on your third birthday {Hunter}

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At 3….

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You love being outside, picking up rocks, sticks, flowers, dirt and whatever else you can get your hands on.

I love that I get to see your adventurous side and that you choose nature over TV any day.

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You love your sister and call her your best friend.  You share with her and care about her so much.

I love that I get to witness your sweet loving heart every day with her.

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You love reading by yourself and being read to.  You have always loved books.  You also love being naked.  You’ve always loved that too.

I love that you love learning and how into books you get.  Every though you can’t read yet, I can only imagine that there’s a story going on in your head as you flip through the pages in a book.

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You love being independent and doing things yourself, even when it is frustrating and tough for you.

I love watching you grow into a little man. You are determined and always want to push yourself.

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You love singing and rocking out to music. Air guitar and drum solos are one of your favorites.  You are always ready to sing a song.

I love the creativity in your mind and the song in your heart.

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You love taking naps in mom and dad’s bed. It’s become a daily ritual.

I love that you feel comforted knowing that you are in our bed.  I know you won’t always want to, so for now I’ll take it in.  Especially the times I take a little nap with you.

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You love to be silly and do things just to make yourself or other people laugh.

I love the joy you bring to our house.  Your smile, laugh and love for life is contagious.

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You love giving random hugs and snuggling.

I love that you love so greatly.  You show and share love every day.

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You love soccer and look forward to it every Friday.  You have a blast with your team and keep learning new skills.

I love that being active and playing are a couple of your favorites.  You are independent and don’t need me in your class and you understand taking directions from someone else.

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You love helping in the kitchen. Measuring ingredients, chopping foods and washing dishes.

I love that I can share this with you, from such a young age, and foster respect for real food and knowledge in the kitchen.  It’s such a special time for me to share with you.

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You love your family.  Daddy to wrestle with, mommy to care for you and Zoe to play with. And your new kitty to snuggle.

I love that your world is surrounded by love.  I love that you are such a happy boy. I love that you are my boy and every day I feel so lucky to be your mama.

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Happy birthday.

I love you Hunter!

Mama

Hunter’s construction themed 3rd birthday party

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On Saturday we celebrated Hunter’s 3rd birthday with a construction themed party.  It was a blast!  The kids had so much fun and Hunter was in heaven pretty much from the minute we arrived, which was a couple hours before the party even started.  Here’s a glimpse at our fun day.  I’m going to share more about the decor and activities in a separate post.  For now, a look at the party!

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Food served: beef hot dogs, buns, chop salad with herb yogurt dressing, caesar salad with bacon infused croutons and all the hot dog toppings (rosemary balsamic onions, dill pickles, sour kraut, peach salsa, relish, cilantro poblano sauce, ketchup, mustard and curry mayo).

Snacks at the ‘rock quarry': blueberries, grape tomatoes, grapes, almonds, pistachios and sunflower seeds.

Fuel station: cucumber, lime and mint water + bai 5 drinks.

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The party was held at my parent’s house.  They have tons of land and a great set up in the back yard.  Plus my dad let us use lots of tools and construction type items for decor, major score!  I had planned the party for outside and thankfully the rain held off.  Once people arrived even more fun and games began.

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The favorite spot was definitely the digging zone!

IMG_7606 IMG_7608 IMG_7603IMG_9777 IMG_7633 IMG_7632 IMG_7645 IMG_7644Easiest cake decor ever!  Hunter used the excavator to eat his piece and then had another.

I made a chocolate zucchini cake (this recipe but I subbed in coconut oil for the butter) and this simple two ingredient frosting.  Everyone seemed to like it and I thought it was super delicious as well!

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It was a super messy and amazingly fun party.  It was great having the outside set up and play spots for the kids.  The party was totally all about them.  While I bathed my dirt covered kids, the clean up crew got to work. My aunt had fun driving my dads tractor, which he had put out as decor as well.

IMG_7624IMG_4242Pretty sure I’ve set high standards for Hunter’s party now.  It was totally worth it knowing he enjoyed his birthday as much as he did!

Heather

crockpot maple chile pork

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After our trip to Aruba I eased myself back into cooking.  The first night we picked up a hawaiian pizza from our favorite local pizzeria and I made a simple salad to go along with it.  The next night I brought out my crockpot and let it do the work for me.  Don’t you just love the crockpot?  I sure do.

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This recipe comes courtesy of my secret recipe club pick for the month of May.  I was assigned Cookaholic Wife, an adorable blog written by Nichole.  She shares a big variety of recipes and her menu plans as well.  Instead of starting at her recipe index, I skimmed through her posts one by one from most recent to older posts.  Nichole was doing the whole30 challenge a couple months back, so tons of those recipes caught my attention.  I also noticed a paleo focus, which I love since they also mean a real whole food focused to me.  I ended up settled on the crockpot maple chile pork, and I am so glad I picked it.  The maple syrup lends a unique sweetness and flavor when combined with the bit of heat from the red pepper flakes.  Everyone in the house loved this and could not get enough of it!  Thanks so much Nichole!

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Crockpot Maple Chili Pork

recipe slightly adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 2 tbsp all natural maple syrup
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp natural cane sugar
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • sea salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Place pork in crockpot.  Combine all other remaining ingredients, then pour over the pork.
  2. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Turn pork every 2-3 hours.
  3. Shred and serve.

I served the pork along with a corn bake and roasted asparagus.  The entire meal amazing and I can’t wait to make this pork recipe again!  Nichole served her pork with a sweet potato, which I think would be another awesome side.  Or maybe a roasted acorn squash…. so many possibilities!

What did you last cook in your crockpot?

Heather

that moment you find out you are pregnant

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As Mother’s Day rolls around tomorrow, I begin to think more about when I became a mother.  I love being able to go back and read through all my pregnancy posts to remember what it was like being pregnant.  So many of the details about how I was feeling and seeing all the changes happening in my body tend to fade away with my ever worsening mommy brain.

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There are two areas related to pregnancy that still remain clear in my mind; bringing both of my beautiful babies into the world, and finding out when I was pregnant.  I think they are imprinted into my brain since there was so much emotion involved in each.  If you love birth stories, check them out (Hunter’s birth story and Zoe’s birth story).  I never tire of rereading them.

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Today I wanted to share about the moments I found out I was pregnant.  Both times I found out using home pregnancy tests.  Although I’m pretty in tune with my body and both times just felt like I was pregnant (we were trying), the emotions didn’t kick in until I actually knew.  Until I had that proof on a stick.

I found out I was pregnant with Hunter on a Sunday afternoon.  I remember waiting in the bathroom, by myself, for the results to show up.  I wanted it to be a surprise for Jacob, so I hadn’t told him I was taking one.  The time passed in super slow speed, I peeked and could not believe my eyes.  It was positive!  I remember just thinking, ‘oh my gosh, oh my gosh’ non stop in my mind.  I went out to Jacob, showed him and we hugged like crazy.  Our smiles could not be washed away and I was crying with excitement.  We told our immediate family the next weekend and shared with everyone else a few weeks later.  It was so hard to keep the news in.  It was one of the most exciting moments for us.

Finding out that I was pregnant with Zoe was so special.  I actually found out on a Sunday afternoon again, but it also happened to be father’s day!  I sooooo wanted the home pregnancy test to show that I was pregnant on that day.  Just like with the first, I had this feeling, but when I saw the pregnancy test showing that I was pregnant, those same flooding emotions came over me.  I was shocked because I honestly thought I wouldn’t be as surprising the second time, but no matter if it’s the first or second, knowing you are pregnant is such an amazing feeling.  We were so excited to add another baby into our family.  Just like the first time I found out, I did a second pregnancy test (I like to be sure) and got the + sign from the Clearblue  PLUS pregnancy test.  Simple and awesome.

IMG_5370It’s hard for me to describe the emotions and I really wish I had recorded it one of the times (maybe the next one!).  Check out this video from Clearblue.  Watching their emotions bring back my own, and I’m not going to lie, after watching it a few times I may have felt like eyes warm a bit.  Motherhood makes me so very sappy.

I love that I get to celebrate mother’s day as the mama to these two.  There is no better job in the world. It’s amazing to think back on the journey of finding out I was pregnant, going through pregnancy, having a baby, being blessed to do it all again, and now being here.  Nothing beats it.

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Happy Mother’s Day to every single mother out there!

Do you remember the emotions you felt when you found out you were pregnant?  Or how you felt when someone told you they were pregnant?

Heather

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

my toddler breakfast experiment

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At the beginning of this week I decided to do a little experiment.  Hunter (who turns three this month!) was my research subject.

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Typically at breakfast time I’ll decide what the kids and I are going to eat for breakfast.  I’ll usually awake before them, and I like to have breakfast ready when they wake so it has a chance to cool and they are also just used to eating pretty much right after waking.  There are times when Hunter wakes early or I sleep in and he’ll put a request in (which I will make if I can), but it’s not the norm.  On Monday I decided to let Hunter have the say at breakfast.  I wanted to see how much variety he chose throughout the week (I anticipate pancakes every day).  Plus I like to give him the power every once in a while.

His sister was cool with it too.

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Here’s how the week has looked.

Monday: whole milk plain yogurt and homemade maple nut granola plus a banana on the side

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Tuesday: scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast with mashed avocado x2

Wednesday: pancakes, bacon and blueberries on the side (he was specific about not having them in the pancakes, but on the plate)

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Thursday: custard oatmeal with apples, raisins, peanut butter and 2 blueberries on top

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I’m honestly shocked we’ve had a different breakfast every day so far. I have loved it!  I’ll be curious to see what he picks for Friday because we’ve eaten all our standard breakfasts, so a repeat will likely happen.  I’ll come back and add it in tomorrow. :)

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I’ve made a point to ask him the night before what he wants to eat for breakfast the next morning, because I still wake and cook before the kids are up.  We talk about the different options to have (like when he wanted pancakes I asked him if he wanted bacon or fruit with it, which he then choose both) and settle on the final choice.  I love giving him the control and seeing him make such great varied options.  I know he likes being the decider too, so it’s a win-win situation!

And he was so excited to see the ‘just 2 blueberries’ on his oatmeal this morning.  The boy was heard!

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I’m linking up to munchkin meals today.  Check out Brittany’s post to see what other mama’s are feeding their kids.

What do you think your kids would pick for breakfast every day if they were in charge of it?  Do you usually switch it up for them or roll with a normal routine?

Heather

aruba {four words a picture}

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PDX red eye flight.

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Hyatt hotel pool paradise.

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View from our room.

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Love for my man.

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These sunsets every night.

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Birthday dinner.  Tiramisu yum.

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You lead.  I’ll follow.

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The squirrels of Aruba.

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Black swans.  Koi fish.

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Catamaran cruise.  All smiles.

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DPSG welcome reception dinner.

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Turned dance party craze.

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I heart Aruba. Truth.

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Catamaran for snorkel exploration.

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Lighthouse dinner.  Dreamy views.

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Didn’t yoga.  Did windsurf.

IMG_6829Spa aloe wraps.  Crispy.

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Cleaned up and relaxed.

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Winner’s circle farewell dinner.

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Three mile beach run.

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The roof flower garden.

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Our favorite breakfast spot.

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Final night beach stroll.

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Pier bars and restaurants.

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Warm salty clear water.

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Sand in toes dinner.

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Chocolate him.  Custard hers.

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Randomly found dance performance.

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Big breakfast.  Travel day.

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Until next time Aruba.

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Seriously missed.  Happy return.

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mother’s day gift guide for the expecting mama

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I don’t know about you, but I have such a tough time figuring out gifts for my mom and dad.  Whenever birthdays, Christmas and mother’s/father’s day rolls around I’m usually left scratching my head on what to gift.  I like to give thoughtful gifts… sometimes handmade items or I’ll get the kids involved too.  It’s never an easy task.  With mother’s day rolling around I thought it would be fun to put together a fun little gift guide, but not the kind of gifts I’d give to my mama (you can give me ideas for that one ;) ).  This guide is geared towards what to gift the expecting mama.  Even if you are still growing that sweet first baby in your belly, celebrate being a mama, because you are one!

Here are some favorite items I loved during my first and second pregnancy.  All items I will gladly accept during the next one too… which is not now.  No baby belly growing here just yet.

For Two Fitness®

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Comfortable and cute workout clothes are a must in my opinion.  When you’re pregnant and everything grows and clothes get a little (or a lot) tighter, it’s just so nice to feel cute and super comfortable.  I loved my For Two Fitness® tanks so much during my second pregnancy (wish I would have had them during my first one too!).  I have the Sweating for Two® and Yoga for Two® tops and can’t wait to rock them again.   The quality is great and after tons of use they both still look great.

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You are dedicated to the health of your pregnancy, and we are dedicated to you. For Two Fitness® is the premier maternity fitness apparel brand, offering performance apparel that functions and flatters like nothing else. We are committed to celebrate and support moms who are striving for healthy, fit, pregnancies. Discover for yourself why celebrities, professional athletes, and moms everywhere love For Two Fitness® performance apparel!

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As a For Two Fitness® ambassador I am excited to partner with them to share about their amazing clothes for my Mother’s Day gift guide.  As a bonus for you guys now through Mother’s Day, get 25% off your order plus free shipping with code MOMSDAY25, only at www.fortwofitness.com.

Comfy socks

As the belly and body grows, feet get beat up a bit in the process.  They carry you around and get sore, tired and even sometimes swell up.  I loved comfy fuzzy socks.  I usually have cold feet too so the warmth and extra cushion felt so nice.

UGG boots

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If you are pregnant during cold weather (a norm here in Washington) UGG boots are another treat for the feet.  A favorite outfit was a longer shirt, leggings and my UGGs.  My feet were kept warm and they’re so soft and nobody thinks you are wearing slippers at the store, even though it feels like it.

Leggings

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I pretty much live in leggings and long shirts/dresses when I’m pregnant.  Thick leggings are nice when your top isn’t very long, but even the inexpensive ones from Forever 21 work, especially if your top is long enough to cover your backside.

Massage

At a certain point in pregnancy women can no longer lay on their stomachs or on their backs flat for long periods of time. That makes massage a bit difficult, but if you can find a pregnancy massage (basically where they have a big pillow you lay face down on with a space for belly and boobs) it’s quite heavenly.  I try and get them as much as I can, especially near the end of my pregnancies.

Lavender scented items

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This one is probably specific to me, but before having babies lavender wasn’t my favorite smell.  Once I became pregnant with Hunter I could not get enough of the scent and it’s continued on ever since.  Ask what smell your pregnant lady likes because pregnancy can change what they like/dislike.

Membership to a pool

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I love staying active all pregnancy long, but those last few months everything does get a bit harder.  The body moves a little slower and moving takes a bit more effort.  Being in water is a pregnant ladies best friend.  The water makes you feel light and if you have swelling going on the water helps to make that feel more comfortable too.  Water aerobics classes and swimming laps were my preference when in the pool, but even just floating around is luxurious.

No cooking/dishes/cleaning day

Gifts aren’t always needed.  Just a day when a little bit is taken off of your pregnant ladies plate can be a gift on its own.  That will give her the chance to relax and de-stress.  Also great for non pregnant ladies. :)

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If you follow me on social media you probably saw pictures from our Aruba trip.  It was amazing!  I’m planning to share many more pictures and about our adventure soon, but first I’ve got to soak in more time with my kiddos.  I missed them like crazy!

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What item would you add to this list?

Heather

Thanks to For Two Fitness® for sponsoring this campaign.  I absolutely love their products and am always excited to share my love for them whenever I can.

what we ate: apr 12-22

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Today I’m coming at you with not one week, not two weeks, but a week and a half of meals!  I won’t be cooking dinners for a little bit so I thought I’d share what we’ve been eating recently.  This week was all about using up food so dinners were not the most exciting, but still tasty!  As always, when there is a recipe to link to, you’ll see it.  The asterisk next to a day is to help me remember when Jacob loved a meal or wanted me to write it down.

April 12-18

Sunday * – pork ragu (third time making this, it is AMAZING!) + papardelle + brussel sprouts with bacon

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Monday – leftover tomatillo beef on whole wheat toast with feta + mushrooms + clementines

Tuesday * – loaded baked potatoes with spicy beef sauce, cheese, sour cream and avocado + peas

Wednesday – baked halibut rice bowls with cucumber + avocado

Thursday – blueberry whole wheat pancakes + beef bacon

Friday – * pizza night – homemade whole wheat pizza crust topped with leftover ground beef + marinara sauce + cheddar + green bell pepper + mushrooms

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Saturday – wood oven sausage pizza + roasted brussel sprouts + salmon crostini {dinner at our favorite restaurant the hearth}

April 19-22

Sunday – herb crusted steak + roasted red and sweet potatoes + kale chips

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Monday – salmon + kale salad with avocado, grated carrot and poppyseed dressing + sauted zucchini and onion + pear {dinner at my mamas}

Tuesday – creamy tomato pasta with steak, asparagus and feta {using up leftover items in the fridge}

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Wednesday – potato bacon hash + fried eggs + avocado + mango

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We celebrated earth day (unintentionally) outside doing a little gardening and pulling weeds.  If it’s not rainy, the kids and I love being outside whenever we can!  Aren’t they just the cutest?

IMG_6786Did you get outside yesterday? 

Heather

Previous what we ate posts:

January 18-24, 2015

January 25-31, 2015

February 1-14, 2015

February 15-21, 2015

February 22-28, 2015

March 1-14, 2015

March 15-28, 2015

March 29-April 4, 2015

my first fabletics outfit + how to save even more

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I am totally late to the fabletics party, but now that I’m here I don’t want to leave! Have you heard of fabletics? It’s an active wear company with super cute workout gear.  Kate Hudson is the big name a co-founder and if you’ve seen their ads it’s always ‘get your first complete outfit for $25′.  Well I’m going to tell you how to get it for just $17.

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I signed up and paid for this with my own money.  Fabletics doesn’t even know I’m writing it.  All to say opinions are completely my own.

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What’s the catch?

To get the great $25 (or $17) deal you have to sign up for their VIP membership.  First I didn’t want to.  There’s no way I’d happily pay the $50 every month for a new outfit, but since there is the option to skip the month as many times as you want, I felt good about signing up.  I’d pay that much for 3 good pieces of workout gear occasionally, but not every month.  Plus you can cancel any time for free.

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What I picked

I selected the Amreli outfit.  It was a 3 piece outfit (capri, tank and sports bra).  The stock photos were taken from their site.

Lima capri in cobalt

If the only thing I had received was this single piece, I would have been completely happy.  These capris are so insanely comfortable.  They have great compression and are nice and thick (a great thing for teaching yoga) plus the bright blue cobalt is fun. I’ve been wanting some more exciting capris and these definitely hit that criteria.

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Oula tank in black

I was a bit disappointed with this tank for two reasons.  The fabric feel wasn’t my favorite because it was totally static-y and it also was a bit big.  The fabric is super stretchy and I’ll wear, but I think I’ll love it for when I have a pregnant belly going on.  It definitely has a lot of room for stretch in the belly area.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 6.01.20 AMDoon sports bra in heather grey

The sports bra fit well.  It doesn’t have any type of padding to it so I’ve been wearing it with my handful pads (a must for me).  I like the heather grey color and it works well under other tanks I have too.

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One thing I didn’t like to much with fabletics was that so many outfits or color combos were out of stock in my size.  I ended up finding something that I’m happy with (especially those capris!), but if all the awesome prints for capris and leggings were available in my size, there would likely be more purchases going on.  Restock fabletics!!

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Want to join and get a $17 outfit?

Here’s how I saved even more on my first outfit.  When you initially give them your email address when browsing on their website, you’ll get some kind of welcome email and an offer for a $25 outfit.  Ignore it.  You’ll get another saying the offer runs out on a certain day.  Ignore it.  Then you’ll get an email with 70% off.  That’s the deal you want to use.  There won’t be any other better deals after that one.

If you end up trying out fabletics I would love it if you used my personal link!  I get credits if someone signs up using it which means more workout clothes for me… always needed and I totally NEED more of those lima capris in my life.

For fun a little outtake of what wasn’t my most graceful descent…

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Have you heard of or tried fabletics before?  What do you think about their clothes?  Any favorites I need to check out?

Heather

10 foods I eat every day

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What are your eating habits like? What foods do you eat daily? I like to think I have a pretty good diet. I stay away from most overly processed foods, keep sweets for special occasions (which has been a big improvement lately) and eat lots of healthy nutritious foods.  But I am definitely a creature of habit.  I know that eating a variety of foods will give you a broader scope of vitamins and minerals, but honestly it can be tough, even for someone like me who loves to cook and meal plan. Back in June I took on the 40 plant foods challenge and within that week it was tough to get to 40 different plant foods.  I only included that much variety in my diet because of the conscious effort I made to reach the goal (I hit 37/40 for it).  Then the challenge was over and I went back to my normal ways.  My normal ways are good!  Just not insanely varied.

I think having indulgences is 100% okay in the diet.  If I could never have chocolate again it would be a really sad day.  That said, what I eat daily and what makes up a lot of my diet, that’s what makes a difference for my health, how I feel and how I look.  I thought it would be fun to take a look at my top 10 foods I eat daily.  Then I want to hear about your top 10 foods you eat daily!  I had to sit and think for quite some time while running through the past few days remembering my meals.  Here they are in no particular order, except for the first two.  I can’t imagine a day without the first two.

Half and half

Every single day I add large amounts of (usually organic) half and half to my coffee.  I totally had to include it because it’s not like a use a couple teaspoons, there’s a good inch or two going into each cup.  Coffee is half included with this one as well since I wouldn’t be having the half and half if I didn’t have my 2-3 cups of coffee a day.

Why I like it: high fat content for longer satiety… and it makes me oh so happy which is really the best reason

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Egg

One of my very favorite proteins.  I love them scrambled, fried, cooked into items, baked and pretty much any way you can think of, I love them.  I have between 2-4 eggs a day.

Why I like it: every egg has 6 grams of protein, plus when eating the whole egg you’ll get vitamins and minerals like riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, B12, D, and E, iron, phosphorus, and zinc

Banana

Quick and easy to grab for an energizing snack.  A lot of the time I use bananas to sweeten up other foods – my favorite being custard oats.

Why I like it: they taste good (as long as they are green!), travel well and are packed with potassium

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Almonds/almond butter

Almonds or almond butter make it into my daily diet.  I like the fat content to keep me more full and they are just plain delicious.  Either for a munchable snack or spreadable goodness on pancakes, breads or bananas. {contender for this spot: peanut butter}

Why I like it: again, the satiety factor I like, plus almonds are loaded with vitamin E, which is good for the skin

Cucumber

One of my favorite veggies.  I wish I could say some kind of dark leafy green vegetable made it in this list, but they’re more like an every other day thing.  Cucumbers are the bomb though.  I can easily munch on an entire cucumber in one sitting.

Why I like it: they are vitamin packed, loaded with water and refreshingly delicious

Whole plain yogurt

Plain yogurt with blueberries, jam or homemade granola is my go to post workout snack.  I opt for plain yogurt but like to add some form of sweetness in.  The tart flavor of plain yogurt isn’t my favorite on its own, but I don’t really want the added extra sugar from the sweetened varieties.  I also love making my own crockpot yogurt (also check out how to make your homemade yogurt super thick){contender for this spot: cheese}

Why I like it: it’s a good mix of protein and carbs, plus the live cultures are good for my belly

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Berries

Blueberries top the list here, but strawberries and raspberries come in second and third.  Berries usually go with breakfast, a snack or after dinner treat.

Why I like it: berries pack a naturally sweet punch and they are filled with an array of vitamins and also fiber

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Beef

The majority of our dinners tend to be beef in one form or another.  On the evenings we aren’t eating beef (like tonight we’ve having halibut) I usually will have leftovers for lunch which tend to be beef.

Why I like it: major iron and zinc content and beef is just so flavorful

Rolled oats

Rolled oat aren’t only for oatmeal, I love them in pancakes as binder and also in things like meatloaf and meat balls.

Why I like it: check out this whole post on why

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Avocado 

When I was younger I did not like avocados at all.  Crazy me! Avocados are my favorite spread on bread, topping for salads or rice bowls, or just an accompaniment to a meal.

Why I like it: vitamins, fat, fiber and fullness

There are tons of other foods I eat quite often, but as far as daily it’s rare when these 10 foods don’t make it into my belly.

What do you think about my list?  Any surprises? Any foods I shared that you eat daily? What are your top 10 foods… ready, set, GO!

Heather