Summer Sandal Fun

I'm seriously schizophrenic when it comes to the weather I like.  August rolls around and I'm complaining about the heat like a toddler.  'I don't wanna be hot anymore!' Cue whining and potential rolling around on the floor. (Let's be honest...I'm probably complaining about it in July).  Then comes winter and a couple mild days and I'm all, 'I'm so tired of the cold...where is summer?!' Yeah, it happens every year without fail.  This year, I think I was over winter in late January.  A new personal best for me ;)
(This is a pretty accurate description.)

Our 'spring' had a string of really mild days; some even in the low 70's.  Heck, throw in 50 degrees and people in Colorado are walking around in their shorts and flip flops.  When we get even a hint of warm weather returning, I'm dreaming of shorts and flip flops.  So now that summer is (un)officially here (and I'm already cursing the 15 day forecast of upper 90's), I figured a little roundup of some of my favorite sandals would be appropriate.



1) I saw these super sweet and unique sandals on a girl I Instagram stalk last summer.  (Don't judge...you know you do it too.)  I spent an unGodly amount of time trying to find these sandals online because I had no idea what brand they were; only that they had fringe.  So when I finally found them in my size, I realized that while this particular store carried them, you couldn't order them online and I'd have to go into the store to order them.  And that meant going to the mall.  I hate the mall.  Target, Old Navy...those are fine but the mall sucks.  I finally gathered up the cajones to drive to the mall and order these hadtohave sandals.  So after getting accosted by one of those smarmy makeup kiosk guys for my 'uneven skin and wrinkles' (yeah, definitely not buying your overpriced crap now dude), I got talked into buying some socks so I'd get the free shipping.  Big side eye there because I think I ended up paying $15 for 3 pairs of gym socks.  I was in a hurry to get out of there and avoid super flattering makeup guy.  Long side note but yes, I hate the mall but these sandals were worth it.  So lucky for you, Zappos now has these sandals in all kinds of sizes and now in 4 different colors!  They're really unique and different than a lot of sandals out there right now.  Your uneven skin and wrinkles thank me ;)

2) I have long been a lover and wearer of flip flops.  They're easy to put on in a hurry and usually help that fresh pedi to look cute.  I've been known to hold onto flip flops that are possibly 12 years old because they not only remind you of your raft guiding days but they've also been discontinued.  I even wore them today. That being said, it is possible to dress up your flip flop!  After seeing several bloggers rocking the insanely cute rubber Valentino bow flip flops, I went on a search to find something similar in a price point that wasn't heart attack inducing.  Call me crazy but I have an issue with spending $300 on a pair of flip flops.  $300 for glorified pool shoes.  They're super cute but just no. So, I bought this pair instead last summer and they're seriously freaking cute although I'd advise against wearing them around water because your feet will slip right out. But fashion can be dangerous at times ;)

3) Okay, so I may have gone on a rant above about paying $300 for a pair of flip flops but hear me out on these next shoes!  I'd had my eye on these little lovelies for awhile and finally pulled the trigger on the Tory Burch Miller sandals as a 'Happy Birthday to me' present.  I got the Dulce de Leche color and black and I have worn them both no less than a dozen times already.  They go with everything and while they may be 'basic', they definitely dress up an outfit. And they're on serious sale right now too!  There are tons of other colors too but I'm totally happy with these two and don't really see any need to get another color.

Now, off I go to slap a bandaid on my foot because I wore the 12 year old flip flops today and got jabbed with a stick because the soles are super thin now! ;)

Winter Tubing Fun at Copper Mountain

Winters here in Colorado can be kind of hit and miss.  Some months are milder than normal and then some are colder and snowier, thus making for some real nice levels of cabin fever and stir crazy attitudes ;)  We'd had a few heavy snowstorms recently followed by some pretty cold temps so it kind of made playing outside long enough to burn some energy off a little difficult.  We were all itching to get outside and do something but it was clear going to the neighborhood playground for 10 minutes before we froze to death was not going to cut it.  

The husband was going out of town for a few days and I thought it would be a perfect time to hang out with a good friend of mine and get the kiddos together.  Kiddos playing together = tired kiddos = happy moms :)  One of our local ski areas that I love (and was a former employer of mine) has a fantastic tubing hill, as well as something for the little ones.  So off we went to Copper Mountain!  

While Selah is tall enough for their big tubing hill, Harrison was not so we decided to take them all into Critterland.  Okay, I'll admit that I was bummed we wouldn't be visiting the real tubing hill but this ended up being pretty cool too.   For $10 for the entire day (yes, you read that right), the kids got to play in this 'playground'.

There's even a mini tubing hill.  Good thing I've been working out because walking up and down the hill at 9700 feet above sea level tests the ol' lungs out!

A tubing carousel is perfect for those kids that want to be pulled on the tube...and mom doesn't want to do it ;)

I was a little worried that Harry would not be a fan of being in the snow given his first attempt earlier this year (complete and utter meltdown.  I'm talking 'neighbors checking to make sure I wasn't stealing someone else's kid' type meltdown).  However, you can see he was loving it.

Still loving it.  Maybe not loving the fact that I made him wear a pair of his sister's old boots because I kept forgetting to order him his own pair.  Well, the kid hates shoes period so it was a given he wouldn't like the size too big, pink argyle boots I shoved on his feet.

Mountain girls. 

I'm not sure why the random sinkhole is in the snow but I do know I had to haul Harry out of it a good dozen times.
The day could not have been more beautiful weather wise.  That's the thing I love about (some) winter days in Colorado.  It was in the 30's up there but it was so warm that we were all shedding layers early on and no one was have a hypothermic meltdown.


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Seriously cannot recommend Copper Mountain enough, especially for families.  It's not as big as nearby and more well-known Breckenridge but it's top notch and still my fave all these years later.

Winter Health : Staying Healthy Naturally

Winter has arrived and that means that it is the start of the dreaded cold and flu season.  Yay.  (slow clapping).  Having a cold when you're an adult is one thing but having a cold when you have small children makes it that much worse because when mama is sick, it just plain sucks.  As much as I'd love to spend all day in bed with Friends, popsicles, and an endless supply of Kleenex with lotion, the little people require being looked after.  So, short of putting boxing gloves on your kids to keep them from touching a slimy grocery cart and then inserting said hand into their mouth or in my case earlier today, attempting to eat a very stale leftover peanut butter sandwich that was hiding out in the corner of our Target cart (dear Lord, I wish I was kidding on that), what can you do to try and keep the snotty nosed infestations to a minimum?  Getting some kind of sickness is inevitable but I feel you can lessen the severity and duration with some of these products.  

1) Last year (and by last year I mean 2014 because I'm still stuck in 2015), Selah came down with a bad cold.  They tend to come out of nowhere with her.  One minute, she's be-bopping around and the next, she's got this juicy cough and copious amounts of snot.  This cold came when I was about 8 months pregnant and I'd already spent the majority of the month before getting over some freaky virus so I was mildly freaking out about getting sick yet again.  I spent a couple nights sleeping in Selah's bed with her after she woke up crying in the middle of the night.  Which meant I was getting zero sleep.
(This is a pretty accurate depiction of how Selah sleeps.  Good luck sleeping in a bed with that.)

And I was also getting coughed and sneezed on directly from about 6 inches away.  Pretty hard to escape that one and holding my breath until I thought the germs had floated on by wasn't too successful.  Laugh all you want, I actually did this.  Multiple times.  Big shocker, this method didn't work and I started feeling that itchy, phlegmy feeling in the back of my throat a couple days later and I freaked.  I did not want to be sick again so the first thing I reached for was this apple cider vinegar


I'd done some reading on the benefits of drinking this stuff when you're sick and it's kind of hard to argue with the results.  You want the organic, raw, unfiltered and with the 'mother' kind; the gallon jug of store brand apple juice looking stuff is not going to do anything.  I started taking 2 tablespoons, 4 times a day and the cold never progressed into anything other than that itchy feeling in my throat.  Hard to imagine since I don't think I've ever escaped a cold.  I'll warn you, this stuff tastes as nasty as it looks.  You're drinking vinegar for crying out loud!  My body even involuntarily shudders when I'm even walking to the fridge but hey, I'll take one for the team if it means I won't get sick.  You technically don't have to refrigerate this after opening it but I think drinking it cold makes it a little better.  You can find this at any natural health store (Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods, Sprouts) and some grocery stores do carry it (King Soopers).

2) Okay, these are something we take every day no matter what.  Having a healthy gut and flora is key in staying healthy.  Your stomach has a lot of good bacteria so if you ever wonder why people get sick after taking antibiotics, it's usually because everything has been wiped out.  Everyone in the family is on some kind of probiotic daily, even Harrison.  You're not going to find a good quality probiotic on a random shelf in the middle of the pharmacy; they'll be in a refrigerator case in a natural health store or area.  Selah takes 2 of these every morning before her breakfast, Harrison gets 1/2 teaspoon of this one in his bottle every day, and I take 1 tablespoon (more if I'm fighting something) of this mamma jamma before breakfast as well.  I like the berry flavor best.  This bottle runs around $13 and lasts me at least a month. 


Here's an interesting tidbit from the Inner Eco website: 'Did you know.... the human gut contains around 100 trillion bacteria which is 10 times the number of cells in the human body? Ideally, for optimum health, we want to maximize the growth of the 'good' (health-promoting) bacteria while minimizing the growth of the 'bad' (health-harming) bacteria. inner-ēco™'s Fresh Coconut Water Probiotic is lab tested to average over 100 billion active probiotic cultures per serving* which essentially overwhelm our disease-promoting bacteria thereby forcing them from our body. This life "force" process impacts virtually every aspect of our wellness and promotes the optimum health we so desire.' Sign me up!

3) These 3 supplements are also good at boosting the immune system.
  • Elderberries are great at helping your immune system and also reducing the longevity and severity of a cold when you have it.  I take these capsules daily and then take this syrup when I'm fighting something.
  • Vitamin D is something that a lot of people are lacking these days because somewhere along the way, getting sun was considered a bad thing.  Stay indoors! Slather yourself in 5000 spf sunscreen!  Yes, getting bad burns and skin cancer are a bad thing (I've been there with both, thankyou) but your body needs to get vitamin D for many reasons!  Trust me, it's hard to get good sun exposure when it's 20 degrees and windy outside.  I seriously hate the wind.  It doesn't bother Selah too much but I will make up any excuse I can think of to keep her from dragging me outside on a windy day.
  • There are really only natural things you can do to boost your immune system and Cod Liver oil is one great way to do that.  The Carlson brand has two great options I like: one for Selah and one for moi.
 4) Over the past couple years, I've become a huge fan of essential oils.  If something can be treated naturally in our house, then that's what we're going to do.  Don't get me wrong, there's definitely a time and place for modern medicine and certain medications.  Having been hospitalized for asthma attacks in the past, I'm definitely thankful for just such medications.  That being said, I know that natural things have definitely helped us out of some illnesses.  The world of essential oils can be kind of daunting because it seems like everyone and their brother has a specific favorite brand.  Some brands that we tend to use are Aura Cacia, Mountain Rose Herbs and Young Living.  For the sake of this post, I'll be showing Young Living examples.
  • Thieves oil is kind of the be all, end all of oils.  Inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals to protect themselves while robbing the dead and dying.  Young Living has a ton of Thieves products: the oil itself, cleaning products, toothpaste, etc.  I like to diffuse Thieves throughout the house, particularly after going to the grocery store or some other germ infested public place, because diffused Thieves has been shown to kill up to 99% of airborne bacteria.  Um,  sold!
  • Our society has become one of over medicating for the littlest thing.  Again, don't think I'm saying don't take a prescribed medication that could keep your heart beating or lungs clear because I definitely am not but we've got a bunch of doctors over prescribing, and patients asking for, antibiotics for illnesses that don't need antibiotics.  This is how you end up with drug resistant infections that mutate and don't get me started on taking antibiotics for a cold!  So if you feel that suspicious, tell-tale scratchy throat of a cold coming on, what are you supposed to do other than cry and wait for it to hit you?  Oregano oil my friends!  When you're surrounded by grimy surface touching, hand-in-mouth inserting little people, they're bound to get sick and more than likely, bring you down with them.  Not the kind of sharing I was hoping to teach them ;) Oregano oil is a powerful antibiotic and antiviral.  If you want to watch a pretty compelling video on the effect of oregano oil versus traditional antibiotics, check this one out.  Spoiler alert...it killed all of the E.Coli bacteria while the antibiotic only killed traces around the swabbed area.  
  • So whenever I feel a little something coming on, or one of the kiddos are coming down with something, I bust out the oregano.  Now, giving the correct the dosage and application of this particular oil is important because oregano is considered a 'hot' oil.  If it's applied directly to skin without diluting first, it's gonna burn like fire and your skin will turn red.  God forbid you grab this stuff and slather it all over your face thinking you've grabbed the Frankincense instead.  Let's just say it doesn't end well.  So, don't do what I did.  Seriously...it's freaking awful.  Okay, dosing!  What I do for myself and the hubby is different than the kids.  For the kids, I have a bottle of 1:2 ratio - 1 part oregano oil to 2 parts diluting oil (I use sweet almond oil) in a roller bottle and run some on the bottom of their feet and up their spine once an hour.  For us adults, I put 3 drops of oregano oil in an empty capsule and swallow with a TON of water.  There's nothing worse than getting one of these bad boys stuck in your throat and having it dissolve there.  Remember me saying oregano oil is considered hot?  Yeah, it burns and tastes super nasty.  And this is important to note: you should not take oregano oil when you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
5) And last but not least, honey.  Not the bear shaped jar I'm sure you're envisioning right now.  No, I'm talking about raw, unfiltered honey.  This type of honey hasn't been pasteurized (heated) and still contains all the wonderful goodness the bees put in there.  We get a honey that's made locally; local honey has even more added benefits, particularly when it comes to seasonal allergies.  When Selah had a particularly bad cough from a cold a couple years ago, the first thing her doctor suggested when I called was giving her a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered honey 3 times a day.  *Please do not give babies under 1 year of age honey due to the risk of botulism.  Raw honey is a great cough suppressant and unlike the over the counter 'cough medicines', you can't really overdose on honey. 
This may seem like a long list of things to take but I don't do it every day and even if I did, I'd much rather be filling my body with something natural than something with a long list of chemicals in it, most of which I couldn't pronounce.  Happy Winter and stay healthy peeps!


Recipe : Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

This shouldn't come as a surprise but we're big on football in this house.  Typically once football season rolls around, Sunday nights usually mean pizza for dinner but we had some friends over to watch the game recently and I decided we should do something a little different for food.  (So while I wrote all the ingredients and directions down on a piece of paper, I cannot for the life of me remember where I found the link.)  The husband pointed out the recipe for Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs looking mighty fine so that's what we did!







Can we discuss the amazingness that are slow cooker bags?  Discovered these things recently (yes, I'm slow to the game) and they're so awesome!  I'm no longer gagging while I clean the overnight soaked remnants out anymore.  Moving on!
Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs Recipe

Ingredients
  • Fresh mozzarella (I used a 'brick', for lack of a better term, that was about 7-8 inches long and that was definitely too much.  I had way more mozzarella than meat.
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 C Parmesan.  Use the shredded or flaked Parmesan, not the powdered canister kind...you know which kind I'm talkin' 'bout ;)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/2 C parsley
  • Jar of spaghetti sauce.  I used the homestyle marinara by Emeril.

Directions
  • Cut the mozzarella into roughly 1" cubes.
  • Put the remaining ingredients all into a large bowl.
  •  Combine with your hands.  Yes, it's kinda gross.  You could probably use a mixer to do this but I went the old fashioned 'by hand' route.
  • Form the meat mixture into about plum size meatballs.  Take a cube of mozzarella and sort of smoosh it into the middle of a meatball and bring the edges back over it so it still looks like a meatball.
  • Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of the crock pot and then add a layer of meatballs.  Keep doing this until you've used all your meatballs: sauce, meatballs, sauce, meatballs.  Et cetera ad nauseum.
  • Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2 - 2.5 hours.  
I ate mine plain but the husband cooked up a little spaghetti to go with his.  Either way, these things are tha bomb.  Enjoy!

Harrison : 12 Months



So this post has just been waiting for me to get my act together and add like one sentence so I can hit publish.  Poor Harry...at least I don't neglect the kid like I did the last couple monthly update posts!

Weight & Height: He had his 12 month check-up on his actual birthday.  Thankfully he's young enough that he won't remember Mom wasn't thinking clearly when she scheduled a doctor's visit and vaccines on his birthday.  I won't do that to you next year bud.  (Yes we vaccinate...it's an informed decision we came to as a family for OUR family).

He had a bad cold for about a week before his birthday and wasn't eating a lot due to his nose being so stuffy so his weight at his appointment was only 22.6 pounds putting him about the 66th percentile for weight but his height is at the 94th percentile, just like big sister.  We make tall, skinny kids :)

Health & Milestones: Poor Harry had a bad cold the week before his birthday that thankfully I was able to manage pretty well with natural remedies: steamy bathroom, humidifier, essential oils and natural vapor rub.

Still no signs of him wanting to walk.  He's taken a couple steps here and there but then again, Selah didn't walk until she was 13 months either.  

Sleep: Harry has been having some weird habits at night that were not only odd but were also waking me up.  After talking it through with his doctor at his 12 month appointment, I learned he has parasomnia which is a category of sleep disorders.  This can include nightmares, sleep walking, etc.  Both Selah and Dan have this so it's definitely genetic.  After going into his room a couple times thinking he was in distress, I learned that he's actually asleep and waking him up only upsets him.  So I'll be trying some essential oils on the little guy here soon and fingers crossed that they help!

Personality: He is such a sweet little guy.  We think he may be a little more laid back and quiet than Selah.  And he definitely loves to be held and likes it when you give him kisses.  If you ask him for a kiss, he'll jam his forehead into your mouth and keep doing it over and over.  I'll take it as long as he wants to give it!

Diet:  He is now getting 2 cups of milk a day (breakfast and bedtime) after doing a 50/50 mix of that and formula to wean him off the formula.  He tolerated the change well and is certainly a big eater of all things solid.  Harry will usually end up eating more than Selah at each mealtime as well.  I love this stage where they'll eat pretty much whatever you'll give them!

Clothes: He's in mostly 18 month clothes with a few 18-24 month thrown in here and there, just depends on the brand.  As far as shoes go, I love the little fringed moccasins.  They're the best and pretty freaking cute too.

Likes: His food, your food, all food in general, big sister Selah, playing in the toy room, his blanket...can't sleep without it. 

Dislikes: Taking too long to get his meal ready.  You'd think the kid hadn't eaten in days by the way he carries on.  Also doesn't like being buckled into his car seat.  He's fine once he's in the seat; it's just the getting him secured part he hates.

Can't believe I've done a year of these updates!  It's fun to look back on these but also makes me a little sad.  Hard to believe my little man is getting so big.  Haven't decided if I should keep going with the monthly updates now that he's a year...we'll see ;)