posted by on beauty, Mommy Blogger, review

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You guys know how much I love oil pulling with coconut oil from my blog: Why Oil Pulling is AMAZING!

Well, guess what, now there is individual packaged, mint flavored coconut oil from Lighten! I am so excited about this product.  From the jar of oil, I usually scoop it out and warm it up.  With this individual package, I can smoosh(yes, smoosh is a word) it around with my fingers to warm it up, rip it open and swish.  It’s so easy!! 

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I’ve been using this one for the last week and I will say, it is my new go to.  For complete details of how long to swish and all the benefits, see the blog post above.

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Maybe what I notice the most is the color of my gums changing from brown to pink.  I know that is one of the major benefits of pulling, but it’s fascinating to me how just doing a 7 day cycle can make a huge difference!

After 7 day Cycle

After 7 day Cycle

posted by on activities, event, Mommy Blogger, review

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Everything was Awesome!

The littles and I headed to LEGO Kids Fest and was awesome! A place full of LEGOS and interactive display areas. For a child who loves LEGOS and even for one who never played with Legos, this place would make them a huge fan!

There are so many exhibits that it was hard for my 6 year old to pick a place to start, even with a detailed map given to us at the beginning.

He decided super heros would be first up! The detail in the Spiderman was incredible, that’s really the only way to describe all the figures. The kids could touch everything and take pictures,just asked not to climb on the figures.

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Batman!

Batman!

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Every display has something build or do. There aren’t just LEGOS, several vendors are on hand with additional activities from science to crafts.

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I was excited to see the large LEGO Friends area and it was full of girls building!

LEGO Friends

LEGO Friends

Every area was staffed with a knowledgeable LEGO person, who helped all the kids. They explained how things worked, showed them a trick or helped them build.

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Piles of LEGOS for kids of all ages to jump into, swim in or sit and build.

LEGO pile!

Fighting Ninjago LEGOS

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Starwars LEGOS

LEGOS& Lightsabers

LEGOS& Lightsaber

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Our tiles for the Art Wall!

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All the LEGOS!

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If you get tired and need a snack, there’s lots of consessions, a charging station for the phones and bean bags and a giant movie screen to take a rest before getting back to the fun!

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If the LEGO Kids Fest is coming to your city,it is a must see! Visit www.legokidsfest.com to see the tour schedule or buy tickets.

Racing LEGO cars!

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Our last stop was to see the cool new Lego stationery.  Rectangular pens and round erasers is the perfect gift for your Lego fan.  We have a couple at home to practice his name.

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posted by on activities, Back to School, Fox 4, Mommy Blogger, Organization

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We are in the countdown phase of the end of the school year and it is madness! Most days, I feel like calling the kids in for the next 2 weeks and calling it done! Since I work at their school, I am sure that’s not an option. So, to keep my job and my sanity, here’s my tips to survive:

1. Focus on the most important thing and get that done. Science project, papers due, studying for finals. If only one thing gets done, make it the most crucial thing.

2. Double check the last day of school date/time. For example, SMSD end 3 days earlier than planned, on a Monday and it’s a half day. Make sure you know when your kids are out.

3. Make sure all year end concerts and events are on your calendar.

4. Check the backpacks! There are field trip forms, picture orders, yearbook forms all sitting in the backpacks. That way, you also know which days sack lunches are needed.

5. Ask the teacher for an educational app or 2 to explore over the summer.

6. Thank the teacher. If you are stressed, you can imagine how they feel. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but a show of gratitude for the year they’ve spent with your child is appreciated.

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7. If you are enrolling or moving, take note of the summer office hours, so you can get the forms turned in.

8. Buy a white tshirt or school shirt for kids to sign on the last day.

9. Prepare for all the artwork coming home. You may not know what to do with it, but a folder and label with your child’s name/grade can hold it in a safe place until you figure out what to do with it.

10. Make peace with the fact that some things just flat out won’t get done.

Flat by 40 Update

Apr
2016
26

posted by on fitness, weightloss

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The Plan:
Eat clean, check to see if I have diastasis recti (I don’t), workout, lose the mommy pouch and get “Flat by 40″ !!!
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The setback:
I had my tubes removed on New Years Eve (yeah, happy new year to me). It was part permanent birth control and partly to reduce my risk for ovarian cancer. The surgery went smoothly and in hind sight was probably the easiest part. The after affects have been something else. Several issues that I was not expecting and have been going back and forth to the doctor to try to combat. Part of treating the after affects has been various medications and hormone treatments and all those come with their own side effects, bleh! So, with all those the medications, hormone changes and organ removal – I’ve gained 12 pounds, my hair is falling out, I am severely anemic and my PMS and mood swings are insane! I’ve been working with my doctor and I think we’ve finally figured out a plan to get back to “normal”.

The new plan:
1. Detox from all the medications
2. Eat well- that annoying saying ” abs are made in the kitchen” is absolutely true. I don’t have abs (yet) but when I am eating well, my stomach is so much flatter than when I eat junk. I am truly going to have to keep to a clean eating plan if I’m going to hit my goal by November.
3. Keep lifting weights. For every 1 pound of muscle you have, your body burns 50 calories at rest.
4. To be mindful my emotional eating/food addiction. A setback and weightgain is not an excuse to let all my hard work go to pot.
5. Keep going – it’s a slow process, but quiting won’t speed it up.

The progress:
I have pictures of my bare stomach, but shockingly, the girl who posts everything, is not ready to post those.
The picture on the left is from October 2015. My stomach was pretty puffy and round. I compare it to being 4 months pregnant.
The picture in the right was 2 weeks ago (April 2016). Less round and puffy, more like a love handle all the way around.
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The Truth:
I am not sure my stomach will get flat without skin removal/tummy tuck. I haven’t really seen any examples of anyone who was close to 300lbs (and had 3 babies) and lost weight and who’s stomach got flat without surgery, so I will keep going and documenting and see what November brings.

 

posted by on activities, Children's Mercy Hospital, fitness, Mommy Blogger, Organization, review, weightloss

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You all know I’ve been on a get healthy journey and to go along with that comes healthy eating and planning meals.  I have found that meal planning for my family is one of the best ways to stay on track with eating well and saving money.  For example, taking my family of 4 to a fast food drive through at $5-$7 per “value” meal ads up to around $25 and for that amount, you can make a healthy meal and have left overs for lunch.

I decided to grab a blank weekly calendar and start plugging in the items that I usually cook. I usually just do a week at a time and some of my favorite printable menu planners are pinned here along with some new favorite healthy meals.

Weekly Planner

Weekly Planner

It is not easy because I feel like we are eating all the same things every week, but seeing it written down is helping me plan new things and actually try some of the recipes that I pin on Pinterest.  Another thing that helps, is getting the kids involved.  My children love to chop, stir and plate the food.  There are several easy ways to get your kids involved, starting with the planning the mealshow to make great choices and a few other ideas here that will help the kids love being in the kitchen.

Another benefit to meal planning, is it goes a long way to help reinforce healthy habits. Fit-Tastic  has a wonderful 5 step reminder of what to do daily.  You can even take the quiz to see how healthy your habits are.

Now, it’s your turn! Tell me what’s on your meal planner in the comments section.  I’d love to hear what you have every week and maybe steal some ideas!  You can also make a plan or a goal and Fit-tastic will send you some recipes and emails to help you reach your goal.

I’ve had so much fun partnering with Children’s Mercy, being a part of their Mom panel and learning,  that I’ve decided to continue our relationship and keep informing you of all the wonderful things they do for the children in Kansas City.  There is great group of Mom bloggers that have been showcasing various health and family topics.  You can connect with them via our CMH Moms Facebook Page Twitter or blog.

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posted by on activities, event, Mommy Blogger, review, teens

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Isreal & I on the field at University of Nebraska

Isreal & I on the field at University of Nebraska

What was supposed to be a college visit with just my oldest, turned into a mini family vacay!  We packed up the car and headed to Nebraska early Saturday morning.  The trip from KC to Omaha is about 2 and a half hours (give or take the 75 mile an hour speed limit). My oldest and I did go the University of Nebraska football spring football game and it was awesome.  Football is definitely a way of life for Nebraska fans and they were all so welcoming to my D1 football recruit. Nebraska has always been on his list, but after this weekend, they moved right to the top!ozoo

The little ones and my Mom had a chance to hang out with my family there,  while we visited the campus. We decided to make the most of our Sunday there and hit the Henry Doorly Zoo. Boy was it worth the trip!  As soon as I posted in Facebook where we were,  everyone chimed in and said what an awesome zoo it is and they were right!  There is so much to see and do,  you could definitely spend 2 days there.

My girl & I in the rain forest

My girl & I in the rain forest

The animals are so close and easy to see.  I didn’t have to try to pick up my 5 year old or toddler nephews that were with us. The zoo has “kid zones” were the kids can go under the ropes and get closer.

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Every section was better than the next and there are fun facts and info posted, so you know what animal you are viewing.  The kids went from place to place with excitement to see what was going to be at the next exhibit.

Insects & Spiders & Snakes!

Insects & Spiders & Snakes!

No pictures from some of the really cool parts – the caves and swamp! It is dark and difficult to get a really great picture, but I will tell you the beavers are HUGE! My 5 year old is still talking about how big they were and how awesome it was to see their dams. The fruit bats and the armadillos and all the nocturnal creatures were moving around because they were in the dark was very cool to see.  My 16 year old (who isn’t into animals and maybe thinks he’s too old for the zoo) looked around with amazement and even took some pictures, so that alone tells me EVERYONE and all ages would enjoy it.  ozoo3

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We will definitely go back over summer when we have a little more time to spend and explore the Africa exhibit that is under construction, but we did an up close and personal view of the giraffes and the butterfly garden before we headed out.ozoo2ozoo10

 

We also had a chance to stop downtown at Rojas for lunch.  It was an easy choice because all of my children could find something they liked on the menu.  There are several restaurants down town, so hopefully we will explore those on our return trip.

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To help plan your trip, there’s website and you can request a visitors guide: Visit Omaha

 

It was a really easy/quick drive and even tho we only had 2 days there, it is a trip that you could do in a day, if you just wanted to do the zoo and head home that night.  If you get lucky, like me, the kids will sleep the whole way home!

He Gets Me

Apr
2016
04

posted by on Dating, Love, Relationships, Single mom

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Remember the guy I “met” on Twitter blog post? (if you forgot or need catch up click the link).  The end of that blog I said to be continued…
So continued…
He gets me and maybe more importantly he gets it. It being that  I work a lot, I’m a single Mom of 3 and I have goals and dreams that don’t take days off. Sometimes I have help with the kids, sometimes I don’t. Most days my life has to be all about them and he gets it. I’m sure it’s because he is a Father of 3 and his children are his priority, but I don’t have to tell you that is not the case with every man you meet.
I don’t ever feel badly if I have to cancel plans or if there is a week or two that go by without us seeing each other. If there is a football game or basketball tournament or dance practice that the kids have, it takes priority and  he gets it.
Also, I am kind of a pain in the ass. I mean, I am needy, require lots of attention, I have insecurities that are too many to list, but he gets me. He calms my fears, helps me deboard the crazy train, encourages all of my fitness goals and gets me and all the things I am trying to accomplish.
On the other side of all that neediness is- passion, I love hard. I am black and white, in or out, yes or no. I am not lukewarm, I despise that lack of passion that comes from being lukewarm.  In fact I am not lukewarm about anything and he gets that about me.
He gets the pace of this relationship, that there may not be a next step, that there may not be living together or marriage and there will not be more babies.  Some things are just great as is and he gets that.  Side note,  not sure where we would live with the 6 kids between us…
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I learned a lot from my failed marriage and I’d be kidding myself if I thought there was no damage done and he gets that.  As painful as my divorce was, I learned lessons, one of which is working on my insecurities and not pushing them on other people.  To do that, I need a true friend in the boyfriend part of this.  A boyfriend that will not to try to fix me, but stand with me while I fix myself and he gets it. He is my friend and has been for more than 20 years. Will our romantic relationship last forever?
Maybe.
Hopefully.
Whatever our future holds, he gets me and exactly what I need right now.
When we started dating, there was a song by Gary Clark Jr. called “You Saved Me”.  I say that is our song (I know, having a song is very 90’s mix tape of me, anyway.
Part of the lyrics, read:
“It’s taking me a little while to bounce back,
I’ve been falling from something good.
People say I took a little too long.
Till you came along and you saved me,
You saved me
With that good love.
So every now and then I tend to fall back,
Oh Lord, I’ve been misunderstood.
Til you came along and you saved me…”
And boy did he do just that.

Gary Clark Jr. “You Saved Me”

posted by on activities, fitness, Mommy Blogger, weightloss

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It’s funny when you succeed at something so many others are trying to do, you get all kinds of feedback, most of it unsolicited. Here are a few things that get said to me on a weekly basis, sometimes more than one on the list.

It’s so nice when people say, “Wow, you look great!” As they keep going on and on about how great you now look, it makes you wonder how bad you looked before.

Anytime someone sees you eating something they deem unhealthy, they quickly ask, “Is that a part of your diet”. You usually want to say shut the fuck up, but I’m sure that is frowned upon.

The comments on food are not just limited to the unhealthy things you eat, you will also get the “is all you eat is salad” or “you aren’t going to have any dessert” or “I made this just for you and now you aren’t having any” – giant sigh.

Everyone and I do mean everyone wants you to tell them the secret. Seriously, people if I knew the magic weight loss secret, I would sell it – become a zillionaire and buy an island and live happily ever after.

Everyone, even your aunt who walks with a cane, wants you to design a weight loss program for them. Honestly, what I do really only works for me.  I am not a professional, I know very little – but I am happy to point you in the direction of my favorite trainer.

You will now be given “interesting” style advice: “You know, now that you are thin, you could wear short skirts.” ___________ blank stare.

Once you get to a place where you are comfortable and you feel so much better and look pretty good, people will start telling you not to get “too thin” or ask you “exactly how small are you trying to be?”

If breast feeding 3 babies didn’t do the girls in – believe me losing a substantial amount of weight will! People will ask when and if you are getting your boobs done, as if they are paying for it or it’s any of their business at all.

Maybe the funniest thing I’ve heard lately, is that “You should really be on Oprah – you know she’s still trying to lose weight.” Um, well she no longer has a show and I’m sure she’s sick of people asking about her weight.

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Here’s what I know, weight loss is long journey.  It’s a weird, awkward, has lot of ups and downs.  There are some things you are still trying to work out for yourself and maybe just don’t know. Sometimes, it takes you 4 years to get to a place you are comfortable. Yes, 4 YEARS!  You are adjusting to your new body, your new life and that takes time too.  So, thank you for all the compliments and encouraging words that have come from so many of you.  They truly help me and make me want to keep pushing towards my best self.

Here’s to being healthy and fit!

A Day at Camp

Mar
2016
14

posted by on activities, Childrsn's Mercy Hospital, event, Mommy Blogger, review, summer, teens

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Spending spring break with my kids, has me thinking about summer camps and how I plan to occupy their summer.  While, I am so fortunate to have healthy active kids, it made me wonder about families who have children with unique health related needs and what their camp options are. Children’s Mercy sponsors and helps staff camps designed just for children with chronic illness or special medical needs. There are camps ranging from managing ADHD, Food Allergies ,Kidney Disease and so many more.

All camp 2015

I recently asked Dr. Ashley Cooper, Pediatric Rheumatologist at Children’s Mercy about what a day at camp goes for child with rheumatic arthritis.  Here’s what she said:

Our camp is for kids age 7-15, in Lee’s Summit.  It lasts 4 days, 3 nights, and every day is action packed.  Usually by the end of the day the adults are a little weary and the kids are still going strong!  Most of our planned activities are typical camp activities, with the ability to modify if needed.  There is a great pool at the camp, so the kids spend a lot of time in the water, which is good for arthritis. We do crafts, team-building activities, sports, have visitors from the Kansas City Zoo who bring animals, last year one of our arthritis families donated a fireworks show after a cookout on the final night.  We provide training for our volunteer staff about arthritis in advance of camp so that they can help the kids modify activities as needed.  Each day begins with an exercise activity of some type (yoga, zumba, etc) to get the kids moving.  Morning stiffness is one of the main symptoms of arthritis, and physical activity is really important to combat that- we try to reinforce that at camp, to help the kids enjoy their camp experience more and to help reinforce healthy habits in general.   At some point in the week, we incorporate an educational activity about arthritis, but most of the week is about the kids having fun and having the opportunity to spend time with other kids who face the same challenges that they do- an experience some of them have never had before attending camp. 

We have rheumatologists and rheumatology nurses on site 24 hours a day to administer medication and address medical concerns.  For the most part, we just end up patching minor injuries and sending the kids back out because they don’t want to miss out on the fun.  One of the best parts of camp in my opinion is seeing the kids really push their limits and try things that they are not sure they can do.  It is also an opportunity for kids to take on a more active role in their health.  A lot of our kids take injectable arthritis medications- I have seen kids learn to administer their own injections for the first time at camp which is really amazing.

2016  Camp Joint Adventures is in Lee’s Summit and provides a 4-day, 3-night experience for boys and girls aged 7-15 living with juvenile arthritis and other rheumatic conditions. Campers are separated into gender neutral cabins for their age category. Camp staff and volunteers strive to provide campers with a camping experience that includes a campfire, archery, arts and crafts, theme nights, swimming, sports and other activities in an environment that takes into account the campers strengths and not the limitations of the campers disease.

Register Online for $100/child. If you need information about a scholarship, Contact Brooke Burns at bburns@arthritis.org or call 913-262-2233 to receive a scholarship application. You will be notified immediately, please wait to register.

The options that are provided for kids in the Kansas City area from Children’s Mercy Hospital are such great places for families to send their children knowing they will have a wonderful camp experience as well as having their health needs met.  For additional resources visit Children’s Mercy Moms Page  or Children’s Mercy on Facebook or Twitter  for everyday parenting tips.CMH Logo

Coffee To Your Door

Mar
2016
03

posted by on review

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Anyone who knows or follows me, knows that coffee is my life line.  Seriously, no one wants to talk to me if I don’t have my coffee.

coffee

I was intrigued by the Single Cup Club coffee box subscription.  It is 15 Kuerig compatible cups or artisan coffee delivered to your door.  There may be nothing better than really good coffee showing up at your door every month!  They also included something called the freedom ring, which is just a purple ring that you can put on top of your Kcup and use it with the newest Kuerig machines.

If you have someone in your life that loves coffee, it would be a great gift and your first box is $9.99.  To learn more or start your subscription Visit Single Cup Club