Category Archives: mommy life

I’ll Show You My… Hometown

“Home is where your heart is.” If this is true my home is all over the country! When we first decided to write about our hometown this month I knew what I’d be writing about, the place I grew up and spent most of my childhood and teenage years, even part of my young adult life. Then I thought on this quote and all the other places I’ve lived, including where I currently live. How am I to write about my “hometown” when I have more than one? I thought maybe a quick internet search would help me decide. NOPE! Even Google says a hometown is “the town where one was born or grew up, or the town of one’s present fixed residence.”  Not helpful Google!

I narrowed it down to two (ok three) places I’d call my hometown. Let’s start at the beginning… where I began. Mission Viejo, California. I was born and raised in Southern California. Beaches, palm trees, delicious food, 6 lanes of freeway traffic, less than an hour from Disneyland. Yep this is my hometown and where some of my family still live. I love and miss them dearly. Let me show you…

Backyard in Mission Viejo
Nothing beats a gorgeous sunset over the ocean.
Going shooting with my Papa
Angels baseball games!
Watching my baby grow up here
Many hours spent at Disneyland
One of many delicious meal options.
Did I mention the beach?

Summer days and nights spent at the beach, I graduated high school and college living here. Would I ever move back? Probably not, the cost of living is ridiculously high now, ok it always has been. But part of me will always be a SoCal girl. Occasionally we visit and I am able to step foot on the glorious sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean and grab a double-double.

Part of my youth was also spent living in Utah. The place has grown and changed much since I’ve lived there. As I’ve said before, home is where the heart is and I have much family in Utah still. While I lived in American Fork, UT, most of the Utah Valley and parts of Salt Lake Valley are my “home”.

Mountains are unbeatable
My Utah family

 

So many siblings, in laws, nieces and nephews living in Utah. Going back to visit is easy, leaving is harder every time.My current hometown is Milford, PA. I went from city life to rural life. I’ve never seen so many trees before living here. Just like each of my previous hometowns, there is beauty and excitement to be found here as well. We’ve lived in our home for 5 years now and I’m still finding the places for my heart.

PA roads and skies
Family friendly hiking trails along rivers and waterfalls
Sharing outdoor living space with deer
Milford, my hometown
Colorful sunsets over the lake
White winter views
Kids enjoying the outdoors

All in all I consider myself lucky to be able to have more than one hometown. Milford is my home and I’m learning more each day about myself, my family and this area. I look forward to finding where my next hometown will be, many years from now. Where is your hometown?

Share your hometown and link up with us here.

 

I died…

Last week my life changed forever, I died.

Ok I didn’t completely and literally die, but after this last weekend I will never be the same. It all started a little over a year ago I began my healthy life crusade. Working out was a regular part of my schedule, I even found a tribe of women working out and supporting each other. We hiked and I shared part of my journey here.  I was preparing and planning for my very first Spartan race; hiking and weight lifting to prepare myself physically, especially hiking around with Baby K on my back. I could handle a little 3-5 mile obstacle course, no big deal! Ugh if I only knew then what I know now… I could not imagine what a life changing event I was in store for.

The original plan was to go with a group from Tribe, but this summer has thrown all of our schedules off and no one else was able to attend. AJ had previously volunteered with me at a race so we both had a free race coupon to use. His original plan was for a Beast or Super Spartan. Knowing I would be alone, I registered for my very first Spartan.

I knew going into the race there would be obstacles I was not ready to overcome, the rope climb is my ultimate nemesis. Even knowing this and knowing the 30 burpee penalty per failed obstacle, I was going to finish! My goal was to come in under 5 hours.  I know, 5 hours for 4 miles? Yes, 4 miles of up a ski resort mountain and back trails, cleared specifically for the race. Oh yes and 20 obstacles and doing 30 burpees per failed obstacle, this was going to take some time.

Race Map

To my surprise (and complete gratitude after the fact) AJ registered Friday night to race with me. He wasn’t doing it for him but for me! In reality, going into it I was not certain how nice I would be able to be. This might make or break our marriage. We would come out of this more in love or I’d be so raging angry and cranky I would say not nice things to him causing a rift in our relationship. 

Pre-race face

Morning of the race we were running late but arrived with time to spare. 8:30 am we climbed over the Spartan starting wall to begin our very first Spartan Sprint. Up the mountain we started, over 5 foot hurdles, yes while still going up the slope of the mountain, further up we went still. The first mile was the longest drudge to the peak. It was not a straight up climb nor was it a well worn path. There were some more walls to climb over but these I did on my own since they were on level ground. Although I did smack my ribs pretty hard on either these walls or the hurdles when I broke the mouth piece off of the camelpak I was wearing ugh! Bruised ribs SUCK! Over another wall, under another and through a third, yep through it, there were holes.

Miles 2 and 3 blurred together for me.  Hiking up and down hilly, rock covered, sprain your ankle terrain, intermixed with obstacles designed to push you to your physical, emotional and mental limits, you bet I lost track of what mile and obstacle we were at. Obstacles such as crawling under a cargo net in swamp mud fit for any wallowing pig. Then make it thru the crawl and slush thru a few more mucks of water to a dunk wall. Down into a pit of water, scramble up, back down into another and up again until the third time you’re down in deeper water facing a wall you now have to go under, the dunk wall. After the mud it was actually refreshing.

Back up the mountain we went to the slip wall. You’d think having a knotted rope to climb up a slippery wall (remember all the mud and water we just went thru?) would make it easy. Sure I did. I got right on up there, grabbed the rope and scrambled up the wall. I was about to pull myself up to the top when someone next to me lost his footing and slipped. I lost my concentration and footing as well. Then I felt the ribs, again. I was going to fall, until someone behind me stopped me. Someone was below me helping me to stay up, AJ up top reached his hand out to help me over the top and I made it! Dang slippery wall. There were more variations of walls and other obscene obstacles. Some were a cake walk for me, others… not so much. There was a sandbag carry, just like it sounds. Grab a heavy bag filled with sand, lug it up and around the mountain a bit and drop it back off. The Hercules hoist, using a rope and pulley system hoist a heavy bag up to the top of the rigging and back down again. Don’t let the bag free fall to the ground… not cool, or part of the challenge. The plate drag. This was cleverly designed on the side of the mountain with little holes dug into the path. All in all those were the easy ones for me, and the ones I enjoyed. Oh yes and lets not forget the bucket brigade. Fill up a 10 gallon bucket to the designated fill line (probably about 2/3 for the women) with small pebbles and carry it in front of you up and down the mountain. The biggest burpee maker of them all was the spear throw. You get one chance to throw a spear at a hay bale Spartan target. The spear has to stick. ONE. CHANCE.  Yep I came close but you know the saying… horse shoes and hand granades…

I learned very early in the race, this is not a place for “every man for himself” mentality. This is a place for first timers and experienced Spartans to come together, uplifting, supporting, cheering and helping each other all along the way. I cried so many times and for different reasons, heck sitting here thinking about it I still get a little teary. There were people who had finished their own race come back over and help AJ finish my burpees for the rope climb! I was so beat down I didn’t have the capacity to do more than 5 burpees without feeling like I was going to pass out. They knocked em out like it was nothing. Strangers boosted me up and pushed me over obstacles. Some held out a hand to help me up. Others gave me a conversational distraction from my fear of heights atop the A-frame cargo net. Another kind soul named Katie stopped and helped encourage me thru the barbed wire. Most people were rolling thru, we were crawling; that rolling crap for that long makes me dizzy.

My EVERYTHING was challenged and I came out on top! I still can’t believe it myself. I have officially conquered the mountain and finished a Spartan Sprint!

Let’s recap the obstacles:

starting wall: CLEARED with assistance
hurdles: CLEARED with assistance
walls: CLEARED
OUT: CLEARED
Mud Crawl: CLEARED
Rolling mud/Dunk wall: CLEARED
Slippery Wall: CLEARED with help
Barbed wire: CLEARED
Spear Throw: failed
Rope Climb: failed
Sand Bag: CLEARED
Plate Drag: CLEARED
Herc Hoist: CLEARED
Olympus: CLEARED with help
7 foot wall: failed
Inverted Wall: CLEARED with help
A-frame: CLEARED
Twister: failed
Bucket Brigade: CLEARED
Multi Rig: failed


Fire Jump: CLEARED

I died. I have been reborn over the fire and now…
I AM A SPARTAN! AROO!!

I’m not quite ready for a beast or super but there are other venues this summer for Spartan Sprints…. maybe! I said never again when I finished this one and I’m already looking at the schedule for this year! Oh man I’m in trouble!

Part of me will never be the same and I am glad for that. If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you right? I have been changed. The Spartan community is a unique creature in itself as well. I ended up finding out the names of most the Spartans who helped me on the mountain. Part of me will never forget them. They and that mountain were part of an experience I do not wish to soon forget. 

What is something you’ve done and conquered? Did it scare you? Would you do a Spartan?

Check 3 and 4 off of my 40 by 40 list!

Momisms

Growing up I was always telling myself I would NEVER say the things my mom would say to my kids. Some of these are things I never thought I would need to say to my kids.  Over the last decade and a half I have heard my mother’s voice coming from my own mouth!

You’re not the mom
Worry about yourself
Get that out of your mouth
Shut the door
Did you wash your hands?
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Shut the door
Flush the toilet
Money doesn’t grow on trees
Eat your vegetables
As long as you live here, you’ll live by my rules
Shut the door (Did I mention this one?)
Are your legs broken? Go get it yourself!
Don’t make me come in there!

These are a few of my ever repeating statements to my kids. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall over here!  What are some things you find yourself saying and looking around the house to see your mother?

I’ll Show You My Fellow Blogger!

This month we wanted to mix it up a bit and introduce you to some other bloggers out there.  There are a lot of blogs out there in the far reaches of the internet. How do you find someone you can relate with? How do you know if a blog is a good one to follow? How do you choose to start a blog, let alone what you write about? Hopefully our fellow bloggers will be able to give you a guide in the right direction. At the least you’ll find a new blog to follow and expand your own blogger friend universe. Without further ado let me introduce you to my fellow blogger, Ashley Meir from The Rad Mommy (head on over and give her a like or follow on these other social media platforms:

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest


Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?

My name is Ashley Meier and I am a blogger at The Rad Mommy as well as a wedding and portrait photographer. My blog is essentially a mommy blog that focused on empowering and inspiring entrepreneur and working moms.

Describe how did you first get into blogging.
I really like to write and was looking for a creative outlet. I love business and I love being a parent, so why not combine the two :0).

Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?
I have experience with website design and maintenance, and also do a lot of blogging with my photography stuff so I think that helped. Also, just knowing how to find a following on social media has been huge, although I am still growing and finding my exact niche.

How would you describe your blogging style?
I am a conversational and informative blogger. I want my readers to get something out of what I am writing and delivering. I am also exploring podcasts and videos to help with that.

What type of networking do you think is better to enhance your traffic to the blog?
I think Facebook Groups are huge, and then just connecting with like-minded people who do what you do, and want what you have to offer.

What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to his readers?
I think it depends. Whether that’s light reading, education, products or services; it really depends on what the blog is trying to achieve. There is a need for it all.

What would be your ideal working environment? On the beach in Costa Rica 🙂 . I just love working on a computer with a big monitor and a cup of coffee or glass of wine close by.

How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?
Scheduling posts and not biting off more than I can chew. I am still getting in my rhythm but those two things have helped tremendously. Also just staying focused!

What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
Writing about viral topics has yielded the biggest results for me thus far. And then having other people become my cheerleaders and share my content.

How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
I want to truly define my niche, whether that will be working on getting high amounts of traffic or developing resources like webinars and courses for readers.

What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
Not sure yet 🙂 . I think blogging can just get tedious and discouraging because it doesn’t happen overnight. But, I do see the reward in sticking with it, like anything in life.

Tell me about your proudest achievement.
When I had a post go viral! It was SO fun to see my numbers go up while looking at my “live” analytics.

Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
Everyone and everything. Being a parent and being a business owner.

What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
I am a mom to two little girls and I run a super successful wedding and portrait business. I am on to my next dream of creating the life I want by working my way into the blogging worlds.

How do you think I rate your blog as an interviewer?
I think you will like it and hopefully find some good resources from it.

What do you do in your spare time?
I drink wine, travel, ride my bike to breweries, exercise and hang out with friends – all while mommin’ of course.

Where would you like to be in blogging five years from now?
I would like to have bloggers blog for me, so I can sip cocktails on the beach and focus my efforts on the content, instead of the marketing aspect.

What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
Just seeing how slow growth is, and working really hard on content that doesn’t always get high traffic.

Can you name some of your favorite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?
My favorite right now is Melyssa Griffin. That girl is on her game and I learn something from her every time I read her stuff. There is no fluff there.

What inspired you to start your blog?
I wanted an outlet and wanted to start designing even more freedom into my life.

How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?
I am still pretty new to the blogging life, but I think just focusing on consistency and then letting myself rest if I am not feeling it. Having expectations but not ones that make me feel like I am chained to it.

Can you tell me about few sources from where you get products for review on your site?
Just things I use. This is not really my blogging focus but might be at some point.

What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
The tedious work of formatting posts, designing graphics, scheduling social media posts, etc.

In the future where do you hope your blog will take you?
I really hope it can turn into my full-time job so I can officially step away from photography. I love photography, but long term I see more of myself in the inspiration realm of things.

Have you met anyone interesting/famous on your blogging journey?
Not yet :0). But I did run into David Spade one time at the Cheesecake Factory (but that was like 12 years ago, lol).

Do you have any specific goals for the rest of this year?
Create some content, define my niche and start making more money on the blogging side of things.

What is the biggest difference in your life post-blogging?
I have a lot more to do!

Did you have any professional help or did you created the blog yourself?
I created everything myself. I am into this DIY thing.

How active are you on a weekly basis? How often do you communicate with your followers?
I have about two posts a week, and am constantly posting on social media several times a day usually. Most of it is scheduled though.

How much time do you spend blogging?
Yikes! Not sure yet. Probably about 10 hours a week right now.

What do you think is the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?
I think it depends on where you want to focus your time. Long term I am thinking Pinterest might be the way to go though, because Facebook and Instagram are limiting the audience reach.

Would you encourage other people to make their blog?
Absolutely! It is a great outlet. But know a direction you want to head before investing too much time, and don’t expect to be an overnight success.

Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
It is both my profession and my hobby. I am building a business here 🙂 .

A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money online. Do you have some tips for those people who are interested in making money from the blog?
It is NOT easy, but it is doable. I think you just have to be focused on what you want to do, and head there. You will constantly be evolving though, so don’t expect to have all the answers right away.

 

Thanks so much Ashley for letting me interview you. It is a pleasure getting to know you behind the scenes of your blog.
I have learned a few things from this interview and hope all of you have as well. Do you have a fellow blogger you’d like to introduce us to? Link up with us below!

 

Monthly link up every third Wednesday!

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is here again! This week I have another Target find. It is in the dollar section. Ya know the stuff right inside the doors ranging from $1-$5 in price. 

There are four rubber prongs divided thickly and thinly to fit over your vehicle’s vents.  

Stick it on and your phone can slide in and out from the adjustable brackets. 

For $3 this tool has been useful in keeping my phone in place so I can see it. 

Please don’t drive and text. Use your speech to text option if needed. I don’t have a built in blue tooth in my car so this makes it easier to answer calls on the speaker phone. 

What did you find this week?

Real Talk Part 1…. Pregnancy

The world is full of advice and helpful hints, on and off line. The trouble is figuring out what is helpful and what is utter nonsense. In this mini series I have asked some fellow moms in virtual reality and some of my own close friends for their experiences and tips. Together we are talking about and helping you tackle parenthood and giving it to you straight up. Follow along for the Real Talk as we dish out to you here on my blog.

Settle in and let’s get started with part one… pregnancy. My first little tidbit applies to all of topics in this series and is this; EVERYONE has an opinion. <insert eye roll>  Seriously! Complete strangers will stop you and give you advice ALL.THE.TIME. Learn the smile and nod method quickly, it will be used for many years to come.

PREGNANCY

Congratulations! You’ll hear this for the next 9-10 months. Yep, depending on how you count your pregnancy it will last from 9-10 months.
Let me break this down for you… There are 30 days in the average month, the rest have 30, except that one with 28. How many weeks are in a month? You don’t know? There’s no straight answer? When you are tracking your pregnancy it is by the week, 0-13 weeks is the first trimester, 14-26 weeks is the second trimester, and 27-40+ is your third trimester. Yes nine months and ten months become interchangeable in pregnancy. Save yourself the headache and start counting the pregnancy by weeks, much easier. If you must break it down into months, make each month 4 weeks long, hence the ten months. Let’s face it, when people ask how far along you are, the majority will not be calculating your pregnancy. You’ll know this because the next question is usually “When are you due?”

Around the middle of the 2nd trimester is when these questions begin because you have most likely begun to show your pregnancy. Yay! Baby bumps are cute and adorable, the miracle of life right there for all to see. Somehow this equates to your body suddenly becoming public property. There is something about the pregnant belly bump  which says, “please rub me” in our culture… hmmm is that something to do with a Buddha belly? It is completely acceptable for you to say please don’t touch my belly. Become comfortable with speaking your mind, blame the rudeness on the hormones… it is really ok.

Baby belly with Baby K

You will experience a plethora of emotions. I’m being serious here. I cried watching The Little Mermaid…. dead serious. I also was easily upset by the small things, like a single dish being left in the sink instead of put in the dishwasher. Yep, I admit it.

If watching sappy movies doesn’t make you cry morning sickness might.  Such a deceptive name… MORNING sickness implies you will feel ill in the morning… lies! There is no defined time it will hit you… middle of the night while you’re sleeping, cleaning the house, walking around the store… it does not and can not tell time.  From about the middle of my first trimester thru the rest of my pregnancy I had morning sickness. For all three of my pregnancies, especially my redheads. It didn’t matter what I did or did not eat, I was nauseous. Even taking a shower made me gag, acid reflux and stomach acid were no friend of mine.

Thankfully by the time I was pregnant with Little Man I had found a few tricks to help ease my stomach.  If you find yourself having all day sickness try snacking throughout the day instead of having three big meals. Ginger, in all it’s forms, helped me immensely. Particularly ginger ale and candied ginger. You may not like the taste but it may help.

Even with morning sickness I had pregnancy cravings. They would vary pregnancy to pregnancy as well as day to day. Generally with Dawn I wanted chicken, especially fried chicken.  With Little Red I craved pasta, and usually scampi or alfredo style.  AJ still says I asked him to buy pickles and ice cream so I could eat them together but I don’t remember that. I did like my pickles during that pregnancy tho. This last time with Little Man it started off as sushi (I didn’t eat it, except a crunch roll here or there) and then faded away to Italian cold cut subs. With each craving I managed to sneak in healthy foods here and there like a salad or a fruit smoothie. Most importantly I drank a ton of water.  Of course drinking that much water with a baby pressing on your organs means frequent trips to the bathroom…

Be prepared to lose control over your bladder. Sneezing… coughing… you’ll get a little bit of bladder leak. Kegel exercises will help strengthen those muscles, but let’s be real… buy some liners.

The last little bit of advice from me is you will lose your mind. I mean this literally. Once you are pregnant you slowly begin to lose your memory, it’s called mama brain. I misplaced an entire month one time, yep completely forgot all about March. You are your child’s life support, everything he/she gets is from you. It makes sense they will take part of your brain along with your blood and nutrients. It’s completely worth it!

Here’s a bit of advice from my gal pal Leslie, who had twins by the way!

Leslie’s cute pregnancy announcement.

I didn’t realize how swollen I could get! I had to wear flip flops in winter just to get through the last few months of pregnancy.

I also wasn’t expecting that I’d have my milk come in before delivery. It was just a bit of leaking, but I was very surprised.

Let’s talk Maxi dresses and skirts! Those were perfect for wearing throughout my entire pregnancy! I felt stylish, but oh so comfortable! Throw on a maxi dress and flip flops and you’re all set!

It was amazing to see the babies move in my tummy! It was an “alien” experience — but oh so wonderful! I remember worrying about the lack of movement toward the end, but that is normal as the baby (in my case, 2) run out of space.

I felt wonderful during pregnancy! My hair was more shiny, my skin was superb and I felt emotionally so very happy! Getting to the point of motherhood was a big hill to climb, so I think I was more forgiving of all the aches and pains.

Stretch marks…none of mine showed up until the 8th month. Then they just seemed to show up overnight. I was super careful about lotions — didn’t want any toxins; so just be aware.
Food! I ate whatever I wanted. I didn’t gain much weight, so I decided to just eat what felt right. Your body will have cravings, just balance them out with good food choices. I ate something raw with every meal and then ate that brownie if I wanted it!
I felt exponentially better when I stayed hydrated; very important.
Twins growing in mama’s belly very nicely.
My baby sister Elizabeth is the most recent first time mama I know and she has some great advice to share already!
  1. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep
  2. Forgive your husband because he just doesn’t get it. He does his best. Be patient with him. And really when he says something stupid…. just forgive him.
  3. Save your money! Don’t buy expensive stretch mark cream. Use coconut oil ALLLLL over your belly every single day. I did and I didn’t get any stretch marks.
  4. Enjoy every second. It goes by quick. You feel like you have been pregnant for years, but once it’s over, it feels like it just flew by.
  5. Take pictures.
Isn’t she a beautiful mama to be!?

Pregnancy advice quick view

  • full term pregnancy is 9-10 months, 40 weeks = 10 months, 4 weeks each
  • EVERYONE has an opinion
  • “How far along are you?” and “When are you due?” are interchangeable, sometimes used together, questions.
  • Your baby bump will somehow become “public property”.
  • Hormones will mess you up, emotionally and physically.
  • Stretch marks can be prevented
  • Drink lots of water
  • Find comfy clothes, maxi skirts and dresses are great
  • Take care of yourself
  • Cravings are normal and your body’s way of communicating
  • Pregnancy brain is real and will turn into mama brain.
  • Pregnancy is a life and body changing wonderful experience
  • Sleep is important
  • Trust your body
  • Your bladder will leak… no matter how often you use the bathroom
  • Love your significant other… and yourself!

 

I hope you’ve learned a few things, laughed a little (oops… hope you have a liner on), and found some helpful advice in our real talk. Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to add? Share with us. This is part 1 of the mini series. Part 2 will be about labor and delivery.  If you’d like to contribute your tips for any part of this mini series, let’s talk!

I’ll Show You My… Resolutions!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we are doing a New Year Resolutions post! Follow along in our series as we show you bits and pieces of our lives and who we are in our Mommy & Lifestyle Blog Collab. This month Katie, Tracy and I are joined by Dara and Jamie.

Each New Year seems to bring with it hope of revitalization and renewal of ourselves whether it be mentally, spiritually, physically or all of these aspects. Some of the more common “goals” seem to be to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, quit sugar, read more, spend more time with the family, etc. Usually by the end of January most people have quit their New Year’s resolutions.

I am no exception! For the last few years we have sat down as a family to write out our personal and family resolutions. Each year a few of our goals are met but for the most part we have forgotten or lacked in one way or another. This year I have chosen a different approach. First AJ and I sat down and discussed things we want to improve upon as a couple and as parents.

  • planning out Family Home Evening (FHE) for each quarter
  • consistently saying prayers and reading scriptures as a family each night
  • say yes more often
  • slower to anger
  • focus more on the whos than the whats

Some of my personal resolutions are linked to my 40 by 40 goals.

  • continue working out to get into better shape and a healthier weight (my ultimate goal is currently 175 lbs but I will see how my body shapes out as I get closer)
  • participate in and finish my first Spartan race
  • read scriptures daily in my personal study
  • find and make more “me” time
  • make memories instead of stressing about cleaning
  • including more whole foods with meals (yep means more meal planning)
  • get pregnant – yes I said it, now hopefully it will manifest!
  • read more! in addition to spiritual enlightenment I want to read one self-improvement and one novel per month… realistically it’ll probably be once a quarter…
  • be able to interpret for ASL

I really am looking forward to finishing a Spartan race this year. Most of the time I am elated and can hardly wait… other times the thought terrifies me. I look back over the last year and realize I have become stronger and may be able to handle it. This incoming year shows much promise and room for growth. Whatever 2017 might hold I am waiting with open arms to embrace my future!

Tell me some of your resolutions or goals for 2017. What are you focusing on this year? Do you make New Year’s goals?

 

Real Dinner… Husband Homemade

Ever see those photos and blogs of the amazing stay at home moms and their fantastically cleaned houses? You know the ones I’m talking about… not a speck of dust, everything neatly put away, children eating from fine dinnerware laden with a plethora of brightly colored vegetables, everyone neatly dressed, hair finely combed… admit it, you know what I’m talking about…. it’s lifestyle porn at it’s finest… or worst… but I digress.

Admittedly at times I am envious of those moms (until I read this post). It’s so true, we don’t know what is happening behind the scenes in anyone’s blogs, Instagram or other social media accounts.  Heck if you could see me now you’d see snack crumbs across the table, clean laundry folded on the pool table, kid dishes and tupperware containers strewn across the kitchen floor… and this is within my current unmoving view.  I have a vague idea on what is for dinner tonight but things may change as the day progresses.  At least I’m thinking about it in the morning instead of 30 minutes before dinner time!

Unfortunately, there are times the hubby gets home and I have no inclination what we are having for dinner. Thank the good Lord above my fabulous Mr Salisbury knows how to cook! I’m pretty good at making meals and fabulous with baking but 75% of the time I need a recipe. Not my man! Give him an idea and he makes a meal (albeit usually without vegetables, but my kids won’t eat them anyway). The kids wanted enchiladas for dinner and bam a little under an hour later we have a scrumptious enchilada plate akin to eating out! Rice, refried beans and his personal touch of chipotle sautéd  onions. He seasoned and cooked up some chicken for the enchiladas as well.  Dinner was delicious!! Nights like these I’m so glad he knows how to cook and is willing to come home from his day job to help me out around the house.

This is my plate of food. After I started eating it I decided to take a picture to share with you all. It was that good! Everyone should be so lucky to have a partner like I do!

I’ll Show You My… Holiday Décor!

Welcome to the festive holiday season! This month for our Mommy Blog collab we are opening our homes and showing you our Holiday Décor. This month Katie, Tracy and I are joined by Dara and Danielle.


Our decorations are for Christmas and they go up every year on St. Nicholas Day. The kids also get a new ornament to hang on the tree and the family gets a new ornament to mark something special from the year. This year Dawn received a set of 3 ornaments to commemorate the first three years of the high school marching band. She has been participating since the inception when she was a freshman.
Little Red’s ornament is of kids on a school bus. She started public school this year and is thrilled with riding the bus, of course it was the best choice! Baby K is daddy’s little boy so his is baby snowman goofing around with daddy snowman. For our family ornament we purchased one in Williamsburg, VA of the Colonial district.

We have two trees, one for the family and special ornaments, the other is for the kids to decorate with their ornaments and whatever else they wish to use from my totes. In years past the girls have used all Disney ornaments and some balls. This year Dawn didn’t want any of those on the tree, she’s becoming an adult and too cool for all that nonsense. The kid tree is near the fireplace in the back of the house. We hang out stockings for Santa on the mantel with stocking holders.


Baby K has been grabbing ornaments off of the trees faster than I can pick them up. Instead of fighting him on keeping them on the tree I filled two Mason jars with the small ball ornaments from the kid tree. The big ones from the tree in the front room ended up in a glass bowl. It adds more décor and holiday festivities to the house. Besides I’m not going insane doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.


Here in the front room we have our tree where the presents are placed by Santa, ok and Mom and Dad.


A tradition on my side of the family is for everyone to have their own fancy Christmas stocking. My grandma started making these before I was born and everyone who has married into or been born in the Adams side of my family has one! When Dawn was born I began helping make them and have almost completely taken over. I enjoy watching them come together and knowing every year they are hung and enjoyed is an added pleasure. Being so far away from my family I can look at this wall and feel connected to them all during the holiday season.


We have three nativity sets, although two of them are missing a piece or two… The first was one AJ had purchased overseas, I love this little nativity scene we keep it out all year round.

The second is a set with a few missing pieces, they’ve been lost or broken and thrown away over the years.


Our third and newest nativity scene is this beautiful set with figures and all made from the wood of an Olive tree. It was a gift from my mom a few years ago.


We also have two advent calendars. This one I made when Dawn was a baby. The kids love pulling the little pieces out every year. I love it because I don’t have to remember to buy or put 24 little items in the advent.


A few years ago my sister Renee gave us this advent set. it is so fun and festive but I never end up putting anything in it, because I am forgetful to say the least!


I love all things about Christmas decorations. My home feels festive and homey this time of year. I enjoy the lights, shiny decorations, and all the little pieces of decoration that come together making a beautiful holiday season. I hope you have enjoyed this peak into our holiday home. What are some of your favorite holiday decorations around your home?


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Leftovers Means Lunch

As a mom of a little one I find myself often skipping meals or even not eating at all. Most of my meals during the day are some sort of leftovers scraped together.
My latest concoction was actually quite delicious, filling and on the healthier side.

In the fridge I found zucchini, leftover spaghetti noodles, grape tomatoes and some fresh basil. All of these items (except the zucchini) were left over items from other meals.

I cut up and sautéed one whole zucchini in some garlic olive oil. Added some cold, leftover cooked spaghetti noodles and tossed in some grape tomatoes with fresh basil. Sautéed tomatoes give the dish a little kick of flavor. If you haven’t tried a sautéed tomato lately, give it a whirl.

The dish came together quite nicely and was filling as well. Yum yum! Love when I find a new meal in my leftovers. DSCN2353.JPG

What are some deliciously surprising leftover meals you have found in your fridge?