Saturday, July 30, 2011

a WEIGHTY issue

I don't like to talk about weight - what woman does? And I've gone back and forth on whether or not I would post any of this, but I decided that it was something that I wanted to document for myself, so here it is.

On July 19, about a week a half ago, I decided I flat out wasn't happy with where my body was. I used to be toned, fit, healthy. Then I started going through infertility treatments and gained some weight. Then I was pregnant - twice, within 2 years - and had 2 c-sections. I know that there are some women who can just bounce back from all that, but I was not one of them.

It became one of those things where I just kept telling myself "tomorrow." I'll start eating better tomorrow. I'll begin exercising tomorrow. But tomorrow never came.

It wasn't just one thing that led me to say, "I'M DONE!" - it was a culmination of things. I saw a picture of myself and thought, "thats me?". I tried on a dress that I thought I would certainly fit into - and I did, but then I couldn't breathe! I got tired after playing outside for too long with my kids. Granted, being tired can be related to the health issues I'm dealing with right now (which are not weight related), but still.

I decided that I wanted to get fit. Yes, I wanted to lose weight too, but most importantly, I want to be healthy and strong.

So, on Tuesday, the 19th, I laid down the law for myself. I've been exercising up to 3 hours a day (during nap time and after the kids go to sleep) and eating clean, healthy food. I already have more energy and feel SO much better about myself. In the last week and a half I've lost 6lbs and 5.5 inches (total from my arms, hips, waist).

I get bored easily - especially with things I don't particularly like - so I switch up my exercises. I've found some great ones on Pinterest that keep me from getting bored. Chris and I usually walk about 3 miles each night. I have a recumbent bike and ride up to 10 miles a day and I've worked up to a 7 resistance. The bike is great because I can read on my kindle app or listen to music through my phone, which keeps my attention off of the fact that I'm working out!

So, that's my story. I feel weird writing all this, but at the same time, I want to be able to go back and see where I started!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Top 10 Recipes

I really have nothing overly special to blog about today, but thought maybe I would share some of the links to my favorite recipes. All of these can be found my clicking on the "Recipe" section of my blog, but I hyperlinked them all so just click on the words!

Here we go!

This is SO good and really easy!

You can make this one in the crockpot if you like - it's really easy and you probably have everything on hand!

This is my very favorite meal. I love it. Well, honestly, my favorite meal changes a lot but this is always in the top 5!

This is perfect - I can't wait for the weather to turn so that I can make this again!

My moms recipe - the best ever.

I should call this the famous chicken salad! Ha!

These are easy and fast - and I've yet to meet a kid (or adult!) who won't eat them!

Peanut butter and chocolate. Nuff' said.

Even better than it sounds - if that's really possible.

Chris' favorite Christmastime treat! These are great for birthdays, holidays and homemade gift giving!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Brody's big day

Yesterday was a big day for Brody - he had his first professional haircut! I've cut his hair a couple of times but I really don't know what I'm doing, and it was getting super long, so he tagged along on Brayden and Chris' appointment.

At first he wasn't really sure what Julie was doing to him...

But the buzzing of the razor started to put him to sleep:

And then it was over! Here's Brayden holding him post haircut - he always says, "Momma, I hold him!" This looks funny since Brody has almost caught up with him in weight - they look like twins here:

My little man is growing up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Handmade toys are the best.

My grandpa loves to make homemade toys out of wood. When I was a kid, he made me a baby cradle for my favorite stuffed animal that I still have.

Unfortunately, he lives in Arizona, so we don't get to see him very often. But a few days ago we got a package in the mail from him:

He made both the kids a train name. How sweet are those? They sat there and played with them forever!
I know it had to take him countless hours working on these. They mean so much to us. He doesn't have a computer so he won't see this (unless Uncle Mike is reading and can show him when he comes over!) but I'm printing out pictures of the kids and sending him a letter.

Aren't handmade toys the best?!

Monday, July 25, 2011


Friday night we went out to a surprise party for our friend Jason! His sweet wife, my friend Stacey, planned a great party at a local pizza place.

I caught his expression when he came down the stairs and saw the whole basement full of his friends and family!

The sweet couple!
This was his cake - Star Wars bobble heads!

Chris and some of the guys. From left to right, Ronnie, Josh, Chris, Matt and James.

And the girls: Laura, me, Brittany, Jennifer and Marci.

I haven't been to a surprise party in forever! This was so much fun!!! We ate pizza, the guys played pool and the girls talked about Big Brother, Friday Night Lights and U-Verse TV, haha! It also worked out to be FNO at our church so we had free childcare as well!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy 8 Months Brody!

Brody, you are 8 months old today!

What are you up to?
You wear a size 4 diaper and 9-12 month clothing.
You eat 7 ounces about every 3 hours.
You really don't care too much for baby food - you prefer to eat what we are eating.
You crawl like a speed demon.
You are cruising (standing, holding onto the furniture and walking).
You love, love, love the outside.
You take a 2-4 hour nap and sleep from 8pm -8am every day (haven't woken up in the night since 4 months).
If we let you, you would eat an entire container of puffs or those baby cheeto things in one sitting.
Your little teeth keep coming through and the going back into you gums BUT I think we finally have one on the bottom staying up!
Your favorite thing to do is follow your brother wherever he goes. I think that's why you are such an early crawler/cruiser.

You are the sweetest little baby with a smile that melts our hearts!

And for good measure, here is a picture of Brayden from today:

Friday, July 22, 2011

10 things you don't know about me...

I've been a bad blogger this week. I've been really focused on some other things I've got going on and totally didn't realize I haven't blogged in days!

I know I've got some new readers so I thought it might be fun to share 10 things you probably don't know about me.

1. I'm a deep thinker. I will think and think and think about things forever. Sometimes that's great and sometimes its really not. I guess you could say I dwell on things sometimes.

2. I'm a huge fan of black - if I could wear black all the time I probably would. Black and jeans - that's my ideal wardrobe. The bad thing is I have the palest skin on the planet, so black is really not a great color for me.

3. I don't eat seafood. Ever. Of any kind. Years ago I would eat everything - shrimp, salmon, you name it. But then my taste changed and all of it makes me gag.

4. I used to design children's clothes (preemie through big kids, boy and girl) for a huge retailer. That sounds much more fun than it really was.

5. This is kind of strange - but Novocain doesn't work on me. When I have to get fillings, they have to knock me out.

6. I get up every morning, shower, and do full hair and makeup. Not because I want to be some perfect mom (because I'm not) but because it makes me feel good. There's just something about being put together that makes me take on my day in a more positive way.

7. I LOVE to read. I am a bookaholic. I'm almost always reading something, and I will re-read my favorites hundreds of times.

8. I hate talking on the phone. I love texting, emailing and twittering, but when it comes to sitting down and actually talking on the phone, I'm awful.

9. One of my first jobs required that I have an alias. That's all I can share about that, haha!

10. If I could live anywhere, I would move to Lake Tahoe. It sits on the border of CA and NV and I don't really care what side I'm on, I'd just like to be there.

I hope that helps you learn a little bit more about me!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quick Trip

On Sunday, we decided to go to Tulsa and take the kids to the aquarium. There aren't a lot of local indoor activities around here that you can do with little kids, and when it's 105 and humid, were not really up to playing outside!

The aquarium was packed! Apparently lots of other people had the same idea we had! The boys had a lot of fun though. We walked through the shark tank twice because they both loved it so much!

The only thing Brayden disliked was the sea urchin tank. He reached in to pet them and he didn't like their slimy texture!

Afterwards we met Chris' mom and step dad at CHEESECAKE FACTORY!! Can you sense my excitement! The rumor was that we were supposed to be getting one but it fell through when the economy tanked. I'm still holding out hope.

Hope everyone had a fun weekend!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Girl's Night Out & FNL!

Last Thursday, some friends took me out for a Girl's Night to celebrate my birthday! We went to a local Mexican restaurant that we love. The food there is sooo good.

From left: Britney, me, Sara, Stacey, Rebekah and Jennifer. Lauren had to leave early so she missed the photo op!

We had a great time and ended up being there about 3 hours! I'm so thankful to have such wonderful friends!!

Speaking of friends, a lot of mine have been watching Friday Night Lights - which apparently wrapped for good last week. We have Apple TV with Netflix so we decided to see what all the hype was about. What a great show! It's Chris' new favorite. We started watching it a few days ago and are already about 7 or 8 episodes in. So good!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Vets or the Newbies?

Who else is watching Big Brother?!


Chris and I usually are in agreement on who we like on shows like this. We always pick the same favorite on shows like The Bachelor and So You Think You Can Dance.

But this season, we are a house divided.


I am 100% for the vet's...yes even Bretchel, or whatever they are calling themselves. Chris, however, kinda likes the newbies. He likes Jeff and Jordan (because, how can you NOT?) but I think he is secretly rooting for the newbies.

Overall, I'd like Jeff to win because I feel like he always put Jordan first and therefore she won their season.

Are you watching? Who are you rooting for?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Favorite Pins

I've mentioned my love for Pinterest before....and here are 5 of my favorite pins!

From my Holiday board (which does not include Christmas - that's a board of its own!) here are some super cute cupcake topper printables. These would be great for a Halloween playgroup!

Halloween Printables

From my Photography board, this is a SLR Camera simulator, designed to help you learn how to use your camera (you know, when it's not in Auto).

From the Yummy Looking Food board, this is a recipe I found for BBQ'ed Sweet Potatoes with cilantro lime aioli. I made these about 2 weeks ago. The potatoes were great but the sauce, not my favorite. Oh well, it's 1000 times healthier without it!

I found and pinned this to my For the Home board. What a great idea! I need to do this because my pantry is set up in a similar way and I lose things in that back corner!

And I found this saying and loved it so much that I had to pin it. It ended up on my Books board because it really didn't fit anywhere else...
What are some of your favorite pins?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fun Birthday Monday!

Yesterday was my 27th birthday!

It started off with these:

Then, as I mentioned yesterday, we went to CFA, the best place on earth.
This was the parking lot at the movie theatre. Chris and I went to a 1pm showing of Bridesmaids and it was DEAD! There ended up being 10 people in the theatre! I enjoyed it - we got great seats!
Last night we went to a frozen custard place. I love the chocolate custard topped with bananas and hot fudge! This was a child's serving size!
And this is my gift!

I wanted a big deep freezer because the one attached to my fridge is A.) tiny and B.) opens into my wall so you can't get it fully open!

I actually got it a few months ago because Lowe's was having a GREAT sale, so Chris and my parents bought it then! It's been so great to have! Now I can actually make and store freezer meals!

It was a wonderful day with my family!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The End = and a Birthday!

Well today is the final day of the challenge!! I hope you have all enjoyed it as much as I have! I'm about halfway through the linky list and I've found several blogs for my blogroll as well!

In other news, it's my birthday, and I feel old!

Chris took today off and we've had such a fun day. We ate at my favorite place, Chickfila, for lunch. Chris couldn't believe that I choose CFA of all places but I LOVE the Southwestern Salad (for those without CFA, it's a spicy grilled chicken breast with a corn and black bean relish and cheese).

Next, my mom came over to watch the boys during naptime and Chris and I went to see Bridesmaids! It was pretty funny!

When we got home my mom was saying bye to the kids and Brayden insisted on going with her! So, she loaded him up and he's spending the night over there. I guess we're just chopped liver!

Tonight I'm headed to the grocery store to get some things for the dinner I'm making for our small group on Wednesday night.

I'll do another post with my birthday gift! I haven't uploaded the pictures yet!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Challenge Check In

We're almost done with the challenge! You still have today, Sunday and Monday to comment though!

I wanted to check in and see how everyone is doing! Have you been able to comment on 10 (or more!) blogs a day? Have you found new blogs for your blogrolls? I know I have!

My personal goal is to comment on every blog that is on the list - I'm almost halfway through! I just want to thank you all so much for participating, and I hope you are having fun!!

If you're new to my blog, I have a few fun posts for you to check out:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Saturdays

You can STILL join in on the commenting challenge! Just click here to get started!

I've mentioned before what our favorite summer Saturday activity is, and last Saturday that is exactly what we did!

This past weekend, the farmers market was full of new things. Mostly it's been veggies, herbs and all natural meat. This time they had these beauties:

Aren't they gorgeous?
I got a huge bunch for $10 and then split them up into 3 vases when I got home. I love how it looks!!

Hopefully we will be going back tomorrow morning! I can't wait! It's my birthday weekend (my birthday is Monday) so I might have to pick up a few more flowers!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Wow! Thank you all for joining in on the challenge! I hope you are making new blog friends and finding new blogs for your blogrolls! You can still join in and participate! Just click here!

Second, please welcome my good friend Brittney to blogging! She just started out - so go give her some comment love! Just click here!

OK, so a few days ago we decided to take our boys to a local safari! There is a petting zoo as well as a huge area that you can drive through. They've got just about every kind of animal.

Brayden loved the petting zoo - the baby camel wanted to kiss him to death (which kind of grossed me out but he was loving it so I kept quiet!). We got a little sidetracked when he saw the water valve - he loves these things! We had to remind him we were there to see the animals, not the water!
During the drive through there was a herd (is that the right word?) of zebra's that swarmed the car in front of us. He couldn't drive because they wouldn't move! Then the converged on us! The kids loved it!
And here is one good picture of Brody - my camera settings got messed up but this one turned out cute!
Hope everyone is having a wonderful week! Tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

You can still enter the commenting challenge! Come join us in commenting on 10 blogs every day through July 11 (which funnily enough is my birthday! That was not planned!)!!! Just click here!

I LOVE peanut butter and chocolate together. It is probably my favorite food combination EVER! So when I saw a recipe on Nestles Our Very Best Baking site for Peanut Butter Brownies I wanted to try it - BUT I didn't have time to make the brownies from scratch. So here is MY version of PB Brownie Cups!

1 box chocolate brownie mix
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup of chips of some kind - I used dark chocolate

Heat oven to 350.

Prepare brownie mix according to box directions.

Scoop into muffin tins (mine are silicone - they come out much easier). For one box of brownie mix you'll get between 12 and 18 cups. Next time I make these I'll divide just into 12 cups.
*Note, if you don't have enough to fill a second pan, fill the empty cups with some water to ensure even baking for that pan. Or at least, that's what Mom always does so I do it too.

Bake for about 18=20 min's, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a brownie comes out mostly clean, but still a little wet.

Wait for the centers to fall. If they don't (and most of mine didn't) just use the back of a teaspoon and make yourself a small hole (don't go all the way through the brownie).

Microwave your peanut butter for 45 seconds. Stir. Place a heaping tablespoon into the center of each brownie.

Are you drooling yet??

Next, I placed 3 large dark chocolate chips in the center of each brownie.

Let cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack. If they aren't completely cooled they will fall apart!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Fourth

First of all, if you'd like to participate in the Commenting Challenge, it's not too late! Just click here and enter your info and then get commenting!!

Yesterday was of course, the Fourth, and we hung out with my family. We were out at our families cabin so we took a ride on a golf cart, with our new farm puppy - who at the moment is nameless. She and her sister look just alike - any name suggestions??

Then we set off some fireworks, which the boys LOVED!
And Chris helped Brayden with a sparkler!
I also made a new and very yummy (if I do say so myself) recipe that I will be sharing. It involved chocolate and peanut butter. In the words of Ina Garten, how bad can that be?!

Hope everyone had a wonderful fourth!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

2nd Annual Commenting Challenge - Starts NOW!

It's here!

Since last years commenting challenge was such a huge success, with hundreds of participating bloggers, we're doing it again this year!

Here are the rules:

Starting tomorrow (Monday, the fourth) we will comment on 10 blogs per day for 7 days. Just choose 10 blogs from the list (linky) to visit.

I will post a Simply Linked and you can link your blog up to this post (just use your main URL) starting today!

*** If you are participating, please feel free to post on your blog about this challenge and link back to THIS post so your friends can participate too! The more, the merrier! ***

(Last year there were a few posts that didn't link back and it created a lot of confusion, so please be sure to link back to me!)

As an added challenge, I would encourage you to find new blogs to add to your blogroll as well. I did this last year but I didn't post on it, and so this year I wanted to encourage you to try that out! I find myself visiting blogs through tweets or other blogger's blogrolls but it just makes more sense for me to add them to my own!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Double Chocolate Cookie Bars

(Sorry for the iPhone pic!)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 sticks butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 whole egg PLUS 1 egg yolk
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degree. Line a 9*13 with foil. Spray well with non stick spray.

Melt butter (I melt mine in the microwave...can you tell I prefer recipes with melted butter? I never think to let it soften).

Using a stand or hand mixer, combine butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla until well combined.

Sift together flour, soda and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Once combined, fold in chips.

Bake for 20 -25 mins - you can test it with a toothpick but that doesn't work very well because you'll probably stick it in chocolate!

Let your pan cool completely, then lift out using the foil. Cut into bars.

This Week in iPhone Pics

This has been a fun's some iPhone pictures of things we did!

Brody wants to walk soooo badly. He's 7 months, and spends most of his time standing!

Chris got asked if he was a horse jockey. Keep in mind he's over 6 feet tall. He was wearing this outfit at the time. (By the way, NO, he is not a horse jockey.)
I made Double Chocolate Chewy Bars for our small group. Recipe coming soon.
I had ordered these water bottles off of Zulily. They are AWESOME. I also ordered a cute one for Brayden with his name on it but it hasn't arrived yet!

Hopefully it comes soon because we need it in this heat!

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