Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pets Get Jealous Too

The other day I was visiting a friend.  Her dog was jumping all around her, whimpering and crying.  The reason?  She was cuddling a baby and her dog was jealous.  I can certainly relate as I remember so well a similar situation when we brought our first baby home from the hospital.  In an effort to get closer to me and receive the kind of attention I was giving our newborn, our golden put her paw up and scratched our little one’s forehead.  As upset as I was, I had to try to understand that our sweet puppy dog didn’t mean to hurt our baby, she just felt replaced.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday Meal Planning

It's been a while, friends, and I am eager to get back to blogging about our weekly meals.  This week, I am so excited to have a guest incredibly talented and awesome sister is here sharing two of her recent masterpieces.  Even though she is my little sister, I look up to her as a chef and want to be as good a cook as she is when I grow up!  She's one of those people who doesn't need a recipe, and I have always been envious of that!  So, without further ado, here is what's been cookin' in her kitchen lately...

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Safety Tips

It never ceases to amaze me that people in my town decorate for Halloween as much (if not more) than they do for the winter holidays.  Cobwebs, tombstones, orange lights, and pumpkins adorn the bushes, yards, and front porches of houses up and down the streets of my neighborhood.  And while it is all fun and games for the children and adults on Halloween night, it can be a scary sight for our furry friends.  Read my tips for how to help your pet survive Halloween in one piece…

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Tribute to Summerdog

I still look for her every morning.

Today Summer would have been Sweet Sixteen.

She was our first baby.

We can still remember the smell of her sweet puppy breath and imagine her soft, puppy fur.

Summer was a part of our family for sixteen years.  Our boys have only known life with a dog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The B's of the BCAAs and Outfit Formula

If you missed last week's post, you can read it here.  And if you need a refresher, I introduced my three part series, the ABCs of BCAAs and Summer Outfits.  A is for appetite suppressant, amino acids, and accessories.  And now for the B...

B is for beating the afternoon slump.  I must say I've tried many things to get through that time of the day when I just want to crash but have to get through dinner, books, and bedtime before I can.  I like an afternoon cup of coffee, but it's hard to drink something hot during these warm summer months.  Plus, by 3:00 I've maxed out on caffeine. :) Enter momsanity's BCAAs.  They promise to provide energy to get through the afternoon exhaustion.  And momsanity has a money back guarantee.  They're that sure that you'll love it.  I read through the many reviews on Amazon and found this from a customer...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Formula Post: ABCs of BCAAs and Summer Outfits

So, I promised a post about my new BCAAs and I am here to deliver.  But as I was brainstorming for this post, other things I wanted to share kept popping into my head, so I am going to be kind of all over the place.  Which is ok, because if you're anything like me, you've felt like life is pretty much all over the place this summer.

Why does it seem to be so hard this summer???  Between shuttling kids to all their camps and parties and playdates, to trying to squeeze in workouts and blogging for PetPartners and my personal blog, I feel like I hardly have time to breathe, much less plan healthy meals and look put together.

Enter my formula for the summer, aided by Momsanity's BCAAs which I LOVE and I am offering to you, my readers, at a discount through Sunday.  Ready for the formula?  Here goes...

Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday Meal Planning

The longer I have been cooking for my family, the easier it has become to throw a meal together without having to head to the grocery store.  It feels like a victory when I look in the refrigerator and come up with something from the veggies I have on hand.  This recipe was born on a Friday night when I felt panicked as the dinner hour approached and I still didn't know what's for dinner?!  I had ground beef and suggested tacos, but Justin reminded me we had just had tacos.  I thought about meatloaf, but meatloaf seems like a weeknight meal to me.  Then I opened the veggie drawer in my refrigerator and saw that I had zucchini.  And it was zucchini burgers for the win!  Healthy and yummy.

But, the real delicious part came when I wanted to reheat the leftover veggie burgers two nights later without drying them out.  I remembered my mom wrapping burgers in bacon to reheat them while keeping them juicy, so I shot her a text to get her steps on the reheating process.  And they turned out beautifully.  Not dry at all, still full of flavor, and get this.  All three of my boys ate them!  Hooray for me!  Going into the weekly rotation, those burgers are.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Date Night on a Dime

A few weeks ago, Justin and I had a date night.  Since we are in the process of building our next home, we are watching our budget a bit.  We thought about seeing a movie, but I don't like watching movies on date night. Part of the point of going on a date is to reconnect.  We can't exactly do that while staring at a screen.  Plus, going to dinner and a movie can be end up being a $100 night.  So, I came up with a budget friendly, keep you guessing, reconnecting kind of "game" for our night.

I filled an envelope with these ideas...

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Meal Planning and When You Should Online Grocery Shop

It's been a while friends, and our budget (and my waistline) have felt it.  Have we really only been on summer vacation for one week?  Last week was a whirlwind, and going into this one, I have felt the need to buckle down and have a plan.

Harris Teeter online shopping to the rescue!

Carson, Camden, and I went to the grocery store on Tuesday night while Jonah was at baseball practice.  Want to know what ended up in our cart?  Doughnuts, chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, and syrup.  Seriously.  Here's why it it pays to online shop, especially in the summer...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Race Yourself

I am writing this on the heels of a 2 and 1/2 mile run.  I ran 8.5 minute miles.  It was hard.

Somewhere else in the world, someone just finished a five mile run at a 7 min/mile pace. Another brave soul struggled through a 1 mile walk.  Still another person is stranded in a hospital bed wishing she could walk to the bathroom.

As we near the end of a school year, and award ceremonies loom in our future, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on this subject.  One of the most difficult parts of award ceremonies is that it is always a comparison.  My child won that award because his grades are higher than another child's.  She won most improved because she started out much lower than all the others.

The problem with this model is that all we can ever ask a child to be is himself.  And as long as he is challenging himself to be the very best he can be, he deserves an award.  He deserves an award for being better than he was the day before.  And as long as he is asking questions, listening, trying hard, hanging on to every new concept he reads about or hears or processes, tries new things, never gives up, gives each new thing he tries his all, he is better than he was the day before.  And for that, he is worthy of all the praise in the world.

So, as adults, we have a responsibility.  A responsibility to build our young ones up.  To reward their grades, no matter what letter is attached.

To tell them this:

You are brave.  

I am proud of your hard work.  

You are better than you were yesterday.  

There's just one you.  One person with the unique qualities you possess.  You're an artist.  A chess champ.  A really loyal friend.  A good cook.  A master builder.  A good leader.  A whiz at computer games.  A good speller.  You have great handwriting.  You're a good listener.  A kind person.  You tell the best jokes.  You're patient.  You lift others up.

You see, a year ago today, I was running a 10 minute mile.  But I wasn't challenged.  I set a goal to average 9.5 minute miles.  And then 9 minute miles.  And finally 8.5.  That's where I am today.  Am I content?  For now.  Who knows where I'll be in a year.  That's up to me.

Race yourself.  Be yourself.  Be a world changer.  Change your own world.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Favorite: Stretch out Your Branches

This was the first year without her mom, and I know it was a difficult Mother's Day for my mom.  At our Mother's Day cookout, we toasted her mom, my Grandma, the boys' Jersey GG, but it's just not the same without her.

Jonah was about three months old here.  Ladies don't tell their age. :)

As I reflected on how much we miss my Grandma, who lived a long and happy 100 years, I was reminded of how life comes full circle.  I said these words when it was my turn to talk about her at her service...

One thing I know we will all remember about Grandma was her great sense of humor.  She pretended to be annoyed when Emily would sneak up on her and tap one shoulder, then sneak around to her other side, but we know she thought it was funny.  And although she feigned irritation at my dad’s silly jokes about turtlenecks and henways, she always laughed.  Which is why I feel certain that she would get a kick out of the fact that her great-grandson referred to this service as the “day they’re going to plant Grandma.”  Emily had explained how the service would go, and what they were going to do with Grandma’s ashes, and apparently the way his five-year old brain processed that information is like seeds being planted.  So, we’re going to go with that.  Grandma lived an extraordinary life, strong ’til the end, like an oak tree.  She lived through some tough times—the death of her husband, heart surgery, and shingles.  She also got to experience lots of joy—a happy marriage, the birth of her own three children, and many years later, the birth of six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.  She lived in her own house until the very end, a proud and capable woman.  So, in honor of how Grandma always stood strong and determined, I’d like to challenge us to think of her each time we plant a seed.  Remember that we are extensions of Grandma, Ma, Jersey GG, and that we must carry on her strength ’til the end. 

Extensions...lineage...ancestry.  How cool is it that this year, not even a year since Grandma's service and my mention of her strength being like that of an oak, Jonah won an award for his Arbor Day poem, and was recognized at the Stallings Earth Day Celebration on April 23?  As difficult as it is to experience the pain and loss of someone special, it does a heart good to see that young ones are living on, making their mark, stretching out their branches, spreading their strength and wisdom.

Jonah is wise beyond his years, and I find myself learning from him.  Learning how to be strong, how to be consistent, how to work hard, and how to love life.  His poem is a reminder of how we should learn from the people before us, and count our blessings, being thankful for each minute on this earth.

How will you learn from the stories of your ancestry, and create new opportunities?  I want to learn from my Grandma....and my Jonah.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday Meal Planning

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind.  Getting our house ready to put on the market, staging it for pictures, having an open house, and having it sell in three days have all made me feel a bit disorganized around here.  So, I am happy to be sitting down to plan the week's meals, because when I know what we're eating, I feel like I can check the stressful "what's for dinner?" item off my checklist.

So, what are we eating this week?  Growing up, my sister and I remember having a meat, a starch, and a veggie every night.  If there were not three food groups on our plates, it was not dinner in the Griffin house.  And don't get me wrong, dinner was always delicious.  Emily and I didn't fully appreciate what a fantastic cook our mom was until we went to college and didn't get to enjoy her home cooking anymore.  Growing up, we rarely went out to eat because, why go out when your mom can cook just about anything?!

I still use my mom's formula--meat, starch, veggie--to a certain extent, although we have tried to do away with the starch in our weekly meals.  But I have started incorporating a lot more one pot meals into our weeknight rotation, simply for the ease, and because my kids are more likely to eat veggies when they are mixed in with the rest of the deliciousness.

So here are four of my favorites, and since I happen to have all four meats on hand (in my freezer), all I have to purchase are the fresh fruits and veggies, and we have four meals.  I started with the meal on the top left and moved clockwise...

Pasta, Sausage, and Eggs

I first had this meal at The Flying Biscuit.  I had always wanted to try it, but thought it sounded kind of strange.  Now it is one of my favorites!!!  This is a great meal for my family, because it allows me to get some extra protein into my pasta eater, Camden.  So far, pasta is the one thing I can count on Camden eating, and I try to mix it up a bit by adding in healthy options to his pasta.  This way, Camden is getting the added protein from the eggs, and the veggies from the spinach.

Steak Stir-Fry

My boys wanted to make stir-fried rice one night, so I said, go for it!  Remember when they created a date night and set up a restaurant for me and Justin?  I love when they want to cook.  They followed this recipe, for the most part, but instead of the white rice, we used Trader Joe's Organic brown rice and added beans and mixed veggies.  I helped a little bit by cooking the steak on my electric griddle and slicing it. They added the steak to their rice and served it all mixed together.  It was delicious!  They cleaned up too. :)

Spicy Sweet Potato Chicken 

See this post for a link to the recipe and some tweaks I have made.  This is such an easy weeknight meal, and one of our favorites.

Chicken Sausage with Apples over Farro

What's for dinner at your house?  

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tips for Turning 40 Gracefully and Momsanity Special Offer

I've watched many friends turn 40.  We've partied, vacationed, gone out to eat, and celebrated big time.  So, as my 40th approached, I was excited to be doing something completely different for my birthday.  Running through the mud, climbing over walls, and swinging across monkey bars were just a few things on my list.

Some of the responses I got when I told my friends I was running the Spartan for my 40th?

I want to run through the mud and climb under barbed wire to celebrate my birthday.  Yeah, right.

I’d love to celebrate with you, Pam, as long as it doesn’t involve climbing walls and monkey bars.

That sounds fun.  This one was uttered sarcastically.

Why would you do that?

This is why.  Because it was different.  Because it made me feel alive.  Because it was SO much fun to do something hard and look back to say, I did it.  Well, actually, we did it, because without the help of three of my favorite people in the whole world, I wouldn't have been able to do it.  The teamwork part was one of the best things about the day.  WE did it.  WE are Spartans.

The day started out super cold, but we forgot about the chill in the air after the first trek through a muddy pond about a quarter of a mile into the race.  Our bodies were heating up in the gorgeous sunshine and the thrill of the crowd made our hearts so full.  I knew right away I had made the right choice about what I wanted to do on my 40th!  #thisis40

I also knew I had chosen the perfect people to race with me!  

This was Justin's second Spartan Race so he knew a little about it going into the race.  Blake and Amber are two of our best buddies.  This was our first Spartan Race, and I am positive it is the first of many to come!  Amber said it perfectly in her post on FB (with the pic on the left) after the run...

There aren't 3 people in the world that I'd rather have my back for 5.5 miles of trail running, mud trudging, and 24 obstacles! We definitely aren't this clean any more! We are Spartans!

And believe me, we literally had each other's backs!  Without teamwork, we never would have made it to the end.  Climbing over a six foot wall was one thing, but when we got to the eight footer?  We were like acrobats in a circus performance, balancing on each other's backs to grab the top of the wall and hoist ourselves over.  Without momsanity, I couldn't have completed 19 of the the 24 obstacles, including carrying a bucket of large rocks down a steep hill and back up, and lifting an atlas ball weighing 6o pounds.  There was a time I would have looked at that bucket of rocks and said, no way, I don't have arm muscles.   But knowing I can do a 15 minute momsanity workout using 15 pound (and sometimes even 20 pound) weights gave me the confidence to walk up to that bucket, grab it with gusto, and complete the challenge.  It felt so good!!!

At the end of the day, there were a few things I knew for sure...

Turning 40 wasn't so bad.

My husband and my friends are awesome.

I am a lot stronger than I thought I was.

And on each of my birthdays going forward...

I want to try something new.

I want to do something that challenges me.

And I want to do that something with the people that I love.

We are Spartans!!!

Interested in joining momsanity?  Want to learn how to work out harder, not longer?  Momsanity has made me more muscular and fit than I've ever been in my life.  Check out the special they have going on for one more day--join now and your first month is free with the code MOVING.  You'll also be locked in at their special $20 per month rate.  Join now before they increase their rate to $29 per month (which I would pay anyway since they are just THAT good!).  You will have access to new workouts each month, Bible devotions, accountability, healthy recipes and tips on preparing nutritious meals for your family.  You'll also get to be a part of their Facebook page where you can feel comfortable sharing your struggles and your successes with other moms going through the very same things!  I cannot figure out why anyone wouldn't want all this!  Check out their website today and message me if you have any questions.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pets and Toddlers Speak the Same Language

If you’ve ever had a puppy, you know it is much like having a baby.  When the idea for this post popped into my head, my mind went crazy with all the similarities between my dog and my three-year old.  Then my Parents magazine published an article about how similar cats and toddlers are, and I knew I had a story in the making.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Those Pencil Sticker Things

Do your kids love stickers as much as mine?

Since they were little bitty guys, Our Little Tinies have loved making pictures with stickers.  Most kids love stickers--they collect them at the bank, at the grocery store, and Target.  I often joke that people would know where Camden and I have been by looking at the map of stickers stuck to the front of his shirt, shorts, and even his forehead, by the time we get home from running errands.  And (this is not a joke) my husband just informed me that he was the president of the sticker club in first grade.  10 cents to join.  They had scratch and sniff, oilies (don't worry, I had to google that one too), and Superhero puffies.  Could I make this stuff up?

So when my friend Laura reached out to me with a new product her company has just come up with, I was thrilled to try it out.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

It's the last Wednesday of March and I am linking up with Sheaffer Told Me To, The Larson Lingo, and Mix and Match Family (Shay loved Me Before You, too!) for this post.  Check them out too!!!

What we're eating this week...

Ham, ham, and more ham!  
We had so much fun celebrating Easter this past weekend with some great friends.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pinterest Told Us To

What I Wore Wednesday: Pinterest Edition

Hi friends!  It's been a while since I've posted outfit pics, so I had to seize this opportunity to share some outfit inspiration and some fun I had with great friends.

This past weekend, we attended a concert in Raleigh with two other couples.  Our couple friends had already seen this band and told us how amazing they were in concert.  Steep Canyon Rangers certainly did not disappoint.  They are a bluegrass band and they are truly gifted musicians.  We had a blast and it was such a memorable experience!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Everything in its Place, "Sort" Of

Think about your day.  You sort silverware and socks, mail, and loose change.  

You grocery shop.  You know where to find the veggies and fruits because they are sorted by type.

You go to the sporting goods store.  Shin guards are with the soccer stuff, gloves are in baseball gear.

You browse a clothing store. Clothes are arranged by color, jeans are in one place, tshirts in another.

So it is no surprise that the skill of sorting shows up early in preschool and Kindergarten curriculums.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Meal Planning

When I was a teacher, I worked with a girl who told me that she had never made the same meal for dinner twice.  Wait, what?  Let me just tell you that she was cooking only for herself and the hubs.  Now that she has had two kids, I wonder if she has changed her tune?  As I think back about this teaching friend and her lofty dinner goals, I can't help but wonder why I always seem to want to reinvent the wheel when it comes to dinner.  I've made plenty of healthy meals my boys have scarfed down.  So I searched my recipe book for favorites when I was planning for this week...


My boys LOVE this meal.  It is one that has them coming into the kitchen asking, What is that amazing smell?  Makes my day every time.  I made a few tweaks this time.  I cut the sweet potatoes into smaller pieces and baked them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.  I had cooked the chicken the day before, so all I had to do was toss it all together with the sauce, heat it through and it was done!  I also added sesame seeds and served the mango on the side.  Our boys prefer the mango cold, instead of warmed and mixed with the rest of the flavors.  I will have to say, my boys are not big potato fans, but they LOVED the sweet potatoes cooked this way.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Meal Planning

The week ahead has me a little anxious.  We have an event, and sometimes two, every day this week.  It looks a little something like this:

Monday: soccer (Camden), hockey (Carson)
Tuesday: baseball (Jonah)
Wednesday: basketball (Jonah)
Thursday: art exhibit (Carson), basketball (Jonah)

By Friday I think I'll be sleeping through movie night.  It's on weeks like these that having our meals planned out is imperative.  Flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to mealtime on a busy week means more drive throughs and less healthy choices.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Treat Your Dog to Some Homemade Goodness

When my kids asked if they could try the treats cooling on the counter, I said “Of course!”  After all, I knew exactly what was in those dog biscuits, and had no worries about them tasting the bones.  

February 23rd is National Dog Biscuit Day, and in honor of this day, why not cook up a little treat for your pooch?  These dog bones, from kevin&amanda, are healthy and delicious, and with just three ingredients, a snap to make.  The benefit of these ingredients?  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Favorites

I've been a little quiet on my personal blog this week, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working super hard on the writing front.  I shared two new posts on PetPartner's website this week, just in time for Love Your Pet Day.  Make sure to check them out.  There are some good tips there for taking care of your pets.

Love Your Pet Day is February 20, and in my post about how you can love your pet, I challenged pet owners to use this day as a dress rehearsal for the other 364 days of the year.  Our pets are part of our families, and they should feel like they are.  One of the ways you can love your dog is by making homemade dog biscuits.  Stay tuned for a video showing just how easy it is to make dog biscuits. This is my first attempt at making a how to video and I am so excited about sharing it with you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What I Wore Wednesday--Athleisure Edition

I am excited about teaming up with the folks at Betabrand to bring you a post showing "athleisure" outfits.  I keep hearing about this athleisure movement and I am thrilled to know it is actually a thing.  Most days, I just want to be comfortable, so I throw on yoga pants and a long sweatshirt.  All this time, I've been stylish and didn't even know it!  At least 4 out of the 7 days of the week, I sport exercise pants and tennis shoes and believe me, I am not working out all of those days.  Judging by the attire I see at Traders Joe's and Target, many of you are "sporting" the same types of outfits and not always intending to workout.  So, here goes with a few of my favs.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Easy Pinecone Wreath

This was such a simple project, but one Camden was incredibly proud of.  And one that means so much, since the pinecones we used were collected from a lot we hope will host our future home!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Heart on Fire

The little scribe in your mind can take note of the itchy, the blotchy, the painful.  

Or he can see the beautiful, the blessing, the favor.  You get to choose.

We thought we had bed bugs.  That would be bad.

But we were wrong.  And it was so much worse.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Do it TODAY to Improve Your Kids' Vocabulary

When I was working on my answers to the questions for the Liebster Award, it occurred to me that I really do have a ton of print in my home.  And I think one of the reasons my kids enjoy reading and writing so much is that they have been exposed to words, and not just little words, for all of their lives.  It's a curse when you have two teachers as parents.

So, I wanted to share a little bit about how we have made learning new words and increasing vocabulary a priority in our house.  I am constantly learning myself, so I want to make sure to stay on top of the new words my kids are learning as well.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Our Little Tinies Receives the Liebster Award

I was nominated by Blythe Clifford from Thyroid Mom for the Liebster Award.  Blythe is a gorgeous, brilliant, and talented mom of two who also happens to have hypothyroidism.  Her sons have congenital hypothyroidism and her husband has Graves' Disease (hyperthyroidism).  The goal of her blog is to help educate others about the daily struggles of living with a thyroid disorder and to advocate for children with thyroid disease.  She writes from the heart--about everything from motherhood to doctors to motivation.  Check out her recent post about her son turning 10.  Make sure you have your tissues handy.

So, the Liebster Award is an award to be passed along from blogger to blogger.

Here are the rules...

  1. Add the award to your own blog
  2. Thank the person who nominated you.
  3. Mention the rules.
  4. Answer the questions posed.
  5. Nominate bloggers for the award.
  6. Let the bloggers know so they can "accept" the award.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Get Outside and Walk!

I am amazed by how much better I feel when I get outside and get some fresh air, especially during these cold winter months.  It can be so tempting to stay inside and veg, but getting out, even just for 10 minutes can greatly improve your mood and encourage you to do it more often!  Momsanity's exercise guidelines recommend you...

"Aim for 30-45 minutes of leisure walking per day, preferably outside, most days of the week.  This will relax you as well as lower cortisol levels, leading to a flatter stomach.  This is not power walking or jogging.  Walk slowly, talk, admire God’s beautiful creations."

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Power of Books and a New Favorite

I love books.  I mean really, really love books.  I love the feel of a book in my hands.  I love the way a tower of books looks on my bedside table, all neatly stacked and waiting to be devoured.  I love getting lost in a book.  I love going to bed at night so I can read my latest book.  I'm kind of obsessed. Always have been.  Ask my sister.  When we were kids she got mad at me for wanting to read instead of play. I'm kind of a book worm.