School Lunch Box Ideas





Well Winter Break is over and the kids are back in school.  I sure didn't miss making lunches every day but I have to get back into the swing of things.  Does anyone else get in a slump and wonder what to pack?  It's hard since everything has to be kept cold and my daughter's preschool doesn't allow nut products so that takes difficulty through the roof!  I wanted to share some ideas with you in hopes that it takes the guess work out.  I also suggest making lunches the night before and have it all ready in the lunch pail in the fridge.

When packing lunches for my girls I try at least one protein and two sides.  Here is my full list of proteins and sides:

Protein
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Hard Boiled Egg
  • Tortilla Roll Up
  • Sandwich
  • Uncrustable
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Protein Muffin
  • Salami & Cheese
  • Hummus

Sides
  • Fruit
  • Dried Fruit
  • Carrots
  • Olives
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Crackers
  • Graham Crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit & Veggie Squeezie
  • Goldfish
  • String Cheese
  • Rice Cake
  • Granola Bar
  • Pretzels
  • Zucchini Muffin

Hard Boiled Egg, Salami, Cheese Stick, Dried Fruit & Nuts and Grapes.

Graham Crackers, Tortilla Roll-Up with Ham and Cheese, Grapes and Trail Mix with Cheese.

Cottage Cheese, Zucchini Muffins, Fruit and Hard Boiled Egg.

Uncrustable, Frui & Veggie Squeezie and Olives & Carrots.
Granola Bar, Hummus, Crackers and Hard Boiled Egg
Ham & Cheese Sandwich, Apples and Trail Mix with Cheese.

Greek Yogurt topped with Honey & Blueberries, Carrots and Hard Boiled Egg.



Top Tips for Staying Healthy this Winter


When Winter rolls around so do the germs!  Most of my life I have been plagued with a weak immune system and it only got worse once I had little ones to share all of their germs.  Over the past couple of years I have been on a quest to find ways to stay healthy and prevent the cold and flu.  I am a whole new person and can honestly say these few things have changed my life.  These are not things that I found on Pinterest and am sharing with you but things I've tried and honestly can say I'm much healthier than I used to be.  If there was a cold in a two mile radius I used to get it but now I rarely have a cold.  I'm not completely immune of course but sickness is few and far between and when I do get sick it doesn't kick my booty and take me out of commission like illnesses did in the past.

Give these things a try and let me know how they work for you.
1. Air Purifier
2. Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
3. Detox Bath
4. Gargling with Salt Water and/or Netty Pot
5. Lots of Water and Sleep

Our Blessed Christmas - 2017

I've already shared all of our magic during the Christmas season but I can't help but share all of the cuteness and love of a family captured in our pictures during Christmas.  The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is the true reason for the season and reflecting on that gift and the presence of loved ones can not compare to the presents.  We were extra blessed this Christmas with the presence of our Papa who has been in a group home for a couple of months.  He was able to come home to spend Christmas Eve with the family and watch the excitement of all the kids.  It's a Christmas I'm sure we will always cherish.  


Merry & Bright- Christmas Season 2017

The Christmas Season is such a magical time of year that is second to none.  The season was jam packed for us but full of fun, laughter, family, friends and a whole lot of Christmas spirit.  We celebrated Christmas with Kevin's dad, sisters and our families early in December at our home.  We enjoyed the day together eating lunch, opening gifts and playing silly games.


My mom and I have a tradition of sneaking away to the city in December for a girls trip.  We did a bit of damage shopping but spent most of our time eating our way through the city.  The highlights included the views from The Top of the Mark, the dinner at Nob Hill Cafe and again the lunch view at The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus.


One of our Christmas traditions is Pajama Polar Express night where we load up in the car with our pj's on, hot chocolate and popcorn while looking at Christmas lights and singing carols.  The dolls joined us this year:)

A Holiday Wish List to Improve Yourself


With gifts heaving on the brain I'm sharing a guest post today about gifts for self improvement from life coach Julie Morris.  These are some great ideas that might be perfect for the hard to buy for person on your list.

Want to improve yourself in 2018? Here’s your holiday wish list

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz at Unsplash

Next year is going to be your year. 2018 will be the year you get your act together. You’re going to get in shape, manage your finances, get a better job, learn to meditate, take a yoga class, travel more and start keeping a journal.

We hope you do all those things. We believe in you, and you should believe in you, too! When you’re crafting your holiday wish list, here are some things to add so that you can make 2018 the year that all your dreams come true.

A journal -- Sure, it’s a little cliche, but journaling is a very good meditative practice. It can challenge your mind, help you achieve your goals, help you become more emotionally intelligent and helps keep the focus on you. If nothing else, it helps you document your life. There are now so many different types of journals, you should do some research into the type you’d like.

Gift card for a class -- Is there a class you’ve always wanted to take? Art, yoga, self-defense, photography, money management? Whatever you’re considering, there’s probably a class for it. Figure out what kind of class you’d like to take and ask for it as a gift. Maybe it can be the start of a new hobby. Remember, having a hobby is a great way to let go of the stresses of daily life. It gives you something to look forward to while you’re suffering at work.

Money management 101 -- If you’re the type who likes to read, look into books on money management -- there’s no shortage of them. There are also online and phone apps that can help you budget your money and start working toward your financial goals. Having financial peace of mind is the greatest gift.

Gym membership -- When you’re trying to better your health, a gym membership can make all the difference. Having somewhere to go to work out can help you commit to your goals. If you already go to a gym, consider asking for some personal training sessions. A personal trainer can help you reach your goals while ensuring you use proper form and technique so that you don’t get injured. Plus, a trainer will encourage you and challenge you to do things you never thought you could.

Meal delivery service -- Meal kits are a great way to save time and stress -- you get all the ingredients prepared for you and delivered to your doorstep so that all you have to do is follow the instructions to make a fresh, gourmet meal. You get to choose which kits you want, so there’s no chance of receiving something you don’t like.

Coloring books -- If stress or anxiety is an issue, consider asking for a coloring book and pencils. Adult coloring books allow you to focus on one thing for a while, which helps your mind meditate. Coloring books have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and you don’t have to worry about not being able to draw. The options for coloring books are practically limitless, so start shopping around for best one for you.

Calorie counter -- There are plenty of great calorie and nutrition counting apps on the market to help you meet your goals, whether it’s for weight loss, weight gain or just eating healthier. Most of them have a free version, but paying for the pro version of the app will help motivate you to stick with it.

The goal of self-improvement is one we all share. But we’re counting on you to show us how it’s done. Whatever your goals are, never stop reaching for them. Let 2018 be your best year yet.



Ms. Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways. You may check out her website: juliemorris.org.



Stocking Stuffers Under $30



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Stocking Stuffers are usually my favorite of all the Christmas gifts.  I'm not sure why but there is just something so fun about digging through your stocking and seeing what surprises you will find.  The first set of items are for the ladies and I have a thing for hand soap.  I love new soaps and changing them for the seasons.  I am completely OBSESSED with Jo Malone and have been for years.  Their scents are to die for but my favorite thing about the line is how you can layer them.  So you use one scent for bathing, another lotion and another perfume.  Certain scents work well together; may I suggest Wood Sage & Sea Salt, Tuberose Angelica and Peony and Blush Suede.  You can thank me later.  For a stocking stuffer I recommend the bath oil which is just heavenly.  For your makeup beauty I love this set from MAC of Prep, Prime + Fix, and Scents.  These facial sprays feel fabulous and give your look an added glow.  Lastly, for the ladies a pom pom beanie is sure to make anyone smile.

For your little ones Hatchimals and Fingerlings are huge this season and I'm recommending these smaller versions for stocking stuffers.  We love Rudolph around here and his plush girlfriend Clarice is just going to be perfect for my little girls.

Is it just me or are men the hardest to buy for?!?!  Here are some ideas that I hope will help you.  A can cooler is the perfect stocking stuffer.  These attachments keep your can cool because who likes a hot drink anyway?!?!  My husband loves his card clip wallet because it's not as bulky as a wallet but a money clip just isn't enough for him.  This is the best of both worlds holding cash and a few cards.  As soon as my hubby gets home his boots come off and slippers go on; he lives in them at home.  So a new pair each year is in order.  These slippers make the perfect stocking stuffer for any man.  The Google Home Mini would be great for anyone of your list because it's like having a hands free assistant.  You can ask it questions, have it play music, set reminders, turn off lights and more.

You can see all my gift ideas under the Holiday Shopping tab up at the top of each page.  If there are any categories you'd like to see send me a quick note.  I hope to make your shopping easy, painless and stress free.  The holidays should be about family, friends and fellowship not freaking out over a to-do list.




Personalized Christmas Gifts from Shutterfly


Tis the season of giving.  It's such a special time of year with a different spirit in the air.  It's always fun to get a gift but I take an extra special joy in giving a gift from the heart.  For that reason I love giving personalized gifts that have extra meaning.  As much as I love picking out gifts I also am a very busy lady so one stop shopping is like the holy grail.  I've used Shutterfly for years for finding the perfect gifts for nearly everyone on my list.  I've rounded up some ideas to share with you to give you some inspiration and make your shopping that much easier.

For starters I make an Excel list of everyone I need to buy for.  As I come up with ideas I put it in their row and I bold the item once I've bought it.  This is how I keep track of all my gift buying and giving.  Once I have everything organized I start coming up with ideas.  Hopefully this list helps you with your shopping. 

Magnet- Stocking Stuffer
Desktop Plaque- Husband, Dad, Godfather
Desk Calendar- Mother, Grandmother, Godmother
Coasters- Stocking Stuffer
Puzzle- Grandmother
Travel Mug- Grandfather
Santa Plate- Kids, Niece/Nephew, Goddaughter/son
Necklace- Aunt, Sister, Sister in Law, Godmother, Friend