Do you hate doing dishes? I did too!

I AM SO EXCITED to tell you about my most recent discovery!

Ever since I got married, the #1 thing that annoys my husband is that the kitchen is always full of dirty dishes and cluttered counters. I will admit, I put off this task because I feel so overwhelmed by the endless pile of dishes. It seems pointless for me to spend so much time cleaning, when it is a never-ending job.

dishwasherFor years I have tried everything to fix this problem. I would start on “Monday” and make the kitchen top priority. Well you know what happened, I would get swamped with other things, get behind, and then the kitchen would be a mess again and I would feel like a failure. (Kinda like what we say about dieting, right?!)

A few weeks ago, I reached my breaking point. I could tell Doug was annoyed and I want to make him happy and fix this problem, so I asked myself some questions that were inspired by our book.

*What is the least amount of work I would have to do, to get the biggest return on my investment?

*What is 1 small step I could take to improve this current problem?

*What will bring me peace, now and in the long run?

After thinking about these questions, I knew I needed to experiment to find what would work for me.

THIS IS WHAT I DID: I decided it was okay to break the RULE that “They” say, which is to NEVER start your dishwasher unless it is completely full (because you are wasting money).

I made the realistic goal that every night, before I went to bed, all I had to do is start the dishwasher. Not clean the sink. Not load the dishwasher with more dirty dishes, simply start the dish washer with whatever was in it.

GUESS WHAT? It has worked like a charm. And now, every morning while the kids eat breakfast, I can unload the clean dishes, load up the dirty dishes, and start the dishwasher again. For whatever reason, this system keeps me from getting in over my head with a huge pile of dishes. Apparently starting fresh, with a dishwasher of clean dishes each morning, was enough to keep me on track.

Now this doesn’t mean that my counters are constantly clean, but it has certainly helped 🙂 Remember, you can’t be all-or-nothing. This is a huge improvement, even though it isn’t “perfect”.

Seems like such a simple solution and it has taken me over 10 years to figure out. But the important thing is→→now I know←←and I can continue to tweak and experiment with it if needed.

What is something you are constantly fighting with every day? Could you apply some of the same questions as above? How can your pitch the all-or-nothing mindset and forget the rules set by “They”?

(I figure the extra expense of running a 1/2 full dishwasher at night is worth the investment of not feeling overwhelmed every day 😉 Would you agree? )

Your Lara

Are you having a “fat” jeans day?

Oh, you guys.

This picture was taken while I was grocery shopping last week. Now that the weather is getting colder I grabbed these jeans and threw them on before I ran out the door to head to town.

As I was walking the food isles I couldn’t help but constantly be reminded by HOW UNCOMFORTABLE my jeans were making me feel. That’s right–they were s.n.u.g.


The funny thing is, I attempted to take this picture because I planned to write a post to you on how yucky I felt, but then I caught myself being surprised that the picture didn’t look near as bad as I felt. Remember in the book when we talk about the disconnect? This is a prime example of that!

Anyway, I still want to talk about how crummy I felt and what I did when I got home. I took the jeans, folded them up, and hid them away in a box. That’s right. Just the thought of seeing them hang in my closet was going to present too much negative energy, reminding me how unpleasant I felt when I wore them last.

Sure, I will probably pull them out some day, and try them on again. But in the near future, I need a break from them. I am going to wear clothes that make me feel good and not fat (I don’t like to use that word…but let’s face it…that is how some clothes can make us feel).

Are there some clothing items that you are surrounding yourself with, and they only serve as a constant remember at how much you hate the way you feel when wearing them? You don’t have to necessarily throw them away, but consider boxing them up for now. Today, let’s focus on surrounding ourselves with things that lift us up and make us feel GOOD. It is amazing how doing that will rub off on how you treat others, the food choices you make…and the smile you see in your eyes when you catch yourself in the mirror.

We have one choice to make today. To either remove negative energy so we can treat ourselves and others better OR let the negative energy hang around and underestimate the power it has over us.

Which will you choose?

Your Lara

Compliment Etiquette

How do you respond when someone gives you a compliment?  Do you shrug your shoulders, shake your head, start laughing, or just deny that the compliment is true?  Have you ever given someone a compliment who responded in this way?  How did it make you feel? 

When I was a camp counselor in college, people would compliment my singing talent quite often.  I never made a big deal about it, and come to think of it, at times I don’t even think I said “thank you.” It probably sounded more like “Oh. Well, I had a good music teacher.” It wasn’t until someone called me out on it that I realized how my responses were rude to the person giving them, let alone to myself and God!

Being HuMbLe is a quality that God wants us to possess, but being COURTEOUS in our response is also important.  If someone gives us a compliment, whether we agree with them or not, we need to be kind in our reply.  A simple “Thank you” will do, allowing you to be a gracious and humble receiver.

Some people don’t accept compliments well because they don’t like to be in the spotlight.  If that is the case for you, remember that all of our talents or successes in life are because God blessed us with them.  He gives each of us a talent whether it is a quality singing voice, a warming smile, or being a good listener.  By saying “THANK YOU” not only does it show appreciation to the person giving the compliment, but also thanks God for the wonderful qualities he has given us!

Next time someone says something N I C E try responding with confidence and appreciation!  It will not only make you feel better but will encourage others to continue sharing a good word!

Your Lara

Goodbye Joneses! Hello Freedom!

So here’s the truth: I have never considered myself to be a very good writer.  When I first started blogging and writing 4+ years ago it was easy to give up because of the following thoughts:  What if people think my posts are horrible?  What if someone thinks I’m not very SmArT? What if someone doesn’t like my writing style?

Although writing is a bit out of my CoMFOrT zone, I know I’m never going to be a good writer unless I work at it and have someone critique me.  Society influences make us think we need to be perfect, but look how many of these thoughts keep us from doing what we really want to do?

For example, let’s say you were feeling the need to be on a budget with your finances. For a moment you considered taking a deeper look at your current situation but then, after a few minutes, you talked yourself out of it. The thoughts in your head sounded something like this: “What if I traded in my new car for something older and used that money to pay off my credit cards?  Forget it…I can’t bear looking silly driving a car that is more than 5 years old!”  Sound familiar?

You’ve probably heard the quote ‘what would you do if you knew you could not fail?’  So many of the reasons why we never attempt to answer that question is because we are worried about what everyone else thinks. But what does it really matter what others think?  Can you really call the people who don’t support you, “F R I E N D S“?  Why surround yourself with people who aren’t going to encourage and support you in doing what is best for YOU?  This is YOUR LIFE. You have the power to choose how you want to live it.  Don’t give in to society.  Follow what is in your heart.

So whatever life change you want to make (drastic or not), remind yourself of WHY you are doing it.  Don’t live in misery because of what everyone else thinks. Don’t limit yourself on the things you want to accomplish because the Joneses are standing on your doorstep. I’ve been there too.  It’s okay.  It’s normal.  Acknowledge this challenge and ChAnGe your way of thinking by taking control of your life. Get excited about feeling F R E E and the rest will come.  Trust me. 🙂

Your Lara

*By the way, this is a  picture of me and my daughter when she was a little girl . #myheartismelting

F R E E D O M is F U N!

Guilt-Free Peanut Butter Cups

Robynn and I LOVE peanut butter cups and I can’t wait to share with you some homemade, guilt-free healthy ones! These are a kid favorite too, and I don’t have to feel bad for letting them have this sweet treat–

Now remember, when it comes to Peace with Food, feel free to tweak the ingredients to set you up for success. If the first time around you want to use regular peanut butter (Jiffy or Peter Pan, etc) and use regular pancake syrup, then do it! The first time I made them, I used what I had on hand. Since then, I have changed it to the following:

Ingredients for the Peanut Butter Bottoms:
1 C. Natural Peanut ButterPeanut Butter Cups3 (I buy the Kroger brand at Dillons)
1/4 C. Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 C. Coconut Oil (melted/liquid)

Directions: Combine the peanut butter, syrup and coconut oil in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Drop a spoonful into mini muffin cups until they are 2/3 full. Put them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until hardened.

Ingredients for the Chocolate Tops:
1/4 C. Cocoa PowderPeanut Butter Cups2
1/4 C. Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 C. Coconut Oil (melted/liquid)

Directions: Combine the cocoa, syrup and coconut oil in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Pour a spoonful on top of the frozen peanut butter bottoms. Put them back into the freezer until hardened.

*I store these in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Serve immediately because they will become soft and lose shape if you leave them at room temperature.
*You could also use regular-sized cupcake wrappers or buy the silicone ones that are re-usable. I prefer the mini-sized cups because the serving size is smaller and I feel like I am getting “more” if I get to eat 2 mini ones, versus 1 large one. Find what works for you! 😉

Your Lara