Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mama Style: Origami Owl

Nothing fun to talk about when it comes to styling my outfits. I got dressed. I am proud I accomplished that with all that was going on this week. It seems like that is a common theme around here. Getting dressed being a big accomplishment. It shouldn't be, right?

I only managed to get a picture in one outfit this week. My favorite piece right now is my Origami Owl necklace. I am pretty much in love. It is simple at the moment. Just a locket and a charm to represent each person in our fam. I just got lots of little things to add to it though. 

Top: Ross
Blazer: Nordstrom Rack
Boyfriend Jeans: Stitch Fix
Sandals: Target
Necklace: Origami Owl

What are you wearing this week?

pleated poppy

7 Tips for a Better Beach Bod

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Summer is just around the corner. It sneaks up on me every year. The dreaded bathing suit shopping season has reared it's ugly head and I refuse to let it beat me this year. I'm not hiding behind my towel anymore. I am gonna be the mom who not only slips into a swimsuit but I am going to comfortably splash around in the pool with my kids and chase them around the beach. I want you to join me, so I put together a list of things to help us get there.

1. Be Realistic
First and foremost, let's set realistic goals. I can't tell you how many times I have said that I am going to lose X amount of pounds and then after one week step on the scale only to be so discouraged that I give up all together. Let's face it, we aren't teenagers any more. Our bodies have changed. Many of us have birthed babies and we just don't come back from that. Not 100%. So let's make a goal to be a better version of ourselves and not fail at being a perfect replica of the girls in magazines. Then we can wear it proud. Deal? Let's move on.

2. Water, Water and more Water.
Drink it up ladies. Not only drink it, plan it out. We have been told a million and one times that we should always drink at least eight glasses a day but what if we planned them out better. Instead of trying to chug them down at the end of the day when we realize we forgot (admit it. I'm not alone here), let's put them in the most helpful areas of our day. Drink 2 glasses before your big meals of the day. This will help to fill your tummy before you fill it with excess food. The other 2 glasses, put them between meals to keep you full longer. Make sure to still eat up your needed calories though. Water does not replace food.

3. Exercise 
Whaaa?!?! You mean to tell me that stuff actually works. Lik,e more than the magic pill that you got off the infomercial. Yeah, go figure. In the past, I avoided exercise like the plague. No time. No energy. NO! It only takes 30 minutes of getting your heart rate moving to see some results. The energy, you'll get more of it if you get your body moving. So dance, or run, or take the kids for a walk up hill. It will suck majorly at first but you will appreciate it later.

4. Choose Lower Calorie Options
I have a weakness for soda. I love it but it's usually not an option while trying to get fit. I am not a fan of diet so it puts a wrench in my goals. So, I was thrilled when I found the TEN Sodas at Wal-Mart. Ten Calorie soda that still tastes like...well, soda. I was able to cut my calories but have a full flavor drink.  Totally cheating the system without cheating myself. I'm a huge fan of the A&W. Oh, and if you want to really splurge and treat yourself, add a scoop of Vanilla frozen yogurt and thank me later. Mmmm.

Wal-Mart also has 7-Up Ten, Sunkist Ten, and Canadian Dry Ten. Get 
$0.50 off of the purchase of two 2 Liter bottles or two 4-pack cans with this offer or if you were to share that digital coupon you can get a $1.50 off coupon instead!. Offer available while Supplies Last.

The 10 Calorie Sodas are also really great options for using in recipes that call for soda. I want to give pulled pork a try with the A&W Ten!

Follow the makers on Facebook and Twitter.

5. Replace a Meal with a Green Smoothie
It's so easy to chose bad options for meals when we are running around taking care of kids, jobs or just life in general. A muffin or a doughnut are convenient in the morning. What if instead though, we grabs a bunch of healthy ingredients, like spinach and fruits, and blended up a green smoothie for breakfast. Not only would we be giving our bodies less calories but good healthy ones at that. Greens don't have to be the yucky choice, we have found so many smoothies that we love, like our Kid Friendly Smoothie.

6. No Midnight Snack
Please, don't hurt me. I know. I get it. I love dessert in bed as much as the next girl. Probably more. Eating at bedtime or really anytime after 8pm, is usually always a bad idea. Unless you are PMSing or having the day from "you know where", put down the Oreos and hop back in bed. Trust me it works. Even if you do cry to your husband that you are starving but only for ice cream. Shout out to my hubby! Ha!

7. Portion Control
Simple way to do some good ol' portion control? Use a smaller plate. Serve yourself a meal on your salad plates. The plate doesn't start off looking empty, so you don't feel ripped off. You still are getting the food you want, just a little less. If you are still hungry, you can get up for more but this will stop you from overeating simply because it is there. Make sure to carry over this rule during snacks as well. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips because it's easy, have a small bag of low sodium almonds on hand.

Now girls, go buy your bathing suits and wear them proud. Oh, and hop in front of the camera with your kids. These are memories you will want to remember. Don't miss out because Junior added 5 pounds to your hips and his sister gave you love handles.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Play Groups

Sibling rivalry. It's a difficult challenge for any family. Even the most laid back kids who tend to always go with the flow can have a hard time when it comes to sharing attention and time with mom. The past few months have been especially hard for our three year old. He is already in the stage that I have found to be the hardest. Three year olds are tough man! To top off his challenging age he is struggling at times with the attention that Little Man gets. With weekly Social Worker visits and now evaluations and soon therapies, it seems like all eyes are on Little Man a lot of the time. Then there's baby who nurses and gets to be worn all the time. Big sister is the only girl so she has all the "look at me twirl" attention on her. I feel like at times, even though we are working hard to make things even, Talon just feels left out. 

We are making a huge effort to take time for just him. I've told you guys here, quite a few times about his love to pretend and explore. He is a goal oriented dreamer to the max. So when Pretend City contacted me about the launch of their new play groups... Oh man, I swore they designed these bad boys just for us. Right in our timing too. 

There are a few different options as far as age groups. We will be heading to the Three-Year-Old group starting this week. We would love to meet some new friends. There are also groups for 18-24 months, two year olds and four year olds. Here's what they'll look like.

Children learn and grow through play, and below are the age-specific groups for a child’s developmental level:
  • Children ages 18 – 24 months: Young Toddler Playgroup 
Each week this playgroup will focus on a new play type and activity to foster toddler’s cognitive, motor and language skills as well as develop creativity and relational skills. 
  • Children ages two years of age: Terrific Two Playgroup 
This playgroup will help support children to choose peaceful, positive behaviors. Learn how children communicate through play the way they see the world. Understanding a two-year-old’s perspective sheds light on how to deal with challenging behavior. 
  • Children ages three years of age: Three-Year-Old Playgroup 
This playgroup understands that while children at age three are becoming more independent, theyare also learning how to engage with other children as they branch out to discover more about the world. This playgroup will provide tips to support children’s safe exploration and discovery. The age-specific activities will also help children when conflicts arise as they learn how to play and get along.
  • Children ages four years of age: Fabulous Four Playgroup 
This playgroup provides children opportunities for math-play, science-play and language-play. It also helps children learn, understand and practice basic social and emotional skills. These social and emotional skills combined with different curriculum areas will provide children foundational skill-building necessary for success. 

The four specially designed “Play’s the Way” playgroups are designed to meet kids where they are at in their ages and stages. Which is huge for us right now. Talon NEEDS that. 

The groups will be lead by playgroup liaisons, including experienced and trained early childhood and child development educators, Brainbuilders and Pretendgineers.   

Pretend City will be providing information, resources, and skills to grown-ups in addition to children because as our kids change, so do we. I mean we learn as we go to a certain extent.
Register by visiting pretendcity.org/classes-workshops/. Cost is $75 per grown-up and child pair and $60 for Pretend City Members. Groups hold a minimum and maximum enrollment for pairs. For information on Pretend City Children’s Museum and its education-based programs, visit www.pretendcity.org
Let me know if we will be meeting you there!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mama Style

I got dressed every day this week!!!! Cause for celebration around here. We were out and about most days and so I had to but even on our off days, I was dressed. Take that overwhelming housework and homeschooling, I win.

Anyhow, enough boasting about something most people always do. Here are a couple of my outfits from the week. Actually these were the weekend outfits.

Saturday we went to my nephews t-ball game, which is the cutest thing ever by the way. After the game we met up with friends to go to the Drive-in. I didn't see much of the movie but SO MUCH FUN!

Tank: Ross
Cami: Target
Black Jeans: Nordstrom Rack
Rainbows: Rainbow Wearhouse

Sunday started off with church and then followed with a couple of baby showers. The weather has been tricky here lately. The days can't make up their minds. One second you are cold, the next you are warm. I must of taken my jacket off a million times.

Blazer: Target
Top: Ross
Jeans: Nordstrom Rack
Sandals: Target
Earrings: Premier Designs
Messy hair c/o a very busy day!

Oh, and don't mind the cheerios on the floor. I have four kids, two of which have begun opening cabinets and helping themselves to snacks. Fun times.
pleated poppy

Monday, March 24, 2014

No Bake Chocolate Eclairs

Dessert has been on my brain lately. You may have noticed by all of the recipes I have pinned lately. I love to bake up an extravagant dessert, like our Raspberry Bliss Cupcake but sometimes, I just don't have enough time to do that. So I go with what I call a "cheater dessert". Cheater because it is totally a quick way of making something similar but not at all the same. Still totally delicious.

Today's cheat? A No Bake Chocolate Eclair. I've been making these babies for years and they are always a hit.

Graham Crackers
Instant Vanilla Pudding
Whipped Cream
Chocolate frosting


Prepare your pudding according to box instructions. Once it is set, spray the whole can of whipped cream in and whisk together.

Now you are going to prepare your eclairs kind of like you would a lasagna. One layer graham cracker, one layer pudding mix. Back and forth until you have hit the top of your pan. End with a layer of graham crackers and then spread the frosting on top. Done. It's that simple. And so yummy.

For those who love chocolate as much as I do, on your very first layer of graham crackers, put a layer of chocolate frosting and then continue as described above.

Note: Refrigerate for about an hour before serving. This will help soften up your graham crackers.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Come Learn with Me

When it comes to homeschooling, one of our biggest challenges so far has been keeping the younger kids busy while I work with Rhiannon. For a while, handing the boys coloring books would keep them occupied long enough for me to get Rhi situated and then I could keep them playing while working with her whenever she needs me.

We came to the point recently that Talon just wants to learn with her. He knows that a coloring book is not the same way. I can't complain. I mean who can complain about a child simply wanting to learn. I just had to get creative. He is too distracted to sit and do workbooks or any type of curriculum. We have a few manipulatives already that he could work with, such as patternables, but adding to our collection to keep him busy all day would get expensive.

Our solution? Dollar store items turned into learning tools. Our main focuses right now are fine motor skills, colors and letters. Here are some of the fun ways we are learning. 

For our fine motor skills, I have Talon use tongs to move cotton balls to and from different cups and bowls. Some of them are easy, simply squeezing the cotton ball and lifting it out of a bowl. Others are a little more challenging, having to close the tongs to fit into a cup before opening and closing trying to pick up the cotton balls. We also do this activity with tweezers and smaller items.

For our colors, I have Talon and Little Man find items around the house to put into the properly marked muffin tins. We start off with basic colors and move onto different shades. Talon is only allowed to bring me items small enough to fit into the tin. This is helping him with recognizing not only the colors but size relativity too. This activity also keeps him busy during times that I really need to focus on helping his big sister.

When it comes to letters, our main focus, we have a lot of activities, like using our fingers to write in rice. Our favorite activity as of lately is using pipe cleaners to make letters. We have pipe cleaners that are full size, cut in half and some cut in fourths. Talon simply has to manipulate them and make them fit onto the sheets that I have written on. 

I know this picture is not relevant to the post but he's stinkin' cute.
We are having a lot of fun with learning around here. Even little man, who is almost two is able to get in on some of the learning. He is pretty good about just playing while we work though. Now if I can just find something to keep this one occupied. You know when he's not posing for pictures.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mommy and Me

I have mentioned here before how important we find it to have one on one time with each of our kids. Especially now that there are four of them. We make an effort daily to spend a little time together which each of them. Every now and then we will even take them on little dates.

This month, I got some time to take Talon to his favorite place. Pretend City. I think I have told you all about this boys love for Pretend City. Being able to run around, explore and use his imagination is where I see him thrive. I can not express how much I love seeing his face light up and his brain work. Is there anything cooler than being able to see the wheels turning in their little heads?

Pretend City just opened their new Bayou Cafe and so it was a perfect time for my boy and I to stop by and have some fun. To top it off, they had a little Mardi Gras celebration for the opening. We were able to have our usual fun and also get some extra crafting in while making floats and masks. Ritter's Steam Kettle Cooking served us up some amazing food and we were able to just sit and talk to each other about the day.

As usual, Talon's favorite part was fishing and shooting the water guns. It's always where he spends majority of our time and he made sure to tell me all about it over lunch.

After punching in his time card at all the different areas and cashing out at the Pretend City ATM, we hit up the sand one last time (close second to the water) and headed back to the rest of the kids.

He told Rhiannon all about everything he had done and that they had a new place for her to be a cooker. The Cafe is her favorite part of Pretend City. She has insisted that she gets the next mommy date and we head there to check it out. I won't complain.

Pretend City
29 Hubble
Irvine CA 92618


Monday: 10AM - 1PM
Tuesday - Sunday 10AM - 5PM

Adults & Children: $12.50
Infant to 12 months: FREE


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