We enjoyed a fantastic end to our MOPS year with a Fierce Fiesta on Friday, May 6!! Jeri also put together a wonderful slideshow of our year – so fun to see the good times we’ve had. Have a great summer and we hope to see you in the fall!!
Our fierce flourishing theme took us today to helping our homes and cooking flourish. We painted mason jars and planted herbs in them – so cute and colorful! Thanks to Home Depot Park Meadows for donating the plants. See the recipe below that calls for rosemary, one of the herbs planted. We had this with Easter dinner and the fresh rosemary made all the difference.
Corn and Potato Gratin with Rosemary (from Colorado Classique cookbook by the Junior League of Denver)
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 C fresh corn kernels (3-4 ears) or frozen, thawed
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 C 1/2-inch diced red skin potatoes, not peeled (about 2/3 lb)
1 C chopped onions
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 C half-and-half
1 1/2 C Gruyere cheese, grated and divided
rosemary sprigs for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp oil and butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Add corn and saute 6 min or until golden brown. Remove corn and set aside. Return skillet to medium heat and add 3 Tbsp oil. When oil is hot, add potatoes and onions. Saute, stirring constantly, for about 8 min. Remove from heat and stir in corn, rosemary, salt and cayenne. In a large bowl, whisk together half-and-half and eggs. Add corn mixture and half of the cheese. Stir well and transfer to a greased shallow 2-quart baking dish. Bake on center rack for 25 min. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and bake 20 min longer. Garnish with rosemary sprigs before serving. Gratin can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat at 300 degrees for 30 min.
And GAME NIGHT!
Despite the snow, Moms and Pops Game Night was on Saturday night and a great time was had by all who braved the roads! Many thanks to Vanessa and Diego for their fantastic games, organizing and hosting. We joined with the Pax Christi group and had good, friendly competition with one team coming from behind to win at the last minute! So fun to spend time with the hubbies too.
Happy Spring fellow MOPsters! Our new topic for the month of April is Embracing Rest: Caring for our Body and Soul Through Exercise. To start us off we had an inspirational speaker, Corinne Baur, author of Running By THE BOOK. After feeling so connected to God while running, she began writing down her thoughts when she got home. This developed into a race training program book (for half marathon and 10K races) that correlates with a Bible study each week. Here’s some of what she had to share with us today:
–Find the time to exercise and do a type of exercise you enjoy. You will be happier, have more energy, sleep better and likely try to eat better once you incorporate exercise into your life.
–Include your family, either by exercising with them or helping them see how important this is to you. It sets a great example for your kids to see you exercising.
–Give your spouse time to exercise and be supportive of that, and ask the same of him.
–Benefits of exercise: controls weight, combats health conditions/disease (such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, metabolic syndrome, depression), boosts your energy level, promotes better sleep.
–The pros of exercise have to outweigh the cons to really make it part of your life. Motivation comes first, then consistency and priority next.
–What motivates you?:
:My family – be there for them when you’re healthier, kids follow our example, become an exercising family
:My friends – exercising can be a social time, for example running with friends, feeling motivated by each other
:Alone time – connect to God, time to think
:Scary wake up call – a health crisis
–Practical ways to apply your motivation:
:create accountability – for example, Corinne shares a personal trainer with friends who count on her to be there for financial reasons and support. Put a race or a fitness class on the family calendar to help with accountability.
:set tangible, realistic goals
:involve your family
:make it FUN!
:reward yourself (ideally not with food although that’s OK sometimes! Maybe get a pedicure or a new workout top)
–We can’t separate the physical from the spiritual (Genesis 2:7). Both need to be exercised and strengthened.
There are no shortcuts to growth, both physical and spiritual. Both take work and both are worth it! Same with marriage and raising kids.
–Find joy in the race!! “Therefore…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 ESV)
You can find out more about Corinne and her powerful message at:
Our new theme this month is Flourishing in Marriage. How perfect with Valentines Day right around the corner! Today we had a panel of our Mentor Moms and husbands to answer questions and share with us words of wisdom. Many thanks to Bob and Linda, Jeanine, Bob and Pat, and Alli for your thoughtful answers and guidance!
Tips from our panel for keeping your marriage fresh and new:
–Look at each other when talking so it’s clear you’re listening. Really engage with the other person during the conversation, don’t just passively listen.
–Don’t get too engrossed in the children that you forget about each other.
–Make time for date nights at least once a month.
–Sometimes men want to fix things, whereas women might just want someone to listen and care. Try to understand your communication differences and needs.
–Show love in the little things. For example, put notes in spouse’s lunch, light a candle with dinner, fill spouse’s coffee cup.
–Find humor and fun even in stressful times. Plan getaways with just your spouse without the kids.
–Treat your spouse like you treat your friends. Speak with respect, say thank you, give compliments, put spouse’s needs ahead of your own (at least sometimes!).
–Consider strict bedtimes for kids so you have time together in the evenings. Just being in the same room is great even if not doing the same activity.
–In times of conflict, remember you made a commitment to your spouse and need to work to honor it. Often conflict can be around money, so be on the same page with spending, especially on big ticket items. Don’t spend the whole paycheck, try to budget and save.
–Be available to listen if your spouse wants to talk. Your home is a sanctuary, some spouses want to discuss work and stressors at home, some don’t.
–Bob H mentioned that he learned 9/10 consider their wife to be their best friend, whereas 1/10 women consider their husband their best friend. Men sometimes don’t have the same community as women do for support and friendship.
–Share bedtime duties with kids. Have one on one time for each parent with the kids. Make sure each spouse has time to pursue his/her own goals and interests so they maintain their identity.
–Bring your faith into the home – do devotions with kids, pray with them, have meaningful discussions at the dinner table, take kids to church.
–All marriages go through challenges. The grass is usually not greener on the other side! As Bob O says, “There’s always somebody worse out there!” Push through the times of conflict as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to try counseling.
–Teach by your example – kids and spouses can learn this way. Live the way you tell your kids, show your faith and love. Be forgiving, generous and loving; work together to teach this to your children.
We kicked off the the new year and new MOPS semester with a great meeting today! Everyone took the Color Quiz to figure out the strongest components of our character. It was fun to compare results at the different tables! We are all a mix of all the colors, some are just more dominant than others. Many people have a dominant mix of two colors. Do you see yourself in any of these?
Blue: tend to be all about relationships and how individuals fit together, nurturers of people and animals, high in empathy, make decisions with their heart, apologize for everything, want to be included, generous nature, good friend
Gold: priority is responsibility of self and others, prepared, value traditions, conservative, stable, detail-minded, organized, like routines, trustworthy, strong sense of duty
Orange: moving, doing, spontaneous, energetic, risk-takers, look for fun in all areas, live in the now, can be highly competitive, life of the party, don’t like boredom or waiting
Green: exploration, analysis, problem-solvers, work is play and play is work, like independence and private time, cool, calm and collected, can appear standoffish, fear of failure in a task or relationship. Smallest percentage of population is green, only 2-3% of women.
We used the Color Quiz results to guide us on making our 2016 vision boards, our second activity of the day. We cut pictures and added them to our vision boards, helping us to focus on either a key word, phrase or other goal for the year. It was great to see everyone, and we hope your 2016 is off to a wonderful start!
Hello MOPS mamas! We’ve begun our month of Embracing Rest During the Holiday Season. To start us off, we had a wonderful speaker today – Amanda Wilson, Lifestyle and Wellness Coach. She spoke on Creating Joyful Living, 3 Simple Secrets for Success. She can be found at amanda@YourMotionCoaching.com. She had so much to share on how to deal both physically and mentally with stress in our lives. She pointed out that we can’t control our external stressors (for example, bad events in the news) and there will always be some of these in our lives, so we have to learn to deal with them effectively. Here’s a brief recap for you:
Secret 1: Gratitude
- Take the good from our experiences, even during stressful moments.
- Try doing 3 Good Things, a technique developed by a doctor from Duke. Teaches us to rewire our brain towards gratitude. Within two hours of going to sleep, write down three good things that day, what our role was in making those good things happen, and identify the emotion we felt related to them.
Secret 2: Being Present
Tool #1: Create a Pause
- Take a mom time out and do something active like push-ups, breathing techniques, jumping jacks.
- Breathe using volcano or bunny breathing techniques.
Tool #2: Attention Training
- Use your senses to be aware of your environment and focus on each one.
- Give yourself permission to be _________. All emotions are OK!
- To take yourself out of fight or flight mode in a stressful situation or when making a hard decision: throw a ball against a wall, throw a ball with another person, do a Sodoku or crossword, anything to increase frontal lobe activity and improve focus and reason.
“We spend more time imagining future pleasure than experiencing joy in the present. In our effort to improve the present moment, we fail to appreciate how good it already is.” – Amit Sood, MD, The Mayo Clinic Guide for Stress-Free Living
Secret 3: Create a Plan
- Make it your journey, specific to your stressors, personality and life phase. Try to change YOUR world to help change THE world.
- Plan for imperfection, learn from mistakes (i.e. teachable moments). It’s fine if we’re not the best at everything!
- Practice the first two secrets often so they become a quick response to stress.
- Don’t use avoidance to deal with problems – this doesn’t actually address the stress.