Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shopping with the Girls!

Shopping with the Girls!

$62 - youreyeslie.com

Michael Kors cargo pants
$110 - michaelkors.com

Surface To Air leather boots
$518 - stevenalan.com

18k diamond ring
$21,605 - barneys.com

Lucky Brand drop earrings
$32 - piperlime.gap.com

Yellow gold bangle
$20 - mimiboutique.com

Rag bone fedora hat
$150 - rag-bone.com

Please Stand By...

***Chillmoms has been experiencing some technical difficulties!!***

Sorry for the lack of posts but that is the truth. Computer problems make it a bit hard to keep up on your blog.

With the holiday I'm sure I won't be posting too much but here is something to tide you over because I know you've been checking every single hour to see if there has been a new addition right? RRIIIIGGGHHT.

I do not have to make a big turkey dinner this year or any year for that matter. I've always had to show up and bring something. This year, I am splitting my time between two families. It was requested that I bring my "yummy salad" by my sister-in-law. (it's about as simple as you can get, but sometimes simple is delicious!)

I am going to be with my dad's family afterward and I was asked to bring a dessert. Which was kind of shocking because it seems that there is always more dessert than there is food. So I'm going to kind of meet them in the middle on that one. Since there are a ton of kids who pretty much want to eat only dessert, I am making this incredibly easy fruit salad. It's really beautiful and super delicious. And hey it's fruit and you just can't go wrong with fruit. I'll probably spoon this right over my pie. ;)

I am also going to make a few of these FABULOUS cinnamon cakes* (that I have become famous for) and take them to my mom and grandma since I never see them on Thanksgiving. I am going to pick up some cake carriers from the Dollar Tree so they can just keep those as well. It'll be my way of showing how thankful I am to have them in my life. And when they take their first bite everyone will start talking about how FABULOUS I am!

*I do leave out the nuts as my family is not a fan

I will be Black Friday shopping again this year, although I'm a little ticked off that they are starting at midnight. Not a fan of the midnight openings. But I am at their mercy and I never pass up an opportunity to shop in the dark with crazy people.

Have a wonderful holiday and I'll be back as soon as I can!

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Whoa Whoa Whoa Nelly!

I seriously can't believe that I didn't even post a menu plan this week. I guess that's because I had to come up with one last night on my way to the grocery store. Remember how I had bragged about how I stopped writing checks my butt couldn't cash in this post? I guess I have to take that back. I had to throw two parties back to back. Here's the deal. I have my stepdaughter Meredith 50% of the time. So BAM that's half of the weekends out of the month she is gone. Then there are the split holidays. Even though our weekend falls the weekend after Thanksgiving, since this is her time to be with her mom for Thanksgiving she is with her the whole weekend. That is why I HAD to have the parties back to back. If not, you are going right in to December and I didn't want to wait that long because December is filled with trying to get all of the Christmas get togethers done since I too come from a blended family. OH and Sayler's slumber party as well! See I almost forgot!

So I had these two parties. One slumber party and one family party with 30+ guests. So much work and so much $! I of course woke up vomiting on Saturday morning because why wouldn't I with so much to do? Something didn't agree with me! I was so grateful when I got to church and the women's ministries had made a beautiful, healthy breakfast with yogurt parfaits, muffins and fresh fruit. It really rejuvinated me as well as the fellowship with my church family. It gave me the energy to go home and get everything done. And I did. Did I end up doing everything we planned? Heck no because they are 14 year olds and as I had said originally, they just want some old fashioned girl time. The good thing is I will have some stuff to put away for Sayler's party in a few weeks.

So here was my meal plan that I whipped up mentally on my way to the grocery store. It may be kind of lame but you know what? I got it done and that's what matters. Oh and calorie counting for the Bare Minimum Lifestyle Plan? That just wasn't possible this week. Chill out I'll be back on that next week. Or maybe not. Somehow putting those calories down doesn't seem very chill somehow. Honestly it is a ton of work getting all those ingredients for a recipe on Livestrong and equally on Sparkpeople. WW was so much easier. Hmmmm....;)

Monday-spaghetti & breadsticks-never bought these before...I have to say they were a treat!

Tuesday-My Pizza Titanics

Wednesday-Our church is having a Thanksgiving dinner so we are going to attend that. Tofurkey anyone?

Thursday-hamburgers & *new* Ore Ida Extra Crispy Fries...they might just be new to me but they sounded good.

*kids are with their other parental units getting double loves*

Friday-Leftovers for the hubby and me

Saturday-Date Night! My hubby always asks me now if I have any Groupons for us...it's pretty cute!

Sunday-Oven Night-bust out the ketchup!! or catsup or whatever!

Hop on over to http://www.orgjunkie.com/ for her awesome Menu Plan Mondays...it's quite addicting!

Since I have neglected you all...I will leave you with a few pictures from the family photo shoot I had obsessed over here.

This is my little family that I am so proud of. :)

They are why I do all that I do.

Have a wonderful week and count your blessings!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Window Wednesday! Holiday Gift Idea Chick Edition

How many chicks are on your list this year? They are so easy to buy for! Especially if you know the chick real well.

These gifts are inspired by some of the chicks in my life...but I'm pretty sure you know a few chicks like 'em!

The Shopper
I seriously couldn't live without my mini shopper I got from Etsy. I use it to clip coupons inside, jot notes, make shopping lists, dr appt cards or to stick receipts until I get home and put them in my 3M Poster Pocket. It comes with the pen and the pad of paper. Any gal would love this!

The Girl Who Never Splurges on Herself
Do you know a gal that is always doing for others but never for herself? Oh I'm sure you do! DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT ever buy a gift certificate for this girl as she is so sweet she will use it to buy something for someone else! I love buying high end beauty products for those gals. Philosophy gift sets are not only amazing to look at, they are so luxurious and girls really respond to them because the scents are so heavenly! (I've almost licked my fingers in the shower using their cinnamon bun shower gel!)

The Yoga Chick
I have a yoga bag and it makes me feel like Tara Stiles. Although Tara is probably beyond yoga bags. It is a cool way to carry your mat to class...or at least look like you are going to one. Tara's book Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga is a must have for any yogi...or anyone thinking about becoming one. ;)

The Girl with the Best Accessories
This braided leather bracelet is exactly what girls like this love. This would be great for any girl as it's simple but still such a statement.

The Reader
I seriously want one of these in "Catcher in the Rye". Any girl would get a real bang out of it. ;)

The Young "Hip" Chick
These cute black cat headphones are pretty darn hip if I do say so myself.

The "I'm Too Cool For Anything You Pick Out" Chick
Instead of money give her this.

The Coffee Chugger
A girlfriend of mine gave me one of these coffee cozies last Christmas and I just love it!! It makes you feel kind of fabulous having your own. There are so many to choose from that you could easily find one to fit the coffee lover in your life.

The "ahem" Madonna Lover ;)
If you happen to pull a Madonna Lover's name out of a hat for Secret Santa, I can pretty much guarantee that this Madonna Calendar is something that she will cherish all year. The hardcore fan would probably keep them long after the year is over...that's just a guess.

The Cyclist
I'm not sure why it's imperative to always have a purse to carry all of our stuff when boys seem to find somewhere else to stash everything...usually it's our purse! I know my cyclist friends would appreciate this bike handlebar wristlet so they can cycle in style!

Your Mommy/Grammy or a Mommy/Grammy Friend
I have always loved pea pods...this bracelet would get any mommy/grammy misty.

The Cook
I gave this Rachel Ray ladle to every girl I knew last year. It's a life changer in the kitchen. It's not only perfectly big, but has a flat edge so you can scrape all the last bit of yumminess out of your crockpot. I can't live without it!

The Baby/Toddler Chick
I wonder if my girls would've ate their veggies better if they would've had this cute garden plate & utensils? My daughter absolutely loved animals...still does! This life size zoo book would still make her smile! If you start them out early on this lil' drum set, they will always know that girls ROCK.

Hope you find yourself on the receiving end of a great gift this holiday because you deserve it! Have you started your shopping yet?

This post may or may not contain affiliate links.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday with NEW Chillmoms Bare Minimum Lifestyle Plan

This is my first Menu Plan Monday with the Chillmoms Bare Minimum Lifestyle Plan food plan. As promised, I am including the nutritional info for the meals that I will be serving my family. You will see me posting healthier, family friendly recipes as I find them as well.

Another thing I will be including is my breakfast and lunches of the week. These need to be fast and able to be prepped easily the night before. I'm quite tired of the two bite granola bars that leave me famished an hour after eating them. I know that with a little Sunday prepping I can do much better.

I do believe that even though this part takes a bit of planning, since I am already meal planning it doesn't take too much extra effort to keep track of the calories that are actually going in to my mouth....and why not share that extra effort here? It might help another mom that doesn't have the time to do it and that's what this blog is about. Oh and one more thing, I do realize that the calories here might not be "enough" calories for a human to consume in a day...I am leaving some open calories for things like creamer in my coffee, condiments, or if something unplanned comes up.

So to start off, here are my breakfast and lunch of the week. (I promise every MPM won't be this wordy in the future!)

Breakfast of the week:

Black Bean Breakfast Burrito with sliced hard boiled egg & fruit. We have a fridge at work where I will take enough ingredients in containers for the week. (inside of a lunch bag) I will warm everything up in the microwave there. I rarely get to eat before I leave for work so I think this will solve my granola bar issue.  With the protein of the egg and the fiber in the beans this should keep me full until lunch. Besides the fact that I it will taste amazing as I love anything inside of a tortilla with hot sauce! This recipe is roughly 300 calories.

Lunch of the Week:

I created a "fridge salad bar" which I will be posting about this week. This will make it super easy for me to assemble my salad the night before. This week I have prepared my mom's famous taco salad recipe which I lightened up by measuring out the ingredients. You can find the recipe here.This is approximately 370 calories.

Monday-Panko Chicken Tenders with Grilled Fries (I am using my grill pan-not sure if it will work, I'll let you know!) 2 chicken tenders and 5 grilled fries is approximately 416 calories.

Tuesday-Crockpot Chili

Wednesday-Hamburger Patties cooked in A1 sauce and peppers & onions & baked potatoes in the crockpot *one patty with onions & peppers and one med baked potato is approximately 400 calories.

Thursday-Tombstone Extra Cheese Frozen Pizza-1/4 pizza is 350 calories.  If I have anything left in my salad bar I will be adding it to this meal which I would round off to 400 calories since it's just veggies and light Italian dressing.


Saturday-Slumber Party!! I'll have to be careful not to graze all day! You can read my menu here.

Sunday-Birthday Chillin at My House! You can read the menu here.

Are any of you trying do to a little somethin somethin to take care of yourself this week? I'll share some of my me time in a post called "My 15 Minutes". Take a few minutes for yourself this week!

Head on over to http://www.orgjunkie.com/ for more fabulous healthy recipes!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How I Deal with Holiday Birthdays

Right after school starts, like most working mothers out there, my life gets a tad busier. This year I have three girls in three schools in 4 activities across the board. That's three lunch menus, three destinations in the morning, three sets of homework to help with and three very different little ladies needs to attend to. I can't lie and say it hasn't been a challenging two months. Is it getting easier yet? Not really, but I will do just about anything for those little angel faces. :)

SO throw in to the mix that two of my daughters have birthdays around this time. One on November 28th, and one on December 28th. Boy they couldn't have picked worse dates if they tried, right? Black Friday and a few days after Christmas aren't exactly when people are wanting to spend extra time and money on someones birthday. That's why this year, I am having my family party celebrating both girls birthdays on November 13th, and slumber parties on November 12th and December 10th. This takes a lot of planning on my part!

Here is what is planned so far...

Birthday Chillin' at My House for Meredith & Sayler
 If everyone invited shows up it ends up being around 20 adults & 12 or so children give or take. Sometimes it's a challenge to come up with something that will 1. be enough and 2. not be beefburgers. I've had a variation of this menu one other time and it was a hit so I'm going with it again for the convenience of the crock pots.
Baked Potato Bar-I make baked potatoes for a crowd in the crock pot and lay out everything that can go on a baked potato...chili, cheese sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, onion, turkey bacon crumbles...you get the idea.
Little Smokies-everyone loves these and they are an appetite smasher!
A HUGE veggie salad
Cake & Ice Cream-*flavors pending*-I'm an infamous sugar pusher so everyone expects dessert at my house! Meredith has requested pie as her dessert so we will also have a pie.

Meredith's Slumber Party AGE 14
Usually I come up with a theme and run with it, but when you get to this age, you are starting to lose your audience a bit. I've decided to make this a good old fashioned slumber party with movies, gossiping, and snacks & soda. I came up with one small activity that Meredith is interested in and I'm hoping her friends won't be rolling their 14 year old eyeballs at me on the side. I don't want this to turn in to the slumber party massacre. :)

Meredith has been taking consumer family science this year, and has really enjoyed cooking in class. I thought we'd go to Goodwill and purchase everyone a mug, and set out all of the ingredients to make chocolate cake in a mug. I will put out a little toppings "bar" with frosting, Cool Whip, chocolate chips and sprinkles.
Meredith has asked me to serve her current favorite dinner of crispy burritos and chips & salsa. Although a friend of mine just made some of that cheese dip that you get at the Mexican restaurants around here so pending how time consuming it is...it may make it to my menu. I'll post that recipe for ya'll later!

Sayler's Indoor Campout Slumber Party AGE 12
Sayler and I came up with a theme for her party as an indoor campout. The possibilities are really endless with this theme. So many things you can do!  I may hang up some Christmas lights on the ceiling to create that starry night effect if I can score some. The few things we have settled on are a nacho bar and using the method for these fire-roasted nachos. I have a S'Mores Maker, so you KNOW we'll be roasting some marshmallows in the middle of our living room campground! Pretty sure hot chocolate will get added to this menu as well.  I will also make my finger food kabobs. These consist of pizza rolls, bagel bites, corn dog bites, etc., you put them on a wooden skewer used for grilling and put them in the oven according to package directions. Super cute and super fun. I will also make a cake with a little campfire on the top that consists of cleverly placed candles underneath pretzel rods and red & yellow M&M's. Who knows what will get edited but these are some of the ideas I've come up with so far.

I will of course post pictures of the real parties as they are celebrated!

Here are some pictures of an "America's Next Top Model" party that I threw for Meredith a few years back.

I asked my friends for eyeshadows and nail polishes they didn't want anymore. I created a make-up station, a nail station, a hair station and a "resting" station that had a foot bath and great books and magazines.

This is me applying make-up to my niece! You can see part of a sign that I made for each table.

I'm pretty sure I recruited every woman that I knew to help out with each station. Here two of my sister-in-laws helped out at the nail station!

Here is Quinn getting her hair done at the hair station!

This was the most popular station...it made them feel fabulous!

I made strawberry cupcakes topped with big jeweled rings from the dollar store, and I also made heart shaped rice krispy treat "cakes" made with strawberry marshmallows. I just happened to find those pink breast cancer awareness M&M's!

Afterwards I took my old school Polaroid camera and had a photo shoot. I had frames that I had made out of foam paper with magnets on the back and sent them home as a gift. The girls had so much fun!

How do you get your party on??

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Window Wednesday! Holiday Gift Idea Dude Edition

Buying gifts for people is one the great joys in my life. Especially if it's something that is SO that person, it seriously makes my day. It is one of my favorite ways of showing love for people. I love to see their faces when they open something that they might not have known existed, but just realized they now can't live without. I'm going to share a few cool ideas that might help inspire some of you to show some love this holiday. I know that Christmas is not about the material presents, it's about showing people love. Giving a thoughtful gift is an awesome way of showing someone love.

 "God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God." -I John 4:16

This Window Wednesday will be a "few" part series. First we will cover the dudes in your life. :)

Gifts for your husband, your main man, your brother, your brother-in-law, you nephew...you get the idea. Most of these are inspired by dudes in my life, but I'm sure that you know a dude or two similar to the dudes in mine.

The Fisherman
Saying my husband likes to fish is like saying that a monkey likes bananas! Not only would he get a kick out of these Christmas themed fishing tackle, he wouldn't be able to wait to actually USE them!

The Gamer
In the off season, my husband fills his hours with Call of Duty on the Xbox360. If your husband is a gamer, these headphones from Turtle Beach are a must-have. They not only drown out the noise around him, it drowns it out for you as well so everyone wins. The best part is that he can't hear himself and you get to hear him say things like "OH HELL TO THE NO" which is HILARIOUS. If you want to splurge a bit, you can get him the ultimate pair...for Valentine's Day I went halfway and scored these for my hubby. I am a hopeless romantic. :)

The Runner
My brother-in-law is a hardcore runner, even in the winter! When I saw this ID bracelet I thought, what a sweet way to show someone that if God forbid anything were to happen on one of their runs, you would want someone to know who they are so they are taken care of. That is love. :)

The Cyclist
One of my gal friend's hubby bikes to work in the summer and in the winter. Don't we all wish we could/would do such a thing? ;) This cycle care kit would probably be much appreciated by a cyclin' crazy dude like that. I'm pretty sure this bike bell was made for him!

The Chef
My brother is a killer self-taught chef. When his wife bought him this Santoku knife from the Guy Fiere Knuckle Sandwich collection, I thought it was perfect for a dude cook. It's rock star all the way. I bet he carries this thing in his belt it's so darn sharp. (no pun intended!)

The Cool Dude
Have a cool little brother/nephew/cousin on your Christmas list that has an Iphone? This Intergalactic Bounty Hunter skin should appeal to any one of them. Every man is still a little boy in their heart.

The Office Dude
You have an office dude you need to buy for but don't want to spend much $$? There is at least one of these pencil sets that will be perfect. Dead Wrestlers Pencil Set, Reservoir Dogs Pencil Set, Goonies Pencil Set, Office Space Pencil Set...I might have to get either the Twin Peaks or Spinal Tap for myself. :)

The Music Lover
This ticket stub diary is a great gift for dude music lovers...or any music lover for that matter. How romantic to fill this up with all of the concert stubs me and my hubby have been to! In all honesty you could totally make one of these on your own...include some great pictures of you and your love...LOVE IT! Another romantic idea is to secretly make a playlist on their Ipod filled with songs from concerts you have been and/or "your" songs...make sure it's songs that they like or they will never play it! It's funny because it's TRUE.

The Little Dude
You have some little dudes on your list? I think these construction plate & utensils would be a huge hit! I also have a feeling that this Angry Birds Knock on Wood Game would be appealing since it includes destruction. I don't think there is a boy out there right now that isn't obsessed with Legos. This Lay-n-Go activity mat might be more for the parents, but I still think it would be a great gift idea as it would make their collection seem massive! Have you ever stepped on a Lego? It'll send you through the dang roof!

Hope this gives you some great ideas this holiday. What kinds of gifts do you get the dudes in your life?



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

**NEW** Chillmoms Bare Minimum Lifestyle Plan

Greetings Fellow Moms!

In the past few years I have been fighting some real battles. Like most of you out there, taking care of myself has really been put on the back burner. I battle finding the time, energy, and motivation to exercise and eat right. Many times I lack the money to buy all of the ingredients for the healthy meals that I want to make, or if I have the ingredients I don't have the energy to make it! I battle feeding my children and their picky pallets that they were born with. I battle keeping my energy while working a full-time job, running my household, and keeping up with my children and all of their activities. I battle doing the simplest things for myself, by myself. Some days I battle simply keeping my chin up. Sound familiar to anyone? I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm not the only mom out there fighting these battles and more.

I can't count how many times I have come up with some crazy plan to conquer some of these battles. They usually start out with me getting up even earlier than I already do, doing some type of workout, eating perfectly to a T for the rest of my life, and going to bed early every single night! This plan usually ends with me smacking the snooze button after that first excruciating beep of the alarm clock which results in me feeling like a failure before I've even woke up. When I do get up, after getting me and my three girls ready and fed, lunches made, and journals signed, instead of that egg white omelet I know all the diet gurus tell me I should eat, I'm lucky to grab a granola bar on the way out to get the girls to their three different locations they need to be. Instead of sitting down and eating my healthy lunch that I did not prepare like I was supposed to the night before because I was too tired, I go and run an errand at lunch and grab a few tacos because what the hell I'm already a failure. I'm not going to waste your time telling you how this day ends because I'm pretty sure at least a few of you out there already know because you've been there too.

I have finally come to the conclusion that no matter what Dr. Oz says, no matter how intensely Jillian Michaels looks at me, no matter how much Oprah pleads, I do not have enough time in my day to spend on taking care of myself like I should. I realize that there are people out there with more kids and busier schedules than me that have this all figured out and are very successful at it. I am just not one of those people. I have decided that instead of feeling like a failure because I didn't work out for an hour and eat an all natural diet, I'm going to do the bare minimum. I'm going to ease in to it. Going for a short walk might not be as good as running a few miles, but it's better than not walking at all. Eating a smaller portion of what I've made for the family dinner might not be eating a plate of steamed veggies and lean protein, but it's better than eating two plates of the family dinner with dessert!

I plan on incorporating my Bare Minimum Lifestyle Plan in my Menu Plan Mondays (hosted by http://www.orgjunkie.com/). I will use http://www.livestrong.com/ or http://www.sparkpeople.com/ to figure out the nutritional info on the recipes that I will be making my family for the week. Or I might just share a nice recipe or snack that is doing the job for me or is bringing me some joy.

I will also be sharing how and when I will squeeze in 15 minutes of exercise and what types of exercise is working best for me. I will even share my experiences trying to find a little time for myself which is long overdue. After all, grocery shopping should not count as me time.

This isn't really about losing weight or fitting in to jeans for me anymore. I've battled with that long enough. This is about trying to find some time for myself so that I'm not running on empty all of the time, mentally and physically. I don't want to look back at this time with my kids and regret not enjoying myself a little more because I didn't listen to Dr. Oz, Jillian and Oprah just a bit. I know that as my kids get older, I will have more time for myself. This time in our lives doesn't last forever and everything I do for my children is what I want to do for them. I will get through this by taking care of myself doing the bare minimum. After all, it's still better than nothing, and I'm sure that not even Dr. Phil could argue with that.



I am sharing this on Trim Down Thursdays on http://www.ecobabymamadrama.com/ & http://copingwithfrugality.com/