Fit Snack Subscription August 2016 Review

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I missed last month’s Fit Snack review and for that I am very sorry. The box was great, as always, and filled with tons of delicious snacks. Things have been more hectic and exhausting around here and blogging has, unfortunately, been pushed towards the side, for now. With that being said, here is my August Fit Snack review:

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Elmhurst Harvest Pistachio Milk: Non-daily milk alternative. Since this drink is made with pistachios and walnuts, I can’t drink it. It is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and GMO free. It is in our fridge for my husband to try out. We got a huge sample, which is great.

Dandies Marshmallows: I am so excited to try these, come fall, in my hot chocolate. Dandies are made with natural ingredients. They are gelatin free, vegan, contain no GMOs, and are kosher. Get in my belly, marshmallows.

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Vintage Italia’s Pasta Chips: These Tuscan- inspired chips can’t be missed. I ate them with my lunch one day (don’t judge my waffle lunch!) and really enjoyed them. My box also came with a coupon for a free bag (I have seen them at Walmart!) and a coupon for $1 off another bag. We will be redeeming both coupons, for sure.

Detour Bar: Jim ate this protein after a 16 mile run. He said it was really good. it is made with whey protein and healthy fiber. It does not have any artificial ingredients and is gluten free!

Barney Almond Butter: I can’t used these samples, since they’re almond, but Jim will take them to work and use it on crackers.

Bite Fuel Protein Cookie: Jim said these protein cookies were not very good. He said they tasted like protein powder. They are made with 18 grams of whey protein, do not contain GMOs, and are gluten free.

Hotze Vitamins: This was a bonus item and I probably will not use them.

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Now is a great time to sign up for a Fit Snack subscription. All of the snacks would great additions to anyone’s lunch box. Why not start your child’s year off on the right foot by giving them healthy, nutritious snacks, every single day.

If you have never heard about Fit Snack, please check out another one of my posts about the amazing subscription box company based out of Colorado. I love how each box comes with new exercises, workout tips (this month was a four week outdoors fitness challenge, perfect for fall), and coupon codes for some of the snacks in the box.

I was given a Fit Snack box in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Fit Snack!

A Summer Adventure to Remember

Jim found this really cool trail and beach near our house. You can’t swim in the water, but you can play in the sand. What a great way to end my 29th year of life and the eve of my 30th Birthday. Sometimes it’s the little, spontaneous moments  that you never want to forget.

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We hiked for about 1/2 mile to the beach. It was so quiet.

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We worked on our gross motor skills but putting sand in buckets

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Fact: Jimmie was pretty upset because he just realized he was playing in sand. Hence, the sweet, sweet cuddles.

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Sometimes selfies just don’t work out #selfiegonewrong

 

10 Not-So-Common Pieces of Advice for New Moms

The worst piece of parenting advice I ever received was, “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” I tried to nap when the baby napped; I tried to go to bed when the baby went to bed. But if I sleep when the baby sleeps when do I get some “me” time? I’m all about listening to parenting advice. Sometimes it isn’t practical; but sometimes it is really helpful. Here are ten pieces of advice that I would like to pass along to other new moms, without sounding like a know-it-all:

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  1. When you’re in the hospital, ask the nurses to take the baby to the nursery for a few hours. My brother gave me this advice right before I went into labor and it was a lifesaver. I understand that rooming with your child is the best option, and I am all about it for the majority of the hospital stay. But getting a few (okay maybe one) hours of uninterrupted sleep before you take your newborn home feels amazing.
  2. Teach your baby how to fall asleep on their own before six months. I read this piece of advice in a book and it was one of our sleeping goals with our son. We were very diligent with it (even though rocking a baby to sleep is the sweetest thing ever) and he was self-soothing by three months (with the help of a sound machine).
  3. It is okay to stop breast feeding. Not many people are going to tell you this, but I will. You know what’s important? That your baby eats. It doesn’t matter if it is formula or breast milk. Eating is what is best. Period.
  4. Go to library time even when your baby is teeny tiny. You can start going to library time at your local library as soon as you baby is born, although I would wait a couple of weeks. Your child starts to learn way before they enter this world, and continue to learn every single day after that. Not only is library time beneficial for your baby, it is also the best place to meet mom friends. Plus, it’s a free mommy/daddy and me class.
  5. Get off your phones at the park. I don’t care how many other moms try to rationalize being on their phones at the park while their kids are busy playing. If you want to be on your phone, don’t take them to the park. I’m not saying you have to play with them the entire time you are there, but at least watch them and wave every once in a while. Our parents didn’t have cell phones at the park and they survived parenthood. I get it, we all need a break. I am all about putting myself in mommy time-out, but the park isn’t the place to do it. (Of course, the occasional picture is acceptable.)
  6. Giving a baby solid foods before six months is kind of a waste. Sure, it is fun to see your baby spit mashed peas out and make funny faces. But let me tell you, bottle feeding and breast feeding really are easier. We started our son at exactly six months on solids and he is a fantastic eater at almost 2 ½. He even slept through the night at four months, without the help of rice cereal/oatmeal.
  7. Get your kid off the bottle by the time they turn one. I know this is easier said than done but when our son was 11 months, we started taking one bottle away every week. By the time it was the day before his Birthday, he was drinking whole milk from a straw cup, and we never looked back. The older they get, the harder it is to take the bottle away. Plus, who actually enjoys cleaning bottles?
  8. Speaking of cups, skip the sippy. I was all about trying to get Jimmie to use a sippy cup even though he had mastered a straw cup. Sippy cups are basically bottles with different lids, just another item you’re going to have to wean your child off of. Straw cups help children develop stronger mouth muscles for speech.
  9. Give your child the food you are eating almost every single night. Even when I think our son is going to hate the meal I have prepared, I give him some (plus other options I know he will eat) just so he can try it. Sometimes, he loves our main course more than his. By now, he eats 95% of the same foods we eat, even spicy foods like Korean dishes. It is very rare that I make him something completely different than what we are eating. And if he doesn’t eat what we give him for dinner, he doesn’t get anything else. It sounds harsh, but he probably only completely refuses dinner once or twice a month because of this. Kids eat when they’re hungry.
  10. Parenting is hard. Okay this isn’t advice, it is just a fact. Not only is it physically exhausting but it is also emotionally exhausting. I bite my tongue whenever I am about to tell another parent that they grow up too fast and to enjoy these days. Because honestly, we have had many not so great days in our house. Some days, I am far from enjoying parenting. Don’t feel guilty. Just open a bottle of wine, pray for bedtime, and start again tomorrow. You’re doing great! (For every bad day, there are two good days, remember that, too.)

Top Ten Things I have said to My Son While Potty Training

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Potty training is a journey into the unknown, for you and your child. While potty training, you will find yourself trying to be a good teacher by: motivating, encouraging, and making this natural experience fun.  Don’t get me wrong, potty training isn’t fun, but you have to pretend it is, for your child’s sake. Even though potty training isn’t as fun as eating ice cream or jumping into a pit of foam, it can be quite hilarious. There have been many of times where I have had to hold back my laughter while I (gently) correct my son on where his pee and poop goes. He has taken a liking to going into the closet, closing the door, and peeing…on the floor. I have had more pee on me while potty training than I ever did when he was a newborn. And nothing I mean, NOTHING is funnier than a naked baby running around the house laughing their little butts off.

Here are the top ten things I have found myself saying to my son, over and over again, since we started our potty exploration.

  1. Pee goes in the potty, not on mommy’s leg. But seriously, we have been reading books (on many occasions) RIGHT NEXT TO THE POTTY and all of a sudden I feel pee sliding down my leg.
  2. You can’t flush until you get off the potty. He also tries to flush the toilet while I am still sitting on the toilet.
  3. Stop touching your pee while you are going potty. I can only assume this is normal, but really kid, stop touching your pee.
  4. Get your hands out of your butt. I know, it is really exciting to have open access to down there, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit around scratching it whenever you feel like it.
  5. Do not throw the dog’s carrot treat into your potty. I have already had to tell the dog that the potty wasn’t a new water bowl.
  6. Stop playing with yourself on the potty. It is impossible to pee and play with yourself at the same time. Or at least, I think it is, I am not a boy.
  7. Dogs pee outside, big boys pee in their potty. I just feel like referring to the dog as our son’s brother has confused him during this whole potty training adventure.
  8. You have to stop sitting on your potty to read and go to bed. I love that my son loves to read. And I love the fact that telling him I will read him a specific book will get him to at least go into the bathroom. With that being said, we are not going to read five books on the potty, then five more in the bedroom before bed, you sneaky little child.
  9. It is okay to make noises while you poop. We have only had two poops on the potty so far. One of which I grunted (with him) while reading Are You My Mother? I seriously can’t make this stuff up. The things we do for our children. FYI that poop was huge and I was one proud mom.
  10. You can’t get completely naked every time you have to go to the bathroom. I think I have one of those kids that believe the only way you can go to the bathroom is to be naked. Oh, public restrooms, you are the new devil.

And the fun has only just begun!

Book Review: Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery

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After losing their father at a very young age, Rachel, Sienna, and Courtney are more than happy to see their mother remarry. Courtney, the youngest of the three sisters, is practically planning the entire wedding while her family thinks she is just a hotel maid. Sienna, the middle sister, is stuck in another questionable relationship. Rachael, the oldest sister, has been divorced for two years after her husband cheated on her. Set in Los Lobos, California, four women find love in more than one way.

Susan Mallery has done it again. She has made me fall in love with fictional characters that I wish were my sisters. Daughters of the Bride, Susan Mallery’s newest , stand-alone novel is a hit. I can only hope that it goes from a stand-alone novel to a series because I need to find out what happens next for these wonderful women. Susan Mallery has a unique way of writing each and every character in her novels, even the non-human characters. She makes you feel a connection with each of them,which isn’t always easy when it comes to writing about multiple people in such detail.

Courtney, the youngest, is  a motivation. After dropping out of high school, moving away from her family, and working at a burger joint, she decides to turn her life around and surprise her family with the outcome. I just love a good underdog story. Her love interest, Quinn, made me swoon. The romance scenes were hot. Let’s just leave it at that. I think it is pretty cool that she lives and works at a hotel.

Sienna’s story is really interesting. Shortly after the novel begins, she accepts her third engagement; the first two fell apart for various reasons and she isn’t sure about this one, either.  Sienna is a hard worker and loves her job. Her most recent fiance is a bit of a jerk with a crazy mother. A reoccurring theme in Daughters of the Bride focuses on how Sienna is the middle sister and feels left out more often than not. Middle Sister Wines are mentioned several times throughout the book. I kept hoping they were real because their names are so quirky and fun. After doing a quick Google search, I found out they are not just fictional wines but a real winery in California. I am now kind of obsessed with them and plan on going buy some.  Wouldn’t it be great if the book came with a wine coupon?

Rachael is a single mother to an 11 year old boy. Her story broke my heart; I just felt so bad for her over and over again. Rachael is a stubborn character. She is a lot like me actually. She hates to ask for help because she thinks she can do everything by herself instead of trusting other people to do something the “right” way.  I really never understood her back issue, though. It was kind of thrown in there and never completely explained. I guess it has to do with the fact that she is on her feet all of the time because she is a hairdresser. I was most satisfied with her ending.

Maggie, the girl’s mother, is planning a fabulous pink wedding to her second husband, Neil. Her ideas are outrageous and hilarious. It made me want to plan my wedding all over again. I mean, every wedding needs kazoos and pink swans in a chlorinated pool, right?

Here’s to wishing for another installment of Daughters of the Bride. Until then, I’ll just buy a few bottles of Middle Sister Wines and think of all of the fond memories I made by reading Susan Mallery’s enchanting story of finding true love.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday Five

How long has it been since I have done one of these? FOREVER. Seriously, having a kid this age (26 months) is no joke! He is currently watching Little Bear (throw back to the Nick Kids 90’s era) while I write this.

  1. Have you watched the new season Orange is the New Black yet? We have 15 minutes left of episode 13. We are dragging it out because we just don’t want it to end. I read a spoiler in Entertainment Weekly about episode 12 by mistake. They really should have put SPOILER ALERT on the top. I know most people binge watch the show, but us parents do not have the time (or the stamina) to binge watch anything anymore. Needless to say, I still cried when it happened.
  2. Have I mentioned that we are potty training around these parts? We were doing it hardcore for about a week and a half, but decided Jimmie’s bladder just wasn’t big enough yet, and took a step back. Two days ago, he brought me his potty to go pee in it. Hilarious. He really needs to learn how  to say pee and poo and pull his own pants down ASAP so we can carry on. Although, with the taste of full on potty training, I am in no rush to clean up more pee off my carpets.
  3. Summer officially arrived last week. We have had a few days in the 90’s and I am not a fan. I was loving the low 80’s days. I’m ready for fall and pumpkin season.
  4. Speaking of fall, Jimmie is starting preschool in the fall. He will be  going two days a week for 2 1/2 hours. What will I do with all of this free time? Hopefully blog and clean the house! (Oh, and maybe eat a meal in peace.) I’m so excited for him to meet little friends and do all the Pinterest activities that I want to do but don’t really feel like doing. His teacher is awesome.
  5. I am thrilled to announce that Huffington Post published my essay, An Open Letter to New Moms Who Want to Make Friends. This is my second piece that has been published. Not only did they publish, but it is the headliner on Huffington Parents today, which is a huge honor. If my words can help just one other mom, then I will be happy. Being a new parent is exhausting, emotionally and physically,  we should support each other and encourage each other, every single day.
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Nature Centers are the BEST. Hello, Mr. Toad.

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Book Review: The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

thiefThe Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz is pure perfection. This jaw-dropping, juicy novel will keep surprising you from start to finish. I didn’t know what to expect from The Bourbon Thief. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have read it if it weren’t for the fact that I was just in Kentucky a few weeks ago. I’m so glad the Maker’s Mark tour sparked an interest in bourbon for me (not the taste, just the history and process). If it weren’t for that tour, I wouldn’t have given this book a second thought. With all that aside, I’m so glad I gave this book a chance. Bourbon lovers (and haters) will enjoy this piece of literary fiction.

Tamara Maddox is a spoiled, rich girl who is set to inherit Red Thread, a multi- million dollar bourbon distillery, once her grandfather dies. Since her own father, and uncle, have died, she is next in line to continue on the Maddox tradition of making and selling top notch bourbon in Lexington, Kentucky, and all around the world. Tamara likes to ride her horse Kermit, and flirt with Levi, the hired help that tends to the horses. Levi happens to be quite a bit older than Tamara and is off limits, but  that doesn’t stop her from trying to get a Birthday kiss from him.

It is said that the Maddox family is cursed. Paris, who just “happens” to stumble into Cooper McQueen’s bar, was born and raised in Kentucky. After seducing him and going home to his large estate, Paris finds herself in the presence of the last bottle of Red Thread. Paris tells Cooper a tale that not many people know. All the lies, secrets, and love between the Maddox family pulls Cooper into a story that he will never forget.

The tale of Tamara Maddox is so shocking that you won’t be able to put it down. Just when I thought there couldn’t possibly be any more surprises, Tiffany Reisz threw another insane twist into the mix. I can’t describe my feelings of horror throughout this entire book. I just can’t imagine one family having so many deep, dark secrets, it is unbelievable.  I kept telling my husband, “This book is really starting to get good!” I probably said that to him ten times because it just kept getting better and better. I’ll warn you, there are some steamy parts in the novel. At first, I thought it was going to be a dirty romance novel, but there are only a few portions that get hot and heavy.

You really will learn a lot about Bourbon from this novel. After reading it, I wish I could enjoy the taste, but alas, I’m still not a fan. I’m am, however, a fan on Tiffany Reisz. Check out her newest novel, The Bourbon Thief, it is a summer must-read. Right off the bat, you will be consumed by a narrative that will hopefully makes your own family history seem a little less crazy.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.