Thursday, July 31, 2014

Think It Thursday: Back to School Shopping

It's almost time for the kids to go back to school! And although I've looked forward to it since the first day of summer break, it all seems to be moving along so fast now. Of course that could have something to do with my extreme procrastination when it comes to school shopping. Especially now that I have two children to shop for. 

I have to admit something, it's the supplies that really do me in every year. They just seem like so much on paper like that. And what is with some of them being finicky about the brand? I mean, to me, a pencil is a pencil no matter who makes them. But regardless, school supplies are always the last things I buy (in case it wasn't apparent by my total of three things checked off - which are just things leftover from the previous year). I have a hard enough time keeping my kids from wearing their new school clothes before the official start of school (my son wore an entire 5pk of underwear in one day just last week for no apparent reason), but school supplies...they'd be lucky to last an hour! And even that's pushing it. So roughly 2-3 days before the first day, I'll be the mom desperately searching from store to store (& maybe making an Amazon order), just to get what's on the list. To some, that seems just downright idiotic. But, I'd rather do it that way once because I haven't gotten any of it yet, rather than do it that way to replace what my kids have gotten into already. (Makes total sense, right?)

Okay, now for the clothing aspect. Recently, I discovered that my kids tend to have a growth spurt right after the beginning of school. So I don't want to go crazy just to replace it all. The main reason being that that's pointless. But then again, I couldn't afford to do it that way either. Which means that we'll do one full week of outfits, a couple extra shirts, a couple pairs of shoes & then the basics of socks & underwear. That should be good considering the growth spurts, followed by birthdays & Christmas. 

Ugh! Who knew that shopping would make a girl so stressed! 

When do you like to do your back to school shopping? 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Work it Wednesday: My Pinterest Closet at a Glimpse

If I had every article of clothing or accessory in my Pinterest closet, I may need another house. Not for the extra closet space, but to convert the whole thing into a closet. Separated by seasons I'm sure. 

With 2,675 pins to my "My Style" board at last count, I'm pretty sure an extra house (or three) as a closet would work. 

What are some of your favorite fashion pins?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

good2grow Juices

**Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC. or the manufacturer of the product.

As a mom, I have to say that finding drinks my kids love is never a problem. But finding drinks that I love them to have usually is. Until now of course.

good2grow juices are the perfect blend of fun & nutrition! 

So let's start with the juices themselves, shall we. 

•No added sugar
•No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

good2grow juices come in three forms - 100% Fruit Juice (apple & fruit punch), Organic (apple) & Fruit & Veggie V-blend (strawberry kiwi & tropical fruit juice medley). And while my kids loved the 100% apple juice, I have to say that the V-Blends were the favorite all around. They loved the taste & I loved them drinking one combined serving of fruits & vegetables. 

The patented spill-proof SippaTopbottle topper is just that - spill-proof (go ahead & hold it upside down, I double dog dare you). These BPA free tops also come in fun characters that kids love. Mostly because of the partnership between good2grow & companies like Disney, Marvel & Nickelodeon. (For a full list of characters, click HERE.) 

Did I mention that the SippaTop™ is reusable? How about dishwasher safe (top rack)?! And the bottles are recyclable! I swear, good2grow thought of everything! Which is something that is very much appreciated by this mom.

Over 100,000 good2grow® locations. Find the closest to you HERE!
good2grow grows with kids too. Which means that they come in three sizes, 4oz, 6oz & 8oz. But if you ask me, the 6oz is the perfect size. They also retail for $2.49-$2.99 for a single serve bottle & $2.99-$3.49 for a refill pack.

And while you're at it, check out their StoryStitcher! You can shoot and stitch Vine videos to create your own fun stories. 
Keep up with the latest from good2grow on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
Be sure to sign up for the good2grow newsletter too (located at the bottom of their home page). Once you do, you'll receive a Buy 1, Get 6 Free coupon!

Moms Meet is an online resource that empowers moms to come together in an informal setting and talk about the latest on raising healthy families and living green. Moms Meet offers exciting opportunities for Mom Ambassadors and their groups to sample the latest healthy, green products. Sign up today!


Simple Sunday: A Day to Read

Storms are starting to roll in for the day, which means it's the perfect day to catch up on some reading.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Snacktastic Saturday: Buffalo Wing Hummus

Let's be honest here, shall we. I try to eat healthy, but I'm a total foodie & love to indulge. So when the two collide, it's like a match made in heaven. Much like Buffalo Wing Hummus.

Of course buffalo wings always come with celery, so this hummus is no different. And pita bread (not pictured because it got devoured within minutes of getting made).

print recipe

Buffalo Wing Hummus
  • 1-15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1/3C. tahini
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4C. buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/4C. water
Combine all ingredients in a food processor & process until smooth, scraping down sides with a rubber spatula as needed.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fun Friday: DIY Elastic Ribbon Hair Ties

Between my 8 year old & I, we have a decent collection of elastic ribbon hair ties. I love them because they don't pull or tear my hair, she loves them because they can double as a bracelet & come in a ton of different colors. But we wanted more! A lot more actually. Like at least two of every color or print (less fighting that way). But what I didn't want, was to pay anywhere from $4-$9 for a pack of them. So we decided to make our own! And let me tell you, it is so beyond simple, that you'll wonder why you ever paid for them in the first place!

All you need is some colorful elastic ribbon & a good pair of scissors. 

•First, start by measuring the ribbon by wrapping it around your wrist (just like a bracelet), but leaving a bit of excess to tie a knot.

•Then fold the ribbon in half, making sure the bottom side is facing each other, pull taut slightly & tie a single knot in the end. (At this point you can place the hair tie on your wrist & tighten the knot accordingly.)

•For the finishing touch, take your scissors & cut the end at an angle for a more polished look.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Think It Thursday: Planning a Staycation

Have you ever noticed how expensive taking a vacation actually is? Especially for a family of five. And then there's always the fact that you feel like you need a mini vacation to recover from your other vacation. Then there's the actual planning a vacation that can be downright tricky, or make you think you have angina. It's all so overwhelming! Good thing there's a simple solution to all of that.

It's a staycation! 

A staycation is when you stay close to home, but actually feel like you're on vacation. For some, this can be quite difficult to not keep up with the day to day activities. But for others, this is the time to finally check out all of those places that you've been meaning to since you moved into the neighborhood. 

•Be sure to plan ahead, at least a little bit. Make a list of all the nearby places you want to visit & all the things you want to do. From that list, find out dates, hours of operation & other needed details to make sure you get most of your list checked off. 

•Still keep a budget. If you eat out for every meal, visit theme parks, or take a mini shopping spree, you'll go broke - quick! Just remember that you wouldn't spend vicariously if you took a Disney vacation, so don't do it on a staycation.

•Rules on staycation?! For some, the only way to really relax on a staycation, is to completely disconnect. No phone? No email? No internet? Your decision. Just decide ahead of time & be sure that you stick to the rules too. 

•A staycation doesn't mean you have to stay home every day. An overnight stay is completely fine during staycation. After all, you can't always make it through every square inch at the theme park in one day. 

•Make everyone happy! OK, so if you have children, that's not always going to happen. But you can definitely try! The kids want a breakfast of pancakes with ice cream in bed? No problem! The hubs is an avid golfer & is itching to get on the green? Find a place with driving range or putt-putt for the kids too. You have been yearning for a massage? Give the hubs & the kids 60 min. of video game bliss at the arcade down the plaza while you relax. After all, relaxing is what a staycation is all about!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Work It Wednesday: HIIT Workout Roundup

A HIIT workout, also known as High Intensity Interval Training, is becoming one of my favorite workouts. Actually, I did this kind of workout all the time without actually knowing it. I would always do a bout of crunches, squats, & push ups to the point of-really feeling it (oh my burning muscles!). So for a bit of "relief" in the middle of my workout, I'd throw in some yoga, planking & wall sits. Just something to give my body a bit of a break before I went back at it. So it's the bouts of short, high intensity intervals, combined with low intensity bouts that make it a HIIT workout. Which in turn is actually a better calorie burn & a lengthier time of having your metabolism elevated. 

So I figured that if I was more or less doing a HIIT workout, I might as well actually follow a few with more of a variety of exercises. 

Here's a roundup of some of my favorite HIIT workouts! 

Photo credit: Running On Real Food

Photo credit: Food, Fitness & Family Blog

Photo credit: Fitting It All In

Photo credit: Sunshine & The Bear

Photo credit: Gettin' My Healthy On

Photo credit: Treadmill Runway

Photo credit: 9 Kid Fitness

Photo credit: Foodies Find Fitness

Photo credit: Be Inspired Fitness

repeated bouts of short, high-intensity exercise intervals mixed with lower-intensity bouts

Read more :

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Simple Sunday: The Pond at the Wilderness Center

I took the kids for a hike at the Wilderness Center today & we spent quite a bit of time at this pond. There were dragonflies, damselflies, frogs, red eared slider turtles, huge snapping turtles & we even saw a mink!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Snacktastic Saturday: Peanut Butter Bread

I have been dying for some peanut butter bread lately, but July? Well, it usually doesn't happen. But seeing as how it's been in the mid 70's the past few days, I figured I might as well bake to my little heart's content!

This is a dense bread, but that's perfectly okay with me! (It means I'll eat one slice instead of one loaf per sitting.) But mine has to have jelly on it. Grape to be exact. But you could top it with any other flavor of jelly or preserves, butter or Nutella...oh, I never thought of that until now. I just may have to bake up another loaf while it's still cool (& double check to make sure I still have some Nutella in the cupboard).

print recipe

Peanut Butter Bread
  • 2 C. all purpose flour
  • 1/3 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C. milk
  • 3/4 C. creamy peanut butter
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. Using a hand mixer, carefully add the egg, milk & peanut butter until just combined. (Batter will be thick.)Pour batter & carefully spread into a greased loaf pan. (Mine was an 8x4in.)Bake at 350ยบ for 50-60 min. or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 min. before removing from pan to a wire rack to finish cooling. 
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 loaf

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fun Friday: Edible Kool-Aid Playdough

So the other day, I was digging through some recipes when I came across one for Edible Kool-Aid Playdough. I'm not sure where it came from, since it was scrawled down on a piece of scrap paper, but I decided I was going to make it since the temperature has cooled a bit & the kids have been coming inside earlier at night.

I have to say that when I was making this, it smelled amazing! So much so that I snuck a bite.Yea, it's edible. But it doesn't taste good. Which I guess is a good thing since you don't want to teach your kids that eating playdough is okay. After all, not everyone plays with edible playdough. Side note - My 8 yr. old told me that it tasted just like the playdough she ate when she was younger. That wasn't edible. *Sigh*

1C. flour (plus extra for kneading)
1/2C. salt
1 pkg. Kool-Aid
3Tbsp. vegetable oil
1C. boiling water

- In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt & Kool-Aid.
- Next add the oil & boiling water, stirring to combine thoroughly.
- On a floured work surface & adding more flour as needed, knead the dough until it becomes the perfect playdough consistency. 

*Store in an airtight container.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Work It Wednesday: Coffee Body Scrub

Anyone that knows me, can tell you how much I love my coffee. I love the taste, the aroma & the benefits of slathering it on my skin. Wait, what?! Yep, you read that right. Coffee makes an excellent body scrub for a couple of reasons...

•Ground coffee will act as an exfoliant to dead skin cells, which will leave your skin silky smooth. 

•The caffeine in coffee will draw water from your cells & help to constrict your blood vessels, leaving you with a smooth & even tone. Translation: Bye-bye cellulite. 

To make this Coffee Body Scrub, you just need three simple ingredients. 

•brown, white or raw sugar
•ground coffee (unused)
•coconut, jojoba or olive oil

For a thicker texture (like mine), use a 3:2:1 ratio of ingredients (in order given).

For a creamier texture, use a 3:2:2 or 3:2:3 ratio. 

But of course you can always alter the ratios to your liking. Or based on how much coffee you have in the house. Because let's face it, we all have those "oh crap" moments when we realize we only have enough left for one cup in the morning. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Messy Monday: How to Clean a Ceiling Fan

If there is one chore I despise the most, it would have to be cleaning the ceiling fans. They can be such a pain to clean, especially when you put it off for as long as you possibly can. But I'm glad that I finally have an easy way to clean them! 
Note: This is actually before I cleaned them again tonight (it was way too hot to turn them off, but I wanted to share this with you.)
So how easy could cleaning a ceiling fan be?
•In a spray bottle, make a 50/50 mixture of distilled vinegar & water.
•Spray the mixture on both sides of the fan blades.
•Using an old pillowcase, place fan blade inside, press firmly on both sides starting at the center of the fan & wipe down to the end.
 •Repeat on remaining fan blades. 
That's pretty simple! All of the dust will fall into the pillowcase. Just shake it out in the trash & wash it with your towels or your husbands dirty work clothes. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Simple Sunday: Getting Organized

View this photo on Instagram!

It's time to get organized! Every day, I make a huge list of things to do. On a big sheet of notebook paper, it doesn't seem like it should be that hard to accomplish. Who was I kidding?! I never get everything crossed off. Ever. So I decided it was time to print some blank calendars for the month, label them & assign tasks accordingly. And let me tell you, once I run out of room in the little box, that's it. There's no trying to cram more things to be done into them. Which means, hopefully, that I'll be able to stay on point much easier & actually get everything accomplished in a day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Work It Wednesday: Summer Hairstyles for Long Locks

Even after I let my sister-in-law chop about 5 inches off my tresses on Memorial Day, I still have really long hair. But having three kids usually means that it ends up in a twisted bun, or a sock bun if I'm feeling fancy, just to keep it off my neck during the hot & humid summer days. But I really want to start actually doing my hair. Aside from brushing it of course. 

So where does one go for hair-spiration (get it?)...Pinterest of course! You can check out my entire board here

But for now you can check out some of my favorites that I plan to try soon

See this pin!

See this pin!

See this pin!

See this pin!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Snacktastic Saturday: Orange Julius

I'm not sure why, but I swear there is nothing more refreshing during the summer months than a freshly made Orange Julius. If given the choice, I would choose one over a milkshake any day! And that says a lot considering my hankering to turn just about any dessert combination into a milkshake of some sorts. So why all the love for a simple Orange Julius? Three reasons - they're simple, they're good & my mama taught me how to make them! 

print recipe

Orange Julius
A wonderfully refreshing drink made with just a few simple ingredients.
  • orange juice
  • ice cubes
  • splash of milk
  • ½-1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • brown sugar, if desired
In a bender, add desired amounts of ice & orange juice. Then add a splash of milk, desired amount of vanilla (depending on how much you're making) & a bit of brown sugar if you'd like to add a touch of extra sweetness. Blend until smooth & enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fun Friday: Sidewalk Paint in a Bottle

I know I've shared sidewalk paint with you before, but this is a whole different way to use it. You just put it in a plastic squeeze bottle. Yep, that's it. 

You can see how much fun the kids were having (& me too)! Having the sidewalk paint in a squeeze bottle made it super easy to draw pictures. And the kids had a blast making "tie-dye"! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Think It Thursday: What Motivates You?

If someone asked you what motivates you, would you have an answer? It doesn't matter if it's fitness related, work related, or anything else. Would you have an answer? 

This picture says it all. Well, minus the hubs who's not in this shot, but motivates me too. 

My kids motivate me, for more reasons than I can begin to count. They keep me in line without knowing it. They make me strive to be the best. (Same goes for the hubs.)

Then there's my brother. I've never seen someone get so excited to be allowed to workout before swim practice (that way he won't get so tired during meets). And I kinda look at it this way, I can't have my 18 year old brother putting me to shame (even though I only swim if I absolutely have to.)

Of course that LBD hanging in my closet, Brittnae Giesau (Beachbody coach), Vannessa Gutierrez (Kawasaki Disease Foundation board member) & sunny days also motivate me. 

What motivates you?