Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year...New You! (Or so the saying goes...)


It's that time of year again!  Time to make resolutions that MIGHT last us through January! Or at least that's how so many of mine have played out in the past.  It's alot of pressure to take on a list of dramatic life changes all in one day.  It seems like it would make alot more sense to make gradual changes and work on improving yourself as the year goes on.  Or simply to make reasonable resolutions that we know we can keep!!!  I'm thankful that health & fitness are a huge part of my life.  That way I can focus my resolutions on something other than health/fitness (which I'm guessing make up about 99% of people's new year resolutions).  So these are the things I'm going to resolve to do in 2013.  By listing these out I am holding myself accountable!!!

Get ready for an honesty overload ahead...

1.  Spend more quiet time with God & in the word.  All of the things I would love to change about myself start with me getting where I need to be spiritually.  I don't care if you're a preacher, an outreacher (not sure if this is a word) or a Sunday School teacher (you get the point)...no one is ever too good to work on their relationship with the big man.  I have to constantly put effort into my human relationships...and just because God is perfect and loves me no matter where I am in life, doesn't mean I can push that relationship to the side.  God will meet me where I am, but the closer I am to Him the better off I will be.  So...that's my biggie!  And this one is way way way too important to let slide. 

2.   Work on having patience, a positive attitude, and a pure heart.  (Oh hey, won't these virtues accompany my #1 resolution? YESSS)  As a wife and a mom...patience is like THE most important virtue I could have.  I'm a pretty patient person, but not patient enough.  Life's challenges evoke big emotions...so I will be doing even more holding my tongue and thinking through my responses.  A positive attitude is a big one too.  It's easy to keep up that perky attitude when life is going smooth and great...but what happens on those mornings when I wake up late, Kollyns wakes up crying halfway through my shower, I spill coffee on my new cream pants,  realize I've left my windows down as it rained through the night...and on & on.  These are the days in the new year that I promise myself I will breathe, laugh & take a step back and start saying everything I'm thankful for out loud.  These little things that seem like such an irritatingly big deal...are SO not a big deal in the big scheme of things.  And finally a pure heart.  A pure heart comes from finding contentment in the Lord and wanting to please Him in all things.  What's in my heart is what's important.  I can say 15 nice things about a something/someone aloud but if I feel another way in my heart, what's the point in even saying nice things.  God sees my heart and  I desire a clean heart.  I want to see the good in everything and everyone.  I have a 2 year old that copies every move I make and absorbs every word I say... so I have to handle life & myself with care.

And now for the less important resolutions...

3.  I will cook every single day for my family (except for the night(s) we go out.)  I cook alot during the week, but some days I get lazy & find myself wheeling through one of those nifty little drive thrus. Nope, not this year.  Devin was raised in a home where mama cooked the good stuff every night for supper. It's important to him, so I'm making it important to me.

4. I will maintain my fitness regimen (don't know why I'm putting this on the list, obviously I'm not going to stop working out)

...and at the moment I can't think of anymore. :)

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Kollyns must have been NICE this year...

Kollyns was a very good girl this year...and Santa, Mommy & Daddy, and all of her grandparents took notice. I'm still finding myself scrapping for places to put all of her new toys in my humble abode. Don't think I'm placing alot of value on material things at Christmas because I for sure emphasize that Christmas is about Jesus, not toys...but she has LOTS of grandparents.  And with lots of grandparents come lots of toys.  These are a few of her favorites!


 
KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen
Prince LionHeart Wheely Pig
Avigo Mercedes Ride On
Wooden Puzzles & Food Play by Melissa & Doug 
AniMagic Honey Baby Pony

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stay fit...even this time of year.

It's not hard for dedicated gym rats to notice patterns in the gym.  Like a flood of new members coming in on January 1st and fading out by February.  Or a new wave of people in May trying to get ready for the beach in just a few short months.  Here's the thing...it is SO much easier to maintain a fit lifestyle all year round.  Why why why let your body go to waste 6 months out of the year and spend the other 6 beasting it in the gym only to return to where you had gotten the last time you finished your gym spurt?  Also you have to re-adjust yourself to a routine of going to the gym, it's easy to slide off the right track and back into old habits.  Stick with it all year and it will become a part of your life just like taking a shower or brushing your teeth!  You will feel like your day isn't complete without it!  Promise!  Around November/December I go into maintenance mode.  I cut back to 4 days a week and lighten my workouts to around 45 minutes to an hour on those days.  In January I will get back to 6 days a week, but Thanksgiving/Christmas are my favorite times of year and I'm not spending all of my mornings or evenings in the gym!  So here's a sample of two of my workout days during the holidays! It's super hard this time of year but crank it up & find your motivation to stay fit, sugar!

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Be the Change...

 
In honor of the Sandy Hook Victims a #26Acts of Kindness campaign has been launched on twitter.  What a great idea to perform kind acts around the holidays and do something heartwarming in the wake of this heartwrenching tragedy.  I encourage everyone who reads this to do 26 kind things for random people or someone you love.  Write them notes and tell them how much you love them and care about them.  Pay for the person's food behind you at a drive thru.  Pay off someone's layaway at a local store.  Write notes to the first responders or police officers in your area or in Newtown and thank them for their service.  Go spend time with someone and listen to them.  Drop someone that you haven't seen in a while a line and let them know that you thought of them today.  The possibilities are endless.  It's so easy to get caught up in going through the motions of life and miss what's important especially this time of year. And please don't just stop when the holiday's are over.  If we all took the time to show God's love and reach out to others on a daily basis, you could prevent something like this from happening simply by being compassionate and valuing someone who doesn't value himself/herself.  A little bit of kindness goes a long way.  You never know when you could positively impact someone and change their life forever. 
Be the change.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Home Made Reindeer Ornaments!

Kollyns & I bought a $5 pack of gold glitter ornaments, used craft paint we already had at home, pressed her thumbprint onto the ornament & turned it into a thumbprint reindeer using the paint. The result was a priceless gift for the grandparents & for us to keep! You can also use white paint & do fingerprint snowmen too! How sweet! :)

 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

 
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
 
Photo card was created at Shutterfly...my all time fave website to archive photos & make lovely photo creations!  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Few of Our Favorite Things: Clothes for Kollyns



 
I'm a tiny bit obsessed with Baby Gap.  I just can't handle that level of cuteness.  So anytime I visit that website I swoon & oooo & ahhhh to no end.  I had planned to give the clothes in my most recent order to Kollyns for Christmas...but what kid wants clothes for Christmas?  So mommy caved & Kollyns has been sporting these fab duds since that little navy blue package arrived at my doorstep.
 
(Clockwise from top Left)
Cream Ruffle Top, Neon Stripe Shawl Sweater, Slip On Cap Toe Sneakers, Neon Pom Pom Headband, Neon Mixed Stripe Pocket Tee, Scalloped Lace Shift, Pom Pom Ballet Flats, Neon Skinny Jeans.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's The Hap- Happiest Season of Alllll!

Christmas is my favorite holiday of all time!  Mostly because we get to celebrate the birth of our sweet Savior, but also because it brings back some of my best memories and I absolutely love making new ones with my husband and our sweet girl! Everyday when I wake up I am overflowing with joy & praises to God for everyone and everything in my life.  I am so grateful for the blessings that have been poured over me that I don't come close to deserving.  As I watch my little girl grow each day as she learns new things & develops this vivacious, hilarious personality that she has I am in awe.  He chose ME to be her mommy and trusted me with guiding this beautiful little dreamer through life and raising her and teaching her.  All I can say is during the holidays I am so FULL of thankfulness that I wish I could pop and share my joy with everyone. Wow, that was over the top but I mean every word.  On top of being the season to be thankful, it's also the season to be full...literally.  Full of yummy holiday treats and goodies.  One of my favorite things to do with my sweet Kollyns is bake!  I'm a baking trick, believe it or not.  If any of you ever wonder why I workout it's really only because I have to keep a balanced ratio of eating cookies to staying fit.  Haha.  So aside from the usual chocolate cookies that Kollyns & I bake on a regular basis...I discovered a recipe on Pinterest that was a must try.  COOKIES AND CREAM DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CAKE BARS. And yep, they taste just as sinful as they sound.  I had to exercise SERIOUS self control around these bad boys.  They were so ridiculously easy to make too!  MAKE THESE!  They are so worth the calories. And that's not something you will hear me say often. :)

1 Box of Double Fudge Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Stick of Butter
1 Large Egg
1 1/2 cups Milk Chocolate Chips
1 14 oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
18 Oreo Cookies broken into small pieces
  
Mix Egg, Butter & Cake Mix in large bowl. (I used my hands. It worked, but got pretty messy!)
Press mixture evenly onto the bottom of a greased 9 by 13 glass dish.
Top with crushed oreos.
Pour can of sweet milk evenly over the oreos.
Top with Chocolate Chips.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Oh my yum...Enjoy.



Original recipe & photo from Picky Palate...I made a few adjustments!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pumpkin Painting

Beth & I decided to get Noah & Kollyns together for a paint-date! They were so cute painting & the pumpkins turned out precious! I can't wait to put hers on the porch next to my chevron pumpkin!




Thursday, September 27, 2012

(Pin)spired: Chevron Pumpkins

I love decorating for Fall almost as much as I love decorating for Christmas, ALMOST.  I saw some cool chevron painted pumpkins on pinterest & I HAD to try it.  So we went & picked out our pumpkins, I put Kollyns to bed last night & went to town with my painting.  I'll be the first to say I'm about the least artistic person I know.  Like seriously, I can't draw a stick figure.  And let me tell you, my chevron pumpkins turned out FAR from perfect.  But they were kind of perfectly imperfect.  The imperfections made the pumpkin look kind of cool & Halloween-like.  All you need are sponge brushes ($0.98 for 4), white outdoor acrylic paint ($2.97 for one tube), & painters tape (about $2), & a pumpkin ($5).  I wiped off my pumpkin and started taping it off.  The taping part was a little tricky because I didn't have the patience or the time to cut every piece of tape perfectly even.  So I just went with the flow & free handed it.  Then I started painting without rhyme or reason.  You will see what I mean in the picture (I made a mess).  It took about 2 coats to mostly cover.  I went to bed, woke up, peeled the tape off & put my (somewhat) pretty little chevron pumpkin on the porch.  I loved it! And it was relatively easy!



Magnets are ALWAYS fun!

My fridge is stainless steel, therefore we don't get to use magnets on the front side.  Every time we have went to anyone's house with magnets on the fridge, Kollyns stands in front of the refrigerator & just plays and plays.  So I saw on pinterest that a mom had taken a large baking sheet & used it as a magnet board. Why didn't I think of that?  So off to the store I went & for under $5 I got a baking sheet, a pack of magnets, number magnets, & poms.  I already had a hot glue gun, so I went to town with the poms & magnets too!  The cool thing is you can glue almost anything t the magnets so if they get bored you can switch out what's on the board.  It's great for sensory skills AND counting! Kollyns loved it!



Busy Bag: Popsicle Sticks & Velcro

I've seen tons of ideas for busy bags, and this past Saturday I wanted to throw something fun together for Kollyns that wouldn't take too long.  I picked up some Popsicle sticks & a pack of stick-on velcro & voila, we had a fun toy!  Kollyns really enjoyed sticking the ends together & pulling them apart.  And since it's never too early to start learning new things, we also created some shapes together. Fun, cheap, quick & simple.  Can't go wrong!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homemade Play Dough! Kollyns Tested, Mommy Approved!


I was on the hunt for a simple & quick play dough recipe that wouldn't hurt Kollyns if she decided to do a taste test!  I stumbled upon a recipe & it mixed up beautifully!  Kollyns enjoyed helping me measure out & pour in the ingredients!  It came out bright white & pretty so if she ever makes a creation that I want to dry out & paint for a keepsake it will look great!  Below is the recipe & a photo overload of our fun little experience! :)

1 cup Bisquick (Gluten-Free Bisquick works great too!)
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1/2 TBSP alum or cream of tartar
1 TBSP oil

Pour all ingredients into a microwave safe bowl, mix & microwave for three minutes.  Scrape bowl & let cool a bit, then add another 1/2 tbsp of oil.  Mix with hands & store in an air tight container! Have fun!

(Pin)spiration at work: Butterfly Craft


I really don't know how we ever survived before pinterest. And I'm pretty sad that when it became popular, I was already married & couldn't use some of the ridiculously creative ideas for my own wedding. Which is why I fully intend on redeeming the lack of pinterest in my life pre-wedding, by putting the ideas to use with my sweet Kollyns. Pinterest has GREAT ideas for activities for toddlers.  I also just started teaching a 2 year old Sunday School class & I let Kollyns do the crafts first so I can see just how age appropriate they are before letting several toddlers loose with the projects!  The first craft we attempted together was a Butterfly!  The idea was borrowed from the blog No Time for Flashcards & it turned out super cute! And I have to say...watching her little hands at work decorating her butterfly made my heart melt! I love watching her discover & learn!

You will need:  Construction Paper, Contact Paper, Ribbon in your choice of colors, & Scissors

I drew the butterfly & cut it out & placed it on the contact paper.  I cut up an assortment of ribbons & put them in a little bowl so Kollyns could choose her own decorations for her butterflies!  She loved it so much we ended up making 5 butterflies!  She kept going back to the table and asking to do another & she decorated each time with as much enthusiasm as the first.  The 2 year old class loved it too! Ahhh, Success.

& yes I know, it's not the safest thing in the world to let your kid stand on a chair...but until I buy her a craft table, this is where we will be making our messes!



  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fishtail Fever!

My second fishtail braid ever! And MarLee's hair looked great with this braid because her hair is lighter & you can see how pretty the braid is!
Sorry for the horrible quality of this picture!  My hair is dark so I had to add a High Def effect so you could see the folds of the braid, but this was my first fishtail braid...not bad! :)

Lately I've been obsessed with the 'fishtail braid'. It's so pretty & so EASY.  For me, the messier the better because it looks so effortless.  Here's the tutorial I used that helped me create a pretty great braid on the first try! I've found that the tinier the pieces you pull, the better it looks.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Songs that get me into Beast Workout Mode!


Smoothies on the Go!

On summer mornings I CRAVE smoothies after the gym! Unfortunately it takes time to make them...& time is one thing I don't have alot of in the mornings before work!  Plus, it's not exactly smart to crank up the blender while my kid is asleep in bed (wouldn't want to wake sleeping beauty!!!).  So instead I figured out that it's best to make my smoothies & pour them into ice-cube trays & stick them in the freezer.  This way the night before I can pop a few cubes in my cup, put it in the fridge & by morning they are thawed out and slushy-like, so I can just grab my smoothie and go! Clever, right? ;)

Friday, May 25, 2012

YOUR Best Butt!

Photo from Shape.com
Let's face it...genetics are genetics.  Either your butt is big, small, perfect or non-existent.  Although I would love to have a nice big butt it just isn't in the cards for me. So instead of wasting time envying every girl with a great butt, I decided to just make my butt the best possible version of itself. So here is a short version of one of my workouts for toning/tightening my behind.

Bodyweight Squat Warm-UP
Jump Lunges 
Curtsy Lunges
Jump Squats
Walking Lunges
Single-Leg Deadlifts
Weighted Squats
Single Leg Lunge
Burpees
Mountain Climbers

I will post pictures later of me doing some of these exercises...but in the meantime, you can google these exercises to get an idea of what they are.  I use dumbbells or a barbell with most of these, but if you can't make it to the gym you can definitely do these exercises at home with no weight.  If you want to really make it interesting, set a timer for 10 minutes & do each exercise for 1 minute & go right down the list without stopping. OR if you're REALLY brave set it for 20 minutes and do each exercise for 2 minutes.  I bet you'll be hurtin' the next day.  A good hurt, of course! :)

My Summer Must-Haves

My closet was in desperate need of a makeover for the summer.  I haven't went on a shopping spree for myself since I had Kollyns because I don't feel guilty splurging on her, but I feel SO guilty shopping for myself.  Wedges, colored jeans & lacy tanks are def on trend for the summer & I've been wanting to buy some since the weather got pretty & I got summer-clothes fever.  So today I got an e-mail from American Eagle with a discount code because all of their clothes are 40% of thru Monday (oh SNAP).  So I just went on ae.com, pushed my guilt aside and racked up!  These are a few of my fave items & at 40% off...they were super cheap! Yay for Frugal Friday!


 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

WATER WATER WATER! Drink it.

Okay, I know everyone hates to hear that water should be what you drink the most of...but it's SO true.  I used to love a good ole Mountain Dew every once in awhile, but now I've forgotten what they taste like.Seriously. Our bodies are made up of mostly water, so why would you fill it with JUNK & drinks/juices FULL of added sugar & other weird ingredients?!?  Not to mention, who likes to feel bloated? Not this girl!  And soft drinks are bloaters! I know, I know...water is no fun!  Which is why I'm obsessed with awesome water bottles.  A cool water bottle is worth the investment & trust me, you will drink more water from it AND you don't have to fill your trash with little plastic water bottles...you just wash it every night & reuse it!  My fave water bottle is the CamelBak!  Mine is the 24oz bottle & I drink about 3-4 bottles a day!  Buy yourself a fun water bottle, start guzzling...& I guarantee you will feel great! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sanuk Yoga Spree Flip Flops, aka The Best Flip Flop Ever Made!


I was given a pair of these flip flops as a gift & since then I have bought just about every color they come in!  These are some amazing shoes!  I used to be a Reef-aholic because the Reef flops last forever...but after discovering these Sanuks I don't think I'll ever go back.  You can buy them at the Sanuk Website for about $30 a pair!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's In My Makeup Bag?

I LOVE makeup! Putting makeup on is seriously one of my favorite things to do! It used to take me forever to paint my face on (ha), but after having Kollyns I definitely don't have time for that. Now I have it down to 10 minutes or less!  5 minutes to get ready for work & 10 when we are going out! Below are the products I use every single day!
Foundation:  Loreal Infallible
Powder: Lancome Dual Finish Powder in Matte Wheat
Bronzer/Blush:  Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Luminous Bronzer in Beach Bunny
Mascara: Maybelline Illegal Lengths in Black
Eyeliner: Physicians Formula Eye Definer Automatic Eye Pencil in Black
Eyeshadow:  Victoria's Secret Hypergloss Eye Shimmer in Golden Lights Gold & CoverGirl Intense ShadowBlast in Beige Blaze. I apply Beige Blaze all over & the Golden Lights Gold in the crease!
Lips: Maybelline Super Stay 14hour Lipstick in Beige ForGood & CG Wetslicks in Honey Talks


Monday, May 21, 2012

My Fave Snacks: Healthy & Not

Vanilla Berry Protein Shake
2 Scoops Syntha6 Vanilla Protein, Frozen Berries, Ice & Skim Milk! Delishhh.
Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt w/ Fruit on the Bottom
Blueberry is my favorite.  I add granola & fresh berries & it's a great breakfast or mid-afternoon snack and it's full of protein! So Good!
Pistachios
They take a little work to get into, which is why I don't eat too many in one serving! Perfect!
Banana & Pineapple
My 2 favorite fruits to eat on the run! Yummy...
Celery Dipped in Peanut Butter
Weird but good!

& Yes...I have my weaknesses:
Golden Oreos
Need I say more?
Nutella Spread on Whole Grain Bread
I could eat Nutella on just about anything though! 


Stay Away Stretch Marks: My (Not So) Secret Solution

Like most moms, I did not look forward to the stretch marks that result from pregnancy.  You hear over & over again that it's genetics, genetics, genetics & doctors advise just to keep your tummy moisturized & hope for the best.  My mom actually did not get stretch marks, so I was blessed from the get go with a slimmer chance of getting them. But at age 22, I wasn't going to take any chances.  So I started researching & found the  Spoiled Mama Tummy Butter & Bump Gloss.  I started applying this as soon as I discovered I was pregnant & it smelled nice & did a great job moisturizing.  I would recommend Spoiled Mama products to anyone because first, they are organic which I LOVE...but they are also reasonably priced high quality products.  I continued using Spoiled Mama products throughout my pregnancy, but I wanted to do more so I started snooping through my kitchen cabinets to find some practical solutions.  As soon as I opened my cabinet, the olive oil literally fell out into my hands.  DING DING! I found a winner!  So from my 4th month of pregnancy until the day I delivered I would slather olive oil on my belly every night & gently place 1 layer of Saran Wrap across my tummy & put on a maternity tank top to hold it in place.  My belly stayed super smooth & the Saran Wrap allowed my belly time to absorb the moisture before it absorbed into my clothes!  Needless to say, it worked for me!  I just want to say,  there is nothing wrong with stretch marks because in my eyes...any & everything to do with the birth of a baby is BEAUTIFUL!  But anyone who says they WANT to get stretchmarks is lying!  I hope this little secret works for you! :)    








Moby Wrap: Mommy Must Have

Kollyns is my first child, so naturally I want to keep her as close to me as possible for as long as possible.  Since birth, we have not parted for longer than 3 hours and I wouldn't trade the time I spend with her for anything.  When she was first born, all the way up to about 9 months old when she started walking...she wanted to be constantly held!  It was so hard for me to get anything done at all with only one arm free.  One of my good friends introduced me to the Moby Wrap.  At first it seemed like it would be so confusing to put on, but after watching videos & reading the little booklet it was amazingly simple. I will tell you, it was the best $45 I've ever spent!

Get Glossy!

I've always been known as the lip gloss queen!  Yes, even at 6am in the gym I'm rocking my glossy lips.  I feel completely naked without it.  My husband was at odds with my glosses that left my lips sticky & unkissable...so I went on a search & found the best gloss for my lips! Here are my faves:

Maybelline Baby Lips are AMAZING for the beach or just everyday wear & it's SPF 20!

CoverGirl WetSlicks Honey Talks is my go-to gloss everyday.  It isn't sticky & you can wear it alone all day or over lipstick when you're going out!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm a beast in the morning...a gym beast, that is.

Before having a kid, it was all I could do to wake up at 7:30 am. Now, I pop up at the crack of dawn to hit the gym & get that morning workout in before my sleeping baby wakes.  I workout in the morning for several reasons. The main one - I don't want to miss a single moment that I can spend with my daughter!   By waking up before she rises & getting my hour workout done...I'm not having to sacrifice any quality time we could be spending together after work! I get up early enough that my brain doesn't even have time to talk myself out of going to the gym.  The day can totally get in the way of a great workout, but by slipping in first thing you leave no chance of that happening! It's a huge energy booster too!  Before your morning coffee, fill up that water bottle & get em' girl!  What do you have to lose? Besides an extra hour of sleep that will probably make you even more reluctant to crawl out of your fluffy bed! Don't be a morning beast & start your day off in a tired way!!! Be a GYM BEAST...& get your pump first thing which in turn will make your day simply fabulous!