dollar store TV dinner with Nacho Cheese Doritos they will just throw it all away without asking me and I can pretend I never saw it.

Yes, I teach parenting tips.

And now I shall leave you with this thought, “Goodnight!  Goodnight!  Parting is such sweet sorrow.  That I shall say goodnight ’til it be morrow.”

Come join me on Facebooketh for more sweet delight!

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Celebrating ALL MONTH LONG http://thepenningtonpoint.com/2016/05/celebrating-all-month-long/ Thu, 12 May 2016 15:46:54 +0000 http://thepenningtonpoint.com/?p=12914 I am over the moon excited about my essential oil deal this month!  I decided to do something extra special for the month of May to celebrate Mom all month long.  ‘Cuz moms are th’ BOMB!

So, you know I love my oils and how they have changed my life and how I can’t stop talking about them, right?  I remember before I ever got any essential oils wishing I could try them, then finally jumping in and ordering some, then letting them sit in the drawer for a long time. But one morning I decided to take them out where I could see them all the time and voila!  Instant love.  I started using them every day and soon wondered how I ever got along without them.

If you're not unsing your essential oils, maybe it's because they're not sitting out where you can see them everyday!

I have a large collection now because, well, I am hooked.  H-O-O-K-E-D.  I’d call it a problem, except they have rescued me so many times that I think of it more as a solution.  I want to encourage you that it took me time to build up my arsenal of oils by buying a little each month.  Keep going and you will have what you need!

Oils have made such a huge difference in my life that I want to share them with everyone!

Because I want you all to have a starter set to begin and that’s why this month I wanted to send my new members something special.  Because you all are SO special to me.  The members I work with are one of the HUGE blessings of being part of Young Living.  I have gotten to know some incredible people and been able to share in their journey toward natural health and wellness.  I love each person and pray for them regularly and I want to add you to my list!

Here’s what I am sending my May members who order the Premium Starter Kit:

1. A diffuser necklace – This is a small silver medallion necklace that opens up and holds a small pad that you can put oils on.  Then you have them on you all day long.  I have several diffuser necklaces and adore wearing them!
2. A bottle of Orange Vitality Oil – Orange is one of my favorite oils to combine with other oils in the diffuser or in water.  It boosts the flavor or scent of other oils and is a great way to extend the life of your more costly oils.
3. A great reference book – As soon as you get your kit you will want to explore ways to use them.  This is a very full book that will keep you perusing for hours (in fact, I keep one in the bathroom just to look through!).
4. A starter guide made just for you by our team – You will be added to an amazing team called Oily Families who has put together a simple starter guide to help you with just the oils in the kit.  It’s like the quick start guide when you receive your electronics….not comprehensive but a great thing to get you going.
5. Mama Needs a Do-Over – Yes, I am sending my book, which has nothing to do with essential oils and everything to do with finding joy through the hard days.  It’s a great read for moms and I wanted to add it to my gifts for new members this month to encourage you to be JOY-FILLED!

A great deal for May.....come join the Young Living family!

 

Oh!  And I will also add you to a great Facebook group where you can ask questions.

Isn’t that a great deal?!  That’s just the extra stuff from me to you.  That’s not even mentioning the incredible set of oils you will get when you order your kit.  Thieves Vitality, Lemon Vitality, Lavender, Peppermint Vitality, PanAway, Frankincense, Copiaba Vitality, Purification, RC, Digize Vitality & StressAway.  Plus you get a diffuser, some sample bottles for sharing, and a few other samples you will enjoy!  You can click HERE to see how I use the oils in the kit.

So what are you waiting for?!

Click HERE and go get signed up.  And be sure to join as a wholesale member so you get the 24% discount and other great deals.  You never have to sell if you don’t want to, you can just order for yourself if you want.

I’m so, so excited to add you to my list of oily friends!

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We’re Ba-ack! http://thepenningtonpoint.com/2016/05/were-ba-ack/ Mon, 09 May 2016 18:37:12 +0000 http://thepenningtonpoint.com/?p=12906 I am back from vacation and not so raring to go.  In fact I slept until 9 this morning, which is very unusual for me!

My husband and I got home yesterday after a week at Walt Disney World.  We went with another couple, my BFF Sara and her husband, and had an action packed Mom & Dad vacay.  It was wonderful!  We planned to just go slow and enjoy the days instead of the rushing around like we do when the kids are with us.  We didn’t spend the whole week together as couples, but more just on and off got together.  James and I slept in almost every morning, went to bed around 10:00 all but one night, ate way too much food and strolled around holding hands.  That makes it sound like I should be well rested, but even with all of that sleep I got in over 20,000 steps each day and lots of sun, which always wears me out.  Plus we had to rise before 4:00 am yesterday to make our flight.  So I am preeeetty tired.

I am going to share some tips for Disney travel later this week, so today I will just tell you some of the more personal stuff.  James and I do enjoy ourselves and we like to get silly.  I like to dance with the street music and I don’t care what it looks like.  And he has no problem acting like a junior high boy trying to beat my score in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (it’s a target shooting competition ride).  In fact, he was so intensely shooting that he couldn’t open up his hand for 10 minutes after the ride was over.  I may have had the lower score, but at least I could use my fingers afterward!  Who’s the smartie now, huh?

Husband vs Wife

We did get some rain while we were there. One night after dinner with our friends, we left the restaurant to discover that it was absolutely pouring.  There was so much rain that the streets of Hollywood Studios were flooded. I made a run for the next overhang and when I got there I discovered that none of my group was with me.  I didn’t know where they were, but I was concerned about my phone getting wet, so I dashed into a shop to buy myself a poncho (I had left the one I brought with me back at the resort) and when I finally caught up with my husband he had gotten himself one too.  Now we each had TWO ponchos.  But, of course when we went out the next day to Disney Springs (it’s a great shopping area) and it started to rain and we didn’t have the ponchos AGAIN.  So, we are now also the owners of new Disney umbrellas.

You can bet after that we carried the ponchos and umbrellas everywhere with us and, of course, it never rained again.

This is a great time of year to go because it’s the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot.  The grounds are INCREDIBLE!  I loved walking around and looking at the beauty of it all.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is amazing!

One challenge for me while I was there was my sunglasses.  It was very sunny, but you’re in and out in and out of the sun.  Even on a single ride you’re in the sun and then in a tunnel, then in the full sun again.  My eyes are very sensitive and if I don’t have sunglasses on I will get a headache within minutes.  I tried keeping them in my pockets or on a chain, but I still continually lost them.  By lost I mean they were on my person somewhere, I just wasn’t sure where.  One morning at a bus stop we dumped everything out of my backpack trying to find them.  We discussed missing the bus and running back to our room OR me just buying a cheap pair at the park.  That’s when James saw them buried under my hair on the top of my head.  Another day I actually went into a shop to buy some because I had been searching my pack, hair, etc for 15 minutes with no luck.  Then I brushed against a counter and felt them in the left pocket of my dress.  I didn’t even know that dress had a left pocket.  When I strike it rich I am going to hire someone to walk behind me with a pillow to carry my sunglasses on.

disney-couples03

One thing we did that was really fun and I would recommend it to anyone is the Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour.  It was affordable and we got to learn all kinds of fascinating facts about Walt and how the park was made.  It was definitely a highlight for us.  You have to call to sign up for it.  We also did something called Early Morning Magic that was great!  If you’re going to Disney, you will want to look into the tours and extra options to make your trip so much better!

disney-couples04

We got home on Sunday and after spending a few hours with the kids, I slept.  And slept.  And slept.

That brings me to today, which is so full that I am thinking of going back to sleep.  But I can’t because I am only home for three days and then I am off to the Republican Convention in Texas.  I’ll be pulling out my super-mom cape in an effort to get everything done that I need to do.

I hope you have a fantastic week!

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