loving lately with blue diamond

August 15, 2014 in Blog, Blogging, Blue Diamond, Lists, Loving Lately, Review by lindsaymwright

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.  All opinions are my own.

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Oh my word – I’m so happy it’s Friday.  We’ve got a big weekend planned around here (Clara turns 4!).

I’m back with another edition of “Loving Lately!”  These are some of my favorite posts because I get to share a few of my latest finds.  When I see these on other blogs, I love reading about what everyone suggests.  It’s probably my number one place for getting ideas about where to spend my money/what to watch/what to wear/etc.

Here’s what I’m loving lately:

1.  The mere thought of FALL!

Fall has always been my very favorite season.  The crisp air, the changing of the leaves, the seasonal FOOD (pumpkin spice in everything…candy corn…oh yes!)!  I have big plans for all the fun Fall activities that I want to do.  One that I know of right off hand is a corn maze that our co-op is going to.  I’m probably more excited about that than the kids are…mostly because they haven’t a clue what I’m talking about when I say we’re going to meander through endless corn and find our way to the middle.

2.  This lotion.

Seriously.  If you’re in need of a new body lotion, try the Organix Moroccan Argan Oil.  It’s not too heavy (IMO) and the smell is WONDERFUL!!  (I also love their shampoo and conditioner.  I also hear they make BODY WASH, but haven’t gotten my hands on that yet.)

3.  Running!

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I signed Travis and I up for a mud run in mid-September (more news on that to come) so I figure I need to amp up my running game.  I go in and out of phases where I really, really love it and then I really, really don’t.  Right now, I’m loving the feeling of getting out there first thing (after Porter’s nursed – the boobs need to be scaled down a bit before any running happens) and getting some miles under me.  Travis absolutely HATES running so this will be a fun little adventure for us.

I actually need to buy some new running shoes – any suggestions?

4.  The Ibotta App!

If you’ve read my Couponing 101 post, you’ve heard about how amazing this smartphone app is!  Ibotta is an online couponing app that helps you save money.  In order to earn coupons, you take quizzes (like 1 second quizzes…nothing crazy), share on FB or Twitter, take a poll, etc.  Then you go to the store, buy and pay for the product and then take a picture of your store receipt (proving that you did indeed purchase the item).  All coupon money goes into your main account and you can cash it out at any time – transfering it to your Paypal account or purchasing a gift card (Starbucks, Whole Foods, ITunes, etc).  I’ve been using it for about a year and have $69.25 in my account – not too much but it’s something!  I’m not affiliated with them in any way – just really love this app!

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The best part is that you can layer regular coupons with Ibotta coupons.  I saved a total of $1.55 yesterday on these Laughing Cow wedges, making them 95 cents!

5.  New SNACKS!

As you guys know, I’m part of the Blue Diamond Tastemakers program . We recently received their two new flavors: Honey Roasted Chipotle and Honey Roasted Almond.

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My oh my – these are GOOD.  I haven’t met a Blue Diamond flavor that I didn’t enjoy, but these just take it to another level!  I brought them to the pool as a snack (for myself) and the kids gobbled them up fast.

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According to the company website, they also came out with nut thins and almond milk, all within the “honey” theme!  Read more about it here!  Oooooo…I can’t wait to try the honey almond milk out!

6.  My sister!

Lastly, I flippin’ love my sister.  Not only did she subconsciously make her body go into labor on the same day as me (resulting in two adorable cousins that share a special birthday) but she also just bought me a BOSU for my birthday!!!!

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Perfect for our home gym!!

In all seriousness, I’m going to cry when she goes back to work next Monday (she’s a teacher).   We’ve seen each other almost every single day since April 14th and I’ve been spoiled with her company.  We’ve always been pretty close, but having babies together just took it to a whole different level. I love you, Kate.

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For more Loving Lately posts, go here and here (pregnancy edition) and here.

QUESTION:  What’s one thing you’re LOVING LATELY??

splendid…lindsay

tips for saving time in the kitchen

August 14, 2014 in Blog, Breakfast, Dinner, Family, Favorites, Food, Lunch, Review by lindsaymwright

**I was sent free product by Flapjacked Protein Pancakes in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own and I have/will used my own money to purchase this product before!**

We’ve all been there.

You open the fridge and there’s absolutely nothing to eat.  Or rather, there’s a yogurt, two sticks of celery, deli meat and a hunk of cheese that you vaguely remember buying last week.  Or was it last month.  Just scrape the mold off.  Cheese is supposed to be moldy and stinky.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have some freezer meals tucked away from after Porter’s birth (thanks to our church family!!!) but for the most part I still have to prepare food, three times a day, seven days a week, for this family of five.

Meh.

I want to like being in the kitchen.  I want to like preparing meals.  But I just don’t.  I don’t have that part of homemaking in me.  Luckily my clan is easy to satisfy: cereal for dinner (and lunch…and breakfast), casseroles, crockpot dishes, mac n’ cheese and microwave quesadillas.  Those are our “go-to’s.”

(Yes.  I said microwave quesadillas.)

Since I’ve yet to find a personal chef that will cook in return for a smile and one of Clara’s crayon drawings, I have to get myself in the kitchen and feed this family.  Here are some of my “go-to” tips for saving time in the kitchen.  SUPER applicable coming from the laziest mama around.

Tips for Saving Time in the Kitchen

1.  Prepare lean proteins in advance!

In an effort to eat healthy, we always buy a large pack of chicken breasts and grill them at the start of the week.  Money saving tip: buy the largest pack you can find (on sale) and then cut off the skin and de-bone at home.  You’ll save quite a bit of money over time and it doesn’t take that long.  I even use kitchen shears to cut the chicken into long, tenderloin-type strips so that they grill faster!  Once cooked, we store the chicken in the fridge for up to 3-4 days and incorporate them into our meals!  Thirty minutes to prep your meats will save you a lot of time during the week.

Other lean proteins that pair easily with steamed veggies or on a big salad:  baked/grilled turkey breast, hard-boiled eggs, diced honey baked ham.

2.  Aluminum foil is your friend!

In order to save time scrubbing grease and cooked-on particles from your baking dishes, line everything with aluminum foil.  Once your dish is cooked, you simply throw out the aluminum foil – no elbow grease required.  I also buy crockpot liners that function in the same manor.  (Coupons.com almost always has a $.75 coupon for Reynold’s wrap foil!)  Who wants to be stuck scrubbing dishes?!   Not I.

3.  Pre-cut your fruits and vegetables.

Whenever I prepare our grilled chicken for the week, I also take the time to cut up broccoli, cauliflower and carrots (we go through SO many carrots!).  I also make a large bowl of fruit salad (cantaloupe, peaches, blueberries and cherries are in our fridge now).  When healthy items like these are prepped (and put at an easy level for the kids to grab), we gobble them up much faster.

4.  Make breakfasts EASY!!

My last tip:  prep your breakfasts!  If there’s one meal that I rarely have time to cook, it’s breakfast!  This often results in us having cereal, but I’m really trying to mix things up and provide a little more protein at this meal.  That’s where Flapjacked Protein Pancakes help out!  With this easy to make (seriously, all you need is water), high protein, high fiber option, I can create a large batch at the start of the week and FREEZE them in ziplock bags!  I just pop a few in the microwave and serve them up!

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We like to add blueberries or chopped bananas and strawberries to the mix and then top them with almond butter and maple syrup.  I think the one thing I like the best is that after I eat these protein pancakes, I don’t feel like there’s a big glob of dough in the bottom of my belly – they’re light!!  One serving has just 200 calories and 17 grams of protein!  Waaaaaay better than a bowl of cereal.

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Flapjacked is having a BACK TO SCHOOL SALE (starting today and running through the 17th).  Take 20% off your total order by using the promo code: BACKTOSCHOOL!

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Go here to buy! You can also stay current with later sales by following them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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QUESTION:  What are some of YOUR tips for saving time in the kitchen?  (seriously – I’ll take any advice you can throw my way!)

splendid…lindsay

back to school with finish line

August 11, 2014 in Blog, Homeschooling, Kids, Review by lindsaymwright

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Clara:  Shirt and shoes, Nike. Backpack, Under Armour

Henry:  Shirt and shoes, Nike.  Backpack, Under Armour

Finish Line recently sent us some goodies to help the kids’ back-to-school wardrobe.  One of the perks of being homeschooled is that you can literally sit around all day in your pjs, but I still try to make an effort to get us all dressed and ready for the day even if we’re not leaving the house.  (Which in all honesty rarely happens.  I am the stay-at-home mom who never stays home.)

We took a couple of weeks off from formal school during our beach trip (and the week after) but start back up again TODAY.  Armed with coffee and some freshly sharpened pencils, we’ll start Henry on his first grade assignments and Clara on some Kindergarten fundamentals.  I’m using a mish mash of curriculums (Sing, Spell, Read & Write, Reading Eggs, Math Seeds and a few Kumon workbooks) and I actually have a PLAN for how this year will look.  This same time last year, I was so sick with Porter’s pregnancy that we struggled through a lot of the first few months.  Luckily my children just went along with the ride and retained a TON of information – Henry learned to read chapter books and Clara can do most anything I ask of her.  (Except to stop singing “Let It Go” off key.  She most definitely will not stop doing that.)

I’m truly excited to see what this year of homeschooling will bring!  Exciting times ahead for us Wrights!

QUESTION:  If you have kids, when do they start back to school?  How old?

splendid…lindsay

*I received free product in return for a review. All opinions are my own. 

beach vacation recap (the condo/digital detox)

August 8, 2014 in Blog, Review, Travel, Trips by lindsaymwright

The last of the beach recaps, I swear!

I’m so glad you guys liked the workouts that I shared – if you missed them, go back and start pinning – and I’m especially glad that we can talk about our messy lives!  Even though I haven’t met most of you, I still feel all friend-like up in here.

Today I’m sharing a bit of information about our condo (for anyone who’d like to book) and my thoughts on the digital detox that I took while away.

Our Condo

First things first – I don’t own a beach condo.  Man, that would be SO nice.  We actually stay at a friend’s condominium located in the Blue Lupine at Blue Mountain Beach, Florida.  I can’t say enough great things about it!  I tried to get in there and take pictures before any of our things were unpacked (you should have seen the amount of junk that three vacationing families can fit into one condo!).

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The condo has 3 bedrooms and 3 baths (sleeps 8!) and sits on the fourth floor so the views are phenomenal (The Blue Lupine is right on the beach with gated stair access).  This condo gets booked up quickly in advance so if you’re considering a Destin/Blue Mountain Beach vacation, you should jump on it!  I talked to the owner and he is honoring a DISCOUNT for Lindsay’s List readers – all you have to do is mention that you read about it here (I get no referral fee or anything – I just like this place so much).  Go here to book!

Digital Detox: Reflections

While we were at the beach, my goal was to completely step away from the blog (writing and reading other blogs) and all social media (instagram, facebook, twitter).  I knew going in to this challenge that I would have to be at least a little connected because of a Verizon campaign that I’m currently working on, but for the most part I just wanted to not even LOOK at my phone for the week.

The first two days were hard.

I noticed that reaching for my phone is such a HABITWhen I was bored.  When we were waiting at a red light (me in the passenger seat).  Even in the short elevator ride down to the pool.  It was a habit for me to look at my phone.  Then I’d remember that I wasn’t supposed to be looking and I’d put it away.  By day 3, I just kept the phone on the bedside table and it really didn’t move that much for the rest of the week.  I used it to take pictures but the draw of browsing Instagram or Facebook just lost it’s appeal.

I really want to become more intentional with my phone.  I’m not one to set hard and fast rules (i.e. no phone on xyz days or times) because then I’ll just rebel against them.  I know that’s crazy but that’s me.  My goal is to just be more present with whatever is in front of me – sometimes during the day, that IS my phone or computer – and that’s ok.  With three kids and a husband to tend to though, I don’t have much time to dawdle with technology.  And that’s ok too.

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QUESTION:  Ever thought of taking your own “digital detox”?  Been to Destin/Blue Mtn. Beach?  Where does your family vacation?

splendid…lindsay

summer entertaining with blue diamond

July 22, 2014 in Blog, Blue Diamond, Review, Snack by lindsaymwright

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.  All opinions about the nuts and soccer are my own.

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Let’s talk soccer here for a second.

Point blank.  It’s a “meh” for me.

I grew up playing basketball, softball, and running track and cross country.  I think I might have played one year of youth soccer – I vaguely remember seeing a picture at my mama’s house the last time I went through old pictures.  I guess since neither of my parent’s played, they didn’t encourage us to play.  (Isn’t that how it goes?  You might encourage a love of all sports but deep down inside you love seeing your little ones choose the sports you played.  Every time I see Henry run, I feel a little happy that he might take up running.  Time will tell.)

Anyway, Travis absolutely ADORES soccer.  Like adores!  Watching it, playing it….those are all the soccer verbs I can think of right now.  He told me that when the World Cup was on twelve years ago that he would get up at 2am every day just to watch the games.  That’s LOVE, you guys.  I get up to nurse a child and only because it shuts the crying up – I can’t imagine getting up in the middle of the night to watch soccer.

Blue Diamond sent us some of their almonds (whole natural and rosemary & black pepper) to party with this Summer.  Since we HAD to watch the World Cup finals, I figured this would be the perfect chance to share our bounty (aka create a situation that was fun for the girls.  Snacks and gossip with a side of soccer background noise).  I made a simple trail mix with the whole natural (equal parts almonds, craisins, crushed pretzel chips and white chocolate) and we paired the rosemary/black pepper with some good German beer.  You know…to show our support (and it worked!!).

Rah-rah soccer!  You’re still a “meh” for me.  Sorry.  But I’ll “watch” you for the snacks.

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QUESTION:  Love soccer??  What’s your favorite sport to play?  To watch??

splendid…lindsay

blue diamond blueberry-coconut almond butter

July 1, 2014 in Blog, Blue Diamond, Food, Recipe, Review by lindsaymwright

As part of my ambassadorship with Blue Diamond Almonds*, I was sent some of their Blueberry and Toasted Coconut almonds to test out.  First let me tell you that we’ve been buying BD almonds for …forever.  I’m a big fan of the Low Sodium Roasted Salted and Travis loves the natural ones.  I’d never tried either of these new flavored ones and wanted to do something special with them.  Think, Lindsay, think!

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A muffin??  <-baking required.  plus it’s summer and you have to heat up the oven.  bleck.

Some sort of protein ball??  <-I’d eat the whole batch before the camera made its way into the kitchen.

Arrange the almonds in some sort of cool pattern on a plate (maybe like an American flag??) and call it a kid’s snack??  <-tempting…really tempting..but too lazy even for me. 

What about…..

Almond butter!

We eat nut butters every day.  Why not try my hand at a homemade version (something I’d never done before).

Apparently you need three things for homemade nut butter:  A high speed blender (or food processor), almonds and patience.

I have a Blendtec that rarely gets used.

I have these delightful almonds.

I have no patience.

Crap.

 

Reason #57 why I could never be a food blogger.  You have to have patience.  (Reason #1 would be that I suck at cooking….)

I searched and searched but couldn’t find a recipe that included prepackaged, dry roasted almonds like the ones I’d been sent.  I wanted to see a recipe where you just open a canister of almonds, dump them in, grind and VOILA – nut butter!!  Every single one required RAW almonds and sometimes you had to soak them before grinding.  What if my Blendtec caught on fire?!?!  I even texted my foodie friend Tina and asked.  She didn’t know if it could be done.

Turns out it can!

And with no soaking required!

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This blueberry-coconut almond butter is crunchy, not drippy – just the way I like it!

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The add-ins of coconut oil and fresh blueberries pair nicely with the flavored almonds and also provide “liquid” so your blender can handle the mixing.  You can spoon this onto crackers, pancakes, yogurt …or in our case, dunk your Teddy Grahams.  Feet first.  (it’s a little nicer that way)

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Blueberry-Coconut Almond Butter

Yields 1 cup

  • 1 canister (6oz) Blue Diamond Almond Toasted Coconut flavor
  • 1 canister (6oz) Blue Diamond Almond Blueberry flavor
  • 1-2 T organic coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Combine almonds and coconut oil in a high speed blender or food processor.  Blend for 10-12 minutes, stopping often to scrape the sides and bottom.  When the almonds turn into butter, pulse in blueberries.  Store in a glass jar.  Enjoy often!

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QUESTION:  Ever tried your hand at homemade nut butter?

splendid…lindsay

*This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond.  All opinions expressed are my own.