Jan 22, 2015

Back to Work Confessions

I confess....
Today was my first day back to working outside the home in almost 7 years and I am exhausted!

Beyond Exhausted.

I confess.....
I've never been able to sleep well the night before the first day of school. Even after years of being in the classroom I always got the first day of school excitement jitters that kept me up. Last night I didn't get much sleep.

I confess....
Being up and professionally dressed is a new experience for me as a mom. Normally I'm the mom in my pjs at the bus stop. I used to care and changed into jeans but that ship sailed this year.

Curled hair should end by the second week :)

I confess....
Getting myself and 3 kids out the door by 7:30 is no joke. It doesn't help that my husband leaves for work at 6:30 so he's not around to help.

Now I'm jealous of women who have husbands who cook and are home in the morning to help with the kids.

I confess....
I really missed being in the classroom! I didn't realize how much I missed it until today.

I confess....
I'm not ready for a teaching position since it's way more work than I'm willing to take on with 3 young children. I took a teacher assistant position which has no planning, meetings, trainings, or workdays. Basically I work when the kids are at school and I was able to get a job at my kids' school.

It's a great set up.

I confess....
Molly is a little sad that I'm not home with her and I am too. I wanted to take this job in the fall but it opened up now and I decided not to gamble that it wouldn't be there for me later.

I'm going to miss our alone time too. 

I confess....
I'm glad I got to start on a Thursday, it's a nice way to ease myself back into working full time.

I confess....
I don't think I'm going to have any problem going to bed tonight.

Waking up, well that might be another story.

What are you confessing this week?

Jan 15, 2015

Gorton's #RealisticResolution Giveaway

Did you resolve to make some health changes for the New Year? Many people like myself try to eat a little healthier and exercise a little more after the holidays. I know I don't even try to resist all the amazing food that is available in December and I have to whip myself back into shape come January.

The biggest obstacle I face when it comes to making healthy meals are my picky eaters and time. I'm usually good about getting dinner on the table every night. Dance night and Saturday night is tough for me. We don't walk in the door until 7 pm on dance night and for some reason time just gets away from me on Saturdays. For the nights I'm short on time I need a 20-30 minute meal. Which is why I agreed to review Gorton's products in exchange for this review.

I made this meal in exactly 20 minutes on a busy week night. It was so easy and tasty too. I've had Gorton's fish sticks and fish fillets in the past but I've never tried their grilled fish. I had a crazy night with my kids and I just wanted a quick meal alone with my husband. To prep the meal all I had to do was open the package of fish and cut up and season the broccoli. The oven did the rest of the work.

And cooked in one pan too! 

I was impressed with the Grilled Fillets. I was afraid the fish would be too salty since they were preseasoned, but they were fine. I was also surprised that the fillets were juicy. Normally when you cook frozen food in the oven it dries out, but these fish fillets were very moist. It was the easiest meal I've made in 20 minutes in a long time. Right now Gorton's is offering a coupon to purchase one of their products, click here to download their coupon. 

If you want more help with eating healthy you can sign up for the The Spark People Realistic Resolution Challenge. It's a 30 day challenge that tackles nutrition in small steps. I signed up and I am glad that I did. I get an email in the morning with a small step I can take to stay on track. It only takes a few minutes to read the tip of the day and I think they will help me stay on track with healthy eating. Today's tip covered portion sizes and I'm always amazed how small an actual portion size is compared to what I normally eat. 

Stay up to date with Gorton's by following them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram

Spark People and Gorton's have put together a fantastic giveaway for one of my readers. The giveaway includes 
  • The SparkPeople Cookbook
  • The Spark Book
  • Two full value Gorton's coupons
  • An insulated tote bag 
  • The SparkPeople 28 Day Boot Camp Workout DVD 
You are going to love the cookbook! There are tons of healthy recipes that are easy to make. There are several that you can use Gorton's products with like the Grilled Fish with Mango Salsa or Tilapia with Roasted Tomatoes and Lemon. Both recipes look fresh and fast, just what I want in a recipe. 

Use the Rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Gorton's Blogger Giveaway

Disclosure - I received free product coupons from Gorton's as well as the prizes in the giveaway package in exchange for this review. All opinions are mine. 

Jan 9, 2015

You Don't Have to Love Every Minute of Motherhood.

I confess...
I hate when people say to enjoy every single moment of parenting. 

I confess....
Being a mother isn't glamorous. It's sometimes tedious and a yucky job. There are good and bad aspects of everything and motherhood is no different. You don't have to love every minute of motherhood.

I confess....
Thinking that you should enjoy being a parent every single moment is a fantastic way to feel like a failure when the journey is less than perfect. Or hard. Or not what you expected.

Like when your kids are sick. Personally I don't enjoy my kids being sick.

I confess....
Compared to Kindergarten my daughter is doing much better staying healthy. I'm extremely happy we decided to remove her tonsils over the summer.

I confess....
We made it all the way to January before she had a sick day. Not too bad all things considered. The other two kids are a different story.

I confess....
Last night I decided that the worst way for a kid to wake you up is to tell you that they threw up in their bed. There is nothing worse than having to change sheets and pjs in the middle of the night.

I confess....
Until said child doesn't stop throwing up and you're up most of the night with her. Thankfully at 6 she can keep a trash can in her bed and actually use it. Again the other two, not so much.

I confess....
There is nothing more pitiful than a sick kid. It makes my heart sad seeing her sick. I do not enjoy these moments.

I confess....
She keeps telling me that this is the best day ever. You know between complaining about her stomach hurting. I love her sweet spirit. She's just happy to be home with mommy.

I confess....
I really hope no one else catches this stomach bug. I'm pretty sure that is impossible though.

I confess....
I'm exhausted from being up all night with her. All I want is a nap.

I confess....
For some reason my sweet Isabella isn't falling asleep so no nap for me so far.

So next time you're in the trenches of motherhood and someone tells you to enjoy every single moment just nod and smile. And then remember that they mean well but it's impossible to enjoy every moment of motherhood.

But the journey as a whole, well there is just nothing better that being a mother.

Jan 7, 2015

Fill A Wrinkle While You Sleep

During my teen years and early 20's I had moderate acne. It was so embarrassing and nothing seemed to work well for me. I tried prescription strength products but they were too harsh for my skin. Finally I found something that worked for me, Proactive. After a year of using Proactive I said goodbye to my acne problems until I hit my mid thirties and it came back again.

A friend of mine introduced me to Rodan + Fields a skin care line created by doctors. Who also happen to be the doctors behind Proactive. I knew I had to try their products since I had so much success with Proactive. Rodan + Fields has a line just for women who are struggling with adult acne called Unblemish. After just a few weeks, I am hooked! My acne is under control again and my acne scars are beginning to fade. I've never been happier about the appearance of my skin.

I'm so happy my skin looks smoother and I'm not the old lady with a pimple on her chin anymore. This week Rodan + Fields launched a new product called Acute Care. I was so excited for this product to launch. It targets fine lines while you sleep. You can expect the same results from Acute Care as you would from fillers, just without the needle! As a consultant I was able to try it before the launch and my results were incredible.

This is the before and after picture after using Acute Care just one time! Don't you just love it? You can fill a wrinkle while you sleep! My results are only going to get better the more I use the product.

Are you interested in improving your skin with the help of doctors? Check out my Rodan + Fields website. I know the products well and there are different lines based on your skin type. I can help you find the right product for your skin type. Send me an email (allythompson1@yahoo.com) or leave a comment and I will contact you with more information.

Disclaimer - I am independent consultant for Rodan + Fields. 

Jan 2, 2015

Kicking Off the New Year Without Processed Foods

Twice a year my husband and I swear off processed foods for a month. It's a challenge we like doing and we improve our eating habits for more than a month. Typically we take away small changes every challenge that are keeping us healthy. The first time we did the challenge I learned how to make condensed soup and I haven't bought a can since.

We are very successful in the summer when we do it. It's so easy to eat clean in the summer with all the wonderful fruits and vegetables in season. The winter is another story and eating clean is much harder. Eating clean during football playoffs flat out sucks.

Last year we started the challenge on January 3rd and we quit by the 20th. A combination of too many snow days and freezing cold temperatures drove me to drinking coffee with cream and Splenda. Once I cheated with the coffee I gave up on the challenge.

I know from experience that meal planning is a must if I am going to succeed. It's more than planning dinner, I have to plan all my meals and snacks. It's too easy to cheat if lunch isn't planned. Also my Crock Pot is about to be my best friend since I get sick of cooking every single meal we eat.

I'm jealous of all the wives out there who have a husband who cooks.

I'm trying to get excited for this challenge but it's not going well. I know it will be good for be and all that jazz but it's hard getting motivated. We started the challenge today and I am already dreaming about Diet Dr. Pepper, there might be something wrong with me.

Are you trying to make any health changes this year? What are they and how are you trying to stay motivated?

Dec 31, 2014

CVS MinuteClinic New Years Wellness with Latisse

Tomorrow the New Year begins and the desire to make a new change is strong this time of year. Most people make a resolution to lose weight or quit smoking. Personally I do not make resolutions; instead I strive to make a small change for the year which I name. Last year my word for the year was patience this year my word is Allison.

Yes it's my name and yes it sounds a little weird but hear me out on this one. I want to make myself a bigger priority. I'm not talking about self care that comes easily to me. I'm talking about not feeling guilty when I do something fun that is just for me. A few weeks ago I bought new makeup because I wanted new eye shadow. I didn't need it, I just wanted it and after I left the store I realized that it's been years since I did something for myself for no reason. I think many moms can relate to my situation. 

I want to do things this year that are just for me, fun or silly things that I normally wouldn't do. One thing that I've been very intrigued by is Latisse the eye lash lengthening product. I have short, blonde lashes that cannot be seen without mascara. Sadly, it seems to be getting worse in my 30's. I love the idea of having longer, fuller lashes but I'm not willing to book an appointment with my doctor to get the prescription. It's hard enough to see the doctors I need to see while my kids are all at school let alone seeing a doctor just for my eye lashes. 

But now you can get the prescription without having to go to the doctor, just head to your local CVS. Their MinuteClinic now offers eyelash lengthening consultation right in the store. I can easily pop into the MinuteClinic since I already shop at CVS on a regular basis. I don't know about you, once something is convenient for me I will actually do it instead of thinking about it. Since I am a regular CVS shopper and I was already interested in Latisse, I agreed to do this sponsored post, all opinions are mine. 

If your lashes are thinning as you get older, MinuteClinic can help those 18 an older through an eyelash lengthening consultation. And, if it’s right for you, prescribe LATISSE, an at-home treatment that can give you longer, fuller and thicker lashes.

I'm putting getting a consultation for Latisse at the top of my list of things to do just for me. While no one else will care if my lashes are longer and fuller, I will and really that is all that matters. My attempt to make the year a fun one for me is already off and running.

Something tells me my husband will like my longer lashes though.

If you did make a New Year's Resolution to lose weight, MinuteClinic can help you too. In addition to Eyelash Lengthening Services, MinuteClinic also offers comprehensive Weight Loss and Smoking Cessation programs, complete with personalized assessment, plan and ongoing coaching. Details: MinuteClinic Weight Loss Program (partnered with DASH, the #1 ranked overall diet by U.S. News & World Report 4 years running)

Last fall, CVS made headlines when they announced they would stop selling tobacco products. It was a huge move on their part and they are truly committed to helping people become smoke free. You can also head to CVS for help quitting smoking, the other big New Year's Resolution. MinuteClinic Smoking Cessation Program

If your New Year Resolution is to lose weight, quit smoking, or do something fun for yourself, MinuteClinic is there to help you reach your goals. Pop into a CVS today and see how the MinuteClinic can help you. They are there for more than flu shots and sick visits. 

Dec 19, 2014

2014's Top 5 Recipes

I went back and looked at my stats for the year and discovered that I didn't post as many recipes this year as years in the past. One thing is clear from the year, y'all like Crock Pot and Grill recipes the most. As a mom, I understand completely, who doesn't love a great Crock Pot recipe or handing dinner over to your husband to grill?

It was an interesting year in my house food wise with 2 months of not eating processed foods, one month which I threw in the towel half way through. Our month long grilling challenge was pure genius since my husband is the grill master (self appointed title) in the family and I essentially got a month off of cooking. But the best part of the year is the my extremely picky, makes me dread the dinner table daughter started eating more foods this year. She added corn, broccoli, ham, turkey and roast beef lunch meat, meatballs, marinara sauce, and cranberry sauce to her tiny list of approved foods.

Don't tell me miracles don't exist.

The 5 most popular recipes of the year are all family favorites that I changed this year. I'm trying to eat less processed foods and that is mostly reflected in this list. Just ignore the pizza from the list and what you're seeing is real food. I know I could make my own pizza dough and barbecue sauce and make that recipe from scratch. I also could jump out of an air plane, that doesn't mean it's ever going to happen.

The most popular recipes from 2014

1. Slow Cooker Pot Roast - This recipe was a runaway hit this year, it won out by the thousands! It was also a huge hit in my house and I made it about 10 times last year. It all came about during a no processed foods month when I couldn't use canned or packed ingredients. I love this pot roast and clearly y'all do too.

2. Grilled Stuffed Peppers - Mmmmm a vegetarian meal from the grill. I love how fast this meal comes together and that my husband can cook the entire meal himself. Trust me if Brett can make these, anyone can make them.

3. Crock Pot Meat Loaf and Garlic Mashed Potatoes - I don't get home from dance until 6:50 so I needed more all in one Crock Pot recipes. Yes you cook the entire meal in the same Crock Pot! I love a Crock Pot recipe that is a one pot meal. I did add a salad to the meal to round it out so it's not quite a one pot meal. But it's pretty darn close and my kids love meatloaf. You know because I still lie that meatloaf is made out of sausage.

4. Grilled Apple Pie - I took my Great Grandmothers apple pie recipe and adjusted it for the grill. I can't decide if my ancestors are ashamed of me for changing their pie or looking down from heaven thinking "now why didn't we ever think of that?" Either way, this pie is amazing!!!! I actually prefer it to the original.

5. Grilled Pulled Pork Pizza - Let me be the first to tell you that grilling pizza is the best way to make pizza at home. Unless you have a wood burning oven at home, you cannot beat the flavor of a grilled pizza! Also pulled pork pizza is quite possibly the best way to use pulled pork leftovers.

There you have it, 2 Crock Pot recipes and 3 grill recipes that were the most popular recipes of the year. Which recipe looks like something you would like to try?
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