Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sun Basket Review and Giveaway

I have a fun new review and giveaway for you today! Be sure you read to the bottom of this post for a chance to win 3 free meals from Sun Basket!
Sun Basket is a new subscription service that delivers fresh ingredients to your home so that you can create healthy and delicious meals.  The recipes are updated weekly on their website and include gluten-free, vegetarian, and paleo options. (See current menu here). Simply select your 3 meals and you will receive everything you need to make restaurant-worthy dishes. Everything arrives labeled and pre-measured, so dinner will be on the table in under 30 minutes!

What makes Sun Basket unique is their commitment to using local, organic, seasonal ingredients.
According to their website, "Our mission is to bring the West Coast's best farm fresh food directly to your table. We're passionate about supporting independent farmers, ranchers, and fishermen who offer you the highest quality, sustainable ingredients."
I recently had the chance to try out Sun Basket! I was so excited to find the cute box on my porch, bursting with fresh ingredients.

My 3 meals were each packaged separately with very clear labels on everything. I immediately knew what I would be cooking for dinner that night.
Another neat feature of this service is their packaging. Everything is 100% recyclable, and I was provided with a prepaid mailing label to attach to my box. My mail carrier picked it up directly from my porch to take back to Sun Basket.
Here are the 3 recipes I selected. Prepare for your taste buds to be tempted!
Recipe #1: Chickpea Burgers with Carrot and Cucumber Slaw
This meal was incredibly easy to make, and made huge portions! I loved the addition of mint to the cucumber/carrot slaw, and the chickpea burgers were hearty and delicious.
 Recipe #2: Orecchiette with Corn, Leeks and Ricotta
This was another yummy meal! I have never eaten corn raw, nor have I used hazelnuts in a savory dish. But the end result was creamy and crunchy and really satisfying. I love trying new ingredients and flavor combinations.
 Recipe #3: Steak with Romesco Sauce and Kale Salad
This steak was so flavorful, but the romesco sauce truly stole the show. I knew what romesco sauce was but had never tried it before this recipe. Adam loved the sweet tangy sauce, and now I plan on making it again in the future.

Overall I was really pleased with the recipes that I tried. The quality of the ingredients was excellent, and I loved knowing that my food came from local farms.  This type of service is really convenient for those looking to save time on meal prep and grocery shopping. It is also a fun way to try new flavors and have fun in the kitchen with your family.

Try Sun Basket for yourself and use my link to receive $30 off your first order! HERE
Enter the giveaway below to win 1 week of free Sun Basket meals (3 meals for 2, worth $60).
***Please note, at this time Sun Basket is only shipping to California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Nevada.
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Firsts At The Park

We've had such mild weather lately, so I've been spending a lot of time at the park with the kids. We went last week and Jenna had a few "firsts".
First time sitting up in the stroller! She could have done this a lot sooner but both boys usually sit in it, so she never had a chance. This day I made Ryan walk so Jenna could get used to the stroller. (And my aching back could get used to not wearing her!)
 Her favorite part was chewing on the strap, obviously.
At the park I put Jenna in the swing for the first time. She was mostly interested in smiling at the little girl swinging next to her.
 Jenna also had her first picnic.
She's getting pretty good at waving now!
Ryan had a lot of fun too.
He was really excited to ride home next to Jenna. He is such a good brother to his baby sister!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Power of a Praying Parent

I recently purchased the book "The Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omartian. And I am so glad I did!
I will be the first to admit that I'm not always the best about praying regularly. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. It's something I am working on, so I thought I would pick up this book and see what it was all about. I am only halfway through, but I have learned so much about praying not only for my children, but just prayer in general. Here are a few quotes from the book:

"When we pray for our children, we are asking God to make His presence a part of their lives and work powerfully on their behalf......our prayers are never lost or meaningless. If we are praying, something is happening, whether we can see it or not......All that needs to happen in our lives and the lives of our children cannot happen without the presence and power of God. Prayer invites and ignites both......At every stage of their lives our children need and will greatly benefit from our prayers......don't ever underestimate the power of a praying parent."

There are so many things to worry about when it comes to our children. Am I right? Just to name a few worries on my mind, I worry about Ryan starting kindergarten and being exposed to bad influences, I worry about Lucas' aggression and how he will handle it as he grows bigger, and I am worrying about an upcoming doctor appointment to check on a health concern I have with Jenna. One way to handle worry is through prayer. It helps us to release the power over to God and take the burden of worrying off of ourselves.

As I read through this book I am getting so many ideas of things to pray about for Ryan, Lucas and Jenna. I am praying for their future spouses, their health, their hearts, and their future relationships with God. Each chapter in the book focuses on a specific topic and then guides you through a prayer, inserting your child's name.

I wanted to share this book with you all because I feel like it's the kind of book I will read over and over. There will always be something to pray about as a parent! Have any of you read it?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jenna: 8 Months

Jenna you are 8 months old today! You are such a joy and still such a happy girl! Anytime someone smiles at you, your face just lights up.
As I was reviewing my photos of you for this month I realized I have a lot of pictures of you in your highchair! I guess you do spend a fair amount of time there. You love finger foods and I love having you close by while I'm doing stuff in the kitchen. One of your favorite foods right now is shredded cheddar cheese. Yum!
You are starting to become more verbal. Your favorite sound right now is "NANANANA". I have also heard you say yaya and dada once.You are currently cutting your top two teeth. So far they haven't caused you too much pain or kept you up at night much.

Speaking of sleep, you are still an awesome little sleeper! You generally sleep through the night about 10-11 hours. You take a 1.5 hour nap every morning and a shorter nap in the afternoon, closer to 45 minutes. I feel like pinching myself sometimes to make sure this is real. A baby who actually sleeps!

Your gross motor skills are developing much slower than your brothers. You are such a lazy little baby! You are a pro at rolling to get something you want. But you really haven't made any attempts to crawl yet. You lay on your stomach with your arms behind you and "swim" or "fly". It's like you don't even understand that you need to pull with your arms in order to crawl. You are content to just lay there and look cute. You are getting better at sitting up.

Separation anxiety definitely set in this month. I have tried leaving you a couple times with people other than Daddy......and you just cried your little eyes out both times. You scan the room looking for me and then start sobbing until I come back. I know this is a normal phase for most kids, and your brothers did the exact same thing. I guess it's nice to be so needed!

We call you all sorts of nicknames, and most of them have "goo" in them. Goo goo girl, Goo goo Mae, Jenna Mae Ah Goo, and Goozy Girl.

I love seeing your little personality starting to emerge! You are starting to get a little goofy, making cute faces at us to make us laugh. You still make a really cheesy stinky smiley face. I love it!

Jenna you bring so much joy to this house! I can't wait to see how mobile you become this next month. And I'm excited to see more of your sweet little personality emerge. I love you sweet Jenna Mae!

Your first selfie:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer Struggle

Summer is all about being a little lazy because you don't have lots of plans. It's about staying in your jammies later in the morning and just seeing where the day takes you. No getting up early for school, no sports practices to get to. No Mom's group meeting or playdates. I know a lot of Moms (and kids!) who love summer because of its freedom. Me? I'm really struggling with it! I love structure. I like having a plan for my day, and knowing what we'll do at what times. I like seeing my calendar filled up with things to do during the week. Sure, we have our fair share of just "free play" time........
But after a while I need to get out of the house or I honestly feel like I'm going a little bit crazy. Staying at home lounging around can make me start to feel depressed. So I try really hard to plan things for us to do. Simple things like going to the farmer's market or having a picnic at the park get written on my calendar. I like having these things to look forward to.

My problem is that going out alone with all 3 of my kids causes me a bit of anxiety. There are a million reasons why it is hard. Just packing enough essentials for 3 little kids can be stressful. (drinks, snacks, extra diapers, extra underpants, extra pants, stroller, etc etc etc). Then there's the process of getting all 3 into the car.

But the real stress for me starts when we're out and other people are around. It is really hard to control my kids when we are out. At any moment one of them could bolt (Lucas I'm talking about you) and make me chase after them, all while wearing the baby. At any moment one of my kids could throw a tantrum and embarrass me. One could drench their last spare outfit in juice. Knock over a display case in the store. Punch their brother in the face. Throw their sippy cup into a public fountain. Poop all over themselves and me. (Not that any of these things have ever happened. HA)
And yet I keep going out. Almost every day we go on an adventure somewhere. And I'm realizing that it's one of those things that gets a bit easier over time because each time I go out, I gain a little bit more confidence as a mother. I'm learning not to care so much what those around me are thinking. I'm learning to focus on my kids and not change the way I parent them just because other people are watching. I'm also learning to lower my expectations.....drastically. If we make it home without anyone losing a limb or their underpants, I'm calling it a successful outing.
Do you get anxious going out in public with your kids? Do you enjoy the summertime or do you struggle like I do?

Friday, July 17, 2015

33rd Birthday

I had a perfectly wonderful birthday this year. Adam unexpectedly had the day off from work, so that was really nice. I was greeted in the morning by these three cuties:
 And some doughnuts and dutch brothers coffee! Major sugar overload!
 The boys surprised me with some thoughtful presents:
The afternoon was pretty typical....a run to Home Depot and some laundry. We finished off the night with a dinner out to Spaghetti Factory.

Overall it was a great birthday and I felt so blessed by my family all day!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Stitch Fix Review #17

I'm back with a fun box full of Stitch Fix goodies!
I love Stitch Fix for so many reasons, there are too many to list. Receiving clothes in the mail like this is not only fun and exciting, but also really practical and helpful. Being a stay at home Mom means I often don't see another adult during the day. I have found myself at times falling into the pattern of wearing workout clothes or a saggy baggy old t-shirt, especially if I don't plan on leaving the house that day. After all, my kids don't care what I wear. Why put in the effort of putting on real clothes and a little makeup if nobody is going to see me?

Well I have found that I really do feel different when I take 5-10 minutes to look more presentable. I feel more confident, prettier, more productive.....and I never know when I'll end up bumping in to someone I know! Stitch Fix has really helped me to boost my wardrobe so that I have cute pieces I can grab and put on. It makes getting dressed in the morning pretty fun!

This month I asked my stylist for casual tank tops and shorts. I specified that I'd like fewer overall prints this time. I was looking for more versatile items in solid colors with unique detailing. My summer wardrobe is slowly starting to fill in, but I'm feeling like I need a few more basics to get me through the rest of the summer. We still have at least 2-3 more months of hot weather here! I also told my stylist that this was my "birthday fix", so I'd like something fun or extra special.

My stylist wrote to me: "Hi, Stephanie! Happy Birthday! I hope you find the perfect present for yourself in this Fix! Thank you so much for keeping your Pinterest board updated with the current styles and pieces you are looking for, it is so helpful! I'm so glad you requested shorts again because I found you the perfect pair by Dear John that are going to be incredibly flattering on you. They come with a cuff that you can adjust to get the perfect length for your figure. Try them on with the gorgeous purple top by Fun2Fun or the embroidered Skies are Blue tank. These pieces are simple and versatile and have unique details that will make them stand out. Since this is a special Fix, I found you a romantic lace top by Loveappella that will be perfect for a date night out with our husband to celebrate your birthday! Enjoy your Fix! Heather"
I have a couple days until I have to return my unwanted items in the prepaid envelope Stitch Fix provided to me.  I need your help this month! What should I keep? I'm tempted to keep everything because then I will receive a 25% discount off of everything, which is a pretty sweet deal. The cost to keep more than two items is MORE than it would cost me to keep everything! So I need to either settle on one or two favorites, or keep the whole box. What would you do?

Blythe Tie Neck Knit Tank by Skies are Blue
I loved the look of this top right out of the box. Adam even said he knew I would love it as soon as he saw it. I love the coral color, the embroidery detail, and I even love the lace-up tie on the front. My only issue with this tank is that it is a big large in the chest, near my armpits. If you look at the third photo above, you can see how it gapes a little bit in that area. It almost seems like the armholes are just too big for me. This top is made out of cotton so if I kept it I could try shrinking it a little bit. However, the more I look at the pictures, the more I wonder if the overall look of the shirt is a little too young looking for me. What do you think?

Shaeden Lace Overlay Knit Tank by Loveappella

I don't wear a lot of black because I'm not so sure my pale skin looks great in it. However, I love the look of this top. The lace circle detail that you see by my neckline is so pretty. The shirt feels like it is really well made. My one concern is that the fit feels a bit boxy. I can't tell if the style of the shirt is too boxy for my frame, or if the shirt is just a little too big on me. And let's be honest....I don't get dressed up much, so I don't really have a good reason to buy something black and lacy. I'm not sure I would have a reason to wear this shirt very much. I do really like it though! And if I kept it, Adam would HAVE to take me out for a nice birthday dinner, right??

Newcomb Crochet Detail Top by Fun2Fun
I love purple! It is one of those colors that always makes me feel pretty, and yet I only own one purple top in my entire closet. The fit of this top is great. It is slightly longer in the back, which I think is a nice look as long as the length difference isn't huge between the front and the back. It is perfect on this shirt. I also like the split neckline and detailing around the top. It is very subtle, but just enough to make it cute and not boring. I also like that purple is a color that can carry over well into Fall, so I can see myself wearing this under a cardigan once the weather cools off. The style card suggested pairing it with white jeans and a denim jacket, so I tried out that look and I really like it for the Spring season. I'm definitely leaning towards keeping this one. It's simple but pretty and versatile.

Larisa Crochet Trim Knit Top by Skies are Blue

I'm still trying to decide how I feel about this top. I initially really liked it. The cobalt blue color is beautiful and flattering. The straps show off my shoulders which are finally starting to show a tiny bit of a tan. Ha! The crochet detail along the bottom is very pretty and feminine, and I love how it pops against a pair of white pants or shorts. However, I wish the crochet detail extended all the way around the back. The back of this shirt just seems a little strange because it is slightly shorter than the front. When I look at myself from the side the shirt just hangs on me and looks kind of strange. Again, I can't tell if the top is too big or if it just has a boxy fit.

Lillie Cuffed Short by Dear John
These shorts are by the same brand as the shorts I kept from a few fixes ago. I wear those shorts all the time, so I assumed I would like these. They are a cute basic pair of cuffed denim shorts. Now, I already own two pairs of denim shorts. One is a darker wash without a cuff and one is a lighter wash with a cuff. This pair from Stitch Fix falls somewhere in the middle in terms of color. They fit well when I first put them on. But after wearing them around the house for less than an hour, they were already sagging off of me. I always have this problem with jeans and shorts. Even if they are my correct size, they sag off of me in the back. I don't like wearing belts but maybe I need to invest in a couple. Anyone else have this problem? If I kept these I could try to shrink them a bit.

So overall this fix was definitely my style. Unfortunately I had a couple fit issues. I'd like your input on what I should keep and what I should send back!

One of the best perks of Stitch Fix is their referral program. Any time someone signs up to receive their first box using my referral link, I receive a $25 credit towards a future purchase. And you would get your own unique referral code to share with your friends once you sign up for your first box! It's a pretty great deal. Here is my referral link if you are interested in trying out Stitch Fix.