A Healthy Slice of Life http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com Delicious recipes, healthy living tips, and fun food facts Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:27:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 3 Homeschool Preschool Activities for Summer http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/homeschool-preschool-activities/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/homeschool-preschool-activities/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:19:29 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=26937 This post is brought to you by A Healthy Slice of Life Sponsor With July just around the corner, summer is officially in full swing. I wasn’t nearly as concerned about how the summer would go with both girls this year as I was last year, but I still had my doubts that I’d be able […]

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With July just around the corner, summer is officially in full swing. I wasn’t nearly as concerned about how the summer would go with both girls this year as I was last year, but I still had my doubts that I’d be able to keep them entertained all summer. I looked into different camps but ultimately decided to keep them home with me. They are at ages where they can actually play together on their own for short bits of time, plus I selfishly like being the one with them the majority of the time.

Since we’ve toyed around with the idea of homeschool, I’ve started being more purposeful with some of the activities we do each week. For me, the driving force behind the idea of homeschool is to make learning fun, especially at the young age of 3 (and a half). Though I’m not certain what the future holds for our educational plans, we all have really been enjoying these new activities and today I wanted to show you a few of our favorites.

3 homeschool preschool activities for summer

Penny Float Boats 

Supplies: A large tinfoil square for each participant, 100 pennies, a large tub of water.

The Task: Each participant gets a large square of tinfoil to build a boat from. Each person guesses how many pennies their boat can hold. Place pennies, one by one, into the boat (one boat at a time) and count to see how many each boat will hold.

Homeschool Preschool Activity- penny float boat

Questions to ask: How many pennies did each boat hold? Which boat held the most? What design features allow the boat to hold more pennies than the other boats?

The Fun Factor: Hailey and her friend (ages 3.5 and 4) loved this! Both the adults and kids made boats, then we counted pennies one at a time. Bonus fun points for being able to do this outside in a baby pool to enjoy the summer weather!

Homeschool Preschool Activity-  penny float boats

Popsicle Letter Art

Supplies: Popsicle sticks, construction paper, glue.

The Task: Using popsicle sticks, glue and construction paper, let the child spell out his/her name. If time allows, let them paint, color or decorate the sticks too.

Homeschool Preschool Activity- popsicle stick letters

Questions to ask: How do you spell your name? (Obviously you can help by sounding out letters, etc) How many sticks will you need for that letter?

The Fun Factor: On a rainy afternoon, this actually held Hailey’s attention for a solid 20-25 minutes. She was very proud afterwards too and immediately wanted to find a place to hang it up. Every morning she points out the letters and spells her name for me.

Salt Water Egg Float

Supplies: A large container (gallon size is ideal) of water with a wide mouth, an egg, a large spoon for stirring and 2-3 cups of table salt.

The Task: Fill the large container with tap water. Let the child put the egg gently in the water. Spoiler alert: it will sink.  Have them take it out and add salt. It will take about about 2 cups of salt depending on the size of your container. You can do this a little at a time or all at once. Stir to mix well and create salt water. Now place the egg back in the container. Spoiler alert: it will float!

floating egg colage

Questions to ask: What did we change about the water to make the egg float instead of sink? The reason for the change is that salt water is more dense than tap water so it is able to support the weight of the egg.

preschool homeschool summer activities- egg float 5 (680x1024)

The Fun Factor: Hailey really liked getting to be fully hands on with the egg, pouring and stirring. Her face when the egg floated after she added salt (and after her prediction that it would again sink) was priceless! She actually squealed ‘this is so fun!’ during this experiment, so I’m trying to find more like it. Since we did it outdoors, I let her go wild afterwards and explore the egg itself. She loved it.

preschool homeschool summer activities- let them play

My main goal with my kids is to make the good stuff fun. Bitsy’s Brainfood (post sponsor!) shares this mission with me, which is just another reason I love them so much.

bitsy's brainfood- preschool learning activities

Bitsy’s Brainfood was started by two moms that believe that learning to eat healthy should be fun. We share the idea that vegetables shouldn’t be hidden because we want kids to embrace healthy foods, knowing that yes they are good for them, but more importantly that they taste good too!

bitsy's brainfood- kid snacking

Their cereals and cookies are baked with organic fruits and vegetables, are non-GMO and their Smart Cookies (that you can now find in the cookie aisle at Target!) even have Omega 3 DHA + EPA. Plus, they come in fun letter shapes and Hailey is always on the look out to find an ‘H’ for her first bite!

bitsy's brainfood- smart cookiesI love the idea of not forcing learning or healthy foods, but making them both enjoyable. It’s really cool to find companies that share these values with me and make awesome products that I can grab quickly for snacks, road trips or mom’s mornings out (like the girls are going to today while I get to go wild by checking some doctor appointments off my list- wahoo!).

Are you a fan of at-home experiment type activities?

Which ones have your kids loved?

What is one way that you make learning fun?

 

 

 

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Simple Grilled Shrimp Marinade http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/simple-shrimp-marinade-grill/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/simple-shrimp-marinade-grill/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 10:54:22 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=26912 This weekend I realized how much more fun we have when friends come to visit. Unfortunately my picture taking skills drop dramatically, as I’d rather be hanging and chatting than snapping. Great group shot, Brittany. Christen and I have been best friends since we ended up a few doors down from each other in the […]

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This weekend I realized how much more fun we have when friends come to visit.

boat kids

Unfortunately my picture taking skills drop dramatically, as I’d rather be hanging and chatting than snapping.

Great group shot, Brittany.

Christen and I have been best friends since we ended up a few doors down from each other in the dorms our freshmen year of college. Since then we’ve both gotten married and had two kids each- it feels like a whirlwind. Though life is really busy for us in this phase, we’ve stayed close and it means the world to me, so when it worked out that she and her fam could come visit this past weekend, I was stoked!

christen brittanyThe weather worked out beautifully to give us plenty of sunshine, but some afternoon drizzle to cool things off a bit too. Crawford and Hailey are at the perfect ages to play together and play they did, endlessly, and got along great.

lkn islandThis allowed for the adults to enjoy each other, only having to keep a close eye on the littlest, who are only a few weeks apart in age.

boat babiesLittle troopers and those crazy life jackets.

But really the weekend was ridiculously fun and refreshing. Having friends in town felt like a vacation, as we spent a ton of time just boating, swimming, having dive contests,

dive contest

drinking wine and snacking.

snack plateAnd there were s’mores too, of course.

smores

Though I wish I would have gotten a more photogenic group shot, the fun was more important. It was a great weekend and I don’t regret a single glass of vino, potato chip or hour too late that we stayed up.

apothic redAfter giving big hugs on Sunday and promising to do it again soon, we put the house back together and I hit up the grocery store, ready to have something a little lighter for dinner- delicious grilled shrimp using my favorite simple marinade.

easy delicious grilled shrimp marinade

Simple Grilled Shrimp Marinade
 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 shakes of hot sauce (I use Chalupa)
Instructions
  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a large ziplock and mix well. Add shrimp and combine to coat.
  2. Let the shrimp marinate in fridge for 1-3 hours.
  3. When ready to grill, remove shrimp from ziplock and either skewer or use a grill pan to grill the shrimp 5 minutes per side over medium-low heat.

light and easy grilled shrimp meal

Delicious and light- just what I needed!

And so begins anther week… grateful for another fun weekend in the books.

What was your favorite thing you did this weekend?!

 

 

 

 

 

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Things I’m Loving Lately http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/things-im-loving/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/things-im-loving/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 11:34:12 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=26892 Happy Friday all! Summer is certainly in full swing and I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend. I’m pretty pumped because… 1. My best friend is coming to visit for the weekend! It’s going to be fun-filled chaos with four sweet kids running around. I really can’t wait to catch up and […]

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Happy Friday all! Summer is certainly in full swing and I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend. I’m pretty pumped because…

1. My best friend is coming to visit for the weekend! It’s going to be fun-filled chaos with four sweet kids running around. I really can’t wait to catch up and watch the kids interact. I love that it was almost 2 years to the day since this picture was taken.

2. Little snack cups. Kaitlyn is in a mommy-phase and I love it, I really do, but sometimes I have to cook dinner and tossing things into boiling water while wearing her just doesn’t feel right. Well behold, I found the solution- I distract her with these awesome little cups. I put little snacks (cheddar bunnies, raisins) in them of course but even when the snacks are gone, she’ll play with putting things in and pulling them out. Plus they are easy to clean- love!

 

3. Zoodles! It has taken me some trial and error to get them just right, and it still can be hit or miss. I’ve found what helps work well for me is to use minimal oil (1-2 tsp), medium-high heat and err on the side of under-cooked. Mushy zucchini noodles just don’t do it for me. I also always throw in a sprinkle of red pepper flakes- yum!

zoodles

For those that asked, I have this spiralizer and have really liked it! It is easy quick to pull out and use and easy to clean.

4. These pictures. I updated David’s desk frame for Father’s Day (and it is really fun to flip back through pictures like this from years’ past), but I kind of want to print this out for myself. These three have my heart!

father's day gift5. Summertime. I know I’ve had a few words for this 100 degree nonsense, but I really am embracing the heat this year. It must cut our getting ready time in half since we don’t have to layer on socks, leggings and undershirts. Plus there is all kinds of water fun to be had! I ordered a new water table from zulily that should be here soon and I picked up a few more of these water squirters yesterday and are ready for some weekend water fights! My rookie mom mistake was letting the girls have them at the beginning of our Walmart trip. Little boys aren’t the only ones that like to pretend sword fight.

2015-06-25 14.32.28

6. Experimenting in the kitchen. The guest for the great Mediterranean salmon continues. I haven’t nailed it yet, but I’m getting closer. And luckily eating the mistakes is still pretty fun!

salmon trial

7. And a happy Friday to you…

2015-06-24 20.34.22What is one thing you are loving lately?

 

 

 

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Advice for 2015’s High School Graduates http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/advice-for-2015s-high-school-graduates/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/advice-for-2015s-high-school-graduates/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 11:35:22 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=26886 Such a random post today, but who is up for some randomness?! I graduated high school 13 years ago. That seriously blows my mind, yet my calendar says it’s true. While in some ways it feels like it was just yesterday, in other ways I can see how much I’ve grown, changed and learned since […]

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Such a random post today, but who is up for some randomness?!

I graduated high school 13 years ago.

IMG_1715

That seriously blows my mind, yet my calendar says it’s true. While in some ways it feels like it was just yesterday, in other ways I can see how much I’ve grown, changed and learned since then (good thing, it was 13 years ago). Since all the graduations ceremonies for the class of 2015 have already taken place, I’m fairly certain that no one is going to be asking me to give a commencement address. I know, I’m as flabbergasted as you are.

I was thinking about high school and college yesterday (love looking through old pictures!) and it made me feel old mature that I actually was able to come up with a few tiny nuggets of wisdom that I would hand down to an 18 year old me, and though I’m fairly certain most of you are past high school as well, I thought it would be fun to share some what I learned/what I’d do differently/what I did right thoughts with each other!

So if I had asked about any pearls of advice to give to today’s 18-year-olds, here is what they’d be…

1. Don’t stress if you don’t know exactly what you want your college major to be. It’s ok to explore a little. However, think twice about going into major debt to study/party at one school over another. Look into scholarships, work through school, see how you can cut college costs. Graduating college without a lot of student loan debt will be very advantageous to you and start you off on more of a leg up than you realize.

2. If you have to worry about your “best friends” talking trash about you behind your back, then those aren’t really best friends. There are women out there that truly support and encourage each other. Be one of those women and find others that hold the same values to befriend. On the same note, the best friends that have had your back since the beginning? Hold onto them! That kind of friendship is special and it will last through college, marriage, kids and beyond, even if you can’t talk on the phone every day.

3. Start valuing your health over your dress size. I know this can be challenging at first whether you are one of those that can eat fast food every day without gaining or pound or if you feel you must count every calorie. Try to start focusing on eating food that nourishes your body. Learn what makes YOU feel good. Find things you enjoy doing to stay active (as you might notice a change in activity level now that your varsity sports practices are over). There will come a day where what you want most isn’t to fit into X size pants, but to feel energetic and strong to travel/kick butt at work/keep up with your kids.

4. Not everyone is going to like you. Sometimes that will hurt. But if you like you at the end of the day, then that’s what really matters. I promise there are no popularity contests that mean anything when you’re 30.

5. Study abroad. I didn’t and it is one experience I feel I really missed out on. If you have the opportunity and can make it work, take it. Traveling can teach you more than a lot of classrooms ever could.

So now I’m curious, what advice would you give to today’s high school graduates? 

Or what advice would you give to an 18-year-old you?

I asked David the same question and he said: Use all the resources and connections offered in college to explore and decide what you want to do. Do internships, network, accept opportunities to meet and mingle with people in different industries in hopes that you will have a sense of what kind of job you want to take (and have a better chance of getting it) upon graduating.

Good one, as I feel like I skipped out on a lot of AWESOME opportunities for events and speakers offer at UGA. Oh to be back in college for just a little bit…

 

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Favorite Summertime Slow Cooker Meals http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/favorite-summertime-slow-cooker-meals/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/favorite-summertime-slow-cooker-meals/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 10:58:27 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=26878 Is it just me or do you also forget about your slow cooker when the weather heats up? I get this idea in my head every summer of long, leisurely days spent gardening and harvesting fresh vegetables to prepare in the kitchen. Apparently I live in a little house on the prairie in my daydreams. I’m […]

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Is it just me or do you also forget about your slow cooker when the weather heats up? I get this idea in my head every summer of long, leisurely days spent gardening and harvesting fresh vegetables to prepare in the kitchen. Apparently I live in a little house on the prairie in my daydreams.

I’m all about summer’s delicious fresh foods, but some how the days feel more jam-packed than ever with fun things to do and places to go. Swim lessons, for example.

swim lessonsBelieve it or not, that is her tired face.

Yesterday was a full day and I’ll tell you I’ve never been more thrilled to pull in at 5 pm and have the aroma of dinner waft into the garage as I got the girls out.

chicken soft tacos

Nothing says ‘too busy’ (ok, ok, laziness) quite like settling for an iPhone picture when my real camera is right on the counter.

As you can see, it was nothing fancy. I had thrown half an onion, sliced, in the slow cooker that morning with two large chicken breasts that had come marinated in chimichurri sauce. Shred, add guac, salsa and cilantro. That’s about as simple as it gets.

It made me wonder why I don’t do it more often. Sure, the slow cooker is great for soup, chili and stew, but it has some great summertime uses as well. Here are some of my favorites…

Taco Slop from Rachel Cooks – it’s taking basic salsa crockpot chicken and kicking it up a notch. David LOVES it.

Simple Slow Cooker Brisket – you could also use this recipe for pulled pork or chicken. The flavor is great!
simple slow cooker beef brisketVegetarian Enchilada Quinoa Bake from Cooking Classy- those colors and veggies- YUM!

Slow Cooker Quinoa Enchilada Bake | Cooking Classy

Crockpot Black Bean Corn and Basil Toastadas from Crockpot Gourmet- a great combo for kids

Crockpot Black Bean, Corn and Basil Tostadas

Paleo Crockpot Beef & Broccoli from Mom as RX – This one may not scream summertime, but it really is a delicious recipe that is good at anytime of year!

Do you use your slow cooker during the warmer months?

What are you favorite go-tos?

(Links welcomed and encouraged for taste-tasted favorites!)

 

 

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Tuesday Tidbits http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/tuesday-tidbits/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/tuesday-tidbits/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 14:24:26 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=26863 1. 5:15 am wake ups are wearing on me, but I’m not quite sure of a solution. Today Kaitlyn woke up at 4:00 am (rare), but when I got back to bed I turned off my alarm and snoozed until 7:30. It was glorious. 2. This picture makes me smile. It’s like all my favorite things in […]

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1. 5:15 am wake ups are wearing on me, but I’m not quite sure of a solution. Today Kaitlyn woke up at 4:00 am (rare), but when I got back to bed I turned off my alarm and snoozed until 7:30. It was glorious.

2. This picture makes me smile. It’s like all my favorite things in one picture- my girls and the grocery store. HA. But really…

grocery trip3.  Home renovation projects are not my cup of tea. I lack patience. Our bathroom looks reallllllly pretty, but there are all these loose ends lingering that need to be tied up. Today our tile guy is coming back out to pull up part of our shower floor and re-lay the tiles to help with a draining issue. Hopefully I’ll be able to show it off at some point.

4. If there is one field of health research I’m super interested in, it’s the importance of gut health. Scientists are linking it to so many things including diabetes, cancer, autism and even emotional health.

probiotics5. I take a probiotic every day, as part of my vitalizer, but I also am a big fan of fermented foods like kombucha, yogurt and saurkraut. My goodness I am on a saurkraut kick (and Christine, the smoked jalapeno is very good, but I still prefer the dill pickle variety!)

collard wrap

6. Some days my main motivation to workout is the free childcare. Yesterday was such a day.

bbcYou see a torture chamber, I see glorious freedom!

7. Though I end some days so excited to put my crazy kiddos to bed, as soon as they are down I can’t help but to just want to watch them and, get this, I miss them. Being a mom is weird.

sleeping baby8. I tried to recreate Whole Food’s Mediterranean Salmon Parchments last week and it was a failure. I decided more research was in order.

dinner 9. We own TV tables. And use them more often than I should admit to.

Hope your Tuesday is going swimmingly!

Any randomness to share? :)

 

 

 

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What I Eat on the Weekends http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/what-i-eat-on-the-weekends/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/what-i-eat-on-the-weekends/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 10:45:23 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=26858 Father’s Day weekend was a nice and low key around here. …but first, a quick shout out to all those amazing dads I am so fortunate to have in my life (looking at you David, dad, my dad-in-law, bro and bro-in-law). I feel pretty special to have so many family-focused, hard working men in my […]

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Father’s Day weekend was a nice and low key around here.

…but first, a quick shout out to all those amazing dads I am so fortunate to have in my life (looking at you David, dad, my dad-in-law, bro and bro-in-law). I feel pretty special to have so many family-focused, hard working men in my life and applaud them for being such great, dedicated dads. I love you all!

We started the weekend off with having our friends Dan and Sarah over for dinner Friday night.

app platter

 

The best kind of friends are those you can go a long time without seeing, then pick off right where you left off.

rose

I tried Rose wine after hearing it being hyped everywhere. Not bad, but I wouldn’t consider myself a convert.

collard burgerWe chowed down on burgers, of which I’m really digging the collard green wrap for lately. It really lets the burger and toppings shine. Especially THIS which I can’t stop eating by the forkful.

Saturday morning started with a leisurely breakfast.

breakfastTerrible picture, I apologize. Clearly the coffee hadn’t kicked in yet.

We hit up Josh’s for 35 pounds of pickling cucumbers, walmart for jars and Jimmy Johns for fuel…

jimmy johns

Then we hit it hard and canned 32 jars of homemade pickles. By the end of the day we were over being in the kitchen so we hit up the neighborhood pool for an evening swim and grabbed a Papa Murphy’s pizza on the way home.

pizzaSunday morning we showered David with love, coffee and a few presents before he let us know what he wanted most for Father’s Day… a chance to clean out the garage.

garage clean upWhatever floats your boat, babe.

It ended up being a really productive day. David tackled the garage while I cleaned, laundered and handled the meals.

cucumber salad

I will be eating these cucumber, tomato, onion, olive, oregano and balsamic salads all week. Let’s just say we over-estimated our cucumber need when pickle making.

peanut butter and jelly

PB&J. Mixed. Always.

By late afternoon the house was in pretty great shape so we decided some R&R was in order.

fathers day lakeThe girls were psyched.

baby boatBahaha!

Despite Kaitlyn’s face, she is warming up to the life jacket. We somehow found an empty beach and wore the girls out with swimming and clam shell searching. It was a great afternoon!

Once the girls crashed into bed, we celebrated the day with filets, sous vide style.

sous vide steakMelt in your mouth goodness.

Then followed it up with a little Tres Leches I picked up from La Patisserie.

tres leches cakePizza and steak in the same weekend pretty much solidifies it as a winner.

What is your dessert of choice for special occasions?

I know David prefers Key Lime Pie or Tres Leches- I’m a big fan of Creme Brulee or a simple brownie with ice cream!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Does Your Routine Own You? http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/does-your-routine-own-you/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/does-your-routine-own-you/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 10:42:52 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=26838 ..or do you own your routine? Fear not fellow Friday-ers, I have no intention (or mental capacity) to get too introspective on the topic today, but it is something that has been on my mind the past couple of days. I’m a creature of habit and for the large part it works well for me. […]

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..or do you own your routine?

Fear not fellow Friday-ers, I have no intention (or mental capacity) to get too introspective on the topic today, but it is something that has been on my mind the past couple of days.

I’m a creature of habit and for the large part it works well for me. I’m a believer in the power of routine in leading to success in many areas of life- personal, health, professional, relationship-wise, etc. I’d say I always liked routine, but it really cemented its stronghold in my life when I had Hailey. Any new parent will tell you that living life in those new baby 2.5-3 hour time blocks is a tough change of pace and I clung to routine to keep me rolling through my weeks.

An “on Wednesdays we wear pink” sort of setup if you will, though instead of wearing pink, it was play group, or grocery shop, or story time.

…but…

I’m finding that there is a time where a routine can transform into a rut. I believe this happens when you no longer even consider options outside out your set routine. This has been happening to me recently. I’m slowly understanding that I’m entering a new phase of life that isn’t completely dictated by rigid baby nap and meal schedules. It’s exciting (and of course bittersweet), but it’s taking me some time to realize and embrace it.

Hailey doesn’t really need naps anymore and Kaitlyn only takes one, in which she is flexible on the timing. I’m still nursing, but I’m totally comfortable breastfeeding wherever (all modesty is gone at this point) and since it’s only three times a day, it isn’t that intrusive. Lunch doesn’t have to be at 12:15 on the dot anymore. And most of all, the girls are just up for more. They are learning to enjoy the adventure instead of needing the same structure throughout the day. So, things are changing around here.

swim girlAfter a morning play date yesterday, we ran errands then hit up the pool with friends, blowing right through Hailey’s usual nap time.

My fridge emptied out pretty quickly this week, so for dinner last night the girls had butternut squash ravioli, peas and vanilla ice cream, all served on the same plate.

Last night a friend twisted my arm enough to actually leave the house after the girls went down to take a yoga class.

yogaLeaving the house after bedtime is totally out of the norm for me and go figure, it was just what I needed.

I’m not saying I’m throwing all structure out the window (and vanilla ice cream certainly isn’t becoming our new dinnertime staple, much to Hailey’s disappointment), but it’s important to remind myself that my schedule shouldn’t own me. Yes, habits and routine are good, but I should keep an open mind to switching things up every now and again and remember to enjoy the journey.

nc sunset

Have you ever felt any part of your routine turn into a rut?

And I’m curious… do you often leave the house after dinner?

It blows my mind to see so many people out “after bedtime” – hah!

I encourage you to switch something up this weekend and just see how exhilarating it is 😉

Have a great one!

 

 

 

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Things that are Better When They’re HOT http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/things-that-are-better-when-theyre-hot/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/things-that-are-better-when-theyre-hot/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 10:47:24 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=26825 This post is brought to you by a Healthy Slice sponsor. I have an odd fixation with the weather. I like, no, I NEED to know what the day (fine, the next 10 days) holds despite the fact that forecasts are notoriously incorrect. Why? I have no idea, but if you want to know what […]

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This post is brought to you by a Healthy Slice sponsor.

I have an odd fixation with the weather. I like, no, I NEED to know what the day (fine, the next 10 days) holds despite the fact that forecasts are notoriously incorrect. Why? I have no idea, but if you want to know what next week looks like, there is a good chance I can tell you the details down to the percentage of rain expected.

Still, I try to keep this little quirk of mine concealed and not be one of those people that… well, you know… oh shoot fine

weather charlotteYes. I am now one of those people that posts their local weather forecast on social media. I feel all the cares coming through the screen.

But just look at that. It’s June for goodness sake. What do temperatures at this level mean for us once August hits?! Water temperatures of the lake and pool are already hitting levels of too-warm-to-be-refreshing (not a scientific level of measurement) so come late summer they’re going to be boiling.

I know, the drama.

I like warm weather, but this is taking it to the next level. So instead of whining about it (what, too late?), I decided to go with the theme and see how many things I actually like more when they’re HOT.

For example…

hot yoga

Yoga. How wonderful that studios aren’t having to pay to heat and humidify their studios right now. Class can now be held outside or with the help of an open door. How lovely for them.

Or, what about cookies?

hot cookie

Mmm, yes. My entire family may like them stuck in the freezer, but I prefer a warm, gooey cookie, fresh from the oven like the ones pictured above or these, which look phenomenal.

Let’s take things one step further. It is, after all, almost father’s day. So what about husbands/boyfriends/main squeezes… totally better when they’re HOT right?

david groom

Such a ladies man. You stud.

And though I have zero desire to hop in right now, I’d still throw my vote in for tubs. Tubs are better when they’re hot.

hot tub…bonus points if they span from indoors to out.

A Hot Tub That Flows from the Inside to Outside

One more? Is that what I hear you chanting?

Your wish is my command.

What about food?

Food is better when it’s HOT and spicy, thus why I’m a big fan of hot sauces. Sriracha has become my go to, along with the rest of the blog world.

Sigh, so cliche…

I put it on toast then top it with avocado and egg. I use it in marinades for chicken. I’ve put it on potatoes, stir-fries and even popcorn. So when I heard Blue Diamond captured the flavor for their almonds, I was stoked to try it out.

blue diamond sriracha almonds

My go-t0 flavor is usually the Habanero BBQ but the sriracha variety held its own with it’s garlicky undertones and splashes of vinegar. It had a little sweetness and I could certainly taste the chili pepper flavor, but it didn’t burn my mouth up. Dare I say even people who aren’t big spicy fans might really enjoy the new flavor?

spicy almonds

Mmm…

Let me think… what else is better when it’s hot?

Dogs!

hotdog

Hardy har har.

Seriously though, I might have eaten cold hotdogs from the fridge once upon a time (I’ve always been a foodie), but man I love a good hotdog off the grill during summer. All the toppings, please.

hotdog yum

Ok, now I’m stretching. Off to sunscreen up, stuff my water bottle full of ice and hunker down for the next 10 days of unseasonably hot weather (so says my forecast).

What is one thing you like better when it’s HOT? 

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

 

 

 

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5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Hiring Babysitters http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/5-things-i-wish-i-knew-about-hiring-babysitters/ http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/5-things-i-wish-i-knew-about-hiring-babysitters/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:08:45 +0000 http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/?p=26809 You know that handbook that doesn’t come with having a baby? Well, shocker, the same handbook never shows up when dealing with other parenting issues. I’ve done the best I can and learned a lot through trial and error along the way. One category I feel like I’ve learned a lot in is hiring babysitters for […]

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You know that handbook that doesn’t come with having a baby? Well, shocker, the same handbook never shows up when dealing with other parenting issues. I’ve done the best I can and learned a lot through trial and error along the way. One category I feel like I’ve learned a lot in is hiring babysitters for the girls. I wish I was lucky enough to have family down the street, but since I’m not, I’ve had to learn how to be on the hiring end of the babysitter game, which isn’t as easy as you may think. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way, based 100% of personal experience.

helpful tips for hiring a babysitter

1. Consider the age of your sitter based on your needs. I used to think late teens were the ideal age- responsible, needing money, have babysat before… all good stuff right? Well I’ve learned to really consider your circumstances.

Younger sitters or mother’s helpers (ages 9-12) are fantastic because they really get in there and play with the kids. I had an 11 year old come one day a week last summer when Kaitlyn was a newborn to help me out in the form of playing with Hailey. She was fantastic at creating games and imaginary play. Plus, the price was right ($5/ hour which her mom told me was still too much).

However, if you need a sitter to drive your kids places (something I’m not comfortable with yet) or handle more advance tasks (like baths for babies), you probably want to consider a more mature sitter/nanny. A woman in her 50’s can be wonderful because she is responsible, has often raised children herself (and what is better than first hand experience?!) and may enjoy ‘practicing’ grandma skills while she waits for her own probably college-age kids to marry and have kids.

2. Word of mouth is the best referral. I get how hard it is to find a sitter when you don’t feel like you know anyone (shout out to those new moms!). I also know that people guard their good sitters something fierce in fear of having them become too busy or prefer another family’s kids over theirs. However, if you can get a referral from a friend/teacher/church for a good sitter, I’ve found it works out SO much better in the long run.

I’ve interviewed people from care.com and sittercity.com. I’ve had friends find fantastic people through those services. However, it’s never worked for me and I felt uncomfortable with interviewing strangers at my home. I’ve had two wonderful sitter/nannies- one was a referral from a friend who needed more hours than the sitter was able to provide her with (but worked well for my needs) and my current one, who was a referral from a friend in my playgroup. Both have turned out to be GREAT.

3. Set up an interview, but watch more than listen. I’ve interviewed sitters that had the “right” answers to every question I asked, but they just looked uncomfortable with the girls. Sure I want to know your experience, if you are CPR certified, if you can drive yourself over, but if you shy away from my three year old offering your a pretend grilled cheese, then I’m not sure we are the right fit for each other.

Some sitters are great with babies, other thrive with school-aged kids. Watch how your potential sitter interacts with your kids’ ages before deciding to hire them or not. My current sitter swooped right in, letting Kaitlyn crawl right up onto her lap for a snuggle while asking Hailey what smelled so good in her play kitchen. Winner.

4. Be clear about your expectations. Oh man, this one took me a while (and a couple teen sitters) to learn. When I babysat I remember playing with the kids then picking up the house once they went to bed. Well it turns out that isn’t standard protocol. I certainly don’t expect a babysitter to clean my house, but if you make lunch for the girls, then yes, I’d appreciate you putting the dishes away when you are finished. However, it turns out that sitters aren’t mind readers and I was doing a pretty terrible job at setting up my expectations beforehand.

After lamenting about this to a friend, she generously sent me her rule and information sheet she kept on the fridge for sitters. I loved it! I tweaked it to fit our household and now go over it with sitters (with a slight bashful, oh gosh, I know this makes me sound crazy but just so I don’t forget anything tone…) and keep it on the fridge. I find it is best for everyone to know what is expected.

{Click on the link for the Free Printable} –> Family Rules & Sitter Information Sheet

house rules and info

5. Remember that you are the employer. I have a real problem with feeling like the authority when hiring sitters. I’m not sure if it’s because I feel like we are basically the same age (news flash Brittany, you are not 20 years old anymore, even if you feel like it) or if I just hate feeling bossy, but I find myself acting like they are a just a girlfriend doing me a big favor. I forget I am paying them good money and though yes, I love them on a personal level (such sweet girls!), I also am hiring them to care for my children (AKA: my whole world), so I need to not be so timid about outlining my expectations or rules. Adulting is tough sometimes.

Did you babysit when you younger/now?

What made one babysitting experience better than another?

Parents- how do you choose/evaluate sitters?

What is most important to you in finding a sitter?

 

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