Mantra for Acceptance

Mantra’s are words or sounds repeated in meditation. They are an excellent tool for self-improvement and building self-confidence. Recently, I have been introducing my children to mantras to help them accept the new reality that they live with.

Today, we worked together to create some mantras to begin our day with. I have a version for kids, teens and adults. Hopefully, this will assist you with your work in accepting the changes in our world and encourage you to write your own.

Namaste’. WaterLily Nature and Nurture Homeschool and Sassy Viking Mama

How to Transition from Busy to Staying Home

Each state has its own shut downs, work from home placement of non-essential personnel, school closings and social distancing mandates. Every single one of us has a list of projects, chores and so forth that we have put on the when I have time list. Now is an excellent opportunity to pull out that list and make a plan.

Today, we are going to write down a master list of task that we have been wanting to tackle. Then look at the time, cost and importance of each task. Pick one thing to do a day and focus on that.

Some of the items on our list:

laundry … how can I be so far behind on laundry?

Deep cleaning … perfect time for an old-fashioned spring cleaning. Intimidated by the thought of this? Don’t be. Break the room down as you would a work or school project.

Step one: move the furniture that can be safely moved and clean the baseboards and walls.

Step Two: vacuum, sweep or mop where the furniture was.

Step Three: Vacuum or dust the furniture (front to back, top to bottom) before putting it in place Hint this is also an excellent time to rearrange if you have been thinking of it.

Step four: pick another part of the room and repeat.

Step five: clean lamps, pictures, knick-knacks, dust books, games, cd’s, dvd’s,

Step six: add to your laundry: was throw blankets, *if* your drapes are washable do so otherwise vacuum them,

step seven: glass (do not spray electronics with any cleaners)

Closets, Cabinets, Storage Areas, Attics, Storage Totes and Lockers: Clean and organize the closet space. See what has been shoved in there. What is useful? What can be repurposed? Where the hell did that come from? OMG what is this disgusting thing …. Kids! Deal with this unintended science project! Don’t need something? Put it aside for charity or organize a community, neighborhood or friend swap. Please, do your best to not add to the trash problem.

Garages: Clean and Organize. Yard equipment: maintenance, oil, check blades for sharpening. Tools: clean off rust, oil, organize.

Kids toys: These things multiply worse than the laundry and dirty dishes. Go through and get all the broken toys, happy meal toys and the ones you hate. Broken toys can usually be recycled. Teach your kids about charity gifting or selling things to put money towards something they really want. If you give to charity or decide to sell please make sure that it is clean, sanitized and in working order. Just because a kids gets a second hand toy doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve to be nice. Involve your kids in the process and you will have a lot less fighting and fussing.


Turn it into a DANCE PARTY!

Wear silly hats while you clean.

Fun Competition: Set a timer and see who can clean out which cabinet first and give that person a reward such as picking tonight’s movie; drawing them an elaborate bubble bath; let them pick the game for tonight, etc.

Live alone? Make a plan to indulge yourself when the project is done. Dig out your favorite chocolate. Binge watch your secret favorite show. Do something fun you haven’t done in ages!

Don’t be afraid to NEGOTIATE with each other on what needs done. One of the kids hates folding laundry. I want to fold laundry so I can binge watch Criminal Minds. Hence, negotiation. I will fold the bulk of the laundry if each of the kids puts away their laundry. The child who hates folding also agrees to put away the toddler’s laundry.

HOMESCHOOLING SLANT Involve your kids in the task you are doing. Will it take longer … yes. Will it be done exactly the way you want it to be … NO. Will they learn something … Yes. BREATHE, RELAX, SHARE … Life tasks are just important to learn as the information in schoolbooks. We don’t have anywhere to be so don’t rush, enjoy and bond.

WaterLily Nature and Nurture’s plan is to empty all of the laundry from the kids bathroom by having the older children take turns bringing the laundry down to the kitchen (our laundry room is the hallway off the kitchen). Then we are going to play a sorting game to prep the loads. After that each kid will take a turn putting loads in with my supervision on the soap and settings. Next, the kids set a timer on Alexa for the laundry so they know when the next person’s turn is to help mom flip laundry.

While the laundry process is happening today the kids will divide the bathroom up to clean it. One will get the toilet and floor surrounding it. Another will get the mirror, sink and cabinet, and the third will get the tub and remaining floor. Myself or another adult will supervise and explain to them how to do this.

In between all this is a great time for music, games, binge watch a show, walk the dogs, etc. Use your imagination, relax and remember to breathe and make your own schedule. Follow the sun and moon. Rest if you are tired. Eat if you are hungry. Laugh, cry, allow emotions to flow. Do art, read a book, listen to music, watch YouTube, learn a language, FaceTime a friend, really listen to your loved ones speak, journal, find yourself.

In the time of silence and fear I walk with myself and find the beauty and strength within myself and the world around me. I remake myself and change the world by creating a new normal. This is the time of the Phoenix and out of the ashes we can birth a better world, society and community.

Irisa MacKenzie 2020

WaterLily Nature and Nurture Homeschool and Sassy Viking Mama

Bacon & Chicken Brussel Sprouts (gluten free)

Food preparation is one of my passions. I love working with individual ingredients and turning out a dish that nourish people in body, mind and spirit. Friends and family gathered around the table chatting while they eat is magic to my soul.

This is a skill that I am continually working on improving. It is also one that I understand many people have difficulty with or find intimidating. Cooking doesn’t have to be this way. Start small and simple. In an effort to encourage love of cooking and exploration I am going to be sharing recipes and reinvention of leftovers that happen amidst the chaos of a family of five.

Today, was filled with appointments that took most of the morning. By the time I was able to come home and settle down my family had eaten and settled into their own activities. I was starving and needed to put something together that was quick. Fighting the urge to dive into a bag of chips I looked into the fridge and explored … oldest vegetable: Brussel sprouts, open meats: bacon, prepared meats: chicken add in the fact I keep onions and garlic on hand a quick and easy dish came to mind: Brussel sprouts with Onion, Garlic, bacon, chicken and seasonings.

I have stainless steel pans and a glass top electric stove; with the heat on medium (approx mark 4) I warmed some olive oil as I diced one small onion.

After that, I took two slices of bacon and chopped that into bite sized pieces that were then separated and placed in the pan with the onion. Cook thoroughly stirring often.

The Brussel sprouts need the ends chopped off then cut in half. After that they may be cut into coin sized slices. When the bacon is mostly cooked through add the Brussel sprouts and garlic to taste.

Dice 1-2 ounces of pre-cooked chicken and add to the pan. Stir and continue to cook bacon until desired crispness. The Brussel sprouts should be a lovely green.

Season everything with salt and pepper. Serve Hot.


One small onion

bacon, two slices chopped

Brussel Sprouts approx 12

garlic, minced 1-2 tsp

chicken 1-2 ounces pre-cooked

salt and pepper

Happy Cooking!

WaterLily Nature and Nurture Homeschool and Sassy Viking Mama

Nurture with Nature

Nature is wonderful and amazing. Aside from providing us with the resources that we need to live being in nature is wonderful for our mind, body and spirit. Being in nature is one of the best ways to soothe anxiety and depression.

My children and I have had a lot of conversation about what is going on in the world and the anxiety that is causing each of us. Open communication is what we are promoting in our household during this time of mental and emotional stress. We are also devising ways to bring our stress and anxiety under control during this time.

Children are immensely curious about the world around them. If my children were able to we would travel the world just to look at animals, oceans and mountains. However, I do not have the budget to do so.

Thankfully, there are many resources available to us via technology. One of the resources is: has live cameras of nature, animals, puppies and kittens. My children and I made a list of animal questions to explore They also have another section of films that I have not yet explored. From their website: “explore features a wide range of topics—from animal rights, health and human services, and poverty to the environment, education, and spirituality. Delivered in short, digestible bites, explore films appeal to view”

My three year old spent almost an hour exploring animals and various locations. We chatted about these animals and places. Also, take notes of what interests the kids and yourself. It is a basis of conversation and further exploration.

Seeing the beauty and majesty of the animals, listening to the sounds of nature was a decompression that we needed. It reminded us that there is still a wide world out there beyond our immediate concerns. A world that will be there after we pass through the trials we currently face.

Breathe. Focus on the moment. Be mindful that life is more than this moment. We will take the moments that create our life one at a time. Breathe in the hear and now.

Water Lily Nurture and Nature Homeschool by Sassy Viking Mama

Homeschool Adventures – Month One

Third Grade … focus and sitting still are difficult for any child; add in ADHD and focus is like a puck on the ice during a Penguins Stanley Cup Playoff Game. Where we live the average classroom size is 21 children. Children who are children … moving, fiddling, joking, talking, passing notes, etc. All of that leading to an environment of distractions.

Then there is inevitable teasing, potential mean kid, bullying and the teachers reactions. Does the teacher make you feel safe? Does the teacher yell? Does the teacher ignore you? Phrases such as “why can’t you learn this?”; “keep up with the rest of the class”; or screaming at another group of kids when you are concentrating are all very disconcerting and overwhelming for children. If you mix in a dash of ADHD it is the recipe for cocktails such as school sucks, why bother, or I QUIT.

Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing the child who loves learning begin to hate it. She gave up on herself and stopped believing she could do anything. I began to hear phrases such as I’m stupid, followed by I can’t learn this and topped off with Everything I do is wrong. Honey, where is this internal monologue coming from because I know you have never been told this by me or your dad.

After much digging and probing we found out a whole lot was happening with peers and the teacher. Switch teachers … too late. She loved the teacher but had just checked out of the traditional school system. Each day was begging to stay home and be homeschooled.

I am a person who is a firm believer in loving to learn. I do not want anyone to hate education. Learning should be a passion. Something that we carry with us each day of our lives. As such, her father and I decide to make changes. Enter the second semester of third grade and we begin a new adventure … online schooling.

Why did we choose online schooling? I am the stay at home mom for three children (8, 6, and 3). Preschool at home has always been a choice for us. My partner gave me valuable feedback on trying to mange our household, three kids, two dogs, miscellaneous other pets, a social life, relationship and all the curveballs that having a family of five entails plus trying to find, write, maintain a curriculum that not only fulfills the state of Ohio but their personal interests and what we feel is valuable to include.

Hence, online schooling. The curriculum is set by the state and flexible to allow for other homeschool opportunities including socialization. I am finding that the curriculum is more difficult than her traditional schools and I like that. It does add into the first few months being hard dipping into difficult bordering on insane. Now that we are finding a rhythm and balance to our life it is getting easier. Everyday is a new challenge especially as we are still academically catching up from the time that she had lost all interest in education.

Does homeschool work? Yes, but I firmly believe that homeschooling is NOT for everybody. Homeschooling is hard on everyone, it impacts the entire family, it also is a lot of work. The younger the children are the more you need to be hands on. If you are going to homeschool you need to make sure that you wish to take on a full time job as teacher, principal and educational advocate.

I have also learned that I need a personal morning routine that begins without the children. To accomplish this I get up a half hour before the rest of my family, make a pot of coffee and either journal or read. This is what I need for my sanity and to be the best form of myself for my children. I need to fill my internal well. Also, know when to take a break and how to give them without ruining your whole day. As you go along you will also learn when to chuck the plan and improvise.

Meanwhile our adventures continue. Balance is something we learn each day but the biggest things we are learning is to be a team and love life and all that it teaches us.


Sassy Viking Mama

Adventures and Transitions in Parenting

As a parent I find that my life has been in a constant flux for the last eight years. When my children were infants I felt as though I was trying to survive on interrupted sleep, coffee i.v. and cuddles; with the occasional adult time with my partner. As toddlers we worked through emotional, mental and physical growth in their body, mind and spirit; often in leaps and bounds.

Now my children are 8, 6, and 3. The infant stage is long behind us and while I miss the cuddles of infancy, I love seeing my children’s personalities emerge and grow. I don’t know if I am better at seeing the cognitive and emotional jumps because this is my third child or he is just more obvious in his behavior changes but we are going through the three’s. With my three year old there is a sadness when his stages end, as we are done having little kids.

Conversely, my 6 year old struggles between his personal freedoms and staying home with mama. But I love hearing his stories of lunchtime escapades. Yesterday, he was pikachu and his best friend was his trainer … they paired up against another trainer and Pokemon in the schoolyard. I am not sure how they were “catching” or “battling” each other but I got a call from school about roughhousing at lunch and the scrape on his chin. After finding out it was a tiny scrape and the story behind it the nurse did not know how to react when I laughed at the boys escapades. I was just glad he was having fun with friends and using his imagination.

My 8 year old and I are going through a huge transition. Traditional schooling is not working out for her, so we are beginning our adventures in online schooling and homeschooling. She could not be more excited. Especially since she has a laptop from the school, something she had been begging for and we said no. However, I have borrowed one from the school because I like the flexibility it offers me in her education and still attending to her brothers pre-school homeschool education.

We have spent the last part of this month in what is called unschooling. Allowing a natural transition from the traditional school environment to being homeschooled. She has been a part of setting up the kids office space and today will help me rearrange the bookshelf to put all her schoolbooks away from the toddlers reach; plus keep her art and science supplies away from our house art and science supplies. Each day she has been doing assignments and reading based on what I have given her to see what does and doesn’t work. She has ADHD, so this has been a good time for me to learn what does and doesn’t work for timeframes and projects. It will be a learning curve but for the first time in a few years she is excited about school.

Yesterday, I spent the morning signing up for this semesters homeschool classes at the zoo and science center. There are several homeschool co-ops to reach out to in the area, drum lessons to be procured. Plus arrangements to be made with friends for guitar lessons and music reading/theory. We are fortunate that the pool of people to assist us with homeschooling and supplemental education include: IT professionals, Computer Sciences Professor, Professional Storyteller, Environmental Conservationist, Earth Sciences Enthusiast, Math teacher, Music teacher, Musicians, crafters, artists …. and this is why it takes a village.

The adventures continue and I find that as they do my personal focus can begin to shift a little more personally. A lot of who I am and what I love has been set aside for the last eight years to fully be there for my family. I didn’t want to miss a moment of my little ones being little, especially since my husband gave me the gift of being a stay at home parent. There is not a moment of regret at this sacrifice, but now that they are growing it is time for me to reclaim and rediscover mama.

I have been spending a lot of introspective time. In this I have been reminiscing on who I was before children and who of that person is still there. My love of writing has never diminished; however I do wish inspiration struck during the daylight instead of the middle of the night but I will take inspiration however I can get it. There is also the craftsperson, gardener, herbalist, chef, meditation guide, aromatherapist and lover of the old ways that honor the cycle of life. Slowly, I breathe life back into myself and allow myself and my children to discover who this person is.

Sassy Mama