Free E-Book; Fitness and Real Food!

My friend Audry at A Nutrtional Makeover is offering a free e-book. I know I’ll be snagging one up. Thought you all may want to as well!

A Nutritional Makeover

Total Fitness Routine For Beginners

I originally gave this book out for free for the first 10 days but now that I have published it, I have made it available at a low price of only $2.99!

You can purchase your copy at Lulu or Kindle.

If you are someone who got a free copy, please leave a review on any of the links above. Thanks.

If you are someone who would like to review the book for free, please contact me directly and I will send you a free copy in exchange for a review ­čÖé

Thanks to all who have given me input and reviews!

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An Open Letter to My Niece

My dear sweet little girl,

By the time I want you to read this you will no longer be the sweet innocent little child you are today. You will be a pre-teen girl who is faced with the hard decisions life is beginning to throw at you. I am writing this letter to you now because our pop-culture has inspired me to. Right now you are one of the few little girls in my life. The Good Lord has blessed me with boys and I’m sure this is part of the reason why. See, Auntie shudders to think of the expectations that the society you are being raised in is going to put on you. I shudder to think you may grow up idolizing girls like Miley Cyrus and Rhianna. While these girls no doubt have some amazing talents I’m not sure they are who I would hope you will look up to. So sweetie I’m writing to give you some characteristics I hope you will look for in an idol.

If you look back throughout history the names that are remembered are always the ones that are sophisticated: Grace Kelly, Lady Di, Jackie O, Barbra Streisand, Oprah, Angelina Jolie and I hope one day Jennifer Lawrence. These women are strong, sophisticated and classy.

That doesn’t mean they take crap from others. Angelina Jolie is a pioneer in human rights and at the same time is a renegade who has publically gone against the grain on a number of issues, including her lack of desire to solidify her long time relationship with Brad Pitt.

So when you get to the point in your life where you want to be like Miley and tell the world you can do what you want to and say what you want to remember this; you can do that with class. Read some of the articles quoting Jennifer Lawrence talking about why she didn’t starve her self to play Katniss Everdeen. Watch a Grace Kelly movie. Read about about all the charitable work Angelina Jolie has done over the years. Then make the decision to say what you want to say.

While you will only be young for a short period of time they are called your formative years for a reason. The actions you partake in now will form your life. You can make the decision to change the path you are on at any time but it wont be easy.

In return for you thinking before you speaking and remembering that class is always better than shock value, I promise to try my hardest to live up to the standards of the women I hope you idolize. I vow to be classy myself, to walk in God’s grace, to think before I speak and most importantly remember there is always somebody watching.

With all my love,

Auntie Rae

My One Week Challenge Recap

I’m going to keep today’s post short and sweet for you all! I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could seriously just leave the post at that but I’ll elaborate.

I made it Monday through Friday without a single carb, only a few pieces of cheese and most notably, NO CHOCOLATE! I really didn’t think that last part was possible.

I feel really good about my accomplishment. I have very little craving for carbs right now at all so I’m going to extend the carb ban Monday through Friday of most weeks until I can get down to my goal weight. What I learned this week is that I love cheese way too much to give it up entirely. I’m going to keep cutting back but I wont deny myself that pleasure any more. I also learned I really can have a healthy lunch even with all the craziness that is going on around here at lunch time. And I was surprised to learn that I can feel full from just a salad.

So how did your week go? Meet any goals? Tell me all about them!

Erin Condren Product Review

Today I am super stoked to share with you my absolute favorite organizing products. Back in 2011 I came across a blog {I wish I could remember which one} ┬áthat did a review on the┬áErin Condren Life Planner. I have always loved a paper planner. I just like to have something tangible in front of me. I’m weird like that I know. But I’m not alone because Erin Condren has a cult following! People cannot wait for the moment they can order their new yearly planner. In fact I just ordered mine and cannot wait to get it! This is the only way for me to keep everything I have going organized. What I love most about this planner over everything else I have ever tried is the morning, afternoon and night sections. It could not be more perfect for my life. Morning is where most of my reminders for work go. Afternoon is where my house chores normally go. And Evening is where my blog notes go. The 2013-2014 Life Planner even has a section for me to put our meal plan! HUGE addition in my opinion. If you want a full on tour of the Life Planner visit here.

I also have an Erin Condren Notebook. This thing I TRULY LOVE! I make a to do list for work every week. I have since the day I started and I have always been very particular about the notebook I keep. It needs to have the right sized lines, it needs to be the right thickness in paper, it needs to be crazy sturdy to stand up to little fingers, warehouses, and wine spills. This notebook is ALL of that and then some. I adore the pouch in the back to throw my receipts in when I’m traveling and the size is perfect to fit into my bag.

The Functional Family Planner is a new product that Erin Condren introduced just a few months ago. When I first received the email I just filed it away thinking, “I already have a planner, I don’t need this, too.” Then my office got a bit of an overhaul and the DIY dry-erase calendar I had was replaced by my Martha Stewart Wall Unit. I lived without a “family calendar” up for a while. Then it dawned on me… as the boys grow older and we start doing more and more activities I wanted a place where everyone could see what was going on. And of course it had to be stylish. Ding ding ding, Functional Family Planner please!

Lucky for me this also was right around my birthday so my awesome mom purchased it for me! EVEN BETTER! This is the product I never knew how bad I needed until I had it. It is just the perfect spot to put all the craziness that is going on in our life down onto paper. You can either purchase the chore chart or the schedule pad. I opted for the schedule pad. And to make it last even longer I split the page in half and fit two weeks onto one page. I love that I don’t have to remind my hubby what is going on in a week. It is just all right there in front of him every time he walks in the house. I foresee this being a huge help as each year passes with the boys. I also really love the dry erase portion that has a spot to fill out all the important numbers, etc. for whenever we are out.

So enough talking about all these great products! Check out the pics below:

I have to also mention that I did purchase their pens last year and hated them. This year I purchased the new marker type pens with my Functional Family Planner. I LOVE them! They are the perfect addition!

What do you do to keep your busy schedule organized? Is it important for your significant others and children to know what is on the calendar?

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Five Glorious Years

205112_1026645998795_9234_n Normally I like to keep the blog focused on tips and helpful info for you and your family. Today is a total exception to that. Today I am writing something very personal.

The reason today is special is this is our 5 year wedding anniversary. I feel so incredibly blessed to have found my soulmate (I know, total cheese ball thing to say).

I wanted to take some time out today to thank my husband for always being there for me, for providing for our family and for being an incredible, loving father.

Our love story has been so incredible and I am so happy that I have someone to share the ups and downs of life with. Together we can face anything, this I am sure of.

Anyone who meets Nick immediately falls in love with him. He is a sweet man who cares so much for others. I love so many many things about him. What I really love the most though is his amazing sense of humor. He is the only person I know who can match my sarcasm and handle whatever I throw at him.

I cannot wait to spend another 5 years and beyond together!
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WAHM Series: The Schedule Part 2

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Last week we talked all about our morning schedule. I was thrilled to read your Facebook questions and your comments here on the blog! I LOVE that some of this info is actually helping people and I’m super stoked to connect. Today I want to delve into our afternoon schedule and how I cope with “The Witching Hour”.

Now you may remember that term from when you had a wee newborn and think it only applies to that time in a babies life. I have news for you! It applies to the hours of 4pm to 6pm everyday for years! I don’t know what happens when the clock strikes 4 but I swear all craziness ensues.

Let me back up to where we left off last time though…

After Buggy wakes from his nap we throw in a load of laundry and then head downstairs for lunch. Hubby is an incredible guy. He gets T$’s lunch ready every day and puts it in his Bynto Box. I make Buggy and I lunch (normally the same thing) then we all eat. I try to reserve at least 20-30 minutes each lunch (which I normally take about 60-70 minutes) to really play with the boys. We play rough or go outside or build a structure with blocks. The important part here is that they get devoted one on one time with me. I do not answer calls during lunch, I try not to check my personal email or Facebook. I just hang with the boys.

Normally at this time its about 1pm. Buggy is not quite ready for a nap yet but both boys are getting there. Once again we all head upstairs and I insist on no tv and that they play in their playroom quietly. Again BFF Suri sets a timer and they are off. Once in a while they will come out to talk to me but because they are both getting sleepy this is normally a good hour or so where they are off quietly playing.I try to fold a load of laundry at this time or wipe down the upstairs bathroom or dust upstairs. This is part of how I keep the house up. A little each day.

Then Buggy goes down for nap and T$ goes downstairs for “rest time”. I had a hard time with this for a while but T$ really would not rest unless him and I were separated. He doesn’t normally nap anymore but he SO needs that quiet time. My office is the loft so I can hear every.single.noise downstairs so I’m not too worried about him. Plus our house is totally kid proof. He gets to pick a movie and grab a blankie and hang on the couch. It works great.

This is a dedicated two hours where I can work straight. If I have to make any calls this is normally when I try and do it. It flies by but I find I can get more done in these two hours at home then I would in 4 at the office. Part of being a good WAHM is learning how to power through things and when you know you have a block of time you just have to jam!

Now it hits…. the witching hour.

I’m technically off work at 4pm. I’m almost never done with what I need to get done by then. SO when the movie is over and Buggy wakes up both boys are DYING for my attention. They are also totally done upstairs. So I do what any amazing mom would do… I bribe and stall. Repeat it with me, bribe and stall.

I normally bribe with the idea that if they give me just 5 more minutes we will go downstairs and eat a delicious snack. This normally works. When T$ stars asking why Suri hasn’t talked to him yet I tell him, “OH she must have fallen asleep.” Whatever I need to say to get things done. This is the time of day where things get messy. A piece of paper gets stollen off my desk and ripped up, somehow a highlighter ends up in little hands and now baby brother has a hot pink tattoo. To be honest with you I just roll with it. It gets my work done and no one gets hurt, usually.

We don’t normally clean up before going downstairs. The boys are just so done and to be honest so am I. So we go downstairs and they are perfectly content to play in their playroom for about 10 minutes. 10 minutes is totally enough time to do a chore, cook dinner, have all the dishes done from the day, etc.
NOT!

This is reality people, not some fantasy. So in the 10 minutes they are quiet I can normally devise a plan for what is most important to get done. Normally I try and get all the days dishes done ( I don’t do sippie cups and kids plates, etc. during the day. I let them pile up in a sink of hot soapy water and then do them all at once. We hand wash our sippies so it would take too much valuable time during working hours). Then if we know when hubby will be home (his schedule is different from day to day) we start dinner. T$ has this awesome tower, similar to this,that allows him to safely be at the counter with me helping. And I just pull Buggy’s high chair right up to the counter too. I give them stuff to do while I cook. Mostly they just play with food, whatever it works!

Hubby gets home and then all hell really breaks loose but that is an entirely different story for a different day.

The basic idea during the witching hour for me is really just to survive. I let a lot of rules go, I let them be messier than normal and I just try to get every one laughing. I try to be as empathetic as possible. I’m totally exhausted and done working so I can only imagine how they feel.

I’m interested to hear from you all, what are some of your best bribe and stall techniques? Does the witching hour hit at your house? Please please tell me I’m not alone!