Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Real Moms

My friend Jenn posted on Facebook last night that she would like to see the blog posts from moms who put their kids in front of the TV so the mom could make Hamburger Helper for dinner.  In other words, real stories from real moms, not just the perfect image many bloggers hide behind.

I laughed that I could resurrect this blog and share tons of stories since I have two non typical kids and another child on the way. I'm told all the time I'm super mom for keeping up with those kids but in reality, I'm barely making it.  The thought of sharing some of those honest stories hasn't left my mind so I'm going to be open and share a few stories over the next few days.  Not sure if this will become a long term thing or not but I'm willing to be open and share what it is really like to be a mom.

I will start with my mom moment from this morning.  E, my three year old, is in preschool.  Today was picture day.  I completely forgot this when I picked out his clothes.  Just as I was about to put his old, worn out shirt on I remembered.  I quickly ran to the closet and picked out another outfit.

Then, we are in car line and I realized I never combed his hair.  My boys like to keep their hair short so 95% of the time there is no need to comb it but today he woke up with a few random spikes in his hair. I looked down and saw that I had my cup of water with me in the car (I almost always have a drink with me when running errands).  I opened it up, dipped my fingers in and fixed my child's hair in car line. Just keeping it real folks, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Feel free to submit your "mom moment" and I will post some of them as guest posts to this blog. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner

Most of you know that I'm on a journey to eliminate the toxins in our house.  I'm constantly searching for new ideas for homemade cleaners due to this.

Our basement bathtub is jetted and our hard water always leaves stains in and around the jets.  I've tried all kinds of things to remove this and just leave frustrated.  While searching around Pinterest one day (don't you just love Pinterest?!) I discovered the solution to my problems.

The original recipe calls for 1 part warm vinegar to 1 part Dawn.  I found this to be too sudsy so I suggest maybe 2 parts warm vinegar to 1 part Dawn.  

My plan is to eventually try it with an all natural soap but I was able to obtain an insane amount of Dawn for free a few years ago and I'm too cheap to get rid of it (I did donate a ton though) so I will continue to use my stash until it is gone.

I also suggest being careful how hot your vinegar is.  I got mine a bit too warm and parts of my water bottle melted.  The heat really helps with breaking up the hard water stains and soap scum though so it is needed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Makes You Happy?

Life Well Lived has another great question up this week asking how you put yourself first and how that makes you happier.

Some of you already know this, but I pay to put my youngest in childcare one day a week.  It gives me time to get my errands run, work on my business, etc.  It also gives him time to socialize with others his age.

When I first started doing this, I ran myself ragged trying to get everything done during that one day.  I quickly realized that wasn't going to work because I'm more stressed by the end of the day.  Now, I take at least an hour during that day and do whatever I want.  It might be going to Einstein Bros for a delicious cup of coffee, vegging in front of the TV, working in my garden (this isn't work to me, it is relaxing), etc.  About once every other month, I take the full day just for me.  

I always find myself way more relaxed and I can tackle the chores of life much quicker because I'm not near as stressed out.

How do you take time for yourself?  Feel free to reply on this post or head over to Life Well Lived and comment there.  While you are there, don't forget to enter their sweepstakes to win a Kindle Fire.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Yoplait Trix Yogurt Giveaway

My kids love yogurt but they are picky and only want certain kinds.  I'm not too keen on all of their choices because I'm trying to eliminate the extra additives and junk in our diet. 

There is good news though.  Yoplait has reformulated their Trix yogurt so that it now contains no artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, or high fructose corn syrup. Those changes make this momma very happy.

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark have generously given me a prize pack to give away to one lucky reader.  This prize pack includes a coupon for a free 4-pack of Trix yogurt, insulated lunch tote, folder, ice pack, backpack, zippered pencil pouch, pencils, eraser, and pencil sharpener.

Giveaway will be open until Friday, March 9 at 9 pm CST.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond.

To enter, tell me when your children like to eat yogurt - Breakfast? Snack? School lunch? etc 

For an extra entry subscribe to this blog via RSS or email.

Disclaimer: Yoplait, through MyBlogSpark, provided me a similar prize pack.  No other compensation occurred.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Local Readers: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

I rarely post press releases that I receive but I thought many of my local readers would love this one:

The Mall is excited to announce that Five Guys Burgers and Fries, a popular burger eatery, will open at the mall this summer.  The 2,400 square foot space will be the newest addition to the lifestyle section of the mall on the east side of the property, next to Ann Taylor.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stress Free Party Planning

This week on Life Well Lived, they are discussing tips for how to host a gathering, get together, or party that is enjoyable and stress free for both the guests and host.

Pre-kids, I used to host a lot of gatherings at my house.  Since having kids, I don't do this near as much simply because it takes too much work to clean my house and my kids tend to show their true colors when we have guests over.

However, in the past few weeks I've hosted two gatherings and we have a birthday party coming up next week so this topic has been on my mind a lot lately.

My first rule of hosting is to keep it simple.  While I would love to lavish my guests with tons of great food, over the top favors, and a spic and span house, that just isn't going to happen in this phase of my life.  I've learned to make one or two things from scratch and either buy the rest or make it a potluck gathering.

I also keep a great stock of disposable plates, cups, napkins, and utensils on hand.  These can be found on clearance after every holiday or at the dollar store.  By having these things on hand I have one less thing on my to do list and no dishes to wash after the party.

Finally, I've learned a great party can still happen even if your house isn't spotless.  I try to clear the most noticeable places, wipe down the guest bathroom counter and restock with toilet paper, and light a candle so that the whole house smells great.

If I'm stressed from trying to do it all my guests will catch on and it won't be as fun of a gathering but if I keep it simple then we all can relax and have a good time.

Head on over to Life Well Lived and enter their sweepstakes or leave a comment sharing your favorite stress free tips for party planning.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weight Watchers Muffin Review

Weight Watchers recently added a few new muffins to their Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods line.  I had the opportunity to try the Blueberry and Double Chocolate muffins.

While we are trying to get rid of processed food in our diet, I do keep a few items around for quick snacks.  I found these to be a pretty tasty breakfast or snack and would probably buy them every now and then.

My five year old, who in no way whatsoever needs to be on a diet (we need him to gain weight actually), got excited when he found out we had blueberry muffins in the house.  I usually have to beg him to eat breakfast but instead he was begging me to have one of these muffins for breakfast.  He loved them and keeps asking for more.

I found the Double Chocolate to be my favorite.  Last week I had a craving for chocolate cake with chocolate icing.  I was telling my friends on Facebook about my craving and how it had been going on for days.  While talking to them, I remembered I had these muffins.  The chocolate one satisfied my craving and had a lot fewer calories than if I had indulged in the cake.

The only downside to these muffins is that they are pretty sticky.  I  wouldn't advise eating these on the go unless you have a wet wipe available but otherwise they are pretty tasty for a boxed muffin.

For those following the Weight Watchers plan, these muffins have a PointsPlus value of 4.

Disclaimer: I received muffins as part of a promotional program with Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods and MomSelect.  Opinions are all my own.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another Coffee Tip

A few months ago I mentioned a great coffee tip where you put Splenda or Stevia on your grounds to cut the acidity.

Today I have another tip brought to you by my father in law.  I've always noticed that his coffee tastes smooth and wondered his secret.  He is not a coffee snob, can't stand flavored coffee, and buys only basic Folgers or Maxwell House coffee so I knew it wasn't some fancy brand that gave it this taste.

Turns out, he uses one or two shakes from the salt shaker on his grounds.  The salt cuts the acidity and you would never know it is on your grounds.  For those who do not like sweet coffee, this is a great way to make your coffee less acidic without making it sweet.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Epsom Salt

In the process of changing our eating habits this past year, one theme kept coming up in all of my searches and in my daily life.  When something pops up several times in life, my radar goes up and tells me I should research it a bit more.

The theme I'm talking about is detoxing our body.  I'm no expert in this area but I wanted to let my readers know a little about what I've learned in the past year.

Our body is filled with many, many toxins that we come in contact with on a daily basis.  These come from cleaning supplies, food, etc.  We can reduce our contact with these toxins through natural cleaning products and food but unless you never leave your house, you will still come in contact with toxins through every day living.

I first heard of this concept through a direct marketing company.  Then, it came up in an internet search.  The third time I heard it was actually on a cruise my husband and I took this summer.  Their fitness center put on a lecture about losing weight the natural way.  The trainer said when he was working in a fitness center he had many, many clients who would get within 10-15 pounds of their goal and no matter what they did, they could not lose more weight.

His mom is a doctor so the two of them started talking about this and doing some research, which led them to detoxing.  When he started working with his clients on this area, they easily lost those last few pounds.  He said one area we hold a lot of toxins is wherever we have cellulite.

Of course, they tried to sell us a very expensive detoxing supplement, but I'm too frugal to buy anything like that without a ton of research.

I came home and started researching cheaper alternatives.  It turns out Epsom Salt is one of the best ways to detox and it is cheap.  Use about 2-3 handfuls in a tub of hot water, and soak for 20-30 minutes.  To speed up the process, get a brush and brush your body before soaking.  Start at the feet and work your way towards your middle, then do your arms and work back down towards your middle.  This gets the circulation going in your body.  Soaking 2-3 times a week is all it takes.

I started doing this immediately and noticed a little difference after a few weeks.  Then, I went to see a massage therapist/natural healer for help with my foot.  He immediately asked if I was using epsom salts for my foot because it is such a great way to reduce swelling and get rid of the "junk" in our body.  He was pretty impressed that I was already doing it but suggested I up the amount of salt in the water simply because my body wasn't responding enough.

He also said when soaking, drink water to keep from getting dehydrated.  Then, once out of the tub continue drinking a lot of water to rid the body of the toxins.  Yes, you will go to the bathroom a lot, but this and sweat, are your body's way of getting rid of the toxins. 

I realized some of you might not be in to detoxing, but at the very least, getting to soak in a warm tub 2-3 times a week is a great way to relax.  I thanked my massage therapist for telling me I had to take a time out from life several times a week and spend time relaxing in a hot bath.

Disclaimer:  Affilate links are used in this posting, see my disclaimer tab for more details. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Approach to Goals for 2012

I've talked several times in the past how I'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions but I'm a huge fan of goals.  This year I've decided to change up how I'm going to reach some of those goals.

In the past, I've set a few long term goals for the year and then tried to work on them all at the same time.  This year, I've been inspired by Money Saving Mom's 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life series.  In this series she encouraged everyone to work on changing one or two things at a time, not reinvent the wheel on life.

So, for 2012, I'm going to work on just one or two areas at a time.  My first focus is going to be my health.  Due to sitting on the couch most of December while I was healing from foot surgery and then eating way too much during the holidays, I'm feeling a little large right now.

I've mentioned in the past how I changed our eating habits this year to a more whole foods diet.  If you would look in my cabinets right now you would wonder if this was really true.  I could barely walk through a grocery store in December so a lot of junk food and quick, easy meals entered my house again.  I'm ok with that for a season, but it is time to clean up again.  This week I'm going to work on restocking my house with good foods.

I'm also going to work this week on a two week meal plan.  Next week, my focus will be on restocking my freezer with several quick and easy breakfast and snack options.  I made several of these items before surgery but they ran out very quickly.

While I would like to get back to the gym to work on the exercise part, I'm still very limited on what I can do.  However, my focus for that area this week is to get my hand held weights out and do some upper body work at home.  I figure a little bit is better than not doing anything at all. 

I have plenty of other goals for this year, such as decluttering my house (I'm pretty sure I tell you guys this every year!), revamping my garden, and spending more quality time with my kids but I feel my whole family needs to get back on track with our health before I can begin working on other areas.

Feel free to post your goals in the comments section.  I know I always stick with them better if I make them public.  Nothing like exposing yourself to whole world to keep you on track!

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