Project Snapshot {Week 37}





The goal of this post is to capture a memory from the past week, either with a camera, words, or both.  Time passes in the blink of an eye and this will create a collection of treasured memories from throughout the year.

My Snapshot


Even an afternoon hanging out in the backyard can be hard work.  Gv discovered several oranges that had dropped to the ground and she took it upon herself to collect them and try and put them back on the tree branches.  I love the look of determination on her face in this photo as she goes about her task!

What was your favorite memory from this past week?  I'd love to hear about it!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.


The Leibster Award!


If you want to support what I’m doing with this blog, just follow any of the product links and order whatever you want off of Amazon at no additional cost to you.  That’s it and I’ll get a little bonus.  Thanks so much for clicking!
 

Ooooh, there's some excitement around here these days! Syncopated Mama has been nominated for The Leibster Award!  This award recognized new blogs and I'm just tickled pink to be chosen!

A big thank you thank you thank you goes to Heather at Daily DIY Life for this nomination!  Be sure to go check out her blog and see what project she's tackling next from her teeny tiny little spot on the map in West Virginia!


1. What inspired you to start blogging? 
Well, that would be my friend Pam over at Everyday Snapshots.  She has roped me into projects before in the past, but this is by far the most time-consuming.  I've been enjoying it so far, though, especially because I've had a chance to "meet" so many of you.

2. If you could live anywhere, where would that be? 
Maybe somewhere in Italy, because we love traveling around Europe and since G lived in Rome for 5 years while he did grad school there, he's already got the language thing down.  I've partially got the language thing down, because I've been trying to learn Italian for the past few years, but my accent leaves much to be desired.


3. What is your biggest Pet peeve? 
My typical answer to this question is whistling, but Gv has recently started doing this grind-her-teeth thing that drives me absolutely bonkers, so that is now totally my biggest pet peeve.  I don't know if she's just exploring the fact that she has all these teeth now or if it helps with the pain while she's teething, but it has got. to. stop.

4. How many children do you want? (or have if you are done having children) 
Ahem, yeah.  Starting a family in your 40s?  I'll just say that we'll see how that goes.

 5. What is your favorite food?
Cheese, cheese, and more cheese!!  I even wrote an Ode to Cheese recently, I love it so much.


 6. If you could sit on a bench and talk for one hour to anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Well, I could easily go with the classic answer of Jesus, but then I would kind of be wasting the chance to chat with someone else, because don't I really talk to him all the time?  But I can't think of anyone else, so I'll just go with Jesus.  Why?  Um, hello, he's Jesus.


7. What is your best/worst quality?
Hmmm, my best? I guess I'll go with being disciplined.  All those years of being a competitive figure skater drilled that into me pretty well.   My worst?  Maybe the absolute craziness I react with when I hear Gv doing her teeth-grinding thing.

8. What makes you laugh out loud?
I get a pretty good laugh from silly movies like Best in Show or Zoolander or an episode of Modern Family .


 9. What does your family think about your new blog?
Besides G being supportive of it, I don't know.  So, if you're my family and you're reading this, let me know what you think in the comments.

Unless it's really bad, then just send me an email.
 

10. What is your favorite Social Media? Leave your link!
I really only use Facebook, although I'm trying to get better at Pinterest, because everybody really seems into that.  You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/syncopatedmama and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/lisahealy.

Well, the next step is usually for me to nominate some other bloggers for the award and then give them ten questions of their own to answer.  However, I can't find any bloggers that are interested and fit the qualifications.  So, if you're a blogger reading this and you are small/new, let me know!

Don't forget to leave a comment if you're my family, or a blogger I nominated, or if you're none of those, but have something to share - I love comments!  You can also email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Buttery Blueberry Pie

If you want to support what I’m doing with this blog, just follow any of the product links and order whatever you want off of Amazon at no additional cost to you.  That’s it and I’ll get a little bonus.  Thanks so much for clicking!




If you read about my recent Monday, you'll know that I had to do something with 17 pounds of frozen blueberries from our spring blueberry-picking encounter pronto, and this blueberry pie was a no-brainer.

This recipe is low in sugar, but not in butter, so be prepared for an almost shortbread cookie-like crust!

What You Need:

Crust:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup finely-ground almonds (or almond flour)

1 cup cubed, cold butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Filling:

1 Tablespoon honey

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 cups blueberries

1 Tablespoon butter

What You Do:

Crust:

1.  Combine all the crust ingredients in a food processor (this is going to be my new one, since my old one broke ) until it comes together.  You might need to add some ice water, a Tablespoon at a time, but I didn't need to in order for it all to stick together.

2.  Shape dough into two discs.  Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.  Don't do what I did, which is put it in the freezer to speed the process up, because then it will be too hard to roll out and you'll have to then put them into the fridge for even longer to cool it all properly.  

3. Roll out the dough onto a well-floured surface.  Place one rolled-out disc in the bottom of your pie pan and save the other for the top of your pie.

Filling:

1.  Mix everything but the butter and pour onto bottom crust.

2.  Dot with pieces of butter, then cover with top crust and slit with a sharp knife.

3.  Bake for 50 minutes at 425 degrees until golden brown.


This pie was so tasty - we it ALL before I remembered to take a photo!  You'll just have to make it yourself to see it!

Will your pie last long enough for a photo?  What do you think of this whole wheat crust?  We really liked it, although it was a bit different than your usual pie crust.  I'd love to hear your thoughts - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Get more great healthy-eating recipes from some of the books in this amazing bundle!  But hurry, it's only on sale for a couple more days!

Enjoy Improved Relationships by Using Nonviolent Communication, Part VI


If you want to support what I’m doing with this blog, just follow any of the product links and order whatever you want off of Amazon at no additional cost to you.  That’s it and I’ll get a little bonus.  Thanks so much for clicking!

 
This is part six in my series on Nonviolent Communication.  You can find parts one, two, three, four, and five here.

Today we'll be focusing on the fourth stage of the NVC process, which is how to make requests that are gifts, not demands.   

Remember to always begin this process with expressing your feelings and the needs behind them, rather than jumping the gun and asking specific people to take a specific action (which would be a request, even though it's often misunderstood to be a need).  One example of a way this mistake can be made is by asking a question like, "Why don't you get your hair cut?" instead of, "I'm worried that your hair being in your eyes will keep you from seeing clearly, and I have a need for your safety.  Would you consider getting it cut?"

The reason we want to make our request a gift is because then the action that results from it will come from a place of compassion (people want to help others), rather than guilt or force. 

To make a request, first be clear


Use positive action language 

  • Say what you DO want and not what you DON'T want. "Put your clothes away." vs. "Don't leave your clothes on the floor."
  • Express your need and then use positive language to describe how others can meet your need.  
  • Do this even for yourself - focus on the behavior you want to express. 
Provide concrete actions others can take  

  • Put your request into precise (not vague or abstract) language.  "Please put your dishes in the dishwasher when you're done eating." vs. "I want help cleaning up from dinner." 
  • People often use vague and abstract wording for impossible requests (they want others to do whatever they want and be happy doing it).  
  • Often we talk to or at others, instead of making our point clear.  Take for example the request of "I'm thirsty."  Does this mean you want someone in particular to get you a drink, or are you just sharing?  What's the point?

How to express a request and not a demand

Make sure your message was heard correctly
  • Usually, you can rely on verbal cues for this.  (Ask the other person, "Is that clear?") 
  • Other times, it's better for them to restate what you said in their own words.
    • Be careful how you correct people when they reflect back what they heard!
    • If they didn't get it right, say something like "I'm grateful to you for telling me what you heard, but I can see I didn't make myself clear enough, so let me try again."

Make sure your objective is for the other person to fulfill your request willingly
  •  If your objective is just to get people to do what you want, it's a demand.  This is demonstrated by how you act towards them if they don't do what you're asking.  If people feel punished, rejected, guilt or shame if they say no, then you have made a demand and not a request.
  • If you treat people okay even if they don't do what you're asking, then it's a genuine request.  This idea of allowing someone to choose to meet your need by presenting a request reminds me of how God gives us free will - he would rather have us choose to love him, as opposed to being automatons that are just programmed to love him.  
  • Keep a check on your motives by asking for an honest reaction to your request ("How do you feel after I shared this request?")
Use language that shows you are considering the needs of the other person
  • "Would you be willing to..."
  • "How can I let you know what I need without it sounding like a demand?"
  • Avoid "demand" words like should, supposed to, deserve, justified, right to (this applies to the thoughts you have in your head when making your request, as well as the words you actually speak out loud.)
What's next in this series?   You'll find out how to show empathy to yourself and others, while taking responsibility only for your own feelings.

NVC concepts can make such a difference in how you view yourself and others.  Feel free to ask any questions regarding NVC you might have in the comments - and don't forget to sign up to receive Syncopated Mama blog updates by email, so you don't miss a single installment of this series!

Resources I've used to learn about NVC







It's here!  The bundle I wrote about is on sale today!  It's only around for 6 days, though, so go pick yours up before they're all gone!  If you do, let me know which book is your favorite - I can't wait to hear!

 

Project Snapshot {Week 36}



The goal of this post is to capture a memory from the past week, either with a camera, words, or both.  Time passes in the blink of an eye and this will create a collection of treasured memories from throughout the year.

My Snapshot
It looked like rain all day, so we headed to the airport for some free family fun.  There's no charge for parking if you stay less than an hour, so that was just about the right amount of time for some travel excitement for Gv this weekend.

We began by parking on the roof and watching some planes take off and land.  She loved watching them, but was equally fascinated by seeing the cabs, buses, cars, and trams from up above.

Then we headed inside to watch the bags travel around the belt from an arriving flight before heading upstairs to the check-in area and main hub of activity.

We've saved the tram ride to the long-term parking garage for a future trip!

Running along long hallways of sparkle-filled terrazzo floors, which make the best echo noises and reflect the overhead lights so well that watching them makes you dizzy!

Window shopping after the stores are closed for the day (the best time to go for a little explorer like Gv!)

Admiring a traveling art display - and her reflection in the glass!

Pausing to converse with some waiting travelers - this was the 4th group she'd "introduced" herself to!
What was your favorite memory from this past week?  I'd love to hear about it!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Linked up with Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less 

A Bundle of Books for Just a Few Bills? Yes, Please!



In the short time I've been blogging, I've seen a few of these bundle sales come and go.  They've always intrigued me, because they offer a bunch of books for a really low price and I just haven't been able to figure out how they can do it.

While the past bundles have had a few book titles that interested me, there just weren't enough to make it worth purchasing on such a limited budget.  But this current bundle is all about Healthy Living, which of course is right up my alley and the more I looked into it, the more excited I got.

I even got brave and decided to try and see if I could sign up to be an affiliate of the program.  I still feel like I'm such a small blogger and just continuing to get started, so I didn't expect to even come close to meeting the requirements.

However, I just found out yesterday that I made it in!  How fun is that?  So I decided to take today's post (while I'm still mulling over taking over the Answer Me This series - let me know if you think I should) to share some details about the bundle with you, because I think a ton of these books would be right up your alley, too.

Here's a sneak peek at what the bundle includes:













You get all of that for just $29.97!

This bundle goes on sale Wednesday and it's only around for 6 days (or 30,000 bundles, whichever occurs first).  If you decide to buy it for yourself (or as a gift) and click over from my link, then I'll get a little bonus, which will help the syncopated budget and my offbeat self will be SOOO grateful!

Thanks so much for your support of my little old blog, and let me know if you want to keep seeing Answer Me This questions each week!  Leave a comment here or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Bold Blueberry Cheesecake

If you want to support what I’m doing with this blog, just follow any of the product links and order whatever you want off of Amazon at no additional cost to you.  That’s it and I’ll get a little bonus.  Thanks so much for clicking!




If you read about my recent Monday, you'll know that I had to do something with 17 pounds of frozen blueberries from our spring blueberry-picking encounter pronto, and this delicious cheesecake is one way I solved that problem.

I took a standard blueberry cheesecake recipe I'd had for years and combined it with some ideas from my yummy strawberry cheesecake and created what I feel is a lower-in-sugar-but-higher-in-taste winning recipe!

What You Need:


1 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 Tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

32 ounces softened cream cheese

1/3 cup honey

3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups blueberries (plus 1/2 a cup to add to the top, if you'd like)

What You Do:


1.  Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and cinnamon and press into the bottom of a springform pan (have you seen one like this? ) and bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees.

2. Beat together the cream cheese, honey, flour and salt (easiest in this ).

3.  Add in the eggs and vanilla until blended.

4.  Gently stir in the berries.


5.  Pour over crust and bake 55 minutes at 325 degrees (it will still jiggle in the middle). 

6.  Let sit in the turned-off oven (crack the door open) for 10 more minutes.



7.  Top with 1/2 cup of berries (if you'd like) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.




I've also made this recipe with 8 ounces of yogurt in place of 8 ounces of the cream cheese and 1 of the eggs.  Usually it all depends on what ingredients I have on hand and whether I'm in the mood to indulge with all that cream cheese or not.  Try it yourself, sometime!

Do you love cheesecake as much as I do?  What type is your favorite?  I think this blueberry version is certainly a winner, do you?  I'd love to hear - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Linked up with Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less 

Enjoy Improved Relationships by Using Nonviolent Communication, Part V

If you want to support what I’m doing with this blog, just follow any of the product links and order whatever you want off of Amazon at no additional cost to you.  That’s it and I’ll get a little bonus.  Thanks so much for clicking!

 
This is part four in my series on Nonviolent Communication.  You can find parts one, two, three, and four here.

Today we'll be focusing on the third stage of the NVC process.  Just as we ought to become more adept at making observations and sharing our feelings, we must also develop a rich vocabulary of needs and learn how to express these to others.

There are generally three stages people go through with regard to how they do this:

Stage One

We tend to assume responsibility for the feelings of others as well as feeling an obligation to make others happy, which can deny our own needs in the process, but we can empathize with others without taking responsibility for their feelings.

We should remember that it's important to take responsibility for our own feelings.  Statements such as "You hurt my feelings" are just plain wrong, because our feelings are a result of how we take things.  Think of the word responsible as response-able; we're only responsible for what we're able to control - that's our behavior, intentions, and how we react to others (which depends on our feelings).

One way to insure you're taking responsibility is to follow your feelings with "because I."  

"I feel angry because I didn't ensure the electric bill was paid this month and now the power has been turned off."

Stage Two

We next rebel against this perceived responsibility for the feelings of others and understand that we have a right to express our needs, but we don't do this well.  

We're programmed to make moralistic judgements (analyzing what's wrong with a situation), which can lead to anger, guilt, shame, and depression.  We become critical of others, and neglect to look for ways to consider their feelings and needs.

Stage Three

Emotional liberation requires asserting our own needs, but in a way that considers others at the same time.  Now, at this third stage, we cannot only express our needs well, but respond to the needs of others with compassion and communicate that we are equally concerned with them.

Just What Are Needs?   

Needs are the basic requirements for life that are common to all people and not tied to a particular circumstance or strategy for fulfillment (like safety, empathy, sustenance, honesty, meaning, love, etc.)

If what you claim you need contains a reference to a specific action by specific person, then that's really just a strategy, not a need ("I feel sad because I need you to spend more time with me.")

Just as I did with the words relating to feelings, I've created some needs mini-postersThese can strengthen your needs vocabulary by helping you become more familiar with the words which describe needs.

You can print out this free download to display and help you practice recognizing specific needs.  One suggestion is to post them on your refrigerator as a reminder of what words to use to back up your feelings, or you could even use them as flash cards (Do you homeschool?  These mini-posters would work well for studying different words associated with needs!) 

A Warning 

Remember that it can't be what someone did, but how we're interpreting an action that causes our feelings.  When we are experiencing emotions such as anger, guilt, shame, and depression, we should use these feelings to alert us that we are "up in our head" and making judgements.  Since we want to communicate our needs to others and not analyze in a judgmental way, we must find the need that's not being fulfilled behind the judgement, or translate the judgement into a need.

It can take a long time to determine what needs are behind our feelings, since we're not used to doing it, but once we have and use this language of life, conflicts are easy to resolve. 

Resolving Conflicts 

Instead of using a language of love, we end up criticizing the actions of others, which others naturally react to in self-defense.  Think about this: When people hear criticism, they think crisis and get defensive.  

It's important to remember always to express your feelings with needs presented alongside ("I feel ____ because I have a need for ___.")  You have to be clear about what needs are not being met in order to resolve conflicts.

Then, it's imperative for the other person to repeat back the stated need to make sure it is clearly understood.  Marshall Rosenberg, the creator of Nonviolent Communication, asserts that any conflict can be resolved within 20 minutes - once both parties can state what the other person's needs are.

Is it a Need?  Test yourself with these statements:

1.  "You irritate me when you roll your eyes at something I say."  (No, this is not expressing a need.)
2.  "I feel angry when you say you don't care about how the room looks, because my need for partnership is not being met."  (Yes, this expresses a feeling and the need behind it.)
3.  "I feel frustrated when you don't pick up your clothes from the floor."  (No.  While this describes a feeling due to an action, it is not followed with what need isn't being met.)
4.  "I'm sad you're not coming over, because I hoped to spend evening together."  (No, this is a strategy, not a need.)
5.  "I'm disappointed because you didn't call."  (No, there is no mention of needs here.)
6.  "I'm discouraged because I didn't finish the project today."  (Yes, although it would be better to look over the list of needs and choose a specific word to express the need.)
7.  "Little things people say hurt me."  (No, remember that your feelings are your responsibility.)
8.  "I feel happy that you came over."  (No, although it could be, if you followed that up with something like, "because my need for companionship was met.")
9.  "I feel scared when you yell."  (Again, this is a no, unless followed up with a "because I need.")
10. "I'm grateful that you came to help me clean today, because I needed support."  (Yes)

What's next in this series?  We'll discuss how to make requests that are gifts, not demands.  

Our culture says that needs are needy and selfish and therefore we should have an apologetic or "kick me" attitude when we share them.  Instead, we need to see our needs as a gift to others - a way for them to find out how to help us.


NVC concepts can make such a difference in how you view yourself and others.  Feel free to ask any questions regarding NVC you might have in the comments - and don't forget to sign up to receive Syncopated Mama blog updates by email, so you don't miss a single installment of this series!

Resources I've used to learn about NVC






Keep reading!  Find Part 6 of my NVC series here!

Linked up with Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less

Project Snapshot {Week 35}



The goal of this post is to capture a memory from the past week, either with a camera, words, or both.  Time passes in the blink of an eye and this will create a collection of treasured memories from throughout the year.

My Snapshot

Why wear one hat when you can wear two?


Somebody in this household {wink} decided that Labor Day Weekend meant around-the-house project weekend, so as a reward for tackling fun things like replacing toilet innards, we headed to the beach to catch a sunset, read, and let Gv enjoy digging in the sand.

What was your favorite memory from this past week?  I'd love to hear about it!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

What I Learned This Summer


With the end of all the Answer Me This fun hosted by Catholic All Year occurring on the final day of the month, I decided I no longer had an excuse not to finally participate in What We've Learned with Emily over at Chatting at the Sky.

G is trying to convince me to keep the Answer Me This spirit alive by taking the party over myself (he promised to help me come up with some great questions), but I'm just not sure...let me know if it's something you'd still like to see, or if you're glad to see the occasionally-narcissistic craziness go.

Here's what I learned this summer:


1.  I can far too easily get sucked into wasting away the hours looking up things on the Internet like my favorite TV shows of the past & present, favorite songs, and favorite picture books.

2.  It's entirely possible to save money by taking a month-long vacation...as well as go without indoor plumbing and other such conveniences of home.

3.   We'd been paying far too much for our cell phone service - and have already saved over $400 since switching carriers!

4.  A little creativity is all that's needed to entertain your toddler.

5.  You can throw a simple themed birthday party without breaking the bank.

6.  Sometimes it's good to think outside the box or re-purpose unusual items to help organize your house.

7.  There is a better way to communicate with the people who are a part of your life.

What did you learn this summer?  I'd love to hear!  Leave a comment, or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.