We are back this week with another edition of Project Sweet Life. Project Sweet Life is a weekly series where I ask some of my favorite people questions about what matters most to them and how they find time to pursue their passions. One of the missions of A Cookie Before Dinner is to equip, encourage, and inspire women to chase a sweet life well lived. Everyone does things a little bit differently and my hope is that today’s guest will encourage you.

Today, I’m welcoming Erin! Outside of her office, Erin is mom to a cow-obsessed toddler, a dog with a shrink and a scaredy-cat bird. She’s champion of finding her husband’s “lost” things, but has yet to find her sanity. Erin is a regular contributor to ASPCA Parents, and has had her work featured on NickMom.  Grab your earplugs and visit http://www.wooftweetwaah.com.

Erin Project Sweet Life Bio

Until 2008, I never saw myself in the suburbs. I was a city girl to the bone, and loved the hustle and the bustle.   Then my husband got a job pretty far into New Jersey, and so into the belly of the suburban beast I went.  My family and I live in a fantastic diverse and cultural New Jersey suburb, and when we are not enjoying our own community, we take a quick commuter train ride to the city for some fun. Our house is the loud – thanks to the toddler, dog, and exotic bird – it is even loud at night as my daughter has decided to sleep with sound machine that moos all night long.  Nothing screams wanting full country breakfast in the morning like the subliminal message of listening to cows all night.

In addition to being a wife, I am mother to an almost 3 year old, and a rescue mom to my lhasapoo and a bird lady mom to my pet bird.  There has been a lot of lobbying to add another human to the bunch, but so far I remain unpersuaded.   I pray that a K Street Lobbying firm does not end up on my door step trying to sell me on another kid.

Professionally, I work in higher education in a capacity where I counsel students and create programs responsive to their development needs.  It is a rewarding job.  Outside of the office, I am very involved with my community, I am the Zumba Queen, and I am growing as a writer and wellness advisor.  So what I do for a living is not sleep!

The ordinary is full of glory. How do you make the mundane parts of your day happen?

I strive to squeeze the most out of everything even the mundane.  Take commuting to work – talk about boring and often frustrating.  New Jersey roadways can cause you to want to pull your hair out.  In between honking at drivers and singing to the oldies station, I often use my commutes as an opportunity to flush out writing ideas.  Right now, I am working on the plot of an espionage novel based in DC.  Now to find the time to write…

I strive to squeeze the most out of everything even the mundane. @WoofTweeWaah

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 What is the most sacred part of your day? How do you make sure you don’t miss it?

The 45 minutes after my husband and daughter leave for the day and before I need to hustle to work.  The house is quiet.  My creative mind is ready to go.  I am in my pajamas.  Pure bliss.

 What is one tradition from your childhood that you still carry with you? What does that tradition look like now that you’re an adult?

On my birthday, my father always calls me at the exact time I was born. He worked second shift for a number of years, and was often not home in the evening because of work.  So he would call me during his lunch break from his then factory.  I always look forward to this call, even to this day, and will structure all my birthday activities around it. The call is grounding for me.  It is a reminder that while I am a mother and a wife, I will always be my parents’ baby.

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 Right now, I am building traditions for my daughter.  About 6 years ago, he and I started a tradition of cake for breakfast on our birthdays and anniversary.  It is fun to fold our daughter as she celebrates her birthdays (and it is nice to give her that sugar and then send her off to school ).

 What are you passionate about? How do those passions translate into your day to day?

My passion is helping people. It must be my zodiac sign.  Whether it is working with my students, advocating for those in my community, helping my daughter learn something new, making a parent laugh with some snark, to inspiring others to embrace healthy living – helping people be happy and be their best is something I fold into everything I do.

 What books are in your current to be read pile? What made you put them there?

 Buried somewhere under the pile of picture books and toys on my nightstand is my copy of Gone Girl.  I always read the book before the movie, so I am curious about how I will enjoy the book when I have the movie as context.  The movie still has me thinking about it almost 4 months later.  I joke with my husband, well just be glad I’m not as crazy as the woman in Gone Girl.

 When you dig deep into your core, what is one quote or inspirational phrase that will always be there?

Don’t Let the Turkeys Get You Down” – I saw positive changes in my life – attitude, energy level, weight loss – when I decided not to allow negative people and comments bring havoc to my day.

Project Sweet Life is a weekly series at www.acookiebeforedinner.com where women answer questions about their passions and what matters most in their world.

One thing I love is hearing what works for someone. So tell us one thing that works for you (household tip, fashion, etc).

Hands down our weekly healthy living plan has been my household’s saving grace. Each Saturday morning, my husband and I piece a healthy living plan together over the screams of a toddler, the beep of some annoying toy, barks of a dog, and tweets of a bird.   Meals, when we are going to prep said meals, exercise, back up plans, you name it, all of it is accounted for as we get ready for the week ahead.  Those 10 minute we spend organizing our game plan for the week is the reason my husband and I have lost a combined 65 pounds to date.

Project Sweet Life is a weekly series on A Cookie Before Dinner. Each week, I’ll bring you the story of someone who is chasing a sweet life well lived and find out how they find time to pursue their passions. Together, we’ll learn tips and tricks and walk away with encouragement and inspiration. If you’d like to be part of the Project Sweet Life, please contact me via email at acookiebeforedinner@gmail.com. 

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