be happy

Be happy.  Just be happy.  Easier said than done, at times, but be happy.

Babies know what’s up.  Especially mine.  He’s the happiest.

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And that makes me happy.

Look at the good in the world.  BE the good in the world.  Unfortunately, there’s a lot of not good in the world.  Instead of dwelling on those situations, those people, think how YOU can make a difference. Think about your actions and words and how it can affect those around you.

“Be happy.

Not because everything is good,

but because you can see

the good side of everything.”

YES.  I consider myself a very positive person, and I think most people who know me would agree. It’s not that everything is all sunshine and rainbows all the time, but I move forward because there’s no sense in staying stuck in the past, especially in regards to things you can’t change.

That quote really hits home.  Everything is not good, but that’s not what I want to talk or think about.  I do want to see the good side in everything, so I do.  And if there isn’t much good? (Note: I didn’t say “any.”)  See ya later.  I don’t have time for that negativity.  I don’t want that energy in my life.

Life is always moving, and it’s up to you if you’re going to move with it, be the best version of yourself, or get left behind.  I’m moving forward.  I’m staying positive.  I’m choosing happiness.

And smile.  People like that.  Especially this little cutie.

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What makes you happy? Are you a positive person?

Easy Healthy Wasabi and Soy Sauce Dip

So there’s this big game coming up.  One where lots of people go to gatherings with friends and family to cheer on one of the teams.  Or some people may just go to the party for the food.  Good food.  Chips.  Dips.  Crackers.  Snacks.  Maybe some vegetables.  I might be one of those people who go for the food…

Dips.  Oh, the possibilities!  There are lots of dips that are super cheesy, super delicious, but super unhealthy.  Then there are dips that are healthy, and take forever to make with a million ingredients.  Boo.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  Alas, there can be dips that are healthy, delicious, and are very easy to make.  Like three-ingredients easy.  Yeah, that’s my kind of dip.

blue diamond wasabi soy sauce dip

Let me introduce you to this easy healthy wasabi and soy sauce dip.  Made with just three ingredients, throw it all in the food processor, and dip away.  But you should be warned: the flavor is BOLD and may warrant multiple dips.  Like so many that the small bowl you made is gone within minutes.  Luckily, it takes about twelve seconds to make a second (or fourth) batch.

Easy Healthy Wasabi and Soy Sauce Dip

Ingredients:

Equal parts of:

  • Blue Diamond Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Chickpeas

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached, occasionally scraping the sides.

Sharing: optional.

wasabi soysauce dip

I used a half of a cup (1/2 cup) of all the ingredients, but it made a small amount (or maybe I’m a hungry beast who consumes foods in unreasonable portion sizes).  If you’re bringing this to a party (and you should), I would use at least one cup, if not two, of all the ingredients so it makes a larger amount.

Blue Diamond is notorious for making the boldest flavored almonds.  Their Wasabi and Soy Sauce almonds are no joke.  The flavor is intense and awesome.  Other favorite bold flavors include: Honey Dijon, Lime ‘n Chili, Habanero BBQ, Jalapeno Smokehouse, and Salt ‘n Vinegar.

The dip is so versatile.  I dipped pretzels, crackers, and celery in it.  I spread it in a tortilla in one of my breakfast burritos with eggs.  I slathered it on bread for a turkey sandwich.  It adds a burst of flavor to whatever you pair it with.  Oh, I also ate it straight up with a spoon.  And licked the bowl.

wasabi soy sauce dip

What dip/dish will you be bringing to the party?

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more Game Changing Snacks, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Do you know what one of the all time best flavor combinations is?  Chocolate banana peanut butter.  All three flavors compliment each other perfectly and go so well together in any type of food.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert, pre or post workout meal.  You name it.  Chocolate banana peanut butter.  Mark my words.  And make this protein shake.

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Through my partnership with FitFluenetial, I was sent a tub of Adaptogen’s Rich Chocolate Tasty Whey protein powder.  Immediately, I knew what kind of shake I was making.  It’s a no brainer.  First, I did mix it solely with milk because I wanted to check out the taste.  Two thumbs up!  It blended easily and tasted great.  It was like chocolate milk, which I love.  This would make for a fabulous post workout recovery shake!  (If only I had time for daily workouts!)  Adaptogen also has other ridiculously good sounding flavors including: Vanilla Creme, Cookies & Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Strawberry Creme.

I have a raging sweet tooth, so I love when my meals taste like dessert, but pack tons of nutritional benefits.  My chocolate banana peanut butter protein shake had tons of protein (20 grams of protein!) and loads of flavor.  Plus, it kept me full all morning (major perk!).

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Adaptogen Science’s TastyWHEY:

The World’s first high performance whey protein that tastes so amazing that you won’t believe you are drinking a protein drink. Everyone will love this – it is a drink that will please the whole family! Real milkshake taste, incredibly mouth watering and smooth, with no protein or sweetener aftertaste. After years of research and development, Adaptogen Science® has finally developed what we consider the most complete, and best tasting protein on the market…appropriately named TastyWHEY™.

Keeping a Super-Protein ‘Super’

TastyWHEY™ is a high protein supplement mix that provides exceptional nutrition. It promotes peak wellness by use of a proprietary combination of exceptionally high quality whey protein, along with MCT’s, low glycemic index carbohydrates, and micronutrients AND with an AWESOME taste, too!

Check out Adaptogen on Amazon and Instagram!

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And now since it’s Wednesday, let’s take a look into some other delicious meals for WIAW with Jenn at Peas and Crayons.

Just like last week, I made a huge pot of pasta for my lunches and dinners.  It’s just such an easy way to make multiple meals at once.  Again, I used whole wheat pasta which contains far more protein and fiber than white pasta.

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For my “sauce,” I used a combination of what my grandma does.  I sauteed cherry tomatoes, onion, and garlic.  Then, I added a couple packets of NuNaturals. (My grandma explained adding a little sweeteness takes out the bitterness of the tomatoes.)  I threw in some fresh spinach and Parmesan cheese.  That’s it.  So simple, and so tasty.  So good, in fact, that it’s been serving as my lunches and dinners.  I have no problem eating the same thing over and over again when it’s delicious!

Dessert lately has been Arman’s Greek Yogurt Chocolate Brownies.  They’re ridiculous and so fudgy and HEALTHY!  Yes, you read that right.  Ok, so there’s some sugar in them, but they’re mostly healthy (and moderation, people!).  This is actually the second batch I made.  I did make some substitutions based on the ingredients I had on hand, but it’s close enough.  And it’s amazing.

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What’s one of your top flavor combinations?  Chocolate banana peanut butter?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Adaptogen Science.

My Fitness Goal for 2015

Three weeks into the new year seems like a good time to set a goal, right?  Eh, better late than never.  This is actually something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while now… months, to be exact.  It’s just that once I put it out here, then it’s real.  Once I say it out loud (or type it on the computer), that’ll make me feel a whole lot more accountable than just mulling it over in my head.  The secret will be out.

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My fitness has changed drastically over the last few years.  In 2012, I was running more than I ever had and ran my tenth half marathon (PR-ed, too!).  In 2013, all I wanted was to get pregnant.  In 2014, all I wanted was to have a healthy baby.  I was blessed with a very healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  However, getting there wasn’t easy.  As you know, I struggled with infertility while trying to get pregnant.

A quick recap of the past few years:  I learned that running was affecting my body, so I cut that out cold turkey.  My cycle resumed to normal.  I continued to workout, and thought things were fine, but I still wasn’t pregnant.  The second month I had my IUI, I stopped working out completely.  That was the month I became pregnant.  I’ll never know if it was the change in medication, the consecutive IUIs, the halt of working out, or just good timing, but I always wonder if the absence of working out contributed to the rest of the factors. Anyway, it’s neither here nor there now.

Four months into my pregnancy is when I felt safe enough to start working out again.  (My doctor gave me the okay after three months, but I was playing it very safe.)  I started walking and eventually began incorporating some light weights.  Swimming quickly became my favorite workout, and I remained fairly active throughout my pregnancy which helped me have a wonderful delivery.

My priorities quickly changed after having baby William. I no longer had time for daily workouts, and I was fine with that.  I had William in the spring, so I started walking outside on a regular basis.  Even though I was moving my body, it wasn’t with a specific goal in mind or to get my “pre-baby” body back.  Truly, it was because I enjoyed the sunshine, it felt nice to get out of the house, and I knew it was healthy to move.  I’ve never been one to sit around all day.

Now, nine months later, thinking about fitness is so different than before.  My body is different than it was before… I’m not saying it’s good or bad, it’s just different.  I’m a lot smaller than I was before I was pregnant, but I feel like a lot of my muscle is gone.  How did I “do it?”  Breast feeding.  I’m not even kidding.  Nursing burns a ton of calories.  Yes, I do eat pretty healthy, but I eat A TON and am hungry almost all day.  It’s fantastic, to be totally honest.  I eat a lot and indulge often and my metabolism is just on fire right now.  I’m so unbelievably astonished at what my body has done.  Shameless brag – stomach shot before bikram yoga from a couple of weeks ago:

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I’m proud of it; no shame there.  Bodies are an incredible thing.  I learned that during my pregnancy, it was confirmed during / after my delivery, and I’m reminded of it everyday.

So my fitness goal for 2015.  That is the point of the post.  And you’ll notice, I wrote my fitness goal for 2015.  Not goals.  That was intentional.  Just one single goal.

RUN.

I want to run again.

I want so badly to run again.  I don’t know how or when or how far or the details, but 2015 is going to be the year I start running again.  It’s been since 2012 and that’s long enough.  I’m glad I stopped for a variety of reasons (WILLIAM!), but I’m ready to begin again.  I’m not setting specific goals because I don’t know the logistics.  I work full-time, William goes to sleep at 6:30 at night, so right now, weekends are looking like my best option.  I’m not sure if I’ll get a jogging stroller and run with William, or find someone to watch him for a short time while I run. The details will work themselves out.

I do know I’ll run a race (at least one).  I love racing.  I love the energy.  I love competing against myself.  I love being among other runners.  I love crossing the finish line.

I’m scared to run again.  It’s been over two years since I last ran.  When I stopped, I was in the best running shape I had ever been in.  I was fast (for me).  I had great endurance (for me).  I was proud of all my runs and races.  Two years later, I’m slightly worried about re-entering the running world.  On the other hand, I know muscles have memory.  I know it will take some time to build back up.  But most importantly, I know I can do it.

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You can do it, Momma!

So that’s it.  That’s my big fitness goal for 2015.  RUN.

What’s your fitness goal for 2015?

Day in the Life: Weekend Edition

Since it’s fun to be nosy about other people’s lives and what they do with their time, I thought I’d do a Day in the Life: Weekend Edition post.  Last time I tried to, I took a picture of everything.little.thing. and ended up doing an “all before noon” post. That was back in July when baby William was SO tiny!  This is from Saturday with way fewer pictures:

  • 5:45 –  Wake up to William fussing.  Since it’s after 5:00, I know this means he’s up for the day.  I nurse him, change his diaper, give him his vitamins, wash his face, put clean clothes on him, and put him in the exersaucer.
  • 6:00 – Let Zoey out, feed her, pump, clean pump parts, and play with William until he’s ready for his first nap.  Since he wakes up so early, he often will play for a short amount of time (30 minutes – 1 hour) before being ready for a nap.
  • 6:45 –  Nurse William and rock him to sleep.  Once he’s sleeping soundly in his crib, it’s time to MOVE!  I run around the house like a mad woman trying to get it all done because I’m not quite sure how long William’s nap will last.  Shower, get dressed, put on makeup, bake brownies, eat breakfast, do laundry. Whew!
  • 8:15 – William wakes up, I nurse him again, and we play for a bit.
  • 8:45 – While William plays with toys on his mat and crawls around, I decide to squeeze in a few rounds of lunges with dumbbells.  I do shoulder presses and bicep curls while I lunge.  I count out loud, and William follows me around the room and thinks it’s the funniest thing ever.  The second I set down the dumbbells, William crawls over to them because he’s the most curious little guy ever.

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Can you spot Zoey?

  • 9:05 – Stephanie comes over with Jacob and Audrey.  Audrey is going to stay with us while Jacob goes to baseball practice.  Jacob plays with baby William for a few minutes before it’s time to leave.  Audrey sticks her head out the door and calls, “Bye, Jacob! Have a great day at baseball practice!”  Seriously.
  • 9:15 – Audrey helps feed William breakfast (Earth’s Best oatmeal and pears).
  • 9:45 - We leave for Trader Joe’s to get some essentials.  Audrey chooses a box of chocolate chip granola bars and snacks on one while we shop.  Half of it falls on the ground, and before a meltdown can ensue, I quickly open another one. Saved.
  • 10:45 - Back at home, time to play some more.  Audrey gets so excited over William’s every move.  She exclaims, “Isn’t that amazing?!”  Yes, I say.  “I know,” she replies so nonchalantly.  Cracks me up every time.
  • 11:00 - Nurse William.
  • 11:15 - Audrey is “starving.”  (Dramatic like her mom.) She eats a Stonyfield yogurt that I have in the fridge.  I text Stephanie bragging that I got Audrey to eat spinach.  (It’s a pear spinach mango yogurt.) Shortly after, I scramble an egg for her and cut tomato slices.  I text Stephanie again, this time bragging that I got Audrey to eat her entire lunch (possibly, being bribed by a great big brownie for dessert).

audrey

  • 11:45 – Audrey gives William a million kisses, calls him “Little Buddy,” and tells him she loves him.  We let William play in his crib, so we can fold his laundry.  Audrey is in charge of his wash cloths.  She did a great job.  I’d like to keep her around.
  • 12:00 - Stephanie comes back over.  She feeds William lunch while I reorganize his drawers and take out clothes that are too small.
  • 12:45 - I nurse William, and he goes down for a nap.  I eat lunch, put my laundry away, make a list of errands I need to run, tidy up some things around the house, play on the computer, and pump.
  • 2:15 - William wakes up, I nurse him, and we play.
  • 2:45  – It’s almost 60 degrees outside, so a walk is a must.  The sunshine is AMAZING!  Especially for January in St. Louis.  We soak up every minute.

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  • 4:00 – I bring William over to Stephanie’s for an hour, so I can get my hands on my best friend’s new baby.  She’s a week old today, and William’s future wife.

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Meet Emily.  She’s around six pounds, and so teeny tiny.  When was William ever that small?  She’s precious and I love her already.

5:15 - Go back to Stephanie’s.  The kids are eating.  I graze for dinner.  Then, it’s playtime.  We were playing around with some tandem yoga like we used to do.

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But I think we forgot how…

This happened:

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  • 6:30 - Get home, feed Zoey dinner, and get William ready for bed.
  • 7:00 - William is sleeping.  I test out some recipes and photograph my creations (recipes coming).  Do some work on the computer and relax.
  • 8:30 - Pump one last time before bed.
  • 9:00 - In bed!  Even though it’s the weekend, I still like early bed times.  William obviously isn’t on a “weekend schedule,” so I know he’ll be up early.  I’ve got to get my sleep when I can!  And that’s our day!  Exciting stuff, eh?

I will say, the weather we’ve had in St. Louis is absolutely gorgeous!  For one thing, it makes running errands so much easier, even doable.  When it’s freezing out, I don’t like to take William in and out of places too much, so this weekend we got a lot done.  We also took a few walks, spent time with family, and will be enjoying our day off today!

Are you working today? How’s the weather where you live?

Linking up with Katie for Marvelous in my Monday and Erin for Weekend Snapshots.

overdue snapshots

Scrolling through all the pictures on my phone the other night reminded me of some random overdue snapshots that I haven’t shared here, so I thought it would make for a fun, light-hearted post on this lovely Friday.

Let’s started with the world’s cutest baby bear:

9months snowsuit bear

I shared this on my Facebook page last week on a particularly cold day.  Now only if these soft, comfy suits came in adult sizes! (It’s Baby Gap, by the way.)

This next one is probably a month old, but I don’t think I’ve posted it here, and it makes me so incredibly happy to look at:

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Audrey is definitely a photographer’s daughter.  She’s doing exactly what her momma does by holding something on top of her head to try and get William to look at her while she takes a picture!  And William clearly knows the drill…

There is so much to laugh about in this next picture:

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All the cousins and their grandparents.  Jackson has no front teeth and is forcing a smile.  Jacob… is doing something funny with his face.  Audrey is crying while holding up cans to both of her ears, baby William is just hanging out, and my parents couldn’t be happier to have all four of their grandchildren in their arms. (Side note: I tried to put my dog Zoey in Audrey’s lap and she wasn’t having it.  So she decided to put the telephone cans that Pops made her over her ears.)

And speaking of family…

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Nine of the twelve great-grandchildren!  I love love love family time!!!

There’s just something about clean babies…

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My grandma always says that babies don’t really get dirty, but they just look so darn cute when they’re fresh out of the bath, and I couldn’t agree more!

And one of my absolute favorite pictures as of lately because he’s so gorgeous…

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A good reminder to wake up happy… just like William does every morning!

What snapshot would you share today?

9 month old baby William

Babies change a lot.  All the time.  They grow.  They learn new things.  They reach milestones. This last month was a huge month of change and growth for baby William in the best possible way!

9months

Height & Weight: William had his nine month checkup yesterday and weighed 18 pounds 14 ounces and measured 27 inches long!

Eating: We’re making progress from last month!  The throwing up doesn’t happen as frequently as it was before.  It still happens on occasion, but it’s not necessarily from the food he is eating.  William has an extremely sensitive and active gag reflex.  If he cries too hard, he throws up.  Sometimes he chews on his fingers, and if they go in too far, he throws up.  Anyway, it makes me feel better to know that he’s not having any type of reaction to food or some sort of digestion or stomach issue.

We are still happily nursing and have no plans to stop anytime soon.  William eats oatmeal mixed with breast milk and a fruit or vegetable in the morning and evening.  Favorites include sweet potatoes and avocados.  He also tried Stonyfield organic yobaby yogurt, and he liked that.  Earth’s Best is the oatmeal and puffs he eats, and we’ve also tried some of their jarred food.  While I know I won’t sustain this forever, for right now, William is eating all organic.  Earth’s Best and Stonyfield are both great!

9months freshly picked

amber teething necklace from city sprouts // sweater from yellow house knits // jeans from carter’s // baby moccasins from freshly picked 

Sleeping (naps): Our goal is to have three 45-minute naps a day (or three sleep cycles).  Ideally, he would take one 45-minute nap and one hour and a half nap (two sleep cycles back to back), but that rarely happens at day care – usually three naps which is fine.  Over winter break and on the weekends, I really tried hard to ensure William gets a full sleep cycle.  If he wakes up before the 45-minute time period, I rock him back to sleep or hold him.  This has been making a big difference for his night sleeping, too.

Check out my Beginning to Sleep Train a Baby post where I explain in more detail about sleep cycles and naps.

Sleeping (at night): William is consistently going to sleep at 6:30 with much less of a fight than before (I think because he’s not overly tired).  He’s been waking up between one and three times throughout the night which is great (comparatively!).  Honestly, I haven’t started sleep training yet because his sleep has gotten so much better.  I think there are two factors that contributed to this: better naps / more sleep during the day and his bumper pads are back in the crib.  My mom and my sister have been suggesting I put the bumper pads back in his crib, but I was hesitant since so many people / sources say don’t.  Finally, I felt confident enough that William was strong and mobile enough to handle the bumper pads.  Literally the night they went in, he slept so much better!  I think they make him feel cozier and warmer; plus, he snuggles up against them just like my mom and sister said he would!  He doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night if his head rubs against the hard crib bars.  Ok, ok, Mom and Stephanie, you can say, “I told you so!” :)

While I’m not officially sleep training, I still highly recommend Tracy Spackman, certified gentle sleep coach.  I learned so much from her and incorporate a lot of what she suggests in my nightly routine.  It has definitely made a difference in baby William’s sleep, and her Facebook group is awesome as tons of mommas post questions and share ideas regarding their little one’s sleep!

9  months

Clothing: 9 and 12 month clothing!

New this month: So many new developments!  After saying he was close to crawling for two months, it finally happened… and he’s FAST!  (Athlete already!) It makes me laugh to see him crawl across the floor so quickly! Not only is William crawling, he’s pulling up on things, too!  Now I feel like he will be walking in no time!  Last month, we were waiting for his one tooth on top to break through… well, it’s through and growing and THREE additional top teeth are just about broken through!  William is babbling so much more this month, too, and he has gotten LOUD!  At times, he screeches at the top of his lungs and then lets out a huge laugh.  I seriously cannot believe all the major changes that happened this month!

William likes: Oh William is such a happy baby! He loves going after my dog Zoey and she wants nothing to do with him haha. He likes trying to play with things he shouldn’t be playing with (cords, outlets, vents, shoes, Zoey’s toys), but I say, “That’s not a toy!”  He usually stops… at least for a second until I move him away from whatever is dangerous / gross.  William especially loves toys that make noise and he likes this one puzzle that has eight different types of latches.  He still puts everything in his mouth, and he loves attention.

William dislikes: Really, just being tired, but that has gotten so much better.  Like I always say, he’s the happiest baby, and I seriously could not love him any more!

9months me

all photos by Stephanie Cotta Photography

Moms: What’s to come next month?

Special K Snack Bars

Oh heeeeeey there, friends!  Let’s talk food today, shall we?  Today is Wednesday so I’m linking up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday.  For all my new readers (hi!), WIAW is where tons of bloggers link up their blog posts full of mouth-watering recipes, photos, and meal plans.  It’s a great place to get inspiration for the kitchen!  The food I share is mostly healthy (it’s all about moderation!) and very easy to prepare.  As a full time working momma, time is sparse, so I do my best to fuel my body properly on my limited time schedule.  Let’s get started!

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I love this mug for it’s positive message.  Sometimes we all just need to stop, smile, breathe, and remember that life is beautiful because it really is.

Just like last week, protein shakes have been really appealing in the morning.  They’re fast, easy to make, and loaded with protein which keeps me full longer.

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And they’re kind of pretty, too, eh?  This one had raspberries, vanilla protein powder, Silk’s cashew milk, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, and vanilla NuNaturals.  Speaking of Silk’s cashew milk, I finally found it and am very impressed with how creamy it is, which I love.  Perfect for smoothies and shakes!

Snacks lately have been the Special K snack bars which is a great option for a healthy snack. I stash them everywhere: in my car, my diaper bag, and my school bag.  I hate being hungry, so being prepared is key!  Kellogg’s came out with this new line of bars made with tasty, wholesome ingredients that deliver great taste and provide a “chewy-with-a hint-of-crisp” texture.

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Special K Chewy Snack Bars are the perfect combination of tasty and visible ingredients that provide a satisfyingly scrumptious “any time” snack that you can feel good about eating. With four delicious flavors – Berry Medley, Blueberry Bliss, Salted Caramel Chocolate, and Salted Pretzel Chocolate – these new snack bars are a great option that deliver 100 delicious calories per bar.

Check out Special K on Facebook and Twitter!

I will say, I wish they had more protein and fiber in them, but they definitely work for satisfying a craving for something sweet or when hunger strikes!  They’re very reasonably priced, as well, at just $2.69 for a box of six.  And they’re kid friendly, too.  My little niece Audrey was all over the salted pretzel chocolate bar!

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Lunch and dinner the past three days have been the same.  I made a huge pot of pasta over the weekend.  When I like (love) a dish, I don’t mind eating it over and over.  I brought some to my sister’s, so three days straight of this pasta was plenty for me.  But it was delicious and I definitely got my carb fix!

I used whole wheat noodles which actually pack a decent amount of fiber and protein (way more than white pasta anyway!), sauteed mushrooms, added peas, spinach, and beans, and made a sauce using cream cheese, chicken broth, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and some spices.  Not “healthy,” but definitely healthier than a traditional white sauce using cream and butter.

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Since I only have one picture to show you for lunch and dinner, I thought I’d throw in an extra picture of something totally random (because that makes sense?).  My BCBG slouch beanie finally came from Zulily! (<– affiliate link)  I LOVE it!!!

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Which flavor of the Special K snack bars sound best to you: Berry Medley, Blueberry Bliss, Salted Caramel Chocolate, or Salted Pretzel Chocolate?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Special K.

Freshly Picked Moccasins GIVEAWAY (closed)

Baby moccasins are, quite possibly, the cutest things ever.

freshly picked

I mean seriously.  Freshly Picked, specifically, are the best.  When cold weather hit St. Louis, I immediately ran into a problem with dressing baby William.  I couldn’t find any socks or shoes to stay on him, and while taking him out in his adorable footed sleepers surely evokes many “awws,” I figured I should probably change him out of his pajamas… most days.

9months moccasins

Now when I take out William dressed in his little baby moccs, I receive way more comments and “awws” than ever before.  Grown men have told me they wished they had a pair of moccs.  The first time my best friend Diana saw William in his moccasins, she asked, “Were those Jacob’s, too?”  (The majority of William’s clothes come from my sister or my friend.  No shame there, those baby boys are stylish!)  Anyway, I proudly answered that no, they were not hand-me-downs, but instead, brand new just for my baby William!

If you’re wondering if Freshly Picked is the company of baby moccasins you saw on ABC’s Shark Tank, then you’re right.  The moccasins are durable, well designed, and most importantly, stay on babies’ feet!  They fit any baby, too, no matter how chubby their little legs and feet are.  There is a tiny piece of elastic that make them very easy to slip on and stay on. The soft soled shoes are absolutely perfect for babies in every way!

freshlypicked

Linking up with Katie for Marvelous in my Monday!

There are so many awesome colors and patterns that the moccasins come in.  I chose Weathered Brown for William because I wanted something neutral that could go with any outfit.  I’m thrilled with my choice because I can literally pair them with any outfit.  The Signature Collections and Limited Editions are amazing.  The moccs fit true to size, too.  I ordered a size up because I wanted William to be able to wear them for awhile.

9months freshly picked

Let’s talk about the cost for a quick second.  They’re $60.  A bit pricey? Yes, but totally worth it.  Have you ever tried to shove a baby’s foot into “real” shoes?  Not fun.  And I’ve yet to find socks that stay on.  These are worth every penny.  They’re made from real leather, and look so stinkin’ cute on every baby with every outfit.  I’ll definitely be purchasing a new pair when William grows out of his.  Freshly Picked offers free shipping on US orders over $100.  This means you should buy two pairs.  Choose two different colors or patterns, or buy one for now and one in the next size up because I guarantee you’ll want them!  Or, you and your friend could both buy a pair to earn free shipping (I hate paying for shipping which is why I’m giving you all these great ideas haha).

9  months

Freshly Picked has so kindly offered to giveaway one pair of baby moccs to one wonderful Itz Linz reader.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post with which moccasins you would order (mandatory).  For additional, optional entries:

  • Follow Itz Linz and Freshly Picked on Twitter, and tweet the following, “Baby moccasins are the cutest things ever! Win a pair from @freshlypicked on the @ItzLinz blog –> http://wp.me/p2WMfo-2Sc”
  • Follow Itz Linz and Freshly Picked on Instagram, and tag two friends on my giveaway picture.

Be sure to leave a separate comment on this blog post for each entry (three total entries possible per person).  This giveaway will be open until Thursday, January 15th at 8:00 pm CST and is open to US residents only who have not won another FP giveaway.  A winner will be randomly selected and e-mailed on Friday, January 16th, 2015.  CLOSED!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of moccasins in exchange for my honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Shakeology 3 Ways

So the high today in St. Louis is 9.  NINE!  That’s the high.  That’s crazy cold, if you ask me.  And the wind chill is obviously much colder.  Brr.  I want my summer back, I want the sun, I want warm temperatures, and I want to sweat.  But that’s neither here nor there since we can’t control the weather or Mother Nature.  Hope everyone is bundled up!

Anyway, the purpose of today’s post is to tell you about Shakeology 3 Ways.  My friend (and momma to adorable twin boys!) Sarah from the blog Creating a Better Tomorrow  so kindly sent me samples of Shakeology. I was excited as she constantly raves about them and creates the most delicious sounding shakes.  She also included recipes for an entire month for four different flavors… that’s 120 combinations of shakes!  I had a hard time choosing what I wanted to make, but am definitely happy with what I chose.

Maple Pecan Protein Shake

maple pecan shakeology

Maple Pecan Protein Shake: vanilla Shakeology, milk, pecans, cashews, and maple syrup

Vanilla is notoriously my favorite flavor of protein powder thanks to its versatility.  I’m a sucker for maple flavored foods (particularly maple almond butter – mmm!), yet I don’t think I’d ever added it to a shake before.  It was awesome and the perfect amount of sweetness!

How Shakeology works

  • Ingredients derived from whole-food sources deliver the daily vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs to curb cravings, allowing it to shed stored fat.
  • More than 20 different antioxidants and phytonutrients help reduce free radical damage that can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and stroke.
  • Fiber, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes help your body gently eliminate toxins more efficiently and promote better absorption of nutrients.

Strawberry Walnut & Oats

strawberry walnut & oats shakeology

Strawberry Walnut & Oats: strawberry Shakeology, walnuts, milk, and oats

Didn’t my picture turn out pretty? :)  I have no problem adding oats to my smoothies; they’re a great source of complex carbohydrates that give me energy for the day!

What’s in Shakeology?

  • Protein and essential amino acids help build muscles and reduce food cravings.
  • Prebiotics and digestive enzymes aid in improving digestion, regularity, and nutrient absorption.
  • Antioxidants and phytonutrients help counteract free radical damage that can lead to degenerative diseases.
  • A daily dose of vitamins and minerals provides your body what it needs to function for optimal health.

Banana Honeymoon

banana honeymoon shakeology

Banana Honeymoon – chocolate Shakelogy, milk, banana, and peanut butter

(Inspirational mug from The Universe Knows

Chocolate, banana, and peanut butter is such a classic combination, and this shake definitely didn’t disappoint.  Can’t ever go wrong with that combo!

The thing that struck me most about Shakeology is how THICK the shakes were!  The recipes suggested that they would be thicker if you used more ice.  My ice maker is broken and I don’t have room in my freezer for ice cube trays (thank you, breast milk!), so I added no milk, and I couldn’t believe how thick these shakes were!  They could easily be turned into bowls and eaten with spoons if that’s more your thing.

All in all, I give Shakeology two thumbs up! It tasted good, it kept me full, it blended well, and the consistency was awesome! If you’d like to learn more or try some of your own, CLICK HERE.

I drank the Shakeology protein shakes for my breaktfasts, so for the rest of today’s What I Ate Wednesday, I’m going to highlight a favorite lunch and dinner as of recently.

Cincinnati Chili

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I’ve posted this a million times before, but Courtney’s Light N Easy Cincinnati Chili is the most amazing chili ever.  I add beans, corn, and brown rice or quinoa to it, just to bulk it up even more, but it’s seriously delicious.  And the secret ingredients of cinnamon and cocoa totally make it.  I’ve been making a huge batch on the weekend and then eating it every day for lunch on top of either spaghetti squash or a bed of greens.  Topped with cheese, avocado, and plain Greek yogurt is the best.

My dad has been quite the chef lately, and when he takes over the kitchen, you definitely want to be a recipient of his feast!  Check out our last Sunday dinner:

Baba Ganoush

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My dad follows the recipe from YaYa’s Eurocafe Baba Ganoush.  It makes a ton, so we were all sent home with leftovers which is fantastic.  I could literally eat it with a spoon, but we devoured it with a loaf of bread.  Awesome starter!

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair

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This recipe is from Martha Stewart, and is very flavorful.  Potatoes and Brussel sprouts complimented the chicken with artichokes and angel hair pasta perfectly.  We kept saying, “Mmm!” all throughout dinner, and just looking at that picture makes me drool all over again.  Yum.

So if you need any recipe inspiration, definitely check out the links I posted in today’s blog.  Or head on over to Peas and Crayons for hundreds (literally) more blog posts full of mouth watering meals!

Are you a vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate protein shake fan?