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Inspirational Jewelry, Gifts and Gab

Friday, November 19, 2010

How To Get Your Kids To Do Chores

Today, many kids are overbooked with soccer, piano, karate, Spanish class, homework and more. They don’t have the time to perform the normal chores that were once expected of children. Back in the day, part of being a family was sharing the household jobs. Now, parents are left with picking up after their kids, making their beds and cleaning their rooms.  I think we are robbing our kids from learning about not only responsibility and teamwork, but also how to function in the real world. That first year of college is hard enough, but add to that an 18 year old that has never done laundry or emptied a trash can? Yikes!

It’s true, when children are little, it is easier to just “do it yourself” than teach them how to pick up their toys or make their bed. However, you have to see the big picture. Slowly teaching a three year old how to put away his toys is much easier than trying to teach a hormonal, grumpy teenager how to suddenly clean his room. Additionally, with today’s environmentally conscience cleaning products, children are able to help even more (and kids love using a spray bottle).

Here are jobs that I have my children do (depending on their age):
  • Unload the dishwasher or silverware 
  • Wash kitchen counter tops (I like them to use Mrs. Meyers products which are environmentally friendly and contain no harsh chemicals or smells).
  • Sweep front porch (not a big deal if it’s not done perfectly)
  • Wash bathroom sink and counter top
  • Wash French door windows (large windows are a little tricky)
  • Vacuum
  • Wash the dog
  • Dust their own room

Often times parents don’t know what kind of chores to give their children. They are unsure what a kid is capable of doing. Chores need to be suitable to a child’s age. For example, when emptying a dishwasher, a four year old can help unload the silverware, while a seven year old can put all of the plates and bowls away, and a 12 year old can unload the glasses and cups. Kids aren’t going to do their chores perfectly, but if you show them how to do it and show them what a job should look like when it’s done correctly, eventually it will be worth your time and energy. Additionally, your child will grow up being more productive and responsible.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Medallion Circle Locket Inspirational Necklace

Loving this necklace! The locket can be customized with your own photo. It really makes a statement and can be worn long or short. Please contact me to purchase paula@alittlegratitude.net

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Rose-colored View

I've used this summer to do jobs around the house that were neglected during the school year. The "honey-do" list has piled up, so that it's a "just get it done now" list. I've used a critical eye to determine what needs my attention most. We've trimmed trees, raked up old grass, planted vegetables, painted rooms, touched up baseboards, organized closets and scrubbed floors. It feels good to check off the jobs as they are completed, but my eye is now trained to see the negative, rather than the positive. I feel focused on what remains to be done, rather than the beauty and good fortune right in front of me.

I recently read this quote by Jan McKeon, an editor of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. "Allow time each day to simply enjoy your garden. Don't dwell on the negatives - the weeds, the unfinished tasks, the plants nibbled by rabbits. Instead, focus your eyes on the beauty of details - a newly open flower, dewdrops gleaming in the sun, a butterfly winging from bloom to bloom."  The words remind me to strike a balance in maintaining our house and property, yet find joy in the amazingly tall Cypress trees, the giant pink Dahlias and the home where my children play, create and love.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Working From Home, Playing From Home

The kids are home for summer vacation!
Yippeee! Yahoooo! Horaayyy!
I still have to work... from home, with three kids surrounding me and expecting me to entertain them.
Boo. Hisssss. Cryyyy.

Finding time to work while kids are on summer break is like trying to go for a hike in high heels - frustrating, irritating and you just end up throwing your pumps at something.

I don't want to sit at my computer, typing away while trying to focus as I am interrupted incessantly. Heck, I want to jump on the trampoline, make sand castles on the beach, sit by the pool and watch movies. However, part of me does want to work. I like writing, I like creating, I like meeting with grown ups and discussing interesting things. Yes, I like earning money!

It's all a part of the constant balancing act that confounds us work-from-home moms each day. How to "fit it all in" is the question. Fortunately, my dilemma was kindly answered today by my beautiful friend Mary Kelting. After working diligently this morning, Mary picked me up at home, drove me to the pool, bought me a margarita and brought balance to my day. THAT is what friends are for.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Holly Farrell Artist Nostalgic Paintings

I really love the work painted by Canadian artist Holly Farrell. She takes every day items, that you probably loved at your grandmother's house, and makes them interesting and inviting. Looking at her artwork makes me want a cozy, warm hug from my beloved grandma.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A French Touch Salon Opens In San Luis Obispo

Merci Beaucoup to Patricia for an amazing facial at her new gorgeous salon. While living in France, I discovered that beauty is an integral part of the French culture. Women are expected to take time to care for themselves...it's not considered pampering at all, but more a matter of  pride. The facial treatment I received at A French Touch salon left me not only feeling refreshed and pretty, but also recommitted to taking care of myself. Take care of yourself.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Inspirational Graduation Necklace on Sale

The "Life Is A Journey" necklace and "Dream Big" necklace make the perfect meaningful graduation gift. Both items are 20% off until May 24, 2010. There are a limited number of these necklaces, 
so place your order soon. 
Life Is A Journey Necklace
The word "Journey" hangs with a gray mother of pearl solid unity circle and hand-wrapped freshwater pearl on a 16" black cotton cord. Included tag reads: “Life is a journey, not a destination
Price: $22.99, on sale for $18.29

Dream Big Necklace
The word "Dream" hangs with agray mother of pearl solid unity circle and hand-wrapped freshwater pearl on a 16" black cotton cord. Included tag reads:.Follow your bliss.” –J. Campbell
Price: $22.99, on sale for $18.29

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Harmony Cellars Now Selling A Little Gratitiude Inspirational Jewelry

I had the pleasure of delevering ten gorgeous necklaces to the beautiful Harmony Cellars Winery yesterday. The winery is in a perfect spot along Hwy. 1 on the California Central Coast. The town of Harmony is located between Cambria and Cayucos and has a population of just 18.

Harmony Cellars Winery produces award-winning wines and offers a scenic destination for wine tasting, shopping and relaxing. Harmony has a beautiful picnic area overlooking rolling hills. My family has enjoyed picnicking there - My husband and I can sip wine, while the kids explore the gorgeous gardens.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Eternity Pearl Necklace For Mom

Happy Mother's Day

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there."
–Robert Browning
Mom's Eternity Necklace
This necklace represents the eternal bond between mother and child with the gray Mother of Pearl circle surrounding one or two freshwater pearls, one for each child.  Price: $22.99 plus S&H

**Please specify number of pearls when ordering**
    -pearls measure 3.5 mm-4.5 mm
-pendant measures 2"
-black cotton cord measures 16" long
-lobster clasp

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Inspirational Necklaces and Wine Charms

Recently mailed a variety of sparkling  wine charms, wine bottle charms and a beautiful necklace to New York. As you can see from the photo, all of my items are packaged and ready to give as a gift.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quote of the Day by Anne Lamott

"I've heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you're incredibly busy and stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day."
-Anne Lamott

Thursday, April 15, 2010

That's What Friends Are For

Last night I went to a friends birthday party. We laughed, we cried, we shared stories, we drank wine and we ate nachos. Today I feel happy, almost giddy, with a positive outlook on life. Why? It's actually scientific. While being with my girlfriends, my brain released the feel-good hormone oxytocin which lowers blood pressure, protects against dementia and ruduces the risk of depression. Not only is girl-time fun, it's actually healthy. So, get out there - even if it's out of your comfort zone. Spend some time with friends, spend some time on yourself. Happy Birthday Erin!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Little Film About Amy Bakes Cupcakes

Amy Bakes Cupcakes is owned by a friend who makes the most delicious cupcakes baked by hand and made to order. Amy uses quality ingredients like organic chocolate, homemade vanilla extract, and local seasonal fruit and spices. She perfectly describes each cupcake as "a tiny present just for you." Without a doubt, all of Amy's cupcakes are little treasures that are thoughtful, unique and fun.

I love Amy's new short film. It expresses her personality and really makes me want to eat a cupcake! You can view it here:
A Little Film About Amy Bakes Cupcakes

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Me Time - For Me

Our lives are busy. Sometimes, I feel that I’ve completed an entire days work - and it’s only 9:00 in the morning! In a world of go-go-go, it’s important to stop-stop-stop. That’s what I did a couple of weekends ago at Replenish Massage & Skin Care in Paso Robles, Ca. Replenish is now selling A Little Gratitude jewelry and it was my pleasure to hand deliver ten beautiful necklaces. Of course, since I was there, I had to indulge in a little pampering.

Heidi, the Esthetician and co-owner has set up the spa beautifully. My shoulders relaxed as soon as I walked thru the door. I loved the zen-ness of the decor. As for my treatments, Heidi did a great job in shaping and waxing my eyebrows perfectly. My facial was divine. I absolutely loved the lemongrass scented hot towels she used to open my pores, the warm rolled towel she placed under my neck and the lip exfoliation that left my lips kissably soft.

Are you in need of Me-Time? As women, we give so much to everyone else. When we take time for ourselves, we are better for it. "Replenish" is the perfect name for a spa because I truly felt I had replenished my energy, soul and spirit after spending a little time on myself.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ideas for the Greater Good - Last, but not least - Number SEVEN!

This is a continuation of "7 Ideas for the Greater Good." I got these ideas from a brochure that my husband brought home from an event he went to at UC Berkeley. The brochure had been buried on a bulletin board for over two years.

7. Allow yourself to experience awe and wonder.
When you do, you'll gain a deep sense of unity with the world, and of our common humanity.

These words are so powerful. Last weekend, my family joined two other families on a trip to the snow. We stayed in a beautiful log cabin, ate delicious food and played in the perfectly powdery snow. In our group, was an adorable 4 year old boy. As all the other children were racing down a hill on sleds, this little boy was lying on his back looking up at the sky with his mouth wide open. I noticed him and looked up to see what could be so interesting. It was beautiful! The snow falling gently against the dark grey sky - I was in awe. I would of never looked up, if it wasn't for that little boy. A perfect gift.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Whisked Away For the Afternoon

My friend Aimee called me at 7:50 a.m on Friday just as I was frantically hurrying my kids out the door for school. When I briskly answered the phone, Aimee asked what I was doing for the day. A million things ran through my head. Really A MILLION things. It was my day to do everything that I didn't get done the last two weeks. When she asked me that simple question, I really didn't know where to begin so instead I said "why."

My kind and thoughtful friend had been intending to do something special for my birthday for the past couple of months and today was the day for my something special. The word "not today" was on the tip of my tongue when I took a deep breath and out came "Yes!" I immediately felt my shoulders relax as my brain anticipated some girl time with my friend.

After much shuffling of kids, packaging jewelery and paying bills, I found myself ALONE and driving to San Luis Obispo. I was so happy that I said "yes" to Aimee. I was so glad that Aimee thought of me and asked me to spend time with her. We had a delicious lunch at Palazzo Giuseppe and played with makeup at Sephora. Just writing about our day now, makes me feel more peaceful. Saying "yes" to an opportunity almost always leads me to a good place.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

7 Ideas for the Greater Good - Number SIX

This is a continuation of "7 Ideas for the Greater Good." I got these ideas from a brochure that my husband brought home from an event he went to at UC Berkeley. The brochure had been buried on a bulletin board for over two years, and I was so glad to uncover it and reflect on the list again.

Savoring good experiences can heighten positive emotions.

Slowing down and being in the present moment is something I strive to do. It can be really hard in this fast paced life, but worth the effort. I like to go for a run (or walk) a few times a week, and I try to focus on my body and the world around me. It takes effort to train your brain, so I concentrate on feeling my feet hit the ground, my lungs fill with air and the quiet that surrounds me. It's bliss.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Martha Stewart Complex

I was just interviewed by Beth Levine, an author for Woman's Day Magazine. She interviewed me about an article that I wrote called "The Martha Stewart Complex." Very exciting!  Here it is. You can also check out my other articles at: Ezine.com

The Martha Stewart Complex, by Paula Mathias Fryer

The Martha Stewart Empire began around the same year I had my first baby, (at least that's when I became aware of Martha Stewart and her beautiful, meticulous world). This was unfortunate for me because it nearly ruined my first few years as a new mommy. Why? It set an unachievable standard for women who thought we could do it all.

I went from working girl in San Francisco with a career as an Events Planner with up-to-date clothes and money to burn - to - a stay at home mom in the burbs COVERED in spit up and sweat and scraping by on one income. Ouch!

I searched for a way to gain control of my life again and found it one day at the grocery store checkout. There it was, a glossy magazine with photos of beautiful Swedish furniture, an article on "Cleaning Toilets 101", and a photo shoot of the quaint nanny's quarters of a famous publisher. "I can do this," I thought to myself. "I can be the best wife, mother, maid, volunteer, and chef ever!" I purchased the Martha Stewart Living Magazine and quickly sent in my $19 check for a year's subscription. Big mistake.

I rapidly developed a bad case of the Martha Stewart Complex and I was exhausted, unhappy, chubby, and failing miserably at being perfect. The pressure was immense, the fun was infinitesimal. My lemon meringue pie was lumpy, my husband's shirts looked like they were ironed by a monkey, my knitted cap was crooked, and I could never make a hospital corner adequately. Worse of all, the fun and excitement had evaporated from life, just like the glaze l'orange sauce that I attempted to pour over my Poulet Parfait.

I had a beautiful daughter who did not care if her toys were arranged by theme, or her blanket was made of the finest cashmere. She wanted to explore, get dirty, look at books, play Polly Pockets and most of all, be with her mom and dad. It was time to get rid of Menacing Martha and have some fun again!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ideas for the Greater Good - Number FIVE

5. Help others
Altruistic individuals are healthier, happier, and they live longer. Did you know that helping others triggers the same brain activity as the gratification of personal desire?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ideas for the Greater Good - Number FOUR

4. Teach children how to be happy.

Really, I'm at a loss at what to write for this one. I think children are innately happy, and it's the grown-ups who teach them about pressure, hurrying and competition. Any comments? www.greatergoodparents.org

Saturday, February 20, 2010

7 Ideas for the Greater Good - Number THREE

I have loved the feedback from my continuing list of "7 Ideas for the Greater Good." Keep it coming! Idea number three is so significant in today's world of "it's all about me."

3. Practice Empathy. 
Trying to understand other people's emotions and experiences is vital to strong and healthy relationships.

In the last year, I have made an effort to practice empathy while driving. We tend to turn ugly and angry at someone who cuts us off, drives too slow, or seems to not be paying attention. It is frustrating, but I try to put myself in the driver's shoes. Of course, maybe they really are just a jerk, but probably it is a sleep-deprived mom with a screaming baby in the back (been there), or a trepidacious teenager learning to drive (been there too), or a nice grandma who is cautiously driving to the grocery store (will be there).

Friday, February 19, 2010

7 Ideas for the Greater Good - Number TWO

For people who know me, they know that I love to laugh, and do so often. Number two of the Greater Good Science Center's List of Goodness is:

2. Laugh 
When you do, your heart rate and blood pressure drop and your muscles relax. And because laughter is contagious, it might just calm the bodies and raise the spirits of those around you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

7 Ideas for the Greater Good - Number One

About two years ago, I received a brochure from The Greater Good Science Center located in UC Berkeley. I loved the message on the brochure and stuck it on my bulletin board. Over the years I layered photos and magazine clippings on top of it.  Recently, while cleaning off my board, I re-discovered  the understated brochure and read through it again. On one side of the brochure is a list named "7 Ideas For the Greater Good." I read them over and wanted to share them one by one.  Here's number One:

1. Give thanks. Keep lists of things you and your family are grateful for. Anything can go on the list, no matter how large or small - people, places toys, events, nature.

On a lazy summer day last July my kids and I were having a leisurely morning in bed when I asked them to tell me what they appreciate - what they are grateful for. I got out my journal and wrote down what they said. I love to go back and read their words. It reflects what kind of people they are and what kind of adults they will be.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Martha Beck's Words of Wisdom

Martha's Quote of the Day

"The ultimate lesson of regret, the one that will help guide you into a rich and satisfying future, is this: Every time life brings you to a crossroads, from the tiniest to the most immense, go toward love, not away from fear."

The Telephone Talker Multi-Tasker

When my daughter was a toddler, she would pretend to talk on the phone by walking around furiously, waving her arms and simulating a vibrant conversation. It dawned on me that she was mimicking me. Unconsciously, while talking on the phone, I was also unloading the dishwasher, making the beds, checking my email, even cleaning the toilets. I was a chronic Telephone Talker Multi-Tasker!

In the last six months, I have made a conscious effort to sit down, old school-like, and direct my attention to my telephone conversation. I pretend that there is a short windy cord connected to my phone that keeps me in place. It's amazing what you can hear and learn when you are actually focused on a conversation!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Girl's Weekend In Santa Barbara

I spent the weekend in Santa Barbara with my beautiful friend Deb. It was a breath of fresh air. What a fun, inspiring, breathtaking place. I love a vacation where you can park your car and walk anywhere you want to go.

Deb and I ate great food, drank a little wine and had lots of girl talk mixed with tears and giggles.

I have to give a shout out to the hotel we stayed at. The Hotel Virgina was centrally located, beautifully decorated, very clean and the breakfast was great.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Amazing Clarisonic Skin Care Brush

I started using the Clarisonic skin care brush about 4 months ago, and have really noticed amazing results. My skin is softer, my pores are smaller and it's like my skin glows a little! It's expensive at nearly $200, but can replace a facial, or two. The Clarisonic is made by the same company who makes the Sonicare® toothbrush. 

Here's what they say about it: "Sonic technology first changed the way we clean our teeth, it's now changing how we cleanse our skin. The sonic frequency moves Clarisonic's soft, gentle brush back and forth at more than 300 times per second, thoroughly clearing pores and skin surface."