Boxing at Sweat

Finding time to workout has been my biggest fitness challenge since baby William was born.  (Hence, my quick ten minutes or less workouts!)  It’s not something I stress or worry about, because my priorities have changed now.  William is number one.  I still do place a large emphasis on my health and fitness; I just simply don’t have the time to workout for thirty to sixty minutes multiple times each week.  Anyway, over the weekend I had the opportunity to get in a solid one-hour workout and it felt AMAZING!  You know those workouts that are incredibly challenging, get you sweating, and leave you crazy sore the next day?  Yeah, that happened.  And I loved every second of it!

Bianca from Mizzfit was in town and hosted The Beauty & The Beast Workout event at Sweat St. Louis.  It cost just $25 (drop-in classes at Sweat are $15); plus, all participants received a goodie bag valued over $50.  I signed up as soon as I heard about it and was more than just a little excited.

sweat boxing

Oh gym selfies, how I’ve missed you! ;-)

Sweat St. Louis offers personal training, corrective exercises, massage therapy, and a variety of group exercises classes including boxing, TRX, and interval training.  Our class was Boxing, Legs, and Core: Lower body workout designed to improve balance, tighten your core, and give you those sculpted legs and rear. Put it together with boxing on the heavy bags for the ultimate power hour.  Ow.  My back, my arms, my shoulders, my glutes, my legs, my everything was so sore the next day.  AWESOME!

sweatboxing

After our hands got wrapped, we put on our boxing gloves, listened to our instructor Matt, and began punching away.  Matt showed us different combinations to do (jab, jab, cross, etc.) and we would go all out for thirty seconds to a minute before switching to a lunge or squat.  There was no possible way to get bored in class because we were constantly switching what we were doing.  This was my first time boxing and I loved it!  Can you tell?

sweatboxing1

Probably not the greatest form, but I was having fun!

After my upper body was thoroughly sore, we took things down to the ground for core work and leg and glute work.  Oh my goodness, the glute work we did was the hardest exercises I’ve ever done.  I pride myself on how strong my lower body is, but I could hardly finish one set, and could definitely feel the pain the next couple days.  I would like to make time for this class on a weekly basis.  Sweat’s motto is, “Real gym. Real results. Real sweat.”  I like it.

Not only was the workout intense and awesome, our goodie bag was pretty rad, too.  My favorite item was two pairs of Bianca’s new barre socks she recently designed.  Obviously I don’t do barre workouts, but these socks totally rock.  They’re super comfy for just around the house, and I love what they stand for.  I’m all about supporting female entrepreneurs and Bianca is just that.  She’s such a beautiful picture of a strong, healthy, fit woman who understands how to balance the demands of a busy life while putting her health first (and she does it in the most fashionable way, as well!).

mizzfit barre socks

This multi-pack of Mizzfit x Pointe Studio grip socks is sure to get your heart rate up! Each multi-pack comes with 2 pairs of grip socks, one pair with an EKG graphic — the kind you see on heart monitors in the hospital and ER, and the other pair has blue droplets representing Blood, Sweat and Tears. They are specially designed to serve as a piece of equipment or armor that helps you bring your best to every barre, yoga and pilates workout.  Who knew socks could be so motivating?  The best part is that they’re sold for just $20 for TWO pairs.  That is a STEAL!  [Purchase them HERE.]

bianca

So, what have we learned in this post?

  • Bianca (Mizzfit) hosts awesome events, so you should follow her as to not miss the latest fitness or fashion news, and be eligible for the many giveaways she hosts.
  • If you’re in St. Louis, you should try a class at Sweat.
  • Get yourself a pair (well, two) of these socks.
  • Linz is a hardcore boxer.

Have you ever taken a boxing class?

Thanksgiving Photo Booth

As if Thanksgiving wasn’t already the most wonderful holiday ever, ours was even better this year.  Stephanie (of Stephanie Cotta Photography) set up a Thanksgiving Photo Booth!  She always has something up her sleeve during this holiday.  Growing up, she orchestrated a Chicken Little play every year with all of the cousins.  “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!” never got old, and we still laugh about it to this day.  (And I’m quite certain my mom has the original manuscripts saved!)  Perhaps the photo booth is the start to another holiday tradition?

mom dad photobooth

While Stephanie is the one who thought of the idea, set it up, and photographed the whole ordeal, it’s my parents who made Thanksgiving, as they do every year.  This year’s crowd was on the smaller side (just twenty people – small? ha!), but the food was still plentiful, and everyone, everyone went home with leftovers!  The table was beautifully decorated, we savored every bite of food, and the hours of preparation and cooking was most enjoyed through hugs, kisses, laughter, chatter, and full bellies throughout the evening.  My parents are amazing and every second was cherished.

Check out last year’s Thanksgiving post to get an even better glimpse into my family – a short video complete with my dad and uncles in a push-up challenge, Audrey’s turkey “meow,” lighting of Chanukah candles, belly rubbing (when I was pregnant), the fire engine song/dance, an oreo turkey craft, and many more awesome shots, moments, and giggles.

So, the photo booth:

thanksgiving photobooth

Audrey being a ham with her many hilarious, adorable faces:

audrey photobooth

Literally, everyone got in on the fun:

thanksgiving photobooth1

And Audrey had to hold her baby, as always:

audrey photobooth1

“He’s getting SO big!”

A very special thank you to Stephanie for orchestrating this photo booth and capturing just some of the many memories that were made during Thanksgiving 2014 and to my parents with the biggest hearts, kindest smiles, helping hands, open home, and best food.

We love you, appreciate you, and are so thankful for you.

And for the cutest Thanksgiving bunny:

bunny thanksgiving

What are your family’s Thanksgiving traditions?

Linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva for Marvelous in my Monday and Erin at Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots – check out the parties!

Sesame Ginger and Teriyaki Marinated Baked Tofu

There’s a lot going on in St. Louis right now, as you all know.  As someone who was born and raised in St. Louis, currently lives here, and has a love for the city, it’s really sad to see it getting torn apart.  While I’m not going to write on my views of the actual Ferguson verdict, I will say that I wish people would protest peacefully.  Do we need change?  YES!  It’s absolutely not right or not ok that there’s so much racism still present today, coming from both sides, but the way we need to make the change is NOT via violence and destruction.  Just like so many leaders made significant impacts on our country fifty years ago, they did it peacefully.  There is hope that we can accomplish change in a peaceful manner.  PEACEFUL CHANGE.  That should be the theme of this holiday season.

Just be kind to others.  Be mindful of people with different views.  If you want to see change in the world, BE the change.  Just do it peacefully.  End rant.

Peaceful like this precious sleeping baby.

sleeping baby 7months

See how I changed the subject like that?  Nobody can be angry about a sleeping baby!

Alright now, the real reason for this post today is to link up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday.  So before the big turkey day tomorrow, let’s take a look at some healthy pre-Thanksgiving meals.

Breakfast: Oatmeal Pancake

pancake

Who says pancakes are just for the weekend?  Not me!  It literally takes two seconds to put this healthy, high-protein pancake together before pouring it into the pan.  All I use is 2 eggs, some oatmeal (1/2 cup-ish), frozen blueberries, cinnamon, a dash of baking powder, and [optional] wheat germ and ground flax-seed.  I topped it with fresh homemade blueberry jam.  All you do for that is put frozen blueberries in a bowl, add water, heat in the microwave, stir in chia seeds, and let set.  Top with syrup.  Obviously!  It’s a great combination of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and protein – perfect for a hearty and nutritious breakfast!

I was sent coupons to try Nasoya’s new marinated baked tofu.  No compensation was provided; all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Lunch: High Protein Sesame Ginger Tofu Vegetable Bowl

tofu

In the mix: quinoa, black beans, corn, peas, garlic, onion, diced tomatoes, and Nasoya Sesame Ginger TofuBaked tofu.  Tofu has a lot of protein; in the eight ounce package, there is 32 grams of protein.  Combine that with the quinoa and beans, and this bowl had me full for a decent chunk of time (impressive for this breastfeeding momma!).

I participated in Meatless Monday for the #Elf4Health challenge.  Want to sign up? There’s still time!  Sign up HERE for the second round!  There are great prizes and it’s a fun way to stay motivated to make healthy choices throughout the holidays!  Each day, there is a new “challenge,” and you are paired up with another “elf.” (Or you can do it solo, your choice.)  It lasts for four weeks and the challenges are totally doable… like this Meatless Monday. Oh, and it’s completely FREE to participate!

Dinner: Teriyaki Tofu Salad

tofu salad

In the salad: fresh spinach, Nasoya Teriyaki TofuBaked tofu, dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, hemp hearts, and evoo and balsamic (not pictured).  Both flavors of the tofu were very mild which made it easy to add to my dishes.  It’s great to use in a pinch since you don’t have to press or season it; it comes all ready to go.

And that’s all!  I’m off to enjoy my day off work and start cooking a few items to bring to my parents’ feast tomorrow!

Are you a tofu fan?  Would you go with sesame ginger or teriyaki?

I mustache you some questions

Let’s keep things light over here (unlike Thanksgiving dinner will be!) today and go with the popular survey that’s going around the blogosphere these days. Brittany and Laura both tagged me in it, so I figured today was a good day for it.  It’s the last day of work before my Thanksgiving break which will be absolutely wonderful.

Now, I mustache you some questions.

mustache questions

Four names that people call me other than my real name:

  1. Linz
  2. Linzaloo
  3. Lindsay Rachel (just my parents)
  4. Itz Linz

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Hostess
  2. Waitress
  3. Bartender
  4. I used to check people in at Mizzou’s rec center in college. See? I’ve always loved being in gyms!

And now I’m an elementary teacher.  Me oh my how things have changed! ;-)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  1. Pitch Perfect (FAVORITE! Can’t wait for #2!)
  2. Ladybugs
  3. The Blind Side
  4. Mean Girls

Four books I’d recommend:

  1. Anything by Jodi Picoult
  2. Anything by Emily Giffin
  3. I don’t read many books anymore lately.

Four places I have lived:

  1. Saint Louis, Missouri (born and raised!)
  2. Oxford, Ohio (I went to Miami my first year of college)
  3. Columbia, Missouri (Mizzou!)
  4. That’s it.

Four places I have been:

  1. Mexico
  2. Puerto Vallarta
  3. Scottsdale, Arizona
  4. San Francisco, California

family picture jump

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  1. Florida
  2. Arizona
  3. California
  4. Mexico

See previous question!  ANYWHERE WARM!

Four things I don’t eat:

  1. Anchovies
  2. Sardines
  3. Oysters
  4. Bugs (my dad sent me this article about crickets having almost as much protein as ground beef – barf)

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. ICE CREAM! (cake batter, specifically)
  2. Nut / Seed Butters (cashew, almond, peanut, and sunflower seed being favorites)
  3. Avocado
  4. Berries

Four TV shows that I watch:

  • Parenthood – that’s it, no time for tv and I don’t like tv anyway.

Four things I am looking forward to this year:

This year?  There’s like a month left!

  1. William’s first Thanksgiving
  2. William’s first Chanukah
  3. Winter Break (aka not working)
  4. William growing

Four things I’m always saying singing:

  1. Skidamarink a dink a dink. Skidamarink a doo.  Skidamarink, I LOVE YOU!
  2. The ABC’s
  3. The wheels on the bus…
  4. I like to eat, eat, eat… Apples and bananas!

Four People I Tag:

  1. Katie
  2. Janetha
  3. Annette
  4. Lindsay

giraffe tank

This little guy wants YOU to answer one (or more!) of the questions!

Healthcare.gov Open Enrollment 2015

Good morning!  There are a million questions about Open Enrollment with the Affordable Care Act, so I thought I’d bring in an expert, my brother, Jason of My Choice Insurance, to help you navigate Obamacare and provide an easy-to-understand explanation and advice.

healthcare.gov open enrollment

I’m excited to share some information with the Itz Linz crew about choosing the right health insurance for you and your families as we’ve reached Open Enrollment with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, for the second time. In the past year, my team and I have helped over 500 new clients get coverage on and off the exchange, so we have the knowledge and experience to streamline this process and lower your frustration. How do we do this? We listen to you and your needs and provide access to every single plan in your state. We maximize your coverage, decrease your overall costs and lower your risk by giving you the things that are most important to you: the doctors in your network, the lowest possible premiums, and the highest benefits available.

As a general rule of thumb, you may even be eligible for subsidies to offset the costs of your plan if your employer doesn’t offer coverage and your income falls in the following ranges:

  • Single: $46,500 or less
  • Married: $63,000 or less
  • Family of 4: 95,000 or less.

I’ll be honest, Obamacare is not a perfect system. There are many shortcomings and it remains to be seen if it’s going to be around forever, but it’s here now and for the foreseeable future, so let’s focus on maximizing the best parts of it and be honest about the challenges that certain individuals will have in obtaining affordable coverage.

jason amy wedding

Obamacare may not be perfect, but my Puerto Vallarta Wedding sure was!

The Good:

Starting this year, insurance companies could no longer deny people or change their rates based on their health or medication needs and this is GOOD NEWS! In addition, all qualified health insurance plans now cover wellness and preventive visits at 100%. This means that annual physicals, the lab and blood work associated with them, annual pap smears and mammograms, children’s school physicals and immunizations, and even colonoscopies are all covered without a copay or deductible. The health insurance companies realized that regardless of the plan chosen, if they could get people to their doctors more regularly instead of reactively when there was a problem, they could get out in front of the serious illnesses and save both lives and money in the process. This is one of the 10 essential benefits that insurance must offer today, and all 10 have an expense associated with it, so it’s natural to expect that the cost of coverage must go up, especially because the insurance companies can’t pick and choose only healthy people to cover anymore. We’ll cover this increase in costs shortly, but let’s focus on the positive aspect of the government subsidies.

When the government decided to revamp our healthcare system, they realized that covering everyone at the same premium without regard to their health would be expensive. So the government set some guidelines for how they would offset the cost of that coverage by paying premiums to the health insurance companies directly based on your estimated annual income according to the guidelines above. On a side note, even if you fall in one of these categories, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive subsidies. Every situation is different and the best advice I can give you is to call an insurance agent you trust and spend 5-10 minutes discussing your particular situation.

For most people, we look for a company that offers affordable copays that sit outside their deductible for their day-to-day needs, such as doctors visits, medications, and urgent care visits. We’ll also look at deductibles and worst-case scenario situations. One of the things we often do a little differently than others is combine a major medical policy with a supplemental health insurance policy. While most plans today have a deductible of at least $1,000 (up to a max of $6,000), the supplemental coverage pays you directly for injuries, trips to the emergency room, hospital stays, and critical illnesses. When faced with a catastrophic loss or an unexpected accident, the supplement can provide the cash exactly when needed to offset some, or even all, of your out-of-pocket expenses. In the same way you diversify your retirement funds, this is the least expensive way to manage your risk and build a complete health insurance portfolio. While none of us expect it to happen to us, we’ve all been impacted by someone that is fighting cancer, heart disease, or stroke, to name a few. Imagine if they had an extra $10,000, $20,000, or even $50,000 to help them cover their deductible, pay their monthly bills, or help make up lost income.

We’re going to cover some of the challenges in choosing the right plan in part two of this post, but in the meantime, please don’t depend on the hourly workers at Healthcare.gov that are helping you get your application completed. They are not licensed agents and are literally reading from a script. Because the premiums for insurance are fixed by law, it doesn’t cost you any extra to work with an insurance broker like me.

mychoice insurance

The bottom line is that purchasing individual health insurance today is more difficult and can be more expensive than ever before, but there are resources to help you understand your options and potentially make it more affordable. If my staff or I can help you in any way, from asking questions to getting enrolled to proactively helping you manage your renewals, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. I can be contacted directly by phone at 314-828-3371, by email to Jason@mychoiceinsuranceco.com, or through the contact-us form on our website at www.MyChoiceInsuranceCo.com. Thanks for reading!

Thoughts? Questions?

Quick 10 Minutes or Less Workouts

We’re all busy with something or other, would you agree?  Sure, we may have varying degrees of busy, but most likely most people aren’t just sitting around twiddling their thumbs.  (And if you are… enjoy it while it lasts!)  The biggest challenge of being a full time working mom is TIME.  I never feel like I have enough of it – at school or at home.  Fitting in fitness is just that; I’ve got to fit it in my busy schedule.  Some days, many days, that means a quick ten minute workout.  After all, ten minutes is better than nothing.  I’m not knocking ten minute workouts whatsoever; they can be highly effective if you do the right thing.  Today, I’m sharing several quick 10 minutes or less workouts by experienced FitFluential Ambassadors.

quick workouts

There they are!  No excuses not to move during this busy holiday season.  Surely you can find ten minutes everyday.  It’s just ten minutes out of your 1,440 minute day!

When do you find the time to workout or move during the day?

Kmart Black Friday Deals

This post is sponsored by Kmart.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Black Friday shopping – who’s a fan?  You either love it or you hate it.  I used to love it when I was a teenager.  Now, with a baby, it sounds like a nightmare.  The crowds, not the deals!  In fact, I still love the deals.  I’m one of those people who like to find the best price before buying.  After all, I’m a teacher, so I need to be careful with my spending.

Planning ahead is the key to shopping smart during the holidays.

black friday deals kmart

Kmart has TWO early saving events that will help you avoid unnecessary spending this season.  Also, you can find some of the hottest brands and on-trend gifts at amazing door-buster prices this year to ultimately save more and get more.

These two early deals allow you to be flexible when and how you shop:

Kmart’s online pre-sale (Shop in your pjs? Yeah, this one’s for me!)

  • For a full five days, you can shop exclusive Black Friday doorbuster deals online
  • The online pre-sale begins at 12:00 p.m. on November 22nd and ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 23rd
  • EDIT TO ADD: Kmart has extended its pre-Black Friday online member pre-sale! Shop Your Way members can shop exclusive Black Friday doorbuster deals online a full five days early, now starting at 5 a.m. on Sat, Nov. 22 through11:59 p.m. on Nov. 23.

Some of the best deals include:

  • Save $200 on a RCA 50″ LED HDTV; sale price $399.99, reg. price $599.99, plus members get $50 back in points
  • Save $10 on the Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll; sale price $29.99, reg. price $39.99
  • 50% off 7.5′ Pre-Lit Sheffield Pine Tree; sale price $129.99, reg. price $259.99
  • $10 Jaclyn Smith and Route 66 women’s sweaters, and Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez and Bongo junior’s sweaters; reg. $19.99-$21.99
  • $100 off Slumber & Slide Loft Bed; sale $149.99, reg. $249.99

Kmart’s in-store Black Friday (If you prefer to do your shopping in person, you can get a head start in-store beginning at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day through midnight on Black Friday)

Holiday doorbusters include:

  • Save $50 on a Samsung Galaxy Tab4, 8GB, 7” Tablet; sale price $149.99, reg. price $199.99, plus members get $20 back in points (begins Thanksgiving morning at 6 a.m.)
  • $8.99 assorted board games; reg. price $16.99-$21.99 (begins Thanksgiving morning at 6 a.m.)
  • Buy one get one for $1 on all men’s, women’s and kid’s footwear (begins Thurs., Nov. 27 through Sat., Nov. 29)
  • $40 off a 32” RCA LED HDTV; sale price $179.99, reg. price $219.99, plus members get $40 back in points (begins Fri., Nov. 28 at 6 a.m.)
  • Up to 50% off Craftsman tools (begins Fri., Nov. 28 at 6 a.m.)

This little guy’s excited, how about you?

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Are you a Black Friday shopper?  How about Cyber Monday?

scenes from the weekend

Hello, week before Thanksgiving!  This is a full week for me followed by just a two-day work week which I’m pretty excited about!  A break is always nice, and Thanksgiving break is especially nice due to the length and family time that will happen.  I know I’m getting ahead of myself right now, so let’s back up and recap the weekend with this scenes from the weekend post.

We’ll start with this stud muffin:

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Rocking some Jimmy Neutron hair and the most gorgeous eyes ever.

We had lots of family time this weekend.

William loves being read to by Jackson:

jackson

Look how intent William is.

William loves to be silly with Jacob:

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Jacob  had William belly laughing so hard!

Audrey, per usual, taking care of William as her real baby:

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“He’s getting SO big!” she kept saying.

Oh, and random picture of me rocking a new headband a kind reader, Lindsay, sent me.  How do you “model” a headband without looking totally ridiculous?  This is my attempt:

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Lindsay runs an Etsy shop called Bang Bands by Linny.  She has tons of different patterns and is constantly getting more.  After I browsed her selection, I asked if she could do the pink flowers, as you can see, and then plain black on the other side since the headband can be reversible.  She takes custom orders with any of the patterns displayed in her Etsy shop and the headbands can be used for working out to keep the sweat out of your eyes or as a fashion statement (like me who is trying to cover up my roots that are in dire need of a touch up!).  Lindsay is offering all Itz Linz fans a discount of FREE SHIPPING until December 31, 2014 using the code itzlinz.  Her headbands are just $12, so it’s really a great deal!

William and I spent some time at my grandparents’ house on Saturday.  Look at the smile William has while sitting on his great-grandpa, Papa’s lap:

papa

SO happy!

William always loves being with his great-grandma, Mama, too:

mama

Love.  Mama and Papa have twelve great-grandchildren so far!

Last thing from scenes from the weekend: SNOW!  Yes, it snowed here in St. Louis over the weekend.  It feels early for the first snow of the winter, but it did look pretty despite my dislike for cold weather.  Jacob and Audrey had a blast playing in the small amount that we did get, and I took William outside for less than five minutes.  During that time, Stephanie took him on his first sled ride on a teeny tiny hill.

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Has it snowed yet where you live?

Linking up with Healthy Diva for Marvelous in my Monday and Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots! Both are fun link parties – be sure to check ‘em out!

Friday Five

Oh hello, Friday, I do love you so!  The end of the work week, the beginning of the weekend, Friday is a beautiful thing!  I’m linking up with Clare for Five Things Friday.

Let’s start with William cuteness since he always puts a smile on everyone’s face!

1.  William in the sink for a bath.

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Ok, Stephanie actually gave him this bath (and took the picture), but it still counts for cuteness!  William loves taking baths and playing with the water.  I haven’t put him the tub yet because the sink is working just fine for now.

2.  Exploring water is so much fun.

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William is interested in everything he sees whether it’s new toys, new people, or the faucet.  He’s definitely a curious little guy, and loves to explore.  He’s already got a love for learning – just like his momma!

3,  Portland Bee Balm

portland bee balm

Portland Bee Balm, an all-natural lip balm from a small business, sent me a few tubes to try, and I really like them.  I’m picky about what I put on my lips, and this stuff passes the test.  They have an unscented and an Oregon mint.  I prefer the mint because it gives my lips a little tingle, which I love.  A couple of other perks about the bee balm:

  • Natural ingredients. There are just four, carefully curated from regional, sustainable sources: certified organic extra virgin coconut and olive oil, Oregon beeswax, and Oregon organic peppermint oil (for peppermint balm only). Plus, they’re all made by hand!
  • Environmental responsibility. Portland Bee Balm started with a backyard bee hive. Today, all ingredients are from sustainable sources,and they build their own re-useable wooden displays with sustainable harvest Douglas fir.

The bee balm actually hydrates my lips instead of just leaving a film on them like other balms do.  And they’re just three bucks a tube which is totally reasonable.

4.  Playing with new toys and discovering new things.

playing

I just brought up this toy from the basement as it used to be my nephew, Jackson’s.  You know this kind of toy; you have to do something different to make the Sesame Street characters pop up: twist, push, slide, and turn.  This toy is great because it helps William learn about cause and effect.  (If I do this, then this will happen.)  He loves pushing them close and has figured out how to push the green button to make Elmo pop up.

5.  Three sleeping babes.

sleeping babes

Last night I babysat my nephew and niece, Jacob and Audrey for a couple hours.  I’m not going to lie, I feel pretty good when I’m able to handle all three at the same time and get them all to bed!  Five minutes after Jacob (the last one) went to sleep, I went in and snapped a photo with my flash on.  Risky move, but I wanted proof.  Haha.  It all worked, and they stayed asleep.  Score!  Major props to you mommas of multiple children!

Alright, enough from me, time to start this Friday and get on with the weekend!

What do you want to share today? Weekend plans?