Friday, January 31, 2014

Five on Friday!!

Is it Friday, really!? Thank you, weekend, for coming. You are much needed and much appreciated!! Its been a crazy week- off on Tuesday for -30 wind chills and they are expecting temps in the 40-50 range tomorrow. So we'll all have pneumonia next week- but I'm not going to complain about a little warm up!

Linking up with Darci to share some of the things I've been totally loving lately.

1. Fitness.  The diet contest at work is in full swing.  We take this thing uber serious, we draft teams, set goals, have public weigh ins and basically shame each other into a smaller jeans size or two. It is fabulous.  I really do work with the best people on the planet, so I cant think of better people to be miserable with for nine weeks of dieting in attempts to meet the goals we set.  I'm only trying for seven pounds, but trust me I've got more to lose.  I just don't want to set my goal too high and then not make it, that would be bad.  There is a newsletter and I made the front page a few years ago for getting knocked up to avoid dieting, I will not make front page news again!  This year I do have a few fun gadgets helping me out- the fitbit force and the Fitbit Aria wi-fi scale. I love the Fitbit because it really does help me stick to my goals.  If I see that I only have 3,000 steps in I jump on the treadmill to get the steps up.  If I'm at 4.8 miles, Ill go for a quick run to meet my goal.  It keeps me mindful of how much I am exercising, while also tracking my food intake, calories burned and sleep. If you have a competitive side at all, this is great because it motivates you to hit those goals in black and white.  The scale links wirelessly to the app on my phone, tracking my weight every morning to keep me honest and on track.  If you're thinking about either product, give them a try you will not be disappointed!

Fitbit  Flex  Wireless Activity   Sleep Wristband

2.  Have you guys tried the Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products? I totally wouldn't clean my house as much as I do without this stuff. I'm obsessed with the lavender scent, but I hear the basil is also amazing.  We have the counter spray, hand soap, cleaning concentrate and dish soap.  It smells fantastic in my house. I get mine at Target, and each time I go I add another product to my cleaning bucket.  If Im going to be obsessively buying things, I guess cleaning products aren't a bad way to go?

3. My fleece lined leggings from Kiki La'Rue.  If you have not heard of Kiki La Rue, then you must check them out- and this isn't sponsored or anything- I just adore them.  They have the cutest stuff for the most reasonable prices, and they always have sales and specials going on.  I bought my first pair of leggings from them, the vertical twist leggings and I could LIVE in these suckers. They don't ride up, they don't sag down, they are perfect.  I own them in four colors and have been known to put them under my dress pants on cold days.  You cant see through them and the pattern is a fun little add on to boring black leggings.  If you need help with sizes check out the reviews and comments, there is usually tons of info there to help you out.
4. Green Smoothies.  I completed a 31 day green smoothie challenge and I feel amazing.  I am not a veggie eater, so I was surprised at this.  I started drinking one a day for breakfast blending up spinach, greek yogurt, ice, strawberries, bananas and blueberries. Its green in color for sure, but the banana hides the taste of the spinach.  So I'm getting all of the benefits of veggies without the nasty taste, win! The best part, they keep me full from 6:30 till I get to eat lunch at 1:00. If you have any good smoothie recipes send them my way, because I'm not about to stop now!
5. EOS Lip Balm. seriously? How did I just discover this stuff?  Its awesome, organic AND it actually makes my lips soft.  Plus, you feel like you're getting your moneys worth with the amount you get in each tube. If you haven't tried it, you should. Esp in sweet mint and summer fruit, they're my favorites!
What new products are you guys loving?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dear Polar Vortex- Suck it.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those girls who whines all winter long. I live in Pittsburgh, I know its going to get cold. I expect it even. But seriously, the cold we have been experiencing is just beyond ridiculous. 
Wind chills in the -20's? Lows of -7 and highs of 9? When the eff did I move to Canada?!
Today we had a two hour delay- no idea why, it was colder at 9 than it was at 7.  But the reality is, we cant keep closing school because the way its looking we wouldn't see the kiddos until June. I just wish it was socially and professionally acceptable to come to work dressed in a snowsuit with fuzzy slippers and sweats underneath.  Nice dress pants and sub zero temps don't mix.
On the upside I am getting to enjoy the Christmas present that my Dad bought me. I asked him for slippers and he bought me these bad boys.
 These gems are called Hot Booties. You pop them into the microwave and the beads/rice/magic inside warms up. Then onto your frozen cold toes they go, and as ridiculous and goofy as they look I do not care.  My feet, which haven't been really warm in two weeks, are toasty and happy. They're not really the easiest things to walk in, but to snuggle under my blankets they are perfect.  My only wish is that I could find a full out body suit that I can microwave and keep warm in. If any of you lovelies know where to find that, please let me know!
Stay warm friends!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Easy BBQ Chicken Pizza

As Superbowl Sunday approaches there really cant be too many good game day foods floating around on the internets, right?
This is one of those foods. The hubs devours it, I love it and even the two year old asks for more. Oh, yeah, its easy too.
1 ball of dough
1/4-1/2 pound shredded chicken breast
3 strips of ready bacon
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
BBQ sauce of your choice
First- I had to defrost my dough. I used a brand called Rhodes that comes in a bag of three frozen loaves.  To defrost I simply pulled it out of the freezer, wrapped it in plastic wrapped sprayed with some PAM and let it do its thing. It took maybe three hours.  If you don't want to use frozen go to a local pizza shop and pick up a ball of dough, or make your own in a bread machine.
Next- I sprinkled the countertop with corn meal and rolled my dough out to the size of the pan. I actually rolled it over and then let it sit for 10 minutes on the pan before I par-baked the crust, so that it had all of its shrinking up out of its system. I used the extra edges I cut off to twist into some breadsticks for the toddler.  Before shoving it into a 400 degree oven I made sure to poke holes in the dough with a fork to keep it from getting large air bubbles all over the crust.
Let it par bake for 10 minutes. This is the secret to get the crust nice and crispy.  Once it comes out, I spread on my sauce which was a layer of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce.
Then it was time to get the chicken out of the liquid it was poaching in (takes about 10 minutes) and shred it up.  I just used a chefs knife and sort of diced/crushed/chopped it all up. If you have chicken strips, those work too or a rotisserie chicken that you shred would also work just fine. Once it was in nice bite sized pieces, I tossed it all in a healthy dose of BBQ sauce.
Before putting on the chicken I cut up three strips of ready bacon and sprinkled them over the crust.
Because bacon makes it better, duh.  Then add on your layer of chicken, making sure to spread it evenly over the crust.
Then cover the whole thing in a healthy dose of cheddar cheese and pop back into the oven for another 10 minutes until its melted and bubbly.
 The thing I love the most about this is you can make it as easy or as gourmet at you would like. You can use pre-made dough, sauce, and a rotisserie chicken and you have very little prep involved. Or you can make your own BBQ sauce, dough and cook the chicken from raw. Whichever you prefer! Either way, its tasty and the perfect football food.
Tell me, what's your go to game day meal?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five on Friday!

Linking up with Darci for Five on Friday!

1. I bought my first expensive pair of running shoes yesterday. Holy crap was that painful. I've never spent that much on a pair of shoes in my life. Clearance rack shopper for life, yo.

I was teasing the hubs that I have no choice but to run a marathon in these suckers to get my money's worth- I think he may still be laughing at my reasoning.

2. Midterms start next week and so I will be spending this weekend writing two midterms and cursing the fact that I didn't get it done sooner. I always have the best intentions to get them written and together early, but it never works out. Plus, if you are a teacher or know a teacher you know how crazy the end of any grading period can be. Throw in writing and double/triple/quadruple checking not one but two 200 point exams and it seriously makes me hate life for a few days.

3. Today it was 43 degrees. I'm pretty sure that the last time it was 43 I was bundled in my old lady parka with a scarf and my hood up.  The thing is, it was down to -30 with the wind chill on Monday. Today I wore a dress to work and you know what, it felt kind of balmy.  Mother nature gave us a bit of cold weather perspective, I suppose. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the little break with school being closed on Tuesday AND a two hour delay on Wednesday due to extreame cold. However, I am over being cold so spring can hurry its sweet self along at any time now. 

4. Speaking of our impromptu "cold" day, Grayson and I certainly made the most of it.  We stayed in our jammies and watched cartoons, ate breakfast in bed, opened some new toys that I had stashed away from Christmas and had a living room dance party.  The older that kid gets the harder he makes it to leave him to go to work in the mornings, because staying home is just a heck of a lot of fun. 

5. Its been 10 days and I haven't missed a day yet of drinking a smoothie for breakfast. Usually I eat a waffle and wash it down with a Coke, so this is by far a vast improvement.  I start with a banana and some spinach, toss in some berries and greek yogurt and blend away.  I'm not a big veggie eater, so sneaking in some this way seems like a pretty legit idea.  A friend at work told me you can blend in some broccoli and kale and not taste a thing. I don't know if I'm brave enough to try that yet, but if anyone has any good smoothie recipes I'm willing to give them a shot (just be honest, don't tell me they taste great and they really taste like dirt!).


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 Goals

Thanks to the ridiculous cold air I've been given a day off today- woo! That means its jammies, blankies, cartoons and cuddles for this Momma and her bean.  The wind chill is something like -40 out there, so you will not catch me leaving this house for any reason until that breaks or I have to go to work. Whichever comes first...which will probably be work, because its only January. So I've got laundry going in the washer, a yummy dinner in the crockpot and hopefully when Grayson takes a nap I can sneak in a shower. Life is pretty good today, I must admit.
While Grayson is engrossed in Calliou, the most annoying show on the planet, I just wanted to pop in to talk goals for 2014. I saw a thing floating on the interwebs about picking a word for the year and so I've decided this year my word will be determined. I usually set forth some goals and drop them by the third week of January, but I am determined this year to do better.  So here there are, in no particular order.
1. Eat better.  This girl isn't a fan of the veggies, so I need to change that.  Already I've been on the green smoothie wagon and blending in some spinach, broccoli and kale.  Thank GOD bananas cover the taste of almost anything, because you couldn't get me to eat those things otherwise. But I'm eating them all blended up with berries, Greek yogurt and bananas. If you have any delish smoothie recipies, please feel free to send them my way!
2. Actually get my butt in shape. I looked in the mirror one day and I found myself wishing my body wasn't the shape that it was, a usual battle. Then I realized, unless I did something about it, it would NEVER change. I wasn't going to wake up one morning a size six. I needed to get myself eating better and actually exercising. So I started running and working out, and I bought myself a fitbit. Its amazing how seeing the numbers move on that thing (or not move) motivates me to get my butt in gear. Last night I was 1000 steps away from my goal, so I jumped on the treadmill and Grayson and I walked until I hit my goal (walking has to be more effective when you are carrying a 30 pound weight around, right?!).  I've set a weight loss goal, and Ill update that here on the blog shortly.  I've done the measurements, taken the pictures the whole nine yards.  I don't want to be a stick, but I want to be comfortable in my skin and healthy.
3. I want to be more patient with my son.  Two years old is ROUGH, ya'll.  The toddler mood swings are nothing short of epic and sometimes I feel myself getting short with Grayson. I want to do better.
4. I want to blog more and get more involved in this beautiful community. Post more consistently, comment more, follow more on social media and really get to enjoy  all of the wonderfulness that can come from putting our lives out here on the web. I would really love to attend a blog conference, so hopefully I can find one over the summer that I can sign up for.
5. Organize one space a month.  The junk drawer, the closet, the hole that is the TV stand and anywhere else I find.  I'm setting a small goal of one per month, but if I can do more Id love to be able to say in December that my house is actually organized instead of just organized chaos.
So that's all- I'm only setting five goals. I figure there's a lot more I would LIKE to accomplish, but I don't want to stress myself out and not get the things I really want done.
What are your goals for 2014?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mother's Therapy Organics Review and Giveaway!!

Its that time of year- time for colds, flus, viruses and all of those other nasty little germs that people pass from person to person.
I'm not kidding when I tell you, I buy my weight in hand sanitizer (currently on my third gallon sized jug from Costco) each season because I don't want to bring home a nasty germ to my little guy or the hubs. Well that, and I don't want it myself. Those kids come to school SICK, and I have been known to Lysol a desk or two in my day...sometimes even when the kid is still in it. Some say I'm paranoid, I say I'm not sneezing and coughing so I'm okay with it.
As a biology teacher, I teach the kids about chemicals and their effects on people- and it never fails that one of them always asks if hand sanitizer is good or bad for us because of all of the chemicals in it. Knowing that I teach them well, I do try to look for natural organic sanitizers- but in reality the ones I've found all left a greasy feeling on my hands and smelled, well, bad.  Either that or they dry my skin out so bad I'm itchy for days. Not good at all.
So when Mothers Therapy Organics contacted me and asked if I would be interested in trying out their organic and natural line of sanitizers and baby lotions, I was very interested, but still skeptical. 
The box arrived and the first thing I noticed was that this stuff smelled GOOD. Like cucumbers with a hint of lemon, good. It didn't burn my nose with the overwhelming smell of alcohol or perfume. It just had a nice clean scent. The baby lotion also had a very faint cucumber smell, but I could also smell lavender which I loved. 
When I tried out the sanitizer, I noticed that it didn't take any longer to "dry" or absorb than normal hand sanitizer, and it didn't feel greasy at all.  Once it was all in, my hands didn't burn or feel gross- so I was pretty excited. Maybe this would be different. I checked out the ingredients next, and there was only one ingredient that a didn't know what it was. A quick Google, and I was thrilled to realize it was an ingredient in cosmetics that had no risk of cancer and it wasn't classified as expected to be toxic or harmful.
Score another one for the sanitizer.
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Well, that was the claim- but after a few days of use I was sure that I would find out that it wasn't the case.  Now let me explain, I have ridiculous dry skin. Like need a prescription lotion if I want to shave in the winter, dry.  So usually my hands are all red and chapped most of the winter from sanitizing/washing.  However, after using the sanitizer and the sanitizing lotion for about a week continuously I realized- my hands were not red, not chapped, and were actually SOFT.
It was official, I loved it.
Now would be the real test. I passed my super sensitive/dry skin on to the toddler. So I was really curious to see if the Mothers Therapy Organics Baby Lotion would keep his skin soft and rash free. We have to religiously lather him up with lotion twice a day to keep him from getting dry and itchy, and I was so glad that this lotion seemed much less greasy than our regular lotion. Since his skin is so crazy sensitive we usually buy non scented stuff, and after one application Grayson was sniffing it saying "Mmmm!". I think he liked the scent as much as we did! So what were the results?  After about a week, my kid was asking for the lotion to rub on himself.  He puts it on his little hands and tells us "Ahhh", which I can only take as a resounding 'I love this stuff'. His skin seems less dry, and after rubbing it all in his jammies go on a lot easier because it actually absorbs into his skin unlike other lotions. 
If that's not enough to convince you, there's also the fact that my husband claims we will not be using any other baby lotion in this house. He hates the lotion stage of the bedtime routine, and always has to wash it off of his hands.  Since we switched, he hasn't wanted to wash the "gunk" off once- which is huge.
The wonderful ladies at Mothers Therapy Organics have a pledge to provide parents with healthy options for their children, and this women-run company certainly hit the mark with these products. Not only do they happily donate product to non-profit organizations to bring their products to everyone who wants to try them, but they have also graciously allowed me to give away a Family Pack of Hand Sanitizers- which has a $30 value!
All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter to enter, and give these awesome products a try!

Disclaimer- I was gifted a product to review, but as always all opinions are my own!!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway