July 20, 2016

Get Fit In 22 Minutes?

Last week I wrapped up my first round of 22 Minute Hard Corps and lived to tell about it.

I was hesitant to start this program.  I knew it was a military inspired workout {think bootcamp} and that really did not appeal to me.  I had just finished up T25 though and knew I wanted to keep the momentum going with a challenging new workout. I posted to my social media accounts and let my followers vote for my next program, 22 Minute Hard Corps won by a landslide.

So what is 22 Minute Hard Corps?  As I said, it's a military bootcamp inspired workout.  It gets your heart rate up from the time it starts and it will have you dripping {literally} in sweat every day.  The workout is an eight week long program.  You workout six days a week for 22 minutes a day.  You alternate between cardio and resistance every day so you're never doing the same workout two days in a row.  There are optional core workouts that you can pair with your cardio days {some days I did it, some I didn't}.  In total this program comes with eight different workouts that you rotate through for the eight weeks.  Then week nine, Hell Week, is an optional challenge.  It's a week where you do two and three workouts per day for all seven days.

I did T25 immediately before starting this program and I thought that was a great program to lead into something like 22 Minute Hard Corps.  The main differences between the two is that T25 is mostly cardio and 22 Minute Hard Corps is more strength.  T25 was good for building my endurance so I didn't feel like I was going to totally die but 22 Minute Hard Corp definitely helped build more muscle.

I would not, however, call 22 Minute Hard Corp a beginner workout.  It's tough and even during Hell Week {nine weeks in} I was huffing and puffing my way through the workouts.  It will challenge every muscle in your body.  You will be sore each day {I'm weird and like being sore though}. BUT you will notice results {not just physical ones} almost immediately.  I loved being able to track my progress by how I felt doing each of the workouts.  Each week the moves got easier and I was able to do them faster/more reps and that was a really cool feeling.

At the end of this program I felt like a total bad ass.  I felt like I wanted to sign up for one of those Spartan races or something.  It pushed my body in ways that I had not done with any other program and that left me feeling like I could do anything.  My muscles were {kind of} popping up.  My booty was higher and tighter {holla!}.  I lost an inch off of my thighs {woop!!}.  I gained an inch on my arms {Obama can't ban these guns}.  Most importantly I felt really confident about my body when this program was over.

Oh and did I mention this program is on sale for the month of July for just $10?  Yep, you read that right.  When you buy Shakeology this month {July} you get 22 Minute Hard Corps for just $10.  If you are at all interested drop me a comment {make sure you have an email attached so that I can reply} and I'll send you the details!  

I will definitely be doing this program again in the future but for now?  Piyo!

July 11, 2016

Last Thursday we said goodbye to our first fur baby, Casey.

She was with us for all of life's major moments.  Jimmy got her before he and I met and in her twelve years she partied with him on OSU campus, moved to nine {or so} different houses, welcomed a fur sister {Chanel}, got a mom {me}, helped us welcome two babies home, and went on countless adventures {including a week long "vacation" she took by herself a few years back}.

She was truly the definition of a good dog.  She was so calm and mild mannered and I distinctly remember asking Jimmy, "Do you get this dog high?" when I first met him because she was that mellow.  She would never cause harm to anyone except the occasional mole in the yard.  She was more of a "loner" in the sense that she didn't require a lot.  She was perfectly happy just being around you but didn't need a lot of extra attention.  She loved our babies and tolerated them climbing on her, petting her and pulling her long, wispy hairs around her ears.  She never jumped or barked unless prompted by the other two dogs.  Anyone, and I mean anyone, who had the opportunity to meet Casey loved her almost immediately.  One of Jimmy's best friends even said, "Man, I like Casey more than I like most people."

While she was old in age she was young at heart.  Always happy to go out to the farm and run for hours with her dog brothers and sisters.  She loved going camping with us.  Her favorite words to hear were, "Casey, wanna go on a car ride?"  Her pleasures in life were very simple, which I loved about her.  She was in good health, minus her recent leaky bladder "situation" which we had finally gotten under control.

Her death was unexpected and tragic last week and, unfortunately, it wasn't due to her old age or health.

We live out in the country with one acre of property and another 30ish acres of farm land directly behind our house.  We have one neighbor, that is it.  Last Thursday I let Casey out before I laid James down for his afternoon nap.  It was near 90 that day so I didn't want her out very long.  Once I got him in bed I expected her to be at the back door waiting to come in but she wasn't.  It wasn't that alarming because Casey loves to sunbathe.  I can't tell you how many times I've looked out our window and thought the worst because she was just basking in the sunshine and heat {girl after my own heart}.  I did a few more things around the house before I looked for her again and, again, she wasn't there.  I called for her one more time, bribed her with treats, expecting her to come running.  Again, she didn't.  The kids and I had played hide-and-seek that morning so I thought she could have been shut in one of the bedrooms or the basement so I checked every room of our house, including the bath tubs {where I have found her "hiding" before}.  She was nowhere to be found.  I put my shoes on and headed outside to look for her, assuming she was probably "laying out" again.  But when I turned the corner to walk down our driveway to the front yard I knew she had sun bathed for the last time.

At 3:13 I saw our precious pup laying lifeless in the front yard and my heart sank. I didn't know what to do, who to call, what had happened.  I just started screaming, crying, shaking, pacing.  It was the most surreal moment of my life. I am thankful my in-laws live so close because my mother-in-law made it to our house within 10 minutes of my frantic phone call.

Since our dogs were old in age, I imagined how this day would go many times.  Jimmy and I had talked about what he wanted me to do because chances were good that I would be the ones home when something like this happened.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for that moment.  Calling my husband, who happily answered the phone, and saying, "Hi...Umm...Casey's dead" was nothing I ever wanted to do.

Our initial assumption was that she was hit by a car.  It made sense, she was close to the road, there
were skid marks in the street.  She had what Jimmy called "a bullet hole" size hole in her belly and her back leg was broken.  Friday morning, however, I woke up to a gigantic pile of dog poop placed on our back deck by someone.  This pile of poop was too large to have been from one of our dogs and it had grass and weeds mixed in, but not in a digestive way.  Suddenly the bullet sized hole was starting to become a piece to the puzzle.

Casey's death and the poop on our deck are no coincidence, they are related.  Our theory, which the sheriff fully supported, is that apparently Casey had pooped in the neighbors yard {unbeknownst to us as we have NEVER been approached by them about this "problem"}.  In an effort to "scare" her he shot her/at her.  Casey is gun-shy so she would head for the hills if she heard a gun shot therefore she ran into the street, scared, and ultimately got hit by a car.  The poop being placed on our deck is the sickest thing of all, as if to say, "You know what happened to your dog?  Here's why."

As I said, we have filed a police report but so far that is it.  Unfortunately, for now, we still have to live next to this psycho so we didn't want to take it any further by starting an investigation with the dog warden for our own safety.  We are, however, going to be meeting with our realtor next Wednesday about putting our house up for sale.  We no longer feel safe in our own home.

Casey didn't deserve to die this way, that's the hardest part.  She deserved one of those amazing final days.  She should have had one last car ride, one more romp at the farm, one more bite of deer jerky.  We are all completely heartbroken over this and this will take a long time to heal from.  No dog will ever be able to replace her, she was truly one of a kind.

July 7, 2016

My Little Mover

The day I no longer have to buy diapers I might throw a party. I've never seen a Potty Party on Pinterest but I'm sure such a thing exists, right?

I kid, I kid.

But you guys {TMI alert}, I swear James poops more than any other kid on the planet. I am so over changing diapers.  In fact, Jimmy and I now play rock, paper, scissors to see who is going to change him.  Yes we do.  It's gotten that bad.  So, even if it's just Jimmy and I celebrating with some craft beers on the back  deck, I will be toasting to the day we say 'goodbye' to diapers.

I think the worst part about diapers is when they leak. Can I get an "AMEN!"? As James has gotten older, and since we started using Huggies exclusively, the leaks have gotten better but I can remember mornings when he would wake up drenched. I can't even comprehend how uncomfortable that has to be, sleeping in wet clothes. It never seemed to bother him, seeing as he's slept through the night since he was three months old, but the daily baths {and laundry} got old really quick.

I tried the expensive night time diapers, I always made sure he went to bed with a completely fresh diaper, I limited his liquids in the evenings but, no matter what, he always seemed to wake up totally soaked. Finally I just turned to Huggies Little Movers and was pleasantly surprised. Even though they aren't technically a night time diaper they held up all night and James was waking up with dry clothes {finally} every morning. Hallelujah, amen! No more early morning baths. No more early morning laundry. Dry baby = happy mommy {and baby}.

I tend to buy the smallest pack of things whenever I try something new, "just in case", and I vividly remember sending Jimmy to the store for more and saying, "make sure its HUGGIES LITTLE MOVERS, the ones with Mickey Mouse on them" as he was heading out the door and then again texting it to him once I knew he was at the store.  I'm pretty sure he then called me, with the box in hand, making sure he was holding the right ones because he knew how important this decision was {I am laughing as I type that}.

James has been a "little mover" since he was about four months old and these have been the only diapers that can keep up with his active lifestyle {again, I'm laughing}. The sides are double grip {my favorite part} so they stay put. All the other diapers I've used {even the more expensive ones} always have little "wings" that break free from under the Velcro tabs and when James is just in a diaper {as you can see happens a lot of the time} it drives him nuts. He'll pull on those wings so much that before I know it we have a naked butt baby running around and a diaper no where in site. I also love that they have the elastic SnugFit stretchy waistband that really contours to the body making leaks nonexistent.

I love a good deal {who doesn't?} and I've found that Sam's Club has the best price per diaper on the Little Movers {among other things}. But, even better, there's an instant $3 savings now through July 17 if you click here. And while you're at it, check out this sweepstakes and find out how you can win a $500 Sam's Club gift card.

We stocked up, as you can see, but this will last us maybe one month...

Now do you see why I want to have a potty party?

July 6, 2016

Sometimes I'm Tired

Before I became a mom I dreamed of the day I would be.  I loved babies so certainly I would love having my own babies, right?  Being a mom isn't anything like I imagined, in good and bad ways, mainly because I'm not {always} the mom I imagined I would be.

Sometimes I roll my eyes when I hear, "mommy" for the who knows how many-th time. Sometimes I take my phone to the bathroom with me so I can scroll Instagram without anyone seeing me.  Some days just getting wet, whether from the pool, sprinkler, or slip n' slide, counts as a bath.  Some days I sit on the park bench while my kids play because I've been playing with them all morning and this is the first chance I've had to sit down all day.  And some days cereal is for dinner because some days I am tired.

I love my kids, so much it feels like I'm suffocating sometimes, but that doesn't mean it's always easy to be a mom.  No matter what, as soon as I think, "OK they're good, they're happy, I can do ____" shit hits the fan and all hell breaks loose.  Every time, actually.  So the things I need/want to do usually get put to the back burner or get done in segments because I'm always usually interrupted {like this blog post, for example, has been in my drafts for over a month}.  And all the moms say, "Amen".

So yes, it's exhausting work raising humans.  They rely on us for everything, e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  That's our job though, right?  To make sure they have everything they need and want- from hugs and kisses to Shopkins and Star Wars.  I don't want to screw this up, like most moms.  I want my kids to know I tried even though I was tired.

When they wake up I want them to see me smiling, happy to greet them for the day, whether I've had 3 cups of coffee or none.  I want to take them to the zoo even though I would rather lay on the couch and binge watch my latest Netflix obsession.  I want them to know they can wake me up any night because they had a bad dream and need comforting.  Most of all I want them to know that no matter how tired I am, I am never too tired for them.

That's not to say I don't have moments where I break down and whine, "...::sigh::...I just sat down, guys" because I do, don't get me wrong.   But when my kids grow up I want them to look back on their childhood and know that I tried.  I try, every day, to create memories that will last a lifetime.  Some days that means we bake banana bread on a rainy day while other days it means going on an adventure to a new place.  I want them to do and see it all and I want to be there with them when possible.

But, damn it, sometimes I'm tired too.

June 22, 2016

Snack Monsters

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Linqia and Gerber but all my opinions are my own.

That's what I like to call my kids, snack monsters.

Now that school's out for summer my snack monsters are in full force.  They want snacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  A real meal on a plate with utensils?  Meh... Present it as a snack/finger foods?  They're all over it.

Enter The Muffin Tin Meal.

I love The Muffin Tin Meal because my kids will actually eat all of the food.  If I give them the same combination and amount of food on a plate I can guarantee they'll eat exactly half of it, claim they are full, and then ask for "snacks" within thirty minutes.  Never fails.  If I present them with a Muffin Tin Meal, however, they will demolish the whole thing in a matter of minutes.  My kids love a Muffin Tin Meal because they are basically eating a meal full of snacks.

But, really, I win because my Muffin Tin Meals are a nice mix of healthy, good for you things like Gerber® Lil’ Beanies(TM) snacks, strawberries, lean meats like turkey, and carrot sticks and then I throw a couple of "treats" in there like fruit snacks and cookies.  Best of both worlds, that's what we call a #GerberWinWin. 

My kids are kinda crazy and they still love "baby food" like "puffs",  "squeezy pouches", and the Lil' Beanies which I don't mind because they are made with hidden veggies like navy beans {which my kids would never eat on their own} and broccoli.  I have to admit, I haven't been down the baby food aisle at Target in a long time so it was a bit nostalgic, in a way.  Kendall was all, "MOM!!! Remember those {puffs}?  I love those!!!"  It was really cute and I couldn't help but buy them again.

I've shared my Muffin Tin Meals on social media several times and everyone always asks, "Will they eat all of that?"  {See, we are all in the same non-eating kid boat.}  And I always reply, "Yes.  They will eat all of this." and they do.  I don't always make their meals this way because it is time consuming and the amount of food they eat would mean more trips to Target and Jimmy would not like that.  

A mom for almost six years and I finally figured out the secret to getting my kids to eat all of their food.  Muffin Tin Meals for the win!

SO WHAT! Wednesday

This week I'm saying SO WHAT if...

  • I haven't been around {the blog} much lately.  Happens every summer.  We've just been enjoying the warm sunshine on our skin. 
  • I have three episodes of UnREAL on the DVR but have no desire to watch even though I've heard it's so good.
  • I managed to go to Target last night and spend less than $50. Fellow mom/Target lovers, you know what an accomplishment that is.
  • I'm thinking about starting PiYo again when I'm done with 22 Minute Hard Corps in a couple weeks.
  • I cannot wait to go see Finding Dory.  Has anyone had a chance to see it yet?  Is it cute?
  • I tried a contour kit for the first time last week and I'm still on the fence about it. I think I'm going to need a lot of practice.  #notabeautyblogger
  • I am obsessed with the learning workbooks in Target's Dollar Spot.  I'm trying to keep up on some sort of learning activity every day with Kendall and those are perfect {$1}!!
  • I still can't believe James will be going to pre-school in September.
  • I'm already shopping for the kids' birthdays {not till August}.
  • I'm craving a rainy day.
  • I just discovered Halo Top ice cream {only 240 calories per pint} and I'm addicted.  I had no intentions of eating the whole pint last night but it was so good, I couldn't stop.
What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?

June 14, 2016

Better For You

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Acorn Influence and SAM's Club! but all my opinions are my own.

Everyone is trying to live their best life these days, or so it seems.  From the latest dietary trends {I'm looking at you Whole 30} to the latest workout craze {I see you Soul Cycle}, everyone is trying to do better, including me.

My health and fitness are a big priority not only for me but for my family as well.  I want to live as long as possible and I tell Kendall that daily.  I don't just want to live a long time though, I want to feel good the whole time I'm here on this earth.  I want to have the energy to run with my kids at the park.  I want my body to be capable of giving piggy back rides.  I want to go hiking as a family {when the kids are a little bit older}.  And it all starts now, while my kids are young, while I'm already in good health, and before it's too late.

The food we put into our bodies is the most important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  We've all heard the saying, "diet is 80%, exercise is only 20%".   It rings true for me because I never struggle to get my workouts in.  In fact, since starting 22 Minute Hard Corps I have been working out six days a week.  However I don't see results just from working out, no.  I have to be on top of my diet to see any sort of changes happen in my body and the way I feel.  If I slip up on my nutrition, even a little, it shows and I feel it.  Not only can I see and feel a difference when I eat junk, but I can also notice a difference in my kids when they do.

Lately my kids are on a major cereal kick. There have been days where they've eaten it for breakfast and then again for dinner and then again for their after dinner snack. Obsessed much?  If they had it their way they'd be full of the sweet, sugary, marshmallowy, brightly colored junk that catches their eye every time we walk down the cereal {or as James says, "cerball"} aisle.  We could spend hours in that aisle, I swear.

Cereal is one of those things that can get out of hand really quickly when we're talking about sugar content, holy cow!  That's where Ancient Grains Cheerios comes in. I am not a stickler when it comes to my kids food, by any means.  I don't care if they eat fast food here and there.  I allow them to have candy occasionally.  We don't eat 100% organic.  BUT I do like to keep them eating well and balanced for the most part/when I can.

Luckily my kids {and my husband} love Cheerios of all kinds so I was excited to try the new Ancient Grains formula. At only 5 grams of sugar and ancient grains like KAMUT wheat, spelt, and quinoa I feel confident that my kids are getting a ton of vitamins and minerals from quality ingredients before they start their day.

I love the Ancient Grains addition to this classic cereal, they give it a nice added flavor and crunch.  I added a little yogurt and fresh sliced strawberries to the kids plates and {I think} this was the perfect breakfast.  It kept them full for hours {moms of toddler/school-aged kids know that is nearly impossible} and I felt good knowing they had a healthy/rounded breakfast.

It's simple steps, like making sure you have a solid breakfast to start your day, that add up to big changes.  I am all about enjoying the foods we love {in moderation} but I also know how much better I feel when I eat food that's better for me.  I hope to instill that in my children as they grow up.  Because we eat well {most of the time} we can afford to splurge {like say on a funnel cake at the county fair} from time to time.

Do you have little cereal monsters on your hands?  What are some simple steps you take that make life better for you and your family?  Did you know you can now purchase Ancient Grains Cheerios exclusively at Sam's Club?