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?

May 26, 2016

Backyard Summer Fun!

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Mom It Forward Blogger Network and H2OGO! but all my opinions are my own.

Summa summa summa time, summa time.

That's the first thing that pops into my head on the first 80 degree day we have here in Ohio.  I love summer, I live for summer.  My kids are spoiled rotten with activities from about May-September and I make no apologies for that.  I want them outside all the time.  I want all the vitamin D.  I love the warm sun on my face.  I love the early mornings and the late nights.  Summer is my favorite.

Last summer we were flooded with things to do and while it was exhausting at times, I wouldn't change it for the world.  We made so many fun memories last year and I can only hope this summer can measure up.  We camped, we boated, we vacationed with friends, we hit up the beach, we ate too many s'mores but most of all we had fun.

One thing I want to do differently this summer is to have more backyard fun.  Going to the zoo and pool and splash pads {oh my!} are fun but so is playing right in our backyard.  The best part of backyard fun is it's far less stress.  Need to go to the potty?  Go right inside.  Need a snack? Let me grab one from the kitchen.  Ready for a nap?  Your room is right down the hall.  There's no packing a bag and snacks and change of clothes and enough water, we have everything right at our fingertips at home.  Plus, we have a pretty amazing yard.

Yesterday we had our first 80 degree, blue skies, sun shinning day so I told the kids we could finally set up the water slide they've been eye-balling since it arrived in the mail last week.  Day one of backyard fun commenced.  It was amazing.  They played on that thing from lunch until bedtime yesterday only to break for snacks, potty and nap {for James}.  They loved jumping on the "pillow".  Bear puppy was so confused, he thought the sprayers were a drinking fountain for him.

Last night, once we settled down for the night, Kendall said to me, "Mom, we have the best house.  We have the water slide, a sand table, a swing set, the bounce house, soccer balls, bubbles, chalk, jump ropes. We  have everything!".  And she's right, we do. We have it all right here in our backyard {here's a snap from our yard last night}.


Gorgeous right?  I mean we need a whole team of landscapers to come out and maintain it BUT it's so pretty in the summer.  It's shaded but gets sun in all the right spots {like right where I was standing/laying out yesterday}.  We have one acre but lucky for us it's all farmland behind/to the side of us so it seems like it's much bigger.

We live in the country, if you couldn't tell, so we spend a lot of time driving places.  Anything "fun" takes us at least 20-30 minutes to get to and while it's worth it some days other days it would be nice to just stick around here.  As Kendall mentions, we have more than enough to keep us busy here.  I am notorious for thinking the grass is greener when it comes to doing things outside of the home.  I always think everyone else has a better house, the kids have more fun here/there, and I have no real reason for thinking that way.  So this year I am determined to have an amazing summer right here in our very own backyard. Who knows, maybe I'll even get crazy and host a weekly family dinner under the string lights like The Bravermans.

Does this sound like a tradition you'd like to adopt too?  H2OGO! wants to help!  One lucky reader will be chosen to win the three person water slide that's pictured above.  To be entered to win leave me a comment telling me what YOUR favorite outdoor summer activity is. Good luck!

May 25, 2016

SO WHAT! Wednesday

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

  • I have never seen Bridget Jones' Diary or My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  
  • I thought The Bachelorette was a total snoozefest this week.  None of the guys are even THAT hot...
  • All I've had time for is SWW posts lately.  Sorry, guys.
  • We moved James to his big boy bed on Monday and I'm kinda loving it so far.
  • I think chevron is overplayed.
  • I love the way James talks right now and pretty much think everything he says is the cutest.
  • I prefer to hand wash my truck vs take it to a car wash.
  • I suck at returning movies to Redbox.
  • The Day The Crayons Came Home is my favorite kids book.
  • I laid out on the kids slip n' slide yesterday while they napped.
  • I am so ready for Kendall to be done with school. I know I'll be kicking myself for saying that in a couple of weeks but for now I can't wait.
  • We were away, alone, without any kids for just over 24 hours this weekend and it wasn't long enough.
  • The only reason I like pedicures is for the foot rub.
  • I've been reading the same book for months.  I keep falling asleep.
  • I missed Saturday of 22MHC and I'm OK with it.
  • I hate the word "haters".
  • I kind of look forward to nights when Jimmy works late so I can watch all the trash TV I want.
What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?

May 20, 2016


Currently I am...

  • Reading: The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty.  So I've been reading this for a while now and I'm still not even a quarter of the way through it.  That's not to say I'm not enjoying it though, I am.  There are a lot of characters in this story and it's kind of hard to remember who's who {probably b/c I fall asleep every time I read it}.  I am very much enjoying the story, though, and it's definitely keeping me wanting to read more.
  • Watching: I said the other day that I'm hooked {again} on Grey's Anatomy.  The past, I don't know, 2-3 seasons have been a snoozefest {for me} and the only reason I've kept watching is because I've seen every episode since March 27, 2005.  But this season is like whoa!  Winning me back, reeling me in, and I love it.  I love the dynamic between Amelia and Owen. I can't wait to see what happens with Jackson and April.  Miranda and her husband, OMG.  I mean I am obsessed {note I have not watched last nights episode so shhhh...}.
  • Wearing: Do you have a signature scent?  I do- Philosophy Amazing Grace.  I've literally been wearing this same perfume since college.  I love it. It's simple, clean, fresh and a little bit girly.  Any time my mom smells it she thinks of me and now she says Kendall smells like it when she sees her too.  
  • Following: I've already told you I'm addicted to Snapchat lately {late to the game, I know} and there are two people I just love following- Bethenny Frankel and Brett Eldredge.  Bethenny keeps it real.  She is a business woman when she needs to be, a mom when she needs to be and hilarious all the time.  I love her.  Brett is just hilarious.  Like I want to call him up for a good time because his snaps alone make me laugh.  Oh and his bedhead jams?  Major swoon!
  • Working out: If you follow me on social media you know I've been doing 22 Minute Hard Corps for the last {almost} two weeks.  You guys I had NO INTEREST in this program when it was released.  Everyone on my team was so excited about it and bought it the day it became available, not me.  Then when I posted, asking for suggestions for my next program, everyone started saying "22MHC!!!!" and I cringed a bit.  BUT I cannot say enough how much I love it.  I've always said PiYo was my love language but I'm starting to rethink that now.  This program delivers!  I am already seeing results in less than two weeks, it's ONLY 22 minutes, and it's a total body, serious calorie burning workout.  I cannot wait for my end results.  
  • Drinking: Gimme all the coffee.  Literally I alternate between coffee and water most days {sad but true}.  Because I'm trying to be more mindful with my food I am working on perfecting my Starbucks order {no more caramel macchiatos for this girl}.  So currently I'm doing a grande Americano with three pumps classic and it's pretty freakin' good.  Sometimes I'll add a splash of coconut milk if I'm feeling frisky.  
  • Counting down to: DAVE MATTHEWS BAND tomorrow!  Tomorrow morning Jimmy and I are dropping the kids off and headed two hours north to see DMB and I cannot wait.  I mean I love DMB but I am more excited about 24 hours kid free, with my best friend.  We even got a hotel room and man do I love some continental breakfast!  WOO!
  • Craving: Organization.  I am so not a list person but I've been making a list all week and checking things off.  I also found this article on Pinterest and need to implement a lot of these tips into my daily life.
  • Listening to:  Tristan Prettyman.  She's kind of me and Jimmy's "thing".  He introduced me to her when we first started dating and asked me to be his girlfriend while playing her song 'You Got Me'.  We saw her in concert once and she was awesome.  Lots of Tristan Prettyman will be played on our road trip tomorrow.
  • Obsessing over:  Have you guys heard of Sand Cloud Towels?  They are the most gorgeous towels/blankets EVER.  they are committed to preservation and 10% of sales go toward protecting beaches, oceans and marine life {I love companies like this}. And when you use my link you get 25% off your first purchase! Check out their IG for some amazing photos. 
Do you like these types of posts?  My friend Laura posted one the other day and I enjoy seeing what other people are loving right now and find lots of new products this way!  Happy Friday!

May 18, 2016

SO WHAT! Wednesday

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

  • Character clothing doesn't bother me anymore.  I know a lot of moms cringe but whatever, makes my kids happy and less drama getting dressed.  Happy kids=happy life...wait...
  • We don't own bikes and I want to start being a bike-riding family.
  • I just found out about Kodiak Cakes protein pancakes and I've eaten them every day for a week now.
  • I am hooked on Greys Anatomy all over again.  The past few seasons have been a snooze but this one is winning me over again.
  • I keep checking the forecast hourly to make sure  the weather is going to be nice for DMB this Saturday.  CANNOT WAIT.
  • I can't get enough coffee in my life lately.
  • I'm back to counting macros full time and loving it.
  • I really hope they pick a new co-host for Kelly {Live! With Kelly} soon.  I hope it doesn't take as long as it did when they picked Michael.
  • I'm selling all baby items and declaring us done having babies.
  • I have a slight obsession with growing my hair out right now.  I have been taking maximum strength biotin and just got shampoo and conditioner that's supposed to make your hair grow too.
  • We are going to transform James's room into a big boy room this weekend.  I have a love/hate relationship with this transition.
  • I have a Nook but I prefer to read physical books.
  • I kinda sorta want a new engagement ring/upgrade.  Shh...don't tell Jimmy.
What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?