Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Cool and Refreshing Pasta Salad to Make Your Belly Smile

In the summer time, there's nothing more that I crave than cool and refreshing fruit and of course salads.  The best thing about a salad is how versatile it can be.  Whether you want to have chicken or even steak in it, it's easy to make it your own.  Add in your favorite ingredients to truly make it a meal that you'll love.  

Recipe credit given below 


When I think of summer BBQ's or parties, pasta salad comes to mind.  Pasta salad is a classic staple that certainly would make any crowd happy.  If you're having a party in the near future and are looking for something to make your party a hit, how about a broccoli pasta salad?

Ingredients:
7 sweet mini peppers (orange, yellow and red)
1 head of broccoli
1/3 cup dried cranberries
4 cups cooked bow-tie pasta (approx. 1/2 of a 12 oz box)
3/4 cup to 1 cup of 3 cheese ranch dressing
salt and pepper to taste
slivered almonds (optional)

Steps:

Cook pasta until al dente and rinse in warm water
Dice the peppers and chop broccoli
Add peppers, broccoli, cranberries and pasta into a bowl and pour dressing over ingredients
Cover and chill in the fridge at least two hours.  More dressing may need to be poured over the salad before serving.  


You can either make this the main meal of your party, or it definitely goes great as a side dish too.  Don't forget to serve up a perfectly fruity beverage to really wow your guests.

*Recipe taken from Pics and Pastries

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Don't Compare Your Child, Just Enjoy Them

I think one of the biggest challenges I face as a parent is not comparing my child to others. It's so easy to do so, but it's also a recipe for disaster.

 

Even before a baby is born, the comparisons start.  A group of women could sit around a table and talk about their journeys thus far for the ones who are pregnant.  One might say I have pain in my lower back and my feet are swollen.  Of course someone else would say I never had that, maybe you should go and get that checked out or ask your doctor about it. Then that initial woman might internally panic and think something could be wrong and worry arises.  Her baby is perfectly healthy, but the worries and comparisons never stop.

I joined a local moms group for my town.  It's been so much fun to meet other moms and have my child play or connect with theirs.  Since we're moms, we enjoy discussing what we're most comfortable with--motherhood.  We talk about the challenges of our child eating too much, not eating enough, oversleeping, not sleeping enough, co-sleeping vs. not co-sleeping, and the list goes on.  I'm very lucky in the fact that my child has no issues with sleeping or eating.  Since she was 6 months old she's slept in her own crib through the night. Scarlett also is a wonderful eater and her portion sizes are large for a child her age.  Other moms are envious and wish their children were just like Scarlett.  

On the other hand, I have my own set of challenges with Scarlett.  She's addicted to the phone and the pacifier.  My husband and I gave her a pacifier in the hospital and she instantly loved it.  What did we know? We were first time parents and all we knew were that pacifiers were for babies.  I wish I could have had a glimpse into the future and saw that my child wouldn't be able to ride in the car or go to sleep without it.  If I had known that, I wouldn't have given it to her.  The phone is an addiction that we are doing our best to break. She constantly wants my iPhone and anyone else's.  If you don't give it to her, she throws a tantrum.  It's not easy.  I am envious of other children who are free of pacifier and phone addictions.  I wish my child was like them and think life must be easier for those parents.  

I constantly compare myself to my friend's children who are talking and very verbal. Scarlett is almost 18 months and not speaking at all.  I ask myself does she need to be evaluated at some point? Why is she not talking? Is something wrong? Do I not teach her enough and she doesn't know the words she needs to know? Is she on track? Of course everyone says she'll talk when she wants to and then you'll never get her to stop talking.  I'm sure they're right, but until you hit that point you worry.  Parents worry, and I'll never stop worrying or comparing her to others.  It's a hard fact to accept but it's true.  I want to do my best to not compare so much in the future.  

I do believe the best advice for parents out there is to accept that your child is individual and unique.  They will do everything on their own terms when they're ready.  So what if they don't walk or talk exactly on time, it doesn't mean anything is wrong.  In the end, everyone catches up and is just fine.  Don't compare them to others.  Instead, spend time with your child and make memories while you can.  In just a blink of an eye, they'll be all grown up and you'll be wishing for that time back.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5 Tips to Stay Cool in the Summer

It's 88 here today.  It's hot.  It's the kind of hot where you don't want to spend too much time outdoors.  Unfortunately, if you're not a fan of the heat we have it for some weeks to come now.  I have a great list of ways to stay cool and give yourself some relief from the sun.



1. Whether it's hot or cold chrysanthemum tea is served to lower body temperature and also soothe heat rash.  The next time you feel like you need something to cool you off, try an icy cold glass of chrysanthemum tea. 

2. Put soft gel ice packs on top of the mattress and underneath the sheets.  Also try putting them under your legs, neck, or lower back for maximum comfort.  You can also freeze a cotton sock filled with rice then slip it between the sheets.  The rice will hold a chill longer. 

3. Freeze a couple of water bottles and place them in front of a floor or desk fan.  You'll enjoy a much cooler breeze this way.  You can also add salt to the water first to beat the heat longer. 

4. If you want to lower your body temperature, apply a bottle with ice cold water on pressure points like ankles, wrist, and behind the knees. 

5.  When all else fails, take an icy cold shower to cool off.  

*Taken from Readers Digest* 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nutrisystem Week 7 Update #NSNation

I'm still 7 lbs down on Nutrisystem, which is fantastic.  There was no additional weight loss this past week which I'm a little disappointed with.  I think I'm feeling a little unmotivated because I'm waiting for a new shipment of food.  Whenever I get a new shipment, it gives me the boost I need to continue to work hard.  Plus, I love all of the delicious new options to try too! Hopefully my new shipment will be here this week.



On the upside, losing no additional pounds is a lot better than gaining so I'll take it.  I have a few functions coming up where unhealthy options will be made available to me and I'll have to do the best I can.  It's impossible to always bring Nutrisystem food with you or eat it at all times.  

I still am concerned about gaining weight back once I'm done with this program.  This is something I want to address with my Nutrisystem contact this week.  I haven't worked this hard to lose weight in a long time and it would really disappoint me to see all of my hard work go to waste.

I've still been drinking lots of water and eating fresh fruits and veggies.  Right now, I have strawberries, bananas, blueberries, and raspberries in my house.  These are quick and easy snacks and sides for meals that are my go-to picks.  Who doesn't love berries? You can't forget about delicious roasted beans and carrots which I have in ziploc containers in my fridge for easy access.

Stay tuned for Week 8!



*DISCLOSURE* I am receiving NutriSystem for 3 months in exchange for blogging about my weight-loss journey.  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dreft Makes Babies Smile #Amazinghood #Ad #Sp

For the first few months of Scarlett's life my routine consisted of changing diapers, feedings, and endless loads of baby laundry.  All of her adorable outfits had spit-up stains on them within moments it felt like.  I had to take pictures of her fast so I wouldn't have messy clothes in the shot!  For those newborn days we depended on Dreft to get my daughter's clothes clean with a fresh-smelling scent.



Dreft is the #1 baby laundry detergent choice of pediatricians, the #1 dermatologist recommended brand for baby clothes and a trusted brand for more than 80 years.  Dreft has expanded its product line to meet the different needs of growing babies and their families. Now with Dreft's new line of laundry care products, families can focus less on the mess and more on the amazing moments they share together.  

Rest assured, Dreft products are specially formulated to be gentle on skin, tough on stains, and leave behind a fresh baby scent.  Both Dreft Newborn and Active Baby detergents are gentle and hypoallergenic on baby's sensitive skin.  Dreft Active Baby helps remove 99% of baby food stains and other outdoor messes.  For continued freshness for up to two weeks, use Dreft Blissfuls scent-beads which are safe on all fabrics. 

While Scarlett is no longer a newborn, she is an active baby who runs and plays outside and certainly gets her clothes dirty.  Of course you can't forget about the food stains either! I haven't had the opportunity to grab that bright pink handle of the detergent bottle in many months, but now the chance to do so is back! You can't beat that baby scent which brings you back to those sweet and cuddly newborn days.  Scarlett will no longer let me rock and hold her like I did when she was a tiny baby, but those memories do come flooding back once you smell Dreft.






I had a few guests over for a Dreft party which was an opportunity for us to discuss our kids, motherhood as we know it, and of course Dreft.  It's always fun to swap entertaining stories about your kids.  All of my guests were familiar with Dreft, but were unaware of the additional products from the line.  Warm conversation with your friends can never be beat.  I think my friends also liked the cookies and other snacks I served too! All of us had a wonderful time together and I wish I could get together with my girls every weekend!



My guests went home with goodie bags filled with Dreft products which they were excited about.  They said they couldn't wait to try out the Blissfuls scent-beads in their next load of baby laundry.  Who wouldn't want to continue smelling that fabulous baby scent each time you open the baby's dresser?

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Dreft for providing me with compensation in exchange for participating in this campaign.  All thoughts are strictly my own* 

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Terrible Twos And What to Do About Them

*This post may contain affiliate links*


I remember going through the terrible twos with my daughter. It certainly is a challenging time.  I've been having a think about what things helped to make the transition a little easier. So grab a cup of coffee and check out the information below, it might just make your life a little easier too.


Tantrum Time


Any parent knows that tantrums can happen at any time, not just in your little one's second year.  So why then are the terrible twos such a big problem? Well, as your child develops, they will test their boundaries and see what they can do. This can be a particular problem from 18 months upwards as your cherub is mobile and vocal, and not so shy at expressing themselves. So what can you do? There are several schools of thought on this. You can strategically ignore or discipline with a time out. Time outs seem to work well for many kids as it gives them the chance to be out of the situation and learn to calm down. Many parents add reward charts to this process as their little ones become a bit older, giving them a visual reminder of their progress. Whichever methods you decide will work for you, make sure you are consistent.


Crying-girl.jpg


Potty Training


Getting your kids out of nappies can be a challenging time. Accidents are going to occur, and different children will be ready for potty training at different times. Usually, parents start thinking about potty training when their child is 18 months or over.  Remember to be patient and understanding at this crucial stage their development. If getting them to use the potty is really tough you could get some expert advice from sites such as pottytrainingsolved.com.


Sleep Problems


Getting your toddler to sleep at bedtime can be an epic task. They are starting to appreciate the world and all the fun they can have in it, so find it hard to get off to sleep. They can also end up in your bed, disturbing your sleep. Argh! Getting your little one (and yourself!) in a good routine can help here. A bath, drink, teeth clean and potty time can set up a relaxed mood for bedtime. There also some cool gadgets that can help your little ones know when it's time to sleep.


Eating Habits


You've noticed by now, that your toddler is becoming more willful (see tantrums above!). They can often express this is their eating habits. They know what they like and they pretty much just want to eat that. Yes, it does tend to be candy, chips, and sugary drinks if you let them. Do you hear the word “No” a lot, when giving them the healthy option? While getting them to eat healthy at this stage can be a nightmare, it is worth the effort. It's so important because it is setting them up nutritionally for the rest for the rest of their lives. If you'd like a healthier way to make sure your kids get enough to drink click here.

Whether your toddler hits all these critical stages before or after their second birthday, remember that all babies go through them. With some patience from you and some willing from them, you'll get through it!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gourmet Gift Baskets Review

Gift baskets make the best presents.  I've given many gift baskets as birthday presents over the years and the recipients absolutely loved them.  What's not to love about a beautiful basket filled to the brim with items that you enjoy? The best part is how they are decorated.  Make sure you select a basket that's big enough to hold everything you want to give.  After that, put clear cellophane paper around the big and tie with a gorgeous bow.  It will be almost too pretty to open, but they won't be able to resist! Go ahead and make someone's day extra special with a gift basket today.



Gourmet Gift Baskets is the mecca of gift baskets for any type of occasion.  Since Father's Day is coming up, don't forget to give your dad a gift basket that he'll remember for years to come.   There are so many gift basket choices like coffee, chocolate, tea, meat and cheese, and even sports! 

How about care packages for your niece or nephew away at school? You can't forget about the gift towers that are filled with delicious treats such as flavored popcorn, candy, and cookies.  These yummies are guaranteed to satisfy your tummy and taste buds.  A gift basket would be the perfect corporate gift to thank a client, not to mention they make ideal presents for any occasion.  Go ahead and order one for a friend or family member today, or maybe even yourself!
Happiness in a basket 

My husband Jay was thrilled to receive an early Father's Day gift from Gourmet Gift Baskets.  He's a huge fan of meat and cheeses, so the Gourmet Meat & Cheese Sampler Deluxe was right up his alley.  He wasted no time ripping that basket open to display the heavenly treats inside.  Who doesn't love artisan meats and cheeses on top of a crispy and fresh cracker? Everyone of course! 

The crackers came in different flavors including sweet onion flatbread crackers, olive oil & sea salt, and roasted garlic with rosemary.  With pepperoni and summer sausage or swiss jalapeƱo jack cheese atop a cracker you can not go wrong.

I watched my husband have 3 crackers in a row each with pepperoni and swiss on top before he even took a breath! This might be impressive to you, but it's something I witness quite frequently.  The man loves his meat and cheeses.  He's been known to buy big sausages from the Italian market and eat them within a few hours. Jay said the summer sausage was perfectly chewy and delightful and had a wonderful bite to it.  The combination of swiss and pepperoni was heavenly in his eyes.  He couldn't get enough of it!

Of course the crackers gave the meat & cheese combo a boost of texture and flavor which was very welcomed.  Jay enjoyed experimenting with cracker and meat combos for his late-night snack.  He had to stop himself or he would have eaten the whole basket.  

As you can see, food is truly the way to a man's heart.  Keep that in mind this Father's Day when you surprise your husband or dad with something delicious!

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Gourmet Gift Baskets for providing a complimentary sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Scarlett 17 Month Update

Can you believe it? Scarlett's 17 months old now!

17 months has been such a fun age, but also brings a lot of challenges.  We've baby-proofed our home but Scarlett has broken all of the baby proofing devices on the cabinets.  We'll soon need to get magnetic baby proofing that secures with a magnet so she can't break it. There are three sets of gates for each level of stairs we have in our home.  Scarlett shook them so hard that they broke and no longer latch into place.  It's like living with a mini hulk! If you turn your back even for one second, you can guarantee something will be broken or is on the brink of being broken.  

Her personality is really shining through and she loves to laugh and be silly.  You can constantly find her laughing and hiding behind the curtains or doing something else that will make you smile.  



What's been wonderful to see is Scarlett's love of reading.  I think I mentioned in the last update that she loves to read but her zest for reading has increased.  She will sit on her rug in her room and just turn the pages for a long time while looking at each picture.  Scarlett has a few favorites including animal books.  I love that she loves to read! Of course she asks us to read each book over and over too. :) 

Scarlett will point to certain things on each page that interest her and I'll tell her what they are.  This is a great way for her to learn colors, shapes, animal names, etc.  I can see the entrance to her room from my room, so while she reads it allows me to fold a load of laundry.  It's always nice to be able to get something done with a little one around!



One thing that hasn't changed at all is Scarlett's love of eating.  Meal time is her favorite time of day and she gets so excited to see her plate go on her highchair tray.  Vegetables and fruit are her absolute favorites and she goes to those first on her plate no matter what's on it.  That makes me one proud mom!  She will truly eat everything and anything. I'm very lucky that she isn't the type of child who will only eat grilled cheese or chicken nuggets. She's eating a turkey burger for dinner tonight with edamame and last night she had lobster ravioli!



Everyday brings new and exciting changes with my favorite girl.  Over the last couple weeks Scarlett has really started grasping and understanding what's asked of her.  You can tell her to dance and she will move a little bit.  She also attempts to jump when she's asked to jump too.  If you ask her a simple command like bring me your shoes, she will pick them up and bring them to me.  It's amazing to see your child developing into a tiny person who understands what you're saying and can complete the task! Although Scarlett isn't talking yet, hopefully soon she will be. 

Scarlett's also learned how to climb on the couch herself and enjoys sitting there alone with a book.  She's learning how to walk up and down the stairs properly too.  I will hold her hand and we will walk up and down so she can get practice.  She can crawl up the stairs and also crawl down backwards, but walking up and down properly will take some work.  



We have such a fun summer planned too! I really can't wait.  Scarlett's going to Sesame Place for the first time in June, then we'll go see Grandma for 3 weeks, and then a 2 day trip to Cape Cod for my birthday in September! Besides our trips, Scarlett is doing an art workshop, and a drop-off summer camp too.  She's never been to an activity without me before so that'll be a first.  

Another exciting update is that Scarlett will be starting preschool in September! She'll be going one afternoon a week to start.  When she's 2, we'll increase it to two days a week.  I know it'll help her in so many ways and I'm excited for it!


Scarlett used to go to bed at 7, but now goes to bed closer to 8 pm.  She wakes up anywhere from 7-7:30 in the morning.  I'm lucky that she's been sleeping through the night since 6 months old! 

I can't believe she'll be 2 at the end of the year.  Time is flying by so fast.  I wish it would slow down sometimes.  I'm sure at the end of the year she'll be a completely different child and talking up a storm! 



Monday, May 16, 2016

Nutrisystem Week 6 Update #NSNation

I'm now done 7 pounds thanks to Nutrisystem, and I can not be any happier.

I am feeling very motivated to continue my weight loss journey.  I'd like to lose a minimum of another 3 pounds, potentially more if possible.

The one thing I'm concerned about is gaining weight back once I am done with this weight-loss journey.  I've worked so hard to get to this point and I'm at my lowest weight in years.  It would be terrible to gain my weight back and have to start all over again.  I'll try my hardest to make sure that won't happen, but I'd like some guidance with that.  I'll certainly reach out to Nutrisystem for some tips and advice.  

My clothes seem to fit me better and everyone around me has noticed my weight loss.  It's such a great feeling to feel confident and happy with yourself.  I had a baby 17 months ago.  I'm lucky in the sense that my baby weight quickly fell right off, but the way my body carries weight has now shifted.  Even when you're the same weight and clothing size after having a baby, your body may look different.  

I'm extremely happy with my progress so far and can't wait to update you for week 7 next week!

*DISCLOSURE* I am receiving NutriSystem for 3 months in exchange for blogging about my weight-loss journey.  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Delight Your Tastebuds With Peach Iced Tea

There's nothing more delicious in the warmer months of the year than peach iced tea.  That fabulous and refreshing peachy taste can't be beat.  If you're a fan of store-bought peach iced tea, it's time to make your own.  Your family will be thrilled when they see a pitcher of it in the fridge. The best part is that it's so simple to make.



Ingredients:

Simple Syrup
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 cup water
2 ripe peaches, thinly sliced plus more for serving.

Tea:
2-3 tablespoons of loose leaf black tea (3-4 tea bags) depending on how strong you prefer it
8 cups filtered water 

Steps:

1. Bring sugar, water and peaches to a boil in a small saucepan.  Then lower heat and use a wooden spoon to stir and crush the peaches to infuse the flavor.
2. Once the sugar is dissolved, cover, remove from heat and let steep for 25-30 minutes. 
3. In the meantime, brew your tea using either a large pot or a tea marker.  Use less tea if you prefer it weaker, or more tea if you prefer it stronger.  Try not to let it steep longer than 4-5 minutes or it can get bitter. 
4. Once brewed, remove tea bags or strain out loose leaf tea and transfer to a pitcher.  Chill in the fridge.
5. Once your simple syrup is finished, pour into a bottle or a container over a fine mesh strainer to strain out peaches.   You can reserve the peaches for later use. 
6. To serve, either set out the simple syrup and add as much to the tea as you like, or add all of the simple syrup to the tea and stir.  Serve tea over ice and fresh sliced peaches. 

Your belly will absolutely love this tea.  It's icy cold, perfectly peachy, and everything you could want.  It's ideal for parties and BBQ's.  Your guests will request that you make this all summer long!

*Recipe taken from Minimalist Baker* 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Schlummersack Review

All new moms have plenty of worries about their baby.  Every parent wants to make sure they are doing as well of a job as possible of caring for their baby.  It can be easy to feel defeated or unsure of yourself if things are brand new to you.  All you have to do is take each day one at a time and you'll become more confident.  One thing you shouldn't have to worry about as a parent is your baby's comfort in their crib.


Schlummersack wants to offer babies around the world the best night's sleep possible with their sleeping bags.  Loose blankets can be unsafe in the crib and can cover your baby's face and interfere with breathing.  Schlummersack provides sleeping bags in a variety of colors, designs, and sizes from birth up until 10 years old.  You can choose from a sleeping bag with or without sleeves depending on your preference and what season it is.  Babies around the world will go to sleep with a smile when they wear a Schlummersack sleeping bag to bed.  Keep the brand in mind for baby shower or new mom gifts.

Scarlett was fortunate enough to receive two sleeping bags both in size 12-36 months. Since she's a girly girl she chose the Winter Sleeping Bag with Sleeves in the Pink Fairy print and the All Year Sleeping Bag in the Pink Bird print.  Both bags are made with 100% cotton and feature an adorable print for your little princess.  



We're definitely not strangers to sleeping bags in our house.  Scarlett's been using them since she was born and doesn't go to sleep without them.  I'm honestly not sure when I'll eventually transition to letting her use a blanket in her crib instead of a sleeping bag.  The fear of the blanket covering her face or her not being able to breathe makes me so nervous. Until then, sleeping bags it is!

The All Year Sleeping Bag is what we'll be using until the cooler weather comes in.  This sleeping bag features a cute bird design with "little birdie" embroidered at the top.  The pink is a soft pink and the colors of the birds are bright and vivid.  

There are no sleeves on this sack and it's perfect for the summer.  Scarlett wore it to bed for the first time tonight and really seemed to enjoy it.  It's comfortable and lightweight.  Yes, it's big on her because it goes up to 36 months but that's okay because she'll be able to wear it for a long time without outgrowing it.  I'm all for products that you get an extended period of use out of! 


Comfy girl ready to have Schlummersack dreams 

I had no problems zipping Scarlett up into her sleeping bag.  Since the weather is getting warmer here, she was in short-sleeved pajamas tonight.  I know she won't be cold since her feet and body are covered in the sleeping bag.  This will definitely be used all summer long. Throw it in the washing machine when it's time to wash it and you're good to go.

We'll be using the Winter Sleeping Bag once it gets cooler because there's sleeves on it.  I envision putting Scarlett in long sleeved pajamas and putting her in the sleeping bag to keep her toasty warm.  I'm sure she'll sleep soundly and comfortably.  Who can resist the cute embroidered fairy sprinkling fairy dust with the words "Make a Wish" on top either?

Both sleeping bags are quality made and built to last.  I know we'll get a lot of use out of each.  If you're looking to keep your children warm and snuggly when they sleep, it's time to turn to Schlummersack.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Schlummersack for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Life as a Stay-At-Home-Mom

I've been a stay-at-home mom now for 17 months.  I left my job in October 2014 to go on permanent maternity leave.  I'm the only one who's home with Scarlett 5 days a week, she doesn't go to daycare or grandma's house.


If you're thinking of leaving your job to be with your kids full-time, or maybe you're about to have a baby and want this role, I wanted to give you an accurate portrayal of what this title brings.

Personally, I don't think being a stay-at-home mom is for everyone.  If you feel that you'd rather work and maintain your career, that's perfectly fine and understandable.  Not everyone wants to spend their days playing toys with their kids and changing diapers.  This doesn't make you selfish, it makes you human. 

I wanted to be at home with my daughter.  We couldn't afford the astronomical prices of daycare here, plus I didn't want a stranger raising my child.  At times I have thought about going back to work, but if I'm going to work just to pay for childcare it's pointless in my opinion.  I feel guilty relying on my husband's salary to provide for 3 people and I always wish I could contribute more.  Everyone says you're doing the hardest job possible of raising a child, but that doesn't bring in a physical paycheck.

I'm extremely fortunate to be able to spend my days with Scarlett.  It's very rewarding and exciting to watch her grow from a tiny baby to the active toddler that she now is.  Our days consist of playing with toys, reading books, and doing educational activities.  Of course we have play dates and other social activities that we attend weekly.  I try to teach her as much as I can and when she shows me that she understands and comprehends what she's learning, it's such a wonderful feeling.  I am solely responsible for everything she needs to learn in the first few years of life and that's a big job to take on.

On the flipside, I'm the only one with Scarlett all day.  Nobody else is there to help me change diapers, give a bath, give cups of milk, prepare meals, play with her, or even let me sit for 5 minutes to get a break.  Scarlett goes everywhere I go including in the bathroom with me when I shower.  I'm responsible for this little person and making sure all of her emotional, social, and physical needs are met.  It can be very exhausting sometimes.

What's hard is maintaining the housework in-between taking care of Scarlett.  I do laundry here and there during the day and I might vacuum, but that's really all I can do.  You constantly have to make sure your child is a close distance to you and not doing anything dangerous or concerning.  At night I do the dishes and any other cleaning jobs.  At the end of the day, I'm physically drained and just want to hang out with my husband and watch TV.  I never feel like my house is clean enough, no matter what I do.  

Nighttime is when I feel the most guilt about my day.  I ask myself questions like "Did I teach Scarlett enough today? "Is she on track for her age?" "Did we read enough?" "Is she happy?" It seems like I never stop worrying about her or her needs.  I have a lot of mom friends and I constantly run things by them to see if their child has done what Scarlett did before or if she's doing things similar to their children.  When you're a mom, you have to put your child first no matter what.  

Scarlett and I are very close and I truly am grateful for the wonderful opportunity I have. Some people would love to be at home with their children but they have to work. Eventually I do want to go back to work when she's a little bit older.  When I do enter the workforce again, I know I'll have wonderful memories and an experience that I wouldn't change for anything.  








Good Earth Beauty Giveaway

Like many ladies do, I own a lot of cosmetic and skin care products.  My beauty routine is important to me and one that I routinely partake in every morning and night.  It's mandatory to take care of your skin well as you only have one face. Why not keep it looking its best as long as possible? I frequently like to try new products and find new favorites that provide me with the results I'm looking for.

Good Earth Beauty is a natural and organic skincare paradise that anyone can enjoy.  How about delighting your skin with lotions, creams, perfumes, bath and body products and even hair and nail care items? There are also products for men and children to keep them looking their best.  Each product is designed to make you happy and give you the results you want.  Whatever product you could possibly be looking for is available at Good Earth Beauty.  Keep the brand in mind for gifts for birthdays or any other occasion.  It's okay to spoil yourself too!

Years ago, I was given a beauty tip that one product that women should always use is a good moisturizer.  When you keep your skin soft and supple, it makes all the difference.  This tip has always stuck with me and I always tell others.  If you're looking for a moisturizer product to add to your beauty regimen, I have the perfect one for you.

It's time to pamper your skin with this moisturizing all-purpose lotion.  This luscious lotion absorbs right into the skin with a non-greasy feel and provides the ultimate moisturization and hydration for your skin.  Who can resist the fabulous rose and green tea scent either?

This moisturizer will make your skin look like a million bucks which is all you could ask for.  Keep a jar in your bathroom for handy use, you'll want to use it all the time.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Nutrisystem Week 5 Update #NSNation

I'm five weeks down on Nutrisystem and have never felt better about myself.  I'm the same weight this week, which is a little disappointing.  Of course on the flip side I'm happy to not have gained any weight either.  I do know that some people plateau with their weight on diets and I might be headed in that direction.  People who haven't seen me in a while are complimenting me on my weight loss and I've never been happier!

I've been going to the gym and maintaining my goal of drinking as much water as possible.  When you drink water, you feel so much better about yourself.  You don't feel heavy or weighed down at all.  

Every week I still can't get over how you can eat such delicious food that helps you lose weight! Who would have thought it? Some of my favorites from this week included the grilled chicken sandwich and hamburger (again) and my new love affair of the white cheddar mac and cheese.  I ate that mac and cheese for lunch and it was fabulous.  It was disappointing that I only had one of them.  Hopefully there's more in my next shipment!

I was taken out for a pre-mother's day dinner on Saturday night.  Obviously you can't have Nutrisystem at every single point in life, it's impossible.  I tried to be as healthy as possible and ordered a chicken salad with lots of fresh veggies in it.  With a lot of unhealthy options on the menu I tried to make the right choice.  It's hard when you're at certain places that don't allow you to eat your diet food.

It's important to me to work on toning my body as I continue to lose weight.  I can't wait to see what the upcoming week brings! Stay tuned.

*DISCLOSURE* I am receiving NutriSystem for 3 months in exchange for blogging about my weight-loss journey.  



Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Perfect Dessert for Mother's Day

With summer on the horizon, I have one thing on my brain and it's lemons! Lemon is the perfect flavor to beat the heat during the warmer months of the year.  Lemonade, lemon ices, lemon water, lemon iced tea, and of course lemon desserts are all just fabulous.  If you're looking for a light and airy and perfectly lemony treat for Mom's special day, I have just the recipe for you.



It's time to delight your belly with a Lemon Bar Cheesecake.  What more could you want out of life, right? It's easy to make and Mom will absolutely love it, and I'm sure you will too.

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
1 to 2 tbsp ice-cold water
4 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups Quick and Easy Lemon curd, divided
Candied Lemon Slices (optional)

Steps:

1. Pulse first 3 ingredients in a food processor 3 to 4 times or just until blended.  Add butter, and pulse 5 or 6 times or util crumbly.  Whisk together egg yolks and 1 tbsp ice-cold water in a small bowl; add to butter mixture, and process until dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.   Add up to 1 tbsp remaining ice-cold water, 1 tsp. at a time, if necessary.  Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill 4 to 24 hours.  

2.  Roll dough into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Fit dough into a lightly greased 9-inch dark springform pan, gently pressing on bottom and up sides of pan; trim and discards excess dough.  Chill 30 minutes. 

3. Preheat oven to 325F.  Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes or until smooth.  Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until blended.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition.  Beat in vanilla. 

4.  Pour 2/3 of cheesecake battery (about 4 cups) into prepared crust; dollop 1 cup lemon curd over batter in pan and gently swirl with a knife.  Spoon the remaining batter into pan.  

5. Bake at 325F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or just until center is set.  Turn oven off and let cheesecake stand in oven with door closed for 15 minutes.  Remove cheesecake from oven and gently run a knife around outer edge of cheesecake to loosen the sides from the pan.  (Do not remove sides of pan). Cool completely in a pan on a wire rack for about 1 hour.  Cover and chill for 8 to 24 hours. 

Your family will absolutely love this recipe and ask you to make it time and time again. Who knows, it might just be your new go-to dessert for all holidays and occasions! 



*Recipe taken from MyRecipes.com*


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bruce Miller Galleries Review

One talent I've always wished I had was the ability to paint.  I've loved to take pictures for many years now, and I have my photos displayed in some areas of my house.  Photography is wonderful, but what's even greater is the skill to paint what you're looking at. Transferring a still photo that's able to come alive on canvas is a true talent.  While I can't put brush to canvas, I can still enjoy others' work.

Bruce Miller is an artist that specializes in architectural and animal portraits in Fairfield County, Connecticut.  Miller has an extensive and impressive background in advertising that spans decades and he's worked on some successful campaigns.  Although he studied at an arts school, his love of painting only came to fruition four years ago.  Bruce loves to paint architecture including homes and buildings.  The unique thing about Bruce is that he's now taken on painting portraits of your furry friends.  Everyone would love a framed painting of their beloved Spike or Fido in their house, and Bruce makes that dream come to life.  

I was fortunate to have Bruce create a 6"x 6" beautiful painting of my beloved Lynnie.  The great thing about these paintings is that they are conversation pieces.  Our pets are our babies and definitely an important part of our families.  We display pictures of our children in our home, but why not our pets too? Our four legged friends are like our children.  A pooch portrait is the perfect gift for any occasion and would look great in any room of your home.  It's also equally as wonderful to commemorate and honor a beloved pet who has passed on with a portrait to remember them by.

The beautiful and gorgeous Lynne

Bruce did a wonderful job of capturing the true essence of Lynnie in his work.  We rescued Lynnie in 2013 and she's been home with us for 3 years now.  It's so hard to think of life without her! The colors he used match her coat perfectly and of course he didn't miss the liveliness and spirit in her eyes.  I was impressed at how much it really looked like Lynnie.

You can either stand the painting up on a table or shelf, or you can choose to hang it on the wall.  Since I have a lot of wallspace to fill, I chose to feature it on the wall.  Within seconds my bare wall was brought alive with the beauty of Lynnie! 

Bruce's talent was very evident in his work.  The colors are vivid and bold and the quality of the painting is high.  I certainly will treasure this for years to come.

If you're looking to showcase your pooch in a big way, Bruce is waiting to make you smile.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Bruce Miller Galleries for providing a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  


Monday, May 2, 2016

NutriSystem Week 4 Update #NSNation

This week was a better week for me.  A new shipment of Nutrisystem food came in which makes everything easier. It's hard when you're at the end of your shipment and don't like everything that's left.  I was excited to see some new selections that I hadn't yet tried before and old favorites too.

I focused on having fresh fruit and vegetables with my meals.  One thing that I didn't realize was that I would be back on the Turbo and Nutricrush shakes again.  These actually taste great to me and I blended a banana into them yesterday for some extra nutrition and flavor.  I loved it!

Stuffed shells

Some of my favorites from this week included the sausage and cheese pizza, the milk chocolate covered pretzels, the chicken sandwich, the ravioli, and the mac and cheese.   I still can't get over how you can eat those foods on a diet! 

Yum!

I am down one extra pound this week which makes a total weight loss of five pounds.  I feel great about myself and can surely notice a difference in my body.  It's easy to tell that I've been working hard and receiving the results I want.  Five pounds down is a lot! I still need to work on drinking more water, that's been the hardest thing for me.

My cravings seem to have gone away for the most part.  In the first few days and weeks, all I wanted was unhealthy foods and I had some rough days.  I now no longer really have those thoughts, which is wonderful.

Stay tuned for next week!


*DISCLOSURE* I am receiving NutriSystem for 3 months in exchange for blogging about my weight-loss journey.