Friday, November 30, 2012

Health & Fitness Friday: New Name, Same Excuses :)

Happy Friday guys!! Welcome back for another week of HEALTH and Fitness Friday!


Although, after the week I have had with eating and NOT working out...it's almost a joke that I am hosting a segment on health and fitness :)

In fact lately, I haven't had much to say about fitness because...to put it lightly...I have sucked in that department. But the only thing that was keeping me from feeling guilty was all the extra effort I had been putting in to eating better and cooking more often. And because we have been spending so much time on healthy eating, I thought it was only appropriate to update the name a little :-)

And speaking of eating healthy, up until Thanksgiving...we were doing FANTASTIC in that department. I was even posting pics of my kids eating salads and munching on fruit BY CHOICE!!



We also kicked our chocolate milk habit, which was HUGE for Blake. He's actually been asking for water, which is just crazy to me. Addie has also been asking for more water, but only because my mom bought them some special big kid cups that she wants to use every day. Hey...whatever works!!

So like I said, we have been making great progress. 

BUT THEN...we had Thanksgiving and totally indulged. And then we got sick around here and that broke our new 2-cups-of-milk-a-day rule. So as you can imagine, the last few days have been tough trying to get back into our new routine. It's amazing how much easier it is to say no to the snacks when the bad stuff simply isn't in the house anymore. There is no way I can give in if we don't have fruit snacks or cookies or chocolate milk. So I suppose that will be the plan again...continue to fill our snack try with tons of yummy HEALTHY treats...



And hopefully we will be back on track again. I mean...at least until all the Christmas cookies and parties start happening. Then it will be back to the drawing board once again. Ha!

But who can blame them?!! I have been JUST as bad with breaking the rules and eating all the yummy treats I am not supposed to have. And let's not even talk about how many days it has been since I worked out. I am embarrassed to admit it.

So I won't.

But I will say that everything is going to get back on track after my 5K this weekend. My Dad and I are running the Santa Hustle in Chicago and it is going to be a BLAST!!!! I have no idea how I am going to run in a santa hat AND beard...


But I am going to give it my best effort. Did I mention they serve milk and cookies at the end of this race? Nom nom.

So after I run this weekend, I am hoping it will give me the kick in the pants i need to start logging some miles again. I said I wouldn't fall off the wagon this winter and I NEED to get back at it before I am too far gone. Know what I mean?

So has anyone else found it really hard to stick to all your health and fitness plans this time of year? What are your strategies to keep from being a lazy fatty this holiday season? Because to be honest...I am tired of talking about wanting to get "back on track" every week without actually doing it. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Two Words I Never Thought I Would Hear...

Your biopsies have been tested and the spot on your leg, unfortunately, came back positive for 
SKIN CANCER

When I heard those words come through the phone, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Was it a joke? Was I dying? Was she mistaken?

But before I could even wrap my head around those two words, the doctor chimed in and assured me that the type of skin cancer I have is not life-threatening. I have what's called a 


It is the most frequently occurring form of skin cancer and it is typically caused by UV exposure. 

As she was explaining the causes, I could picture my 18-year-old self on a lawn chair at the pool in my college apartment complex, smearing tanning oil all over my body. I could also picture all those trips to the tanning bed and the hundreds of dollars I spent trying to be tan.

While we were on the phone, she also told me that the mole they removed on my back came back "abnormal" and typically these types of "abnormal" moles turn into much more serious types of cancer. And so, I will have to have surgery in two weeks to remove a larger area of tissue from my back just to make sure we have clean margins.

As for my leg, we are going to discuss some other alternative treatments but in the end, that may come to surgery as well. Small price to pay when you consider how much worse this could have been.

When my sis-in-law Dana begged me to get this suspicious looking spot on my let checked out, I never in my wildest dreams thought that it would come back as skin cancer. Never. And now, that routine check-up not only spotted that cancer, but also spotted a spot that COULD HAVE been cancer. I feel like a very lucky girl. 

And as scary as this situation is, I am thankful for it. It makes me realize, once again, just how precious our lives are and how they can be changed in a second. Doctors suggest these routine checks for a reason and we should all do ourselves a favor and GET CHECKED. Be conscious of your body and always, ALWAYS, wear sunscreen and be safe in the sun. 

After I got my diagnosis, I told Eric that I needed to make some changes. Although I am always good about wearing sunscreen at the beach or when we are outside all day, I often forget that even my 30-minute runs outside or trips to the park with the kids are exposing me to the sun. So instead of asking Santa for some of my usual skincare items for my stocking...I have a new list.


A Perfect World™ SPF 25 Age-defense moisturizer with White Tea


Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock SPF 70


product image

And because I will never be able to resist a sun-kissed look in the summer...


Clarins - Delicious Self-Tanning Cream
So the purpose of this post friends is to simply encourage all of you to GET CHECKED THIS YEAR! And of course, be thankful for your health every single day :-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cookie & Candy Planning: The EASIEST Holiday Snack Mix You Will Ever Make

Today's task on 100 Days to Christmas is to start gathering supplies and making plans for all the cookie and candy making that is sure to take place in the next few weeks.

Although I love a good Christmas cookie and plan on making several batches of sugar cookies for the kids to decorate, I have become a big fan of Holiday Snack Mix. It's sweet...it's salty...and it makes an adorably delicious gift. It can also be made in HUGE batches so you only have to mess up your kitchen one time.

I actually posted about his delicious holiday mix last year and I got tons of compliments from friends who made it and gave it away as gifts. Here is the post from last year, which also shows how I used my snack mix in Addie's teacher gifts. This year...I have something a little different planned for them so that post will come later :-)

But in the meantime, as you prepare for cookie and candy making, I wanted to share this SUPER simple and delicious recipe.

You only need a few simple ingredients...


The first step is to mix all ingredients except the chocolate chips. You will need:

2 cups Chex Cereal
2 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
1 cup cocktail peanuts
2 bags M&Ms (choose holiday colors for fun)
1 bag mini pretzels


As you will see, the recipe makes quite a bit so once I mix everything together, I like to separate it into two big bowls.

Step two is to heat 3 tbs. vegetable oil and the 2 bags of white chocolate chips in a small saucepan.


Stir constantly to keep from burning until the chocolate is smooth and creamy.


Then just dump the melted chocolate into your bowls and mix really well until all pieces are coated.


Immediately after stirring, spread the mix out on parchment or wax paper to cool.


Cooling only takes about 10 minutes or so and then you are ready to enjoy! Look how delicious...


You can share this mix a million different ways, but I love how it looks in mason jars. So that's what I bought this year, along with some ribbon and a cute label.


See how easy? That one recipe filled 10 mason jars PLUS a container for us to munch on at home. Those 10 jars only took one spool of ribbon as well (10yrds) and 2 sheets of labels. You can create your own label, or you can borrow mine by downloading it here.

I've already stocked my closet with a case of mason jars for this year because I had a hard time finding them once the holidays were in full swing. 

So...what are YOU making this holiday season? Do you have a signature cookie, candy or mix that everyone asks for? Be sure to share!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our Week in a Nutshell: Thanksgiving Fun & The Arrival of Toodles the Elf

For almost a month, I've stared at the 5 blank days that were on our calendar last week. No preschool. No ballet/tap. No class for me. No commitments. 5 WHOLE DAYS with nothing to do...and that included Thanksgiving day (since our two Thanksgiving feasts were on the Sundays surrounding it). And the best part...Eric was off work 2 of those 5 days. We were so excited to just do nothing.

But the kids had other plans :-)

You see...Addison and Blake aren't big fans of staying home. Or relaxing. Or sitting still for 5 seconds. Not even when they have the 12-hour flu (which also showed up during our week off. Boo!)

So when Addie BEGGED me for a playdate because she was feeling better and "bored to tears," we invited some girlfriends over for coffee, donuts and a little dress-up. Playdates are honestly my saving grace as a Stay-at-home-mom. The kids are entertained, you can catch up with friends (for at least a few minutes) and typically...there is coffee and/or wine involved :-)




On Thanksgiving Day, Eric and I debated about staying home or taking the kids to see Rise of the Guardians. I, of course, was all about staying home in my jammies but as soon as Blake heard the word "popcorn"...the decision was made for us. And I'm actually really glad we went because the movie was SO CUTE and both kids sat through the whole thing. It was a fun trip :-)


Afterwards, we ended up heading over to Aunt Dana and Uncle Kevin's for some dinner. The kids played, the guys watched football and the girls sat at the kitchen counter making Christmas lists and doing some early black friday shopping online. It was actually a very productive night :-)

By 7:30, it was time to start packing up to head home but once again...the kids had another plan. They decided it was the PERFECT night for a sleepover. So, Dana and Kevin kept the girls and we took the boys home for their very FIRST sleepover together!! I have never seen two boys more excited to be sleeping in a pink polka dot bed together :-)



I'll admit...I was a little worried that these two would not sleep the night together but to my surprise...they did great and woke up like two happy little campers!!

The next day, we FINALLY got the chance to stay home in our jammies and relax a bit. That was also the night our Elf decided to arrive!!!


I know every family has their own traditions but at our house, our Elf on the Shelf arrives in his box (with his book) all wrapped up on the front porch. He magically rings the doorbell and the kids coming running to find him. This year, he brought two little gifts with him.


Have you ever seen two kids more excited for new Christmas jammies??



This was the first year that Blake remembered Elf when he arrived and it was so fun seeing him get as excited as Addie.



He must have sat and "read" the book for 20 minutes.


While he was busy reading, Addie was busy rummaging through her stuffed animals to find a little Elf that my grandma gave her last year. This thing has to be 20 years old but strangely, it looks a LOT like our Elf on the Shelf. Addie has named this guy "Pierre" and he is going to be Toodles buddy for the season :-)


On Saturday, Eric and I were on a mission to prepare for our big Thanksgiving feast today. We had turkeys to pick up, grocery shopping to do, tables to set...


Luckily...I have a pretty awesome little helper that set almost the WHOLE table by herself. What a sweetie.

I am happy to say that our Thanksgiving feast was a HUGE success today! Eric and I tackled two turkeys and they were both delicious...even though Eric's super duper deep friend turkey was the brunt of some seriously funny and inappropriate jokes.


And speaking of two turkeys...check out these dudes in the turkey shirts that Nana made them!


They both totally love the camera...as you can see.


Oh well...at least I got some people to smile for me!!



I know I say it over and over and over again...but I am such a lucky girl to have all of my family so close. To sit at one big table together...


Or one little table...


And share a special meal with your family is a gift...one that I am very thankful for this year...and every year :-)

So after we chowed down...we started taking bets on who the first one would be to fall asleep. I had my money on Richard (my Grandma's BF), but it was actually Blakey Boy!! Nana has the touch I guess.


It was another fabulous Thanksgiving in the books.

But now it's back to reality tomorrow! Why are Monday's always so much harder after a holiday?? 

Well I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving week with your family too!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Specials at ThePolkaDotPosie

Happy Black Friday friends!! I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving with your families yesterday!! Eric and I took the kids to see Rise of the Guardians and it was such a cute movie! We are actually hosting our Thanksgiving this weekend so we still have lots of cooking and celebrating to do :-)

But before all that...it's time to finish some CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!! So who has been out hitting the stores already today? Well if you are like me and prefer shopping at home in your jammies...then make sure you stop by ThePolkaDotPosie today and check out our great Black Friday specials!!


As a reminder, today is the LAST DAY for custom orders!! This includes anything with embroidery (like our hooded bath towels or kiddie totes), as well as our made-to-order items like our Rosie Posie Necklaces, accessories, camera bags and straps and ruffle totes. After today, only a select number of our ready-to-ship items will be available for the rest of the holiday season.

And if you are still thinking about using ThePolkaDotPosie for your holiday cards this year, the deadline for those is December 10th!!

***

Have a GREAT Thanksgiving weekend friends and I will be back Sunday!! xoxo

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So What Wednesday: Christmas Confessions & The Sickies

SO WHAT IF...

* All I do is talk about Christmas in this post, even though Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Sorry Pilgrims...Jesus wins :-)

* I watched the Phineas and Ferb Christmas special all by myself yesterday. The kids lost interest after about 5 minutes but I stayed in the family room and watched the whole damn thing. And I liked it.


* I really suck at sticking to Christmas budgets. As soon as I think I am done with someone, I find another gift that is PERFECT for them. Son of an Elf.

* I am so paranoid when my kids are sick, I make us all sleep in a room together.


* When I clearly haven't showered or changed from my PJs and the mailman or UPS guy comes to my door at 1:00 in the afternoon...I always lie and say that I am sick. However...this excuse is going to get old pretty quick, considering they are coming to my house almost every day now. I heart online shopping...and yoga pants.

* I am praying for snow. Pretty sure I am the only one (besides my dad) that would love some snow on the ground right now. It just doesn't feel like the holidays without it!!!

* I have pinned a million creative ideas for our Elf on the Shelf's hiding places this year {and even made a calendar}, but I suddenly have zero motivation to follow through with any of them. Lately, I feel like a rockstar if I can manage to get my kids to bed on time, do some work for school or the business and get a few minutes to relax with Eric...I just don't know if I have it in me to fill my sink with marshmallows or sprinkle flour all over my floor every night. There may be a few special nights where Toodles the Elf gets into some silly trouble, but mostly he will just be hanging from ceiling fans or chillin with Mr. Squirrel. 


* I drink out of my Starbucks red mug every day now. Even if it's just water. I love it that much.



* I've eaten my body weight in Keebler Jingles cookies this week. I want them out of my house {considering they are not part of my healthy eating plan}, but I feel sad wasting them. They are so delicious and honestly...I feel like I'm doing my kids a favor by eating them all myself.

And finally...So what if

* This is one of my favorite link-ups ever :-)


So What Wednesday

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our Turkey Day Menu

I can't explain how EXCITED I am to be hosting Thanksgiving for my family again this year!! As nice as it was to have a year off, I missed putting out my cute table cloth and spending some quality time with Eric in the kitchen. He is the master of the deep fried turkey, and in the past, I have relied on my sis-in-law Di to help me with the oven turkey. BUT THIS YEAR...I am going to give this bird a go. Alone. {except for all the innards. Eric will have to remove those. End of story}.

But I really want to try this one on my own this year and with any luck, my bird will come out looking half as good as the recipe's picture.



As much as I love a piece of juice turkey on Thanksgiving, what I get REALLY excited about are the sides. I've always been this way...even as a little kid. And if there is one side that totally takes me back to my childhood...it's my mom's veggie casserole. It's not a secret recipe or anything {in fact, you can find the recipe a million places} but for some reason...it always tastes better when she makes it :-)


Colorful Veggie Bake Recipe

In addition to my mom's veggie casserole, we all also be enjoying some stuffing {Eric wants to make it...and who am I to argue}, my sis-in-law Di's mashed potatoes, my mom's sweet potatoes, my Grandma's pumpkin pie and a few other Pinterest-worthy desserts made by my sis-in-law Meg. And of course, no dinner is complete without fresh rolls, but this year I want to make my FAVORITE garlic herb butter. I got the recipe from a Martha Stewart Living magazine years ago and make it all the time. It's so easy and delicious.

Warm rolls and Garlic Herb Butter


And finally, because there will be some time for visiting before our meal, I wanted to make just one appetizer to munch on. I have been wanting to make this caramelized onion, Gruyere and bacon spread since I pinned it months ago. YUM!!!!!

Caramelized Onion, Gruyere and Bacon Spread

So...what's going to be on your Thanksgiving table this year? Any family favorite recipes that are a must?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Our Weekend + Monday in a Nutshell

Happy Monday {almost Tuesday} friends!! Sorry I am coming to you a little late today, but I've been busy cuddling and taking care of my baby girl. It seems the flu has invaded our house (despite my best efforts to keep it away this year). I was really, REALLY hoping that Addie's tummy ache this morning was just the result of 3 straight days of parties and treats. 

On Friday, she had her Thanksgiving Feast at school...


And she indulged in several of these homemade turkey cookies...


 Then after school, while Mommy was busy seeing Breaking Dawn: Part II with Auntie Tara and Tommers...


Addie and Blake were getting spoiled by Nana and Papa. And you KNOW those two got plenty of treats when they were there.

Saturday was more of the same...Ice skating, lunch with Daddy, a trip to Home Depot (where you know Daddy let her buy a snack), etc.

And of course Sunday, we celebrated Thanksgiving with Eric's family and we had the most DELICIOUS spread this year. Sadly, I don't have pics right now of the amazing desserts that followed our turkey feast...but let's just say that we ALL went a bit overboard on those :-)

So after 3 straight days of fun and treats...it seemed logical that Addie could just have an upset tummy. But after a whole day of the sickies...it's clear that this is more than that. She has been one miserable little peanut.


And so tonight, I've decided that I need to keep my watchful mommy eyes on BOTH kiddies. I am so scared that Blake is going to wake up sick too and I just want to make sure I am right there if he does. The kids think this whole family room sleepover thing is an awesome idea...let's just hope I feel the same way tomorrow.


So say a little prayer if you can tonight, friends! I know the flu is just a part of life but my heart breaks when I see my kiddies so miserable. Praying we all feel good as new in the morning :-)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fitness Friday: Baked Chicken Parm & The Holiday Hotties Series

Happy Friday friends! It's already that time again!!



So can we just talk about how AWESOME this week has been in the eating department around here? I have really, really slacked off when it comes to working out but I like to think it's because I have just been so focused on getting our new eating habits down :-)

I am happy to say that we only had fast food ONE time this week because I had a certain little girl beg me with her big hazel eyes to get Portillos hotdogs for lunch. We were pressed for time, I really wanted a chopped salad and Portillos was literally right there. So we got it.

BUT...that was the ONLY time we had something to eat outside of the house ALL WEEK!! I just can't explain how huge this is for our family. We did have a birthday party one night and we had dinner at my SIL's house on Wednesday. BUT STILL! All the other nights I cooked at home and I couldn't be more proud of myself for making it happen.

I also tried a new recipe this week that was a HUGE success. We tried Skinny Taste's Baked Chicken Parmesan.


Holy deliciousness.

This is definitely my kind of healthy eating. And the fact that Eric cleaned his plate and told me it was "awesome" is just icing on the cake. The kids ate the chicken too, although Blake mostly scarfed the noodles. He is such a carb hound :-)

I will definitely be adding this recipe to my monthly rotation.

And speaking of monthly/weekly meal planning...

I know I said I was going to share my menu with you guys and I did spend quite a bit of time sitting down with my calendar trying to plan things out. But the truth is...eating at home (or at a party/family get together) will be a lot easier the next 6 weeks because we have a MILLION commitments. It's looking like I will only have to cook 3-4 nights a week and I am sure at least one or two of those nights will be leftovers. So unfortunately, I don't have some beautiful, strategically planned menu to share with you. I think I will save this for January when we literally have nothing on our calendar :-)

So did anyone else make any great changes in the eating department this week? Try any new recipes? 

How about workouts?

I know I've already admitted to being a pretty big slacker this week, but I have managed a few smaller workouts from the Tone it Up Girls Holiday Hottie Series.


Their workouts are so easy to do anywhere, even if you are pressed for time. I also love that this series is all about getting healthy now, instead of waiting until AFTER the holidays to start. They also have an app now that I highly recommend. Tons of great, easy workouts on the go. I love these girls :-)

So back to my issue about not working out this week. Ha! For me...I feel like my lack of motivation comes from the weather. I can't explain how much I MISS my outdoor runs. The weather has still been pretty decent here, but considering it's dark out when Eric leaves for work and typically dark when he gets home...my opportunity for outdoor runs is slim these days. I just have to form a new relationship with my treadmill. Boo!!

Well that's all I have for today friends!! Gonna stop complaining about not working out and actually GO workout!

I hope you all have a very healthy and productive week!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stop & Smell the Roses: Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Wednesday Friends!!! I know it's been a while since I last vlogged with Mandy for...

Stop and Smell the <b style=

I've been texting her week after week saying, "Okay...I SWEAR I am going to film a vlog next week" and then the week goes by and I am texting her again with an apology. The truth is I am just a slacker when it comes to filming a video. I'm just not good at it. But because next week is Thanksgiving and I have SO MUCH to be thankful for, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get back in the game.  

As I say in my vlog, I could spend an hour listing all of the blessings in my life...and I have pretty much done that over and over again the last few weeks on some form of social media :-)

So, since I have all that covered, I thought I would share just ONE thing I am especially thankful for this year. This one thing was announced on SASTR many many months ago...can you guess what it is?


If you made it through that crazy long, unedited video, I applaud you friends. It was even hard for me to get through. Ha! But I really feel so blessed to have this successful business with my Mom and I just want to do all I can to help other small businesses feel the same way that all of you have made us feel this year :-)

So as promised, here are some links to the businesses I mentioned in my video. Be sure to check them out and see what they have to offer this holiday season:

ThePolkaDotPosie {Accessories, Gifts & Digital Crafting}
Ashley's shop Delightfully Adorable Designs {Hair Accessories & Boards}
The Twinery {Baker's Twine}
Pour Olive {Artisanal Oils & Vinegars} Call to place order.
Bridier Baubles {Jewelry}
Something About Silver {Hand-stamped Jewelry}
Maja Boutique {Custom T-shirts}
A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That {Handmade Costumes & Accessories}



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Prep and a Darling "Thankful" Printable

With Thanksgiving a mere 10 days away...it's time that I stop worrying about Christmas trees and start planning for all the feasting festivities we have planned next week!!

Our first feast will take place this Friday at Addie's preschool. The kids get to eat, and parents get to come for dessert. I am making some very special cookies this year that I am PRAYING turn out as cute as the picture {recipe here}.

Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies

And then on Sunday, we will be celebrating with Eric's family. His Uncle Dave cooks a GINORMOUS bird and the rest of the family brings a thousand delicious sides. Everyone leaves with their pants unbuttoned, which is really how every holiday meal should end :-)

Luckily, we will have almost a week to recover before we host Thanksgiving at our house for my side of the family! We are cooking two birds as usual, one in the oven and one deep fried (Eric's specialty). We are having our Thanksgiving on the 25th which means that Thanksgiving Day is WIDE OPEN!!! This has never happened. Ever. But with crazy schedules this year...it's the only way to make it work.

So instead of having a third turkey that day, Eric and I decided we would take the kids to see a movie!! Unless I can find something more Christmasy, I think we will hit up Wreck it Ralph. Ha!

Wreck-It Ralph Poster

It's going to be a super fun week, but there is SO MUCH to get done. In addition to making cookies for Addie's class party, I also wanted make a "thankful" gift for her teachers. Last year, I gave Addie's teachers mums with a little topper stuck in it. They were such a huge hit...I think I am going to do the same thing this year.


And if you are looking for a cute teacher gift or some toppers to stick in the centerpiece of your holiday table...feel free to download my tag here!


Somewhere in the middle of all this crafting, baking and planning...I need to clean my house. 

Like...SERIOUSLY clean my house. We still have outdoor stuff that needs to be put away for the season, our carpets haven't seen the shampooer since we SPRING cleaned the house and honestly...my oven could use a major scrub before Mr. Turkey arrives.

But if you need help like me to get all of these tasks done, here are some of my FAVORITE checklists.


And of course if you follow 100 Days to Christmas, you know that this is cleaning week!!! They have some great tips to help get you organized :-)