Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Liebster Award

Earlier this week I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Brittany over at The View From Up Here. This was like seriously a flashback to the MySpace days. If only I remembered my username and password, I would totally go back and read my page! Anyone out there also remember using LiveJournal? I think I had one of those too! Ahh, memories!  At the bottom of this post, I've nominated a few other bloggers for this oh-so-prestigious award! Enjoy reading my answers!

1. Why did you start your blog? 
I've been blogging for a few years now. When I first started, I was solely focused on sharing tips for eating right and exercising. Since having a baby, I'm lucky if I eat three meals a day, let alone making sure those meals are healthy. So, I decided to focus on my everyday life - what makes it so full of love and joy. The majority of my posts are about my family - my husband and our beautiful baby girl. I also link up recipes and review favorite products. Oh yes and sometimes I get fancy in the kitchen and make up my own recipes - if it's a winner, I blog about it! 

2. Where do you get inspiration for your posts?
Ahh, there are so many blogs I read. They range from other mommies, to entrepreneurs, to women who are outrageously physically fit. Some of my favorites are Sweet Tooth Sweet Life, Mix and Match Family, and Momfessionals

3. Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Me? Vacation? Psssshhhh - when you're on a teacher's salary there's not much leftover for vacation funds. But really, I love going home to Buffalo. No, it's not a fancy beach resort or a luxurious hotel in a major city. But it's HOME. Yes, I LIVE in Florida - but HOME will always, always be Buffalo, New York. You can take the girl out of Buffalo, but you can't take Buffalo out of the girl.

4. Do you belong to any bloggers associations? 
I belong to a few pages on FB - but I don't think they are officially a 'bloggers association'. If you guys have any recommendations, let me know! I'm dying to get my blog out there for more than just my two readers! :)

5. What is something people would be surprised to know about you? 
Although I go to Target quite frequently, I typically don't spend a lot of money throughout the month. Yes, I have nice handbags and beautiful jewelry (I don't have a lot of costume jewelery - most of it is the good stuff) - but those are things I don't buy all the time. I'm actually pretty good at NOT spending money - not working this past fall after JB became very ill trained me well!  

6. What's your favorite memory from the last year? 
Welcoming our beautiful baby girl into the world on August 28, 2014 at 4:19am. It was the best moment of my life and one that I playback in my mind ALL the time. It was such a quick process, and I'm thankful for that, but it's one that I'll cherish forever and ever. 

7. What is your favorite quote?
I'm such an Emily Ley fan. I literally cannot wait to get my hands on the new Simplified Planner that is coming out in May. Ever since I've been following her blog and her Instagram page, I've come across a few quotes of hers that I absolutely love. A few months ago, I ordered a print from website with the quote: 
"I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection."
As a working mama, I find these words to be oh. so. powerful. Too many times there are working mamas who try to be the best at everything. I've learned to take it one day at a time and handle the moments as they come, gracefully. This is not easy, but it's something that I work on all the time.  

8. Guilty Pleasure?
Reality television. Honestly, I don't watch a lot of television anymore but when I do, I'm usually glued to The Real Housewives (any season but Atlanta), Dance Moms, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, etc... The list goes on and on!

9. Favorite movie/book?
Guilty---> I'm a reading teacher and I don't like to read. Well that's not entirely true. I read magazines and non-fiction. I just can't get into a good book. Summer is coming, so I'll take recommendations! But my favorite movie by far is You've Got Mail. I literally know the entire movie by heart. 

10. What are three words that would describe you?
Caring, hard-working, organized  

I nominate:
Go ahead and answer the questions below, create a new set of 10 questions, then pass the award on to 10 other bloggers that have less than 200 followers--making sure to notify them!

Here are your questions

1. What inspires you to blog?
2. What are your top three favorite blogs?
3. Favorite television show?
4. Describe the best moment of your life.
5. What is a quote that you always go back to?
6. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
7. What would your best friend say about you?
8. What's your go-to beverage of choice at Starbucks?
9. What are the essentials in your purse?
10. What are three words that would describe you?
post signature

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Brunch Ideas

Yesterday was Palm Sunday which means Easter is less than a week away. Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved holidays. Easter was always a special time for my family because we would go to the Saturday evening Easter Vigil and then wake up in the morning to find what the Easter bunny brought. We would then have brunch (or some years we did an early Easter dinner). 
This year, I've decided to invite my brother and his girlfriend over for brunch on Easter. There's a really good chance my husband will be out of town for work since he's traveling for business this week and I don't want to make a huge Easter dinner for just myself. So, on Sunday, I will be hosting a very small brunch! 
I've been on Pinterest looking for ideas and came across some good ones! Here's some of my favorite Easter brunch ideas! I'll be sure to let you know later this week what I've decided to do! But for now, head on over to my Easter Brunch board!

Omelet Muffins - I really like this once since I can customize a few for my brother since he doesn't like cheese!

Oh gosh, now I want all of this. In my belly. Right. Now.

 post signature

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rosemary Garlic Red Potatoes

Anytime I suggest a dinner that consists of man-food, like pork/beef and potatoes, my husband always walk away from the table with a full belly. I'm not one for pork or beef (I could eat chicken every day), but I do try to cook it every now and again. 
I had purchased a lean pork tenderloin (Hormel brand - peppercorn seasoned) from Publix last weekend and we never got around to eating it during the week. Normally I just buy plain pork tenderloin and season it myself because the pre-seasoned ones are always way too salty for me. (I pretty much don't cook with salt, I hate it. Plus it's bad for you). But, Publix had them on sale, so I bought one anyways.
I decided to dice up some red potatoes, cook them in olive oil, and some spices, and serve that with the pork tenderloin and a side of steamed broccoli. Oh, my yum! I always have a hard time cooking potatoes this way, but I think I nailed it this time! Since it's a recipe I came up with myself, the recipe is below! 
Rosemary Garlic Red Potatoes
Red potatoes
Olive oil infused with garlic and rosemary (Or you could use regular olive oil and add fresh garlic and rosemary)
Chopped white onion
Black pepper
1. Heat oil in pan on stove - while you are doing this, wash and chop up the red potatoes. I did a couple of potatoes and it was enough for my husband and I for dinner and then leftovers for him for the next day.
2. Chop up white onion (1/4 of an onion).
3. Add red potatoes and onion.
4. Sautee on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent potatoes from sticking to bottom of pan.
5. Cover pan with lid and continue to sautee on low heat for another 15 minutes.

Pairs well with chicken, pork, and/or seafood! 

Enjoy your Sunday!
  post signature

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Seven Months Update!

Oh my. I have a seven-month old baby! Today was such a fun day of taking pictures (twice since she didn't cooperate the first time) and playing with our little peanut! 
Head over to the Elizabeth Christine section to catch up on our little JB! 
Enjoy your Saturday evening!
 post signature

Friday, March 27, 2015

Five on Friday

What. a. week. I'm so glad it's Friday. Here's this week's edition of Five on Friday!
Testing week is always a dreadful one. It's especially worse when you're a resource teacher. Pulling group after group and make-up after make-up is a complete mood buster. By the end of every day this week, I was utterly exhausted. I slept like a baby every night this week and waking up in the morning was nearly impossible. I've eaten like a pig (calories don't count the week of testing if you're a teacher). But I will say, testing is so much easier when you aren't pregnant! I still remember testing last year when I was pregnant with JB. It wasn't that my feet hurt or that I was waddling (I don't think I ever did waddle). It was the peeing every five seconds. That doesn't fly well when you're testing children. I became a pro at holding it for HOURS! Haha! Luckily today is the last day of testing until April. Then it starts back up again. Woof.
I've made coffee at home every day this week except Wednesday. I just *had* to have an iced coffee from Dunkin. My husband has been making coffee at home too! Now that we're both drinking coffee, I suppose we should have a regular coffeemaker since k-cups for 2 are expensive! But it's so much easier than filling up the carafe, turning it on, blah, blah. We'll see how fast we go through my two boxes of Tim Horton's k-cups and then maybe we'll invest in a small coffeemaker. 
I will be 31 in less than two months. Yuck. Ever since I turned 25, I've hated my birthday. I know, 31 isn't old, but it's still a year of getting older. As usual, I don't expect anything grand for my birthday - I'm pretty laid back when it comes to birthday celebrations. But I'm sure I can find a few things to add to my birthday wish list. I'm dying for a new spring handbag, but with carrying a diaper bag around most of the time, I guess it's not really a necessity.  Last year my husband got me a manicure, pedicure, and massage but I saved the pedicure for right before I had JB and used the manicure and massage after she was born! It was perfect! 
I'm about 99% sure I'll be calling Verizon Fios today to cancel our cable. We haven't turned our TV on in about a week.  My husband isn't quite sure because it's just going to reset our contract, which means we'll be stuck with Verizon Fios money-suckers for another year for internet access, but I just can't justify paying for cable when we never use it. We have Netflix as well as Amazon Prime, so it's not like we won't be able to watch our favorite television shows. Speaking of television shows, we are like 5 episodes behind on Grey's and about 7 behind on How To Get Away With Murder. Plus I haven't watched any of the new season of the Kardashians... #whitegirlproblems, right!?!?! I feel like there needs to be some binge-watching this weekend!
I booked my flight to Buffalo for a little vacation in June! I'll be out of town for a little over a week-and-a-half. The main reason we're going up there is to ride in The Ride for Roswell, which is a huge fundraiser for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. I plan on doing a blog post about it in the coming weeks, but until then, check out my fundraising page! While I'm in Buffalo, I'll be able to catch up with my friends, as well as spend time in much, much cooler weather! :) JB and I will be flying up there earlier in the month and then my husband will be flying up the weekend of the ride. We'll fly back to Tampa together at the end of the month. I can't wait!!! 

I hope you all have a fantastic Friday! See you later this weekend!!!
  post signature

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Top Things I'm Loving This Thursday

I love coffee. Whether it's just coffee with cream and sugar. Coffee with a yummy flavored creamer. Or a tasty espresso/latte type treat from Starbucks. My husband on the other hand doesn't like coffee. Only White Mocha Frapp's from Starbucks. We have a Keurig at home that I use all the time on the weekends, but lately, I've been stopping for an iced coffee on the way to work. All of this adds up my friends. It adds up fast!
On Saturday morning, I had to run to Target because I had to return something wanted to peruse around the store. I had mentioned that I would stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way home since I wanted an iced coffee but my husband and I had a conversation about me just buying a yummy fancy flavored creamer and that he'd be willing to try regular coffee at home.
Say what!?!?!
I was all over that, since it really will save us money. When I got to Target, I called my husband and read off all the different flavors. He chose exactly what I thought he would choose -  Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie. Oh. My. Goodness. It is seriously amazing. He made a cup using our Keurig (I so desperately want a new one - maybe for my upcoming birthday - hint, hint) and loaded up his coffee with it. I made a cup too, but I used a reasonable amount. I like creamer in my coffee, not coffee in my creamer. 
He said all that was missing was some whipped cream, so on Sunday while I was grocery shopping, I grabbed some and made some deliciousness when I got home! Adding whipped cream is something that we both said we'd save for the weekend and not use during the week. (I also told him I'll be sticking with my regular half-and-half creamer during the week and saving the yummy stuff for a treat here and there - I really enjoy coffee, but I don't need cookie flavored coffee every single day.)
This coffee creamer isn't overly sweet and hits the chocolate chip cookie flavor spot on. We buy a mild coffee, so not a lot is needed to bring a tasty flavor to a hot cup of coffee. They have a Snickerdoodle flavor one too, but I think we'll stick with the Chocolate Chip Cookie one for now. 

Now I'm ready for a cup of coffee after writing this!
 post signature

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

To My Sweet Elizabeth

Dear My Sweet Elizabeth,
In just a few short days, you will be turning seven months old. I still pinch myself sometimes to make sure this all isn't just a big dream. Your daddy and I prayed for you so hard. We wanted to be blessed with a baby so badly, and we finally got our wish. We spent the entire pregnancy so full of love for you. Every time we got to see you during a sonogram, our hearts grew bigger for you. We said prayers for you every night that you would continue to grow (We would say, "grow Jelly Bean, grow"). You made sure you kicked mommy every night before bed and it always made me fall asleep with happy thoughts.
On August 28th, the day you graced the world with your presence, we knew that our lives were just beginning. I remember holding you in my arms for the first time, just overwhelmed with love and joy. It was a moment that I won't ever forget. It's a moment that someday, you'll have with a baby of your own. It's a moment that every woman deserves. It's a moment that was created for us, by God.
Flash forward almost seven months later. You have mommy and daddy wrapped around your perfect little finger.  From the second we put you down in your crib at night, until the moment we wake you up in the morning, you are on our minds. We stare at the baby monitor, watching your little body go up and down with each breath you take. We watch you wiggle around and get comfortable. We hear you sighing. We hear you let out little cries that make us jump up and want to run into the nursery and pick you up.  Seven months of wanting to just sit and stare at you while you have sweet dreams. Nothing is sweeter than when you smile while you're dreaming. I told daddy a few nights ago that I wish I could curl up next to you in your crib. You are just so snuggly.
Every day you are growing and becoming stronger. In what seems like seconds, you've learned to sit up by yourself, scoot backwards and forwards, rock back and forth on your hands and knees, and you have just started to pull yourself up into a standing position. You started saying 'dada' last week and it was one of the best moments. Mommy and daddy were so excited. Daddy was even more excited because you said 'dada' first. In fact, you think everything is 'dada' and it is the cutest thing ever.  I have always loved hearing you babble, but hearing you say 'dada' is like a moment of pure love. A moment of perfection. 
I can't believe you're already seven months. It seems like just yesterday that we were feeding you just two-ounce bottles every couple of hours. Now you're drinking 6-8 ounce bottles 4-5 times a day and love baby food. One of your favorites is bananas. You like them so much that you grunt and cry when the bowl is empty. You also love sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, and pears. Daddy loves feeding you and letting you get messy. Mommy isn't quite ready for the mess yet, so you already know to be on your best behavior when mommy is feeding you. 
In seven short months, you've taught me so much...
You've taught me unconditional love.
You've taught me to listen to my inner thoughts and to follow my instincts. You've taught me to have trust in my decisions as a mommy. We call this that "feeling-in-your-gut mama instinct". You'll eventually learn what I mean by this.
You've taught me that smiling and giggling cures anything.
You've taught me about patience. (Someday I'll tell you all about why you were nicknamed our "no-nap ninja".)
You've taught me the importance about enjoying the moments as they occur - to live in the present.
You've taught me to take one day at a time. To relax. To remember the important things. To remember that it's okay to not know the answer or to be unsure with what we're doing sometimes. 

You've taught me that being a mom is the best job I've ever had. That although there are days when I go to bed exhausted, I simply cannot wait to wake up and give you good morning kisses.

You've taught me more than I'll ever to be able to express to you.

And yet you're only just turning seven months old.

I love you baby girl. Today. Tomorrow. Always and forever.

 post signature

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Easy Peasy Italian Chicken Bake

I'm all for spending the weekend cooking in the kitchen. I love it. But after making 96 ounces of baby food and a batch of Banana Nut muffins, I was beat on Sunday afternoon. Since I try my best to cook homemade dinners over the weekend, I knew I had to whip something up for my husband and I. 
I went onto Pinterest and did a search of "easy chicken". We both love chicken (I could eat it every night and completely never have red meat again). I came acoss Italian Chicken Bake from fellow blogger The Pinning Mama. I showed the picture to my husband and honestly, he looked less than thrilled at first. I told him that I promised him he'd like it (I knew I would LOVE it, so I knew I had to make it). 
It was a really simple dinner to make and the house smelled amazing the entire time it was in the oven. Love me some pesto! I'm pretty sure I could live off of pesto and bread. But then I'd be 400 pounds. Sigh. It's all about balance people! But for real, we already have plans to have pesto-mozzarella pizza this weekend. Get. In.  My.  Belly.
Since it's not a recipe I created, I don't want to post the recipe on here - so do yourself a favor and click on the recipe above! I did manage to snap some pictures as I was making dinner and right before I pretty much inhaled it. 

I need to learn how to make
homemade pesto.
Pesto & Tomatoes = Winning pair!!!

 You can never have too
 much mozzarella.

 So. Tasty.
Now go buy some pesto, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and some chicken! Yummy! 
 post signature

Monday, March 23, 2015

Home Cookin' For The Baby

I love cooking. I find it to be relaxing and a good stress-reliever. I also find that it can be quite therapeutic. A few weeks ago, I pureed some bananas for JB along with some zucchini. She hasn't had the zucchini yet (I honestly keep forgetting about it), but loves the bananas. We have been buying Nature's Best Organic baby food because I wanted to make sure it contained the least amount of ingredients possible. I don't mind purchasing the baby food, but I decided that since I have the time on the weekends, that I would start building up a nice stash in our freezer. We only have a few jars left of baby food and honestly, I can't wait until they are gone. They take up too much space in our pantry and I'm so afraid I'm going to knock a jar over and it's going to crack open all over our floor.

So, on Saturday morning, I got a list going of all the baby food I wanted to make - everything I made was something that she has had before, but the jar-version of it. On my list were carrots, peas, bananas, pears, and sweet potatoes.  

I bought a bag of the Greenwise frozen organic peas from Publix. I boiled some water, tossed the frozen peas into the steaming basket, and let them do their thing. Easy-peasy! Once they were done, I tossed the water and threw them into the blender. I added a little bit of water, hit puree and voila! Pea puree for our little one! One 10-oz bag of frozen peas made 6-once ounce cubes along with 4-once ounce cubes that I also added carrot puree to. We didn't have a second ice cube tray and there was a little bit of the carrot-pea puree mixture left (4 ounces) so I just stuck it the fridge for her dinner over the weekend.

 As far as the carrots, I bought Greenwise organic carrots (the small bag) and washed, peeled, and sliced. I steamed them just like I did the peas. It made the exact same amount as the peas. 

Sunday morning, I woke up with baby food on my mind again! I grabbed a bunch of bananas, peeled and sliced them, and tossed them into the blender. 7 bananas makes a lot of baby food! We got 16 one-ounce cubes, plus 6 2-oz containers. So that's 28 ounces of banana puree!

As I was finishing up the bananas, I washed, forked, and wrapped 4 sweet potatoes in foil. I put them into a 400-degree preheated oven for 75 minutes. Boy did it make the house smell good! Once they were done, I peeled off the skin, tossed them into the blender, and hit puree! I added about 10 ounces of water as well to make sure it was the right consistency. We now have sweet potatoes for days! LOL! It made about 28 ounces (16 1-ounce cubes and then 6 2-ounce containers. 

Finally I made pear puree. I bought two bartlett pears and two bosc pears. I washed them and then peeled, cored, and chopped them. I steamed them just like I did the peas and carrots, only it took way longer! The pears were so NOT ripe, so I ended up steaming for about 20 minutes. I kept checking but they weren't fork-tender. But that's okay since I had SUCH a messy kitchen to clean up! Once they were done, I pureed them along with about 4 ounces of water. 4 pears made about 16 ounces (6 2-oz containers).

So how does all of this add up compared to jar baby food? Well, at Publix Nature's Best is around $1.19 for a 4-oz jar. That is enough for 2 meals for JB. We could probably give her more than 2 ounces, but that's something we'll start next weekend when she turns 7 months!!! Here's the breakdown! Jarred food is .30 an ounce...

$1.06 (1.53 lbs) - made 28 ounces = .03 an ounce! Yes!
Sweet Potatoes
$2.86 (2.22 lbs) - made 28 ounces = .10 an ounce! 
$3.48 (1.98 lbs) - made 16 ounces = .22 an ounce!
$2.39 (10 ounce bag) - made 12 ounces = .20 an ounce!
$1.29 (small bag) - made 12 ounces = .11 an ounce! 

96 ounces were made for the total cost of $11.08! Now that's what I call amazing!!!
So needless to say, our freezer is stocked with baby food now! Next weekend I'll be making blueberries, spinach, and maybe I'll try avocado again. I haven't had much luck with avocado - I'm not experienced with preparing it so I've struck out a few times!    post signature

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Baby's First Word and Why I'm Happy She Said It...

Elizabeth is not only almost 7 months old, but now she's talking.
Last week, she said "dada" but we thought maybe it was just a fluke. I'll never forget that moment. All three of us were in our bedroom, having playtime on the bed. JB was doing her normal babbling, which I find to be outrageously cute. All of a sudden, out comes a crystal-clear "dada". Shaun and I didn't know what to do - other than to give each other a huge smile and a sweet high-five. I immediately grabbed my phone and turned on the video camera, but naturally, she was like "no mama, you may not record me talking just yet". I like to think of it as her just wanting to perfect it before I share it with the world. 
Throughout the week, she said it multiple times. I encouraged her to keep saying it. Sure, I wanted her first were to be "mama", as any mommy out there hopes for. But, the more I got thinking about it - I'm glad her first word was dada. It really made Shaun smile. He travels so much on business trips for work, that he misses a lot of time with Elizabeth. This made me realize how important it was to him that she said dada before mama. 
I asked him tonight how he felt that her first word was dada, and he was all smiles.  
I don't know what I would do if I wasn't around Elizabeth every morning, afternoon, and evening. The older she gets, the more I notice how much Shaun misses her. After I left the house Friday morning, I sent him a text message saying how much I miss her while I'm at work. He texted back saying how hard it is to kiss her goodbye in the morning and sometimes not kiss her goodnight for a few days. 
It nearly ripped my heart out of my chest.
That's why I pretty much let it be dada-baby time on the weekends. I usually leave the house for several hours on Saturdays and Sundays so they are able to have some bonding time together. I don't mind doing this at all. I'm lucky because during the week, I have the time in the morning with her while I'm getting ready for work and then all afternoon and evening. Sure, we do things together on the weekends, but I gladly save all my errands for Saturdays and Sundays. My errands usually include grocery shopping, picking up any items I purchased during the week from the FB yardsales (obsessed much!?!?), running to Target at least two times, and going to the gym. While I'm gone, I know that the two of them are together, having fun daddy-daughter moments. 
So, if JB's first word was "dada", I'm okay with that. I know it means a lot to Shaun. What means even more to Shaun is that he was home when she said it for the first time. And that he was home today when she kept saying it over and over and over again. Hearing her say "dada" is like music to my ears.
The two of them have always had a special bond. She looks at him a completely different way than how she looks at me. It's just so heartwarming to see the two of them together. 
Flashback Moment... 
Look at the smile on his face. Such a beautiful moment.
Now we just have to get her to say "mama"! 
Happy Sunday everyone! 
 post signature

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sweet Saturday Series ~ Midweek Date Nights

Last Monday morning, I put the surprise cd in my husband's car. He was in complete and utter surprise by it! He sent me this text in the morning once he had gotten into his car.


Yes. I call him The Dada... It's a joke we've had since JB was about a month old. He's The Dada and I'm "The Mama". I know, we're nuts.

I'm lucky I was even able to make that CD - we lost power twice during my attempt to download the songs (legally of course) and burn them onto a CD. But, everything worked out perfectly and now he has a beautiful CD of songs that tell him how much I love him! Sigh. Such a romantic, aren't I? 
So onto the second edition of my Sweet Saturday Series: Midweek Date Nights
We typcially don't go on a lot of dates because we like being at home. Not to mention, I hate having to find someone to watch JB. We'd both rather just stay home and hang out with our little princess.  Attachment issues much!?!? I don't think it's so much my husband, but I get kinda anxious when I'm not around my little Lizzie Lou. I'm always wondering how she's doing, if she's fussy, if she's happy and playing, if she drank her bottle, etc. And no, don't you dare tell me to "Let it Go", LOL. She's already growing so quickly that I do want to be home with her, watching her grow! 
I've discovered though the joy of doing a midweek date night, at home! It all works out once our little peanut goes to bed! She's typically in bed by 7:30, which means we have a couple of hours before we head to bed to do some sort of an at-home date night! 
Over the weekend, I had a need to watch the movie The Skulls. Shush. Don't judge. We planned an evening to watch it, we bought special drinks, had popcorn, but couldn't find the DVD. Apparently neither one of us own it, even though we thought we did. I ended up ordering it on Amazon Prime Sunday night and it arrived Wednesday afternoon! Score!
Once our little peanut went to bed on Wednesday evening, we popped in the movie, grabbed some popcorn, and got ready to watch the movie. We even put away our laptops and our cell phones. It was perfect! I actually enjoyed an evening away from being on Facebook and IG. Don't get me wrong, I love social media...but I needed a break. After the movie, we went to bed and we were talking about how awesome it was to just enjoy a movie without the clicking of laptop keys or the chime of a cell phone text message.

How often do you and your significant other put away your cell phones, tablets, and laptops and truly just spend time together, without interruption from the outside world?

 Stay tuned next Saturday for another edition of my Sweet Saturday Series!  post signature

Friday, March 20, 2015

Five on Friday

Why hello there Fri-yay! :) Glad you're back! This week actually went by surprisingly fast - especially the beginning part of the week! I hope you all had a great week and are as excited as I am that it's time for Five on Friday! 

We almost have a crawler. I'm amazed at how determined Elizabeth is to surprise mommy and daddy with all these milestones. It seems like she's slightly ahead of the game with some of her milestones, and well, I'm perfectly fine with that! :) I call her my little gifted baby! Ha! But for real - yesterday afternoon, we were on our bed after I changed her diapee (because all the cool moms call it a diapee instead of a diaper) and she was up on all fours. She actually moved her right knee forward and did a semi-crawl, but then face-planted. Man, I wish I could embed some emojicons right here... LOL - picture the one with the smile and the tears dripping down the face. She then wanted to be a show-off and stand with her little walker - I had it pushed against the wall so it would balance her. She only managed to stay up long enough for me to snap a quick pic and then I caught her as she started to fall. Falling by the way is waaaaaaay less stressful with a little baby helmet! 

I've NAILED it with water consumption this week. I am loving the fruit-infused water and have been trying out different combinations. So far, my favorite is the raspberry and lemon! Even my students are intrigued by my water bottle every day and it's a great way to teach them about the important of drinking water! I've had 64 ounces of water almost every day this week! 

Over the past few weeks, I've been trying so hard to relax and to not worry over the small stuff. I've done a pretty good job at not freaking out when something doesn't go the way it's supposed to. I came across this yesterday and it made me want to work even harder on less-worrying, less-stressing, and more just enjoying life for what it is because we have to Trust in God. Preach, right???

It's blazing-hot already in Florida and it's only the first day of Spring. I love Florida winters, but they are just never long enough. I would love to live in an area where it's low 70s 24/7. It's awful when running errands makes you all sweaty! It was pretty toasty last week too over spring break, so JB and I pretty much spent the week indoors. It's too hot for her to be outside with a helmet on. Last Thursday we went to a shopping plaza and just going from one store to another store made her ridiculously sweaty. I had to rip off her pants once we got back to the car so that when she was in her car seat, she wouldn't overheat. Thank goodness this whole helmet thing *should* be over before the real heat begins this summer. From now until like November is just gross here in Florida. Yuck. If you're looking for me, I'll be inside, in the air-conditioning and not anywhere close to being outside. Boo, hiss.

Pinterest. Oh Pinterest. Lately I've avoided going on the site because my boards overwhelm me. I have so, so, so many boards and I literally don't cook, bake, or do ANY of it. I had to start somewhere with deleting things, so I decided to delete my teaching boards. Yes, I'm still teaching, but I rarely, rarely ever use things online. I pretty much just use leveled-readers with my kiddos because that's what the district has directed us to do. I mean, I had a TON of boards for teaching - ranging from Dental Health units when I taught First Grade, to Differentiated Instruction boards for when I was the AGP teacher for a hot five seconds, to boards on literacy centers, reading strategies, etc. I figured that if (and when) I need to find something on Pinterest for teaching, I'll start a new board of things that I'll actually use again and again. I have a ton more boards I want to organize - I have a few different baby boards (one was a secret from when we found out I was pregnant but it was too early to announce) as well as wedding boards. Do I just delete the wedding boards? Isn't that bad luck or something?

So tell me, all you bloggers who are on Pinterest - how many boards do you have? Do you use all of them? Do you bake/make/cook whatever you pin right away? I need a new strategy! Ha! 

Have a fabulous Friday everyone! Catch you over the weekend!

post signature

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Splenda: Why I Quit Eating It

On any given day, I do my best to make healthy choices with the food I'm eating. (Fellow teachers, you know that this is nearly impossible though during spring testing season, so I'll be hitting it HARD at the gym this weekend). I've done amazing this week with drinking water. Every day at work, I've consumed 64 ounces of water and I literally pee like a pregnant woman! Ha! 
Even a few years ago when I changed my lifestyle to one that was full of fruits and vegetables, less fatty foods, and way more exercise, BUT I had a lot of foods with sucralose and aspartame. I know. It's bad. I now realize that, which is the reason behind this post.
Honestly, it wasn't until I was getting headaches almost daily that I decided to eliminate these artificial sweeteners from my diet. I wasn't using Splenda packets that often, but I would always order my drinks "Skinny" from Starbucks, which consists of the sugar-free syrups. I would also drink diet caffeinated beverages quite frequently. A lot of the yogurt I ate also had these sweeteners. It also didn't help that during the last trimester of my pregnancy, I was diagnosed misdiagnosed with gestational diabetes, so I often had sugar-free pudding. Looking back, I was consuming a lot of these products.
Too many of these products.
Right after the holidays in December, I told my husband I was eliminating all artificial sweeteners from my diet. I explained that I was tired of the headaches and that they ALL couldn't be sinus related. I have coffee every morning, but I use regular sugar. My drinks from Starbucks? Regular syrup and I just cut the calories by having less pumps and by having skim milk instead of whole. Soda? I rarely drink it, but when I do, I have a small glass of my husband's Dr. Pepper or Root Beer. My yogurt is aspartame and sucralose free, as is the rest of the food I eat.
Guess what?
No headaches. Well, just sinus headaches. 
I've literally had two headaches since January 1st - both sinus and/or tension related.
To be honest, I haven't done a lot of research on aspartame and sucralose because I know it's a chemical nightmare. It's pretty much poison. From the research I've done, it's pretty much like ingesting chlorinated pesticides like DDT. Even the FDA states that sucralose is 98% pure. But my question is what's in that other 2%, which could be causing other health concerns like headaches? Not to mention that it has been found to decrease the effectiveness in medicines such as cancer-treating drugs. Oh yes, and obviously it releases toxins into your body.

Obviously I can't take back the artificial sweeteners I've consumed thus far in my life. But I can certainly stop consuming it. I for one am enjoying the afternoons without pounding headaches!

Do you use artificial sweetners?
   post signature
© A Life of Love and Joy. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.