Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Bunch of Things Ain't Nobody Got Time For

You guys.
This week I have swept up approximately 15 kablillion cheerios off my kitchen floor. HONEY NUT cheerios. Soooo, I basically pried the cheerios off my floor. And then Ollie dumped an entire box on the floor. I spend so much time getting down with my dustpan after sweeping up billions of cheerios, I don't even want to think about it. AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT!

And the other day while I was getting my hair done, I was on my phone on the Amazon app and I was just like DUH! A DUSTBUSTER!!! (you know like one of those little handheld cordless vacuums??). And one "one-touch-buy-now" later, it has arrived and MY LIFE WILL CHANGE!!!

It got me thinking, what else ain't nobody got time for?!
I spend enough energy running after two small children, I just have to eliminate time-consuming minutia that just drives me crazy, or I will quite literally lose my mind.
So. My list.
Ain't nobody got time for:

1. Sorting laundry. Before I had kids, I used to sort my laundry so intricately. By color, so: reds, greens, blues, yellows, and whites. Kind of ridiculous. I just do not have the capacity to do that anymore. With my kids, I usually throw a load of their clothes or towels in like every other day. If I had to sort them I would literally never do any laundry because the loads wouldn't be big enough to justify. Enter Shout Color Catchers. These are amazing and have saved my life. You can throw one sheet in the washer with your clothes and it absorbs any dyes that leak off your clothes, so they don't bleed into the other clothes! It is seriously genius. I've even been able to wash whites with reds and darks with NO bleeding or fading! I can wash so many more loads now without having to worry about sorting it! Score.

2. Washing kids' hands all the time. I went to the Central Park Zoo with friends one time and we all sat down for a snack and I was about to head to the bathroom to wash my kids' hands and my friend whips out this spray hand sanitizer sorcery and I was like WHAT?! HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS EXISTS?!? Honest Company makes Hand Sanitizer Spray you can just spray onto yours and your kids' hands and rub in, and boom. Germ free hands. It comes in great scents like vanilla, orange and lavender too, so you're not always smelling like rubbing alcohol. This came in SUPER handy when we were at Disneyland last week. I had a bottle in my fanny pack (yeah. you read that right. a fanny pack. #iamsocool) and it made our frequent bathroom stops so much quicker, without having to lift my kids up to the sink and wash their hands and mine while trying to balance them on my knee. Spray hand sanitizer you guys. The bomb dot com.
3. Under-eye circles. I have two kids under 4. I. Am. So. Tired. I already have olive skin, so under-eye circles already show up easily on my skin tone anyway, so if I miss a minute of sleep, I am the walking dead. I am not a make-up girl. I don't like it. I'm not against it, I just hate not being able to rub my eyes or touch my face. So other than mascara and the occasional bright lip, I don't wear much makeup. I don't really wear foundation or anything like that (I'm actually trying to think right now if I even have any......nope. can't remember.). BUT. I do own Erase Paste by benefit cosmetics and with like a pinprick size of paste I just pat on with my finger, the circles are gone-zo. I have had it for like 2 months and haven't even made a dent in it. This stuff will hold me over until my kids go to college.
4. Cooking a 5 star dinner every night. I have a lot of guilt when it comes to this. Growing up, I remember my mom always making the most amazing food, and I feel guilty when I don't blow everyone away every night. I just don't have the capacity. (See above: I. Am. So. Tired) But then I thought about it and my memories of delicious dinners start when I was in grade school. When we were toddlers, and my dad was working crazy hours on Wall Street, we had small dinners with my mom that were no frills and really easy for when a mom of 4 under 4 (how in the heck do people do that?!) was so tired she could barely make toast. I've been trying to erase the guilt when we end up with spaghetti or grilled cheese or eggs for dinner. It's ok to take it easy sometimes! I have given myself a break and will sometimes just feed my family pre-prepared meals. I love Trader Joe's when it comes to this. Their frozen foods cannot be beat. Their orange chicken, chili lime burgers, turkey burgers, gnocchi, kung pao chicken, and tons of other meals can easily feed a family of 4 and I don't feel like I'm feeding my family absolute garbage.

5. Washing your hair everyday. Confession session: I hardly ever wash my hair. I have very dry skin and hair, so it doesn't get super oily, it holds a style pretty well so if I style it once, it will usually stay for several days or even a week. I just don't have the patience to blow out and style my naturally curly (read: frizzy) hair day in and day out! I can't do it! I didn't discover dry shampoo til college but it is seriously fabulous. It's kind of on the rise now, so every haircare line makes one these days, but I still stick by my original fave, Batiste Dry Shampoo. It has the best scents, it has tinted options for darker hair, and absorbs oil really well, PLUS I really like the amount of pressure in the bottle because it shoots out a pretty powerful blast of air, so it's almost like re-blowing it out. It buys me at least 2 more days of not having to wash my hair, so yay.

6. Scanning the internet for promo codes. I know this is super random, but I do a lot of shopping online and I found this app and it is crazy bananas awesome. It's called "Honey", and it installs a button in your browser (kind of like the pin-it button from pinterest), so whenever you make any kind of purchase online, it scans the entire interwebs for possible coupon or promo codes, and applies all of them automatically to your purchase. Sometimes you get multiple ones that apply, sometimes none of the ones they run apply, but it's so nice to know you're never missing a deal! PLUS they have another feature, where on certain shopping sites, like amazon, they'll put a little button next to the price that either shows you a place or seller where you can find that exact item for less, or a button that says it's the best deal you can find. It's seriously so cool, I don't know how I ever did without it.

7. Mopping floors. I'm not saying don't mop your floors, I'm not a savage! What I am saying, is you don't need to go around with a big old bucket of water anymore because I am about to change your life. I have never been a big swiffer type mop person just because I don't like having to buy new pads for it all the time. Seems wasteful. (Landfills and stuff.) So, I love Squirt & Mop by Method. I can use my own mop with a machine-washable cover (I like this one), and seriously you just squirt out the solution from the bottle over the floor, and mop it up with your mop. My absolute least favorite household chore is so much better with this stuff. They make it for multiple surfaces, I've used the wood one and the tile one and they are both great. And they smell divine, like most Method products.


8. Waiting for packages. I feel like this goes without saying, but. Get Amazon Prime.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Three Things I Learned While Doing Whole30

WAIT! Before you roll your eyes and close this window, let me say this: THIS POST HAS NOTHING (or very little) TO DO WITH FOOD.

We're about half way through January already and my resolutions and goals are still on my mind. Last October I set the massive goal of completing Whole30. It was insane/amazing. And it really set me up to go big with my resolutions this year!

If you're wondering what Whole30 is, go here to read all about it.  But I'll give you the basics. It's 30 days of eliminating foods that are commonly linked to poor health or negative symptoms (anything from moodiness to indigestion to fatigue.) So for 30 days we completely eliminated all dairy, grains, unhealthy oils, added or artificial sugars of any kind, preservatives, ect. We basically just ate fruits, vegetables and meat. Whole30, for me, represented massive goal/challenge that I never thought I could accomplish. So as you're reading this, feel free to replace it with something that is on your heart that you can relate to.

1. A strong marriage makes all the difference

Whole30 was a family goal that Zack and I set together. On one of our (rare) date nights we decided to set some goals for ourselves and for our family and Whole30 had been something we had sort of been wanting to do. But until then, we hadn't been ready to commit. We agreed that if we were going to do it, we needed to do it 100%, and we needed to do it together. I know without a doubt, I would never have reached my goal of 30 days without Zack by my side the entire time. On the days where I struggled, he picked me up and helped me stay on track. And I did the same for him. We each had our role to play in a common goal so we never had to feel alone. It was easier to make good choices because we didn't want to let each other down. Going through this experience with Zack reminded me what a huge blessing marriage can be. When we set goals together and work together we can achieve far more than what we could have done on our own. Our individual potential is increased simply by having each other's support and confidence. I know that I will always be more successful when I have Zack by my side. And honestly, I can't wait for the next goal we set together.

2. There will ALWAYS be another brownie

If you know me, you know I like to indulge. If there is a brownie in front of me, I'll eat it. Actually, if there is anything remotely sweet or delicious in front of me, I'll eat it. Before Whole30 I just simply couldn't resist. In culinary school I developed a serious passion for delicious food. Like if you were looking at my list of priorities, food would barely come in behind family. If I had to choose 3 things to take with me to an abandoned island, at least two of them would be food. Okay, you get the point. I've always felt really strongly that food is meant to be enjoyed. It's most important job is to be the fuel for our bodies, but it's also a deeply emotional and social part of our lives. I've always felt like if I have the opportunity to indulge, I'm absolutely going to do it. Whole30 complicates that... Like a lot. About 7 days into our 30, I attended a baby shower. The food choices included pumpkin cookies, caramel fondue, brownies, cake, candy, basically all of my favorite things. It was by far the hardest temptation I faced. I knew I wasn't going to give in, because I was committed (and also, mostly because Zack would kill me) so I grabbed a few apple slices and walked far far away from the dessert table.

The thing I kept repeating in my brain over and over is this. Are you ready for it? It's pretty deep... "There will be another brownie" Thankfully, there is no brownie shortage in the world. This was not my last opportunity to eat a brownie. It was just one in like, a million chances I'll have to eat a brownie in my life. Just because I want something doesn't mean I should have it. This was a time in my life where I was committed to not eating brownies so I didn't. And I found comfort in knowing that I won't be in this stage forever. I'm sure the next event I go to will have brownies or something equally as delicious/devilish. And maybe I'll indulge. Maybe I won't. I think this relates to so many different aspects of my life right now. There are a lot of things that I'd like to do, but I know that it's just not the time in my life. I would really love to live close to our families, but the truth is we're exactly where we're supposed to be. I'd love to be going on adventurous vacations all the time. But honestly, it's just not the time in our life. We could decide to do those things anyway, regardless of the consequences. But because I know that time will come eventually, I'm able to resist for the time being. Because you guys, there will ALWAYS be another brownie. 

3. I can do hard things.

Now if you read the Whole30 book, "It Starts with Food", you'll read this quote, "It is not hard. Don't you dare tell us this is hard. (Tough love?) Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black (or skipping all the brownies) Is. Not. hard" and I get it, there are much harder things in life than eating healthy food. But this was really hard for me. I love food. I love to eat the best food (and sometimes Oreos) at every possible opportunity. So, this commitment meant I'd be saying "No" a lot while my heart and tastebuds were screaming "YES!!!" The reason it took us over a year to finally actually bite the bullet and do this is because I genuinely believed I couldn't do it. "I'm not strong enough." "I need to bake." "I'm just not cut out for this." These were all the excuses I used to convince myself not to do it. But it was something I wanted to do, so I was going to do it anyway. It was only for 30 days and my mom has always taught me, "You can do anything! Especially when you know it is temporary."

So we cleaned out our fridge and filled it with the best of the best. Mountains of vegetables, fresh fruit, and protein in all its forms. The first few days were tough. I was thinking how long it would be before I had a piece of candy, or got to bake cookies. At one point there was a voice in my head that said , "Just give up now. You can't do this. Better to give up sooner than later." I had to immediately shut that voice down and say YES I CAN! My inner dialogue became exceedingly important over the 30 days. As soon as a negative thought entered my mind I had to kick it out. Otherwise I'd just be laying on the floor crying over all the brownies I didn't eat. The more I told myself, "I can do this" the more I believed it. And guess what, I did it. I did something I never thought I could do.

Have you ever done that? Overcome one of your greatest weaknesses? Conquered a massive goal? It has been one of the most empowering experiences of my life. It has inspired me to set more goals; goals that seem out of my league. Because for the first time in my life, I truly believe I can do anything I set my mind to. I can do hard things. And you can too.

Like Miley always said, "There's always gonna be another mountain. I'm always gonna wanna make it move" Whole30 was one of my mountains. And now, with the experiences I had and knowledge I gained, I'll move onto another mountain. Maybe a bigger one, maybe not. (Maybe a mountain of brownies.) But the mountain never really mattered anyway because...

What mountains are you climbing this year? Leave us a comment and tell us your Resolutions and #Goals for 2016!


P.S. I ended up really loving Whole30, and we have stuck with most of the Whole30 principles. If you ever want to try it out, I've got plenty of advice and recipes! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

you got this

You guys, sometimes I wonder if I’m doing it right. The mom thing. There are so many amazing moms in my life. And on pinterest. And blogs. And in the news. And basically everywhere. I mean we’re surrounded by moms. Good moms. And it’s so easy to see all of those moms at their best (and let’s be real, we are almost always seeing them at their best), making their own baby food, maintaining the most organized homes,  throwing adorable themed parties, using cloth diapers, buying organic snacks, and all this while looking flawless and perfectly coiffed. And I think “WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING? I AM THE WORST! I DON’T HAVE A CHORE CHART FOR MY 2 YEAR OLD! I ACCIDENTALLY PUT SUNSCREEN ON MY 5 MONTH OLD! AND MY DISPOSABLE DIAPERS ARE FILLING UP ALL THE LANDFILLS!!!”

And then the other day, I was giving my 2 year old a bath. We were laughing while I got her all soapy, and I stopped for a second, and I thought to myself “Your daughter is going to get out of this tub, cheery, clean, and warm, and then you are going to put clean, warm, appropriately fitted pajamas on her, and then you will tuck her into a bed with clean sheets with her 2 special blankets and she will be happy. You’re doing a good job.”

And another time, I was agonizing over  something else that I can’t remember right now but then I stopped and looked at my kids. My 5 month old was drinking a bottle (by himself! My heart!) and my 2 year old was eating her lunch, which consisted of a fruit, a vegetable, a grain, protein (PB for the win!) and dairy. I all of a sudden felt like a super capable adult. I thought to myself “You’re doing it right.”

And then one time I walked in on my two year old playing with her precious dinosaurs. One was falling off the couch and she had her “mommy” one saying “Oh no, sweetie. It’s going to be ok. Don’t worry sweetheart.” And I thought to myself, “She learned to talk like that from you. You’re doing so well.”

Look, none of us have it completely together. That other mom you saw at the children’s museum the other day, who had a full face of makeup and perfect hair and perfect snacks for her kids and who is being abnormally patient with her kids, I promise you: she is having a good day. You have them too. She also has bad days. You have them too.

There are some children out there who aren’t blessed with loving parents, but yours are. You’re doing something right. You’re trying. That means everything. If you’re doing all you can, if your kids know you love them, you’re doing it right.

A favorite quote of mine: "To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are.”

You really are. Keep on keepin’ on, mom. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mama & Little Giveaway

We are so excited to be working with Arlene from Mama&Little this week. She sent us a couple of necklaces to test, review and GIVEAWAY! That's right! She is giving us 50$ in store credit to give away to one of you!!! That's a combination of necklaces and/or bracelets!! The details for the giveaway are at the bottom of this post.

So, if you've never used teething jewelry, you're probably like "what?", so let me give you the basics. Mama And Little makes super cute necklaces and bracelets (to fit every mama's style) that are totally safe for your teething baby to chew on. They are food-grade (plus no BPA, PVC, phthalate, cadmium, latex, lead, or heavy metals) silicon and are totally dishwasher safe. The beads won't break or fall off. They provide a convenient, stylish & safe teething option.

Brittany is wearing the Zooey in Mint
This is the Deila in Marsala
As you can see, both of our babes loved grabbing onto these necklaces. We each flew with our babies this week and they were like a secret weapon for helping our girls fall asleep on the plane. They are definitely a new Mama and Baby fave around here. (In fact, I just may be ordering this and/or this for myself for Christmas!)

Okay, now for the giveaway! Use the Rafflecopter to enter, we'll draw a winner on Friday (Dec 18th) and announce that afternoon. Good luck, and may the giveaway odds be EVER in your favor! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

bloom where you're planted

written by Caity

A theme we decided to have in this blog has been "bloom where you're planted", and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately..

I remember when we first moved to Philadelphia we had high hopes and a lot of optimism. We lived in a funky neighborhood, Brad had a cool job, we were kind of "on our own" in a new place for the first time. We were excited.

Then we got sued by a cyclist for scratching him when he ran a light and grazed our car, got our car mirror smashed in by some hellions, realized the overall filthiness of the city, were smothered by the humidity and no central air, were harassed by our landlord, and were unable to find parking on our tiny one way street. Ever. 

We lost steam really quickly. We thought living in Philly would be a type of "New York lite" experience for us. City life, but less expensive, and more car friendly. But all it did was seem to be against us all the time, and always fall short of expectations we'd had from living close to New York. We started to really dislike Philadelphia. 

The seasons changed and we were able to find a new apartment near the park to rent, with parking. We made some dear friends who raised our spirits even in the hardest times. Without the constant stress of being prisoner to parking spaces and a naggy landlord, we were suddenly able to deal with the stress of having a husband that works at a start-up. We took full advantage of living near the park and spent every spare second we could soaking it up. I regained my sanity walking through the woods in that back every single day. We gazed out our windows at the beautiful spring flowers that bloomed outside. Our attitudes and hearts changed. 

Our short time in Philadelphia was hard, but I remember rocking Bea to sleep at night, looking out the window at our beautiful trees, thinking, "Life is so good. Our life here is precious."

Philadelphia didn't change. It's still dirty, people are still prickly, it's still hard to get around. But I have only the fondest memories of living there. The first months were hard but as our attitudes changed, and we decided to bloom where we were planted, our time there was wonderful and such a sweet season of our lives. Leaving after only a year was hard. But it was a lesson to me to start sooner. To enjoy my life wherever I end up and not to wait too long to do it. Time is precious. Too precious to waste on negative feelings and wishing for the past, and the comfortable. I learned that I need to exit my comfort zone to find a new, even sweeter comfort zone, and to enjoy it while I can because it could be gone all too soon. Living in Philadelphia was not easy, but I learned such valuable lessons; it was one of the most important years of my life. I hope I can always remember to hit the ground and bloom where I'm planted as quickly as I can. Life’s too short not to.

some snapshots from one of the most enlightening springs of my life:

around the corner from our house

from my walks in the woods

all of this, RIGHT outside my kitchen window!

our beautiful philly front yard

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Putting Christ back in Christmas

Apparently Caity and I are on the same wave length lately, because this post may have some common threads from her post on Friday.

Like Caity, I've never really been a Black Friday shopper. I don't love the chaos of shopping crowds on a normal day. So Black Friday has rarely tempted me. Zack probably thought he really lucked out by marrying someone who doesn't want to wake up at the crack of dawn to drag him around the mall and spend all the money. But you guys, there is something far more dangerous than plain old Black Friday. Its called Cyber (Psycho) Monday. Online shopping is a habit forming experience. You stay in your pajamas, in the comfort of your own home. It's just too easy. Then you add in the convenience of the Amazon or Zulily app and its just a recipe for disaster. So when Cyber Monday comes around it's all about dem dealz.

Normally I have to pull myself away from my social media apps. But on Cyber Monday, its' all the shopping apps that I can't get enough of. I'm not going to lie to you. I may have switched tabs a few times while writing this post, just to double check deals. I've become consumed with my gift list, and searching for hours and through pages of funky socks and kitchen gadgets to find the perfect gifts. 

I'm really excited about Christmas. LIKE REALLY excited. Christmas is by far my favorite time of year, and I may have started listening to Christmas music on November 1st. I love the music, and the cookies, and the decorations. I love the nativities, and the opportunity to talk about Christ more. I love that its one time of year when we get to be with all of our family. I love to get gifts, obviously. But even more, I love giving gifts. I love everything about Christmas time (yes, even the snow.) 

But for some reason this year, it's been harder to let Christ sit at the forefront of my Christmas celebration. I'm so stressed out about what I'm going to buy for everyone for Christmas, that I haven't even taken 5 minutes to watch the new video about Christ. The shopping has totally distracted me from the real reason we even give gifts. I haven't really pondered Christ, or thought about what I'm going to give Him this year. So, I've pulled myself away from all the dealz, to make a list of 25 ways to put Christ back into Christmas. 

I like to think about what Christ would be doing if he were here. I think He'd be serving, He'd be spreading joy, He'd be feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. He'd be doing things to lift people up and make their lives a little easier. So that's exactly how I'll serve him this Christmas. One of our modern day apostles, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "As we emulate His perfect example, our hands become his hands, our eyes his eyes, and our hearts His heart."  I want to take more time this season to worship Christ, to share my testimony of Christ with others, and to be His hands. 

I want to get my Christmas season back on track. So each day, I'll complete at least one thing on the list until Christmas. Most of them won't require much money, or much work. But they will each be an outward act of my love for Christ. Each experience will step outside my normal routine to focus my heart on Christ.  
Christ said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." As we become His hands on the Earth we will come to know Him more deeply, we will see people through His eyes, and our hearts will become more like His. I hope you'll join me in making this Christmas season more about Christ. Make your own list, or steal mine. Let's focus on giving the gifts that Christ would give.

1. Read this book as a family
2. Take dinner to a friend
3. Watch this video with my family
4. Donate a Toy
5. Donate a Coat
6. Pay for someone's groceries
7. Scrape someone's windshield
8. Shovel someone's driveway
9. Babysit someone's kids
10. Bear my testimony of Christ
11. Pay for someone's order at the drive-thru
12. Read Luke 2
13. Doorbell ditch cookies
14. Visit an assisted living home
15. Call an older family member
16. Leave quarters at the quarter machines
17. Donate to No Kid Hungry
18. Buy a gift card and hide it in the store
19. Post a message about Christ on Facebook
20. Post about Christ on Instagram
21. Pay 10 people genuine compliments in one day
22. Pick up garbage
23. Write thank you cards and mail them out
24. Make a Nativity craft
25. Visit a live Nativity


Friday, November 27, 2015

holly jolly

You guys. It’s official. The day after Thanksgiving. I CAN FINALLY LISTEN TO CHRISTMAS MUSIC! I can finally get a Christmas tree! I can finally decorate for Christmas! I can finally drink eggnog! (I hate eggnog, but I COULD if I wanted to!!)

I have never been a Black Friday shopper. Growing up, my family didn’t really go crazy with Christmas gifts. We had some but it never looked like a toy store under the tree. We usually got a few nice gifts from mom and dad, and one BIG gift to share from “Santa.” So I have never really associated the Christmas season with shopping, presents, or sales. And I am SOOOO grateful to my parents for that. I want to keep that sensibility for all my Christmases with my kids.

Christmas hasn’t always been my favorite holiday, probably because I always thought Santa Claus was a bit silly, and I really don’t like winter, BUT the older I get, the more I love Christmas time. I’ve grown to really associate Christmas with Christ and it makes the season so enjoyable for me. We get an entire month to focus on the Savior! It’s so wonderful and such a blessing! We get to listen to and sin songs about him all day long all month long, we get to share his story to our families, we get to focus on trying to be a little kinder, a little more Christlike, and a bit more generous. We get to spend time with our families. We get to share traditions. We get to eat and share yummy food. We get to smell the wonderful smell of Christmas trees everywhere. All the while, being grateful for a Savior that has made this beautiful life all possible. It’s just so pleasant, I’m surprised I didn’t hop on the train sooner.

I love this video that my church made last Christmas about the birth of Jesus Christ. I am so glad we have a month to celebrate Him and his gift to us. Here’s to a wonderful Christmas season!

If you liked this, you're in luck, a brand new one is being released this Sunday! You can find it  <here>.