January 20, 2017

Life As A Hunters Wife 2016/17 Edition

Every year my Life As A Hunters Wife posts get more attention than anything else I write all year. Months after writing them I get comments from fellow hunters wives/girlfriends sharing their stories of being  hunting widow.  Some offer encouragement to others but most talk of the awful loneliness they feel from their significant other during hunting season.

I read each comment that comes through and some downright break my heart.  Stories of husbands not attending family functions, missing out on their child's milestones, choosing hunting over a date night, and the list goes on.  I think people get confused about my posts, and maybe that's my fault, but this is NOT the type of hunter my husband is.

Hunting is important to Jimmy the same as working out is important to me.  He loves it, he's good at it, he's passionate about it, and it brings him great joy.  However, he would NEVER miss out on family time to go hunting.  Not only would he never do it because he values family and friends above all else but I would never tolerate such selfishness.

I've learned a lot over the years of being a hunters wife.  I used to get angry and bitter and jealous.  I used to whine or roll my eyes anytime that he left the house before sunrise on a Saturday.  I remember crying on the couch one day when Jimmy got home from hunting and he asked me what was wrong and I couldn't even tell him.  I didn't know why I was crying but after a good heart-to-heart about it I realized it was jealousy.  I didn't have something of my own and I was jealous that Jimmy did.  He encouraged me to find something that I could pour myself into and be passionate about.

Now when he leaves to go hunting I kiss him and wish him good luck.  I pray for him to see a monster buck when he goes out.  The kids and I usually take that time to go visit my parents or have a doughnut breakfast date.  He's usually home by lunch time so then we do something together as a family.

I get lots of comments from friends and family members along the lines of, "I don't know how you do it! I wouldn't put up with that." It's really not a big deal and it's no different than husbands who golf every weekend over the summer or meet their buddies for a beer every Thursday after work.  It's not that big of a deal, honestly.  I think it sends a great message to the kids about patience and determination.  I could never hunt because I would sit out in the cold, on a tiny tree stand seat for one hour and if I didn't see anything I'd be done.  Nope, not for me.

Since I know a lot of "hunting widows" will stumble across this post at some point I want to offer you hope during hunting season.  Take this time to find something YOU really love.  Maybe it's a Soul Cycle class every Saturday morning or you learn a new hobby like crochet or meet a girlfriend for a coffee date.  If you have kids, make this time special where they get to do something with just you that they can look forward to.  Jimmy goes to South Dakota with his dad and brothers every year and that week I always let Kendall sleep in bed with me, something she really looks forward to.  And, above all else, communicate with your man!  Does he know how you feel?  Have you voiced your disapproval of him missing out on things that are important to you?

Hunting season doesn't have to be dreaded.  It can be a time for real growth both individually and as a couple.  Special memories can be made during this season.  If nothing else it can make you really appreciate the time you do spend together.  What's the saying?  Distance makes the heart grow fonder?  And, if nothing else, be thankful that hunting season is only a couple months long 😉.

January 9, 2017

My New Years Resolution

Happy New Year!

Seeing as we are a little over a week into the new year I thought maybe I should start thinking about my resolution/word of the year.  Most of you are probably thinking I should have come up with one by now, it's not like I didn't know this time of year was coming.  It's true, New Years was no surprise, I should have been prepared.

In my defense, I want this year to be GOOD.  I mean real good, ya feel?  I didn't want some arbitrary word that made me feel good in the moment but fizzled out come March {as most resolutions do}.  I also didn't want something generic like, "reduce debt" or "be a better mom" either.  I need more concrete things- a challenge, if you will. I do well with challenges, I've realized.

So this year I'm going to do a little less and a little more because there is more than one area I can improve on and I realize that.  I don't think that resolutions, or any goals, need to be narrowed down to one aspect of life, right?

In 2017 I will do/have/be/say/etc LESS

  • phone time
  • selfishness
  • complaining
  • "no"
  • comparing
  • critical {of myself and others}
  • spending
  • distractions
  • clutter
  • yelling
  • mindless/reality TV
  • empty promises
And I will do/have/be/say/etc MORE
  • reading
  • considerate
  • intentional
  • water
  • personal development 
  • praying
  • saving
  • writing
  • vacations
  • "yes"
  • self love
  • connecting
  • listening
  • inspiring
I think that about covers it 😉.  It looks like 2017 is going to be a good year full of simplifying, awareness, and love.  I think the overall theme, and if I had to pick a specific word for this year, is growth.  I want to come out of 2017 a completely different person than when I started it.

It all starts today.

January 7, 2017

Family Time

I think the thing I love {and already miss} most about the time between Thanksgiving and New Years is all the time spent with family. Not just my family but my in-laws and my friends {they're family too}. I am Kendall's Girl Scout troop {co} leader now and this week I went around the table and asked the girls what their favorite thing they did over winter break was and I couldn't believe how many of them said, "spending time with my family".  Warmed my heart.

Some people might argue that all the family time is the thing that stresses them out the most during the holidays but I love it, can't get enough of it.  In fact, my dad and cousin have birthdays in the mix and I love that that means we have two more opportunities to get together during this time.

Whether we are sitting around my aunts kitchen island, spoiling our dinner with appetizers, or having a big family movie night at my in-laws home theater we always have a great time, a lot of laughs and leave feeling full.


Every year we try to come up with one new thing to do in addition to all the fun traditions we carry out.  One thing Jimmy and I started doing with our own little family is to introduce a new Christmas movie each year.  I thought we'd run out of movies by year two, it seems like we've seen them all, but there are TONS of Christmas movies, tons.  We love movie nights.  We pop popcorn, get out a bunch of candy {pictured},  Jimmy always builds the kids a fort and it's one of our favorite pastimes.  

Last year we watched It's a Wonderful Life for the first time and, while I was a little bit embarrassed that I was 32-years-old when I first saw this classic I was glad I waited till I was an adult because WOW!  What a message.  That is now on rotation during the holidays for us because I don't think I'll ever get tired of that story.  This year we introduced Kendall {James had no interest} to The Santa Clause, one of  Jimmy and my favorites!  I wasn't sure how she'd take it, since she's still not really into movies that aren't animated yet, but she LOVED it and asked to watch it again the next night.

I'm already thinking of what movie we'll watch for next year, any suggestions?

December 22, 2016

10 Stocking Stuffers For Her

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Mom It Forward Blogger Network and Organic Doctor  but all my opinions are my own.

Anyone else a super last minute shopper this year?

Normally I like to have everything done by the week of Christmas but this year I'm finding myself out in the hustle and bustle just a few days before Christmas.  Honestly, it's not that bad.  I thought it was going to be crazy busy, people were going to be rude and grumpy and I was going to come home completely drained of Christmas cheer.  I've been pleasantly surprised at the general mood this year, everyone seems a little more laid back and friendly {minus the young men who refused to open or hold open a door for me but that's another story for another day}.

Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite things to shop for, STOCKING STUFFERS!  I love stocking stuffers because we do them last so just when you think the presents are over...nope, STOCKING STUFFERS!  As a kid, my mom always wrapped stocking stuffers and sometimes my dad would surprise me and I'd have real {small} presents in there so and I loved knowing that I wasn't quite done opening gifts.

When Organic Doctor asked if I'd be willing to share some stocking stuffer ideas, including their naturally inspired products, I immediately said, "YES!"  I love beauty and skincare products just as much as the next girl and I would love to receive all or any of these things in my stocking this year.

1.  Aveda Volumizing Tonic.  I have tried lots of volumizers over the year thanks to flat,fine hair and I have loved none until I started using this.  I love that it smells amazing {duh, all Aveda products do} and it doesn't leave my hair feeling weighed down or like there's build up at my roots.

2.  Organic Doctor {available at your local CVS}.

  • Organic Rose Otto Facial Serum.   This is a light serum designed to renew elasticity, restore skin integrity and leave your skin feeling soft and toned.
  • Organic Snail Gel.  This moisturizing, anti-aging gel will soothe and hydrate skin in these harsh winter months.
  • Organic Olive Oil Skin Lotion.  Help moisture dry, flaking winter skin with this all-over body lotion that will leave skin feeling softer and smoother all day long.
3.  Philosophy Amazing Grace.  If you ever wondered what I smell like {I know you do} this is it.  I've been wearing this, exclusively, since college {or maybe before}.  I'm obsessed and it's the only perfume I've ever finished a bottle of.

4.  NARS blush {orgasm}.  I'm sure you've all heard of {and probably use} this universal blush.  It's my go-to and, even though I feel naughty about the color, it really is perfection.

5.  Makeup Brushes.  After scouring the Internet and reading reviews till I went cross-eyed, I finally added these to my wishlist this year.

6.  COVERGIRL Outlast.  I've never tried Lip Sense {too expensive for my taste} but this stuff is the same concept.  I have two colors and both have lasted me 8+ hours and less than $10!

7.  Not Your Mothers Dry Shampoo.  I've tried more expensive brands like Living Proof and I just keep coming back to this one.  It smells good, won't break the bank and {coming from a girl with EXTREMELY oily hair} works amazing.

8.  Urban Decay Naked Basics.  Call me crazy but the Naked palettes give me anxiety, too many options.  I have this one and it's perfect and you can still create a lot of pretty looks with fewer options.  

9.  Essie nail color in Chinchilly.  This color is not new and I don't do my nails often but this is my go-to fall/winter color.  I still love it all these years later.

10.  Headbands and hair ties.  I'm partial to Brady Bands and wear nothing else.  Nonslip headbands for the fitness lover or maybe something a little dressier for the girly girl in your life.

There you have it!  Now all you last-minute-shoppers tell me what you're shopping for!

December 13, 2016

Holiday Traditions

My all-time favorite holiday tradition is my family's annual cookie exchange.  We've been doing it as long as I can remember and even before that.  What started out as a way for my mom, aunt and grandma to gift their love of baking to friends and family has turned into a more simple family get-together.  We no longer bake millions of cookies in every variety you can imagine.  There's no more burnt hands from making hard candies.  Gone are our standard assortment of cookies and now everyone kind of makes what they want.  One thing that has remained the same throughout all these years are the cutout sugar cookies.

As much as everyone loves to complain about icing the cookies, it really is our most fun time together.  We get silly with our decorating, we eat more than we ice, we laugh, we listen to Christmas music and it's just good old fashion family fun.  Now that I have kids of my own I am so happy to be passing this tradition onto them.


This year I wanted to make a little something different than the standard "Christmas cookie" so when the folks at Honey Bunches of Oats® asked me to come up with a holiday treat I was up for the challenge and quickly ran to Kroger for my ingredients.  I decided on a peanut butter, chocolate treat bar that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars {featuring Honey Bunches of Oats® }

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 cups Honey Bunches of Oats® Cereal {I used Honey Roasted}
  • 2 milk chocolate bars

Instructions
  • Microwave the peanut butter, syrup and sugar in a microwave safe bowl for 3 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds to one minute to avoid burning make sure it's melted all the way through.
  • In a large bowl mix the cereal and your melted ingredients to coat
  • Pour the mixture into a 9x9 baking dish and pack firmly
  • Melt the chocolate bars
  • Pour and spread the melted chocolate evenly over the cereal
  • Let it firm up and once bars have set cut into squares and ENJOY!
Now, for a limited time, purchase participating Post Cereal Brands and enter the Sing Sweepstakes for a chance to win the $100,000 grand prize plus the chance to instantly win lots of prizes including movie tickets, speakers and more.  Do you plan to see Sing with your family this holiday season?  I know me and my kids CANNOT wait!  Who knows, maybe we'll even sneak some of these treats in with us 😉.


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Promotion starts 11/1/16 at 12:00 PM (noon) ET and ends 3/31/2017 at 11:59:59 PM ET. Open only to legal residents of the 50 US/DC, 18 years of age or older. See Official Rules for instructions on how to enter, how to obtain codes without purchase, prize details, restrictions, odds of winning, etc. Void where prohibited by law. Sponsor:  Post Consumer Brands, LLC.

December 12, 2016

Nothing Hidden Here

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Mom It Forward Blogger Network and Tessemae's  but all my opinions are my own.

I have been hearing the name Tessemae's around social media A LOT lately.  With clean-eating gaining more popularity over the past few years one thing that has still been hard to find is CLEAN salad dressings. Enter Tessemae's. Tessemae’s makes 25 different dressings, marinades and condiments – and they use real, whole sourced food ingredients and are USDA organic – and available at Kroger and Walmart. They're paleo and Whole30 approved, kosher, dairy free, gluten free and the list goes on.

Jimmy and I eat a lot of salads. I used to be a salad snob and would only get the from restaurants, I hated making them at home. You guys! Have you ever looked at the nutritional information for some of these salads they serve at the restaurants? Holy cow! You'd be better off ordering the burger in some situations! It's mostly because of the dressing! Those dressings are packed with calories and fat and unnecessary sugars that will take your otherwise healthy dinner and turn it into a chemical shit storm, so to speak.

When I first heard about Tessemae's I was instantly intrigued but living in the Middle of Nowhere Ohio means I don't have quick access to cool things like amazing salad dressings. I don't follow a Paleo or Whole30 diet but I do try to eat clean foods 80% of the time and even though the salads I make at home are clean, my dressings haven't been {until now}.



This creamy ranch is unlike any I've had before.  It's sort of mustardy {which Jimmy loves}and would pair well with veggies, salads, chicken or even pizza crust 😉.  Ranch is actually America’s #1 dressing but, what most people don’t realize is, most brands are full of sugar, preservatives and artificial ingredients. At least until now. Tessemae’s uses only clean, simple, real ingredients – so you can enjoy this Creamy Ranch guilt free. There's nothing hidden in this ranch!

If' you've tried Tessemae's, what's your favorite product?  I can't wait to get my hands on some of their marinades!  Until then you can find me pouring this all over everything I eat from now on. SO GOOD.  




November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday will always trump Black Friday in my book. Why would I want to go battle the crazies with a turkey hangover when I can sit on my couch Monday morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in my pjs?!  I've never done the Black Friday thing and I doubt I ever will.

I love getting a good deal, especially this time of year, don't you? Of course you do!  We are buying so much stuff so any penny saved is a win in my book.  Today I want to share some of my favorite Cyber Monday deals with you and get you the most bang for your buck.

First things first, I hope you already do this but if you don't GO SIGN UP FOR EBATES {all CAPS necessary}.  You earn crazy cash back on all of your purchases at pretty much every store on the planet.  It is FREE and the first time you sign up you automatically get a $10 cash bonus.  Plus today most stores are doing double cash back and you'll find lots of coupon codes here too.  To date I've made almost $1500 by using Ebates and now I'm just waiting for my commercial deal {I kid, I kid}.

OK now that we've got the most important deal out of the way here are some things I think you might love.

Amazon


Amazon seems to be all about the electronics this year.  From the Echo {save $40}, to Fire tablets {$33.33}, to the Kindle Paperwhite {only $100}, and Fire TV just $75.  If you have a gadget lover on your list this year you definitely want to check Amazon today.

Brady Bands
These are THE ONLY headbands I wear when I workout.  They stay in place like no other.  I have fallen asleep in them and woken up with them in the same place.  They come in a variety of sizes and colors.  Best part? 10% of all sales is donated to childhood cancer research.  Plus and also!  I've met the owner many times and she is the sweetest, kindest, and beautiful inside and out person you'll meet.


Shoe lovers rejoice!  Buy 1 get one FREE on over 400 shoes and boots AND free shipping on just $25!


Everyone's favorite place to buy kids clothes {am I right?!} is having 50% off the entire store PLUS an additional 25% off of $40 AND free shipping on all orders!  I can't even with this one, stuff is practically free!  Stock up, moms!

Give the gift of health & fitness to yourself or someone you love!  Today only I am offering 25% off of Beachbody products!  This applies to Shakeology {which NEVER goes on sale}, performance products and even our newest program Core De Force {which also comes with free shipping!!}.

Still need to order those Christmas cards?  I don't know about you but my MIL loves ANYTHING with pictures of the kids on it so Shutterfly is my go-to place to get her gifts.  50% off PLUS an extra 25% AND free shipping on $49+.  Deal!

Erin Condren


Everyone's favorite place to get a planner is having 30% off PLUS free shipping today.  If you haven't used one of these life-changing life planners, you're missing out.  This is another one of my favorite places to get gifts, my MIL is obsessed with their travel checklist and I get it for her every year.

If your man loves "fancy pants" like mine, you don't want to miss out on this Tommy John sale.  These are by far Jimmy's most favorite underpants {that's what we call them for James} and it's hard to find them on sale so 20% off and free shipping on $50 is a BIG DEAL.  Ladies if your man hasn't heard of these, surprise him {like I did} and he'll thank you forever.  

I'll be updating as the day goes on so stay tuned...

*post contains affiliate links*