Building Our Story

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Girl and Her Grandpa

A Girl and Her Grandpa


Teagan has always had a special bond with my dad since he gets to see her every day but it became clear that her other Grandpa was also one of her favorites when Jeremy's parents were here visiting.  

Quotes about Grandpas.  Grandpa and granddaughter quotes.  Grandparents quotes.

This girl has Grandpa wrapped around her little finger and it is precious.  Anytime Teagan wanted a cuddle or a walk around the block she would simply say "Papa" and her world was perfect.  We do not get to see Jeremy's parents often so we do worry about our kids missing having a relationship with them but it was clear that the physical distance we have between us doesn't matter for this little lady and her Grandpa.  

Quotes about Grandpas.  Grandpa and granddaughter quotes.  Grandparents quotes.

Jude and Teagan so blessed to have two Grandfather's who care deeply about them and want to spend time playing, reading and cuddling with them.  Such a special gift to have two strong men in their lives to show them both how best to live life.  

Grandfather, Papa, Grandpa, Pa -  hug them.  They have a special place in their hearts for their grandbabies.  


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Join a Community of SmartMoms with the SmartMom Mobile App

Join a Community of SmartMoms with the SmartMom Mobile App.  SmartMom App.  SmartMom


“Congratulations, you’re a mommy!” 

A tiny human is handed to you - your new baby who, until this point, had called the inside of your uterus its home. So many different emotions go through your head: joy, terror, elation and anxiety. This is the most important thing you’ve ever done - and definitely the most daunting . But beneath that façade of panic, is the deepest, most confident love you’ve ever known.

That love that makes you purchase every toy in the baby store; it drives you to question every brand, type and style of diaper; it has you on WebMD at 3:30 in the morning searching every potential symptom.

As time goes on, you become more certain of your parental prowess. You have a favorite diaper, and you’ve figured out the difference between a sneeze and the flu (you kept all the toys, though). But with every stage of development comes new questions:

When should I introduce solid foods?
What discipline techniques work best with toddlers?
Why is my child licking everything in sight?

Though these answers can be found on various channels, you find yourself questioning the process of research. Reading hundreds of product reviews, going through chapter after chapter in the aisles of Barnes and Noble, calling your mom four times a day – it shouldn’t be this difficult. In this day and age, isn’t there something that can make this process easier?

Join a Community of SmartMoms with the SmartMom Mobile App.  SmartMom App.  SmartMom


There is. It’s called SmartMom. This is our attempt at creating a simpler solution to asking everyday questions about raising a child. With an entire community of both new and experienced moms at your fingertips, SmartMom can answer all of your questions quickly and skillfully.

Available now in the App Store foriPhones, this mobile community allows users to both ask and answer questions at all times of day. 

When you register as a user, you can decide how often you’d like to answer questions in the app. Depending on your preference, you’ll receive push notifications throughout the day from other moms asking for advice. It only takes a few seconds to offer your two cents - but it can mean so much to another mom! Just one click to answer a question, and you’re on with the rest of your day. When you need an answer, you know you’ll get a quick, skillful response. 

On average, questions are answered within ten minutes of posting, with about ten helpful comments within 24 hours. That means no waiting for a forum and constantly checking your email - you can have instant, mobile access to answers.

Join a Community of SmartMoms with the SmartMom Mobile App.  SmartMom App.  SmartMom

As other users respond positively to your answers, they can “like” them, and you can accumulate points. These points are used for monthly contests. We reward the most active members of our community with prizes! In the past, we have given away a B.O.B. Stroller and a $500 gift card to Old Navy, just to name a few.

One of the most incredible things about SmartMom is the quality of users. The majority of users will attest to the fact that everyone in the community is nice, helpful and positive. We consistently monitor comments and steer the community toward helpful, kind, affirming words.


This app is “a great community for moms,” and “so helpful.” There’s a whole community of SmartMoms out there with answers to all your questions! Download the app today and tell all of your mommy friends!

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Disclosure: This is a guest post, not written by me, and I received compensation to post it.


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lavender Vanilla Salt Scrub #DIY

Make Your Own Lavender Vanilla Salt Scrub


Lavender Vanilla Salt Scrub #DIY.  Make your own salt scrub.  Bath salts.  Lavender bath scrub.  How to make salt scrub.

I love taking baths but the best part is making the bath smell amazing and your skin feeling refreshed and new.  This means I usually spend a lot of money on bath bombs, bath salts or bath scrubs.  I decided I had enough of buying these items so I got crafty and made some Homemade Lavender Vanilla Salt Scrub for myself.  Once I did this and saw how easy it was and how great it came out I have decide that this will be one of the many Homemade gifts I will be giving this Christmas!

Ready to learn how to create your own Homemade Lavender Vanilla Salt Scrub?  I promise once you do this you will start to think of new "flavors" that you NEED in your bathtub!  


Lavender Vanilla Salt Scrub #DIY.  Make your own salt scrub.  Bath salts.  Lavender bath scrub.  How to make salt scrub.

Materials:

Glass container that seals (any size) I went with a large one for my bathroom
2 cups Epsom Salt
1 cup Course Sea Salt
2 TBSP Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Oil (you can use coconut, olive, peanut) I used Olive
15 drops Lavender Oil
Red and Blue food coloring to make purple salt scrub (Optional)


Lavender Vanilla Salt Scrub #DIY.  Make your own salt scrub.  Bath salts.  Lavender bath scrub.  How to make salt scrub.

Directions:

1.  In a large mixing bowl combine the Epsom Salt and Sea Salt.  Mix well.  

2.  Add in the Oil and mix well, make sure all salt is covered in oil.  

3.  Add the Vanilla and Lavender Oil and mix well.  

4.  Add a couple drops of food coloring to create your perfect shade of lavender.  Mix well.  

5.  Carefully pour your salt scrub into your container.  Enjoy!


Lavender Vanilla Salt Scrub #DIY.  Make your own salt scrub.  Bath salts.  Lavender bath scrub.  How to make salt scrub.

I cannot wait to start preparing some small batches of this for my coworkers and family for Christmas, talk about an easy and frugal gift that the women in your life will love!  

What other scent combinations can you think of?

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Flavoring with Lemon Instead of Salt: Lemon-Garlic Glazed Corn on the Cobb #Recipe #tablethesalt

Disclosure:  Thank you to Sunkist for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to try seasoning with lemon as an alternative to salt!


Flavoring with Lemon Instead of Salt: Lemon-Garlic Glazed Corn on the Cobb #Recipe #tablethesalt.  Corn on the cobb recipes.   How to flavor with lemon instead of salt. Flavoring with lemon instead of salt.  Sunkist S’alternative. Lemon as an alternative to salt.

We are on a new venture in our home, a venture of eating healthier but finding ways to be creative in the kitchen and enjoy what we are eating - even veggies!  One of Jeremy's favorite vegetables of choice is Corn on the Cobb.  Summer comes and we stop at the local farmers market and pick up some Fresh Colorado Corn on the Cobb!  Yum!!  Okay, here is the problem though, totally a healthy food until we add lots of salt and butter to the corn.  Oops!  Time for a change!  Did you know you can #TabletheSalt and still have delicious tasting meals?  Simply add some Sunkist Lemons to your grocery list and you will be set!

Flavoring with Lemon Instead of Salt: Lemon-Garlic Glazed Corn on the Cobb #Recipe #tablethesalt.  Corn on the cobb recipes.   How to flavor with lemon instead of salt. Flavoring with lemon instead of salt.  Sunkist S’alternative. Lemon as an alternative to salt.

When I first saw this S'alternative information from Sunkist I knew I would be using it a lot in the coming months.  I love that we can still have some fantastic flavors with our meals and cut our salt intake!  

To be honest, we will never use salt and butter on our Corn on the Cobb anymore.  Adding the freshly squeezed Sunkist Lemon juice to our Corn on the Cobb makes this recipe amazing!  Totally fresh and perfect for Summertime meals and BBQs!!  

Facts about Sodium Intake:

The need to reduce sodium consumption in the United States is clearly stated within the Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Americans, which recommends an intake of 1,500 mg – 2,300 mg per day depending on age, activity level, medical history, and genetic dispositions. The guidelines also note that virtually all Americans consume more sodium than needed, at an estimated average intake of 3,400 mg per day. For the vast majority of Americans, the bulk of daily sodium intake comes from heavily processed foods, not from salt added during cooking or at the table.

Sodium intake is closely associated with calorie intake. As sodium is found in a variety of foods, reducing overall calorie intake will also reduce sodium intake, thus portion control remains a critical strategy in reducing total sodium consumption. For that reason, the study conducted by Johnson & Wales examined the use of Sunkist lemon juice and lemon zest as a flavoring utilized to reduce salt in a variety of culinary applications (chicken, fish, beef, pork, vegetables, soups, salads, and grains), with the intent of discovering best practices for the use and application of Sunkist lemons. Sixteen different control recipes were produced using typical salt preferences found within a nutritional analyses database. Two hundred and forty test products were produced with reduced sodium amounts and Sunkist lemons for enhanced flavor, and then evaluated over the course of the study. Results concluded that the use of Sunkist lemons may allow for significant reduction of salt in recipes with no adverse effect of flavor.


Lemon-Garlic Glazed Corn on the Cobb Recipe

Free Printable Recipe here

Flavoring with Lemon Instead of Salt: Lemon-Garlic Glazed Corn on the Cobb #Recipe #tablethesalt.  Corn on the cobb recipes.   How to flavor with lemon instead of salt. Flavoring with lemon instead of salt.  Sunkist S’alternative. Lemon as an alternative to salt.

Ingredients:
4 ears of corn on the Cobb, husked  
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1/4 TBSP Pepper
2 Sunkist Lemons - juiced 
1/4 tsp salt

Flavoring with Lemon Instead of Salt: Lemon-Garlic Glazed Corn on the Cobb #Recipe #tablethesalt.  Corn on the cobb recipes.   How to flavor with lemon instead of salt. Flavoring with lemon instead of salt.  Sunkist S’alternative. Lemon as an alternative to salt.

Directions:
1.  Cook or Grill corn as usual.  
2.  Juice 2 Sunkist Lemons, you will use this juice as a replacement to butter and salt.
3.  In a small bowl combine Olive Oil, Garlic Powder, Pepper, Lemon Juice and salt - mix well into a nice fresh glaze.
4.  Once your corn is ready to serve, simply glaze the ears of corn with the Lemon-Garlic Glaze.
5.  Serve immediately and enjoy warm!

Flavoring with Lemon Instead of Salt: Lemon-Garlic Glazed Corn on the Cobb #Recipe #tablethesalt.  Corn on the cobb recipes.   How to flavor with lemon instead of salt. Flavoring with lemon instead of salt.  Sunkist S’alternative. Lemon as an alternative to salt.


What recipe could you #TabletheSalt and add Sunkist Lemons instead?  Share please!  


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Monday, July 21, 2014

Medifast - A New Beginning

Disclosure: I receive free product in order to evaluate and comment on my experiences on the Medifast Program. Medifast products and the Medifast Program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness. Any medical improvements noted while on the program are related to weight loss in general, and not to Medifast products or programs.




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I am pleased and excited to announce to all of you that I am now an Official Medifast Blogger!  Yes!!!  This is something I have been dreaming of.  If you are a long time reader you know I have always struggled with Weight Gain and Weight Loss.  It is a bad battle that I have NOT won yet.  BUT friends, this time with the help of Medifast, my personal health coach Alex, and a great Medifast blogger community I am feeling empowered and motivated to make this my LAST weight loss journey.  

To be honest, I am embarrassed that I am starting this journey yet again.  I feel like I have let you, my readers down and also myself and family down.  I do not like feeling like a failure so I am taking one step at a time and making this a WIN this time.

I have done Medifast before and it worked!!  Seriously, it was the best thing I did for myself about 3 years ago BUT then life happened.  Another pregnancy, new baby, a surgery for me, and a MAJOR life change and surgery for Jeremy.  Look life...chill out, now it is time for ME to take care of ME! 

I really look forward to sharing this journey with you all and I really want you to all push me to do the very best at staying on track and motivated.  I will be giving weekly updates on my weight loss and emotions.



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Why I choose Medifast:


Fast Results:  I need results for my motivation!  Pure and simple.  I want to see those numbers drop, I want my pants to fit better!  I want to feel confident.  The end of 2014 is nearing, I do not want to go into another year feeling unhealthy and fat.  

Easy Meal Prep:  6am comes so early on work days.  The idea of prepping meals is exhausting.  Medifast makes that 6am thinking go away.  Simply pack up my meals for the day and I am good to go!  

Simple Meal Plan:  I still get to eat a "real" dinner with my family.  For this plan you have 5 Medifast meals and 1 Lean and Green meal a day.  I eat 4 of those Medifast meals at work, then come home for my Lean and Green with my family and then before bed have one more Medifast meal.  Eating about every 2-3 hours through out the day really helps me stay on track.  

Satisfying:  I am not hungry and I am not searching for food at work because I am bored.  Eating every 2-3 hours gets me through the work day.  I have upped my water intake as well, which keeps those cravings away. 

It works for me:  This might not be ideal for everyone and my logic might not be your logic but it is what I need right now.  I love the small meals and easy planning.  Perfect for my lifestyle!  


My Goals on Medifast:


Honestly, I have about 100 pounds that need to move to a different planet but I want to start with SMALL attainable goals to keep my motivation going.  Along the way I will reevaluate my progress and make adjustments if necessary.  

For my own disclosure and authenticity I would like to share the picture I sent off to Medifast when asked.  This is at my heaviest.  Not happy with it but it is real!  

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Goal 1 - To make Medifast a new habit (21 days!)  Started the program on  7/20/2014 - stay on plan until 8/10/2014!!

Goal 2 - 20 pounds gone

Goal 3 - 30 pounds gone

Goal 4 - 50 pounds gone

Goal 5 -60 pounds gone

Start a new journey and save some money while doing it!


Click here to place your order!  

Medifast has some deals for you! If you use my code, OURSTORY15, you can receive $15 off an order of $150 or more. Or, use code OURSTORY28 to receive 28 free meals (a $67 value!) with your purchase of $250+.

Limit one per customer. The OURSTORY28 code is limited to new customers only and not valid with prior purchases, Medifast Advantage, or any other promotions or discounts.

Both codes expire on 12/31/2014. See website for complete details on program and discounts. Consult your physician before beginning a weight-loss program.



Are you writing about your Medifast journey? If so link up!!  Let's motivate each other!!  




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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Date Night with P.F. Chang's Perfect Pairings Summer Menu

Disclosure: Thank you P.F. Chang’s for sponsoring today’s discussion and for the tasty date night!

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After two weeks with family in town and tons of running around, Jeremy and I were lucky enough to get a night off by ourselves.  We decided to head to P.F. Chang's for a great dinner out away from kids and family.  So needed and so much fun to reconnect over a great summer menu from P.F. Chang's full of fresh summertime dishes.  

Jeremy and I do not get date nights often so when we do, we go crazy and actually order drinks, apps and entrees...watch out, getting crazy!  Parents on the loose!  HA!  Thankfully with P.F. Chang's new Perfect Pairings Summer Menu we walked in and knew exactly what we would be enjoying.  The seasonal menu at P.F. Chang's is full of delicious food, each paired with a spirit that compliments the cuisine. My mommy brain is fried so when I don't have to think about what to order I love it!  Rest my mommy brain and have some time with the hubby...what a night!

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Pink Cherry Cosmo - Absolut Citron Vodka and Cointreau Liqueur with fresh lime juice and cranberry juice garnished with a Pink Blush cherry.

I started my night this this beauty!  Yes, a Pink Cherry Cosmo.  It's like they knew exactly what I needed. This Pink Cherry Cosmo was absolutely perfect...the look and the taste made me feel like I was celebrating summertime on a beach!  

P.F. Chang’s Menu, P.F. Chang’s Summer Menu, P.F. Chang’s cocktails, Small plates at P.F. Chang’s, Happy hour at P.F. Chang’s, P.F. Chang’s beer, Beer and Asian food, Beer and food pairings

Next, we decided to share some Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls for an appetizer.  Okay, talk about fresh!  The moment we saw these on our table we knew these were packed full of fresh veggies and chicken.  While it looks like a small appetizer for two people, I assure you, you will only need one roll per person with all the veggies and chicken that P.F. Chang's packs into those!  YUM!  

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls
Lemongrass chicken, julienne carrots, celery root, cilantro, peanuts, Thai basil and mint wrapped in cool rice paper, with a sweet chili dipping sauce.

P.F. Chang’s Menu, P.F. Chang’s Summer Menu, P.F. Chang’s cocktails, Small plates at P.F. Chang’s, Happy hour at P.F. Chang’s, P.F. Chang’s beer, Beer and Asian food, Beer and food pairings

And, then it was time for the main course.  I went with the Cantonese Lemon Chicken.  WOW, I have found a new favorite.  I was trying to stay away from pasta so I went for this dish that was the best choice of the night.  This dish was delicious and I really hope P.F. Chang's keeps it on the menu even after summertime. This is one of those dishes that I could start craving!  It wasn't a meal that I left the table feeling too full or bloated but I was totally satisfied!   

Cantonese Lemon Chicken
Fresh, crispy whole chicken breast sliced and drizzled with warm lemon sauce and served with chilled broccolini salad.



Full P.F. Chang's Perfect Pairings Menu:

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls
Lemongrass chicken, julienne carrots, celery root, cilantro, peanuts, Thai basil and mint wrapped in cool rice paper, with a sweet chili dipping sauce

Heirloom Tomato Salad
Market-fresh heirloom tomatoes, avocado, Thai basil and zesty ponzu dressing

Chiang Mai Curry Noodles with Chicken
Sliced chicken breast wok-tossed with egg noodles, Fresno peppers, cilantro and a coconut-curry infused broth, garnished with Brussels sprouts and topped with crispy wontons

Seared Ahi with Wasabi Guacamole
Yellowfin tuna, seared and served rare, topped with wild baby arugula and green beans in a chili-lime ponzu sauce, served with wasabi guacamole

Orange Peel Shrimp
Hunan chili sauce with fresh orange slices, garnished with daikon sprouts

Cantonese Lemon Chicken
Fresh, crispy whole chicken breast sliced and drizzled with warm lemon sauce and served with chilled broccolini salad

Pink Cherry Cosmo
Absolut Citron Vodka and Cointreau Liqueur with fresh lime juice and cranberry juice garnished with a Pink Blush cherry

Spicy Paloma
Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila and fresh jalapeño slices, balanced with freshly-squeezed white grapefruit juice


P.F. Chang’s Perfect Pairings Contest

P.F. Chang's wants you to enjoy a great Foodie trip to Boston - below is some easy instructions to get your name into the drawing!  Good Luck!  

P.F. Chang’s Perfect Pairings contest began on July 11th and will run through August 18th, and a lucky winner will be chosen on August 29th.
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To enter the contest visit, simply visit  pfchangs.com/perfectpairings and say what two things you think pair perfectly together for the chance to win a trip for two to Boston to tour the Samuel Adams Brewery and dinner at P.F. Chang’s!

Enter like this: 

“Asian-inspired dishes go with craft beer like _ and ”

Each participant will have the opportunity to win a $100 gift card and become eligible for the grand prize of a trip to Boston for an exclusive Sam Adams Brewery Tour for two, followed by a 4-course pairing dinner at the P.F. Chang’s downtown Boston!

Go enter to win the P.F. Changs Perfect Pairings foodie trip TODAY!  I look forward to seeing who wins!
 


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Friday, July 18, 2014

Excited to be a Huggies® Costco Ambassador #SnugandDryPlus #MC

Disclosure:  I participated in a campaign with  Mom Central Consulting and Huggies® Brand. I received product samples for review.  All opinions are my own.


I am really excited to announce that I am now a Huggies® Costco Ambassador! As a member of the Huggies® Costco Ambassador Program, I will get to share the news about the exclusive Huggies® products at Costco that will not only save you money BUT help keep your baby dry and happy!  


Diapers…as parents we need them for months and boy they are expensive and sometimes they just don’t work well which leads to unhappy babies and parents!  Not good!  Enter the world of Costco and Huggies®!  With Jude I never really thought about buying items in bulk but after knowing the amount of money spent on these poop catchers I decided to really start doing my research on GOOD diapers (Huggies®) and shopping in bulk at Costco.    It has saved us money on diapers and the headaches of leaky bad store brand diapers.  

Why are Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus Diapers our diapers of choice with Teagan?  Let me tell ya – Teagan is a total nut, she is always on the go, always climbing and always finding things to get into.  This leads to why we need SNUG diapers.  Without the Leak Lock system and Snug Fit waistband we would have some messy situations on our hands.  Teagan is finally sleeping through the night too which means we need a good diaper that keeps her comfortable through the night and we have never had any leaks with these Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus Diapers!  

Okay, obviously a good diaper is important but do you know what is even more important?  A good quality wipe.  We use the Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes for everything.  Not just diaper changes people!  These wipes are perfect for washing hands after a playdate in the park, washing a restaurant table before eating, cleaning up dirty faces after a pizza and so much more.  The Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes are so thick and durable but soft on the baby bottom!  I love buying these at Costco because of the two refillable dispensers that comes in the package.   One for the changing table and one for on the go use!  Perfect!




I want you to try these for your self!  You will love the Diapers and Wipes and the price!  

Costco Members - Click HERE to register for a FREE sample of the Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus and Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes.  Hurry and register now, there will be a limited number of samples each day starting July 17, 2014 through July 26, 2014 so try back tomorrow if you aren't able get a sample today! 

You must be a Costco member to get a sample and limit 1 sample per household.  


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