I haven’t been able to get a handle on life recently.  I feel like I am running in 18 different directions and nothing is getting done…just a lot of stuff done half assed.

For example…my week.

On Monday, I went to work while the rest of the state seemed to take a snow day.  After work, I ran to the gym.  After that, I came home, showered and went to a doctor’s appointment (thank God my doctor is opened until 8:30).  Then, I went to my parent’s to pick up HJ.  However, I had a 7am scheduled appointment.  Knowing there was no way to get HJ back to my parents and make my appointment all before 7am, we crashed at their house.  I woke up Tuesday for my appointment, ran home to take care of the dog, and got to work.  After work, I called the chiropractor because I hurt my back.  There were able to fit me in 20 minutes from then, or the next week.  So, I raced home to pick up HJ from my mom (school was cancelled AGAIN), and went to the chiropractor.  Followed by the gym.  Then the grocery store.  We got home at 8pm.

Tonight is the first time I have sat on my couch since Saturday.  And that’s just because I have a cold and feel yucky.

Part of it is that my gym only has daycare Monday thru Thursday, so if I want to work out, I have to do it those nights.  On top of other life stuff.  It makes me feel like week nights are hectic, and that I hardly see my little guy until Friday night.

I haven’t been able to attempt household chores.  I have had clothes in the dryer for 3 days.  HJ threw some toys around the living room a week ago, and I’m uncertain how long the bowl of grapes has been on the kitchen table.

I don’t get how people do it.  How do people manage work, school, kids, house, working out, life, etc.?  I feel like I have been running around in crazed panic mode for months and that the slightest upset could cause me to lose my marbles.

The icing on my whirlwind cake?  Preschool registration is Friday.  Apparently, it’s like black Friday around here.  People go wait in the starting at 6am until the doors open at 7:30. It’s a first come first serve thing.  My problem?  I hate throwing out the single mom card.  But what the heck?  I have to bring HJ with me and be ready to go for the day.  I don’t have a significant other at home that can get the kids ready, or switch spots with me while needing to get ready for work.  I am dragging my 4-year-old with me to sit in the cold.  For the shot at maybe getting in, but most likely not.

I had like 4 more paragraphs ranting and venting about preschool, but I deleted it.  I am sure I will vent more, but for now, let’s just quote my feelings as “AHHHHHHHH”.

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Guess who’s excited for Valentine’s Day?  Not me.  I will be doing nothing with no one.  HJ however, has some super cute Valentine’s to share with his class.

I was trying to think of something fun that doesn’t involve candy (I’m sure he will get plenty).  I was running through Sam’s Club to pick up treats for snack day at school, when I found a great deal on Animal Crackers.  It was 36 bags for $5.99.  I actually have no idea if that’s a great deal, because I am a horrible comparison shopper, but it sounded inexpensive to me.

I started looking on etsy to find a cute tag to put on the animal crackers, and ran across this store.  I worked with Ashlee, and she changed the color to red (from pink), and emailed it to me.

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I printed the cards out into cute little circles and punched a hole at the top.  I then punched a hole at the top of the animal cracker bag and tied them up with some cute ribbon (leftover from Christmas).

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HJ has been patiently waiting for his Valentine’s party so he can share his special treats with all his friends.

Every year, I have been able to find HJ’ Valentine’s on etsy.  Last year, we went a little rock and roll and the year before was bookmarks and pencils.

I want to thank Yoplait for sponsoring today’s #TasteOff, and giving me the opportunity to openly express my honest opinion.

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HJ and I decided to take part in the Yoplait vs. Chobani taste-off.  Our mission was to pick up Yoplait Greek Blueberry and Chobani Blueberry Fruit on the Bottom.

I was really excited to learn both were on sale at Target, the Yoplait was $1, while Chobani was a bit more.  HJ and I came home ready to face the challenge.

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(HJ wanted to eat right from the bowls…which I declared ok since he can’t read.  I put them in bowls and tested without knowing which was which)

HJ first voted for both, but kept eating from the Yoplait dish, which he officially declared his favorite.

I thought the Chobani was good, but had almost a sour taste compared to the Yoplait.  Also, the Yoplait was a bit smoother, and I am a huge texture person.

Here’s a quick video of his official stance:

Want to have your own taste-off?  Find info and coupons here!

I have been blogging for 3 years.  It started off with a few dedicated readers.  I didn’t tell many people about my blog, but wanted to see if I could find others in similar situations.  I was shocked and slightly frightened when the first random commenter appeared.  And when the followers started going up.  I wondered why in the world these people wanted to hear what I had to say, but loved the fact they did.

I love hearing from readers.  I have been lucky.  I have only had one negative commenter.  I was even more amazed that the negative commenter ended up getting blasted by many of you.  I never responded to the comment, I didn’t know how to.  But I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support I was shown.

When I get emails from people telling me their stories, or how I have helped them, it brings tears to my eyes.  As the blog grew, I grew.  I eventually told friends, and love hearing their thoughts on my posts (for some reason they never comment…).

I have been way to excited when I get recognized.  It’s only happened three times, but it’s a weird feeling; knowing that this stranger knows so much about my life.

I haven’t been as active lately.  I use to actively pursue sponsored posts.  I would comment and talk to other bloggers, but since starting a job where I spend all day working (gasp!), I haven’t been able too.  For a while, this bothered me.  But instead, it has allowed me the opportunity to get back to why I started.  For fun.

While sponsored posts are fun, it was getting to be a burden making sure everything was done in time with correct links and lingo, etc.  Instead, I have been able to pursue only the opportunities that truly excite or interest me.

I haven’t had time to focus on getting my links on every social media avenue, worry about sponsorship or even look at my daily stats.  While this may seem like I am moving backwards, I like the direction it’s going.  It means I only have time to share the stuff I truly want to, and not just throwing something together for the sake of needing a post.

3 years is a long time in the blogging world, and while I might seem more distant lately, I’m not going anywhere.

This week at school, HJ is learning all about clothes (I don’t exactly know what that means).  We were told to let them pick out their favorite outfits.  Tuesday rolls around (HJ’s first day of school for the week) and I tell him to wear his favorite outfit.  He came out wearing not one, not two, but three angry bird shirts.  At once.  He looked like a little butterball.  An adorable, angry bird, butterball.  Then he proceeded to show me his Ninja Turtle underwear.  We had a quick lesson on not showing the underwear off at school.

A few weeks ago, I heard about a single mom who was attacked fairly close to where I live.  She has a 4-year-old boy who witnessed the whole thing.  It hit a little close to home.  On top of that, it was random.  Apparently some guy was knocking on her door saying he needed help because there had been an accident.  When she opened the door, he tried to rape her and told her he was going to kill her.  She was able to get away and get help, but holy crap.  Frightening.  Check out the article.  Needless to say, unless I know who is on the other side of the door, I probably wont be answering it.  Thank goodness for a peephole.  But still, if someone says they need help, I don’t want to be bitter and not offer assistance.  This is why bad people really suck.  It makes it so I don’t know if I should help or not. What would you do if someone was on the other side of the door asking for help because of an accident?

This past week, I managed to stay under my calorie count.  On top of that, I started the c25k app (couch to 5 k).  I have never been a runner, but I am trying. One thing I have learned is that running sucks. That, and I am barely eating processed foods anymore.  And, I feel like I have more energy.  Now if only the 17 pounds would just slide right off…

This week seemed forever long, so I am super glad it’s almost the weekend.  Saturday, HJ starts swim lessons, and Saturday night I get to go to a b-day party while HJ has a sleep over at nana and papa’s.  Love the weekends :)

Hope you all have a great one!

My “biggest” resolution of the year was to get hot, er, healthy.  My weight has fluctuated a lot in the last few years.

You know those moms that pop out a baby, and within weeks it looks like there is no way they just gave birth?  I was totally that mom.  Ugh, I know.  Not only did I lose all the baby weight within a few weeks, I then lost an additional 6 pounds with breastfeeding.

My first casual day at work, I learned all my jeans were way too big.  I am sure I was just devastated.  Or I danced around the room.

Shortly after going back to work, we discovered HJ had a dairy allergy.  This meant cutting out all casein and whey products in my diet and going dairy free.  You know what this meant?  I lost an additional 11 pounds.

Right, so about 4 months after giving birth, I weighed 17 pounds LESS than my pre-pregnancy weight and had huge boobs.

Current me hates that skinny bitch.

I weighed less than I did in high school.  And was barely working out.  It was a dream.  But like all dreams, it came to an end.  Eventually my love of cheese won over and HJ grew up and stop breast-feeding.  I figured the weight would come right back on, but it came back on slowly.  And steadily.  And then more quickly.

My size 00 jeans (seriously, I hate that skinny bitch) were packed away and my pre-pregnancy 2 jeans fit perfect.  Granted, I no longer had a mini-bikini body, but I still looked pretty damn good.

And then those jeans got packed away.

And one day, I thought I should try some of those pre-prego jeans on, and they got stuck at my knees.  And I realize, I let myself go.  I actually weigh myself and look at the BMI chart at the gym.

For the first time in my life I am considered overweight.

That sentence was really hard to type.  Out there for everyone to see.

I knew it by looking at myself, but figured it couldn’t happen to me, right?  I still work out.  I know what I should be doing to stay in the “normal” range, but somehow, my body crept past it.

So, I mere 3 years ago, I was 17 pounds UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight.  Today, I am 20 pounds OVER my pre-pregnancy weight.  That is a fluctuation of 37 pounds in 3 years.  Are you freaking kidding me?

I have been wanting to do something about it for the past year, but I was embarrassed.  Too proud to admit I let myself go like this.  So here it all is, for you to all see.

Since April, I gained 10 pounds.  That is ridiculous.  I am over weight.

When I tell friends this, they say there is no way.  I guess that makes me feel a bit better, maybe I am hiding it well, but then there is proof…

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I use to think I was cute.  Now, I hate looking in the mirror.  Trying on clothes is a disaster, and I feel like nothing fit rights.  I miss trying on clothes and having everything look nice, because I was in shape.  I miss having confidence and not cringing when I see photos or catch a glimpse in a mirror.

I am not saying I want to be back to my super skinny  00 days, I have set my goal weight reasonable.  My goal weight is 3 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight (and pre-baby me could eat Mexican every night and not gain a pound).

When January started, I weighed 20 pounds more than my pre-pregnancy body.  To put this in perspective, I gained 23 pounds while pregnant.  Basically, I weigh the same as 9 pound pregnant me.  That is disgusting.  I feel disgusting.

I am finally being serious about losing weight, and am doing more than just working out.  I have been tracking my calories for a  week, and have been able to stay under 1,200 every day.  I kicked off 2014 with the Advocare 10-Day cleanse, and am committed to being healthier this year.

My goal is to lose 17 pounds this year.  So far, I am down 3 and a half pounds.

The last few times I tried to lose weight and get back in shape, I feel like I kept it to myself.  This time, I shared it.  It is helping me to hold myself accountable.  Whenever I have wanted to skip counting a few calories or shirt myself on a workout, I remind myself that I am really only cheating myself.  No one else really cares if I lose a few pounds, but I do.  Here’s to being healthy this year!

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Just over 2 years ago, I made no-sew roman shades for my kitchen, in a fun, yellow, chevron print.  The fabric I used was the same as the no-sew curtains I made for the kitchen, that now live in the playroom.

Recently, I had purchased new curtains for the kitchen because I think chevron is a bit overused (and better suited for a cute playroom).  I had not been able to find a fabric to replace the old, no-sew roman shades.

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I was searching online and in stores, but nothing that struck my fancy.  Until now.  WOOHOO.

Here is another how-to, with a bit more detail…

The first thing I did was grab my items.  Fabric, heat-bond (because I am not sewing), a tension rod, an iron and scissors.  And a cute, pajama wearing assistant (pajama assistant is optional…and actually makes it take a bit longer).

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Lay the fabric out, with the side you want to show facing down.  Measure the fabric out to cover the window (length and width), and then add an extra inch on the 2 sides that go along the width.  For the length, I did an extra inch on the bottom and an extra 3 inches on the top (this leaves room to slide in the tension rod).

Cut a strip of the heat bond and place along the edge of the fabric, iron it on.

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When the strip is attached, peel off the paper and fold over.  This creates the “hem”.  Do this to all sides.  For the top, be sure to leave a small gap to slide the tension rod in.  I do this by folding the fabric over a bit more and leaving a space.

The curtain part is done.

Now I make two strips of fabric to help hold the curtain up.  To do this, I cut two pieces, two feet long and 4 inches across.  On the long sides, I do a strip of heat bond along each side.  Then, I fold both over and finish the hem.  On the ends, I put pieces of Velcro (just a cheap stick-on), and the strips are done!

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Now it’s time to put it on the window.  Here is what it looks like with out the strips holding it up…

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Then, climb gracefully into the sink to add the strips.

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Here is a little before and after of the kitchen…

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I love the new look, and think it looks a bit more classic then the chevron did.

The total cost was under $20.  $15 for fabric, $3 for the heat bond.  I already had a tension rod (which is just a few dollars) and the Velcro stick-ons (also not more then a few dollars).  I love that this only takes about a half hour, so if I do get sick of this one as well, it is an easy switch!

 

 

I received a letter in the mail a few weeks ago.  In it, it states my taxes are being audited in 2011 for the childcare portion.  Just that portion.  I thought it was weird I was pinpointed.  I don’t make that much money, I didn’t think there was anything on there that would be a red flag, but apparently there was.  I called the listed number to make sure I knew exactly what was needed from me to avoid any penalties, I reviewed my taxes from 2011 to make sure everything looked accurate (it did), and waited for the return call.  They called back quickly, and the guy I spoke to was really nice about helping me.  I asked him why I was picked.  The reason?  My total income and daycare costs are so close it was flagged because they find it surprising I could afford it.  I told him I felt the exact same way.

Thanks to Tania, I was reminded how much I LOVE this song.  Apparently, I am a romantic.

 

It is inevitable.  Whenever I pack all the Christmas decorations and put them in the crawl space, I find 3 more things that need to be packed away.  Please tell me this isn’t just me.

I have been doing good at changing how I eat, but holy cow I want a Scratch cupcake.  I can just taste it. I recently heard there are between 1,200-1,800 calories per cupcake.  I wish I never would have learned that fact.  A McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese and a large fry is also 1,200 calories, but at least that is a whole meal (of course, I would still rather have the cupcake).

I am one of those people who washes my hair every few days.  Between washes, I use to throw it in a bun and hope it didn’t get too wet while I showered.  Clare, from Save the Blowdry, changed that.

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It’s not just any ol’ shower cap.  It has a lining that is soft and completely protects my hair.  Not to mention, it’s pretty cute.

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Now, cross your fingers for me that there is no freezing rain so that I can head to my sister’s place for the weekend!

You all know I love meals that I can prepare in advance.  It makes weeknight dinners much easier, and usually means we are eating something tasty.  This dish did not disappoint.

 

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Ingredients:

1 Bottle Toasted ASian Sesame Dressing

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

4 Chicken Breast

2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter, Crunchy

2 Tablespoons Honey

1/2 Teaspoon Red Crushed Pepper

1 Pound Spaghetti Pasta

2 Carrots, Shredded

4 Green Onions, Chopped

8 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

 

For the freezer:

1. Place chicken in a freezer bag.  Mix dressing and soy sauce.  Pour 1/3 cup over chicken.  Freeze.

2. Add peanut butter, honey and crushed red pepper to remaining 1/3 cup of dressing mixture.  Bag and freeze.

3. Bag remaining ingredients and freeze.

*It is helpful to label the bags with the entrée and date.  Also, if you don’t combine all the bags into 1 main bag, mark them 1 of 3, 2 of 3 and 3 of 3, so you know you have them all on cooking day.

Day before cooking, take out of freezer and place in fridge.

 

Cooking Day:

1. Cook chicken on skillet, medium-high heat for 8 minutes or until cooked through.

2. Cook pasta.

3. Add other items from the freezer to the skillet.

4. Mix in with pasta.

 

This is a meal that HJ and I both loved.  The best part?  Leftovers were even better, the flavor was awesome the next day.

* I discovered this recipe while attending a DISH event put on by Hy-Vee.  They help coordinate freezer meals with groups.  I have participated a few times, and highly recommend it!  Contact your local Hy-Vee to see if they participate, and if they don’t, ask them to (I did!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man, I am really good at spacing out the vacation posts.  Three months later and still doing it.  That, or I completely forgot.

Anywoo…

Our last day of park fun, we decided to relax in the morning and take it easy.  HJ and I had breakfast and headed to the pool (mind you, this was the first day it wasn’t 90 degrees, just 73).  HJ and his cousin were approached by a lifeguard and asked to officially open the waterslide.

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They got to make an announcement, help unlock the gate and be the first ones to go down the slide.  HJ loved, loved the waterslide.

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After playing for a bit, we got ready to hit up Epcot.

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The temperature was perfect this day, and definitely welcomed after the hot days before.  We used our fast passes to go on Nemo and Soarin and also to do a character meet and greet.

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As you can see, he was thrilled.

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A highlight was during “Turtle Talk with Crush”.  It is an interactive show where the kids get to sit in front and talk to Crush.  When Crush asked the audience if they had questions, HJ’s hand shot up.  Crush asked, “What’s your question, little dude in the blue shell?”.  HJ didn’t hesitate and spoke into the microphone, “How does you get in you shell?”

Crush let him know that Sea Turtles don’t actually go into their shells, that’s more land turtle stuff.  Huh.  The more you know.

As our day was winding down, we headed over for a concert.  Not just any concert, BOYS 2 MEN.  That’s right.  BOYS 2 MEN.  Although, they lost a member.  But, it was fantastic and brought me back to junior high skating parties.

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By the time the concert was over, it was getting dark.  HJ was so worn out, he fell asleep in the stroller, and we were heading to the gates.  When we got back to the resort, it was hard to keep HJ up long enough to get his pj’s on.

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The next morning, we had a breaskfast and decided we had time to kill before heading to the airport.  We went to Downtown Disney to walk around a bit and let the kids burn off some energy.

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It was a great end to an incredible vacation.