We Got the FUNK: October 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

10 Tips for Balance...When you Already are too Busy

I think when I decided that I was going to get my master's degree I had prepped myself with the attitude that it was now or never.  I figured that it would be easier to continue my sleep deprivation and exhaustion now, then get all caught up to just retrain my body later.  I also knew that I like a challenge and that one of the biggest that I could do was to try and see how much I could take on and still feel like I have control.

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It is all chaotic.  All of it.  I have at least 20 things on my plate right now and as I am writing this, I am currently deciding how much sleep I can manage to function on tomorrow, how many papers I am going to grade, blog posts I am going to finish, chapters I am going to read, what is for dinner and lunches tomorrow, emails I need to prep and about a million other little tasks I need to get going on.

People are astonished at the amount of stuff I have on my plate and constantly I get the comment; "I just don't know how you are doing it all."  My answer is always that "I don't sleep", but that is far from the truth.  I sleep about 4-6 hours a night and on weekends I get to sleep in.  Balancing it all is a bit more strategic than sleep deprivation, so I came up with 10 tips to help balance the chaos.
  1. Set a daily goal: Each morning when I wake up I set a daily goal.  Sometimes it is an activity or task that needs attention, sometimes it is just as simple as living in the moment.  Either way I have something to focus on for the day and it helps. 
  2. Make lists: I keep google tasks on my email open and notes in my phone.  I write down even the most minute task just to make sure I do not forget. 
  3. Choose 3 things from those lists to complete each day:  Prioritize.  I like to choose 1 difficult, medium and easy task, that way I feel pretty accomplished.  Most of the time I complete 5-10 times more than just those 3 tasks but I feel more in control when I am checking more boxes off. 
  4. Take 30 minutes a day to just do you:  Literally, watch a show, take a bath, pee in peace, sit in a dark room, workout, sleep.  Whatever you need, studies actually show that you lower your stress hormone by taking daily time for yourself. 
  5. Take help when it is offered:  I am still learning on this one, but I am catching on quickly that I must allow others to help.  My husband, mother, co-workers, friends, babysitter and pretty much everyone who loves me has been great in offering a helping hand.  I could not be more appreciative of the people in my life who make it possible for me to "do it all"
  6. Let the little things go:  I used to do dishes daily and never had laundry in my laundry room. Now I have a small amount of dishes in the sink and a couple baskets of laundry that need to be put away.  I will put that on my list and prioritize.  
  7. Make time for friends and family: I am so busy and often I forget that other people like me and want to be around me.  I also forget how much they rejuvenate me and motivate me to be a better person.  Surround yourself with those you love who breath positivity into your life. 
  8. Make a playlist:  I work faster on the littler tasks when I have music that I enjoy on.  Studies also show that music can lower stress so jam out folks!
  9. Remove the Negative:  If something is a burden and is not absolutely necessary in your life, remove it.  I only have time for positivity in my life so if something or someone is too negative I remove myself from the situation.  This helps immensely. 
  10. Laugh A Lot:  No I am serious.  Sometimes when I have a mini break I just veg out and watch hysterical YouTube videos, or call a friend and laugh and joke.  Laughing just put life in perspective and makes me feel better. 
That's it folks!  What are some other way's that I could use to balance the chaos?

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Mothers' Milk Bank Relocates #SaveMoreBabies

Earlier this month I was able to tour the new Mothers' Milk Bank facilities here in Colorado.  This is the central location for all human breastmilk to be processed and distributed to NICU's throughout North America.  It was great to take the tour and see how they are able to save even more babies!

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In 2014 Mothers' Milk Bank processed more than 545,000 ounces of human milk for human babies. That number is impressive and with more donors and more milk coming in, more space was needed. They moved to a new facility in Arvada that can house both the Rocky Mountain Children's Health Foundation as well as the milk processing center.  The facility is beautiful, large and super sterile. 

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As mentioned above, the facility houses both the milk processing center as well as the Rocky Mountain Children's Health Foundation.  The foundation was established in 2008 to help pediatric patients and their families and offer community support.  They provide assistance to families in need like providing milk to NICU babies, matching children with service dogs, diaper drives and much more.

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What was the most impressive aspect of the entire tour was how incredibly large and state of the art this facility was compared to their previous home.  This new facility is ISO certified and has much more room for processing, pasteurizing and dispensing the milk to babies in need.  The infographic below is a great way to look at how Mothers' Milk Bank works.

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Milk comes in from donors and is processed and essentially checked in and put into the computer.

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It is then analyzed and checked for various important components (fat content, calories, etc) and is pasteurized and froze for distribution to hospital NICU's throughout 26 states and 130 hospitals in North America. 

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So why is donor milk so important?  How does this help save a babies life? 
  • 1 out of 8 babies are born prematurely and typically have nutritional deficiencies, weakened immune systems and developmental delays. 
  • Human breastmilk is liquid gold and contains well over 100 vitamins, nutrients, antibodies and other immune factors that formula cannot replicate. 
  • Human milk can help combat those nutritional deficiencies & build immune systems. 
  • One ounce of human milk can feed a NICU baby for 1 day. 
Save babies!  Mothers' Milk Bank is critical to this process.  Many babies who are born prematurely are born to mothers whose own bodies are not prepared to make the milk needed to help their fragile infant(s) survive.  Regardless the babies need the most nutritious milk and that is why the milk bank is so critical.  It gives the mother time to coerce her body into making the milk and still provides the milk needed for the baby to grow big and healthy.  A friend of mine had twins prematurely and utilized the milk bank for her babies who did not have a good outlook ahead of them.  Now they are thriving 2 year old miracles and she has said that the donor milk from the milk bank was a big part of that. 

In addition, MMB offers breastmilk for purchase to mom's who are unable to breastfeed but still want to provide breastmilk to their babies.  A fantastic example of this is a mother who was a previous donor to the bank but in between babies she got the terrible breast cancer diagnosis.  With her second baby she is not able to breastfeed so MMB is providing milk to her new infant...and they are doing this on a scholarship provided from Rocky Mountain Children's Health Foundation.  Truly, life changing. 


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Are you interested in donating?  Do you have a baby in a NICU?  Please contact Rocky Mountain Children's Health Foundation for more information. 

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Spooky Halloween Mantle Makeover #BudgetFriendly

It almost broke my heart to take down my fall mantle because I just loved it.  However, it was time to switch gears and spook out my house.  I found some great deals in the dollar bins and am loving this new creepy but warm feeling in my house. 

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The target dollar section and the dollar tree were pretty much the best place ever.  The sign and the candy corn tin can were some great finds in the target dollar bin and I snagged the pumpkins both at the dollar tree.  The one on the can is actually carvable!  I got the spider from party light but have seen similar ones at my local King Soopers.

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I wish I could take credit for this stunning candle holder, but this was a Michael's find and I fell in love.  The candles are batter operated and give my mantle a spooky glow.


I am in LOVE with my EEK letters.  This and the pumpkin candle holder were also Target dollar bin finds and the spider web was a Dollar Tree item.

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I loved the little ball lights from my fall mantle and may never let them go. The pumpkin garland is another Dollar Tree special (I feel like the Dollar Tree should be paying me :) and the Trick or Treat sign was also found in the Target dollar bins.  I love the way it really pulled the who mantle together.

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In total I spent about $30.00 on all the items (yes including the candle holder!) and although it is not my fall mantle, it is a little spooky, super cute and really brings Halloween into our home.

So what are your opinions?  Would you add anything?

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Our Spooktacular Family Night #Recipes #SpooktacularSnacks [ad]

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

The cereal isle with kids is either a hit or miss.  They're either ok with grabbing a box and enjoying later or they want to fully analyze all the box options.  As soon as we spotted the Halloween cereal boxes with a build your own castle option, my kids eyes lit up and my crafty mind got to work.   I came up with two sweet treats and a great spooktacular family night for all.
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My kids are cereal addicts, so when we wandered through Target on Sunday and saw the halloween classics of Franken Berry®, Count Chocula® and Boo Berry®, I knew I would be taking these home. Our store had these on an end cap at a great price and I had a coupon!

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The selling point though was the back of the boxes.  Sure the delicious flavors, fun names and marshmallows were great but turn the boxes around and you have a quick and easy family night at hand. I am fairly confident that my son could not wait to get home and build our spooky castle.  He lined these boxes right up and kept talking about how the monsters would play together. 

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I decided that we needed a couple snacks and since I could not decide on just one, I made two...in less than 30 minutes.  I wanted a sweet snack that we could enjoy as we put the castle together and a little activity.  I started by making these from scratch buttermilk donuts with cream cheese frosting and Franken Berry® and Boo Berry® cereal pieces. 

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Ingredients (Makes 1 dozen, Serving size: 1 donut)

  • 2 cups of cake flour (basically remove 4 TBS of flour and replace with 4 TBS of corn starch to make 2 cups of cake flour)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBS melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can of your favorite pre-made frosting
  • 2 cups of Franken Berry® & 2 cups of Boo Berry® cereals
  • 1 donut pan for baking
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Directions (Prep time: 10 minutes):

  • Preheat oven to 375° and grease and flour the donut pan
  • Mix dry ingredients together first
  • Next mix in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
  • Using a buttered spatula place dough in donut pan about 2/3 full
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown 

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  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely
  • Next frost the donuts with your pre-made canned frosting (bonus if you want to make your own!)
  • Dip the donut frosting side down into the cereal
  • Serve and enjoy

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While the donuts were baking the husband went to work on the Monster Crunch Treats!  I was super excited to do this with my kids.  They love to create art and are really into Halloween and spooky monsters so I thought it would be perfect to decorate the crunch treats to look like monsters. 

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Ingredients (Makes 12 treats, Serving Size 1):

  • 5 cups of Count Chocula® cereal
  • 4 cups of mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • Canned frosting of choice in white (easier for food coloring)
  • Food coloring
  • Halloween sprinkles
  • Eyeball candies

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Directions (Prep time: 5 minutes):

  • Melt the butter in a large sauce pan
  • Add marshmallows and mix until liquid (this happens fast)
  • In an 13 x 9 in pan butter the sides and place the dry cereal
  • Pour the liquid marshmallow mix over the cereal and begin mixing quickly with a buttered spatula.
  • Evenly distribute the cereal treats in the pan and allow to cool.

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  • Next, set up your monster decorating treat station.  
  • Mix your frosting colors, prep the sprinkles, cut the cereal treats apart and lay out a piece of wax paper for each person to decorate their monster crunch treat on. 
  • Let loose, be creative, laugh and out spook each other with your monstrous creations.
Once we had made our monster crunch treats, it was time to indulge in our castle building and donut eating time.  My husband diligently cut out the pieces of the castle.  You need all three cereal boxes to create the complete castle.  You can see our progress here in my little video.  I am starting to fall in love with these.


Overall we had a fantastic time creating spooktacular memories and enjoying some sweet treats.  We will most definitely be doing this again. For more ideas on creating your own family nights with great recipes click here.

Tell me, what is your families go to sweet treat?

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Real Life

I keep writing these posts, and then I completely forget to publish them because well, sleep.  The kind that I am not getting.  I think for a 5-night stretch I successfully managed 23 hours total.  Between homework, grading, planning, cleaning, crafting, and you know the big one...PARENTING, my brain is a foggy mess.  I think to explain this best, let's take a glimpse into my parenting chaos!


This little girl has pushed every single button I have lately.  Seriously folks, I feel like there is not a moment to breathe raising her and that I am failing completely.  Today it took me almost 3 hours to get her to take a nap that she desperately needed.  She is into everything and she is fast like a cheetah. Take this lipgloss incident.  I mean we all put lipgloss over our entire faces right?


Then there is this boy.  He is such a people pleaser but still asserts his independence.  He loves video games (Super Mario, that is all) and science shows, but most of all he loves his friends and playing Power Rangers.  He is just as tired as I am and sleeps like a rock.  I had my first experience of having to leave work to pick him up from school because he vomited all over the playground.  Awesome.


Most days I spend arguing with this little girl over things like matching clothes, not taking 53 toys in the car with us, eating more than doughnuts and sleep.  Yeah, sleep is a big deal in our house. Basically the kids get sleep and the adults do not. 


Case in point.  She told us she was going upstairs to brush her teeth for the 15th time this day and came downstairs in her swim diaper and my swim bottoms.  Her daddy and I laughed so incredibly hard.  



They are so busy and so independent.  We had 2 birthday parties on Saturday and they were crazy little critters.  Neither would stay together.  I spent the entire day running after them, yelling and laughing.  I am pretty confident that I spent a good 30 minutes in time out with both of them because publicly we are a mess and I am basically a ranting lunatic. Real life. 


Then there was this "why is my toddler crying" moment?  She was crying because she didn't want to be held, but then again she did, so she couldn't decide if I should hold her or just put her down.  That was 45 minutes of crazy.


With all of that parenting happening, there was this serene moment while driving to breakfast yesterday.  I snapped a picture of 2 but there were a total of 8 floating with the picturesque Rocky Mountains.  Breathe...Real Life....Parenting.  It is hard. 

Hope everyone else is surviving.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How I Gave my Old Car New Life #DIYOilChange [Ad]

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

Twelve years ago I went away to college with a 1972 Buick Skylark as my companion.  After a couple months that old car was tired.  My parents surprised me with my first "new" car, a 2002 Toyota Corolla with only 12K miles on it...and a car payment of my very own.  Responsibilities.

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Had I known then that this responsibility would save my life in a car accident, drive us well over 200,000 miles and become a part of the family, I don't think that car payment would have been so alarming. Regardless, that little car is family and is now my husbands commuter car.  The car still gets well over 30 mpg, but is getting old and burning oil.  So after consulting with my mechanic dad, we decided to switch to a full synthetic motor oil to hopefully extend the life of my beloved little car. So off we headed to Walmart to grab the best oil we could find.

How to change the oil in a car, Step by step tutorial with pictures, How to change the oil in a 2002 Toyota Corolla, Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil, #DIYOilChange #Cbias

Although I had owned this car for 12 years, I had never personally changed the oil.  My husband recently injured his back and so I told him that I would go ahead a take a chance at this oil changing business.  So we grabbed the supplies and got to work.

How to change the oil in a car, Step by step tutorial with pictures, How to change the oil in a 2002 Toyota Corolla, Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil, #DIYOilChange #Cbias
Funnel, Oil catching Basin, Filter removing wrench, old rag, new oil filter, Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Oil, car ramps, wrench for drain plug, safety gear.
After gathering the supplies we positioned the car on the ramps, set the emergency brake and placed blocks behind the back tires to keep the vehicle in place.

How to change the oil in a car, Step by step tutorial with pictures, How to change the oil in a 2002 Toyota Corolla, Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil, #DIYOilChange #Cbias
Please use standard safety procedures when changing your oil. You should always refer to your own car's manual before changing your oil.

Once the car was secure, I got to work.  I placed the oil drainage basin under the oil pan of the car, then I removed the oil cap from the top.  After that I got under the vehicle, loosened the oil drain plug and removed it.  The old oil came pouring out of the oil pan into the basin. 

How to change the oil in a car, Step by step tutorial with pictures, How to change the oil in a 2002 Toyota Corolla, Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil, #DIYOilChange #Cbias
Make sure dispose of old oil appropriately.
As that was draining, I also removed the old oil filter and prepped the new filter with Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil.  To do this, all you need to do is dip your finger in the oil and then gently rub it on the seal of the new filter.  Once this is done, you can replace the filter.

How to change the oil in a car, Step by step tutorial with pictures, How to change the oil in a 2002 Toyota Corolla, Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil, #DIYOilChange #Cbias

After the old oil has finished draining and you have put the new oil filter in, re-secured the oil drain plug and go ahead and start pouring the new oil into the car. Refer to your owners manual to learn the exact amount your vehicle needs, and use the dipstick to check levels as you go.

How to change the oil in a car, Step by step tutorial with pictures, How to change the oil in a 2002 Toyota Corolla, Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil, #DIYOilChange #Cbias

Once you are done, replace the oil cap, start the car and allow it to run for a couple minutes.  Turn it off, then check the dipstick again to ensure proper fill level.  Add more oil as needed.  For a quick tutorial with more photos and captions, check out my first ever Flipagram!



Choosing a quality motor oil was very important to our family.  I refuse to ever get rid of my car and the husband already knows that once it dies, we will be replacing the engine and transmission to make it like new.  Like I said, this car is part of our family.  We chose Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil because it is a high quality oil that provides complete engine protection.  From keeping the pistons clean to better fuel economy as well as excellent performance in extreme temperatures (hello Colorado!) this motor oil meets all our vehicles needs. 

For more information on changing your oil, check out this complete video guide below. 



Have you changed the oil in your car before?


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Monday, October 12, 2015

The Leaves are Changing - Guanella Pass

Last weekend was fantastic!  I made only one request to the husband and he made it happen.  I wanted to take a few hours and drive up the Rocky Mountains to hopefully see the beautiful colors of the leaves changing.  We hit up Guanella Pass and it did not disappoint!

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For us the drive is about 2.5 hours which is not terrible.  We couldn't exactly decide where to go so it took a little longer.  We had a carseat potty incident with the sassy princess and had to stop as well.  We were in no hurry.  However, by the time we got up there and out to take some photos, my little girl was crashed out.  So instead the hubby and I snapped some photos about 10 feet from our truck with the sleeping baby inside. 

Guanella Pass Colorado, Georgetown Colorado, Aspens Changing Colorado, Leaves changing colorado, 2015
My Boys!

Guanella Pass Colorado, Georgetown Colorado, Aspens Changing Colorado, Leaves changing colorado, 2015
For my husbands first time using my DSLR he did pretty good!
I was working a lot with my new lens on my camera as well as continuing to practice learning the functions a bit better but I snapped a couple of these beauties and was really happy with the way they came out.  The photo on the left really was a bit foggy but I think it still turned out great.  That by the way is overlooking Georgetown Colorado if you were wondering.

Guanella Pass Colorado, Georgetown Colorado, Aspens Changing Colorado, Leaves changing colorado, 2015

We had such a great time we plan to do this every year.  However, next year we are heading up a week or two early because those Aspens were almost done changing and I don't want to miss those vibrant amazing colors or the time with my family.

Hope your fall is going splendid!


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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

SUI and Gaining Confidence #TryImpressa


Laughter, meditation and relaxation are the key to sanity in my life.  I am full of laughs and tend to be the comic relief for people but I also enjoy being witty and making myself laugh.  Sometimes it surprises me what comes out of my mouth.  However, those moments can be met with a quick "oh no," but now thanks to Poise Impressa that is much less of a worry.

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Two kids into this life (and no more!), and laughing, sneezing, coughing and other forceful movements can become slightly embarrassing.  For me, it is pretty infrequent, but for so many of my mom friends this is a real issue.  I was talking with several of my friends these past couple weeks and some of them can't sneeze without having protection and one of my friends says she just wears a pad 24/7 because her SUI (stress urinary incontinence) is so bad that if she didn't she would pee herself all day.  I didn't even realize how bad this could get or that pads were really one of the only options out there.

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Apparently it is a huge concern among women.  I guess it shouldn't be surprising because 35,000,000 women experience SUI.  Thankfully, Poise has developed a new product to help support women and stop leaks before they happen.  Poise Impressa is just that product and right now there is a fantastic coupon for you to snag and give it a try.  The best part is that you can purchase the sizing kit at Target to see which fits you and your needs best.

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Once you have found your perfect fit with the sizing kit, you can purchase your single-size pack and use a support for up to 8 hours, providing you with more confidence when laughing, coughing, jumping and doing various other everyday activities.

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Don't forget to snag your $2.00 off coupon and #TryImpressa today!

How has life after kids changed for you?

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