Must Have Mondays

Must Have Mondays – Issue 15

I can’t believe we’re already at the last Monday in January and two days away from February!!!! Seriously where did January go?! I was legitimately a week behind from the get-go and just felt like I couldn’t catch up! Anyway….

Thanks for stopping by the check out this week’s must-haves!

If this is your first time reading one of these posts, every other week I post about a recipe, blog/blogger and a product. The recipe is something yummy and easy, the blog is one I love reading with a blogger who is super relateable, and the product is always one that really blows me away! They are always creative, trendy products that you don’t see everyday!

Enjoy!!!


This week’s recipe: Chicken & Black Bean Enchilada Skillet by Six Sisters’ Stuff

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Photo courtesy of Six Sisters’ Stuff

So freaking, so freaking easy!

Easy clean up , one dish


This week’s blogger: Nicole Banuelos – www.NicoleBanuelos.com

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Photo courtesy of Nicole Banuelos

This gal right here is one of my fave bloggers! (I know I say that a lot, but dang if I don’t truly love all the awesome bloggers I’ve featured on here!!!) Nicole is sweet and talented and can we say, blogger babe alert?! Haha Seriously though, her blog is one of my faves to follow! She speaks to truth, especially when it comes to motherhood, shares great products, and also has the cutest DIY projects (and ones that I can actually do you guys!) Oh yea, and this gal just revamped her site and it looks fab! Go check it out RIGHT NOW! You won’t be sorry 😉


This week’s product: Loopy Cases

I received this product in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts & opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

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I got a little too excited when I saw this product! As a mama to a little one and a blogger who does a lot of social media promotion, my phone is pretty much constantly on me. I am also typically trying to do 1,847 things at once so my phone is pretty much constantly falling, hitting the ground, driveway, hardwood floor, sidewalk, need I continue? This phone case is the coolest thing! It has a little loop on the back where you insert your finger and it helps prevent you from dropping your phone. With it being so practical I thought there was going to be no way that they were also going to have fashionable cases! I was wrong! They have a variety of colors. (I chose rose gold and am very pleased). They also have cases for many different makes and styles of cell phones so you’re sure to find the one for you! Anddddddd they were nice enough to provide a discount code for my readers! For a limited time enjoy 15% off with discount code: andthenlife

Thanks again for stopping by!

Have a great week!

xoxo

Gifts for the Man Who Has Everything

I received some of the items in this post in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

 

I am SO excited to share this gift guide with you! I searched long and hard for gifts that were dapper and unique! I also wanted to find companies that had affordable products that didn’t look cheap! Anyone one else with me there?! That’s so hard sometimes!

Enjoy perusing the list! I’ve included some discount codes as well!

Happy shopping! 


21 Rhinos

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These ties are not only perfect since they can be personalized in such a variety of ways, but they also beautiful and such nice quality. I mean this company can even personalize the tie with a photo! How cool is that?!  This is truly a gift for the man that has everything.

Discount code: LIFE10 (10% OFF)


Dark Horse Engraving

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These guitar picks are such a unique gift. Song lyrics, initials, a special date – they are able to engrave all kinds of things onto your guitar pick. Their shop also carries a variety of other engraved gift items, including cutting boards, cake toppers, and ornaments.

Discount: Free shipping


 JORD

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These watches are simply stunning! They have multiple styles from many different types of wood. They are truly one of a kind! They also come with their own wooden presentation box.

Discount: 15% off all watches through 6/14/17


Lovely Beards

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From a brand new beard to one he’s been working on for a while, this company has just the oils and balms for your man! With manly packaging and robust scents, he’s surely going to love them all!

Discount code: beards10 (10% OFF)

And


Qalo

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From the man who likes to work-out, has a job with heavy machinery, or just wants a downright comfy wedding band, this company is for him! They are the makers of the world famous silicone wedding band. They carry a variety of styles and colors, too!

Discount: 20% OFF site wide

I really do hope you enjoyed this gift guide. I think I found some very unique, personal gifts that any guy would love! Let me know what you buy!!!!

xoxo

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Happy 3rd House-iversary!

Three years ago today we bought a house! It is our first home ever and the home we brought our baby girl home to so it will ALWAYS be special. Honestly, there are many, many changes we’d like to make. Well, many changes we have made, but many more on the list! Some will get done and some we don’t want to put the money and time into because we know this isn’t our forever home. For now though, it is absolutely perfect and I will forever be proud because it’s our’s. 

Per my request, my sweet dad did a little photo shoot for us and I think they turned out great!

Here are a few of my faves:

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Dirt, Glitter, & Football: A Lesson in Gender Stereotyping

I recently made a post on my Instagram page that prompted this blog post, but in case you didn’t see it, here is a much longer synopsis:

My daughter recently received two books through a subscription book club. One of the books she received, however, had an illustrated picture of a man driving a backhoe on the cover. I flipped through and it was all about said man, his dog, and the jobs that he works throughout the day.

I put it on the shelf immediately. My darling daughter, in her cute polka dotted outfit and bow, wasn’t going to enjoy reading about a man driving a backhoe. This was obviously for a boy!

And on the shelf it sat for two straight months! I never pulled it down and my daughter passed it by since she was more interested in the all the books Mommy had been picking out and reading her.

And then one day she came across the book about the man with the backhoe. And she loved it. She flipped through it happily. She pointed to his pet dog and smiled. She brought it to me and turned around to plop down in my lap. I read the book and she was enthralled the entire time. She interacts with the words I say, she watches my fingers as we read and count, “one, two, three, four, five.”

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And that’s when it hit me. I was total guilty of gender stereotyping! Shame on me!!! I had seen the cover and coined it a “boy book.” But, what does that even mean? I can’t believe I was ignorant enough to completely disregard this book because I coined it gender specific. Why did I think it was so wrong for my daughter to love a book about a helpful man on a backhoe? Hadn’t I grown up with a father and a grandfather that both drove backhoes and that I’d love riding along on! Me, a girl, had loved riding on the backhoe, playing in the dirt, and exploring their construction sites (when it was safe to, of course!) What I had done broke my heart!

If she wants to play with trucks and get dirty in the mud, great, if we have a son one day and he wants to play with dolls and wear pink, great. These things should never be attached to a gender to begin with. I want my daughter to know that I truly believe she can be anything she wants to be and do anything she wants to do! Maybe that means climbing Mt. Everest, or being an astronaut, or playing football, or competing in beauty pageants, or maybe, just maybe, it means driving a backhoe!


After I realized the fault, I reached out on social media, admitting what I had done and immediately wanting to grow awareness of this! And you know what, I received such support!

I had many mothers comment about similar instances they’ve dealt with. Not necessarily that they were at fault like I had been, but mothers that had addressed gender stereotyping in one way or another. And let me tell you, these mothers are far wiser than me!

It was so wonderful reading the stories of fellow moms and it meant more than they know that they reached out to me and showed support. I wanted their responses heard because I think this is some powerful stuff!

These are the comments they left on my Instagram post that day:

“[My daughter] loves cars and tools and I’m sure [my son] will be playing with dolls in no time at all! My brother used to play Barbies with me!” – Suzanne, The Glorious Mundane

“My son brought home Pinkalicious the other day and I loved it!” – Sarah, This Awkward Mom

“[My son and daughter] love sharing books! A lot of nights we read together now, and it’s always fun to see who’s collection they choose from.” – Jessica, Kozy & Co

“My son plays with Barbies when we go to my niece’s house.” – Shadia, Sound of a Bird

“My son asked for a stroller and a baby doll for Christmas last year. When asked why, he said because he wanted a baby just like Daddy (he had a new baby brother). He also asked for a kitchen. Two stereotypical ‘girl’ toys that Santa most definitely brought him. I got some flack from friends who didn’t understand. But you know what? [He] told people he was a “good daddy” when he pushed that stroller and he “cooks” for me almost everyday. He also has a massive collection of hot wheels cars and dump trucks that are his world. We are fostering imagination and life skills.” – Keala, Recipe for a Sweet Life

“My baby girl can get just as rough and tough as her brothers.” – Stephanie, I Literally LOL


Let’s put an end to gender stereotyping!

Please share any experiences you’ve had! I’d LOVE to hear them!!!

xoxo

 

Must Have Mondays

Must Have Mondays – Issue 14

Hey hey! Thanks for stopping by! If this is your first time here, Must Have Mondays is a bi-weekly roundup of a fave blogger/blog, recipe, and product of mine. The blogger is someone relatable, the product is always unique, and the recipe is always easy and yummy!

Enjoy!


This week’s recipe: {Clean Eating} Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Peppers by Citron Limette

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Photo courtesy of Citron Limette

My hubby and I are very conscious about what we eat on a daily basis. We don’t always do it, but we participate in “cleaning eating” more times than not throughout the month. This recipe from Citron Limette is not only one of my favorite cleaning eating recipes, but one of my favorite recipes in general. It is so, so flavorful and tastes so nice and fresh. It is also very filling! There are times we’ve just eaten this as the meal, but I’ve also served it with a leafy green salad with a vinaigrette dressing and it’s been great! And as always, it’s super simple as far as skill level in the kitchen goes! (Obviously! I was able to successfully make it hahaha)


This week’s blogger: Colleen Nichols of The Lunchbox Diaries

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Photo courtesy of Colleen Nichols

I am so excited to feature The Lunchbox Diaries this week for Must Have Mondays! This girl right here is pretty much as real as they get. She speaks mom truth like nothing I’ve ever read and I have related to more things and laughed at more things on her page than any other blogger. A few years ago she shared a post she wrote on Facebook and while I don’t remember what the specific post was even about, I remember returning to her page time and time again. Her blog is the first one I EVER read and here we are years later and she doesn’t disappoint.


This week’s product: GCap – Spill Proof Bottle Cap

I received this product in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

Oh my gosh I loveeeeee this product! It is pure genius. I am the WORST at packing a diaper bag so I end up realizing somewhere along our daily adventures that I don’t have a sippy cup. There are SO many times I have bought water bottles while we are out and painstakingly tried to help my daughter drink from them without them spilling everywhere. Problem solved! (Also, if I’m being honest, I lost the lid to my own water bottle the other day and totally would have used this. I legit spilled it twice before I just ended up throwing it away.) The GCap is made of nontoxic, food safe elastomers, free of BPA, PVC, & phthalates. You stretch it over the mouth of any bottle It is also tear resistant and dishwasher safe. Can we get a hallelujah please for the fact that it’s dishwasher safe?! And also, as if they weren’t affordable enough, GCap has been kind enough to offer a discount code to all my readers. If you use code LIFE20 you will receive 20% off your order! Make sure you stop back by and let me know what you think! Happy shopping!!!

[Nestle Pure Life is a registered trademark of Nestle Waters North America]

 

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful, wonderful week!!!!

xoxo

Say Hello to Easy Weeknight Dinners

This post has been sponsored by HelloFresh. All thoughts & opinions are 100% my own.

If you have followed my blog pretty much ever you know that I am no chef. Actually let me rephrase that, I will NEVER be a chef! Or so we thought…”we” being my hubby and I. He must actually just love me! Believe me, it’s not the cooking!

Well all that was true until a couple weeks ago when we tried HelloFresh. They offered to send three meals for the week and it may be the quickest email I ever responded to! I’m desperate here guys! Something’s gonna give when it comes to this housewife with a meal on the table thing.

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I was so excited to get the box and immediately tore into it when it arrived. I am a bit obsessive compulsive, but everything was packed PERFECTLY. There was dry ice on the bottom, all the frozen meats that would be included in the meal, a cardboard separator, and then three labeled box with all the ingredients I’d need for each individual meal. And all of it was in a cooler bag, inside a cardboard box. Great packaging, I wasn’t worried that anything had gone bad! (And that’s saying something since I’m a little obsessive compulsive with that as well)

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The three recipes I chose, as you can see in the picture, were a chicken & orzo dish, a steak & potatoes dish, and a pork chop in creamy mushroom sauce dish. Each of the ones I chose came with a meat, a starch, and veggies. They also each come with step-by-step directions (and step-by-step pictures!) to help you along the way. For the most part, everything is also already measured out. You just have to do some of the chopping…easy enough!

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Another thing I loved about HelloFresh is that all of their recipes were short and simple. The longest start to finish time, of all three meals, was 35 minutes! Now I can deal with that on a busy weeknight!

I also love how fancy all the recipes look at the end! Again, that’s saying something for me who never has a beautiful meal presentation. It really is the meal combinations they have that compliment each other so well.

Here is the delectable picture of my plate the night we made the Upgraded Steak and Potatoes. It was seriously one of the best meals I have EVER eaten!

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On their website they always have completely free recipes too, which is so, so helpful! I can go back and look up the yummy recipes I tried out or scope out some recipes I want to try.

AND if you visit the HelloFresh website right now you can get $15 OFF your first box!!!! Which in some cases is like a 50% discount!

Bon apetit!

Don’t forget to come back and let me know which meals you ordered!

 

 

 

 

Adalynn’s First Snow Day EVER!

As we sitting here waiting for an impending snow storm, I can’t help but think back to Adalynn’s first snow last year! People up North would probably laugh at the teeny bit we had, but hey, it’s a good amount for Virginia. (Hence, why everyone is freaking out about us possibly getting 16+ inches tomorrow!)

Anyway, here’s a few photos we took last year (2016) after bundling her in THE cutest little bear suit. We were only outside for about five minutes but we obviously HAD to document it!

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Can’t wait to take some updated pics! Just need a little bit of snow for that… 😉

Seriously though wherever you are, be safe out there!!!

xoxo

 

 

I’m Coming for ya 2017!!!

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If I’m being super honest, I kinda get annoyed with all this resolution, goal-setting talk around the New Year. My reason being is because I feel like people don’t actually take the time to really stick to it. Also because every single day is a fresh start. Heck, every second is, just blink and you’ve got a whole new day ahead of you.

With that being said, however, I do get an overwhelming feeling of starting fresh when the New Year hits. With a lot on my plate this year (an always active toddler, a growing blog with growing social media channels, & a possible part time job in the near future) I actually feel pushed to create a list of sorts. It’s easy as a busy mom, especially one that stays home, to say, “oh I didn’t get to that today, I’ll do it tomorrow.” Well instead of constantly “doing it tomorrow” I wanted to create a solid list that I think on everyday and work towards.

That is not to say that I will feel defeated if come December 31, 2017 if everything doesn’t have a pretty check mark next to it! This is a list of things I’m going to work towards and try to accomplish. It will not be forced. I want it to be a fun year, a year of adventures and loving life!

I have lots of things I want to accomplish, I have so many aspects of my life, I have broken down everything like an OCD psycho into categories.


Here we go:

Faith:

Finish reading the Bible – I want to read it from cover to cover. I started a while back, but this will be the year I finish it.

Start serving on a serve team again – Before Adalynn was born I served every Sunday, helping with offering. Now that she is comfortable in nursery I need to make the time to serve again.

Marriage:

Establish a recurring date night and stick to it – We used to have a date night every Wednesday; becoming parents and John’s current job make that much more difficult. We also had gotten a bit lazy about actually finding interesting and different things to do each week. I don’t anticipate this being a weekly thing, since we do have a little one, but we’ve all but stopped having one so we need to bring those back!

Attend a marriage event/conference – A couple years ago our church hosted an event for married couples. There was a speaker, lunch, and one-on-one activities. It was a really great bonding experience and I’d love to go to one again.

House:

Put shelves in the half bath – We have painted, hung pictures, and gotten a new light fixture, toilet paper holder, towel rack, anddddd faucet. We literally just need to hang shelves and the project will be complete!

Finally finish the office (chair, some sort of shelfing) – This is a room we’ve really struggling with what to do with. It is just a big square with four windows, but it ends up housing random stuff, yet also has big empty spaces as well.

New carpet in the guest bedroom – Thanks for our dog, this needs to be replaced.

Reading nook in the master bedroom – One half of our master bedroom literally has no furniture. We are hoping to add a chair, lamp, and small shelf to create a cozy little area to read or relax.

Tile in the master bathroom – Part of it is carpeted, need I say more?!

Curtains in the remaining rooms that don’t have them – I’m tired of just looking at plain, white shades in almost every room.

Picture frames up to date and hung up – self explanatory, and embarrassingly enough this also includes our wedding photos…from almost five years ago!

Get furniture for the front porch – We have a sweet little porch with white railing and I would love to put some patio furniture or rocking chairs out there.

Family:

Do a family date day/night at least once a week – This is a really important one as well, especially now that Adalynn is at such an impressionable age.

Talk about plans for Baby #2 once Adalynn is potty trained – Don’t start harassing me or peppering me with questions just yet 😉 Adalynn may not even be potty-trained this year, but if so we feel like that’s a great time to talk about expanding our family.

Travel:

Take a 5 year anniversary trip with my hubby – I have hopes for a big trip for this one, but finances, time, and arrangements for Adalynn will obviously take precedence.

Take a family trip – We’ve never been on one! My wanderlust heart can’t take it anymore!!!

Take a girls trip – Myself and most of my girlfriends turn 30 this year. A girls trip is obviously necessary!

Check out 1+ states on my bucket list (this can be incorporated into one of the above trips) – I’ve already been to 27, but I’ve got 23 to go…

Career:

Find something part-time working with children, preferably in reading – I am a former elementary school teacher with a reading specialist endorsement and am starting to miss that part of my life. I love this season of being a mom to a little one, however, and am SO grateful to be able to stay home with her, so that is why I only want something part-time.

Fitness:

Compete in another half marathon – I haven’t decided if I want to do the Rock & Roll Half again or try a new one! Maybe I’ll do more than one 😉

Compete in at least three 5k (or longer) races – I love the adrenaline, happiness, and just plain FUN that surrounds organized races. I didn’t do many in 2016 and I missed it terribly!

Practice yoga 2+ a week – Yoga is something I’ve always wanted to do and when I was pregnant with Adalynn I did it almost everyday. I think it helps my overall demeanor and quite frankly my labor, overall. I haven’t taken the time to commit to it since she’s been born and I’d love to!

Blog:

Host 5-10 bloggers for a series – I have always so enjoyed guest posting on other people’s blogs and love the connections you make so I’d love to host my own.

Update the layout – This page needs a face lift and some housekeeping touches

Publish 10+ posts a month – I don’t necessarily want to post on the same days every week, but I do want to publish posts more regularly than I have in the past.

Take a course (online or otherwise) to become more knowledgeable of my camera – We have a Canon and I know I could do some great things with it if I knew what the heck I was doing!

Social Media Channels (Blog):

Grow Facebook & Twitter to 1,000 followers – self explanatory

Become more familiar with Pinterest & StumbleUpon – I’ve heard these are great for sharing blog posts so I would love to use them more often.

Grow Instagram to 10,000 followers – self explanatory

Financial:

Set up a working budget and stick to it – This is something that we haven’t stuck to in the past and I think it’s really important.

Meal plan weekly & don’t go to the grocery store more than once a week – I have found myself spending more money than necessary due to sporadic grocery store trips. I am going to take the time to meal plan, really figure out what need to be purchased, and make a weekly trip.

Continue tithing every single week – This is something I have faith in and starting in December 2016 we did it every week. We will continue doing so in 2017.

Miscellaneous:

Finish junior and senior year of college scrapbooks – Yes, I’m that behind!

Make family photo albums – I know I have digital copies of pretty much everything, but I just love sitting around flipping through actual pictures

Find a cleaning schedule that works for us – Another thing we do sporadically in this house is clean. We do some things more than others, some things are forgotten, and we forget when what was done. I have had friends recommend an actual cleaning schedule and then you do a few things a day, week, or month, and it doesn’t become one overwhelming task.


So this is not something I would typically share with others, but I wanted to because I think it will help me stay accountable!

I also wanted to hear if you think I could tone it down or do more on any of the things I stated!

And last, but not least, if you do anything of the things I’ve listed and have any tips, PLEASE feel free to share. I’d appreciate any tips and tricks you have!

Thanks for reading along!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

xoxo

 

Must Have Mondays

Must Have Mondays – Issue 13

HAPPY NEW YEAR! And happy 1st Monday of the new year!!! You know what that means – Must Have Mondays!

If you’re joining for the first time this is a biweekly series where I share a blogger/blog, a recipe, and a product that I absolutely love. The recipe is one that is tried and true, the blogger is someone I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know and their blog one I’ve read multiple times, and the product is something I actually use in my home – all three of which I think others would be interested in.

Thanks for stopping by; enjoy!*


This week’s recipe: Parmesan Crusted Chicken by Taste And See

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Photo courtesy of Taste And See

You guys!!! This recipe is so easy and SO good! It has simple ingredients and directions and is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. I have made this more times than I care to admit. Haha Seriously though, it pairs good with so many different sides and is so juicy and tasty. Like I said, it is also simple, but being parmesan crusted makes me feel fancier than other simple dinner recipes. Try this out; I promise you won’t be disappointed!


This week’s blogger: Patricia Taylor of Life of a Minister Mom

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Photo courtesy of Patricia Taylor

This girl right here inspires me so much! She is real and honest and has such a huge heart! I’ve been following her blog for almost a year now and she has left me speechless or with tears on my eyes more times than I can count. She blogs about what is on her heart and doesn’t hold back. It is just downright refreshing! She also has adorable daughters that often make their way on to her page, and that always makes me smile as well. If you’re looking for real talk and a beautiful heart Patty’s blog is the one for you!


This week’s product: Silicone holders by Holster Brands

I saw this products a few months ago and knew I HAD to have them. As someone who likes things orderly, give me any and everything that helps things stay organized! I also may be partially addicted to my straightener so this was right up my alley as well since there’s never enough room on my bathroom counter (anyone else?!)

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If I’m being honest, I thought they may have hang as easily as shown, but somehow they’re even easier to hang than they look. They are also very secure! One of the coolest things about their silicone holders is that they come in a variety of colors so you can even get them to match whichever room it’ll be going in.

 

 


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it more than you know!!!

*If you have any suggestions and would like to be part of Must Have Mondays shoot me an email at: andthenlife@gmail.com