Building Our Story

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Keeping the Spark Alive All Year Round

 Disclosure:  Compensation was received for this sponsored post. 

It happened to us, and if you’re reading this article, it probably happened to you too. Maybe it went like this: you and your husband dated for a time, and back then, love, attraction, and passion ruled the day. Then you married and this beautiful deepening of your friendship took place, though there was still plenty of passion to go around and keep things exciting. Then you dug into your careers. Then you had kids. Then you looked up one day and realized things had changed. Your entire marriage revolved around anything and everything but passion. You and your husband had become roommates raising children together, paying bills together, and it broke your heart.

Maybe you’ve despaired that the spark you once shared with your spouse will never come back. Maybe you’ve begun letting your eyes wander, wondering if you should look beyond your marriage for fulfillment.

We understand. We’ve been there too. And we’re here to tell you that there is hope. You and your significant other can reignite that spark. All it takes is willingness, time, a bit of work, and some good advice. And that’s what we’re here for: to offer you our best advice for keeping that spark alive. 



1. Practice active listening. Remember when you used to hang on every word he said to you? Whether it was the simple details of his workday or the deepest longings of his heart, you listened carefully, you engaged, and you showed him how much you cared. How about now? Your mind is on ten different things when he talks to you. Right? No wonder you’re practically strangers now. Start listening actively and rediscover who each of you really are. And start asking questions again. There’s no better way to show interest (and to feel interest, too) than to ask questions in response to whatever your husband is saying.

2. Share physical affection. No, we don’t necessarily mean sex. Your marriage might be too cold, too distant right now for that. We mean holding hands while you’re out together. Haven’t done that in a while? Feels awkward? Get over it. Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. There once was a time when it was nearly impossible to separate you two. You’re out of the habit now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get back there. The mind and the heart often follow the body’s lead, so hold hands and give each other hugs several times a day. Remember that TV series you both watched together years ago and loved? Order it as a box set of DVDs and cuddle on the couch under a comfy blanket while you watch the series and relive old times. Consistently share touch in these ways and you’ll feel tenderer towards one another, and this will reverberate across your entire relationship. Keep it up and it won’t be long before passions ignite and you’ll both want to up the stakes.

3. Truly celebrate each other. Birthdays, holidays, wedding anniversaries: these are all opportunities to show your man how much he means to you by giving him a thoughtful gift that truly speaks to who he is. For instance, choose anniversary gifts for him that he’ll be over the moon for, like personalized beer steins and a subscription to a beer of the month club (if he’s into beer, that is). Really consider his interests and make gift-giving extra special. Furthermore, get him little gifts for no reason. A little surprise here and there can really make one’s day. He’s likely to reciprocate this as well.

4. Look good for each other. Now, we’re not necessarily talking about hitting the gym every day and becoming a supermodel (though a little exercise and a healthy diet go a long way towards looking good and feeling good). What we really mean is this: back when you two were dating, you always wanted to look your best for him. You wanted to blow him away, and not only did that attract him to you, but it made him feel good. He knew you cared about him because you took time to look good for him. And vice versa. So, what changed? Careers and kids wear you out so much you can barely think at the end of the day let alone spruce yourself up for your husband. We understand, and we agree that your husband should love you just as much when you’re in your comfy pants as when you’re decked to the nines. However, a few days a week, you should make it a point to show him you still care about keeping the spark alive by showing yourself to be spark-worthy.


So, there you have it. Some of our best tips for reigniting that fading spark in your marriage. Before you despair, try these tips with your husband. You’ll be surprised just how fast that spark can return.



What are your tips for Keeping The Spark Alive in your relationship?


 Disclosure:  Compensation was received for this sponsored post. 
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Fairy Caves Full of Summertime Imagination and Snacks


Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post on behalf of Horizon Products.



As the kids are getting older we are really enjoying all the fun trips and adventures in our state - call them mini staycations if you will.  Recently, we took a trip to Glenwood Springs Colorado, this town is full of history, hot springs and great caves to explore.  Last summer we took a trip to Glenwood as well but due to Teagan's age we really stayed in the hot springs more than anything but this year we decided to really get into the adventuring and take a trip to the famous Fairy Caves and Caverns of Glenwood.  



The moment that Teagan heard FAIRY she was ready to go!  Silly girl.  The whole time we were exploring the caves with our guide we were all on the look out for fairies.  Did you know that when the cave water drips on you - it is actually a fairy kiss?  It's true!  Luckily, we all got fairy kisses during the trip.  



The fairy caves are located at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.  The adventure starts with a trip on the Iron Mountain Tramway - this is a fun trip because you are in a gondola with an amazing view of the river and surrounding mountains.  As we took the tram we were all reminded about how amazing the state we live in truly is.  Beauty surrounds you at every angle.  



Now, I really do love amusement parks but let's be honest - they are expensive and you have to really find ways to save money when taking multiple staycations with family.  I have found that the area that we always spend most of our budget is on food.  To really try and make our food budget stretch we have been packing our own snacks when traveling this summer.  This keeps us from hitting the concession stands and gas stations for the kiddos.   The kids have gotten used to the delicious snacks from Horizon and always ask for their favorites.  I for one and loving that Horizon has so many snack options that are perfect for traveling with kids of all ages.  



Parenting is hard work but choosing snacks that fit a healthier lifestyle can be easy with the Horizon organic snacks - great choices and delicious snacks!



After we walked through the beautiful fairy caves for a couple of hours we were all ready for a snack so I simply took out some fruit pouches, milk and cheese crackers from Horizon Organics that we packed in our backpack for the trip.  So easy and honestly probably saved us at least $40.00!  That gave us more money to indulge in some more adventures and create more summertime memories.  


We had an amazing time visiting the fairy caves with the kids.  It was so funny to see both Jude and Teagan searching for the fairies and wishing for the fairy kisses.  Finding these fun places to visit in our own home state of Colorado has been so much fun this summer and I know that as the kids get older we will continue to do these trips.  


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Have you done any exploring in your home state this summer?


This conversation is sponsored by Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Getting the Perfect Kitchen Supplies Without Visiting a Specialty Store

With the popularity of cooking shows, there has never been a more enticing time to upgrade your kitchen ware. Luckily, keeping up with your favorite celebrity doesn’t mean spending a fortune in a specialty store. Read along about how you can take advantage of discount coupons at top stores (like Kohl’s and JC Penney) to complete your new professional cookware collection without compromising quality.

A Quality Knife Set

The best place to start is your knife set. If you don’t remember when you bought your knives or if they look a little worse for wear, it’s time for an upgrade.






Consider the type of cooking you do the most and which knives you find yourself becoming frustrated with and make a list. Knowing what you do and don’t need will allow you to get the most out of your money at a store you know, whilst still getting a great collection of professional knives.

The Perfect Cookware Set

The next time your favorite chef suggests using an ideal cooking dish, be prepared to cook along with them.

 


Make the most out of discount coupons to replace any ageing cookware in your kitchen. Focus on the items that you use the most and remember that your collection doesn’t need to be extensive, just appropriate. Think back on which recipes you watched being prepared but weren’t able to follow along with because you didn’t have the correct cookware. In addition, look through your old recipes for any favorites that you haven’t seen in a while because you weren’t able to prepare them completely and correctly.

Now that you know what you need, it’s time to start saving. Take your list to the computer and start saving. Check out which discounts are available on cookware at your local and familiar stores and start cooking today!


What is your favorite kitchen gadget or supply?

Disclosure:  This post was written on behalf of Groupon.  I was compensated for this post. 



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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer On The Run With Target


Disclosure:  This post is promoted by Target.  



Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Target. 


Our summer break is more than half over and we have had a summer full of fun, memories, trips, and new experiences which means we have had a packed summer!  We always seem to have something going on, especially on the weekends.  To keep my family happy on our family excursions, I always head to Target to keep my Summer On The Run Bag nice and packed for any adventure.  


What's In Your Summer On The Run Bag?


When I pack my bag for the summer I really try to prepare for anything.  Kids keep you on your toes, which means you literally have to be ready for anything.  Thankfully, I can make a Target Run and pack my bag and start making memories!  Recently, we decided to have a family date at a local Adventure Golf course for some miniature golf.  It was a HOT day in Colorado but we were prepared for a great time.  


Jude and Teagan were both so excited to play golf.  They thought all of the different themes were really cool.  We didn't really follow the rules or keep score so it was pretty chaotic but so fun for all of us.  My Summer On The Run Bag was packed and ready for anything.  


I am sure you have noticed that my kids and I are very light skinned, in other words - we sunburn super easy. This also means that we literally go through an up & up sunscreen in about a weekend!  Thank you Target for keeping our skin nice and healthy from that summer sun.  HA!  I would love to say that we do not need wipes for dirty diapers; get it together TEAGAN, but that's not true.  However, even without those dirty diapers I would be carrying baby wipes.  They are a necessity on every outing.  My kids are so messy!  HA!  Oh and the germs - so many germs!  Look, I am not one of those parents that freaks out but believe me, there are times that hand sanitizer is a must.   All of these products are things that I must carry at all time on our summertime adventures, so I throw them in my Summer On The Run Bag!


Nice form buddy!  Once Jude hit the ball a couple of times he really got into the miniature golf fun.  He really thinks it is neat that he is golfing like Grandpa - little does he know how boring Grandpa's golf is!  He will learn soon enough. 


Snacks - bring all the snacks.  Outings burn energy and sometimes make us miss nap time.  This means I always have snacks for everyone when we go out on adventures.  The Market Pantry snacks are perfect for heading out with the family.  When those hungry tummies and thirsty tongues start whining I know exactly how to make the day happy.  I might over pack snacks but those meltdowns are hard to deal with sometimes - we all need a little snack to get through.  


Teagan our little goofy golfer!  So cute.  She had no idea what she was doing but she sure loved hitting her purple golf ball and picking it up and throwing it in the hole!  Silly girl.  The memories, fun and laughter that we all shared on our family date was perfect.  


My Summer On The Run Bag filled with Target Essentials is exactly what I need to make sure our summertime adventures are full of fun.  Being prepared for those hungry tummies, meltdowns, yucky germs and burning sunshine is just one way I make sure we are getting the most out of our summer break! 





What's your #TargetRun?



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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ranch Chicken - One Dish Meal #Recipe

Finding meals that are easy to make and kid approved can be difficult, especially during busy weeks.  Recently, Jude started Taekwondo and we go two times a week which means our food prep need a re-haul.  I am a One Dish Meal lover and my husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy but I hardly every prepare meat and potatoes until now!   I tried a new recipe a couple of weeks ago and man it was good!!  

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Ranch Chicken with Green Beans and Potatoes - One Dish Meal

Free Printable Recipe here. 


Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast 
8 red potatoes
12 oz frozen green beans
1/2 cup melted butter
Ranch Seasoning Mix - 1 packet 

Ranch Chicken One Dish Meal, easy One dish meals for families, One dish meals, Ranch Chicken with Green beans and Potatoes

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare dish in a 9x13 baking dish.

2.  Clean and cut red potatoes in bite size pieces.  Place potatoes in 1/3 of the dish. 

Ranch Chicken One Dish Meal, easy One dish meals for families, One dish meals, Ranch Chicken with Green beans and Potatoes

3.  Slice thawed chicken breasts into 3 pieces, or more if they are large pieces.  Place chicken in the middle of the baking dish. 

Ranch Chicken One Dish Meal, easy One dish meals for families, One dish meals, Ranch Chicken with Green beans and Potatoes

4.  In the remaining space of the dish place the frozen green beans.  

Ranch Chicken One Dish Meal, easy One dish meals for families, One dish meals, Ranch Chicken with Green beans and Potatoes

5.  Sprinkle entire dish with ranch seasoning evenly.  

Ranch Chicken One Dish Meal, easy One dish meals for families, One dish meals, Ranch Chicken with Green beans and Potatoes

6.  Melt butter and pour evenly over all of the food.  

7.  Cover dish with foil and bake for 2 hours.   

Ranch Chicken One Dish Meal, easy One dish meals for families, One dish meals, Ranch Chicken with Green beans and Potatoes

This meal is a perfect meal to prepare on the weekend and refrigerate for a week of leftovers on busy evenings.   Literally the easiest thing to prepare and it turned out so delicious.   This will become a rotating meal on our meal plan for sure!  


What One Dish Meals do you enjoy preparing for your family?



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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Create A Mac and Cheese Bar

For Jude's Spider-Man birthday party I decided to get a little creative with the food.  Since his parties are always pretty easy to host - always a backyard pool party - I can really focus on the food.  I created a kid heaven with a Mac and Cheese Bar!  It was a hit - and thanks to my awesome Mother-in-law the homemade Mac and Cheese was adult approved as well!  

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What makes this a Mac and Cheese Bar?  The toppings!  So many options for guests to choose from.  People can literally make their Mac and Cheese custom to their tastes.  Yummy!  The first thing you have to do is decide what type of Mac and Cheese you will be using.  You could easily run to the store and pick up some packaged Mac and Cheese or you can go big and make your own.  

 Create A Mac and Cheese Bar, Mac and Cheese Toppings Bar, Mac and Cheese Bar, Homemade Mac and Cheese recipe, How to create a Mac and Cheese bar, party food ideas

We decided to use this Mac and Cheese recipe, minus the hot dogs and veggies.  It is simple and so good.  Comfort food to the max!  We prepared 5 pounds (dry noodles) of Mac and Cheese the morning of Jude's party - while that seems super difficult, this recipe makes it easy.  

Create A Mac and Cheese Bar, Mac and Cheese Toppings Bar, Mac and Cheese Bar, Homemade Mac and Cheese recipe, How to create a Mac and Cheese bar, party food ideas

Now for the toppings.  Think outside of the box.  Mac and Cheese is noodles and cheese - pretty much anything goes with that!  Plus...CHEESE makes everything delicious!

Toppings I used:
  • Bell Peppers
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Corn
  • Ham
  • Meatballs
  • Bacon
  • Chicken
  • Hot Dogs

Create A Mac and Cheese Bar, Mac and Cheese Toppings Bar, Mac and Cheese Bar, Homemade Mac and Cheese recipe, How to create a Mac and Cheese bar, party food ideas

Most of the toppings we cut and prepared the night before the party just to make the whole set up easier.  We used frozen peas, broccoli and corn which made for a really easy way to provide veggies for the kids as well.  

Create A Mac and Cheese Bar, Mac and Cheese Toppings Bar, Mac and Cheese Bar, Homemade Mac and Cheese recipe, How to create a Mac and Cheese bar, party food ideas

The kids loved this set up because they got to enjoy a favorite meal and top it with different things that they never thought would go on Mac and Cheese!  I was so happy to hear all of the complements on the spread - not your typical backyard BBQ but a lunch that is totally kid approved.  
Create A Mac and Cheese Bar, Mac and Cheese Toppings Bar, Mac and Cheese Bar, Homemade Mac and Cheese recipe, How to create a Mac and Cheese bar, party food ideas

To make our Mac and Cheese Bar even more festive I created Mac and Cheese Bar Table Tents to place by each topping.  I have included these in a file so you can use them too!  Super easy way to make your party food look sophisticated and well planned.  

Download Free Printable Table Tents - Mac And Cheese Bar Printables   

 Create A Mac and Cheese Bar, Mac and Cheese Toppings Bar, Mac and Cheese Bar, Homemade Mac and Cheese recipe, How to create a Mac and Cheese bar, party food ideas

Overall, the Mac and Cheese Bar was a hit and I know I will be using this idea again soon.  


What toppings would you put on your Mac and Cheese?


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Monday, July 20, 2015

Starbucks Copycat Recipes

I have a thing for Starbucks drinks and food.  I love trying all the new creations as the seasons change and there is something relaxing about a Starbucks too.   But let’s be real – we cannot eat and drink at Starbucks every day without going broke….so why not try to be a copycat and enjoy the treats in your own home!   Challenge accepted.  Check out these great Starbucks Copycat Recipes I found – delicious! 

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Chai Tea Latte by Live Simply

Starbucks Copycat Recipes, fun copycat recipes from starbucks, copy cat Frappuccino recipe, Starbucks recipes

Passion Tea Lemonade by Frugal Coupon Living   

Starbucks Copycat Recipes, fun copycat recipes from starbucks, copy cat Frappuccino recipe, Starbucks recipes


Lemon Cake by I Save A to Z

Starbucks Copycat Recipes, fun copycat recipes from starbucks, copy cat Frappuccino recipe, Starbucks recipes




Birthday Cake Frappuccino by My Family Meal Time

 Starbucks Copycat Recipes, fun copycat recipes from starbucks, copy cat Frappuccino recipe, Starbucks recipes

Cinnamon Dolce Latte by Diet Hood

Starbucks Copycat Recipes, fun copycat recipes from starbucks, copy cat Frappuccino recipe, Starbucks recipes

S’mores Frappuccino by Raining Hot Coupons  

Starbucks Copycat Recipes, fun copycat recipes from starbucks, copy cat Frappuccino recipe, Starbucks recipes


Devil’s Food Donut by A Dash of Sanity


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Pumpkin Spice Latte by Copykat

Starbucks Copycat Recipes, fun copycat recipes from starbucks, copy cat Frappuccino recipe, Starbucks recipes


Egg Nog Latte by Copykat

Starbucks Copycat Recipes, fun copycat recipes from starbucks, copy cat Frappuccino recipe, Starbucks recipes


Cranberry Bliss Bar by Building Our Story

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Valencia Orange Refresher by Raining Hot Coupons

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What Starbucks menu item would you want a copycat recipe of?


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