Weekly Highlights ~ m5w2y17

Weekly Highlights ~ m5w2y17

Reflecting on the happy moments in my life

Highlights from the week of May 5-11, 2017:

  1. The Live Plexus Big Reveal Event
  2. NEW & IMPROVED PINK DRINK
  3. Helping my Gramps with probio5 and p96 shakes
  4. Family Gathering at Uncle Bob’s
  5. Feeding Horses
  6. Lunch at my mom & dad’s with family
  7. First Boat Ride of the Season
  8. Beautiful spring weather and sunshine all week
  9. Getting help when I really needed it
  10. Finding the Show Us Your Books link up and adding books to my TBR list
  11. Dinner at Khan’s Mongolian
  12. Finding a magnetic behavior chart I want to order and use with Bash & Dash
  13. Receiving the new Slim Action Pack with a ton of goodies!!
  14. Welcoming friends to The Plexus Experience 7-Day Challenge
  15. Seeing a lot of movement on spring reading assessments
Thirteen Reasons Why: Book vs.Series

Thirteen Reasons Why: Book vs.Series

Thirteen Reasons Why.

Everyone has been talking about the TV series on Netflix.  It has gotten a very bad rep because it deals with the topic of suicide.  Teenage suicide.  Ugg.  Quite a heavy topic and not one I was super gung-ho to delve into, but many of my friends on FB kept talking about it.  I was intrigued.  If you’ve been hiding under a rock, it is the story of Clay Jensen, a teenage boy who was left with cassette tapes that his friend Hannah Baker had made, explaining thirteen reasons why she committed suicide.  He is instructed to listen to the tapes in order, each highlighting a specific person who had created turmoil for Hannah up until her dying day.  Pretty morbid, eh?

Of course, being the bookworm that I am, when I found out that the series was based on the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, I had to read the book first.  A big thanks to Krysten for offering to let me borrow her copy.  If I were to wait for the ebook to become available at my library, it would’ve taken another 6 months! So I read the book.

I liked the book.  It was quite easy to read.  Each chapter told the story or “reason” that led up to Hannah’s suicide, as told by Hannah via the tapes.  Hannah seemed quite sweet and although few teenage girls would enjoy having a reputation as a “slut”, I found it hard to believe that all these things would lead to a girl committing suicide.  She was not outright bullied or taunted.  The characters on the tapes were mostly able to move on after her death.  The ending wasn’t super sad.  My thoughts were, “Really, Hannah? Was it really that bad??” I know the teen years can be hard but I also know it can be much worse than Hannah had it.  Certainly not life-ending.  I still gave the book 5 Stars because it was different than any other book I’ve read.

Then I started watching the series on Netflix.  

SPOILER ALERT!!!! Don’t read any further if you don’t want to know what happens!!

Wow,  The series on Netflix took this story to a whole new level.

The story starts very much the way it did in the book; Clay comes home to discover a box of cassette tapes.  Obviously the producers needed to embellish the original story to create a good TV drama but they changed soooooo much!!!! I didn’t take notes as I read or watched, but several differences stood out.

Tony.  He was not a super huge or important character in the book, but he played a very big role in the series.  Everywhere you looked, there was Tony.  Observing everyone and being the savior when needed.  

Hannah’s parents. In the series they were pursuing a lawsuit against the school, alleging that the school was at fault and that they didn’t do enough to stop Hannah from being bullied. 

Clay.  He was portrayed as a nerd in the series and they had him looking like he was going off the deep-end (ex. the scene when he is riding his bike away from Blake’s house, all bloodied up and looking crazy as hell).  He beat himself up mentally about Hannahs death and how he could possibly be involved. Also, his mom was an attorney representing the school district in the series.  That was never included in the book.

Courtney.  In the book she was a very naughty girl who was excited about the idea of a creeper watching her through the window.  The scene with her and Hannah basically had the girls pretending they had a drawer full of sex-toys that they were excited to use.  In the series, however, Courtney was a somewhat shy Asian girl who was raised by gay dads.  And she was hiding in the closet herself.  In the series she and Hannah were making out and the creeper took photos of them in action.

Zach.  In the series he was this handsome, smart jock.  A much bigger part of the overall story than he was in the book.

Alex.  Alex had a much bigger role in the series.  The series also ends with Alex blowing his brains out. WHAT?!! Then they just left us hanging.  

Hannah.  In the series, Hannah was raped by Blake.  This never happened in the book.  My theory is they needed a really strong reason to really push Hannah over the edge.  This did it.  In the book she never lost her parents’ money, and she died after taking pills.  The series showed a graphic scene of Hannah slitting her wrists in the bathtub. 

The entire group.  In the series they conspired and even plotted against Clay.  They never planted marijuana on him in the book. In the series there were even references of taking him out because they were afraid he would share the tapes with school or the authorities. They also called Hannah a liar and would hardly admit any involvement or wrongdoing

These are just a few of my takeaways.  Has anyone else read the book and watched the series?? What did you think?  I hear there will be a second season to the Netflix series.  

Creating a Blog Identity

Creating a Blog Identity

Most of you visiting me have your very own blogs.  Maybe you’ve been at it for years or maybe its a newer thing for you.  Either way, at one point you had to think of a name for your blog and maybe even a  URL to go with it.  It feels so permanent, doesn’t it?? I’ve been at this for twelve years now, since long before I was a mom.  My blog started as an online journal of sorts for me, with a small audience of close friends and family.  The url was easy…. I used my nickname, sweetsauer.com.  When it was time to come up with a title, I didn’t get too creative.  Mi Vida Ocupada translates to “My Busy Life”.  I chose to use Spanish to make it a little more catchy and it sounds so much cooler in Spanish. My tagline was “Daily excerpts of my busy life”.  Boring!!! This blog has become so much more than that to me.  So I have been thinking I need a new blog name.  I don’t have a specific focus, just a little of this and a little of that. I’d love some help if anyone is feeling creative today!!

Things I love and a little about me:

  • I’m a mom to Bash & Dash (nicknames of my 2 & 4yo boys)
  • My family means the world to me
  • Lover of sushi, tacos, hot dogs, chinese food, buffalo wings (food in general!)
  • Books, TV series, Music
  • School & Education
  • I’m a deep thinker, passionate, sensitive, fun
  • Taking photos with my Nikon
  • Adventures & Exploring
  • Scenic drives
  • the great outdoors
  • I love my Pink drink- I’m an ambassador for Plexus
  • I’m an inner-city elementary teacher

Anyone have any great ideas for a new blog title?  I’d love some help!

What is the name of your blog and how did you come up with it??

First Boat Ride of the Season

First Boat Ride of the Season

Our family party on Saturday was fun and Sunday was another beautiful day here in MN! My Aunt Connie and cousin Tyler were still and town, so my parents invited us all up to the lake for lunch. Gram & Gramp + cousins Genevieve and Segen were also in attendance.  

We had a sandwich bar and chips.  My Dad makes a great Dante’s Inferno. Yum.  Hot, melty sandwiches are the best πŸ˜‰

This was a serious talk.  Gramps asked Gen to write his obituary and spent an hour telling her the highlights of his life.  91+ years is a lot of history.

Aunt Con and me

Bash & Dash headed to the boat

A Lake selfie πŸ˜‰

The water level is up as high as we’ve seen it in several years!

It was so nice to spend time with a few of my cousins and Aunt Con.  I am long overdue for a trip to AZ to see them!

A Long Over-Due Family Get Together

A Long Over-Due Family Get Together

Ah! What a GLORIOUS weekend!!! The sun was shining, temps were around 70′, I spent a lot of time with my family, Plexus made a REVOLUTIONARY announcement, and I am feeling fantastic!! 

I’m high on life right now!!!

My grandparents returned to MN this past Wednesday.  For as long as I can remember, they have spent over half the year at their home in Scottsdale, AZ and have spent the summers at their other house here in MN.  Two of my mom’s sisters and their families (plus at least one other cousin who has migrated) live in AZ as well.  Gramps is having a hard time these days.  He is nearly 92 and has struggled with several health issues in recent years, making the trek back to MN harder and harder.  This may be the last time they come back, as they will likely sell the place down there.  Every time I see my gramps, I treat it as though it is the last.  Some might call that morbid, but I call it reality.  He weighs 105 lbs at 6 ft.    Poor guy is basically blind. I love him very much.

To help make the trip easier on them, my AZ aunt Connie accompanied them back to MN.  Her son Tyler also flew up to MN for a few days.  This was the perfect reason to have a family get together and my uncle Bob was gracious enough to offer his home as the last-minute party venue.  It was perfect!

Bob has several acres of land, as does his neighbor (probably around 50 acres, combined).  They enjoy taking the 4-wheeler out on trails that they have groomed, and the neighbor also owns horses.  My Uncle Paul took Bash & Dash out for a ride on the quad.  They loved every minute of it!!


Bashy was also into this riding lawn mower πŸ˜‰

This is my cousin PJ and his son, Jackson.  Jackson is 3 mo younger than Bash.  Isn’t his red hair amazing??? He is so cute!!! He has a little baby brother on the way  πŸ˜‰

After dinner we ventured down to the fields to feed the horses.  It was awesome!! Bash and Dash had never seen a horse up close before. They enjoyed feeding the horses.  Look how beautiful they are!

Those that could make it on Saturday represent just a small fraction of this side of the family.  My Gram & Gramp have 8 children, 21 grandchildren (most married or coupled up), and let’s see…. 17 great grandkids + at least one more on the way.  I am so blessed to have such a huge family!!! (My Dad’s side is just as big!!)

Weekly Highlights m5w1y17

Weekly Highlights m5w1y17

Reflecting on the happy moments in my life

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! The sun is shining and the forecast says 70′ again for at least two days in a row! Such a welcome change after a ton of rain here in MN lately πŸ˜‰ It has been a fabulous week as I reflect on all the good stuff! I hope you had an excellent week as well!

Highlights from the week of April 28- May 4, 2017:

  1. The start of spring cleaning has begun at my house
  2. Big trip to Walmart for necessities
  3. Finishing Erin’s Book Challenge 6.0 – I was very late to the game and used books I’ve already read so far this year
  4. Reading new blogs through Erin’s Book Challenge and finding some good books to add to my list of books “To Be Read” 
  5. Meal planning and cooking at home- This saves us time, money and the usual dinner-time argument.
  6. Stuffed mushrooms- We bought huge portabella shrooms and stuffed them with leftover potato sausage, onions and a fancy gouda cheese.  OMG delicious!!!!
  7. Earning the Incentive for the Plexus Big Reveal by adding three new customers in one day!!!!!
  8. Making Club500 for the month of April.  Super hard to do and I did it!!!
  9. TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK- We have been given treats by our admin and coaches all week!!! So nice to be appreciated πŸ˜‰
  10. Launching Kristi & Kim’s Photo Hunt Challenge May 2017– Join us if you like to take photos!
  11. Introducing The Plexus Experience 7-Day Challenge
  12. Dinner with my parents who are back in MN for the summer!
  13. Conversations with my 4yo who is super smart and curious about everything.  
  14. Coming up with a list of topics I want to blog about.  Would anyone read my blog if I started to post twice a day?! Time is the issue.
  15. Thirteen Reasons Why.  I finished the book last week and immediately started watching the series.  They took the general story of the book and embellished quite a bit.
  16. Happy hour at El Pariente with my dear old friend Jen- yummy margaritas and authentic tacos
  17. Meeting another mom in my neighborhood who also has two boys 4 and under
  18. Beautiful weather to end the week!
  19. Continued excitement and anticipation for the upcoming Plexus Big Reveal this weekend- We’ve been promised something historic!!!
  20. Junior Achievement Day at school and seeing Jess, a friend of mine from HS and college
  21. Plans for a big family get-together this weekend.  Yay!!!!!
The Plexus Experience- 7 Day Challenge

The Plexus Experience- 7 Day Challenge

When you like something a lot, you want to tell others about it.  Sometimes you love it so much you want to shout it from the rooftops!! That is how I feel about Plexus.  I am sleeping soundly at night, I no longer have daily headaches and body aches, I no longer take ibuprofen like it’s going out of style, my stomachaches and IBS have gone away, I no longer have allergies, I’m in a good mood all the time and my anxiety is gone.  It’s a night and day difference.

good mood, more energy, better sleep, less anxiety, plexus

I know many others have been interested in trying Plexus, specifically the Pink Drink, but not ready to make a full commitment for at least 60 days.  That is why I am so excited to tell you about The Plexus Experience!! My Plexus teammates and I have put together an experience to try the PINK DRINK  for just seven days.  This is your opportunity to see what Plexus can do at a seriously affordable cost. I am so excited that we have created this great opportunity so that those that might not otherwise be able to try it can! 

I made this short video to tell you a little more about it

I’d love to have you join us!

You’re Invited to The Plexus Experience!

Wanted: Skeptics, Health Nuts, Couch Potatoes. People who want to feel good, have more energy, fewer cravings, better mood, and people who have tried other supplements with minimal results.

Who: You and any number of your friends/family to hold each other accountable for seven days

What: A  7-day trial of the Plexus Slim (aka pink drink) and participation in an accountability group

Where: The Plexus Experience group page on Facebook

When: Challenge runs May 15-21st. Purchase your Slim by May 9th.

How: There are three ways you can do this:

  1. You and any number of your friends can individually order a 7-Day sample pack of Plexus Slim for $24.95 + tax + shipping ( $32.63 for each of you)
  2. YOU order a 30-day supply of Slim as a Preferred Customer for  $79.95 +tax +shipping ($91.88) and divide four ways. $22.97 each.
  3. YOU order a 30-day supply of Slim (same as above) and sell three sets of 7 to your friends for $25/each.   You end up paying $16.88 for nine packets of Slim and your friends save money on shipping by splitting it with you! Win-win!

Expectations: Take Slim and participate daily

If you’d like to know more, I’d be happy to tell you how you can join us and where to get your Pink Drink!

Plexus Slim pink drink

Celebrating Bretton’s 4th Birthday

Celebrating Bretton’s 4th Birthday

My son had been anticipating his birthday for at least two months before it actually happened. LOL.  We celebrated with his Obachan and G-pa at their place, pizza followed by cake and ice cream.  He got a few great book sets that come with little action figures.  He didn’t have a chance to blow out his birthday candles because his little brother beat him to it!

boy blowing out his birthday candles

boy blowing out his birthday candles

The following day, 4-21, was his actual birthday.  I took the day off because we had an appt for his early childhood screening.  The screening didn’t go so well but that isn’t the focus of this post.  When we got home we hung out for awhile reading books, opened up presents (he got the entire playset from Kong: Skull Island)  and then we took him to lunch at Tokyo Sushi.  This is one of our favorites places and my two kids together can eat for just $4.  Can’t beat that! They brought B his own little birthday treat

Later that afternoon after the kids had taken their naps, we headed out to the Mall of America.  We had some visitors from out-of-town staying at the Marriot that is attached to the Mall, so we met up with them and hung out for a bit before walking all over the mall.  The kids love these coin-operated “rides”

Then we went to the Sea Life Adventures aquarium (formerly known as Underwater Adventures).  The sharks and the Jelly fish were both a huge hit!

Seahorses

This aquarium featured a tunnel that led to a bubble within.  The kids could go through the tunnel and pop up inside the tank.  They loved that!!

Bashy is checking out the stingrays

After the aquarium we went to Nickelodeon World and took the boys on some rides.  I went on all of them with them so I didn’t get any pictures.  We had a great time!  Late that night after the Mall officially closed, we made our way to Cowboy Jack’s to meet our friends for late-night happy hour/dinner.  Only a few restaurants and bars at the MOA are still open after 9pm but we lucked out with half-priced appetizers!

We called it a night and the boys fell fast asleep on the car ride home.  What a fun day! I hope Bretton remembers it πŸ™‚

 

Book Challenge by Erin 6.0

Book Challenge by Erin 6.0

Despite being busy working full-time, mom to two young boys, running a side business, and just living life, I also make time whenever possible to read.  I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read 30 books this year.  That equates to 2 1/2 books every month.  So far I am slightly ahead of schedule.  I found this fun Book Challenge by Erin 6.0 early in April this year and even though I missed the first three months of time to intentionally partake (Jan 1-April 30, 2017), I jumped in anyway.  I used only books that have been read in 2017, but was able to make several of them count for the different categories πŸ˜‰  I got 140 points of a possible 200

Here is the link to Erin’s Book Challenge 6.0 Wrap-UP

5 points:  Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages. Thirteen Reasons Why. Very good! Different than the series in many ways.

Β·         10 points:  Read a book that starts with the letter β€œW”.

Β·         10 points:  Read a book with six words in the title.
So many numbers of words in titles but none of them had 6. Bummer!

 

Β·         15 points:  Read a book that has a (mostly) green cover.

Β·         20 points:  Read a book with a homonym in the title
Didn’t get this one
Β·         20 points:  Read a book by your favorite author.  I absolutely loved The Nightengale and have read several others by Kristin Hannah.  Chose this one for the challenge.
Β·        25 points:  Read a book set in the city/town/state/territory/county/province where you live.  I found a list that has books grouped by the State they are set within.  The Shoemaker’s Wife was on the list for Minnesota and was also on my TBR list, so I gave it go. Loved it!! Historical fiction.  It also took place in Italy and then later the Iron Range of MN.

Β·         30 points:   Read a β€œRory Gilmore” book.  The character of Rory from the Gilmore Girls was shown reading over 300 different books throughout the series. 
I’ve read 59 of the books on this list but didn’t read any since Jan 1st.
 
Β·         30 points:   Read a book from a genre that you’ve never read (or rarely read.) This is a ROMANCE novel, which I did not realize until I started reading it.  I have no problem with romance novels, but it’s been YEARS since I’ve read one.  I prefer books with depth and substance.  This wasn’t the type of romance that had me quivering with passion or anything, it was actually quite boring but I had time to kill and limited ebooks to read when I got sick with the Flu back in March.
Β·         35 points:   Read a book with time travel.  This was one of the most interesting books I read so far this year!! The characters use a machine to travel to parallel universes, with a feel very much like time-travel.  I loved it! And I am not at all a sci-fi girl.
 
The following people also participated!
Kristi & Kim’s Photo Hunt Challenge May 2017

Kristi & Kim’s Photo Hunt Challenge May 2017

May 2017 list:

  1. Something Bright
  2. A Landscape
  3. Something in season
  4. Black and white
  5. A reflection
  6. A closeup
  7. Something shiny
  8. Colorful
  9. A silhouette
  10. Something wet 

My Photo Hunt Challenges are back!!! Unfortunately I let the domain name expire on our original site, photohuntchallenges.dotcom and lost all the beautiful work so many had contributed over the three years it was up and running.  I’m happy to announce that I will be running these challenges again with my bestie Kim.  We will likely be hosting one every other month.

Photo Hunt Challenge Rules:

You must take your photos between May 1st and May 31st.  You ARE allowed (and encouraged!) to use Photoshop or other photo-editing software as you’d like (it often adds to the artistic
quality of the photo).

It is up to you whether you post your photos on your blog as you go,
or wait until May 31st to unveil them and make it a surprise.  One
thing I ask is that everyone who participates posts all 10 photos in
one single post on their blogs or in a set in an online gallery on
May 31st/June 1st.

A new post will go up here at Mi Vida Ocupada on June 1st. I
will be using an auto-link widget.  Anyone who completes
Photo Hunt Challenge May 2017 will need to add their name & the URL permalink of
where their Photo Hunt photos are posted.  

If you would like to participate, please sign-up by adding your name
and blog url to the Simply Linked widget below.   If you would like to recruit others for
Kristi & Kim’s Photo Hunt Challenge May 2017 or to announce your participation,
please feel free to post the above badge on your blogs and remember to
link back to this post.

Weekly Highlights ~ m4w4y17

Weekly Highlights ~ m4w4y17

Reflecting on the happy moments in my life

Last weekend was great but I’ve been feeling bummed this week for a few different reasons.  That’s why it is especially important to me that I reflect on the good things that have happened.

 Here are my highlights from the week of April 21-27, 2017.

  1. Using a sick day to have a day off for Bretton’s birthday
  2. Taking the boys to the Sea Life Adventures Aquarium at MOA
  3. Rides at Nickelodeon World
  4. Hanging with visitors from California 
  5. Half-priced appetizers at Cowboy Jack’s
  6. Beautiful, warm sunny weather for a day- We will take it whenever we can get it! LOL
  7. A trip to Brainerd International Raceway for a private event
  8. Free stay in a pretty cool condo
  9. Breakfast at the old-fashioned 371 Diner in Brainerd
  10. Iced coffee
  11. GREEN leaves and grass everywhere
  12. Productive planning with my team
  13. Big, exciting things coming (see #9)
  14. A successful early childhood screening for Bretton (2nd attempt)
  15. Early sunrise
  16. Plans for Kristi & Kim’s Photo Hunt Challenge May 2017
  17. Listening to my boys sing along to songs on the radio
My 12th Blogiversary!!

My 12th Blogiversary!!

12 Years of Blogging.   That represents 30% of my life thus far. That’s kind of crazy, isn’t it??? My first blog post was on April 15, 2005. I had seen the blogs of a couple of my scrapbooking friends, Lindsay and Nicole (who are pioneers in everything they do!) and I wanted one too.  I had already had my own website for 5 years at that point, a place for me to post photos, but I did not have the ability to write blog posts with the platform I used.  I instantly loved the idea of blogging and knew it was perfect for me.  My motivation for blogging is to get my thoughts out, to have a permanent place to document what’s going on in my life, to be able to connect with others, to teach and inform, to write about the adventures of my little boys Dash & Bash, and to share a piece of myself with the world.  I am not doing this for fame or fortune. LOL

A lot has changed in twelve years and some things have stayed the same.  One of these days I am going to go back to the beginning and read every post.  I’ve met some amazing people along the way who I consider to be great friends.  I think blogging can be extremely intimate and personal (I know this one is!) as are the relationships you develop as you really get to know someone.  

A few stats after 12 years:

Thanks for being here and taking time to read or comment.  I love being able to connect with each of you, whether you are a new reader, someone who has been with me since the beginning, or a friend I have met along the journey.

Peace and love to all!

Do You Suffer From Seasonal Allergies?

Do You Suffer From Seasonal Allergies?

Are any of you suffering from the dreaded seasonal allergies??? Unfortunately, this spring has already started out roughly for many people.

Sneezing, itchy, drippy nose and itchy, watery eyes.  Sound familiar?? That darn pollen!! Benedryl and other antihistamines can definitely work to alleviate your symptoms, but they can’t fix the actual problem.  They can actually worsen your symptoms in the long term and make you more dependent on allergy meds. 

Guess what? Pollen isn’t the problem.

So what IS the actual Problem??? Allergies are actually a mild auto-immune disease.  When your gut health is out of balance, your immune system will malfunction. Pathogens will overgrow and produce toxins such as histamines. Getting your gut healthy is the key to freeing yourself of many allergies and other auto-immune disorders. I got my information from this article, Pollen is Not the Problem if you’d like to read more.

If you’ve suffered from allergies for a long time, isn’t it worth it to try keeping them in check by getting your gut healthy?? You’ll feel so much better when you do!

I had seasonal allergies for many years but I can honestly say I no longer suffer. It’s a miracle! LOL. Not really, it’s just science. I’ve been taking a high-quality probiotic from Plexus called ProBio5 as well as a magnesium supplement called BioCleanse for over a year now and since I’ve gotten my gut healthy, my itchy nose and sneezing have completely stopped.  Many other ailments I had cleared up as well and I also have a very healthy immune system.  ProBio5 is very affordable ($29.95/mo) and will work wonders for those with allergies. 

I’d like to share the testimony of my oldest and best friend, Bradie.  We have known each other our entire lives (well since 3yo anyway!) and she had some of the worst allergies of anyone I know.  Bradie had spring and fall allergies, and was allergic to every tree and grass known to mankind.  Huge, puffy swollen eyes every spring when the trees started budding.  Mold, dust mites.  So many fruits and vegetables I can’t even name them all.  Bradie was absolutely against taking medications and suffered miserably.  She found the Plexus products in December 2015 and started taking the ProBio5.  Last spring, after we had both been taking the products for a few months, I mentioned to her that I noticed my allergies weren’t too bad this year, how were hers? It was in that moment that she realized that she wasn’t suffering as usual, either!!! What the what?! She was so encouraged that she attempted to eat celery and sugar-snap peas, two food that previously made her throat start swelling.  I would not recommend this and told her she was crazy! But guess what? She ate both foods without any reaction and has continued to push the limits. No more allergies.  She has even been able to eat some nuts that she had previously reacted to.

I can’t guarantee that taking the ProBio5 will clear up your seasonal allergies, but I do think it can help immensely!! And Plexus has a 60-Day Money back guarantee.  Try it consistently for at least two months and you will be sleeping better, have a boosted immune system, and will likely feel better than you have in a long time πŸ˜‰ Gut health is the key. 

I believe in these products so much that I became an Ambassador to spread the word! 

Celebrating Kim’s Birthday

Celebrating Kim’s Birthday

My dear friend Kim is another year older! It happens to the best of us, every single year. LOL  A few of us girls, along with Kim’s parents, met for dinner last week at Welsch’s Big Ten Tavern.  I hadn’t been there before but they had decent food.  I also brought the boys.  Bashy and I shared a calzone and Bretton had a cheeseburger (big surprise!)

Mary, Sonja, Kim and Myself.  Missing Lanee

Kimmy and I

Sonja and I

It’s always nice to see my girls, even if I have to bring Dash & Bash with me πŸ˜‰

A Letter to My Oldest Son on his 4th Birthday

A Letter to My Oldest Son on his 4th Birthday

Happy Belated Birthday Big Boy! (Your birthday was on Friday 4-21 but we had such a busy weekend that I finally finished writing this and posting it today πŸ˜‰

Four years old.  When they say it goes fast, it is so true.  Four years now since I gave birth to you, my sweet boy, and became a Mother.

a mother and her newborn baby. heart overfilled with joy

At times, though, I feel like I have known you much longer than just four years. This past year of “being three” has been a big challenge for us.  You are such a smart, strong-willed child! You test my patience every single day.  I hope you are always able to use this to your advantage

Bretton, you can be the most thoughtful, sweet boy.  Most days when I get home from work you are there to greet me at the door.  I love when you give me a kiss and hug and then ask me, “Mama, how was your day?” You are very affectionate and ask for hugs and kisses several times a day, and tell each of us how much you love us.  One of your favorite lines is “I love you all the time”. Its especially sweet to see you hugging and kissing your little brother.  It is obvious how much you love each other.

Mommy with two boys so much love

As challenging as it is to have two young boys so close in age, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  You and Sebastian are the best of friends.  You are very thoughtful toward him and outright protective.  You get offended if you think he has been served any kind of injustice, sometimes getting mad at me for scolding him or putting him in a time-out when he has done something naughty.  I hope you always stay close and continue to stand up for him your entire lives.  There are also plenty of moments that you don’t get along as well and fight with each other.  I see you pushing Bash’s buttons and trying to get him worked up.  You often think it is funny, but watch out, Bretton! Bashy doesn’t put up with that junk and you never know… some day he might end up bigger than you. LOL. Right now that doesn’t seem possible, as you are nearly double in size.

Little boys looking at basket full of easter eggs

 

You were a big baby at 9 lbs, Bretton, and at four years old, you are a very big boy! I mean that both mentally and physically.  In the past year, you have nearly doubled in weight to 65 lbs.  Most people who look at you and talk to you, think you’re five or six! You’re a good eater with a big appetite if it’s a food you like.  Some of your favorites are cheeseburgers, chicken with honey mustard, peanut butter “swamiches”, pizza, burritos, apples, grapes, strawberries.  You aren’t a big fan of vegetables but we sneak them in by giving you mixed veggie/fruit “fruit pouches”.  You also have a taste for candy and junk food.  I sometimes catch you sneaking these things under the dining room table.

Some of the things you are really into right now include Ghostbusters, TMNT, Spider-Man and anything spider-related.  You’ve had a fear of spiders since you were two years old but I’ve seen you conquer that fear head-on.  Very admirable.  I’m sure glad spiders don’t bother me because you have an entire collection of creepy toy spiders.  You love taking one of your giant toy spiders with you when we go out in public and you love showing that spider to people to see their reactions.  I have noticed this as a trend!! You love to get a reaction out of people.  You are very funny and have a great sense of humor.  I love the sound of your laugh!

 

little boy being silly and making a funny face

One of your most favorite “toys” of all is your “green 4-wheeler”.  This was a gift from your Dad last year when you turned 3.  You put many-a-mile on this bad-boy!! You drive this thing whenever you get a chance and you sure have impressive driving skills!! You love to give Bashy and other friends a ride, but you always want to be the driver. LOL.  You are a back-seat driver when daddy or I am driving too.  I often hear you say fromthe baskseat, “speed up” “give it some gas!” “switch over” “slow down” or “wait for the green light, Mama, then you can go!” You pay attention to your surroundings and know the local area as well.  You know the names of many streets and towns.  You know you live in Hugo, MN.

Little boys driving and riding in the dune buggy power wheels

This fall you will be going to school for the first time and I look forward to you making friends and building a love for school like your Mommy.  We have a few challenges with your behavior to work through but I know the structure and guidance will be great for you.  You are a quick learner and have an incredible gift to infer and comprehend what is happening around you and in the stories we read.  Please know I will always be here to guide and support you.

I love you so much, Bretton.  This next year is going to be wonderful for you!

Love, Mommy

Weekly Highlights ~ m4w3y17

Weekly Highlights ~ m4w3y17

Reflecting on the happy moments in my life

Highlights from the week of April 14-20, 2017:

  1. Having Good Friday off of work- This was a professional development day without students.  My school chose to do our hours individually throughout school year so we didn’t have to report
  2. Hanging with Rich, Jackson and Jacob- We met Rich and the boys at the park and then we hung out at our house.  Pizza from Pezzo for dinner!
  3. Lunch at Tokyo Sushi- This is one of our favorite places
  4. Easter Egg Hunt @ Pat & Jess’s- We drove out to the country to hang with a family of friends.  The kids had a lot of fun and enjoyed their goodies!
  5. A visit from the the Easter Bunny- Treats and activities galore!!
  6. Easter Brunch with Brian & Michelle- A delicious meal followed by a fun egg hunt
  7. A last meal with our beloved friends Darrell & Denise- Our dear neighbors have sold their home and are closing on it today 4/21. We had meats on the smoker and enjoyed the company for the last time as neighbors
  8. Borrowing the book Thirteen Reasons Why from Krysten
  9. Dinner at Welsch’s Big Ten with my BFFs for Kim’s birthday- We don’t get together as often as we used to so when we do, our time is special. 
  10. A deep conversation with my girl Noemy.  I love that she keeps it real for me
  11. Discovering a new way of doing things for our team
Thoughts for Thursday: Pizza Topping Combos

Thoughts for Thursday: Pizza Topping Combos

Good Morning and Happy Thursday!

I’m short on time this morning and I woke up really hungry.  You know what that means? That today I am going to blog about Food!! More specifically, pizza.  Doesn’t everyone love pizza?

Pizza is one of those foods that has so many different variables to it, that you could literally come up with thousands of combinations! Starting with the type of crust, then sauce, cheeses, and of course the toppings.  While I love a good ol’ pepperoni or sausage pizza, I have found that there are many other pizzas that I absolutely love.  I bet you do, too.  Last night at dinner with a group of friends, one of my BFFs was telling us that her favorite pizza has sauerkraut, pickles and sausage.  That’s a little weird, isn’t it? My theory is “don’t knock it until you try it”.  While I have never tried this seemingly strange combo, several other friends nodded in agreement that this was an awesome combo.

Here are some of my favorite combos that are a little out-of-the-ordinary.  Note: I love red sauce but these all feature a different sauce πŸ˜‰

      • Petso, Mushroom and Brie 

Mushroom and Brie Pizza at Freight House ~ Stillwater, MN

    • Pesto, shrimp and spicy sausage
    • Creamy dill sauce, caramelized red onion, roasted red bell pepper, grilled chicken
    • Tzaziki sauce, grilled chicken, sauteed red onion, feta and mozzarella, diced tomatoes with cool tzatziki drizzled on top
    • chive oil, fresh garlic, wild mushrooms and boursin cheese, topped with fresh sprouts.

Wild Mushroom Flatbread at Tria ~ North Oaks, MN

  • Pepperoni, pineapple, banana pepper and a splash of Franks hot sauce
  • Peanut sauce, mozzarella, spicy chicken, red onions, cilantro, carrots, bean sprouts, serrano chilies)

Thai Pizza at ZPizza ~ Roseville, MN

So, how about you? What non-standard combos have you tried that are really great together?

Beautiful Naples Beach and a Dolphin Cruise (Florida Day 2)

Beautiful Naples Beach and a Dolphin Cruise (Florida Day 2)

On our second full day in Florida, we made reservations to take a harbor cruise in Naples.  My parents live in Bonita Springs, which is about half way between Fort Myers and Naples, so it takes less than 25 minutes to get to either city. Perfect!!

After breakfast we drove to Naples.  First stop was THE BEACH!!!!! I have to confess that the water wasn’t quite this turquoise, this photo had a little help from a filter πŸ˜‰ It was beautiful though!

beautiful Naples beach gulf of mexico clear blue water

 

A Beach selfie!!

selfie at the beach!

Mi Familia

We didn’t stay at the beach too long because we needed to get over to Tin City to get on the boat.  The harbor cruise was pretty awesome! We got good seats in the front of the top deck.  The houses we saw, especially in Port Royal, were unbelievable!! Huge and mega-millions.


Port Royal Naples Florida million dollar homes

Hey Kids! How about sailing school? LOL.  We saw these little millionaires taking lessons.  It was pretty adorable!

We saw dolphins on a few different occasions which was really awesome too.

These photos just don’t do any of it justice!!!! I made a Florida Video that documents all of this and then some πŸ˜‰

After the cruise we took the kids to nearby Bonefish Grill and had lunch.  

The view from our patio table

Later that day we hung out on the lanai, had rotisserie chicken for dinner, and enjoyed our time together πŸ˜‰

Lunch at Ford’s Garage and Dinner on the Lanai (Florida Day 1)

Lunch at Ford’s Garage and Dinner on the Lanai (Florida Day 1)

Who’s ready to hear about our trip to Florida two months ago??!! LOL.  I made and posted this video of our trip  when we came home but I never posted any pictures and I haven’t written anything about it until now.  I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!  I apologize that this is a breakfast-to-bed type of post.  This is more for my benefit at this point πŸ˜‰

We arrived into Fort Myers late on a Thursday night and spent a few hours relaxing and catching up with my parents.  The kids and I sure have missed them. They built a house in Bonita Springs and moved there in November 2015.  They live there 7 months of the year and come back to MN for the summer.  Grandma and Bretton (aka Dash) are dressed like twinsies!! lol

The first real day that we were there was spent shopping and eating πŸ˜‰  None of us had sandals so we went to Beall’s and went on a mini-shopping spree.  We got a bunch of good stuff! Later we all went to the Miromar Outlets and had lunch at Ford’s Garage.

The boys loved the little pond that had a ton of turtles and koi

Ford Model-T at Ford's Garage in Estero Florida

This place is pretty cool!

A whole wall of beer taps!

Check out the sinks in the bathroom!! Have you ever seen anything like that?

Bathroom sinks made from tires at Ford's Garage in Estero Florida

Ford’s is known for their giant burgers. Yum. They brand their buns at Ford’s!

Burger at Ford's Garage

This green, tropical drink was fruity and delicious.  Very refreshing! I think it was probably called Antifreeze but I might have made that up! LOL

tropical green fruity cocktail

After lunch we ran to Winn Dixie to grab a few things. Bashy insisted on wearing his shades. LOL. He’s wearing his Darth Vader “You Don’t Wanna See My Dark Side” shirt.  No kidding.  This kid has a Temper!! We drove around for awhile until he fell asleep.  That’s how we roll πŸ˜‰

child from the dark side, star wars kid, future darth vader

Later that day we hung out on the Lanai at my parents’ house.  It is so peaceful hanging on the lanai, enjoying happy hour.  I’m not a big drinker but while on vacation, why not?! The following day I saw an alligator swimming across this pond in their backyard!!

The kids can’t get enough of Grandma πŸ˜‰ 

We  had pizza for dinner, followed by a fire in the fancy fire-pit-table.  More snuggles with Grandma πŸ˜‰

Ahhh, recounting our trip has me yearning to go back.  Thank goodness my folks come back to MN next week and will be staying for the summer! 

I have a few more days worth of Florida pictures to blog about and will be posting those soon πŸ˜‰

A Busy & Fun Easter Weekend

A Busy & Fun Easter Weekend

Now that I am blogging regularly again, I want to post about things going on while they are still fresh in my memory (instead of months later). I hope everyone had a nice weekend, whether you celebrate Easter or Passover.

We had a very busy, action-packed weekend and I want to recap it all here.

I had the day off on Good Friday.  Well actually, I should say that it was a professional development day for teachers in my district, no school for the kids.  My school opted to put our hours in over the course of the year so we could have Friday off.  I am so glad we did!! It was a really nice afternoon; the sun came out and the weather warmed up.  Our friend Rich (who lives like 40 miles away), also had the day off so he brought his boys up to our neck of the woods.  We met at the park and let the boys run around, swing, climb, dig, etc for about an hour.  After the park we all went back to our house where we continued to hang out, let the boys ride on Dash’s “4-wheeler” (as he calls it), and then we ordered Chicago deep-dish style pizza from Pezzo.  Best Chicago pizza in the Twin Cities!

Little boys driving and riding in the dune buggy power wheels

On Saturday afternoon we drove out to East Bethel to celebrate with a family of good friends.  The adults got to hang out and the kids got to hunt for Easter eggs.  Bash and Dash had never done an egg hunt before! Here they are checking out their stash of eggs!

Little boys looking at basket full of easter eggs

They also each got an easter basket full of goodies like these musical instruments NOISE MAKERS. Ay carumba! Now they think they’re each the next Mozart, blowing on these god-forsaken things for 15 hours a day. LOL.  These might be the first toys I’d gladly let the dog chew on and destroy!! Hahaha

One of the gifts in that basket were these eggs that you put in water and they hatch the next day! The first set of eggs didn’t fair well after Dash started smashing them on the counter to get them to crack.  He didn’t realize how they were supposed to work and I didn’t catch him until it was too late!!! Good thing we had two sets so we could try again.  We put one egg in water late Saturday night and on Sunday we woke up to a dinosaur hatching.  Dash was mesmerized!!!

The Easter Bunny also came to our house Sunday morning and Dash was out of bed hours earlier than usual.  He proceeded to find both baskets sinch Bashy was still sound asleep.  Books, candy, trucks, tattoos, pencils, etc. Here is Bash checking out some of his new stuff

Later Sunday morning we went to my brother Brian’s house for Easter brunch with Michelle’s family.  We’ve been doing a variation of this for years! We had a nice spread followed by another Easter Egg hunt.  I didn’t take many pictures of the event because I was trying to help Bashy find all his eggs.  We also brought my nephew a present since we missed his party in March.

My nieces and nephew.  They are all getting so grown up! Ages 11, 10, and 9

Here Bretton takes a break

Michelle was taking pictures and I guess Bash decided to be camera shy! LOL

So much fun all weekend and this wasn’t even the last of it!!! Our beloved neighbors are temporarily back at their Hugo house (they’ve been living somewhere else the past year) as they pack up the last of their belongings before their house is officially sold this coming Friday.  They invited us over for one last hurrah.  Smoked turkey, rice and salads.  It was low-key and nice to spend time with them.  The boys will greatly miss Uncle Darrell and Aunt Denise but we know we will still see them πŸ™‚ More easter candy and goodies.

When we returned home on Sunday, our dog was acting very sick.  I was concerned maybe he had gotten into something he shouldn’t have (candy, toys), but there was no evidence of that and he was in the kennel all day.  It seemed to be short-lived though, thank God.  I was so worried, it made me realize that he has grown on me more than I thought πŸ˜‰ 

Whew! Busy but fun.  Now on to a great week ahead!

xoxo