Weekend plans

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This week seemed long and I'm not sure why. We were busy and I am ready to relax and have some fun this weekend.  
Today I'm hosting a play date. It will be fun and lots of kids are coming. About 10 so far. After that I'm hoping both kids take naps. Jack was up until 12:00 last night and Evelyn was up at 6:00 this morning so I'm pretty tired. I still have snacks to prepare and I need to pick up the house before everyone gets here in 2 hours. 
Tomorrow we have our babysitter coming over for a couple of hours so Mike and I can go to lunch. I'm really looking forward to that. I'm not sure where we are going yet but I plan on getting dressed up. I have a few new outfits that I've been waiting to wear. 
We also need to grocery shop for our Super Bowl get together on Sunday. We have just a couple of friends coming over and then the guys are staying late to watch the game. 
I'm not sure what's on the menu yet so I have to pull out some recipes today.  
What's your weekend look like?

Basic cupcake recipe

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Time and time again I have wrote about how I am not a good baker.  I am trying though and continue to step out of my comfort zone and try new sweet treats.  My family is not complaining with the failed attempts though so I guess it is a win win for everyone.  
Yesterday Evelyn asked for cupcakes and since I didn't have my usual box mix in the house I searched Pinterest and found a simple cupcake recipe.  
It looked easy and I had everything already in the house.  So we started baking.  
I added a bit of pink food coloring to make them pink but other than that I followed the recipe completely.  
Mike thought they were a bit bland but Evelyn and I really liked them.  
Either way we had a lot of fun baking and Evelyn was able to use her sprinkle decorating skills (which are amazing by the way)

Check out the recipe below.  







Menu Planning Monday

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We have a busy week this week so I was trying to pick easy recipes so I can get dinner on the table quick and have easy clean up. 


Burger Lettuce wraps with Sweet Potato French Fries
Black bean burritos with a side salad
Breakfast- sausage, eggs and waffles
5 Ingredient Chili with a side salad (making enough for 2 days)


Weekend Plans

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Today we are visiting my sister in law and the kiddos.  We haven't been able to get together in a couple of weeks so I am really looking forward to it.  I am also picking up lunch on the way and am looking forward to eating some french fries.  
Lots of fun is coming this weekend.  Tonight we are hanging out as a family and doing some cooking and enjoying a much needed cocktail.
Tomorrow we have a birthday party to go to.  Evelyn's friend is turning 4.  There are 4 friends of mine and all of our kids turn 4 within the same 3 months so we have a lot of parties coming up.  It should be a lot of fun.  It is going to be a sledding party with pizza and cake.  Evelyn is going to love it  
Sunday we have church then in the afternoon we are going to finish up a couple of projects that we started in the house.  I'd like to sneak out for a quick lunch with Mike alone but, the kids will probably end up coming with us depending on if our babysitter is available.
I also have meal planning to do and grocery shopping.
I have really been trying to grocery shop on Sundays which is a crazy time for the store but, it is easier to start the week out with everything planned.

Jack- 18 Months

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We had Jack's 18 month doctor appointment yesterday.
As soon as we walked into the room he started crying.  He settled down for a while and we saw the doctor.
He is growing fast and that really sums up his appointment.  He is off the height chart for his age at 33 inches and 27 pounds.  I feel like he grows in spurts.  Last week he had this really cute sweater on and then I put it on him this week and it was completely too small.
I've been moving him into his 2T clothing and now none of his 18 month clothes fit.
He is talking and talking.  Really he doesn't stop all day long.  He is climbing and wanting to everything on his own.
He's a great eater and noodles of any kind are his favorite.  He also loves pea's, green beans, banana's and blueberry's.  Oh and pouches,  I know there are some debate on the pouches but, he loves them. He is always going to the pantry to get them out and bringing me more to open.
Happy happy describes Jack.  On the go and smiling all the time.  Also a little cuddle bug when he is having milk.  We read lots of books and he loves doing his shape sorters.  We are just starting to get into painting and coloring and while he likes it, he doesn't like getting his hands dirty.
My growing little man.  Getting so big and I couldn't be happier.






My continued fitness journey

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Fitness and nutrition is something that I find very important but it hasn't always been that way.  As a teen I was very active with sports.  My family rarely ate out and my mom always cooked dinner.  So growing up I never gave nutrition a thought.  
I was active in college and played some recreational sports.  I joined a soccer team and was busy walking the campus going to class but I also ate and ate and well, also consumed a few too many cocktails.  I gained some weight.  I am not sure how much but looking back at pictures I was definently not at a comfortable weight for me.  
After college I fell into a new routine of working.  When I first graduated I had a retail job in sales and didn't make enough money so I worked a second job waiting tables.  I was really busy working and hanging out with friends so working out was not a priority.  I did however do pilates every morning.  It was a quick 15 minute routine but I think it actually helped me.  I was more flexible than I have ever been. 
I ended up losing some weight from just being so busy and that was the first time I had realized how much I had let myself go in college.  
I started riding my bike almost every day and I joined a gym for the first time.   I was feeling good and was comfortable with myself.  
Then I met Mike.  We started cooking together, going out to eat often and enjoying lots of cocktails on the weekends.  I stopped working out, although I kept paying for my gym membership and started to gain weight.  When we got engaged I was at my highest weight I think I had ever been at.   
I wanted to feel good on our wedding day so I started watching what I ate and attempting to run.  I was like most people and wanted a quick fix so I started the Slim Fast diet.  And honestly it did work.  I dropped a few pounds before our wedding and felt great in my dress.  I gained the weight back right after the wedding.  
6 months later we went on our honey moon to Hawaii.  At that point I was actively working out and trying to get in shape because we wanted to try for a baby soon.  I knew I would gain weight being pregnant and wanted to be as healthy as possible before we started.  I thought I looked great and I was feeling better.  Again though nutrition took a back seat because I thought since I was working out I could eat whatever I wanted.  

Fast forward to the present day.  5 years of marriage, 2 kids later and lots of life changes and I think I have figured things out.  

First I have started to really enjoy cooking, as seen in my many recipe posts.  I pre plan meals, snacks and always try to eat fresh. clean and balanced meals.  I have done a lot of researching, reading and analyzing food and nutrition.  It has become a hobby of mine and I love learning about how food is used to fuel our bodies.  
I also make working out a priority.  I have learned to love running.  It took a lot of time.  Running is not for everyone either so I get that.  I think it is just important to find something cardio wise that you like.  Walking is what I started with.  I would put Evelyn in the stroller and walk during her naps.  An hour at a time.  She loved the fresh air and I loved the quiet time.  Cardio is not everything though.  Some type of stretching and strength training is essential as well.  I am not great at coming up with my own workouts so I do classes, find routines on Pinterest and also use work out video's.
I don't always make it to the gym.  I would say I only get there a couple times a week if that.  Jack really doesn't like the child care, he doesn't like leaving me so it is hard to hear him scream.  So I fit in some type of working out at home.    
Simple easy things like jumping jacks, a bit of stretching, planks, really anything to get my body moving a bit.  I am also busy with the kids and house.  I rarely sit down and try to keep moving through out the day.  
I have realize fitness and nutrition will continue to be a journey for me.  As I get older things change. Different exercises are essential, changing up my eating habits will have to continue as well.  For now though I am just trying to live a healthy lifestyle and try to make it all a priority.  
Not only for me but to be a good example for my little ones.  

Here is a look back at a few pictures.  

When we got engaged.  


Our honeymoon in Hawaii.  This was about 2 years after our engagement.  


This was a picture I took about a month ago at the gym.  


Meal Planning Monday

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Eating clean this week and keeping it simple.  I even planned out breakfast and snacks so hopefully we won't be opening the refrigerator a hundred times deciding what to eat.

Grilled Chicken with roasted brussel sprouts and salad with ginger dressing

Grilled Chicken with zucchini noodles and green beans

Chicken stir fry with cauliflower rice

Mexican lettuce Wraps

Stacked bunless burgers with a side of cucumber and tomato

For snacks we are having
celery with peanut butter
peanut butter protein balls
berries with yogurt
carrots and hummus

Breakfasts with be
Eggs with Sausage sweet potato hash
hardboiled eggs with waffles
tortilla egg wraps with fruit
Smoothies

I am also planning on taking pictures one day with everything I ate.  Just to give you an idea of what my day looks like.  I eat often and drink lots of water.  So, we will see if I can remember to take all the pictures.
Happy Monday, what does your week's meals look like?


Friends will come and friends will go

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As I have gotten older, moved a few times, switched careers, got married and eventually had 2 little ones, my circle of friends have changed.  
I have never really had a hard time meeting people.  In fact I really enjoy meeting new people.  I am comfortable being in a crowd of once strangers knowing there is a potential for me to meet new people.  
The changes though that I have made in my life has meant that some friends have taken a back burner or even worse have proven to not really be very good friends at all.  It is really sad when I think about it.  I would love to have more time to see people that I haven't seen in a long time but the reality is I have a family.  I have 2 small children and a husband that works a lot.  My evenings are full with dinners, cleaning up, bath time and bed time routines.  The weekends are relaxing but filled with fitting in family time.  
Mike and I rarely spend much time together as a couple and the kids want to spend time with us so that leaves the weekends for playing catch up.  
I have probably mentioned before but we don't have family near by.  It is just us.  We don't have babysitters or friends to help us out with the kids.  It is just Mike and I.  We don't have a grandparent around the corner to drop the kids off to when we want to run to the store by ourselves or grab a drink or go out when last minute plans are available.  
We don't get to go out to the bars and have crazy nights like we once did.  We sneak in a night or 2 when we can but that is just one of us going out.  
All this leads to a loss in some friendships.  We don't get asked to do as much as we used to.  I see on social media sites that friends are out having fun and we didn't get invited.  
And if I am being honest, truly honest it makes me sad.  It makes me sad to see that friends don't include us.  It makes me sad to realize that we have obviously thought of them as much closer friends than they think of us.  
So I guess this is the time in our lives that we are given the rare opportunity to see who's really in it.  Who is going to stand by us through the good and the bad, through the busy times and the more readily available times.  
When you think about it like that it's not all gloom.  Most people go through a good portion of there lives thinking one way about a friendship and then finding out it is something else. 
I get to see first hand what is coming and can cut my ties before I get too hurt.  

So I will wrap up by saying that as we grow we realize that it is less important to have lots of friends and really more important to have real ones.  


Meal Planning Monday

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We had a our last Christmas celebration this past weekend.  I used my new China that my mom passed down to me again.  It is so pretty and I am sad to pack it away.

Thankfully we had a few leftovers from the party so I didn't have to do any cooking on Sunday and tonight we are finishing up the Italian wedding soup that Uncle Will made.  It is so good and I am excited to eat it again.  I am going to make a salad with it and if I get a bit of time I am thinking about trying to bake a new cheddar garlic quick bread.

The rest of the week looks like this.

Taco Muffins with a side salad
Bunless burgers with alfredo zucchini noodles
5 ingredient Chili with cornbread
Zuppa Toscana Soup with a side salad


Happy New Year

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Happy New Year to everyone.  We made it through the holidays and are back from vacation getting adjusted to our normal routine.  

We went to Alabama for the new year and spent time with Mike's parents.  We go every year and always look forward to the trip.  It is a little get away where we spend lots of family time together relaxing and doing some things in the south that we can not do in Michigan this time of year.  
The weather there is warm enough to go outside so the kids love being able to play.  The ice cream man came around the day after Christmas and we ate ice cream outside.  That seems so crazy to me since Michigan is about 5 degrees right now.  
While on vacation I did some shopping, lots of cooking of course and lots of relaxing.  I came back with a couple new cookbooks with new recipes to try.  I also did some reading on organizing tips.  

So, here it is.  My New Years Resolution...the year of giving away instead of getting.  
Our family has made a resolution to give away 2015 things this year.  Sounds like a lot but really it is only 6 things a day.  

I started as soon as I got home by cleaning out my closet.  I have so many things that I don't wear.  Why am I holding on to these things when someone could actually get some use out of it.  
After I am done with the closets I am going through the kids toys, then working to the kitchen and then each individual room in the entire house.  

I am pretty excited about this.  I am really going to do it.  I want to have less and enjoy the things we have more.  

Did you make a resolution this year?  


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