Healthy and Active

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Today is Fat Tuesday!! This used to be a party day for us, or should I say party evening, but now we just stay home and maybe have an adult beverage after McKinley goes to bed. It does mean one thing though, pancakes for dinner!! And I'm more excited about that than the possible drink later. That's sad, right?

But with Fat Tuesday comes Lent and it's time to start thinking about the things I'm going to give up. In the past, I've tried to give up chocolate, but have caved within the week. I've been successful with fast food and soft drinks in the past. I'm now just down to soft drinks because you never know when we might be on the road and McDonald's is our only option for lunch! Yes, I can stick to theirs salads, but you can't really eat those in the car. At least I can't. 

Then there's the notion of not giving anything up but actually doing more. My mom just recently read an article about filling a bag a day for 30 days, and donating all the goods to a charity of your choice. I've been donating for years and could probably come up with another 30 bags, but that's a lot of discipline! And I guess that's the whole point, right? And I may do this to a point, but it might not be 30 bags.... But what I'm thinking of doing is more exercise! 

Remember how I thought I was super out of shape after walking the zoo last Sunday and then it turned out to be the flu? Well, I'm still out of shape and I need to do something about it. We cancelled our gym membership because Joel was the only one using it and he can work out for free at work. So I need to try and be super inventive in my workouts. I'm a girl who likes variety and movement. I'm not good at yoga because you are too still for too long. I love aerobic/dance type classes, I love to walk in the neighborhood, and from time to time, possibly jog. But I have to keep it moving and I have to mix it up.

And you need to look good, right? If I'm going to workout, I feel I need to look the part. I used to be a baggy pants kind of workout girl, but workout gear has evolved and I should probably evolve with it. I hate leggings, but the ones I found at Target are actually pretty cute! And the cute jacket and sleeveless  hoodie are darling! I love a cute workout shoe that's versatile. I need it to take me from walks to the zoo to dropping McKinley off at school and these I found are perfect!

And let's talk about the Fitbit Flex 2. I love my original Fitbit, but it's time for an upgrade. First off, I love the slimness of this new Flex 2. It will pair easily with my watch, where the original Fitbit was a little too bulky. And you can swim with this one! With my other, all you could to do was shower and wash dishes. With this one, we can walk to the neighborhood pool and I don't have to worry about remembering to take it off before getting it wet! Swimming laps is another thing I love to do and I can do it with this one while tracking my exercise. Love that! And that darling gold bangle, an extra, makes it look like a piece of jewelry and who doesn't love that!! 

Are you one for participating during Lent? If so, are you a do more kind of person or a give something up? What do you plan to do either way this year? Are you an exercise guru? If so, share with use what you do to stay in shape? I'm all for suggestions! 

Now, who's dreaming of pancakes???


A New Week

Monday, February 27, 2017

Good Morning All! I've been missing, I know, but I have a very good reason. The flu hit our house and hit it hard. I was down for the count for about three days and my son got it while I was still trying to recover. Do you know how hard it is the still be sick and take care of a five year old? A five year old, that even when he's running a fever, still wants to play? Who does that? All I wanted to do was lay on the couch, nap, watch TV, and do nothing! I have no idea where any of his energy came from, but he was full of it.... at times.

It all seemed so innocent. We went to the zoo on Sunday, walking miles before we ever entered due to the amount of visitors, and then walked even more while inside. It felt great to be outdoors, soaking up the sunshine, and spending time with family. But by Sunday night, I was exhausted. Monday morning was a little more difficult. I was so sore. My legs felt like jello and it hurt to stand. I couldn't believe how out of shape I was! I walk and move all day, so how could a day at the zoo cause me to feel like I had just run a marathon? I immediately started thinking of all the fitness things I needed in my life to get me ready for spring and summer. (That post is coming later in the week.) But then the soreness was followed by aches, chills, and a slight fever. No good! By Tuesday, I was calling my husband at work to see if he could come home to take McKinley  to school, checking the school lunch calendar so that I didn't have to pack McKinley's lunch, and praying for the moment I could simply lay on the couch and just be. And on the couch is where I was for the next two days! 

I cleaned out the DVR, slept, sweated, drowned myself in liquids, popped Advil, slept, sweated some more, and relied on everyone in my family to assist me with McKinley and other household chores. I put in loads of laundry (mostly sheets and drenched pajamas) when I could. Assisted with dinner when possible. But for the most part, I was not much use around the house. And I am the most grateful person today! I made a list of things I am thankful for and I'm sharing them with you.

1) My husband! Instead of just going off to work and leaving me to figure it out, he took the time to work from home in the morning to get McKinley to school. He made breakfast, assisted with lunch, packed him up for school, and did all the necessary drop off details so it appeared seamless to McKinley. He ate not so great meals for dinner because there was no way I could cook actual full course dinners. And he washed more loads than normal, sterilized everything around him, and did all the nighttime rituals with the McKinley. And when I couldn't get out of bed to get Advil and water in the middle of the night because my fever was so debilitatingly high, he did without question. I couldn't have done it without him!

2) My parents! They are always waiting in the wings for something around here and last week was no different! They picked McKinley up from school, took over to their house for snacks, playtime, and after school activity work. They offered to take him to school so Joel wouldn't miss work and to take him to the doctor when they weren't sure I would be able to. They came by to pick up the kitties so McKinley would have his beloved blanket for the afternoon. And took the toys he requested before he left for school. Again, my saviors that are always there for us! I couldn't do anything in life without them!!

3) My job! I love my job!! And I am so thankful that I was able to be sick, tend to my sick child, and not worry about work! I didn't have to take vacation. I didn't have to take sick time. I didn't have to do anything but take care of me and my son. And my job was there for me when I needed. I still worked. Just ask anyone that follows my Stella VIP Page. Just ask my current hostess. I worked when I could and took the time off that I needed. This is honestly the best job that I have ever had and it's all mine!! So thankful for the opportunity that Stella & Dot has provided me! 

4) My health! I may not have been super healthy for about a week, but I was able to recover from a bout with the flu and walk away. I am thankful that I was able to fight it off with just a week of Tamiflu. I am a healthy 43 year old and so grateful! And, it's made me realize I need to start taking better care of myself. Again, more to come later in the week!

It's a new week! A new outlook! A new beginning. And, we're looking at a new month in just a few days. What are you thankful for today?


KC Fun: Under the Sea Exhibit

Monday, February 20, 2017

As I've mentioned several times, we love spending time at Crown Center. Between dining, playing, and attending children's theater, there is definitely something for everyone and a full day of fun. One of my personal favorite things they offer is their hands-on, exploratory exhibits. Every quarter, or possibly longer, Crown Center offers a new exhibit for children to learn and play and it's free! We've been going for years and McKinley loves exploring every inch of every exhibit. And I love watching him at play. And I have to admit, I like to explore too. 

A couple of weekends ago, we checked their newest Under the Sea exhibit and it's awesome!! You walk into the room and are met by a giant 3D octopus! He's so cute!  

From there, you head right into the sea! And just like the sea, there are creatures everywhere. A submarine, a sunken city, seaweed to walk through (my husband really enjoyed that), portholes that offered surprises, a large whales mouth to enter, a ship to steer, a slide, and a mermaids house! When I asked McKinley what his favorite part of the exhibit was, he immediately answered the submarine, his new favorite right now. (Aside from trains....)

If you are looking for a fun family outing, check out Under the Sea! You won't be disappointed and your kids are going to have the best time exploring all the sea life. Fun for everyone!


Feeling the Love

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Today is Valentine's Day! It's all about love, everything red, and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate! I've always loved Valentine's Day. It's the day where all school aged kids get lovely reminders that they are loved by everyone, before boys start picking the pretty girls and not you! You get to have a Valentine's Day party in your classroom, which I'm happily co-hosting this afternoon. And, you get to wear red, my all time favorite color. There really isn't much not to love about this day.

Know what else I love? Pretty things. Girly things. Fancy things! I'm drawn to pretty fabrics in clothing whether it's a print, the fabric itself, a pretty color, or cut. Just yesterday, my sweet mama bought me the most gorgeous bomber jacket from H&M in the softest blush hue for spring! And, it's silky to the touch which makes it even better! I'm drawn to fancy living rooms that are mostly look and not touch! I desperately want a furry white rug to lay on, look at, and use for display photos on Instagram. I want a new grown up light fixture over my kitchen table to complete the overall look. And, I'm dying over mirrored anything! Oh, and cute coffee mugs for home and on the go!

I've picked out nine of my favorite lovely things and I'm sharing them with you! 

What are some of the things you love? Of course it's your spouse, significant other, or children, but what else? What makes you happy? Makes your heart go pitter pat? Gives you googly eyes? I want to know!

I hope you have a lovely day on this Valentine's Day. And that you get chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate!!


KC Fun: Crown Center

Monday, February 13, 2017

We are so lucky to live in a city that constantly has family friendly things to do and we are just the family to take advantage of these experiences. This weekend was no different. Hands down, McKinley's favorite thing to do is spend time at Crown Center. And why wouldn't he! His favorite restaurant is Fritz's, he loves to create at Kaleidoscope, we explore the oceans of Sea Life, throw coins in the fountains, and spend time in their ever evolving hands-on exploratory exhibits. It's awesome!

McKinley and I spent Friday afternoon together all around Crown Center. We dined with the trains at Fritz's, browsed the toy store to enhance his birthday list, and headed over to Sea Life. We hadn't been to Sea Life in months and it was an over-due visit. We normally fly through, but on Friday McKinley was all about taking his time and watching the fish in each tank. We spent a lot of time at their touch pool where he asked questions about the creatures in the water and gently touched each one. We watched the short film around how certain sea life is becoming extinct and how we can help. Watched the fish in the Coral Reef Exhibit, specifically spending our time watching two fish dart in and out of the sand every time it got up its nerve to swim. Upon seeing any large fish swim by, it would be driven back in its hole. It was hilarious! And McKinley got a huge kick of out it. The best part of the visit was the Doodle Reef. There, kids can choose a fish to color, scribble various colors on the touch screen pads, and then watch it swim on a giant screen with all the other fish in the sea. He colored three different fish, and would have colored more, but we had to get going. We were there for almost two hours! He had a wonderful time!

After such a fun Friday, we were back down there on Sunday with Joel to do a little ice skating! Every year, Crown Center opens their Ice Terrace during the winter months and it's a crowd favorite. McKinley has asked all winter to go ice skating, he asked again on Friday, so we decided to take him over the weekend. I hadn't been on skates since the age of 10, and at 43 one begins to worry about brittle bones upon falling, so I was a nervous wreck. And, I worried that McKinley would fall and hurt himself as well. As a result, I am so stiff and sore today from tensing up and holding on to him with an iron claw. But it was so much fun and I am so glad we did it! Can't say I'm ready to do it again any time soon....


From there, we hit the new Under the Sea exhibit, but I'm saving that for tomorrow. It deserves it's on post and I want to focus on these fun interactive exhibits that Crown Center creates!!

What did you guys do this weekend? In addition to all of our time at Crown Center, we spent Saturday at home outside with those amazing spring like temps! It was glorious!


Should Everyone Be Included

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

I am treading in new water with McKinley being in Kindergarten. Or should I say, with McKinley being involved in school and outside activities. McKinley's birthday is coming up, April will be here before you know it, and we're in the early planning stages of the big day. But here's the issue, how many kids should be invited to the party? A handful of friends or everyone in the class? And that has me asking the question, should everyone be included?

When did we become this society? When I was growing up, you had a birthday party and you invited your friends. Not everyone, just your friends. And it wasn't every girl in the class. It was girls from both classes and it was maybe a handful. And some outside friends. I think my largest birthday party was 10 girls and that was a lot. And it was held at home. Where most birthday's were held. However, one year we did head out to Putt-Putt which was a lot of fun. But most always my parties were at home.

And at home parties can be fun. You have a theme, you play games, and sometimes a sleepover. You have Miss Piggy deliver a ballon-a-gram. You have someone come and do face paintings. You have a magician. You have a talent contest. Everyone comes dressed from the 50s. You have fun and you don't worry about whether or not you hurt someone's feelings. You weren't friends with them to begin with so why would they want to come to your party anyway? But not today! Today, you have to invite everyone because you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. You don't anyone to feel left out. And you're stressed out as a parent because you don't know what to do with a possible 18 kids and their parents for a couple of hours. Is the stress really worth it?

I chatted with a friend about this not too long ago. She has a daughter turning six in February and is currently planning her party. When I asked how many she was thinking of inviting, she said she wasn't quite sure. I mentioned that our last birthday party had the entire class invited and she was shocked. She agreed that seemed unrealistic to ask of every parent throwing a party. A friend of hers allowed her child to invite the number of kids of the age she was turning. Six friends were invited. That seems realistic. 

On the way to school today, McKinley and I talked briefly about his party. I told him we needed to chat and he said, "about the theme?" I said no, about the guest list. I told him that I didn't think we were going to invite the whole class, but maybe just a few of the friends he spends the most time with during the day. Plus, he wants to include some of his friends from Preschool and I'm totally okay with that. I love that he still thinks of them even though they haven't seen each other since August. We have reached a manageable number of 10. A good round number with a mix of boys and girls. I feel good about it. But where to have it is the next question. I'm not opposed to an at home party, but April is tricky. And early April is even dicier. We've been lucky that the last several years have been warm enough to spend time outdoors. I'm not sure if we will be so lucky again this year. What to do with 11 Kindergartner's, in a house that's not so spacious, is the question. But we have a few other ideas up our sleeve and will look into those soon.

So what are you doing in your neck of the woods? Do you put a cap on the amount of kids your child can invite or do you include the whole class? Do you even have birthday parties that aren't family only? I would love to hear your thoughts!


How to Let it Go!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

With motherhood comes loads of emotions I never anticipated. Guilt being the number one! But what I've discovered as of late is frustration! I can go days, maybe even weeks without it, but then it washes over me out of the blue! And then I seem to carry it for days on end.

I wish I could be the kind of mama, or woman for that matter, that just lets things go. But I'm not and that's one of my many faults. I've had conversations with other friends who just let things roll right off their backs and they seem to have a life that's so easy breezy. Carefree. Laid back. How awesome would that feeling be? Instead, I carry this weight of disappointment, frustration, and sometimes anger and I don't like it.

I experienced it just this morning! Last night was trash night. My husband collected all the trash from around the house, mainly just bathroom trashcans, and dumped them in the kitchen one. Nothing new there. Now, I was out last night at a PTA meeting so I wasn't home to witness this act, but I know the drill. So you can understand my frustration when I went to throw something away this morning and there was NO trash bag in the trashcan. Why? Why I ask you was there no trash bag in the trashcan? You take a bag out, you put a bag back in, right? And let me tell you, this isn't the first time it's happened! Instead of just replacing the liner with a new bag and moving on, I was completely frustrated at the fact that there wasn't a trash bag in the can! I was angry about it. Fuming the entire time I made breakfast and packed McKinley's lunch. That was a full 20 minutes that I allowed myself to not just move on and find something happier to celebrate.

Just yesterday I lamented to my mom that I feel so under appreciated for my efforts around the house. I have found that Monday's are my straightening/cleaning the living room day. My son has a pretty nice playroom in the basement, but for whatever reason he chooses to bring up toys and play in the living room. It's not much roomier up there. There's more furniture and breakable things that we're constantly pointing out. "What your head on the dining room table." "Please don't kick that over. It will break." Things that you don't utter in the playroom because it's specific to him! Anyway, you should have seen my living room. The same living room I had just straightened not five days ago. It became a working farm. Tractors every where. Pens of animals scattered around the room. A hayride that carried people from one end of the farm to the other. And I love hearing him play. I love listening to him create this working farm and all the sites and sounds that go with it. What I don't love is that it never makes its way back to the playroom at the end of the day, let alone at the end of the weekend. And it didn't stop there. There was a crane, rocks, workmen, and construction signs shoved along side the couch, out of the way of the farm. There was a keyboard in the middle of the room where McKinley played us some tunes on Sunday morning. A keyboard that my husband stated he would take back down later that afternoon. Nope, it was still there come Monday morning and guess who cleaned it all up! That's right, and I fumed the entire time. Again, instead of just letting it go and focusing on how clean the room would be in the end, how much fun McKinley had had playing in the room while we roamed in and out, and the crazy music that came out of the keyboard, I focused on the fact that it was all in there in the first place and that I was the one to pick it all up. AGAIN! 

When reading about what causes frustration and how to deal with it, this statement rang out. "You will need to learn to distinguish between what you hope will happen, what will probably happen, and what actually happened." Well, this makes tons of sense and something I need to repeat to myself often! I hoped that the living room would have been picked up before we all went to bed on Sunday morning, but I knew that wouldn't happen. Had I been home last, I would have seen that I would probably end up putting the trash bag in the trashcan. And I totally know what's going to happen. I'm going to have to clean up the mess and put the trash bag in the trashcan. And instead of fretting about it, mumbling under my breath while I do it, just do it and move on! Day to day life isn't perfect. You have to expect the unexpected and sometimes that's not having a trash bag in the trashcan. Move on!

Am I going to say anything to anyone about it? No. What's the point? I don't know what happened here last night while I wasn't home. Things between McKinley and Joel could have been strained. A temper tantrum could have presented itself and Joel just never got back to the kitchen to replace the bag. Or he took the trash out, finished cleaning up the kitchen from dinner, prepped his lunch for the next day, and simply didn't even think about the trashcan. What I can positively focus on is that the living room is still clean, the playroom is free of toys all of the floor (after cleaning it up for about an hour yesterday as well), and that I can relax this morning while writing this post and sipping on coffee. And taking a deep breath in and letting the frustration go. It didn't go me any good to get so worked up, right? 

What do you do to combat frustration? Do you get frustrated? Are you one of those mama's that can just let things go? If so, share with us how you do it. Any tips or tricks for those of us who just can't seem to grasp the concept? I could really use your help!!


Mama Style File: Shoe Shopping

Monday, February 6, 2017

I love shoes! And if you don't believe me, come on over and see the collection for yourself! It's pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself. It's been years of cultivating the perfect pairs and I love them all. However, I do have several that I'm parting with soon as I find I'm not wearing heels as often as I used to. They are simply showing their age in trend, not wear. But, when you're getting rid of one, you replace one, right? That's how I see it anyway.

Yesterday as I was browsing Instagram, I found a darling pair of booties that one of my fashionista friends is currently wearing. And they are everything! A studded motorcycle bootie that must find its way into my closet! I headed straight to the Choies website and immediately found three more pairs of boots/booties that I loved. And while you're browsing for shoes, why stop at boots? I found slip-on sneakers, flats, and sandals. They are classic, trendy, and so chic! There are nine in total and each one is must-have!

My obsession with flamingos is strong and those flats from Zara are just the thing to cure it. Remember the wedges from Kate Spade? And if you're asking if I need two pairs of flamingo shoes, I'm going to say absolutely! Ones a wedge and ones a flat. They're completely different! The pom-pom craze is still on trend and it's made its way from handbag accessories to shoe adornment. The slip-on sneakers from Steve Madden are so cute, but those sandals from Zara are amazing for summer! And I don't care that they're velvet. Velvet for summer is what I say! 

There's those studded beauties from Choies along with a pair of tall boots designed after the Givenchy boots that were on my "only in my dreams" wishlist. And I'm totally crushing on those pink booties! I have no idea how I would style them, or what I have in my closet to wear them with, but they are darling!

And the slip-on sneaker is a must! I have several pairs and I wear them on repeat in the summer. I love the olive green pair, but those rose gold metallics are screaming my name! Thank you, Target, for designing affordable footwear to feed my shoe obsession! My wallet thanks you, I think....

If you love shoes like I do, Valentine's Day is right around the corner and now's the time to start dropping hints! You can drop subtle hints or just show your loved one the photo above! And point specifically to the pair you want and the size you wear. Whatever works! But deciding on which pair is going to be the hardest!

Which is your favorite? Are you all about trends or a classic shoe that goes with everything in the closet? I love all shoes equally! I received the best compliment ever a couple of weeks ago when I sported a pair of teal blue heels. I was told that I always wore the happiest shoes and that made me so happy! It made my feet happy too!

Happy Monday!


Dressing McKinley: Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Can you believe it's February 1st? Here we go again with the "Where did the time go?" question. And it's always true. But I do love February. It's my mom's birthday month, Valentine's Day, and one month closer to spring! I'm excited for Valentine's Day this year because of all the fun things we get to do to celebrate. Because McKinley's in Kindergarten, and I'm co-room parent, it's party time and that means he has to have the cutest outfit for the festivities!

I have always been that mom that makes sure he has cute tees or sweaters for the holiday on the calendar, but it's getting harder and harder to find the older he gets. It appears that it's no longer cool to dress your child, especially boy, in sweet Valentine's Day sayings. If he were in 7th grade, I might say you're right, but not at five! He needs a cute shirt. And luckily, other retailers agree with me!

Of the ones I found, I have a fondness for a few of them. Like Snoopy! I love that those two don't scream Valentine's Day because he can wear it beyond the 14th. Same goes for the pizza hoodie. And the way my child plows through pizza, this is definitely the shirt he needs! However, how sweet is Mickey's face smiling back at you! And McKinley loves Paw Patrol and Rubbel is pretty adorable! It's going to be hard to chose.

How do you feel about dressing your child in holiday flair? Is it your thing or do you just let the day pass dressing them in whatever you could get them to wear? I don't have to go the cute tee route though. He has some really cute red things that I can put together for the day. We'll see what I come up with the day before. In the meantime, what do you think of the shirts above?

electric toothbrush