Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Favorites

So my Friday Favorites have kind of evolved into my favorite pictures of the week.  I hope that's okay with you ;).  Overall, we had a good week and I'm hoping for some down time this weekend!

Both kids love to go "high in the sky" on my feet.  I have a picture like this with Aiden and I know they'll be favorites to look back on!

This is a picture of Audrey's favorites.  Her favorite outfit (even in 95 degree heat), favorite blanket, favorite book and favorite spot in Aiden's room.  She also looks about ten... that is NOT my favorite!

Have you ever seen an elephant get a bath?!  It's pretty darn cute.  Our zoo does them every morning at 9:15am, FYI. 

The hippo exhibit just opened and it is my new favorite!  They are adorable and so fun to watch!  And I have a special place in my heart for'll find out more about that SOON!! :)

My friend sent me this quote and it is SO true and definitely a favorite. 

I've been on an omelet kick recently.  2 eggs, 2 egg whites, spinach and a slice of cheese.  This and a piece of fruit (and coffee) has been my favorite breakfast this week. 

The kids have discovered that mommy can drag them around by her ankles.  Next time, remind me to attach swiffers to their butts, then it'll be my favorite ;).

We walked over to the playground the other night and these two were being so sweet with each other. In the rare moments that it happens, it is always my favorite. 

Aiden's favorite - stop signs.  

And pushing Audrey in the stroller.  I'm personally glad he's taken a liking to this one!

Tomatoes are SO good right now. As you can see, I could eat a whole one for dinner.  And did. 

Aiden is very excited to go back to school soon, so I made him some flashcards.  He wasn't too interested in learning all of the letters, but loved when I spelled out different words. 

And watching this scene this morning was a favorite moment of the week.  Aiden found Cassidy the horse in a toy rotation tub and she is now his favorite.  He calls her his best friend and insisted I give her some hay for breakfast and a cup of water.  He also just put her down for a nap with some milk and a tiny stuffed animal.  I peeked in and he was rocking her and singing her to sleep.  There may still be a puddle outside of his door because I pretty much melted.

Happy last weekend of July!  Hard to believe!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

If you don't hear much from me...

I thought I had my hands full when I had a newborn and an 18 month old.  Ha!  The past few days I've felt like I am swimming in mud with these two and just can't. get. out.  Yesterday I had my first "when does school start" moment and I immediately felt guilty.  I am so lucky to get to spend all of this time with my babies, but man has it been hard recently.

I attempted to shop yesterday.  All I wanted to do was walk in, check out the clearance bathing suits, and walk out.  I even used an incentive of a visit to the book store, but NOPE.  Two toddlers in a stroller turned in to a boy in high heels running/falling all over the store and a feisty little girl pulling ALL of the stuffed animals off of a table.  It ended with two crying kids and one close to tears mom.  Ugh.

Needless to say we didn't go to the book store.

Thankfully (insert more guilt), Audrey took a good nap yesterday and Aiden and I had some chats about being a good listener.  He gets it, or at least he's getting it.

Audrey is at the age where she doesn't quite get it yet, but she's definitely heading into the "terrible twos."

If I keep them involved in something, they are great.  Aiden loves to wash his cars and play in the water.

Audrey's current favorite is the pool.  And the slide - over and over and over.

We ventured out again today, this time to the zoo.  We talked in the car on the way there and things went MUCH better.  Not that you can tell by Aiden's face :).

There will always be moments.  Audrey apparently loves oranges and was covered in juice after lunch.  I started to change her shirt and while I was getting it out of the bag, she managed to take off her shirt, shorts and yes....diaper.  I had to laugh...and so did the fifty people watching.

So if things slow down a bit around here, don't worry, I'm not gone.  I'm just chasing children (likely naked children), filling up a baby pool or coming up with the fifteenth snack for the day.  And then I'll take some deep breaths, drink some coffee, workout and smile.  Because I love them.  And because I don't want to go insane ;).

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Week in Pictures - Summer Edition

Summer is flying by and with each hot, sunny day I get a little anxious about the thought of it ending.  Having surprise surgery at the beginning of June put a damper on the start of my favorite season and now I feel like we are playing catch up.  Days mixed with nonstop activity and lying around watching movies.  One minute eating healthy, fresh food and the next, soft serve ice cream.  We've had our fair share of whiney moments, fights, and sleepless nights but overall, it's been a good summer.

So today I am "picture dumping" here so in February I can come back to this post and daydream about summer ;).  Here's what our past week has looked like...

We all love ice cream and we FINALLY found a whippy dip near our house.  Cheap and delicious.  Perfect. 

Those pajamas used to be a perfect fit.  Can you say growth spurt?!

Daddy wanted to wash cars, so naturally the Cozy Coupe and Back-Ho needed a scrub too.

Is there a better summer lunch?  It tasted even better outside.

This pool reminded me just how tall I really am!

Yes, he's about to dump that on her head.  

My best friend had a baby boy!  This is me with baby Chase and one of his big sisters :). 

Audrey is a hoarder, like hard core.  She has to have 2 million animals/blankets/pillows with her at all times.  It's cute.  And somewhat annoying ;).

If the other picture was the perfect summer lunch, this is the perfect summer dinner!

Aiden helps me water our flowers every afternoon.  Yesterday he wore a tank top, underwear, his conductor hat & bandana and camp rain boots.  Makes perfect sense to me. 

She was hiding from me after nap time.  Little does she know, she can hide in her crib for as long as she wants! :)

Carb loading.  

And real life.  She was mad at me and I was annoyed with her.  

More ice cream.  This time with sprinkles!

This kid is a fish and is doing so well swimming around with his floaties!

At the pool today...loving summer!

And as my luck would turn out, neither child wants to nap today.  Because swimming in 95 degree heat for two hours isn't enough to wear them out!  Have a great Friday and weekend! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Blueberry Oreo Cookies

I mostly write about healthy recipes around here, but when your best friend has her first baby boy, homemade cookies are in order.  I have a favorite cookie recipe that just so happens to include crushed up oreos.  Over the years, I've experimented with the different types of seasonal oreos (red holiday, pumpkin spice, etc.), so when I saw the blueberry version at Target, I immediately thought they would be perfect to celebrate the birth of a baby boy!

If you like blueberry muffins and cookies (aka, if you're human), then you will LOVE these.  Do NOT bake them too long, take them out just when the edges turn brown.  For me, that is 9 minutes.  And as soon as they firm up just a bit, transfer them to a cooling rack so they stay soft and chewy.  

Here is the recipe...ENJOY! 

Oreo Cream Cookies


1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Oreo’s, broken up into small pieces (use whatever variety you like!)


Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
Add egg and vanilla and beat until well mixed.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined.
Gently fold in Oreo pieces.
With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1-2″ apart. (Using my cookie scoop, I get about 20 cookies.  So you may even want to double this recipe!)
Bake for 8-10 minutes*, until the edges JUST start to brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Tell me what you want, what you really really want...

Yes, I just quoted the Spice Girls.  It's Friday and for some reason, it's been a long week.  Why is it whenever we have a relaxing weekend away, the days following are sleep deprived and stressful?!  Life's built in reality check, I guess!

There is a reason for this quote and the title...although I do really just like that song.  I have been blogging for a year and a half now (crazy!) and I'm so humbled that you are reading this.  This is a place for me to document this crazy life journey, but it's fun to share and interact with those I know (in real life or virtually) and it's been amazing to see the number of readers grow!  But now I need a favor...

I would love to know which kinds of posts are your favorite.  I can kind of tell by how many people read them, but I would love any feedback you may have.  Some weeks I have tons of ideas and others I have major writer's block and I want to make this an enjoyable stop for you and worth your time to read ;).  I have my favorites from other bloggers, but please tell me what you want (what you really, really want).  

And in the meantime... here are a few things I've been eating recently.  I am always sad when summer is over, and one of the reasons is that this delicious fresh food becomes rare.  Everything tastes SO good right now!

Plain greek yogurt, honey, cinnamon, vanilla protein powder, fresh peaches and granola.  The perfect afternoon snack or breakfast!

Dinner the other night.  They say you eat with your eyes and just looking at all of this color makes me hungry!

Another popular dinner around here...Smoked turkey sausage with peppers & onions, rice and fruit.  I love fresh cherries!

Still on the egg + avocado kick.  Plus coffee...lots of coffee.

And my favorite cereal at the moment.  Kashi Go Lean Crisp Cinnamon Crumble.  The kids like it too!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Monday, July 11, 2016

85 Pounds Worth of Advice

Last week I officially hit the 85 pounds lost mark.  I haven't been using MyFitnessPal regularly, but I happened to open it up and put in my weight and was pretty darn excited to see this...

Now I didn't round up, but I did weight myself a couple days later and was down another half pound, hence the 85 ;).  I will reiterate for the five millionth time that it is most definitely NOT all about the numbers on the scale, but that doesn't mean it isn't pretty darn motivating.  I used to imagine what it would be like for the scale to show a number under 200.  Now I'm envisioning that app telling me I've lost 100 pounds.  It is definitely within reach.

Soon after I started my weight loss journey, I wrote a post on tips that I had found helpful in getting things going.  You can read those here.  They were not mind blowing and most were pretty small adjustments, but by putting them all together, they have literally made a HUGE difference in my life.

So I decided to make a new list, with some new "strategies" that have been working for me.  I'm not an expert and everything does not work for everyone, but I always appreciate advice from others on how they have achieved success.  I'm just trying to pay it forward :).

Never say never - If you want to fail at a healthy lifestyle, tell yourself you can never have your favorite food again.  Seriously, just go ahead right now and tell yourself you can't ever have pizza, ice cream, cake - whatever your guilty pleasure is - EVER again.  It's all you can think about now, isn't it?  I do not deprive myself.  If we have pizza, I eat a slice.  If I want ice cream, I eat a little bit.  There are a few things I keep in mind here.  I make sure the rest of my day has been filled with healthy foods.  I make adjustments if I can.  If I am craving a cheeseburger, I get it without the bun and have veggies as a side instead of fries.  You get the idea.

Love your form of exercise - If you don't love it, you won't do it.  If you hate running, don't keep trying, find something else.  There are SO many ways to get your heart rate up and build muscle.  I truly enjoy my training sessions, dance class and walk/runs with my family.  I am starting to get a little bored and am going to try and change it up a bit soon. Try different things and see which one makes you smile.  I promise you'll find something eventually, even if it happens to be a pole dancing workout ;).

Be focused, but not obsessed - This is a fine line for me.  I think about and talk about fitness and healthy eating A LOT.  In fact, I've probably annoyed some of you with it.  It's important to me and it's become a sort of hobby.  I enjoy sharing it with others and I am inspired by the challenge it provides.  But I also need to take it easy.  When I couldn't workout for a week earlier in June, I almost had an anxiety attack.  I seriously thought I would gain back 80 a week.  That's crazy.  I actually lost more weight and now feel reinvigorated. 

Do it for YOU - Do not change your lifestyle for anyone but yourself.  Sure you want to be around longer for your family and friends and it's always nice to have others recognize your progress. have to do this for you or you won't stick with it.  Eventually, no one is going to pat you on the back and there will be times when you just don't feel like sticking with it. That's when your inner motivation has to kick in and you have to know that this is the best path for YOU...and you're worth it. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Celebrating Freedom

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend!  4th of July is one of my favorites for so many reasons.  It's a day to celebrate our freedom and recognize the sacrifices those before us have made.  We are so grateful and humbled to live in this great country.  Our house also just happens to sit right on a parade route!  Well, it used to.  Thanks to construction, it now goes right next to our house, so only a short walk down the street.  We've had a breakfast parade watching party for 9 years now, and each year it gets more crazy (in a different way than it used to!).  It rained, but it didn't matter.  We had a blast.  

After a busy morning, we all crashed hard for a bit, but then headed up to our friend's house to grill out and watch fireworks.  Aiden got to try his first sparkler and go on his first golf cart ride.  Audrey was obsessed with the popsicles and loved the fireworks.  It was a fun day and I'm so glad we got to spend it with our family and friends!

I am also celebrating a different type of independence!  I told you about my unexpected surgery five weeks ago.  Well, I have finally been wound vac free since Sunday night and it is amazing.  I still have healing to do, but am glad to have my freedom back. Although this whole situation was a pain (literally and figuratively), it could have been SO much worse and it is for so many people.  On more than one occasion I was asked how my chemo treatment was going.  PERSPECTIVE, my friends.  

Below is my scrapbook from the day...I love this blog because it takes away the mom guilt of not having a single baby book or picture album filled out since Aiden turned one month old ;).  

Have a great week!