Things I Can’t Live Without

Good Morning, lovelies!

Is anyone recovering from a craaaazy Cinco de Mayo? I’m certainly not. The craziest we got was John stopping to pick himself up a Moe’s burrito and bringing home some free spicy guac – in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, obviously. 😉

Do any of you guys have those certain things you just can’t imagine living without? Those things that you use almost daily or weekly? Those things that you’ll make a special trip out for if you ever run out?

Today, I thought I’d share with you those things that I just can’t live without.

Ok, if we’re being honest, we all know I could live without these things, but I sure wouldn’t want to!

1. My Computer –

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I actually DID have to live without it for a while. Thankfully though, I have a school issued laptop that I’m free to bring home and use as my own, so I was able to make do with that. But, I was oh-so-glad to get my beloved MacBook back in my arms hands.

2. Gum –

 

I recently shared my obsession with gum. It definitely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s one of those things that I must make an emergency stop for if my “stash” is running low.

3. Aussie Moist Conditioner –

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This is my absolute favorite conditioner. Ever since I stumbled upon it back in college, I just can’t stray away from it. It makes my hair so soft and smooth. My hair can tend to get frizzy in the humidity that is Alabama summers. This conditioner does it’s best to calm it down.

4. Coffee – Does this really need an explanation?

5. My Thirty-One Lunchbox (lunchbag?)

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Since I take my lunch to work everyday (school lunches – no thanks) a durable, yet cute, lunch box is a must. This is my 2nd Thirty-One lunch box. I used my first one for 2.5 years, until I eventually gave it a little too much love. 😉

I LOVE them! They’re cute, extremely durable, very roomy, and even have an outside pocket for things like silverware, salt and pepper packets, and other random things that I seem to constantly toss in!

6. Dove Powder Fresh Deoderant-

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I think I’ve been using this brand since high school. I love it because it really gets the job done, but doesn’t have an intense scent. Rather, it smells fresh and clean. Confession: I used to get in trouble in middle school for forgetting to put on deodorant and we had to stop at a gas station more mornings than I’d care to admit. Thanks, mom, for helping me avoid humiliation. 

7. My Reebok RealFlex tennis shoes –

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I bought these last year and I’m prreeetty sure I’ve worn them every day since, or at least close to it. They are so comfortable, so light, and fit my narrow foot really well. I immediately put them on when I get home from work and pretty much any other time I don’t need to be dressed for an occasion, work, church, or a date night/girls night.

8. My knife block/knives –

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We received this nice knife set as a wedding gift. At the time, I was skeptical I’d use it very much. My mom didn’t have one as I was growing up, so I wan’t accustomed to one. But, oh man…I think I use at least 1 knife from it daily! Or at least every other day…

I realize these knives look disgusting. I’m not sure why? Maybe the lighting? But I promise they’re clean! 

9. Almay Clear Complexion Pressed Powder

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I used to be a die hard Neutrogena fan. However, after frequenting my local drug store one day and my beloved Neutrogena powder was out, I stepped out on a limb and tried this Revlon brand, and I haven’t looked back. I love it because it takes the shine out of my face, and also works to clear up my naturally oily, blemish prone skin.

10. Fit and Fresh Containers

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I love these tupperware sets! I have 2 of the rectangular containers (2 cups each) and 2 of the small oval (1 cup each) containers. I love them because the measurement lines make portion control easy and simple – no thinking involved – which is a definite plus when throwing together lunch or breakfast (for the following day) on a busy night when time is tight.

I think I could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore you. 🙂

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I did manage to treat myself to a fabulous pedicure last Friday evening. Pedicures have always been one of my favorite treats, and I don’t see that changing anytime in the near future.

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(head on over to Becky’s blog to see how others are treating themselves and why we like to participate in Treat Yourself Tuesdays!)

Let’s Chat…

1. What beauty product can you NOT live without?

2. What kitchen/food item can you NOT live without?

3. How did you treat yourself this past week?

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Quick Catch-Up – Weekend Wrap-Up {5/5/14}

Wow! Where did the weekend go? Ours was busy, but fun filled.

Oh…and Happy Cinco de Mayo! (does anyone really celebrate it? Or just use it as an excuse for an extra adult beverage or two? 🙂 )

Since I’m running short on time, it’s gonna be a quick catch-up today.

Saturday morning, we had an important event to head to – my sister’s graduation! Except for it was at 10am. And an hour away. And we needed to be there in time for pictures, parking, and to get a seat! Made for an earlier Saturday morning, but, it was worth it. 😉

Jake, my brother, wasn’t too excited to be in Auburn, considering we’re  big Alabama fans.

Following graduation we headed to lunch. It was at a rustic restaurant called, The Hound. The atmosphere was very laid back and the food was delicious.

 

I’m pretty sure this is the biggest mason jar I’ve ever seen!


Sunday began with church, followed by lunch, some yard work, and time spent enjoying the gorgeous day!

We also finally put together the grill I got John for his birthday. To say that it took a lot of time and patience is a huge understatement!

3 hours later, we finally have a grill! I have no “after” picture because I had to go get dinner going.

Speaking of dinner…I tried a new recipe. It was deeelish! I’ll definitely be sharing the recipe with you soon. But, here’s a sneak peek.

The rest of the night was spent catching up on shows from our DVR on the couch.

The weekend was a busy one, but definitely Marvelous! (<— thanks to Katie for hosting Marvelous in my Monday!)

Let’s Chat…

1. What was the best thing you did this weekend?

2. When’s the last time you had to put something together?

3. What all does your week ahead hold? 

 

 

Friday Favorites #2 {5/2/14}

Oh, man! Has this been a long week, or is it just me? So glad it’s Friday!

Tomorrow is a pretty special day, my little sister graduates from college! I’m so proud of her! John and I will be headed to watch graduation tomorrow morning. Because the university is so large, there are multiple ceremonies. The college you’re graduating from, in her case- the College of Education, dictates when you will walk. Well, wouldn’t ya know hers is at 10am on Saturday morning?! Luckily, the University is only about an hour east of us. And, we’ll get to have a celebration lunch afterwards.

I really enjoyed last week’s Favorites post, so I’m back for round 2. Let’s go!

I’m linking up with Clare and Katie again today.

Favorite Photo:

Welllll, I couldn’t pick just one. I love all of these from my mom’s birthday last Sunday.

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Favorite Meal:

First – please excuse the extremely blurry photo.

Second – I know this isn’t a meal, but I’ve been loving feta recently! I don’t really like cheese that much, but oh, my…feta? That’s a different story.

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Favorite Purchase:

An Erin Condren gift card for my sister’s graduation gift. If you’ve never checked out her stuff, you’ve definitely got to! Lesson planners, life planners, personalized note cards, notepads, etc. – and all SO cute!

Favorite Moment:

Yesterday, at approximately 11am, when state testing for my kiddos was over. I’m so not a fan!

Favorite Workout

This bootcamp work out from Heather. It’s a good one! And quick, which is always a win in my book!

Strength and Cardio Bootcamp

Strength and Cardio Bootcamp

Favorite Text Message:

I suppose this could go with Favorite Moment, as well. But, we got out at 1pm on Tuesday, due to the threat of severe weather. Since I had been woken up by a tornado warning and spent 1:30am – 2:30 am in our “safe place,” it was a much needed break!

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Favorite Quote

Go Girl Go by Holley Gerth

Go Girl Go by Holley Gerth

I just love Holley’s blog. This was just the encouragement I needed this week.

Favorite Outfit:

This isn’t really an entire outfit, per se, BUT I get to wear jeans the entire month of May! Smile Yes!

Favorite Posts

It All Adds Up – I love Jana’s point that any and all movement and forms of exercise count. It doesn’t always have to be a super intense, super sweaty workout to count.

Be Authentic – Yes! Just do you.

cultivating positive body image – Robyn nails it again with this post!

Run the Race of Life with All Your HeartWe all can do so not in our own power but because of the One who lives within us.

The Diet That Works – “is the one that you can stick to for the rest of your life.” It’s the “diet” that allows your body to function fully

Restless – Today, I’m reminding myself to appreciate this time. It might feel confusing, but someday I’m going to look back and miss it.

There were so many posts I loved this week, but these are a few that really stuck out to me.

Let’s Chat…

1. Play along! What has been your Favorite moment?

2. Favorite meal?

3. Favorite posts?

 

What Do You Think?

Good Thursday morning, friends!

How’s your week been so far? Busy, busy, busy around here!

I’m thinking of starting a series in which you share your thoughts on a particular subject – titled, “What Do You Think?”. I love hearing different perspectives and thoughts! Here we go…

This week is state standardized testing in our state. My kids are asked to answer a variety of different questions in a range of subject areas – reading, english, writing, math, and science – in a certain amount of time. The objective of these tests is to measure their knowledge against the standards they are supposed to know at the end of third grade.

A good idea, right?

Then, when results are returned, school officials are able to see how well our school did compared to other schools in the state or country. They are able to see areas of strength and areas of weaknesses. Again, a good idea, right?

I don’t know though. Is it a true reflection of a child’s abilities and knowledge if they are unable to answer the questions in the time provided? What if a child is a slow worker? They are penalized. Or if they are bad test takers? They’re penalized again. Not only that, but teachers are then “measured” by how well their students perform on the test.

Ahh...standardized test season. Love that my reputation as a third grade teacher is in the hands of an 8 year old.

So, what’s a teacher to do? Do we teach to the test? Making sure students know how to take a test, how to work quickly, and know (very well!) the information that will be tested?

OR do we teach in an authentic way – using real life experiences and examples, allowing children to explore in order to learn, allowing them to fail – and it be ok? After all, we all learn from our mistakes, right?

Sadly, this is the truth =/

On this Thinking out Loud Thursday, I want to hear your thoughts.

Let’s Chat…

1. What are your feelings about standardized tests?

2. Do you think it’s fair to measure a child, teacher, and/or school by how well students perform on ONE test?

A MUST Around My Household

I don’t know about you, but there are certain grocery items that are a “must” around my household. For instance, if my husband is out of mayo, it ain’t a pretty sight around these parts, ya feel me?

In all seriousness though, he doesn’t put it on everything, but when he wants his mayo, he needs that mayo. Winking smile

The same can be said of me when I’m out of oats, or greens, or some type fresh produce. So, in order to keep things happy around here, when I make my weekly grocery trip there are a handful of items that I make sure to purchase, or at least make sure we’ve got enough on hand to last us through the week.

I’ve seen a few of these types of posts recently, and I enjoyed seeing and reading about the different items others keep on hand, so I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and share, too.

A big thanks to Jenn for hosting yet another delicious WIAW party – you should definitely go check out the goodness!

I’m going to divide items into a few different categories: things I always have “just to be safe” (I don’t necessarily use these items every week, but always have them just in case I want to whip up a batch of cookies..or somethin’ Smile), items I typically always have in the pantry, in the fridge, and in the freezer.

Sooo…let’s hop to it!

“Just to be Safe” items I always make sure to have:

  • flour
  • sugar/brown sugar
  • baking soda/powder
  • butter
  • eggs

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Eggs from my mom’s hens. How pretty is that blue egg?!

  • bananas – because, honestly, who doesn’t eat a banana everyday (or every other day)?
  • condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayo, ranch, etc.
  • spices: ALL.THE.SPICES – y’all, our spice cabinet is out of control – so much so that they are now taking over a drawer too! But, what better way to add some variety to a meal than with a little seasonings?!

Items I typically always have in the PANTRY:

  • oatmeal
  • peanut butter (although, sometimes I like to put it in the fridge)
  • whole wheat bagels
  • sweet potatoes
  • dried pasta
  • rice/brown rice/quinoa
  • canned beans
  • canned tomatoes – diced/sauce/paste
  • olive oil
  • almonds/ trail mix
  • coffee
  • dark chocolate for me/ Reece’s Cups or some type of bite size goodies for John

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In the REFRIGERATOR:

  • milk/almond milk
  • tomatoes/cherry tomatoes
  • spinach
  • whatever other produce is in season or on sale – peppers, asparagus, broccoli, snap peas, etc.
  • lettuce
  • deli turkey
  • hummus – because it goes on or with pretty much everything, ya know?
  • Mtn. Dew for the husband (I have my coffee, he has his Dew)
  • strawberries – or whatever is in season, love my fresh fruits!
  • cheese – parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella

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In the FREEZER:

  • meat that was on sale – I try to keep some type of frozen meat in the freezer to pull out if we’re in a pinch for dinner.
  • overripe bananas – what do you do with your overripe bananas? I usually toss ‘em in the freezer to use later on for smoothies or banana bread…mmm!
  • bread that was on sale – if there’s a sale on bread, pitas, etc. I usually buy it up and toss it in the freezer until I need it.
  • leftovers that will be great to grab and reheat on a night when we need something quick – I typically try to keep at least 1 “freezer meal” in the freezer for those inevitable nights when you really haven’t had half a second to put a thought toward dinner and you and your husband/family are staaaarrvvinng. We’ve all had those nights, right? Please tell me it isn’t just me!
  • baked fries for an easy side item when I’m uncreative or in a hurry

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I know that if I have most of these items in the house, I can usually whip up some type of a meal that will be pretty quick and relatively healthy. There’s nothing worse than having a busy day, eating crap for dinner, and going to bed feeling completely exhausted and icky! Plus, I want to keep my little family healthy – which of course, means a balance of greens, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and treats!

I think that about covers it, which means I probably left something out. Winking smile

Let’s chat…

1. I’m interested to know…what do you usually always have in your pantry? fridge? freezer?

2. What do I need to add to my list of “staples?”

3. What’s your favorite, easiest dinner to whip up with ingredients you have at home and time is short?

Party Planning and a Birthday–Weekend Wrap-Up {4/28/14}

I swear, I don’t know what happened to this weekend! We were go, go, go!

But, before I get into the weekend’s happenings, I need to pause for a moment to wish my mom a very Happy Birthday!! I I’m so blessed to be your daughter. You are not only my mother, but also one of my best friends. You’ve taught me so much, including how to be a Godly woman and wife, and I’m so thankful for all you’ve done for me. From spending countless hours in a hot, sweaty gym, to letting me take apart, re-work, and wear your wedding dress – you always selflessly give of your time, money, things, and heart. I love you so much! Happy 50th!

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Alright, back to the weekend…Saturday consisted of lots of birthday preparation. My sister and I planned to make mom’s birthday celebration extra special, it being her 50th and all.

I also had to purchase her gifts. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh? I am pretty proud of my purchases though.

I bought her super cute cooler thing (extra big coozie??). You can freeze the center, and then slide on the outside, insulated cover. Once in place, it will hold up to 6 cans. Mom is always on the go, and she loves her diet coke…plus it’s cute…so I knew it’d be perfect.

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I also bought this beautiful table runner. My mom is repainting and redecorating her kitchen, and I thought this would go perfectly.

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What I worked hardest on though, was this extra special book.

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A few weeks back, I asked all of my siblings to send me 10 things they love about mom. Since I’m the oldest of 5, I ended up with 50 reasons we love our mom. 50 reasons she is loved, on her 50th birthday.

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I should point out that “go-go” juice is Diet Coke. Winking smile

I also worked on a few of the decorations my sister and I cooked up.

On Sunday, we loaded up the car to drive to my parents house, about an hour or so away.

We arrived right after lunch, and my sisters and I got busy putting the finishing touches on the decorations.

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We made a made a “Sweets” station with lots of my mom’s favorite candies. We gave each candy a clever little saying, all about turning 50. She loves white chocolate. We labeled it “Still White Hot!” The Hershey’s kisses were labeled, “Kissing the 40’s goodbye.” Bubble gum was given the caption, “Blowing over the hill,” and the Zero bars (her favorite) were titled, “The big ‘5 – ZERO’.”

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My sister also made cupcakes which we topped with “50” medallions I made. There were also “Happy Birthday” buntings, and a refreshment station – filled with strawberry orange banana juice (is it juice, or drink? whatever you call it, it was delicious!)

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One of my favorite parts of the whole décor was the “50 Years Ago – in 1964” chalkboard I made. I had no idea so much has changed in 50 years!

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My dad had taken my mom to the beach, her favorite place on Earth, for the past few days, so we were all ready and waiting when they arrived home. She knew we’d be there to celebrate, since we can’t all be home tomorrow on her real birthday, but she was very surprised there’d be a party, too!

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We spent the next several hours eating cake and ice cream, talking and laughing with friends and extended family, watching my mom open gifts, and laughing some more.

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I sure do love my family! They are so fun!

Finally, John and I had to gather our things to head home. We were definitely sad to go. It was a great day celebrating the heart and soul of our family, and one special woman!  IMG_2790

Being as the whole weekend was pretty much taken up with party preparations, I have a feeling this will be a busy week! In fact, I know it will – with state testing, afternoon bus duty for me, travelling for appointments Wednesday afternoon, and going to my sister’s college graduation on Saturday morning, I’ve got a full week ahead!

Bring it on…only 5 more Mondays until this teacher is out for SUMMER! Smile Have a Marvelous Monday, friends!!!

Let’s chat…

1. What did you do this weekend?

2. Do you enjoy throwing and hosting parties and/or get-togethers? I LOVE it!

3. What is the last party you threw/hosted?

Friday Favorites {4/25/14}

Welcome to the weekend! Well, after we make it through today – minor details my friends. Winking smile

I’m excited about this weekend! My mom’s big 50th birthday celebration is Sunday, and I’ve got lots I still need to do. I’d better get my tush in motion! Sadly, I’ve got some kind of yucky crud – jury’s still out as to what it is, but I’m just keeping my fingers and toes crossed it’s not the flu. There’s been a strain of it going around that presents itself with a sore throat, and…….guess what I have?? Praying it’s just a cold!

Today I want to share some of my favorites from the past week. Join in on the fun in the comments!

I’m linking up with Clare at Fitting It All In and Katie at Running 4 Cupcakes. Thanks Ladies!

Favorite Photo:

Confession – I’m not a huge fan of this picture due to my awkward pose and ghostly pale legs, but these are some of my favorite people. Smile

Favorite Meal

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Avacado Chicken Salad Pitas…mmm!

Favorite Purchase

A birthday gift for my mom. Smile

Favorite Moment

Thursday afternoon when I got to come straight home after work for the first time this week. It’s the small things!

Favorite Workout

Love Tabatas! Day-after Xmas Crumble: Fast and Furuious Tabata/Strength Combo by @Gina Harney

This strength and tabata workout was a good one, in the sweatiest, most exhausted way.

Favorite Thing I got in the Mail

This super sweet Easter card from my in-laws. It got even better when we opened the card and checks fell out. We certainly missed John’s family over Easter, but are looking forward to spending Mother’s Day with them.

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Favorite Text Message

This message from my brother (in a group message about my mom’s birthday gift). Ohhhh 15-year old boy humor…

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Favorite Quote

Potential by Holley Gerth

Yes!!! I love Holley’s blog, and have read one of her books. She has a true gift for putting life into perspective.

Favorite Outfit

I bought this chambray dress from Gap a few weekends ago. It’s super comfortable, and cute too! It will definitely be making a frequent appearance in my outfit rotation.

Favorite Posts

There Is No ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’ Workout – love Emily’s perspective! Very refreshing!

Share Yours- Top 10 Foods – So fun! What are your Top 10 foods? If you could only eat 10 foods for the rest of forever, what would you choose?

10 Awesome YouTube Workout Channels – Great resource from Julie for stellar at home workouts

Health benefits of exercise → Very informative! And props to Heather for earning her Group Exercise Instructor Certification!

I’m Thankful for Infertility – So gracefully said. I have so much admiration and respect for Brittany.

WIAW: Thoughts on Paleo – Very informative and thought provoking – as I can always count on Robyn’s posts to be.

These are just a handful of posts I enjoyed this week. I’d love to hear what you loved reading this week!

With that, I’m off friends! Time for a busy Friday and a fun-filled weekend! I hope yours is too!

Blessings!

Let’s Chat…

1. Tell me some of YOUR favorites from the week!

2. What are your weekend plans?