Small Business Saturday

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Since trying to grow my business, I really see how much supporting small businesses helps our community. The more people shop with this momma's little shop, the more I can support other mommas and small businesses around me. This Christmas shopping season try to buy one (or more) item from a small business. I get why people do Black Friday shopping, but please give some serious thought to supporting small businesses in person and online on the Saturday after Black Friday!

I appreciate your support of my little shop...and for supporting other small businesses...especially those moms out there that are trying to stay home with their little ones AND make a little cash!!


Why do we cry?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Friday will mark my first day as a mom of an elementary student.

It's my first official "First" day of school. Sure, I had my first unofficial day last year, when we dipped our toes into the preschool pool. But this feels more real....and a LOT more paperwork!

Many of my friends had kids around the same time as myself, and I've been watching as one after another starts school. There are posts of elation and devastation as they put their kids on those buses or walk them into school...and many reported tears.

I think I felt a little immune to the back to school hullabaloo...because it was JUST half day kindergarten. Last year we did 2.5 hours, 3 days a week and that was super easy...so this year it was just 2.5 hours, 5 days a week. Of course my life would be easier if he had morning kindergarten or full day...but full day was almost $300/month in our district and that was just NOT happening, and we were placed in PM kindy due to where we live. But last week we received a little answered prayer. The district found extra money and today it was confirmed that he would indeed be going to school full time, starting October 1st!!

I was EXCITED! I did a little happy dance IN kindergarten orientation!!! Now I didn't have to cart two kids to do errands anymore and didn't have to hang so close to the house (honestly, there isn't a whole lot you can do in 2.5 hours). And I didn't have to find a sitter for my son when I worked in my daughter's preschool class (that was the biggest relief!)

This. was. awesome.

Then it hit me...my little man will be gone from me for FIVE hours per day. That is a LONG time!!! Has he ever been away from me that long? Reality gave me a nice smack upside the head and I started to wonder why I wished for this. BUT...I know he will love it and it's just part of life...he will grow up whether I like it or not! Kicking and screaming won't make it slow down! (I know, I tried)

For the first time, I accepted that I would probably cry on Friday. But why??? Why do we feel the need to cry?

I have to wonder if my child, who really has rarely seen me cry, will worry that I'm sending him to slaughter if I burst into tears. I'm sure that will set him up for a stellar first day!

So, I'm blogging it out.

Reasons I want to cry:

I want to cry because my little man is on day one of an amazing adventure. I know how important these years are...I remember them!

I want to cry because I am SO proud of the amazing, smart, quirky, funny, talented, caring, kind, compassionate, loving, silly person that he is.

I want to cry because he has been my little sidekick for 5.5 years. Sure, there are many times I beg and plead for breaks (or hide in the bathroom) but through it all, I couldn't as for a better sidekick!

I want to cry because I'm becoming obsolete. (oh, this one hurt to type...but it is true)

I want to cry because I know I can't protect him and shield him from everything anymore. (why does our world have to be so scary?)

I want to cry because 5.5 years went faster than I ever expected...and I know it will just gain momentum!

I want to cry because I know I will miss him a lot.

But all the tears don't outweigh the excitement I have for him, because he is starting a very important chapter of his life and I will be right here next to him, not letting myself become obsolete.

I'm so excited to be the mom of a kindergartner! Let the fun begin! Hopefully I can hold myself together until my little man is safely seated at his desk and I walk home with my little girl.

Now, talk to me in 3 years when I send my baby off to school...I might need Xanax!


Meet Jessica...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Meet Jessica, my son and a camel (so random, huh?)
 
 
Jessica is the owner of Harbor Beacon (you can find her Etsy shop here and her Facebook Page here) and she happens to be my talented sister in law!
 
She has lived on the Oregon Coast, Martha's Vineyard and now Alaska...so I'm thinking at this point she has salt water permanently in her veins. It seems a natural fit that she would repurpose sails!
 
She has agreed to give away this adorable clutch...
 
 
 
...to one of our lucky fans! All you have to do is go to my facebook page and click the Giveaway icon! Follow the steps to earn multiple entries and we will announce the lucky person on the 17th! Easy Peasy!

Summertime and the livin is busy

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wow! How does this happen? Summer starts and you feel like you have all the time in the world...then you blink and you have 4 weeks til school starts and a list of "things to do this summer" on Pinterest that has barely been touched! I feel like we are on a mad dash to do it all! I guess it didn't help that most of July was spent waiting for our roof to be done, so we hung out at home a lot more. The countdown chain I made didn't even help my procrastination!!

I'm fairly certain summer break has been downsized or something! Twenty years ago it felt like forever between school getting out and back to school shopping. I spent my days babysitting my little brother and the days dragged on! Now, I blink and 3 months are gone! Not cool, man!

I have a to-do list of things I want to do on the site too, and haven't done yet! Mostly introducing some talented friends (who are actually family) so I'm going to get on that in the next couple days! I'm also going to try to get back on the meal planning train...it has been pure chaos when 5pm rolls around and I don't think I can take it much longer! I love structure! 

So stay tuned for some fun stuff and hope your summer isn't too crazy (although I'm sure it probably is!)

Bella Chic Photography

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Meet Hailey...


I met Hailey last year and am thankful that I can consider her one of my talented friends! She is a phenomenal photographer and owner of Bella Chic Photography & Boutique  and she is now our family photographer (whether she likes it or not) because she is able to capture awesome photos like this...


And this...


And...



When the almost 2 year old was not thrilled about the process and it was COLD!!!! Hailey got it done quickly and I am beyond thrilled with the end result!

Not only is she an awesome photographer, but she has really great style and just launched a new Etsy store called Leighty Bug Boutique (named after the little baby girl that will make her debut later in the year...and might I add she is the most adorable preggo ever!)

These could not be cuter!!!


So now it's time to play a fun game of 10 questions with Hailey....and go!

1. What did you want to be when you were little? I can't really remember what I wanted to be when I was little, but I do remember thinking I wanted to be a mom! :)

2. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? If I had to choose a favorite flavor of ice cream, it would probably be Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia.

3. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be? If I could be anywhere right now, I would be on a ride in Disneyland. Our next big vacation will definitely be Disneyland!

4. What one accessory could you never live without? I could never live without my rings and yet I think they're going to have to come off very soon due to swelling (I'm pregnant)

5. What is your favorite color? Mint and Coral at the moment.

6. What's for dinner? We're having tacos for dinner! Yum!

7. What is your favorite piece of furniture in your house? My favorite piece of furniture would have to be my most recent purchase of a vintage french provincial dresser and mirror set I bought for my daughter's nursery.

8. What is your go-to candy at the movie theater? For my once-a-year trip to the movie theater (we're homebodies) I usually skip the candy and go straight for the buttery popcorn. It's the only type of popcorn I like.

9. Are you tired of my questions yet? Not at all! Keep 'em coming!

10. What is one goal for this year? To successfully juggle a toddler and a newborn while continuing my love for photography! :)


I have many talented friends who do really awesome things...so I want to make this a frequent thing...stay tuned!!!



There is more than one way to cut a watermelon!

Monday, July 1, 2013

I adore Pinterest (no surprise there, huh?) it introduces me to brilliant ideas like this one...


Seriously! So brilliant when you have little kids (and I enjoyed it too!!) my two year old got a lot less messy and since she had a little "handle" she didn't drop as many pieces! 

From now on, this is the way we do it!
 



A Little Knitty

Friday, June 21, 2013

I have been working on marketing today...A Little Knitty is now on Instagram!!! Find us at @alittleknitty


Let the countdown begin!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today is the official last day of school in our school district, but the preschool has been out for nearly a month. And ever since they let out, my son starts the day with one question...

Is today my kindergarten day???

This is gonna be a long summer!!

So I came up with the genius plan to do a paper chain to count down the days until Kindergarten! Note to self...next year come up with this plan in late August to save a lot of time and work! :)

I tried to get the kids to help with the chain, but they weren't feeling it. So, I got them set up with a little craft and I got down to business (there will be a side note about their project below)


Evidentially lazy once again trumps my type A personality, because printing them and cutting on a paper cutter would have been ideal...but I'm letting my hair down! ;)


There is the finished product! All crazy and disheveled...but N loves it!! If we wanted it to last more than a day, we had to put it up high, out of the way of the two foot toddling tornado!

This little craft session was soooooo different from when N when younger (pre-little miss P). I would supervise and make sure everything looked like the instructions. It is a lot more fun for all of us to just throw it out on the table and see what happens. I notice that N still needs to stick close to the directions, but I love that P is a free spirit! 



Little Miss P's artwork

N's masterpiece

Either my type A is wearing off, or I'm just too tired to care anymore...might be a little of both! :)


Exercise Pants

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I live in exercise pants. 

(Psssst...that isn't me....hahahahahahaha I can't breathe!!!)

At first it was because I was actually in the gym every day, so I felt like I earned the privilege to grocery shop in them. But lately I'm just lazy and they are sooooo comfy!!! How does the person at Walmart know if I just went to the gym or not? Ya, that's a bit of a joke because I'm still one of the better dressed patrons at Walmart! ;)

When I was little I remember asking to go to a "fancy" restaurant like Olive Garden and being told no, we were in jeans and needed to be better dressed to go there. It really used to be that way. Now you go there and 99% are wearing jeans (including me). 

So here is my thinking...do you think exercise pants will soon replace jeans as the go-to pants? Cuz that makes me a little happy...but it probably shouldn't. Just in case...I just bought some new adorable boot cut exercise pants on groupon! 

Lessons learned in painting

Monday, June 10, 2013

I find furniture makeovers soooo cool...but so far all of mine suck a little! The headboard and side tables look adorable but I used the end table a little too soon and the top was a little tacky and now my cell phone is rocking a little white paint (I was going to edit that sentence, but instead decided it was brought to you by the word "little")

My painting of a dresser (that I'm turning into a tv stand) is just a mess and I'm too embarrassed to even post photos!!! It is an awful disaster actually!!!! At this point I have to sand it down completely and start over, or sell it and cut my losses. However in its current state, I would have to pay someone to take it!!!

Lessons learned...

#1 use gloves, unless you want to look like you murdered someone!

#2 know which way the wind is blowing

#3 if it starts running, don't apply more paint! (I know y'all are saying "duh" but I thought it might even things out)

#4 be patient (hahahaha, me patient???)

#5 put your finished pieces in a dark room and any imperfections write off as "antiquing"







And the paint goes on!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Did you know that you can buy paint samples at Lowes? You can pick any of the trillions of paint chips and they will mix it up for you and it is a whopping $3!


In case you were wondering...that little sample will paint a wall this big...



and NO more!!

Pieces to Peaces Boutique

Today we went and checked our mail (which is very exciting being as it is new...that will soon wear off and I'll forget to check it for days at a time) and we were very excited to find girlie hair stuff. We plopped right down in our front yard and tried them on.

I have been packing, moving and painting for 10 days...please don't look at me, just check out the cute headband. I'm totally going to rock this at Zumba...except for the fact that P keeps stealing it!!!



She is pretty darn cute in it! 



And this is the other headband...it doesn't fit me or I would steal it too!! Usually she doesn't leave headbands in because they squeeze her head too much, but these are super soft t-shirt material so she doesn't mess with  them.




The good news for you, is the talented gal at Pieces to Peaces Boutique (www.facebook.com/piecestopeacesboutique) is giving away a set of Mommy & Me headbands to one lucky Be More With Less fan!!!! 

To enter go here (after 9pm PST on the 4th...rafflecopter makes me play by their rules!)...the contest will end on the 12th at 9pm and I will announce the winner on my facebook page.

Good Luck!!!

Spray paint

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Have you ever spray painted anything?

Up until yesterday my answer to that question was no. I had great plans, I had a trillion pins on Pinterest and I think I actually bought a can once but never used it. I think I was intimidated!

But yesterday, I totally rocked spray paint and it was FUN!!!!

I will post pictures tomorrow (I forgot to take them) and I have more things to paint! It is way addictive!!!

The multiple personalities of a snack trap

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My kids really aren't using snack traps much anymore. My 5 year old feels he is too grown up and my 2 year old does whatever the 5 year old does. I kept them in the move because I figured I would throw them in the garage sale pile. But yesterday I needed a paint cup and decided that the snack trap would be my best choice.

This thing rocks as a paint cup!!! It is sturdy and has good handles!

I finally made a paint decision!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sometimes too much time is a curse! I have been throwing around paint colors since January...and I really thought I had made a decision until I put the paint chips in the house. The grey-beige I had my heart set on just wasn't enough of a contrast and didn't have the warm feeling I was hoping for.

So off to Lowe's I went (I believe this was trip number 6 in 3 days). When I pulled up to the store I took one final swig of my latte and set it back down in the cup holder and a little bit sloshed out. When I did this I noticed that my latte was the EXACT color I was looking for. So I snapped a photo and use my newest app (ColorClix by Olympic paint) to color match my latte to the closest paint color. It came up with a few different options so I went into the store and found the paint chips. Some were just wrong, while others were close. I perused the valspar paints too and instantly spied 'skinny latte'!!!

It. Was. Perfect.

Hopefully we will start painting tomorrow and it will prove to be perfect as I think it will be.







Moving madness!!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

So I thought I came up with a stellar idea today! I decided to send my kids and hubby away so that I could pack up their rooms and stage everything downstairs so that our actual move day would go lickety split. And I would clean all three bathrooms, pack the kitchen and clean it too. That doesn't sound like a lot on paper...at least it didn't at the time.

HOLY CRAP WE HAVE A LOT OF STUFF!!!!!!!

I currently have a waterfall of sweat running down my face and I'm taking a blogging break so that I don't fall dead!the good news...I get to eat ANYTHING I want to today with no guilt!!

Don't get me wrong, I'm so thrilled to be moving and this will make the actual day a lot easier, but I might have bit off more than I could chew! It also doesn't help that while bringing the second box of the day down the stairs I miscalculated the distance between the box and the wall and lost some skin on the very textured wall! I'm now sporting the only band aids I could find...pretend the picture is here, my phone won't let that happen so it is at the bottom.

Ok...so I had a reason for this blog post...other than a pity party for one!

Awhile ago on one of my Pinterest benders I came across this idea to put a bag around the clothes while they are still on the hanger to make moving easier. I gave it a shot and it is pretty awesome!!!

I won't lie, it isn't the easiest to do by yourself, but just keep working all the clothes into the bag and it will come together. For the kids' clothes I put their extra hangers into the bottom of the bag then put the bag around the clothes. My daughter has a lot more clothes so hers was a bit more challenging and I couldn't tie it at the top. Thanks, Pinterest...you yet again rock my world!!








I'm not dead!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Yes, I fell off the blogging wagon once again...but for great reasons! Life got insane between working more on my hat knitting business, being involved in my son's co-op preschool, the weather got nice and buying a house.

It has been one freaking long roller coaster ride with the house, but the process is nearly over. Right now we are waiting for the most beautiful and expensive keys I will ever own! Even though this is not the first time we bought a house, it feels like our first 'real' house as our first home cost less than my van!!!

The new house has a great location and wonderful 'bones' but it had only one owner (they are now in their late 80's) and was built in the late 80's...so there is some major updating that needs to be done! The other day I was in the house and was very overwhelmed by everything I want to do...but I need to remember to take it one bite at a time!!

So stay tuned for some awesome before pictures as we embark on this adventure!!!

The many skills of a crockpot

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I love my crockpot, this is no surprise! Recently I picked up some sparkling water (my new addiction) in pretty bottles. It seemed wrong to send them to recycling...especially when I was planning a blue and green kitchen at our new house. I soaked the bottles in water, but couldn't remove the whole label. This morning I was scratching away at a label when I saw my crockpot out of the corner of my eye and went....hmmm.

So I filled the bottles with water (so they wouldn't float) and filled the crock with water and turned on low for a couple hours.

I then removed them from the water and the labels came off with minimal effort. I did have to use a scrubby sponge to get the glue off...but it was super easy!

Now I have adorable green bottles that I can do something crafty with!!!





My Non Scale Victories

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I have been on this "Get Healthy, Stay Healthy" kick since January 1st this year. At first I just made small changes and tracked my food on My Fitness Pal (I've logged in EVERY day since January 1st!!!), worked out at the Y and 13 pounds came off fairly easily. But lately I've been ramping things up and the scale isn't moving AT. ALL. I've been frustrated and wanted to give up. But honestly giving up isn't really an option because I do feel healthier and I like living like this, even though I can't seem to budge the scale! I DO understand that being healthy is so much more than a number...however there comes a point where you would like that number to catch up! ;)

This weekend I had a few moments that would not have been possible if I didn't make the small changes I have made this year and they have very little to do with the number I see on the scale.

#1 I had my best personal time at a 5K race. For some, 41 minutes and 59 seconds is nothing to write home about....but for me I'm thrilled!!! I am IMPROVING! Not quickly and I'm not to my goal of 30 minutes...but I'm improving. And there were moments that I pushed myself harder than I thought was possible! It was a total win and didn't matter if I was 400 lbs or 120...I got it done!

#2. I went on the swings with my kids. I don't remember the last time I actually swung on a swingset. I've sat down for a minute, but my butt just did NOT fit, I felt like my circulation was being cut off and I was SURE I would break it. Today, my butt fit!!!! Today I pumped my legs back and forth to show my son how it's done! That was better than seeing a lower number on the scale!

Since I've been a big girl all my life, I have gotten used to assuming I can't do things.

I have said a little prayer as I buckled my seatbelt on the plane, hoping that it fits.
I have breathed a silent sigh of relief when I fit in the seat on the ride at Disneyland.
I have feared they have a scale in the floor at the waterslide park and they knew how dangerously close I am to the weight limit.
I have walked in countless adorable little shops, knowing the only thing that will fit me is a scarf, earring or pair of shoes.

I have become so used to this being my norm...that I don't question it. But as I'm changing for the better...I'm having to challenge some of these norms and hopefully soon they aren't even on my radar!

If you are like me and frustrated that the scale is not showing off your hard work...go challenge some of your norms! I bet you will be pleasantly surprised!!!

It's Just Me....At Home

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It is NOOOOOO secret that I love direct sales companies.

I love that they are usually started by or run by strong, inspiring women.
I love their products.
I love the relationships that I wouldn't have without these companies.
I love supporting others (I can't sell 'em all...contrary to belief!!)
I especially love that it allows mom's like me to work from home, feel like more than just a "mom" and earn a little cash!

Just today I was chatting with my cousin about how some people rep so many different lines. As of yet, I have not been a rep for more than one company at a time, because I do TRY to focus on one thing....

OOOOOOH LOOK SOMETHING SHINY...

where was I??? Oh, focus! Yes, I try to focus.

I adore Norwex, I am not quitting Norwex, in fact I REALLY want to do more in home parties and presentations because I think it is so unknown and really has to be seen to understand how amazing it is. I thank God for Norwex pretty much everyday (most of the time it's while wiping a meal off my daughter...and the chair, the table, the wall and the carpet). I adore it and Norwex is not leaving my life!

I recently stumbled upon "At Home" and wanted to purchase a few things (NOT looking for an opportunity...I really have my plate full). I had heard of "At Home America" in the past, but hadn't heard about it in awhile. I did some digging and it looks like "At Home America" went out of business last year, but have returned with a different business plan. I'm not sure how it was before, but now there is no cost to set up your webpage and EVERYTHING is sold online. No inventory to hold, no catalogs to purchase, no parties to host (although they are going to be making that an option...but I'm not so sure about that), no back end data entry to understand, no time spent customizing a website, nothing!!  I absolutely fell in love with some items and their prices...so I found a consultant and started asking her a million questions. It seemed too good to be true, so I kept searching and searching online....which can be difficult when you are searching "At home" you get all sorts of funky stuff!!!

Anywho...after lots of googling...I decided to jump in. I didn't need to input any credit card information, there seriously was no catch! I didn't have to purchase a darn thing and there aren't any monthly charges to have my website...it is VERY simple. Go shopping, check out the killer sales stuff, have fun and if you like something...buy it! It ships straight to you!

I'm so excited! Check out my facebook page for daily updates and sales!! www.facebook.com/justjenathome

and...click the link at the top of this page that says "Just Jen At Home" and it will whisk you off to Happy Shopping Land!

AND....because I love supporting my other direct sales mommas....check out

Origami Owl-Nanette: https://www.facebook.com/origamiowlbynanetteseeversindependentdesigner?fref=ts

Tupperware-Heather: https://www.facebook.com/TupperwareWithHeather?fref=ts

Jamberry Nails - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jamberry-Nails-Independent-Consultant-Meredith-Dugan/496910527039643

I have more...just need to find them! :)



I love 5!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I love age 5!

It really is my favorite age thus far. My son turned 5 a couple weeks ago and he seems like a different mini person.

He is all of a sudden so grown up and smart. We have awesome conversations...and silly ones. He is just a little sponge that soaks up everything and thirsts for more knowledge.

He still loves to cuddle, give hugs and kisses, hold my hand at the store and go on "dates" with me.

He still thinks I'm smart, awesome and funny...I know very well this WILL come to an end...probably faster than I would like it to.

Nothing I do embarrasses him, singing loudly in the car and hugging him in public are perfectly acceptable  and he returns my blown kiss when I see him through the window at the YMCA. He doesn't even look around and wonder what other people will think of him. This too will end.

Sure, he is also exhausting....the knock, knock jokes seem never ending and lately he has developed a love of story telling...or maybe I should call it story listening because I do all the telling. He tells me I'm so good at it that I need to tell story after story...but demands they have different characters, locations and plots, and he is on me if I try to duplicate!!! Honestly, sometimes my head hurts from coming up with all these stories...but he continually flatters me with how much I rock at stories...so I keep going. The boy has got it figured out!!

Over the last couple weeks I have asked him frequently to stay 5 forever. But he reminds me that he can't...that next March 27th he will be 6...and my heart breaks a little bit. I know it won't be THE day he turns 6 that things change...it will probably be gradual and might even start soon. But for right now, I ADORE age 5...and I hope he knows that! :)




Sinless Apple Crisp

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

First of all, I would make the world's WORST food blogger.

Seriously!

Pioneer Woman takes a photo of EVERY stinkin' step...and I wolf down my food and think "Darn, I should have blogged about that".

I have a couple options here...I could make another batch, which I will inevitably eat, or I can draw you a picture...

TADA!!! I totally made that!!!

It might look like turds (did I just type TURDS?? I have a 5 year old boy...this subject comes up a lot) in a blue hot tub...but that's just because I have the paintshop skills of a 2 year old!!!

What is this, you ask? It's Sinless Apple Crisp!!! I found the recipe on Pinterest but it called for sugar and microwaving in a freezer bag. I just couldn't microwave it in a freezer bag...so I grabbed a Vent n' Serve (shout out to Tupperware!!) so that I could get the same steaming action!

Sinless Apple Crisp
Servings: 1 starved girl who just wants desert

Ingredients
1 medium apple (peeled, cored and sliced or cubed)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBSP water

Mix everything together and microwave for 2 minutes or until tender. I stirred in 1/4 cup oatmeal for a little texture and 1 TBSP cream. But even with all that, it was a total of 175 calories! The recipe I found had sugar added, but I don't think it is needed because of all the natural sugar in apples. And I wanted to keep the calories low and not have a sugar overload (or I would have eaten the ice cream in the freezer!)

BONUS: My house smells AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

I'm very content and full now...and not craving "naughty foods"!

I promise to never, ever, draw my food creations again. 

EVER!




Brutally Honest

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This blog has been brewing in me for awhile (well, I have a few up in my head I just kinda suck at writing them out sometimes). I follow a lot of inspiring bloggers and their honesty has really helped me in my journey...and I felt the need to be brutally honest....so here it goes...


This is what 233 lbs looks like....and I'm VERY proud of myself.

I have learned so much this year (I'll talk about a few of them on another day) but the most important thing I have learned is that the number on the scale means very little!! I have been this weight before, but my clothes didn't fit as well, I couldn't run as far (or at all) and I didn't feel so strong. The number doesn't tell you that I've lost fat and gained muscle. 

(They all weigh exactly the same)

I saw this image awhile ago and it really hit home that the number doesn't really matter as much (and that I'm just too short...hahahaha). We all carry weight differently and are just different people. Feeling comfortable in our skin and getting out there and living the lives that we want to, THAT is far more important than the number on the scale. 

Yesterday my kids and I went through some of my race medals (I think there were 9 in the box I found). I put each one around their necks and I was filled with pride over what I have accomplished. Yes, I didn't do it in record time...but I DID them! I set a goal and actually did it! I am trying to live the life that I want to be living, and I refuse to wait until I'm a certain size or weight to accomplish them. Mind you, I'm not going to pose in a bikini...but that's not really a goal of mine! ;) I'm proud that this big girl can do an hour of Zumba at full intensity just like the fit girls and I TOTALLY want a shirt like this for the 5K races...


something like Overweight, Winded, Red Faced and Ahead of You! hahahaha I won't lie...on my last race my sweatshirt was riding up and I kept pulling it back down over my behind. After awhile I was like...what's the point? If they don't like my big bum in their face...they should speed up! ;)


I am a work in progress and I have a lot of goals I want to accomplish and don't want to stay where I am...but I'm trying very hard to be proud of where I am RIGHT NOW...and not saving my pride for when I am a certain size or weight. I know I'm not the only one that has looked at a photo...remembering how fat I felt at the time...and how I would LOVE to look like that again! 

Thanks for letting me share...I'm hoping with a lot of hard work, I can show you what lighter weights look like! :)

The on and on-ness of it all

Friday, March 29, 2013

Parenting isn't all that hard...if you are looking from the outside, or small snippets. This is how I got suckered into this parenting thing. I performed a VERY SMALL portion of a parenting task (keeping children alive...aka babysitting) and thought "I can TOTALLY rock this". I was going to always be attentive to my kids and be a stellar mom...hahahahahaha

Today, I decided that parenting is a lot like standing on one foot.

Do it right now, I'll wait.

It's very simple to do for a second, or even a minute, but do it ALL DAY LONG. Do it while one of your kids demands a PB&J and the other one has to "go potty" (read: sit on the toilet for half a second, say all-done, jump off, wash hands, replace diaper...at least 12 times a day). Do it for DAYS...with the only "breaks" being when you sleep (if you actually get to sleep), when you get root canals and when you hide upstairs and do the laundry all alone. The simple task of standing on one foot isn't all that hard...it's the on and on-ness of it all...the monotony and the neverending-ness that makes it feel unbearable sometimes.

Then, your little one walks up to you BEAMING from ear to ear because she just put her shoes away without being asked...and it all somehow seems worth it...or at least tolerable...or maybe you just won't run away anymore. But, I'm totally having wine as soon as they pass out! :)

Spontaneous Freezer Mealing

Sunday, March 17, 2013

So, my heart started going pitter patter when we walked towards the meat case and I saw those awesome orange stickers...that means cheap meat day!!!! *does the cheap meat dance* then we decided to splurge on some steaks (a "splurge" is anything over $1.99/lb in my world). It was another good protein day at Sam's Club!

When we arrived back home, I realized would I have to do something with all this meat and I really hadn't contemplated it much up until this point. I threw together some red wine vinegar, olive oil and other randomness as a marinade for the steaks, splitting the pack in half (half for tonight half for the freezer). Two dinners prepped and ready to throw on the grill!

With the jumbo pack of chicken thighs I made a batch of Man Pleasin' Chicken (believe it or not, we haven't had this in awhile) for later this week and another one for the freezer. Then....I took the last bit of chicken and stared at it. Then I looked over at the left over BBQ sauce from our BBQ takeout lunch. I planned on throwing it out...but what a waste! I totally threw it all in a ziplock bag, threw the boneless, skinless thighs in with it, squished it up and tossed it in the freezer. Not sure if this was beyond cheap, or genius...but I was proud of my thriftiness! :)

In about 15 minutes time I was able to prep 5 dinners...that seems to be my super power...what is yours?

"Clean" Sweetened Condensed Milk

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The other day I was putzing around Pinterest (my favorite sport) and stumbled upon The Gracious Pantry  which happens to be a GREAT resource for all things "Clean Eating" and all the food looks amazingly yummy.

I haven't jumped aboard the "Paleo" train as of yet, but I am trying to limit sugar, white flour and processed foods and concentrate more on whole foods and fruits/veggies (but there are times where cupcakes jump into my mouth and I have no control over that...it's completely not my fault!!!!). I'm not so much interested in baking a cake without flour or butter and using all sorts of funky alternatives...I'm more looking at being healthy and if I do want to indulge in cake, it will just be less often and a smaller piece (I'm completely kidding myself by the way...the theory sounds great though). However, I discovered this little gem that is rocking my world....

"clean" sweetened condensed milk

Now, I wouldn't normally throw sweetened condensed milk into my morning smoothie...but I WILL admit I've added it to my iced coffee! I adore coffee creamer, but it is loaded with things I just do not need, so this discovery has made my morning coffee a lot more exciting. I make mine with almond milk!

Two thumbs up!






A Little Knitty

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I recently added a page dedicated to my passion for knitting. I just wanted to let everyone know that my Etsy Store is back up and running!!! Thank you for your support...I know knitted hats might not be your thing...but letting others know what I'm up to has helped a ton!

You can check out my A Little Knitty Page here: http://bemorewithless.blogspot.com/p/a-little-knitty.html

You can check out my Facebook Page here: www.facebook.com/alittleknitty

You can check out my Etsy Store here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jenlreeves

And a couple samples...because I'm shameless! :)






Chicken noodle goodness

Monday, March 11, 2013

I don't always enjoy cooking....sometimes I plain dread it. But I get giddy when a meal is pretty easy, yummy and CHEAP!!

The other day I was at Sam's Club and they had a two pack of whole chickens on clearance...and I can't pass up cheap meat! I planned on making chicken enchiladas for my daughters birthday, so I threw one in the freezer for later and threw the other in the crockpot for 7 hrs on low. I then pulled off most of the big chunks of meat to use in the enchiladas and left everything else in the crock, added a couple celery stalks and carrots and some herbs and spices (Mrs. Dash has been my best friend lately) and filled it to the top with water and let that cook overnight. I strained out all the big bits and bones and found there was enough meat to make soup for dinner tonight...oh and all that "work" earned me about 80 oz of yummy chicken stock!

I put all the small bits of meat, some broth, diced onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and more seasoning in the pot today (keep in mind my poor crock has been in almost constant use for well over 24 hours!!) I let that cook for a couple hours on low then threw in some random noodles I found in the pantry (wanted egg noodles, but was out). And I really didn't have to work very hard and dinner was ready with minimal effort (which was good because we had no water) and because the meal was pretty much stuff that I had laying around or would just throw out, I considered it a free meal.

It did turn out to be more pasta and less soup when the noodles absorbed all the broth...so we topped it with "snow" (a.k.a Parmesan cheese) and called it Chicken Noodle Goodness.

Now, that means I get to go treat myself to a pedicure, right? Hahahaha



This knitting project is like life...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This is a dress I'm making for my daughter. I'm using rather small needles (size 4) and very thin yarn. It feels like it will never end. However, if I remain consistent and just take it one stitch at a time, before I know it, I have a row...then two rows...then lots more. For quite some time you couldn't tell what I was even doing...but I stuck with it and now you can tell! I've made a few mistakes along the way. If I go back and dwell on th, I'll get no where...so I soldier on...learning from the mistakes and trying not to focus on them. Instead I look at the thousands of perfect stitches...but sometimes it's hard to ignore the few mistakes. I'm doing the same thing countless times, but eventually when progress is made, I feel accomplished and want to work at it even more. Yes, it is a lot of work and I could take the easy way out and just buy my daughter a dress...but I'll get more pride out of finishing this one.

Knitting can teach you a lot, eh?

Meal Plan February 9th

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Last night I was dinkin' around on the internets and found a couple recipes that sounded yummy, so I jotted them down and realized I had planned most of the meals for the week...usually it doesn't come together so easily. Here is what I planned:


Monday: Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken, brown rice (make extra for meatloaf tomorrow) and edamame http://lakelurecottagekitchen.com/2011/08/30/crock-pot-teriyaki-chicken/

Tuesday: Southwest Meatloaf http://pinlavie.com/southwestern-meat-loaf/

Wednesday: Chicken Cordon Bleu http://www.chef-in-training.com/2012/02/slow-cooker-chicken-cordon-bleu/ 

Thursday: Cilantro Steak & Potatoes (for Valentine's Day)

Friday: Crockpot Broccoli Cheese Soup


Then today I went grocery shopping. I stopped by Sam's first, to see if I could find a deal on meat (usually I have a lot of my proteins for the week in the freezer, so my grocery bill isn't too bad...today I had nothing...so it was going to hurt!!)

Lately I have been getting killer deals on skinless, boneless chicken thighs, today there were NONE! While scoping out the meat section, I spied Corned Beef!!! I have been wanting Corned Beef SO bad and have some cabbage in the fridge just screaming to be used...so in the cart it went. I had to remove something from my list, so off came the Teriyaki Chicken.

I did find a 5 lb pack of ground turkey, so the Southwest Meatloaf secured its spot on the meal plan for the week. And I figured I could make a spaghetti sauce with some of the meat and throw the rest in the freezer...so spaghetti was added and Broccoli Cheese Soup was removed.

Then I passed this artichoke stuffed chicken that was pretty much heat and eat. I thought about how much I have been cooking from scratch lately, and how it has been healthier...but I'm feeling a little burnt out. In jumped the Artichoke Chicken and Chicken Cordon Bleu fell off the list.

So, this is what the meal plan ended up looking like:

Monday:Corned Beef & Cabbage

Tuesday: Southwest Meatloaf

Wednesday:Pasta

Thursday: Cilantro Steak & Potatoes (I need to pick up the steaks still)

Friday: Artichoke Chicken




Another week, another meal plan

Saturday, February 2, 2013

So, it is obvious that my life is extremely exciting lately when my ONLY blog posts are meal plans...but it is pretty much my only blog worthy activity. Our days are fairly mundane, filled with grocery shopping, trips to the library, preschool, working out at the Y (as much as humanly possible), making meals, cleaning up the neverendingmesses and being thankful I made it through another day. Thrilling, eh?  

We are also trying to purchase a house, which seems to be a lot of leg work...but we won't know for 3 months if we actually get it. It is fun to dream though, and if we don't get it...I have many photos and plans on how to update it that I can drop in the mail to the new owners. That's not creepy at. all.

I usually meal plan on Sunday for the rest of the week, but decided to walk on the wild side and meal plan on Saturday...whooo hoooo I have found that posting my meal plan for the week is also helpful for me when I'm in the grocery store and forget my list, I can at least see what the meal plan is for the week on my blog! Win, win!

I think I've mentioned it before, but we get a basket from bountiful baskets each Saturday. And the haul today really helped me plan our week. We received a huge head of cabbage, head of cauliflower, 2 huge sweet potatoes, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, bananas, strawberries, lots of little apples and a couple asian pears. All the fruit will be demolished by my kids within days (maybe hours), the tomatoes, radishes and cucumbers make a great salad for lunches and all the other stuff found its way into a dinner. It was a great basket and I'm continually shocked at what $15 buys you in produce.

Alright....on with the show!


Sunday
Chicken, Potatoes & Green Beans

I received this recipe from a friend...here it is as she wrote it...
4-6 raw chicken breasts, new potatoes, green beans (fresh or canned-really any green veggie would work. Broccoli is good, too). Arrange in 9x13 dish. Sprinkle with a packet of Italian dressing mix and then top with a melted stick of butter. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Enjoy!

I'm going to switch it up a bit and use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, regular potatoes, green beans, ranch dressing mix and butter. If it turns out, I'll let ya know. If it sucks, I'll come and cross out all this stuff! :)

Monday 
Chicken & Rice Soup
I'm going to use this recipe, but use rice instead of pasta
http://pinterest.com/pin/40673202856642072/ 

Tuesday
Pork Chops & Cabbage
Going to actually use this recipe...and not change anything. wow! There are very few ingredients...so I think I can stick to it!
http://southernfood.about.com/od/porkchops/r/uc50422.htm

Wednesday
Mexi Crockpot Chicken 

I'm actually going to triple this and bring two meals to mommas that just had babies
http://bemorewithless.blogspot.com/2012/11/mexi-crockpot-chicken.html

Thursday
Tilapia & Roasted Cauliflower

Friday
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Stew
http://www.bhg.com/recipe/sweet-potato-black-bean-stew/
 
 




















Meal Planning January 26th

Saturday, January 26, 2013



I was just meal planning for the week, and thought I would share what is on tap for us! 

Have a yummy week!

Monday: Man Pleasin’ Chicken with mashed potatoes (make extras for the Shepard’s Pie) http://bemorewithless.blogspot.com/2012/11/man-pleasin-chicken-freezer-meals.html

Tuesday: Tilapia Tacos http://www.sarcasticcooking.com/2012/06/20/blackened-tilapia-tacos/

Wednesday: Shepard’s Pie (make two, freeze one) http://www.thehungryhousewife.com/2011/03/guinness-shepherds-pie-2.html

Thursday: Baked Ziti (make two, freeze one) http://allrecipes.com/recipe/baked-ziti-ii/