Wednesday, January 18, 2017

17 Smoothie Recipes To Quench Your Thirst



Last week I shared with you a campaign that Wayfair was running about smoothies! I had shared my favorite Simple Strawberry Smoothie recipe - a smoothie that Mazy now asks for all the time, though she calls it her "shake." This is the easiest way for me to get fruits and sometimes even vegetables into her diet, since she can be a bit of a picky eater.

Now I want to share with you the other 16 smoothie recipes!  You may not think that it's smoothie season, but trust me, you will want to make a smoothie weekly because it will just remind you that summer really is, just around the corner (well, maybe not JUST around the corner...)

Click on each title to find the recipe and ENJOY!

1. Simple Green Smoothie by Bright Green Door
2. Chocolate Strawberry Protein Smoothie by Create and Babble
3. Layered Smoothie by Dans Le Lakehouse
4. Orange Carrot Smoothie by Divine Lifestyle
5. Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie by Embracing Homemaking
6. Peach Cobbler Smoothie by Endlessly Inspired
7. Tropical Green Smoothie by Harlem Lovebirds
8. Spinach and Pineapple Green Smoothie Bowl by Lucky Andi
9. Simple Strawberry Smoothie by Only By Grace
10. Orange Carrot Ginger Whole Food Smoothie by Pretty Polished Perfect
11. Tropical Spinach Smoothie by Red Shutters
12. Chamomile, Blueberry, and Peach Smoothie by Vicki O'Dell
13. Pineapple Spinach Smoothie by The Honeycomb Home
14. Dreamy Lavender Smoothie by The Mom of the Year
15. Green Detox Smoothie by This Girl's Life
16. Winter Citrus Smoothie by Two Places At Once
17. Chocolate Pea Protein Smoothie by We Know Stuff

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Another 100 Things Challenge!


It's that time of year again!

About a year and a half ago, I posted about doing a 100 Things Challenge. I was what you would call a "new mom" at the time and though I felt I had very little time on my hands, I had all the time in the world to think. Think about what I eventually wanted to do, when I had the time. Well, a year and a half ago, I started to purge - a LOT.

And I haven't stopped! Rarely, I mean RARELY have I wished I did not get rid of something. Dan on the other hand has thought of a few things - like a paper he wrote back in college, that he wished he kept. But in the grand scheme of things, there are bigger things to worry about in life.

Well, in attempts to continue to downsize, as I work on "tweaking" my life this year, I wanted to do another 100 Things Challenge.

WANT TO JOIN ME?

With Christmas parties in the past, we all have to make room for the new - the things that we have now brought into our homes, that were not there before. And here lies the problem - we are so good at bringing in the new, but we rarely get rid of the old. We just keep accumulating and accumulating.

There is a lot of truth in the saying:

ONE IN, ONE OUT.

But truly, how many of us follow this rule? Not me!

So, it's time for another 100 Things Challenge!

I know it seems ambitious, but you will be shocked at just how easy 100 things can be! I myself wonder if I have 100 things because I feel like I am constantly decluttering, but just in the past 2 days, I have found at least 10 things. Yikes!

Is it possible? YES! Here are some questions to think about as you go through your home:
  • When is the last time I used this item?
  • Does it have a purpose? A USEful purpose?
  • Would someone else benefit from this item more?
  • Is the space it takes up, worth it?
  • Do you even like the item?
It is time to take back YOUR home, instead of letting the stuff in it control you! If you are up for the challenge, let me know! I would enjoy not doing this challenge alone...

P.S. Start planning to do a garage sale in the Spring! Instead of waiting til a week before, starting stashing away items NOW, so that when the time comes, it will make the sale that much bigger and hopefully that much more successful AND less stressful!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Around The Home

Hello, WINTER!
This past week was quite a shock to our bodies after being in warm Mexican weather all last week! We came home to LOTS of snow, a snow storm the next day that closed schools, ice that covered the roads the whole week, and frigid temps that made going outside unbearable at times. Welcome to Minnesota, eh? Though, it actually was a blessing because it gave us time to adjust back to "normal" life, spend quality time with Mazy, and just get back into the swing of things. We can tell Mazy missed us, due to the hugs and cuddles she asked for often, but the feeling was mutual!

This was the last hour of our drive home on Monday. Thankfully we did not have to deal with it for too long!


When I mean snuggles, I mean sleepy-Mazy snuggles too. Moments to never take for granted!

In attempts to get some things done around the house, I let Mazy take a box of Cheerios out of the cupboard. Usually she only takes a few out - apparently her appetite was a bit bigger than I thought!

Thursday afternoon, I decided to finally brave the weather, but I probably should've just stayed home due to the ice and wind. Oh well, we made it safely to Aldi. Aldi carts have fun buckles for kids to play with (eh hem...I never buckle her), and she decided her puppy needed to be buckled. Then Mazy needed to be like puppy and she needed to be buckled too. Definitely caused a few chuckles from other shoppers!

Saturday was finally nice enough to go outside for about 15 minutes! Mazy kept asking to go outside earlier in the week, but it was just too cold. Though Saturday was a bit warmer, so fun in the sun and snow we had!

I so enjoy watching a little toddler try to walk and play in snow! This girl has so much "wonder" in her! She would grab a handful, throw it in the air, and just giggle as the wind whisked it away. Oh to treasure and appreciate the little things in life.

This may be an odd addition to what's been going on around our home, but I found a gem at Aldi this past week! When my friend and I were in Florida quite a few years back visiting her sister, we had stopped by a fruit stand to get fresh oranges. We had never had an orange taste so good and when we got back to Michigan, we could not find them. Fast forward to this past week. Mazy is really into oranges right now, so I decided to pick up a bag from Aldi. When I saw the name Cara Cara on it, I KNEW those were the oranges we had in Florida and even shrieked outloud when I saw them! I am sure everyone around me wondered why I was so into the oranges, but if they only knew! Needless to say, I have been enjoying their juicy goodness since then!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Increase Your Water Intake With Fruit Infused Water



They are all good intentions right? Those New Year's resolutions are front and center in our minds. The thought of losing weight, exercising more, joining a fitness club, and even drinking more water, all sound so good in our minds and even on paper.

Then reality hits.

By February, most of our so-called resolutions are nothing but a fleeting thought.

I too, have the same desire. To continue to work on not only eating healthier, but just BEING healthier. I know that one of the ways that I struggle the most is actually probably one of the most simple ways to stay healthy - just drink water!

How hard can it be, right? Well for me, water is just water. There is nothing fancy about it. Yeah I suppose you could drink it warm, but I prefer my water cold - and that seems to be the only way to "spruce" up water.

All until I discovered some fun recipes on the Positive Health Wellness website. I recently found an article called 6 Fruit Infused Water Recipes To Quench Your Thirst and I must say, it has been a life-changer! I've been to baby and wedding showers where they have had fruit-infused water, and every time I think "oh, I should do that!" But once again, it became a fleeting thought.

I know that when I drink about half of my body weight in ounces, I feel fantastic. I have more energy, feel more alert, do not go through as my blood sugar lows, and of course, frequent the bathroom. Though when I am consistent in my hydration, I get bored with just plain water and eventually give up. Now with these recipes, I no longer have to sulk when I know I need to increase my water intake.

Below are 2 recipes that I personally enjoy. Thanks to Positive Health Wellness for also including the health benefits of each and how to substitute ingredients if needed.

Kiwi-Strawberry and Lemon Water



  • 3 large strawberries
  • 1 slice of kiwi
  • 1 slice of lemon

Directions:

Cut off the stems of the strawberries and cut them into slices. Peel and slice the kiwi. Slice the lemon. You can add more lemon if you prefer a more sour taste. If you are planning to use a fruit infused water bottle, cut the kiwi and lemon slices in half to fit inside your bottle. Put the sliced fruit in your jar or bottle of choice, and let it infuse in water for two hours before drinking.

Health Benefits:

- Enhances mood
- Regulates pH levels
- Boosts metabolism
- Helps with exercise recovery
- Improves digestion
- Protects immune system

Ingredient Substitutes:You can switch the strawberries out for pineapple, as well as put some lime in instead of lemon.


Berry Boost Water


  • 1 handful of raspberries
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 3 large strawberries

Directions:

Slice the strawberries. Combine the raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries in a mason jar or fruit infused water bottle. Let it sit for at least an hour. To add more flavor, you can slice and knead the blueberries and raspberries.

Health Benefits:

- Boosts metabolism
- Improves digestion
- Regulates blood sugar
- Contains antioxidants

Ingredient Substitutes:

Feel free to substitute or add cherries, guava, pomegranate, kiwi and/or pineapple. This recipe is fitted for sweet fruits, but adding lemon or lime can give a sour punch if desired.

You can check out the other 4 recipes from the article HERE. It also offers from very helpful tips if you are looking to give your water a boost, in hopes of giving your water intake a boost as well!

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Simple Strawberry Smoothie


It is that time of year when many are starting to think about eating healthier and trying to live an overall healthier lifestyle. I know that every year, I go through the same routine as well to some degree. Whether it be tweaking my diet or starting a new workout regime, I do the same. 

Wayfair sparked an idea for me in their most recent campaign, called Seventeen Smoothies. Smoothies are something that are easy to make (though I to choose the right time to make them so I do not wake my sleeping toddler), are filled with healthy goodness, and are an easy snack or meal. One particular smoothie recipe I really enjoy is this Simple Strawberry Smoothie recipe. I throw everything into my KitchenAid Classic Series Blender and voila, an amazing smoothie that will have your slurping up every last drop! 

Simple Strawberry Smoothie
  • 8 hulled strawberries
  • 1/2 c. skim milk
  • 1/2 c. plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 3 T. white sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 6 ice cubes
Blend all of the ingredients together and serve.
Makes 2 servings.

It really is this easy!

Put all ingredients in a blender


Blend!

Voila!

Even my almost 2 year old daughter LOVES this smoothie! She asks me numerous times a day for a "shake" as she calls it. If my daughter likes it, you will too!

Stay tuned because I will be sharing the other 16 Smoothie Recipes with you in the next few days, so come back to this post! You will not be disappointed!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tweaking Life

While my sister and I walked along the beaches of Mexico, we started to talk about New Year's resolutions. She asked if I had made any and ironically I had not (and that is STRANGE for someone who LOVES to plan)!

That question really started to make me think. Why didn't I make any? There are always things I want to change in life, but no plan of attack? This is not me...

Then when I was lying in bed that night, I started to think about what I wanted to change in my life. When you have a week to think about life while on the beach, it is pretty easy to come to some conclusions.

Here is what I concluded about my life:

  • I value my roles as wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, and daughter of THE King
  • I value relationships
  • I value being all that God has created me to be
Really, in those 3 things, that is where I find my purpose. So what is stopping me from accomplishing those 3 things? 

On the plane ride home from Mexico, I started to jot some blogging ideas down. I started to reflect on how I was living my own life and how I was spending my life. Have you ever done that? Have you ever taking the time to just sit and think about how you spend a day? What do you fill the minutes of your day with? 

Last year during this time, I vowed to become more patient, but also to find myself again. I must say for the most part, I am more patient (though it's something I am always working on), but I feel I have found myself again. What that exactly means changes on a weekly basis, but that leads me to the whole point of this post:

LIFE IS ALL ABOUT TWEAKING.

Where in life do you ever "arrive?" I wish I could say I "arrived" in patience. I wish I could say that I "arrived" as a wife. I wish I could say I have "arrived" as a friend, but I know I could always do more. The thing is, that is what I believe sanctification is all about - tweaking our life constantly, up until the point that Jesus calls us home and oh do I pray that He will say, "well done, good and faithful servant." 

So what do I want to "tweak" in my life this year?

Continuing to downsize and simplify life. 
I have been doing this for a couple of years now and I can honestly say that I have never been more content with what we have - even though it is less. It goes against the "American" way of doing things where bigger, better, and more of is the way to happiness, but from creating a capsule wardrobe to purging the unused and unnecessary, I have never been more content! So why stop now? I am excited to share with you in future posts about how we continue to downsize, so stay tuned!

Continuing to get in shape. 
After I was given an excellent heart report last May, I have started to slowly get back into exercising. And I do not ever remember feeling so good! This though, I chalk up to God alone, for bringing healing to my heart this past year, to make this possible. I'd love to lose poundage, but I know that I only set myself up for failure when I do, so I am just sticking with "getting into shape." It's a work in progress...

Continuing to grow as a person. 
I have found a new love for reading, even if it means doing it late at night or early in the morning. Thanks to Mazy sleeping a bit better, this is now possible! I know that God is never done with me, so I want to do all I can to ensure that I am living my best for Him. Through reading, it expands my horizons and challenges me in just the right way. I also value keeping in contact with people, whether near or far. Thanks to this blog, I have "met" some incredible people. Through those relationships, I have grown as a person and I want in turn to influence others as well.

Continuing to just BE. 
There is beauty in slowing down. Again, this goes against the American way, but I have learned that taking time to just BE, can be a day-changing experience. Even if all I hear is the refrigerator humming in the background, I know taking time to just sit is just better for everyone in our household. I am a "sense of the urgency" person, when in all reality, most of things that occupy my mind probably are not. It's time to just starting BEING instead of DOING.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Right Way is YOUR Way


As a parent, we all have to ask ourselves:

  • When to start solid foods? 
  • Rice or oatmeal? 
  • When to introduce peanut butter and honey? 

Not to mention, diapering.

  • Cloth or disposables? 
  • How tight? 
  • What brand?
  • How often? 
And that's just diapers! Then there are car seats.

  • Which one? 
  • When to make the switch from back to forward facing? 
  • When to switch to the next step? 

SO WHICH WAY IS RIGHT?

I can't help but wonder, is there a "right" way?

Thanks to social media, we are bombarded and I mean BOMBARDED with the how-tos on life. If you wonder anything as a parent, look no further than the opinionated internet!

I personally feel I grew up just fine. Dan often says I grew up under a rock, but I honestly would not change much of anything about how I grew up. If I could replicate my parents parenting, I sure would feel "successful" as a parent. But life looks nothing like it did back then. Life and parenting are different. Thanks to research and technology, there are standards to meet and expectations to follow, and I feel for the most part, in a positive way. But when it comes to all the medical advances, you can find research to prove a point on just about anything.

So again, which way is the RIGHT way?

With the bombardment of Pinterest telling you how to play with your toddler, with instagram and facebook reminding you of what you are NOT doing, all it does is create insecurity. And as women, one thing we are the BEST at is being insecure. One of the reasons we are so good at it is because we are constantly searching for the "right" way to do things.

And it comes from good intentions, I truly believe. All we want is what's best for our child(ren). All we want is for them to grow up in loving and caring homes, and secretly hope they are successful in life.

Think about all of the books, articles, and how-tos that we read or glance through each day. Think about what social media avenues you peruse through on a daily basis. Do you find yourself comparing? Comparing parenting? Comparing kids? Comparing ourselves? Comparing physical appearance? All while wondering what the right way is?

What we need to do as parents is stop guilting our fellow mothers and teammates into failure mode, if they are not doing what you would do. We are all in this together, people! Humans have been parenting since the beginning of time and if we are real with ourselves, we can guarantee that NO ONE has parented the same. Even if I tried to replicate my parent's parenting style, I would still fall short because I am not them.

I know that we fear as mothers. We fear the worst, we fear making a mistake, and we fear not doing things the "right" way. But all that does is send us into insecurity mode.

What if we believed that God created EACH of us for our specific child.

Fill in the blank: God created YOUR NAME specifically for YOUR CHILD'S NAME. 

God created Kristin specifically for Mazy Grace.

Those are powerful words, my friend. I am Mazy's mommy. When I own those words, they give me power, knowing that God has a grand and I mean a grand purpose in all of us. Those are powerful words because they are filled with grace. Grace for each moment. He has set us free from the bondage of comparison and of worrying about doing things the right way. When we ask HIM for wisdom in parenting, He will grant it to us.

Now don't get me wrong. I am ALL about educating ourselves and listening to those who have gone before us. But we will run ourselves to the ground and forget to actually LOVE our child first, if we constantly are wondering if we are doing it the "right" way.

So let's all come together, as teammates, and support each other as we walk this road together!

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