About Me

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I'm a mom, but I am also so much more. I'm a wife, I work, cook, shop, craft, try to stay healthy, keep up on the latest technology, and style trends, and much more! Come join me in my adventure of making a new blog that allows us to share the everyday things (ups and downs) that turns living an everyday life into living a lively life!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Heaven in a Cup!

It's no secret that I love coffee. 

One of my favorite desserts is tiramisu.

I just found a tiramisu latte recipie!!!!


I have to run out to grab some of the ingredients because it's not things that I have on hand but I'm willing to make the trip because I cannot wait to try this recipe. I am so excited!

The recipe comes from Seduction In The Kitchen blog.

Here is the link: 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why Clean(er) Eating?

Okay I didn't think that was cleaning…….. but when I first heard the phrase "Clean Eating" I thought it was a crazy off-the-wall all organic/vegan nutty thing.
Turns out clean eating isn't that at all. Yes, there some far out people who take any movement out to the farther reaches but standard clean eating is just the idea of not eating so much processed food and getting back to a more natural balanced diet. So this February I have decided to embrace a challenge to be "clean(er)" and eat/use less processed products and try to eat/use more natural sources for foods, but in a practical every day budget friendly way.

February Clean(er) Eating Challenge Goals: 

1. Evaluate food items that are used most often. 

2. Find healthier alternatives to some overly processed foods.

3. Try at least one new clean dinner recipe each week.

4. Research and learn more about the contents of the foods we eat. 
Each week in February I will address all four of these items. I will be challenging you to share with me too. What food items did you find? What alternatives did you find? Share a new recipe. What new facts have you learned?

So who's on board for challenging yourself to make a few small changes towards clean(er) eating and a more healthy life?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Valentine's Day Garland

I can't find the "be my valentine" banner I made last year 😞and I decided we needed a little more pink πŸ’— and red ❤️ around the house since Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. 

I ran out to the local craft store and for under $5 picked up some twine and a package of glittered diecut hearts. 

It's just a simple matter of stringing them on in whenever pattern you desire.

Pretty soon you've got a georgous little garland to hang up and add some festive color. 

Do you have any Valentine's Day decorations that you made this season or in the past? Would love to see them. Post some pictures here!

Little Love Bug For Your Valentine

I found the cutest little free printable and the perfect stickers for my daughter to make Valentines this year!

This website has a free printable with a little mason jar and the words "heres a little love bug"

We found these stickers for just 97 Cents.

Print, stick, mount on some red paper for added color. Done!  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Parental Care VS School Care. The gray area.

I am a parent who loves my child dearly and tries to give the best to my child at all times so she turns out to be an amazing woman someday.

I am also a person who has worked in K-12 classrooms for 10+ years and loved each of my students and gave my whole heart to trying to provide not only for their education but anything that could help better their lives and their futures.

I know that school staff also love the children in school and want to care for them the best they can.

(Note: I don't say teacher only because I know so many principles, cafeteria workers, secretaries, along with many other staff who care for the students.)

As my daughter is just starting on her educational journey, I hope in the coming years she meets many school staff members who care for her dearly and do all they can to teach her and make her into a great woman. I am grateful, that in the many hours she will spend in school, there are people looking out for her and doing the best they can to mold her into something intelligent and wonderful.

BUT… there is a gray area.   Yes, the dreaded gray area.

There is a great big area of overlap in the 'I/we the parents love and care for my/our child(ren) and you (the school staff) are caring for my child's well being while he/she is in your care'.

Somewhere in that area there is a very fine line of "don't tell me how to parent my child".

Turns out that is what happened to these parents. They received a note reprimanding them for the lunch packed for their daughter.

Sometimes as human beings we care so much that we end up caring too much.

In this case the teacher who wrote the note didn't know what the full contents of the girls lunch were and the school issued an apology.

For school personnel it is hard. When a person cares about children and wants them to succeed in life ones emotions occasionally get in the way and they may get lost in that gray area.

It is not only teachers making conclusions about students home lives.

How often has the neighbor child come to play with your child and you are suprised by something only to find out that there is a whole other reason for the behavior.

In my years working for the school system I often overheard comments made in the teachers lounge about "so and so" doing "this or that", only to hear from another staff member that the child was dealing with a serious illness, a sick parent, homelessness, divorce, abuse, financial problems, or one of many other things. Other times it was a total misperception. The child may have acted a certain way not because of rudeness, but because of a disability or curiosity. Maybe they ate only ice-cream at lunch because their parents can't afford it at home and this is the only time they will ever be able to get a treat like this.

There are a million reasons behind the things that we see each day and we only get a split second glance at many of these things.

Would I be ticked off if I got this note?


However, I am glad I saw this now. If I ever do get a note like this in the future I hope to remember to thank the teacher for being so concerned with my child's health and well being, but then kindly explain the full story.

Footnote: In all this there is also the child. I know of a mom who packed a great lunch and the child snuck a full package of Oreos in her backpack instead…. Just saying parents and teacher's can love and care all they want but these little kiddos have minds of their own too!

What are your thoughts on this?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Essential Oils: For a Wonderful Smelling and Healthy Home

Who doesn’t love walking home at the end of the day, opening the door, and smelling your favorite scent?
 Problem is paraffin candles, chemical filled plug-ins, and chemically manufactured air freshener sprays are some of the ways that we have become accustomed to making our homes smell appealing – but these products are adding to the toxic environment in our homes.
Well, I found a solution! I recently learned that my local grocery store carries essential oils. Better yet, they are natural and very reasonably priced! (You can also purchase them on the web for very reasonable prices).
I knew there were natural “air fresheners”. A search on Pinterest will give you thousands of links! I did a quick search and collected the basics here for you.

Common essential oils and their benefits:
   Basil: helps relieve headaches
   Rosemary: stimulates the mind and improves memory
   Clary sage: calms the nervous system
   Clove oil: helps relieve congestion and has aphrodisiac qualities
   Eucalyptus: expectorant, this eucalyptus species is indicated for children with respiratory congestion, useful for colds and flu, antiviral
   Ginger: relieves nausea, warming emotionally and physically.
   Geranium: PMS, indicated for hormonal imbalance, antimicrobial, nerve pain
   Lavender: improves sleep quality and calms the nerves
   Lemon: acts as a natural antidepressant and calms anxiety
   Mint: invigorating
   Orange: refreshes and relaxes
   Peppermint: relieves nausea, relieves/reduces migraines, energizing, antispasmodic, Studies say do not use around children under 30 months of age.
   Ylang ylang: aphrodisiac, antidepressant, nourishing

There are many more oils. Search our your favorite scents or find scents that will assist with natural remedies for things you are dealing with.

Ways to use essential oils around your home.

Make a Room Freshener:
   Fill a small decorative jar or dish with plain white rice and add in a few drops of oil. Place the jar in whatever room you wish to fill with the fragrance. (Peppermint or lemon work great the bathroom and lavender is soothing in the bedroom.) Click here for a tutorial on this

Clothes freshener:
   Dab cotton balls with essential oils and place in the corners of your drawers and closets. It also helps ward off moths!

Freshen while you vacuum:
   Place a few drops of oil on a cotton balls and put in your vacuum bag. Each time you vacuum it will smell wonderful!

Freshen your car 
◦   Place a few drops of oil on a cotton balls and put a plastic bag, leave it unsealed. Place it in your car under your seat. 

See full tutorial on the Live Life Whole website here.

To deodorize and clean furniture:
   Place a few Combine baking soda and several drops of peppermint, eucalyptus or wintergreen essential oil and sprinkle on furniture, floor, or mattress. The baking soda will absorb moisture, deodorizes and sanitizes. The essential oils will drive away dust mites and leave a clean refreshing smell.

If all that good smelling stuff isn't good enough reason, there is research out there at proves essential oils are beifital to our health and well being! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Would you like some caseinate, phosphate, and diglycerides with that coco?

Ok, its not even February yet, but since this clean(er) eating think clicked in my brain i've become super aware of what is in my food. I made a simple cup of hot coco (well, i mix coco with my coffee to make a "mocha cafe" if i'm feeling so inclined the morning. 
Today while the coffee was brewing I grabbed the packet of X brand hot chocolate and glanced at the back of the box. I thought I was drinking coco, sugar, powdered milk, maybe one or two preservatives……  
WRONG! Check out the list below.  


I did some research (90 minutes) to track down and figure out what these things are….. 

SUGAR ~ I expected this one. I'm ok with it. Its a pretty natural ingredient.

CORN SYRUP SOLIDS ~ Really? Do Americans need anymore processed corn syrup in their diets?

VEGETABLE OIL (PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COCONUT OR PALM KERNEL AND HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN) ~ I couldn't find an easily accessible explanation for what oil would be for in a dry mix.  
DAIRY PRODUCT SOLIDS ~ Assuming this is dry milk, wish it was labeled as that. Dairy product solids makes it sound so….. icky.

COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, ~Cocoa has been treated with alkali going back over 150 years. There are several reasons, the three most common being: It darkens the cocoa, reduces the bitter taste of cocoa, and makes the cocoa powder disperse better in beverages.” (Link to Source)  Honestly, i'm willing to stir my coco a little extra if it means I don't need to ingest this each time I drink hot coco. 

CELLULOSE GUMA polymer with the alternate names of cellulose sodium glycolate and sodium carboxymethyl cellulose. Totally unnatural. A man made item. Cellulose gum is extracted from wood pulp and cotton cellulose. The powder can absorb up to 20 times its starting weight. Only the purest cellulose gum is fit for human consumption; the rest is used in non edible items. In the food world it is typically used to thicken or bind ingredients and also is used to make things sweeter. Cellulose cannot be properly digested by humans. It has neither health benefits or harmful effects  Luckily it is similar to eating paper, it just passes through your system.   (Link to source)  Eating paper, yuck, but at least it isn't toxic!

NONFAT MILK ~ Wondering how this is different that the "dairy product solids" listed above?

SALT~ This is in every recipe and its a small amount. Ok with me. 

SODIUM CASEINATE, A food additive and for industrial purposes. Some people are allergic to sodium caseinate, and it has been linked to some human diseases, mainly autism and gastrointestinal problems. Consult with an allergy specialist if you suspect an allergy or intolerance to any casein-based product. such, caseins are now used primarily in food production, where they add nutrition, flavor and specific consistencies. (Link to source)  Gastrointestinal problems….. possible links to autism…. EEEEK! I'm fine with natural chocolate flavor why do we need to add all this other stuff to "create" the flavor?

SODIUM CITRATE, Also know as Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate is a tart flavoring used in candy, soft drinks, ice cream and sherbet and is often added for its antioxidant properties. Sodium citrate buffers acidity in jams, ice creams and candy. (Link to source)  This is actually an ok ingredient. Not that we all need to ingest tons of it, but it is one of the few additives that isn't on the "bad" list.

DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE,Used as a food additive to lower acid levels in processed foods and act as a stabilizer. Dipotassium Phosphate can act as a skin and eye irritant along with causing vomiting and diarrhea if consumed directly in quantities. Inhaling Dipotassium Phosphate can irritate the lungs and can cause distressed breathing. (Link to source)  How much acid is in basic hot coco? Do we really need this to reduce acid? Also, not feeling great about the fact that is can cause vomiting and diarrhea. 

SODIUM ALUMINOSILICATE, Sodium aluminosilicate is the predominant silicate added to foods in the United States, according to the Food and Drug Administration. As an anticaking agent, it prevents clumping in dairy-based drinks, milk powders, sauce and gravy mixes, soup mixes, salt and seasonings. You may also find this silicate in household products, such as latex paint and laundry detergent. (Link to source)  I can appreciate the idea of non clumped hot chocolate but it wouldn't take much to give it a little stir to break it up or a smash of the packet to unclump it. Is america this lazy?

MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDESMonoglycerides and diglycerides are food additives commonly used to combine ingredients containing fats with those containing water, two types of ingredients that don't ordinarily combine well. Food manufacturers typically use them to extend a product's shelf life. Made in part of fatty acids, they are similar to triglycerides, the predominant fat in food according to the Harvard School of Public Health, except they are classified as emulsifiers rather than lipids. (Link to source)
I really don't want any extra fat in my diet. Thank you very much. 

GUAR GUM  ~Made from the guar bean and is used as a thickener. I can appreciate that it is at least a natural source and is used o make my coco creamy.   But just another unnecessary step. 

ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS. ~When you see this you need to run and hide. This could be anything. Anything artificial. They don't even have to tell you what it is. You want to risk ingesting something that has ingredients you aren't privy to? NOT ME!

So what has this taught me!?!

I am throwing away all the hot chocolate mix in the house and making my own natural hot coco mix. 

Best yet, the recipes are all over the web and I already have all the natural ingredients in my pantry!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Product Recommendation: Scrub Daddy

I haven't done a product recommendation for a long time, but this little gizmo reminded me about why I should be doing it more often.

I got the Scrub Daddy in my stocking for Christmas from mom. (Yes mom still gives all the kids stockings and we love it). 

I started using this cute little guy few days later and I LOVE it! 

You can use it to clean almost anything. It doesn't scratch so it's a great for pots and pans. The nifty thing is when it's dry or used in cold water it's kind of hard so it's almost like an abrasive sponge (but non-scratch). When you wet it with warm water it becomes soft and spongy like.

You can pick them up at bed bath and beyond for $3.99 and I'm sure you can find them on Amazon or at your local store or retailer. 

They are supposed to last 2+ months. I've been using mine for a couple weeks now and there's no sign of wearing down. 

This product gets two thumbs up! Give it a try.

Clean Eating Promise To Your Body


February Challenge: Love Your Body by Eating Clean(er)

A year ago,  February 2014, I challenged myself and all of you to find something you loved every day. I managed to get 25 out of the 28 days with the chalkboard art graphic of something I loved.

This February I am going to kick off another challenge!

February is a shortest month of the year so why not use it as a trial for healthy living!?!

Last year I did a lot of exercise and I'm feeling great. This year I think it's time to challenge myself to make even more changes, specifically in the everyday foods I eat.

Despite all the exercise I've done and my overall daily healthy eating, haven't lost that last 10 pounds of baby weight that I want to get off of me. (Although I know some of that is gaining muscle and losing fat from running and all that kind of thing…)

But after lots of reading and investigation I've come to a realization that I've crossed that threshold into the mid 30 range and it's not just about exercise our calorie consumption (a.k.a. quantity). I really think it has to do a lot with quality. 

I'm really thinking at this point I need to seriously think about metabolism and hormones and overall healthy body balance. 

I've talked before about feeding our kids good food and organic versus healthy versus junk food I think it's time for me to really step up the game and see how much of a difference clean eating makes.

So here's what I'm going to do. I am going to take the month of February and challenge myself to gradually switch my family over to eating high(er)-quality food thought the entire month of February.

Over the next three weeks I'm going to do a series of posts about healthy eating geared towards moms who cook for kids and families. I will also setup a basic framework for the February healthy eating challenge.

I would love to challenge you to join me. No need to jump on the organic or vegan bandwagon, just make some small steps to making your families eating a little more healthy. 

Let's get together, share some tips, recipes, resources, and most importantly encouragement to love your body by eating cleaner and healthy.

Let's make February the eat healthy and love your body month! ❤️

Monday, January 12, 2015

Your Candles Can Kill You!

Ok, maybe not "kill" you but they may be doing you harm.

I was recently in search of my favorite candle scent (cinnamon and clove) offer at Bath and Body works during the holiday season. They are of course sold out. I bought the last 6 at the after Christmas sale. However, I burn candles obsessively during the winter months, I have already burnt 2 of them and will go through the rest in a matter of weeks.

So as I said, on the search for more candles with that scent. I happened upon some beeswax candles with the same scent and the site talked about the benefits of beeswax. I was intrigued. I did more investigation….


Here are some of the dangers of burning paraffin wax candles: 

According to the American Lung Association, "paraffin candles contain 11 documented toxins, two of which are known carcinogens. Protect the environment and your body at the same time by only using organic beeswax, soy or hemp candles.

Also, if you are doing your best to be eco-friendly/green did you know, 

According to green promise.com,  "Spending a little more money or time locating organic non-toxic candles appears to be worth it in regards to your indoor air environment and your health.

 Most conventional candles are made from paraffin wax, which is a by-product of petroleum, a non-renewable resource, which has been linked to poor indoor air quality. 

Paraffin candles release a petro-carbon soot that stains your walls, furniture and is circulated through your air ducts. 

Some paraffin candle makers are still using lead core wicks which when heated emit lead particulates into the air, which can then be inhaled. 100% of lead that is inhaled is absorbed into the bloodstream."

I read all that and I said, "EEEEKKKKKK! Why am I buying paraffin wax candles? But what are my options?"

Well, soy and beeswax candles are surprisingly easy to find! I also will add they are the same cost you would pay for a regular good quality candle. Maybe not as cheap as Walmart or a discount store, but very reasonable!

To read more about soy candles click on the link below this picture. There is some great info about soy vs beeswax candles.


I also learned that beeswax candles have lots of positive benefits including:

·   Improved sleep                     
·   Enhanced immune system
·   Relief from hay fever & allergies
·   Less severe asthma attacks
·   Improved concentration        
·   Balancing of hormones
·   Natural detoxification
·   Sense of wellbeing

Santafecandle.com saysBeeswax is good valueIt achieves a very efficient and complete burn (mostly to carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor) and thus burns brighter, hotter, cleaner, and longer than any other wax.  When properly made and burned, beeswax candles are smokeless and dripless.  Measured by burn time, beeswax candles are usually a better value than boutique paraffin – even when they appear to cost more.

But make sure you look carefully when you buy: a candle may be labeled "beeswax" if it contains as little as 10% beeswax, who knows what the rest is...  Also a label saying "natural" is not good enough. If the label doesn’t say "100% beeswax" or "pure beeswax", it is probably not. 
Also, if you are being eco-friendly/green here is some great news!
Beeswax is all natural, non-toxic, non-polluting, non-allergenic, and has a great scent!  A perfect, renewable resource, beeswax is made by the female worker bee for honeycomb. To produce one pound of beeswax, the worker bees eat about ten pounds of honey (yum), fly 150,000 miles, and visit 33 million flower blossoms!  The process to make beeswax is amazing!

The most fascinating part of beeswax to me is that it is actually making your home more healthy!  Beeswax produces negative ions that can clean your air of odors, pollens, smoke, dust, dust mites, viruses and other allergens and hazards.  Increasing negative ions in the air and on the body, such as when one bathes in water, improves mood and sense of wellbeing.Beeswax candles actually act like a air purifier.  They also a great candle for anyone with chemical sensitivities or allergies. 

If you are really motivated, beeswax candles are fairly simple to make. However, if you don't want to take the time, hop on Etsy.com. You will find some great sellers. I just placed an order for 4 different beeswax candles from various Etsy shops. I will give all the candles a try and report to you with the results!