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!