Monday, October 26, 2015

#StandByHer Week - Closing the gap

I was fortunate enough to have a Mom who I admire for her independence, creativity, and strong will. She taught me from an early age to be my own person, chase my dreams, and to just try it. She never once put limits on me "because I was a girl". 

My Mom owned her own business and baked the most beautiful cakes as long as I can remember. I don't think I ever realized as a young girl what a big deal it was that my Mom was a small business owner. It's a big deal! Not only did she own a business, but she was able to be my Mom and be with me each day. From an early age, Mom taught me how to sew, embroider, decorate cakes, and so much more. She also encouraged me to read and learn and find my own interests. All those skills have made me who I am today. It instilled the value that I can do anything I put my mind to. It helped my reasoning, methodical thought process, creativity, and perseverance to see the project through completion. Those skills are what it takes to be a successful woman in today's world. 

I love the video above saying to Stand By Her. Help her close the gap and gain equality. My only hesitation is that I hope we don't drive our young ladies to a path they don't choose for themselves. The definition of success is not measured by salary or title. Success doesn't mean you have an office with a view or are partner in a prestigious firm. Success is defined by chasing any dream you put your mind to and achieving it. Success does not come without failure. You have to work hard. Try over and over and over again. Have a level of commitment that can't be compromised by passing winds of change. 

As a woman in 2015 who has a career and family and volunteerism is a huge part of my life, I would hate to think young women feel they have to choose that path to be successful. Stay at home mom's are needed. I know... not the women's lib message, huh? To me, women's liberation means I have a choice. Do I want to climb the corporate ladder or do I want to mold tomorrow's leaders as my main focus? Or will I find balance between the two? 
Encourage your young ladies to define what success is to them... don't let the statistics discourage them from chasing their dream. Stand By Her as she chooses what is the best fit for her. Uplift her as she struggles between the roles. Hug her tight when she wonders if the choices she has made are the right ones. Be there. Be her friend. Be her confidante. Stand By Her. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Troop Leader: Why do it? #5ReasonsToLead

This post is as much for me as if it for anyone who reads it.  I have been struggling with my roles lately, and I found a graphic someone put together for their organization and thought "Hmmm... I need one of those" So, I went through my pictures and found five photos from the past few years to put it together. 

Why do we do what we do? Why do we put in countless hours for planning and meeting and talking and wrestling with how to make the money in the account stretch so the girls can do what they want to do? Why do we lie awake at night wondering if you are making a difference and thinking you aren't and praying you are? Why do we spend so much energy for a majority of children that are not our own and in the meantime, taking hours from our own family and friends?

That's pretty depressing if you just roll with that, huh? Well, keep reading. I hope to enlighten both of us. 

Girl Scouts provides an environment where girls are challenged and accepted. They learn. They grow. They take up traditions. They start their own traditions. They build memories to last a lifetime. All at the cost of volunteers who believe in them. 

If you look at the photos I chose in the graphic above, you will see girls belonging to something bigger than themselves and challenged to uphold the legacy of a more than 100 year old organization. You see young women learning to take aim and hit the target. They may be practicing archery, but they learning a life lesson to push your limits, get out of your comfort zone, and keep trying until you hit the mark. You see young Americans saluting their flag, showing their patriotism, and honoring their country, state, and organization. You see our littlest of Girl Scouts joining in a Friendship Circle. They are learning what it is to belong to the largest sisterhood on the planet. Finally, you see young girls simply having fun. They are learning they matter. They are seeing volunteers who are willing to give up their time to make it happen for them. 

Is this all Girl Scouts is? No. Not even close. Are these the best representation of the 5 reasons? Maybe. Maybe not. But, it is a reminder to me (and I hope to you) that all the work isn't in vain. 

I challenge you... what are your 5 reasons? Why do you do what you do? Share it with #5ReasonsToLead

I may have narrowed it to 5, but I have 16 very important ones who all have names... 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Guest Post: Easy Morning Tricks to Help You Stay Healthy

This post was provided by a guest blogger. These helpful tips would tie in perfectly with the Cadettes Eating for Beauty badge.

By: Danielle Hegedus

Via Sullivan Personal Training
Even those of us who look skeptically at friends who say they are “morning people”  know that getting up earlier in the morning can make you healthier and more productive. The mornings hours are yours, and yours alone, unlikely to be interrupted by family and work demands. It’s just a matter of committing to the habit of utilizing your mornings instead of sleeping through them! At Modernize, we encourage you to wake up just a little earlier for your own well-being. Use the morning hours to nurture your mind, body, and spirit with meditation, nutrition, and exercise. Read on for simple tips to start your mornings off right—you may even start calling yourself a morning person!

Start Your Day with Meditation
Yes, this means you’ll have to skip the snooze button, but building just 10-20 minutes into your morning routine can do wonders for your well-being throughout the rest of the day. Create a space, in your bedroom or elsewhere in your home, that is quiet, comfortable, and peaceful. If finding a quiet spot in your home is a challenge, you may want to consider downloading a meditation-mix that you can listen to with headphones. UCLA Health has some great free guided meditations that you can download based on the amount of time you have to meditate and any particular issues you may be looking to work on like your breathing, stress reduction, or loving kindness.

Via Modernize
Starting your day with meditation provides you with the opportunity to quiet your mind amidst all of the stressors in your life—work, family, an ever growing to-do list. It allows you to have more focus and control over your emotions, making you less prone to depression and anxiety throughout the day. According to Time Magazine, “The practice of mindful meditation can offer real help for patients with depression, anxiety, and pain. Researchers are increasingly demonstrating the measurable influence of meditation on the brain, proving that mindfulness can make us feel happier, have greater emotional resilience, and take fewer sick days.”

Drink Warm Lemon Water
Via Ideal Journey
Coffee may be your favorite way to start the day, but try starting your day with warm lemon water for just a week (you can always have a cup of coffee later in the morning!) to experience some amazing health benefits. Lemon is rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and pectin fiber. Keep the peel on lemon slices (just be mindful to scrub your lemons before using) to maximize fiber. Warm lemon water serves as a natural digestive aid, helping the body eliminate waste easier. Starting your day off with warm lemon water can help boost your immune system, support weight loss, balance pH levels in your body, prevent the formation of acne and wrinkles, soothe an upset stomach, and reduce pain and inflammation in your joints as it dissolves uric acid.

Eat a Protein Rich Breakfast
Via Nicola Strother
Some people say they just aren’t hungry in the morning, but when you really think about it,  your body has been without food for at least eight hours while you were sleeping and needs energy to function well. Eating a healthy breakfast is also very important to maintaining a healthy weight. A breakfast that is rich in protein and whole grains, like a veggie omelette with whole grain toast, can help reduce hunger throughout the day. If eating breakfast is a new habit for you, start small. Greek yogurt with fruit and almonds is a light way to begin your day and it’s loaded with protein. Researchers have found that “...eating a high-protein breakfast made young women feel fuller throughout the day and eat a smaller dinner and fewer nighttime snacks. In contrast, starting the day with a low-protein breakfast or no breakfast at all made the study subjects more likely to graze on unhealthy (high-calorie but low-nutrient) foods throughout the day.”

At Modernize, we love avocado toast for breakfast. It’s delicious, and quick and easy to prepare. Simply mix avocado with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil and spread on toast. We like to add egg whites for extra protein. According to nutritionist,  Lisa Goldberg, "I love it for breakfast because avocado has protein and healthy monounsaturated fat, and it's also high in fiber, so combined with the multi-grain toast it keeps me full for a good three to four hours. Plus, it's high in other nutrients like Vitamins B, C, E, K, and potassium."

Exercise Outdoors
Via Huffington Post
Any exercise that you can get fit into your day  is going to positively impact your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. With hectic work and family schedules, it’s easy for exercise to fall to the bottom of your ever growing to-do list. Make exercise a priority by doing it first thing in the morning before your day has a chance to get away from you. Starting your day off with physical activity can influence you to make better food choices and help maintain your energy levels throughout the day.

While working out in the gym or your living room is great, try to get outside if you are able. According to the New York Times, “There seem to be other, more ineffable advantages to getting outside to work out. In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance—one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure, and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression, and fatigue after they walked outside.”

Pack Your Lunch

Anyone who has ever attempted to grocery shop while hungry knows that hunger can cause you to make some poor decisions. Plan your lunch and snacks to set yourself up for nutritional success throughout the day. Fill an insulated lunch bag full of healthy and delicious snacks like Greek yogurt, fruit, and multi-grain crackers and hummus. Ideally, your lunch should consist of ½ non-starchy veggies (leafy greens are great), ¼ protein, and ¼ carbohydrates (quinoa or a starchy vegetable like a sweet potato are good, filling choices) . Not only will you set yourself up to be more healthy by being deliberate about including nutrient-rich food in your diet (instead of a frenzied last minute run to a drive-through), but you’ll also save a lot of money throughout the week.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Looking Forward to Three Years Back

Yes, I titled that right. I spent a little time today going back in my records to see what we have done... I no longer wonder why I'm exhausted and I have some topics to come for my lovely blog stalkers, readers, and viewers. (That's you... )

So, if you check out the Brownie, Junior, and Cadette tabs (up top... on the menu... look up the page), you will see I have updated the lists to include badges we have completed as a troop... but I have not completed as a blog post and broken down to share the craziness we have had. 

Stay tuned... those badge blog entries are to come... hopefully soon. It's going to be a balancing act... staying up to date with what we are doing now AND going back to grab some of the things we did back then... that also means I have to remember stuff... thank goodness for Meeting Outlines, huh? 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cadette: Eating For Beauty

There are so many things you could do with this and so many options. Just think about healthy eating for healthy skin, the Dove initiative for seeing what you really look like and anything to build self-esteem about image. My girls were in 6th grade when we did this badge and believe me... it's an age when they need to start thinking seriously about how to eat right to prevent acne and ways to reduce stress. 

Know How Good Nutrition Helps Your Body Stay Healthy

Remembering Healthy Foods 
Have girls get into a circle, Leader starts with ball or beanbag says “Fruits are a great healthy food. A Fruit I like is…”  Then pass to next girl she must say what you just said plus add another fruit.  So the 2nd girl says "Fruits are a great healthy food. Fruits I like are apples and bananas", if girl can not think of one or forgets order have her sit down, continue around circle til last person standing. Start with a different type of healthy food. 

Types of food to use are: green leafy vegetables, colorful vegetables, grains, proteins (meat, nuts and beans)  fruit and dairy products.

Explore How your Diet Affects Your Stress Level

Play a game of How High Is the Sugar Content? (Price is Right)
Give each girl a pile of sugar cubes, we will line up a number of products, the girls all have to guess how much sugar they think is in that item using the sugar cubes. Once they all have guessed reveal the answer (have answers hidden under a cardboard piece that has how many grams wrote on it.)

We used the Cookie Order Form and talked about each Girl Scout cookie and the sugar content it has. We also discussed that Girl Scout cookies aren't "bad", but they are just like other sweet treats.. moderation is a best practice.

Fact for the girls: The American Heart Association recommends women only have 26 grams of sugar a day. So, make that comparison with some of the items.

Look at How Your Diet Affects Your Energy

Glow Sticks Yoga/Relaxation Workouts in the Dark

Give each girl two glow sticks and do the below moves and exercises:

  1. This partner stretch will allow the girls to be mindful of each other while they relax. Have the girls find a partner and sit on the floor. Say slowly and calmly to the girls “Face your partner, open your legs comfortably and touch your feet with your partner’s feet. Tell girls lean forward and grasp each other’s hands. One partner leans back, slowly pulling your partner forward. Now the second partner will lean back and pull their partner slowly forward.
  2. This exercise helps girls focus on breathing, helping them achieve rest and balance. Have the girls sit comfortably on the floor or mat. Slowly and calmly tell the girls “In the winter, bears hibernate in caves, sleeping peacefully. Sit up tall, close your eyes, and go inside. Through your nose, breathe in for a count of five, and then hold for a count of three. Breathe out for a count of five, then hold for a count of three.” Repeat this instruction 5 times. Then say, “Open your eyes and notice how you feel.” Be sure to allow girls time to finish each step after you say it.
  3. Have girl spread out so they can make big movements without hitting anyone. Explain that you are going to call out natural phenomenons. As each word is called out, the girls should use their body and their voices to act out the word however they choose. They should continue making the movements until you call out the next word. You can call out the words as slowly or quickly as you like.
    • Natural phenomena:
      • storm
      • cloud
      • tree
      • rainbow
      • tornado
      • waves
      • fire
      • river

Find out how what you eat affects your Skin

Set a timer for 1 minute and make a list of all the healthy foods you can think of; then do the same for unhealthy. Compare and think about the accuracy of your lists.

What promotes healthy skin:
The basic diet for healthy skin is as follows:

  • Avoid processed foods, choose natural foods
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Choose low fat sources of protein such as chicken and fish not steak and hamburger
  • Eat complex carbohydrates are like vegetables, skim milk, and whole grain cereals
  • Drink fresh, clean (bottled if necessary) water
  • Avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates which are things like candy, chocolate, biscuits, whole milk

Investigate How What You Eat Affects Your Sleep

Create a Poster where one side shows you sleeping perfectly. Use pictures, magazines, and words, whatever you need to show around you what it means to sleep soundly. On other side show yourself not sleeping well and all the reasons why that may be happening around that picture.

Fact for the girls:
Eating right and at the right time is necessary for the good sleep. Our body has its own internal clock, which sets our sleeping, and getting up times. Hormones of the body control and regulate this clock. The secretion of these hormones is effected by the way we eat and think.

Helpful tips to get a better night sleep:

  • Never go to sleep with full stomach, as it will cause heartburn and keep you awake.
  • Eat three or four hours before going to sleep.
  • Don’t go to bed with empty stomach, as it will trigger the glycogen to stimulate the brain to produce sleepless hormones.

  • Tryptophan rich food: Tryptophan is the sleep inducing hormone and found in milk, banana, poultry products, oats, and in honey.
  • Snack: boiled eggs or vegetables:
  • Yogurt: It is one of the greatest sleep-inducing product and help for sleep if taken a bowl of yogurt before going to sleep.


  • High fats: foods with high fat content not only cause the increase in weight but also cause sleepless nights.
  • Spicy foods: Cause of heartburn or if you have acid reflux the digestive system get disturb and causes sleepless.
  • Chocolate and caffeinated foods: The caffeine and other stimulants present in coffee and chocolates activate the brain cells and keep the person awakened.
  • High protein foods: source of increasing brain activity and cause the sleepless nights. Before going to bed avoid the proteins snacks and protein foods.