The weather is picking up and spring is almost upon us. It’s an inspiring season because life feels a bit more optimistic and cheerful after the winter blues. A few things I like to do to get ready for the season are taking out my spring recipes, packing away my winter wardrobe and bringing out my spring clothing. I also deep clean my home and prepare the vegetable garden. I hope I will inspire you to do the same. Here are some fun activities and relationship builders to promote mindfulness and give you a refreshed perspective on life.
I hope you enjoy this month’s read and find it useful as you get ready to welcome spring. Don’t forget to leave a comment, question or tip.
Have a great month. See you in April!
The Flavors of Spring
After all the soups and hearty meals of winter, I look forward to cooking and eating foods that burst with fresh spring flavors. My family loves this pasta dish, and it’s so simple to make. I generally serve it with a mixed green salad and either crab cakes or lamb chops, but it’s also delicious just by itself. I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know your thoughts.
Spring Linguini with fresh Parsley and Lemon
- 16 ounces (1 box) linguini pasta
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves,
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½-1teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Bring a large pot of salted water with 1 tablespoon canola oil to a boil. Add and cook the linguini in the boiling water until tender but firm, stirring frequently, for about 8-10 minutes, then drain in a colander.
In the same pasta pot, heat the olive oil on low then add minced garlic, stirring until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Be sure not to burn the garlic. Add the pasta to the pot, then pour in the chicken broth, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and cook for 2 minutes, then add the lemon juice and grated Parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Taste for desired flavor, adding salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed. Sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley leaves, stir, serve and enjoy.
Fashionable & Functional
April Showers bring May Flowers, so the saying goes! Although it was a mild winter in my part of North Carolina, I'm still ready for sunshine and blue skies. As much as I long for the sun, I know that showers are essential to making spring so colorful, bright and picture perfect. As the weather slowly changes into rainy spring days, I try not to let them put a damper on my look. Even if it’s just a supermarket trip or running errands, I like to think that cute styles, fun prints and colors have the power to combat any rainy day blues. So on those rainy or cloudy days, we can brighten them up with some chic rainy day essentials:
- A sleek rain jacket
- Slim boots or cute galoshes that can pass with any outfit
- A sturdy and stylish one-button umbrella
- A waterproof hat to protect that beloved blowout or, as in my case, keeps the frizz down. Even add a designated poncho for your expensive handbag (I mean, you don't want to ruin that distressed leather!)
- A favorite lip gloss and waterproof mascara will brighten your spirits and help you face the day, regardless of what the weatherman says.
With a beautiful rain jacket, hat, boots or galoshes and umbrella you will be ready to weather the storms in style and feel good about yourself (adding a little zip to your step).
I’d love to know your rainy day style, so send me a comment!
Let’s face it: The words ‘fun’ and ‘cleaning’ are rarely seen together. Spring cleaning is a big project; adding the whole family to the mix may leave you wondering whether it’s easier to just take care of your cleaning checklist by yourself.
Keep in mind, however, that involving your children and spouse in household chores is a good thing. Cleaning can help build better family relationships.
Tackling chores is an important (and unavoidable) part of maturing and gaining independence, and it’s never too early for children to learn to take care of their belongings—including the family home. Teaching these habits helps develop organizational skills which are important throughout life. When the family works together to conquer tasks like these, not only are they making a home tidy and clean, but they’re also bonding and building their relationships; this can lead to better communication, understanding and really learning about each other. If parents or grandparents live with you, include them in tasks they can manage. Don’t exclude them, because when everyone is involved the bond gets stronger and life becomes even better. My parents are now living with me and one of things I've learned is that by including them in chores and activities they feel happy and appreciate having a purpose and sense of involvement.
Here are a few things I’ve done with family over the years; though my children are grown adults and on their own, they’ve continued some of these traditions in their own homes.
- Start a kitchen garden (in a flower bed or in large pots). Include plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and peppers. Visit your local nursery or garden shop for ideas. It’s really easy!
- For a fun family project, plant seedlings in small pots indoors and watch them grow. After the last frost, transplant them into your garden.
- Clean out closets and donate unwanted clothing to a local charity.
- Start a library at home. Create a family reading room and designate a day and time each week for reading together.
PARENTING & COMMUNICATION
Here are a few parenting tips to improve communications in your family.
- Notice times when your kids are most likely to talk—at bedtime, before dinner, in the car—and be available at those times.
- Start the conversation; it lets your kids know you care about what's happening in their lives.
- Find time each week for a one-on-one activity with each child, and avoid scheduling other activities during that time.
- Initiate conversations by sharing what you’ve been thinking about (rather than beginning a conversation with a question).
- Learn about your children's interests—favorite music, preferred activities—and show interest in these things.
Be available for your children, showing them that you value time together. Cultivate and tend these most important relationships (just as you would your garden)!