Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Our Kitchen Remodel Reveal

We finally decided to update our kitchen and my husband worked really hard to make it the classic farmhouse style I have fallen in love with. I wanted all white cupboards with bronze hardware and white subway tile backsplash. We already had the granite black with gold flakes counter tops and I think it's a great contrast against the white! I just love how it all came out. My husband painted the cabinets and put in the backsplash himself and he did such a wonderful job! Here are the before and after pictures of our kitchen!



It is amazing what simply painting the cabinets did for the space! The white makes it so much more bright in the kitchen and it even feels bigger. It's a great way to liven up the kitchen without spending a lot (if you do it yourself.) Adding the dark bronze hardware really added some great accents and I love how it tied into the counter so well. I love how simple and clean the white backsplash looks, it's just so classic and really made the look complete! I am so happy with our new kitchen make over and so thankful to my wonderful hubby who put in all the hard work to make it exactly how I wanted!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

How I Manage Being a Work Widow

Work Widow is a term I stumbled upon a while ago and it basically means a wife that stays home while her husband is often away for work. I stay home with our two little girls who are 3 and 2 years old while my husband travels for work. My husband works in gokarting and they race all over traveling the country and even the world.  He does a lot of travel all over the state of Florida where we live and where racing is very popular. He can be gone anywhere from a day or two, to weeks at a time.  Sometimes he drives only a few hours away sometimes he drives for days and other times he takes a plane flight. He is such a hard worker and I admire him for the passion he has for racing.

This is not an easy life, being away from your spouse for long periods of time, but a lot of people do it and it works very well for our family. I am by no means able to relate to military families, single parents, or widowed parents and this is not a comparison. This is just my life and how we are living and I want to be able to share my experiences with my audience. Here are some of the things I have learned and that have helped me as a stay at home mother and wife while my husband is away for work.

Stay Positive.  I try to always have a positive outlook on every situation when it comes to him working and traveling. If I keep a good positive tone on the situation my kids feed off of that and they too will be positive about it. If I were to be negative or argue about him traveling or having to work or be gone for an amount of time it wouldn't really help anyone, we would all be miserable! Staying positive is so important for all of us and I have never given him any grief about having to work, I know he is home as much as he can be and that is all that matters.

Be Supportive. My goal is to always support my husband in his career. He loves doing what he does and he works very hard at it. He grew up racing and being apart of something he is proud of and enjoys doing is very important to him. From the moment we got married I have been able to support and trust in all his decisions. From moving (across the country), to new job opportunities, to adjusting to travel I have stood behind him 100%. It is so important for you to have faith in your spouse and be supporting in their career decisions so they feel like they are able to make the best decisions for the family and feel like you have their back in those decisions. Being united together is really helpful in being understanding of the situation and makes our marriage very strong.

Make the most of our time together. When my husband is home he usually gets a few days off or more so we like to do fun things as a family. We will plan fun trips to the beach or zoo or find something local that is going on to go enjoy. I also like to take some time for myself so I do a trip to Target and Starbucks ALONE and it helps keeps me sane! We also like to just relax at home and spend the day watching movies, playing games with the kids, and doing puzzles. They love to play with daddy  and when he is home he is 100%  about them and making them happy.

Being able to video call with the kids. This one is a great perk of modern day technology! The kids love that they can call daddy on video calling and get to see him while he is away. I think it helps for both parties to be able to see each other a little bit when he is gone for a long time. The kids absolutely love it and I know he enjoys it too. It makes him feel not so far away to us.

Finding fun things to do (even when he is away.) I really try to do fun things for the kids, since they are both still home everyday (Zoey starts preschool in August woohoo!) We play with play-doh, color, go for runs, play in the backyard with the pool or trampoline, make slime, go to the park or splash pad, whatever! I just try to make the days fun for them. I really love to read with them as well. As they are getting older it is easier for me to take them places by myself. I have taken them to the bookstore, splash pad, and the park so they can have some fun. It really helps my husband to know that the kids are having a good time and we are making the most of our days while he is away.

Focus on the house when he is working. I try to get a lot of household chores and errands done when he is away, that way when he is home we can just hang out as a family and not worry about that stuff. I will get groceries and do all the house cleaning and stuff when he is gone, then when he is home I am not worried or stressed about needing to clean or anything. This works really well for me and I think it helps to make his days off more relaxing. Unless there is something big around the house I cannot do that he will have to do then he helps with that.

Be Proud and Be Thankful. I am very proud of my husband and appreciate how hard he works to be able to provide for our family. I know we are very lucky and very blessed to be in a situation where he gets to do what he loves and I get to stay home with the kids. I am so very thankful for this life we live.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Weight Loss Journey How I Lost 20 Pounds

I did it!! I finally did it! I reached my first BIG goal of hitting 20 pounds lost! It took me 3 months and lots of hard work, but I am so excited to finally be here! I did a blog post on How I lost my First 10 Pounds  about a month ago and I still follow those guidelines. Those tips work the best for me for my weight loss and I have stuck to them during my journey. Just to recap I changed my eating habits, started working out almost daily, keep track of my progress, stay focused, and the most important of all I DID NOT GIVE UP!

I have tried to lose weight several times in my life and it would usually go like this: workout and eat the same, OR eat healthy and not workout, OR eat healthy and workout for a short period of time see no results and give up. It was always hard for me to stick to a lifestyle change because I didn't see results fast enough and would get discouraged. The hardest part is to stick with it but that is what has really helped me this time around. I just kept going even if the scale stayed the same (which it had a few times for weeks at a time) I really like how much better I FELT overall and I feel stronger and happier in general. I am more energetic during the day and find myself doing more things with my kids, I fit into my clothes better and have more confidence, and I am mentally less stressed and these are the changes that really kept me at it. I knew if I gave up I wouldn't feel this good so I kept going and the weight kept coming off (slowly but surely.)

Some weeks my weight would stay the same but I would measure myself and lost inches off my waist or hips and that also helps to keep me encouraged. I know that changing your life can be very hard and for me I still struggle with taking days off or eating unhealthy meals (because I feel extremely guilty) but it is okay to give yourself a break. Eating one cupcake or pizza one day is not going to make you gain back all the weight you lost, it's giving up and eating that stuff all the time that will.

I see a lot of things out there now to help with weight loss like diets, pills, shakes, whatever.. and I wanted to try it on my own without those things because I knew I could do it. The biggest thing that works for me is counting calories. I got a food scale and measure all my portions and track everything in my Samsung Health app on my phone and try to eat about 1200 calories a day. I also try to make those calories good ones like protein and fruit and veggies. I am still trying to not eat many carbs but I do have sandwiches and use sandwich thins for that or I will have one piece of toast instead of the usual two. I also traded a lot of things for lower calorie, sugar free, or even 0 calorie options. I use honey mustard instead of mayo, lower sugar jam (sparingly and only once in awhile if I crave toast) the "I can't believe it's not butter" spray is 0 calories, and they even have a whole wheat bread that is only 45 calories a slice (Sara Lee brand I think) I use egg whites instead of whole eggs and  if we are having spaghetti I make zoodles from Zucchini noodles! All of these small changes helped in my big results.

Continuing with my new lifestyle of running at least 5 times a week and making better food choices has really helped me reach my goal and my biggest advice is to just stick with it. Some new tips I have for you all is to get the family involved in outdoor activities, meal prep your food, and use substitutions (like the ones I mentioned above.) I find that if we are all outside going for a run it sets a good example for the kids and they really enjoy it. Showing them that being active is important, fun, and good for you is something that I think is so valuable. I also like to take my kids in the backyard and kick around a soccer ball or jump on the trampoline, they really love that too! Also cooking a big batch of chicken breast and veggies and portioning it out into containers to eat for lunch over the next few days helps me A LOT. It keeps me from binging when I am really hungry and makes it easy for me to have a meal ready to go. I like to make a lot of chicken and then use it for salads for the next 3 days. Also using substitutions in my meals has helped me a lot and I hope the ones I mentioned can give you some ideas on where to start with that.

I hope these new weight loss tips help you and encourage you to get active and start or continue on your own goals! I am now on to my next goal of losing another 10 pounds! Wish me luck! If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. Thank you to everyone for all the encouragement and awesome support I love reading all the positive comments!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pink Blush Collaboration Floral Wrap Dress Review

Thank you to Pink Blush for sponsoring this post. I was gifted this dress in exchange for my honest opinion and review of it. All opinions are my own. 

Back in March right before Easter I went shopping to find the perfect Easter dress to wear to church and a family lunch. I went to a few department stores and tried some different ones on. I was 20 pounds heavier at the time and felt like nothing I tried on fit well and I did not feel good or confident. I ended up wearing a beautiful lace flowy top with jeans and felt awful. I was self conscious and unhappy with my weight and knew I needed to make a change. I have been working hard for months now on losing weight and have lost 20 pounds. I still cannot believe it until I look back at the pictures. I have a post on How I lost My First 10 Lbs and shared what has been working for me so far on my journey. I am still working hard to continue to lose weight but was ready to get that dress I had been looking for. 

Since losing the weight I decided I was going to find the perfect beautiful floral dress that I had dreamed of wearing since Easter. I knew it would make me feel so good to fit into a dress ( two sizes smaller than before!) and feel confident in a how I now looked in a dress so I chose this beautiful White Floral Wrap Dress from one of my favorite online shops Pink Blush. I knew I would love this dress because the floral print is gorgeous but I did not know how it would fit. I was really impressed with how well it fit and good it felt. It is so soft and comfortable, I absolutely love it. It's so flowy and feels perfect for spring or summer weather. I think it would be a beautiful dress to wear to a wedding and is a great piece for church as well. I feel so confident in this and as a stay at home mom getting to dress up feels really great sometimes. I do not have any dresses like this and am so happy with how it looked and good I felt in it. I am no fashionista and not a fashion blogger typically but I really love working with this brand because of how much I love their clothing. 

I am always impressed with Pink Blush and the beautiful pieces they have to offer. They are a great online boutique for women and women who are pregnant and nursing to find some beautiful, stylish, and comfortable clothing. I love their kimonos they currently have which are perfect for summer. The dress selection from them is huge and they have so many pretty floral options. I love wearing this brand and I know you will too. I love that this dress, along with their other dresses. are something that can transition into pregnancy and would be so comfortable and easy to wear while pregnant or nursing. It makes it a really versatile option to have on hand. I personally have been looking for something to wear out on a date night and I think this would be so fun to wear on a night out. I feel really great in it and I think it is the perfect mix of casual and comfy with a dressed up and fancy feel. The maxi dress style is something that is just great for summer and it has been so hot here lately so I love how it's lightweight enough to be cool for the summer but not sheer. 

I just love miss Kenzie's face in these next pictures. She is my little firecracker and I love that little pouty face. These girls loved my new dress and Zoey (my oldest) kept saying "wow mommy that's a new dress! It's so pretty!" She is such a sweet soul but I have to agree it is such a pretty dress and I felt really great (and pretty) in it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Back to School Supplies for Preschool

My oldest daughter Zoey, who turned 3 in March, is going to start preschool in the middle of August. I still cannot believe it but we are all so ready. She is so smart and gets bored at home so I think it is going to be good for her to get structure, new challenges, and  instructions in a school setting and for us to also get a little time to miss each other. I have been with her everyday since she has been born. I have never left my babies, not for a babysitter, not for a trip, not for anything. This is going to be totally new for all of us and I am sure it will be hard at first, but she is so outgoing and so excited to start school. I know she will be fine and makes lots of new friends and I cannot wait for all the fun that school will bring for her and our lives.

Whenever we are out playing at a park or splash pad she always asks the other kids what they're names are says "my name is Zoey" she wants to play and is always the first to engage with others. She is outgoing just like her mama and I know she will walk into that classroom and not look back. She is so sweet and always the helpful one so I am sure she will find her place in the classroom quickly as the big helper and eager to learn student. I love her full of life soul and am so proud to see her move on to some big kid things!

I received a list of school supplies that needed to be purchased for her class and for herself and this is the round up of all those items! We went back to school shopping together at Target and she was ecstatic! She picked everything out herself and put it all in the cart and we went over the list together, it was so sweet and I really enjoyed having this experience with my big girl. Walking around the store with me and excited to find all the things she needed in the back to school section was the first time we got to do this and I thought it was just the best. Seeing her so happy and feeling like a such a big girl it made my mama bear heart so full. I thought I would share with you all the things we picked up for her for this upcoming school year (I also included the backpack she picked because UNICORN!) Here is the list of school supplies we got for my big preschooler!

• Crayons 24 count
• Washable Markers
• Elmer's clear glue
• 1 box Kleenex Tissues
• Disinfectant Wipes
• Antibacterial Hand Doap
• 6 oz Clear Plastic Cups
• Plastic Pronged 2- Pocket Folder
• Composition Notebook Wide-ruled
•Boys: Gallon ziploc bags and 500 count white copy paper
•Girls:Quart ziploc bags and color copy paper
• Baby wipes (sensitive skin)
• Lunch box with ice pack

Monday, July 17, 2017

10 Easy Ways To Save Money Starting Today

I wanted to put together a list of ways you can save money starting today! Saving money can be hard for anyone and whether you're trying to save for a vacation or pay off some debt this list of 10 ways to save money can help you reach your goal. These are the things I implement in my life to save money and I hope they help you! Here is my list of 10 ways to save money.

1. Make coffee at home. Giving up your daily Starbucks coffee can save you some big money! It slowly adds up when you spend $5 or more at Starbucks everyday.

2. Bring your own lunch. This is the same concept as not buying your coffee everyday, if you take your own lunch to work or school then you are saving money. You can also take your lunch when you go out with the family to save some money too. Packing a picnic to eat at the park is a great way to have a fun pit stop with the kids and get some free playtime along with not spending money on lunch for everyone.

3. Use cash. This comes from the idea that having the actual cash in your hands will make you less likely to spend it. It is harder to part with it when it is tangible and you're less likely to break a big bill to buy something small like a candy bar. Using cash can also help you keep a budget while out shopping or eating.

4. Find activities that are free. If you are looking for something fun to do with the family try to find things that are free. There are lots of local events that are free if you look around for them. You can go to the farmers market, a park, the beach, a fair, and other such places. Also some stores, like Michael's and Lowe's, offer free events for kids so look out for those!

5. Budget. Write out all your bills, how much they are, and when they are due. Then take your income and see how much is left; don't forget to factor in unexpected expenses like a birthday party and gas; and you'll get a good sense of your budget. Also you will see how you need to cut spending in order to save some money. You could make a budget for yourself for groceries and other things and just take the cash out to make sure you stick to it.

6. Sell items on Ebay. Selling your unused items on Ebay can help to make you a few extra bucks! I love selling things I no longer need on Ebay like clothes, shoes, and electronics. Try listing things as an auction to get more people interested and if you can make the shipping free that helps too. It'll make the chances better for your item to sell.

7. Practice delayed gratification when it comes to purchases. If your find something you really love and feel like you have to have it; just wait. Leave the store and think on it for a few days. Chances are you'll realize you don't really need it you just want it, and if you're trying to save money then you will be able to rationalize not buying it. It is really hard to do this but I have done it many times and it works! I almost never go back for that item that I just HAD to have.

8.  Grocery shop online. This is a new one but some stores, like the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, are now offering grocery pick up services. This is where you shop for all your groceries online and then just go pick it up from the store. This can really help you save money because you won't be tempted to grab any extra items that you do not want or need.

9. Do not impulse buy. This goes along with number 7, but do not make any impulse purchases. Impulse purchases can sometimes be expensive and it may be something that you do not need so just say no!

10. Sell bigger home items on Craigslist or Facebook. There is now a for sell section for facebook where you can list things and local people can see them. You can also use Craigslist to list things that locals can come pick up or you can drop off. This is a great option for selling large items like furniture or bikes.

I hope this list helps you reach your money saving goals and gave you some good ideas on how to save or make money!

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