Tuesday, May 7, 2013

25 facts about me

Its never my intent to go so long in between posts! The days are just flying by!
I saw this idea over at my friend Mara's blog and loved the idea. Plus it only takes a few minutes, and any other post that is in the works, will take longer. So in no particular order of levels of excitement, here are 25 things about me that you may or may not know.

1- I was held up at gunpoint while working at a tanning salon on Valentines Day.

2- I was on a jury for a murder trial when I was 19.

3- I married my husband 16 days after our first date.

4- I keep my house pretty clean- except for my closet. That gets cleaned only once a month.

5- I like building Legos.

6- I hate watching movies where anything too sad happens, even if it ends good. Yep, that really limits my movie choices. I have however seen That Thing You Do, Newsies and The Notebook countless times.

7- I hate jean shopping. Big booty and shortish legs aren't a good combo apparently.

8- 9 times out of 10 I do my makeup in the car on the way to church.

9- I'm super close with my family and talk to at least one of them every day.

10-I didn't do any crafts or projects until about 4 years ago. Now I can't stop.

11- All 4 of my kids were born via c-section.

12- I'm married to a man who cleans without me having to ask him. Who also cooks, and plays adorably with the kids.

13- I'm only 27 and have tons of gray hair. I have to dye it a minimum of once a month.

14- I was on the swim team in 6th grade. I could have gone to the Olympics had I stuck with it. Just ask    
my grandma, she told me so.

15- I was in the gifted program as an elementary student, but after I hit puberty my grades were horrible.

16-  I've traveled all over Europe- Germany, Italy, London, Paris (and other parts of France), Switzerland, Spain,  Holland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Greece, Turkey, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria. I also went to Egypt. We want to explore Asia next. And Australia.

17- Monkeys freak me out. I'm especially terrified of gorillas.

18- Every night before bed I have an apple with natural crunchy peanut butter, while me and hubs watch a show. Currently its Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

19- I get sick of stuff real fast. My husband always says he's surprised I'm not sick of him yet. Seriously, I'm always changing stuff around the house, and don't like any of my clothes for very long.

20- I once took my brothers ADD medicine to study for a math test the next day. It worked incredibly and I got the best grade I've ever gotten in math. It was really hard not to take one again.

21- My dream is to have a party planning/catering business with my husband. I would do decorations/entertainment. He would be the caterer. He's a great cook and awesome at the presentation of food. Its cute to watch him make it pretty on the plate, and arrange it just so. Maybe after he retires from this job (he'll only be 44!)

22- We're done having kids, but I don't think I'll ever not miss having a newborn. There's just something about those tiny, fresh, straight from heaven, sleepy bodies!

23- My parents were right after all- I actually do wish I would've stuck with playing the piano. Or guitar. Or volleyball. Or basketball. Or track.

24- I love eating quinoa, as long as I don't look at it while I'm eating it. It grosses me out.

25- Lots of people think I'm Russian.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

St. Patty's Day- better late than never!

Well, Easter is in a few days, and I'm barely getting around to the St. Patty's day report. Maybe by Memorial Day I'll have the Easter report done!

We started the day off with a treasure hunt plotted by a leprechaun. (they knew it was me) 

There were lots of clues leading them around the house to find the treasure at the end of the rainbow. I didn't create it, I got it from a cute blog a few years ago, before I was addicted to pinning, so of course I can't find it now. 

The last shamrock and more importantly, the treasure was in a closet, in this makeshift treasure chest. Ghetto I know but hey, at least the pillow covering the top is green!

 For bfast we had green smoothies, and green eggs. The biscuits had what we thought was enough food coloring, but after baking, I guess we were wrong. They look like plain old boring biscuits. Boo! But delish nonetheless.

This next pic is crackin me up. Ty's heads is just as big as his big bros! We had to hurry and get the photo op done as quickly as possible for 2 reasons-
1- Big bro could barely hold up his large and in charge little bro, but really wanted to try.
2- we had just re-mulched the day before and new mulch smells like manure so they wanted out of there ASAP. (notice the face on B? she was in the middle of a catching a nasty whiff) 

I knew that alien green polish would come in handy one day! I will admit, that color looks much cuter on little girls hands than it does on mine. 

After church we had a rainbow appetizer while I finished up the soup.

We were not impressed. It was a spinach, broccoli, pea, creamy soup. I'm a huge fan of broccoli cheese soup, so I thought I would love it. So wrong, even with my newfound love of produce. (most of it) I could hardly choke this down. The kids ended up eating some leftover chicken and rice. I usually make them eat whatever I make, but this would have just been cruel. 

Hanging from all the windows in the dining room were these shamrocks. I made them a few years ago, get this- WITHOUT A SILHOUETTE!!!! How I survived, I'll never know. They are indeed a bright green, but couldn't get a good pic.

The mantle-  What you can't see, are the 2 pennant banners on the windows on either side of the fireplace. I was far from thrilled with the end result of the whole thing, but am trying to do more of what I'm not very good at. Leaving well enough alone. Certainly not in all cases, but here and there I'll let a few things go.

Surprise! More chalkboard.

Here is I's-



 And mine. Never got around to finishing it up. How embarrassing. 

 That does it! It was a fun day! Oh, and you better believe the kids pinched all who weren't in green. Well, we limited it to people older than 12. Didn't want to start fights at church.

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Starting Clean Eating with a 21 day sugar fast

I just finished my 21 day sugar fast! I decided to keep a journal throughout the process to document my feelings. I'm fully aware that no one else will find this interesting, but nonetheless, recorded it so I can have it to look back on. If you're interested, read on, if not, no offense taken. Beware, its quite wordy.

Day 1- I was super excited to start today. Its the first day of the rest of my life! I feel healthy, in control, no cravings or moments of weakness.  For 21 days I'm eliminating all added sugar. Of course no processed white sugar in any of its forms, but also no natural added sugars like honey, agave, maple syrup. The natural ones are just for the 3 weeks while I detox, then I'll add them in. But processed sugars are gone for good!
Didn't even want a bite of the kids ice cream they had for dessert.  But I'm obviously not in the clear yet, its only been 1 day after all. Thrilled, grateful and a little surprised that hubs said he's on board to eat clean 100%. He's the best. We will allow ourselves a treat now and then however. I can't go the rest of my life without Maggiano's cheesecake! We still have some leftover goldfish, fruit snacks, and un-clean bread and cereal in the pantry,(and Breyers in the freezer) so as soon as those are gone, the kids will be clean too. (whether they like it or not!) So I've got a few more days to figure out some clean snacks for them. I love Kashi stuff, but it all has sesame, and Jade is allergic to thats a no-go. Clean store bought bread is essentially nonexistent, so I'm trying out a new recipe tomorrow with no added sugar or sweeteners and we'll see how it goes. Discovered chia seeds, best things ever. (supposedly, we'll see if we can tell a difference in a bit)

Day 2- I am so proud of myself! For the first time in my life, I made a successful loaf of bread with yeast! Ive made plenty of banana, poppyseed, pumpkin, etc. breads that were good, but never in my life a good loaf that had to rise. And I finally did it! And it was the bomb! Well it was pretty good, could def have used some type of sweetener. But for being only 5 ingredients its a make-again for sure. Went great with stuffed peppers for dinner. Scored some good wife points from hubs with the menu. Kids ate a ton, I love seeing that they are already making healthy habits. It gives me motivation to keep going strong! Another good day, no cheats, or big cravings. Avoided ice cream again (Jade's choice of treat for FHE) I even dished them up and didn't take even a smidgen! Is it weird that I feel so empowered?! Finally showing some type of self-control in the kitchen  makes me feel on top of the world! Giving up sugar feels so much different this time around. Maybe cuz I know that I'm changing the way I live long term and not just until I lose x amount of weight. I don't feel frustrated and mad that I can't have junk food, like I did even just a few days ago. I feel super excited at the thought of becoming the healthiest I've ever been. I don't know what did it, but it finally clicked. I don't even want to be eating crap! Whereas before, I only avoided it so I could get skinny, but boy did I sure count down the days until I would eat it again.
Today I had a slight headache, sugar withdrawals? Perhaps self fulfilling prophecy?

Day 3- Feel good! Made some granola with only cinnamon and applesauce to sweeten. Pretty blah. But surprisingly still satisfying. I still feel very resolved to eat only clean foods, but am nervous for when the opportunity arises for me to "cheat". (at a party or something) I hope I can keep it up! We ate all the bread in a hurry. Everybody likes it, so I think each morning, I'll have to make a loaf for the day.

Day 4- Tired today. Either lack of sugar, or due to a baby up a bunch in the night. I put B down for a nap, and after I came out, took forever to get energy back. Out running errands, the thought did occur to me to stop at Baskin Robbins. But it was fleeting. Then on my way home from a friends, I was thinking how excited I was to watch Seinfeld and have Breyers Rocky Road. In a second I came to my senses and remembered I DON'T WANT IT! Nightly ice cream has been a habit for a long time. The time has come on to move on.

Day 5- I was HUNGRY today. I really didn't want to stop eating the homemade bread- had 2 1/2 pieces with my soup. Need to remember that just because its clean, doesn't mean I can go hog-wild. Unless its on cucumbers or something. Probably don't have to worry about that though.

Day 6- oh yeah baby! I took my son to Pizza Hut for his "book-it" reward, and I didn't get anything! And I didn't even sneak a bite of his either. I planned ahead, and I brought almonds and cashews to munch while he ate the delicious, greasy, personal pan pizza. No, stop. Not delicious, terribly unhealthy, make me feel like garbage. I'm awfully proud of myself for resisting. Feeling good. I don't feel any different physically. Some said I would probably get "sugar flu" and feel sick from abstaining from sugar, but haven't noticed too much of a change.

Day 7- It keeps getting easier and easier. At my sons bball ceremony, there were Krispy Kremes. We all went to Costco today- samples galore. I passed on all sorts of delicious things, and only got the Vita-Mix juice, and a bite of pork. For once in my life I've got some will power and I'm not hating life when I am "depriving" myself. I can do this!

Day 8- I am breaking out like crazy. I haven't had this many pimples at once in forever. Is it part of my body detoxing? I'm off to research what the heck is going on with my dang face.

Day 9- Turns out breakouts are part of the detox process. All the bad stuff is coming out! I don't wanna talk about the other ways its coming out- gross. Today was the first time I was big time craving sugar. I wanted chocolate chips so bad. I thought it would be much sooner than now, and at this point I'd be beyond the cravings. Didn't cave, this will be worth it.

Day 10- I think I might have a delayed sugar flu? Feel pretty crappy, keep getting nauseated, headache and lots of congestion. No one else in the house is sick, so I think it might be.

Day 11- Still feeling sick. Same symptoms as yesterday. I was proud of myself for actually working out at home for once!! It was hubby's morning to go the gym, so during the day I made myself forget about the dirty kitchen and do a video. Had chocolate cravings again today, but they weren't too bad. I'm half way done, and haven't cheated once! I'm reborn I tell ya! This is not the old Stacia!

Day 12- I've been surprisingly having lots of fun in the kitchen. I've never really enjoyed cooking, (baking on the other hand, is a different story) but my new view on food has changed that I guess. Yeah, it takes a lot more time and effort to eat clean, but I love knowing that I'm doing my body good! Me and hubs have been making "the gator shake" each morning. The kids call it that cuz its an ugly, muddy, brownish greenish color that resembles a swamp. Which is where gators live. Tons of spinach, chia seeds, blueberries, pineapple, flax seed, strawberries, apple juice and a banana. Looks sick, but oh so tasty.

Day 13-Don't feel great yet, still a little sick. But face is clearing up a little, stomach feels flatter, and jeans fit a *little* looser. Happy to see a few areas of progress, gives me motivation to keep it up!

Day 14- Didn't eat enough produce today. I felt munchy all day long and only wanted to eat toast! Boy do I love toast. I got my gator shake and an apple in, but no salad. I can totally tell a difference in the way I feel. No energy, not motivated. Too many carbs, even if its whole grains= feelin gross. Now I can look back and remember how I felt today and learn from my mistakes. This is all a learning process right? I'm learning lots on my quest to become healthier.

Day 15- I can't believe we did it. We went to Costco a week ago and bought TONS of fruit and veggies. 5 lbs of baby carrots, 2.5 pounds of spinach, 6 heads of romaine lettuce, 10 giant apples, 5 lbs of clementines. We ate it ALL. With 2 heaping handfuls of spinach in the gator shake every morning, and a huge salad for lunch (almost) everyday, we went through it all much quicker than I was thinking we would and to my surprise, didn't waste a single item. I've been replacing the kids usual snack of goldfish or fruit snacks with carrots, clementines, and ants on a log. They've been enjoying it- whenever Bri eats something she knows is healthy, she says in a goofy voice with a goofy face, "this is good for my body". I have no idea why she does it, but its hilarious, you'd have to witness it for it to be funny obviously. I've never eaten so much produce in my life, than I have these last few weeks. My jaw gets sore, cuz I have to chew so much longer (I'm talkin to you carrots!) but I like it.

Day 16- I never thought it possible to get so much pleasure out of eating an apple. Every day I look forward to eating my apple and peanut butter. (replacement for ice cream) So sweet and crunchy. I love that I crave good for me food now. I can't lie and say that cheesecake doesn't also sound delicious, but my cravings are completely satisfied by that heavenly apple. Next step is to stop eating (even if it is something healthy), right before bed. All the experts say not to do it, I know its not a great idea. But I'm taking baby steps so I make permanent changes, not just a quick fix.

Day 17- Can't shake this cold/flu whatever it is. Coughing fits and lots of congestion. Don't feel 100% yet, but good enough to still workout. But I can't find my running bra so I've been doing stair master. (happy hubby!) Sat in the sauna for 15 minutes after my workout and emerged dripping/soaking wet with sweat. Really gross, but felt great. Good thing I brought that beach towel to sit on in the car. My complexion is looking so much better. In addition to no more pimples, its much less dry and has a more even tone.

Day 18- I don't feel more energetic like I was expecting to. I'm certainly not exhausted, but a nap still sounds great at any given time during the day. I had a (perhaps unrealistic) thought that I would become the energizer bunny. Not so. Maybe thats just not possible for a homeschooling mom of 4 kids 6 and under? Maybe its because I have been sick? 

Day 19- Feeling pretty much back to normal. Only an itchy throat left. I feel good! Not an enormous physical difference from almost 3 weeks ago. I mostly notice a mental change. I'm not craving chocolate chips all day. I don't HAVE to have ice cream at night. I actually DO have enough will power to say no to unhealthy foods. And after this is over, I don't wanna fill my body back up with crap. I wanna keep it clean and "unpoisoned". Had another great workout on the stair master. I will get my perky bubble butt back someday! I was motivated to keep going, and keep going faster, by the skinny chick next to me. I couldn't let her show me up! 

Day 20- In an effort to further detox, I just scheduled a colon cleanse for next week! Not some pills, I'm talkin colon hydrotherapy where you essentially get washed out with water. I'm nervous as heck, but have heard awesome things about it.  I'm also going to do an Ion detoxifying foot bath. Its supposed to pull all sorts of nastiness out of your body, leaving the bath a gross color. Go big or go home right? I'm gonna completely detox, I'm startin' fresh man! Hubs has declared 2013 "the year of Stacia". (said like , "the summer of George!" from Seinfeld) Getting healthy once and for all, and as a bonus, I'm authorized a big shopping spree once I get to my goal weight. I've been yo-yo ing for the past 6 years, from being pregnant, then nursing (I have a hard time losing weight while I'm nursing. my body doesn't really cooperate), then getting into good shape, only to get pregnant again shortly thereafter. Its been a long time since I've put very much time or money into my wardrobe, because my size fluctuates so much.  Because Ty was likely our last baby, (very bittersweet!) once I get into the shape I want, I'm probably there to stay, so I'm starting fresh with my closet too. Its about time I update.   Thats still a ways away, but I'm already looking forward to it. Giving me the push I need to keep working hard! 

Day 21- I did it! I am so proud of myself. I've never felt so in control! I'm not at the mercy of sweet treats any longer. I can say no to delicious but unhealthy foods, even when they are right in front of my face. I'm disappointed with the fact that I notice hardly any difference in my body's appearance. I lost no weight, and my pants fit only slighter looser. Because I was having baked goods all the time, and stopped cold turkey I was hoping to lose like 10 pounds. However, I do feel much healthier. Not necessarily skinnier, or more energetic, but I love knowing that I'm doing everything I can to take care of my body. I feel happy. I've realized that super healthy foods can be quite delicious. I've learned to actually enjoy salads for lunch. I've found that apples with PB is the most delicious thing on the whole dang planet. I've discovered strength in what I thought was a very weak area. Even though I didn't get all the results I was hoping for, I'm really glad I did it. I'm excited to be a "clean-eating" family! 
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spy Game

For their bdays, my 2 oldest got these awesome spy glasses and some walkie talkies from my super cool bro and sis. Since then, we have been going on lots of secret missions, and doing lots of training. 

So when it was my turn to pick the activity for FHE, I chose to put them through a spy agility test. Using crepe paper, I made a laser beam obstacle. 

(I cant tell if she is touching her lips, or picking her nose....)

They had a blast, and have been asking to do it again, ever since. 

We had to get the babe in on the spy action too! The closest thing spy-ish for a baby that we had was these sunglasses. What a cool dude.

My kids are awesome.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day of Love

 Well, its only been a week since V-day, so I'm proud of myself for doing a post already!
We've been dealing with a baby who has pneumonia, so our V-day plans weren't as elaborate as I had originally planned, but it was still a great day. We stayed at home and enjoyed being together. 

Sick of the chalkboards yet? Sorry! I'm not, so you're gonna have to get used to 'em. 

My oldest drew this pic of me and my hubs. We got shot with a love arrow. Notice the bun on top of my head? Yeah, thats the only way I wear my hair these days. He think's I'm pretty!

I made this little banner using a piece of scrapbook paper I've had for years. I bought it in Germany forever and a day ago. It was all one big piece, but I cut apart the rectangles to look like stamps, then just hot glued them to a piece of bakers twine. 

I love the owl one! As my son was reading what each one said he came across one that said, "True Love". He was all grossed out, and put his hand over that one while he read the rest of them. Boys are funny. And its funny how all of them talk about love, but the only one he didn't like was that one.  

Borrowed the rosette ball from my girls room.

While the kids were outside playing, (yes, its been nice enough to play outside again!) I set the table and they were ecstatic when they came in. We had breakfast for dinner, which is always a hit. Oven (some call them german) pancakes cut into heart shapes, with strawberries and whipped cream. And no V-day is complete without some sparkling cider in fancy glasses and candlelight. Guess what? No spills this time! I love that kids like dressing in valentines colors. I'm guessing one day not too far off, my son will be too cool for that, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts. 

After we were done eating, the kids each read (or we read to them) the jars that my husband and I put together for them. My hope is to continue this tradition through the years. You should have seen their faces light up when we were all focused on what we love about each of them. 

I was gonna add a link to where I found this printable, but I can't find it on any of my Pinterest boards. 

Of course I had to coordinate the paper inside too.

The rice krispies were such a hit at the Fairy party, the kids requested them again for a Valentines dessert. Don't worry, we ate our veggies at lunch time, so all the sweets are ok. 

The previous Friday night, hubs and I went out on a hot date. First one since baby was born! Well, we went out for our anniversary, but baby was only a month old, so he came with us. Not exactly the same as it is with no kids in attendance. It was super fun, great to re-connect, and was complete with delicious cheesecake at the end. My valentine surprised me with some more of said cheesecake when he came home on V-day, that we saved til after the kids went down. 
Awesome day, I'm grateful for all my loved ones!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A 4 year olds Fairy Party

Here's the last of the 3 parties we had last month. My oldest girl turned 4! 
She is nothing if not girly and dainty, so a fairy party was a perfect theme for her.

Another one falls victim to the chalkboard craze! She had so much fun making a board on her own.

She's good right?

I'm no photographer and couldn't get a good pic of the fairy lights. This is the best I could do.

Bonus- this project costs me nothing! Well, at some point I paid for the supplies, but you know what I mean. I already had some vellum in my stash to make the flowers to go over the lights, the tulle to tie around, and just borrowed a string of lights from the Christmas box. 

There was glitter EVERYWHERE!!!  Weeks later, we are still sweeping it up in the kitchen.

As each of the party guests arrived, they were given a fairy wand. (another "free" project, using all supplies I already had!)

The original plan was to start with face painting, but as soon as the girls saw the little personal cups (leftover from the shower) filled with beads, they jumped right in.  

I was impressed with the focus they had!

Then we moved on to the face painting. I had visions of beautiful, elaborate, glittery fairy faces, but then reality set in. These are 3 and 4 year old we are talking about. I'll be lucky if I get a good 5 minutes per face. So we stuck with hearts, flowers and butterflies. And they were happy as can be about it.

When not being painted, the little fairies played "Tinker, Tinker, Bell". (duck, duck, goose) This was my husbands idea, and at first mention I wasn't convinced they would like it. But they had so much fun! 

While we set out the food, we turned on some fairy music and the fairies danced around with their wands and balloons. I love how easy to please little girls are!

We found these adorable little cupcake toppers at TJMaxx, she fell in love with them as soon as she laid eyes on them. Of course the cupcakes had to be frosted pink with pink sprinkles.
You guys, these cupcakes might have been the best I've ever made. And they weren't even chocolate. I got the recipe from Martha's cupcake book, and the stars aligned perfectly, and they were amazing. Baked just the right amount of time, the perfect density and fluffiness(?). So dang good. Whats weird is that I used the same recipe for the cake part as the space party, but these turned out much better.

She still hasn't told us what she wished for! Still hoping it will come true!

Pink lemonade per bday girls request. We used the cupcake liners from the fairy set to top the Mason jars. Not only do these look a whole lot cuter than the pink dollar store cups I had originally planned on, but they prevented spills too!  

I also made some pink heart shaped rice krispie treats, but before I realized that I didn't get a pic yet, they had vanished! Had to add in some "fairy fruit" to balance out the treats.

Lots of fairy gifts from sweet friends! I was amazed at the difference of boys and girls. The sheer noise volume difference of the 2 parties was incredible! The girls were so much quieter! Even when giggling and running around, it was hardly noisy.

Oh yeah, heres a pic from that morning- If you couldn't tell, she was very excited to open Tangled. Thanks mom and dad!

I'm so happy we were able to have a day just to celebrate Jadie Lady. She is the sweetest thing in world, who is always a peacemaker, can often be heard saying, "I really love Jesus", and freely gives hugs and kisses to us. Happy Birthday sweetie girl, we love you!

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