Crunchy [no bake] Protein Balls

I haven’t blogged too much nor posted often on social media about the recent changes in our families health. We’ve made some positive steps to get us on the right track to a healthier lifestyle. One of the biggest changes I knew I needed to make was nutritional. I’d happily survive off tacos, chicken nuggets, and candy if I had the choice but that kind of diet is really just doing me a disservice. I had to stop eating like a seven year old child all the time and needed to make better snacking choices.

Thus this protein ball was born. 

proteinballslogo

I know there are a million different protein ball recipes out there. I’ve tried a few in the past but wanted something that was simple to make, packed full of protein to fight off cravings, was a little crunchy, and of course delicious.

proteinballs4

proteinballs2

Crunchy [no bake] Protein Balls

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 24 balls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop of your choice in flavor of protein powder
  • 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Add oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, honey, nut butter, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, and protein powder to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine all ingredients until they are evenly coated in honey and nut butter. The mixture will start to clump.
  3. With semi-wet hands, start to roll the mixture into evenly sized balls.
  4. Place on wax paper and chill for a few hours before serving.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.momtails.co/2017/07/crunchy-no-bake-protein-balls/

Besides for having a quick snack to grab on the go, the best part of these is that my toddlers are eating them! I love seeing my picky children getting extra protein and reaching for these instead of fruit snacks. Mom win.

protienballs1

Second Child Potty Training Woes

We’re driving the struggle bus hard with potty training my second child. Aria just turned 3 in June and wants nothing to do with her potty. She doesn’t care if she’s wet, dirty, or have any interest in not wearing diapers. Whoever coined the phrase “boys are much harder to potty train”  didn’t meet my children.  I wrote a post back right before Everett turned three about how he basically potty trained himself. Maybe my expectations were that I would be able to follow her cue like I was with him but that isn’t happening, yet.

pottytrainingwoes

Now, I understand the entire “wait till they’re ready thing.” I really do. It’s just we’re running out of time for her to be ready. I have her enrolled in a 3 day a week preschool program starting in August that they have to be potty trained for. I have been in contact with her teacher and they’re okay with sending her in a pull up but will call me if she has a “messy” accident. Knowing she always poops in the late morning, I don’t want to have to drive up there daily to go change her. My son went to this program last year and benefited so much from it. I don’t want to deny her the chance to do the same just because she doesn’t want to use the potty. So, we’re trying to encourage her the best we can.

ariapotty

She’s doing her fake smile for the camera but in reality she’s really mad she has to sit there.

So what have we tried?

  • We told her about the “diaper fairy” who will come take all the diapers to babies who need them. We explained to her that she is a big girl now and can use the big girl potty. To make the diaper fairy sound more exciting we explained that she will leave her new big girl undies and a present. She could care less.
  • We let her use the iPad only while sitting on the potty. She loves messing around with the electronics and while she will sit there with it, she doesn’t want to actually go.
  • Tried motivating her with stickers. This girl loves her some stickers but when it comes to being rewarded with them, she doesn’t want tons to do with them.
  • I let her pick out her own big girl undies and told her if she goes in them we’re going to have to get rid of them. She seemed really upset when she “made hello kitty cry” but it hasn’t stopped her from doing it.
  • Currently going sans pants around the house. We’ll see if that helps. This might just be to help my sanity because I am getting extra sick of more laundry.
  • We’ve tried some of her favorite snack rewards. She just gets emotional and wants them wether she has gone or not.

So I know that time is really the only thing that is going to truly help her get ready. If she’s not there in 4 weeks then looks like I’ll be driving up to the school to change her. That sounds awful but I bet seeing other kids in her class using the bathroom could be beneficial to the process. The program has so many benefits academically and socially that I really don’t want her to miss out on.

Stay tuned and if you have any other tips on motivation, please share! 

Get a Productivity Boost

If you’re anything like me, you always have a running list of things that need to get done. I’m not talking about big projects either. I’m talking about the day to day stuff that you want to accomplish on a regular basis. I’m one of those people who gets overwhelmed and then just throws in the towel and get basically nothing done. That was until I started using the “Productive” app.

Productivity

I need to state that this not sponsored by them in anyway, shape, or form. I just really dig this app. I use it all the time and figure if it’s helping me so much, it’s bound to help others as well. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with things like this.

productive2

I have the Productive app in a folder labeled “health” because lets be honest, being productive is totally part of my mental health. The more things on my to do list that I have weighing on me, the worse I’m bound to feel. The app is exactly what the icon looks like, list making.

productive3

You’re able to go into the app and schedule yourself basically anything you want to be completed anytime you want. I’ll show you a few examples of how I set it up but it’s 100% customizable to your lifestyle. I have a few things set to be completed weekly, a couples of things that are done 3 times a week, and multiple things to be completed daily. I even have things that are to be done 3 times a day. The app lets you separate things to morning, afternoon, and evening.

productive4

This is what it looks like from the inside. Basically a checklist that keeps track of how productive you’re being [if you remember to use the app]

It might look stupid to put things like brush and floss your teeth on there but I’m one of those people who really functions best when I get the gratification of checking things off. I have “drink some water” on my list several times a day just as that extra reminder. The app does send you notifications throughout the day to help keep you on track.

I really just love this app and wanted to share with all of you 🙂 Do you have any tips to staying on track with your day when your schedule is already full? Share in the comments or on Facebook! I’m always open to new ideas.

Aria turns THREE [featuring Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake]

This past week my youngest little love, Aria, turned three. It’s incredible how fast the passed few years have flown by. I blogged my entire pregnancy so I know I have a lot of readers that are with me thinking, “how is she three?!” I know guys, I know.

Her actual birthday was Friday June 9th. My parents flew into town from Detroit to come and celebrate with her. We decided to have a smaller more intimate party on her actual birthday before the big party the following day. Just a few of her favorite things; pizza, gifts, and of course ice cream cake.

Aria Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake

Nothing beats the smile on her face when she saw the cake and we were singing too her.

So for the cake we went with a Blue Bunny vanilla bean blondie cake that I was able to just pick up while grocery shopping at Walmart. I already had so much to do with getting my house ready for a big party, I didn’t need yet another stop to grab a cake from a speciality store. It was absolutely delicious and perfect for this smaller occasion.

Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake

After we chowed down on some pizza and ice cream cake, it was time for a couple of presents. We let her open the gifts from my parents, my husbands parents, and us. You could tell how special she felt having the evening be just about her. I really don’t think that birthdays need to be extravagant for the child to have an amazing time. This simple evening was perfect. She was beyond excited and it was minimal stress on everyone else!

ariabirthday1

I have included a $3.00 off coupon that is redeemable at Walmart only for a Blue Bunny ice cream cake of your own! Along with the coupon below, be sure to check the Valpak envelope that comes in the mail for an additional $3.00 off!

She had such a great birthday, was beyond spoiled, and I feel very lucky to have such great family and friends that are apart of our lives. Her big party on Saturday was amazing but Friday was fantastic as well. Of course, in typical me fashion, I completely was engrossed in the party on Saturday and didn’t take one single picture. Luckily for me, a few friends took pictures. Hey, at least I got these few!

People Love Free, Even When It’s Junk

I love using the Facebook “Marketplace” to sell things that I no longer need around the house. I like to think of myself as one of those minimalist type people. I can’t stand clutter.  If it doesn’t get used, it gets sold, donated, or tossed. Simple as that.

We’re prepping the house for a birthday party this weekend. The garage is one of those places in the house that doesn’t often get a lot of attention when it comes to cleaning and organizing. It’s been driving me nuts for a while now so I finally convinced the husband to help me go though it. There was so much crap. Seriously, unbelievable amount of garbage. We’ve been in this house for over 2 years and most of it we haven’t touched since we put it in there the day we moved in.

I tossed most of it or in the case of the 3 cases of empty and clean beer bottles, recycled. Don’t worry, we brewed beer. We weren’t just hoarding bottles.

I had an old futon in the garage that was upstairs holding blankets for a while. It was big, uncomfortable, and completely unnecessary. I tossed it into the garage to bring out for garbage night. The garbage company wouldn’t take it because it’s an “oversized” item and I had to pay for special pickup. Nope, I’ll toss it on Facebook for free. It was gone in just over 3 hours. I had at least 45 messages in the first hour asking for it.

I also had about 25 cans of paint that literally came with the house. Some of the cans were from when the house was painted originally 10+ years ago. Those cans were also claimed within 2 minutes.

freestuff

I didn’t clean up the stuff, stage it for any photos, or do anything creative to get it gone. Just writing the word “free” was enough to have my inbox blown up the entire evening. I guess people love free even when it’s complete garbage.

Oh, and I did warn the people. I told them how dirty and uncomfortable that futon is. It’s seriously awful. The paint might be completely dried up in these cans. I didn’t open them to care to find out; no cares from the interested parties.

Do Bloggers Even “Blog” Anymore?

Blogging is a hobby of mine that I really enjoy doing in my spare time. It’s a fun way of expressing myself, getting thoughts and feelings out there, telling stories, documenting life, and even networking and making new friends. It’s my portion of the internet that I have 100% control over the content and I enjoy that. I take breaks when I feel like it and move full steam ahead when I have a lot to say.  Seriously, writers block is real ya’ll.

bloggers.jpg

So why am I explaining my hobby to you? Stay with me.

When I first started blogging when Everett was a baby I joined a website called bloglovin’ which is basically a Facebook style newsfeed of all different bloggers. I could spend hours if I chose too just reading and learning about all kinds of different things that people were going through or doing. It was a lot of fun, extremely entertaining, and often informational.

That all has changed more recently.

My “newsfeed” on bloglovin’ is now nothing but sponsored content. If I find one post not trying to sell me something, advertising something, or just original content I’m excited. Side note, for those of you who don’t know, sponsored content is when someone pays a blogger to speak about their product or service.

I write sponsored posts. There’s nothing wrong with sponsored posts. It’s a great day when I can make a hobby into some extra cash. I just refuse to turn my blog into a giant advertisement for companies! It’s discouraging to try to network with people and remain follows of blogs that every post on the site is just marked with #ad and #spon.

Keep on blogging bloggers. Like really blogging. Separate your sponsored posts with some lively content to keep people, like me, coming back!

Finding a Balance [the struggle]

A lot of people seem to look at me like I have it all together; I’ve been asked multiple times “how do you have time to do that” or “you always have so much going on but you seem to get it all done!” I’ll admit, I try to be pretty organized, but the reality of the situation is I’m still quite a hot mess.

balance

First of all, I live in a home with two toddlers, two dogs, two cats, and a flying squirrel. That should say enough about the fact that my housework is never done. It’s literally impossible to keep up with the laundry, keep the pet hair under control, and pick up after kids who doesn’t understand that toys have a place. This doesn’t stop me from trying though. In between all the stuff I’m doing during the day, I’m cleaning. I’d consider myself to have a touch of OCD [literally, just undiagnosed] and have trouble concentrating on anything when I’m surrounded by a mess. I have to clean up before I can sit down and relax. This is a very real and often unseen struggle of mine.

Some days it’s impossible to get anything done because my kids have so much going on. They’re young now and I know it’s just going to get worse as they get older. Between extracurricular activities, playdates, preschool drop offs, and different appointments there isn’t much time to do anything else for me [for fun] or things that I need to get done.

There are other times that my kids just won’t let me do anything. They want to play, they need 800 snacks, or they need their butt wiped. I try to be as understanding as possible that they won’t be this young for long. They won’t always want their mommy to watch them play and I am forever working on just relaxing and enjoying this time. It’s still a struggle sometimes when I feel like I haven’t had a break and just want two seconds to eat my lunch or take a shower.

These days are especially hard when I have to work in the evenings. I work part time as a veterinary technician because I simply love what I do. It’s for me; but it’s still work. When I spend the entire morning and afternoon on those “needy kid” days I sometimes just want a second to sit down and relax. I just simply don’t get that time when I jet off to work as soon as my husband gets home.

This brings me to my next point, my husband and I work opposite shifts a few nights out of the week and other nights he has to go to bed so early that we don’t get a lot of alone time. It’s hard to schedule time for date nights because, as I’m explaining, we just don’t have time! We definitely make it work but it’s still a struggle.

So while it may seem like I have it together and make good use of “free time”, I don’t. I struggle with finding a balance on almost a daily basis. I’m slowly working on accepting the hot mess [currently writing this with a sink full of dishes] and learning to prioritize better!

For all of you who can relate to these struggles, it’s okay. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed as life with kids is hectic! Just remember to pause and enjoy these times.

Mom Code

momcode

 

There is an unspoken code that all mothers should follow. Some things on my list should be no brainers and others are a little harder to accomplish. Regardless, this is a list of things we shouldn’t say to each other and things we should / shouldn’t be doing to ourselves.  Sit back, have some coffee [or wine]  and lets talk mom code!

  • A woman holding a baby may still look like she’s carrying a child. She may still have a “belly” forever after having a baby. Pregnancy does crazy things to our bodies! Never ask anyone when their due date is unless you’re 100000% you’re seeing a belly with a baby inside
  • Don’t lecture other moms on breastfeeding. Everyone has their reasons why they are doing it or why they aren’t. I don’t care why you chose what you chose, just feed your kid.
  • Sometimes after you have a baby you grow hair back a lot differently than before. I had some pretty noticeable sideburns after having both of my kids. They’re gorgeous. Don’t question a new mom on decision to now have bangs.
  • Don’t touch other people’s kids! You may see a cute baby and have the urge to snuggle and kiss it. STOP IT. You’re a stranger.  Hands off.
  • Speaking of touching, don’t ever touch a pregnant woman’s stomach. Believe it’s still party of her body and it’s not socially acceptable to just walk around groping people.
  • If you see a mother and her child has a dirty face, they’re both in pajamas, and she looks like she hasn’t slept in a month; don’t you dare judge her. Every mom has those days, weeks, and sometimes even years.
  • I know this is tough, but don’t compare yourself to other moms. Motherhood isn’t a game of who’s doing it the best; it’s a game of being the best mother that you can be. & Sometimes even harder, don’t compare your kids to other kids. You’ve heard it a million times, they’re all different. Every kid is different.
  • If possible, rely on your significant other and other people around for help as much as you can. It’s okay to need a break; ask for one!
  • Remember: It’s not good to wash your hair everyday and messy buns are totally in style.
  • Don’t automatically run and call child protective services if you see a kid with a few bruises and/or a black eye. My kids are extremely clumsy and are covered in bruises. Toddlers are destructive to everything in their paths including themselves.
  • Although you may want to feed your family (kids included) gorgeous and healthy home cooked meals, don’t be surprised if something like “eat your cheese it’s and then you can have a cookie” come out of your mouth *true story*

What kind of things are on your list of “mom codes?” 

Sewing as a Hobby; Sew Many Benefits

Some people may think the art of sewing is becoming a thing of the past. However, the benefits of sewing as a hobby are too great to be ignored. There are many ways that sewing can help to improve your life, even if you only make time to sit down at your sewing machine for two hours per week. Below, we will discuss the advantages of taking up sewing as a leisurely pursuit in your life!

Sewing Machine

Saves Money

Perhaps the most obvious benefit to learning to use a sewing machine is the money you can save. Rather than throwing out damaged clothing, you can use your sewing skills to repair tears or add patches to the garments. It is imperative that moms learn to sew, so they can mend their children’s clothing rather than always buying something new. Along with clothing repair, moms can also use the sewing machine to create new outfits for their kids, further saving on apparel purchases.

Improves Hand-Eye Coordination

Whether you are using a needle and thread or a sewing machine, this hobby will help you to promote hand-eye coordination. This skill is important in many areas of your life. Fostering this connection between your eyes and hands will assist you in a number of other tasks, including driving, sports, tying your shoes, typing, and cooking.

Supports Focus

Having to sit down and keep your attention on your sewing project, even if just an hour or two at a time, will help to improve your focus. This is very helpful in young adults that are struggling to concentrate on a task, such as studying, for a long period of time. The focus gained from sewing can also assist you in your work life, and makes it easier to read more efficiently to save you time.

Promotes Self-Confidence

Feeling good about yourself and having a positive outlook on life will allow you to thrive. The confidence you can gain from learning to sew and creating your own masterpieces with your machine may benefit you in ways other hobbies cannot. Sewing is also good for boosting your social confidence, especially if you meet with other sewing friends regularly. Additionally, if you decide to sew for others or sell your creations, you will be uplifted and feel pride each time you produce and sell a new piece.

Quilt

Expresses Creativity

In our fast-paced world, creativity can sometimes be left on the back burner. We have so much to do, who has time to sit down and enjoy a hobby?! Someone with an abundance of creative talent may never unleash this trait due to other commitments like work or family life. However, if you take up the hobby of sewing, you can transform your life and release that pent-up inspiration in the designs you create. By allowing yourself to be more creative, you can reap the benefits of a more relaxed mindset, decreased stress and anxiety levels, and reduced negative emotions in other areas of your life.

Produces Unique Items

Your family doesn’t have to “keep up with the Joneses” when you learn how to use a sewing machine. Getting to create one-of-a-kind designs is just half the fun! Seeing the smiles on your children’s faces when they have a costume or outfit you can’t purchase in stores is sure to have you returning to your hobby again and again. Additionally, if you want to make money with your hobby, creating unique designs is very essential – you want to stand out from the crowd and have everyone rushing to get sewn articles from you!

Fights Mental Issues

It is vital that we use every area of our brains regularly to keep them sharp and working properly. When you learn to sew, and do it often, you will be keeping your brain active. Doing the small tasks required to sew clothing or a quilt helps to ward off dementia and other mental conditions.

Getting all the Right Sewing Machine Supplies

By now, you probably see the many benefits of sewing as a hobby. It’s time to get yourself stocked with the right sewing machine and other supplies. Founded in Atlanta in 1983 as Southeast Sewing Products, SewingMachine.com now offers a virtual home for all the sewing machines, parts, and accessories you need to thoroughly enjoy this creative hobby.

Steve Tramell Sewing Machine

Offering a range of products, SewingMachine.com has been recognized as one of the South’s leading dealers and authorized servicers for Brother, Singer, Consew, Juki, and Pfaff products. The company, founded by Steve Tramell, has two locations: Atlanta and West Point, and you can also browse their selection of products at SewingMachine.com. They also offer classes at their locations for those wanting to learn more about sewing, embroidery, and other creative endeavors.

First Friday Favorites {April 2017}

It’s sure been a while since I’ve done one a First Friday Favorites. It’s not because I’ve been having a lack of finding awesome things but because I’ve had a lack of time to share them with you guys. I have a running list of things I’ve been meaning to talk about but they never could make it off that list, until now.

FirstFridayFavorites

1 // What Do You Meme // If you’re into memes [guilty] than you need this game. It’s quite possibly one of the funniest things I’ve played in a while and totally rivals Cards Against Humanity. While it’s pretty close to the same concept, the cards are possibly even funnier and more screwed up.

2 // Apple TV // We just cut the cord [look for post on our experience soon] and couldn’t be happier with the Apple TV.

3 // Wine Aerator // If you’re a wine drinker and you haven’t been using an aerator, seriously, get one now. We just recently got one and started using it and the difference is astounding. I thought it was all hype until I did a little taste test with and without aeration. Profound difference.

4 // Ever Lasting Treat Ball // I always have such an issue with dog toys because I have strong chewers. They destroy everything. Dog toys aren’t cheap and I was sick of spending a decent amount of money on something that would last them 30 minutes. This treat ball keeps them busy and they really can’t destroy it.

5 // Bio Silk Hair Serum // I recently went seriously blonde and with bleach usually comes some damage. A co-worker of mine recommended this product in which I totally forgot existed. I used it years and years ago but i’m so glad I re-discovered it. It totally tames my frizz and smells unbelievable.

 

AprilFridayFavorites

*note: this post contains affiliate links.