2015 | Being Jane

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

One Of Daniel's Biggest Achievements!


The third Sunday in January we have a tradition in our household. I bundle up the girls in their warmest gear, doll myself up a bit, load up the snacks and the stroller, and head out to Tempe, AZ to watch my husband cross the finish line. What finish line you ask? The one for the PF Chang's Half Marathon!


Every year since Emma was an infant, Daniel has trained throughout the cold winter months, and run his half marathon in the bitter early morning cold in Tempe. I usually don't make it out until the end, but I've learned how to calculate his run time and the course, and we always camp out right at the end of the road and scream our heads off! One of Daniel's main goals in life is to one at least one half marathon a year.


     

Now, Daniel's body is a broken, beaten-up mess from the military. Even so, he continues to do these half marathons. Every year a new piece of running gear is added to his ensemble to make the experience less and less painful for him. This last year he was covered in compression sleeves on his arms and legs and his hands with running gloves. One thing was missing, but the budget just wasn't there.


His fourth run is coming up here in just two months, and I really wanted him to have the full package this round. When I received his new knee brace from NewGenre, I made him immediately change and go out for a run around the block to test it out.


At first he was uncomfortable and frustrated with it, and then he realized that by tweaking the velcro closure straps, he was able to get a good, secure fit. After running around outside for a bit, and the girls joining in, he said that his left knee was aching and his right knee (the braced knee) felt strong and supported.

I feel so excited that he has the right gear to get him through his training, and eventually his big run! Now all I have to do is get him another one for that left knee ;)

I will be posting photos of his half marathon in January on my Instagram and Facebook so keep an eye out!



* I received this product for free in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. All opinions and this post, are my own.*

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Only Chili Dip You'll Ever Want To Make

I love chili. Like, a lot. So much so that I can eat an entire can of chili with chips and feel no remorse.
That being said, one of my favorite indulgences is my mom's chili dip. And you only need two ingredients! It's easy to make and comes together quickly.


All you need are the following things, and 10-15 minutes of your time.

- 1 can of chili (I love Dennison's!)
- 1 8-oz package of cream cheese
- a small pot
- a stirring spoon

(I added that last one to be bratty. It really is the easiest recipe!)

Dump the chili and cream cheese into the pot and heat on Low on the stove (Low-Medium is okay too, just watch carefully to avoid burning and over-cooking). Stir regularly to avoid the bottom of the dip burning, gentle bubbles and simmering is normal. Continue heating and stirring until the cream cheese is completely melted and blended with the chili. Once this is complete pour into a serving bowl and enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips!



I make this dip for every holiday, every game day, every party, and even just because I'm craving it.

Just try not to eat it all by yourself.

Friday, May 1, 2015

My Girls Pick Superheroes Over Dolls

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AvengersUnite #CollectiveBias 


My girls are typical little princesses who have their dolls, dresses, jewelry, and purses. It is normal, however, to see my three year old in a dress wearing her superhero accessories, or playing with her Marvel action figures! We have a healthy love, or maybe a healthy obsession, with all superheroes; but our real love is directed at the Avengers! In anticipation for the release of MARVEL's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, we took the girls to Walmart and let them pick out their favorite superhero accessories to dress up as! We threw in some affordable finds from the clothing section to complete their look!


Emma's favorite Avenger is Iron Man and she hasn't stopped wearing these pieces since we got home with them. Audrey was perfectly outfitted as Thor, and doesn't she look adorable? I am pretty sure she could take this getup down to Hollywood and be cast as baby-Thor in a heartbeat.


Long before we had kids Daniel and I were avid followers of the Marvel franchise, and have passed that love on to our kids. Daniel never turns down an opportunity to play with the girls, and he was more than excited to take on the role of Hulk and he was beaten (ahem, I mean he let her win) by Emma and she stood victoriously as the top Avenger in our living room!


Daniel and I are going to be seeing MARVEL's The Avengers: Age of Ultron this opening weekend. I mean, who can wait?? We can't wait until the girls are older and can have movie marathons with us. They will love seeing their favorite action heroes in real form! But until then, they get to run around ruling the universe that is The Redding-World!!

While you're shopping at Walmart for your new Avengers accessories, be sure to download the app Superheroes Assemble on in the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store! You'll be able to keep up to date with the latest movie and behind-the-scenes action. Plus, scan Avengers displays at Walmart and Walmart.com to become your favorite Avenger, explore a Hulkbuster training facility in a cool 360 degree interactive space and to bring Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron characters to life with augmented reality.
Scan in store signage from Kellogg's, Hasboro, Dr. Pepper or Marvel to reveal secret content! You can also scan the specially marked Avengers packaging of these brands to unlock even more secret content! Scan any 12 packs of Dr. Peppers Avengers or scan the in-store signage to unlock a digital comic book. This exciting comic book is brought to you by Dr. Pepper



We also grabbed some super-snacks from Walmart that matched our superhero abilities. Avengers need snacks too! The girls were tickled to see their favorite characters on the packaging, and kept asking us which symbol was on each Cheez-It that went into their mouths. I'd say it was a very Marvel-ous day!



Will you be seeing MARVEL's The Avengers: Age of Ultron? Do you have girls who love superheroes too? I'd love to hear about your child's favorite Avenger!



Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Secret Indulgence



Why are Oreos so good? Sometimes, when I know they are in my pantry, I dream about them. I can just be innocently watching TV, or getting something done around the house, and they call to me. As we speak I am laying in bed eating Oreos because I had trouble falling asleep due to the fact that I knew they were sitting in my kitchen.

Is that normal? Ah who cares, am I right? I'm happy, fulfilled, and a hardworking wife and mother who deserves to secretly indulge in her Double Stuff Oreos. I can't even consider tearing back that cellophane wrapper during daylight hours. If I do, a chorus of "I want one!" and "Me! Me!" are heard from any part of my house. Audrey has super sonic ears when it comes to wrappers and treats. Her first guess is "Bar?? Me??".... If not, she defaults to "Coo-kah?!" (cookie). 

I've learned to hide my treats and that leads to me engorging after bedtime while I catch up on my "mommy" shows.

What is your vice? Do you have a treat you hide that is just for you? Are you as crazy as me when it comes to Oreos?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Ode To Coffee




I lift the warm, white cup to my lips and inhale. I take a slow sip and let the dark liquid flow into my body. As I feel it course through my system, I begin to feel alive. Sips turn into gulps as my desperation for normalcy consumes me. As I reach the end of this invigorating journey I feel calm.

The dust of my eyes has been wiped away, and the weight on my shoulders has become lighter. I refill my cup and fully awaken, shaking off last night's slumber.

It may be six a.m. and it may be dark out, but I can face this morning, my dark elixir in hand. As my child continues her endless questions, my words grow clearer, my smile brighter. In the stillness of the morning, it's just the three of us. Me, my child, and my cup. The tunes on the television are the soundtrack to my sips.

I stand in the quiet, dark kitchen looking out at the scene before me, my fingers warmed by the heat of my cup. I see her hair creating a halo around her head due to the restless night before. Her her small frame perched on the edge of the couch, captivated by her Disney friends. And I sigh. It's a happy sigh. A contented one. 

No high is greater than this one. This organic happiness. 

This feeling can only be attributed to one thing.

My cup of coffee.




**all thoughts in this post are my true feelings, except the effects of coffee are extremely dramatized and do not in any way dictate my joy or ability to be a good mother ;)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cinderella Ballet Giveaway - Arizona!

Emma is Cinderella's number one fan. Anything Cinderella-themed and she becomes ecstatic. When I told her that we are going on a mommy-daughter date next month to see a ballet about Cinderella she started jumping up and down and said "Can we wear big dresses together like Cinderella?"... I said we most definitely could, and there might be some lip gloss involved!


The ballet will be performed by Ballet Etudes School of Dance.

"The classic tale of beautiful Cinderella, her clumsy step-sisters, a magical Fairy Godmother, and a handsome Prince comes to life in Ballet Etudes' fan-favorite production. With magical sets and costumes and original choreography set to Prokofiev’s breathtaking score, this production of Cinderella will leave you believing in magic."


Ballet Etudes was generous enough to offer my readers 4 tickets to the performance on April 25th at 7pm! This is a local giveaway, for Arizona residents (or if you plan taking a drive here you're welcome to enter!).

Enter through the giveaway form below! There is only one required entry, plus additional ways to earn more entries to win this fun night out! If you want to attend, regardless of the giveaway results, you can buy tickets on Ticketmaster for any of the three performances!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Cinderella ballet will be held at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Chandler, AZ. The giveaway is open to entrants ages 18 and older. This giveaway was sponsored by Ballet Etudes and Emma's opinion of Cinderella is all her own. Open to U.S. residents only, particularly those in Arizona. Winner will pick up their 4 tickets at Will Call the night of the show.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Stitch Fix Reveal

This post does contain affiliate links, however I am not obligated to write posts for Stitch Fix, nor did they ask me to. All of my opinions and love for the company are my own!

Hey friends! It's time for a Stitch Fix reveal! I always have so much fun perusing my friend's blogs and seeing what cute items they were sent that month. If you aren't familiar with Stitch Fix, it is an awesome concept where you have a personal stylist analyze your clothing and style likes, taste, and profile that you submit on the website, and they customize your monthly "Fix" of five items, which is sent directly to your door!  I always lean towards the everyday clothing choices, and customize my fixes that way, but if I know I have a hot date night coming up, or a business event, I can change each Fix based on my needs or the weather that month!

I took a silly little unboxing video, with the help of my eager little daughter Emma who wanted to inspect every item as I took it out, so enjoy this little preview and check out the outfit posts below!




As you can see by my face, I was not feeling so confident in this maxi dress. I sure loved it before I put it on, but my tummy and hips just aren't ready for a solid-colored soft maxi. Every line and lump was accentuated and so I put it in the bag to send back. Maybe next month!

I LOVED this reversible black and white skirt. You can turn it inside out and have a solid black alternative. I wasn't sold, as cute as it was, because the waistband was a tad too tight for my post-baby "bump", but I am going to remember how much I love this cut on myself.

       

This high-low teal top hooked me! It had a soft, sweater-like feel but was still light enough that I could wear it in warmer months here in Arizona.


I have never been a fan of color block tops, and I don't think the fact that it was sleeveless helped my shape, but it was a fun try! I do like the color combo though. Maybe they could sew some cap sleeves on for me?


This embroidered top made me feel so chic and I really loved the ability to dress it up or down, no matter what I was going to be doing!




All in all I think this month's box was pretty entertaining and definitely full of versatility and pizazz! If you want to try your first Fix just head over to their website and get started on the fun!

What do YOU think I kept?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Coach Purse + Wallet Giveaway!

I thought it would be fun to team up with Mom Powered Media and a handful of other bloggers to bring you a blogger sponsored giveaway! We want to thank you for being a lovely reader and follower by giving you the chance to win this giveaway! How much fun is it to get some new accessories to carry your goods around in? Not to mention Coach! And to all my new followers via this lovely giveaway, I am SO happy you're here and I can't wait to get to know you! Now...


.....for the giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive the Coach handbag and wallet shown in the image above!
Open to the US Only, ages 18+.
Only one entrant per household, per address.
Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
Giveaway ends March 25th, 11:59pm Eastern
Enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck!


Disclaimer: The participating bloggers have not been compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Mom Powered Media is responsible for the shipment of the prize of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media outlet. Contact Darci@mompoweredmedia.com if you have any additional questions or comments.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Daily Schedule for Toddlers and Preschoolers

As parents we are juggling the housework, kids, our spouse, and ourselves... not to mention the extra-curriculars, our online social media presence, and our friends and extended family. Many days slip by as we count down to bedtime when we can finally put the pedal to the metal and get some serious work done. We all know this can come at a price! So many days when I am on a roll, my girls get on each others nerves more and get bored faster! Our kids need interaction, structure, encouragement, and teaching throughout the day.

Obviously this doesn't mean that if we work on all of those things on our list that we are ignoring our kids, but without a daily plan in place we can forget to set aside time for one-on-one interaction and specific activities. That is where this daily schedule comes into play. It is just a guideline for all of us so that we remember to guide our children to different experiences during their days.

The schedule below is meant to be a printable! You can either print it at home and tape it up somewhere you'll see it, frame it even, or you can send it to your local FedEx Kinko's and have them laminate it like I did!

 photo our day printable.jpg




I would love it if you would take a second to do my one-question little survey below!




Friday, February 27, 2015

Being Parents is Expensive!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChangingPrepaid #CollectiveBias

The constant expenses surrounding parenthood (and life itself, who am I kidding!) is stressful and never gives us a breather. Between the constant doctor bills, snacks, specialty food and beverages, toys for their ever growing minds, clothes for their ever growing bodies, diapers, wipes, preschool... Did I forget anything? I probably did because there are so many things to think about!

Something that we have worked hard on is our ability to cut costs and bills wherever possible, sometimes going to the extreme. One area we have struggled to cut costs is our cell phone bill. It seems that each year the costs get higher, and the contracts leave no room for a bad month financially. We actually just moved to a house in a rural area about 30 minutes away from the metro Phoenix area to save a couple hundred dollars on rent each month.


Introducing T-Mobile's Simply Prepaid™ Plan! It is a concept that implements a month-to-month system with even better perks than years past! Prepaid often has slow data, a spotty network, and second rate phones. Don't settle for second-rate prepaid wireless...because with Simply Prepaid™ you get 4G LTE data on T-Mobile which is worth the switch in my opinion!

When I heard about this I couldn't help but jump at the chance to see how much I could save by switching carriers. I went to my local Walmart in our new town to pick up the Samsung Galaxy Avant and their $40 a month minute card. Can you believe that? Just $40 a month to have 4G LTE data with unlimited talk and text! I'm sold. Compared to other contract plans with T-Mobile Simply Prepaid™ I get unlimited talk, text, and data with my choice of a high-speed data amount (*with a max speed of 8Mbps) starting at $40/month. This prepaid system is on T-Mobile's Nationwide 4G LTE Network and there are no overages, credit check, or annual service contract required!


Don't they look expensive? At least they are cute! We couldn't resist a family photo in our new kitchen. The money I'm saving by switching my cell phone service to the Simply Prepaid™ plan is going to help me decorate all the areas of the house that I never had in an apartment! I'm talking bar stools, beside tables, new full-sized dining chairs... Hide the debit card honey, I'm going shopping!


The phone choices are fun and exciting! I was shocked to see I could get a Samsung Galaxy phone on a non-contract plan. The camera is great too which is important for me, because I take photos of the girls constantly!


I can't wait to update you on how much money we have saved long-term. Maybe Emma will be able to take those ballet classes after all? Maybe I'll send Daniel on that getaway trip for a breather? Or maybe I'll just store it away for a rainy day. Either way, I'm looking forward to the lighter load on our budget.


What are some ways that you save money and cut costs at home? I would love to hear about your ideas!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A $100 J.Crew Giveaway!



Anyone out there love J.Crew as much as I do? You do? Good.

Because me and the rest of Because of Jackie's sponsors are giving away a $100 gift card! Enter to win below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spicing Up Your Marriage After Kids

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YoursandMine #CollectiveBias


You know how it goes: you meet your husband in a whirlwind romance, you're spontaneous and silly, you make your own rules and schedules, and then it happens. You have kids.

Don't get me wrong, Daniel and I LOVE our girls and we are having so much fun with them in this stage of life. But having two little girls under three years old has severely affected our ability to be intimate. Add in the fact that we co-sleep with our babies, breastfeed them, and have them sharing a room right now, and that brings more disruption into the mix!


Life wasn't always this chaotic for us. Well, if you knew our story you might think we look for chaos and crazy! 

It all started on March 27, 2008.....

I had just moved to Arizona from San Diego, and started a new job at a popular restaurant near my sister's house where I lived on her couch. During a slow moment some of us congregated in the back and were chatting about things, when I heard this guy I worked with mention that he was from San Diego. My ears perked up and I asked him what area he had lived in, and over the course of a few minutes we found out that we had grown up just a few miles apart, and had mutual connections from back home! I found out his name was Daniel, and he had just moved to the valley a month before me.

A little later that evening Daniel asked me if I wanted to come over after work and watch a movie with him, his roommate, and his roommate's girlfriend. I eagerly said yes, but I tried play it cool so I didn't come across too excited.

We ended up watching one of my favorite musicals, and I couldn't have fallen in love faster because of that, except his entire apartment was decorated with classic movie stars, and black and silver accents, just like my room back home. Wouldn't you say it was fate?

The next day I found out that Daniel's roommate had been arrested and this happened the day before he needed to pay rent. I needed my own space, and so I offered to move in and pay the other half of the bill! Just two days later, only five days after our first "date" (can I call it that?) we found ourselves talking on the couch about our future dreams and desires. This led to us talking about our lives together and he said "did we just get engaged?" and I said "I think we did!"

A week later I came home from a long day out with a girl friend (who just happened to keep me out on purpose) to find Daniel on bended knee, and our friends and family gathered behind him in our living room. Obviously, I said yes, and we were married six months later on the beach in San Diego!


As you can see, we were used to exciting, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants, spontaneous decisions, and we lived our entire relationship that way. Our marriage was light, full of silly dates, and back-to-back movies at the theater. Then we had Emma, and two years later we had Audrey. What a blessing! As much fun as we have as a family of four, the changes didn't come without affecting our ability to be intimate.


We joke that we need to "hop to" right after bedtime hits for the kids, because if we wait too long we will inevitably be interrupted by a teething toddler or preschooler having a nightmare. Because of this we often don't even try. That isn't healthy and we notice! To keep our marriage alive and  connected, we need to stir up the passion regularly, and we honestly don't have time to take it slow. I've found KY® YOURS+MINE at our local Walmart, and I've noticed that by incorporating it into our "married time" that we can still make it fun and have that passion, and can experience that connection before our little ones wake up needing us!

In light of Valentine's Day, KY® YOURS+MINE has a date night edition that includes one free meal for two from PeachDish.com delivered to your door, and a $5 movie credit from VuDu! If you'd like to get one for you and yours, but want to be discreet, you can head over to the Walmart website and purchase it there! To find even more ways to spice up your marriage, visit K-Y.com!


Do you have any tips for making those intimate moments happen after kids? I'd love to hear them!



Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sisters and Big Families

I woke up in my sister's house in Livermore this morning. Emma slept in her cousin's bottom bunk bed... Audrey slept with me on the pullout couch bed... Daniel and my sister's husband stayed at our hotel room so they could actually have beds to sleep on and no little people to wake them in the morning! See, we all stayed up until 2am last night, the guys playing Sega Genesis games while we sisters chatted on the couch like old times....


They used to live an hour from us in Arizona, but they moved back to California in 2011 and now we take turns visiting each other every year. So far we keep making our trips during the start of each new year! It's turning into a fun tradition.

Being with my sister is such food for my soul. just today my (AZ) sister Tiffany and I started a Voxer conversation with our sister here so that we can all chat again like we did back in the good days of being in the same metro area. We have to work harder to talk now but we can't make it very long without talking! I'm pretty sure we all talk every day at some point which is so special to me.

You see, none of my siblings have the same mom and dad as I do. Have I mentioned this before? I have seven sisters and one brother. Six of them have the same dad as I do, and two of them have the same mom as I do. I have always considered myself the connector, because we have all blended together despite the "halves" and "steps". You know what though? None of us refer to each other way, and we all just appreciate the fact that we have each other. It's really a beautiful thing and I love each and every one of them! It's also special, for me, because I have siblings that range in age from 13 to 51. All walks of life. All different experiences. And all so amazing.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Did You Know?

Alright folks, it's time for another "get to know me" post! One can never share too much about themselves on their own blog, can they? HA! Kidding, of course. The real challenge is thinking of things that I haven't told you all before.

- I have never watched the Star Trek TV show.

- I have been pregnant three times, and have two children.

- I avoid conflict.

- Cherry slurpees give me a headache. As do skittles, and any sweet item with prominent food dyes.

- I cannot handle horror movies or intense criminal shows due to having nightmares about them later.

- I have moved 13 times, and I am about to add another one to that list next month!

- I am 26 years old.

- No matter how much I have tried to love it, I cannot drink red wine unless it is my only option! Then I say some wine is better than no wine at all!

- We used to own a dwarf hamster named Ledger, and two full-sized hamsters named Robo and Cop.

Now ask me something YOU want to know about me! I'll answer next week. We are off on an adventure tomorrow and I can't wait to overload a post with photos next week! I hope your new year is going beautifully!