Monday, March 31, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I learned about Menu Plan Monday at Stephanie's and Christina's blogs. I had to go check it out. It was started by Laura and in her post today she had pictures of the things she planned on cooking this week. I just couldn't resist checking out the Taco Salad Bowls and the Pulled Chicken Sandwiches. They definitely sounded like something my family would enjoy and thus I was inspired to plan my menu for the week.

My youngest son, 18, who recently moved 6 hours away from home to work and live with his aunt, is home with us this week so I decided to cook some of his favorite meals for him while he's here.

At my house I only actually plan for one meal a day. Breakfast and lunch, or dinner as we call it, everyone is pretty much responsible for themselves. Mind you, it's often only myself and my two daugthers (2 and 15) that are at home for lunch so we just grab whatever whenever we're hungry. Supper, which is otherwise known to others as dinner, is the meal I try to have something good planned for.

We may all be heading out of town for the weekend so this week my plans are only for Monday - Friday. Here are my plans for this week:

Monday - Tacos/Taco Salad Bowl
Tuesday - Lazy Chicken Enchildas - from Company's Coming Lunches
Wednesday - Meaty Chili - from Company's Coming Lunches
Thursday - Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Participate in a Research Study

At the end of Ann's post "Interested in Easing Parental Stress" she invites people to "Feel free to repost this post in its entirety." so that's just what I did.

A university student (and mother) who reads here contacted me, inquiring if any parent who passes through this out of the way place might be interested in participating in a research study to reduce parental stress--- through practising gratitude... Yes! Care to join me?

She writes:

WANTED: Parents who desire to reduce child-related stress.

COST: A little bit of your time.

PERKS: Improved outlook and better parenting relationships! HOW? Introducing an exciting study in the works with an outcome that will benefit you! We are happy to present you with the chance to participate and hope that you will find this helpful to your daily life. Read on for more information ~

The Purpose of the Study:

- To consider gratitude as a method for reducing stress in parenting
- To measure instances of parenting stress using the method below
- To measure the potential benefits (and maintenance) of gratitude as a means of stress reduction in parenting

The Method of the Study:

The 2 Simple Steps:

[Prior to beginning, compile a list of 10 specifics for which you are grateful. This should make the required expressions of gratitude easier.]

#1: When you experience a moment of stress related to one or more of your children, “reset” your thinking by verbally expressing gratitude, either in reaction to the current stressor, or by reading/saying something from your list.

#2: Add a mark to your daily tally (so that we have a record of how many times this happens each day).

That’s it.

This exercise will be carried out for seven days, beginning on Tuesday, April 1st, followed by a seven day break, and then repeated for a second seven day period.

If you want to participate, please e-mail by Tuesday so we can have an idea of the size of the study. Give your name, age, and gender—although you are welcome to participate anonymously, if you like. Feel free to spread the word to as many adults that you know that wish to participate. (This would make a fun project to do with friends and/or a spouse—men being specifically encouraged to participate as most studies tend to neglect the impact of gratitude from a male perspective.)

What’s in this for you?

Multiple studies have shown that people who feel more gratitude are much more likely to have higher levels of happiness, lower levels of depression and stress. They are seen as more empathetic, agreeable, and extraverted. Grateful people should be more likely to notice they have been helped, to respond appropriately, and to return the help at some future point.

You mean, you’ll get all that, just by adding some gratitude to your life? YES!

Definitions, for the purpose of this study:

Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.

Parenting Stress is defined as those moments when life as a parent seems overwhelmingly unpredictable and uncontrollable (based on the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale). Within the context of parenting,

- you become upset because of something that happens unexpectedly.
- you feel you are unable to control the important things in your life.
- you feel nervous and “stressed.”
- you feel you cannot cope with all the things you have to do.
- you become angry because things are outside of your control.
- you feel difficulties are piling up so high that you cannot overcome them.

Obviously, this will be a largely subjective assessment—that is the difficulty in measuring an emotional state. Just try to be as aware as possible.

Thank you! We look forward to sharing the results of the study.

Join us at by Tuesday.
(Feel free to repost this post in its entirety. Let's give thanks in all things!)

I'd love to hear from you if you decide to take part. Just leave me a comment telling me so.