Building Our Story

Friday, August 29, 2014

Before I Die: Places I Would Like To Visit

Sometimes I think about bucket lists and then I get overwhelmed.  I have decided to create a fun series all about things I want to do, see, taste, and enjoy before I die.  Maybe one day I will look back on these series posts and see that I accomplished them all!  Fingers crossed.  

In no particular order I introduce my List of Places I would like to Visit Before I Die:

New York City, USA

I want to see, hear and smell the big city!  I know that I could never live in NYC but the thought of living the big city life for a few days really has me curious.  The hustle and bustle, the fashion, the shopping, the walking, the buildings, the food, everything!  Not to mention seeing all of the typical landmarks like Times Square and City Park.  While I would love to go to NYC with my hubby I honestly think that a trip with a girlfriend would be even better, did I mention the SHOPPING!

Sydney, Australia 

Ever since I can remember I have wanted to go to Australia, I honestly do not remember why this became a place I wanted to visit.  Maybe the koalas?  Ha!  I don’t know, but as I have grown up it is still on my list.  The Sydney Opera house is breath taking, the beautiful Harbor Bridge just adds to the site and all I can think about is taking an evening stroll and
seeing that backdrop. 

Florence, Italy 

Oh Tuscany, take me there now.  My coworker took a trip to Tuscany last year and the moment she returned and showed me her pictures and told me her stories I was ready to book a trip.  Cathedrals, Galleries, History, and a lifestyle that we would all benefit from.  Slow paced, enjoying life to the fullest.  I would love to go and see the catacombs, enjoy some gelato and Italian vino and do some history lessons all while people watching in the plaza.  Some day.  What a perfect place for an anniversary trip?

London, United Kingdom

London calling?  Yes, yes and yes!  Spending a few days exploring London would be a dream.  Westminster Abby, London Eye, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace!  The history of each building really interests me.  

Paris, France (AGAIN!)

If I could choose one place to move too it would be Paris.  We visited there in 2006 and it was amazing.  Both Jeremy and I loved the culture, the people, the city and the art. I loved the way we could get along without a car, either walking or taking the train.  Simple yet so organized.  The food was fantastic as well.  When we visit again, we will make sure to hit all of our favorite places like the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and so many other well known places.  But mostly, I would love to go to one of the many beautiful parks and enjoy a fresh dinner on a blanket while reading.  Ahhh…pure heaven.

San Francisco, USA

My good friend lived in San Francisco and we never took the opportunity to visit and I am bummed.  The weather is my kind of weather, perfect place to site see and enjoy the crisp breeze.  Top things I would love to see; The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Cable Cars and Chinatown!  Seriously!  While I would love for the kids to come, if we did this trip soon I would opt for it to be just an adult trip!  What a fun weekend getaway we could plan!  

Dublin, Ireland

Ireland, the land of the Irish…duh.  I am adopted therefore I do not know my nationality but I do know that I grew up feeling Irish!  My dad looks like a leprechaun, my cousins spent months traveling around Ireland and I was jealous.  I wanted that, still do!  I want to kiss the blarney stone, walk in the rain, see the cliffs and visit the Cathedrals. 

Crete, Greece 

Blue water and the Mediterranean diet and experience.  I honestly, do not know much about Greece but the scenery is amazing.  I would find that this exploration would be a great relaxing trip!

Hawaii, USA

Anywhere in Hawaii!  I went to Maui when I was 18 and it was amazing.  I did something I never thought I would do, paragliding!  I have a crazy fear of heights but in my Hawaiian hangover I didn’t care.  The beaches, the luaus, the people and the sun.  Perfect getaway.  I want an adult trip there!

Easter Island

Wow, just wow.  I don’t care if I only have a day to spare.  To see these stone heads would be amazing.  These symbols tell a story of the land what a place for history!  I can tell that the land around the statues is just beautiful.  Lush green farmlands! 

Yellowstone National Park, USA

Is it sad that I have never been here?  Yes!  I believe will do a family vacation to visit this National Park when the kiddos are a bit older!  Beautiful scenery!

Washington DC, USA

Well, this one too…I have lived here in the USA for over 30 years and I have never seen our capital or monuments of DC!  I am not that into Politics but there is so much history in the District of Columbia that I know I would be into it for that time! ;)  Also, I would love to go when the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom!  Gorgeous! 

What are some of the places you would like to visit or see before you die?


 photo signature_zps997af43a.png

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What would you do with a $500 Disney Gift Card? #giveaway

We are going to Disneyland!!  Just kidding, no we aren’t but in Jude’s mind we go to Disneyland a lot!  Truth is, he has never gone but he calls the Disney Store his Disneyland!  HA!  Easy vacation for us!  

I am partnering with a great group of bloggers to give you all a chance at some spending cash for your upcoming vacation to Disney or even a HUGE shopping spree to Jude’s Disneyland!  So fun!  All you have to do is fill out the Giveaway Form below!  I really hope one of my awesome readers wins so go NOW and enter!!  

One winner will receive a $500 Disney Gift Card.

Giveaway ends September 19th at 11:59pm, open to US, ages 18+. Only one entrant per household, per address. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Enter using the giveaway form below. 

Good luck!
Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. if you have any additional questions or comments.

 photo signature_zps997af43a.png

School Labels from kidecals

Disclosure:  I was provided with labels free of my charge for my review.  All opinions are my own. 

School is back in session.  Have you started labeling everything for your kids?  What a chore.  That is until I found kidecals.  kidecals takes all the work out of it and makes Jude's belongings adorable! Check out these cute Robot labels that he picked for his labels this year.  So much fun!

School Labels from kidecals

"All our products include the most durable waterproof laminate on the market. They’re virtually indestructible! Our adhesive is highly aggressive and long-lasting but it won’t damage surfaces. We guarantee your labels will stay securely fixed to any surface without peeling; and your pretty design will always remain scratch free. Kidecals labels are dishwasher, washing machine and dryer proof. We create labels that are water, heat and cold repellant so they’ll always stand up to your active lifestyle. Go ahead… stick it!"

The options and creativity are endless.  I cannot wait to get to make some for Teagan in a couple of years too.  The best part about these labels is the durability but also that they stick on everything!  Seriously!  Shoes, bags, shirts, notebooks, ect.  These little Robots are every where!!  We had some of these labels from kidecals on Jude's backpack and that label was still in great shape!  Even after a year of school and a summer of fun!   

If you are ready to order now use the discount code ilovelabels  for 15% off your order.

 photo signature_zps997af43a.png

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Medifast - Week 5 in the books!

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.

Week 5 was hard for me.  I found myself eating my emotions A LOT!  I cannot really go into detail but my best friend who is more like my sister went through some terrible things.  I felt trapped.  I wanted to be with her but she lives states away.  That roller-coaster of emotions seems to be chilling out which is good for everyone involved.  

This was the first week that I felt myself not caring.  Not good.  I am getting out of that mindset now and ready for some on plan days!  Even with that crazy week of not caring and eating badly I did find myself surprised at my results....

Week 5 Results:

I lost a total of 



This week I tried one of the Flavors of Home meals from Medifast.  Jude requested Ravioli night at home which meant I would have to be creative with my Lean and Green Meal.  I decided to try the Turkey Meatball Marinara and it was pretty good.  I felt like I was having a similar meal as my family but staying on plan.  Not a bad idea!  Plus it was super easy to prepare!

I am not going to lie, I was really excited for my 2nd month of food from Medifast last week because of the great looking snacks that I ordered.  Have you seen these Cheddar and Sour Cream popcorn snacks??  Oh goodness!  When I tried one at work I couldn't wait to have another bag soon.  I recommend these!!  
Overall the week wasn't horrible.  I did find myself wanting more snacks and even one night I made my stomach gross by cheating with a DQ Blizzard.  Not worth it.  While going through this program I am becoming more and more aware of the emotional eating I do.  It isn't good and I really need to focus on why I am eating.  


This week should be normal.  YAY!  I am staying on plan so far and I am proud of myself.  Hoping I can bounce back into Ketosis and get this weight loss going again quickly!

Weight Loss:

Month 1 (-9, -2, -1, -2)
Month 2 (-1,

Total Weight Lost = 15 pounds


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

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.

How was your week?  How do you battle your emotional eating?

 photo signature_zps997af43a.png

Get Jamberry with Nicole - #giveaway

Disclosure:  I was not compensated for this post or giveaway.

So there’s this girl named Nicole, or Nikki for short, I have known her for 13 years (holy crap we are getting old) she was my first roomie.  We connected on everything as crazy 18 year old college girls and even after not seeing one another for almost 8 years we can sit down at a yummy Mexican restaurant in Dallas and pick up right where we left off.  This girl…she is pretty cool – so cool that she has decided to become a Jamberry consultant.  This lovely mother of two adorable girls is ready for manicures and pedicures for life now. 

I am excited to be having my very first Jamberry party starting today and even more excited to be helping Nicole get her name out there and help her spread the fun that Jamberry is!  So what does this mean for you?  Well my friends, you get to join my online party and play!  AND WIN!  

Before we get into the party details and the giveaway, yes a giveaway.  I would love to share with you some great information about Jamberry.  

Jamberry Nails are heat-activated vinyl wraps that adhere to your finger nails. They last up to 2 weeks on your fingers and 6 weeks on your toes. They do not chip and one sheet will give you 3-4 manicures AND pedicures. What a deal!

Here is a detailed video of how you can apply your Jamberry wraps:

If you are like me, you like having your nails done but frankly when do you have time or the money to go to the salon?  I love these wraps because it lets me do my own nails at 10pm!  No salon visit and cheaper!  But not only are they cheaper but they last.  We are talking at least 2 weeks.  Love that!  

Make sure you take advantage of the great deal right now by heading over to my party page and order 3 sets of wraps and get one free!

Nicole wants to share the Jamberry nails love with my readers - lucky you!  This means it is Giveaway Time!!  Nicole is giving one of my lucky readers a free application kit (without oil) and an exclusive sheet of wraps.  All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter form below. 

Open to US addresses only. 

Rafflecopter Form:

 photo signature_zps997af43a.png

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hash Brown Casserole #Recipe with Campbell's Labels for Education® #Labels4Edu #cbias

Disclosure:  This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #Labels4Edu

Labels for Education. Campbell's Sweepstakes. Campbell's Labels for Education. Hash Brown Casserole Recipe.  Easy Casserole recipe.

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could do more for your child's school but it isn't in your family budget? I felt like this a lot last year when Jude went to school.  Jude attends a small Lutheran school that needs every penny it can get but with our medical bills that we are still paying off plus the extra cost of tuition at this school I felt strapped and helpless when it came to giving monetary donations to the school.  I said something to Jude's classroom aid about this and she informed me of the Campbell's Labels for Education® .  Since that day I make sure to look for the Labels for Education® on products we buy every week.    

Labels for Education. Campbell's Sweepstakes. Campbell's Labels for Education. Hash Brown Casserole Recipe.  Easy Casserole recipe.

Labels for Education®  is a great program that you can do with a scissors!  It is that simple.  Find any participating products with a Labels for Education®  label and UPC and you can help the school of your choice start saving for items that the school needs and wants.  From Campbell's soup, cereal and snacks to dairy products, beverages and food storage – your kitchen’s probably full of eligible Labels for Education® items.  So what does that mean?  Time to start looking for those labels.  

Once you clip those labels you simply turn in the labels to your child's school and they begin to accumulate!  You can even check in on the schools progress and see how many points the school has and what is on their wishlist.  Pretty cool way to stay involved but not feel strapped financially. 

One of our favorite family meals, Hash Brown Casserole, equals 7 points from the Labels for Education.  I use both Campbell's potato soup and cream of celery soup for this yummy filling recipe plus I always pair it with some Pepperidge Farm® frozen cheesy garlic bread.  All of those items are included in the program! If you pay attention to labels you will find yourself with a lot of them by the end of the week.    

Labels for Education. Campbell's Sweepstakes. Campbell's Labels for Education. Hash Brown Casserole Recipe.  Easy Casserole recipe.

Hash Brown Casserole Recipe

Free Printable Recipe here

Labels for Education. Campbell's Sweepstakes. Campbell's Labels for Education. Hash Brown Casserole Recipe.  Easy Casserole recipe.

1 large pkg. frozen hash browns
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can potato soup
3/4 cup sour cream
1 can of green beans
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup lean ham, diced
1 stick of butter, softened

Labels for Education. Campbell's Sweepstakes. Campbell's Labels for Education. Hash Brown Casserole Recipe.  Easy Casserole recipe.


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 pan or casserole dish.

2.  Mix all the ingredients together in large mixing bowl, sometimes using your hands is the easiest way to get this casserole mixed evenly.

3.  Pour into greased 9x13 dish and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

4.  Serve hot with a side salad and garlic bread. 

This recipe was one of the first recipes Jeremy and I made together in our first apartment after getting married.  Since then we have loved making it and recently made it more filling by adding green beans and ham!  So good and so filling!  Perfect Sunday evening meal.  

Labels for Education. Campbell's Sweepstakes. Campbell's Labels for Education. Hash Brown Casserole Recipe.  Easy Casserole recipe.

Not only is Campbell's Labels for Education helping schools by letting us parents clip savings for our school of choice but they are also doing a huge $1 Million Sweepstakes giveaway this school year.  What does this mean?  1,000 schools will be awarded $1,000!!  NICE!  To find out more visit the Labels for Education Sweepstakes page and get your school of choice entered! 

You can find all of the ingredients needed to make this delicious family friendly and points producing recipe at Walmart.  Make sure to stock up on other Labels for Education products while you are there!  Also, to make your shopping experience even better check out these great money saving coupons that Labels for Education offers here.  

Labels for Education. Campbell's Sweepstakes. Campbell's Labels for Education. Hash Brown Casserole Recipe.  Easy Casserole recipe.

Have you started collecting Labels for Education for your child's school yet?  If so, what is your highest point recipe? 

 photo signature_zps997af43a.png

Monday, August 25, 2014

Kids Love Washing Dishes But That Means Finding The Best Dishwasher Detergent Is A Must!

Disclosure:  This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #SparklySavings

dishwasher cleaner, clean dishwasher, best dishwasher detergent, dishwasher detergent, Finish dishwasher cleaner

Do you have a chore that you leave for last?  I do.  Dishes!  Yes we do have a dishwasher but it is an old one so that means there is always some pre-washing going on in our kitchen after meals.  Yuck!  And while I am embarrassed to show you the picture above but - hey its life!  This is what our kitchen sink looks like after a couple days.  To tackle that mountain of dirty dishes we make sure to use the finish dishwasher detergent, why you ask?  Well because it works!  I already told you that I let dishes sit in our sink for days...that means we need the best dishwasher detergent!  Seriously. 

dishwasher cleaner, clean dishwasher, best dishwasher detergent, dishwasher detergent, Finish dishwasher cleaner

You have all heard me talk about how we have Jude in a Montessori school and how much we love it. Last week he started his second year in a Montessori classroom and frankly I wouldn't have him in any other school setting. It is perfect for him and our family.  Over the summer we as a family decided that Jude would get to be more involved in the day to day "work" in our home and clearing the table and helping with dishes is one of those things that he has really enjoyed doing.  Hey!  Bonus for me right?  Like I said, doing dishes...not my favorite!  Go for it Jude!  

As much as I love that Jude is helping with that giant mountain of dirty gross dishes in our sink I also have started to realize how important a great dishwasher detergent is when the "pre-washer" is a 4 year old. Thanks to Finish detergent we now have sparkly clean dishes and a very proud little boy.  

dishwasher cleaner, clean dishwasher, best dishwasher detergent, dishwasher detergent, Finish dishwasher cleaner

I love that quote from Maria Montessori.  "Every child is eager for work, even when the work seems like chores to the adult."  So true.  Dishes = chores to me.  However, Jude takes pride in his work at the sink and enjoys it.  Us adults really need to find joy in what we do daily just as a child.  We would probably be a happier world.  

A basic principle behind Maria Montessori’s philosophy of early childhood education was that every child is eager for work, even when the work seems like chores to the adult. Through the activities of Practical Life, children not only perform a task but they are also forming foundations to organize skills and intelligence. Washing and Scrubbing work shows this principle perfectly! Washing Dishes it a part of these activities. Through these activities, children develop concentration, become aware of order and sequencing, gain control over their movements, become more independent, and learn to care for their surroundings.

Wow, all things that are really important for that growing brain of a child.  When I sit down and think about the great classroom that Jude has and how the Practical Life section is set up I am thrilled that while he is learning these very important life skills he is also working that brain!  Something so simple as letting him wash his own cereal bowl brings his brain so much!  I might be bias but I LOVE this teaching but I love it even more that I can create these Practical Life activities at home for him too!  

dishwasher cleaner, clean dishwasher, best dishwasher detergent, dishwasher detergent, Finish dishwasher cleaner

So until Jude masters the skills of perfectly washing a plate we will continue to use our dishwasher and makes sure we get our dishes sparkly and ready for dinner!   By the way, these gel packs that Finish has really helps us let Jude help us load the dishwasher too.  After we load the dishes he can simply place one of the gel packs in the washer all by himself.  He also knows which button to push on the dishwasher to start the cycle.  This boy is learning something new every day and showing us in his every day life.  

You can find all kinds of finish dishwasher products at Walmart and the best part is that they are on Rollback right now.  This means you are not only getting a great product but you are saving money!  No bargain brand but at a bargain brand price!  Bonus!!  

 photo signature_zps997af43a.png

Get Widget