What My First Zoom Baby Shower Taught Me About Relationships

In all my years of existence, I’ve been to 2 baby showers, one virtual and one in-person. Yesterday, I attended my first zoom baby shower. It was for my brother, Charles and my sister-in-love, Nana.

There were 30 people in attendance, but trust me, we were done in 40 minutes. Talk about an efficient host. Yes! He skillfully called on every participant who in turn gave their quick 1-2 minute spiel about how they know the expecting parents and a brief congratulatory message.

I’m thankful that I was able to attend this event virtually. Since I live in Chicago and my brother lives in Seattle, attending the event in-person wasn’t just a car ride away but rather miles away.

Have you been to a baby shower before? What did you like about it?

Two hours after the event, while in the shower, I reflected on the event. I don’t know why but I do a lot of soul searching and reflecting in the evenings when I’m in the shower. Can you relate?

My general feeling about the shower was positive. I enjoyed listening to all their friends and family members share memorable stories about them. I’m all about celebrating people while they are alive and not just when they are dead and gone for good. I guess this is why this event resonated with me.

My reflections left me with 3 ideas on relationships and celebrations. Here we go.

1. Celebrate people that come into your lives for a short while and those that linger.

There were people on the zoom call that they had known from 2 years to 15 years. Such a range. I’m sure they put in work to nurture those relationships over time.

Is there a particular cashier you always meet at the grocery store or your favorite restaurant every week? Say thank you to or even give him/her a thank you card.

Are there specific people you talk to daily or weekly? When was the last time you told them how you feel about them? Be specific in your praise or gratitude. Vagueness is not ideal here.

Here’s an example.

The text message you sent me 2 weeks ago was very thoughtful. You remembered our last conversation where I talked about my anxiety surrounding setting up a Shopify Store. I’m glad you texted me to ask me how it is going. It encouraged me and reminded me that I had to be accountable to you-whether I liked it or not lol.

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How I Meal Prep Once A Month For My Family of 2

Happy New Year folks! The beginning of a new year provides us with a clean slate. It’s an opportune time to create the life we want. Personally, I’ve been taking it slow and easy, especially with new habits I want to develop.

For example, I’ve been trying to wake up earlier at 6:30am, instead of my fluid 7-7:30 am I was used to in 2020. It hasn’t been easy. I set 3 alarms for 6, 6:15 and 6:30 and still it’s a struggle. I’ve decided that I’m going to start with micro habits. Next week, I’ll aim for a 6:45 am wake up time and then slowly get it to 6:30am. An article I read from the Harvard Business Review cautioned against trying to start a new habit with big steps. It isn’t as effective.

While we’re on the subject of new habits for the new year, what resolutions have you made?

Despite everything happening around, one thing is certain. We all need to eat.

Today, I’ll be sharing my meal planning process and a few helpful tips. I hope it inspires you and moves you closer to finding a system that works for you. Let’s get right into it.

What do I meal plan for?

Breakfast and dinner

How often do I meal plan?

In 2019, I planned my meals once a week on Sundays. Starting in 2020, I shifted to planning once a month, after sitting in on a conference with Elisa Giorgio of Meal Planning Blueprints.

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2020 in Review-Books Read & Lessons Learned

My goal this year was to read 1 book a month.

I read and finished 24 books- that’s 12 more than I planned to read.

In today’s post, I’ll be answering some questions you may have as well as lessons I picked up from the books.

  1. Which books were your favorite and why?

This is a difficult question to answer for many reasons. I’ll share 5 books that were my top favorites. Here they are-

I haven’t read many memoirs in my life but this has to be my absolute favorite memoir. I literally felt like I was walking with the author through her life and could feel all her raw emotions as I read. She explored themes such as love, family tensions and food, life in Sicily, topics all very dear to me. This is how you know the book touched me in a special way. I sent Tembi Locke a direct message on Instagram just to let her know how much I liked the book.

Written by a mother and daughter, this book is a classic for women seeking to create a nurturing environment for their homes. Whether you’re new to homemaking or been at it for a number of years, you’re bound to pick up a lesson or two. I especially enjoyed how the authors focused on specific themes for every month. For example, May was focused on celebrations, June-play and August-family memories and bonding time.

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Three Ways to End 2020 in Style

Today, I share 3 simple things you can do to end 2020 well and welcome 2021.

This is summarized as “Do a kind deed, reflect on 2020 and strategize for 2021.” (DRS)

  1. Do a kind deed. Leave a review(s) for
  • a restaurant or small business you’ve visited
  • an item you have purchased online or
  • a podcast or YouTube channel you listen to frequently

If possible, leave a favorable review. This can be your way of thanking small business owners and content creators.

Alternatively, you can

  • leave a larger tip or
  • give to any of the amazing organizations working to make the world a better place-World Vision, Wikipedia, Our Daily Bread, YouVersion, food pantries etc.

2. Reflect on 2020. Find a quiet space with little to no interruptions for this exercise. If you need to break this up into several 30 minute blocks, by all means, do so.

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Struggling to Exercise? Here’s What I’ve Learned From 3 Different Workouts

Like most of you, every year, I resolve to exercise more. This year, I was explicit in how I framed that goal- Exercise 3-4 times a week for 20-30 minutes. However, it wasn’t until March, during the peak of COVID-19 that I revisited that goal.

The turning point for me was reading Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich by Lois Frankel. She emphasized the importance of protecting your most important asset-yourself. One way to do that is through exercise and scheduling regular female wellness visits around your birthday every year. The bit about exercise spoke volumes to me.

My husband encouraged me to start small. Great advice! I quickly went on YouTube and found 1-3 videos that were easy and challenging enough to get my body used to exercise regimens.

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A Q&A with Lisa, the Brains behind Liswart.WordPress.Com

Hello lovely readers! I figured it’s time to give you a chance to get to know me a bit more. It’ll be in a Q&A style.

Since you’re a self professed foodie, let’s start with food.

1. What’s your favorite fruit, snack and baked goods?

  • Favorite fruits– mango and nectarines
  • Favorite savory snack-pita crackers with sea salt from Whole Foods or Aldi served with some jam, hummus or salsa
  • Favorite sweet snack– Lars Swedish Ginger Snaps. They’re delicious eaten on their own or with a cup of tea/coffee. I just discovered these about 2 weeks ago and I’m in love. I like that they’re not too sweet
  • Favorite yeast baked good– Swedish cardamom buns from Tre Kronor. I enjoy the chewy texture and crunch provided by the pearl sugar used to top the buns.
  • Favorite muffin– Lemon blueberry muffins, using Sally’s Baking Addiction master muffin recipe. The only change I make is I reduce the sugar by half.

2. What’s your favorite movie?

War Room by the Kendrick Brothers.

It’s the first Christian movie I watched that had a huge impact on my life. I really liked the idea of creating a war room and keeping a prayer journal. Shortly after I watched the movie, I purchased a journal and started to write my prayer requests.

Five years later, this journal has turned into a reflection/gratitude journal of all my thoughts, celebrations and struggles. I’ve also continued to keep track of my answered prayers whenever I remember.

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Have A Sweet Tooth And Still Want to Eat Less Sugar? Here’s 4 Ways You Can & 3 Recipes To Get You Started

This is the second post in the sugar series. Today’s focus will be on 4 practical ways to reduce your sugar intake and 3 recipes that you can try out.

It’s difficult to bake sweet treats with no sugar. Yes, I said it. Desserts and bakeries revolve around sugar. Without the proliferation of commercial sugar, we may not have bakeries.

As I researched on how to bake with little to no sugar, one thing was certain. Experts say that sugar doesn’t just add sweetness to a baked good; it adds moisture, structure and caramelization. If you decide to go on the path of little to no sugar, you need to factor all of these functions and make the necessary substitutions.

It’s not all gloom though. A major pre-requisite on this reduced-low sugar journey is a mindset shift on what a sweet treat or baked good should be.

Additionally, if you’re a self professed baker used to baking sweet treats for breakfast, look for savory options (scones, quiches etc). Better yet, find food bloggers that focus on reduced to low sugar or more savory meals. Personally, I’ve been trying to find more savory breakfast options and reduce my frequency of baking. I’ll be sharing more about this later in the post.

If you’re a baker like me or a lover of sweet things who wants to reduce your sugar intake, it is possible to do so. 

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It’s Just One Teaspoon of Sugar. Is It Really?

I’ve been thinking a lot about sugar lately. I love to bake and that usually involves a lot of sugar.

My husband sowed this thought in my head a month ago.

“How much sugar does each muffin have?” I had never thought about that before. I usually use half of the required sugar on the recipe so to me, I felt like I was doing great. As I proceeded to calculate the sugar quantity per muffin, I realized that each one contained 1/2 Tablespoon of sugar. Not bad, you might say but it adds up. We rarely had 1 muffin in a sitting; we liked to enjoy 2 muffins with a slice of toast for breakfast.

I will be starting a series on sugar and this will be the first post. Here’s what I hope to achieve from these series-

  • Learning about the history of sugar
  • Learning how the food industry has made living sugar-free difficult
  • How to reduce sugar consumption
  • Creative ways to enjoy a sweet treat with little to no sugar whether through baking or fruit desserts
  • Desserts around the world and what we can learn from other cultures

The focus today will be on the history of sugar, the food industry’s role with sugar and some practical ways on how to reduce sugar consumption. Let’s get right into it.

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Less Paper Towels & Meal Prep Tips

For the past 4 years, I’ve started my day with gratitude. Today, I’ll be starting today’s post with just that. What am I grateful for?

Can you see the rainbow peppers?
  1. A surprise package from my Auntie Ceci in Connecticut. It had a ziplock full of the Ghanaian variety of garden eggs and a small ziplock of multi-colored scotch bonnet peppers. I’ll be transporting myself to Ghana by making some garden eggs stew in the coming weeks.

2. My fresh Ghanaian kenkey and shito that was delivered ahead of schedule by Okrad Foods. I just had to eat some kenkey that evening. The shito was tasty, let me tell you.

3. Money to afford kitchen upgrades from time to time. My blender gave up on me last week so I had to purchase one. I decided to also buy some ice cubes tray and glass food storage containers.

Now, your turn.

What are 3 things that you are grateful for?

1.

2.

3.

Well done!

In my last post, I talked about the issue of food waste. I still can’t get the idea of sustainable living from my head. Today, I’ll be focusing on 3 main thoughts-

  • Reducing paper waste
  • Meal prep tips with some helpful links
  • Cool finds from the week

Reducing Paper Waste

Do you use paper towels and tissues on the regular?

How many do you go through in a month?

How much will you say you spend on them in a year?

I purchase a pack of 12 twice a year and it costs me about $30. Not that bad, you might say.

The cost savings argument might not convince you that shifting from disposable paper towels to reusable cloth napkins is cost effective. Anyway, hear me out.

Last week, I decided to order some handmade cloth napkins from Etsy as a trial experiment. Why, you might say?

I noticed that I tend to use a piece of paper towel during my meals. The problem was that, I don’t use all the sides for one meal so I end up reusing it at least twice or just throwing it out after each use, even if it’s not that dirty. If I have a napkin, I could use one napkin a day and just wash and reuse.

I’m not here to convince you to make the switch. I just want to sow the seed and make you consider cloth napkins if you haven’t.

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Food Wastage & Screen-Free Games

What will you do for the world today?

Reduce food waste?

Grow closer to your friends and family by playing more board games?

It’s been a productive 2 weeks since I last wrote. Here are the 3 things that have been on my mind lately and will be the focus of this post-

  • sustainability ideas in the food industry
  • food wastage- personal experience & tips to reduce wastage
  • board games & jigsaw puzzles

At work, we subscribe to Datassential, a food marketing & trends company. This month, their International Concepts magazine looked at the issue of sustainability in the food industry.

Sustainability in the Food Industry

I found it fascinating reading about innovative ideas that Restaurant Nolla, a sustainability driven restaurant in Helsinki practice.

  • Using plantable gift cards- (paper cards that contain seeds). Super cool right?
  • Using Joo Soap (soap made out of used cooking oil) to wash dishes

Definitely goes to show that someone is thinking and really making use of the science they learned in school.

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