Friday, July 11, 2014

Our Big Fourth of July Weekend!

Have you ever joined your in-laws and your own family together? I'm not just talking about having your family meet together at the wedding or reception, I'm talking about getting everyone together because they want to, not because they have to. I was excited to have two families who mean so much to me together! My parents invited Andrew's family out to Vernal for the weekend of the fourth, I think everyone was a little worried, but it turned out just fine and everyone had a blast!

^^ cowgirl lottie (with a filthy shirt!)

^^ waving to the parade
^^ sleepy babes
^^ fantasy canyon

^^ finding eggs in the chicken coop!

^^ flaming gorge
^^ i love these people

As we came down the mountain from Flaming Gorge we were met with huge plumes of smoke. We stopped at Steinaker to watch, it was amazing to see entire pine trees go up in flames and within seconds they were completely burnt. Amazingly scary. We stopped and took this picture about a mile from my parent's house up the canyon. About 20 minutes later they received a phone call telling them to be prepared to evacuate. The sky turned brown and the smoke blocked out the sun, but thankfully we didn't have to evacuate! However, this fire took 3 homes/cabins and has had a devastating effect on the mountains. Scary, scary stuff. Please be careful with your fireworks!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Stylish Baby Wipes - Huggies Clutch 'n' Clean

As a mom, I can expect messes to occur anywhere: in the car, at the park, at the mall or even on a walk in the stroller. Hauling around wipes is not always easy or convenient, but it's a must with littles! Huggies Clutch 'n' Clean makes taking those wipes on-the-go handy and stylish.
Huggies Clutch 'N' Clean wipes look great at home!
and fit easily into any bag - taking up little space and making diaper changes easier!
stylish on-the-go wipes
handy, dandy strap makes it easy to hang wipes from anywhere
Huggies Clutch 'n' Clean wipes come in several trendy designs and are refillable with Huggies Wipes with Triple Clean (strong, soft, absorbent layers). Wipes have never been more portable - or good looking!

I would like to thank Huggies for sponsoring today's convo. All opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ragnar Wasatch Back

Ragnar was such an awesome experience! I was talking to another runner on Sunday and we both agreed, you just can't explain the fun of Ragnar to anyone, they have to do it for themselves to understand! Because honestly, does running 197 miles in various terrain; driving, "sleeping" and eating in a crowded van over the span of two days sound fun? Probably not, but somehow it truly is! The atmosphere was so fun everywhere you went, people cheered you on, sprayed you with water guns as you ran by and the feeling of accomplishing something difficult alone is enough to make me want to do it again.
stretching while being briefed on safety issues
ready to run up the mountain behind him
Andrew haulin' and some lady's head blocking my view...
after unsuccessfully sleeping in the truck and running through the night, I caught a total of 40 minutes of sleep between the two days!
before my final leg

thrilled to be finished with all 3 legs!
gorgeous view from the top of "ragnar hill"
Andrew's final run up and down this mountain
half of our team - We're Only In It For the Treats
We each ran 3 "legs" my first was around 4 pm, second at 12:10 am, and final leg around 10 am. My second leg was my hardest with hills and an elevation climb of over 600 ft, but honestly it was my favorite! I "killed" 13 runners and ended up beating my van to the next exchange point! I felt great and was quite proud of myself. The 5 guys in my van did an awesome job, they are machines and flew through each of their legs! I am still a bit stiff, sore and catching up on sleep, but feel so great about accomplishing my goals!
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Monday, June 30, 2014

Homemade baby food made easy with Cuisinart Baby Food Maker

Some of you may remember my post about homemade baby food last fall. From the time we found out I was pregnant with Charlotte I planned on making my own baby food for many reasons, among some of those were the fact that it was cheaper and more nutritious. I loved being able to provide Lottie with fresh baby food knowing exactly what was put into it. At the time I used my rice cooker/steamer and blender to make baby food and while it wasn't easy, it was definitely worth it. Now, Cuisinart has stepped up the baby food making competition by presenting the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker!

When I was first contacted about trying out this baby food maker I was expecting to receive a magic bullet type thing I've seen other places from another company. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised to get this baby in the mail!

Not only does it help you make simple, healthy food for your baby, it also serves as a bottle warmer! I have been so impressed with the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker and I would love to share why with you.
With so many chemicals and processing in our foods it can be hard for a mom who wants the very best to easily provide her baby with delicious and nutritious baby food. I loved going to the store and adding a few extra ingredients to my cart specifically for Charlotte and knowing she is eating whole foods without any sort of preservatives, natural or not. Making baby food is so simple with the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker, you can steam and chop fresh foods all in one easy appliance. It's easy to run and easy to clean. It makes choosing what your baby eats a lot easier, too! Although Charlotte is out of the baby food stages, I am excited to use this to make on-the-go pouch snacks, healthy fruit and veggie popsicles and smoothies for her!

I did a simple comparison of all the same vegetable baby food side by side. I feel much more comfortable feeding Charlotte the brightest and most nutritious looking food here! The homemade uses only butternut squash; the jar is squash and water; and the pouch is organic squash, water, citric acid, ascorbic acid, vitamin a palmitate, mixed tocopherols and zinc sulfate. Whew! Homemade baby food is so simple!

The Cuisinart Baby landing page is a great resource for new moms. There is a great brochure available for download - you can even insert your baby's photo into it for a customized version!

Visit Cuisinart to view video and lots of recipes, come back and let me know what you like most about the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker with a link to your favorite recipe to be entered to win a Cuisinart Baby Food Maker for yourself!

My thanks to Cuisinart for sponsoring this post and helping me keep my family healthy!

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Packing for Ragnar

Ragnar is tomorrow! I'm kind of really nervous excited for the race and know I won't be sleeping much tonight. I love making lists, grocery lists, to-do lists, packing lists, love them all. I thought I would share my list of things I will be packing for Ragnar for my fellow racers.

Ragnar consists of three legs (each runner runs 3 different times) and the times vary throughout the day. For example, I will be running around 4:30 pm, midnight and again at 10:00 am so I will need to packing accordingly for temp changes, the night runs are usually pretty cool, hence the several changes of clothing.

-3 tops
-3 bottoms
-3 pairs of socks
-3 sports bras
-3 pairs of undies
-flip flops
-running shoes
-pjs (sweats)
-dry shampoo (who knows if I'll get a shower!)
-hair ties/headbands
-wipes (fake shower)
-pillow/blanket/sleeping bag
-safety vest
-heart rate monitor
-knee brace
-phone charger

This might seem like a lot of stuff for two days, but I want to be as comfortable, refreshed and prepared as possible! Especially because I will be crammed in a truck with 5 other ;)

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tips for (new) Runners

I wouldn't necessarily call myself a runner, but I have been training for Ragnar for the past few months going from dreading one mile to now (kind of dreading ;) ) 5.5 miles and cutting a good 2 minutes off my pace.
Running is still hard. I'm sure you don't want to hear that, but it is. I was so frustrated during my run with Andrew today because I felt I should be running 8 minute miles and more than 5.5 miles without getting tired. He reminded me just how far I've come (and how ridiculous I was being), that if I tried running just 1 single mile I would be much faster than I was 2 months ago. I know he is right, but it is hard to see slow and steady progress.

So how did I do it? Here are a few tips I have for those who are wanting to start running or get ready for a race.
1. Have a long term goal with short term goals mixed in. Signing up for Ragnar and dedicating myself to it has helped me focus and channel energy into a long term goal. My short term goals were chosen for me by a training app (I'll talk more about this later) and I have the goal each time I run to never walk unless my trainer has told me to.
2. Buy good running shoes! They can be a bit spendy, but oh so worth it. Go to an actual running store too, they will watch you run (it's not embarrassing) and recommend different shoes to correct or help the way you run.
3. Use a training program. There are a lot of running training apps out there, but I chose a free one and have no complaints. I downloaded the 10K For Pink app and use it along with my RunKeeper app. Each week my 10K app ups the distance/time I run. It starts you out with short runs and by the end you will be running a 10K! These apps really keep you on target and keep you from over or under-doing it. Seriously, download a running app!
4. Don't be afraid to go to physical therapy or buy knee braces or other supports. I thought for sure I wouldn't be able to run with aches and pains in my hip and legs but thanks to physical therapy I am much stronger and know how to correctly run. You might be arching your back or using the wrong muscles to run! I use a knee brace to run and while I felt silly and old using it the first few times, but it has really helped!
5. Buy real workout clothes! I used to work out in some yoga pants and cotton t-shirts. Invest in some running shorts, leggings, socks, a new sports bra, tanks and tops. You don't have to do it all at once, reward yourself with a new top after meeting a short term goal. New clothes and proper workout gear make all the difference.
6. Invest in a heart rate monitor. I put this off for a while, but fell in love once I bought it. I own the Polar FT4 heart rate monitor and I just love seeing my heart rate be in my training zone and feeling accomplished when I see the time and calories I burned while running. It's quite rewarding.

7. Find a support group. Running is easier when you have someone to do it with you or encourage you before or after a run. Andrew and I rarely get to run together, but having someone to talk to can boost spirits and help you reach your goals.
8. Eat better. I'm not saying go all Paleo or clean, but eating nutritious food gives you real, serious energy to help you run. I notice the days I don't eat well I have a harder time running and just feel sluggish.
9. Don't get discouraged. Ha! Yeah right! I hit a point each time I run where I get discouraged. But don't stop. Keep going no matter how slow you are running. Trust me, you will not regret running.
10. Let your mind wander. Look at the things around you as you run. Treadmills get dull, taking a jog outside allows your mind to wander and takes away some of the burden of, "I'm already tired and how much further do I have?!"

I am by no qualifications an expert, but I have found these things to help A LOT. What tips do you have? And don't be shy to reach out. I would love to answer any questions or help you get started in your running journey!

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

hey you! #LetsTalkAboutBums

Everyone wants a happy bum, but sometimes that is not always easy at events or away from home. I'm talking about the scratchy, sand-papery 2-ply toilet paper found at outdoor concerts, campsites or even at rest stops along your road trip. Sand paper is meant for woodworking, not your bum!

Really though, we tend to forget about taking care of our bums. Thankfully, Cottonelle isn't afraid to talk about bums! They've done their bottom research and have provided us with soft Cottonelle wet + dry options! Both Cottonelle CleanCare soft cotton toilet paper, and Cottonelle on-the-go flushable cleansing cloths are sure to get the job done and leave your bum feeling like a baby's, and not like a sore wood 2x4!

Cottonelle soft cleansing cloths
Charlotte says, "Want your bum to feel like mine? Check out Cottonelle flushable cleansing cloths!"

So you want a clean bum? Love that fresh-washed bum feeling? #LetsTalkBums with Cottonelle! Their Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths come in on-the-go packs and start to break down after you flush. The On-The-Go Soft Packs come in discreet packaging so you can take them with you and flush them away knowing your soft little secret is safe with you!

Remember how I talked about scratchy 2-ply toilet paper? Cottonelle has changed the game there as well! Cottonelle Clean Care Toilet Paper is soft, stretchy 2-ply magic! This TP is oh, so soft and huggable. Trust me, I hugged it myself.

If you are like OutKast and wish to be so fresh and so clean, clean; may I point you to the Cottonelle section of the store or their website to hear Cherry Healey talk more about bums.

this post was sponsored by Cottonelle, however, my experience with these products is not influenced by anything but a clean bum!

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