March

The Midwest Outdoor Expo Is Now Open!

We came thru the South Entrance at Lucas Oil Stadium last night and… it was quiet. The lights were dimmed. Not the bustling activity we’re used to from weekends past during Colts games but vendors quietly coming in and out with trolleys, boxes and signs in tow.

And then we went up the ramp into the heart of the stadium and found it - the Midwest Outdoor Expo – with rows of RVs and boats, a tiny homes village, a rock wall and more. 

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Homemade Granola: Recipe of the Week

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Homemade Granola

A couple of years ago, I stopped buying processed foods. Since then I have often missed cereal. So, when I get a craving for something crunchy with a bit of milk, I make granola. It’s easy to make and has so many possibilities. This version was born of my daughter’s newest love from Costco – Kirkland brand Organic Nuts and Fruit mix. It has almonds, cashews, dried blueberries and cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. While I whipped up this batch on Saturday, my daughter did some experimenting of her own. Homemade Ritz crackers with cheese and peanut butter. I will not be blogging about that one, but she swore it was delicious.

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The Ninjas Are In The Building (literally)

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Are your kids obsessed with American Ninja Warrior? Do you find them taking precarious leaps off of your sofa, rearranging their bedroom furniture into an obstacle course, defying gravity on the monkey bars?

Mine, too.

And if you have had just about enough of your house doubling as a training arena, consider yourself lucky to be a just a short drive from a state-of-the-art, first of its kind The NinjaZone Academy. Because the ninjas are now quite literally in a building.

 

 

 

 

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At Long Last: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Arrives in Theaters

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Tale as old as time… true as it may be. Barely even friends, then somebody bends. Unnnnnnexpectedly.”

So, is the title track for Beauty and the Beast now in your head? GOOD. Because it’s been stuck in mine all week and now I can finally let it out.

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Play Time for Cats

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Do you play with your cat? All species of animals, including humans, play. Play behavior is crucial for normal development and for overall health and well-being for our pets. There are a lot of reasons that it is important to play with your cats, particularly if they are staying indoors. 

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Easy Breakfast Casserole: Recipe of the Week

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Easy Breakfast Casserole with Sausage, Hash Browns, and Eggs

{GimmeSomeOven.com}

How is it mid-March already? Seriously. St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. I love Irish fare, but it’s often labor intensive to prepare so I let someone else {my mom or a fave restaurant} prepare it for me! HAHA My first thought for this post was “Bangers and Colcannon” {sausage and mashed potatoes} … but with a twist! How many of us overindulge with our food choices and adult beverage intake? “You gotta have green beer on St. Pat’s Day!” I don’t know about you, but I love a comforting breakfast after a night of imbibing. This easy sausage, egg and hash brown casserole is simple to make, and always a crowd-pleaser! It can be made the night before and baked the next day for breakfast.

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CityMom Approved: Thinx

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Thinx. What?

Thinx….period-proof underwear that protects you from leaks and keeps you feeling dry. That is what their website says anyways. I was definitely intrigued because my flow changed after having kids and I was looking for another option. I also thought that the two sisters Miki and Radha Agrawai along with Antonia Dunbar, who created Thinx were pretty cool for having a mission to “provide girls worldwide with safe spaces to learn about their bodies, enhance their financial literacy and explore their entrepreneurial potential, while changing the global narrative around menstruation.” 

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I Win Every Race I Run

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I got roped into another half marathon this past weekend. I wasn’t prepared for it, mentally or physically, but I wanted to do it anyway. I was three weeks out from my last half and hadn’t run any distance more than four miles since. I got excited when the invite came late Friday morning, I quickly said yes, and then as reality set in that I was running the next morning, I started to regret my quick response.

I do this often: committing without thinking and then immediately regretting my decision.

Because soon after I agreed to run, I was standing in front of the mirror doubting my legs could carry me another 13.1 miles. Doubting I had the mental strength to do it with less than a day to prepare myself. I spend the week before a race thinking about it all the time. So how was I going to do this when I had less than twenty four hours to psyche myself up?

The afternoon before the race, my daughters and I made a quick trip to the sporting goods store for race fuel and one of those ridiculous running skirt-things because it was going to be hot on Saturday. (Side note: I brought it home, but couldn’t bring myself to wear it. I’m going to have to ease into the running skirt. It’s like a whole level I’m not ready for.)

On the way there, the girls and I were talking about why we were going to the store and what mommy was going to be doing in the morning. The idea of running so many miles or so many minutes hours is completely abstract to them. Five minutes, depending on what’s at the end of those minutes, is either the shortest or longest time in the world. Time has no meaning to a three year old and miles are incomprehensible to a five year old. So talking about running is difficult.

All they know is Mommy goes to the gym after work and comes home red-faced and sweaty. All they know is sometimes Mommy gets up early in the morning and comes home wearing a medal and walking funny. All they know is I run races and that I always win.

Because I do win, I win every race I run.

I win against all those years I didn’t run and paid the price in my waistline and energy level. I win against myself and all the doubts I have as I lace up my running shoes every day. I win against the voices in my head that tell me this distance, this time, will be too long and I’m not ready, that I can’t do it. I win against poor self-esteem and mean things said to me in middle school by cruel boys. I win against the idea that all runners are a size two and should run in sports bras and teeny-tiny running shorts (running skirts, perhaps?). I win against the negative body image that will one day try to convince my daughters their bodies aren’t beautiful, they’re not skinny enough, they’re not good enough.

I win every time I run.

So when I walked into the house on Saturday morning with another medal around my neck and blood staining my sock and shoe (again…), my girls cheered loudly and asked if I won. And I answered there were lots of people that finished before me, but, yes, I won. I won because I tried my best and I ran 13.1 miles.

I won because less than a year ago, I was celebrating running three miles for the very first time.

I won because I finished. I won because my daughters need a strong, powerful, confident, healthy mom to shows them they can do anything they want to even if they feel scared or unprepared because sometimes you just need to jump and figure it out as you go.

Saturday morning I jumped and on the way down, I was reminded I win every time I run.

And that was enough to keep me going.



This post originally appeared on Trusty Chucks.com in June, 2014.

http://trustychucks.com/2014/06/i-win-every-race-i-run/

 

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Me and My Not So Green Thumb
Does anyone else not have a green thumb but wish they did?  I don't know about you, but once it starts to get nice outside, I just MUST have greens in my house.  Not too many big plants, as they just become another expense because I kill them, but little greens all over make my life happy.  I swear I can only keep plants alive that must come back every year, which explains why I only buy perennials anymore!  
Some of my favorite ways to bring Spring inside even when it's still cold out can be found at your local Home Depot.  Yes, Lowe's probably has them too, but I've come to be able to depend on Home Depot for Fiddle Figs and Succulents.  
First, does everyone know what a fiddle fig plant is?  If you don't, you should.  Unless of course you are a plant killer like me, then I'll leave it up to you, but at typically $13 a pop, these can be killed a few times over the summer and are worth every penny of green they bring into my living room, even if for a short time.  
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"The fiddle leaf fig tree, also known as the Ficus Lyrata is a plant perfect for the indoors. It has large, violin-shaped and heavily veined leaves that tend to have upright growth. The fiddle leaf fig tree is a species that is native to the tropics as they require conditions to be wet and warm."  
 
Now, let's be real -- we don't live in the tropics, and I don't know about you, but I'm always having to add a layer because my house is so cold (which might be another reason I'm a good plant killer).  But this plant is so easy. Water it about once a week and make sure it gets direct sunlight. When it gets warm, I sit it out on our patio.  All other times, it's by a window, and I've set a time on my phone as a reminder to water it to try to not kill it so quickly.  But just look how cute she is... 
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And then there are those succulents... My absolute favorite.  I've used them in decor for the last 10 years.  They were even a huge part of our wedding.  They, too, are just so easy. Although, I still tend to have the uncanny ability to make them crumble, but at least it takes them a little longer than regular plants.  
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Go to your local Goodwill or thrift store and grab a cute little teacup and saucer or even a floral bowl.  Trendy floral, not grandma floral just to be clear.  Then head to home depot for a bag of potting soil and your choice of succulents!  You'd be surprised at the variety they have!  It's quite impressive. Then if you really want to add some fun to it go on down to The Corner Cottage in Noblesville who now has the largest array of fairy garden accessories I've seen in one place and get yourself some ironic animals... Deer, Dogs, Moose... and add them as a nice touch to some of your bigger planters if there is room. 
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And lastly, my other favorite green that even looks beautiful once it's dead {hahhaha} is that fancy eucalyptus from Trader Joes for $2.99 a bushel.  Run don't walk to get yourself this special treat.  They always have it and it always makes you feel like you just left the spa!  
And that's how you get away with having a not so green thumb and having some green thumb items in your home for Spring.  And of course, the little always gets to pick out a plant too, and she always picks these cacti with their great color!  Happy Spring! 
 
xo, 
Abby
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The "Remember When" Game...

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When my husband and I are reaching our domestic breaking point we like to play a little game called “Remember when…”

For instance, when my three year old is screaming because I cut her chicken into bites rather than strips, or when my one year old decides he will eat bananas and only bananas, we say: “Remember when we could sleep WHENEVER we wanted?” Our eyes glaze over; we become immune to the constant noise of a house with children, and we wistfully reminisce about this glorious golden age in our marriage when we were carefree and childless. “Why did we ever get out of bed?” I ask my husband “Why weren’t we constantly napping?” he replies. Alas, this game can devolve into a slippery slope, so we dare not linger too long. A spoonful of peas to the face is usually a sufficient call back to reality.

Disclaimer: I really do love my children. They are the beat of my heart and my greatest accomplishments to date. HOWEVER, I miss me sometimes, and I miss my husband when he was just my husband and not also a father. Because although having children can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be incredibly draining. My life is no longer exclusively mine. So, reminiscing over a trip we took or fondly recalling how fun and crazy we used to be is therapeutic for us. Here are a few of our favorite remember whens:

  • Remember when the ambient light for sexy time used to be candles instead of a baby monitor?

  • Remember when we used to be cool? Now we know the lyrics to almost every Disney Jr. theme song and sing them loudly.

  • Remember when “sleeping in” meant waking up at noon, not 9am?

  • Remember when boobs were just for fun?

  • Remember when 9pm did not feel like a perfectly appropriate bedtime?

All this remembering really got me thinking about what I truly miss, and what I do not miss about our fun, former lives. So, here is my attempt to quantify these feelings:

Five things I miss the MOST about life before children:

  1. Sleep—Anywhere, everywhere, all the time. Deep, uninterrupted, drool on your pillow, dead to the world sleep.

  2. Money—So much disposable income. Why in the world wasn’t I rich? Oh that’s right, I drank it away.

  3. Cleanliness—I didn’t appreciate the lack of vomit, urine, and cheerio on everything I own.

  4. Spontaneity—Wake up in the morning and take an impromptu trip the beach. Drinking in the afternoon. Answering to no one but yourself. The freedom!

  5. Day Sex—Sigh. I am not brave enough to risk the possible psychological damage to myself and my children.

 

Five things I miss the LEAST about life before children:

  1. Hangovers—I would rather birth several children sans medicine than experience today a hangover from my 20s. Ouch.

  2. Existential angst—I spent a lot of time pre-babies wallowing and dwelling on what it all meant. Philosophical musings are important, but for me this just became depressing.

  3. Irresponsibility—Being drunk and crazy all the time starts looking less cute and more pathetic. I am not arguing that childbirth naturally makes people more responsible, but I was ready for the next phase of my life.

  4. Asking to hold other people’s babies—Frankly, it’s just awkward. Now I have two of my own to snuggle endlessly.

  5. Too much money—Alright, you caught me. This is just absurd, and as hard as I tried I just couldn’t think of another bad thing about my pre-baby life!

Would I change a single thing about my life right now? No. But, remembering who I was as a person before becoming a mother is important. Remembering who we were as a couple before becoming parents is important. So if we get a little wistful for the glory days of our youth, so be it. I would like to think that there will be spontaneity and day sex again in our future. Until then, you can find us doing a pretty dynamic family version of “Let It Go”.

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