Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Operation Snap Back™: Pushing Past the Plateau

21 Day Fix Extreme Results

When the MTV V(Bey)MAs aired the other night the internet went crazy after Kanye West premiered  his new video for Fade featuring Teyana Taylor. If you haven't seen the video just go on instagram and search the hashtag #TeyanaTaylor.

There is where you will find your life. And some fitness motivation.

Why was there so much buzz about Miss Teyana? Well, because she just had a baby. Not gonna lie her body blew my mind and then my mind came back with perspective.

21 Day Fix Extreme Results

First of all she's a dancer. Second of all she's twenty something. And third of all I'm pretty sure she's working with resources that this stay at home Mom can't afford. What I do have in common with Teyana is that we have the same 24 hours everyday and we both have nine month old babies.

So, after watching her dance in that video I decided that I needed to push past my current mental and physical plateau.

Here's how I found new motivation:

-I started alternating my workouts between 21 Day Fix Extreme and Cize. If your workouts are starting to bore you try something new!

-I'm using heavier weights for 21 Day Fix Extreme to make it more challenging. If your workout isn't challenging your body then it's probably not working. (I should have done this after my first round to be honest. Being cheap and too lazy to go to the store gets you no where.)

-I set long term goals to keep me working towards something other than seeing inches disappear. I want to look good at some upcoming events so I must continue to eat right and workout.

- If I got these kind of results in 42 days where would I be by the end of the year if I just stick with it?

21 Day Fix Extreme Results

I have so loved learning about my body through this process. I now know that I shouldn't be eating much dairy with the exception of eggs. I have also learned that I need to avoid a diet that is high in sodium. Carbs are okay in moderation and drinking the appropriate amount of water really makes the difference between me surviving a workout or dying midway through it.

A couple other things I've learned about my body... My metabolism is encouraged during cardio. I notice that my metabolism works much "better" on the days that I do cardio. My final take away is that your flat tummy is definitely made in the kitchen. It doesn't matter how many ab workouts you do if you're still eating all the sodium and drinking all the wine.

Sad facts.

clean eating for moms

My strategy for eating is to find things that you love to eat and always have them on hand. I literally eat the same thing for weeks at a time. When I start to feel sick of it I find something new and eat that into the ground. I have found that it is so much easier to eat what you love over and over  again instead of trying to be a Top Chef whipping up all these different things everyday. Do what works for you but my little "meal phases" have been a huge help to me.

post partum clean eating

Before I leave for the day to head to Costco and the Post Office I just want to share some exciting news. 

I wasn't sure when I would share this but today seems like the right time so here we go...

I have registered to become a certified Cize Live instructor. My workshop is in a couple weeks. Once I'm certified I'll be able to teach Cize in a group fitness setting! I'll keep you guys posted on how it goes. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Goodbye Summer 2016


Next weekend is the unofficial end of Summer and beginning of Fall, yay! I know I show Fall a lot of love but I do enjoy Summer. I'll miss watching the kids running through the sprinkler while waiting for the ice cream truck.

Two treats from the ice cream truck costs about five bucks. That lady is making a killing. 

So much has happened this Summer. We moved from Texas to Washington. The kids seemed to have grown so much this Summer. Savannah is all legs and Mikey is almost just as tall as she is. Moses is crawling and eating everything in sight.

They all seemed to handle the move and the new time zone just fine. Once school starts next week and the cooler rainy weather rolls in we'll see how they handle not being outside as much. I've got some indoor activities lined up for them that should keep us all nice and busy until the sun comes back.

This Summer made me realize how much fun it can be to start new adventures. As a military family we start over a lot but I always forget how fun it is to be somewhere new. The first 90 days that you're in a place really does feel like a vacation because you experience so many firsts.

We have found quite a few new favorite places. The fountains and the waterfront in Seattle is a top pick of ours. We also hung out at a waterfront park that was absolutely breathtaking.

Savannah lost her first tooth this Summer. The other tooth came right in so for now she still has a full set. I expect her to lose the tooth next to it pretty soon.

And so here we are. We managed to survive a lot of changes. This time last year I was pregnant, tired and trying to manage everything. He was working full time, completing his practical for grad school and working part time at a hospital. 

So when I mean to tell you we have loved every bit of this Summer - we have LOVED it!

The end of the year is always a busy time for us with birthdays, the holiday season and our wedding anniversary is right at the end of the year. Between now and next June whenever I feel exhausted I'll think back to this Summer and how easy it was.

I know the sun will take her hiatus here soon. I will miss her and the simplicity she brings to our days. Goodbye, Summer. It was real. It was fun. It was real fun. See you in 2017. I already have big plans for you.

What was the highlight of your Summer?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Chic Living: Making a (BASE) House a Home

It is so hard to believe that we have been here for three months already. Now that we are settled I am getting the itch to decorate and turn this house into a home. I never got the itch to decorate in Texas. That house didn't inspire me or speak to me but this one speaks volumes.

It may be the natural light or the fact that this house just has a better layout. Either way, I have been adding little touches here and there so I figured I'd share some of my makeover goals with you.

The first thing I want to do is buy curtains. We need curtains for the living room and some window coverings for the back sliding door that leads to the backyard in the dining area. I also want to redo our dining room chairs (again).

I don't like the first fabric choice I made. Now that I know how cheap and easy it is to do the chairs I'll be searching for a fabric that I absolutely love. I'm thinking a solid color would be great next to curtains with a pattern.

Savannah has been asking for a big girl room lately. I really want to convert her bed to a full size and give her room a big girl face lift. We already have the frame for her bed. I just need to get her a new mattress and figure out a theme for her room. She likes pink so I plan to weave that color in somehow.

I really love the window seat in her room and I want to make that a special place for her to read. So far she's been using it to drive my OCD in overdrive.

And then there's our room. I honestly just want new bedding. I grabbed our current comforter when we moved to Texas in 2012. That comforter has seen better days. Between the kids and the move it has a large rip in it (that had to be done with scissors - no one knows how it got there 😒).

I am kind of obsessed with clean white sheets. So my dream bedding would probably be an all white big fluffy bed but I do love a lot of the fun pillows I'm seeing lately so I don't know which way to go.

We'll be here for at least three years (hopefully) so I really want this place to feel like home. Share your home style inspiration with me in the comments. Got any suggestions for curtain colors for the living room?

SIDE NOTE: That couch is our ride or die. She's not as pretty as she use to be due to all the kids and the moves that she's endured. I think some pillows would give her a nice face lift...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Back-To-School Menu for BUSY Nights

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NestleSchoolDays #CollectiveBias

easy family dinner

Menu planning is something I take seriously around here. My strategy is pretty simple. I look at our calendar of activities and I plan our meals according to what we have going on. Savannah has ballet on during the week and on those nights I whip up a fast meal that I know everyone will enjoy after a long day.

I also plan a little after school snack for the kids to bridge the gap between after school and dinner time. This very easy (perfect for Fall) treat is easy to make and it only takes about 35 minutes from start to finish. This is something I make first thing you can do first thing in the morning after the kids are in school.

I'll be using Nestlé products available at Safeway for today's menu to show you how easy, simple and helpful they are for busy back-to-school nights.

#NestleSchoolDays Sweepstakes

This my friends is Chewy Cake...

To make Chewy Cake preheat your oven to 350. Cook one box of light brown sugar and one stick of butter on low heat stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth.

Pour mixture into a bowl. Add each egg one at a time beating mixture after each egg until the egg is completely incorporated.

Add the flour and mix.

Add the vanilla.

Add the pecans and give it a good stir. The mixture should be sticky. Bake in a greased and floured 9x13 pan for 25 minutes. Do the toothpick test to make sure your cake is done. If more time is needed add one minute at a time until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

after school snack

Now for the caramel drizzle. Oh, yes. It gets better...

Cook 3/4 cup of butter, 2 Cups brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan and cook until butter has melted.

Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of vanilla and half a can of Nestlé® Carnation® Evaporated Milk. Add more to reach your desired consistency. Poke holes in the top of your cake and drizzle caramel sauce on top. You can also cut the cake into squares before drizzling like I did here.

NOTE: I make the caramel sauce while the cake is baking in the oven.

after school snack

For dinner on busy nights I like feeding them something that I know for sure they will want to eat without any negotiating. Pizza is always a winner around here. We love DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizza and pizzeria!™ from DIGIORNO® Pizzas for pizza nights at home. I grew up eating DiGiorno so I have been a fan for years.

I add a tossed salad to the table to make sure they are getting some veggies too and dinner is served!

easy family dinner

easy family dinner

Savannah will no doubt want to take pizza with her to lunch at school the next day. So here's a little Mom hack that I find to be helpful.

I make a Hot Pocket® sandwich for her in the morning. I slice the sandwich and I place it in her bento box for lunch. Mom hack - If your child has a thermos you can use it to keep the Hot Pocket warm!

bento box lunch

This is one of the ways I survive super busy nights during the school year. I always keep pizzas and Hot Pockets in the deep freezer because my family loves them so much and it beats loading three kids into the car to get takeout.

Take this list with you to Safeway to make this easy dinner for your family.

Safeway has tons of ideas and coupons to help Moms stock up on everything they need for their pantry and freezer for back-to-school. Visit their site to see more recipes and visit their store to grab some of these great deals. I also have to to share that during my most recent trips to Safeway I saved $40 by using the coupons from their site and my Safeway card!

I walked out of the store feeling like a MomBoss!!!

What's your favorite go-to meal for busy nights?

Diaper Bag Must-Haves

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MomsHelper #CollectiveBias

I have always considered myself to be a low maintenance Mama. It has been a challenge to remain that way with three little ones under six. When we go out for errands or longs days I make sure that I plan ahead and pack the items we need to survive the day.

Packing my diaper bag for a busy day takes just a few minutes. It has always been my motto that I can make it thru a day of errands without carrying around a million things. Let's keep it real, when we go to my daughter's soccer games or out for fun in the city or to the splash pad I absolutely carry more than what you see listed here - but when I'm solo with my mini squad I don't carry more than I have to.

And you shouldn't either.

These diaper bag must-haves keep everyone happy while we're out and about. Wrangling three kids is hard enough so I never leave the house with my Mama tool kit.

Ready to make a Mama tool kit of your own? Everything you see here is available at Target.

To start building your kit you'll need to start with a bag of your choice. It can be a diaper bag or a roomy tote, whichever you prefer.

Now think about your day. What time will you be out? If you're like me and you have a baby you never leave the house without bottles. I grabbed these Playtex Baby™Ventaire® bottles during a recent Target run and they have been great. Moses is holding his own bottle now and I like that these have an anti-colic bottom vent that prevents air from mixing with his milk. He can feed himself while I shop and I don't have to worry about him sucking in tons of air, winning!

One of my secrets to carrying less is that I do not carry food or snacks with me unless we'll be out close to mealtime. I do allow them to bring along a bottle of water. If I feel that Sav or Mikey need a little "hold ya over" snack I'll grab a few fruit snacks or a banana for them.

Now that you've taken care of everyone's tummies don't forget diapers, wipes and a pacifier if you use one. I use my diaper bag as a purse so my wallet is already in there waiting for me along with my keys.

Once everyone is wrangled, I grab my phone and I start loading everyone into the car.

Another great tip that I learned early was to keep a Mama tool kit in your car too! Always have a change of clothes, a pack of wipes, a few diapers, a blanket and a clean (dry) bottle in the trunk of your car. You never know when someone will lose a bottle or drop one in the parking lot at Target.

Don't forget to use the Target Cartwheel app to save on the Playtex Baby bottles of your choice! The offer is good 8/21 to 9/3.

What are your Mama must-haves for days full of errands?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thought Bubbles 8182016

Savannah will be 6 in exactly 29 days. Where has the time gone?

All she talks about is what she wants to do for her birthday and the plan changes daily...

I'm looking forward to this weekend for some reason...

We have no specific plans but I'm excited all the same...

The Summer is so slowly coming to a close....

They got ice cream from an ice cream truck yesterday for the first time...

I love Fall but I'll miss these days full of water play...

I may or may not already be decorating the inside of our house...

I think I need to grab another pumpkin for the other side of the candles...

Mikey has gotten so big...

I can't wait to spend some focused time with him while Savannah is at school...

I still have to figure out which activities he'll do this Fall...

There are so many sports and activities here for his age...

My second round of 21 Day Fix Extreme is coming to an end...

Only three days to go...

I have learned so much from the program...

Getting up early has also given me time to have devotion every morning...

Reading and journaling has been very therapeutic...

I'm considering joining MOPS again...

But I don't want to be overbooked...

Mikey's activity is the only other thing I think I want to make room for...

I have some new opportunities coming up that I can't wait to share here...

I just might go grab that other pumpkin...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fall in Love with Autumn

I am in love with Fall the way many people are in love with Summer. Now that August is halfway done I am literally counting down the days until everything becomes pumpkin flavored. My Fall wreath is anxiously waiting it's turn to be showcased on the front door and I plan to give her the stage the day after Labor Day.

Bye, Summer.

I feel like Fall doesn't get the love that it deserves. Back to school kind of steals Fall's thunder a bit I suppose. Once kid's go back to school our attention seems to shift toward the holiday season and Fall just gets left in the dust.

Well, not in my house. I see Fall as the perfect opportunity to slow down and focus on family. It is my goal every year to get my family out and about during the Fall season the same way I drag them every where all Summer. 

Why do I love Fall so much? Well, for starters, the weather and the scenery. It doesn't get much prettier than a beautiful Autumn day. I love a good sweater outfit and Fall is the perfect season for daily sweaters and family photos.

Fall Family Photo Idea

Fall Family Photo Idea by thechicsahm featuring mens leather sneakers

Here are some of my favorite Fall activities...

-Pumpkin Patch
-State & County Fairs
-Train rides
-Evening walks as a Family (with hot apple cider or hot chocolate)
-Apple picking
-Baking with the kids (think about using the apples you pick)
-Visit the Farmer's Market regularly 
-Check out the zoo (it's less busy and the temps are much better during the Fall - which means you can actually see the animals)
-Decorate Pumpkins
-Watch the Peanuts Halloween and Thanksgiving specials
- Go on a hay ride
- Make a big deal out of football season
- Host a Thanksgiving dinner
- Make some homemade caramel and use it in everything

For more Fall inspiration check out my Autumn board on Pinterest...

Do you love Fall as much as I do? What are some of your favorite Fall activities?

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Surprise Road Trip to The Oregon Zoo

Y'all know I love a good family fun day out. I especially love it when I do not have to plan said fun. Saturday my husband surprised us with a trip to the zoo in Portland, Oregon and I am so glad he did.

Our Saturday started out like any other. After we had breakfast I got everyone dressed because I had an errand to run. After my errand instead of driving home my husband headed South on the Interstate and told us all to enjoy the ride.

All of the kids slept for the entire two hour and thirty minute car ride. The scenic drive was beautiful. We saw livestock wading in a river at one point. This place keeps getting more magical by the weekend.

Once we arrived at the zoo we were all famished. The omelettes that I made for breakfast had worn off and we needed to eat asap. Luckily, there was a restaurant just on the other side of the ticket counter of the zoo.

Cascade Grill had your normal amusement park/zoo offerings but everything was so fresh. I treated myself to a bacon cheeseburger. It was delicious going in but my clean eating body did not like this treat. I will save you the details.

My two Mikes, I swear they were happy and excited. This is what it looks like when you've just had an amazing burger. You're just caught in a daze.

We got rolling shortly after lunch to see all the sights. Mikey and Savannah talked about every single animal they saw.

The Polar Bear exhibit was pretty cool. Everyone was measuring themselves against the bears.

I thought it was neat that the zoo offered beer and wine. The Oregon Zoo also has a Summer Concert series and opportunities to camp out. People were there pitching their tents and Savannah was really intrigued by the whole "spend the night at the zoo" thing. She may want to do that.

I'll have to plan that for her and her Dad.

There were plenty of misting stations to keep everyone cool. I also noticed that the zoo provided lots of water refill stations at no cost.

We headed home just before the zoo closed. The kids talked their way into some nice souvenirs before we loaded up for the ride back home.

I am so glad that we are getting to explore so much before school starts in a couple weeks. It is so unlike my husband to plan a full day for the family and I really appreciate that he stepped out of his comfort zone. It was good to be able to just ride and not worry about anything.

Hopefully, this is the first of many trips to Portland for us. How was your weekend?