Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm Thankful For...

Happy Thanksgiving!

It seems the month of November we are flooded with feelings of thankfulness. We all have so many reasons to be thankful in life. I am so blessed with the life I have been given and also made for myself so I thought I'd follow suit and join the many others around the web declaring what they're thankful for.
  • My laptop. Tim really outdid himself last Christmas and bought me a new laptop. An awesome, top of the line one. I seriously love it! It has made blogging and uploading pictures faster and more fun. Plus, it's my way to bring you these blog posts! Which takes me to my next item I'm thankful for.

  • My blog! I don't always post as much as I'd like, but it's fun to have this outlet. It's something that's mine; a place I can share my thoughts. It's really brought me more than I ever could have imagined.

  • My camera. I love my Canon T3i DSLR. Tim and I got it while on vacation in the southern Caribbean two years ago. It's my other baby. Because I have this great camera (and a blog, too) I have found myself taking FAR more pictures than I would have otherwise. Sometimes my family seems tired of all the pictures but someday they'll thank me for freezing all of our memories in time. Yes, at the time it may seem excessive or just a mundane day or activity, but all my photography allows us to remember all these specific snippets of the past.

  • My blog friends. Through my blog and attending BLEND and Healthy Living Summit this year, I have met so many great women. Some right here in Des Moines. I've met and become blends (blogger+friend) with so many fun people with great talent because of this hobby called blogging.

  • My girlfriends. I love my girlfriends. Love the time I spend with them and of course all the fun memories we share! Now to just always see each other more. :)

  • My car. Being a parent and working outside of my home I am extremely thankful I have a reliable car. It's not my dream car but it gets us where we need to go. :)

  • My job. I love my job. I love my office. And I love the organization I work for. I'm so thankful I am able to say that.

  • My health. "Your health is the biggest gift you can give yourself and your family." -The Biggest Loser. This is so true. I am thankful for my health and also my mindset of needing and wanting to be healthy. The first step is really wanting it. Health isn't handed to us. It does take a little work to be that way. 

  • My positivity. For the most part, I am pretty positive in life. Such there's times I slip up when stress peaks or sad times happen. But I think being positive in your everyday life is key to good mental health and happiness.

  • Memories with my grandparents. Three of my grandparents left us far too early. I'm thankful for the memories I do have with them though. Especially as we are in the thick of holiday season I think back to all the memories I have of our holiday gatherings at their houses. And I can't leave out my Grandma that lives in Kansas. I do not see her near as much as I'd like but I have some great memories from childhood while visiting her.

  • My brother, Josh. Josh and I didn't always get along. We fought like crazy when we were little and that little terror didn't hold back on me! He would get mad and go for blood. I remember one fight he threw the TV remote at my as hard as he could. Luckily it only hit my forearm and not my head! Anyway, as we got older and started driving to school together was the turn of our relationship. As we've gotten even older and into our own adult lives we haven't drifted apart, we just don't talk quite as much as I'd like (even though we text and talk on the phone at least once per week). I still secretly hope he moves back to Des Moines someday. I loved having him in the same city as me.

  • My parents. I'm thankful to be close to my parents. I'm thankful we have a great relationship to be able to pick up the phone and chat or text at all hours of the day. I'm thankful we have a relationship we can share our opinions no matter how far they differ (they may disagree with me on being thankful for this point. ;)  I know sometimes I can drive my opinions and philosophies to a point of nagging. Hey, I just care and am passionate about these things and their health). I'm thankful both of my parents are still on this Earth and if I have anything to say about it, they will both be here for many, many years to come.

  • The relationship between Kaydin and my parents. She is the love of their lives and they are hers. I am soooo grateful I'd always had them in my life to support me through the trying times when I was pregnant with her and then when I was a seriously poor single young mom. I've come a really long way since then and I have them to partially thank for me getting there. They have always done anything they could to help her and I and because of that their bond is so, so strong. They never give up a chance to spend even a few hours with her. As Kaydin gets older she will grow to learn how lucky she is to have the relationship she does with my parents. 

  • Kaydin. Oh, Kaydin Baby. I could go on for hours about this smart, beautiful amazing little girl. She is the light of my life and couldn't be more blessed to say she is mine, that I made her! :)

  • My boyfriend, Tim. The other light of my life! My mom said it best on her thankful post about Tim on her Facebook page.
Today on the 6th day of my thankfulness journey....I need to brag about the wonderful man in Mollie and Kaydin's life.....Tim is a blessed addition to our family....couldn't ask for a better daddy for my Kaydin baby....(although we do debate about who spoils her more)...Timmy came along at the perfect time ...hes been a tower of strength during those times when Mollie needed it most.....and a comfort to us knowing he is there for Mollie and Kaydin with us so far away...hes the love of Mollie's life.

**Don't forget to enter my favorite things giveaway**

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there! I hope you have an awesome weekend with your family!

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Favorite Things {and my 1st giveaway!}

**This giveaway is now closed!**
Congrats to winners Sarah and Shaunna!

I've been writing this blog for awhile now and have still never done a giveaway. I've passed a few milestones, yearly anniversaries, milestones posting stats, etc., and I've just never gotten around to doing one!

That's about to change, though! And for my first one, I thought I'd do one that's totally personalized to my tastes and my life! I'm going to put together two packages of some of my favorite things!  Oprah style, if you will!

Ok, here we go!

(All items in this post will be part of the giveaway!)

Better Home and Gardens magazine
I have loved this magazine as long as I can remember. And it's one I read most consistently.

Uber bars
Just recently found these and love pretty much every flavor. The cherry is bomb!

Clif Granola Bars
My all-time favorite granola bar! Clif Crunch white chocolate macadamia nut

KIND bars
If I had endless amounts of money, I would most definitely have an endless supply of KIND bars. They offer so many flavors and all are so good!

Lipsyl Beeswax Lip Balm
I may be addicted to chapstick. I have to have some with me at all times. I have multiple tubes in my purse, coat pockets, office desk drawer, even my bedside table. I can't even remember how I stumbled across this chapstick but it's my all-time favorite. I think it may have been my mom that introduced me. It's both of our favorite! Good stuff!

Covergirl mascara*
I'm not a big make-up person. My mom put foundation on me for senior prom and I had to wash it all off. Couldn't stand it. Luckily, my complexion is ok enough that I don't feel I need a face caked with make-up. Mascara is my one daily make-up product, though. I have used this particular  mascara for years! Just love it! Creates long, thick lashes without clumping.

Revlon gel eyeliner*
I found this eye liner last fall and have been using only it ever since. It goes on smooth and easier than other pencils but much easier than trying to wrangle liquid. Plus it stays put all day long.

Luna protein bars
I'm really not much of a protein bar eater. I've found a couple I do enjoy, though. Luna protein bars are at the top of the list.

Annie's Organic Bunnies
One of my favorite little snacks/treats. An easy lunchbox item and a nice after dinner sweet treat for myself!

Necklace from Forever 21
This store is dangerous! I could go here every other week and leave with an armful of new necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and hair accessories. I limit myself to once or twice every few months, though.

$10 Trader Joe's gift card
My go-to store to get most of the items on my weekly shopping list.

*The mascara will be in one package, eye liner in another.

Sorry to all the males reading. This giveaway is more chick oriented. But hey, I'm female. My favorite things lean more toward the feminine side. ;) But go ahead and enter anyway. I'm sure your wife, girlfriend, sister, mother, etc., would love to be gifted this fun little package!

To Enter:
1. Leave a comment on this blogpost. Tell me how you found me. :)
2. Like Sprinkles of Life on Facebook. (Leave a separate comment telling me you did.)
3. Follow me on Instagram. (Leave a separate comment telling me you did.)

Giveaway will close two weeks from today, Monday, December 9th. I'll pick two winners

This giveaway was solely sponsored by me, myself, and I! :)

What are some of your favorite things?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Sunday!

Hello! and happy Sunday!

Usually Sundays are full of getting ready for the week ahead and accomplishing the last few things I wanted to achieve on the weekend. This Sunday was different, though (well besides finalizing a couple blog posts and doing the dishes). Kaydin and I are still in pajamas and didn't even leave the house once. We've been playing games, lounging, watching multiple episodes of House, a Veggie Tales movie, and some crafting.

I should be gearing up for this busy holiday week. But only two work days for this girl and a (mostly) final Thanksgiving meal plan and all grocery shopping complete,means I needed a day of nothing.

Plus, I was pretty much out of commission all week. Last weekend I hurt my back/hips somehow and was really slow moving all week. Visits to the chiropractor and my walking improved but moved to lots and lots of pain and numbness down my right leg. My piriformis muscle was irritated and swollen and that led to pinching my sciatic nerve. I've had the pain a lot of the past but nothing like this. And in every position- laying down, standing up, walking, sitting. It was a rough week! Getting better, though, and ready for the holiday week ahead!

We had Tim's side of the family's Thanksgiving gathering yesterday. One holiday meal down and looking forward to another later this week!

Weekly Meal Plan

Stuffed acorn squash
Whatever I can find in the fridge
Thanksgiving dinner
Thanksgiving leftovers :)

Do you have your Thanksgiving grocery shopping done yet?

PS- make sure to come back tomorrow! I have a fun post planned! :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

A movie, a baby, and a bagel

A quick check-in tonight!

This weekend Kaydin and I watched The Pursuit of Happiness. She really got the story line. She was touched and sad and clued in to the real world. She didn't understand why a child had no home and no toys. A new light was shed on her and opened up her giving spirit. She really is interested in doing some volunteering and I couldn't be happier. I think she realized just how lucky of a girl she is.

File:Poster-pursuithappyness.jpg (source)

We also had the pleasure of babysitting Baby Charlotte while mom and dad watched the Cyclones take down Michigan. It was so fun watching Kaydin interact with her and take care of her. She even got in her first diaper change!

Have you tried the cranberry apple bagel from Bruegger's Bagels yet? It not, hurry and get it! It's a seasonal flavor and won't stick around forever but it is so.good! Definitely worth it!

Last week I got together with some fellow local Des Moines area bloggers. It was fun to meet some new faces and see familiar ones, too! Definitely need to start a new tradition of getting together more often! Who's in? :)

And also, a quick observation- Doesn't it seem like everyone is busting out Christmas stuff extra early this year?!? I'm one of those that does not like to skip ahead and Christmas decor, foods, music doesn't come out until the day after Thanksgiving. I'm not sure what's up this year but Christmas seems it be creepin in even earlier than normal.

Weekly Meal Plan

Hickory Park from Baby Charlotte's mommy and daddy (Thanks!!)
Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup (from Trader Joe's) with sauteed shaved brussel sprouts
Falafel Pitas with Kalamata Olive Hummus (both from Trader Joe's)
Breakfast for dinner

How was everyone's weekend?

Have you already decorated for Christmas?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekend Highlights

This weekend Kaydin participated in her first gymnastics meet!

Chow's held a recreational meet today and Kaydin was excited to participate. She brought home a medal and four blue ribbons.

All the kids showed off their skills they've been learning in class on beam, vault, floor, and bars.

Plus, she got a chocolate medal! She was prety pumped about that! :)

Other highlights from the weekend:

Yummy breakfast from Hy-Vee

Pizza night from Gusto Pizza Co.

File:White House Down Theatrical Poster.jpg (source)

Watched  a great movie, White House Down. Soo good! One of the best I've seen in awhile! If you haven't seen it yet, rent it soon!

Went to a movie with Kaydin Baby on Saturday afternoon, Free Birds. I think I was just as excited as she was to see it.

This weekend we also had a few other firsts and fun events. I'll fill you in on that later, though.

Weekly Meal Plan

Chicken Quinoa Soup (didn't make this last week)
Seitan gyros
Mediterranean Turkey Burgers (recipe from Wild Harvest. If I nail the recipe, I'll be sure to share it!)

Tonight I made Iowa Girl Eats Crockpot Thai Chicken with Coconut Rice. This is a definite winner. And so easy! You should make it!

How did you fill your weekend?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Halloween 2013

Another fun and successful Halloween in the books! I had a little witch on my hands this year!

She was pretty indecisive this year and couldn't make up her mind about what her costume would be. The witch idea is the one that finally stuck!

My creation is obviously the one on the right; Tim and Kaydin's is on the left. They carved a vampire pumpkin this year, complete with red glitter paint, aka blood, on its teeth.

We hit up Night Eyes this year, only actually at night this time! Even more fun than in the daylight! Night Eyes is an annual trick-or-treat event held at the zoo in Des Moines.

Our annual pumpkin sugar cookies of course made their appearance again this year. 

Kaydin doesn't seem to be the cutthroat Trick-or-Treater like Josh and I were. We ran from house to house from the minute trick-or-treating started to the minute it ended, it seemed. Kaydin is the one walking from house to house, the shy girl in the back waiting her turn and letting everyone else go first, and the one choosing only one piece of candy even when the home owner gives permission to take two. So proud ;) lol

She was content just being out for about 45 minutes and then stated she was done and ready to go home. Perfect timing, too, because right after we quit for the night it started sprinkling rain.

Just because she was out for a short time doesn't mean she didn't come up with a few signature jokes as she does every year. This year her jokes included:

Q-How do you become a witch?
A- You drink the witch potion.

Q- How do you walk?
A- You use Frankenstein's brain.

Q- Why did the ghost cross the road?
A- To say BOO!

As in year's past, her jokes are definitely her own creation! ha!

We also squeezed in watching my favorite Halloween movie this season, Hocus Pocus.

Of course, it's not Halloween without the pumpkin shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's!

 For Halloween this is how Little Miss styled her hair. I think she was going for the Medusa look. ha!

We had a potluck in our office on Halloween. The eyes were my contribution. Just marinated mozzarella balls and green and black olives to make the iris and pupils. (Found on Pinterest) Another co-worker brought these chocolate mousse mice! They looked so life-like! A definite hit! 

I brought a little mouse home to Kaydin and she gobbled it right up!

Read here and here to see how we celebrated in previous years.

What did you dress up as this year?