Friday, May 30, 2014

Sweeten Recipes with Sweet'N Low

Summer is just around the corner and with that comes a lot of gatherings with large amounts of cool drinks! We all want to look our best, but often fall to the temptations of scrumptious offerings at the continuous stream of barbecues, picnics and reunions that are common throughout the summer months.

A really unique story began around the Second World War at a family-owned cafĂ© that served the servicemen and women working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. After a series of events, it was in that place in 1957 that America’s favorite little pink packet was born. Sweet’N Low is still owned by the same family after three generations and it continues to employ members of the local community where its roots started. Check out its cool story at SweetNLow.com/brand.

Speaking of family, Sweet’N Low has been a staple in my house for as long as I can remember. I use it because my mother was a sole believer in the sweetener, especially since her mother used it too. She used to tell me as I watched her pour packets into recipes that it’s the perfect ingredient to make all the family’s recipes ‘skinny’ without the guilt.

So, when my family was getting together about a month ago for a barbecue, I knew I had to keep the tradition alive within my family’s recipes. I’ve spent quite a bit of time browsing Sweet’N Low’s website looking for a new twist that will hopefully leave my Sweet’N Low recipe mark in the family later on down the road!

This is the Sweet’N Low drink recipe my family won’t stop talking about after the reunion.

Light and Sassy Party Punch Recipe



Ingredients

·         16 packets Sweet’N Low® zero calorie sweetener
·         1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
·         1 can (6 ounce) unsweetened pineapple juice
·         1 can (8 ounce) pineapple tidbits in 100% juice,    
          undrained
·         2 tablespoons lemon juice
·         1 quart unsweetened cranberry juice, chilled
·         Ice
·         1 liter club soda, chilled
·         8 fresh strawberries

Directions

1. Mix cranberry and lemon juices, pineapple and pineapple juice, sliced        strawberries and Sweet'N Low in 3 quart 
 nonmetal pitcher.
2. Stir in club soda and serve over ice.
3. Garnish each serving with fresh strawberry.

Check out these other skinny recipes on SweetNLow.com  and see how easily you can cut out calories, without sacrificing the sweetness you love!
SweetN Low can be found in numerous retailers nationwide, as well as in your local coffee shops and restaurants.
This post is sponsored by Sweet’N Low but all of the opinions are my own. “Sweet’N Low®”, “©2014 Cumberland Packing Corp. All Rights Reserved.”
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Friday, May 23, 2014

The King of Country Music

George Strait. No matter what kind of music you prefer, you'd be hard pressed not to know that name. He's a legend and without a doubt the King of Country music. He's also finishing up his very last tour ever - The Cowboy Rides Away Tour

I can remember as a kid listening to George non stop when I was with my Grandma; that was her man y'all. She'd tell me that all the time and I'd argue her to the floor. I was going to marry Mr. Strait one day, I was sure of it. When I went to college at Southwest Texas State (Texas State University - San Marcos) I learned that George Strait was also a student there back in the day. I thought was the coolest thing ever. Plus, I was hanging out at the bars that he used to play in - how freaking cool?! Hey, I thought it was cool. 


So, this is his last tour, but luckily he plans to still record new music (Praise the music Gods above!) and even luckier - we're headed to Baton Rouge right now to see one of his last shows. I'm ecstatic. I bought these darn tickets last year! We've been waiting patiently and finally the time has come.

So, to celebrate, Chris and I decided we'd share with y'all our top 10 favorite George Strait songs, in no particular order. If you are a fan of his music, you'll understand how excruciating it was to narrow down his hits to a top ten list! I've linked them all up for your listening pleasure! Enjoy y'all! 

Lacey's List:


Chris' List:


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Thursday, May 22, 2014

#DecideToDrive {Alert and Without Distractions}


We're all guilty of it in some way. It's easy to do and sometimes it can happen without even realizing it. Unfortunately it has become the norm or at least it seems that way. Driving distracted. I think we're all guilty of it at some point. Talking on the phone, texting, flipping through the radio stations, eating, putting on make up, screaming at unruly kids (I do not do that, not one bit).

There are so many different things that can easily distract us while driving and it only takes a split second for a distraction to cause a crash. I'm guilty of driving distracted. I have two small kids that are in the vehicle with me 99% of the time and I do my best to limit distractions. I don't text unless my car is at a complete stop and sometimes I feel like even that is a bad idea. I'd by lying if I said I never get honked at when the light turns green and I'm still sitting there! My car is equipped with a blue tooth system so when I get in I always connect my phone. If I get a call while driving I can easily answer it by pushing a button on the steering wheel and I can talk through the speakers in my car. It's a feature that I love and use frequently.

I've noticed an increasing trend: it is typical to pass other drivers on the road and see them looking down at or talking on their phones, applying make up while driving (this one still baffles me!), or eating all while driving. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and The Auto Alliance (and myself!) want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving. 

Check out this wreck-less checklist:



According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the nearly 33,000 roadway fatalities in 2012, there were 3,328 fatalities and approximately 421,000 injuries in distracted driving-related crashes. I carry my most precious cargo with me almost all of the time and I do my best to protect them at every turn. However, I cannot control the actions of other drivers on the road. Distracted driving puts the lives of innocent people at risk as well as your own. 


Remember, the most advanced safety feature of any vehicle is the driver. The AAOS and the Auto Alliance urges all drivers to keep their most sophisticated safety features engaged at all times: eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

What do you do to limit distractions while driving?
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5 Beauty Must Haves from Stila

This is not a sponsored post; I just really love these products.



I've always been a drug store make up kind of gal; I typically just find something that works for my needs and I run with it. I've never been one to look for the next best thing on the make up aisle (except for when it comes to mascara!) and I never spend a good bit of money on the products that I buy. 

Until recently...

I needed new foundation and one that had great coverage without making my face look like a piece of cake. So I ran into my nearest Ulta to try and find something new. One of the associates at the store offered to help me and she did way more than help me find a new foundation. She showed me all of the above products and let me test them out and I fell in love!

The first thing I tried was the glowing reviews gentle skin renewal scrub and it is amazing! It's an exfoliating scrub that removes all of the dead skin and leaves your face looking bright, fresh and oh so smooth. After exfoliating I used the one step correct and I was really surprised; this little corrector is like a little miracle worker. When I don't feel like putting on a full face of makeup I just apply some of this and my face looks so even and nice. 

Now on to what I actually went into the store for..the foundation! The Stila All Day Foundation & Concealer is exactly what it says it is. The foundation is like a thick liquid and it takes just a small amount to cover your face. It's also a build-able foundation so the more you use the more coverage you can achieve. The finished look is so natural; it's seriously the best foundation I've ever used. It stays all day long without reapplication. My favorite feature is that there is a built in concealer in the lid. It's so handy! I use the one step complexion brush to apply my foundation and concealer; it's really great for blending and makes it so easy. Another budget friendly brush set that I love are those made by eco tools.

Last but not least I really love the Stila custom color blush in coral. I am pretty picky about the blush colors I use and this one just happened to be perfect in my opinion! There are lots of colors to choose from though. 

My makeup routine is still super simple and quick but the result I get now is way beyond what I've gotten from other products. 

What is your favorite beauty product?

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Maleficent Activity Sheets! {Printables}

One of the movies on my "must see" list this summer is Disney's Maleficent!


“Maleficent,” the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty,” reveals the events that hardened Maleficent’s heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora, only to later realize that the child may hold the key to peace in the land.


It's likely that you've seen the trailer for this one but just in case you haven't, here it is:



Today I wanted to share some fun activity sheets with you that go along with the movie! There are mazes, puzzles, and coloring sheets. Just follow this link to print them out and enjoy! 
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What Mom Really Wants This Mother's Day

So, Mother's Day is only a few days away (go tell your guys so you can watch them panic!) and everyone is wondering what to get for their Mama. There are lots of gift guides floating around in "Blog Land" and they are fantastic! There really are a lot of great ideas out there and trust me I have a "lust list" of items that I'd love to get for Mother's Day myself. However, I have a list of things that I'd really like for Mother's Day; stuff that won't break or get worn out, doesn't cost a lot, and will put a real smile on my face. I'm here to tell y'all what Mom really wants for Mother's Day!



Mom wants to sleep in! Give Mom a break this Sunday and let her catch some extra ZZZZ's. Even if she is like me and typically can't sleep past sunrise set her up with a nice book, movie, whatever and let her relax in bed for an extra hour. 

Mom wants to eat! After working hard at sleeping in all morning Mom is going to wake up hungry; Feed her! You can make breakfast yourself or pick something up - as long as it is something she favors - she'll be happy. Promise. 

Mom wants to poop! ALONE! Yea, y'all, I went there. Mom had a big breakfast, her tummy hurts, give her some privacy! Dads - keep the kids out of the bathroom and don't let them scream at the door for her either. She'll come out less bloated and relaxed. Win-Win for everyone!

Mom wants y'all to shut the h*ll up! For the love of all things Holy, can you please just control your urge to argue, bicker, fight, scream, call each other names, etc., etc., for like, 5 MINUTES? That'd be cool if you could. (This one is directed to all of you lovely children!)

Mom wants to enjoy her family! Really y'all, all Mom wants is to enjoy her family. Whatever this means to you and yours, that's what you should do. Maybe you gift a fresh bouquet of flowers and go on a picnic in the park. Maybe it's a nice dinner out or to a movie. All Mom wants is to have a peaceful day where everyone is super extra nice to her. 

Moms, am I right?!

What are you doing for your Mom this Mother's Day?

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Monday, May 5, 2014

An Evaluation


My little guy has an appointment on Tuesday with our school district to have his speech evaluated. James is 4 and to me he speaks just fine. However, several family members and friends have urged us 
to have him tested. So tested he will be.

I'd say 98% of the time, Chris and I understand James completely. However, sometimes he mumbles, talks too fast or too quietly. Sometimes he gets confused and forgets what word he is trying to say. As parents, we don't want to think that anything is wrong with our son. We can understand him just fine and we constantly work with him to speak louder, clearer, and without mumbling. We decided to move forward with the evaluation anyway. 

If it is found that his speech needs improvement he will enter into a weekly program for the remainder of the year and then next year he will be eligible to attend Pre K. This makes me very happy. Our boy needs interaction with other kiddos and it would do him some good to not be stuck up my skirt all the time. He is definitely a momma's boy. 

All in all, we of course want what is best for him. I'm a little nervous about his evaluation and just worried about my boy in general. 

If you've been through this with your kiddo I would love your input! 

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Selfie Sunday

A few days ago I decided to clean out Addison's Leap Pad; She plays with it a lot, recording videos and taking pictures. The Leap Pad has all these cool features where you can decorate your pictures with accessories or just color on them. Addison is kind of obsessed with doing that.

One thing I didn't know is that Addison has apparently mastered the selfie! As I was looking through the photos I extracted from her leap pad, I couldn't help but giggle. This little girl likes taking pictures of herself, a lot!


There were so many random photos of her on her leap pad; I just loved these where she is making funny faces. Addison and I are known for taking pictures with funny faces. This girl is a beautiful mess!


My girl is on the verge of making a duck face; don't worry I'm going to have a talk with her about that! She looks so grown up in that picture and I don't like it one bit. Also, I'm not sure what is up with the picture of her eyes closed tight but I thought it was cute.

I'm cool with her having fun taking self portraits on her leap pad but I'm thankful she doesn't have access to the internet! I'm definitely not ready for that!

Do your kiddos like to take selfies too? 
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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo with A Fresh Salsa!

No, I'm not talking dancing, although you could definitely get your salsa on while munching on this delicious dip. Since Cinco De Mayo is just around the corner, I thought now might be the perfect time to pull my Fresh & Famous: Easy Homemade Salsa recipe from the archives for those of you who haven't seen it before. I whipped up a batch just last weekend when we had guests over for dinner and let me tell you, it did not last long! With just a few ingredients and hardly no time at all, this easy to make salsa will surely be a hit at your fiesta!


Click here to read the original post and to view the full recipe. Enjoy! 
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Friday, May 2, 2014

Tips for Managing Stress

The amount of stress in my house this week has been completely through the roof; I've been hiding out (not blogging) because I can't seem to focus on anything. Chris and I have been faced with some hard decisions as parents and trying to navigate our way through it all has been hard. Actually, hard is a complete understatement. Through it all, we have been and will continue to be by each others side - and without him, I'm pretty sure this week would have devastated me. We've managed to help each other reduce our stress a little bit at a time, day after day. 

I'm not one who typically gets overly stressed out, but after this week I've learned some new coping skills and I thought that it might be beneficial for some of you if I shared them. 




Stay Connected

In stressful times it is important to stay connected to those who are close to you. Reach out to your partner or family and friends. Seek advice from a trusted source or just chat with a close friend. Sometimes it helps to just have someone who will listen. It's best to express your  feelings instead of bottling them up. 

Avoid the Stressor

If at all possible, avoid the source of your stress. If a person at work is causing you undue grief, stay away from them as much as possible. If it's a situation in your life that you have to face, do so head on but try not to dwell on it for long. Do what needs to be done and move on.

Stand Your Ground

Make your decisions and do not falter. You know what is best for you and those around you and although some decisions are hard to make you must do what is the most beneficial for yourself and/or family. Be assertive. 

Don't Try to Control Everything and Don't Worry Unnecessarily

Unfortunately there are times in life where you just can't control every  aspect of a situation. You shouldn't spend too much time analyzing, worrying, and trying to figure out every little detail. This is easier said than done but if you can focus on the here and now you will be better off. 

Take a Deep Breath and Relax

Take a hot shower, go for a walk, laugh, enjoy the company of others, write in your journal or sweat our your stress with a good work out. Do something that will relax you and center your focus elsewhere beyond whatever is stressing you out. 

Everything I've mentioned above we've put into play this last week. I've stayed connected with Chris, my mom, his mom, and other family and friends. They've listened, given affirmation that we're doing the right thing, supported, and given advice. Without them I would still be second guessing our decisions. I've avoided the situation as much as possible when I could and I've stood my ground and will continue to do so. I will not waiver in my decision. I am guilty of over analyzing and worrying about things that I have no control over. I'm trying to let go of that and focus on the things that I can control. Chris has really helped me to relax. Hot showers, coffee on the porch (our favorite), couch cuddles, and late night talks have helped to soothe our souls. 

Friends, if you are dealing with way too much stress I hope that these tips will help you. If you need a friend to talk to, I'm available. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate through this trying time. 
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