July 30, 2012

Summer | Photos and Favorites, Day 9

Photo: I just love Addy's face! She's so cute, still a little baby face but growing up so fast.  And what a personality....okay I know I'm bragging. I can't help it.  Look at that face.  You couldn't either.  ;)

Favorite: I love any help I can get looking rested these days.  I usually get to bed after 10, get up sometime between 5-7 and wake up at least two times in between.  Four kids, what can I say.  So when I saw this great article on Faking a Rested Face I couldn't resist.  Thought you might like it too!

July 27, 2012

Summer | Photos and Favorites, Day 8

Photo: I love this picture taken in our living room...it looks like we were in a studio with black all around.  Cool pic Kim!

Favorite: "How Do You Create a Meal with What's on Hand?" I read through a lot of the comments on this blog post from Hip2Save, my favorite money saving blog.  There were some great ideas.  I think everyone has those nights when you haven't prepared a meal plan, or thawed your meat, or just tried to use up some of those soon-to-spoil veggies and pantry items.  I love having recipes on hand that  can help me pull together a meal in under 30 minutes with ingredients I can substitute with whatever I have on hand.  Read through some of those comments for some great ideas, and check out the Free AllRecipes.com Dinner Spinner App for easy recipes!  Here are a few of my favorites:

I love using my crock-pot, especially on Sundays when we are busy all day and too tired to cook by dinner time; or to have a large meal prepared for lunch guests!

Salsa Chicken:
I throw boneless, skinless chicken breast (frozen is fine too) into the crock-pot, cover with one jar of salsa and add a bag of corn.  I love serving this over rice, or as a soup (add a little water or chicken broth to the crock-pot) topped with plain greek yogurt (in place of sour cream) and tortilla strips.

BBQ Chicken:
Boneless, skinless Chicken breast, one bottle of (low sugar) BBQ sauce, sliced onion (optional).  Cook and serve over brown rice, in tortillas, or on whole wheat buns!  I love serving with sauteed green beans.

I love having frozen, steamable veggies on hand for easy sides.  I can easily throw some protein into mixed veggies and serve with thin spaghetti or rice for a super easy stir-fry.  

Check out my Easy Mexican Casserole Recipe here. Or for an even easier meal: prepare your meat and toppings for tacos and serve over some blue corn tortilla chips with salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo, or Catalina dressing.

July 25, 2012

Summer | Photos and Favorites, Day 7

Photo by Kim Cartier
Photo: This is sweet baby Sadie.  She is already 6 months (only 3 1/2 months in this picture).  What a great baby!  She laughs more than any baby I've ever been around (which is a lot), and is somehow even easier than her sisters were...which is saying a whole lot!  I have been extremely blessed with wonderful children. =) My heart can't help but smile.

Favorite: As I mentioned previously, I love to workout.  Here are few tools I can keep with me everywhere I go to help me get my heart rate up and stay on track!

Jump Rope Routine: I haven't tried this yet, but I've been saving it for a "rainy day," or a day when I'm traveling.  I purchased a jumprope at TJMaxx for less than $3 and saved this webpage on my phone.  You could print it out if you wanted too!  Jumping rope is a ridiculous cardio!  This is a great way to mix up cardio and strength training without anything but a little space and a jumprope.  Let me know what you think!

10 Pushup Variations: For the more advanced fitness gals (and guys), try out these variations to the awesome overall fitness move, a simple Pushup.  Some of these are so hard, I know this will challenge me for awhile!

Seconds Pro Timer App: This is a great app for running and strength training.  Anyone with an iPhone should try out the free version and if you like it, it's worth the $3 investment so that you can store your routines (paid version advantage).  I have been loving this while doing my HIIT treadmill routines (like this SHREDmill from Tone It Up)!

Workout Vidoes on YouTube! There are some great workout videos you can check out for free and have with you on your phone, wherever you find yourself.  Some of my favorites are (of course) Tone It Up (great toning and cardio workouts with usually no equipment), Tara Stiles (yoga), Amanda Russell, LiveStrong Woman, ModernMom, and so many more...something for everyone.

July 23, 2012

Summer | Photos and Favorites, Day 6

Photo by Kim Cartier
Photo: Addy is our third little cutie and she is a firecracker! Anyone who spends any time around her falls in love with her beautiful, dark eyes and hilarious,  adorable and often fiery personality.  She is a joy to mother.

Favorite: So, if you've been following my blog for awhile you'll know that working out is a passion of mine.  I love it and make sure to carve out time to workout at LEAST 3-4 days a week if not 6 days a week, often twice a day.  I think that it's very important to take care of the only bodies we are given to steward, inside and out.  But I have a deeper passion for taking care of my spirit.  I have had the hardest time after my fourth baby, getting back into my daily times with Jesus.  I have always made it the first part of my day but after having a newborn it sometimes takes me a few months to get back my regular quiet moments with Him.  This article really snapped me into focus.  I can take great care of my body but it will one day perish, my spirit will live on into eternity, and I want to make sure that it is healthiest!  So I DARE you to read this great article on Getting Spiritually Fit!
"FAT BLASTING TIP NO.1  Don’t confuse spiritual hunger with physical hunger. There have been many times when I’ve found myself on a “don’t know what I want to eat, so I’m trying everything” binge. Later, when I took the time to get quiet with the Lord, I’ve realized that deep down I was trying to satisfy my hunger for Him and not food." - excerpt from StudioG article, "Getting Spritually Fit," by Rebecca Pfortmiller.

July 20, 2012

Summer | Photos and Favorites, Day 5

Photo by Kim Cartier

Photo | My second born, Neeci.  This little princess is the sweetest spirit you'll ever meet.  She is very tender hearted, even towards her sisters...most of the time.  She is our sunshine.

Favorite | Natural, healthy beauty products are so important to me.  I've talked A LOT about this before, but there are a few items that I've had a really hard time finding that are both good for me and work well.  Mascara is one of those!  So I was really excited when I saw these natural mascaras, recommended by Good House Keeping magazine.  Read the full article here (including recommendations on natural moisturizers and lip balms).

July 18, 2012

Summer | Photos and Favorites, Day 4

Photo: My eldest, Kailyn.  She is looking more like me as she gets older (finally, at least one of them looks like me...the other three are like mini-daddys).  She is my sweet, smart, hilarious and growing-up-way-to-fast 5 1/2 year old.

Favorite: This is a conversion chart.  I know this is so simple and you may not even like Greek Yogurt, but if you haven't already, give it a try this summer.  It has twice as much protein as regular yogurt and about 1/2 the sugar.  This chart shows you all the other ways you can use it too!  Dig in!

July 16, 2012

Summer | Photos and Favorites, Day 3

Photo: My 4 beauties.  I L-O-V-E this picture.  I can see each one of my girls personalities just shining through, even little miss Sadie on the far right.  What fun we are having together this summer, filling our days with friends, outings, scrapbooking (the two older girls get to work on their own books), and everything else we can think of.  This is my last summer with all my children home with me all day since Kailyn will begin Kindergarten this fall (so bitter-sweet). Thanks to Kim again, for these precious pictures.

Favorite: New DIY Face Masks...all natural ingredients, you can literally eat! Destiny in Bloom (two days in a row, I know - but they're that good!) shared some great face mask recipes and these are my favorite:

Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Honey Mask:
Combine 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 teaspoon of both cinnamon and nutmeg.  Apply to your clean face like a paste and let sit for 30 minutes before washing off.  This mask is calming, can reduce redness and puffiness as well as prevent infection!

Brown Sugar, Coconut Oil Scrub
Mix 4 tablespoons of brown sugar with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (liquid form).  Gently exfoliate your face (and body if you want).  Rinse off well so you don't feel sticky afterwards.  Not only will your skin feel revitalized as the sugar rubs away our dead skin cells, but the vitamin-rich coconut oil will nourish and repair your skin!

Check out all of their DIY Face Masks for more skin-types and some GREAT uses for coconut oil (I'm excited to try on my children's exzema!)

July 13, 2012

Summer | Photos and Favorites, Day 2

Photo: My Before and After!  I cut my hair after about 5 years of growing it out (really just 5 years of having kids and not thinking about my hair at all).  I have had short hair before and have always loved it! I am so excited to try out different styles, healthy products and accessories with my new hair.  Here are some of my "Hair Inspirations" on Pinterest and YouTube.

Favorite: My Uncle, Sister and a few of my friends have donated their hair to Locks of Love before and this is my first time!  I bagged up my cut hair and mailed it off with the Donation Printout from their website.  I am so happy to know that all that hair can go to make a wig for a child who needs one!  Find out more about donating hair here!

July 11, 2012

Pink. Pink. Pink.

While our home is filled to the brim with all things pink, I'm actually referring to Gateway's women's conference this past April.  I was so excited to pack up my littlest one and head out for a few days away from everyday life to get filled up with Jesus-things! =)

One of my favorite ladies was speaking ... Mrs. Beth Moore!  If you haven't already picked up, by some of my previous ravings, I love this woman.  We had incredible worship at every session, powerful messages to chew on, lots of food and all things girly.  Of course, it wouldn't be Pink without beautiful decorations, sets and gifts.  I should have taken way more pictures, but I was a little busy changing Sadie's exploding diapers and trying to feed her before she interrupted any sessions.  The only things I was afraid of with her accompanying me, was missing out on something because I had to walk (or stroller) her around or having my shirt spit up on.  I never had to use my extra t-shirt but I did get poop on my skirt the first night....and it all worked out okay. =)
I felt so special when they handed each lady a beautiful leather journal, gave us each a necklace with "Blessed" written across (a great reminder of all God did that weekend), and when one of the women I was with bought me a "Pink Impact" t-shirt just for attempting 20 full-style pushups to win a prize (which I didn't - well I guess in a way I did). I loved seeing old friends, catching up over lunch, rooming with one of my girls in the hotel, carpooling adventures....I needed that weekend in more ways than I even realized. So THANK YOU HUBBY for staying home with our other 3 beauties and letting me get out and get filled up a bit!!!  Check out the link above for information on next years conference, and if you can, plan to go!  It's incredible.

July 9, 2012

Summer Photos and Favorites (Day 1)

So here we are!  After 3 months, we are already half way through the summer.  And I have no regrets! This is has been the most FULL 3 months.  Full of family vacations, travel, memories, fun, goal setting: making and a bit of breaking...I have been actually avoiding my computer and I'm okay with that. 
One thing that being a mother has taught me is that life really is all about seasons.  And this season is one of making the story, filling in the pages of my future books with experiences and memories.  =)  So I know I've been neglecting my wonderful blog here (so sorry!), but I know it'll pay off later when I have something to write about, firsthand.  Thanks for sticking with me.  ;)

So I've decided to keep this summer low key electronically, but I've had all these things I've wanted to share with you, so I'm going to share some of my favorites with you...short and sweet.  A favorite photo and something I've been loving lately whether it be a website, new food, recipe, scripture...

I hope you enjoy and make sure you take a few moments to make some life long memories this summer!

Photo (above): Thank you Kim for taking some more wonderful shots for us!  This picture was taken in our backyard in May of this year.  It is my favorite family photo! It was quite a task to get everyone together, and would've been a miracle if everyone was happy and looking in the same direction at the same time. =)  Makes it sweeter when everyone's personality shows through anyway!

Favorite: Top 5 Summer Picks by Destiny in Bloom.  Always inspiring and fun to read!
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