Tuesday, April 15, 2014

5 Tips for Successful Workouts!

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and U by Kotex but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #UbyKotex  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Summer is just around the corner so it's time to kick up those workouts a notch! Today I'm sharing 5 Tips for Successful Workouts with you. Like a lot of people, I used to struggle with exercising. But with these few simple and tips I hope you feel inspired to get your workout on!

Step 1: Get the right shoes! And workout clothes too.

I love my workout shoes. They are super comfortable and lightweight, so they don't weigh me down while I'm working out. Plus they're really cute and I got them for a steal of a deal. Get the right sports bra, clothes that YOU feel comfortable exercising in, and you're one fifth of the way through my five tips for a successful workout.

Step 2: Get a water bottle that you love. And drink from it... A LOT.

Drinking plenty of water all day long helps hydrate your body and keeps your skin looking great too. I love sipping my water with a lemon squeezed into it and with a cute paper straw. I know it seems silly, but it really does encourage me to drink, drink, drink my water all day long.

Step 3: Find what motivates you!

Everyone has their own "thing" that gets them motivated to get moving. For some it may be a picture of someone with the body they are striving to have, for others it may be a note on the refrigerator reminding them to eat clean. For me it's motivational quotes. I love having quotes that inspire me hung around the house so keep me motivated and encouraged to work out.

Step 4: Find the workout that works for you
Love the gym? Zumba? Running? Personally I'm hooked on working out at home because it's inexpensive compared to the gym, I don't spend any time driving to and from anywhere, and because I have little ones so working out at home is just easier for me. Plus I've found a few DVDs that work... like really, really work and I love them! Whatever your workout is, find what you love and keep at it. If you are consistent and eating healthy along with your workout, the results will come.
Step 5: Keep working out all month long with U by Kotex!
U by Kotex Clean Wear pads and U by Kotex sleek tampons are comfortable enough and give you the perfect protection to keep working out even on "those days" of the month.
Plus, how CUTE are they?! I mean really, I'm positive I've never used the word CUTE when describing feminine products but they truly are. The packaging for the pads is so bright, colorful, and so unique that you wouldn't really even know that they were pads. That would be a really good thing in case you ever knock over your purse in public... something I'm kind of famous for doing!
I've never seen such different packaging, but I love how stylish and discreet the tampon packaging is too.

While supplies last at select Walmart stores, U by Kotex has Goody Hair Elastics attached to the box for free! Walmart has low prices plus these free hair elastics are attached to the boxes of U by Kotex... it's like Christmas in April! Well, maybe not Christmas but it is pretty exciting stuff in the world of feminine protection, right? The hair elastics are adorable and my favorite kind of hair tie because they are so soft and never pull my hair.

Want to know more? Visit U by Kotex here. Then get working on setting yourself up for successful workouts with my 5 easy and fun tips! xoxo

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Yee-Haw, Let's Talk Diapers!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mom to Mom.

Hold on to your cowboy hats because this baby is taking us on a ride, 
and Mom to Mom diapers are ready for the ride! 

I had always heard stories about wild little babies who love to climb onto countertops, tables, and everything else they can get to.  Surprisingly though I didn't experience it for myself until our 4th baby boy, Bryce.  

He started walking (running actually!) at 10 months, climbed out of his crib shortly after that, and he makes an adorable centerpiece to our kitchen table.  So when it comes to diapers, we need something that moves with him, fits comfortably at his waist, provides excellent leak protection, and doesn't break the bank either.  Plus, Bryce has SUPER sensitive skin which means that we have tried  EVERY brand of diaper made and we finally found a winner... Mom to Mom Diapers at Safeway stores (for us here in San Diego, we buy them at Vons- a Safeway family store).  

Made with Vitamin E and aloe in a hypoallergenic liner, they protect your baby's sensitive baby skin.  And Bryce is able to move and do all of his crazy baby stuff without me having to worry about his diaper leaking.  Because let's be honest, with a baby who climbs onto the bathroom counter and sits in the bathroom sink every morning while I get ready, the last thing I need to worry about is a leaky diaper.

All of this little cowboy's nonstop motion during the daytime translates into amazing, long nights of sleep.  Awesome, right?  And Mom to Mom diapers stand the night time diaper test too.  Bryce wakes up in dry pajamas every morning when wearing Mom to Mom diapers.  And then he's ready to pull on his cowboy boots and get busy playing first thing the next morning!

All of his wiggling, moving, dancing, laughing, and non-stop squirming need a diaper that moves right along with him- Mom to Mom diapers hold up to the challenge, all while protecting baby's delicate skin AND at a price that makes Moms happy!  Next time you're shopping for groceries at your local Safeway store, be sure to check out Mom to Mom diapers for your little one too.  For more information on Mom to Mom products, available only at Safeway stores, check them out here


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mom to Mom.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar

Hello, Spring!  It's gorgeous here in San Diego, and I hope it is wherever you are too.  I love cute little jar mixes and think they make a great little gift.  Yesterday was quite an eventful day here at Gallamore West {see me on Instagram} so we brought a special batch of this Spring M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar to a very sweet teacher at our boys' elementary school this morning as a thank you gift.

Here's all you need for the jar ingredients:

1/2 cup M&Ms
3/4 cup brown sugar {not packed} 
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup white sugar
A few more M&Ms to sprinkle on top 

Layer your ingredients in the jar: M&Ms on the bottom, then slowly use a spoon to add the flour, top it with the baking soda, salt, then the white sugar.  Spoon in the unpacked brown sugar, then sprinkle more M&Ms on top.  

Ingredients for making the cookies- be sure to add these with your jar!  I just hand wrote them on the back of my cute Lauren McKinsey tag, but I originally got this recipe from Living Locurto- it's a Halloween Cookie Mix recipe there with a cute free Halloween printable.

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Empty contents of the jar into a large bowl.  Add in the butter, using your hands to mix well.  In a separate bowl, mix the egg & vanilla together then add to cookie mixture and combine well.  Batter will be crumbly.  Shape into 1" balls and bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes until the edges are just browned.  

If you use these same jars I bought at Target, you'll get two jars worth of mix from the recipe above, so you'll have to cut in half all of the add-ins also. 

I've made these before as favors for our son Jake's Red Scooter Birthday Party and the big mason jars are perfect for a whole batch of these.  But I couldn't resist the adorable vintage look of these jars at Target right now. 

I'm linking up my Spring M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar to Tatertots & Jello.  Have a great weekend! xoxo

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spicy Slow Cooked Root Beer Shredded Beef

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

I've been on a mission to eat healthier and BE healthier for over a year now.  It feels amazing to make lifestyle changes that are easy to make and are lasting changes, including the switch from quick and convenient dinners to more home-cooked, wholesome dinners.  But life gets crazy busy, and sometimes it seems next to impossible to get a healthy dinner on the table when we're out at baseball games or soccer practices during dinner time.  Lately I've gotten in the habit of using my crock pot more than I ever had before, and I'm loving how easy it is to prepare a delicious, healthy meal.  One of our favorite crock pot meals is Spicy Slow Cooked Root Beer Shredded Beef.  It tastes amazing, it is easy to make, and I'm able to lighten up its calorie count now because of A&W TEN- an amazing new Root Beer that has FULL flavor, but only 10 calories per serving.  Yes, Root Beer flavors the meat... you have to try it! 

In my mind there are two keys to making the best slow cooked meats:

First, I always brown the meat in a cast iron skillet drizzled with olive oil before cooking it in the crock pot because it locks in the natural juices and flavor of the meat.  Plus I like that it gives the meat a head start to cooking so it doesn't take quite as long in the crockpot.

Second, I like to use soda as the liquid to cook the meat in because it cooks the meat so tender, with a sweet but not overly sweet flavor.  In my pursuit of living a healthier lifestyle though, one of my main rules for good health is not to drink my calories.  That's why A&W TEN is perfect- it packs in the full flavor of A&W, but with only 10 calories per serving.  So when cooking with it, it's the same- full flavor but without adding in additional calories to my Shredded Beef. 

And the result is the best tasting, tender, flavorful Spicy Slow Cooked Root Beer Shredded Beef. 

Recipe for 
Spicy Slow Cooked Root Beer Shredded Beef

Chuck Pot Roast (about 3 pounds)
12 ounces A&W TEN (1.5 cups)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

Brown beef in a cast iron pan drizzled with the olive oil, until brown on each side.  Combine tomatoes and spices in a small bowl, stirring to combine well.  Place beef in crock pot and pour tomato mixture on top of the meat.  Slowly pour in root beer.  Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 5-6 hours.  Before serving, shred the meat using two forks.  Serve on hamburger buns, in tortillas, or skip the extra carbs and serve it alone.  Enjoy!

I toasted hamburger buns to make sandwiches, and served them along with fresh seasonal fruit, and a salad from Walmart.

By the way, these Marketside complete salad kits from Walmart are delicious and such an easy way to add a healthy serving of vegetables to your dinner. 

Sacrificing family time and healthy dinners doesn't have to be the standard with a little bit of planning ahead, pulling out that crock pot, and grabbing your secret ingredient to make the most flavorful slow cooked meats, A&W TEN, the next time you're at Walmart for your grocery shopping.  

Here's a coupon for 50 cents off your next purchase of TWO 2-liter bottles of 7UP TEN, A&W TEN, Canada Dry TEN, RC TEN, or Sunkist TEN.  If you share the coupon, you will be directed to a coupon for $1.50 off!  This coupon is available from 3/27-4/17 and is available while supplies last. 

Read more about Dr. Pepper Snapple Group's Four Ten Calorie products on Walmart's website, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group's Facebook page, and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group's Twitter page


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Three free, fun, and easy ways to help your little ones flourish! #talkreadsing

Every year I choose One Little Word to focus on, rather than choosing a lofty list of goals. This year my word is Intentional, and I am focusing on being intentional in the way I parent our four little guys. I am choosing to say no more when asked to do things that will take me away from my family, and choosing to say yes more to activities and time that allows me to really focus on our family. It is mind-boggling to me how quickly childhood is zooming by for our kids, and I don't want to waste any of it. Sound familiar? If you have little ones, here are three super important free & easy ways that you can connect with your children from the time they are babies to give them a solid foundation in life:

Talk, Read, and Sing

Don't wait until your child is in preschool- learning begins at infancy and as parents, we have the power to help maximize our child's brain development. And the best part? It's actually fun, easy, and free!

Talk to your kids!

I remember when I first started staying home with our oldest son (who will be 10 years old this year... time flies) I would talk to him ALL. DAY. LONG. And quite honestly, I felt like a nut. I would talk to him about sorting the laundry, I would talk to him about what we were buying at the grocery store, and basically throughout our entire day, I just talked to him. When he started to babble, I asked him tons of questions and he would babble his answers and we would have conversations like that all day long. Fast forward 9 and a half years, and our 4th son is now 22 months old and at that stage where his babbles are turning into real words. And it seriously is the most exciting thing ever to think his answer is going to be a babble, but instead hear him say real words strung together as a sentence! I promise- talking to your baby all the time is not nuts. Instead, it is key to teaching them how to speak, how to have eye contact, how to converse with others because the more words they hear, the larger their vocabulary will be.

Read to your kids!

As a 2nd Grade Teacher turned Stay at Home Mom, our home is practically bursting at the seams with books. Even though it would be prettier to have the kid books out of sight, I keep multiple bookshelves and baskets of books around the house and in the car. We have comfy poofs and couches for the boys in the playroom with shelves full of books for them at their level.

Sitting down for a few minutes throughout the day and "reading the pictures" with little ones is the first step to helping your child be a confident reader. So even if your baby seems too young to understand books, just look at the pictures together, turn the pages together, and say what is happening in the story. Don't worry about reading word for word. Just have fun! When our little guys are at the squirmy age where they won't sit still for more than 2.5 seconds I sometimes bring a pile of books to the bathroom and read to them while they're in the bath tub. We read anywhere and everywhere. Here is a picture of the contents of our almost 2 year old son's car basket. Each of the boys have one in the car.

Sometimes I even set up a pile of books outside in the play structure in the backyard!

Billboards, cereal boxes at the breakfast table, signs labeling different areas inside the grocery store... the possibilities to read to our kids are endless. Seeing our 3 year old son say, "I'm going to read a book now" then plopping himself down, turning the pages correctly, and reading the book mostly through looking at the pictures is one of my favorite parts of my day. Reading can also be playing reading games with your kids, like this fun game...

or filling up a basket of summer fun stuff with books and reading games, and reading and playing those games together!

Sing with your kids!

Just last week I cleaned out our dusty old collection of CDs and I found all of my CDs from my classroom when I taught 2nd grade. I immediately went to my car and added all of them into my CD player {Do new cars even have a CD player anymore? I don't know. My car is old and has a 6-disc changer so it's FULL of kid music now}. I can't even begin to describe how having kid music in the car has changed our car ride experience. All four of our boys are smiling, singing, engaged, clapping, and laughing. And it doesn't end when we get out of the car either. When we come back in the house, our boys continue to sing, dance, and clap all day long. It is THE cutest thing ever, but beyond that, it makes me feel great knowing that something so simple as listening to kid music in the car and singing along with them is helping them develop language skills. Plus, it gives us a chance to get the wiggles out and get silly together.

Sometimes as parents we get SO busy busting through our daily to-do list that it's easy to forget that such easy things can make such a HUGE difference in our children's brain development and learning abilities. But we as parents have the power to make amazing differences in the lives of our children by being intentional in the ways we choose to connect with them. You will be setting your child up for a bright future by incorporating these three free, fun, and easy ideas into your daily life with your little one:

Talk, Read, and Sing

What an amazing power we have as parents to influence our child's live in such a positive way from the day they're born!

Looking for more great ideas? First5 California is bursting with free, fun, and easy ideas to give parents the power to maximize learning and fun with your kids! Check our First5 California on Facebook, Twitter, and their website for tons of great ideas.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of First 5 California via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.


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