Mama Mondays

Leslyn's Lovely Life

I’m linking up with Leslyn at Leslyn’s Lovely Life for her Mama Mondays link up.

So much for a relaxing weekend at home where I get all the cleaning and laundry done :)  We had gorgeous weather on Saturday (about 70 degrees).  The girls wanted to take Nana and Grandpa to the corn maze to share it with them, so we ended up back there.

Bouncy Pillow

Bouncy Pillow

The bouncy pillow was a huge hit again.  They love it and I love that I can see them the whole time.

Sauchuk Farm Corn Maze

Sauchuk Farm Corn Maze

Ssauchuk Farm Corn Maze with Nana and Grandpa

Sauchuk Farm Corn Maze with Nana and Grandpa

This time we remembered to get a map (so much easier with the map).

Skipping through the corn maze

Skipping through the corn maze

Ava had a blast skipping through the maze.

On Sunday we headed to the mall to get the girls’ Christmas pictures done.  It’s the earliest we’ve ever done them, but we have the dresses and the discounts are good now, so why not?  As always, Portrait Simple took great pictures and we had a hard time choosing the ones we wanted to get.

So grown up

So grown up

All wrapped up

All wrapped up

These were a couple of my favorites.  I love that they don’t rush you through at Portrait Simple.  You have a 30 minute appointment and if they get all the pictures they want, they just keep going.  The picture of the girls wrapped up in lights was done at the end because we had time left over and the girls loved it.

After Christmas pictures and ordering our Christmas cards, we did a little shopping.  My black shoes broke last week and I couldn’t find ones I loved in my size at DSW on Saturday.  Luckily, I found great, affordable black heels at the mall.  Usually when I NEED to buy something, I end up having to pay twice what I want to because I can’t find a good deal.

This week should be a little crazy: I will be in a training class for work, Ella has school pictures, Ava has speech, Ella has a physical and it’s our last week of soccer.  Plus, I have all that cleaning and laundry to get done :)


Thanks for reading.


New Subscriptions from Kiwi Crate + Coupon Code

Eeeek!!!!  The new crates from Kiwi Crate are going to be shipping next week!!!  (They take about a week to arrive so I will probably have it the last week of t he month).  Ella has received Kiwi Crate for about 6 months and we love it.  Kiwi Crate is for ages 4-8 to celebrate creativity and curiosity with activities designed to help kids discover, explore and create.  You can read some of our reviews here and here.

Now, they are adding:

Doodle Crate (ages 9-14+): Inspire self-expression & confidence in young makers with new crafting techniques and materials.  Upcoming themes include colorblock candles and geometric pouches.

Doodle Crate

Doodle Crate

Koala Crate (ages 3-4): Explore developmentally appropriate, enriching projects with your preschooler.  Upcoming themes include color and transportation.

Koala Crate

Koala Crate

Tinker Crate (ages 9-14+): Promote creative problem-solving skills with STEM-based, at-home experiments and magazines.  Upcoming themes include motor and trebuchet.

Tinker Crate

Tinker Crate

I ordered one of each crate and will update with reviews of each crate when they arrive.

Prices start at $16.95 for a month to month subscription and decrease with a 6 or 12 month subscription.  Did you order one of the new crates from Kiwi Crate?  I love that they are adding crates for older kids (there aren’t too many out there) and that they are still somewhat gender neutral.

Coupon: Using my Kiwi Crate referral link will save you $10 off any subscription.  In full disclosure, it will also earn me a $10 credit for Kiwi Crate.


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Friday Fave Five

Friday Fave Five

Friday Fave Five

I’m again linking up with Jennifer at Mom’s Got Mail for her Friday Fave Five blog hop.

If you haven’t entered my giveaways for a free Jamberry nail wrap or a Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain, there’s still time to enter.

Here are my five favorite things this week:


Favorite Deal:

deskpad- apples

Through 10/19/14 use code NOTEPADS40 at to save 40% off any notepad.  I picked up these adorable teacher deskpads to give Ella’s teachers for Christmas.  They were $18 each and are personalized with the teacher’s name and school.  I also grabbed a checklist for Ella:

FUNctional family -individual checklist -pinks

FUNctional family -individual checklist

I am wishing I had bought her some of these practice pads for Christmas.  She is great at her capital letters and is starting to work on lowercase letters.

practice pads -kids block letters

practice pads -kids block letters

All of those items plus a lot more are included in the 40% off sale.  And if you are a new customer, if you use an referral code you can get a $10 coupon code when you create an account.

Favorite Season:

Changing Leaves

 Really, my favorite season is whatever season we are in.  I love living in New England and having a real fall.  The leaves changing is always cool, but this year it’s especially awesome.

Favorite Food:

Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha

I’m not a huge Starbucks fan like some people, but I love the Salted Caramel Mocha.  Hot, iced, frappuccino…it’s all good.  That paired with Target can be a dangerous combination.

Favorite Clothing:

Quilted Floral Sweatshirt

Quilted Floral Sweatshirt at The Limited

I love this Quilted Floral Sweatshirt at the Limited.  It’s $60 full price, but if you use the code BONUS, you can save $20 off $60.  It’s the kind of shirt you could wear to a family dinner and be cozy and comfortable without being too casual.

Favorite for Kids:

Personalized Chef's Hat and Apron

Personalized Chef’s Hat and Apron

I picked up these hats and aprons from earlier this week for the girls for Christmas.  I can’t wait to see them in person.  They aren’t on Jane anymore, but you can order them from the manufacturer here.
Thanks for checking out my favorites this week!


This post contains referral links. 

21 Day Fix – Week One

As part of my makeover October, I decided it was time to do Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix again.  I did this in the Spring and lost weight.  But a summer of too little exercise and too much ice cream has caught up with me and it’s time to regain control of my eating habits.  The first time I did this program, it was brand new and there weren’t too many recipes out there.  So, I ended up eating a lot of meals that were three components (a protein, a vegetable, a starch) and by the end I was craving a real meal.

Now that the program has been out for about 6 months, there’s a lot more out there online to help.  So I hopped on Pinterest and downloaded this app from iTunes:

21 Day Fix App from Fat Chicken

21 Day Fix App from Fat Chicken

The app is essentially a database and tracks the same as if you used the paper trackers included in the book.  There’s not much additional functionality here, but if you are away from home often and don’t want to carry your paper tracker with you, this is great.  It was .99 on iTunes.

Tracking Containers in the 21 Day Fix App

Tracking Containers in the 21 Day Fix App

I wish the app had a notes section so if you worked out extra, ate more than you should have or traded a carb for a “treat” (which is allowed 3x per week on the plan) you could keep track of it here.

21 Day Fix

21 Day Fix

Also, last time I tried doing my regular workout with the 21 Day Fix workouts.  By the end of week two, my muscles were drained.  This time, I’ll be doing my own workouts when I am teaching Zumba or going to the gym.  The other nights I will do the 21 Day Fix workouts.

To keep the blog from becoming too heavy with 21 Day Fix information, I’ve decided I’ll post at the end of each week.

Day 1:

Breakfast: one egg on an English Muffin with 1 slice cheese (1/2 red, 2 yellow, 1/2 blue, 1 orange)

Lunch: grilled chicken breast on lettuce and tomato (1 red, 1 green)

Snack 1: yogurt and grapes (1 red, 2 purple)

Dinner: spaghetti squash and tomato sauce with mushrooms and cheese (1 green, 1/2 blue)

Snack 2: chocolate protein shake with 2 tsp. peanut butter and “pumpkin pie “(1.5 red, 1 green, 2 spoons)

Notes: I did not follow the workout for the day, I went to a functional strength training class at the gym instead and did the abs DVD.

This was my first time making “pumpkin pie”.  I didn’t add spices and I made it in a ramekin.  The pumpkin was too deep to really get a cake-like consistency throughout and it was more like a vegetable than a dessert.  But, I have pumpkin left so I will be making it again.


Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Day 2:

Breakfast: English Muffin with butter (1 yellow, 1 orange)

Lunch: Buffalo Chicken dip with celery and 2 corn tortillas (2 red, 1 blue, 1 yellow)

Snack 1: Banana (2 purple)

Dinner: spaghetti squash and tomato sauce with mushrooms and a meatball (1 green, 1 red)

Snack 2: chocolate protein shake with 2 tsp. peanut butter and “pumpkin pie”

Notes: I didn’t follow the workout again today because I taught Zumba Step.  I did do the 10 minute abs DVD when I got home.

I doubled the protein in the Buffalo Chicken dip but because I couldn’t double the cheese, it wasn’t as cheesy as I would have liked.  I wouldn’t double the proteins again.  Instead I would make it as the recipe is written and bring a yogurt with me.


Spaghetti Squash, Mushrooms and a Meatball

Spaghetti Squash, Mushrooms and a Meatball

Day 3:

Breakfast: English Muffin with butter (1 yellow, 1 orange)

Lunch: Buffalo Chicken dip with celery and 2 corn tortillas (1 red, 1 blue, 1 yellow)

Dinner: strawberry protein shake with banana and salad (1 red, 2 purple, 2 green)

Snack 2: chocolate protein shake with 2 tsp. peanut butter (1 red, 2 spoons)

Workout: Pilates Fix


Day 4:

Breakfast: 3 egg omelet with cheese (1.5 red, 1 blue)

Lunch: chocolate protein shake with 2 tsp. peanut butter (1 red, 2 spoons)

Dinner: turkey cranberry flatbread and Fiji apple chicken salad from Panera (2 yellow, 1.5 red, 3 green, 2 purple)

Notes: Since it was the weekend, I didn’t really plan well for today.  Ava fell asleep on me around lunch time so I let her sleep instead of making my lunch.  I opted for salad and a flatbread for dinner because it fit the plan the best.


Day 5:

Breakfast: 3 egg omelet with cheese (1.5 red, 1 blue)

Lunch: chocolate protein shake with 2 tsp. peanut butter (1 red, 2 spoons)

Dinner: turkey cranberry flatbread and Fiji apple chicken salad from Panera (2 yellow, 1.5 red, 3 green, 2 purple)

Notes: Another busy, unplanned menu day.  Weekends are the hardest for me to preplan and the area I definitely struggle with most.  I ended up with the same dinner as yesterday because we were at the corn maze and then had to hit up Target.  Although Panera isn’t as healthy as making my own food, it’s the best take out I can find.  Part of making this work for me long term is making the choices – if I have to eat takeout, a Panera salad and flatbread sandwich are better than a Wendy’s bacon cheeseburger and fries (which is what I had recently been relying on for a quick meal).


Day 6:

Breakfast: English muffin and butter (1 yellow, 1 orange)

Lunch: Turkey, bacon, apple and cheese sandwich from work with a fruit cup (1 yellow, 2 red, 1 purple, 1 blue)

Snack: Small banana (1 purple)

Dinner: Steak, mushrooms and salad (1 red, 3 green)

Snack: chocolate protein shake with 2 tsp. peanut butter (1 red, 2 spoons)

Notes: For a workout I did the Pilates Fix.  I had planned to bring a Mexican salad to work but the sandwich offered today was one of my favorites and since it fit into the Fix, I went for it.  But, because I crammed so many foods into one meal so early in the day, I did spend the late afternoon hungry.


Day 7:

Breakfast: English muffin (1 yellow)

Lunch: Grilled chicken breast on lettuce and tomato, fruit cup (1 red, .5 green, .5 purple)

Dinner: Pork, salad and rice (1 red, 1 orange, 1 green, 1 yellow)

Snack: Banana, yogurt (1.5 purple, 1 red)

Snack: Protein shake with 2 tsp. peanut butter (1 red, 2 spoons) and pumpkin “pie” (1 green, 1 blue)

Cafeteria Lunch

Cafeteria Lunch

Week 1 Final Thoughts:

As with any program, this is easier the more you plan and prep.  I lost —- pounds in the first 7 days which is great for me.  I don’t find that I really miss having a carb with each meal as long as I have prepared an actual meal.  If I’m just eating random foods because those are the containers I have left,  I feel unsatisfied.  I expect my weight loss the next two weeks to slow down, but we’ll see.  I’ll post again at the end of each week to let you know how it’s going.

Thursday Thoughts


TTGood-copyI’m again linking up with Jennifer at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her Thursday Thoughts link-up.

~ Week 1 of the 21 Day Fix is done and my recap post will be up later today.  It was a struggle at times (especially the weekends and when walking by the Halloween candy at Target :)  But, overall it was a good week and I am down 4.5 lbs.  Next week I will be at a class for work eating convention center food, so that will be a real struggle.

~ I am a huge giveaway addict.  I love entering everyone’s gives ;)  If you  haven’t entered my giveaway for Jamberry Nail Wraps or a Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain, there’s still time.

~ My Christmas shopping is in full swing.  I’m hoping to be mostly done by Thanksgiving so we can enjoy the weekends leading up to Christmas without having to run to the stores. has been my friend lately.  I picked up these adorable necklaces for the girls to give my nieces in WI:

Long Distance USA necklace

~ I am so excited about Top Chef Boston starting!  It’s so much fun to see places that you know.  But, the beginning of any new reality show season is hard because there’s just so many people and figuring out who they are takes a few weeks.

Top Chef Boston

~ I took full advantage of the Erin Condren free cover deal that they are running through the end of the month.  They are also running a 40% off notepads (and if you sign up through my referral link you can get a $10 coupon).  I ordered 2 desktop calendars for Ella’s teachers for Christmas.  I wouldn’t pay $30 for each teacher’s gift (she has an a.m. teacher and a p.m. teacher) but at $18 these are much more in my price range.  And, these are useful gifts.  It’s not dated so if the teacher doesn’t need it until next year, that’s okay.

deskpad- apples

Erin Condren Deskpad

~ The boxes are really starting to pick up.  Kiwi Crate and Citrus Lane are on their way and should be here Saturday so be looking for reviews Sunday.  (Hopefully the new Kiwi Crate boxes: Koala Crate, Tinker Crate and Doodle Crate ship soon.  If you are looking to sign up, you can save $10 with my Kiwi Crate referral link.) My Birchbox came today so there will be a review for that and Fabletics tomorrow.  If you missed it, I reviewed the Birchbox Man Limited Edition box , Jamberry Nail Wraps, Birchbox Mystery Sample Pack and the Cynthia Rowley creamy lip stains.

What’s on your mind this week?


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Finish This…


I’m linking up today for the Finish This… hosted by  LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31).  Basically, they provide the prompts and I have to finish the sentences.

I feel like a bad-ass when I work out.  I may not be super skinny but I can deadlift a ton of weight.  And I can do some pretty impressive stuff with some big kettlebells :)
One thing that always cheers me up is listening to my girls giggle.  No matter what mood I’m in, it will change when they giggle.

Displaying photo.JPG

An Ella selfie with Mommy’s phone :)

The quote I live by is :

My new motto

It sounds harsh, but I’ve spent too much time making decisions based  on how other people will feel and I decided that it’s time to make decisions that are in my best interest and people will understand that.

 If you haven’t already entered my giveaways for a Jamberry nail wrap or a Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain there’s still time!

Thanks for reading!


Erin Condren FREE Cover and Coupon Code

I am so excited that the 2014-2015 Life Planners have launched!  I really do love all things Erin Condren and they have helped my husband and me get much more organized this year.  The new Erin Condren life planners and notebooks have removable covers so you can change them up throughout the year (or have a fun cover for weekends and a professional one for work).

Erin Condren FREE Cover

Erin Condren FREE Cover

Now through 11/1/14, create one FREE cover with code FREECOVER.  If you sign up through my referral link you will receive a code for $10.00 off your first purchase.  Once you purchase your life planner or notebook, you can go back and create another cover for FREE (you do have to pay shipping).

Are you taking advantage of this deal?  What pattern are you getting?  I’m going to grab one in sequins even though I haven’t even bought my new planner for 2015 yet ;)


This post contains referral links.

Birchbox Mystery Sample Pack Women

I was so excited to receive another Birchbox Mystery Sample Packs.  For every order you place of $35 or more, you can add a Mystery Sample Pack.  It’s an item and not a coupon code, so you can get a Mystery Sample Pack and add a coupon code if one applies.  I’ve reviewed Mystery Sample Packs before (check out those reviews here and here), but we got great samples so I decided to show you what we received this time.

Mystery Sample Pack: Women’s


Antica Farmacista Hand Cream in Ala Moana:  $18.00 full size/$2.43 sample value

Obliphica Treatment Hair Serum: $38.00 full size/$1.75 sample value

Color Club Art Duo Pen in black: $10.00 (FULL SIZE)


Total value: $14.19

I’ve had more valuable sample packs before but  Birchbox puts an estimated value of $10 on these packs, so I think the value on this one is great!  The Antica Farmacista and Obliphica are completely new brands to me so this is a great way to try them out.  And I received the Color Club pen in white before, but I’m saving it for my nieces.  Now they will have two colors for nail art.

Sometimes the sample packs are sold out, but keep checking because they are restocked frequently.

Have you gotten a Birchbox Mystery Sample pack lately?  I’d love to hear what you received.


This post contains referral links.

Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain Review + Giveaway

One of my favorite discoveries from Birchbox is the Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain.  I received Valentine in my June box and then chose Sugar for my July box.  This is the perfect combination of lip gloss and a lip stain.  It goes on like a lip gloss and is not sticky at all (nothing worse than when your hair gets stuck in your lip gloss), but unlike a gloss it lasts for hours.  I can drink coffee or water and it doesn’t budge.  It will lose the shine but never feels dry.


I loved my lip stain samples so much I picked up the Creamy Lip Stain Trio from the Birchbox shop.


Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain Trio

The sizes on these are great.  I learned from my Birchbox samples of these not to be afraid of the colors.  From the top: Sugar, Tulip and Valentine.


Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain Trip Swatches

From the top: Sugar, Tulip and Valentine.  Even swatched, Tulip looks scary and like a color I would never wear.  And Valentine…way too bright for me.  But in person, I love them all.


Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain in Tulip

Tulip is a beautiful shade on.  It is not as purple on my lips as it is when swatched on my hand.  As someone who is always running from one thing to the next, I do my makeup in the morning and don’t really check it throughout the day.  I love that I can put this on when we leave the house and am set for a couple hours.

A new color of creamy lip stains was announced a couple weeks ago and I meant to order one in Dahlia.  But, I goofed and ordered a second one in Valentine.  My mistake is your gain.  Click the rafflecopter link below to enter to win one Creamy Lip Stain in Valentine (the one I swatched for this post came from the trio.  The one I’m giving away hasn’t been opened).

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Cynthia Rowley Creamy Lip Stain in Valentine

Good luck!


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