September 17, 2014

Keeping Things Spicy

I'm so encouraged by the response to our first ever Mamas Tell All Linkup. It's important to us that this linkup serves as a way for moms to build a community of encouragement where we can all be open and talk about the real struggles and joys of mommyhood.

We're onto week two of the linkup and of course we want you to be a part of the fun! Make sure to follow the hosts and put the button in your post and on your sidebar! Then read some of the other posts and leave some comment love...you may learn a thing or two, and you'll definitely meet some fun new mamas!

This week were discussing how to keep your marriage alive after children.

Hosts

Everyday Thoughts The So-Called Homemaker That Southern Mama
Brittany from Everyday Thoughts // Christine from So Called Homemaker // Ashley from That Southern Mama
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We've all heard it before, "kids change everything" and no truer words were spoken. But change isn't always bad. What can be bad is not addressing the need for change. After children you and your spouse NEED to change how you function as a couple. Sure that applies to the day-to-day duties that keep a household functioning but it's so much more than that.

How you communicate has to change. For example, there have been times when I've found myself wanting to confront my husband about something and instead of just freely speaking my mind I'm cognizant of when my son is in the room. Even though he's only a little guy he doesn't need to be in the room when mommy and daddy discuss adult things.


How you manage your day has to change. It becomes a carefully orchestrated dance of pick ups and play times. Coordinating how dinner will get on the table and when the laundry will be folded. You try to save some semblance of pre-pregnancy normalcy. For us it was the nights when we cooked together but that's nearly impossible when you have a little one that doesn't understand that stoves are hot. The movie marathon weekends which now consist of Sesame Street, Cars and Finding Nemo. Or the quick trips to the grab grub which now require a diaper bag, a bottle, a change of clothes and loads of patience. 

How are you supposed to keep your marriage alive when suddenly most of your thoughts are commandeered by your little one and your energy level is at an all-time low?

I think the key is finding a balance in your life. Coming to terms with the fact that no mom is perfect, no household is perfect and no marriage is perfect, communicate with your spouse and finally be willing to change. Put date nights on the calendar. Commit to them and embrace them. Have dinners at the kitchen table and actually slow down and talk about your day. And if it's not at the kitchen table then make sure you really make an extra effort to talk and listen to your spouse. 

Keeping things in your marriage interesting after marriage takes time and effort. It takes trial and error and similar to taking children out to dinner, it takes lots of patience. Come to an understanding with your spouse that it's a work in progress. 

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Motherhood is a work in progress and it's important that we discuss the highs and the lows. Join us for future Mamas Tell All Linkups. Here are the upcoming topics:

September 24 - Kids and Eating - How to Get Around a Picky Eater.
October 1 - Choosing the Size of Your Family. How did you decide how many children is right for your family and why?  
October 8 - The Crappiest & Happiest of Motherhood.
October 15 - Making Motherhood Work - Are you a working mom, a stay at home mom or something else entirely, and how do you make that role work for your family? 
October 22 - Never Would I Ever, Until I Did - What things did you swear you'd never do as a mom and why (no pacis, no TV, etc.)? 
October 29 - Making time for Mama - How do you find time to relax and treat yourself? 
November 5 - Planning for the Future - Do you have a living will, guardianship and college saving funds in place. What's necessary and how do you make sure your child is prepared for the future? 
November 12 - Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle when you have children. 

September 16, 2014

Running 101: The Essentials

For the better part of my life I've been a runner in some regard. I was hardly a runner in the traditional sense. I wasn't on the track or cross country team but I played soccer until I was in my 20's. My particular position is oftentimes referred to as the, "one that runs a lot." I've dabbled in 5k's both before and after having a baby and I've never been one to shy away from the treadmill.

Lately, however, I'm finding a lot of joy during my runs and my pace, distance and frequency is slowly climbing. Just this past weekend I put in a five mile run for a personal best distance (post baby). When I mentioned I wasn't a runner in the traditional sense what I really meant to say was - there's no way in hell you'd ever find me out running five miles unless someone was chasing me or I was on the field chasing a ball. I can't explain the sudden change but I'm starting to look forward to my afternoon runs when it's just me and the pavement (although in fairness most of the time it's me, the pavement and my son whom I push in his stroller).

With my new affinity toward running I've found several things that have made my runs more enjoyable. I'm a big believer that the right gear can work wonders and even with something as simple as running, it's no different.

Here are my running essentials:

Running Essentials




Running Shoes - There's no secret here, if you are going to put miles on your shoes you need to make sure that they are up for the challenge. If you do nothing else, invest in a good pair of running shoes. Head to your local running store and get fitted. Let them talk to you about your arches and your pronation and your stride. Small, specialty shops do it best so make sure you carve out 30-60 minutes of your day and have a candid conversation about how many miles you're running and where you track those miles (i.e. trail runs, sideways and other pavement, grass only).





Sports Bra - Ladies, just because you're working out doesn't mean it's time to ignore the obvious. We need to strap those suckers in so they don't knock us out while we run. I'm a lady with some assets - if you catch my drift - and for the past 10+ years I roll with two sports bras. I never wear an underwire when I work out and I'm a big fan of dry fit sport bras if they're available. I've tried several different options for support over the years and I've found that the tired and true traditional sports bra really does the trick.



Running Shorts 
- I never paid much attention to what shorts I wore while running. I have a healthy collection of soccer shorts which I've accumulated over the years and it seemed like the obvious transition that those shorts would work great for running. But why take up a new hobby if you can't get a new outfit? So one day I tried a pair of running shorts. They're shorter, sometimes with small slits on the sides and oftentimes they're a lighter weight. Wow! I was shocked at the difference in my stride when I wasn't trying to pick a wedgie every 50 steps. On occasion I'll still run in my old soccer shorts but I'm telling you there's nothing quite like a good pair of running shorts and most of the time you can snatch a pair for a fairly reasonable price.

Socks - Much like with shoes, I've noticed a huge difference in my performance after investing in some running socks. It's hard to believe that socks can have a big effect on a run but I hardly ever struggle with blisters anymore and I truly believe that they help aid in the blood circulation in my feet. Personally, I prefer Balega socks but I've heard great things about Feetures.


Wanna go the Extra Mile? Grab a...

Dry Fit Top - I love a cotton shirt. I sleep in them almost every night but when I'm running I hate them. They get sweaty and sticky and the air just gets caught trying to make it's way around you creating a parachute effect. If you have the guts and the abs to run in just a sports bra good for you - you will continue to be my motivation. I on the other hand will be wearing a dry fit shirt in some bright color so that motorist can easily see me.

Running Water Bottle - Hydration is the key to success for every sport. You have to treat your body well if you want it to perform and a balanced diet, rest and WATER are absolute essentials. Running water bottles allow you to strap on the hydration, whether it's a belt or a handheld there are awesome accessories.

Tracking Device - If you're getting serious about running you need a way to measure your distance and your pace. There are great GPS, watch-like devices, FitBits or even phone apps. I rock the phone app so that I can simultaneously listen to my music.


Be Blessed,
Brittany
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September 12, 2014

Git Fit Giveaway

I am very excited to announce that I'm participating in an awesome giveway with So Called Homemaker. She is celebrating the one year workout anniversary. For the past year she has committed to herself to workout 5 times a week - no EXCUSES and she did it! Now she and her friend (like me), want to offer you everything you need to help you reach your personal fitness goals. You could win a FitBix Flex, a PiYo base kit, and an ab roller! These are all some really great fitness essentials that will help you slim down and get fit!

 

You can click on any blogger's picture above and it will take you straight to their blog! Neat, huh?

Now for the giveaway details: Open to US participants only! Sorry international readers, but we still love you! Entries will be verified before winner is notified, so don't cheat! Winner will be notified by email after the giveaway closes, and will have 48 hours to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen, and so on and so forth. With that said, start entering! Good luck to all of you!

Little Momma Love Love the Here and Now Meg in Training Ruffled Paper Sarah Christine Style Sew My Soul To Travel and Beyond The So-Called Homemaker Life With a Side of Coffee How to Make a Life The Happy Type Everyday Thoughts Butcher's Niche Becoming Adorrable The Ashley Maria Blog Image Map a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 11, 2014

God Was There - Remembering 9/11

This day inevitably brings with it a flood of memories. Where you were, who you were with, and what you felt when you heard about the towers falling. Did you cry? Did you pray? Did you gather your loved ones? Did you spend time in a silent personal space? Were you afraid?

I recently heard someone say that we're the historians of our generation, responsible for passing along our stories to our children. In generations pasted they bestowed their stories of unforgettable moments in history like Kennedy's death, walking on the moon and Pearl Harbor. One chapter we're responsible for recording is the painful story of 9/11. So, here's my story 13 years later.

I was sitting in my second period Theology class. It was Junior year, I had no real cares. I was only paying just enough attention to get an A in class but I was really focused on soccer after school or my high school boyfriend sitting two rows away. The soccer season was in full swing, I was a starter and junior year was the year I'd make an impression on college scouts. I can tell you what I was dressed in because I wore a uniform and dressed in the same thing every day. My gray jumper with some sort of pastel colored oxford button-down shirt and knee socks to hide my shinguard farmer's tan. 

On a day unlike any other, the principal suddenly interrupted our regular class, promoting all teachers to turn on the TVs in each individual classroom. He explained that a plane had flown into the first of the two towers. At this point we had no clue that we were under attack. We sat innocently praying and watched as the second plane struck building two. Words were not adequate and as the day unfolded. We watched intently as news of the other two planes became known, no one could comprehend the full scale of what was happening but there was clearly panic and fear in the eyes of every high schooler as they packed their bags and returned home early to be with their families.

I went to a Catholic high school. We prayed before the school day started and we prayed before each class began. That day we prayed until we put our heads down to sleep. I'm sure many of us looked to God and questioned him. We prayed to God for safety. We were angry at God for the loss. We were grateful to God for the heroic men and women who gave of themselves so selflessly. But God was there, even in such a tumultuous time.

Original Photo Cred
That day the lives of every American citizen were effected, some much more so than others. We take this day to remember how it felt, what happened and how we reacted. But it's more important to remember that faith persevered and that God was and is by our side through it all. 

Today we remember the heroes. Today we remember the fallen.  Today we remember God. 

God Bless the USA,
Brittany
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September 10, 2014

The Perfect Mama

After all the waiting and all the excitement, it's finally here: the Mamas Tell All link up has officially started! We are so excited to be doing this with all of you, and we can't wait to get to know each and every one of you. We decided to start the link up off with a topic that will kind of encompass everything we're going to talk about: The Perfect Mama. This week we want to hear what's your idea of the perfect mama? Don't forget to follow our hosts, and put the button in your post and on your sidebar! Then read some of the other posts...you may learn a thing or two, and you'll definitely meet some fun new mamas!

Hosts

Everyday Thoughts The So-Called Homemaker That Southern Mama
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It's silly to think that any of us can all fit into a box, with all the right things that make us the perfect anything, let alone the perfect mama. Perfection is a fallacy - it simply does not exist. And if it did exist everyone's definition would vary (which will be made obvious by this very linkup).


I think it's more important to define what success as a mother means to you. Each mother will define that differently and hence each family unit will function differently. After you've sat down and define what a successful mother is you need to work hard to make that vision a reality and feel satisfied at the end of every day that you are doing everything within your power, strength and abilities to make that happen for you and your children.


My definition of a successful mother is one that puts her faith first and then the safety and well-being of her family and children above all else. It's a never-ending job, a selfless endeavor. Like all of life's greatest things it's not easy but it sure does have it's beautiful and rewarding moments. A successful mother is present in the lives of her children, is dedicated to her husband and is faithful to her Maker.

I'm not perfect, frankly I'm not even hitting my personal level of success that I just laid out for you - but I'm trying. I work everyday at becoming better. And really aren't the perfect moms those who know that aren't perfect and still give it their best every single day?

Please join us this week and every week hereafter for the Mamas Tell All Linkup. Here are the upcoming topics:

September 17 - How to Keep Your Marriage Alive After Children.
September 24 - Kids and Eating - How to Get Around a Picky Eater.
October 1 - Choosing the Size of Your Family. How did you decide how many children is right for your family and why?  
October 8 - The Crappiest & Happiest of Motherhood.
October 15 - Making Motherhood Work - Are you a working mom, a stay at home mom or something else entirely, and how do you make that role work for your family? 
October 22 - Never Would I Ever, Until I Did - What things did you swear you'd never do as a mom and why (no pacis, no TV, etc.)? 
October 29 - Making time for Mama - How do you find time to relax and treat yourself? 
November 5 - Planning for the Future - Do you have a living will, guardianship and college saving funds in place. What's necessary and how do you make sure your child is prepared for the future? 
November 12 - Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle when you have children. 

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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September 8, 2014

Pepperoni Calzone

Now that Fall is almost here I'm on the hunt for delicious recipes that I can make indoors. As much as I love when my husband grills, colder weather oftentimes forces me to use the oven again. So now I am dusting off the cobwebs and trying something new. 

My husband LOVES pizza and if it was possible he'd eat it every night of the week (and for breakfast). So I wanted to take a different spin on pizza - calzone. I'm a big fan of calzone because they can be customized for each individual's taste and they can be wrapped up and reheated later. I made two different varieties, Pepperoni Calzone and Pepperoni and Mushroom Calzone. 


Ingredients:
Pizza Dough 
1 Egg
3 Cups Mozzarella Cheese
8 oz Ricotta Cheese 
4 oz. Pepperoni
1/3 Cup + 2 TBS Olive Oil 
Pizza Sauce 
Optional: 1/3 Cup Mushrooms - Chopped

Preparation Instructions:

Make the pizza dough according to your recipe's instructions. Store-bought dough works great but I love Pioneer Women's recipe if you have enough time to let the dough rise. Also, you can make it ahead and freeze or refrigerate it for later. 

Once your dough is ready to go, roll it into a large ball and sprinkle the top with flour and place it on a floored surface. Separate the dough into 8 equal-sized balls. I break the dough in half first and then use my hand to divid the dough into four equal sections before dividing it. Roll each of the 8 sections into 6-inch discs. 




Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl mix the mozzarella and ricotta cheese and the egg. 




Cut each the pepperoni into quarters and then mix it into the cheese and egg mixture. 




I made two different versions because I love mushrooms. So I divided the mixture into two bowls and added about 1/3 cup of chopped mushrooms to one of them.



Now add the filling to the center of each disc of dough. You'll add about 2-3 tablespoons to each individual calzone.



Fold the dough in half so that it looks like a half circle.


Roll the edges of the dough up to essentially lock in all the filling. Then take a fork and press down around the sides to seal it in while it cooks.


Place four calzones on a greased baking sheet or pizza stone. Brush each with olive oil and bake for 14 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.


After baking:


I like to wrap each calzone in foil so that they stay hot and are easy to put away to eat later. I use a Sharpe to signify the filling so that everyone gets the flavor they prefer.


Serve with pizza sauce.


Enjoy!


If you're interested in trying some of my other recipes, you can check them out here. I hope you enjoy them all. 

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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