Reaching Fitness Goals + $20 Paypal Cash Giveaway

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Right now I'm training for a 5k using the Hal Higdon Novice 5k training plan. This is probably the first time in my entire life that I chose a training plan for a race and actually stuck to it and the results have been showing.

When I first started running again in April of this year, it took me 12 minutes to run the one mile loop in my neighborhood. It's all hills so you basically run a quarter mile up, and a quarter mile down, etc... until you finish the one mile loop. Each Saturday my training plan tells me to just walk for a certain amount of minutes, so I used to go to the high school track near our house, run a mile as fast as I could, and then walk for my remaining time. The fastest mile I ran on the track over a month ago was 8:32. 

Due to commitments we've had, birthdays, and lack of a desire to drive 10 minutes to the local track, I haven't ran a flat mile in weeks. My training plan also requires that twice a week I run one mile, and those days I always do it in my neighborhood. Those miles started off at 12 minutes, then a few weeks ago I dropped it to under 10, and then last night, I ran an 8:30 mile on the dot. Faster than anything I'd done on the track, through all the hills and everything. I'm convinced when I go to the track this weekend, I can get under 8 minutes. 

In high school I ran track for four years and it always seemed like my coaches we super frustrated with me, and I'm pretty sure it's because they knew that I had so much more potential than what I gave in practice, in meets, and in pretty much everything I did. I've been pushing myself harder the last four months than I have pretty much my entire life with running, and I now know all those years of high school track where I was too afraid to run races, or too afraid to actually push myself, could have been so much better. 

Aside from motivation, and actual determination to push myself, another major difference between now and high school is that I'm actually fueling my body with the right foods it needs. Instead of living off of high school pizzas dipped in BBQ sauce and buffalo chicken salads, I'm actually eating whole foods, fruits and vegetables, and drinking 100 ounces of water a day. I don't think I drank 100 ounces of water in a week during high school.

Another major difference is fueling my body after my workouts with ZonePerfect's Simply Perfect nutrition bars. They're packed with 10 grams of protein and are the perfect treat to refuel my muscles with the nutrients they need after a long run. I also live in fear of getting cramps on my run from not eating enough so these bars are a great pre-workout treat for me too.

Because I love you guys, and because I want you to be able to try these ZonePerfect Simply Perfect nutrition bars, I'm self hosting a $20 paypal cash giveaway! Giveaway runs from now through 9/10/15 at 11:59 EST. Enter using the Rafflecopter below!


DIY Laminated Preschool Worksheets

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #SchoolYearReady #CollectiveBias

If we're being real honest, I thought that doing at home preschool with Jay was going to make me want to pull all my hair out. Our plates have been pretty full lately with an hour a day of at home physical therapy for Em, my blogging commitments, training for a 5k next month, and now adding in an hour a day  of preschool for Jay, it seemed like I was taking on a lot and that it wasn't going to be as enjoyable as I hopped, but it's actually going really well. Jay is super excited to learn and do things with me, and his enthusiasm makes it so much easier. Last night after dinner he was jumping up and down begging, "more school, more school, more school!". I'll have to film that now, so when he's a grumpy high schooler I'll have proof he was once excited to learn things. 

I haven't really nailed down an exact curriculum and lesson plans yet since I'm still trying to organize my office and get everything put together. So this week I've been mainly working on trying to strengthen areas where I know he personally lacks at the moment. He knows his numbers really well, and all of his upper case letters, but he struggles on the lower case, and with holding a pen/pencil/marker and writing well (I mean he is three so there's that too), so  I made a laminated alphabet sheet for him so that he can trace all the upper and lowercase letters on the page, and then when he messes up, or finishes the sheet, or whatever, we can just wipe it clean and start over. It's also been a great thing for him to work on at the table while I'm helping Em with eating lunch, exercising, etc... 

When I was at Walmart last week getting all of my supplies for preschool I picked up this Scotch™ laminator because our old one didn't make the cut when we moved from NC to Georgia this year, and I also picked up the corresponding Scotch™  laminating sheets to go with it. If you're not into having a laminator take up your precious office space though, you can totally just use these  Scotch™ Self-Sealing Laminating Pouches which do basically the same thing, sans laminator. I'll show you the quick way to get this done without the laminator though, just incase you're not inclined to spend $20 on it. 

Scotch™ Self-Sealing Laminating Pouches
Worksheet of Your Choice (I got mine here)
Dry Erase Markers
Dry Eraser


Open the self-sealing pouch and position the worksheet face down on the transparent side.

When you have the worksheet positioned correctly, pull the yellow tab off of the pouch and then close the pouch like a book.

Run your finer along the clear edge to seal the adhesive.

Open the pouch again and peel off the instructional page, and carefully close and seal your pouch.

Admire your handiwork and get your preschooler writing!

Preschool Style with Osh Kosh B'Gosh

Monday, August 24, 2015

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B'Gosh. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. #BackToBGosh #BGoshJeanius

With Jay turning three a couple weeks ago it meant that once again, we were in the market for all new clothes for him. He is growing like a weed and it seemed like within two weeks all of his pants were now floating at his ankles, and his shirts were just barely covering his belly. We headed to the OshKosh B'Gosh Outlet right before his birthday to get everything he would need for a new year. I love that OshKosh has a great selection of dress clothes, along with jeans, sweats, t-shirts, and other casual pieces so that we could get everything we needed in one place, and we didn't need to spend the entire day going from one place to another. 

While I'm definitely a mom who can appreciate a good pair of jeans (especially now that OshKosh has a great fit for everyone!), I also really love a great pair of Khakis paired with some little boat shoes, and a bold plaid print. I mean how adorable does Jay look in this outfit? It takes every ounce of maternal will power that I have to not nom away his cuteness every time we get him dressed for church on Sunday. 

I also really love companies that give back. OshKosh B’gosh, in partnership with K.I.D.S./ Fashion Delivers, Inc., and will give customers the opportunity to donate a new pair of jeans or make a cash donation to students in need this school year. All denim donated from July 28th through September 16th will be delivered to local children in need through K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, while cash donations will be dispersed to local The Carters Charitable foundation will match all cash donations up to $50,000 and all denim donations with a new item of clothing. I love companies that give back to students in lower income situations because growing up and going to school in a lower income neighborhood often meant that some of my friends were the ones in need of these donations. I love to take advantage of opportunities that I have to pay it forward. For more information visit:

Shirt: c/o OshKosh B'Gosh
Shoes: c/o OshKosh B'Gosh
Pants: c/o OshKosh B'Gosh
Socks: c/o OshKosh B'Gosh


8 Reasons Why The Pioneer Woman & I Should Be BFFs

Friday, August 21, 2015

I'm a huge fan of the Pioneer Woman. Before I moved to Utah for college I lived with one of my friend's family and she was a normal household name. They would cook her recipes, talk about her blog, and for a while I smiled and nodded and pretended like I knew what they were talking about. Fast forward a couple years later when I got married and my friend's mom gifted me The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl. I spent the next two years cooking every recipe in that book while adding some pounds to a scrawny husband along the way. 

Since then I've become a long time follower of her blog. A stalker on her Instagram. I drove two and a half hours and waited four hours in line to meet her at a book signing in Charlotte. And finally, I spent many of my Saturday mornings snuggled up with my babies watching her on The Food Network. She's just one of those people I look up to. She's kind, faithful, a strong woman and mother, a teacher and nurturer. She just seems to have a lot of qualities that I hope to cultivate, and I think the world could use a few more amazing people like her in the public eye.  All that being said, here are 10 reasons why Ree Drummond and I should be best friends:

Shirt: Marshall's
Jeans: Nordstrom
Necklace: c/o Happiness Boutique
Shoes: c/o Mox Shoes

1. Her oldest daughter's name is Alex, and my older brother is Alex. Her younger daughter's name is Paige, and my name is Paige. I mean, that right there is everything. 

2. She has Basset Hounds, and I've been begging Derek for a Basset Hound through four years of marriage. 

3. Her sense of style is killer. When I saw this shirt at Marshall's this week, it reminded me of her and I needed it in my life ASAP. It's the first shirt like this that I own, but now that I have one, I see why she loves them so much!

4. I think it's safe to say we have a mutual love for butter. Because yes, butter makes it better. 

5. She lives in the country on a boatload of land, which I currently don't do in the heart of Atlanta, but one day we won't have neighbors within a mile radius of us, and that will be glorious. Also, I've ridden an elephant at the circus before, which is kind of like riding a horse, so I can totally be a farm girl..

6. Have you tried her Knock You Naked Brownies? They're a total crowd pleaser in this house, and the name speaks for itself. 

7. Her hair. Have you seen her hair? Now I realize that we don't have the same hair or anything, but if we were best friends, she would show me how to get my hair to be glorious perfection on a daily basis, because that's what best friends do. 

8. She has a TV show and I've... been on TV. That's like the same thing right? (PS. I'm going to be on Fox 48 in Charlotte on Saturday, September 5th at 7am, so tune in!)

My Preschool Supply Kit + GIVEAWAY!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

As I've made mention countless times already, Jay isn't starting preschool this year. We've talked back and fourth countless times at the idea of homeschooling Jay when the time comes for Kindergarten, or maybe doing a partial enrollment through the public school system depending on where we live and what they allow. We decided that since we're not doing preschool this year, it would be the perfect opportunity to test the waters of homeschooling.

Last year we made our way halfway through the Letter of the Week curriculum, and we're planning on bumping up to the next age level for it this year. I knew we were going to need some supplies, and school shopping is one of my favorite things, so I headed to Walmart last night to get everything I would need to get started next week. I'll talk more about the setup and the logistics of our at home "classroom" in future posts, but for now, I'll talk about what we picked up.

Scroll to the bottom of post for giveaway information!

Laminator and Laminating Pouches: I knew I was going to want to make activity sheets that we could write on with markers and wipe clean, so I snagged a laminator and its corresponding pouches to make it an easy process.

Kleenex Tissues: I always stock up on these in the fall when they're on sale, but they're awesome for wiping down dry erase boards, and the aforementioned laminating pouches, so we're glad to have these on hand. Plus you can score bonus Box Tops for Eduction when purchased at Walmart. My grandma always clipped them for my small Catholic school growing up and while it was sometimes embarrassing to bring a boatload of labels in, I now appreciate the contribution that she made to mine, and others educations.

Dry Erase Markers/Cleaner/Eraser: These are also for the laminated worksheets I'll be making, but we also have a dry erase board that we'll be putting to good use as well.

2 Pencil Boxes: One for me and all the extra supplies, and one for Jay with his own box of crayons, scissors, glue stick, and pencil. He loves having ownership over his own things and I like that he'll have easy access to "his stuff"

Construction Paper: I'm sure we're going to be crafting up apple trees and pumpkins for fall activities, and snowflakes and Christmas trees as we roll into winter. I bought one big pack so we'd be all set for whatever holiday/craft came up.

Folders: Just to store weekly activities, worksheets, mini lesson plans, etc...

Color Pencils, Crayons, Markers, Glue Stick, Pencils, Pencil Sharpener and Scissors: That take care of every need we could possibly have during the school year right?

Walmart really is a great one stop shop for everything back-to-school related. I was so happy that I was able to pick up all my supplies in one 20 minute shopping trip. Right now you can earn double Box Tops for education at Walmart on specially marked packages of Scott, Viva, and Kleenex brand products!

I'm going to be self hosting a giveaway for $20 paypal cash! Hopefully this will help out with your back-to-school shopping needs. Enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below! Giveaway will run until 9/3/15 at 11:59 EST.

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