Luminous You: Skin Checkup!

If you remember my last Luminous You post, you will recall that I was giving some new (new to me) products a try!

I’ve been using most of these for about two weeks now and I am seeing a difference in my skin! I switched out my Benzoyl Peroxide face wash for the Obagi Gentle Cleanser, since doing this, I’ve actually noticed less breakouts and my skin isn’t dry and flaky anymore, it’s smooth!

I’m sure it’s helpful too since I’ve been using the HYLA, which is a hyaluronic acid, and this is supposed to help reduce the look of fine lines and give added moisture to your skin! The C-ESTA Face Serum is supposed to also help reduce line visibility and reduce uneven skin tones as well as help reduce redness. I also feel like the C-ESTA keeps my face from getting super shiny! The toner, which helps balance the PH levels of your skin, I use right after cleaning my face and it makes me feel extra clean and not dry at all!

I’ve been using sunscreen daily on my face and this is something I’ve been doing for years. I know this is working for me because during my BBL treatments I had very minimal sun damage. I was super proud of that! I want to make sure I’m protecting my skin always. (Remember to use sunscreen with a zinc oxide!)

When I met with Valery she was happy with the overall feel and look of my skin with my new skin care regime.

She showed me the before photos and the photos from six weeks after my first treatment and seeing the difference in my redness was incredible! The vessels are barely visible anymore. I only have a little bit of redness now, which is more noticeable when I get out of the shower or when I’m walking in the brisk MN weather!

Valery recommended that the BBL treatments are continued every three months for maintenance.

If you have any questions regarding any treatments that Luminous You offers, feel free to reach out to Valery.

*This post is sponsored but the opinions and views in this post are completely mine and 100% honest.

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What’s for dinner?!

Being in the kitchen makes me so happy. I love cooking and baking for my family. Sometimes breakfast is rushed, lunch is usually just the boys sitting together or grabbing bites while they run around and play, but dinner, dinner is when we all are sitting together and talk about our day.

Dinner might actually be my favorite part of the day. L usually starts us off by saying he didn’t take a bite of anything yet while he’s talking with his mouth full and then he says Grace, with one of the preschool prayers he’s learned this year. We take this time to talk about our day, our highs and lows, and maybe what some fun plans ahead might be.

Dinner is special to me. To all of us.

Here is what is planned for this week. It might not be the healthiest week I’ve ever planned, but a few of these were by request .

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Sunday: Tater Tot Casserole- this is my Grandma’s recipe that my husband and boys just love! I love that she’s shared so many yummy recipes with me!

Monday: Pizza Quesadillas- pick your own insides! Served with salad

Tuesday: Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo (using chickpea noodles)

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Greek Chicken (H and I LOVE olives!)

Thursday: Baked Ziti with spinach and spicy Italian sausage (or ground pork if I can’t find spicy without fennel…I HATE fennel!)

Friday: We are going to find ourselves a Fish Fry. If you have suggestions for a great fish fry in the Twin Cities let me know!

Saturday: Lazy Pierogies served with Chicken and salad. Lazy Pierogies are jumbo shells stuffed with mashed potatoes and onions and sprinkled with some cheese before baking 🙂

If you make any of the recipes in my dinner plans please share photos! I’d love to see!

Enjoy!

The Kitchen Sink

The kitchen is the spot where we all are found regularly. The kitchen connects the dining room and our playroom, there is always movement, there is always a bit of a mess. I might be in there cooking or baking, with or without help. The dogs can be found hanging around for something to fall or getting their own food and water. The boys are usually scheming ways to find snacks… after having snacks. They even teamwork in the fridge now and gather apples and cheese sticks. So basically what I am trying to say is that our kitchen RARELY sleeps…and this means our kitchen sink usually has something in it.

When we bought our house, we didn’t realize it didn’t have a dishwasher! Our sink is pretty and big and I love it….especially when it’s empty. (Honestly it’s rarely empty.) The sink could have dishes from dinner or just a single spoon from a peanut butter lollipop, but what I am learning is that this is really a blessing. A sink with something in it means there was food that was made and shared. Conversations happened over a meal or little giggles between brothers as they helped each other pour their own milk.

The sink is somewhere I can be found often. The boys also love to help wash dishes or wash their hot wheels. I hope that they are learning these skills now to take with them later in life when they have their own dishes to wash in their own homes.

From the sink, I can hear playing (or arguing) downstairs, I can hear the boys reading in the living room, I can also look at the window above the sink and see the squirrel tormenting the dogs in the backyard. (On that note I better get going…)

So, moral of this post: the sink might not be completely empty everyday, but it does mean my family is lucky, blessed, and loved.

What’s for dinner?!

Alrighty! Back for another edition of What’s for Dinner!!

Meal planning really just takes a lot of stress away with our weekly calendar filling up quickly! I like to know what I need to have on hand or know what I need to grab if I have to run out that day.

Sunday: Chicken/Turkey dinner with Heavenly Potatoes and asparagus (L really, really, really wants a wishbone)

Monday: Chicken Shawarma Bowls (cauliflower rice for us, brown rice for the boys)

Tuesday: Chicken Taco Soup (0 points if you follow WW) served with tortilla chips, cheese, and avocado

Wednesday: Lemon Chicken Scallopini with spinach served with rice and salad

Thursday: Steak with gravy served with either mashed potatoes or steak frites and green beans

Friday: Daddy Does Dinner/ Takeout for M&K after event

Saturday: Hamburgers with veggie tots and salad

Enjoy! If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Duck Duck Grey Duck

No, no, not the game…the bags! Have you heard about the Grey Duck Bag Company? If you haven’t you have got to check them out. https://greyduckbags.com/

I received three bags and a wrist strap: The Market Tote, The Adventurer, and The Minimalist. I am going to review each bag for you! First you should know though, these bags are WASHABLE, not just in a sink, but machine washable! The bags are made out of a super soft laminated cotton and they contain 0% lead, BPAs, or Phthalates. These Grey Duck bags are HANDMADE in Ely, Minnesota. One of my favorite things about this company is that a portion of every sale goes to the Ely Community Resource.  You can learn more about this here: http://elycommunityresource.org/

The Minimalist: This is a lifesaver for me. My wallet just doesn’t fit into my Coach wristlet and my wallet is always a mess then. I can easily fit my wallet, my keys, and some essentials (MAC lipsticks!) in my Minimalist. This will be a great asset to my summer pool/beach bag, I will be able to keep everything important zipped and in one place, and if the bag gets sandy or dirty I know that I can wash it and it will be good as new!

The Adventurer: THIS BAG IS EVERYTHING in my opinion. Right now, I have a few diapers and wipes in this bag. I can attach the wrist strap if I need to. I know I will use my Adventurer all the time. We are almost at the potty training point with H and I will add undies to this bag and I can also use this bag if I need to put in soiled clothing if we are out, BECAUSE the bag is washable!!! This bag will also be an essential in my summer bag, this is the perfect bag to keep all of our sunscreens in (yes, we have a few varieties!). 

The Market Tote: I know the first thing I always check in larger bags is the pocket situation. This bag has three deep inside pockets, on the Grey Duck website, it says you could even put a wine bottle in there, and I think I am going to have to try this out! Honestly, the pockets are great, and I know I won’t lose anything if the bag falls over, or is knocked over by  a toddler. There is also a pocket on the outside, which is a great place to put your keys and phone until you are able to get them into your Adventurer or Minimalist! I know this bag will have many uses for me, the bag with many hats, I have been needing a bag for the gym because I really don’t want to put my stinky gym sneaker back in my diaper bag after  workout, the Goldfish crackers don’t need that smell. This bag is a great fit for my shoes, a towel, a water bottle, and my sneakers. I know if I drop my bag in the slush and snow, I can wipe it down and then wash it once I get home!

I really need you to go to the Grey Duck Bag Company website and look at all of the patterns. These bags aren’t only great for moms but these would be a great addition to your child’s backpack, or uses in the car to hold toys, books, and crayons! These bags are a great teacher gift idea, or a gift for a friend or family member. The wrist strap can turn these into sweet wristlets for anyone to use! 

I know I love my bags and you will too. Even my children love my bags, and I don’t have to worry about a water bottle ruining them. Remember, these bags are handmade, and made with love. You can feel the love from Ely, MN when you are using your Grey Duck Bag.

Full Disclosure: I was sent these bags from The Grey Duck Bag Company. The review of the Grey Duck Bag Company is my honest opinion.

Wildkin Luggage

Traveling with children isn’t a walk in the park. Lucky for me, my boys have been traveling for a good part of their lives and are decent travelers. Since L was about 2, he was carrying something of his own when we traveled. It gave him great pride to have something that was his, that could be filled with his things. I think this was a start of instilling responsibility in him.

Now that H is almost two, and he will be 2 when we fly across the country next, he will also have to carry something of his own.

When I came across the Wildkin luggage, I knew it was perfect for our family.

I partnered up with Wildkin to share with you about their luggage for children, and oh my goodness it couldn’t be cuter!

We received two pieces of luggage, a rolling suitcase and a duffle bag.

The Roller Bag:

This bag is lightweight and the wheels roll nicely. Either child (4.5/2) would be able to successfully use this bag. We plan on using this as a carry-on. The bag also comes with a strap that you can attach to the back to carry as a one shoulder bag and there is a loop that you could use to connect to a larger bag.

The Roller Bag also has a water bottle holder and a front pocket. L is already planning on what snacks and books he can pack in there!

The Duffle Bag:

It is so cute seeing L holding the duffle bag! He fell in love with the bag instantly! The bag has a padded shoulder strap and a small front zip pocket. Perfect for a weekend getaway or toys, books, and snacks!

Both bags are wipeable and should only be cleaned with a cloth. Make sure to let them dry complete before closing them up!

Whether the boys are flying to Revvie and PopPop’s or driving down the street to Gert and Papa’s, these bags are perfect! The boys know that these bags will be used for special times and are excited to use them ASAP! I know these Wildkin bags will be with us for a while! Oh and did I mention how many fun patterns they have?! You have to check them out! Wildkin Luggage

Disclosure: I received these bags from Wildkin and this review is my honest opinion about the luggage. This post is sponsored by Wildkin.

Reasons for Remy and Zoey

I figure with the holiday season upon us I wanted to share about our rescue pups. My husband and I always knew we wanted to rescue a dog. I think dogs are amazing creatures and I’d take any of them but there was something about rescuing that really was important to us.

Zoey:

Our ZoeZoe just turned 9!

We knew we wanted a dog and talked about it often when we were in college. We moved to Ohio in 2009 and we decided to wait until after the holidays so we could maybe find a dog that we knew really needed a home. We found Zoey at a shelter in January 2010. She was with a few of her brothers. We found out that her mom was left on the side of the road pregnant with the puppies and was under extreme stress. Zoey was the runt of the bunch and they didn’t even think she was going to make it. When we met her we knew she was ours, little did we know at the time that the stress her mother had during pregnancy was passed to the puppies…We would later learn that Zoey is unable to shut off her stress. Zoey was put on Prozac after we worked with a behaviorist for a while. It seemed to help! Something changed when we moved to Minnesota, Zoey’s was almost like a different dog and we were able to wean her off of the medication.

Zoey loves to snuggle with the boys and is the Queen of being sneaky…she knows who to sit by during meals.

We noticed Zoey getting white whiskers and eye lashes. We know she’s getting older and we will continue to love her forever. She’s our first baby.

Remy:

December of 2015 I had my second miscarriage. I was numb. We were numb. I needed something, a distraction maybe? We discussed over Christmas that we needed to find a puppy. Were we crazy? Probably.

Again, we wanted to adopt a dog after the holiday season, since we have seen it time and again, people gift animals and then realize they don’t want them or take care of them after a few days.

We met Remy. He was dopey and looking for love. We found out that Remy already had 4 homes by the time he was 8 weeks old. He was homeless, taken to a shelter, adopted and returned after Christmas, and then put into a foster home. We were this little puppy’s 5th home. We figure that Remy’s need to be attached to my hip or constantly with someone might not just be the GSP in him, but also the fact that he was so lost for the first few weeks of his life.

L and Remy bonded immediately and then we needed to make sure Zoey would like him too…and she’s a tough one to impress if you know her. To our surprise, they clicked. Remy was the newest family member.

When H came along we were nervous to see how Remy would adjust since we knew Zoey would be fine…Remy and H seem to team up from time to time and get into trouble together. The dogs fit into our family perfectly.

So today, it’s 6 of us. Two adults, two children, and two dogs. It’s a little crazy at times (ok, most of the time) but we wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’d like to ask you to keep in mind all of the animals who are looking for their forever home and who are in rescues. You do you, but please don’t return your dog. They are family. If you need help, ask someone, a friend, a family member, or your vet.

The Question of Cutting Cable

This is something that we have gone back and forth on for a very long time. We pay for so much cable and we barely use it. We do our best to keep screen time for the boys to a minimum but there are days we have something on in the background. We try to be outside as often as possible (although it’s gotten so cold so fast here) and encourage play and learning when we are inside.

The TV tends to come on in the late afternoon when I try to get dinner started…sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I always enjoy winding down to something mindless or funny at the end of the day, but life gets crazy and I’m trying to read more! I’ve even joined a book club!

On top of the cable we also have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon (through Prime). And these companies have some great shows of their own, for both adults and children. We sometimes pay for extras, like Showtime, we love ending our Sunday nights with the Gallagher family when they are on.

I mean this list is excessive and we watch over the air channels and maybe three others. So we have decided that now is the time we CUT it, at least for now. We have narrowed our choices down to HuluLIVE or YouTube TV. Does anyone have any either of these? Pros/Cons? Let me know your opinion!!! These options will be significantly less expensive than cable. Now, if only we could find a way around the cable company’s cancellation fee!

Bachman’s

GUYS!!! I was invited to Bachman’s for a sneak peek event at Bachman’s Holiday Idea House! I was able to bring a plus one and I brought my mother in law since she has been telling me about Bachman’s since we moved here (for about 9 months now) that I had to go to this place and how amazing it is!

So the Holiday Idea House was incredible! I felt like I walked into my Aunt Karen’s house (she’s an incredible decorator!) and just made me so happy! I’m all about Thanksgiving, it’s my favorite holiday, but Bachman’s gave me such Christmas cheer!

The House is open to the public today, November 8 and is open until December 16.

This was just one of many rooms!!!

We also were able to explore the rest of Bachman’s and even had some delicious treats from the cafe located there too!

The best part about the house was that you could go to the store and buy anything and everything that you loved inside the house! (This could be dangerous!!!)

I found the most magical trees all lit and ready for Santa!

Since I was there for a special event we were able to make these super cute ornaments too!

I honestly can’t wait to go back to Bachman’s to shop for the holiday season so I can decorate my new home for Christmas!

Below are the list of events coming up a Bachman’s. I know we are excited to attend a few of them!

Holiday Idea House: November 8-December 16.

Holiday Open House: Saturday, November 17: 9 am-3pm *Santa and his reindeer, Albert, will make an appearance!

Who Wants to be a Toymaker? Holiday Play: November 17-December 16

Santa and Albert Photos Only Nights: Monday, November 26, 6 pm-7 pm and Monday, December 3, 6 pm- 7 pm

Inspiration Night: Make it Merry: Thursday, November 29. 4-8 pm

Holiday Design Workshops: Holiday Wreath: December 2 and 4 Trendy Greens Wreath Design: December 9

I gave addition information on each of these events so please feel free to ask for more!!

Huge thank you to MNBloggerBash and Bachman’s for a very merry night!

My #momlife

This. This photo. This is how my #momlife looks most of the time. My husband had come in from the other room to see our two children and two dogs basically on top of me. In this position I usually end up covered in slobber (from both the humans and dogs) but I also know I’m covered in so much love. I wish you could hear this moment, there was so much laughter and I’m so thankful Matt snapped this photo. It’s not perfect, it’s not set up photo, this is our real life…and I wouldn’t change it for the world. (Ok maybe I would make the dogs not shed, but you know what I mean.)

What does your #momlife (or #dadlife) look like?