Jan 26, 2016

Ten Things to Smile About in January

January was a pretty good month for us. 2016 is off to a much better start than 2015, the main difference is that my husband is not unemployed this year. That was a stressful time last year and I'm glad it's behind us.

Here are 10 things that are making me smile this month.

1. My husband and I did better on our no processed foods challenge than we ever have in January. We made it to the 23rd before we quit. I'm convinced we would have made it to the finish line if we hadn't lost power during the snowstorm. It was just too much for me at that point.

2. The memory of our power going out is already wonderful. The power went out at 11pm and we moved two mattress into the family room and slept in front of the fireplace. The kids took that as a sign to wake up and party so I was very tired in the morning. I decided to change my attitude since I couldn't change the power situation and we ended up having a fun day. I was very happy when the power turned back on in the afternoon.

3. Watching my kids play in the snow is always fun. We don't get very much snow in NC so it's a treat when we do. The even mastered the snowboard which is huge for my son with Cerebral Palsy.

After our sled broke they used the cookie sheets.

4. My younger daughter is the daredevil of the family. I got the progression of her wiping out on the driveway which she declared was the "best crash ever mommy!" I just love her! She is so goofy and willing to try anything new.

5. After a few snow days and the district taking away one of my days of spring break as a make up day, I was very happy to go back to work today. No more snow please. My sanity cannot handle losing my spring break this year. I almost lost my mind last year.

6. My son was the picked for the Wall of Fame at school. I was able to switch my lunch to celebrate with him and my husband made it too. We are proud of this little guy.

7. I took my sweet Molly to Duke Lemur Center on a mommy/daughter date. We had a great time even though it was below freezing and most of our tour was outside. Just look at that excited face before we left, priceless.

8. After our power went out we had several friends reach out to us and offer a place to stay. Two even called me after I didn't answer them on FB. We may not have family here in NC, but we do have great friends.

9. Mark and Molly had their homecoming days this month. Born in November, they finally came home from the hospital in January. On different days of course just to keep us on our toes. I love celebrating their homecoming days and remembering just how tiny they were at 6 and 7 weeks old.

10. And last but certainly not least watching the Broncos win. That game was awesome and there may or may not have been screaming at the TV involved.

Jan 11, 2016

Changing my Way of Thinking About Clean Eating

Every have a thought or read something that just punches you in the throat? When you know a truth bomb has been dropped and you can't keep your same way of thinking anymore.

This was my truth bomb this morning when I wanted to break my no processed foods diet. 

Damn. Double damn now it's time to make a green smoothie and not eat the peanut butter english muffin that I was craving.

Now I've never been one of those moms who never takes care of herself. I've showered every single day of my life. I don't think it's selfish to drop my kids in the childcare center and workout at the gym. I try to eat healthy most of the time but queso and peppermint M&Ms are irresistible for me.

But twice a year when my husband and I give up processed foods I really struggle with eating and wanting to cheat. So much so that we've never made it through January. Not once. The longest we have lasted is 16 days. Pretty darn pitiful.

Well today is day 11 and it's cold and miserable out and I didn't want a green smoothie for breakfast or eggs which are my only breakfast options. I'm not much of a breakfast eater, I don't really like the majority of breakfast foods.

As I was thinking about cheating on my diet that truth bomb was dropped on me. I wouldn't cheat on my husband, why would I cheat on myself?

That's when I knew I had to change my way of thinking about this diet. I need to stop focusing on what I missing out on like queso and focus on why I do this challenge in the first place. I want to reset my eating habits, cook for scratch to remind myself that it's not that hard, and drink more water. While yes I end up losing some weight that's not my motivation. I want to eat better.

I'm glad I had this realization today because if history has taught me anything it's that week three is the hardest. That may sound crazy but it's true. By week 3 I'm sick of cooking and dying for a Diet Dr. Pepper.

I'm hoping my new mindset will help me get through the rest of the month.

Jan 6, 2016

Tips for Giving up Processed Foods

Twice a year my husband and I swear off processed foods for an entire month. July is easy! So easy with all the delicious fruit and veggies in season it's easy to give up processed food. But January, well it's pure hell and we've never made it through the month without quitting.

Perhaps this is our year.

I've learned from our past months on what makes me want to quit. For one thing we tend to have an all or nothing mentality with this challenge. One Diet Dr Pepper consumed and we just quit. So this time around we are trying hard not to cheat but we aren't going to let that derail us this time around.

Unless a snow storm closes school for a week, then all bets are off. Mommy can't handle a week at home with the kids without sugar or wine. It's just not going to happen. I'm not that strong.

I'm 6 days into the challenge and I have resisted the biggest temptation. My daughter was picked for terrific kid at school which means she got a special lunch with mom and dad. Of course she requested pizza, that we had to bring to the school.

And have the car fill with that delicious smell. Oh pepperoni. Oh the gooey cheese.

Y'all I didn't eat a single bite. It's was so hard to resist that pizza, especially when a sweet little girl offered me a bite. But somehow I did and I'm proud of myself for doing it.

Perhaps this really is our year.

If you're going to give up processed foods I have some tips for you.

  1. Meal planning is a must! I'm not talking about dinner, you need to plan all your meals and snacks. And keep something on you at all times that you can eat so you're not tempted. 
  2. Use your Crock Pot to make big batches of soup for lunches. It's the perfect lunch and really healthy with very little effort on your part. 
  3. Misery loves company. I couldn't do this alone, I need my husband on board so we can encourage each other. 
  4. Change your routine. When does your sweet tooth rear it's ugly head? My husband and I are terrible snackers after the kids go to bed. We are walking the cul de sac at night instead. That's a double win since we are getting extra exercise. 
  5. Focus on eating real food, not low fat or no carbs. Personally I think it's hard enough giving up processed foods without trying to add something else to the mix. The good news is that real food is generally lower in fat and carbs anyway. 
  6. Find at least one restaurant you can eat at. You will get insanely sick of cooking, especially if you are the only one in the house that cooks. Salads are generally a safe bet if you skip the dressing and croutons. But ask about how the meat is cooked since restaurants are famous for adding mayo to chicken. I love going to a Mexican restaurant for a salad since the salsa can be used in place of the dressing and beans can be substituted for meat. 
  7. Water infused with fruit will save your taste buds. Drinking plain water gets old fast, especially when you don't drink anything else if you don't like plain coffee or unsweetened tea like me. 

Have you ever given up processed foods? Tell me what has helped make you successful.

Dec 29, 2015

Make A Resolution to Date Your Spouse More this Year

Do you make New Year Resolutions? I make them, but not the kind that most people make. I don't resolve to eat healthier or get more exercise, instead I strive to be more patient or use my time more wisely. But this year I'm making a resolution to date my husband more.

Brett and I used to be great at a weekly date night. With three kids and one income we couldn't afford to go out every week so we did date night at home. Dating at home was easy for us, we took turns planning our dates and we looked forward to them.

But after a few years we both got lazy. We stopped planning them and started winging it. Then we stopped using all our creative date night at home ideas and it was Netflicks and takeout every week. Sadly this went on for months before I even noticed that we stopped trying.

But no more friends!

I'm determined that we stop being lazy and start planning our dates again.

While it's great that people vow to quit smoking, exercise more, or eat healthier, I am going to invest in the health of my marriage.

Anyone else going to invest in their marriage this year?

Dec 14, 2015

Holiday Eating #Nexium24HR Win $25 GC

I love the holidays! Is there anything better than getting to spend time with your family and friends? Especially since this is the time of year of great eating with those friends and family. We don't live by our family so our holidays look a little different than others. We have close friends over or it's just the five of us. This year for Thanksgiving it was just the five of us and as it turned out it was the perfect year to not have any friends or family over.

It might have been a party of 5, but I didn't skimp on the dinner. 

Thanksgiving 2015 was the year my twins were sick and Mark came down with pneumonia. It's a good things that we kept those germs to ourselves.

With a low key Thanksgiving it's nice that we have December to spend time with our family. My in-laws came in town before Christmas. We did tons of Christmas activities from the Christmas parade to sledding in 60 degree weather. You just have to love living in NC!

I still can't believe we ate outside in December in short sleeves. 
Well 3 of us did :)

I don't know about you but company coming to town means cooking great meals and eating out. I love trying new recipes on my in-laws since they pretty much like everything that I cook. They're pretty awesome that way. On this trip I tried out a new chicken in wine dish where you cook the chicken in a bottle of wine and then add cream at the end of the cooking time.

How could that go wrong?

It didn't, the meal was delicious and decadent. But unfortunately it was also heartburn inducing.

Pretty sure every gingerbread house needs a candy moat. 

Their visit was tens days of eating good food, cookies, all that candy from the gingerbread house, and lots of wine. Which means that it was ten days of putting our stomachs to the test. I knew going in that my heartburn wasn't going to hold up to all that decadent eating and drinking. Knowing I needed a solution to my heartburn problem, I agreed to blog about Nexium 24HR as a member of the Smiley360. All opinions are mine.

Nexium 24HR is your holiday helper for heartburn. It is the number one prescribed heartburn medication that is now available without a prescription. My favorite part is that you take the pill once a day instead of waiting for the pain to begin. I know when I'm going to be eating rich foods I'm going to get heartburn. It's just a fact of life with me, with Nexium 24HR I can prevent the heartburn from beginning. Which in my opinion is the best type of medicine out there. Don't you just love something that can prevent your problem from starting?

I'm so glad that Nexium 24HR is available OTC. As a busy mom I will wait to see the doctor for months for something like heartburn. I like that I can go to my local drugstore or grocery store and pick it up without making a doctor's appointment. Want to try Nexium 24HR for yourself? Nexium is offering a $6 off coupon on their website. And be sure to follow them on Facebook for updates and offers.

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received this product for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. You can join Smiley360 here!

Dec 10, 2015

Don't Complain if You Don't Volunteer

I am a firm believer that you cannot complain about something if you're not willing to be part of the solution. If you don't vote, don't complain about the political process you've chosen not to participate in. Don't scream from the rooftops that school's need music programs but then refuse to help with the fund raising process. And on and on it goes.

Now I'm not saying you can't gripe about something to your spouse or close friends. But don't go to your boss or child's teacher with a complaint if you're not willing to be part of the solution. You don't need to have the solution, you just have to be willing to help with the solution.

That is the exact predicament that I have faced for the last few months. My husband and I started attending a new church in May and they are wanting to grow their social media presence. Hmmm if only someone who attends church on a weekly basis knew something about that. Or perhaps was paid for her social media work. Now who could that be????

But I kept my mouth shut.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it.


Quite frankly because I do know how much work it will be and how much time it will take up. But more importantly, I've been burned in this area before. There is nothing worse than offering to help someone and it doesn't go well and then they turn on you.

It hurts and I don't want to experience it again.

But this weekend I finally decided to step out of my comfort zone, quit making excuses, and volunteer to help out. My husband encouraging me was a huge part of me taking this step. I love that he's my biggest cheerleader and that I can count on him to help me out when I need it. He knows nothing about social media, but he's a great listener and fantastic at getting the kids out of the house when I need to work.

I've decided to quit complaining about the missteps and mistakes I see and be part of the solution.

Anyone else feel like they need to step up and help out in an area like me?

Nov 30, 2015

People are More Important Than Things

I love Christmas! I love the decorations, buying presents, and all our family traditions. Including decorating the Christmas tree as a family. Yes I pull a full on Monica Geller and fix the tree after the kids go to bed, but they're little and they don't know that I do that yet.

I have been gifted (thanks to a Christmas birthday) with many decorations that I love and I have selected the perfect decorations over the years to replace the decorations from my poor college and newly married days.

I've had this little guy since I was in college. He once sat on top of my tree as I was too poor to afford a real tree topper.

Yes I had a tree in college. I couldn't afford real food but I still bought a real Christmas tree, priorities people.

Yesterday while we were decorating our tree my daughter dropped an ornament. It shattered as it hit the ground and she looked up at me with tear filled eyes.

I could almost read her thoughts.

Is mommy going to yell?
Is mommy mad?
I'm bad for breaking something.

My heart sank as I saw her reaction. It was just a stupid Target dollar spot ornament. I didn't care that it broke.

But my daughter didn't know that.

I could tell by her eyes. Those sad tear filled eyes.

After assuring her that the ornament was only a thing and that it didn't matter. I say "people are more important than things, we don't put things over people" more times than I could possibly count. My kids are going to say it to their kids one day and gasp over turning into their mother. I'm convinced of it.

But I wonder if my reaction would have been as zen if she dropped an ornament that I love.

And by wonder, I mean I know I would flip my lid.

For example this  ornament that has seen better days after hanging on the tree for 12 years. My husband proposed to me 12 years ago on December 20th by hanging this ornament on the tree with my ring on it. If this ever breaks I know my heart will break with it.

Perhaps I need to actually hear the words I say to my kids so often.

People are more important than things, we don't put things over people.

Things break.
They get lost.
They wear out.

But they are not more important than people. Especially the little people that we love more than anything in the world. Our babies who need reassurance that they are indeed more important than things.

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