We Got the FUNK: December 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 at a Glance

2015 has been a decent year for this family but at the same time one that has also been a struggle. My little blog witnessed some tremendous growth and support.  Thank you everyone for that.  However, as a whole, this year was a year of growth and education.


This year started out pretty good, and after a rough 2014 it was needed.  I decided to adopt a power word for the year and went with Clarity.  I feel like this word choice worked pretty well and that I am leaving 2015 with a better understanding of who I am, what I want and how to get there.  I was more overwhelmed, overworked and blessed this year than I could even imagine.  Graduate school was tough, but hopefully come 2016 I will see a diploma in my hand.  I found out that I was extremely vitamin D deficient and by the end of the year realized that my health needs an overhaul as I was also medicated for my diabetes after being "in control" for 6 years.




The husband lost his father figure this year and although I did not talk about this on the blog, it was an EXTREMELY tough time for our family.  We are still reeling from this tremendous loss.  I am happy to say that he is coming out of the fog and that I am starting to see glimpses of the man that I fell in love with 15 years ago.




The boy had a rough transition year.  We have learned a lot about parenting this year and are still trying to work through hateful words and the naughty list.  He turned the big 5 and had a Transformers themed roller skating party. He also graduated preschool and started kindergarten!  We had some dental issues arise which were not too fun and I learned a lot about advocating for my children.



Our year with our tiny princess was pretty good.  Our fiesty little girl went through a phase of not sleeping, but bounced back and I am happy to say, we are all sleeping pretty great!  We had some minor issues with Failure to Thrive and vomiting again which lead to a fix that really did help. Thankfully at the end of 2015, the peanut is now 25lbs and comfortably in 2T clothing! For a slow growing tiny girl this is huge. The peanut also turned 2 in March and had a beautiful Pirate and Pixie birthday party!  She was potty trained and for the most part is an expert.  We also transitioned to a toddler bed because our little escape artist could not stay in her crib.


Our summer was perfection.  Busy but great.  I decided to try some Summer Theme Week ideas and we worked through Earth week, Creatures Week, World Tour Week, Discovery Week, and Adventure Week!  My sister was getting married so we threw her a class and sassy bachelorette party and then there was the most epic wedding toast and wedding!


I got into a remodel mode and went for the laundry room.  The colors are still so relaxing and this is easily one of my favorite places in our home. I also decided to redo our 1/2 bathroom and absolutely loved how this came together.  I created a family command center and decided to bring the holiday feeling into our home more with these fall, halloween and thanksgiving mantle makeovers.


The holiday season was fantastic.  We took our annual family photos.  I created some fantastic costumes and we had a blast on Halloween.  Our family Thanksgiving could win a contest if there was one.  We decided to try our hand at Elf on the Shelf and also took the kids to see Frozen on Ice and The Nutcracker ballet.  Christmas was stunning and perfect and overall we were just so blessed.


Thank you to everyone for your support, your encouragement, your kind words and your love.  Now to ring in a 2016 that breaks all expectations!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Diet Changes, Diabetes and Accountability

This past week I have spent a lot of time arguing with my doctor and asking for some specific blood work because although I know that I am a type 2 diabetic, I have been doing a lot of research as of late and although I am not a doctor, I am a scientist.  I understand the difference between peer reviewed medical journals and online forums and I know my body.  With that said, I was super upset to receive these results.


My A1C came back at 6.3 and my average blood glucose level came back at 132.  Clearly in the last six months I have not been doing a great job managing my symptoms.  I know why.  I spent the first six months of the year trying to lose weight and eat right and I was still gaining weight.  My doctors did little to address these concerns other than prescribing some vitamin D (which BTW has really helped my energy levels).  The have been reluctant to prescribe me Metformin because it appears that I am still relatively in control of my diabetes...which I totally am not. So I gave up trying. 

I started to carb load because if I am going to gain weight eating healthy and still feel like crap I am going to enjoy it.  Terrible idea. I stopped being as active.  That FitBit that I bought and aimed to get in at least 10-15K steps a day just sits uncharged in a bowl in my kitchen.  The pounds are piling on. My back pain is getting worse and I feel awful.  

So how does this all tie into my arguments with my doctors.  Well I have a strong feeling that I am actually insulin resistant which essentially means that I make insulin but a majority of it is broken and so instead of it working properly it ends up storing fat, which is why I cannot lose weight no matter the effort. However, to figure this out, the A1C test is not the test that has to be ran.  It is an entirely different test...which they will not do. However, the treatment for insulin resistance is not much different from general type 2 diabetes.  I need to be on metformin.  Today, I went through test results from past years and found the results from a different doctor showing that I am in fact insulin resistant.  That was enough for them to prescribe the metformin. 

However, this prescription will not be enough.  I now need to go back to a low carb diet and not only will I be doing this, I will also be cutting gluten from my diet in hopes that this combination will be the key to getting my life back.  So what do I need from my readers...resources and support!

If you have great gluten free or low carb recipes, please drop a link in the comments section.  Thank you for all your support, hopefully the next health update I do is full of awesome test results and some weight loss!

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015 Recap & DIY Santa Plate tutorial

I had so much to post about last week and then I just didn't.  Instead I took some time to focus on the the family time and holidays and really just enjoy the peace of the season.  Here is our Christmas recap with a mini Santa Plate tutorial!


Christmas nearly did not happen in my house.  I forget how difficult being a stay at home mom is and how hard that transition is on both my kids and I.  They are out of schedule and so am I.  Needless to say my son was a grump and the elves stole the tree.  I went back and forth about returning it, but in the end, my son is 5 and my daughter is 2 and they will never forget the year that they tree disappeared. So instead, I prepped for Christmas. 


I spent the morning of Christmas Eve making this Santa Plate.  We have always just used a lame plate and cup that I had.  I picked up this white plate and cup as well as some enamel paint and got to work. 

First we did each of the kids hand prints using the enamel paints.  Once they air dried for 1 hour I popped them into the oven.  Put them in as soon as you start the preheat then heat the oven up to 350 degrees and bake a total (including preheat time) of 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled, use your Silhouette machine and cut out designs to decorated with.  I chose a font and used the arc tool to round the font then I found some designs in the Silhouette store and purchased those.  Make sure that you purchase vinyl that can be hand washed, I bought outdoor vinyl and it works great!


A post that I did not complete this month was my Christmas Mantle Makeover.  I have done fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving and plan to do one for Valentines Day, St. Patricks, Easter and Forth of July.  However, I sort of figured that Christmas mantles are pretty standard.  Stockings, santa picture, some lights and cute little decor.  I do love my mantle and truly love the collection of items over the years that grace this centerpiece of our home. Once everything was set, I crashed for about 5 hours before the kids woke. 


Christmas morning we had a full house and the kids were ready to rip into the gifts.  It always appears like they have a TON to open but in all honesty, I wrap even the tiniest 1.00 gifts to make it last longer.  Before we started we did the mandatory picture of Christmas in front of the tree.


It is getting harder and harder to get their photos because they are really into the silly faces. 


This one just won't look at the camera anymore, which is also super fun.


However, even those silly faces are just my favorite so we will take it and get to the gifts. 


Santa came!  My son got the robot he has been obsessing over for several months.  It was like the best day of his life and I think if I let him take it with us everywhere he totally would.  In his defense this little guy is really cool!  You control him with an app on a phone or tablet, you can feed him, you can make him carry things and balance items and he can even have battles and dance contests.  There is a lot of entertainment with this toy. 


The princess was not as excited about her Santa gift because "FROZEN MICROPHONE".  Between this and the karaoke machine she got, we could not get her to stop singing "Let it Go."  Either way eventually she opened the gift and pushed it aside to grab the microphone again. 


We concluded the messy Christmas morning with the Disney Parks parades.  Of course my kids had to dress up.  My son went with storm trooper, because Star Wars.  My daughters choice?  Elsa...Always.  We packed up the storm trooper and Elsa and headed to my parents to finish Christmas off. 


My mom wanted a couple photos in front of her magical tree, so I managed to get one that looked decent.  We all stayed in our PJ's and enjoyed a wonderful dinner, and great time with family.  The gifts were great, but the company was better.  However, the best part of the day...giving our daddy this. 


A couple days earlier the sister and I got together and built this.  We purchased some lightweight wood and trim as well as the frames.  Then we came home and cut out the saying with my Silhouette and transferred it to the wood.  To make it stick permanently we used Mod Podge and then we hot glued the frames to the wood with A LOT of hot glue.  The old man cried and put it up immediately in his man cave.  It was pretty much the best gift ever. 


Overall, Christmas was wonderful.  I suspect that 2016 will be incredible!  How was your holiday?


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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#Elfontheshelf Week 3 Ideas

I cannot believe that Christmas will be here in just a few days. This week has been challenging in our household and the elves were a bit mischievous but fun.  Take a peek at week 3 with our elves.

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Day 15 with our elves brought homework.  The elves were diligent and worked hard to get their homework done. 

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Day 16 was a huge snow storm in Colorado so our elves went sledding in some of our decor.  This one took a bit for the kids to find because they were so high up.

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Day 17 the elves brought Christmas story books to be unwrapped each day as we countdown to Christmas. 

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Day 18 was the last day of school.  The elves snuck in to my sons backpack.  He loved this!

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Day 19 had the elves getting a check up from Doc McStuffins.  Elves need to keep their health in check too.  The tiny princess was not so happy that Doc was busy for the day. 

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Day 20 the elves created a countdown chain for the kids. This one was super fun and lead to a lot of giggles throughout the day.  They really thought it was funny that they were just hanging out on the wall.

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Day 21 was a rough day in our house.  Effectively Christmas was cancelled and we are on the naughty list.  The elves took our tree and left a little note.  Time to get the kids back on track.  We are a bit off the plan but honestly the kids needed a little wake up call.

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I am not entirely sure when the elves will return the tree.  If the next 3 days are just as rough as yesterday, there will be no tree, no presents and no Christmas.  It made a huge impact so far and this morning has been pretty nice.

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Hope your week is going better than ours.  Happy last couple days of Elf on the Shelf!  

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Monday, December 21, 2015

The Naughty List

It is 4:30, on the technical first day of break for me.  I submitted my initial review for my research yesterday for graduate school so break did not start until today for me.  The morning started out really great friends.  The kids let me sleep in, and decided to serve themselves a breakfast of cookies and still somehow the entire house was showered and ready to get out the door by 9:00 am.

We headed up north for some haircuts and on our way home grandma called and invited the kids over AFTER NAPS.  That was made clear.  So in true murphy's law fashion, neither kid cooperated.  We got home, both kids went straight to their rooms and I figured I would actually get some blogging done.

You see I have just been feeling blah and exhausted.  I stepped away from my blog for a couple days to just rejuvenate and revitalize.  I will be back to regular posting tomorrow, but for today I am just trying to survive this parenting thing.  Sometimes you just need a little break when you work two jobs, go to school and try to parent.  Truly people, I am a complete mess sometimes.

Well that magical nap time was awful.  The princess actually may have taken a small nap, but the boy he insisted on arguing and saying some extremely hateful and hurtful things.  It is to the point that he is on the naughty list and I am cancelling Christmas.

Yup, you heard that correctly, I am nearly willing to not have Christmas because he told me he wished I was dead, all because I asked him to take a nap or play quietly in his room.  My sweet, smart and amazing 5 year old, broke me.  I just do not get it.

I calmly asked him if he would be ok if mommy died and he never saw me again.  He cried.  I showed no emotion.  I told him I would not be celebrating a joyous holiday of Christmas with someone who wished me dead.  He cried harder.  He went to his room.  I sat motionless.

What am I doing wrong here folks?  I swear my kids get a ton of my attention and snuggles and conversations and present attention.  I have worked on not spoiling too excessively and reinforcing positive behaviors.  The boy is not responding well and even using some curse words that are just not ok.  I am pretty much failing.

My mom suggested counseling, I will be bringing that up at our next appointment.  He is five, is this normal?  Is this just boundary testing?  Right now were both on the naughty list.

Thoughts and ideas are welcome.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Elf on a Shelf Week 2 Ideas! #EOTS

We are two weeks in and surprisingly it is going very well.  So far I have been great about moving the elf and it has been easy since I created my list of 24 ideas.  I am super glad that I created that list because it makes prepping each night much easier.  My set ups only take a couple minutes and the kids adore them.  Week 1 was great but week 2 was better!
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Last week my kids decorated the gingerbread house that my son just had to have.  What he really wanted was the candy.  I kept it in the freezer for a couple days and finally brought it out, only for our elves to TP the entire house!  My son laughed for hours on this one.  

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The next morning our elves were elbow deep in dog food with the dalmatians.  

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The teeth troubles in this house have been mighty this year.  So we have been diligent about replacing and encouraging brushing.  Our elves brought some new toothbrushes to help encourage too!

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I saw a snowball fight on Pinterest and loved the idea, but I am limited on time so I improvised. Hiding behind some signs with marshmallow as projectiles these elves were probably the best surprise of the week!

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Our iPads have been gone for months.  My son was waking up in the middle of the night to play games and watch Netflix.  However, the elves snuck in a quick movie night.  It killed my kiddo to not touch the iPad, but he did think it was really funny that they were watching a movie.

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The kids really thought this one was pretty cute.  At least that is all my princess told us the entire day; "Pink is really cute mama".  I think Picasso elves were pretty creative too!

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There was some tears yesterday morning when the elves could not be located inside the house.  My kids were both pretty upset, until we got into the truck and my kids we elated!  They loved that the elves went for a ride to our sitters and school.  It was a nice surprise for them to show up in an unexpected place. 

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I try my best to put the elves in places that I think are easy for my kids to see.  With two little kids and this being our first year it is very helpful for them to be able to find the little guys easily.  Week 2 went exceptionally well and I am ready to rock the next couple weeks. 

How is your Elf on the Shelf creations coming along?

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Monday, December 14, 2015

[AD] One Hour Gourmet Cornish Hens & Stuffed Acorn Squash #HolidayHens

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

This weekend was wonderful.  My graduate school finals finished. The classes that I teach all but wrapped up (finals this week)! Oh and it was our 4th annual holiday party!  We keep the gathering small but the food is always great and this year I decided to create this gourmet Cornish Hen meal in a little over an hour to share!

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Last year King Soopers opened a stunning Marketplace about 2 minutes from my house.  Safe to say this is my happy place.  It has everything; groceries, furniture, clothes, etc.  What is also has is great deals and coupons and the more I shop the more coupons they tend to send me.  When I was deciding what to make, I opened up my King Soopers app on my phone and scanned through the coupons.  I noticed that they had a digital coupon for Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens.  I like these because the at 100% natural with no artificial ingredients, preservatives, hormones or steroids.  Perfect for my dinner plan so  I grabbed my digital coupons and headed to King Soopers in search of stunning ingredients for a great evening with friends. 

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My store keeps Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens in both the open center freezer isles as well as the frozen food isles.  They were easy to find, which always makes my life better.  I decided to slow cook these hens and create a side dish that screamed gourmet. 

Ingredients to make the hens (serves 4+):
  • 2 Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens
  • 2 C Chicken Stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 2 springs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 5 TBS butter

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 Directions:

  1. About 6 hours before serving set up your slow cooker.  
  2. Place the frozen cornish hens in the cooker
  3. Add the other ingredients in and set it to high. 
  4. The hens will cook beautifully and the meat should fall right off the bone and melt in your mouth. This part of the set up takes about 5 minutes. 
Now onto the exquisite side dish.  I had never tried acorn squash but friends were raving and they were also on sale so I thought I would give it a go.  What I created was pretty much heavenly and just looking at the pictures I want more. 

Ingredients for the Stuffed Acorn Squash (serves 4+):
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 roll of breakfast sausage
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Olive Oil 
  • 4 leafs of Kale
  • 1/2 bag of stuffing mix
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • Garlic Salt to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese to taste


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I have to admit I was nervous and was limited on time.  We needed to leave for the party in a snowstorm in 2 hours and I still needed to cook and get the family ready to leave.  I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and got to work.

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Directions:
  1. As stated above, preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Wash the acorn squash and slice in half (this took some muscle)
  3. Scoop out the seeds and then brush olive oil on the open face of the squash as well as in the center. 
  4. Sprinkle the pepper all over it (we like spicy so I used more).
  5. Flip the Squash over on a cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

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As I was preparing the squash I was simultaneously prepping the stuffing mixture.  This was easy.

  1. Brown the sausage
  2. Add chopped kale, onions, butter and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. 
  3. In a casserole dish, pour the stuffing mix. 
  4. Pour the sausage mixture into the casserole dish with the stuffing mix and blend evenly. 
  5. Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

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As you can see above, I had 3 different items in the oven.  The last item which I forgot to snap photos of, was actually the second dish I prepped.  I simple took tri-colored carrots and potatoes, with some butter, parmesan and garlic salt and covered them and baked them for about 45 minutes at 350.  The order of prep went slow cooking the Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens, prepping the carrot/potato side, and simultaneously making the stuffing and acorn squash. 

Finally I pulled everything out of the oven, stuffed those acorn squash full of the stuffing mixture and serve this amazing gourmet dinner to rave reviews.  It was easily one of the yummiest dinners I have created in a long time and what made it better was the company we shared it with.   The meal was a hit and really only took a total of about an hour to complete.  

Shake up your holiday with Tyson® and grab some cornish hens for your next gathering.  They really work for any event and were a wonderful dish.  Check out more simple recipes with Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens on their website

Are you ready to shake up your event with this easy gourmet meal?

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