Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

Now that Spring has arrived I can officially start Spring cleaning. One of the many ways I love to clean, yes love!, is to use essential oils. We've been using oils in our home for a little over 2 years and I can honestly say it's changed the way we view the products we use daily along with our physical health. I've shared my three ingredient hand sanitizer before and today I want to share with you 5 products you can make with essential oils to help keep your home clean this Spring, chemical free.


CARPET REFRESHER
Mix 1 cup baking soda with 8 drops of Purification oil. Sprinkle on carpet and vacuum up for fresh and clean carpets and rugs.

LINEN AND ROOM SPRAY
Add 1 cup of distilled water with 10 drops of Lavender oil in a glass bottle. Shake and use to freshen up linens and bedrooms.

BLEACH ALTERNATIVE
Combine 4 cups of distilled water with 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 10 drops Lemon oil. Let set on stubborn stains for 15 minutes then wash as normal, skipping the bleach.

HOUSEHOLD CLEANER
Mix 1 cup distilled water with 8 drops of Thieves oil with 1 tsp. liquid castile soap and 1 tsp. of white vinegar. Place in a glass spray bottle and use as a non-toxic surface cleaner.

GREASE CLEANER
Combine 1 3/4 cups of distill water with 2 tbsp. of castile soap and 20 drops of Orange oil. Pour into a glass spray bottle and use to remove stubborn grease or sticky residue, your own chemical free Goo Gone.

Each oil mentioned above comes in the standard Young Living kit so if you are in the market be sure to check it out. I use Young Living because that's what I know and love but you can find these oils online through additional retailers as well. I mix and match brands as needed so feel free to shop around and pick what works for you.

Looking for more Spring cleaning inspiration? I've joined a handful of my favorite bloggers to put together an All Thing Spring Blog Hop. Just click on each link below to discover new ideas. We are sharing ways to organize your home, spring wardrobe ideas, outdoor fun for kids and even a tasty coconut cake.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What's Up Wednesday V5

Happy Hump Day, friends! How is it the end of March already? Has this month flown by for you, too? I can't believe in 2 short months school will be over and we will have days free to do whatever we want. For the first time in a long time I am eager for Summer to arrive. Let's catch up with this month's "What's Up Wednesday" post.


What we're eating this week...

Breakfast is on our weekly rotation because it's high in protein and low in WW points. I realize that James has to suffer some but as he said, he isn't going hungry. Not only does a plate of eggs, sausage and waffles fill me up but it is the easiest dinner to make. From start to finish it takes a total of 15 minutes.

What I'm reminiscing about... 

My new ShadowSense eye makeup. I've been a fan of LipSense for a while and just recently tired their ShadowSense and have been obsessed with doing my eye make-up ever since. The color stays in place and lasts all day long.

What I'm loving...

That our days are less and less chaotic lately. I don't know how it happened but we are spending more time at home during the week. I've been able to stay on top of housework, blogging and Connor and I have had more one and one. It's been a really good few weeks for him and I.

What we've been up to...

I feel like we haven't done a lot during the week, using our energy to make the most of our weekends as a trio. Connor and I have been hanging out at home more, where I've been on a cleaning spree. I am loving all the clean space in our home. Adios clutter! Tidy spaces give me joy.

What I'm dreading...

It's done nothing but rain, rain, rain so if this is what Spring is going to be like then can we just skip and go straight to Summer? You'll never hear me say that again but I feel like we are in a constant state of wet because we have been rained on day after day.

What I'm working on...

Keeping the house clean. Because we have been home more we tend to leave messes here and there and it really aggravates me so I tend to pick-up multiple times a day. I think better in a clean space and I love being able to look around and see everything in it's place. I cleaned out the entryway closet, adding a shelf for Connor's shoes long with a place for our library books.

What I'm excited about...

Going on vacation in May with just James. This will be the 2nd time we've left Connor at home (with a family member of course) and went on a trip. We visit Cabo in May 2015. I know leaving your child at home and going out of town isn't for everyone but man, I love the one on one time with my guy.

What I'm watching/reading...

I am halfway through The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty. It's an okay book. I don't know what's going to happen with the story but as of page 211 I am on the fence about finishing it. I'm not one to quit on a book so I know I'll work through the second half but something good better happen soon because I'm getting bored.

What I'm listening to...

The Trolls Soundtrack on repeat in the car, at home, while working out. I love the songs, I love the movie, I love that Connor sings along. Do yourself a favor and listen to it; you'll be thanking me. I also have been creating playlists in Spotify and I'm slightly addicted. I think I may have 8 so far and I just started last week.

What I'm wearing...

Lots of workout clothes even though I don't always get a workout in. If it's not workout clothes, it's leggings, a t-shirt and zip-up. They are just comfortable and easy to lounge in or run errands in. Yes I could wear something else, maybe "real" clothes but I have to admit, that's a lot of work for just running to the grocery and dropping/picking Connor up from school or hanging out at a play date.

What we're doing this weekend...

This weekend is the one weekend in April we don't have plans. I'm not sure what we will get into but I know Sunday will be church. If it's dry and warm enough we are going to go see Boss Baby at the drive-in, which opens for the season on Friday. Side note: we see far too many kid movies in the theaters these days.

What I'm looking forward to next month...

April can be pretty tricky here weather wise so I am looking forward to it being a bit warmer and maybe even dry so we can get outdoors more. Easter is right around the corner and that brings with it the chance to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Connor starts swim lesson again and I am eager to see what skills he retain and what others we will be working on.

What else is new...

James has to travel in April for the first time in nearly 2 months so solo parenting is back and well... may the best guy win and by guy I mean me! Connor is 6 weeks away from wrapping up 4YO Preschool and it's hard to believe we have one Summer left before pre-K. Cue the tears! And as for me I'm really focusing on Weight Watchers and hope to start really working out more to see even more of a change on the scale, with my body and in my clothes. I am looking forward to tackling our Spring bucket list now that it's finally Spring.

What's going with you? What's new in your world? Share with me an answer to one of the prompts above in the comments below.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Let's Talk Food & My 1st 6 Weeks on Weight Watchers

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen my "weight loss hand" that pops up on Wednesday mornings. On February 8th I joined Weight Watchers (WW). I've always struggled with my weight and poor eating habits because simply put I love junk food. With the support of my husband, I decided to take a huge step and join a weight loss program. Many people have reached out to me and asked for details on Weight Watchers so I thought I would share the basics of WW along with my opinion of the program, what I've been eating and how much weight I've lost as of this morning.


I am using SmartPoints and you can find out about the point system here on WW's site. The program is based around a point system that makes eating simple based on the point value per food item. Each day I am able to monitor how much I have eaten which has allowed me to established positive eating habits, which I hope leads to long-term health. The program promotes eating nutrient dense foods, but does not deny one of any particular foods in general (so yes you can still have wine, chocolate and carbs). Ideally you want to choose foods that are high protein, low sugar. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar raises the point value of the food. Along with your daily SmartPoint goal, you also have 35 weekly points. Think of these as bonus points for a treat, a special occasion or when you are just feeling a bit more hungry. WW always gives members FitPoints which are earned through working out. The FitPoints is what gets you moving and earning points that you can potentially eat later on.

I get 30 SmartPoints a day. After 6 full weeks I can honestly say that 30 keeps me full if I eat lots of protein, veggies and fruits. The first week wasn't bad but week 2 was painful. My body was missing the sugar and junk so it took a couple of days to get it wanting protein and veggies. I find that if I'm feeling hungry it's usually because I haven't drank enough water. WW doesn't give you a water goal but I try to drink between 60-80 ounces a day. But if I'm doing well on water and still feel hungry, I'll dip into my weeklies. One of the most common questions I get is about what I eat each day. Lucky for you I take photos of my food. Here is a glimpse of what I've been munching on.



As you can see I eat a variety of foods. There isn't anything that's off limits. I've had white rice, pizza, pasta, iced coffee and ice cream over the last month and a half, just not often because those items are really high in points. I am a really picky eater but I can say that WW has forced me to try new foods because they are either low points or zero points. Yes, some foods are zero points. From the photos above I'll list the foods that are "free": green beans, egg whites, peas, carrots, broccoli, pickles, asparagus, sugar snap peas, broccoli slaw and sugar-free applesauce. Fruits and veggies are zero points so I find myself reaching for those when snacking or filling my plate when hungry. I don't eat nearly as much processed foods as I used to and I hope to eat less and less that longer I am on the program.

For the sake of knowing how many calories I'm taking in, I tracked that as well last week. At the end of each day I added up the caloric value of each thing that went in my body. On average I am consuming about 1,400-1,550 calories. Not too bad, right? I feel like if I were counting calories I would likely be eating less or that's what I've done before when using MyFitnessPal. When I start working out, this may increase but that's okay because I'll have those FitPoints to help keep me full. 

In 6 weeks I've lost 12 pounds. Some weeks I've had big losses and other have been much smaller but I'm not looking for a quick fix. I'm looking for healthy eating habits and mental strength. I didn't gain the weight I want to lose overnight so I don't expect it to disappear that quickly either. My goal is to lose 43 pounds. With my current loss, I'm making really great progress. 

So is Weight Watchers for you? I don't know. I do know that it's something to consider if you are wanting to make changes in your eating habits. I love going to the weekly meetings. I don't mind weighing in each week because with each loss, you often get rewarded. Someone mentioned the cost and for me, it's worth every penny because this program is the only one I've tried in the last 4 years that has given me the tools to losing weight in a healthy way. 

I am going to have weeks were I don't lose, I may even gain. But this is what keeps me motivated. As of today, I am on track to hit my goal weight by late October. I can't imagine any other birthday gift to myself in November than to be at my goal weight. This is what keeps me moving forward, giving it my all. 

Please keep in mind I'm not a nutritionist or doctor, just a Momma trying to get her groove back. If what you read above is of interest, feel free to reach to me or even consult your family doctor. As always do your own research and ask questions. Find what works for you!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Fling Photo Challenge Announcement

Good morning friends! I have a fun announcement to share with you today. For those of who who follow us on Instagram you know my love for photo challenges runs deep. I've given myself a goal to host a challenge every season this year. In February, I joined my blog bestie for 14 days of Love photo challenge. We had a ton of fun celebrating Valentine's Day with so many of you. 725 photos were shared in just 14 days; impressive! We know what you challenge you to 30 days of photo fun.

This Saturday, Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls and I are kicking off our Spring Fling photo challenge. What better way to usher in the new season than with pretty photos that focus on spring, Easter and the early beginnings of Summer fun. Here are the prompts for our 30 day Spring Fling challenge.


Will you be joining us? We would love to have you. Screenshot this list of prompts or right click and save the image. Our challenge starts on Saturday with our first prompt "selfie". Be sure to use hashtag #SpringFlingPhoto17 so the hosts and others can find your photos.

Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Favs: Shampoo, Easter Books and Song Lyrics

Good morning, friends! Our week has been filled with so much emotion. I don't want to share too many details here but if could lift us up in prayer I would appreciate it. Sometimes life is hard, you know? With that being said, I'm going to focus on some light-hearted things this morning. I think often times that's good for the soul. Here are this week's highlights and random thoughts.


ONE | NEW SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER


I've been on the look-out for a new shampoo and conditioner. I don't mind paying more for it either because I am really picky about my hair. But I was given the chance to try Finesse Restore + Strengthen*. I've seen this brand at Walmart and Walgreens (and just $1.98 at Walmart!) but hadn't given it much thought. I wish I had sooner because my hair has been the softest, most manageable hair I've had in a while. The air is still cold and dry here in Ohio leaving my hair full of static but after a couple days of this moisture packed shampoo and conditioner I am no longer battling the static. If you are looking to switch up your hair game, give Finesse a try.

TWO |  PREPPING FOR EASTER


Easter is in just a few weeks and we are slowly getting things together for Connor's basket. One of the items I am most excited about is CJ's personalized book from I See Me. I've shared our love of these books before but this book outdoes our first one. This holiday we picked My Little Book of Blessings. We were able to personalize it with friends and families names along with Connor's and a message from his Papa and I, making it an instant keepsake. I can't wait to read it with Connor for the first time and watch him discover his friends and family's names hidden within the pages. 

THREE | SCARS


Remember when I shared that I fell and had to get stitches? I've been working on making the scar on my shin a bit less noticeable by using ScarAway gel. It's healed well and the redness has started to fade but dang, it's still much more obvious than I would like. It's improved a ton over the last 3 months and I hope that by the time shorts weather rolls around it will be even lighter. 

FOUR | ALIEN DRAWINGS


We've entered the stage of drawing people ... AKA aliens. On a single day, CJ will use 5-7 pieces of paper to draw stories of his friends (the friends drawn in alien form) and he has me write their names next to each person and we display them proudly. I am almost certain this is the funniest stage yet. Who wouldn't love a crew of aliens welcoming them into their dining room? 

FIVE | EYE OF THE STORM


Every once in a while I find a song that I connect to a personal level that's hard to explain. That song in this season of life is Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson. When I say that I jam to this song, I am not joking. I sing, I dance, I raise praise hands. I feel this song on a level I can't really put into words. But I heard this song live 2 weeks ago at the Hits Deep Tour and was able to purchase the above print that is now on display in my office. My favorite verse is... "In the eye of the storm, You remain in control ... In the middle of the war, You guard my soul ... You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn ... Your love surrounds, me in the eye of the storm."

Our weekend plans are pretty low-key. We have a goodbye to say Saturday and church on Sunday. Other than that, I'm not sure what we will get into. I know that I hope to take at least one nap this weekend. #weekendgoals

Here are this week's posts in case you've missed one:
Monday: Target Clearance For The Win
Tuesday: A Lesson in Luck {Free Clover Printable}
Wednesday: A Day at Disney Springs {Our Version of Legoland}


Enjoy your weekend, friends!


*This review is powered by BrandBacker where I received free product for my honest review. As always I only share items with you that we use and love.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Day at Disney Springs {Our Version of Legoland}

Last week I shared with you our day at Disney's The Magic Kingdom. Today I want to recap our time at Disney Springs. Disney Springs is an open air shopping center with restaurants, a large pond that you can boat across and a few hotels. It's perfect for shopping, especially if your little one likes Legos. Connor had asked to go to Legoland but we didn't want to pay the expensive fees since we were planning to go to Disney later in the week. Lucky for us, the Lego Store at Disney Springs gave Connor all his little heart could want in the form of Legos.


Connor has been playing with Legos daily for the last year or so. While they make a mess and I find them all over our home, it occupies his time for hours and he loves building new creations. When visiting Disney Springs, he called the Lego store Legoland and well, we let him believe it. Mean Momma and Papa, right? I don't feel one bit guilty as it saved us a ton of money. Here are some highlight from our day out along with photos from our day at Disney Springs. 

--- Connor got to build two Lego racers and race them against other boys and girls.

--- He won the second race, bringing him more joy than I ever expected.

--- Connor walked out of the Lego Store with a full container of new bricks, included sixers which he had to have more of along with 3 new Lego men. 

--- He is now the proud owner of a new potato head that is half Buzz Lightyear and half Stromtrooper. 

--- A boat ride with a pretty view and a hot air balloon is the perfect way to end a day of shopping.























Disney Springs is such a fun place to shop and dine, even people watch. When we make back to Orlando I am certain we will spend another day here. I mean, it is "Legoland" after all.