High Heels and Hot Deals

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Winter Break Will Go a Little Like This

I have survived half of this year already.  I'm not sure how I have done it, but I did.  This year has been more difficult for me.  The switch from a one child parent to two children parent was the biggest challenge, especially going back to work full time. But finding the balance between my job and home life - now that is the daily struggle.  Teaching used to be such a family friendly profession.  Sadly it has become less and less about family and more directed and controlled by leaders who have either lost touch with what it's like to be in the classroom or have never bee in the classroom at all.
Okay, getting off of my soapbox now...

Honestly I'm in disbelief that it's already time to think of resolutions for the new year (and ones that I can keep longer than 5 minutes).  I finished up my Christmas shopping today and now I just need an evening to spend 4 hours wrapping every. single. gift.
I do not enjoy that process.
But I do enjoy it with a nice cold beer.  Or even better a bubbly glass of Champs.
What I am the most excited about is spending the next two weeks with my little monkeys and my one big hunky monkey husband when he gets some time off of work.  This year I am crossing my fingers for no snow and hoping tropical like temperatures all winter long.
Oh wait, I'm in Indiana...
No, seriously.  If we have another winter like we did last year then you can find me in the Caribbean waiting tables because I sure as hell will not survive another freezing winter.  My body is not programmed for -15 degrees and 2 feet of snow.  Once upon a time I used to have a tan 365 days a year until I realized how terrible it was for me.  (Think Umpa Loompa.  For real, why did I think that looked good?)  Now I just resort to my bronzer to take me back to warmth and beach like weather when I'm down and sad and cold.
Since I have two weeks off here are the things I plan on doing:

1.  Attempt to catch up on my sleep
There is something about waking up to your kids as your alarm clock rather than your own personal one.  I'd much rather get up at 7:30 because my kids are up than because my alarm is telling me to do so.  I'm hoping I can catch up and maybe even create a bit of a surplus in the sleeping area.  Wishful thinking I'm sure.

2.  Spend as much time with my family
By the time I get home at 4:30 every night, I'm cooking dinner, carrying around a grumpy baby, trying to eat dinner myself and then it's time for the kids to go to bed.  Some nights I get to see Lola for maybe two hours, depending on if she got a good nap in at the sitter's or not.  I hate that, I really really do.  So I plan on playing, cuddling and loving on my stinkers as much as possible!

3.  Go on a date
My husband and I haven't been on a date since September -- that's a problem.  I am crossing my fingers to find a night where the two of us can get dinner and drinks and actually enjoy them without eating too fast to taste it and without a baby in our lap.  Hey Maggie -- you think you can pencil us into your schedule?

4.  Get my fitness on
With the flu ravaging through our house last week my workouts got put on the back burner.  But I convinced the hubby to give me my shoes as an early Christmas present..and because I accidentally took them out of the box on Friday and wore them to work out, and then put them back into the box like I didn't do anything.
Whatever.  You know you would've done it too.

5.  Spend some alone time with my DVR
I have about 40243923 shows that just keep piling up on the DVR.  I need to watch and erase ASAP.  Plus I want to blog about my most recent reality obsessions too.  I would call it working really.

I was hoping for a Saturday nap, but I probably should run to the grocery so we don't have to eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner tonight.  Now that is what I call mommy problems...

How do you plan to spend your holidays?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

I've been MIA for the past week due to several circumstances:
1.  Friday I woke up with some kind of bug.  No, I didn't throw up but I will spare you the details of how it did decide to leave my body.  Let's just say that moving around hanging stuff up and getting ready for our Cultural Bazaar was not helping my situation out.  Therefore I left work early and spent the rest of the day confined to my bed.  I have to be honest, I still don't feel 100%.  Maybe it's the ridiculous amount of junk food I have consumed in the past 48 hours...

2.  On Saturday Cohen woke up from his nap acting funny.  He then projectile vomited Exorcist style all over his room.  I spent the rest of the night playing doctor and trying to get the blue slushy he had at Target earlier in the day out of his carpet.  Luckily it was a quick bug, but I'm still wiped out from staying up with him all night.

3.  Sunday Lola woke up super congested with "runny" diapers.  The diaper situation ended by the next day but she was grabbing at her ear.  Why? Because she has ear infection #2 in her left ear since October.  Now she is super clingy and I'm about ready to have a melt down myself about it.

However, the one great thing about this week so far was Cohen's Christmas program.  Last year Lola was not even a month old but this year she was crawling under chairs and waving to make friends with every person that walked past her.  But Cohen, oh my sweet Cohen.  This kid melted my heart times a million.  He had sang his song for me earlier but to have the full effect is something in itself.  I'm not just saying this because he's my child but the second he heard that music his eyes lit up and he sang his little heart out -- he definitely was a shining star on that stage.  I took about a bazillion pictures in hopes that it was distracting away from my free flowing tears.  Seriously, every program I have I cry my eyes out - and I'm not even sad!  The whole thing was just so sweet.  I still can't get his little singing face out of my head.  Afterwards he was so proud of himself too, which made me melt even more.  These are the things you look forward to as a parent.

Well, and the day they decide that sleep is an imperative part of living.

I'm off to bed myself.  I need to make myself familiar with my treadmill tomorrow morning again after a week long hiatus...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Tantrums, Fits, Diva Status

I forgot how the tantrums come full force around a year old.  I also forgot about the horrible backwards head throw that children do just to reinforce the fact of how really pissed off at you they are at that moment.  We are experiencing these tantrums in full force these days.  Maybe she's tired or Cohen took away her toy or you won't hold her.  Sometimes you accidentally make eye contact and then you have to face the diva wrath until she decides she's over it.  But these tantrums will drive me to drink two beers instead of one.  

So what do I do?  Bust out the camera to document Lola's diva status.
It'll be great to share with her in about twelve years...

Insert your own captions as you please.  Don't worry, I won't tell her.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stay Connected with Family this Holiday with Walmart Family Mobile

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidaysAreCalling #CollectiveBias

Okay, so you get by now that I may be a bit more obsessed with the holidays this year than usual.  While I do love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, this year it is all about family.  Cohen is at the perfect age and so in love with every aspect of getting ready for Christmas.  We've done everything from hanging lights outside, creating a Christmas countdown chain, setting up the Christmas tree and even attempted to bake cookies.  (Okay, they were break-and-bake cookies, but they were cookies nonetheless).  Elfie our Elf has even made a successful return and one of the best parts of Cohen's mornings are finding where his trusty buddy has set up shop for the day.  I will have to say, however, that there really is only one bummer - the majority of our family lives at two to three hours away.  While traveling is usually part of our holiday plans, it's too bad that our families miss out on most of our fun activities, including Cohen's Christmas program.  That's why it is so important to have a reliable phone to help keep our families in the loop with these precious holiday moments.

Kurtis and I have been trying to find different ways to save money or at least better deals on the things we use everyday.  You know, things like our cable and cell phone bills.  Recently I discovered Walmart Family Mobile and was floored by the amazing things they had to offer.  First, check out this fancy Samsung Galaxy Exhibit I scored on rollback for just $79.88:

One of the best features of this phone is the great camera abilities.  I can take pictures and short videos during our family holiday fun and send them off to Nana and Papa just like that!  I'm really excited to send some adorable moments from Cohen's program next week.  I can see my mom's tears now...

But what makes the price of this phone even greater is the affordable plans Walmart Family Mobile offers.   Walmart Family Mobile service is $34.88/month for Unlimited Talk, Text, & Web ($29.88 for the second line) and it comes with 5GB of 3G Data. This higher speed bucket allows you to do even more with your plan - like send a ridiculous amount of cute pictures of your kids to your family to ensure they don't miss out on a single thing during your holiday shenanigans.  And you don't have to sign a contract so you aren't sucked into a unhappy cell phone plan for the rest of eternity, which was a huge plus for us about Walmart Family Mobile!  

Right now you can grab some great phones on rollback prices, which would make perfect stocking stuffers this Christmas!
Alcatel One Touch Evolve 2 - $49.88 (was $59.88)
ZTE ZMAX - $179.00 (was $199.88)
LG L90 - $119.00 (was $179.88)
Nokia Lumia 635 - $99.88 (was $129.88)
Samsung Galaxy Exhibit - $79.88 (was $99.88)
Nokia Lumia 530 - $49.88 (was $69.88)
From December 14th until the 27th you can get a $40 Walmart Gift Card with the purchase of the Samsung Galaxy Avant.  For more Information on the Samsung Galaxy Avant, head on over here!

Even though we may be apart from our families during the holiday season, I love knowing that I can call them whenever I want and keep them updated with sweet pictures and messages of my children.  Plus with the money we will save with Walmart Family Mobile I guess I'll just have to buy a couple extra gifts from Santa!

How will you keep in touch with your family this holiday season?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Mom's Best Motivator - The Elf on the Shelf

As I've mentioned earlier, Cohen has really started to embrace the whole Christmas and Holiday season this year.  Last year he understood Santa was coming, but that was it.  This year he has been so excited about Santa's arrival since he saw the huge blow up Santas in Lowe's.  He loved decorating the tree, helping Dad put lights up outside and helping me pick out gifts for his cousins.  I can't explain to you how much more enjoyable this Holiday season has been for me because of the fact that Cohen is so excited about it all!

Last year we attempted the Elf thing.  And it ended up being a huge joke.  No seriously.  After reading him the book and telling him he'd lose his magic if you touched it, he thought it was hilarious to pick him up, look at us and give us that shit eating grin (for lack of better words).  I blame it on the fact that Cohen was the epitome of the threenager.  So I was leery to bring that Elf out again this year.  But we decided to give it one more whirl and HOLLA!  The Elf has been a HUGE hit!  Cohen decided to to name him Elfie and LOVES to find him every morning.  While I'm not one of THOSE moms who has all of these creative Elf ideas, my husband and I do get a kick out of finding ways to make it humorous.  

Here are a few of Elfie's favorite places last week:

 Apparently Elfie is a late night eater.  It happens to the best of us.

 He came in like a wrecking balllllll.....

 Oh hey girl, hey!

I get by with a little help from my friends.

Like I said, I haven't been the most creative with Elfie but I have to be honest, it is a miracle the thing gets moved every night.  For example Saturday night I woke up at 3:30 and remembered that Elfie was still eating his cookie from the night before.  

However, Cohen is loving this whole Elf thing.  And Mom is loving it too because I can tell Elfie that if Cohen doesn't stay in his bed he won't be getting Hungry, Hungry Hippos.  Now I need to get on my shopping game and buy it for him or Christmas will be ruined.

Here's to a new week!

 Do you have an Elf?  What fun things do you do with your Elf?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Christmas Memories

I know I have shared a few of these pictures, but this past weekend we put up the Christmas tree and it was such a fun memory.  Cohen is totally into the holiday season this year and it makes my heart melt.  His Elf showed up this week and he really gets it this year,which is good on my part because Elfie sure has been paying a lot of attention this week...  
I caught him singing Jingle Bells to himself as he hung his ornaments and as cheesy as it sounds, it was a memory I won't forget.

Oh Christmas how I love you.

What's your favorite holiday memory? 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Celebrate the Holidays with NCircle Entertainment + Giveaway

I'm quite certain that if your children are anything like mine, they are loving every single holiday and Christmas movie that plays on T.V.  Cohen is at the perfect age where he understands the concept behind Christmas and has really gotten into the holiday spirit this year.  Yes.  It has melted my heart times a million.  I'm super excited to get you and your family all set this holiday season with these DVDs from NCircle Entertainment!

The Snowman
One crisp, winter morning, a young boy wakes up to find a thick blanket of snow has covered the ground as far as the eye can see.  Filled with excitement, the boy decides to build a snowman using a tangerine for his nose, coal for his buttons and eyes, and tops him off with a hat and scarf.  Later that night, at the stroke of midnight, the snowman comes to life!  The young boy and the snowman embark on a magical adventure of discovery where the snowman explores the young boy’s world and in return he takes him flying to his home in the North Pole.  Based on Raymond Briggs’ book, The Snowman is a family classic for generations to enjoy.

A Very Awesome Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! Holiday Show!
Join DJ Lance Rock, Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex and Toodee as they dance, sing and decorate the tree to prepare for the arrival of Santa Claus! Filmed live at New York City's The Beacon Theatre, celebrate the season with the colorful cast of characters singing their hits, including "It's Wintertime," "Every Snowflake's Different, Just Like You" and a holiday version of everyone's favorite "Party in my Tummy! The DVD includes special appearances by superstar Leslie Hall and the one and only Santa Claus! 

Octonauts: The Very Vegimal Christmas
On this very merry DVD, join the Octonauts as they celebrate the holidays! The Vegimals’ plans for a Christmas feast aboard the Octopod are interrupted when the Octonauts become entangled in a gigantic blob of sea snot! The holiday excitement continues when the Octonauts travel to Professor Inkling’s childhood home, an undersea mountain, but soon discover that a rockslide has endangered the local creatures, including Inkling’s nephew, Squirt!  Can the Octonauts rescue the creatures and save Christmas in time?

Caillou’s Holiday Movie
When winter comes to Caillou's house, this curious 4-year-old tackles all kinds of big boy activities like helping Daddy shovel snow, making holiday presents for his family and even discovering how other little boys and girls around the world celebrate the season!  Filled with magical moments seen through a small child's eyes, this delightful story will enchant your entire family.

NCircle Entertainment wants to get your family ready for the holidays by giving you the chance to win all four of these festive movies!  This prize package is valued at over $40 and should make it just in time for Christmas.  Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter!

Disclosure: I received a product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Sticking with the Good-For-You Choices

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveV8Protein #CollectiveBias

I did it.
I finally accomplished a huge milestone that many moms strive to achieve after having a baby.  I am down to my pre-baby weight!  Just wait, it gets better.  Yesterday when I got on the scale not only had I maintained my pre-baby weight but I actually weighed less than before getting pregnant with Lola.  You know I totally did a happy dance after seeing those numbers.  But with the holidays here and the delicious temptations everywhere I turn, I need to figure out a way to stay on the right tracks.  Even the past few days have been a little rough on my diet.  I'm not denying myself from all sweet treats and indulgences, but I need limit myself because as much as I want six cookies, I don't need six cookies.  So here are three things I plan on doing this holiday season to stay healthy.

1.  Drink Water
When I was nursing and pumping for Lola I drank over 90 oz of water a day no problem.  Lately my water intake has seriously been lacking.  I find that when I don't drink enough water my head will hurt and I tend to snack more often because my body thinks that is is hungry when in reality it is just dehydrated.  So my Camelbak straw water bottle will be at my hip from now until the end of the holidays so I remember to sip, sip, sip my water!

2.  Continue Weekly Exercise Routines
Last week when I was on Thanksgiving break I worked out six out of the seven days.  However, I know the next three weeks that I am working will bring on major fatigue and tiredness so my goal is to workout four to five times a week.  Some people think I'm crazy but I set my alarm and get up at 5:15 to get my workouts in for the day.  If I don't do it in the morning, it most likely won't get done.  Between dinner, two (most of the time tired and cranky) kids and the preparations that I need to do for the next day, my evenings just don't allow myself time to get in my workouts.  Therefore not only is it my goal to keep up my workouts but to get up in the mornings and start my day off with a good sweat.  Honestly it is a  matter of of just getting out of bed to do it because once I do, I am so glad that I made myself do it!  Mind over matter my friends.

3.  Choosing Healthy Snacking Options
This is an area that can be the hardest for me, so on a recent trip to Walmart I decided to look to see what snack options were available.  I knew I wanted a product that was full of healthy ingredients as well as lots of protein and fiber.  So I ventured on over to the health and beauty aisle to check out the different brands of shakes and bars.  Immediately my eye was drawn to the new V8 Protein products.  I grew up loving V8 as a kid - my mom used to buy me the little cans to drink with my breakfast, so I knew it was a product I that would easily accommodate my busy daily routines.  There were several bar and shake options to choose from - six different flavor options between both the shakes and bars!  As I read the label on the side of the box I noticed that these V8 Protein products contain 12 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.  That was super appealing and I knew it would be ideal in helping me stay full yet letting me keep up my energy for my busy days.  The V8 protein bars and shakes are perfect to throw into my school bag as my good-for-you snack choice when I start to hit that slump or see a tray of holiday cookies in the teachers lounge.

I refuse to let those numbers on the scale rise during the holidays this year.  I'm determined to keep my goals and feel good about myself this holiday season.  V8 Protein bars and shakes offer so many great flavors I will be able to have my little indulgences everyday!  I guess I won't need to make a healthy lifestyle a resolution for the new year - because I will already be doing it!

What things do you do during the holidays to resist overindulging on temptations?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Creating Christmas Traditions with Some Northpole Fun

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#NorthpoleFun #CollectiveBias

I am super excited about Christmas this year.  Last year felt like a blur because we had a newborn and any mom knows how those first six weeks seem to combine together like a bowl of mush.  However, this year is a whole new ballgame!  Cohen seems to really understand the idea behind Santa Claus coming on Christmas Eve.  Honestly, he has been ready for Christmas since October but who couldn't be considering "Jingle Bells" has been playing since Halloween?  I've been thinking of a few ways to make it extra special for him this year.  Since the Elf will be visiting us soon, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to have him leave a basket of Christmas goodies to get Cohen ready for the upcoming holiday.

My husband and I decided to start the tradition of putting our tree up on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  We love to make it a whole evening of family time as we let the kids put on the ornaments and I secretly go back and move them into a better spot when they aren't looking.  (You know you do it too).  But this year as we started stringing up the lights we realized we had about five lights out which then makes the rest of the strand not work.  Therefore it was off to Walmart I had to go to grab more lights and maybe a few more Christmas decorations too.  Luckily I had my little partner in crime to keep me company.  As we toured up and down the Christmas section, dancing to the Christmas music along the way, my eye caught the Hallmark Northpole display.  I had actually just read about a few stars who posted on Instagram (I'm a celebrity stalker, don't judge) about attending this Hallmark movie premiere.  The shelves were stocked with a bunch of  great items that are geared towards Christmas, the Northpole and of course Santa.  I decided that this wasn't a coincidence and that these Northpole products would be the perfect selection for Cohen's Elf basket.  I got the Once Upon a Northpole Christmas book (which came with an adorable Find Me Santa Snowflake ornament for the tree), The Avalauncher that lets you launch and shoot fake snowballs and of course Snow Now, which is instant snow.  What's Christmas without snow?  I mean, considering we already have had an inch of it that has of course melted.

When I got back we continued to decorate the tree, drank hot chocolate and rocked out to none other than the 'NSYNC Christmas CD.  Cohen was so excited to hang the lights and ornaments.  I caught my sweet boy singing "Jingle Bells" to himself as he hung each of his ornaments.  While the ornament placements may not be perfect, the fact that he was so happy and involved with the tree decorating melted my heart alone.  It was such a sweet moment to remember.

The next morning Cohen woke up to a surprise left from Elfie the Elf.  It was a Christmas basket filled with his Northpole items plus a few extra treats to help prepare him for the upcoming holiday.  Cohen was elated!  He spent the morning reading his book and launching snowballs with his dad.  The Northpole gift basket was the perfect way to get Cohen ready for the Christmas season.

Now we are off to brave the lines to see Santa.  As you can see I am fully embracing the Christmas spirit this year!

What holiday traditions do you celebrate?