September 29, 2015

Quick, Simple and Healthy Crock Pot Recipes (tried and tested!!!)

I love myself a good, quick meal but something I can put in a crock pot in the morning and have ready by dinner time....even better. I will say a lot of those quick meals are kinda not on the healthy side so I've done some research over the years and found some GREAT YUMMY HEALTHY recipes just for you...yep, you. Feel special?

Heeeeeerrrrrrrreeeeee we go! (say it out loud, its a lot more fun)

Crock Pot Coconut Chicken Curry
Tone it Up's Coconut Chicken Curry. Recipe HERE

Skinny Mom's Slow Cooker Pork Tacos Recipe HERE

Karena's Turkey Chili Recipe. Recipe HERE 

Cilantro Lime Chicken from Six Sister's Stuff. Recipe HERE 

Paleo Crockpot Meatballs. Recipe HERE 

Stuffed Peppers. Recipe HERE. PS. Making these tonight for dinner! ;) 

Hope you find this helpful and YUMMY! Until next time! 

September 25, 2015

5 Busy-Mom Beauty HACKS (for those busy mornings)

Welllllll, hello there. Hi, how ya been? I've been wanting to hop on the blogging-wagon again but I've just been a TAD BIT busy with 3 month old twins...and a sassy 3 year old and a question-asking (all the time) 6 year old. is what it is!

Because I know how stressful and busy school mornings can be I'm sharing with you today 5 Busy-Mom Beauty Hacks to help you feel put-together and lovely those busy mornings. I know whenever I make sure I get a shower, add a little makeup and pop on something cute I feel a whole lot more productive and better about myself over all......but let's be real here.......

Here we go...

1. Skip the foundation and go straight for a concealor. If you feel you need a little coverage to balance out your skin just use a powder. Adding a concealor under the eyes and blending out around some pimples are trouble areas will save you lots of time but still look like you tried.

2. Embrace your "second day hair". What does this mean? Skip the hair-washing on day 2 and just use a baby powder or dry shampoo at your roots to decrease the look of oil. This knocks off about 20 minutes and so much more appealing than a wet-hair ponytail. Add in a few quick curls or straighten out and you are good to go mama!

3. No blush. Instead of a blush, just gives those cheeks a nice pinch. The ones of your face, of course! ;)

4. Say 'bye bye' to eye shadow and opt for a dark liner and mascara. This will give your eyes the look that they are big and beautiful. And you'll look wide awake and put together without much effort.

5. Bright colored lipgloss/stick. This will give you a "I've been awake for hours getting ready" kind of look. And will make your eyes pop as well.

I hope you find those helpful. These really are my go-to, busy morning hacks. Having a kid in school really does change the movement of your mornings. 

And because I love are another few quick tips.

--Shower the night before
--Lay out a couple outfits the night before to choose from so you're not throwing clothes around screaming in the morning....wait, you do that too right? 
--Have some pre-made breakfast items out and handy
--Make school lunches the night before
--Set an alarm on your phone for 15 minutes before you need to be out the door so you can start all the last minute things like putting on shoes, jackets, getting backpacks, etc
--Set a morning schedule

That's all I got! I'm going to try and post Tuesday/Thursdays from here on out! Can't wait to get back at it again...

Have a good weekend!

June 15, 2015

pregnant with twins update

I've been pretty bad with my blog lately. Sorry, I'm lazy....or more tired. All. the. time. Like, its 9:30 in the morning and I need my first nap kind of tired. Growing 2 babies is HARD work!

I feel kinda bad that I haven't really documented much of the pregnancy but its pretty monumental so I'm guessing it will be one of those things I'll never forget. I still remember at the weeeeeee-beginnings of my pregnancy. I'd mention I was having twins to another mother who had twins herself and they would just kinda give me this "you have no idea what's coming" kind of look. I get it now. I get it. I really get it. You never forget.

One thing I have noticed about pregnancy with twins is there really is a lot you could complain about. I'll try to stay positive but this might be a "I'm just keeping it real" kinda post. I don't mean to sound negative, really, and not looking for any sympathy at all....just telling it how it is.

Things started out pretty good until about 8 weeks when the jaws of hell decided to open and make me so sick I couldn't breathe, think of food, eat food, look at food, smell food, kinda of think of eating food, stand up, walk, go to the bathroom, leave my bedroom or care for my all. I might be a tinge dramatic but honestly, I'd rather walk on hot coals or push pins than be that sick again. I told my husband if someone said they'd give me a million dollars to be that sick again. I'd refuse. I was spoiled my first 2 pregnancies with not being that sick or sick at all so it was a big surprise. Yes, you get sicker with twins. And maybe I'm a baby but it was hard for me. That lasted until about 19 weeks.

I had a solid 5 or 6 weeks of getting back into the swing of things. The bump was small and cute. My energy increased, I could sleep pretty good. I got to the gym, ran errands, played with the kids, cleaned my house, made dinner. Life was dandy. Then about 24 weeks we got a BIG scare with some premature labor stuff. My cervix thinned 100 percent in one week and I was starting to dialate. Doctor said "bed rest", I said "no way". Doctor said "take it easy" I said "okay" Little did I know that just weeks later I'd have no choice but to bum around all day. Babies grew and belly got bigger...and heavier. Way heavy. Carry around a huge watermelon all day kinda of heavy. Can't walk around the house or store kinda heavy. BUT! I'm hitting 30 weeks here and babies are IN! And feel like they will stay in for a solid month or more.

God is so good. I've had family, friends, church members and neighbors praying for me and my babies. I've had meals delivered, babysitters, cleaners coming by weekly, emails, phone calls, texts, letters and thoughtful conversations. The support is overwhelming. OVERWHELMING. I can't explain it completely but God has sent angels to me during the pregnancy to help me. Its jaw-dropping. I feel extremely blessed and my cup of gratitude runneth over....and over and over and over. I can't wait to pay it forward. I can't wait to bless others around me who have blessed me.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

As of today, life is good. Some one asked me yesterday, "How are you doing TODAY?" Not just the usually "How are you doing?" I had to laugh and say, "TODAY I am good." Its a day to day thing. I've been getting sick again, I have dizzy spells on a regular basis (low blood pressure...symptom of twins) Some days I feel like I eat all day and still hungry, other days I have not appetite. Some days the belly feels light, other days its pulls and itches and make my back hurt so bad I can't walk. Some days I want to punch everyone in the face that looks at me and other days I feel happy and care free. I'm actually surprised at how happy I have been.

Overall, we are so excited for this fun little journey of twins we are going to have. I get so nervous and so excited at the same time.

I'll keep everyone posted on what's coming next but wish us luck!

April 29, 2015

my kettlebell workout

I'm just a little bit obsessed with kettle-bells. I love how versatile they are compared to free weights. And they make the best, low-impact pregnancy workout and I really feel the burn! 

I usually start my kettle-bell days (yes, I have "days"!) with 30 minutes of cardio on the treadmill or Eliptical. When I'm not pregnant I might do the stair-climber or run but I just waddle-walk now. 

Okay, I realize some might be thinking..."Hey, Laura! What the heck is a kettle-bell?" So I'll insert a picture here....

I usually use a 10-15 pound-er but you can up the weight if you need more. 

So let's get cracking!!! This is a full-body workout.

Laura's Kettlebell Workout

(Click on bold to see picture or video)

1. Kettle Swings (my favorite!!!!) 30-50 times *don't swing higher than your shoulders and remember to push with your hips...don't squat!*
2. Leg-extented row- 20 times *this video made me laugh so hard, but it's good. Ha!*
3. Squat to shoulder press -15-20 times, each arm.
4. Torso swings (this is hard pregnant...)-20 times each side
5. Shoulder?Lat Raises-20 times *this one I couldn't find a picture to. Just hold the kettle bell with both hands in front of your chest and raise up and down in front of your body. Lower to your hips and raise to your chest. Hope that makes sense?
6. Squats (holding bell at chest) 30-50 times

I usually will do a set of triceps dips of some steps-about 15- and then repeat this workout 3 times total. 

There ya go! Hope you like it as much as I do! 

April 24, 2015

my morning skincare routine

As much as I hate getting ready in the morning...yes, it true. I know its gotta get done and I always feel so much better about myself if I put on a little makeup, grab a cute outfit and hopefully get a shower in! Not in that order. :)

Any routine of mine is usually pretty easy and simple because that's how I roll. I wanted to share with you my everyday, go-to morning shower and skin care routine because sometimes its just fun to see what people do and what products they use....sooooooo here we go! 

Shower Essentials

Arbonne's Nourishing Daily Shampoo and Conditioner is my favorite set ever!! EVER! Its a sulfate, silicon-free, organic, vegan shampoo and conditioner. Its kinda like magic, I'm not sure how it makes my hair so fabulous but it does. And because it doesn't carry all that extra junk, I can honestly go 3-4 days without washing my hair and it hardly feels greasy. YES!

Click for enlarged view

I've been using The Body Shop's shower gels for years and years. I love these because not only do they smell awesome, they are soap-free so they don't dry out my already dry skin. I'm on the Satsuma (orange-y) scent right now and it lasts and lasts. 

Click for enlarged view
And about once a week, I make sure to scrub up and use a body scrub in the shower. Keeps your skin bright, fresh and gets rid of any dry looking patches...which I get and hate. I've mentioned this specific product about 100 times on the blog so I'm hoping someone takes me seriously. I love the Shea scrub the moisturizes so incredibly well. 

And I wash my face in the shower with this light and ultra moisturizing cleanser from Arbonne...FC5 Hydrating Cleanser and Refresher. Just a neutral, simple creamy cleanser. 

Skin Care

After the shower, I moisturize my skin with the best thing ever invented....I love this stuff. Arbonne's RE9 Extra Moisture Restorative Day Cream. I've been through about 4 of these and I just can't get myself to use anything else. Plus, it has a 30 SPF.

Then I glob on a bunch of this light, refreshing, hydrating eye cream. I love this stuff just as much. I could eat it! FC5's Hydrating Eye Cream

And lately I've been using this Palmer's Shea Butter Body Lotion. Its not full of any artificial like mineral oil or bad preservatives. Plus, its just a light, nice everyday moisturizer. 

Eco Friendly Strawberry Lip Balm from Evolution of Smooth'
Lastly, I apply my favorite lip balm by EOS....I'm using Strawberry Sorbet right now. 

And then go put on my makeup....

I thought I would save that for another post so this one doesn't get to long. And sorry for the Arbonne over-load. It's what I love and use so there you have it! ;) 

Hope you all have a GREAT weekend!

April 22, 2015

{something good} the body shop's camomile cleansing butter

I love it when I come across something awesome, and I love it even more when I can share it with you! 

I stumbled upon this little gem when I did some online shopping at The Body Shop. I'd spent a certain amount to earn a free product and I chose this one. Happy I did.

I'm ultra picky about my makeup removers. First, I do not like wipes. I feel like I'm using a diaper wipe to take off my makeup. Yeah, they are nice for travel or for quick fixes when I have clients but overall I'd rather use something else. Second, I love oil-cleansers because they feel hydrating but I hate that even after I rinse with water I still feel like I can't see out of my eyes for 20 minutes. 

So...I found the winner. Cleansing butter is the perfect way to explain this product. It contains a little bit of a waxy feel but not oily. I apply it to remove my eye makeup and then wipe clean with a small dry towel, then wash my face. Its just perfect in every way. 

There is no leftover residue, it smells awesome, a small amount goes a long way and its not too expensive.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

April 20, 2015

twin pregnancy questions

Having twins has been an experience within it self. And although this is pregnancy #3, it sometimes feels like #1 because everything is so different .

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Sorry if you've seen this before, but I think its too hilarious not to share! ;)

I get a lot of the same questions from people so I thought it would be fun to share my answers to those questions on the blog so everyone can peak in and not feel to nosey. Ha ha.

Here we go....

1. Did you use fertility drugs? 

I guess this one can come off as rude, but I don't mind it. And no, we didn't. We feel really blessed that we have a somewhat easy time getting pregnant. It really is an extreme blessing. And something I've never taken for granted. I have twins that run in my family. And I just tell people we got lucky. We were shooting for 3 kids and coming out with 4. Kinda win-win (after the shock wore off).

2. What are they?

Ha! We don't know. And we are probably not going to find out what sex they are. It took some convincing on my part, but the more I thought it the more I realized I'd get ready the same way knowing or not knowing. Plus, I already have a boy and a girl so that makes life a little easier.

3. How does this pregnancy compare to your singleton pregnancy?

Well, a lot of things are the same. Your belly grows, you eat more, you sleep more, you get a little grouchy, etc etc but I will say everything feels twice as fast and twice as hard at an earlier rate. Although I wasn't showing much at 16 weeks, I noticed I had a hard time putting on my shoes! And at 22 weeks now, I can hardly bend over to pick up toys off the floor. 2 babies in there makes a big difference! Lastly, and this one is hard for me...little things wear me out a lot sooner. I remember planting flowers in the Spring, pregnant with my little girl at 35 weeks and thinking maybe that wasn't a good idea, being wiped out. Planted flowers this weekend and felt the same way. 

4. How are you going to handle 2 newborns?

Hey, I have no idea. Newborns are hard when they just come alone but you know what...we survive. I'm hoping there is some kind of divine intervention that helps out a bit. I get nervous for this part but I've always been able to work through difficult things and that's just what I'm gonna have to do. I'm actually pretty dang excited and I think by the time I hit 37 weeks, I'll be more than ready for them to come out! 

5. Are you breastfeeding?

Yeah, that's the plan. This is actually the part I am most nervous about. I have a hard time making milk for one so I'm anxious to see how it goes for 2. I've already been researching information on how to handle it. Might be a learning experience.

6. Can you feel them move? What does it feel like?

I can feel the babies move and I did a lot sooner than we my single babies. I think at about 14 weeks I could feel some pretty good movement. We are in the jabbing and kicking stage now. And one baby is more active than the other which is kinda funny but if you have been pregnant you know what one feels like...well, just add another one in the mix. That's about it, nothing crazy yet. I feel one kick and then the other.

7. Are you going to have them co-sleep?

Yes we are. Because really, how cute will it be to see 2 babies snuggled up together sleeping. Plus, I think they have been in there together for the whole growing process won't it will be soothing and comforting for them to be with each other? Plus, I've heard they have a hard time being apart from each cute! Once they start rolling and moving during sleep, we will put them in separate cribs. 

8. Any names?

We have agreed on 1 boy name. Ha. Yep. Still have some time to go so no worries but because we aren't finding out we have to pick 2 boy and 2 girl names just in case. We will see how that goes.....

9. Did you get sicker with twins?

Yes, oh yes yes yes. Heaven help me. It was awful. My husband called that we were having twins because how much more sick I was than with my other pregnancies. I kinda pushed it aside. Little did I know. Yes, I didn't feel about 100 percent myself til about 19 weeks. No fun. Never wish that on anyone. 

10. (Last but not least) How are you feeling?

I'm feeling awesome. I think this is a great time stage of my pregnancy because I got a cute little bump, nothing too big yet. I'm able to move around good without the wobble walk. Ask me in about a month...and I'll let you know! 

There we have it. Hope that was fun to read! This pregnancy has been such an incredible blessing already for our family. We are so so so excited to welcome these precious babies into our home. It will be hard, but we are so happy that its hard to get nervous about the rough stuff to come. We thank God everyday for sending them to us. 

Have a good Monday!

April 15, 2015

easy, healthy lunch options

I try really hard to make lunch the largest meal of the day. Its usually when I am the most hungry so it makes sense. I'm not a huge breakfast person (although eat it...) and if I eat too much at dinner I'm a bloated mess and can't sleep so lunch it is. 

I wanted to share with you my go-to, EASY (pregnancy favs) lunch options. All of super filling and high protein. 

Try these SKINNY LUNCHBOX meals and try not to kill anyone at work today....

1. Stir-fried/roasted veggies and turkey burger patty.
I just chop up whatever veggies I have in the house (peppers, carrots, onions, broccoli, sweet potato, russet potato, asparagus, spinach, etc...I don't use all of these, just some options) and saute in a pan with olive or coconut oil for about 15 mins. Meanwhile I cook up a turkey burger, usually one pre-made that you can get at Costco. That's it. Easy. 

2. Turkey Wrap
I buy those green spinach wraps found in the grocery store by the tortillas or I'll use a whole wheat tortilla. I'll spread on some hummus or veggie cream cheese, top with turkey, provolone, spinach or lettuce. Might add some tomato or avocado if I have it. Roll it up and ready to go. I'll usually have a side of fruit with this one. 

3. Tuna Wrap
This is the same as the turkey wrap but I use tuna fish. I mix up my tuna fish with mayo, shredded cheese, a little relish, minced onion and diced celery. I don't use a spread on this one. You can replace the mayo with greek yogurt but I just can't right now. I like my fat! ;)

4. Chicken Brat and Sweet Potato
I'm not kidding when I say these are my go-to lunches. I ate this one for like a month everyday. HA! I buy a load of chicken brats from the grocery store and usually freeze them. Slice it in half length-wise (it cooks faster) and cook in a frying pan. While this is cooking I nuke my sweet potato for about 5 mins, or use the "potato" setting on the microwave. I eat my brat with spicy mustard or plain and top my sweet potato with cinnamon. You can also buy your sweet potatoes in bulk at Costco, bake them in the oven at 400 for about 45 mins and store in your fridge. Just make sure to eat them within a week. 

5. Panini's
If you have a panini press this is such a yummy yummy option for lunch. Its might be a little carb-heavy with the bread but I love to treat myself to this one because it feels like I'm at a bistro or cafe. I buy chibata bread at the grocery, slice in half, spread on some basil pesto (you can make your own but the brand Classico has a GREAT one and all different kinds), add deli turkey, provolone cheese and tomato. Place in the panini press (or oven...might not get that crunch though) for about 5-8 minutes. I'll eat this with a side of raw carrots or cucumbers. 

Those are my top 5 and really the one's that come to my head right now! If my husband is working and I'm in a pinch, they make a great dinner too!