Thursday, December 31, 2015

The one about my Slimfast Experience.

Recently, Influenster, a site that connects brands with people to test out free products, sent me a VoxBox from Slimfast. They sent me a days worth of Slimfast products to test out and give my opinion on. Basically the Slimfast diet is this, you replace breakfast and lunch with meal replacement shakes or bars, you have 2-3 Slimfast 100 calorie snacks, fruits, or vegetables, and then a 500-600 calorie healthy dinner. Easy enough, but like most people I was worried that it wouldn't taste good or fill me up. So here's what my day looked like:

Breakfast: Slimfast Creamy Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake

The shake was just like it's named. Creamy and chocolatey. It was really good. The only thing I did not like is that it had artificial sugar. I hate artificial sugar, it always leaves a weird taste. It left me feeling full and satisfied.

Snack 1: Slimfast 100 Calorie Sour Cream & Onion Baked Crisps

The Slimfast 100 Calorie Sour Cream & Onion Baked Crisps were really tasty. They were just like chips. So if you're a chipaholic, these will definitely be a good snack for you. They had a really good flavor.

Lunch: Slimfast Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Meal Replacement Bar

The Slimfast Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Meal Replacement Bar was another tasty treat. Chocked full of good protein, it was a filling and tasty meal. It had lots of nuts in it, so it wouldn't be good if you have a nut allergy. Since I don't, I had no problem enjoying this bar!

Snack 2: Slimfast Cinammon Bun Swirl Drizzled Crisps

was definitely skeptical when I got these. They looked like rice cakes and rice cakes never taste good to me. However, once I tried them, my mind was definitely changed! These are crispy and thin. They have a good texture and an even better taste. They are a good sweet treat when you are craving sweets. The icing drizzle is so tasty. These taste just like a cinnamon roll. I was definitely pleased.

Verdict: The Slimfast diet is a tasty way to lose weight and definitely a diet plan I think you could stick to without issue. It's something I think I'll definitely keep in mind in my journey to lose weight!

Note: I received these products for free for testing purposes, but the thoughts and opinions are my own!



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The one about Blossom Menstrual Pads!


Recently I teamed up with Blossom Menstrual Pads to try out their new reusable cloth pads and give you guys my honest review on them. I took a video (starring Harper!) of me unboxing the pads and so it will give you guys a good idea of what they look like and how they're used. Check it out below:



But the real question is, what's the verdict? How did they work for me? And the answer is great! They are super absorbent and stay in place nicely. They work great! I was really pleased with them.

On top of that, they are great for the environment. You can feel good about using them and not filling up the landfill with pads that will never biodegrade. They are also better for your body. If you're like me and have super sensitive skin, you will be relieved to not have a reaction to the adhesive or linings of traditional pads.


The pads are super soft and comfortable. They come in cool, fun designs. They are also really easy to take care of. At the end of the day you just throw them on your shower floor while you take a shower and pre-rinse them. Then you throw them in your washer with a mild detergent, dry them regularly and you're good to go. So they're really not going to inconvenience you. In short, the pads are great! I'm definitely recommending them!

If you want to buy your own, you can get them here: http://www.blossomcup.com/clothpads

Note: I received these at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

The one about good things happening.

Things have been going really good. We had Zak's Christmas party at Edgewild, my favorite restaurant. The food was amazing and the company was great. We had a really great time and then as a surprise he got a bonus and a raise. It was much deserved and I couldn't be prouder of him. He's really worked his butt off this year and it's great that his boss recognizes how valuable he is. It's also going to make our lives a lot better and we all couldn't be happier about breathing a little easier every paycheck.

We finally got our Christmas shopping done. We got Harper more My Little Pony stuff than you can shake a stick at. She's going to be a very happy little girl on Christmas. We haven't gotten Tristan's present yet, but his won't be here until after Christmas because it's a big package. We are getting him a climber to keep in the house that he can climb to his heart's content.

Zak's brother just got him an indoor trampoline and he's been putting it through the ringer, jumping like a madman and crawling over the handle bars and flipping. He's crazy hard on stuff. It was a great present because he really doesn't play with toys unless they're riding toys or toys like trampolines. He's just too gross motor obsessed. He just climbs and jumps and runs all day long until he finally passes out at night. He's a pretty tough and rough kid. He keeps me busier than I could have imagined because he's so active and crazy.

And for Taylor we got gift cards that she can spend on whatever her heart desires. She's so hard to shop for since she's a teenager. Gift cards are where it's at.

So all in all I am extremely thankful for the way our lives are going currently. It's really great.

On the blog side of things, I am still working with lots of providers to bring you guys the most current cool products to review and trying to work on some cool giveaways for the new year. Stay tuned with me!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The one about the Filberry Diaper Bag.

I needed to upgrade my diaper bag. My old diaper bag was an old backpack. It was cumbersome and hard to get things in and out of. After a lot of research, I ended up with this Filberry Messenger Diaper bag. First off, it is quite large. It's not too big, but it's definitely big enough to hold anything you might need for your baby. It's made of thick canvas. It's strong and well-made. That's obvious.

It has 5 large pockets. The main large pocket has 4 smaller pockets perfect for holding diapers and wipes. There is a large outer pocket that has a zippered pocket in it for small items like pacifiers. It also has a place to put pens. I found out that these are also perfect for holding baby spoons. One of the pockets is insulated for holding bottles or other perishable items. You don't need a separate bag which is nice, but it does also come with a bottle holder. So you would be able to safely pack 2 bottles in this bag with no problem. 









The diaper bag also comes with a large changing table pad which is great for when you're out at a restaurant or store. Those changing tables are filthy and it is a nice soft plastic liner to use between your baby and the table. It folds very small, but when you open it up it's quite big. I'll be able to use it for my almost 2-year old with no issue. The bag also has a cellphone holder on the strap. It holds my iPhone 5c well. It's easy to get your phone in and out of.




If you are looking for a diaper bag with all the bells and whistles, this bag is for you. It's got everything you could possibly need and more. You definitely won't be disappointed with this bag. I was able to fit everything in to my new bag with room to spare. When I took it out the first time it was so much better than my backpack. I could open it up and easily access the diapers and wipes that I needed. It's not cumbersome in the slightest. 


One more plus of the Filberry diaper bag is that it's really gender neutral. It'd be perfect for a dad who doesn't want to carry the normal girly purse looking diaper bag. It'd be great for a dad present at a baby shower. It's a manly bag, but not too manly to wear I don't want to carry it around. It's great for moms or dads! I'd definitely recommend it for a shower gift or just if you need to upgrade your bag.

Note: I received this product at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest review, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The one about what I've been doing and needing more help from the village.

Things have been busy around here. I've been watching my friend's two girls sometimes and so the kids have been getting good and worn out a lot of the time. They've been staying for overnights and that's kind of a trip. With 4 kiddos here overnight it's almost guaranteed that somebody is going to wake up. Last night Tristan woke up, poor little guy. He's been cutting his canines and he's just been miserable. Any advice for my teething guy is welcome. I think we might have to go back to giving him some pain reliever before bed.

Oh and another thing I need advice on, he's such a monster, lol, him and the little girl his age just won't get along. They hit each other and are generally mean to each other. What are some tactics you've learned to stop kids from hitting? I don't know if Tristan is just too young to get it or what, but he's such a brute.

On top of that we have swim class and dance class and Christmas shopping to contend with and so we've just been busy little bees. Busy is good, but my house is struggling. It's in major need of a clean up, but I'm just out of energy to do that! How do you find the time in your busy life to make sure you get your house clean?

And if that's not enough I've been working hard on enhancing and growing the blog. We've had A LOT of new visitors and to you guys I say, "WELCOME!" I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it.

I'm partnering with some great products coming up and I can't wait to introduce them to you. Some products I'll be reviewing include Seventh Generation, Blossom Pads, Garnier, Gold Bond, and more.

And to end my blog today I'm going to post these adorable pictures of my husband and Tristan that they took on my phone the other day. I didn't know they were on there and so it was a really cute surprise that I saw today. My heart swells with the love I have for these guys.






Sunday, December 13, 2015

The one about a Giveaway!

It's Christmastime. I love the holidays because it means that we get to get together with family, Zak gets extra days off of work, we all get to spend more time together, you get presents, and the list goes on and on. The holidays are my favorite time of year. I love giving. When people open gifts and look genuinely happy, it's a great feeling. I love that feeling. 

In the spirit of the holidays and all the feelings, I'm giving away another $10 Amazon gift card! 

Maybe you had a bad day. 

Maybe you wouldn't mind having an extra $10.

Maybe you thought Jose Aldo was going to win last night. 

Who cares the reason? You deserve a free $10 gift card. Enter below!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The one about Perfect Chunky Chili.

It's unusually warm outside here in Missouri. Seriously, it was like 70 degrees today. It was the perfect day to enjoy an iced coffee and hang out and not do much. Then dinner rolled around and I was thinking of just going out, but instead I decided to make a big pot of chili. Chili is one of those versatile meals that can be served when it's hot or cold and it still just rocks. I make my chili super chunky. I like for there to be tons of beans, tomatoes, and meat in every bite. My husband is a huge fan of my chili. We both think it's the perfect recipe. Try it out for yourself!


Ingredients:
  • 28 Ounce Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
  • 2 Cans Kidney Beans, Drained
  • 1 Can Red Beans, Drained
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef or Turkey
  • Homemade Chili Seasoning:
    • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
    • 1 Tablespoon Flour
    • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
    • 1/2 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
    • 1/2 Tablespoon Onion Powder
    • 1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
    • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Chipotle Chili Pepper Flakes
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Parsley

 Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, brown ground meat. You don't need to drain it, this just adds to the flavor of the chili.
  2. Add tomato sauce and tomatoes and homemade chili seasoning. Mix well.
  3. Add beans, mix well.
  4. Heat to boiling. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or more. 
  5. Garnish with oyster crackers, shredded cheese, or sour cream. Or if you're like my husband eat it with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

ENJOY!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The one about Hair Growth Botanical Renovation Conditioner.


Recently I teamed up with Hair Growth Botanical Renovation to test out their new hair conditioner. I don't need any help in the hair growth department, but I'm always trying to condition my dry, frizzy hair. Hair Growth Botanical Renovation Paraben-free Deep Reconstructive Conditioner restores damaged frizz-prone hair and prevents hair breakage by coating and penetrating the hair shaft to create a protective barrier that restores hair and prevents further damage. By smoothing the hair surface it reduces hair knotting and breakage, so hair looks healthy, shiny and easy to manage because of improved elasticity. 
When I got the product, the first thing I did was open it up and smell it. I always like to smell my hair products before I use them because it's just a big selling point to me that the product smell good. I got the Cypress and Lavender scent. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping for more lavender, but it definitely smelled way stronger of cypress. If you like Cypress, you'll love the smell of this shampoo, but it's just not for me. But despite the smell the real question is whether or not this conditions hair good. So I went forward with the testing at my next shower.
The directions say to apply a quarter size amount to your hands and rub it through your hair. Then leave it on for 3-5 minutes and rinse out. I left it on for 3 minutes. When I rinsed it out I immediately noticed that my hair felt softer and that it detangled my hair. It also really permeated my hair with the Cypress scent. Which again if you love Cypress then you will definitely love this conditioner. 
I towel dried and combed my hair like usual and I definitely noticed my hair was softer and detangled. So as a conditioning product it worked like a charm! I was very pleased with it. 
If you want to take it for a spin, right now they are offering my readers 20% off with the promo code: 6FI8TI6V. You can go here on Amazon and purchase it! Enjoy!
Note: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.



Saturday, December 5, 2015

The one about Slow Cooker Cube Steaks and Gravy.

It's the weekend. This weekend we actually don't have much going on for once, so we are just relaxing, putting up Christmas decorations and spending time together as a family. I couldn't think of a better meal to put on the table than some good comfort food and that's exactly what this dish is. It's easy, you throw the ingredients in your slow cooker and at the end of the day you've got a home cooked meal that's been making your house smell like heaven all day. I love simple easy meals like this. Plus cube steak is on sale all the time and so it's cheap, too. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. We unfortunately never have leftovers.



Ingredients:

  • 4 cube steaks
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic (you can use the regular kind, too)
  • 1 packet of onion soup mix
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl mix together canned soup and onion soup mix.
  2. In the bottom of the slow cooker place your cube steaks.
  3. Pour soup mixture on top of cube steaks covering fully. 
  4. Cook on Low for 8 hours.
  5. Serve with potatoes and a vegetable.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The one about Geneva's Tutus and a giveaway!

Harper is a girly girl. She won't wear pants. If it's not a skirt or a dress she simply doesn't like it. She loves nail polish, makeup, and accessories. She absolutely loves hair bows and headbands. Recently, I was referred to a very talented bow maker, Geneva's Tutus, by my good friend Amanda. Amanda is a hair accessory nut. (She has like 3 billion bows. Literally.) I decided to enter a little contest Geneva's Tutus was having, not thinking much of it. (I never win anything.) But to my surprise I won! We got a Frozen Anna My Little Pony hair bow and the rest is history, I was hooked. The bow was such high quality and it was also really freaking cute.

I went back last week on her site to a sale she was having and ordered a bunch more My Little Pony bows for Christmas. They will make great stocking stuffers and they will make my My Little Pony crazed girl ecstatic. Here are some examples of bows she has made:




Aren't they adorable?! 

To ring in the holidays, I'm giving away 2 hair bows of the winner's choosing from Geneva's Tutus!! They would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for the girly girl in your life. Enter below:



ALSO, I want to take a minute and say congratulations to the winner of the $10 Amazon giftcard giveaway, Kat McQuaid!

This contest is listed on:

Hypersweep

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The one about Nature Cups Coffee.


Recently, I teamed up with Nature Cups coffee to test out their product, Wakey Wakey Coffee Cups. First of all, Nature Cups is a super cool company. They make recyclable K Cups. K Cups are generally not recyclable. Did you know that in 2014 alone, 9 Billion K-Cups were thrown in landfills? In fact, there are enough non-recyclable K-Cups sitting in landfills right now to circle the Earth 14 TIMES! Nature Cups is on a mission to provide good coffee that is good for the Earth. 
I ordered a sample pack and I was ready to try out my coffee. This is what the sample pack looks like: 

 I'm pretty picky about my coffee, so I was hopeful that it would be something I liked. I wasn't disappointed. I started out my normal routine. I turned on my Keurig K145 (read about my brewer here) and waited for the water to warm up. I pulled out a K Cup. It looked just like a normal K Cup, I couldn't tell any difference really between it and any other K Cup.


I brewed my cup of coffee on the medium sized cup setting. It smelled wonderful as it brewed. But would it stand up to my picky palate? The answer was, "YES!" The Wakey Wakey cups are a medium roast, but to me it's pretty strong. The coffee taste was definitely prominent, but it didn't bother me. I added my French Vanilla creamer and it was oh so fabulous. I dare say I enjoyed it better than my typical brand of coffee. I think it was a little stronger than my typical coffee, too. I felt a good burst of energy from it. So not only am I getting delicious coffee taste, I'm getting more energy, and I'm saving the environment because it's recyclable! WIN WIN WIN! You can't beat it. 

And right now you can go to http://www.wakeycoupon.com and get a coupon to get your own on Amazon. Or you can go here  and get your own on Amazon. You won't be disappointed. Check it out!

Note: I received this product for free for my review, but the opinions are my own.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The truth about extracurricular activities with an overactive toddler.

It's that season of life right now. Harper is old enough now to do activities and so we have her enrolled in dance class and swim lessons. She absolutely loves doing these activities and they are great for her. She's making friends and gaining confidence, both skills which she needs practice on. I couldn't be happier for her. But the truth is, I could be happier. The reality is I've got an almost 2-year old who is very active and stubborn which means one thing. THESE ACTIVITIES SUCK FOR ME.

Instead of enjoying the activities that she's doing, I run back and forth in the viewing area after my crazy toddler. At dance class, the viewing area is tiny and adjacent to two rooms full of child hazards. It's absolutely insane the amount of stuff that he gets into in such a short period of time, Some favorite activities include playing with blind cords, trying to open the backdoor to escape, standing just out of sight so I have to come get him, and climbing on desks, benches, and his and my favorite folding chairs. If he doesn't get stuck in a folding chair at least once on Tuesday afternoons I don't much know what to do with myself.

Swim lessons are a little easier because they have a kids room at the Y where I can take Tristan to play after he tries to run outside for the 10th time. (He's figured out how to work the wheelchair power doors, so he can totally escape.)

I can only assume that Harper is enjoying herself since I don't get to see any of the class. They don't tell you that extracurricular activities are like this when you have a toddler. They just don't. Everyone says, "Oh that's so fun that she's in dance." And it is fun, for her. I'm guessing anyway. But also really challenging.

So I'm warning you if you've got a toddler and you have an activity age child to hold on tight, it's going to be a bumpy ride. Sure sure, these are the moments that I'll miss when they get older, but for right now, I'm not relishing in this. But I love my kids so I'll keep chasing the toddler so Harper can have a life.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The one about Thanksgiving tradition

Today is the glorious yearly feasting day for my family. We always celebrate Thanksgiving on a day other than Thanksgiving. It's a tradition. We get up somewhat early and cook turkey. Then we sit around and hang out all day while we wait for the festivous time of intense cooking. The end of the day is full of chaos as we prepare 10 dishes at once timing each one perfectly to magically get done at the same time. Mostly because when it comes to Thanksgiving we are pretty much ballers. 

We also have a turkey day tradition of eating out for lunch. We grease those palates with some fast food that's terrible for you because damn it if you're going to eat a feast full of cheese and gravy than you better already be full from lunch. That's just how we roll. Today we had Steak 'n Shake. It was awesome. After that we made homemade bread. While we wait for it to rise we are sitting around playing video games and hanging out and these are the times that I cherish most. 

I love our Thanksgivings. Now I better get back to the chaos that's coming! Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

The one about what I'm thankful for and a giveaway!

Late Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers! I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. I spent the day with my family at my mother-in-laws feasting on all the classic Thanksgiving food. It was a really good holiday. As always, Thanksgiving reminds me of all the things I am thankful for. I am really thankful for my family. They are my heart and I couldn't be happier to have them.

I'm thankful for children that keep me on my toes. For instance, today we went to see my sisters in law and my niece and nephew. The kids had a great time and I couldn't be happier that they have a lot of cousins around the same age. Tristan also learned a new way to go downstairs. He slides headfirst on his stomach. It's super safe. Hence the keeping me on my toes.

Bur the really fun thing happened sometime on the drive home. I looked back and this is what I saw:


Apparently somewhere along the drive, Harper got bored and decided to color all over her and Tristan's face with marker. Apparently allowing her to take her notepad and marker with her in the car was poor planning on my part. But I'm thankful for these kids even if they are going to require serious scrubbing tonight. 

I'm also thankful for all my readers. Thanks for keeping up with my blog. I'm excited to share all of the stuff I have coming up with you guys. Just in time for Christmas, I'm also giving away a $10 Amazon giftcard! 

Enter below:


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The one where it takes a village.

Tristan has been a real handful lately. First of all, he's decided he's a nudist. He's figured out how to take off all his clothes including his diaper. So far we've had 3 accidents on the floor. I feel a bit like I'm taking care of a puppy. He, however, is not even close to being ready to potty train because he is still non-verbal and he doesn't understand the concept of the bathroom whatsoever other than thinking it's a fun place to shred up toilet paper and get stuff out of cabinets. I was at a loss as to what to do. I was getting him re-dressed sometimes 10 times a day and I was at my wits end. Thank god for my sister who suggested putting zipper sleepers on him backwards. It looks a little funny, but it works! He can't get to the zipper so he can't take it off. Crossing my fingers that this is just a temporary problem and that I don't have to dress my kid backwards for the next 10 years.

They have that saying that it takes a village to raise a child and that couldn't be more true with this kid. He's so different than the girls were at that age. He has no concept of fear. He's all about destruction and running, jumping, and climbing. Another fun thing he has figured out that if he scoots a chair around he can get into high cabinets that he's not allowed into. It's been super fun around here. I pretty much spend every second with my eyes glued to him. If I let my resistance down for one second, it's pretty much always regrettable. For instance, just yesterday I was relaxing, doing dishes, and listening to Adele (God, I love Adele) when Tristan decided to pull the lid off of his sister's very full sippy cup full of juice and poured it all over the floor. So much for me relaxing. I have mopped the floor 4 times already and it's still sticky.

But anyway, I need help from the village again, Tristan just got his big boy bed. He's been climbing out of the crib for months but I've been too scared to try the toddler bed. He's not going to stay in it. HOW DO I GET HIM TO STAY IN IT? There must be some of you that may have ideas to help me out here. I don't even know with this kid. He makes me tired. HELP!

But gosh is he cute! Here's some pictures with the kids and the new bed. They're both quite excited about it.



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The one about Earth's Pearl Children's Probiotic


Recently I teamed up with Earth's Pearl Probiotics to test out their new product, Earth's Pearl Children's Probiotic. I started giving it to Harper a few days ago and already I've noticed a difference in her regularity and general energy level. She seems to be a little healthier and that's great. Probiotics are awesome for your immune system and your digestive tract. They say your health all starts in your gut. These little pearls get your gut in line, so it's a definite win-win situation.

Earth's Pearl Children's Probiotics are sugar free, non-GMO, and all good stuff. They contain billions of good bacteria. The pearls are easy to swallow or chew. Harper won't swallow pills so she chews them and she says they taste good. She asked if she could have more this morning. It's definitely going to become part of our nighttime routine.


Here is some information comparing Earth's Pearl Probiotics to other Probiotics on the market:


In short, I definitely recommend trying Earth's Pearl Probiotics. You can buy your own here.


Note: I received this product for free, but the opinions are my own.




Sunday, November 22, 2015

The one about Slow Cooker Vegetarian Taco Soup

Baby it's cold outside. There's nothing I like better on a cold day than throwing something in my crock pot in the morning and having it be ready for dinner. This recipe is super easy. We're talking opening a few cans and packets and you're done. It's so good and pretty good for you, too. I usually make this recipe vegetarian, but it can totally easily be made for meat eaters, too. Check it out.


Ingredients:
  • 1 Can Chili Beans
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Can Corn
  • 2 Cans of Ro-Tel
  • 1 Can of Vegetable Broth (14.5 ounces)
  • 1-2 Packets of Taco Seasoning (depending on how flavorful and spicy you want it to be, I use 2)
Optional Garnishes:
  • Shredded
  • Sour Cream 
  • Tortilla Strips or Crushed Tortilla Chips
  • Avacados
Directions:
  1. Dump all ingredients in your crockpot.
  2. Cook on Low 8-10 hours or High for 3 hours.
  3. Garnish and Serve.
Meat Options:

Chicken Taco Soup:
  1. Add 2-3 Frozen Chicken Breasts to Ingredients. Substitute chicken broth for vegetable broth.
  2. Cook on Low 8-10 hours. 
  3. Before serving, remove chicken and shred. Place back in crockpot. 
  4. Garnish and Serve.
Beef Taco Soup:

  1. Brown Ground Beef or Turkey. Add to ingredients. Substitute beef broth for vegetable broth. 
  2. Cook on Low 8-10 hours or High for 3 hours.
  3. Garnish and Serve.  




Saturday, November 21, 2015

The one about the deep cleaning.

Something has come over me. I couldn't take it anymore. I decided to CLEAN MY HOUSE. And I don't mean just a little tidying up, I mean scrubbing everything down and making every inch of it clean because the chaos is driving me crazy.

It's been really tough for me to clean lately because of my oomph problem. You can read about that here. But I'm slowly trying to get my oomph back in all the ways I know how to. The first step was to stop napping during the day. I did really good except for today but I'm under the weather and I didn't intentionally go in there to nap when the kids did, I accidentally fell asleep putting Tristan down. Second step. starting to keep a really clean, cool house. I've been working hard on that one. Right now I've adopted the one room a day policy. Today we are deep cleaning the playroom and I have HUGE news. We moved Harper!

She's been in our bedroom for a very long time. But today we moved her out. She was so excited SHE ACTUALLY SLEPT IN HER BED FOR NAP. It's like the heaven's have opened and graced us with the beautiful possibility that Zak and I may get our bed back. HALLELUJAH.

I'm also really excited because I've been teaming up with some great new products to review for you guys and I can't wait to get them in the mail and start trying them out! I hope your weekend is going great guys!

It's been snowing here. Nothing that's sticking, but still there's snow! Perfect because I put some soup in my crock pot this morning. Come back tomorrow for the recipe! This is a good one.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The one about Chicken and Dumplings and a Crazy Monkey

Tristan's current favorite thing to do is type on my computer. It's very conducive to blogging and general internet usage. No matter how many times I say no, he tries every time I get my computer out. It's sort of frustrating. Especially since his favorite button is the power button.

He's also kind of a monkey. He's figured out that he can scoot chairs around to get into cabinets and things that are high up. Much to my chagrin. Just as I was typing this he got into the school supply cabinet and pulled out a ton of markers. All the markers in this house are put up high because of this:



He's a regular Picasso. That marker, yeah, it's permanent.

At least it's getting cold outside. I love winter because winter means I get to make my favorite comfort foods. Casseroles and soups galore! There is nothing better than coming home on a cold night to a hot comfort meal. Mmm. This recipe is a super easy one that I like to make. You just throw it all in the slow cooker and you're done. I love my slow cooker.  Chicken and Dumplings is great because the whole family likes it (who wouldn't?). I'm a terrible food blogger and always forget to take the pictures of the food before we start devouring it, but oh well. Here's the recipe:


Ingredients:

-4 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 frozen chicken breast tenderloins
-2 cans of cream of chicken soup or homemade cream of chicken substitute, for recipe see my recipe for Chicken Pot Pie Soup.
-1 can (14.5 ounces) of chicken broth
-2 tablespoons butter
-1 medium onion, diced finely
-1 can biscuits (regular sized, any flavor will do, I like buttermilk the best)

Directions:

  1. Layer frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Put butter on top of chicken.
  3. Spoon cream of chicken soup over chicken. 
  4. Put in chopped onions. 
  5. Pour chicken broth over top.
  6. Cook on Low 8-10 hours.
  7. During the last hour of cooking, remove chicken breasts and shred with 2 forks. Return to crockpot. Cut each raw biscuit into 4 pieces. Place in crockpot. Continue cooking for an hour on low. 
The biscuits need a good hour to cook through but still be soft for dumplings.  


ENJOY!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The one about manicures.

Harper's new most favorite thing is giving manicures. She runs up to me nail polish bottle in hand and yells, "Mommy, it's time for me to do your nails!" I sit patiently while she carefully paints each fingernail and finger, too. By the time it's all said and done my fingers are covered in polish. But I make a big production out of telling her how pretty they are and what a great job she's done. I wait until it's dry and I painstakingly scrape off the extra paint. What's left on my fingernails I leave even though it's sloppy and not even covering the whole nail.

I wouldn't trade our little manicures for the world. She is so proud of herself at the work she's done. She likes to look at my fingernails for the next few days and take in the fact that I left it on and that I'm proud of it, too. She paints her own fingernails to match although she always scrapes it off within a few hours.

These manicures are like so much of parenthood. Sloppy and messy. But again like parenthood they are also full of pride and joy. I find myself doubting myself and my parental skills. Maybe I yelled too much when Tristan just wouldn't listen when he was trying to jump off the couch for the thousandth time. Maybe I didn't feel like reading that book when Harper asked today. But then she comes up to me with that huge smile and that bottle of nail polish and I know that something is turning out right.  How can you not want to make these little people so happy? I try hard to do it all right, but part of it is knowing that things will go wrong, too.

And that's perfect. Just like my sloppy, half-painted nails.



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The one about where I've been lately

I've been away for awhile. I quit doing anything. I take care of the kids, go to the gym when I can muster up the gusto, and I read a lot. I think it has to do with my bipolar. Sometimes you just lose your oomph. My oomph has been gone for months and it's hard to even admit it to yourself.

I need to get back my oomph. The first step is getting back to doing what I love. What I love is writing. I like the feeling of writing. It's kind of an ethereal experience for me. It lifts me from the dark and brings me back to the light.

A bipolar swing that is in the depression side of things is an awful thing. It's a silent hell. Like I said it's one you don't even admit to yourself. But you can see it. You lose the joy in things. Things that you used to enjoy like going to the gym or writing become such an unwanted burden. You feel like you are walking through mud that you just can't get through. You know that you enjoy those things but you feel like you don't anymore. It's a state of mind that is really unpleasant. You end up wasting days, weeks, sometimes even months. It's time you can't get back and it can fill you with even further upset that fuels the fire of the swing even further.

I hate the feeling of not feeling okay so much that I rarely talk about it. You have to knock yourself out of the rut that you find yourself in. You get into such a routine that you get comfortable there even if it's just basic everyday things that you're getting done and nothing else. My new goal for myself is to get better and back to doing things I enjoy. Getting back to things that I know I need to do. I need to create a better, healthier rut.

Part of my depression has to do with being a stay at home mom. Being a stay at home mom can alienate you in ways. It's incredibly gratifying to stay home with my babies and I wouldn't trade the time I have with them, but it's also lonely at times. It's easy to just focus on them and not focus on yourself or your well being. But the truth is that if you can get yourself out of the low and get back to the better place that your kids will do even better, too. So for myself and them I need to work my way out.

What are some things you do to get yourself motivated? I'll always take advice on getting out of a depression funk.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The one about Welch's Refreshingly Simple Juice!



Recently I was asked by BzzAgent to review Welch's new Refreshingly Simple Juice. For those of you that don't know, BzzAgent is a cool program where you get free stuff in exchange for social media buzz and honest reviews of products. I use it pretty often and I've gotten lots of cool products from it. Some things that I love about it are the ease of use and the kinds of products they have. It's always products that my family uses. But, let me tell you about this juice!

Welch's Refreshingly Simple Juice is just that Refreshingly Simple. It has nothing artificial. No sweeteners, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors, or preservatives. It's all the good stuff and none of the junk. The first thing I worried about was whether or not my kids would notice it was good for you. As a general rule if it's good for you they want to avoid it like the plague in favor of junk. Tristan isn't picky so he immediately loved it. One kid down. Now to the big bad picky eater. Harper was the true test of whether or not something was going to be a hit or not. Harper tried the juice. She immediately said, "OOH! This is delicious!" SUCCESS!

The flavor of juice we tried was Passion Fruit. It was crisp and had a citrus flavor. Zak and I tried a glass, too and we weren't disappointed. All in all, I'd definitely recommend the Passion Fruit juice. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The one about Harper's birthday bonanza!

This year Harper is going to be in the hospital on her birthday. So we went all out and had a big birthday weekend for her this past weekend since her birthday is going to end up being a wash. First Harper and I went and saw Frozen on Ice.



Me and Harper had such a good time at Frozen on Ice! It was just like the movie and so she was hanging on to every word and really just loved it. I spoiled her with cotton candy and a snow cone. Frozen on Ice was a really good show and I highly recommend it. If you have a Frozen fan then this is definitely a good show to go see.

On Saturday, we had her birthday party. It was a snowy mess so a lot of people couldn't make it, but it was still a great time. Harper was showered with gifts and she got a huge Frozen strawberry cake! She loves everything strawberry! Everyone had a great time visiting and celebrating and everyone made it home in one piece so we couldn't complain too much!


I can't believe my little girl is turning 4! It seems like just yesterday she was born. Expect a sappy piece on Thursday when we are spending her birthday in the hospital. I'm requesting lots of prayers and good thoughts for her surgery tomorrow. It's going to be a long day!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The one about the Dreft to go stain remover pen!

I was really excited on Thursday because I got a prize that I won for blogging about Dove in the mail. It was a super luxurious Dove bath robe and a full sized bottle of Dove Nutrium body wash.

The robe is super luxurious, but it has one major problem, it's white. I don't own white things because generally they are kid stain magnets. But I'd just received the Dreft to go stain remover pen, so I thought that I'd better give my white robe a try. And try it did. Within 30 minutes of putting on the robe I kid you not Tristan fell off the couch and bloodied his lip and got blood all over my super fancy robe. Yikes. Blood is one of those substances that is not easy to get out by any means. 

I pulled out the Dreft pen and hoped for the best but expected the worst. The Dreft pen has a couple of features, the stain removing liquid and then the pen also has teeth to scrub out the stain. I put it to work and magically, I was able to get the blood out of the robe. I have to say that I was seriously impressed! 


I may even get crazy and buy a white shirt! But I'd better not get too ahead of myself. I definitely suggest the Dreft pen for removing stains. 


NOTE: I received the Dreft pen for free, but the opinions are my own!