Category Archive : Uncategorized

Remedy For My Not So Green Thumb

This post brought to you by Scotts®. All opinions are 100% mine.

As you all know, I don’t often do sponsored posts, but this is one I am excited about. Why? Every Spring I think, “This is going to be the year that I start gardening.” Every summer, my efforts seem to have failed miserably. What am I doing wrong? Well, that remains a mystery.

The one and only thing that has helped our gardening efforts is using Miracle Gro. Despite my apparent inability to keep plants alive, the ones that I used Miracle Gro always fared 100 x better than the ones that were ignored. What I REALLY like about this new product from Miracle Gro is that Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix is different from basic potting and garden soils. It is a unique blend of Miracle Gro plant food and coconut coir fiber, a compact, lightweight, easy to carry (because I’m a wuss you know) and easy to store bag of Expand ‘n Gro can do everything a big, heavy bag of soil can do, only better. This concentrated planting mix expands up to 3 times when mixed with water, feeds plants for up to 6 months, makes native soil more workable and retains up to 50% more moisture than basic potting soil.

The best part? Big, beautiful flowers and plants!! I am really excited to try this product should Spring ever decide to come back to Minnesota again. I have two huge flower barrels on my front porch just waiting for beautiful flowers.

Here is why you need to try Expand ‘n Gro:

  • Up to 3X the Flowers and Vegetables versus native soil
  • Significantly improves soil for multiple years
  • Concentrated planting mix expands up to 3X when water is added
  • Feeds for up to 6 months
  • All natural fibers hold up to 50% more water than basic potting soil (good for lazy people or forgetful people who don’t want to water their plants all the time…)

If you are excited about the Spring and Summer gardening season, you should give this product a try.

Miracle Gro products have never let me down and Expand ‘n Gro™ makes it easy to prep for your Spring & Summer growing season. Happy gardening!

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Wordless Wednesday: Easter Edition

Me and my sweet boy in our Sunday best. 
Showing his 96 year old Great Grandma how cool the iPhone is.

Hunting for Eggs. 

What a glorious Easter it was! One of the highlights was singing with my best friend’s praise band at her church. I don’t need to tell you how much I love singing and I absolutely relish moments like this. Here is one of the songs I was lucky enough to sing lead on:

Kids. Sports. Choices.

I can hardly believe that my child is going to turn 4 this year. The older he gets, the more we start to discuss what types of activities we would like for him to be involved in (or rather, what types of activities we THINK he’d like to be involved in). We watch him closely and know that our child is nutzo active. When he nailed a line drive over the fence in our yard, we were pretty certain that he will be a ball player someday and we hope to start him in T-Ball next summer.

One important thing we are trying to keep in mind: no matter how many activities we have Jackson try, we will not force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. If he decides that sports are just not his thing and he’d rather be a band geek, then that will be up to him. There’s nothing worse than watching a kid being forced to participate in a sport that they are either not good at whatsoever or that they do not like.

While I secretly have my heart set on my son becoming a hockey player someday (stemming from years of following my hockey player brother around from arena to arena as a kid), I think my husband would like to see him be a swimmer like he was. Judging from Jack’s first ever swimming lesson, despite some reservations to putting his head under the water, he was kind of a natural:

His swim school costs mega bucks but is worth ever penny. Super personalized attention made us feel safe with him being in the water without us and his teacher… wow. She rocked. I loved how they made us feel really important on our first day. The staff showed us around, gave us some good tips for making clothing changes and transitions easy and even came up to us during the lesson to see how things were going and to cheer Jackson on. It was a WONDERFUL experience for all of us and we will continue to do lessons at this school for many years to come!

So proud of my little fish!

Fabulous Fit Friday: Summer In… March?

It is March 16 today. And my car said it was 76 degrees outside. In Minnesota.

I think those who live here will join me in a collective: WHAT THE FUCK?

The optimist in me wants to believe that Spring is officially here. The pessimist is saying: WHOA. It could snow in two weeks.

With amazing weather comes the desire to break out the warm weather wardrobe. My issue? My wardrobe has shrunk by nearly 90%. Even my summer SHOES are too big. SHOES? REALLY? Some of my tops are still a comfortable fit, but the bottoms? I can either cinch them up with a belt or suck it up and buy new clothes. I’m sure you can take a wild guess which route this shopaholic will take.

I headed out into the incredible and freakishly warm MN day with the idea that I would first try to find some cute summer dress sandals. After striking out at two stores, I decided that I needed a cute “going out” top. I stopped in at a couple of my staple stores: Gap, Express and Loft. Gap was too casual, Express was too clubby/flashy and Loft was too “work”-ish. In a last ditch effort, I stopped in at New York & Company. Jackpot. My selections:

One for work and one for play. The bottom one I got in black. The most awesome part of my excursion? I had to ask for each one of these in a size small. Not only can I not even remotely remember the last time I wore a small but I have always been too ashamed to ask for different sizes in the dressing room- usually because I always had to go to the next size up (or two).

Shopping isn’t the only thing that is amazing for me now. I have had the urge to go out with my friends lately. Partially spring fever related; however, I think it has a lot to do with my confidence level. I kind of want to go out. Show off. Feel good.

I don’t want to hide anymore!

Motivation Monday: Body Comp Testing

One of the many things I love about the Medifast program is the monthly Body Composition testing. Every 4 weeks they do a body comp scan. Here is how Medifast defines their body comp testing:

Body composition testing is the process of measuring the components of your body, in short, what you’re made of. Weight alone is not a clear indication of good health because it does not distinguish how many pounds are fat and how many pounds are lean body mass. By regularly monitoring your body fat, lean muscle mass/muscular development you can understand how your diet, lifestyle and exercise regime are influencing your body comp. Knowing what’s working for you can help you target and reach your wellness, appearance and longevity goals.

Cool, right??

I love this because it is giving me a more accurate picture of my health beyond just my BMI. It is telling me that my health and weight loss success is based on more than just the number on the scale. Since I have been full disclosure with all of you (and I’m actually at a weight that I am not totally mortified by anymore) here is what my scan looked like this week:

Holy crap. I lost 4.3 lbs this week (thank you Step class!) for a total of 22.1 since starting Medifast. 42.1 since I started my healthiness journey.

My measurements?? Since my last body comp, I have lost 11.25 inches off my body (on Medifast).

I only have 16.2 lbs left to lose.

I am a little in shock. A little choked up. I will be at my goal weight by my 36th birthday. I officially started planning our Disney vacation (the only way I would plan it is if I reached or got close enough to reach my goal weight).

I never thought any of this was possible.

Wordless(ful) Wednesday: The Oscars

If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE awards season. I had the great pleasure of attending the Red Carpet Authority’s “Rock the Red Carpet” Oscar party in St. Cloud, MN on Sunday night with a very dear friend of mine whose company was a primary sponsor for the event. We enjoyed food and wine, games and prizes all to raise money for 3 worthy St. Cloud women’s charities while watching the Oscar broadcast. While my table didn’t win any of the fabulous designer prizes or the prize basket for being the best dressed ensemble (which I frankly think was rigged), I had an amazing time. I can’t imagine a more fun way to watch the Oscars and hope that I will be invited back next year! 

The Help ensemble. Aren’t we cute? My hair was bigger than that at one point…

Me, Angie & Debbie

Fabulous Friday: Revelations

Okay. So today isn’t necessarily fabulous but I’m trying to stay positive.

It has been a crazy week in that I have had quite a few revelations.

1. I may have been wearing corrective lenses for the last 23 years and not actually needing them.
2. I have lost 37 pounds. I am in dire need of a new wardrobe.
3. Sometimes it is okay to not explain everything to your child.

Let me explain…

I may have been wearing corrective lenses for the last 23 years and not actually needing them
I went to the eye doctor on Tuesday for my annual check up and to put my order in for another year’s worth of contact lenses. To my shock, he said that my vision is 20/20. Um. If my vision is 20/20 then why is everything so blurry and why have doctors been giving me glasses for the past 23 years? He believes that I have a condition called ocular rosacea. While I have a mild case of rosacea in my skin, I had no idea that it can affect your vision causing dry eye and blurriness. So, we are currently attempting to treat the rosacea with antibiotics and I am to go without wearing any contacts or glasses for the next 6 weeks to see if my vision improves. This is CRAZY to me. I was planning to get Lasik next year. Talk about saving myself thousands of dollars if this treatment works!!

I have lost 37 pounds. I am in dire need of a new wardrobe.

In the Dressing Room

It is no secret that I have been losing weight. Officially 37.3 pounds in the last year. I am 24 pounds from my goal weight. This is mind boggling for me. I FEEL AWESOME and the confidence that comes with knowing you look awesome too? Amazing. I am attending an Oscar party event this Sunday and my table’s theme is “The Help” and yes that includes props and costumes. There will be a few maids and I will be dressing as one of the southern belles (think Jessica Chastain’s character). In my hunt for a dress, I went into H & M to see what I could find, keeping in mind I have NEVER been able to fit into H & M’s clothing so I usually avoided it. Not only did the clothing fit, but the bigger sizes were by far too big. The perfect dress I bought is too big (but it is perfect so I had to get it) and will need to be cinched with a belt so it doesn’t look like a tent. I have been trying to hold off on buying new clothes but I really am starting to get to the point where my clothes are not wearable- even with a belt. I just can’t believe how I look. I could not be any happier with my progress and am so thankful that I decided to make the switch to Medifast! Just 6 more weeks and I should be at my goal!! 

Sometimes it is okay to not explain everything to your child.

Me & My Drama King

For 3.5 years, we have been running a cool mist humidifier in Jack’s room basically for the white noise element (and this thing is hella noisy). Well… this thing has run its course. Besides not being able to buy the filters for it anymore, I’m pretty sure the motor on it is about to break down. So, I bought the Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine to replace the nasty humidifier. I made the enormous mistake of telling Jack all about it and what it does. What happened? Well… of course he was scared of the new white noise sound and wouldn’t go to sleep last night. I put the old humidifier back in and that scared him too- he said the light on it was a giant blue eye that was angry at him and was going to break all over the place (how does he come up with this stuff???). He then asked me to turn the new one back on (*sigh* *deep breaths*). I waited in his room for him to fall asleep, afraid that if I walked away he would be scared and we would have to start the process all over. He actually slept well all night other than a brief wakeup somewhere around 4am that could have been a number of things (all of them not related to the new sound machine). Where is the lesson here? Had I just plugged the thing in, maybe hid it behind the old humidifier and never said a word about it, he would have never known the difference and this whole dramatic episode could have been avoided.

To top off the night, cue my husband coming home last night from his “going away” happy hour and the first thing out of his mouth was “Empty the dishwasher.” Following my 2 hours of trying to get the kid to go to sleep, I’m pretty sure that was about the final straw. I’m also sure if looks could kill, my husband would have been a bloody mess on the floor.

Can we just start the weekend now?

Valentine’s Day In My World

My distaste for Valentine’s Day started about 6 years ago.

Married just 4 months, my husband attempted to surprise me by sending me flowers at work. All day, he kept calling me to see “what was up” and I was actually getting annoyed by the frequency of his calls. He NEVER calls me that many times in a day. By the end of the day, he finally asked me if anything showed up at my office for me. His surprise was ruined after telling me I was supposed to get flowers that never showed up. Being the sweet guy he is, he quickly ran out to the nearest florist and bought me flowers so I would be at least somewhat surprised when I got home. He more than made up for FTD’s major fail. The funniest part of the story is that I got the flowers. The next day. They were dead. It was awful. FTD offered to send new ones… um… thanks but the moment has passed. He actually had to BEG for a refund. WTH?

We actually chuckle about that story now. It has completely changed how we celebrate (or don’t celebrate) Valentine’s Day to this day.

It amazes me how much as changed in the last 6 years since that fateful Valentine’s Day. On Sunday, we went to my godson’s baptism at the same church that we got married in 6 1/2 years ago. At the end of the regular mass, to my surprise, they were holding a vow renewal for all married couples. Standing there, our 3.5 year old in our arms, trying to say our vows over our child’s interruptions, I smiled. This little family we created is our life now and it was the perfect moment to renew our vow and commitment to each other and to our family.

Following the baptism, we went to the luncheon and I was asked, “So what are your plans for Valentine’s Day.” Without hesitation, I told him we were going to a party at Jack’s preschool. He looked at me funny and asked what WE (me and my husband) were doing. With a confused look and a chuckle, I said that we don’t really specifically celebrate the day anymore.

Valentine’s Day has really turned into a day to simply celebrate our family and our love for each other. It doesn’t need to be filled with gifts or flowers that will die in a week anyway (I’m lucky if they last that long).  I definitely don’t need chocolates or candies. As long as we spend time together, that is enough for me.

Although… I did treat myself to a new pair of Rock & Republic jeans… I never said you couldn’t buy gifts for yourself!

 How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

The Inspiration of Whitney

I wasn’t more than 10 or 11 years old the first time I really “heard” Whitney. I distinctly remember me and my best friend putting the Whitney cassette tape in the boombox and cranking “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” as loud as it could possibly go.

We danced. We sang.

With a hairbrush in my hand and my bed as my stage, I sang all of her songs from the top of my lungs. She made me want to sing. Her music truly represented my teen years. The fun. The heartache. I even remember who I was on a date with when I went to see The Bodyguard. I auditioned for a talent show singing “One Moment In Time.” To say that I was inspired by Whitney’s music is an understatement.

It seems a nearly constant that we hear of celebrity deaths. I am a bit numb to it in this modern day of media. However, Whitney’s death saddened me. I wanted so much for her to make a comeback. I wanted to hear her voice on the radio again. No other artist’s talent and music meant more to me.

I pray for peace and healing for her family. I hope she knows that her music truly will live on forever.

Need I say more?

A New Era: Strep Throat

And so it begins… The strep throat era.

I knew it would come. Both my husband and I suffered through that era as children. I was hoping we wouldn’t have to relive the agony.

I was wrong.

We knew when Jack started coughing a week and a half ago that something was up. However, he was still our happy-go-lucky guy and had no fever, so we didn’t sweat it. A week ago Wednesday the fever began and didn’t stop for 6 days. There was a notice on the door to his classroom of pneumonia and it was the first thought that came to mind. So that evening, we brought him into the doctor, had x-rays done and to my surprise, no pneumonia. We were placed into the “watchful waiting” category as he had no visible signs of infection from his lungs or ears. All this followed by the most horrific night’s sleep we’ve had since who knows when. By Friday, with a fever still raging, my husband insisted on bringing him in again as he seemed to be getting worse. The doctor said his ears and lungs and both were clear, but his “tonsils looked large and bumpy”. Again. Sent on our way to ride it out. The weekend went on and Jack’s fever dropped but was still hovering in the 99-100 range. So we took a chance and brought him to daycare on Monday.

Big mistake.

By noon, we had gotten a call that Jack’s fever was 100.8 (insert eye roll just as most doctors do for this temp) and he was complaining that both his ears were hurting. When I arrived at school after rushing around frantically to get out of work, he was peacefully napping. Any parent knows… it really sucks to wake your kid up (not to mention the 5 other sweetly sleeping preschoolers napping around him). He was in a haze and he was pissed. I attempted to get him out without waking the others and he cried all the way home. He was calling me Mama which he never calls me so I knew he was in agony. Meanwhile, my husband who was fed up with Jack’s lingering illness, called the nurse line at our peds clinic. They thought we should bring him in for a strep test just to rule it out.

No more than 5 minutes after the throat culture, the nurse came out and told us his test was a big fat positive. Strep. We have been struggling with oral antibiotics with him for some time and when they offered a shot of amoxicillin in place of oral antibiotics, we took it. Yes, it is horrific seeing your child in pain but is the 5 minute pain of a shot any worse than the agony of shoving antibiotics down his throat (literally… that’s what it has come to)? If you’ve been barfed on because of forcing antibiotics down your kid’s throat then you know what I’m talking about. I am pissed that the doctor on Friday didn’t give him a throat culture. You have a kid with large, bumpy tonsils complaining of a sore throat and has a fever, isn’t it even worth a try? I feel like all of this mayhem could’ve been avoided and I will admit, I’m more than a little pissed off about it.

My friends, you know strep. You probably had it as a kid. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The husband and I started feeling symptoms over the weekend and when Jack’s test came back positive, we promptly made appointments at our big people clinic. Both positive as well and sent on our merry way to be quarantined for the next 24 hours.

I am hoping over time that our bodies will build up immunity to it because let me tell you. It sucked. Agony. Not sure if vicodin would have worked on that type of pain, but I seriously considered taking a couple leftovers from my surgery last summer. Oh yes, we have been enjoying the sledgehammer bashing headaches, the raging sore throats, the fevers and exhaustion beyond compare. Officially on day 3, I am feeling better but not 100%. I am no longer contagious even though everyone is standing far away from me (rightfully so). I have kind of been daydreaming about what a nap would feel like at this particular point in time.

We had a good long run without any illness and I shouldn’t really be complaining, so I apologize for the whining. Yet, I am pondering what childhood illnesses I have yet to be re-plauged with. I already got the sinus infections, pink eye and strep on my list. Any I’m missing here?

Just one of the many pleasures of having kids. But you know what? Despite my whining, I wouldn’t change it for the world.